Archive for September, 2011
September 29, 2011
There is no number that can be appropriately assigned to the anguish suffered due to the loss of a loved one. Heartache is one emotion that we all fear, but it’s also something that we all expect to experience for one reason or another. Car accidents, unfortunately, remain a prime catalyst for depressed moods and solemn outlooks. Auto crashes have, undeniably, an incredibly high emotional cost. But what about the monetary cost of accidents?
To fully understand the costs, you have to understand the magnitude of the problem. The Center for Disease Control and the journal of Traffic Injury Prevention agree in their findings that every 12 minutes someone dies in a car crash in the U.S. Furthermore, every 10 seconds, someone is injured or taken to the hospital emergency room because of an accident.
Auto accidents in Florida place a heavy financial burden on the public. The most frustrating component of the equation is that a very large percentage of the accidents are preventable. Poor safety measures, like not buckling seatbelts and texting while driving, are to blame for a great deal of vehicle-related deaths and injuries. In the Sunshine State, BILLIONS of dollars are spent each year in response to car accidents. In an era of a down-economy, couldn’t those BILLIONS of dollars be spent in a more productive way? Probably, but for now, they’re spent controlling the damage in the aftermath of auto accidents. So, how can we fix the problem? Essentially, the solution is two-pronged. While safety features must be improved, it is imperative that unfit drivers are kept from operating vehicles.
Guess what the leading cause of death is for Floridians between the ages of six and thirty-four. If you guessed “car accidents,” you’re right. Nearly 40,000 people die each year in the U.S. because of car crashes. And over two million adults are treated in ERs each year.
The numbers, while jaw-dropping, aren’t necessarily surprising. As a personal injury law firm, we see the results of awful car crashes on a daily basis. Our job is to help them cope with their loss in all aspects, including implementing the institution of legal proceedings when necessary. But we’re the first to tell you we’d love to have no business, because that would mean that the streets are entirely safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and so we make the best of a mucky situation by doing our best to help the victims.
While nobody can eliminate the problem, we feel that we can help reduce its impact. What can be done to help off-set the number of auto accidents? A few things. First, motorcycle riders should be required to wear helmets. It’s too often that we see people injured in a motorcycle accident who would have been fine it if weren’t for their choice to not wear a helmet. Second, we need to get drunk drivers off the road. We can do this by engaging more police forces in implementing sobriety checkpoints. We can also continue efforts to crack-down on drivers who negligently choose to not wear a seatbelts.
Car accidents don’t just affect those involved. They affect the entire community, and indirectly, the state and the country. Too much is spent (both emotionally and financially) trying to right the wrongs that could have been prevented. There is too much negligence in play on the roadways of Florida.
If you feel that you have been injured due to the negligence of another please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com.
September 27, 2011
It was the landmark case of Miranda v. Arizona in which the supreme court ruled (by a vote of 5-4) that what you say –or even admit to – in an interrogation can only be used against you if you were made aware of your legal rights before answering any questions. You’ve probably heard the following hundreds of time: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, the state will appoint you one.” Of course you didn’t hear those in person, delivered to you by an officer of the law. You probably saw it on an episode of Law and Order. Right? Right. Remember, anything you say can and may be used against you!
The aforementioned quoted statements are known as the arrested party’s “Miranda Rights.” For quite a while, they have remained the same. There haven’t been too many adjustments to the notion behind the rights. Until now, that is. Things are about to get a whole lot more complicated. Young people growing up during the technological revolution that is our current era might not be too shocked by the oncoming changes, but those who have been around for a little longer are in for a surprise.
We’ve all been told not to “sext” or engage in inappropriate language via the internet, cell-phone text-messaging or any other communication medium that is not face-to-face interaction (which seems to have gone by the wayside). Parents also frequently remind their children to be wary of social media sites, and not to confuse them with personal diaries which can be stowed away under the mattress. Many people think that what’s written on a webpage – whether it be Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Blogspot, etc. – is the property of the party who wrote the given piece of writing. WRONG.
