Negligent entrustment – you can get sued for letting someone drive your car

When your friend with the bad driving record asks to borrow your car, a recent judge’s ruling should make you think twice before turning over the keys. Virginia courts have long allowed lawsuits to be brought against the owner of a vehicle, even when that person was not behind the wheel when the accident occurred. Traditionally, these “negligent entrustment” lawsuits were only allowed when the vehicle’s owner allowed a person he knew to be physically or mentally impaired to drive. However, a Rockingham County judge has recently allowed one such negligent entrustment suit to be brought where the only “impairment” of the driver was his propensity for dangerous highway antics.

In this case the owner of the vehicle sat idly by in the passenger seat, while the driver continuously swerved off the road, tailgated other drivers, and drove the car into the oncoming lane. By allowing the driver to continue these “road games” in his vehicle, the owner opened himself up to a large wrongful death suit when the driver eventually crossed the center line, killing an oncoming driver.

So, if you have a friend who you know to be a reckless driver, take a minute to think about your potential liability before allowing him to get behind the wheel of your car. If his reckless driving ends up causing someone else’s injuries, it could be you sitting in the defendant’s chair, with your assets on the line.

If you have been harmed by the negligence or fault of a company whose employee or agent caused you injury, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once, as negligent entrustment claims require extra preparation and proof.

Runner run over by biker – any coverage ?

While sports injury lawyer Doug Landau is frequently contacted to help an injured runner or biker, even in cases where the driver or other party is at fault, if there is no coverage or ability to pay for the harms caused, then it may not be a wise move to go forward with a claim. In other words, even if the ABRAMS LANDAU trial team wins the case, if no recovery can be made for the injured athlete, then it may not be a smart move to litigate the matter. Recently, the question came up, if a runner is run over by biker, is there insurance coverage to pay for the injuries and losses sustained ?

While the automobile insurance probably would not pay, since the accident did not involve “a motor vehicle,” the defendant driver’s homeowner’s insurance policy may be a source of funds to pay for the damages. And in a case where a bike crashes into another bike, the homeowners insurance may also be able to pay for the harms caused by the careless or negligent rider. Absolutely. Even renter’s liability insurance may be collectible in a case brought against a careless bike rider who causes serious personal injury to a runner, biker or other person on the road, bike path or sidewalk.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a bicycle, running or pedestrian accident or an insurance company is denying their injury claim, please e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555) at once, as it is very important to investigate these cases as soon as possible after the crash.

Pothole swallows cyclist – lawsuit settled

ABRAMS LANDAU Trial lawyer Doug Landau has helped clients injured by potholes and other roadway defects. One case in the District of Columbia involved a pothole that swallowed the ABRAMS LANDAU client’s front wheel while driving under L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. Another client of cyclist lawyer Doug Landau was injured when his bicycle tire went into a hole on the Virginia bike path that was filled with water so it was impossible to see the dangerous condition. Recently brought to the Herndon Reston injury lawyer’s attention was a lawsuit over a pot hole accident that settled in Missouri.

According to the Kansas Star, Jackson County Missouri, has agreed to a $270,000 settlement in a lawsuit filed by a cyclist who crashed his bike in a pot hole last summer. The plaintiff in this personal injury lawsuit was riding his motorcycle in east Jackson County when he pot hole ankle-deep and as wide as his arms, his lawsuit claims, suffering serious injuries. The suit alleges the county was previous aware of the dangerous pot hole but had done nothing to fix it. Where there is a dangerous condition and sufficient “notice” such that the landowner knew or should have known about it and fixed, warned or taken other action to prevent foreseeable injuries, the law may affix liability and hold such a defendant liable for all of the Plaintiff’s reasonable and related losses.

If you have been harmed by the negligence or fault of a landowner, occupier, maintenance company or management group, e-mail or call us at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. (703-796-9555).

