Finding A Lawyer That Understands

Did A Pothole Cause Your Accident? – What’s Next?

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Did A Pothole Cause Your Accident? – What’s Next?

If you are like most people, as the weather warms up, you pull your motorcycle out of winter storage and put it back on the road. While you may be excited about getting some wind in your hair, there are road hazards that you must make sure you are aware of. One of the major hazards that can cause damage to your bike, as well as major injuries or even death, are potholes. But if you end up going down due to one, who is to blame? That answer may be more complicated than you think. You Must First Figure Out Who Is Responsible For That Particular Road Within any given city there may be multiple authorities that are responsible for maintaining the roads. Some of these include: The State – This may be listed as your DOT or department of transportation. They are usually responsible for all interstates and state routes no matter whether they are marked or unmarked. These may be located inside, as well as outside city limits. Although interstates are often constructed using federal funds, their upkeep is usually performed by the state they are located in.  The County – Depending on the state you live in, your county may have an agency that is responsible for the unincorporated roads in your area. These may be listed as county routes, roads, or highways. These may be abbreviated as CH or CR. The City – Most towns and cities have their own street maintenance divisions. These divisions may only be responsible for those streets that are within incorporated areas or within city limits. You Must Then Figure Out How To File A Claim Once you have figured out who is responsible for the stretch of road that caused the damage, you must still figure out how to get them to pay your claim. If you are planning to file a personal injury suit as a result of the accident, many governmental agencies require you to file a notice of claim. This makes the governmental agency aware that you have suffered an accident and gives them the opportunity to address it prior to you filing your suit. It is really important that this action is filed as quickly as possible, as some states have a statute of limitations on this filing that will only give you as few as 60 days following your accident to get it filed. If it is not filed within this time period, you may give up or waive your right to file a lawsuit. Your Claim Must Then Overcome Certain Hurdles Once you file your claim or lawsuit, there are certain hurdles you may still have to overcome before you will be able to collect. You probably will not address these questions, but you can rest assure that some of these will factor in the accused defense. Did the entity that was responsible for the road know that a pothole was present? Did they understand the extent of a hazard that the pothole presented? If so, how long had they been aware, and did they have time to fix it once they were made aware? Unfortunately, when filing suit against a governmental or public entity, cases are not always clear cut. These types of cases are normally aggressively defended as the entity...

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Fibromyalgia And Mercury Poisoning: What Happens If Doctors Misdiagnose You With The Wrong Condition?

Posted by on Mar 15, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fibromyalgia And Mercury Poisoning: What Happens If Doctors Misdiagnose You With The Wrong Condition?

If doctors previously diagnosed you with fibromyalgia, but recent new medical tests reveal that you suffer from mercury poisoning instead of fibromyalgia, speak to a personal injury attorney. You may be able to file a medical malpractice case against the doctors to obtain compensation for the health complications caused by the misdiagnosis. Fibromyalgia is one of the most misdiagnosed health conditions today because of how it mimics other conditions. However, some medical problems, such as mercury poisoning, may go undiagnosed because they mimic fibromyalgia and other conditions that affect multiple body systems. If you don’t receive the right diagnosis early for mercury poisoning, your health may become worse over time. Here are things to know about mercury poisoning, why it’s misdiagnosed and why it’s important to hire an attorney to help you win personal injury benefits for your case. What’s Mercury and How Does It Get Into Your Body? Mercury is an element used to make thermometers, lighting, dental fillings, and other types of applications. When used properly and under controlled circumstances, mercury may not cause great harm to the body. However, you can obtain mercury poisoning in your body when you ingest, inhale or touch it, such as consuming too much seafood or eating seafood high in mercury. Although all fish contain small amounts of mercury, some types of seafood contain very higher levels of the element than others, including mackerel and swordfish. But for some people, even consuming seafood with small traces or amounts of mercury can be unknowingly dangerous for their health, especially if they eat the food all the time. Mercury can build up in your body until you develop strange symptoms that mimic other medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia. Why Is Mercury Poisoning Misdiagnosed? Many physicians may often overlook mercury poisoning because they may place their focus on diagnosing fibromyalgia instead. Fibromyalgia normally affects the musculoskeletal system but may also cause problems with the immune and digestive systems. Because fibromyalgia has the ability to affect multiple body systems, it’s often difficult to diagnose properly by urine or blood tests. Instead, doctors generally examine you physically and ask you questions about your symptoms, such as how long you have experienced pain and where. Fibromyalgia causes headaches, exhaustion, muscle weakness, and a host of other symptoms that hinder your ability to live a healthy, productive lifestyle. These symptoms also occur in mercury poisoning. But since fibromyalgia also mimics osteoarthritis and other types of conditions that weaken muscle and bone tissue, doctors try to rule the mimicked illnesses out first before making a final diagnosis. In a number of case, the doctors perform tests to find specific signs of the other illnesses. For example, osteoarthritis damages the joints of your body. Doctors check the fluids between your joints to see if they’re inflamed or damaged. The doctors may not look for signs of mercury in your blood or urine because they may not suspect it. What Happens After You’re Finally Diagnosed With Mercury Poisoning? After the doctors rule out other medical conditions, they may diagnose you with fibromyalgia. The medications you take for fibromyalgia may not work properly because you don’t have the condition. By the time a physician checks your blood for unexplained ailments, it may be too late. In most cases, your health declines even further as the mercury in...

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Stuck Behind Bars? Learn How It Affects Your Eligibility For Social Security Disability Benefits

Posted by on Feb 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Stuck Behind Bars? Learn How It Affects Your Eligibility For Social Security Disability Benefits

Being arrested and convicted of a criminal offense can have immediate and lasting consequences, especially if you rely on Social Security Disability and/or Supplemental Security Income benefits. The following provides an in-depth guide on how a misdemeanor or felony conviction could impact your eligibility for disability benefits. SSDI Eligibility During Prison Since Social Security disability and SSI benefits are commonly used to help recipients supplement their income, the SSA will suspend your eligibility since your basic needs (food, shelter and medical care) are being met by your state’s Department of Corrections during your incarceration. As a result, you won’t be eligible for disability or SSI benefits during your incarceration, regardless of whether it’s for a misdemeanor or felony offense. If you were already receiving disability benefits, these benefits will be suspended within 30 days of your incarceration and reinstated 30 days after your release. If your benefits have been suspended for more than 12 months, you may have to submit a new disability application in order to have your benefits restored. However, you may be able to retain your disability and SSI benefits if you’re participating in a qualifying vocational rehabilitation program during your incarceration. Your spouse and children will also continue to receive SS benefits on your record as long as you were receiving benefits prior to incarceration. If your penal institution has a pre-release agreement with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you may be able to reapply for disability and SSI benefits prior to your release. SSDI Eligibility After Prison Having a felony conviction does not impact your eligibility for Social Security benefits. As soon as you complete your sentence and are released from custody, you’ll be able to restart your disability and SSI benefits as long as you meet other criteria for eligibility. If you’re released on parole, probation or home monitoring, you’ll be able to receive your disability benefits as long as you comply with the conditions of your release. If you’re released to a halfway house operated by your state’s Department of Corrections or if you’re confined to a mental health facility via court order, you won’t be eligible for disability or SSI benefits until you’ve been released from those facilities. Disabilities That Arise During a Crime or Incarceration Don’t Count In most cases, you won’t be eligible for benefits due to a disability resulting from or made worse by injuries suffered while you were committing a felony or while you were incarcerated. Certain federal offenses, such as sabotage and treason, can also negatively impact your eligibility status. However, the SSA may still grant you a disability freeze that prevents your retirement benefits from being lowered during periods of earning little to no income. Disability Status With Outstanding Warrants If you have an outstanding felony warrant for an offense related to a flight-escape, escape from custody or flight to avoid prosecution and confinement, the SSA can revoke your eligibility or suspend any disability payments being made. However, you may still be able to qualify for disability benefits if you were unaware of your outstanding felony warrant and took no steps to flee the jurisdiction. This also applies for probation and parole violation warrants. This change in policy came about on April 1, 2009, when the SSA revised its policies on delivering benefits to fleeing...

