Contact us today to schedule a free initial confidential consultation: (302) 777-1000

Falling After Snow Storms

Woman Slipped And Injured Back On Icy Street

Among fellow trial lawyers in Delaware is something all people should understand. Many people have fallen after snow storms after coming in or out of department stores or any other place of business. In Delaware, there is a doctrine called “The Continuous Storm Doctrine”. What that means is the courts in Delaware have held that there is no duty for the owner of land of a commercial establishment to clear either snow or ice while the storm is continuing. Furthermore, the courts also seem to suggest if they try to do it an proper fashion during the storm, they still may not be held responsible.

It comes up more than you would think. If there was snow for hours and then changes to rain and a person thinks it is ok to venture out, a person gets out of the car and slips on the snow or ice. Generally someone thinks because it is now raining, someone should have cleared the snow that was on the ground. However, with the doctrine I stated above, most probably the place where you fell is not going to be responsible for injuries.

Also, most times the court will give an establishment time in which to clear. In other words, once the weather clears, they do not have to do it immediately. It can vary from half a day to a full day for business owners to make sidewalks and parking lots decent for people to walk back and forth without hurting themselves.

The moral of the story is to be very careful if you are venturing out, for your own sake, while there is bad weather going in on your area. Obviously, you do not want to hurt yourself, and if you do, you are not going to be able to hold the place where you are shopping responsible for your injury.

Insurance Issues after a Slip and Fall Injury

Pursuing Insurance Benefits after a Slip and Fall Injury

If you are hurt as a customer on commercial property, or in a slip and fall at a friend or neighbors house, where can you turn for compensation for your injuries? Will you have to identify the company provider homeowner’s or property insurance? Can you simply rely on the at-fault party’s insurance company to cover your losses?

Step One: Get the Care You Need

The most important thing to do in the aftermath of a slip and fall injury is to get the medical attention you need. When you go to the hospital, urgent care facility or to your family doctor, you can provide the caregiver with information about your own health insurance policy. The caregiver will typically file a claim with your caregiver, which may either deny the claim or approve it and seek reimbursement from the at-fault party or his/her insurer.

Step Two: Determine Whether There Is Liability Insurance

It’s important to understand, though, that your health insurance company will only reimburse you for actual medical expenses. You won’t be able to pursue any benefits for lost wages, loss of consortium or companionship, or pain and suffering from your insurer, unless there’s an actual medical expense incurred.

To that end, you want to determine whether the property owner, landlord and/or tenant had insurance to cover personal injury. With a private residence, that type of loss will typically be covered by either a homeowner’s policy or a general liability policy (often known as an “umbrella” policy). If there’s a mortgage on the home, there’s a good chance there’s also homeowner’s insurance, as the lender will typically require it. The only way to find out, though, is to ask the homeowner.

With a commercial building, the owner of the property may have liability insurance, and there’s a good chance that the owner of any business on the premises will also have liability insurance.

Regardless of where you were hurt, you should notify the property owner, as well as any insurer of the property, as soon as possible after the accident. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that the insurer will seek to attribute your accident to some other cause.

Step Three: File a Claim

It’s usually not a good idea to rely on the property owner to file a claim on your behalf. You will probably have to contact the insurance company directly and take the appropriate steps yourself to initiate the claim. Once you do, the insurer will likely assign an adjuster, who will interview all witnesses (including you) and make a determination of whether a claim should be paid, and how much should be paid.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

For a private meeting, contact us by e-mail or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary. There is no cost for your first consultation.

Slip and Falls

Unfortunately as we all know, many people slip and fall or get hurt at restaurants, food stores, department stores, and any other place they go which are controlled by other people. Slip and falls are extremely difficult to prove in many cases. The reason for that is you must show in Court the place where you got hurt knew or should have known there was some type of dangerous condition that should have been handled before you ended up being hurt. In some cases, that is a very hard thing for a Plaintiff’s attorney to prove because you are basically trying to prove something that is very hard to know.

There are a few things a person can do to try to help themselves and their attorney, if they, unfortunately, ever end up in that type of situation. Initially, if you are injured severely, your first need is to ask for assistance and get by ambulance to a hospital. Your health is always your main concern.

However, many people feel injured, but they are not to the point where they have to have immediate ambulance service. If you find yourself in that position, there are some simple things you can do.

Initially, look to see what caused you to fall, or otherwise be injured. If it is a fall look to see whether it was some type of liquid on the floor, whether it was a clear liquid, how big of a spill, or if you can see where the spill was coming from. By looking for those telltale clues, it helps quite a bit in determining how long that spill had been there, and whether the employees of the place in which you fell should have realized there was a problem. If it is some other type of injury, see how it happened.

