Articles Posted in Dangerous Properties

Many people suffer injuries at the gym. Maine gym injuries can range from mild, such as pulling a muscle, to more serious injuries causing lifelong disabilities. These injuries can have serious consequences and can result in long-lasting financial, physical, and psychological damages. Individuals who suffer injuries at a Maine gym, yoga studio, fitness club or CrossFit club should contact an attorney to discuss their rights and potential remedies.

Before becoming a member, gyms often require individuals to sign a liability waiver. Waivers typically favor the gym and serve to protect the gym’s financial interest and general reputation. Many Maine fitness clubs do not allow members to join unless they sign a liability waiver; however, these waivers do not always bar lawsuits against the facility. The first step an injury victim should take is evaluating what type of waiver they originally signed. The three most common waivers in gym contracts are total waivers, waivers for negligence, and waiver of liability for intentional acts. These waivers provide different levels of protection to the gym, but each waiver and case is unique, and injury plaintiffs may still be able to hold the gym liable.

For example, recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion stemming from injuries a woman suffered while using a weight machine at the gym. The woman filed a lawsuit against a personal trainer at the gym, alleging that the trainer improperly instructed her on how to use the machine. The trial court found in favor of the defendant, reasoning that the woman signed a waiver releasing the gym and their agents from liability. The woman appealed the ruling and asked for reconsideration based on several issues. The appellate court found that there are issues surrounding whether there was an agency relationship between the personal trainer and the gym. Further, the court found that there were issues regarding whether the membership agreement and waiver extended protection to the personal trainer. Ultimately, the court found in favor of the plaintiff and remanded the case for further proceedings.

The Kennebec Journal reports a man was seriously injured after falling from a pub deck.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight on a Sunday at a pub in Rockland. The 30-year-old Old Town man fell from a 17-foot-high deck and struck his head. He was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and then transferred to Portland, where he was listed in critical condition.

It’s the second such tragedy at the pub. News Channel 5 reported a 25-year-old Rockland man was killed after falling off the deck in June 2015. The Portland wrongful death lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates represented that victim’s family in a wrongful death settlement. That lawsuit was settled, and additional safety precautions were taken, including the removal of the picnic tables from which the first victim fell.

The Press Herald is reporting a 58-year-old pedestrian was killed by a city-owned truck in an accident that occurred on Congress Street shortly before 4 a.m. A dump truck driven by a 49-year-old city employee was carrying a load of snow near the Maine Turnpike overpass when it struck the victim, according to the Portland Police Department. This is one of several snow-related mishaps to make news recently — our injury attorneys in Portland recently blogged about several fatal accidents involving snowmobiles and Maine ski resorts.

Maine pedestrian accidents are a growing concern in urban areas. In this case, the victim’s family may look to either the city or their own auto insurance policy to make a recovery if the victim carried uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

The involvement of a city employee will complicate the victim’s family’s ability to make a recovery. A law firm with significant experience handling cases against municipalities and school boards should always be consulted as soon as possible after a serious or fatal accident involving a government entity.

Our Maine slip and fall lawyers have blogged recently about many winter accident risks, including numerous accidents blamed on black ice. But it’s our elderly residents who are at highest risk of injuries due to dangerous property conditions, particularly fall accidents.

It’s a growing concern in a state increasingly relying upon home care to address the massive increase in elderly residents in the coming years with the retirement of the Baby Boom generation. A proposal for universal home care recently received enough signatures to make it onto the ballot in Maine. If passed, it would pay for hiring a home health worker to care for an elderly or disabled loved one whose relatives work full time.

The Press Herald recently reported Maine lawmakers in Augusta are considering similar legislation. The proposal would increase taxes on high-earners in Maine to raise $310 million a year to pay for the so-called “universal home care.”

A landlord in Cumberland County is facing criminal charges that could carry up to 30 years prison time for a fatal fire in November that killed six people.

In addition to six counts of manslaughter, the landlord is accused of three misdemeanor code violations for failure to have working smoke detectors, have a second escape from an upstairs bedroom and clear stairwells.

These kind of issues, if proven, would provide a strong basis for the pending premises liability lawsuits, which have been filed by several of the victims’ families.

In most areas of law, the legal system does not allow one person to be held responsible for a third-party action of another.

But there are several exceptions, and a few of those relate to a situation unfolding in Rockland, little more than an hour north of Bangor. According to The Bangor Daily News, a pub owner has just had his renewal for an entertainment license rejected. In its decision, council cited repeated noise violations, numerous liquor violations of alcohol being sold to minors and pages and pages of police reports originating from that location.

Neighbors who own property near the pub have made numerous complaints. They say disturbances occur nightly, and they are constantly cleaning up cigarette butts and urine stains from the sides of buildings.

Following the death of a teen girl on a hayride last fall, Maine lawmakers are searching for way to tighten amusement park regulations and restrictions, to ensure similar tragedies never happen again.

Recently, the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee weighed testimony from one lawmaker sponsoring a bill named after the teen that would enhance protections for those who pay money to go on amusement park rides in this state.

The measure, “Cassidy’s Law,” is formally titled LD 1057, An Act to Increase the Safety of Amusement Park Rides. It bears the name of the high school junior who was killed in Mechanic Falls when a 197os-model Jeep hauling a trailer with 20 people on it careened off the trail and into a cluster of trees at a “haunted” hayride offering at a local farm festival.