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4 Ways to Protect Yourself against Hit-and-Run Losses

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways to Protect Yourself against Hit-and-Run Losses

A painful, debilitating personal injury can be devastating enough when you can seek compensation for your agony, lost wages, and other damages directly from the offender. But when you’re hit by a driver who just keeps on driving, you could be left with serious financial losses and no apparent way to recover them—the worst of all possible worlds. Here are four steps you can take to make sure unscrupulous individuals won’t escape their responsibilities to you and your dependents. 1. Make Use of Cameras If you regularly drive a car or ride a bike around town, equip your trusty steed with on-board video cameras. These tiny portable devices can make all the difference between an unsupported claim and clear evidence that you, the police and/or your personal injury attorney can present in court. A typical car dashboard camera runs automatically whenever your car is operating, overwriting old video as the memory fills up unless you tag specific moments for later viewing. Look for a model that offers geo-tracking, time-stamping and other data to help pinpoint the particulars of your incident. 2. Talk to Witnesses Eyewitness accounts of your hit-and-run event can prove invaluable to your case, but don’t be too surprised if many of these witnesses keep on going instead of stopping to help you. Contrary to what you may think, there are no specific laws that require witnesses to get involved at the scene of a crime, although individuals who are subpoenaed by the police must cooperate. Even so, it’s always worth the effort to ask “Good Samaritans” for their contact information and assistance. You might discover that the driver is someone the witness regularly sees in or around the area. 3. Beef Up Your Insurance Limits This preventative step can help ensure that you receive the necessary financial compensation in the event of a hit-and-run incident. If you’re in the habit of purchasing the minimum insurance coverage permitted in your state, give serious thought to boosting your coverage as high as you reasonably can. Make certain you have sufficient coverage to protect yourself and your loved ones in two critical areas: Bodily injury—Bodily injury coverage is the amount of compensation you may receive to cover lost wages, medical treatment, recovery costs, and pain/suffering. Property—This type of coverage compensates you for damage to your car, bike, or other personal property. 4. Get a Personal Injury Attorney The value of a personal injury attorney is obvious when you’re seeking financial compensation from a hit-and-run driver in a civil lawsuit. This professional can assemble expert medical witnesses and other compelling evidence into the strongest possible case on your behalf. But you might not realize that your personal injury attorney can also help you receive compensation even when the offender is never found. That’s because you may need legal counsel to help you get what your insurance provider owes you. The unfortunate truth is that insurance companies remain profitable by refusing to pay out the full claim limits their customers may have coming to them. Adjusters typically do whatever they can to minimize the amount of the compensation awarded by the insurer, regardless of whether that amount meets the customer’s real-life needs. If you can’t accept the figure you’re presented with, you need a personal injury attorney to take your case...

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Injured In A Multi-Car Crash In Illinois? What Should You Know About Comparative Negligence Laws?

Posted by on Dec 17, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Injured In A Multi-Car Crash In Illinois? What Should You Know About Comparative Negligence Laws?

Being involved in a car crash is nearly inevitable over a lifetime of driving. Based on the number of claims made, insurance companies estimate you’ll file a claim around every 18 years, or three to four claims during your driving career. If you do find yourself injured after a multi-vehicle auto accident in Illinois, you may find yourself facing an uphill legal battle to have your medical and vehicle repair bills paid if one of the defendants alleges comparative negligence as a defense. Read on to learn more about how Illinois laws deal with comparative negligence and what you’ll need to do to minimize any potential liability when suing several defendants at once. How does Illinois law deal with comparative negligence?  Comparative negligence can be raised as a defense in any accident involving more than a single driver, but is much more common in multi-vehicle accidents. Under Illinois law, if you’re deemed to be at least 50 percent at fault for an accident, you’re not permitted to collect any insurance money (or a legal judgment) from any other drivers, even if one or more of them was found to be partially responsible. If you’re deemed to be less than 50 percent at fault, you’ll be able to recover damages from the party (or parties) at fault — but your total damages award will be reduced by the proportion to which you’re found responsible. For example, if one driver is 50 percent at fault and you and the remaining four drivers are each 10 percent at fault, your damages award will be cut by 10 percent. How is fault assigned in multi-car accidents? When several vehicles are involved in a major accident, insurance adjusters and analysts will visit the accident site to attempt to reconstruct what happened. If surveillance video is available, this can often make the process much easier — however, these analysts are able to make fairly accurate judgments on how the accident took place just by measuring tire marks, collision points, and the level of compression a certain vehicle part has experienced. This can help determine the rates of speed of various vehicles and the order of impact. Insurance adjusters may also interview witnesses to get a greater perspective on potential fault (for example, if one of the drivers was observed traveling at a high rate of speed or driving aggressively just a few minutes before impact).  If it’s clear only one of the drivers involved had any ability to prevent the accident, this person (or his or her insurance company) will bear liability for all the damages stemming from the accident. However, if more than one driver was distracted, speeding, or otherwise engaging in behavior that could have prevented the accident, damage may be apportioned to each driver to the extent he or she was at fault for the accident through a doctrine known as comparative negligence. What can you do to fight against potential allegations of comparative negligence? It’s in your best interest to be able to rebut any comparative negligence allegations the other parties involved in the accident can raise against you, in some cases even before filing your lawsuit. Doing your homework and ensuring that you can mount a thorough defense to this allegation (even if it turns out not to be needed) will help prevent you...

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How Credibility Plays A Role In A Car Accident Case

Posted by on Dec 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Credibility Plays A Role In A Car Accident Case

If you were involved in a car accident and the case cannot be settled, it will probably end up in a courtroom. There, a jury will hear the case and will be left with the responsibility of deciding how to settle the case. As this occurs, the jury is likely to base their decision on several key factors, which include evidence, witness testimony, and credibility of those involved. Credibility can play a huge role in the outcome of the case, and this is something that is important to know before your case begins. Here are three ways credibility can affect the outcome of your car accident case. Your Testimony vs. The Other Party The first thing to realize is that when two parties are involved in a car accident, they may both have very different stories to tell. In other words, the story the other party tells is probably not going to match your story and vice versa. This is a very common scenario in all types of court cases, and it is often referred to as a “he said, she said” case. What this means is that it is your story versus the other party’s story, and which side will the jury believe? As the jurors listen to both sides of the story, they may begin to look for signs of credibility with each party. This is a strategy many lawyers often use too to help them win their cases. Your lawyer may try to prove that the other party is not credible, and this may be done by bringing up things in his or her past. The other party’s attorney may do the same thing to you. If the jurors do not know which story to believe, they will often lean towards believing the person that appears to be the most credible. The Credibility Of The Eye Witnesses When a car accident case lands in a courtroom, witnesses are often called in to testify, and there are two main types of witnesses. The first type is eye witnesses, and these are individuals that actually watched the car accident take place. If there are eye witnesses that back up your story, your lawyer will want them there to testify. Your attorney will ask them questions that verify your story, and this could help your case. You should be aware that the opposing attorney will often try to disprove the witness’ testimonies by making them seem like they are not credible witnesses. For example, the opposing attorney might destroy a person’s credibility by revealing in court that he or she was not wearing glasses at the time the accident happened. If the witness has bad vision, this could destroy this person’s testimony. The Credibility Of The Expert Witnesses Finally, if an expert witness is subpoenaed to testify in court, his or her testimony will also be judged on credibility. Expert witnesses used in car accident cases are often accident reconstruction experts. Their job is to provide a reconstruction of what took place during an accident, and they do this by examining all the physical evidence available. Your lawyer’s goal will be to prove the expert witness is credible, if his or her testimony benefits your case. If the expert witness’s testimony is derogatory for your case, your lawyer will try to prove that he...

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Determining Legal Liability In Birth Injury Cases

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Determining Legal Liability In Birth Injury Cases

In cases involving childbirth injuries, it’s often assumed that liability is limited to medical physicians. However, the spectrum of legal liability often extends beyond the conduct of physicians. Nurses, anesthesiologists and other medical staff may share responsibility for medical malpractice actions. Even pharmaceutical companies may be liable if it’s proven that a drug was the cause of patient injuries. The following explains how these parties may be held liable in birth injury cases. Understanding Vicarious Liability While nurses, physician’s assistants and other licensed medical staff can be held individually responsible for medical malpractice actions culminating in birth injuries, the hospital itself can be held responsible as a corporate entity based on the doctrine of vicarious liability. Vicarious liability describes a form of imputed negligence where the employer is found responsible for the negligent acts of its employees, especially if the employee was acting within his or her duties at the time of the negligent act. Vicarious liability ensures that a patient who suffers injuries due to the negligence of a hospital employee will receive adequate compensation from a financially responsible party. However, it may not be possible to hold the hospital vicariously liable if a physician or other healthcare provider works for hospital as an independent contractor, as opposed to a salaried employee. Although the hospital can’t be held liable for the healthcare provider’s negligence, it can be held liable for its own negligence, as explained in the section below. Liability under the Corporate Negligence Doctrine Corporate negligence is a crucial legal doctrine that holds hospitals, medical clinics and other health care facilities responsible for their patients’ well-being. As with vicarious liability, the hospital itself could face legal action for the negligence of its medical staff. There are several ways that a hospital can be held liable under the corporate negligence doctrine for birth injuries: If the hospital grants attending privileges to a physician later found to be unlicensed or incompetent in his or her duties. If the hospital fails to make reasonable inquiries during the hiring process about a medical staff member’s education, training, licensing and other credentials, especially when said member’s negligent care contributes to a patient’s birth injury. If the hospital has an insufficient number of registered nurses on duty, culminating in a birth injury that can be attributed to staffing shortages. When the orders or treatment plan of the patient’s private attending physician are ignored or contraindicated. When hospital employees fail to make reasonable inquiries regarding contraindicated orders. When Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Share Liability There are several reasons why pharmaceutical manufacturers are normally not held liable for injuries caused by a prescribed drug: The manufacturer’s primary responsibility is to the physician who prescribed the drug in question. The physician has the primary responsibility of advising his or her patient about the drug’s potential side effects and other risks.   The manufacturer only owes the patient, who is the ultimate consumer of the prescribed drug, the assurance that the drug will perform safely when used as directed. As long as it provides sufficient warning to physicians about its dangers or potential side effects, the pharmaceutical company is usually free of any liability. However, that could easily change if the company fails to warn a physician about the drug’s potential dangers. In such cases, the manufacturer could be...

