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Mike Peluso's law suit against Devils

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4 hours ago, mfitz804 said:

What about the fact that the injury was caused by something that's OUTSIDE the rules of the game?

In football, guys get head injuries all the time by blocking, accidental head to head contact, etc.. While some plays may be intentional and may be penalized (hence "illegal" in the game of football), to some extent, it can't be avoided. 

Peluso is alleging injuries that he sustained doing something that is outside the rules of hockey. While fighting is accepted, especially back then, it is illegal in that you get penalized for it. Whatever the expectations may have been, Peluso was under no obligation to fight anyone. Especially after having already sustained injury. Seems to me that was a choice he made. 

I guess it could very well be that his other choice was to retire, as a "Mike Peluso minus the fighting" is probably not employable in the NHL in that era.

I don't know, something just rubs me the wrong way about it.  

I recall a case in law school where someone was injured playing football by another player on a dirty play.  I forget how the court ruled, but there’s precedent for it.  Still, at bottom this is a workers comp case where I don’t believe assumption of the risk or anything like that comes into play.  If you’re hurt playing, you’re medical costs and the like should get covered.  I imagine we don’t hear too much about it, because the players are paid a lot of money  and they get treated for injuries as a matter of course.

As for Peluso’s case, I’m skeptical based on how he’s proceeded.  Earlier in the thread there was a story where his psychologist, not an MD, submitted an affidavit as to why he supposedly was physically unable to get on a plane to California.  It’s stuff like that that leads me to believe that there’s a real causation problem with his case and that his attorneys are more comfortable with things playing out in the court of public opinion.  As I’ve said before, I could be wrong, but I don’t trust sportswriters either.

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40 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

1- From a very simplistic and also extremely ignorant point of view, isn't that kind of po-tay-to, po-tah-to?   What's the difference between a Worker's Comp claim and suing your employer directly?  I imagine a worker's comp claim has limits in terms of the damages he can claim and/or seek compensation for? (which I also assume is why he would want to sue directly and/or in federal court...so he could go after more?)

3- Not directing this towards you, but rather Peluso since it's his allegations, but...I'm not sure how you can be negligent in allowing someone to pursue free will.  Seems sort of contradictory to me.  I fail to see how it's any different from requiring someone to sign a waiver before they go skydiving.  There are risks involved, and no one is forcing the person to get in the plane and jump out.  If you end up dying and the plane didn't crash or anything like that, it's not the company's fault, the pilot's fault, or anyone else.  You chose to jump out.  You can't possibly try to blame people/companies for the various unknowns in life.

1. It's not po-tay-to, po-tah-to for the exact reason you said. You can recover WAY less in Worker's Comp. VERY generally, because its outside my area of expertise. 

You can get medical expenses past and future.

You can get a lump sum based on the amount of your disability. I believe its based on how severe your disability is. They determine the number of weeks of your disability and assign a percentage to your loss. If its 10 weeks and you have a 50% loss, you get 5 weeks. Let's say his is 104 weeks, two more years. a 50% loss (not saying he has that) means its down to one year. At the time of his injury he was making about $400,000 (by the way, he made MORE after the injury in later contracts). 

He continued playing and then retired at age 33 after 10 seasons. I'm not sure how you'd go about proving how much longer he would have played. According to some sources, the average NHL career is only 5 seasons, he doubled that. How much longer would he have played? Another 2 years, to age 35? Longer? Did he already play longer than expected/average? I'm not sure how you prove that other than relying on averages, which isn't in his favor. 

I believe he was unsuccessful in the comp claim, which is why he brought this lawsuit claiming that they concealed stuff, preventing him from getting a fair hearing. You don't get to choose between the two, you need a reason that falls within certain exemptions. And yes, it lets him go after more money. 

3. To use your skydiving example, you can waive liability for if the chute gets tangled and you die. That's an unavoidable risk of skydiving. You can't waive liability if you tandem dive and the instructor jumps out with you and surprise, he forgot to put on a parachute. That's not a risk of skydiving. As far as Peluso goes, that's my exact point. He engaged in the conduct that he is saying caused his injury of his own free will. He's trying to say that they were negligent in not telling him the risks. I don't know if I buy that. 

My personal opinion is that he found a lawyer who was willing to take the case because of a chance at big money damages and hoping to piggyback off the success that the guys who sued the NFL had. 

As far as why the NHLPA isn't involved, I have no idea. One could surmise that they didn't see the merit in his case, but I have no idea if that is correct. 

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38 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

1- From a very simplistic and also extremely ignorant point of view, isn't that kind of po-tay-to, po-tah-to?   What's the difference between a Worker's Comp claim and suing your employer directly?  I imagine a worker's comp claim has limits in terms of the damages he can claim and/or seek compensation for? (which I also assume is why he would want to sue directly and/or in federal court...so he could go after more?)