You know to read the fine print on credit card agreements and apartment leases (hopefully) so you should be aware enough to take a look at the fine print embedded on these websites. What you enter onto these sites is NOT just your property, it belongs to the website, and once it’s there it is there permanently. Delete all you want, clear your history until you’re fingers turn purple, but what you write will stay in cyberspace until cyberspace fails to exist. And from the looks of it, that could be quite a while.
So, why are we blogging about the indelibility of what you post online? Because it might come back to bite you in the behind – and not just because of some caddy gossip you may have engaged in. Lawyers across the country are beginning to use information that they find on an individual’s Facebook against them in a court of law. Most recently, state officials in New York have ruled that content pulled from somebody’s public Facebook profile is admissible as evidence under many circumstances. So, you still have the right to remain silent. But what you say – or post, blog, tweet, comment, etc – can and may be used against you in a court of law.
Facebook is becoming such a concrete part of today’s society that opposing counsel in civil suits have been reported to have added the opposing side’s client as a “friend” on Facebook as a means by which to retrieve information about them that would otherwise the public. This adds a whole new layer of scrutiny which you should employ when deciding who is worthy of being your “friend” on Facebook and who is not. Be careful what you post on Facebook (and anywhere else on the internet for that matter). It might upset someone – including a judge.
For more information, or for questions or comments, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 26, 2011
Medications do wonderful things for many people. They can ease the pain during and after surgery and they can remove infectious diseases from our bodies. But as is the case with all technological advancements, there are risks involved. Sometimes medications have mild side-effects such as runny noses, upset stomachs and itchy eyes. Other times, however, medications have much more serious side-effects which can lead to permanent disablement and even death. Three such medications, which have been notorious for their negative impacts outweighing their positive medical effects, are Meridia, Plavix, and Nexium.
The first on the list, Meridia, is an obesity drug that has been marketed as an agent to help overweight people lose – and keep off – unwanted weight. After multiple studies revealed that Meridia had been linked to a high risk of stroke and heart attack, the drug was yanked from the U.S. market and a Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) warning was released concerning the drug. The FDA, in their statement, warned physicians to stop prescribing Meridia and warned patients to stop taking it. The FDA concluded that the availability of the drug in the U.S. market is “not justified when you compare the very modest weight loss that people achieve on this drug to their risk of heart attack or stroke.” The name of the drug, Meridia, has an eerie similarity to the Latin word “meridiem,” which means “midday.” As evidenced by the detriment caused by this drug, it’s clear that there’s no such thing as a quick fix to weight loss – you can’t take a pill and lose weight before noon. And certainly not without side effects.
The second on the list, Plavix, is perhaps the most known drug of the three aforementioned medications. It is a blood-thinning drug that medical professionals often prescribe for patients at risk of heart attacks. However, an increasingly high number of lawsuits suggest that maybe the drug isn’t as safe or effective as its marketing team would have you believe. The drug, which is advertised as a “super Aspirin” that goes for $4 a pill, may actually lead to an increased risk of heart attack, in addition to a risk of strokes and possibly fatal blood disorders. So, in essence, the drug prescribed to patients at risk for heart attacks can actually cause heart attacks. Many people have gone to court over Plavix, arguing, in part, that it’s no more effective than aspirin yet it creates a much greater risk of dangerous side-effects. Since the FDA began requiring a new warning on the drug last spring, 40 lawsuits have been filed against the drug’s manufacturers in New Jersey and 11 similar cases popped up in Illinois. Legal and medical experts expect hundreds or even thousands more lawsuits to arise in the near future regarding the dangerous drug Plavix.
