Owner Liability under Dog Bite Laws

Dog bite laws in the US are well-developed, and specific states have their own interpretation of the liability of owners for injuries caused by a pet dog. In a majority of state laws, however, the strict liability doctrine is in place. This means that even if the dog has no previous history of attacking and the owner would not expect anything untoward happening, the owner is still held responsible for damages if the dog does attack.

Some states also have laws that specify only injuries resulting from bites and nothing else, while others will consider liability as long as injury resulted and the dog caused it. In some states, the dog only has to bite once, even if no direct injury occurred. According to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, liability applies even if the dog does not cause any injury at all but scared the claimant so that injury occurred i.e. tripped and broke a leg.

A pet owner can also still be held responsible even if in trying to prevent a dog attack, the owner sustains more serious injuries than the victim.  Still others specify that the law only applies if the dog was not on the owner’s premises or “at large.” Most states qualify a dog attack that was “unprovoked” i.e. the victim was not teasing the dog or trespassing.

In general, however, all dog bite laws require that a person suing for compensation should be able to show proof that:

  • A dog was responsible for the attack and/or injury
  • The defendant is the dog’s registered owner
  • There was no provocation of any type offered the dog by the claimant
  • The claimant was not trespassing and acting in a peaceable manner

Like with any other law, dog bite laws are open to interpretation. If you have been attacked by a dog, you need to know what the dog bite law in your state says are your legal options. Find out by consulting with a competent lawyer specializing in dog bite and personal injury cases.

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The Costs of Car and Truck Accidents

Unintentional injury and death are usually the result of car and truck accidents, some of which are pure happenstance and could not have possible be foreseen. This may be due to an oil slick, a bird striking the windshield, or temporary blindness from a sudden flash of lightning, and it is no one’s fault. About 6.5 million car accidents occurring the U.S.

But when there is negligence involved, one crucial element is changed. There is still no intention to do harm to other people but congruent to certain behavior, harm or injury to oneself and other people is a foreseeable event. For example, it has been proven that there is a high risk of an accident occurring when driving while intoxicated, so choosing to drive while drunk is negligent behavior.  And this can render the negligent driver liable for the costs of injuries or fatalities associated with car or truck accidents.

The costs to vehicular accident victims are not always calculable, but those that can be quantified are quite considerable. Victims of a negligent semi truck accident, for example, may face averages expenses of $9,100 for property damage. For those who sustain nonfatal but disabling injuries, the average cost (which includes medical and administrative expenses as well as income loss) is $78,700, while for each death, the costs average out to $1,420,000.

These figures only account for what can be counted i.e. lost days of work multiplied by daily wage. It does not include intangible costs such as physical pain and suffering, psychiatric consequences, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. Making the negligent party liable for these contributory factors is punitive in nature–much like a prison sentence for crime is a form of punishment that is designed to work as a deterrent. Awards for punitive damages are often much higher than economic damages.

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Dangers in Modern Medical Technology

It is really amazing how far medical technology has come. A century and a half ago, physicians were barely scratching the surface on the concept of antiseptics and anesthesia, and now robots are assisting in surgery!

But in any type of progress, there are always checks. In the case of robotic-assisted surgery, the hitch was two-fold: physician training and design defects. Because it was such a cool thing, hospitals jumped on the bandwagon and forked over the money to have the robots doing surgery in their own operating rooms as a selling point.

But their surgeons needed to be trained on its use, and the learning curve is so steep that it would have taken considerable investment in time and supervision. The manufacturer failed to provide the necessary training with disastrous results for many patients. As an article on the website of Crowe & Mulvey, LLP in Massachusetts points out, while the technology may have benefits, the fact that surgeons had a hard time using it was definitely a drawback. The design defect was also something the manufacturer could have prevented. A problem with one of the robotic arm components caused serious burns during the operation. This is the main reason Intuitive Surgical is facing civil litigation for its Da Vinci Surgical System.

