It appears that Toyota's legal troubles will not end anytime soon. In September, just over one year after a tragic car accident took the lives of an off-duty police officer and three of his family members, Toyota settled a lawsuit with the family of the deceased. Although the details of the settlement were kept under wraps for several months, it was recently revealed that Toyota agreed to pay the family $10 million.
What started as a tractor-trailer's mechanical failure ended with a multi-car pileup that took the lives of two people on the New Jersey Turnpike early Christmas Eve morning. According to New Jersey police, the multiple car accident occurred when two wheels flew off the tractor-trailer into traffic, causing a nearby vehicle to crash into another. When a passenger in that vehicle got out to inspect the damage, he was struck by another car and killed. And when that driver exited his vehicle to help, he met the same fate.
In September, the world learned of Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old New Jersey college student who committed suicide after two fellow students, including Clementi's roommate, allegedly taunted and bullied him because of his sexual orientation. This week, Clementi's parents, Jane and Joseph Clementi of New Jersey, have taken the first step in filing a wrongful death lawsuit against New Jersey's Rutgers University, the site of the bullying that led Tyler to take his life.
There is a long history of personal injury and wrongful death litigation, in New Jersey and across the country, against cigarette manufacturers and marketers in regards to deaths caused by lung cancer and similar diseases, in which the deceased was a long-time smoker. More often than not, these lawsuits are not successful. However, after allegations that a cigarette manufacturer provided free cigarettes to young children during the 1950s and 1960s, starting a now-deceased woman's lifelong smoking habit, a Massachusetts jury found the cigarette company liable for her illness and death, awarding over $150 million to her son.
Golden Globe Award winner Gene Barry had a long and successful career. He began acting on Broadway in the 1940s and soon made the move to film, starring in The War of the Worlds in 1953. He then worked in television, holding the title role in Burke's Law in 1963-65 and again in a 1993 reprise. When Barry began to suffer from dementia-related diseases in the late 2000s, his children decided to place him in a nursing home, believing it would be a safe and healthy place for him. However, six months after he entered the home, Barry suffered serious injury and passed away four days later. His children have filed a lawsuit against the nursing home, claiming the staff neglected Barry and ultimately caused his death.
After the shocking photos of a freak car accident involving a Montana guard rail were splashed all over the Internet, drivers across the country began to question the safety of their state's guard rail systems. The accident took place when a driver dozed off behind the wheel and hit the front end of the rail head on. The rail cut through the passenger-side headlight and impaled the driver's SUV, which stopped with 25 feet of rail extending out the vehicle's back side. Although the driver miraculously escaped with no injuries, law enforcement said that if there had been a passenger in the vehicle, he most likely would have been killed.
Anyone who has ever suffered a slip and fall accident, whether in the grocery store, a busy restaurant, or simply out on the street or sidewalk during winter, has experienced the unique embarrassment that comes with such a fall. They are usually not graceful, and they somehow always seem to take place in front of a large group, all of whom are simultaneously sympathetic and amused.
In 2008, a New Jersey man was injured during an arrest by New Jersey state troopers. He died a week later. Now, the man's father has filed a lawsuit against several New Jersey departments and individuals alleging that law enforcement officers caused his son's wrongful death and seeking damages to compensate for the death and for the alleged violation of his civil rights. However, following a criminal investigation, all officers involved with the 2008 arrest have been declared not responsible for the man's death, so the father may have a difficult road ahead as he pursues the lawsuit.
For those of us who do not ride motorcycles, helmets seem like a no-brainer (no pun intended). Riding a motorcycle is highly dangerous, after all, and helmets have been proven to save lives. However, long-time motorcyclists disagree, and claim that it is young, aggressive, inexperienced bikers who are causing motorcycle accidents and suffering injuries and fatalities as a result. "Why should the risky few ruin it for the rest of us?" these experienced riders ask. Yet, medical professionals and advocates say that the high financial cost of traumatic brain injuries and other common motorcycle injuries renders the lack of mandatory helmet laws a public health issue.
Last month, we wrote about the potential dangers that lurk in toys and other holiday gifts intended for children. As previously discussed, Congress in 2009 strengthened consumer protection against potentially dangerous or defective products with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. However, according to a new report by the United States Public Interest Research Group, there are many toys on store shelves that have found ways around federal regulations, and a surprising number that violate the laws altogether. Knowledge and awareness, the group advises, is the key to keeping your child safe this holiday season.