The third (and possibly most shockingly dangerous) drug on the list is Nexium. Since the early 2000′s, Nexium has been helpful to people who suffer from acid-reflux problems. However, patients who take the drug are beginning to complain more and more about bone deterioration, a wide-spread problem which is leading to broken hips, legs and ankles, as well as various other bone fractures. Last year, the FDA issued a safety alert about the increased risk of fractures for patients who take Nexium and other related drugs. Just recently, a lawsuit (which will probably just be the first of many hundreds of such cases) has been filed seeking compensation for the problem of bone deterioration caused by Nexium. The lawsuit was filed by a 58-year-old, Toledo, Ohio woman who relied on Nexium to quell her acid-reflux problem for seven years. The woman complained in the suit that the drug caused her to break three bones in her ankle while going down a flight of stairs and break her leg while merely walking. As it appears, women in their 40s and 50s seem to be at greatest risk for the harmful side-effects that come with taking the drug Nexium.
Medications can be a fantastic addition to the lives of anyone who might need them. They have changed the course of human history in a profound way. But there are dangers associated with them, too. Don’t sit back and let these potentially harmful drugs take run their course on your body without knowing your legal rights. If you feel that you have been victimized by a drug that was intended to help you, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com.
September 23, 2011
It’s safe to say that we live in a more advanced, exploratory and innovative world than any of us could have imagined us inhabiting at this point in time. As we look at the iWorld around us, it’s hard to think of something that’s not made easier and more efficient by the use of computer technology. We can edit feature-length films while sitting in our living rooms on our iMac, we can order food for delivery while sitting in bed on our iPhone, and now we lawyers can conduct a civil trial, from start to finish, on our iPad (and iPad 2). We call it the iLawyer. DK Global Inc. calls it “Trial Touch.”
As the company who created it describes it, Trial Touch takes you from “opening statement to closing in the most reliable, dynamic, and innovative approach possible.” It’s quite a pioneer in its category – and that’s an understatement. The App, now available in the iTunes Store, simply converts your videos, images, scanned documents, contact numbers, calendars and everything else trial-related easily and quickly into the App on your iPad device. Then, the information is stored in the famous “cloud,” so whether rain or shine, you can access these files from anywhere in the world. No more DVDs of testimony that are scratched and muffled. No more pulling up documents that you thought were transcripts of a deposition, but were in fact copied over by your middle school child’s report on Mesopotamia. Everything related to your trial is saved wirelessly, waiting for you to beckon it when you need it.
Another benefit of the “cloud” comes into play when you’re sitting outside of a court room and remember at the last minute that you left an important document on your desk – across the country. There’s no time for your assistant to ship it over to you in time – you need it NOW! Well, with Trial Touch, your assistant can simply upload the document to the “cloud” and you can retrieve it via your iPad’s Trial Touch App with the tap of a finger. No more worrying about forgotten documents. Trial Touch is chock-full of useful advantages that give the lawyers who use it the upper-hand. When it rains it pours!
Trial Touch gives you the edge you need to out-perform your opposing counsel. In a world inundated with iThis and iThat, raw talent is sometimes overlooked in the midst of an ever-increasing amount of technology. Trial Touch brings the legal know-how you already possess to the forefront of the legal process by simplifying the legal process. Stacks of mismatched papers and clutters of discs and tapes are the ways of the old world. We are entering the new world and “slow” is now just an outdated word in an outdated dictionary. We think Trial Touch is a wonderful addition to the world of legal practice. With just a touch, the full scope of a trial is at your fingertips.
For more information, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 21, 2011
I’m sure you’ve heard about the recent accident at the air show in Nevada. And the one in West Virginia. Commonality, it seems, is the name of the game. Accidents happen. Even though they say you’re more likely to get injured by a car than an airplane, that doesn’t mean that people never get injured by airplanes. If there’s a will, there’s a way, and if there’s an opportunity for injury, injury there will be. Part of life is trying to navigate the unexpected.
So, for the people who got injured at these air show crashes – and for the relatives of those killed – is there a viable lawsuit? Can they sue for damages, and should they retain a personal injury attorney? Well, unlike a rear-ender on the highway or a slip-and-fall at a major department store, the answer isn’t black and white.
