Little League World Series Negligence
Easton Oliverson, 12, traveled from his home in Utah to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, this summer with dreams of running onto the baseball diamond at the 2022 Little League World Series.
But on August 15, Oliverson fractured his skull and suffered from brain bleeding after falling off the top bunk bed while sleeping in a players’ dormitory. The Little Leaguer was airlifted to a local children’s hospital, where he had to be placed in a medically induced coma. Since then, he has had three operations and battled a staph infection. Oliverson returned home but still faces a long road of recovery ahead, including battling multiple seizures a day after his third craniotomy.
As a result, Oliverson’s parents, who also have two other children to support, filed a negligence lawsuit against Little League International and Savoy Contract Furniture of Williamsport, who made the bed without a railing. They are seeking more than $50,000 for their son’s medical care, plus punitive damages.
What is Negligence Considered in a Personal Injury Case Like This?
Negligence is typically the foundation for building fault in personal injury cases, including slip and falls like this. To prove another person was negligent, a legal team needs to prove the person at fault had a duty of care in the incident. Showing how the at-fault party failed to meet duty or “breached” the duty of care, and verify the plaintiff suffered real injuries because of the breach.
Defining Duty of Care
Duty of care in a personal injury case legally means the responsibility one person must avoid causing harm to another.
Here are several examples of how duty of care works in different injury-related cases:
- In a car accident case, a driver has a legal duty to consistently operate their vehicle with reasonable care – even with challenging traffic and weather conditions and limited visibility.
- In a slip and fall case, a business owner is legally obligated to make sure the property does not have any known hazards, and, if any risks are discovered, they need to fix the dangers within a reasonable time.
- In a defective product case, a manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of a product all have a legal duty to produce and sell products that do not have unreasonable or unexpected dangers.
- In a medical malpractice case, a physician or medical professional has a duty to provide treatment under the medical standard of care guidelines.
Defining Breach of Duty
After the duty of care has been confirmed, a personal injury attorney needs to establish how the defendant breached that duty of care and what they failed to do. The defendant needs to be found legally at fault for causing the plaintiff’s injuries by:
- Showing that the defendant violated a law or behaved unreasonably under the circumstances
- Reviewing the testimonies of any eyewitnesses
- Considering the plaintiff’s testimony of what happened
- Examining the evidence at the accident scene
- Ultimately showing how the plaintiff was harmed by the defendant’s actions
What are the Different Types of Negligence?
Negligence overall can be further categorized into four types, which vary legally from state to state:
A more serious form of negligent conduct, gross negligence demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety or lives of others. The negligence in this category is so heightened that it is considered a conscious violation of others’ rights to safety.
This type of negligence comes about when multiple parties involved in an accident share some fraction of the blame. A jury determines how the liability is apportioned based on the percentages of fault. In other words, when an injured victim is found to have shared fault due to their own careless or negligent actions, the court system may assign a percentage of fault to the victim and the defendant. The two types of comparative negligence are:
- Pure comparative negligence: Followed by nearly one-third of the states in the country, this more extensive breakdown of comparative negligence where the injury victim can claim damages for any percentage they were not responsible for, even if they are up to 99 percent at fault.
- Modified comparative negligence: There is a 50 percent bar rule, when the plaintiff may not cover damages if they are ruled to be 50 percent or more at fault, and a 51 percent bar rule, when the plaintiff may not recover damages if they are assigned 51 percent or more of the responsibility.
Under a contributory negligence system, any fault on the plaintiff will ban them from receiving any recovery from damages. Fortunately, there are not many states that follow this system because of how harsh it is on the plaintiff.
Also known as vicarious liability, vicarious negligence allows another person or company to be held responsible for the conduct of another person, such as a company for their employee or a parent for their minor child.
What Kind of Compensation is Recovered for Brain Injuries?
While each brain injury case is based on specific factors, most of these lawsuits settle for around a minimum of $100,000 to well over a million dollars. Compensation can be recovered for three types of damages.
Receipts and bills should be gathered to prove the economic damages sustained by a brain injury, including:
- Medical expenses, surgeries, therapy, and medications
- Property damages or vehicle repairs
- Lost wages
While more complicated to assess, non-economic damages are still worthy of including, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental torment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of relationships
- Wrongful death
Calculated a bit differently than economic and non-economic damages, punitive damages do not directly reimburse the plaintiff with compensation. They work instead to punish the at-fault party that caused the brain injury accident, which could still result in additional money being awarded.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Brain Injury Case?
Several factors can influence how long a brain injury case will settle, including:
- How complex the case is
- How severe the brain injuries are and the recovery involved
- The amount of damages the plaintiff is seeking
- If the case can be resolved before or after a lawsuit
If you or a loved one has been injured, please call 702-680-1111 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.