3- Not directing this towards you, but rather Peluso since it's his allegations, but...I'm not sure how you can be negligent in allowing someone to pursue free will.  Seems sort of contradictory to me.  I fail to see how it's any different from requiring someone to sign a waiver before they go skydiving.  There are risks involved, and no one is forcing the person to get in the plane and jump out.  If you end up dying and the plane didn't crash or anything like that, it's not the company's fault, the pilot's fault, or anyone else.  You chose to jump out.  You can't possibly try to blame people/companies for the various unknowns in life.

 

 

Basically workers comp is designed to be streamlined and you don’t need to prove your employer was negligent.  Just that you were injured on the job, and generally you don’t have to go to court.  The trade off for workers is that the damages the employer (really the employer’s insurer) has to pay are limited so that there’s no jackpot justice, generally medical expenses and lost wages, no pain and suffering.  It doesn’t stop the injured worker from finding someone else that’s responsible for a workplace injury, often the manufacturer of a piece of equipment, something like that.  But what the employer is liable for is limited.

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3 minutes ago, Daniel said:

I recall a case in law school where someone was injured playing football by another player on a dirty play.  I forget how the court ruled, but there’s precedent for it.  Still, at bottom this is a workers comp case where I don’t believe assumption of the risk or anything like that comes into play.  If you’re hurt playing, you’re medical costs and the like should get covered.  I imagine we don’t hear too much about it, because the players are paid a lot of money  and they get treated for injuries as a matter of course.

 I recall cases where it was held that you assume the risk for anything that's reasonably foreseeable, even things that are outside the rules of the sport. A dirty play would fall into that. That's why there's no lawsuit against Tony Twist. 

 You're correct, assumption of risk not a defense in a comp case. But its relevant to the whole waiver scenario discussed above.

5 minutes ago, Daniel said:

Basically workers comp is designed to be streamlined and you don’t need to prove your employer was negligent.  Just that you were injured on the job, and generally you don’t have to go to court.  The trade off for workers is that the damages the employer (really the employer’s insurer) has to pay are limited so that there’s no jackpot justice, generally medical expenses and lost wages, no pain and suffering.  It doesn’t stop the injured worker from finding someone else that’s responsible for a workplace injury, often the manufacturer of a piece of equipment, something like that.  But what the employer is liable for is limited.

Exactly, that's why my firm doesn't handle comp cases. They aren't profitable enough. No pain and suffering, but there is a loss schedule or a disability schedule depending on how you're injured. Either way you get WAY less than what you would get in a successful third party action. 

I point out again, for the most part, you don't get an option, you are stuck with comp unless you fit an exemption. 

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6 minutes ago, mfitz804 said:

 I recall cases where it was held that you assume the risk for anything that's reasonably foreseeable, even things that are outside the rules of the sport. A dirty play would fall into that. That's why there's no lawsuit against Tony Twist. 

 You're correct, assumption of risk not a defense in a comp case. But its relevant to the whole waiver scenario discussed above.

Exactly, that's why my firm doesn't handle comp cases. They aren't profitable enough. No pain and suffering, but there is a loss schedule or a disability schedule depending on how you're injured. Either way you get WAY less than what you would get in a successful third party action. 

I point out again, for the most part, you don't get an option, you are stuck with comp unless you fit an exemption. 

I imagine if you do them at high volume and that’s all you do, it can be lucrative.

Very lucrative if you’re crooked, like that guy in Kentucky.

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3 minutes ago, Daniel said:

I imagine if you do them at high volume and that’s all you do, it can be lucrative.

Very lucrative if you’re crooked, like that guy in Kentucky.

I'm sure. But we're a small office so we're very selective. We don't have the time/resources to devote to that where we can just refer it out and get a referral fee. 

The one guy that I know who does them (in volume) only takes ones for people with very severe injuries, and even then, he often tells me how its not worth it. 

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On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 4:14 PM, Daniel said:

Basically workers comp is designed to be streamlined and you don’t need to prove your employer was negligent.  Just that you were injured on the job, and generally you don’t have to go to court.  The trade off for workers is that the damages the employer (really the employer’s insurer) has to pay are limited so that there’s no jackpot justice, generally medical expenses and lost wages, no pain and suffering.  It doesn’t stop the injured worker from finding someone else that’s responsible for a workplace injury, often the manufacturer of a piece of equipment, something like that.  But what the employer is liable for is limited.

Gotcha.  That's what I figured.

On ‎6‎/‎1‎/‎2018 at 4:12 PM, mfitz804 said:

1. It's not po-tay-to, po-tah-to for the exact reason you said. You can recover WAY less in Worker's Comp. VERY generally, because its outside my area of expertise. 

You can get medical expenses past and future.

You can get a lump sum based on the amount of your disability. I believe its based on how severe your disability is. They determine the number of weeks of your disability and assign a percentage to your loss. If its 10 weeks and you have a 50% loss, you get 5 weeks. Let's say his is 104 weeks, two more years. a 50% loss (not saying he has that) means its down to one year. At the time of his injury he was making about $400,000 (by the way, he made MORE after the injury in later contracts). 

