Are You Ready for Your California Slip and Fall Accident?

Consider how many times you walk onto the personal or business property of another person in any given day in California:

  • If you start your day with a trip to your local coffeehouse, you are on the private property of another, which he or she has opened to the public for business use;
  • If you were to then stop by the gas station in order to fill your car up with gas, once again you would be on the private property of a business owner;
  • Once you arrive at the office, you are (once again) on the private property of another – your employer;
  • Going home, if you stop at the grocery store or go to a restaurant, yet again (you guessed it!) you are on the property of another person.

A slip and fall injury can suddenly occur at any one of these locations, or any other time you find yourself on the property of another, whether for personal or business purposes. No matter your occupation or income level, you are at risk of a slip and fall or trip and fall injury whenever you leave your home.

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What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall?

Slips and falls that happen while you are lawfully present on another’s property can be the basis for a successful personal injury lawsuit against the property owner. Depending on the actions you take immediately after the fall, recovering compensation through such a lawsuit may or may not be a straightforward endeavor:

  • Seek medical attention, especially if you struck your head or believe you may have suffered a serious injury: Obtaining prompt medical attention for any injuries you may have suffered will not only help prevent your injuries and the effects thereof from worsening, but doing so will also limit the property owner’s ability to claim your own carelessness contributed to the severity of your injuries and losses.
  • Do not sign any waiver or release: Carefully review any release or waiver that is presented to you by the property owner. Some owners may promise you a cash payment in exchange for your signature on such a form, but signing may mean giving up important legal rights. Have an experienced attorney review and discuss the waiver with you prior to signing.
  • Speak with a lawyer as soon as possible about your rights: Like other types of personal injury suits, you only have a limited amount of time within which to initiate your claim for compensation. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the sooner you can begin the process of obtaining monetary damages for your injuries.

Contact Your Orange County Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one have slipped and fallen while on the property of another and your fall was due to an obstruction or hazard the property owner failed to correct or warn you about, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Case Barnett Law today at (949) 861-2990, or contact us online for assistance.

Beware of Common Hazards at Sports Stadiums

Baseball season is in full “swing” (pun intended), and over the course of the next several months, hundreds of thousands of individuals in the California area will flock to one or more sports arenas to cheer on the home team (whether that would be the Athletics, the Padres, the Giants, the Dodgers, or the Angels). While a baseball game can be a great way to spend a weekend or weeknight, the venues in which these events are held are full of dangers and hazards that can cause you, your spouse, and/or your children significant harm.

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Top Five Common Dangers at Sporting Arenas

Tragedy can befall you and/or your family at the ballpark if those in charge of maintaining the park in a reasonably safe condition fail to perform their duties. Common hazards that lead to significant injuries include:

  •      Wet floors / dirty floors: Hot dogs, condiments, and/or water are just a few of the substances that can make walkways and restrooms at the ballpark slippery for pedestrians. Falls due to slippery floors can be especially dangerous for older ballpark patrons as their injuries may be more severe and/or require significantly more time from which to heal.
  •      Flying objects: Foul balls and splintered bats can strike fans who are not paying attention. The force with which these and other items from the playing field enter the stands and strike spectators is significant: as a result, deep internal injuries, concussions, and/or other catastrophic injuries are possible under these circumstances.
  •      Other fans and spectators: In the not-too-distant past (In 2011, to be precise), a Giants fan was severely beaten in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium after a matchup between the two teams. It was alleged that the owners of Dodger Stadium did not have enough security present to prevent or disrupt a fight.
  •      Elevators and escalators: Elevators and escalators are useful and helpful in moving large numbers of people up and down the many floors of a sports arena. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 30 individuals are killed and another 17,000 injured every year in elevator and escalator accidents. An elevator or escalator accident is more likely to occur if the device has not been serviced or maintained properly.
  •      Food poisoning: A 2009 ABC News report cited findings from ESPN that at 30 stadiums across the nation over half of food vendors were in violation of food safety standards. In California, the report showed that 16 percent of vendors were found to be in violation at Dodger Stadium, 13 percent of vendors were in violation at Angel Stadium, 10 percent of vendors were in violation at Petco Park, and 4 percent of vendors were in violation at AT&T Park.