In the case of AlloDerm defects, the problem was more in application rather than design. AlloDerm is a biological material processed from donated tissue to replace the more traditional skin grafts for burn victims. It was originally designed to help burn patients heal faster by encouraging the regeneration of tissue. It worked perfectly well, and has been successfully tapped for use in reconstructive surgery.  But the snag happened when manufacturer LifeCell marketed it for use in hernia repair without performing clinical trials first. Both Intuitive and LifeCell are now paying the price for the breach in their duty of care.

Both the Da Vinci surgical system and AlloDerm are good examples of the medical dangers of shortcuts in modern technology. If you have suffered serious injury because of the negligence of a pharmaceutical company, contact a product liability attorney to find out how you can get compensation.

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The Pros of Selling Minerals Rights

The US is one of the few sovereign nations that allow private citizens the rights to the mineral deposits that may be lurking under the surface of the real property they own, and all that entails. In other words, if there is oil, coal, or natural gas under their residence, then they have the right to whatever it is worth.

However, not all property owners in the US own their mineral rights. It may be that the mineral rights have been severed from the surface rights, and that they may be owned by different people. In such cases, the surface rights owner cannot profit from the lease, royalty agreement, or sale of the mineral rights, and may not deny the mineral rights owner or any authorized entity reasonable access to the land in order to do exploration or extraction of the minerals.

But if you happen to be fortunate enough not to have the mineral rights to your property severed from your surface rights, or you have acquired the mineral rights from the owner, then you have complete control over the disposition of those mineral rights. This means that you may lease or sell the mineral rights as you see fit, or be content with the fact that you will not have anyone coming willy-nilly into your property with drilling and extracting equipment!

With these choices at hand, you may want to consider selling your mineral rights. Although the economy is making a recovery, there are a lot of people who are in debt with the mortgage companies and you may be one of them. Perhaps you have your eye on some stocks or a money-making venture, and need the capital. As the website of The Mineral Auction outs it, you could get the money you need by selling your mineral rights for the right price with no hassle.

The potential profit from mineral rights is pretty hit-and-miss. You could be sitting on a literal gold mine…or not. With a sale, you can get definite cash now rather than gamble on what it may bring in once it is developed, because it could easily be a bust.

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Probable Cause in DWI Defense

One of the essential elements in a DWI investigation is probable cause. There is a protocol that law enforcers have to follow when arresting an individual for driving while intoxicated (DWI) which includes probable cause. A Dallas criminal attorney says on his website that probable cause is the reasonable belief that a crime had been or is in the process of being committed. It is distinct from reasonable suspicion, which is enough to justify the initial stop but not enough for DWI charges unless there is evidence that the driver may be intoxicated, such as the smell of alcohol or an open can of beer on the dashboard.

This is an important distinction from a defense point of view. A law enforcer may be suspicious of unusual driving behavior, and may then pull the vehicle over. However, that is not probable cause. A driver may commit a traffic violation for reasons other DWI. The driver may have been distracted which caused the vehicle to drift across lanes, or may have been in a hurry which would account for speeding or tailgating. In Texas, DWI laws allow officers who have probable cause to search a vehicle or to draw blood for testing without a warrant under certain conditions, and the arrest will stand. This is mostly true during what is called a “no refusal” period, where anyone who refuses to submit a blood sample can be detained.

However, arresting a driver for DWI without probable cause can be the basis for having any subsequent evidence obtained suppressed including any blood or breath tests and the case dismissed. According to an article on the website of the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter in Dallas, police officers in Texas are under a lot of pressure to minimize the incidence of DWI, which may cause them to become overly zealous in making DWI arrests even if they have not established probable cause.

When arrested for DWI when there is no probable cause, it is important to contact a DWI lawyer in the area immediately. It may mean the difference between a dismissal and conviction. As the penalties for a DWI conviction are incredibly harsh, it’s important that you go above and beyond in making sure your defense is solid. It would be beyond a shame to end up imprisoned for a crime you didn’t commit – a beer you did not drink.

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