He continued playing and then retired at age 33 after 10 seasons. I'm not sure how you'd go about proving how much longer he would have played. According to some sources, the average NHL career is only 5 seasons, he doubled that. How much longer would he have played? Another 2 years, to age 35? Longer? Did he already play longer than expected/average? I'm not sure how you prove that other than relying on averages, which isn't in his favor. 

I believe he was unsuccessful in the comp claim, which is why he brought this lawsuit claiming that they concealed stuff, preventing him from getting a fair hearing. You don't get to choose between the two, you need a reason that falls within certain exemptions. And yes, it lets him go after more money. 

3. To use your skydiving example, you can waive liability for if the chute gets tangled and you die. That's an unavoidable risk of skydiving. You can't waive liability if you tandem dive and the instructor jumps out with you and surprise, he forgot to put on a parachute. That's not a risk of skydiving. As far as Peluso goes, that's my exact point. He engaged in the conduct that he is saying caused his injury of his own free will. He's trying to say that they were negligent in not telling him the risks. I don't know if I buy that. 

My personal opinion is that he found a lawyer who was willing to take the case because of a chance at big money damages and hoping to piggyback off the success that the guys who sued the NFL had. 

As far as why the NHLPA isn't involved, I have no idea. One could surmise that they didn't see the merit in his case, but I have no idea if that is correct. 

I agree, if he really was concerned, he should have stopped playing right away - not continued playing for several years after.  I would be surprised if he was awarded anything for potential "missed work" that he otherwise would have had had he not suffered these injuries.  Like you said, it just doesn't seem fair to predict what he could have done beyond his 10 seasons in the league, which as you also pointed out is beyond the league average. 

Who decides the line between worker's comp and being able to suit in an outside court directly against your employer?  Does it immediately get filed as a worker's comp claim and then a judge determines if there are circumstances that are considered 'extreme' which then bumps them into the next category, or does the plaintiff get to file it how they wish, and then a judge marks it as either merely a worker's comp claim, or a more severe direct lawsuit?

Regarding the skydiving example, it's interesting that you could sue an instructor for not pulling the chute in a tandem dive situation.  I'm not sure how easy it is and what the percentages are in terms of people proving and successfully winning cases where they claim negligence against people/companies, but if it's as simple as I'm gathering from these discussions, I find it a bit unfair.  Sure I can sue my friend if I get into a car and they suddenly smash right into a tree on purpose and I'm hurt - there was intent there.  But if I'm in a car going to the store with someone and another driver slams into us... that's not my friend's fault.  It's an accident.  I'm not really sure an instructor that forgets or fails to pull a shoot, accidentally, should be at fault for an injury or death.  

I don't want to say this is as simple or as black and white as a 'sh!t happens' case, but it kind of seems like it might be.   Again, I feel for Peluso deeply, for the simple fact that he's a hockey player and a human being, but also because he was one of us, a Devil, but I just don't know if it's right to blame and sue others for something he willingly participated in.  To me there's a level of individual responsibility.  I'm sure I might feel different if I were in that situation.  Who knows.

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2 hours ago, NJDfan1711 said:

Who decides the line between worker's comp and being able to suit in an outside court directly against your employer?  Does it immediately get filed as a worker's comp claim and then a judge determines if there are circumstances that are considered 'extreme' which then bumps them into the next category, or does the plaintiff get to file it how they wish, and then a judge marks it as either merely a worker's comp claim, or a more severe direct lawsuit?

A comp case and a lawsuit are two completely separate entities; you don't convert one into the other. If you fit into one of the exceptions, you bring a direct lawsuit. As part of that lawsuit you'll be required to show how you fit into the exception. If you can't show that, your lawsuit will be dismissed. Comp claims get filed with the Worker's Comp Board and are overseen by Judges in their employ. they hear the facts and make the decision, there's no jury as far as I know, at least not at the level of initial review. 

2 hours ago, NJDfan1711 said:

Sure I can sue my friend if I get into a car and they suddenly smash right into a tree on purpose and I'm hurt - there was intent there.  But if I'm in a car going to the store with someone and another driver slams into us... that's not my friend's fault.  It's an accident.  I'm not really sure an instructor that forgets or fails to pull a shoot, accidentally, should be at fault for an injury or death.  

You can sue your friend if he intentionally injures you. But, you can also sue your friend if he's negligent. Let's say he's just not paying attention and accidentally plows into the back of an 18 wheeler that is stopped at a red light in front of you. It's still your friend's fault, even though it wasn't on purpose. You example skipped over that possibility. 

If someone else is negligent and hits your friend's car, and that other driver is 100% at fault, you wouldn't have a good claim against him. But you'd still have to sue him, because the other guy would likely be attempting to blame him, and even if he gets 10% of the blame, that would mean that the other driver would only have to pay 90% of the value of your injuries. Maybe you wouldn't care about the 10%, but what if they find it 90-10 the other way? It happens. That's why we always include both cars as parties; it would be reckless (potentially) not to. 

Same deal with the tandem dive instructor. There doesn't need to be intent, nobody intends to be negligent. 

If you don't think that the instructor failing to pull the chute (or, as in my example, failing to wear one at all) means he's at fault for your death and should be responsible for damages, you're way more accepting of things that are "an accident" than I am. 

