North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

In any injury that occurs on or near a medical facility or involves a medical professional, one of the first questions that must be raised is:

Is this a matter of medical malpractice or general negligence?hospitalbed2

The answer to this question will determine the course of action for the personal injury plaintiff. On the whole, medical malpractice cases are more challenging. There are more requirements that must be met. There are stricter rules on notification and statutes of limitations are typically less than for general negligence. All medical malpractice cases require affidavits and the promise of testimony from medical experts who are similarly positioned with defendant. And the proof burden isn’t a matter of whether the health care provider in question acted with negligence, but rather whether he or she adhered to the applicable standard of care – which is different for every provider in every region. Medical malpractice cases also tend to take longer and cost the plaintiffs more in legal fees because they often deal with complex facts and issues of law.  Continue reading

You may know that the majority of personal injury lawsuits never make it to trial. A big reason for that is that many are settled out-of-court before they ever reach that stage.

But there is another reason too: Summary judgments and motions to dismiss. caraccident7

All civil lawsuits have to meet the basic merit requirements before proceeding. Motions to dismiss and for summary judgment can be filed by the defendant prior to trial. Both are essentially requests to the judge to toss the plaintiff’s case. In order to succeed in a summary judgment motion, defendant has to convince the judge:

  • There is no dispute as to the material facts of the case;
  • Plaintiff failed to meet his or proof burden;
  • Defendant should prevail as a matter of law.

Courts are not supposed to hand down a summary judgment if there continue to be disputes of material facts in the case. However, it’s not uncommon for a defense lawyer to file a summary judgment fairly early in the proceedings and set a hearing prematurely on the issue. The strategy is to get the issue before the judge before there is ample evidence to show a dispute of material fact.  Continue reading

A federal jury for the U.S. Western District of Texas has awarded a woman nearly $16 million in a product liability lawsuit against a utility vehicle that reportedly ran her over in 2011, causing her to suffer paralysis from the neck down.doctor8

However, because the woman was deemed contributorily negligent by half, she will only receive about $8 million of that. Not all states allow collection of damages in the event plaintiff is found to have been contributorily negligent (North Carolina, for example, bars recovery in those instances), but many – including South Carolina – do.

In Nester v. Textron Inc., the Rhode Island company reportedly manufactured the kick-off brake system in the E-Z -Go Workhorse utility vehicles. In the winter of 2011, plaintiff was working on her family’s ranch near Austin, TX while driving one of these vehicles. She reportedly stepped out of the vehicle to open one of the gates. While her back was turned, a 50-pound bag of feed intended for cattle fell onto the accelerator pedal. Plaintiff opened the gate and turned around, only to find the vehicle moving full-speed at her. It was too late to move.

When it ran over her, it caused her significant injury.  Continue reading

A woman shopping for plants at a big box hardware store slipped and fell and suffered serious and permanent brain damage. watering

According to her lawsuit, Hendrickson v. Lowe’s Home Centers LLC, plaintiff accuses the store of negligently allowing water to pool in the outdoor garden area of the shopping center. She said this created a dangerous condition about which the store knew or should have known and which posed unreasonable hazards to customers.

Trial began this month in the personal injury lawsuit, which is being heard by a state court in Nevada.

Plaintiff, a married mother of three, is seeking not just compensatory but punitive damages in the case. The basis for this is the fact that the chain store knew of at least 33 other slip-and-fall incidents at other locations across the country – all occurring in the outdoor garden supplies sales areas.  Continue reading

A college student in Wyoming nearly died after a malfunctioning furnace in her rental apartment seeped carbon monoxide (CO) into her unit. Rushed to the hospital after a maintenance worker discovered the problem by chance, she now suffers lifelong neurological damage. freeimages.co.uk medical images

In Lompe v. Sunridge Partners, the woman sued the owner of the apartment as well as the property manager, alleging these entities had been negligent in their duty to ensure the rental unit was in reasonably safe condition for residents.