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What Do You Mean I Have To Pay It Back?! Protecting Your Personal Injury Claim From Insurance Subrogation

Posted by on Oct 9, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Do You Mean I Have To Pay It Back?! Protecting Your Personal Injury Claim From Insurance Subrogation

You pay your health insurance premiums diligently for good reason. Although you rarely benefit from your policy for anything more than routine checkups, you know that a day may come when you’re seriously injured, and your mounting medical bills leave you thankful for the security of your health insurance plan. But what if you were forced to pay back any major claims you were awarded by your health insurance provider? Depending on where you live and the terms of your insurance policy, this very well could happen.  Subrogation  Subrogation refers to the ability of an insurance provider to seek reimbursement for any claims it pays out to its policy holders. Insurance companies argue that, by seeking subrogation, the money they recover from paid-out claims can be filtered back into their budget, thus decreasing insurance premiums for everybody enrolled in their policies.  Most individuals and personal injury attorneys, however, feel that subrogation forces injured policy holders to pay twice for their insurance coverage — one with their premium installments, and then again when they try to actually use the protection they’ve paid for with those premium installments.  The Process Usually subrogation comes into effect when you were injured by another party and attempt to recover damages from that party. At this point, your insurance company can claim that you’ve already been reimbursed once for your injuries, and place a lien on the money you are awarded by the third party. This lien allows your health insurance company to immediately take a cut of your reimbursement that is equivalent to the claim you were awarded by your insurance company, minus you premiums and deductibles.  If You Don’t Sue The Third Party What if you’re not interested in recovering any damages beyond that which you were awarded by your health insurance provider? What if a third party was at fault for your injuries, but your insurance took care of your medical bills, and you’ve got no interest in filing a personal injury claim against the person who was actually at fault for your injuries? It doesn’t matter. Your health insurance provider can file a lawsuit on your behalf to recover the damages. They can bring the third party to court and sue them for any money you or your insurance company paid out as a result of your injuries, and then send you a reimbursement check to cover just your premium and deductible.  Tips For Protecting Yourself From Subrogation You don’t think that you should have to pay back your insurance company for coverage that you already paid to have, so how can you protect yourself?  Check Your State Laws. The extent to which your insurance company can collect on your damages ranges greatly by state. To find out whether or not your state allows your insurance company to recover any claims paid out to you following an injury, check its stance on the “made whole doctrine“.  If your state wholly supports an “insured whole” doctrine, you’re protected from forfeiting any portion of damages you might recover when suing a third party. On the other end of the spectrum, however, are states that follow “insurer whole” doctrines. In these states, your insurance company can sue on your behalf and recover as much as they can get from you (if you were at fault)...