Concussions – just a fancy word for injured brains

“Prep football coaches get an education on concussions” was the title of today’s excellent “Varsity Letter” high school sports column by Preston Williams. High school football coaches were exposed to current theory and practice with concussions at Redskins Park. Secondary school coaches from Virginia, Maryland and the District filed into a tent at Redskins Park on a recent Saturday morning for a seminar on concussions. The coaches watched a presentation, questioned Dr. Peter Gonzalez, an assistant professor of sports medicine at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk and watched a Redskins practice.

There are an estimated 43,000-67,000 concussions — really just a fancy word for injured brains — per year in high school football. About 50 percent of concussions are suspected of going unreported by young athletes. Football coaches, particularly those at schools without full-time certified athletic trainers — which in the Washington area includes Montgomery, Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties — are the first responders to injured players. So these coaches often either make, or help make, the decision about whether a player, including one who is possibly concussed, is fit to remain in a game or continue to practice. The Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, determined that more than 40 percent of high school athletes who sustain concussions return to action too quickly. Two high school football players in North Carolina died in 2008 from concussion-related injuries.

One coach wondered if players would be better served by being subjected to more hard hits in practice, because they would perhaps build up a tolerance and resistance to the shots that result in their brains colliding with their skulls. No, Gonzalez said tactfully. The fewer hits to the head, the better. Other coaches had never heard of the ImPACT program, in which athletes take a 30-minute computer test that gauges their neurocognitive functions. That provides a baseline of information. The athletes are re-tested after a suspected head injury. Howard, Fairfax and D.C. schools, among others in the area, use ImPACT. Other coaches were unaware that athletes who sustain a concussion are two to four times more likely to sustain another, with 80 percent of those repeat concussions occurring within 10 days of the first one. A Time magazine article from 2009 cited a study that found from 2005 to 2008, 41 percent of concussed athletes, at 100 high schools nationwide, returned to play too soon, based on American Academy of Neurology guidelines. “We can’t prevent this first concussion,” Gonzalez told the coaches. “What we can prevent is the sequella of that concussion, the second-impact issues, worsening or delaying recovery.”

Brain Injury Association – Landau volunteers again to help Miracle Mile & George Mason University Brain Injury Awareness Fair

Handing out flyers and information about the Brain Injury Association's "Miracle Mile" events at the GMU Fairfax campus

Handing out flyers and information about the Brain Injury Association's "Miracle Mile" events at the GMU Fairfax campus

The 7th Annual Kit Callahan’s Miracle Mile, 10K Run/Walk will take place at George Mason University’s main Fairfax Campus. In 2009, over 600 people came out to participate, support the Brain Injury Association and celebrate Kit Callahan’s miracle. The event is more than just races, it is an opportunity to support and celebrate the success stories of survivors of brain injuries and to help raise money for Brain Injury Services. As part of the planning committee, Doug Landau and the other volunteers are trying to make this event one of the premier races in Northern Virginia. The “Miracle Mile” race committee always wants to expand the Brain Injury Awareness Fair to educate people of all ages. In addition, the Fun Run was added for our younger participants! Doug Landau helped with the start of the kid’s mile race (see photo gallery) and ran along with the children.

Last year, not only did we meet our goals, we exceeded our expectations. The Volunteers for this year’s “Miracle Mile” look forward to the 7th Annual Kit Callahan’s Miracle Mile on September 26, 2010. Doug Landau took time away from the ABRAMS LANDAU “Law Shop” in order to be on the GMU campus handing out flyers for the Fall 10km and mile events, answering questions about traumatic brain injury (“TBI”), closed head trauma and disability and promoting this Brain Injury Association athletic competition. We hope that you and your friends, family members and co-workers will join us for a fun jaunt around GMU.

BRAIN INJURY FACTS!

  • Every 23 seconds, one person in the United States sustains a Traumatic Brain Injury.
  • An estimated 3.17 million Americans currently live with disabilities resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury.
  • More than 50,000 people die every year as a result of Traumatic Brain Injury.
  • Brain Injury is the leading cause of death and disability in children.

For those affected by a brain injury, life changes in a second. The moment a car accident occurs, the second a fall takes place, the instant a stroke happens–life as they knew it is forever changed.

