Articles Posted in Personal Injury News

When the news involving Astroworld, a two-day music festival in Houston, broke out earlier this month, people all over the country were shocked to hear that at least eight people had been killed in the tragic incident. In Washington, D.C., music festivals, concerts, and events of similar size take place each year and bring crowds that could involve thousands of people. In the event that crowd control or event planning safety protocols fail and you are injured, understanding how you may recover and protect yourself is crucial.

Based on a recent report of the incident, at least eight people were killed and dozens were injured during Astroworld. According to initial reports, a large crowd began pushing toward the front of the stage during artist Travis Scott’s performance, and the true cause of the surge remains under investigation. There were more than 50,000 people assembled at the festival when the injuries took place. Local authorities noted that the Astroworld tragedy was one of the deadliest crowd control disasters in the United States since potentially 1979, where a similar situation in Cincinnati left 11 people dead.

Despite various reports of chaos near the stage and videos showing the crowd pleading for help, concert organizers opted to not shut down the event too quickly. Nearly 40 minutes after city officials reported that the “mass casualty event” began did concert organizers stop the event—only thirty minutes earlier than planned.

On any given day, the streets of Washington, D.C. are filled with the excitement of passing cars, e-scooters, and bicyclists, to name a few – all of whom are sharing the roads. Until recently, D.C. offered little protection to “vulnerable users” injured while traveling on the road. Washington D.C. is one of the four states that still abides by contributory negligence. Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, and North Carolina are the other three states following contributory negligence rules.

In states with contributory negligence laws, individuals are barred from recovering compensation for their injuries in an accident if they contribute to causing the accident, even if they are only one percent at fault for the accident. Such laws have historically made it more difficult for individuals injured in accidents to receive compensation even when the other involved party has acted negligently. However, in December 2020, the D.C. Council passed a new law that offers more protection to vulnerable users of a public highway or sidewalk.

Under the new law which is titled the Vulnerable User Collision Recovery Amendment Act, a vulnerable user is defined as anyone “using an all-terrain vehicle, bicycle, dirt bike, electric mobility device, motorcycle, motorized bicycle, motor-driven cycle, non-motorized scooter, personal mobility device, skateboard or other similar devices.” The law puts a limit on the contributory negligence rule in accidents involving motor vehicles and electric mobility devices.

In some Washington, D.C. personal injury cases, there are complex issues beyond the understanding of the common juror. Typically, these issues involve the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and how they are traceable to the defendant’s conduct. In such cases, courts allow parties to call expert witnesses – often doctors – whose expertise can help the jury understand and contextualize the evidence.

Typically, when one party plans on calling an expert witness, the other side will also call an expert witness to offer a contrary position. This situation is referred to as the “battle of the experts,” because the outcome of the case may very well come down to which expert is more believable in the eyes of the jury. Thus, the decision of which expert to call is a critical determination that can make or break an accident victim’s case.

In a recent personal injury opinion released by a federal appellate court, the court discussed what a plaintiff must establish to present an expert witness. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured in an on-the-job accident involving a machine used to crush automobiles and other large pieces of machinery. The plaintiff filed a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the crusher.

In 2016, the National Safety Council estimated that roughly 40,000 people were killed in motor vehicle accidents across the country. According to an insurance industry news source, this represents a 6% increase in fatalities over the previous year and reflects the highest number of deaths since 2007. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported similar numbers, with an 8% increase in traffic deaths year-over-year.

In fact, since 2007, the number of traffic deaths has dropped dramatically. It was not until 2014 that the rate of traffic deaths started to slowly increase. However, since 2014, there has been a 16% increase in the number of traffic deaths.

Those who conducted the study point to several non-problematic factors that contributed to the sharp increase, including reasonable gasoline prices and a healthy economy. However, the researchers note that even taking these factors into account, the year-over-year total increase in miles traveled was only a 3% increase. This suggests that other factors are also in play.

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For several years now, Google has been developing self-driving cars that do not require the attention of a human driver to get to the final destination. According to one news source, these vehicles have recently undergone some safety testing, and the results may be surprising. The self-driving cars are involved in fewer accidents than those operated by people.

According to the news source, Google recently released a comprehensive report indicating all the accidents that the self-driving cars have been involved in. The report indicates that the robotic cars have driven about 1.8 million miles in total and that they have been involved in 12 accidents, none of which were the fault of the robot that was “behind the wheel.”

Most of the accidents, the report claims, were caused by another driver rear-ending the self-driving car. Evidently, another accident was caused when a human-driven car veered out of its lane on the highway and drifted into the self-driven vehicle. Yet another accident occurred when a driver rolled through a stop sign and plowed into the side of the robotic car. The one accident that was determined to be the robotic car’s fault was not when the robot was in control, but when a Google employee took the car to run an errand and rear-ended the vehicle while he was in control.

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