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How Personal Trainers Can Help Protect Against Personal Injury Lawsuits

Posted by on Sep 23, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on How Personal Trainers Can Help Protect Against Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you’re a personal trainer working for a gym or wellness company, the potential for your clients experiencing injury is higher than average. Normally, fitness establishments prepare for this problem by having customers sign waivers assuming liability for reasonable risks. However, waivers are not lawsuit-proof. There are certain things you should do as a personal trainer to help protect your clients from injury and thus avoid any expensive lawsuits. Test For Functional Fitness Even though you might be eager to get a new client started on difficult workouts right away, spending the first appointment on a functional fitness assessment is a great plan. If you are not able to perform a functional fitness assessment on your own, talk to the facility manager about hiring an exercise physiologist or a wellness consultant to do screenings for new clients. Functional fitness is not just testing for basic fitness levels– it looks at movement patterns, muscle imbalances, and flexibility. Each client will have different “muscle memory” that affects how they move and workout. For example, you will notice if a client is not able to keep his or her back naturally curved when doing a squat if they have poorly developed core muscles. Therefore, you will know that doing weight-bearing squats will likely cause injury at this time, since the client’s functional fitness level is not adequate for this exercise. If you do this assessment, you will have proof in court that you took preventative measures to avoid injuries in all clients and tailored your workouts for your client’s specific needs. In fact, not tailoring your workout plans for clients, as one trainer did in 2007, will make you look bad in court.  Have Each Patient Complete A Physical You can make it a policy to not accept any new patients if they have not completed a routine exam by a doctor. Require a doctor’s note that states the client is able to physically participate in a rigorous training program. If the client does have a health problem, the doctor should outline the difficulties so you can accommodate them as necessary. This is especially important for middle-aged or elderly clients, as they are more likely to have health concerns like osteoporosis or high blood pressure. The doctor’s note helps to prevent lawsuits because if a patient is injured due to an unseen medical condition, you can show that you require patients to be screened by a health professional. Liability may shift to the doctor or back to the patient if they covered up a health problem that would have prevented you from taking them as a client.  Play It Safe You may have clients who want to try the newest “fads” in workouts, but you should stick with effective programs that you know are safe. Stay away from moves that are often performed incorrectly, like box jumps, and substitute them for safer moves that are easier to execute. Keeping your workout regimens on the safe side may deter “extreme” workout clients, but remember that you are the professional. If someone is injured trying a controversial or incorrect exercise, you could be the negligent party in a lawsuit.  Stick To Your Area Of Expertise As a personal trainer, you get to work one-on-one with clients, and you may develop a bond with them...

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Real-Life Nightcrawler Raises Duty To Rescue Question

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Real-Life Nightcrawler Raises Duty To Rescue Question

In the movie Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a thief turned freelance journalist who films shocking footage of crime scenes and accidents and sells the images to a television news station. In a life-imitates-art moment, a man was arrested for vehicular trespassing after he allegedly entered a car to film two people who had just been involved in a serious car accident. The man reportedly did nothing to help the teenagers, who were severely injured, and one later died at the hospital. The incident raises the question of whether or not a bystander has a duty to rescue another person in jeopardy and if they can be held liable for damages if they don’t. Duty to Rescue Circumstances Legally, there are only a few times when people have a duty to rescue others. The first is when the person has a special relationship to the victim. For instance, a parent has a legal responsibility to help his or her minor child when the child is injured or in a dangerous situation. A parent’s failure to assist his or her child can lead to criminal and civil penalties for the adult. Medical professionals, paramedics, firefighters, and other emergency personnel are also required to help people in need, but only if they are getting paid for their services. A doctor who is on the clock and getting paid by a hospital, for instance, is required by law to help patients. However, a volunteer paramedic is generally not legally bound to do so, even if he or she is in uniform and at the scene of an accident. If there is no special relationship with the victim, ordinary citizens are only expected to help someone if they created the conditions that caused those people to need rescuing. For instance, if you lose control of your vehicle while speeding and cause an accident with another person, you would be responsible for helping that individual if he or she required it. Most states do stipulate, though, that you are only required to help if doing so doesn’t put you in harm’s way. So if the car catches on fire, you probably would not be held liable for not assisting, though you may be criminally or civilly liable for causing the accident in the first place. Lastly, about 10 states have duty to rescue laws on the books that require citizens to act in certain situations. Minnesota law, for example, requires bystanders to help others in emergency situations if the victims are or may be gravely injured. Failure to do so can result in being charged with a petty misdemeanor and bystanders could possibly be made to pay damages depending on the circumstances. Holding Onlookers Accountable Unless your case falls into one of the above exceptions, you generally won’t be able to hold someone civilly liable for injuries you sustained because the person refused to help you. On the other hand, the person can’t do anything to aggravate the situation either. If the person takes an action that contributes to your injuries, then you may have a case against the individual. The person opens the car door to capture video of your injuries, but the action causes the car to roll downhill into a ditch, for example. You could file a personal injury lawsuit against the...

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