Articles Posted in Negligence

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Experiencing a car accident is bad enough on its own, but unfortunately, the trouble doesn’t stop there. At the very least you need to exchange information with the other people involved in the accident. Unfortunately, hit-and-run accidents occur daily, and they are extremely detrimental to the victims. There is an obvious moral issue with failing to take responsibility for the damage you have caused, but what about the legal ramifications? Here are just a few of the reasons why you should never flee the scene of a car accident:

It is a crime.

…and being convicted of a crime is expensive. If you don’t think a “hit and run” is a big deal, you’re absolutely wrong. A ticket for leaving the scene can result in either felony or misdemeanor charges, depending on the details of your particular case. At the very least, you can expect some pretty hefty fines. The other monetary consequence is obviously going to come in the form of restitution to your victim.

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When someone enters your home or a property that you own, they almost always assume that it is safe to do so. This is a pretty reasonable assumption; your guests are not going to stop and ask about any potential hazards before they knock on your door. Your obligation to provide a relatively safe environment for visitors falls under what we refer to as “premises liability”. As you may have guessed, this area of the law is extremely broad. After all, any number of things could happen on your property.

“Slip and Fall” Accidents in Commercial Establishments

Perhaps the most notorious type of premises liability lawsuits are of the “slip and fall” variety. We’ve all heard the story a million times, but as an example, say someone slips in the grocery store as a result of a spill was never wiped up. Were the grocery store staff alerted that there was a spill? Did management place a “wet floor” sign at the site of the incident that went ignored by the victim? Essentially, this will boil down to what measures were taken to rectify the situation and whether or not the victim acted reasonably.

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In every society, there is what is known as the “standard of care”. There may not be any formal written declaration, but it comes in the form of social expectations. The underlying concept is that there is a certain level of attention or caution or prudence that a reasonable person would exercise in a given situation. If you put yourself in a situation that requires a certain level of caution, there then exists what we refer to as “duty of care”.

In an earlier blog post, we explained that duty of care is most often implied as part of a given role. For example, the standard of care for a bus driver is that he or she will obey traffic laws and safely deliver passengers to their destination. The person who accepts a job as a bus driver has a duty to uphold this implied standard of care. It’s never discussed, but it goes without saying that we expect bus drivers to practice safe driving habits.

As we’ve explained before, if a person’s actions do not meet the express or implied standards of care, we refer to this as negligence. This can apply to anything that has the potential to harm another person. Negligence may be classified as criminal or civil in nature. Below are some common examples of each.

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The phrase “duty of care” refers to the legal expectation that a certain standard of care should be upheld when someone is participating in anything that could potentially do harm to others around them. This concept can be applied to just about any scenario you can think of. For example, the company that employs you upholds their duty of care when they provide you with personal protective equipment. Public transportation operators do so by obeying traffic laws and properly maintaining the vehicles that carry their passengers.

One of the first things we ask ourselves in a personal injury lawsuit is whether or not the other party actually owed a duty of care, and the answer can be heavily dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the incident. To give you a better idea of how this works, consider the common “grocery store slip-and-fall” scenario. If you slip and fall due to a spill that was ignored, you can reasonably argue that the grocery store staff failed to uphold their responsibility to provide a safe environment for their shoppers. However, if your fall occurs in a restricted area (such as an employee break room, for instance), the store personnel would have had no way of knowing that you would be there. They did not have a responsibility to keep shoppers safe in an area that was clearly marked as restricted for employee use only. It simply wouldn’t be reasonable to hold them accountable for that incident.

How Do I Know If Duty of Care Exists?

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The idea that we all take certain risks when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle is certainly nothing new. In fact, those risks are generally so well accepted that few of us even think about them anymore. Given that driving is such a necessary part of our daily lives, though, it would be wise for all of us to begin paying more attention to the amount of responsibility we are accepting when we drive our cars from point A to point B.