When to Call Your Orange Count Personal Injury Law Firm

If you or a loved one are injured while at the ballpark this season, speak with your California personal injury attorneys at Case Barnett Law before agreeing to a settlement with the park owners. You may be waiving important legal rights by signing a settlement. We can quickly and thoroughly review your case and inform you of all your legal options so you can make the best decision for yourself and your family moving forward. Call Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990, or contact us online today.

After the Storm, Who Cleans Up?

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This past week a large swath of the country felt the wrath of winter storm Jupiter. In particular, some areas of the country saw an inch or more of ice accumulation, leading to downed power lines and snapped trees and branches. Not only did this cause power outages and general discomfort for many, but the devastation and destruction caused by the ice may take weeks to clean up. Not only is the question of how long a clean-up effort will take important, but so is the question of whose responsibility it is to clean up a residential or commercial property.

The Property Owner is Generally Responsible for Debris and Damage

In many cases, a property owner has the legal obligation and affirmative duty to make reasonable inspections of his or her property and correct any hazards present thereon through reasonable corrective actions. When trees are toppled and large, heavy branches scattered everywhere (not to mention downed power lines), it can be difficult to fulfill this obligation. Failing to do anything is not the answer, however, as even though the property owner may not have caused or contributed to storm damage, he or she may still be liable for injuries that occur on his or her property.

 

To reduce the likelihood of this occurring, consider taking one or more of the following actions following a destructive storm:

  1.     Clearly mark off the area of your property containing dangerous debris with highly-visible tape and leave this up until the damage can be cleaned. Be sure to encompass any area with a tree as branches may snap and fall even after the storm has passed.
  2.     Clean up the debris yourself, or hire a licensed and insured contractor to help you clean up the debris. Make sure that your clean up includes trimming any tree branches that have snapped but have not yet fallen.
  3.     Do not attempt to clean up any power lines yourself that have fallen to the ground as these lines may still be live. Instead, clearly mark off the area and take steps to alert others using signage or other means not to enter the area. Immediately contact your local utility company to advise them of the downed line so that they can safely remove it from your property.

Note that your local town or municipality may also have passed ordinances requiring you to take certain steps (such as clearing off any sidewalks in front of your property within a certain period of time).

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Reasonable Steps Can Save You (or Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company) Millions

Cleaning up after a destructive ice storm or other natural disaster may seem overwhelming; however, the law does not require you to go extraordinary lengths or expend large amounts of money in order to clean up. Instead, all that is required is that you take “reasonable” steps considering your situation to either clean up your property and/or alert others who might come upon your property of dangers and hazards.

If you or a loved one has been injured in California while lawfully present on another’s property (whether a residence or a commercial property), Case Barnett Law is here to help. Contact us to discuss whether the property owner took reasonable steps to clean the property and safeguard you or your loved one from harm. Call us at (949) 861-2990, or contact us online for assistance with your injury claim.

Who is Responsible for Drone Injuries at Your Wedding?

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-1-18-16-pmA Massachusetts newlywed has found himself the named defendant in a personal injury suit brought by two guests at his wedding reception. According to the lawsuit, the two injury victims were guests at the groom’s wedding reception, which was held at a local venue, when a drone that was being used to record the event spun out of control and struck the two victims. The victims allege the groom was at the controls when the drone hit them, an allegation that the man denies. The victims further claim that they suffered concussions and lacerations as a result of the drone strike.

Is the Groom Responsible for this Wedding-Day Mishap?