At trial, she was awarded a total of $28.5 million – which included $25.5 million in punitive damages. The majority of that was apportioned to the property manager, though the out-of-state property owner was still liable for $3 million in total worth of compensatory and punitive damages. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit drastically lowered that amount. First, it determined there wasn’t enough evidence to show property owner should be liable for punitive damages. Second, it reduced the amount of punitive damages against the property management company from $22.5 million down to $1.95 million.  Continue reading

A woman and her husband are seeking $300 million in damages in a product liability lawsuit against the maker of a robotic surgical system that she says nearly killed her and caused her excruciating pain and suffering, as well as lifelong medical ailments.doctor

In Zarick v. Intuitive Surgical Inc., plaintiff alleges the surgical system caused her severe internal injuries when doctors relied on it to perform a hysterectomy.

This case is one of the first to go trial against this defendant, which characterizes itself as the worldwide leader in minimally-invasive, robot-assisted surgery. These procedures are conducted with a surgeon sitting at a console near the patient, looking through a viewfinder and moving a joystick-like controller to move the robotic arms of the device. This particular device alone is used in some 200,000 surgeries a year.

Plaintiff reports that the system botched her 2009 surgery, causing her intestines to protrude through her vagina. She was rushed to a nearby emergency room and was forced to undergo a high-risk surgery that required a hip-to-hip incision. Plaintiff, 44, and her husband are asking for $50 million in economic damages and another $250 million for emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of consortium and loss of life enjoyment.  Continue reading

There are millions of personal care and beauty products on the market – everything from shampoos to soaps to creams to lotion to makeup to deodorant and toothpaste. Most of these promise to make you clean, smell fresher, have fuller hair or look younger. Unfortunately, not only do many of these products fail on these promises, some are not safe for public use.hair1

Some potential effects caused by dangerous beauty products include:

  • Infections
  • Allergic Reactions
  • Burns
  • Irreversible Skin Damage
  • Vision loss

If you have been injured by a dangerous or defective beauty product, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. More specifically, your claim would be for product liability. Manufacturers and distributors of products owe a duty to make sure the product is reasonably safe when used as directed. That includes not just the manufacturer, but the retail store or website that sold the product or the beauty salon that applied it.  Continue reading

Child care can be a harrowing profession, not the least of which because children – especially those very young – frequently imperil themselves. Proper care requires constant vigilance and caution.toys1

However, as the case of Nielsen v. Bell reveals, it may not be just the child who is at-risk.

In this case, the Utah Supreme Court was asked to consider whether a 4-year-old boy and his parents could be held liable for injuries suffered by his teen babysitter when he threw a toy at her eye. Continue reading

So many South Carolina summer afternoons are spent on decks – either at private residences, hotels, restaurants or other venues. deck1

Unfortunately, these features are far less safe than you might think. Based on statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), some 224,000 people were injured nationally from 2003 to 2007 due to a deck or porch, and about 15 percent of these incidents were caused by structural failure or collapse.

In particular, outdoor wood decks and porches have been associated with the most injuries and fatalities. In that time frame, structural failure or collapse of decks have resulted in between 3,650 to 4,600 injuries. Other injuries have resulted from problems with railings or stairways attached to the decks. Continue reading

A $12.6 million personal injury verdict was recently reversed by the Alabama Supreme Court after a finding that the property owner on a construction site did not owe the injured sub-contractor worker a duty to warn of dangerous condition on the roof.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These were special circumstances specifically related to this case, South Alabama Brick Co., Inc. v. Carwie, which involved a pre-existing condition on the roof about which the contractor and plaintiff’s employer were aware or should have been aware

According to court records, defendant is a large supplier of building materials, including bricks and roofing materials, with a warehouse located in Mobile, AL. The roof of the warehouse includes a large flat area that contained 12 skylights and a large pitched area that contained 27 skylights.  Continue reading

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