Truck Driver Sentence for Horrific VA Crash

Auto Accident Lawyer

A food truck driver has been sentenced to 11.5 years in prison for his role in a Virginia crash that took the life of a local woman, reports NBC Washington.

On September 8, 2017, Tony Dane was driving a school bus that had been converted under the banner of his business, Dane’s Great American Hamburger, in Leesburg, Virginia. At close to 5:00 pm, Dane ran a stop sign and hit an Audi station wagon that was being driven by 39-year-old Erin Kaplan. She was killed, and her passengers – her mother, her teenage son and her two daughters – were also injured in the accident.

According to first responders, the family’s Audi was trapped underneath the ten-ton school bus. A wrecker had to be brought in to get the bus off of the car. It took emergency workers three hours to free the family from the twisted frame of their automobile, but unfortunately, Erin Kaplan was pronounced dead at the accident site. Given the devastating scene, Kaplan’s family members were lucky to survive.

Dane was injured in the crash, spending close to two months in the hospital before being transferred to a rehab facility. His grandmother and sisters, who were in his truck at the time of accident, also had brief stays in the hospital with crash-related injuries.

The 11.5-year sentence was the jury’s recommendation, and the judge rejected Dane’s request for leniency in the sentencing. According to the prosecution, the food truck operator drove with a complete disregard for public safety, with no insurance, no inspection and faulty brakes at the time of the accident. The judge apparently agreed and went with the maximum sentences.

The food business the truck belonged to was started by Dane and based in Winchester, Virginia. According to its website, Dane bought the bus and converted it into a food truck so he was able to travel with his family. Since the accident, the website has been taken down.

The tragic accident and the death of Kaplan shocked the local community, which raised thousands of dollars to help the family cover the medical costs related to the crash. The teenage victim of the accident, Ben Kaplan, added that he was very grateful for all the support the family has received.

After the incident, the state’s transportation department made improvements for safety at the intersection where the crash occurred, and a local county sheriff’s office stepped up enforcement in the area.

Running a stop sign may seem like an innocent mistake, but as this devastating crash shows, people can be seriously injured or lose their lives when a driver doesn’t stop at the designated sign or light. Reckless driving endangers everyone else on the road, and the actions of just one person can cause injuries to countless others.

If you or someone you care about has been hurt in an accident with a careless or reckless driver, contact an auto accident lawyer Denver, CO trusts about your rights and your case today. You may be entitled to receive compensation for your suffering, pain and losses stemming from your accident.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into truck accident claims.

Workers Compensation and Back Injuries

If you suffered a back injury while on the job, you’re already aware that back injuries can be extremely painful. They can also make it impossible to perform even simply tasks such as tying one’s shoes or cooking. It can also make it impractical to return to work. A workers compensation lawyer is very familiar with this scenario, and it is one that is all too common. If you sustained a serious injury at work, a lawyer may be able to help you get a settlement which can replace your lost income and pay for all of your injury-related costs.

Workers Compensation Benefits

In a perfect world, every worker who sustains any kind of injury receives sufficient benefits from workers compensation to pay for all of their lost wages and accident costs such as medical care. However, that rarely happens. In fact, workers compensation does not pay you your full wages, even if you are unable to work because of a work injury for which you were not at fault. This can be unfair, and if you are denied any benefits for one or more reasons, you may be unable to afford proper medical care to treat your condition. If your personal health insurance does not cover your injury related costs, you may have to seek less than acceptable medical care and insufficient or no medications. As a result, you may not heal as fast or as fully as you might otherwise. For these reasons, it’s important to contact a workers compensation lawyer as soon as possible.

The Nature of Back Injuries

Many back injuries are mild and do not require significant care or recovery time. In those cases, the worker’s physician may recommend that the employee stays home from work for a minimal period of time and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. However, more serious back injuries can require significant recovery time and necessitate staying home for an extended period. If this describes you, workers compensation benefits may not be enough to pay for your injury treatment and everyday bills because you’re not able to generate your normal level of income. You may have options available to you in lieu of workers compensation.