If the evidence did establish that the groom was controlling the drone at the time it struck the two victims, then the victims would likely be able to recover compensation for their injuries from the groom (if the evidence also established he acted carelessly or recklessly in controlling the drone). Depending on the evidence in this case, however, there may be others who are responsible for the victims’ alleged injuries:

  •      The wedding planner / venue owner: The individual in charge of managing the reception and overseeing the events and happenings that took place may be responsible in part for this injury accident. Others may expect the planner and/or owner to create and communicate the venue’s rules to guests (such as a rule against operating drones) and to take reasonable measures to enforce these rules.
  •      A third party controlling the drone: Of course, if another adult picked up the drone’s remote control, operated the drone, and in so doing lost control of the drone, this person may also be held responsible for the victim’s injuries. What is more, if the operator of the drone was a young child, the parents of the child may be held responsible for the child’s actions.
  •      The groom: Assuming that the drone belonged to the groom, the groom may yet be responsible for the victims’ injuries even if the groom was not at the controls when the injuries occurred. If the groom left the drone and its controller unattended and in an area where other guests and/or children would be likely to discover and use them, a judge or jury might conclude that the groom’s carelessness led to the victims’ injuries and he, therefore, should be responsible in part for the costs of those injuries.

Thorough Examination of Personal Injury Cases

This rather bizarre personal injury case reinforces the need to have your own personal injury accident thoroughly examined by a qualified California personal injury lawyer. At Case Barnett Law, our experienced personal injury recovery team knows that your ability to recover full and fair compensation for your injuries depends on identifying the wrongdoer or wrongdoers, and we are committed to performing an efficient but complete investigation into the facts and circumstances of your case so that this individual or these persons can be identified. Contact us at (949) 861-2990, or complete our online contact form, and learn more about how Case Barnett can help you recover following a personal injury accident.

Common Injury Accidents that Lead to Traumatic Brain Injuries

Screen Shot 2016-11-30 at 10.20.51 AM.pngIn the personal injury world, few injuries that a person can suffer are as life-changing and debilitating as a traumatic brain injury (TBI). While victims who suffer a mild TBI may be fortunate enough to make a full recovery, moderate or severe TBI victims are often left with some impairment or loss of functioning that remains long after the victim leaves the hospital. It is not unheard of for some young individuals who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries to recover millions of dollars in compensation through a personal injury lawsuit because of the past and future medical expenses, lost wages and earning potential, and pain and suffering such an injury can cause.

Top Injury Accidents Resulting in Traumatic Brain Injuries

Thankfully, traumatic brain injuries that result in some temporary or permanent loss of functioning and/or disability are not extremely common. Nonetheless, some injury accidents have a greater likelihood of resulting in a traumatic brain injury than others. These accident types include:

  •      Slips and falls: A slippery floor or a defective staircase can catch a person by surprise, sending them tumbling to the ground. In a slip and fall case, the victim may not have the time and/or coordination to brace him- or herself or take measures to protect his or her head. In a slip and fall, the victim may strike his or her head with a considerable amount of force, thereby resulting in a traumatic brain injury.
  •      Car accidents: The forces involved in any motor vehicle accident are sufficient to cause the head of a person to quickly go in one direction and then the other (this is not abated by the victim’s use of a seatbelt). This rapid acceleration and deceleration is sometimes referred to as “whiplash,” and it can result in a traumatic brain injury as the brain is “jostled” inside the skull. The greater the forces present in the crash, the more severe the traumatic brain injury can be.
  •      Pedestrian / bicyclist / motorcyclist accident: A pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist who is struck by a car is at an elevated risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury – especially if the bicyclist or motorcyclist is not wearing a helmet. These accidents can literally send the victim flying, causing the victim to strike his or her head on the ground or another object.

Traumatic brain injuries can also result from falls from heights (even “small” heights like a stepladder) and sports injuries. In both of these cases, wearing appropriate safety equipment and exercising caution can reduce the chance of a traumatic brain injury.

Take Action After a Traumatic Brain Injury

Unless you are absolutely certain you did not suffer anything other than a “bump on the head,” seek out medical care if you suffer a head injury. This is especially important if you lose consciousness for any length of time and/or experience amnesia. Then, call the Costa Mesa brain injury law firm of Case Barnett Law to review your legal rights and options. If your TBI was brought about because of another person’s careless or reckless actions, you may be entitled to compensation. You can reach Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990, or you can contact the firm online.

