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Accidents can lead to potential injuries. Every accident is different and the severity of the injuries depend on the facts of the case. If an individual is injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, he or she has the right to recover damages.

When the accident causes serious injuries, victims often do not hesitate to seek recovery of all potential damages resulting from the accident. However, accident victims who believe they have suffered only “minor” injuries may choose to forego any legal process to recover damages. It is important that individuals understand that the severity of their injuries should not keep them from recovering the damages they may lawfully recover.

Not all accidents are the same. Some accidents are simply just accidents. Others, however, are accidents that may have been easily prevented and were instead caused by an individual who was negligent and breached his or her duty of care to another person. An individual who has been injured as a result of another’s negligence is entitled to recover damages.

New Year, New Dangers

From crowded student parking lots to the renovations some schools seem to perpetually undergo, to the constant threat of bullying, there are many things to be cautious of as a parent or a student heading into a new school year. As a fellow parent, the last thing we want is for our kids to get hurt.  However, there is always the possibility of a fight with a fellow peer, a classroom injury, or your child being found in possession of illicit substances. You will want to be preemptively informed on how to respond so you can protect your child.

When Your Student Is Injured

A notice to students heading to the University of Michigan this fall – don’t bring your firearm with you. In June, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that students, staff, and the general public are still banned from possessing firearms on the U of M campus.

In a 2-1 decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the school’s 2001 ban on firearms does not violate the constitution in a case involving an Ann Arbor resident who argued that the ban did not comply with the Second Amendment. The University successfully argued that, since their campus isn’t covered by a state law saying that local governments cannot enact their own gun control regulations, the campus is not violating the Second Amendment by making their own decision on gun regulation.

The campus continues to be gun free this year for all students, staff, and other personnel- save for appointed military officials such as campus security and those who obtain a waiver for “extraordinary circumstances”.

The Supreme Court has overturned the Court of Appeals decision preventing a 13 year old member of a high school cross country team from suing the coach in addition to the driver that hit him as he was on a training run with the team.   The team was on a pre-dawn training run when they came to a traffic light.  The team initially stopped at the light, but continued to cross the street, against traffic laws, on their coach’s instruction. The plaintiff was one of two members of the team who were injured by a vehicle which hit them while crossing the street. In addition to the driver, the family sued the coach alleging that he was partially responsible for their son’s injuries when he ordered the team to cross the street.

The family initially lost the case regarding the claim against the coach when the Court of Appeals ruled that the coach was protected by governmental immunity.  The Michigan Supreme Court subsequently held that the Court of Appeals had failed to properly analyze the cause of the child’s injuries and when the case was reconsidered, they found that the coach was not necessarily protected by governmental immunity and he could  be sued for the runner’s injuries.

Dog bites are far more common than people may think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in the US, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year.

It is important to always safely interact with dogs to prevent any injuries. However, even if you are cautious and do not provoke a dog, a dog bite may occur. If you are a victim of a dog bite, you are entitled to damages, including medical costs associated with the injury. These damages are usually covered by the homeowner’s insurance.

If you, or someone you know, is a dog bite victim, call SMDA Law. Our attorneys can help you understand your rights and get you the compensation you are entitled to.

The case involved a GM employee who worked as a truck loader. The plaintiff suffered an injury when a truck hit him fracturing his left ankle. Because of the injury he had problems walking and crouching and his work ability was greatly diminished. He was not able to return to work at a normal capacity until 19 months later. Even then he needed to be assigned to a different job. He sought damages for the injury.

The old standard created by the court was established in Kreiner v Fisher and stated that, “Although some aspects of a plaintiff’s entire normal life may be interrupted by the impairment, if, despite those impingements, the course or trajectory of the plaintiff’s normal life has not been affected, then the plaintiff’s ‘general ability’ to lead his normal life has not been affected and he does not meet the ‘serious impairment of body function’ threshold.” Therefore, the injury must affect the trajectory of the person’s life as a whole and is a tough standard to meet.

The new standard set up by the court requires that a person’s ability to lead their life must only be affected and not necessarily destroyed. Further, the court specifically explained that the injury need not be permanent. Thus, the recently enacted standard given by the court gives much more protection to those injured in a car accident. The injury no longer has to affect the entire trajectory of a person’s life. In the McCormick case specifically, because the injury diminished some of the plaintiff’s capacity to live in his pre-incident state, he was found to have a “serious impairment of body function.”

Now is good time to sit down with your child for a refresher course on stranger safety. If your child is approached by a stranger, they will have a better chance of avoiding a significantly dangerous situation.

The following are tips to help keep your children safe:

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The MI Supreme Court once again took another bite out of premises liability cases, this time claiming that even a business invitee with a contractual right to enter a fitness center as a member, did not have a cause of action, after sustaining injuries due to an icy sidewalk.

The Plaintiff claimed that the condition was unavoidable because she had a business interest in entering the premises as a gym member. However, the Court held that because of Michigan’s geographic location, it makes it prone to winter, ice and snow. Thereby, holding that ice on a sidewalk was once again an open and obvious danger.
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On December 4, 2007 Richard G. was thrown from a vehicle occupied by several people who had stolen plumbing supplies from his truck. Not surprisingly those individuals fled the scene and were never identified.

Following the accident, Mr. G. was transported by EMS to the Detroit Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a Closed Head Injury and multiple facial fractures. The staff noted that he was speaking in full sentences, but not making sense. On CT multiple comminuted fractures were seen to the lateral wall of the right orbit, posterolateral and anterolateral walls of the right maxillary sinus with multiple fracture fragments seen within the right maxillary sinus, comminuted fractures to the right zygomaticarch and pterygoid plate. Mr. G. underwent reconstructive surgery (Open reduction internal fixation of right zygomaticomaxillary fracture done through intraoral approach). He was discharged with a diagnosis of Moderate traumatic brain injury secondary to motor vehicle collision with the patient as the pedestrian with Mild difficulty in walking.

Despite his severe and extensive injuries Mr. G’s insurance company terminated his benefits after it sent him to several doctors that it frequently uses to obtain favorable reports. Not surprisingly each of these frequently used doctors said that Richard had made a full and complete recovery. Richard came to the firm several years after the accident and more than a year after his insurance benefits had been terminated by his insurance company.
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