 

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44 minutes ago, mfitz804 said:

A comp case and a lawsuit are two completely separate entities; you don't convert one into the other. If you fit into one of the exceptions, you bring a direct lawsuit. As part of that lawsuit you'll be required to show how you fit into the exception. If you can't show that, your lawsuit will be dismissed. Comp claims get filed with the Worker's Comp Board and are overseen by Judges in their employ. they hear the facts and make the decision, there's no jury as far as I know, at least not at the level of initial review. 

 

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You can sue your friend if he intentionally injures you. But, you can also sue your friend if he's negligent. Let's say he's just not paying attention and accidentally plows into the back of an 18 wheeler that is stopped at a red light in front of you. It's still your friend's fault, even though it wasn't on purpose. You example skipped over that possibility. 

True.  I guess if I was hurt in an accident that wasn't my fault and I needed to pay for hospital bills or therapy or something, and I had to go after someone (clearly the truck driver stopped at the red light isn't at fault), then I'd have no choice but to try to go after my friend, as bad as that may be (for the friendship, that is)

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If someone else is negligent and hits your friend's car, and that other driver is 100% at fault, you wouldn't have a good claim against him. But you'd still have to sue him, because the other guy would likely be attempting to blame him, and even if he gets 10% of the blame, that would mean that the other driver would only have to pay 90% of the value of your injuries. Maybe you wouldn't care about the 10%, but what if they find it 90-10 the other way? It happens. That's why we always include both cars as parties; it would be reckless (potentially) not to.

Interesting.  I didn't know cases were often divvied up in terms of responsibility and who "wins" per se.  I thought, when a judgment is made, it's either all or none, in favor of one or the other.  Well, I guess that's not true.  I mean I know one person can be ordered to pay X amount and another person a different amount, I guess when you phrase it the way you did with percentages if just threw me off.

Quote

If you don't think that the instructor failing to pull the chute (or, as in my example, failing to wear one at all) means he's at fault for your death and should be responsible for damages, you're way more accepting of things that are "an accident" than I am.

I've probably said it on here a few times throughout various (typically non-hockey related) topics, but I mean it when I say my perspective on life and things I worry about has really changed in the last couple of years.  I know in this case we're talking death which is obviously the most extreme outcome an incident could result in, but in all honesty, why make a fuss about a guy who genuinely didn't mean to do something. Ok ok, that's a bad example - I'll go on record now saying that if I die in an accident like that, I'll be pretty pissed lol.  I'm obviously more lenient here than most, like you eluded to, but I guess my thought is why make a guy's life more miserable than it's already going to be.  Assuming that person feels guilty and is going to have to live with something like that for the rest of their life, what is suing for millions going to do (presumably after I'm dead), besides make that other person's life hell?  I'm far from a religious person, but I guess maybe I subscribe to the two wrongs don't make a right theory.  (Fully aware that in this case suing someone that caused your direct, accident or not, may not be considered a 'wrong' by many :D )

Edited by NJDfan1711

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14 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

True.  I guess if I was hurt in an accident that wasn't my fault and I needed to pay for hospital bills or therapy or something, and I had to go after someone (clearly the truck driver stopped at the red light isn't at fault), then I'd have no choice but to try to go after my friend, as bad as that may be (for the friendship, that is)

Interesting.  I didn't know cases were often divvied up in terms of responsibility and who "wins" per se.  I thought, when a judgment is made, it's either all or none, in favor of one or the other.  Well, I guess that's not true.  I mean I know one person can be ordered to pay X amount and another person a different amount, I guess when you phrase it the way you did with percentages if just threw me off.

I've probably said it on here a few times throughout various (typically non-hockey related) topics, but I mean it when I say my perspective on life and things I worry about has really changed in the last couple of years.  I know in this case we're talking death which is obviously the most extreme outcome an incident could result in, but in all honesty, why make a fuss about a guy who genuinely didn't mean to do something. Ok ok, that's a bad example - I'll go on record now saying that if I die in an accident like that, I'll be pretty pissed lol.  I'm obviously more lenient here than most, like you eluded to, but I guess my thought is why make a guy's life more miserable than it's already going to be.  Assuming that person feels guilty and is going to have to live with something like that for the rest of their life, what is suing for millions going to do (presumably after I'm dead), besides make that other person's life hell?  I'm far from a religious person, but I guess maybe I subscribe to the two wrongs don't make a right theory.  (Fully aware that in this case suing someone that caused your direct, accident or not, may not be considered a 'wrong' by many :D )

It all boils down to the idea that there's someone who is injured and someone or somebodies ought to compensate him. There's an enormous body of law to determine who is at "fault" under particular circumstances, but a lawyer will go after whoever has the deep pockets.  Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses.

And as an aside, unless someone died a really painful death or was a rich guy capable of earning lots of future income, you generally don't want a client who is dead if the idea is to get a huge payout.