Missouri Finds CrossFit and Gym Liable for Exercise Injury

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A Missouri man has become the first individual to successfully sue CrossFit after an exercise at his local gym left him injured. The man was found 50 percent responsible for his injuries: CrossFit and a gym trainer involved in the accident were each found 25 percent responsible for the man’s injury accident. The man was attempting to perform a deadlift exercise, an exercise move in which the individual attempts to lift the maximum amount of weight he or she can. According to the lawsuit, the man attempted to lift the weight from the floor, felt a pain in his back, and then collapsed. As the gym trainer attempted to “roll out” the man’s back, the man complained that he could not feel his legs.

No Waiver Allows the Lawsuit to Proceed

Not all individuals in the same situation as this Missouri man are able to sue CrossFit and/or their local gym. CrossFit is a strenuous exercise program that if done incorrectly or by a person who is not in appropriate physical shape can cause serious injuries (like some other forms of exercise). Because of this, many gyms will have new members sign waivers of liability before allowing them to participate in the exercise program. These waivers are meant to shield the gym (and the parent company) from liability in the case the member gets injured.

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The Limits of Personal Injury Waivers

Even if the man in this story had signed a waiver before his injury, the wavier may not have been effective to prevent him from suing CrossFit and his gym. Waivers may be invalidated by the court where:

  •      The individual signing the waiver is not afforded an opportunity to learn of the risks he or she might face or the rights he or she is giving up, or he or she is not afforded an opportunity to consult with another before signing the waiver;
  •      The waiver is not clearly identified as a waiver of rights;
  •      The waiver requires the individual to give up all of his or her legal rights and affords the person no recourse in the event of any type of injury (for example, a waiver may not be effective in the case where someone intentionally causes injury to the signor); and/or
  •      The waiver is signed after an injury has occurred.

Tips for Individuals Looking to Join a Gym

Before starting a new exercise program or joining a gym, be sure to read any paperwork given to you carefully. If you are unsure as to the rights you are giving up, have a trusted friend or family member – or even an attorney – review the document with you. Signing these documents without reading them and considering the risks involved can leave you with a serious injury and no effective recourse for your losses and injury.

The southern California law firm of Case Barnett can assist you if you or your loved one have been injured in an accident at the gym or health club. Even if you believed you signed a waiver at the time you joined the gym, we may be able to successfully argue that the waiver is not effective, allowing your lawsuit to proceed. Contact Case Barnett Law at (949) 861-2990 or using the firm’s website to schedule your free case evaluation today.

Is Your Child at Risk of a Daycare Injury Accident?

 

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For many California parents, daycare is not a luxury – it is a necessity. When a parent lives away from friends and family members who are able to stay with the child with the parent is at work, a daycare facility is usually the parent’s last resort – somewhere where the child can be safe and supervised while the parent is away at work. When using a daycare facility, the parent may be lulled into a false sense of security: The regulations and laws with which a daycare facility in California must comply in order to continue operations can make a parent feel confident that their child will return to them from the daycare facility uninjured and in good health. This is not always the case, however.

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Common Daycare Injuries to Children

As much as parents may not wish to dwell on the thought, a daycare can be a dangerous place for a young child. Some children have been injured through deliberate acts inflicted upon them by daycare staff, but a child can suffer serious – even fatal – injuries simply because a daycare worker acted carelessly or had a momentary lapse of judgment. Just a few of the injuries that can befall a young child while at daycare include:

  •      Falls down steps or falls from heights which can lead to traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or even death;
  •      Cuts and serious lacerations from sharp objects like scissors or knives that are left in areas accessible to children, or from sharp corners on tables and other furniture;
  •      Serious burns of various types. Chemical burns can result from being exposed to powerful cleaners and disinfectants (even the fumes can cause internal injuries). Electrical burns can come about if the child is permitted to play with an active electrical socket. Heat burns can occur when the child is permitted to touch a hot stove or radiator.
  •     Traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, broken bones, and other injuries commonly associated with car accidents if the child is being transported in a daycare vehicle and the driver is involved in a crash.

