Earlier this month on the Washington DC Metro, one woman died, and at least 84 others were injured when a Metro car filled with smoke. According to one news report, subway riders were escorted off the train through a tunnel, but not before dozens were exposed to the dangerous smoke.

subway-1445762-mEvidently, the incident occurred near the L’Enfant Plaza station at around 3:30 in the afternoon. One witness told reporters that suddenly smoke started pouring in from between the doors, filling the cabin in seconds. He went on to tell reporters that, while some of the passengers were fine, others started to react quickly and severely to the smoke in the cabin.

The cause of the smoke remains unknown, but it is assumed that it was nothing more than a fire and not any act of terrorism or other criminal act. Regardless, for the family of the one woman who died, and the many others who were seriously injured, the exact cause of the accident is not what is immediately important.

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Earlier last year, the family of an elderly couple who died as a result of eating tainted meatloaf sued the restaurant where the couple ordered their final meal. According to a report by one local news source, the couple ordered the takeout meatloaf dinner from a West Virginia Bob Evan’s restaurant.

meat-219988-mEvidently, back in October 2012 the couple ordered a take out meatloaf and hours later became “violently ill.” The emergency room staff confirmed that the couple “suffered from food poising from consuming the tainted meal from Bob Evans.”

Both husband and wife were moved to a rehabilitation facility after the husband suffered a stroke just two days after falling ill. After another two months, the woman died while in the rehabilitation facility. Her husband died a few months later. The lawsuit filed by their children allege that their declining condition, ultimately resulting in their early death, was caused by the tainted meatloaf they consumed at the Bob Evan’s restaurant.

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A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Chicago rejected a proposed settlement between a number of plaintiffs and the National College Athletic Association (NCAA). The claims against the NCAA were based on the alleged failure of the Association to adequately protect student athletes from head injuries such as concussions.

hoops-742127-mAccording to a recent article, the proposed settlement totaled $75 million, of which $70 million was designated to test current and former athletes in both contact and non-contact sports for head injuries, and another $5 million was set aside for further research on related issues. However, the judge rejected the proposed settlement because he was concerned that the agreed-upon figure was not adequate to cover the concerns of the parties.

The judge’s chief concern was that the proposed group covered “every athlete for all time,” and that the $70 million would not be sufficient for the medical monitoring portion of the settlement. He suggested either that the group of eligible athletes be redefined to a more “manageable” number, or that the portion of the settlement designated for medical monitoring increase.

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Back in June 2012, a lawsuit was filed against the NFL by a group of almost 2,000 players, alleging that the league failed to inform players of the link between concussions and brain injuries. Back in August of last year, the group of players—that had at that point reached 4,500 in number—came to an agreement with league officials.

football-american-texture-451055-mUnder the terms of that deal, the group of players would receive $765 million to help pay for medical exams, concussion-related compensation, medical research for retired NFL players and their families, and litigation expenses. However, the judge assigned to the case declined to approve the settlement, holding that she didn’t think it was enough money.

According to a recent article by USA Today, the federal judge overseeing the case is again reviewing a potential deal between the players and the league. This time, the proposed settlement would provide for up to $4 million for the families of players who were diagnosed after their death with the brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy. In addition, the proposed settlement would provide between $1.5 million and $3 million to players who are alive and suffering from various brain-related disorders, including dementia.

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Earlier this month, police arrested and charged a man who was involved in a series of hit-and-run accidents across Washington DC. According to a recent report by the Capital Gazette, the man was charged with 18 counts, including drunk driving and multiple charges of failure to remain at the scene following an accident.

burnout-409860-mLuckily, many of the vehicles the man ran into were unoccupied, but one person was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma as a result of the injuries he sustained. Evidently, the hit-and-run spree began around 6:15 in the evening in the area of Juliana Circle and Newtowne Drive, when a black Jeep sideswiped an unoccupied Nissan that was parked on the side of the road.

After that initial collision, the Jeep continued on down Newtowne Drive. As the driver was negotiating a curve, however, he ran head-on into a city bus. The driver then put the vehicle in reverse, ran over the curb and through a fence, and pulled away, hitting the bus again on the way out.