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26 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

True.  I guess if I was hurt in an accident that wasn't my fault and I needed to pay for hospital bills or therapy or something, and I had to go after someone (clearly the truck driver stopped at the red light isn't at fault), then I'd have no choice but to try to go after my friend, as bad as that may be (for the friendship, that is)

Assuming your friend has car insurance, it's really not THAT big of a deal. 99.999% of the time, when I have a client who has to sue a friend, the friend doesn't care, even encourages them, because they know that they were at fault and that their insurance will cover it. 

27 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

Interesting.  I didn't know cases were often divvied up in terms of responsibility and who "wins" per se.  I thought, when a judgment is made, it's either all or none, in favor of one or the other.  Well, I guess that's not true.  I mean I know one person can be ordered to pay X amount and another person a different amount, I guess when you phrase it the way you did with percentages if just threw me off.

Yes, even if you only sue one person (i.e. you were driving the other car), the jury could be asked what YOUR percentage of the fault was in certain circumstances. 

The way it goes in an auto case in New York (where I have my license) is, the jury determines liability and then they determine damages. If they say you are 10% at fault, and your injury is worth $100,000, you only get $90,000, and so on. 

29 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

  I know in this case we're talking death which is obviously the most extreme outcome an incident could result in, but in all honesty, why make a fuss about a guy who genuinely didn't mean to do something. Ok ok, that's a bad example - I'll go on record now saying that if I die in an accident like that, I'll be pretty pissed lol.  I'm obviously more lenient here than most, like you eluded to, but I guess my thought is why make a guy's life more miserable than it's already going to be.  Assuming that person feels guilty and is going to have to live with something like that for the rest of their life, what is suing for millions going to do (presumably after I'm dead), besides make that other person's life hell?  I'm far from a religious person, but I guess maybe I subscribe to the two wrongs don't make a right theory.  (Fully aware that in this case suing someone that caused your direct, accident or not, may not be considered a 'wrong' by many :D )

Let's say its not death, but you are hurt badly enough that you miss a ton or work, or worse, are disabled for the rest of your life. You have a wife and a family to support and no ability to work. Are you still thinking its "just an accident"?

In the event you are talking about death, the money recovered goes to your family to provide them the support you no longer can provide. 

10 minutes ago, Daniel said:

And as an aside, unless someone died a really painful death or was a rich guy capable of earning lots of future income, you generally don't want a client who is dead if the idea is to get a huge payout.

Yup. I have represented both the Estate of a multi millionaire killed in a car accident and the Estate of a child who suffered a brain injury at birth. The former's family got a whole lot of money. When the latter died at age 2, the family got very little in comparison. The case went from being worth multiple millions of dollars to being settled for under a million once the child passed away. 

Death in itself, is not a compensable injury. "Wrongful death" is, as Daniel alluded to, an economic measure of damages: who were you supporting and how long were you be legally obligated to support them for? 

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15 minutes ago, Daniel said:

And as an aside, unless someone died a really painful death or was a rich guy capable of earning lots of future income, you generally don't want a client who is dead if the idea is to get a huge payout.

I would add, though, if the family knows how the game is played and is satisfied with accepting what the insurance company gives, the fact that there's a death usually makes a car accident case pretty easy to settle. If the guy has $100,000 in insurance, the injury is potentially worth $1,000,000, but they don't want to chase the individual around for the extra $900,000, its usually pretty easy to get the insurance company to cough up the $100k. 

In 16 years I have never had anyone decide NOT to accept the insurance money and to chase a person's personal assets. Because, its near impossible to do between transfers of assets and bankruptcy filings. 

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1 hour ago, mfitz804 said:

A comp case and a lawsuit are two completely separate entities; you don't convert one into the other. If you fit into one of the exceptions, you bring a direct lawsuit. As part of that lawsuit you'll be required to show how you fit into the exception. If you can't show that, your lawsuit will be dismissed. Comp claims get filed with the Worker's Comp Board and are overseen by Judges in their employ. they hear the facts and make the decision, there's no jury as far as I know, at least not at the level of initial review. 

You can sue your friend if he intentionally injures you. But, you can also sue your friend if he's negligent. Let's say he's just not paying attention and accidentally plows into the back of an 18 wheeler that is stopped at a red light in front of you. It's still your friend's fault, even though it wasn't on purpose. You example skipped over that possibility. 

If someone else is negligent and hits your friend's car, and that other driver is 100% at fault, you wouldn't have a good claim against him. But you'd still have to sue him, because the other guy would likely be attempting to blame him, and even if he gets 10% of the blame, that would mean that the other driver would only have to pay 90% of the value of your injuries. Maybe you wouldn't care about the 10%, but what if they find it 90-10 the other way? It happens. That's why we always include both cars as parties; it would be reckless (potentially) not to. 

Same deal with the tandem dive instructor. There doesn't need to be intent, nobody intends to be negligent. 

If you don't think that the instructor failing to pull the chute (or, as in my example, failing to wear one at all) means he's at fault for your death and should be responsible for damages, you're way more accepting of things that are "an accident" than I am. 

