May 2016 - Kamerow Law
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Criminals Trespassed on My Land; Now They Are Suing Me

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Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 703-370-8088
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Criminals Trespassed on My Land; Now They Are Suing Me

Landowners owe a duty of care to everyone in society who might enter upon the land. Generally, a duty of care is a standard of diligence in ensuring that one’s own affairs do not harm others. In the case of a landowner, this duty means managing risk of hazards arising out of defects or natural characteristics of the land or buildings standing on it. The fact that a person enters land pursuant to criminal activity does not relinquish the owner of a duty, but it does modify that standard of care owed.

One example of a duty of care imposed on a landowner is a loose or broken floorboard on a wooden porch that will not support the weight of a person. Once a landowner becomes aware of such a defect, that landowner then knows that failure to fix it puts others at risk because an entrant upon the porch might unwittingly step on the defective floorboard which will abruptly give way, allowing the entrant’s leg to fall unexpectedly within the structure of the porch causing injury.

The standard of care owed to entrants upon land depends on the status of the entrant, as defined by the circumstances surrounding the visit.

Invitee

When a property is open to the public for purposes of business, the owner solicits the presence of guests with whom to transact or hire. These guests are classified as invitees, and are owed the highest level of care.

The owner of land owes these entrants the diligence not only to maintain the safe condition of accessible portions of the property, but also to inspect and detect conditions likely to produce danger.

Water spilled on a marble floor creates a slippery surface capable of producing the slip and fall of one who walks on it. A spontaneous spill does not, by itself, produce liability for a landowner, but a puddle of water that is allowed to remain on a path frequented by invitees can constitute the breach of duty for a landowner to provide a safe environment.

Licensee

When the owner of land receives visitors for pleasure, such as a social visit from friends, these visitors are considered licensees. This class of visitors is owed a lesser standard of care while occupying the property of another. A landowner must warn licensees of dangerous conditions existent on the property and provide reasonable protection, so long as the conditions are known to the owner, but does not have the duty to inspect and detect dangerous conditions.

Trespasser

Those who enter land either without permission from the owner or against the express warning of the owner not to enter commit an act that incurs both criminal and civil liability. Such entrants are known as trespassers. Landowners owe the lowest standard of care to trespassers, yet a duty is still owed. Owners of land must neither create nor maintain conditions likely to create death or great bodily harm to others.

An example of breach of duty to a trespasser is a pit created by the landowner that the landowner surreptitiously and maliciously covered by false, unsupportive turf.

Even if the pit is naturally occurring and no steps are taken to hide its danger, a breach of duty could arise if the owner either knows or has cause to know that trespassers frequent the area and that the characteristics of the pit create danger. Given such notice, the landowner must either warn or ameliorate the danger. If children are involved as trespassers, the standard of care is even higher and involves the duty to either recognize or foresee the presence of child trespassers as well as to detect the dangerous condition, itself.

Contact Legal Representation Today

If you or a loved one is involved in a dispute related to personal injury suffered as a result of a condition claimed to be a landowner’s breach of duty, contact the Kamerow Law Firm for a free and confidential initial consultation or by calling our office at 703-370-8088. We are eager to provide you with professional representation in your case. 

 

How Do Motorcycle Accidents Differ from Those Involving Cars?

Motorcycles are widely known to be dangerous for those who ride them. Though not always effective, the passenger compartment coupled with seatbelts in a car acts as a protective cage and restraint to shield occupants from impact with the pavement and other vehicles. The lacks of these protections mean that riders and passengers on motorcycles face unmitigated impact with speeding cars and asphalt—a losing proposition for flesh and bone. A collision pattern involving two cars resulting in minor property damage and no injury can cause total destruction of the motorcycle and great bodily injury or death to the rider. Further, some might not consider the danger motorcycles pose to motorists in cars as well. In any case, motorcycle accidents should not be taken lightly. 

High Side Crash

Since a motorcycle has only two wheels, front to back stability stands alone, without the side to side stability inherent in four-wheel configuration. This means that bikes can easily fall to one side if not properly managed by the rider.

Abrupt braking or slippery road conditions might cause a car to fishtail, and they achieve the same effect with a motorcycle. However, when the angle between the direction of travel and orientation of the bike becomes too great, the friction of the tires on pavement slows the tires yet the rest of the bike and rider above the ground continue to move forward. This results in the bike and its rider being slammed to the ground.

Low Side Crash

When motorcycles take corners or curves, they lean. The lean offsets the force pulling the bike and rider toward the outside of the curve, and the amount of the lean increases with speed. When a rider is leaning into a curve and either leans too far for the speed or the bike rolls over slippery surfaces such as oil of gravel, the tires slide toward the outside of the curve instead of gripping the pavement, and the bike goes down. A low side crash is usually the least catastrophic type of accident involving a motorcycle.

As with any type of traffic accident, one crash can spawn another. Regardless of type of accident, motorcycle riders crashing on the roadway become vulnerable to being run over or hit by cars not even involved in the initial accident even moments after the initial incident. Furthermore, downed riders, wrecked motorcycles, and pieces thereof become instant hazards on the roadway and force other motorists to avoid them, often with little time or space within which to react. This can cause secondary crashes.

Motorcycles in the sport bike class are designed for extreme speed, acceleration, and cornering agility. At times, those who wish not merely to commute between points, but rather those who wish to stunt and achieve thrills ride these bikes. Excessive speed on stunts performed on the public roadway along other motorists’ amount to reckless behavior and gives rise to civil liability.

