Answers in Personal Injury Law and Tort Law from Blake Lipman

MVA Personal Injury Appeal

QUESTION
Plaintiff in MVA suit; physical injuries result in surgery to both knees and right hip, with more surgery in future; and CHI resulting in permanent visual loss due to optic nerve damage. Jury trial resulted in NO award for physical bodily damages or pain and suffering which continues to this day. My atty has decided that after motion for judgement nothwithstanding the verdict or new trial was denied by county circuit court, that due to the political climate in MI a further appeal is not likely to succeed. I know that my injuries met the ''threshold of MI law'' and would like to go further. Am desperate, on brink of financial ruin and am seeking an attorney who would be willing to take this case further. Is it possible that there is someone out there who would be willing to help me?

ANSWER
Based on your recitation of the facts, it sounds as if this case may be ripe for appeal. Your attorney is correct in that the climate in Michigan is admittedly hostile to plaintiffs. The Court of Appeals in Michigan can be hit or miss. If you want to discuss pursuing an appeal, please contact my office at (248)851-3171.

Slander/Libel

QUESTION
I live in Ohio, i was dating a guy in michigan. We broke up. He sent letters to several people including myself and my job stating that i was a drug dealer, i spread diseases, etc. The letters were all postmarked from michigan in the area that he lives in however there was no return address and no indicatin that it was from him other than the fact that it was sent from michigan. Included in the letter was two pictures of me which were also sent to everyone. They weren't indecent photos but just were included in the letter. My social security number is also included in the letter. My friends and i just received the letters i don't know if my job has received the letters yet or not. Included in the letter was also a list of people that the information was sent to. Do i have a case? Can i sue this person? What proof do i have that it was him?

ANSWER
You may have a case for defamation. It could be defamation per se as he has accused you of being a criminal. For more info., please contact me at (248)851-3171.

Referral fee

QUESTION
I gave a personal injury case to an attorney him fully knowing that I was expecting a percentage of the settlement. The case took two years to settle and when I went to his office to collect what I thought was my check, he told me that It was illegal for him to give me anything. He said he thought all along that I was an attorney. I never told him that I was an attorney and over the two year period he never asked me if I was an attorney. I kept calling and made at lease a dozen calls to his office and talked to both him and his associates. He even told me on one occasion that he was looking forward to giving me a big check. As mentioned I followed up with both his office and the client as to the progress of the case looking for a payday. The case was settled a few weeks ago for Three Hundred and Fifty Thousand Dollars and he now after two years tells me that it is illegal for him to give me any money.
To add insult to injury I waited outside his office for an hour and a half this past Friday only to get the news?

ANSWER
If you are not an attorney, his hands are tied. It is unethical and illegal for him to give a referral fee to a non-lawyer. Perhaps, he could buy you a nice gift. For more information, please contact my office at (248)851-3171.

Arbitration Decision

QUESTION
Hello,

My name is--name removed---name removed-- I have one quick question that I wanted ask in regards to a current law suit that I have filed. I fell on the property of an apartment complex in Taylor, Michigan and broke my arm in Aug of 2002. An arbitration was held on May 3, 2005 and the panel made an decision of an award of 25,000. My attorney sent the letter out and I had to make an decision of whether to accept the award or reject. I did accept the award amount, however, I am confused about the steps that will be taken after this. Will their attorneys have a chance to deny this amount or is this the final decision??? If you can answer this for me I would truly appreciate it.

Thank-you

ANSWER
First, I'm curious as to why you are not asking your attorney this question? Also, I'm unsure of whether you are talking about court mandated case evaluation or arbitration/mediation. If it is case evaluation, this is merely an attempt by the courts to resolve matters prior to trial. The court rules provide for a case evaluation, where if both sides accept the case evaluation, the case is settled. If it is arbitration/mediation, then the answer comes from the distinction between arbitration and mediation. Arbitration, which I believe you've stated is the route you have taken, is binding. that is, the decision of the arbitrator is final, no obejections or appeal. Mediation, is non-binding. The mediator makes a recommendation, and/or attempts to broker a settlement agreement, this is usually not binding. For more info, please contact my office at (248)851-3171.

I do not agree with homeowner liability

QUESTION
I am a student and I am doing research on homeowner liability and it's in a debate form and i'm against a homeowner being liable for someones stupid mistakes on my property. But there are somethings that I do agree with if someone was attacked at my home when they came in and I knew about it and my dog attacked, but if the person or person's on my property or in my home where attacked and injured I do not believe i should be held responsible for the fact that they are injured for being on my property without my knowledge of it or if a person was at my home and i knew but they where stupid and grabbed something and hurt themselves but they say that I or someone in my family left it or on out I would rather not have to go to court about this when they are at fault.
Another thing is that i read a question on this site and the reply about swing set and etc. about the fact that if i'm away from my home and some children where to come on my property and do injure themeselves i should not be held responsible for the fact they dont have my permission and they are also trespassing, including the fact that i do have warning signs posted but i'm still sued by the parents of the hurt child i dont believe that i'm responsible for that.

ANSWER
The point you are missing my young student is that anyone can sue anybody for anything. In a society where everyone has access to a court of law. The great equalizer is that not all cases are meritorious and a case with a weak foundation will be dismissed and if the court finds that the case was based on frivolous allegations, the plaintiff may be sanctioned. I am all for open access to courts. Now, specifically, in the swing set scenerio, if a condition on your property such as a pool, trampoline, or playset is found to be inherently dangerous or not properly maintained and no actions are taken by the homeowner to prevent injury, there may be liability. There is not strict liability per se. It is all case specific. Hopefully that helps answer your questions. For more info, please contact my office at (248)851-3171.

Trampoline

QUESTION
Is there any liability release form that would protect me if I let friends use our trampoline?
Even if it would not protect me completely, would it be worth having them sign something?

ANSWER
A release is never ironclad. Anyone can sue anybody for anything, the facts will determine the outcome. A well drafted release can significantly reduce the likelihood that you will be sued. Trampolines are notoriously dangerous and are liability magnets. I applaud you that you have taken the time to consider the liability angle of owning a trampoline. Allow nonfamily members to use the trampoline at your risk. For more info, please contact my office at (248)851-3171.

Liability Release

QUESTION
I need to know what kind of form to use to have my daycare clients play on my trampoline. Release of accident claims or a general liability release?

ANSWER
Either one will do, as long as the language is correct. My best advise to you, is to not allow your daycare kids to play on the trampoline. It is an inherently dangerous contraption, and a release will not always protect you from liability. For more info, please contact my office at (248)851-3171.