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Parents of daycare-age children should carefully investigate a daycare facility before enrolling their children in the facility. Ensure that the facility is properly certified by the State of California. Tour the building and speak with the teachers, assistants, and staff. Does it appear that there are too many children and not enough adults? Are children supervised or do they appear to run wild? Are the facility, toys, and equipment in a good state of repair or are things falling apart? When it comes to your child’s safety, go with your gut – if you do not feel comfortable leaving your child at the facility for eight hours or more each day, it may be advisable to find another facility.

When to Call a Southern California Daycare Injury Attorney

If your child was injured while at a California daycare, you may be entitled to compensation for your expenses and losses. Contact Case Barnett Law Firm at (949) 861-2990 today, or contact us online to discuss your case.

Personal Injury Claims and Pokémon Go

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 2.03.14 PM.pngAs the Pokémon GO craze sweeps the nation, young and old alike are taking to the streets in mass in search of the elusive Pokémon. In case you haven’t heard, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game produced by Nintendo that users play on their smartphones. The app encourages its users to go out into the real world in search of virtual Pokémon characters that can only be seen by looking through the camera on your phone. The game is wildly popular and, according to the Newport Beach Indy, boasts 30 millions downloads and $35 million in revenue in less than a month. The Newport Beach Indy also notes that there are several popular spots in Newport Beach where Pokémon can be found including Balboa Island, Dover Shores, Newport Beach Civic Center, and Crystal Cove State Park.

 

While Pokémon GO is undoubtedly fun, and can take credit for getting its users off the couch and out of the house, users are becoming so engrossed in the game that some people aren’t paying enough attention to their surroundings and are getting hurt. Dopplr.com reports that a rash of concerning personal injuries have been reported across the country including:

  • July 12: Teenage girl breaks her collarbone and foot in Pennsylvania after being hit by a car while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 12: Teenager is bitten by snake while playing Pokémon GO in Texas.
  • July 12: A man in New York is injured after crashing his car into a tree while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 13: Two distracted men survive a fall off of a cliff in southern California while playing Pokémon GO.
  • July 18: A distracted driver hits a police car while playing Pokémon GO in Baltimore.

 

Can Nintendo Be Held Liable For These Injuries?

 

While reports of Pokémon GO related injuries continue to surface, many people are wondering if Nintendo will soon be facing a rash of personal injury lawsuits? An interesting report from CNN claims that the liability issues surrounding augmented reality games, such as Pokémon GO, represent a new legal frontier. The report notes that the Pokémon GO app contains a comprehensive Terms of Service Agreement that users are required to agree to before they are allowed to play the game. Nintendo’s Terms of Service Agreement protects the company from being sued by its users for property damage, injuries, and even death. In other words, users agree to play Pokémon GO at their own risk. However, CNN points out that non-users do not sign the Terms of Service Agreement and are therefore are not precluded from suing if they are injured by Pokémon GO players. These non-users may potentially be able to sue the app or even be sued themselves. While Nintendo has tried its best to shield itself from liability, so many people are being injured while playing Pokémon GO that we will likely see at least a few related lawsuits surface in the near future. These lawsuits will help define how much liability videogame makers incur for augmented reality games.

 

Need Legal Advice?

 

If you are interested in pursuing a personal injury claim in southern California, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm today for a free consultation. Our personal injury lawyers are committed to obtaining justice for our clients and would be happy to discuss your legal options with you. Our office in Newport Beach can be reached at (949) 861-2990.

 

See Related Links

 

Can I Sue For A Slip and Fall in a Public Place?