We’ve written before about the dangers of drunk driving or texting and driving, and how participating in either of those hazardous behaviors could land you with some pretty unpleasant consequences. Those aren’t the only potential dangers when it comes to getting behind the wheel of a car, however. At Coxwell & Associates, we see countless cases each year that are somehow related to drivers and their vehicles. Some examples include:

  • Serious and/or fatal collisions, including head-on, rear end, side-impact, hit and run, side-swipe, and more

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Each year, hundreds of horrific encounters occur between inmates and prison guards, and we rarely hear about any of them. Even in the absence of media coverage, though, inmate abuse is a very real and specific type of police brutality that should never be ignored.

The citizens and government of Mississippi (and on a larger scale, the United States) place a great deal of trust in the employees of our correctional facilities. Part of that is the understanding that they will endeavor to always provide a safe environment for the people housed in our prisons, and most often that means protecting inmates from one another. In rare cases, however, it’s the prison guards who are inflicting harm on detainees. When officers abuse the power that they are given, terrible things can happen to the people who are involved.

Victims of this type of misconduct of private prison or correctional guards should speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Contrary to certain beliefs, inmates do have rights, and they may be entitled to compensation for the endangerment or abuse that they have suffered.

It’s an unfortunate truth that medical misdiagnosis is a common occurrence in the health care industry. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 10 to 20 percent of cases are misdiagnosed each year. Moreover, one report states that approximately 28% of those diagnostic errors results in severe long-term effects (and in some cases, even death).

A wrong diagnosis does not always result in serious consequences, though. In the case of a harmless mistake that did not put your life or your health in jeopardy, your chances of winning a malpractice lawsuit are pretty slim. However, if you have, if fact, suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis, seek the advice of an attorney as soon as possible.

Once you’ve selected and hired your medical malpractice attorney, you can expect that he or she will want to perform a detailed interview in order to make sure that he or she has a detailed understanding of your perspective on the case. Your lawyer will then review your medical records, which may take months, depending on how quickly you are able to obtain all of the necessary documents.

If you have become the victim of a personal injury case, you need to know that your legal rights to compensation will not be available to you indefinitely. There are certain laws that dictate how long you have to assert your rights, and if you fail to act within that specified period of time, you lose your ability to seek any sort of civil or criminal recourse. This is known as a statute of limitation, and it varies by state.

From the opposite perspective, if you are on the receiving end of a potential lawsuit, you want to know that the constant worry of negative expectations isn’t going to be hanging over your head forever. That’s the point of a statute of limitations: it forces both parties to either act or move on with their lives.

In Mississippi, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is, at most, two years. If the case directly involves a county or state (governmental) hospital, it may be even shorter. The statute of limitations for most other types of personal injury cases is 3 years, except for intentional torts (which are 1 year).

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Millions of students across the United States participate in competitive sports through their schools each year, and as a result, many of them are treated for sports-related injuries. Generally speaking, these injuries are almost always minor, but what should you do if your student-athlete incurs something more serious? Who is responsible for the associated medical costs?

Well, as is the case with most other things in your child’s life, the answer to this question depends on a number of factors. For instance, do you remember that waiver that you signed at the beginning of the season? There is a reason that most schools require you to sign such a form. It protects them in instances exactly like this one. Most academic institutions, especially public schools, simply can’t afford to assume the liability for your child’s love of the game.

However, there are certain circumstances that do open the school to liability. When parents send their children to school, they do so with the expectation that the school and its staff are providing a safe environment for the student. Of course, accidents happen, but we’re talking about when the school fails to protect students from foreseeable harm that is not reasonably associated with the activity in question.

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There are countless details to consider when you lose a loved one, so families tend to be busy, overwhelmed, and very (understandably) emotional for a period of time after the loss occurs. Of course, your family member’s cause of death is often the last thing you want to think about at such a stressful time in your life, but if you feel that your loved one was the victim of wrongful conduct by another person or corporation (including medical malpractice), you should know that you may be entitled to certain “damages”.

Where these types of cases are concerned, “damages” most often refer to compensation for expenses such as hospital bills, funeral costs, and other costs associated with the person’s death.

There are two types of legal remedies available to the families of deceased victims of wrongful conduct: wrongful death and survivors’ action. Family members may pursue one of these, both separately, or both remedies as part of a single lawsuit.