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Earlier this week in the Washington DC suburb of Gaithersburg, a plane crash took the lives of six people. Three of the accident victims were on board the plane, and three others were in a home that the plane crashed into. According to a report by one local news source, the plane was about a mile away from the Montgomery County Airport when the fatal crash occurred.

general-and-business-aviation-1380775-mEvidently, the plane had left North Carolina earlier that morning, and it is believed that the plane was heading to Maryland and was about to land when the crash occurred. For some unknown reason, the plane went down before it could safely land. As it did, the plane crashed into a two-story home, demolishing one of the exterior walls and starting a large fire that spread throughout a neighborhood. Sadly, reports indicate that one young mother and her two children were killed in their home as the plane came down. It is not clear if they were killed in the crash itself or in the resulting fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration arrived at the scene shortly after the accident and is conducting its own in-depth investigation.

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Earlier this month, the family of a Buddhist monk who was killed in a car accident back in 2008 reached a settlement with a drunk driver’s insurance company for $625,000. According to a report by one local news source, the accident occurred on Route 28 North when an Isuzu crossed over the center median and struck a Lincoln Towncar shortly after 10:15 in the evening. The two vehicles collided head-on.

drinking-in-the-night-323357-mEvidently, all four people in the Towncar required medical treatment, as did the driver of the Isuzu and his passenger. Sadly, two days after the accident one of the men in the Towncar passed away from his injuries. He happened to be a Buddhist monk in a temple in Catlett.

The man’s family brought suit against the driver of the Isuzu, claiming that it was his decision to drive drunk that took the life of their loved one. Criminal charges were also filed against the driver, ultimately resulting in his receiving a sentence of 16 years’ incarceration. His sentence was ordered to be suspended after eight years in subsequent proceedings.

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Earlier this year, a Maryland man was punched in the face by singer and performer Chris Brown outside a W Hotel. According to a report by the Washington Post, the altercation began after Brown took a picture with the assault victim.

powerful-701057-mEvidently, during the criminal trial against both Brown and his bodyguard, it came out that the two men both hit the victim in the face during the confrontation. When the civil suit was first filed, the assault victim was seeking $3 million in damages for his injuries. However, according to statements by the man’s attorney, the settlement they most recently reached is around $100,000, although the exact amount is confidential.

When Brown was arrested for the assault, he was taken into jail because the assault constituted a violation of the probation order he was given back in 2009 for the assault of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. After serving four months in jail while the current case was resolved, the judge decided to let Brown out on time served.

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Earlier this month in the DC area, an Annapolis woman was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after she crashed into two bicyclists, seriously injuring one of them. According to a report by CBC DC, the accident occurred back in June 28 on the Governor Ritchie Highway.

girl-silhouette-1122906-mEvidently, for an unknown reason the woman veered out of her lane and drove onto the right shoulder, which is designated as the Baltimore & Annapolis trail. Once she crossed into the right shoulder, she hit two bicyclists who were riding on the trail, a 28-year-old and a 27-year-old. Both of the victims were flown to Shock Trauma.

One of the victims was released shortly after she was admitted. However, the other victim was held in the hospital for almost a month before staff felt that she was in good enough condition to return home.

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In Washington DC, the current state of the law prevents any accident victim from recovering for his or her injuries if he or she is found to be at all at fault for the accident resulting in his or her injuries. This means that even if an accident victim is found to be just 1% at fault, the law in Washington DC would prevent him or her from recovering from a defendant who was 99% at fault. This is the law of contributory negligence.


However, according to a recent article by the Washington Post, there is a new bill pending in the legislature that would shift the current contributory-negligence scheme to a comparative-fault system. As of right now, Washington DC is one of only a handful of jurisdictions that uses a comparative-fault system. Most other states have moved away from the strict system in recent years.

Under comparative fault, an accident victim’s damages get reduced by the percent that he or she is found to be at fault for the accident. For example, if an accident victim is found to be 5% at fault, and the jury determines that the damages should be $1,000,000, the plaintiff’s total damages would be reduced by 5%, or $50,000. That would leave the plaintiff with a total recovery amount of $950,000 under a comparative-fault system. Under a contributory-negligence system, however, the plaintiff would recover nothing.

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