 

I was involved in a car accident about 8 years ago where someone hit me from behind (pretty hard too) and then pushed me into the car in front of me.  I wasn't hurt and at the time everyone seemed to be ok.  The person I hit after I got hit actually drove away from the accident.

Fast forward about 2 years and I get a notice that I am being sued by the person I got pushed into.  She claimed to have debilitating back/neck pain that has caused her to not work and reduced her quality of life.  I notified my insurance and they assigned a lawyer to represent me.  The lawyer told me that even though I wasn't at fault (even the police report stated as much), the person still had to sue me as well as the car who hit me and about 10 John Doe's (not sure why this was.  The accident happened on a busy highway during rush hour).  To make a long story short I had to give a deposition one morning and two weeks later my lawyer called me saying I am basically off the hook.

Also FWIW I did find out that the person suing ran a half-marathon about 6 months before her lawsuit and placed in the top 100 out of like 400 participants.  She was also in a romantic relationship with the doctor who was supporting her claims and lived with him.

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13 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

the person still had to sue me as well as the car who hit me and about 10 John Doe's (not sure why this was.  The accident happened on a busy highway during rush hour). 

Could be that the party at fault was claiming to have been pushed by a "mystery vehicle" that left the scene. Including the John Does would allow you to fill in the blank later. ten seems excessive, but its just as easy to include 10 as it is to include 1. 

Also, your'e in NJ where the statute of limitations for accident cases is 2 years. That means they wouldn't have had time to sue other people if they came up after the 2 year mark, unless they did the John Does. 

I've only successfully converted a John Doe to an actual person once, a bus accident where the TA didn't turn over the accident report (yes, they get to investigate and report on their own accidents, seems fair) so I didn't know the name of the driver until later. 

18 minutes ago, DevsMan84 said:

 She was also in a romantic relationship with the doctor who was supporting her claims and lived with him.

Not shocking that her medicals were favorable to her case then, I suppose. Extremely poor form, though, that doctor should have referred her to a colleague that would have supported it just because its his girlfriend. I would have ripped that doctor apart at trial. 

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1 hour ago, mfitz804 said:

Let's say its not death, but you are hurt badly enough that you miss a ton or work, or worse, are disabled for the rest of your life. You have a wife and a family to support and no ability to work. Are you still thinking its "just an accident"?

All fair points.  I was more thinking specific to this case, where someone like Peluso who, while maybe not filthy rich, definitely is more well off than about 99% of the country.  I don't get the sense from some of the videos that were posted here that gave a glimpse of his life that he has a family to support, but even if he did, like I said I think his earnings both up to, and beyond the time of his stated injuries, were probably enough to support and last his lifetime.  I'm not at all suggesting this is a money grab, because I do believe he has obvious injuries, it's just the at-fault responsibility that's in question.  

Quote

Death in itself, is not a compensable injury. "Wrongful death" is, as Daniel alluded to, an economic measure of damages: who were you supporting and how long were you be legally obligated to support them for?

Ah the almighty dollar.  Indeed it always come down to that. 

If that's the case though, how do they assign a value to say, a single never-married man with no dependents, who happens to be an investment banker who makes $500K a year?  If he has no one suing on his behalf, is his future perceived value/earnings just ignored?  

Also, I feel like there are definitely cases where it goes beyond economic impact, which I imagine where pain and suffering comes in to play and then we're talking punitive damages, but maybe I'm mixing legal jargon here.  I have no idea. 

Edited by NJDfan1711

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1 hour ago, DevsMan84 said:

I was involved in a car accident about 8 years ago where someone hit me from behind (pretty hard too) and then pushed me into the car in front of me.  I wasn't hurt and at the time everyone seemed to be ok.  The person I hit after I got hit actually drove away from the accident.

Fast forward about 2 years and I get a notice that I am being sued by the person I got pushed into.  She claimed to have debilitating back/neck pain that has caused her to not work and reduced her quality of life.  I notified my insurance and they assigned a lawyer to represent me.  The lawyer told me that even though I wasn't at fault (even the police report stated as much), the person still had to sue me as well as the car who hit me and about 10 John Doe's (not sure why this was.  The accident happened on a busy highway during rush hour).  To make a long story short I had to give a deposition one morning and two weeks later my lawyer called me saying I am basically off the hook.

Also FWIW I did find out that the person suing ran a half-marathon about 6 months before her lawsuit and placed in the top 100 out of like 400 participants.  She was also in a romantic relationship with the doctor who was supporting her claims and lived with him.

Based on what your saying, the plaintiff probably committed perjury somewhere along the way of her suit.  Her attorney should also have been disciplined or disbarred, at least he should have if I had anything to say in the matter.

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20 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

All fair points.  I was more thinking specific to this case, where someone like Peluso who, while maybe not filthy rich, definitely is more well off than about 99% of the country.  I don't get the sense from some of the videos that were posted here that gave a glimpse of his life that he has a family to support, but even if he did, like I said I think his earnings both up to, and beyond the time of his stated injuries, were probably enough to support and last his lifetime.  I'm not at all suggesting this is a money grab, because I do believe he has obvious injuries, it's just the at-fault responsibility that's in question.  