Personal Injury Claims

A workers compensation lawyer New York trusts can help you get the compensation they deserve after suffering a terrible injury while on the job. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may qualify for a settlement as a result of a successful personal injury claim. In lieu of workers compensation, you may be better off filing a claim against the party responsible for your injury. Very often such a settlement is far greater than what you might hope to receive from workers compensation benefits. It requires an experienced workers compensation lawyer to analyze the details of your case and make this determination.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, PC for their insight into workers compensation.

Workers Compensation Lawyer

Being injured at work can cause anxiety, stress, and confusion. You might wonder what will happen while you recover from your injuries? How will you cover your medical bills and expenses? What about your job; will you be fired?

As a workers compensation attorney, we understand your concerns and would like to explain your legal rights and options to you during a free and confidential consultation. Lawyers help injured workers get maximum compensation for claims including:

  • Temporary disability
  • Total permanent disability
  • Loss of limb
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Loss of hearing
  • Neck, spine, or back injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Torn muscles and ligaments
  • Lacerations
  • Burns
  • Wrongful death
  • + More

We know that your job and injury could have you anxious, and you’re scared about what the future holds. Rest assured as a workers compensation lawyer, we will work tenaciously to ensure your claim gets approved and you receive compensation that covers your living and medical expenses.

Workers Compensation Benefits

Every state has workers compensation laws that allow workers who have been injured on the job to recover a certain amount of compensation regardless of who is at fault. This protects both the employer and employee. While on workers compensation, a workers can receive medical care, treatment, and rehabilitation. He or she is also compensated, up to a certain percentage, of their salary. In turn, the employer is protected from a lawsuit being filed against them. Benefits that may be available include:

Medical Care – Including surgery, hospital visits, doctors visits, medication, lab work, rehabilitation, etc.

Disability – Coverage for workers who are no longer able to work, or have been partially disabled.

Permanent Loss – Including loss of limb or one of the five senses.

Death – Benefits are paid to the surviving family members when a worker loses his or her life.

Not every employee will be able to claim workers compensation. For example independent contractors are generally not covered by these benefits. A workers compensation lawyer can discuss the qualification requirements in further detail.

Let a Workers Compensation Lawyer Review Your Case

The workers compensation process is not as straightforward as it might seem. It is very common for claims to be denied at first which not only delays you in getting the money you need, but also requires you to go through a tedious appeals process.

Furthermore, you have limited windows of time to initiate the process. If you miss this short deadline, you can be barred from collecting workers compensation. Finally, there is a chance that by filing workers compensation on your own, you could lose out on money that you need and deserve. For this reason you should ask a workers compensation lawyer to help you with the process. A St. Lucie County work injury lawyer can ensure all documentation is correctly completed and filed in a timely manner. He or she can also maintain communication with your employer and their insurance company; thereby, protect your legal rights to the fullest.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers compensation benefits.

It’s Summertime, and Vibrio is a Problem

By: Jory Lange

vibrio lawyer medical treatmentIf there is one thing a vibrio lawyer will tell you is that a vibrio infection is not a day at the beach. But when most people think about vibrio, they think about raw seafood – oyster, clams, scallops, and shellfish in general. They do not usually think about the beach, or rather, ocean water.

But if you have been watching the news this summer, you probably have heard of the term “flesh-eating bacteria.” Flesh-eating bacteria is actually a species of vibrio, called vibrio vulnificus. It does not actually “eat” flesh, but rather kills it. A long-term complication of this type of infection causes skin around the infected area to slowly die, called necrosis fasciitis. This can also lead to the potential for limb amputation, and possibly, death. According to the CDC, many cases are diagnosed across the United States each year, requiring quick antibiotic treatment for survival. There have been cases from Florida, Alabama, Texas, and other Gulf Coast states in the news recently linked to swimming in ocean waters. Vibrio, which loves warm, salty, brackish water, infected those who became ill through open wounds.

Summer is especially a concerning time for vibrio, due to the warming of coastal waters. Vibrio vulnificus is not because of pollution, and is not unique to the Gulf of Mexico.

