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Anoka Personal Injury Law Blog

CONCUSSION BRAIN SCANS

One of the major obstacles in presenting and proving that somebody has sustained a permanent brain injury from a concussion is that such brain damage does not show up on a typical MRI or CT scan, much less an x-ray. However, some recent developments have provided some exciting evidence in this regard. There is something called DTI imaging which is a software program that can provide a picture of the disruption in a human brain caused by concussions. The software program works in combination with a very high tech MRI scan using something called a 3T MRI scanner. The results can actually produce a three dimensional image showing the human brain and showing the areas which are not functioning properly as a result of the injury. There are a select few facilities in the entire United States which have and understand this technology. Most recently here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area a well-known medical imaging facility has acquired this scanning capability and has made arrangements with doctors in California and Alaska who can interpret the results.

Crash Avoidance Technology Underused

In the Star Tribune newspaper this past Thanksgiving day was an article about crash avoidance technology in automobiles and the fact that auto manufacturers have not made it standard equipment yet, despite overwhelming evidence that it is cheap and incredibly effective.

Distracted Driving Seems to be Getting Worse

In today's Star Tribune on page B5 they noted that 2 pedestrians who had been hit in Minneapolis this week had died. Both of these individuals were struck in broad daylight and neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in either crash. Why aren't people paying more attention when they are driving? How much carelessness is necessary to kill someone? Apparently not much. How should the families of these individuals be compensated? Should they be compensated less for their losses because the careless driver was just a little bit careless? Or should they be compensated for the full amount of the harm and the losses caused by the carelessness no matter if it was really, really careless or just a little bit careless?

Trampoline Park Injuries

In this morning's Minneapolis Star Tribune there was an article about trampoline park injuries. As these parks have grown in popularity, the number of emergency room visits has also increased dramatically. In the five years ending in 2014 emergency room visits went from 581 in 2010 to 6932 in 2014.

Distracted Driving Deaths Jump


In today's Star Tribune the headline on page 1 read as above. The article went on to note that there was a 21% increase in 2015 in traffic deaths in Minnesota attributed to distracted driving. Perhaps more worrisome is the fact that traffic deaths went up in 2015 over 2014. The good news was that speeding related fatalities were reduced by 17%. Donna Berger, director of the Office of Traffic Safety for the state of Minnesota was interviewed and commented that distractions can come in many forms including eating, grooming, picking up a dropped item or trying to monitor kids in the back seat. It isn't all about texting and driving.

JESSE'S VANISHING VERDICT

In yesterday's Minneapolis Star Tribune There was an article reporting that the appeals court had dismantled former governor Jesse Ventura's $1 million + verdict against the estate of Chris Kyle, who had written his autobiography, "American Sniper". Jesse claimed that in the book the author had written certain things about Jesse which were untrue and which harmed his reputation amongst the Seal community. The verdict had been approved by the trial judge but the appeals court decided that the trial judge was wrong and took away the majority of the verdict on the grounds that the damages that were awarded for unjust enrichment were not allowed by Minnesota law. They took away the rest of the verdict (about $500,000) on the specious grounds that the mere mention of insurance in the trial had been enough to prejudice the jury into reaching a verdict that they otherwise would not have.
It is important to note that the trial judge, who was there and had an opportunity to observe the jury, concluded that the mention of insurance wasn't prejudicial. Yet three judges on the appeals panel WHO WEREN'T THERE decided that it was.
As a practical matter everyone knows there's insurance at the bottom of almost every lawsuit. These three judges know that as well. This was just an excuse for them to get rid of a verdict that they didn't like. Judges and appellate court judges use this insurance fiction for this purpose more than people might think. It is, in my opinion, utter nonsense.

Cars v. Pedestrians

In today's Star Tribune there was a short article noting that a van hit a woman in a crosswalk and killed her.  It happened on Tuesday at about 4:15 PM.  Her name has not been released yet.  Staggeringly, this is the 65th pedestrian to be hit THIS YEAR IN ST. PAUL ALONE! 

BUYING A NEW CAR? READ THIS

Three days ago I got a phone call from a gentleman whose three-year-old minivan had been totaled in a crash, not his fault. Because he had financed the vehicle over six years, he still owes over $12,000 on the vehicle, yet has been told that he will only get $9000 for replacement cost because that is all the vehicle is worth.

Stacking the Deck, Part 2

Following up to yesterday's blog on unfair arbitration clauses, in today's Star Tribune there was an article about a Senate bill introduced by Sen. Franken, cosponsored by 15 other senators, designed to put an end to these stealth arbitration provisions. In the article the senator noted that these clauses are one-sided and effectively eliminate a person's right to sue. The United States Chamber of Commerce responded with the argument that such arbitration clauses really do the consumer a favor because the alternative is personal injury lawyers starting class actions in which the personal injury lawyers make a lot of money and the injured consumers make very little. While that's true, the present system with these stealth arbitration clauses is even worse. A simple example serves to prove this. Suppose you are consumer and your bank has ripped you off with illegal fees to the tune of some $30. Let's say the bank has 2 million customers that they have done this to. That means the bank ripped people off to the tune of some $60 million. These stealth arbitration clauses usually prevent injured customers from banding together as a class to get their money back, which means you would have to start your own arbitration proceeding to get $30. 99.999% of the population won't do that, and the banks know it. So under the present system the bank walks off with $6 million in stolen money. A class-action lawsuit would force the bank to give back the $6 million, and that's why they don't like them.

Stacking the Deck of Justice

Just last week the New York Times published a very well researched article on the subject of forced arbitration clauses being inserted into contracts by corporate America for the purpose of eliminating a consumer's right to sue. These forced arbitration clauses are in virtually every contract that everyone has to sign to get things like cell phones, credit cards, or a bank account. Naturally the worst offenders are the brokerage houses, credit card companies, and banks too big to fail. You can view the article by clicking here. It's called "Stacking the Deck of Justice" for good reason.