Contact A Legal Representative

Traffic crashes can be devastating in terms of both property damage and personal injury for anybody involved, even those in passenger cars. Riding a motorcycle requires a special endorsement on the rider’s driver license, without which, the rider is riding both illegally and negligently. If you or a loved one has been involved in a traffic crash involving a motorcycle, learn your rights. Contact the Kamerow Law Firm for assistance with your case by calling 703-370-8088.

My Doctor Treated me; Now I Suffer from Permanent Injury

When people suffer from ailments and seek treatment from doctors, it is inevitable that things could go wrong. Doctors might make mistakes in treating, diagnosing, or failing to treat and diagnose. Sometimes, however, even the most diligent efforts by modern medical professionals fail to heal ills. Some of these kinds of mistakes fall under the label of “Medical Malpractice.” 

Duty Of Care

Duty is a legal term referring to a standard of care owed by one person to another.

Many doctors take an oath, in part, to exercise reasonable care in diagnosing and treating patients. This oath is a formality that establishes a duty on the part of the doctor to enact a reasonable amount of diligence in caring for patients. Even without swearing to an oath, doctors, by virtue of accepting the job, owe a duty of care to patients. In other words, when a person becomes a doctor, that person takes on certain responsibility to treat patients with diligent efforts. The same is true of police officers, ambulance medics, teachers, school bus drivers, and many other roles in society, though the actual duties vary. This duty imposed on doctors exists because a special relationship is formed between doctor and patient, upon which the patient relies.

Breach Of Duty

When a doctor fails to enact reasonable measures to diagnose and treat illness, that doctor breaches the duty owed to the patient. This situation is known as malpractice. Malpractice can result either from carelessness or from unreasonable mistake.

Customary Procedures

A component of the reasonableness of care in treating and diagnosing patients arises out of the use of customary techniques that are recognized by organizations such as the American Medical Association, and are established as industry standards by doctors across the United States.

Certain symptoms require certain testing and investigative techniques, and failure to use these techniques can constitute malpractice if the omission to test or investigate results in the harmful progression of a disease. A common example is the failure of a doctor to recognize that an obvious growth exists within a person’s body, and to test that growth for malignancy. If the growth is cancerous and the person dies later as a result of cancer, this is a clear example of malpractice.

Just as with diagnosing, customary treatment plans exist. Upon recognizing an illness, doctors must enact reasonable care in treating that illness, if such a plan exists. If a doctor recognizes a lump within a person’s body, properly tests and discovers malignancy, then decides to treat the cancer by applying leeches to the skin over the growth, this would likely give rise to a case in medical malpractice if the cancer progresses and causes harm. In such a case, the doctor ignores established treatment methods that are generally accepted by modern medical professionals nationwide as effective and safe.

Modern medical practices sometimes prove futile in detecting and treating disease, and despite the most diligent efforts, the disease prevails. This is an unfortunate reality and no person can be held culpable.

Get Legal Representation

If you or a loved one has suffered from the worsening of an illness or from collateral ailment after receiving medical treatment, it is possible that malpractice was the cause. Determining the existence of malpractice requires the skill of an experienced lawyer. Demand just compensation for the harm suffered. Contact the attorneys at The Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation by calling 703-370-8088.

 

What Legal Recourse Do I Have If I Get Food Poisoning?

According to the Virginia Department of Health, the commonwealth of Virginia has over 25,000 establishments licensed to serve food to the public. Ranging from mobile food trucks frequenting worksites to the most elegant restaurants, each is subject to standards of sanitation and quality as defined by the VDH.

While food establishments usually have goals in accordance with the desires of the consumer, (i.e. to serve safe and good tasting food creating the return of customers,) inevitably some food will prove harmful.

Foreign/Natural Test

While eating cherries, one must be aware of the presence of pits within. This is the concept behind the doctrine used by Virginia in determining whether liability arises out of the presence of harmful materials in food.

The test simply determines whether the harmful material appearing on a plate is foreign to the food or a naturally occurring part of it, despite the fact that the material should not be present in the plate of prepared and served food.

To illustrate, consider a bowl of chicken soup served at a restaurant. If a consumer chokes on a chicken bone in the soup, the bone is considered to be natural to the chicken soup. In other words, the bone is a naturally occurring part of the chicken used to make the soup. It is reasonable that, despite efforts to the contrary, every so often a chicken bone will find its way into a bowl of chicken soup served. The consumer in this case, will be considered to have assumed the risk of coming across a bone while eating a bowl of chicken soup, and will have no legal recourse for choking on a chicken bone in a bowl of soup, but rather, should employ initial vigilance to prevent it.

On the other hand, if a pebble is present in a bowl of chicken soup, this represents an obvious breach of the duty of restaurant workers to ensure quality and safety of the food prepared. A pebble is not a natural part of one of the ingredients of chicken soup, and its presence within can occur only out of negligence of the duty to prepare safe and healthy food.

Harm Caused By Contaminated Food

Despite the most diligent of efforts, errors might sometimes occur during the process of preparation and food might sometimes carry harmful bacteria such as Ecoli and salmonella. The presence of these pathogens can arise out of improper cooking procedures, contact with raw meats, or contact with surfaces recently making contact with raw meats. It can also emerge from improper storage of foods.

Foreign objects in food can cause immediate choking as well as harm to the digestive tract after being swallowed.

The presence of harmful germs or foreign matter in food served in licensed establishments is often the result of failure to comply with regulatory procedures as enforced by the VDH, and can create civil liability.

Seek Legal Assistance

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or illness as a result of contaminated food, protect your rights. Demand compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Contact the Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC at (703) 370-8088 for a free and confidential initial consultation.