When we are victims of personal injury, we tend to be aware of the kind and nature of damages that can be recovered. We often think of our out-of-pocket expenses, which often entail medical bills. We may think of lost wages, for time that we are forced to be at home instead of working. And of course, the intangible damages such as emotional injury, pain and suffering, or lack of enjoyment of life may come to mind.

But what many victims do not take into account are future earnings—that is, as the name implies, wages that we should have or could have earned, but now no longer can or will, because of our injuries.

Two Kinds of Future Wage Loss Claims

When it comes to car accidents, in most cases, the question of who is responsible for injuring other drivers is usually a matter of determining which driver is at fault. It can get more complex with multi-car accidents, but generally, someone behind the wheel involved in the accident is the negligent party.

But what happens when there is no driver? That seemingly odd question will become common once self driving cars become more common, and in fact, that future is so close that federal regulators have recently released a new checklist of safety points for self-driving cars. The government is urging car makers to ensure their self-driving cars meet these requirements before putting them on the road.

The Regulations

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.