What Are Vibrio Symptoms?

Vibrio symptoms typically begin within 24 hours of infection.  Vibrio symptoms include: watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, fever, and chills.  Symptoms often last about three days.

However, Vibrio can lead to severe infections, amputations, and even death in vulnerable people.  Vibrio can infect and sicken anyone.  But people with any of the following conditions are more likely to get Vibrio infections and, once infected, are more likely to suffer severe (even life threatening) complications:

  • People undergoing any type of immune-suppressing therapy as part of their medical treatment;
  • People taking medicine to reduce levels of stomach acids;
  • People who have recently had stomach surgery; and
  • People with liver disease, cancer, diabetes, thalassemia, or HIV.

People with any of these conditions are at an especially high risk from Vibrio infections.

How Common is Vibrio?

According to the CDC, each year approximately 80,000 Americans are infected with Vibrio.  Approximately 100 Americans die from Vibrio infections each year.

How Is Vibrio Diagnosed?

Vibrio infections are diagnosed by testing the stool, blood, or wound of a patient.

Prevention

But vibrio infections of this kind are preventable. According to the Galveston County Department of Health,

“People who suffer cuts while in natural bodies of water anywhere should immediately leave the water, thoroughly clean the wound and do not return until the wound heals. It’s important to keep an eye on the area for infection or swelling. If either occur, medical attention should be obtained immediately. Vibrio vulnificus infections are treatable, especially if caught early. Wearing water shoes while swimming and gloves or waders while fishing can help prevent cuts.”

Thanks to our friends and contributors from MakeFoodSafe.com for their insight into Vibrio injuries.

When Uber Fails to Give You a Safe Ride

Many people take Uber as a way to get home after a party, to work if their car is in the shop, or if they enjoy having another person shuttle them to and from. Uber has become a popular resource that is often viewed as a safe form of travel. If a rider were to ever be involved in an accident, he or she may be unsure of how to respond. It can take people by surprise to be in the middle of an Uber lift, and then be part of an unexpected car crash. Any person who was in a car accident, whether as driver or passenger, should put their health first and get a medical exam right away.

Here in this article, we have answered a few questions about Uber rides, and what you can do to take action if you suffered injuries as a rider.

If my Uber driver gets hit in an accident, how should I respond?

Those who were riding as an innocent passenger in an Uber, may have an urge to flee the scene of an accident. But, by doing so you could be greatly hindering your chances of receiving compensation if you found out later you did in fact suffer injuries due to the fault of another. It may be best to respond just as if you were part of any other kind of accident by doing the following:

  1. Call 911 so police and an ambulance can arrive for support and officially document the collision.
  2. Examine yourself for injuries, and if you have sustained any ask the medical team to do an exam at the scene.
  3. Gather the information of the Uber driver and the other driver involved in the crash, including their name, method of contact, insurance carrier, driver’s license number, and vehicle details.
  4. Keep an eye out for any aches, soreness or bruises that may arise in the days following the incident, and go to your doctor for another exam if you have any concerns.
  5. Consider meeting with an attorney for legal advice if your injuries cost you money, as you may be eligible for monetary compensation.

If I am going to meet with an attorney, what information should I bring?

The more information you bring to your car accident lawyer Dekalb County, GA residents trust about the accident, the better he or she can advise you on what steps to take next. An attorney can not only provide guidance, but representation too if you decide to file a lawsuit after all. If this is your first time talking with an attorney, you should bring along the following details:

  • Copy of the accident report taken by officer
  • Contact information of any witnesses or other riders who were with you at the time of the crash
  • Receipts for medical costs, emergency care and/or hospitalization
  • Doctor’s exams and diagnostics regarding your accident injuries
  • Other damages or related information about what happened
  • Receipt of costs if you had paid for the Uber ride
  • Photographs of the scene and/or visible injuries

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into personal injury and uber riding.

Whose fault is it anyway? Pedestrian hit by a vehicle.

We have all heard news reports of a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle.  Here in Memphis, it seems pedestrians are hit at alarming rates.