In any personal injury case, the plaintiff must prove that there existed, on behalf of the defendant, a duty of care which said defendant failed to satisfy. For example, in a department store slip-and-fall case, the plaintiff would have to prove that the defendant, the department store, had a duty of care which included making sure that the floors were safe for customers to walk on. If there was a giant puddle on the floor, which caused the customer to fall and hurt themselves as a result of, the defendant would have breached their duty of care by negligently leaving a puddle on the floor where customers are expected to walk without fear of injury.
Sure, the people in charge of the air show had a degree of responsibility as per ensuring the safety of the spectators. But here arises another issue relating to personal injury cases – the issue of assumed risk. In a blog posted over the past month, we wrote about the assumed risk of living on a golf course. That is, when you buy a property that sits on a golf course, you shouldn’t be surprised if a golf ball happens to come flying through your window on occasion. Let’s be realistic, your neighbors, as dedicated as they may be, are not the world’s best at operating a 4 wood. Similarly, if you decide to buy a home right next to an airport, you can’t really file a noise complaint with the city – what did you expect? Airplanes are going to make noise. A LOT of noise.
The law is there to protect you, not coddle you. First and foremost, you are responsible for doing the best that you can to avoid hazards and maintain a level of reasonable safety. Lawyers can’t – and shouldn’t – do everything for you. However, in the case of a true accident, they can be a necessity and very helpful in going to bat for you, especially against a pitcher who’s got an attorney of his or her own.
So, do the injured (physically and emotionally) at the air shows have a case? Maybe. But if they file a lawsuit they may get the following response: people who attend baseball games are made aware of the possibility that a ball might fly into the stands and injure someone. Those who attend hockey games are made aware of the fact that pucks can fly into the stands and hurt someone. People at Nascar races are warned that tires have a tendency to skid over the stand barriers and hit a spectator. Air shows just might fall into that category.
Air show injuries are the extreme, not norm. While there is a risk assumed with driving a car, the accidents that occur in that arena (i.e., the road) come about, largely, due to the fault of an individual or individuals– a negligent party (or the negligent parties). The comparable situation at the air show would be that no matter how dangerous airplanes can be, if a fellow spectator trips you and breaks your leg, you have a lawsuit against him, individually – the negligent party, because you were injured by him, not the circumstances involved with the air show.
If you feel that you have been injured due to the negligence of another, please contact the Law Offices of Aronberg and Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com
September 16, 2011
Remember those outdated videos you watched during health class in high school? Sure you do, the ones about the big parties with the football players and the cheerleaders and the math nerds and the chess geeks? Everyone in those videos, despite their daytime differences, managed to come together at night and bond over a universal indulgence – alcohol. The parties seemed fun, all the way up until the end of the video. The last scene of the movie probably showed a car crashed into a tree with the words “DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE” superimposed over the image. I’m sure you’ll agree that the actors were terrible but the message is timeless.
Unlike the grainy videos, the drunk-driving epidemic which plagues this country is relatable to most members of society. It hits close to home, so to speak. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, someone in the United States is injured in a drunk-driving crash every two minutes. That’s well over a quarter of a million people every year who are injured in car accidents caused by the effects of alcohol.
Alcohol starts affecting the brain almost immediately – make no mistake about it: it is a drug that alters the chemical processes that take place in between your ears. While any amount of alcohol changes thought processes and response times, in the state of Florida (as well as most other states), you are legally intoxicated if your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is 0.08% or higher. This means that driving a car, while having a BAC of 0.08% or higher, is illegal and what is normally referred to as “drunk driving.” But you can be arrested for DUI for any amount of alcohol in your system if an officer pulls you over and makes the decision that your driving abilities have been affected by your ingestion of alcohol.
Intoxicated, inebriated, loopy, loose, buzzed, etc… The list goes on. But let’s call a spade a spade: drunk is DRUNK and it leads to poor decision making which can include anything from starting a fight with your girlfriend to causing a car wreck and killing innocent people.
