Articles Posted in Third Party Liability

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In a recent case, a plaintiff brought a wrongful death claim against the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and construction contractors on behalf of her parents who died in a car accident. According to the court’s written opinion, in October 2011, the plaintiff was driving behind her parents’ car on a Georgia interstate when a vehicle hit the side of her parents’ car, which then veered off the road, hit the guardrails and a concrete bridge piling and burst into flames.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury case, claiming that the construction contractors who did construction work were liable for her parents’ deaths. The trial court dismissed the case, but the plaintiff appealed. She argued in part that the construction contractors were liable because the GDOT had not accepted the contractors’ work and reassumed control of the site before the accident occurred.

In 2010, the GDOT had entered into a contract with two construction companies to resurface the asphalt along a portion of the highway. A fence and guardrail company was supposed to complete improvements to the guardrails as well. The construction contractors completed the work, and the GDOT inspected the project and issued a maintenance acceptance letter with regard to the project. The final inspection was completed in November 2010. Then GDOT issued a maintenance acceptance letter in December 2011, and in the letter, reassumed control of the highway portion on January 4, 2011.

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Vacation season is coming up, which means many will soon be getting a much-needed escape from the winter blues! But vacation time also presents plenty of opportunities for motor vehicle accidents, break-ins, identity theft, and assault. To avoid falling victim to any vehicular injuries or crimes this vacation season, read our four foolproof tips for staying safe while vacationing.

Drive safely

If you’re going on a road trip with family or friends, take precautions to ensure a safe drive to your destination. This includes sleeping well the night before, avoiding distractions on the road, and always keeping your seat belt buckled. In the event of an accident, remain calm and contact the local authorities to file a report. Read our blog post on safe travels for more cautionary tips.

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Last week, in Charleston, West Virginia, thousands of gallons of a chemical used to clean coal leaked into a river that provides water to more than 300,000 people. Hundreds of thousands of Charleston residents were without water for more than four days, leading to a shortage in bottled water, as people flocked to the stores for water to drink, cook with, and brush their teeth with. Many people’s daily routines were disrupted, as schools and businesses were forced to close for several days.

The leak was first reported Thursday morning, and was caused by the chemical MCHM leaking through a 1-inch hole in a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries, Inc., a company that supplies products to the coal mining industry. Already, 18 lawsuits have been filed against Freedom Industries and West Virginia American Water Co., a water processing plant, which failed to deal with the contamination promptly and had no established procedures to prevent chemicals from getting into the water system.

PRWeb reports that West Virginia residents filed a proposed class-action suit against Freedom Industries and West Virginia American Water Company, alleging that they endured damage to property, personal injuries, loss of income, and a nuisance because of the water contamination. Restaurants and other businesses whose operations rely on running water are also suing to recover lost income, after the contamination caused them to close for several days. A dialysis patient whose kidney transplant was delayed due to a lack of clean water has filed a lawsuit, as well. The suits are diverse in nature, but almost all name Freedom Industries as the main defendant, accusing the company of negligence and causing a public nuisance.

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A Pennsylvania woman died days after she was struck by a power line that fell into her yard. Carrie Goretzka stepped outside to call 911 about the line and was shocked and burned by a live electrical wire that fell from trees. Rescue workers were unable to administer treatment until a utility crew came to cut off the power.

Goretzka’s family filed a lawsuit against the utility company, West Penn Power, and its related companies. It contends the companies are liable for Goretzka’s death because utility workers failed to properly maintain the wires that fell near her home.

The family’s attorney, Shanin Specter, says the power line failed at a point where it was spliced. He says workers using a splice device know to use a wire brush to clean oxides from the wires, otherwise overheating will cause the splice to fail.

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The case involving the 2004 explosion of a water heater in Indiana has been settled for $27 million.

The explosion leveled an apartment that was attached to a Morgan County barn, killing one man and critically burning six of his family members.

A year after the incident, the family filed a products liability suit against the water heater company. The jury decided South Central Indiana Rural Electric Membership Corp., RushShelby Energy Rural Electric Cooperative and SCI Propane LLC were 65 percent liable for the accident.

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In 2008, a five-year-old girl drowned in a pool at her after-school program, Little Bridges. The little girl was autistic and blind, and although Little Bridges was fully aware of this, they failed to provide the proper supervision for her.

The father of the California five-year-old filed a wrongful death suit against everyone connected to his little girl’s death, including the local school district. In March he was awarded $400k.

If you or someone you know has experienced suffering from the loss of a loved one please contact McAleer Law today.

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According to, the family of former Lee County Commissioner, who was shot a year ago, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that was monitoring the electronic device that the suspect was ordered to wear.

The company was responsible for monitoring the suspect’s house arrest anklet but did not take action when the suspect violated the terms of house arrest. The Lee County family is alleging negligence on the part of the monitoring company.

If you and your family are experiencing pain and suffering due to a loved one’s death and feel that a third party is responsible for your loss, please contact McAleer Law to get the justice you deserve.

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A recent report warns that metal-on-metal hip implants are failing at an alarming rate. Hip implants such as the DePuy Pinnacle Ultamet and the DePuy Orthopedic ASR, which have been recalled, fail in one-third of patients. Metal-on-metal hip replacement devices were designed to be more durable than traditional hip replacement devices; however, they have a significantly higher early failure rate than hip replacement devices made with ceramic and plastic components.

Artificial hips are typically expected to last 15 years before replacement is needed. Some reports indicate that all-metal hips are failing after only five or six years. Failure of a hip implant device often causes extreme pain and mobility issues, and may require the patient to undergo revision surgery which comes with an added risk of complications.

A concern with all-metal hip replacement devices is that debris can come loose from the joint and be absorbed by the patient’s soft tissue surrounding the joint, creating a condition known as metallosis. The uncertain effects of any release of cobalt and chromium ions into the patient’s blood are also a concern.

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An Ohio jury recently returned a verdict of $5.671 million in favor of a 53-year-old man who sustained severe shoulder injuries as a result of an explosion at an AEP power plant in 2007.

During the trial, the jurors heard testimony that included information about a similar explosion approximately 15 months earlier at an AEP plant in West Virginia. It was found that the plant failed to take any steps to correct that problem. The jury found that the Ohio Power Company, a subsidiary of AEP, acted with a conscious disregard of the plaintiff’s well being.

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