Alligator Attack At A Disney Resort May Result In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

As residents of Southern California we are all well aware of how popular Disneyland is. It is a local landmark that attracts vacationing families from all over the world, and for many of us is a place that evokes fond childhood memories. However, tragedy recently struck at the ‘happiest place on earth’ when a two-year-old child was attacked and killed by an alligator at Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando, Florida. Now, Disney is potentially facing a wrongful death lawsuit.

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What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When someone dies due to another party’s negligence or neglect, the deceased’s relatives are generally permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. While wrongful death statutes vary slightly some state to state, most states (including California) have a law on the books that closely resembles Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. In Florida, the party that causes a victim’s death via a wrongful act, negligence, default, or a breach of contract shall be held liable for damages.

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Is Disney Liable?

According to the Huffington Post, Disney may potentially face a wrongful death lawsuit given that businesses are required to ensure that their premises are reasonably maintained. In this instance, the fatal alligator attack occurred around 9:00 p.m. at the edge of a lake located at the Disney World resort. The toddler was playing in approximately six inches of water when an alligator attacked and pulled him into the lake. The boy’s father jumped into the water in an effort to save his son but unfortunately was not able for force the alligator’s mouth open. The boy’s body was later found intact, and officials suspect that the cause of death was drowning.

While no amount of legal action or monetary compensation will bring the deceased toddler back, his family may be able to recover damages from Disney by filing a wrongful death claim. The family would need to show that Disney was aware of the alligators on its property and did not take appropriate steps to warn their guests of this known danger. According to an article published in People Magazine, the resort routinely removes alligators from its waterways. This seems to indicate that Disney was aware of their alligator problem before the attack occurred. The article also notes that the resort had a legal obligation to protect invitees from known dangers on the premises. If this case goes to court, the key question would likely be whether or not Disney adequately warned its guests about the danger posed by the alligators.

The Huffington Post notes that the resort did in fact have signage posted around the lake that stated “No Swimming Please”. However, this signage did not indicate that alligators may be present in the water. Disney did have at least one sign posted on the property that read “Please be aware of alligators in the lake”, but this sign was posted a few miles away from where the toddler was attacked. Although Disney is not required to keep their resort guests absolutely safe at all times, they do have a legal responsibility to warn of known dangers on the premises and the signs that were posted may not have been adequate to provide an appropriate warning.

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How Can We Help?

If you live in Southern California and are interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, or other personal injury claim, contact the Case Barnett Law Firm. Our personal injury lawyers are happy to discuss your legal options and can be reached at (949) 861-2990.

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Case Barnett Law Settles Trip and Fall Case for $ 4.3 Million Dollars

Dr. B vs. Homeowner’s Association

Case Barnett Law Corporation

 

Verdict: Defendant found Liable by jury

Settlement: 4.3 Million Dollars

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It’s not often that an attorney settles a trip and fall case for $4.3 million, but in 2016, Case Barnett Law did. Dr. RB lived in a posh Orange County neighborhood paying over $700 a month in monthly homeowner’s association dues. A water meter box was continually broken in front of his home. Dr. RB complained to his homeowner’s association about the broken water meter box on multiple occasions.

After a day at work, Dr. RB returned in the evening and parked his car in the driveway. He exited the car to get his mail. His second step went in to the broken water meter cover causing serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury and severed tendons in his hand.

The defendants repeatedly passed responsibility among each other and pointed the finger back at Dr. RB for not fixing it himself, and for knowing about it, but failing to avoid it. The liability issues were complicated because of the covenants, codes and restrictions (the CC&R’s), the governing documents for the homeowner’s association and the HOA’s attempts to shift responsibility to the homeowners. CC&R’s give HOA’s the ability to make their own laws and distribute responsibilities. A close inspection of these governing documents is essential to suing any homeowner’s association.

Four of the five defendants acknowledged their safety failings before trial. One defendant did not. A jury dropped the hammer on the remaining defendant. At the end of the trial, the combined defendants were forced to pay $4.3 million to the plaintiff. Be safe. Don’t endanger others. If you do, Case Barnett law will force you to face the consequences.