Mike Peluso did not make a lot of money as a hockey player.  i found these figures online (no idea as to accuracy but it seems like what he would have made):

1989-90 ? (played 2 games)

1990-91  $130,000 

1991-92 ?

1992-93  $253,403 

1993-94  $397,500 $144,098 57%

1994-95  $230,550 
Contract = $397,500 $(166,950)-42%Players' Strike: 48 out of 84 games played. Most players only received +/- 58% of the amount listed.

1995-96  $590,800 $360,250 156%

1996-97  $591,000 $200 0%

1997-98  $660,000 $69,000 12%

Even if you assume he made the same in 91-92 as he did in 92-93 (he probably made less), that's a little over $3.1M. Before taxes and drugs and alcohol. If you make $100K a year in an office job, you will actually make more money over your career because you'll be able to work longer than a hockey player. 

If he had a wife and kids (I see no evidence he does), $3 million after taxes isn't enough to support them for their lifetime. 

However, it bears noting that none of this matters, because we're talking about wrongful death damages for someone who's alive. 

6 minutes ago, Daniel said:

Based on what your saying, the plaintiff probably committed perjury somewhere along the way of her suit.  Her attorney should also have been disciplined or disbarred, at least he should have if I had anything to say in the matter.

How so? What are you basing that opinion on?

If they DIDN'T name DevsMan84, and it was proven at trial that he was 10% responsible, and the Plaintiff lost out on 10% of her recovery, then Plaintiff's attorney is guilty of malpractice. 

Edited by mfitz804

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15 minutes ago, mfitz804 said:

 

How so? What are you basing that opinion on?

If they DIDN'T name DevsMan84, and it was proven at trial that he was 10% responsible, and the Plaintiff lost out on 10% of her recovery, then Plaintiff's attorney is guilty of malpractice. 

Based on DM's summary, the woman claimed she was badly injured, but it turns out she was running marathons.  I'm guessing at some point along the way, whether it was a certification or a deposition, she lied about her pain and suffering and the supposed permanent nature of her injuries in a sworn statement.  But even if she didn't, her attorney must have signed a pleading stating how awful her injuries were, when he knew that was untrue.

You're right though that, unfortunately, lawyers can get away with stuff like that and are rarely held to account for making factual assertions known to be untrue, much less legal arguments that are known to be meritless. 

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3 minutes ago, Daniel said:

Based on DM's summary, the woman claimed she was badly injured, but it turns out she was running marathons.  I'm guessing at some point along the way, whether it was a certification or a deposition, she lied about her pain and suffering and the supposed permanent nature of her injuries in a sworn statement.  But even if she didn't, her attorney must have signed a pleading stating how awful her injuries were, when he knew that was untrue.

You're right though that, unfortunately, lawyers can get away with stuff like that and are rarely held to account for making factual assertions known to be untrue, much less legal arguments that are known to be meritless. 

Me personally, if the client came to me and told me that, I would reject their case. Neck and back cases are awful anyway, they aren't valued very high and almost nobody is satisfied with the amount of money they get.

But, you're also assuming she told the lawyer and that wasn't a happy little tidbit he learned about later. A number of years ago I had a mediation for a client who had claimed in her deposition (which I was not involved in) that she had been confined to her home for the past 6 months due to her injuries. You know, with the exception of that 2 week trip to Disney World that she posted 100's of pictures of on her Facebook account. Client never told our office about it, she was the child of a personal friend of one of the partners here and they took her at her word. Needless to say, we spend a lot more time checking social media accounts now. And I was still able to settle the case. 

In DevsMan's case, its more likely she went to the lawyer, the lawyer reviewed her medicals which had positive findings (related to the accident or not, running marathons ain't all that good for your spine either), and her "doctor" related the injuries to the accident. That was good enough for him. 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, mfitz804 said:

Me personally, if the client came to me and told me that, I would reject their case. Neck and back cases are awful anyway, they aren't valued very high and almost nobody is satisfied with the amount of money they get.

But, you're also assuming she told the lawyer and that wasn't a happy little tidbit he learned about later. A number of years ago I had a mediation for a client who had claimed in her deposition (which I was not involved in) that she had been confined to her home for the past 6 months due to her injuries. You know, with the exception of that 2 week trip to Disney World that she posted 100's of pictures of on her Facebook account. Client never told our office about it, she was the child of a personal friend of one of the partners here and they took her at her word. Needless to say, we spend a lot more time checking social media accounts now. And I was still able to settle the case. 

In DevsMan's case, its more likely she went to the lawyer, the lawyer reviewed her medicals which had positive findings (related to the accident or not, running marathons ain't all that good for your spine either), and her "doctor" related the injuries to the accident. That was good enough for him. 

 

 

 

Yeah, it's possible that her doctor was a little too convincing for her attorney.  Maybe the attorney moved to withdraw from the representation after learning what was going on. 

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6 minutes ago, Daniel said:

Yeah, it's possible that her doctor was a little too convincing for her attorney.  Maybe the attorney moved to withdraw from the representation after learning what was going on. 