In one common scenario, the injured pedestrian is hit while crossing a public street outside of the designated crosswalk.  That is precisely what happened to a friend of mine last year.  He was “jaywalking” when he was hit by a speeding vehicle.  Thankfully, he recovered well and is back at work.

Interestingly, when I talked about his accident with our common friends, most assumed that because he was jaywalking, he is at fault and cannot recover for his injuries.  However, despite what you might initially think, these types of accidents are not so straightforward.  Drivers are not allowed to plow into pedestrians simply because they are crossing the street outside of a designated crosswalk.  Indeed, these matters are highly fact-dependent.  Was the driver talking on his or her cell phone, speeding?  Was he or she under the influence of drugs or alcohol that might have slowed his or her reaction time down?  What other factors might have contributed to the accident?

In a case involving a jaywalking pedestrian, whose fault is it anyway?

Tennessee law – comparative fault generally

Historically, the general rule was that if a plaintiff contributed to the accident, he could not recover for his injuries.  In Tennessee, the rule initially stated that “if a party, by his own gross negligence, brings an injury upon himself, or contributes to such injury, he cannot recover;” for, in such cases, the party “must be regarded as the author of his own misfortune.” Whirley v. Whiteman, 38 Tenn. 610, 619 (1858). Subsequent court decisions followed that same general rule that a plaintiff’s contributory negligence completely barred recovery (citations omitted).

In 1992, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned that general rule, commonly referred to as contributory negligence, and “conclude[d] that it [was] time to abandon the outmoded and unjust common law doctrine of contributory negligence and adopt in its place a system of comparative fault.” McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52, 56 (Tenn. 1992).  The Supreme Court discussed the two (2) different types of comparative fault systems used in various states around the country (i.e. pure comparative fault and modified comparative fault).  Under a pure comparative fault system, “a plaintiff [that is] responsible for 90 percent of the negligence that caused his injuries nevertheless may recover 10 percent of his damages.” Id.  In a modified system, “plaintiffs recover . . . only if the plaintiff’s negligence either (1) does not exceed (“50 percent” jurisdictions) or (2) is less than (“49 percent” jurisdictions) the defendant’s negligence.” Id.  Ultimately, the Tennessee Supreme Court rejected the pure form of comparative fault choosing instead to adopt a modified comparative fault system.

More specifically, the Supreme Court held that “so long as a plaintiff’s negligence remains less than the defendant’s negligence the plaintiff may recover; in such a case, plaintiff’s damages are to be reduced in proportion to the percentage of the total negligence attributable to the plaintiff.” Id.

What does Tennessee’s comparative fault system mean for injured plaintiffs?

Ultimately, the jury, as the factfinder, determines what fault, if any, to attribute to the plaintiff.  The plaintiff’s proportional fault is then used to offset his or her ultimate recovery.

In a case involving a jaywalking plaintiff, the jury will undoubtedly hear about the plaintiff’s own fault for walking out into traffic, but that fact alone does not necessarily mean he cannot recover for his injuries.  Of course, that does not mean the jury will ignore his fault.  Indeed, a jury is likely to attribute some portion of fault to the plaintiff.  The amount of fault a jury may give the plaintiff will, of course, vary from case to case.

To illustrate how a plaintiff’s fault effects his recovery, let’s assume a jury determines that a jaywalking plaintiff is 25% at fault and the driver defendant is 75% at fault, then the plaintiff’s recovery would be reduced by 25% of the total damages.  Therefore, if the jury awarded $100,000 in damages, the plaintiff’s net recovery would be $75,000 (before case expenses & fees) taking into account his 25% fault.

Of course, these types of cases are highly fact dependent and, often times, difficult to prove.  If you or someone you know was involved in an accident as a pedestrian or otherwise, you need an experienced attorney to help you analyze your potential case and guide you through the legal process.

If you need help with a potential personal injury claim, call us today at (901) 372-5003 for a free consultation.

Why Are Bicycle Accidents So Traumatizing?

