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Personal Injury Law Archives

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.

A Small Victory for Consumers?

About two weeks ago I filed the final brief in a case now pending in front of the Minnesota Court of Appeals entitled Nichols v. Cimbura. In that case the defendant had T-boned Mr. Nichols' almost new vehicle at relatively high speeds, causing a little over $11,000 worth of damage. Although the body shop was able to do a wonderful job with the repairs, even after those excellent repairs Mr. Nichols discovered that his vehicle was now worth about $5000 less than it would have been had it never been involved in the collision, due to the fact that the crash caused frame damage as well as damage to some of the safety components of the vehicle. As we all know, a vehicle that has been severely damaged in a collision is usually worth substantially less than the same vehicle which had never been involved in a collision.

The Future of the Automobile Industry?

In this past Monday's Star Tribune was an article reprinted from the Los Angeles Times. It discussed an analysis of the automobile industry by the giant investment bank, Morgan Stanley. The author of the study concluded that the automobile industry as we know it will not be recognizable in the not-too-distant future. The 2 factors that are going to cause this disruption are the sharing economy and autonomous driving. According to Morgan Stanley, the $10 trillion worldwide automotive industry is in for a huge shakeup due to these factors.

DROWSY DRIVING = DRUNK DRIVING

In this month's issue of the Costco magazine is an article about the dangers of driving while fatigued.  After 20 hours without sleep the average person performs as someone with a blood-alcohol level of .08 would. There were some other statistics that bear repeating here: