We appreciate trees for their beauty, fruits and the shade they provide, as well as their place in the natural cycle, creating oxygen for us to breathe. One rarely considers the possibility of a tree becoming a killer. Every year, trees fall from wind and accidental collisions, collapse from internal structural issues or massive rains. On occasion, people lose their lives because they are nearby when a tree falls.
Unseen and Unavoidable?
Sometimes, simply driving under a canopy of boulevard trees can prove deadly. Such was the case in September 2011 in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, CA. Eucalyptus trees lining the streets contained hidden internal rot and disease, making them unstable and prone to collapse. A 29-year-old woman lost her life when one of those trees fell on her passing car.
Driver Haeyoon Miller died at the scene of blunt force injuries. Her parents claim the cities knew the trees could experience structural failure because other trees had collapsed in the past. Complicating the case is the cities’ decision to remove the remaining eucalyptus trees in the area following Miller’s death. The family alleges this action may have destroyed evidence that supports their case. They filed suit against the cities March 14, 2012, according to the Orange County Register News.
In another tragic incident, a huge maple tree fell on a family’s truck, trapping them inside for hours and killing their two-year-old son. Continue reading
Construction Company Blames Deceased Operator
Does the law need tightening up with regard to construction site safety? Recent events suggest that it does. Controversy continues over the case of a crane collapse in New York City, which left two workers dead. Incidents of this kind have increased recently, and the reluctance of construction companies to acknowledge responsibility is a growing concern for many people.
The Washington Post reports on the accident in May 2008 on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Joseph Lomma, the owner of the crane, denies responsibility for the collapse that killed Donald Leo, the operator, and Ramadan Kurtaj, a sewer worker who was working across the street.
According to NPR, prosecutors in the case assert that the 200-foot-tall crane snapped due to a shoddy weld of a vital component. Prosecutors claim that crane owner, Lomma, procured a cheap repair on the crane in order to save money. Lomma’s legal team has insisted that Lomma was in no way responsible for the snapping of the crane and that the snap was a symptom, rather than the cause, of the disaster. The team contends the crane had been stretched to an unsafe angle, and the accident was due to operator error.
Faulty Methods and Materials
Two cases of a similar nature occurred recently in Ohio. Continue reading
Four months after the tragic collapse of a concert stage at the Indianapolis State Fair, victims and their families are now naming the band, Sugarland, among others, in a class-action lawsuit. The falling stage killed seven concertgoers and injured countless others on August 13, 2011 in an event that absorbed media attention for weeks after the tragedy.
That night, seven people were killed and dozens more were injured, with no hint of danger to warn them. After a 60 mph wind gust, the stage rigging suddenly collapsed, falling onto spectators. ABC2 News reported on the heartbreaking story of a mother and her 10-year-old daughter who were trapped underneath the stage as it fell; the mother suffered from third-degree burns and broken bones including her ribs, pelvis and vertebra, while her little girl suffered a traumatic brain injury. The child is still recovering and must participate in extensive therapies to strengthen herself physically and mentally. They have not yet filed a lawsuit but are considering doing so.
Victims Can File Suit
As of November, USA Today reports that the victims of the collapse were granted the right to form a class-action lawsuit and challenge Indiana’s liability cap of $5 million. Continue reading
Many people, especially women, spend money on cosmetic surgery. Some choose to improve their physical appearance; others opt to fix deformities caused by accidents or birth defects. The surgery can have a positive effect on patients by increasing their self-esteem, but if not done right, it can have the undesired result of health complications or even death.
Negative and unintended consequences can result from improper procedures, use of substandard products or unlicensed professionals performing such work. A story in USA Today reported the case of Florida woman Lee Howard who died after having a liposuction procedure performed. The doctor who performed the procedure, Alberto Sant Antonio, was not licensed, but offered to do the liposuction treatment anyway. He administered lidocaine during the procedure without measuring it, leading to excessively high levels of the drug in the woman’s body. He then prescribed her pain medication leading to a toxic mix of drugs that her body could not handle.
Mrs. Howard arrived home after the procedure and felt unwell. She laid down on the couch to rest, and passed away in her sleep sometime that evening. Tragically, her 10-year-old son found her lifeless body the next morning. She was only 32 years old.
Unlicensed and Untrained Cosmetic Surgeons
Unfortunately, cases in which unskilled physicians perform cosmetic surgery without proper training and licensing are common. Continue reading