Golf Cart safety concerns – ejection accidents cause permanent brain injuries and broken bones.

Located a drive and a seven wood from the Herndon Golf Course, the Landau Law Shop is acutely aware of the limitations and safety concerns associated with golf carts. ABRAMS LANDAU has represented a local Fairfax County golf professional whose arm was broken on a Maryland Golf Course when he was ejected from a golf cart. In another case a young girl fell out of a golf cart and sustained a traumatic brain injury resulting in frontal lobe syndrome. In that case, the Defendant’s experts confirmed that golf cars were designed for use on golf courses and not on public roads. Nonetheless, the Defendant knew its golf cars were being used on public roads and, actually, marketed them for use on public roads. But, the Defendant golf cart supplier did nothing to make the golf car safe for use on public roads. Defendants in golf cart litigation have admitted that:

• the inclusion of seat belts was feasible.
• they knew that golf carts were being used off the course.
• golf carts were being used by unlicensed drivers.
• golf cars were being used as transportation in retirement communities.
• golf carts were marketed for use in non-golf course environments.
• golf carts were likely being used for travel within mobile home parks.
• golf carts were being used on public streets.
• golf cart drivers may have to make sudden stops.
• golf cart operators may have to make sudden turns.
• people who have fallen out of golf carts, because there was no seat belt, have been injured.
• the secondary market for used golf cars is the general public.

Loudoun and Fairfax County golf course injury lawyer Doug Landau believes golf carts should not ever be operated on a public roadway where cars and trucks are also present. A private road in a gated community may be a different situation according to the Herndon Reston area sports injury lawyer, but safety precautions like safety belts should be available. If you or someone you know has been injured by or while riding in a golf cart, whether on or off the course, please call us at ABRAMS LANDAU (703-796-9555) or e-mail us today, as there are time limits for cases involving defective and dangerous sports products.

Golf Carts “off course” are dangerous

We recently received word of a case involving a severe Traumatic Brain Injury (“TBI”) of a passenger in a golf cart. The golf cart did not have seat belts and the passenger was ejected. While most golf carts that Herndon and Sterling brain injury lawyer Doug Landau has seen at golf courses did not have “golf cart seat belts,” they apparently exist and are a smart safety accessory, especially for those golf carts that are used off the course and on the streets and roads in many warm weather and resort communities.

When an innocent passenger suffers a brain injury or broken bones because they are thrown from a golf cart that has no safety belts, evidence tends to suggest that the manufacturer and supplier should be held liable for this foreseeable risk of harm. In other words, according to golf cart injury lawyer Landau, it was foreseeable that golf carts are used on public roads and that people can easily fall out. Furthermore, golf cart makers and sellers market them for use on public roads, local streets and resorts communities. On one vacation the Landau family took, golf carts were the predominant mode of transportation on the island. They are legal on certain roads (i.e., Palm Springs), used extensively in golf course communities (i.e., Boca Raton, Florida), and even some RV Parks have them for staff an guest use on the premises. Safety is not an option and seat belts prevent innocent riders from falling out. Landau believes that golf cart safety belts should be available (if someone wants to use them).

See tomorrow’s post, as what the makers, sellers and suppliers of these carts knew or should have known may surprise you !

Doug Landau’s toboggan crash

Tomorrow’s post about a winter athlete who sustained a career ending brain injury (“TBI”) struck a note with me, as I and my family members have had several serious winter sports injuries. While this TriathlonTrialLawyer has never ridden in a bobsled or luge, I spent many winter days, when I wasn’t making money shoveling driveways, sledding, bobsledding, skiing and discing in the snows of Jersey and New England.

