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.

We often think of sports injuries as being “part of the game.” When players are injured, it is easy to forget that sometimes there may be a responsible party, and the injury may not be an accepted risk of playing the sport.

Student Athlete Injuries

One subject that has gotten much attention nationally is the proliferation of concussion injuries suffered by professionals. Even the NFL has instituted a number of guidelines designed to recognize and treat concussions. School and recreational leagues are only now starting to realize the concussion problem and consider ways to protect student and child athletes.

Most of us know that when products are defective and injure people, a consumer has the right to sue the manufacturer and the seller for damages. We usually think of defective products as ordinarily safe items that are made poorly, or “one-offs,” which come off the assembly line different than other similar products.

But often, products that we use every day, and which perform as expected, can injure people and be the subject of a product liability suit. Often, defective items are ones that you may use every day.

The Dangers of the Key Fob

When someone is injured in an accident, particularly a catastrophic accident, we often focus on the person who was injured and label him or her the victim—as we should. But it is easy to forget that in these kinds of cases, there are other victims as well, and the suffering can often extend beyond just the person who is injured.

Law Allows for Consortium Claims

We tend to overlook the loss suffered by family members of a victim who is injured. They are often burdened not just with coping with a loved one’s injuries and needs, but the loss of the way things used to be.

A recent United States Supreme Court case has upheld an arbitration clause in a class action dispute against DirectTV. While the case may seem more applicable to contractual or consumer claims, as the law crawls towards upholding these kinds of clauses, personal injury victims may also find their rights adversely affected.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a process by which a plaintiff’s case is heard before an arbitrator instead of in open court. The arbitrator is often not a judge, but rather a practicing attorney or retired judge. The process can be faster and much less formal than a full trial in a court. The arbitrator makes the decisions in the case, instead of a jury. Thus, a victim’s claims are no longer decided by his or her peers as they would be with a jury. In many cases, arbitrators derive significant business from insurance companies and big businesses, including the ones whose cases they hear, creating an inherent conflict of interest.

For many of us, taking pills and medicines is a routine of everyday life. Whether to cure disease, avoid disease, or improve our lifestyle, we depend on the safety of medicines every day. While there is never a guarantee of effectiveness, we do expect medicines to work the way they are supposed to and do what they say they will.

When they do not, we are probably all aware that a lawsuit can be filed from the barrage of attorney class action ads that run on television, informing consumers of the negative effects of medicines that have harmed people.

One kind of pharmaceutical that we often do not consider in this category is birth control. Surely, if birth control medicine harms us, there can be a lawsuit. But what happens when birth control simply does not work or perform as advertised? A recent lawsuit is exploring this interesting legal issue.