Any sort of accident that results in physical and emotional injuries can be difficult for the victim to process. Sometimes accidents happen very quickly, without much warning and are unexpected. This can be the case for those who ride bicycles as means of transportation, leisure or even sport. Any situation in which a person is sharing the road with a vehicle, is at risk for being hit. In the article here, we have talked more about why exactly bicycle accidents can be so traumatizing for the rider.

What is the main reason bicyclists get hit by cars?

Car drivers may cause a bicycle accident for a variety of reasons. Most drivers do not watch out for bicyclists nearly often enough, and may not notice a rider is next to them until it is too late. Additionally, drivers may be distracted on their cell phone or speeding in order to make it to work on-time. Unfortunately, bicyclists may pay the price for such negligence and carelessness.

What are the most common injuries that may result?

Injuries associated with being struck by a car are endless. When a vehicle exterior made of such firm materials collides with the fragility of the human body, life-threatening conditions may arise. A more extensive list of potential bicyclist injuries are listed as follows:

  • Concussion
  • Fractured skull
  • Neck & back injuries
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Broken bones
  • Road rash
  • Muscle sprains or tears
  • Anxiety, depression, new fears
  • Facial wounds
  • Cuts from broken windshield
  • Deep bruising
  • Pelvic fracture

Can you tell me more about anxiety, depression and new fears?

Any person who has undergone a traumatic experience which caused pain can develop psychological difficulties. A bicyclist who has been hit by a car may find that he or she has started to feel anxious, depressed and have new fears about getting back onto a bike. If you are having such feelings, they should be communicated with your doctor so you can receive the help that you need to process what happened. A common condition that arises for those who were part of a particularly distressing event is called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Signs that you may be affected by PTSD after your bicyclist accident can include:

  1. Replaying the crash in your mind over & over
  2. Avoiding areas that remind you of where you got hit
  3. Withdrawing from friends & family
  4. Experiencing panic attacks
  5. Feeling down, worrisome or hopeless
  6. Triggers in environment cause you anxiety
  7. Changes in eating habits
  8. Difficulty falling asleep
  9. Feeling on edge or irritable
  10. Being too afraid to get back onto your bike

What if I want to sue the driver who hit me, am I eligible for compensation?

If the driver was at-fault for the accident happening, then you may be entitled to receiving repayment for your injury costs. Medical bills can quickly pile high especially if your condition was severe due to being hit. It is uncommon for a bicyclist to walk away from being clipped by a car totally unscathed. A bicycle accident attorney can meet with you and help you decide if filing a civil lawsuit is the route you wish to take.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Barry P. Goldberg for their insight into bike accidents.

What Happens if I File for Bankruptcy During my Divorce?

You may be worried that your financial situation will affect your divorce as well, and it will in a few ways. Decisions about establishing child custody or support is usually unaffected by filing for bankruptcy during divorce proceedings. However, decisions about division of property will be halted.

All your property and assets become property of your bankruptcy estate when you file. All attempts to control your property or take it into possession are then halted by an automatic stay. This means that it cannot be handled or divided during your divorce proceedings. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy will better determine how your divorce will be affected.

Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can cause further complications in your divorce proceedings. A bankruptcy trustee will be appointed to you regardless if you file for seven or thirteen. In the case you file for Chapter 7, the trustee has power to sell your property to pay any creditors. The trustee will have to decide which assets are property of your bankruptcy estate and if proceeds from their sale can be used to pay creditors.

Joint property opened with your ex may even be entirely sold if you cannot exempt your interest value in the property. If the ex’s interest in the property is determined to be not included in your bankruptcy estate, then the trustee would pay the sum of the value of their interest to them after the sale of the property.

Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A trustee is also assigned to your estate when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, they do not sell property to creditors. In fact, a trustee must determine the value of your property and interests in order to determine the effects on your repayment plan to creditors. The amount of non-exempt property you have will affect how much you must pay.

A Chapter 13 repayment plan may take three to five years to finish paying off. Usually, you and your ex will have to get permission from bankruptcy court to finish dividing property in divorce proceedings.