If you’ve been injured by a reckless, drunk driver, you deserve to be compensated for your damages. Why should you be responsible for dealing with the costs of the medical bills and lost time at work, not to mention the pain and suffering that you endured as a result of someone else’s careless actions?
So, who’s responsible? Not just the moron who had a few too many drinks and decided he was “a better driver drunk than sober.” Of course, he’s the primary culprit in the case. Unfortunately, however, there are many unintelligent people in the world who drive around without auto insurance. And because drunk driving is also an act of stupidity, sometimes there is overlap and you might very well find yourself injured by a drunk driver who doesn’t have auto insurance. Then what?
Did you know that the supplier of the alcohol might be partially responsible for the financial compensation you are owed (this applies in some States, not all)? That’s right. The bar, restaurant, friend who’s house the alcohol was dispensed at – they all had a legal duty to ensure that the selling and/or giving out of the alcohol would not result in the injury of anyone. That’s why bars “cut you off” once they decide that you’ve had enough to drunk. They might be liable if you go do something stupid, drunk off of the alcohol that you got from them.
In a pending case, an airport bar in Kansas City might even be held liable! The bar continued to serve a passenger alcoholic beverages before he boarded his flight. After the flight, when he landed in Dallas, he was still drunk. Unfortunately, he got into his car, crashed, and killed someone. (Note: the altitude changes involved with air travel have a significant effect on the affects of alcohol on your body).
Once, a group of businessmen took out prospective clients on a “bar-hop.” One of the prospective clients got into his car at the end of the night, drunk, and proceeded to kill someone in a car crash. The businessmen were held partially liable because they were the ones that continued to order – and pay for – the alcoholic drinks which led to the fatal crash.
The fact of the matter is drunk-driving accidents are messy all around. And that’s putting it nicely. Often times, the victims aren’t just the trees you saw in the video in high school – they’re real people with real lives and real aspirations who really get hurt. Some even die.
A lawyer can educate you on who might be liable for your loss in the event of a drunk-driving accident. If you have been the victim of the carelessness of another, please, contact the Law Firm of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 14, 2011
As we go about our days, different people see different things. The athletes in our population might look at a field and guess how long it would take them to run from point A to point B. The dentists in our population might look at a 7-11 and imagine the havoc that the candy inside will wreck upon the teeth of youngsters. The teachers might look at a store sign and shake their heads in disapproval at a common grammatical mistake. The plumbers might look at a sink in a restroom and surmise how long the pipes have until beginning to leak.
And then there are the lawyers.
The lawyers might look at the road and wonder how many accidents occur on that road every week. They might look at the 7-11 and wonder if there is a “Caution” sign on top of the wet floor below the slurpee machine. They might look at a store sign and wonder if it warns customers of the elevated step upon entering the store. And they might look at a sink in a restroom and wonder if its inspections are up-to-date.
To a rudimentary observer, the lawyers might look like crooks and thieves – even liars – who try to suck pennies out of everyday occurrences. But if you look a little further, past the job title on the business cards, you will notice that everyone is doing what they’re good at and what they’re trained in. Everyone is trying to do their part in maintaining the safety in our society. The athletes serve to entertain, impress and inspire. The dentists, and the whole medical field, serve to keep us healthy. The teachers make sure that future generations mentally equipped to deal with the challenges they may face. The plumbers work to ensure proper infrastructure operation. And the lawyers, well, the lawyers serve to make sure that everything mentioned above, and everything that could be mentioned below, goes smoothly and fairly. Wall Street, Main Street, Pennsylvania Avenue—they’re all the same. It’s just a bunch of people trying to figure out how we’re going to get from today to tomorrow in an orderly and safe fashion.
Lawyers sometimes get the short end of the stick in the court of public opinion. I implore you to think a little harder about why that might be. Perhaps it’s because the stick they’re trying to work on is on fire, and the fire burned away the other half of the stick (so to speak). Lawyers delve into mucky water sometimes, and while a sink can be backed up by some pretty disgusting matter, what can be found in contract breaches and law violations can be even more gruesome.