Secondly, look to see if there is a camera above you that is recording what is occurring. If so, then you know the camera should have captured exactly what happened you were injured. If you have a camera phone, take a picture of what caused you to fall. You should always look to see if there is a ‘wet floor’ sign or some other type of indication there was a problem where you fell. Most people are looking for merchandise on the display and not staring at their feet. A picture is always worth a 1,000 words. Also, if people saw what happened, get their name and phone number.

Thirdly, make sure you report the incident immediately. Usually, someone will come and take a statement from you about what occurred. Please give them all the information about what happened. That is what is called an incident report.

It is up to the attorney to develop the case. However, having knowledge of what was stated above is extremely valuable in knowing how to pursue the case. It takes just but a few minutes to potentially have a good case, as opposed to a tough one.

Contact the Law Office of Michael J. Hood, LLC

For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office toll-free at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

Premises Liability—Negligent Security

The laws governing premises liability—the potential responsibility of a property owner for injuries suffered on his or her premises—require that residential and commercial property owners take reasonable steps to monitor property for potentially dangerous situations, and that they either remedy those problems or provide adequate warning of the risks involved. In most instances, this involves some sort of structural breakdown or defect—broken steps or stairs, slippery floors or sidewalks.

But the duty to ensure the safety of legitimate visitors to your property also involves taking reasonable measures to protect their safety when you know or should know that they are at risk of harm from muggings or physical attacks. If your property is in a high crime area—if there have been prior incidents on your property (or even nearby), you may be responsible for injuries suffered if you don’t take reasonable measures to minimize the risk of a mugging; accusations of negligent security can plague owners.

Here are some of the steps you can take to protect your interests:

  • Install adequate lighting—Dark corners and alleyways provide convenient cover for a lot of illegal activity. Install and maintain good lighting.
  • Ensure that all locks and security systems are completely functional—If you have restricted access to the building or property, make certain all systems work, so that no one gets in without permission.
  • Monitor and maintain fences and other barriers
  • If you have security guards, perform random checks on them to make certain they are doing their jobs.
  • Install security camera and motion-sensitive lights

Contact Our Office

To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

We’ve Moved!

Attorney Michael J. Hood Has a New Location!

The law office of Michael J. Hood has moved to a new location:

The office of Michael J. Hood, LLC, we have provided comprehensive legal counsel to personal injury victims in Delaware and Pennsylvania since 1982. We understand the uncertainty and anxiety that come in the aftermath of a personal injury. We will work hard to make certain that you have accurate and up-to-date information at all times. We will learn as much as we can about your accident and injuries so that we can give you a timely and realistic appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, the reasonable value of your claim and your chances of success.

We offer a free initial consultation. For a confidential meeting, contact us online.

Practice Areas

Contact Michael J. Hood

Michael J. Hood represents premises liability accident & personal injury victims in the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Middleton, Seaford, Laurel, Milford, Brookside, Claymont, Pike Creek, Wilmington Manor, Elsmere, Edgemoor, New Castle, Chester, Springfield, West Chester, Broomall, Woodlyn, Elkton and Pennsville. Also serving New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County in Delaware as well as Delaware county, Chester county and Philadelphia county in PA.

Liability in Public Swimming Pool Accidents

Wilmington Delaware Pool Accident Accident Attorney

Under Section 4464 of Title 16 Health & Human Services Delaware Administrative Code, public pools are required to adhere to a number of codes and regulations in the construction, operation, and cleaning of a pool. There are requirements specifying what chemicals must be added to pool water to counteract the degradation of chlorine due to sunlight; what sort of fence must surround a pool; what arrangement of bathrooms must be provided; what sorts of diving boards can be installed; when a lifeguard must be used; and, what sort of filtration system must be used. Consequently, there are a number of issues that must be considered when an accident in a public swimming pool happens.

Determining Fault – Parental Mistake or Public Pool Negligence?

In some cases, especially those that involve slides or slips and falls on the pavement, parents may mistakenly believe it was their child’s fault for not taking proper precautions when using a slide or running to jump into the pool. However, depending on the situation, the fault may lie with the public pool. For example, was the water slide properly functioning? Were there any malfunctioning jet sprays that left part of the slide dry? Was the curvature of the slide up to code? And, were any warning signs posted prohibiting running or jumping into the pool? Was a lifeguard on duty?