Injury lawyer Doug Landau's broken bones healed after his sledding crash

Injury lawyer Doug Landau's broken bones healed after his sledding crash

One incident stands out. My best friend and I had fashioned a “bobsled run” along our neighbor’s horse fence. We had used the natural snow built up along the fence as a “wall” and built up snow on the other side to create our own “Olympic Bobsled Course.” We were always concocting “Olympic Games” of our own, with unique events and creative scoring ! We did the run several times, and found that the higher up on the hill we started, the faster our top speed at the end. So we started our last run above the “tube” that we had made and the sled had created. Our sled took off, with me in front, my feet between he chains, and instead of following the tracks, we veered outside the course and smashed into our neighbor’s horse fence. My friend’s body weight slammed into me, and our combined mass broke the bones in my lower leg. Only I did not know it at the time ! The fence was electric, and I received a jolt of enough electricity to stop a horse. When my buddy ran for help, I rolled off the sled and buried my leg in the snow, so it was doubly “numbed.” I even got back on the sled and rode down to get a lift home ! That week, we thought it was a bone bruise, and I was pushed around the house i a chair that slid over the smooth carpet. When I finally tried to stand, the leg would not support my weight and I fell. We then went to see an orthopedic surgeon, and I was eventually casted, given crutches and healed over that winter.

So what became of the 2 “geniuses” who got into this crash ? One became a lawyer for people injured and disabled as the result of broken bones, crashes and sports injuries and the other a superb doctor, scientific researcher and the Chief of Rounds at Brown University Hospital.

Managing Brain Injury – new Guide from the National Rehabilitation Hospital

Loudoun, Fairfax and Leesburg brain injury lawyer Doug Landau and former DC Trial Lawyers Association President Charles Parsons attend the annual Association for Justice Convention in San Francisco in order to learn more about head injuries and rehabilitation

Loudoun, Fairfax and Leesburg brain injury lawyer Doug Landau and former DC Trial Lawyers Association President Charles Parsons attend the annual Association for Justice Convention in San Francisco in order to learn more about head injuries, neurocognitive research and neurorehabilitation

In his continuing efforts to help those with traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) and disabled from head trauma, Herndon Reston lawyer Doug Landau receives and reviews materials from the National Rehabilitation Hospital, Brain Injury Services, the Brain Injury Association and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Brain Injury Retreat. The NRH Press latest book offering is “Managing Brain Injury: A Guide to Living Well with Brain Injury.” This is the fourth book in a series of useful guides to help people face the challenge of life following brain injury. The NRH guide is intended to help make sense of the roller coaster ride of emotional and physical changes that can overwhelm patients and health care providers. To order this helpful book, visit NRH Rehab or call 202-877-1776

With a stroke, time lost is brain lost

dkwl close up laubergeThis was the crux of a notice Loudoun, Fairfax and Leesburg brain injury lawyer Doug Landau received in Charlottesville while preparing for the appeal of a brain injury case.

The Stroke Association wants people to know that strokes are the #3 killer in this country, yet many people don’t even know what they are. They don’t know that more of the brain can be saved if a stroke is detected and treatment is received immediately. Strokes begin when a blood vessel in the brain becomes blocked or bursts. Blow flow is cut off. Tissue is starved for oxygen, and parts of the brain die. If not treated quickly, abilities and productive life can be lost. Learn to spot the warning signs of a stroke or call 1-888-4-STROKE, and act quickly. Your brain is your most prized possession. Guard it with your life.

Douglas K.W. Landau is admitted to practice in DC, VA, CT, FL, and NJ. Abrams Landau services clients in Washington DC, Pennsylvania, PA, Maryland, MD, Virginia, VA (including Northern Virginia, Fairfax county, Loudoun county, Herndon, Reston, and more), Connecticut, CT, Georgia, GA, Florida, FL, New Hampshire, NH, New York, NY, New Jersey, NJ, Maine, Massachusetts, MA, Rhode Island, RI, North Carolina, NC, and South Carolina, SC.

Information disseminated on this website is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create an attorney-client or similar relationship. Please do not send us confidential information. Past successes cannot be an assurance of future success. Whether you need legal services and which lawyer you select are important decisions that should not be based solely upon this website. Please contact: Abrams Landau Ltd. at (703) 796-9555.