Under South Carolina premises liability laws, property owners can be responsible for injuries suffered by lawful guests at the hands of third-party criminals. It depends on the situation, of course, but in general, it’s understood that property owners owe a duty to patrons, residents and guests to make sure the site is safe from foreseeable risks. On some properties, one of those foreseeable risks is criminal activity. opendoor

The standard isn’t going to be the same for every site or for every guest, and that’s why it’s important to discuss the statutory nuances with an experienced injury lawyer. But if you have been victimized by violent crime on property that is owned by someone else, it can be worthwhile to explore. For many victims, it’s not just about receiving just compensation, but making sure the same doesn’t happen to someone else.

In the recent case of Jenkins v. C.R.E.S. Mgt. LLC, plaintiff worked as a courtesy officer for an apartment complex, which provided him with a rent-free apartment. Part of his duties included responding to reports of criminal activity on the property, verifying such reports and, if necessary, contacting the police.  Continue reading

Medical malpractice is generally thought to occur when a doctor or other health care provider does something they are not supposed to – like operate on the wrong leg or prescribe the wrong dose of medication. But in many cases, it’s what they DON’T do that could be considered a breach of the accepted standard of care. mir

One of the most commonly-cited issues: Failure to diagnose. In fact, this is the No. 1 reason people sue their doctors. A missed or delayed diagnosis can result in extremely poor outcomes for patients suffering from acute illness or other serious medical condition. Those illnesses most often missed by doctors:

  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Lung cancers
  • Heart attacks
  • Meningitis (in children)

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Prior to the adoption of the Equine Activity Liability Act in North Carolina, codified in N.C. Gen. Stat. Ch. 99E, liability for harm to people by horses was determined with consideration for traditional injury law concepts. Primarily, these were assumption of risk and comparative negligence. That is, to what extend did the plaintiff assume the risk of activity with a large animal and to what extent did that person play a role in causing their own injuries. horse1

However, the Equine Liability Act – which has been adopted in some form by 44 states – limits the amount of liability that equine professionals, owners and sponsors would bear in the event of injury or death to an individual by a horse.

The statute protects these potential defendants in cases where person engaged in equine activity suffers injury or death resulting form an inherent risk of the activity. This doesn’t include spectators, and it doesn’t cover potential defendants for providing unsafe equipment, unreasonable failures to make the activity safe or willful or wanton disregard for the safety of participants.  Continue reading

Drugs and medications are often the source of product liability claims that stem from patient injury or illness. Although all pharmaceutical companies have a duty to make sure their products are properly tested under U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, the fact that a drug is approved does not shield the manufacturer from liability if the drug proves defective. girlinnature

Many of these cases involve failure to warn. That is, while some products may be unavoidably unsafe (the drug is unsafe no matter how carefully its made, but it still has benefits), the company has a duty to adequately warn users of those dangers. This can be accomplished by directing warnings to “learned intermediaries,” such as the doctor or pharmacist.

Product liability lawsuits are often complex and challenging. Recently, the Arizona Supreme Court issued a ruling that may make it somewhat easier for victims of defective drugs in that state to bring claims against drug companies that fail to make safe drugs or adequately warn of the risks.  Continue reading

A $2 million car accident verdict in favor of an injured plaintiff was overturned by an appeals court in New Jersey recently, after the judge agreed with defendant’s assertion that the amount of compensatory damages was “shockingly excessive.”carcrashinsurance

Beyond that, the court ruled the trial judge had made numerous errors during the proceedings, including refusing to delay the trial when defendant was hospitalized for a medical emergency two days before the proceedings and allowing plaintiffs to make certain factual assertions to the jury absent the backing of an expert witness.

In Berkowitz v. Soper, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division, the judge ordered a new trial was necessary as there had been a “clear miscarriage of justice.”  Continue reading

A U.S. magistrate judge for the Western District of North Carolina, Asheville Division, has granted a South Carolina couple the go-ahead to continue pursuit of their lawsuit against Beech Mountain Resort.ski

The case stems from an injury sustained by the wife in January 2011. She alleges she suffered a traumatic brain injury when a heavy block of ice and snow fell onto her head from the roof of the resort, which is about two hours outside of Asheville.

She and her husband filed a lawsuit, Palacino v. Beech Mountain Resort, Inc., alleging the resort was negligent and seeking compensatory and punitive damages.  Continue reading

Medical malpractice claims in North Carolina must be carefully evaluated and properly filed in a timely manner. The courts are very strict on these rules because they do not wish for busy health care professionals to be bombarded with frivolous allegations of malpractice. doctorpatientrelationship

But of course, these rules do make it tougher for those with legitimate claims (and there are many) to make it through these legal hurdles.

Generally, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims in the state is 3 years (with a few exceptions). Additionally, in all cases, the claims must first be viewed by a health care professional similarly-situated to the defendant. That professional has to be willing to testify that the defendant breached the applicable standard of care. All this must be established before a plaintiff even gets their foot in the door.  Continue reading

For plaintiffs in Cisson v. C.R. Bard, the recent multidistrict litigation transvaginal mesh case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, there was good and bad news.woman

Good news: The court affirmed the $250,000 in compensatory damages and the $1.75 million in punitive damages against defendant C.R. Bard, maker of the transvaginal mesh that caused injury to plaintiff.

Bad news: The court also affirmed the split-recovery pursuant to Georgia statute, which gives the government 75 percent of any punitive damages awarded. Continue reading

Asbestos-related disease does not reveal itself until many years after airborne exposure to the toxic fibers, which were present in a host of construction materials and auto parts in the 20th Century. Asbestos causes a host of serious health problems, including mesothelioma, an aggressive terminal cancer. laundry

In the first waves of complaints that were filed, we were seeing mostly workers who had become ill decades after working closely with materials containing the substance. Today, those cases are still being filed, but we have also seen the emergence of another kind of case: secondary exposure.

This is when another person, usually a relative, of the worker who was exposed also claims exposure via daily contact with the fibers present on the worker’s clothes. Often, these claims are filed by spouses of workers, who often laundered these asbestos-ridden clothes, and children of workers, who greeted their parent with a hug as they returned home, before cleaning up. Continue reading

Many recreational activities may be accompanied by a certain level of inherent risk for participants. Beyond that, the company offering the experience to participants may require a signature on a waiver of liability. weight

States have different interpretations about whether companies should be allowed to evade liability simply with a signature on a waiver, and what kind of criteria waivers have to meet in order to be valid.

North Carolina law does allow a person to “effective bargain against liability for harm caused by his ordinary negligence in the performance of a legal duty” (Strawbridge v. Sugar Mountain Resort, Inc., W.D.N.C., 2004). The courts have interpreted this to mean that waivers of liability are going to be upheld unless they violate a statute, are gained through unequal bargaining power or there are contrary to a substantial public interest (Wagoner v. Nags Head Water Sports, U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1998).  Continue reading

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