Articles Posted in Personal Injury Law

Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case dealing with the admissibility of expert testimony in a product liability lawsuit. Ultimately, the court concluded that since the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony was not admissible, she was unable to prove her failure-to-warn claim. The court then rejected the plaintiff’s defective design case based on the fact that the manufacturer’s warnings were found to be sufficient.

WaverunnerThe case is important for Virginia boat accident victims because it illustrates the importance of expert witness testimony in establishing liability.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was injured when she fell off the back of a personal watercraft (PWC). At the time of her injuries, the plaintiff was riding as the fourth passenger on the machine, was wearing only a bikini, and had consumed alcohol prior to boarding the watercraft. It was undisputed that the plaintiff was not in compliance with the warnings contained on the machine, but the plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit, claiming that the warnings were defective.

Continue reading

A Virginia appellate court recently issued a written opinion in a Virginia product liability case discussing a plaintiff’s burden in establishing a defective design claim. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff’s claim was insufficient as a matter of law, and it dismissed the case.

ForkliftThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff worked at a factory. He was trained on a folder-gluing machine, and to earn some extra money, he cross-trained on another vehicle that was similar to a forklift. While the plaintiff completed some of the training to operate the forklift, he did not obtain certification to use the vehicle.

One day, the factory was especially busy, and the plaintiff’s supervisor asked him to operate the forklift. The plaintiff agreed and began unloading boxes of paper from a trailer. In order to do this, the plaintiff had to drive the forklift up a ramp and into the trailer. During one of the trips, the forklift got caught between the ramp and the trailer.

Continue reading

The issue of the admissibility of social media posts is in Virginia personal injury cases has recently become a hot topic. Across the country, courts have come up with different methods of handling this sensitive information. Earlier this month, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case presenting the court with the opportunity to discuss whether a plaintiff’s private social media account should be made available to the defendant.

Social MediaThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff sustained a serious brain injury after falling off a horse that was owned by the defendant. As a result of the fall, the plaintiff claimed that her active lifestyle was curtailed, due to the limitations from which she now suffered. As evidence of these limitations, the plaintiff explained that she used to be very active on social media, but she closed her account six months after the accident because she was having a difficult time composing messages and writing posts.

After hearing this, the defendant sought access to the plaintiff’s private Facebook account. The defendant did not request access to the entire Facebook, just pictures from before and after the accident, as well as the length of the messages the plaintiff sent after the accident. Apparently, the defendant wanted to see if the plaintiff’s claims that she could not effectively compose messages were verifiable.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability case presenting an interesting issue that frequently comes up in Virginia premises liability cases. Specifically, the case considered whether the presence of a young child’s parents can act to mitigate any duty that was owed to the child by the defendant landowner. Ultimately, the court concluded that it can, and it dismissed the plaintiff’s lawsuit against the defendant.

Cup of JoeThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in the case was a young child who was seriously injured while visiting the defendant coffee shop. According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the young child was accompanied by his parents. After the family ordered their food and drinks, they went upstairs to use the restroom before leaving. On the way out, the parents heard one of their two young sons screaming.

As it turns out, a metal pole that was used to create the line leading up to the cash register had fallen on the young boy’s hand. The boy was taken to the hospital, but doctors were unable to save the boy’s finger, which had to be amputated.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, an appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case dealing with the admissibility of expert witness testimony. The case is important to Virginia personal injury plaintiffs because the law governing the admissibility of expert testimony in Virginia is similar to the law applied by the court in this case. The case also illustrates the importance of securing an experienced, reliable, and credible expert witness.

Massage TableThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff planned on having a chemical peel procedure performed at the defendant day spa. Prior to the procedure, the plaintiff filled out a questionnaire indicating that she suffered from rosacea. The aesthetician at the day spa failed to review the plaintiff’s questionnaire and performed the chemical peel.

After the procedure, the plaintiff’s skin condition began to worsen. She later filed a personal injury lawsuit against the aesthetician and the day spa, claiming that their negligence resulted in her rosacea worsening. The defendants admitted that the aesthetician was negligent, but they claimed that the worsening of the plaintiff’s skin condition was not necessarily caused by their negligence.

Continue reading

Earlier this year, an appellate court issued a written opinion in a Virginia medical malpractice case requiring the court to determine if the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence that the defendant’s alleged negligence was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. The court considered the evidence presented by the plaintiff, and it ultimately determined that there was a gap in testimony. As a result, the jury verdict rendered in the plaintiff’s favor was reversed.

SurgeryThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a patient of the defendant doctor and arranged to have a laparoscopic hysterectomy performed. The defendant went over the risks of the procedure, and the plaintiff acknowledged the risks and opted to proceed nonetheless.

As a part of the procedure, the defendant needed to insert a small tube into the plaintiff’s abdomen. The first time the defendant attempted to do this, she realized it was too close to one of the organs in the abdomen, so she removed the tube and tried to insert it in a different location.

Continue reading

Every motorist in Virginia is required to obtain a certain amount of car insurance. The idea behind this requirement is to ensure that anyone injured in a Virginia car accident will have a means of recovering compensation to help them cover the costs of the injuries they sustained in the accident.

Car AccidentCar insurance companies, however, operate on a for-profit basis and rely on taking in more money in monthly premiums than they pay out in approved claims. Thus, it is not uncommon for an insurance company to deny borderline cases in hopes that the accident victim will not file a personal injury lawsuit.

Virginia lawmakers have enacted a law to discourage insurance companies from acting in bad faith, contained in the Code of Virginia section 8.01-66.1. Under section 8.01-66.1, an insurance company that is found to have denied “a claim of $3,500 or less in excess of the deductible” in bad faith is liable to the insured for double the amount otherwise due. This law applies both to the insured that is named in the policy as well as to any third parties injured by the insured’s negligence.

Continue reading

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case, raising an important issue that frequently comes up in Virginia slip-and-fall cases. Specifically, the court was tasked with determining whether a business owner was reasonable in waiting until a storm passed to clear ice deposited by the storm. Applying what has come to be known as the continuing storm doctrine, the court determined that the business owner was entitled to wait a reasonable time until after the storm to clear any snow or ice left behind.

Gas StationThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was employed as a driver for a retirement home. Primarily, the plaintiff operated a shuttle van that was used to transport residents. On one particularly rainy and cold day, the plaintiff stopped to get gas at the defendant gas station at around 7:00 a.m. At this point in time, the gas station had been open for about an hour.

As the defendant exited the shuttle to fill up the gas tank, he slipped on a patch of ice that was undisputedly caused by the freezing rain. As it turns out, moments before the plaintiff slipped and fell, a gas station employee had fallen on the ice. The employee notified her supervisor of the ice and arranged for a third-party snow-removal company to clear the ice. Of course, the ice was not cleared by the time the plaintiff fell.

Continue reading

A few weeks ago, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a bicycle injury case that illustrates an important point for Virginia bicycle accident victims. The case required the court to determine if the state government could be legally liable for the plaintiff’s injuries, or if the state was entitled to immunity from the lawsuit. Ultimately, the court concluded that the accident fell within the state’s recreational use statute and dismissed the case.

Bicycle InjuryThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was riding his bicycle on a mixed-use trail. The trail was designed for bicyclists as well as pedestrians. As the plaintiff approached a pedestrian, the plaintiff rang the bicycle’s bell and began to move toward the middle of the trail to pass the pedestrian.

While the plaintiff was passing the pedestrian, the bicycle’s tire got caught in a crack in the pavement, and the plaintiff lost control of the bike. The plaintiff then fell off the bike and onto the pavement, injuring his shoulder. The crack was about three inches wide, two inches deep, and three feet long, running parallel to the path itself.

Continue reading

Virginia personal injury plaintiffs have to be careful in following the procedural rules in any case. In a recent Virginia Supreme Court decision, after a jury found in the plaintiffs’ favor, the Court determined the plaintiffs had amended their pleadings too late and sent their case back for a new trial in their carbon monoxide poisoning case.

CO DetectorThe Facts of the Case

The carbon monoxide detector went off in an apartment rented by four tenants, and a maintenance worker came and replaced the batteries. The alarm sounded again, and the tenants called the gas company. An inspector came and measured the carbon monoxide (CO) levels in the apartment. He found the CO levels were hazardous, turned off the gas supply to the furnace, and “red tagged” the furnace as the suspected source of the leak.

The apartment’s property management company then sent a maintenance worker to the apartment, who stated that he had found a loose vent pipe in the attic, reattached it, and rechecked the CO level. He repaired the vent pipe by using zip screws, which was contrary to manufacturer specifications. A city code enforcement officer later came, who found the CO levels were within the acceptable range and removed the red tag, but he did not go into the attic or inspect the furnace or vents.

Continue reading