Investigating Pool Accidents

Typically, when an injury happens in a public pool that does not involve drowning or a diving accident, it’s unlikely pool operators or authorities will conduct an investigation. Here, it’s important to consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can conduct an investigation to determine if any codes or regulations were violated. For example, depending on the nature of a pool accident, request of maintenance documents, inspection schedules, or lifeguard qualifications can shed light on why an accident happened.

Contact Wilmington Delaware Pool Accident Attorney Michael Hood Today

If you’ve been injured in a pool accident, contact Wilmington swimming pool injury attorney Michael Hood today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case. We can take preliminary steps to ensure an investigation is initiated to protect and preserve evidence and hold negligent pool operators liable for injuries they cause. You can also call our office to schedule a free initial confidential consultation at (302) 777-1000.

Summertime and Roller Coaster Safety

A new roller coaster called the Thunderbolt is about to start thrilling men, women, and children come this July. The coaster is expected to reach speeds of up to 65 mph, and will include 2000 feet of track.

The ride will have a 125-foot drop, a 90-degree vertical drop, a 100-foot loop, a zero-gravity roll, corkscrew turns, and many dives and backward loops all in about two minutes’ time.

The new coaster will be replacing an old Thunderbolt coaster that was located near the same spot. Woody Allen helped make the old Thunderbolt a star by featuring it in his film, “Annie Hall.” Sadly, the old Thunderbolt was torn down in order to create space for the Mets’ minor league baseball team, the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Roller Coaster and Amusement Park Accidents

Accidents on roller coasters are rare, but they do occur. In the past year, at the Blue Streak roller coaster in Pennsylvania, two people were injured. It seems that the riders had lowered their heads to block their faces from the rain, but their heads hit the lap bar when they hit a bump in the track.

In another accident, this one in an Austrian amusement park, a ride operator was seriously injured after trying to retrieve a hat for a guest who had lost it. The worker made a bad decision to climb over the rail barriers and was hit by an oncoming roller coaster car.

Officials of the new Thunderbolt are taking every precaution to keep riders safe. They have also offered an online virtual ride for those who can’t wait to experience the Coney Island Thunderbolt.

Contact Delaware Personal Injury Attorney Michael J. Hood

If you were injured in an amusement park accident or any other type of accident caused by another person’s or organization’s careless or reckless actions, you may have cause to file a personal injury claim to pay for your medical treatment and other accident related damages. To learn more about your rights, contact the law office of Michael J. Hood. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000.

Common Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

The Most Frequent Causes of Swimming Pool Accidents

Everybody likes to go for a swim on a hot day. Unfortunately, a casual swim can too often lead to serious or catastrophic injury. Statistics show that, every day, an average of 9 people drown in swimming pool accidents in the United States. In fact, accidental drowning is the leading cause of death among children under the age of four. This blog looks at the most common causes of swimming pool accidents.

Failure to Provide Proper Supervision

Without a doubt, the single most frequent cause of swimming pool accidents is lack of supervision, particularly in private homes. Too often, parents will allow young children access to a backyard pool without monitoring their activity. But the risk also applies to teens and adults. Many serious injuries and deaths among teens and adults in pools involve people swimming alone. Studies show that it can take less than five minutes for a person to drown in a swimming pool.

Failure to Erect or Maintain Appropriate Fencing or Other Barriers

A swimming pool is typically referred to as an “attractive nuisance” under the law, something that draws the attention of young children, but can be deadly. Most states have laws requiring barriers to access to a swimming pool, but many property owners either fail to erect barriers, or let them fall into disrepair.

Dangerous or Defective Equipment at a Pool

Broken diving boards or ladders have been the cause of many pool accidents. In addition, there can be problems with drains or other water filtration devices that can trap swimmers under water. Broken tiles around a pool can lead to injury as well.

Electricity in Proximity to the Pool

A frequent cause of injury (including death) around a pool, one that is not often considered, is exposure to electrical current. Swimmers may bring stereos or other electrical devices too close to a pool. Unfortunately, water is a great conductor of electricity.

Contact Our Office

To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.

Injuries Caused by Inadequate Lighting or Warnings

In Delaware and Pennsylvania, the owner of commercial or residential property has certain duties with respect to persons who are invited onto the property. These duties include adequately lighting a property and providing reasonable warnings to visitors of any known risks of injury.  This is an issue that falls under premises liability, an area where we help clients obtain compensation for their injuries.