Some people throughout history have argued that lawyers are unnecessary. Life is unfair, they argued. You can’t right every wrong and you can’t undo the past. Well, we’ve evolved. We’ve evolved from cavemen to modern humans, capable of enormous amounts of strength – both mental and physical.
Sure, there are some things not worth retaining a lawyer for. If you go into a barbershop that displays the slogan “World’s Best Haircut,” you can’t sue the barbershop if you feel that your haircut isn’t truly the best expression of barber craftsmanship on planet Earth. Some things you have to deal with. Maybe go back and ask the barber to fix your haircut. I’m sure they will. (But don’t hold me accountable if they don’t).
Utilizing lawyers under appropriate circumstances is not only an option, sometimes it’s a requirement. Utilizing the law to right wrongs and to ensure safety is paramount to the upkeep of a civil society. You’d see an athlete if you want to get in better shape. You’d see a dentist if your tooth is hurting you. You go to school and learn from teachers. And you would call a plumber if your sink starts to leak. So utilize lawyers to protect your rights and make sure that your given place in society is protected.
If you feel you should retain an attorney for whatever reason, please call the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com.
September 13, 2011
Superman always makes catching the bad guys look so effortless. He glides through the sky seeking out crime scenes and saving the innocent. If only it were that easy in real life.
It was only earlier today that police received a call reporting the burglary of a home in Boynton Beach. The call was taken at 8:30 a.m. and officers immediately arrived at the scene. Upon arriving, they happened to witness a fleeing blue Ford truck with suspicions that the burglars were in that very getaway car. As the first officers to arrive called for assistance, three more officers answered the call. The three officers jumped in a police car together and set off on their way to help. What could have potentially been an easy case suddenly took a change of course and went terribly awry. As the officers hurried to assist in catching the culprits, the police officer driving the car lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a concrete pole.
The police car now wrapped around a concrete pole held the unidentified officers trapped inside. Within minutes rescue teams and police officers arrived at the site of the crash. It was not a speedy procedure as rescue crews attempted to safely extract the constrained police officers from what now appeared to be a very intricate mess of metal. Once rescued all three police officers were sent directly to Delray Medical Center.
As chaos rapidly struck before even ten in the morning, John Schulze witnessed the immediate aftermath as he wondered what a police car was possibly doing in his next door neighbor’s front yard. He then noticed the cement pole laying on the ground and the shattered glass which littered his neighbor’s driveway.
All the while simultaneously the suspected criminals too were reported to have experienced a collision of their own approximately a mile away from the police car crash. The burglars were forced to abandon their blue Ford truck. They had driven straight into the side of a house, but appear to be relatively fine as all three suspects managed to escape on foot. Two of the three suspects have been detained and are now in custody of the police while officers remain on the lookout for the third culprit. The last suspect is said to still be in the area and is described as armed and dangerous. Nervously, near by schools Poinciana Elementary and Lake Worth Christian excercised temporary lockdowns until given reason by local authorities to allow students to go outside.
It is a shame that we cannot fly like Superman or effortlessly catch the bad guys without breaking a sweat. The moral of this story is that regardless of being the good guy or the bad guy, or just a random guy driving to work, one should always be careful and mindful of their surroundings when driving. Oddly there are only a limited number of laws which attempt to monitor police pursuits, a/k/a car chases. Police officers maintain the right to pursue which allows them to initiate car chases as they deem necessary.
A separate issue in itself, little stands in the way of determining what is allowed in car chases in reference to disregarding traffic laws such as running red lights or speeding to dangerous extremes. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, hundreds of deaths occur each year as a result of police chases. Of these deaths, many of those killed are innocent bystanders who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Since there are no guildlines constituting what circumstances are necessary in pursuing car chases, TV channel ABC is advocating for national police guidelines prohibiting officers from pursuing car chases unless a life is at stake. Many car chases are not worth the risk of reckless driving. Some are initiated over crimes so small such as stolen jeans, as was the case earlier this summer in New York resulting in the death of an innocent woman.