It probably just settled for whatever the insurance company would pay and that was it. That's a bad position to be in, though. The marathon is one thing, but to have your treatment rendered by your boyfriend, that's bad news. It doesn't even matter at that point if she's hurt or not, a jury will only be thinking that its certain fraud. 

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4 minutes ago, mfitz804 said:

It probably just settled for whatever the insurance company would pay and that was it. That's a bad position to be in, though. The marathon is one thing, but to have your treatment rendered by your boyfriend, that's bad news. It doesn't even matter at that point if she's hurt or not, a jury will only be thinking that its certain fraud. 

Something like that happened to my cousin down in Florida.  She was backing out of her driveway and hit someone, who turned out to be an attorney who had a history of bring PI suits and was claiming millions in damages.  The jury awarded him $1.00 and he was forced to pay my cousin's insurer's attorneys' fees because he rejected an offer of judgment. 

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26 minutes ago, Daniel said:

Something like that happened to my cousin down in Florida.  She was backing out of her driveway and hit someone, who turned out to be an attorney who had a history of bring PI suits and was claiming millions in damages.  The jury awarded him $1.00 and he was forced to pay my cousin's insurer's attorneys' fees because he rejected an offer of judgment. 

That’s awesome.

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39 minutes ago, mfitz804 said:

Mike Peluso did not make a lot of money as a hockey player.  i found these figures online (no idea as to accuracy but it seems like what he would have made):

1989-90 ? (played 2 games)

1990-91  $130,000 

1991-92 ?

1992-93  $253,403 

1993-94  $397,500 $144,098 57%

1994-95  $230,550 
Contract = $397,500 $(166,950)-42%Players' Strike: 48 out of 84 games played. Most players only received +/- 58% of the amount listed.

1995-96  $590,800 $360,250 156%

1996-97  $591,000 $200 0%

1997-98  $660,000 $69,000 12%

Even if you assume he made the same in 91-92 as he did in 92-93 (he probably made less), that's a little over $3.1M. Before taxes and drugs and alcohol. If you make $100K a year in an office job, you will actually make more money over your career because you'll be able to work longer than a hockey player. 

If he had a wife and kids (I see no evidence he does), $3 million after taxes isn't enough to support them for their lifetime. 

However, it bears noting that none of this matters, because we're talking about wrongful death damages for someone who's alive. 

 

In comparison to today's NHL players, no he didn't make a lot of money as a hockey player, and perhaps even compared to his peers at the time, maybe he didn't make a lot of money as a hockey player then either, but in comparison to the rest of the world, and in terms of being able to financially support and provide for himself a reasonable and comfortable life, he did make enough money as a hockey player.

And I know we're not talking wrongful death here because he's still alive obviously, but how do the above figures not matter?  Wouldn't those earnings still come into play in a worker's comp case, when figuring out his lost wages? You mentioned it depended on the amount of loss he suffered, compared to what his income is.  And would they also not come into play in a direct lawsuit (if he did in fact already go the worker's comp route and was unsuccessful)?

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38 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

In comparison to today's NHL players, no he didn't make a lot of money as a hockey player, and perhaps even compared to his peers at the time, maybe he didn't make a lot of money as a hockey player then either, but in comparison to the rest of the world, and in terms of being able to financially support and provide for himself a reasonable and comfortable life, he did make enough money as a hockey player.

You think so? Maybe. If those numbers are right, he cleared about $1.8 million. I'm certainly not saying he's poor (although if he went through his money, he may be), but buy a house and a car and what's left out of $1.8 million? Enough to care for yourself until you die? I don't believe so. I wish it was, I would retire in like 5 years lol. 

41 minutes ago, NJDfan1711 said:

And I know we're not talking wrongful death here because he's still alive obviously, but how do the above figures not matter?  Wouldn't those earnings still come into play in a worker's comp case, when figuring out his lost wages? You mentioned it depended on the amount of loss he suffered, compared to what his income is.  And would they also not come into play in a direct lawsuit (if he did in fact already go the worker's comp route and was unsuccessful)?

His ability to support a family isn't a consideration when he's alive. But you're right, its still lost wages at that point, and as we discussed above, I'm not sure he has any proof of lost wages given that 1) he kept playing and cashing his checks, and 2) he played longer than the league average. You'd have to show the work life expectancy of an NHL player was longer than 10 years, or that there was some job he could have otherwise done AFTER his NHL career was done, but because of his injuries, he's disabled from doing so. For example, maybe if he was in better shape, he could do like Ryane Clowe (who had a similar amount of games played) and be an assistant coach somewhere. 

There is, of course, a HUGE degree of speculation involved in all of that. It could just as easily be said that with 432 games as an enforcer in the NHL, he was a fringe player who wouldn't have had a realistic shot at coaching.

That said, if I were representing him, that's the argument I would make. He's 52 now, if you can argue he would have worked from 1998 when he retired until he turned 65 in 2030, that's 32 years. Even at $100k a year, that adds up. If a jury believes it. 

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