Halloween is an exciting time for families with young children as well as college students and recent graduates. While these two groups obviously have vastly different ideas as to what constitutes the perfect Halloween party, one thing they do share is a love of Halloween decorations. This includes carved real pumpkins, plastic pumpkins, spider webs, lights, candles, smoke machines, and anything else
you can imagine.

1250811_halloween_related.jpgWhile these decorations can really add a lot to the festivities and be a lot of fun, according to a recent article in Claims Journal (as insurance industry trade publication), they can also serve as a potential fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that between the years 2006 and 2010, there were 900 reported cases of home fires where the primary point of ignition was a decoration. Of these 900 home structure fires, one person was killed and 41 civilians were injured. The agency separates civilians from firefighters when reporting statistics, since firefighter deaths would skew the data, as they involve lots of additional variables.
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According to a recent news article from WUSA 9, a fire in a high school chemistry class injured five students and one teacher. Authorities say the science teacher was doing a demonstration for the class, which involved adding different elements to an open flame, so that you see it change color. This is known as the rainbow demonstration.

choollab.jpgWhile the demonstration was going well at first, at some point the teacher introduced alcohol to a heat source, and it unexpectedly ignited in what students are calling a flash fire. While the fire itself was fairly small, and the building’s sprinkler system was activated, thus extinguishing the fire, the sudden flash caused five students and the teacher to suffer burn injuries. Once the building sprinkler system activated, the building was evacuated, and all students and staff reported to the school’s football stadium.
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According to a recent news article form CNN, a shooting at Winston-Salem State University has left one student dead and another seriously injured. The gunman, who is not believed to be a student at the university, has not been arrested as of this time.

ggun1.jpgThe shooting occurred around 1:20 a.m. on Halloween night, and the school was placed in lockdown for the next few hours. All students on campus were told to stay inside and not leave for any reason. There were also many students who had left for the evening to go to Halloween festivities, and they were told not to return to campus until the lockdown was lifted. Authorities say they are still concerned the gunman may still be around campus and have told visitors to stay away at this time.
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According to a recent report from Wood TV, a man was injured after his girlfriend allegedly attacked him without a mounted fish. Authorities say the alleged assault took place just before 2 a.m. early one Sunday morning. At the time, the 61-year-old complaining witness was apparently drawing a sketch of the mounted sailfish hanging on his wall, when his 58-year-old girlfriend came into the room and moved the fish, because she was angry for some reason not mentioned in the reports.

blue-marlin-1320608.jpgAt this point, the fish fell and broke as the girlfriend was leaving the room. She returned a short period of time later and blamed her boyfriend for the broken fish. She then allegedly picked up the broken fish and smashed him over the head with it and stabbed him in the hand with the fish’s pointed bill. This resulted in a potentially serious cut to his hand. Police and first responders were called to the scene. The man was treated for his injuries. The police determined the couple had allegedly been driving around at the time of the assault with the fish. They did not, however, place her under arrest at the time they were at his house because of some undisclosed health issues. Prosecutors say the will review the case and see if they will charge her with any crime at a later date. It should be noted that she has not been formally accused of any crime at the time of writing this article.
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Every year, families across the country jump in the car and head to pumpkin patches or apple orchards for a nice day outdoors. It is nice to enjoy the crisp fall air, eat some good food, and have a fun day. One of the popular activities at these venues is going for a hayride. For those who have never experienced a hayride, it is basically a wagon or work trailer being pulled by a tractor around a farm or into the woods.

pumpkin-wagon-1361404.jpgAccording to a recent news article from Fox, however, sometimes a hayride can end in serious personal injury or death. A three-year-old victim’s mother says she remembers exactly what happened during a recent hayride accident. She said she took two children and her husband to the farm, along with the child’s preschool class as part of class trip.
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With the weather turning cooler and the long days of summer behind us, many across North Carolina are taking to the woods and going hunting. Hunting can be a lot of fun, but obviously there is a chance someone will be injured. There are various ways someone could be injured, including tripping and falling, falling from a tree stand, or, of course, being injured in a firearms accident.

gun-1312492.jpgAccording to a recent news article from WNCT, a man died in a hunting accident in Pitt County, North Carolina. This is the first fatal hunting accident for this particular county in 2014.
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In sidewalk trip-and-fall lawsuits, one of the best strategies for defendants is to bring up the “trivial-defect doctrine.” It allows a judge to determine that even if there was a defect in the sidewalk and even if that defect caused a fall, it was “trivial,” and therefore not actionable as a matter of law. The idea is that the defect was so slight or inconsequential that the defense wasn’t legally obligated to take action.
Although courts have recognized that minor defects can be dangerous to pedestrians, their existence sometimes is not sufficient in order to create constructive notice (i.e., defendant “should have known” of the problem), which is essential to winning a premises liability lawsuit. Injuries caused by minor defects can still be actionable, but each case needs to be weighed carefully.

North Carolina law holds that local governments are responsible for maintaining all pedestrian facilities, except in some cases where local ordinances were passed that shift liability onto adjacent property owners. It is in these case a matter of who “controls” the sidewalk, rather than who “owns” it.
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Plaintiff in Tillson v. Lane suffered a serious eye infection following an elective surgery to remove a cataract that ultimately left him blind in that eye. eye1.jpg

When he sued the surgeon for medical malpractice, the question was whether his surgeon, who made a presumptive diagnosis of endopthalmitis (a bacterial infection) acted appropriately, even though he did not refer patient to a specialist in light of this information.

Remember, the key to proving a claim of medical malpractice is not whether the outcome of a treatment or procedure was successful, but rather whether the clinician acted in a manner that was in accordance with the accepted standard of care for his or her practice. In this case, plaintiff alleged the physician and the eye care center breached the applicable duty of care by failing to adequately and timely diagnose and treat the infection. He sought damages for medical bills, and also asserts pain, suffering, psychological stress and loss of consortium (via his wife) due to his blindness.
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Most studies pertaining to medical errors have in the past focused on those that occur in hospitals. That would include things like surgical mistakes, medication blunders or failure to properly clean, resulting in preventable infections.
However what is apparently an even bigger problem, according to a new study, is the problem of diagnostic errors, which frequently occur in doctor’s offices, in laboratories or in outpatient centers.

The new report by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of American Sciences, indicates that most Americans who seek medical intervention, will receive a wrong or late diagnosis at least once in the course of their lives. In fact, this type of medical error is much more common than surgery mistakes or medication errors, yet it’s been largely ignored by the medical community.
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After suffering a head injury and other ailments from a slip-and-fall inside a physical therapy room following her win at the U.S. Open, professional tennis player Eugenie Bouchard is suing the U.S. Tennis Association and the firm that owns the facility. She alleges negligence by both entities caused her fall, which in turn has directly and profoundly impacted her career, costing her to perform badly or bow out of critical matches for which she otherwise might have earned millions, including endorsements.
Although most slip-and-fall cases aren’t this high-stakes or this high-profile, this situation does highlight how greatly a fall like this can affect so many aspects of a person’s life.

According to The New York Times, the lawsuit alleges that in early September, Bouchard entered a physical therapy room after a mixed doubles match and a news conference. As the 21-year-old stepped onto the tile, she immediately slipped on a slippery, foreign substance that was on the floor.
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