Remember to always practice safe driving and if ever you find yourself the victim of a car accident due to reckless driving on the other party’s behalf, feel free to contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
September 12, 2011
Picture this scenario: a Honda Civic, on the New Jersey Turnpike, finds itself wedged under an enormous tractor-trailer, owned and operated by a major transportation company. The driver of the Civic is trapped and can’t escape. Then, a dutiful citizen, driving his family to a relative’s house, notices the accident and pulls over to the side of the road. He gets out of the car and, with the help of a couple of family members, rescues the helpless woman from her vehicle.
Now imagine another scenario: there is a Ford Expedition stopped in the emergency lane of a highway for a matter of minutes. During this short amount of time, a monstrous tractor-trailer vehicle, owned and operated by another major transportation company, comes plowing into the back of the vehicle at 65 mph, leaving two dead.
Now, imagine if these two scenarios were both parts of the same incident. Scary, huh? Like out of a horror movie? Well, sometimes there’s nothing scarier than real life: the two scenarios are part of the same true story.
The only abnormal thing about July the 18th, 2008, for a family from Ecuador was that they were in the United States visiting family. There was nothing particularly out of the ordinary; the air was dry and the skies were clear. The headlights and taillights of thousands of vehicles lit up the New Jersey Turnpike as the family made their way to a happy reunion.
The driver of the car (the Ford Expedition) was an off-duty NYPD officer, a man of good faith and good conscience. As his nieces slept peacefully in the backseat, he and the other family members came to the realization that they were approaching a car accident on their right-hand side. Apparently, a sedan, the Civic, had gotten itself caught under a very large tractor-trailer. No police had arrived on the scene yet, and so the family pulled to the side of the road to help. They parked in the emergency lane and got out of the car to assist the woman out of her car. They succeeded in doing so as the man’s two nieces, now awake, and their mother, sat in the back seat of the Expedition, parked safely in the emergency lane. One of his nieces, an 8-year-old girl wise beyond her years, expressed concern over the accident. She wanted to know if the driver of the Civic was going to be okay. Her mother assured her that everything would be okay.
Moments later, without halt or hesitation, a mammoth tractor-trailer tore through the scene of the original accident and struck the Ford Expedition at 65 mph. The first tractor-trailer looked like it had been the sole target of a tornado. The second tractor-trailer flipped on its side, its driver dead on the scene. Inside the Expedition, the devastation had just begun. An 8-year-old girl, horribly injured yet still conscious, was airlifted to a local hospital. Her sister and mother, also injured, were taken by ambulance to the same hospital. The mother and sister survived, though they sustained severe injuries. The 8-year-old wasn’t as fortunate.
We are representing the estate of the 8-year-old girl, to compensate her family for the damages incurred subsequent to the catastrophic accident. The little girl lost her life, her family lost a beloved daughter, and the world lost a great deal of potential. The fault lies with both of the transportation companies that operated the two tractor-trailers in the case. The first tractor-trailer’s driver did nothing to mark the scene of the accident, and the second tractor-trailer’s driver was totally inattentive, not even noticing that an accident had occurred. Because of the negligence of both of these drivers, who were operating vehicles that had not passed proper inspections, an 8-year-old girl lost her life when her family stopped what they were doing to help a complete stranger.
Bad things happen to good people. That’s the nature of the world we live in. Sometimes good people are struck by lightning, but we can’t hold the sky legally responsible. Sometimes people drown in the ocean, but we can’t hold the water legally responsible. But when major transportation companies fail to implement proper (and REQUIRED) safety precautions, and these indiscretions result in the death of an 8-year-old girl, they CAN and SHOULD be held legally responsible. Not just for this 8-year-old girl, but for any person in the future who might fall victim to the negligence of these companies.