Common Sense Rule for Owners

The owner or occupier of property has a legal duty to anyone who enters the property  (a tenant, a shopper, a personal or business visitor) not to subject that person to an unreasonable risk of injury because of the design, construction or condition of the property. The owner has this duty because the owner controls the premises, not the visitor.

For instance, if it’s a commercial property where shoppers come at night and an outdoor surface is slippery and unlit, if that person slips and is injured as a result, that property owner should be held responsible.  It’s the owner, not the visitor, in control of the placement and maintenance of the lighting.

Sufficient Lighting and Warning of Dangers

Another issue with proper lighting is that without it, there may be a foreseeable increased risk of crime to visitors.  If someone visiting the property under poorly lit conditions the owner is aware of becomes a crime victim, the property owner may face liability.

If there is construction or repairs going on at a property and visitors are not warned or (even better) physically prevented from entering an area that’s potentially hazardous, and a visitor is injured, the owner of the premises might also be held responsible.

For commercial property, whether the owner or the business leasing space in the property is legally responsible for an accident depends on a number of things, including the location of the accident (common area or within the business’ space) and the language of the lease or contract between the owner and business. If you are injured at a place of business, you should notify it of the accident and any injuries you’re aware of.

Common Sense Rule for Visitors

It’s not all about the owner and occupier.  If the person is injured while acting in an unexpected, unauthorized, or dangerously careless way, the property owner or occupier may not be responsible for the injury.  If at a commercial property there are stairs where it’s posted “Skateboarding not allowed” and while skateboarding down the staircase handrail, the person is injured, the property owner may not be liable.

Contact Our Office

At the office of Michael J. Hood, LLC, we have provided comprehensive counsel to personal injury victims in Delaware and Pennsylvania for more than three decades. We know the impact a personal injury can have on your life, and we understand how important it can be to get straight answers to all your questions. We will take all the time necessary to learn about your accident, as well as what you need to move forward, so that we can set realistic expectations about your likelihood of success. We will carefully assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case so that you can make practical decisions about how you want to proceed.

We offer the knowledge, skill, experience and resources to help you pursue full and fair compensation for all your losses, including lost wages and income, medical expenses, loss of companionship, and physical pain and suffering. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000.

Death Benefits for Workers Compensation

Worker’s compensation benefits are meant to provide benefits to employees injured during the course of their employment.  That injury could be caused by an accident or an occupational disease. That injury could also result in the death of the employee, which may entitle the employee’s survivors to benefits. We have handled many workers compensation cases over the years, including those where workers’ lives have been lost.

It’s not just accidents killing workers

If someone thinks of a work related situation that results in the death of an employee, a truck or construction accident, something sudden and traumatic, may come to mind.  But it’s not just accidents that could kill an employee. It may be a long lasting but ultimately fatal occupational disease that ends an employee’s life.

If you have an occupational disease, contact our office to discuss the situation.  You don’t want to wait for it to kill you and have your survivors file for benefits.  You may be entitled to benefits now, and it may be easier to prove your illness is work related while you are still alive.

Employee or non-employee, that can be the question

The injured worker must be an “employee,” meaning the individual’s work must be under the direction and control of the employer. Independent contractors are not covered. In many instances an individual’s status as an employee or independent contractor is disputed.

Employers often have workers sign an acknowledgement or contract stating they are independent contractors to try to avoid responsibility for workers’ compensation coverage and other employment related costs and regulations. Such written acknowledgements will not defeat a claim for benefits if the employer exercised direction and control over the work performed by the deceased individual.

We can assess whether an employment relationship existed, enabling the injured individual to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances, if the company denies the deceased was an employee, a better option may be filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.  Though the plaintiff would need to show the company at fault (unlike workers compensation, which is a no-fault system), far greater damages may be available in court.

Workers Compensation Death Benefits

The workers compensation law provides for the payment of weekly compensation benefits and a burial expense allowance of $3,000.00 in Pennsylvania, $3,500 in Delaware. The benefits, a percentage of the weekly wage, are payable to the employee’s dependents, including a spouse and dependent children.  Benefits are payable to eligible children until age 18, unless they are dependent because of a disability, in which case compensation shall continue during the child’s disability. Benefits to a child can continue to be paid until age 23 if the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution in Pennsylvania, until age 25 in Delaware.

The loss of parent or spouse due to an accident or illness can be traumatic and we provide personal, caring service to make a very difficult time a little bit easier. We have more than 31 years of experience working with families who have lost loved ones and we work hard to get them the compensation they deserve.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

To arrange a free initial consultation to discuss a possible Pennsylvania or Delaware workers compensation claim, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.