"If you were in the Museum Collections Building (bldg 2C) between the year 2000 and June 18, 2018, you were 'exposed' to uranium by OSHA's definition." Not exactly something you want to hear after your vacation to the Grand Canyon, but that's what the park's health and safety manager is claiming.
Elston "Swede" Stephenson says radioactivity readings gathered by Park Service officials on three buckets of stones believed to be uranium specimens appeared to be hundreds of times higher than federal exposure thresholds.
A Box of Rocks or a Load of Radiation?
Apparently not everyone is on board with Stephenson's evaluation of radiation risk at the park. "It's just a bucket of rocks," Craig Little, a health physicist who spent 25 years at the Oakridge National Laboratory told the Arizona Republic. "I wouldn't line my baby's crib with it, but ..." The central disagreement appears to center on whether uranium ore, which was discovered in three 5-gallon buckets that had been stored next to a taxidermy exhibit could emit dangerous radiation levels.
"Uranium naturally occurs in the rocks of Grand Canyon National Park," the Department of Interior told CNN. "A recent survey of the Grand Canyon National Park's museum collection facility found radiation levels at 'background' levels -- the amount always present in the environment -- and below levels of concern for public health and safety. There is no current risk to the public or Park employees."
Stephenson stood by his calculations, however, and noted that OSHA technicians wore full protective gear when they visited the building. "Please understand, this doesn't mean that you're somehow contaminated, or that you are going to have health issues," he said in a warning email. "It merely means essentially that there was uranium on the site and you were in its presence ... And by law we are supposed to tell you."
Suing the Grand Canyon
So, could lawsuits from park visitors be forthcoming? If the park in fact violated environmental laws on the storage or disposal of radioactive materials, it could be held liable. Additionally, the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) allows individuals to recover against the federal government for personal injury caused by the negligence of a federal employee. However, claims under the FTCA must be made following a specific procedure, in writing, and within two years after it becomes apparent a cause of action exists.
If you're wondering if you have a claim for radiation exposure, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney.
- Find Personal Injury Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- FDA Eyes Risk of Radiation Overdose in Medical Facilities (FindLaw's Injured)
- Can Cellphone Radiofrequency Energy Cause Cancer? (FindLaw's Injured)
- Do Airport Body Scanners Pose Health Risks? (FindLaw's Injured)
Dozens of workers every year suffer chemical burns on the job. And the products we use and businesses we frequent often contain or use dangerous chemicals. So, if you're one of the people who suffers a chemical burn, when (and who) can you sue?
That will largely depend on the circumstances of your case. Here's a look:
In 2017, almost 300,000 iPhone cases were recalled after leaking glitter from cracked cases caused chemical burns. Two dozen customers claimed they suffered skin irritation or chemical burns from leaking cases, and one person "reported chemical burns and swelling to her leg, face, neck, chest, upper body and hands." Product liability claims hold a manufacturer or seller liable if their product causes injuries.
There are generally three types of product liability lawsuits, depending on the cause of the malfunction or injury:
- Defects in Design: A defect in the design of the product that poses an unreasonable risk to consumers, even if it is manufactured and used as intended;
- Defects in Manufacturing: A mistake in the production of a well-designed product that introduces a new danger to consumers; or
- Defects in Warnings: A company's failure to properly warn consumers of known risks in using the product, if they are inadequate warnings, inaccurate warnings, or no warnings at all.
Maybe you suffered a burn on someone else's property. At a restaurant, perhaps, or a car wash that uses chemicals to clean. In that case, the property owner might be held responsible under premises liability. The level of responsibility will often hinge on your relationship with the property owner.
Invitee (those who are invited onto the property of another, like customers in a store) and licensees (those who are guests or present at the consent of the owner) are owed a reasonable duty of care from the property owner, meaning they have taken reasonable steps to assure the safety of the premises. If that's not the case, you may have a premises liability claim.
If you are injured on the job, you'll most likely need to file a workers' compensation claim before you can file a lawsuit. Make sure you seek and receive any necessary medical treatment as soon as possible, and report the accident to your employer. If your workers' comp claim is denied, or the benefits don't fully cover your medical costs, lost wages, or expenses, you may have other legal options.
To know how to proceed with any injury claim, contact an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.
- Browse Personal Injury Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- 5 Common Questions About Which Injuries Qualify for Workers' Compensation (FindLaw's Injured)
- Laundry Pods Linked to Eye Injuries in Kids (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Will Alleged iPhone Fire Lead to Lawsuit? (FindLaw's Injured)
With all the winter weather most of the country has been getting blasted with, chances are you've hit the slopes already. And with no snow letup in sight, you might be headed back. So, be careful out there.
But, accidents happen. Most of us are aware of the risks that come with skiing, but every now and then an accident isn't just an accident, and someone else is at fault. When that happens on the ski slopes, who's responsible and what can you do about it? Here's what you need to know about skiing injuries and legal liability.
Hopefully, you're well aware of how to stay safe on the slopes. If not, an experienced skier or guide can help. And if you're determined to do it all on your own, make sure to avoid skiing alone, be careful around trees and rocks, and don't treat ski lifts and equipment like toys.
As a business open to the public, ski resorts are generally responsible for preventing foreseeable injuries in and around the resort. But on the mountain? That could be a different story. And while many (if not all) resorts require you to sign a liability waiver or include one with the sale of a ski pass, not all those waivers are enforceable in court.
Perhaps the biggest factor in determining liability for ski injuries is the behavior of the skiers involved. Did you hop on a double black diamond your first time out? Did you purposely ski outside the resort's boundaries? Or did someone else recklessly plow into you?
Speaking of boundaries, for some veteran, adventurous skiers, only the backcountry will do. But what happens if you get in trouble out there? Search parties and rescue efforts don't come cheap, and some counties and states are charging rescuees with those costs.
Your best bet for legal advice regarding your specific ski injuries is going to be an experienced injury attorney. You can find one in your area below.
- Find Personal Injury Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- Ore. Ski Resort Liability Waiver Ruling: 5 Things You Should Know (FindLaw's Injured)
- New New Jersey Law Requires Ski, Snowboard Helmet (FindLaw's Injured)
- WA Avalanche Shows 'Sidecountry Skiing' Risks (FindLaw's Injured)