If you have been injured by another person, small business, or major corporation, you have a right to hold them responsible for your suffering. For more information, please call the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at email@example.com.
September 9, 2011
Tort reform, tort reform, tort reform. So, what is it? Well, it depends who you ask. If you ask the owners of large corporations (and their friends, colleagues and attorneys), they’ll tell you that tort reform is a series of measures employed to protect industry, corporations and insurance companies and enhance competitiveness in a global market. Sound familiar? It should. That’s the response and justification given for everything that big companies ask for—who would argue with protection and enhancement? Trial lawyers argue the reality of the situation, and unfortunately, they have developed a tainted reputation in the process of doing so.
Trial lawyers, and their friends and colleagues argue that tort reform is limiting, unfair and ungrounded. Tort reform often includes hard caps on damages that can be awarded to victims of torts such as auto accidents, medical malpractice, product malfunction, and so on. Caps, in the states in which they exist, basically say that no matter what kind of injuries you sustain, and how much economic hardship you undergo as a result of the injuries, there is only a set, certain amount of money that a jury of your peers may award you. No matter what the circumstances are.
Tort reform? Reform sounds like an awfully nice word, doesn’t it? Ralph Nader, a strong opponent of the notion, thought so, too. That’s why he prefers to call it tort “deform.” Many take Nader for an outspoken fool. Why trust what he has to say about tort reform when what he champions is usually wildly unpopular in the face of industry? Look at history. Maybe, just maybe, he’s got the right idea. Nowadays, we take seatbelts for granted—we even enact laws penalizing folks who choose not to wear them. But once upon a time, the auto industry and their lawyers argued that requiring cars to come equipped with seatbelts was un-American and too invasive. Nader thought otherwise. He wrote books, gave speeches, and demanded that the auto industry do more to protect Americans. In the end, his wisdom prevailed, and we have him to thank for the safety of the American motorist.
Still feel weird siding with the trial lawyers? Don’t feel bad yet—most people do. In fact, many see opposing big business and supporting the civil trial by jury system as unpopular and difficult to sustain. I thought so, too. But here’s what Ralph Nader said a few years ago: “The right thing and the hard thing are usually the same thing. How popular do you think the civil rights movement was when it started?” He was and is absolutely right. Tort reform is unfair. How can the government mandate a universal cap to apply to every civil tort suit, when every civil tort suit is unique? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Most people view civil tort suits as frivolous in nature and in volume. Agreed, there surely are some frivolous lawsuits filed because people see their injuries as a get-rich-quick scheme. But does that mean that the government should penalize everybody, even the people who really do need the compensation? If that seems wrong to you, it should. Similarly, there are bad drivers on the road, but does that mean that the government should say that there are only a certain number of cars allowed to be sold in the US? Or, that only a certain number of restaurants can be opened because there are cases of food poisoning here and there? Just as hindering business is contradictory to our nation’s fundamental framework, so is paralyzing our legal system.
The rights of the everyday person to have a matter heard a jury of their peers was a right guaranteed to Americans during the formation of this country. It’s why people came here in hope of freedom two hundred and twenty-five years ago, and it’s why they still come here today.
As for tort reform enhancing business competitiveness, well, that notion is easily refuted. If a child misbehaves in school, how do you correct their behavior? You punish them, and you show them what they did wrong. You don’t let them run wild in the hopes that they will figure out how to become a normal member of society on their own. Now, you might say it’s impractical to draw a connection between titans of industry and schoolchildren, but when you look at the debate regarding tort reform, it’s hard not to draw the comparison. What better way to make businesses more competitive than to make them pay for their wrongs—money is important to them and that’s exactly why awarding appropriate damages to their victims will correct their behavior and make them more competitive.
So, before you demonize trial lawyers, sit down, learn all of the facts, and discuss the issue with those involved. And maybe enjoy a cup of coffee while doing so—just make sure it’s not too hot.
Questions? Comments? Contact the Law Offices of Aronberg & Aronberg at 561-266-9191 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.