Tenants in a downtown apartment complex in Brunswick were evacuated from their homes recently when fire department officials deemed the rampant code violations a threat to their safety. According to the Bangor Daily News report, those conditions included:

  • Blocked emergency exits;
  • Non-functioning smoke-detectors;

If you have been in a car accident with a stable object, you may think you cannot recover damages from any other party. But that is not an accurate assessment in allscases.If you have been injured because of a Bangor car accident which was caused by the negligent maintenance of property, you may feel overwhelmed with the thought of how you will collect damages. Having an experienced Bangor injury attorney can give you the peace of mind you need in your case.

Seals v. Morris County is a case arising from a car accident. Seals (plaintiff) was driving his pickup truck on a road in Morris County New Jersey early in the morning. There was snow on the ground, and when the plaintiff tried to step on his brakes, the car continued downhill. The car hit an electric utility pole that was placed several feet from the side of the road. Plaintiff sustained injuries for which he sought damages.

Plaintiff sued Morris County for negligent maintenance of the road he was traveling on, and Jersey Central Power and Light (Electric Co.) for its alleged negligent placement of the electric pole.

The main issues in this case were two-fold. First, the court analyzed whether an electric company could be held liable for negligently placing an electric pole along a public highway. Secondly, whether a county is entitled to claim sovereign immunity where the county was negligent.

This electric pole was placed on county property. The Electric Co. had placed the pole there and had not received any objection to the pole’s placement from the county. There had been previous car accidents that occurred involving the pole which the Electric Co. was made aware of. However, it was company policy at the Electric Co. that the only time it moved electric poles was at the request of the county where the pole is located.

Although the pole was located on county property, the county argued that because there was no Morris County police, the county had no notice that these accidents were occurring there because the municipal police did not notify them. The county further argued that it had not given consent to have that pole placed there, although it had been there for over thirty years.

The Electric Co. argued that although the county had been silent as to the placement of the pole, this silence should be considered assent; thus rendering the Electric Co. immune from the imposition of liability. This argument hinged on state statute that indicates that where a utility company has maintained a utility pole in the same location for ten years, the owner of the land where the pole is placed is presumed to have consented to this placement.

With both the Electric Co. and the county arguing that the other should be held liable under negligence, the court was set decide the matter. Through application of state statute and New Jersey case law, this court held that where a government entity directs a utility company to where utility poles should be placed the utility company is immune from liability. However, the facts of this case indicate that the County had been silent as to the placement of this offending pole thus, conferring ordinary negligence to both the county and the Electric Co.

Thus the rule established in this case is that where a utility company negligently places or maintains an electric pole causing an unreasonable and unnecessary danger to drivers traveling on that road, the utility company can be held liable.

Through this court decision it is seen that the only way a utility company can be immune from liability is where it negligent acts were a result of a direction from a governmental entity.

The issue of whether the county is immune from liability was left to the lower court to determine on remand.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new preliminary data calculating the total number of work injuries in Maine and elsewhere in 2010. The Bureau estimates that nearly 4,550 employees were the victim of a fatal work accident in 2010. The Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) reported that there was a final count of 4,551 on-the-job fatalities recorded in 2009.

The number of fatal work-related injuries in the United States totaled about 3.5 deaths for every 100,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) workers. This is the exact same rate that 2009 produced. Final data for the 2010 year will be released in the Spring of 2012.Our Portland injury attorneys understand that there are many unseen factors that go into the risks of a work accident, including the total number of hours worked and the status of the economy/unemployment rate. The number of hours worked was up in 2010 in comparison to both 2008 and 2009. Industries that are typically high-risk however, were fortunate enough to experience a decline in the number of fatal accidents. These industries also experienced a slow increase in the number of worked hours.

The primarily findings from the 2010 Bureau’s Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries:

-Self-employed workers: Experienced a decline in the number of fatal work injuries by about 6 percent. Less than 1,000 workers died in this industry during the year.

-Private mining industry: Increased of almost 75 percent in the number of fatal work accidents from 2009 to 2010. Nearly 175 workers died in this industry throughout the year giving it a death rate of 19.9 per 100,000 FTEs.

-Private construction industry: Experienced a decrease of roughly 10 percent in 2010. The number of fatal construction-related work accidents has declined by 40 percent since 2006.

-Fatal Injuries caused by fires:sThese incidents have more than doubled from since the previous year. More than 100 fatal work injuries were caused by fires in 2010, which is the highest number recorded since 2003.

-Homicides: Decreased by nearly 10 percent 2010. This is the lowest number that the Bureau has ever recorded. In this category, homicide involving women increased by nearly 13 percent, however.

-Race:sAfrican-American and non-Hispanic workers experienced a 9 percent decline in 2010 in the number of fatal work injuries. Fatal work-related injuries experienced by white workers increase by about 2 percent. Hispanic or Latino workers experienced a decrease of about 4 percent.

-Police officers:sExperienced an increase of about 40 percent, more than 130 law enforcement officers died in 2010.

Employers have a responsibility to keep workers safe. Federal regulations are in place to ensure than these individuals are taking all of the proper precautions to help keep employees safe. Failure to comply with federal recommendations can result in legal consequences, fines, violations, lawsuit or potential shut down.

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