Most people know that the constitution ensures the right to trial by a jury of your peers. Despite this, many injury victims are finding this right eroded, as big businesses, insurance companies, and other potential defendants see juries as enemies awarding runaway verdicts to sympathetic Plaintiffs.

While these defendants can not change the constitution, they can and do try to limit an injury victim’s right to have a case heard by a jury, by taking away that right through contracts that contain arbitration clauses.

What is Arbitration

A recent rash of troubling injuries involving amusement and carnival-type rides has brought the dangers of this kind of recreation into the public eye. In many cases, it appears that there may be some liability by the operators of these parks or rides. These tragic events allow us a real-life glimpse into what can happen if due care is not taken at amusement parks.

When we use the term amusement park, we are talking about both larger, fixed-location parks, like Disney World, as well as local carnivals that break down and travel. We also are talking about water parks that offer thrill-type rides.

Injuries Becoming Common

Many of us purposely avoid keeping dangerous instruments in our house, and when we do, we take precautions. Maybe we do not own a gun, and if we do, we make sure it is locked up and separate from the bullets. Maybe we own knives, but they are well out of the way from where kids can get them. Yet, in many homes lives something that can be just as dangerous – a pool.

We think of pools as fun, and surely they should be. But pools can also be dangerous, whether it be for young ones, the elderly, the intoxicated, or any adult who simply can not swim. In many homes, the pool sits without a barrier, and in many cases, people traverse the area near the pool without supervision.

Laws Regulating Residential Pools

We know that it is illegal for minors to drink. When a minor is allowed to drink and then causes an injury, are the adults who allowed the minor to drink and drive responsible for any injuries the minor causes? A Maryland appellate court has recently ruled on this question.

Minor Allowed to Drink and Drive

The case involved underage minors drinking at a house party. The mother at the house knew there was alcohol being served, but according to the case, she never asked them to stop drinking. At one point, a partygoer approached the mother about her brother being able to drive while intoxicated, but the mother did not stop him from leaving. It appears that the mother did not check on the minor’s condition, and let him drive away from the premises intoxicated.

Sometimes it takes a tragedy involving a major public figure to remind us all injury because of defective products can happen to anyone, and that in many cases, problems that cause injury may not be readily apparent.

Actor Dies in Tragic Accident

Anton Yelchin, a 27-year old actor best known for his role as Chekov in the rebooted Star Trek movies, recently died in what is being described as a “freak accident.” Yelchin was crushed when his Jeep Cherokee SUV pinned him to a metal fence. The car was found with the engine running and the gear in neutral, and the driveway where the incident happened was steeply inclined.

We all are aware of the dangers of driving while intoxicated and of the injuries and deaths that can result from such behavior. It is easy to think that the issue is black and white — that someone was either driving with an elevated blood alcohol level, or they were not. But a new category of dangerous driving is emerging which can lead to accidents and injury on our roadways, and those who are injured in car accidents should be aware of the issues surrounding it.

Distracted Driving

The category is known as “distracted driving.” Of course, since cars were invented, drivers could always be distracted, whether by the radio, air conditioner, or someone sitting in the passenger seat. With the increase in technology that is in our cars and in our hands as we drive our cars, the term has taken on a brand new meaning.

We prove personal injury claims at trial by presenting evidence. That much is obvious. Although sometimes third parties have important evidence, often the most vital evidence is in the hands of the Plaintiff (the injured person) or the Defendant (the negligent party).

How Evidence is Lost

In the movies, parties to a trial secretly destroy or lose vital evidence to a case that could work against them. In real life, lost or damaged evidence is often the result of more innocent events. For example, a video recorder that records over itself automatically, erasing vital evidence, or a Plaintiff injured by a defective product who innocently throws the product out.

Normally, when someone is injured as a result of an accident, they know it. They have pain, they are bleeding, or have any number of symptoms. But there is an injury that is often hidden, and which may not manifest itself until time passes, but which may be more devastating and long term than readily apparent injuries: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

What is TBI

TBI is a general term for any kind of acute injury to the brain. Most commonly we think of this as a concussion, but even a concussion can have a variety of meanings and differing levels of severity. Any impact to the head carries the risk of TBI.

A personal injury trial can require knowledge of much more than just personal injury laws. A lawyer often needs to present argument and testimony that go beyond law and into varying fields of expertise.

A medical malpractice case will require argument about medicine and anatomy. Negligent security cases may require testimony about generally accepted security procedures. Slip and falls may require argument about building codes. Any case involving a product may require knowledge of how the product is assembled. These are all areas that are often outside the technical expertise of both lawyers and juries.

Using Experts

Sometimes the law takes a while to catch up to emerging technology. This is especially true where new inventions radically change the world in which we live. One such invention, the driverless (or self-driving) car, is not ripe for public consumption yet, but it is still fun to think about what the issues may be in automobile accident injury lawsuits if and when such a car becomes mainstream.

Driverless Car in an Accident

Recently, Google’s self-driving car prototype suffered a minor incident when it hit a bus. According to Google, the incident occurred when the car attempted to evade some sandbags obstructing the road. The collision occurred at under 15 miles per hour.