Custody and Domestic Support Affected by Automatic Stay

Automatic stay may stop the process of division of property, but it won’t affect court decisions of child custody and support. Filing for bankruptcy will not affect the process of determination of who maintains custody and who pays child support; it will not stop those proceeding like it will prohibit division of property and assets.

Consult an Attorney

Bankruptcy and family law overlap in a number of ways. If you are unsure how filing for bankruptcy will affect your divorce proceedings, consult a divorce lawyer Austin, TX residents trust. They can help guide you through any complications and will provide you with knowledge of any possible issues you may face along the way.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Office of Ryan S. Dougay for their insight into divorce law.

How to Document a Car Crash in Preparation for a Lawsuit

If you have been involved in a car crash that was not your fault and you plan to file a lawsuit against the other driver, it is important that you start to gather evidence for your case as soon as you are able. If you wait too long to start gathering documentation of the accident, some of the evidence may be lost or destroyed, making it harder for you to win at trial or receive a settlement offer that you deserve. Here are a few tips for how to document a car crash in preparation for a lawsuit:

  1. Get the names of witnesses: If you are able after a crash, get the names of any people who saw the accident. Make sure to get their contact information, preferably a phone number and address. Often these witnesses will be identified in a police report, but it never hurts to make your own record. Being able to identify and locate witnesses could be a very important part of making your case at trial.
  2. Take pictures: Again, if you are able, take pictures of the crash. Make sure that you are being safe, staying out of traffic, and that you prioritize getting any medical care that you need and helping others who may have been injured in the crash. Listen to a police officer’s instructions, and be mindful that other people involved in the accident may not want their photograph taken. After the incident, if you still have your car, take photos of the damage, and consider photographing any injury to your body, such as cuts and bruises.
  3. Get a copy of reports: Request a copy of the police report and any report made by your insurance company. Though these documents are relatively easy to obtain later in the case, getting them soon after the incident can help you evaluate your claim by reading how an objective party recorded the crash. You may also be able to correct any errors that you see in your insurance record.
  4. Keep your records: Keep copies of the records you have regarding the crash including towing records, records from a salvage yard or repair shop, and estimates and receipts for repair. If you suffered physical injury during the crash, keep records from you doctor visits, including bills and referrals to other providers for physical therapy or rehabilitation services. Also, make sure that you keep pharmacy records, copies of your prescriptions, and related bills. While the previous three types of information discussed are important for proving that the accident was not your fault, information in step four will be important for proving how much money you are owned in the event of a lawsuit

Along with documenting the car crash, it is also important to considering hiring an automobile accident lawyer Naperville, IL trusts early in the life of your case. A qualified and competent attorney can give you advice for how to document the crash, can help you gather records, and can help you strategize regarding how to pursue your claim against the other driver. An attorney can also negotiate a settlement on your behalf, and, if necessary, will be prepared to take your case all the way to trial to reach a fair result for your claim.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at The Law Offices of Konrad Sherinian for their knowledge about car accidents and injuries.  

Memphis Car Crash, Wrongful Death & Injury

According to the Commercial Appeal headline and story from Wednesday, April 16, 2014:  “One person is dead and a half dozen others were taken to area hospitals after a 10-vehicle crash in Raleigh Wednesday evening.  Police were still confirming details about how the 10 vehicles collided at Covington Pike and Raleigh LaGrange.”
Being injured in a motor vehicle accident is especially traumatizing if it involved another driver and they were at-fault.  Wrongful death is, for obvious reasons, particularly tragic.  In one instant, you and the life of your loved ones can be  life can change forever.

Expensive medical bills, vehicle damage, and the inability to go to work can be overwhelming, and not just financially.  Injuries to the head, neck, spine and back can develop into permanent impairments.  Car wreck laws in Tennessee provide recovery against at-fault drivers for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.  Read more about the type of damages you can recover here.
If you have a question concerning your Memphis or Raleigh car wreck, motor vehicle accident, or wrongful death case, call or schedule a consultation with our Memphis-based accident lawyers at Wiseman Bray PLLC today.