At first, it brought a smile to the faces of many children and teens, as they shredded the wrapping paper containing one of the most sought-after gifts this season. emergency

But now, many of those recipients – and their parents – are far from smiling after reports of explosions, fires and other mishaps involving the devices – which, despite the name, don’t actually “hover” off the ground. They are better described as self-balancing, motorized scooters.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported as of Dec. 29, there were 70 reports of emergency room visits nationwide due to falls and collisions. But there is evidence to suggest the actual figure is much higher.  Continue reading

Medical malpractice is not only the mistakes that are made in doling out medicine or performing a surgery. It can involve what isn’t done. More specifically, missed diagnosis. xrayanalysis

Of course, medicine is not an exact science and there is no law that says a doctor has to be right every time they make a diagnosis or that they have to catch every condition before it advances. What is necessary to prove medical malpractice is a showing that a physician breached the standard of care given the circumstances. It could mean neglecting to review a patient’s medical history. It could be failing to order the appropriate test. It could mean not recognizing the obvious symptoms of illness.

Diagnostic delay or missed diagnosis is one of the top allegations in medical malpractice lawsuits in South Carolina. One recent case before the South Carolina Court of Appeals, Marshall v. Dodds, serves as an example. Continue reading

While the new year is a time of new beginnings, dozens of hospitals in North Carolina and South Carolina are starting it off with millions in penalties from the federal government. They are among the 758 hospitals nationally that have been cited for patient safety issues, and will suffer a 1 percent decrease in Medicare reimbursements as a result. hospital2

That might not sound like much, but it will translate to millions of dollars for hospitals throughout both states. According to Kaiser Health News, about half of these hospitals were also fined last year for many of the same offenses. Problems include:

  • Hospital-acquired infections (including central line bloodstream infections and MRSA);
  • Bed sores;
  • Surgical mistakes;
  • Patient re-admissions (patients returning within a month).

The fines are part of the second round of the federal Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, which was created after research in 2013 and 2014 indicated the problem was widespread. Continue reading

A youth and her parents will get another chance to secure a favorable finding in their personal injury lawsuit, stemming from an Independence Day pedestrian accident back in 2005. The girl had been crossing a street (she claims in a crosswalk) from in front of a stopped bus when she was struck by defendant’s sport utility vehicle, causing severe injuries.crosswalk1

After a jury decided the case, Samson v. Nahulu, in defendant’s favor, plaintiff’s appealed. The appeals court affirmed jury’s verdict, but the Hawaii Supreme Court vacated, remanding for either a new trial or a judgment notwithstanding verdict. Justices ruled the trial court erred in exclusion of certain evidence (including speed of defendant vehicle and evidence of crosswalk markings), jury instructions that were prejudicial and doling out jury instructions that focused more on the pedestrian’s obligation to obey all traffic laws rather than the driver’s duty to avoid collisions.

There was much conflicting testimony in this case from a number of witnesses regarding key facts, including whether the minor was in the crosswalk, how fast defendant was traveling, whether pedestrian used due caution in looking both ways. But the court wrongly decided a number of motions and requests in a way that prejudiced the plaintiff. Continue reading

Successfully suing a Major League Baseball team for injuries suffered by a foul ball or a rogue bat is known to be extremely difficult. In fact, that difficulty is part of the reason some lawyers refer to the assumption of risk doctrine as the “baseball doctrine.”baseball

The hope is that could soon change, as a number of lawsuits are pending, and Major League Baseball recently issued recommendations to all 30 league clubs that encourages expansion of the number of seats covered by protective netting. It also encourages clubs to give better warnings to fans about the dangers of sitting close to the field.

“Assumption of risk” is a type of defense in tort actions in which a plaintiff’s right to recover is barred or reduced by the degree to which a negligent defendant can show plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risks at issue that were inherent to the activity in which plaintiff was participating. So in baseball, the idea is that fans have a responsibility to keep their eye on the action unfolding in the field and to take defensive action if a ball or debris comes flying their way. Continue reading

A 12-year-old girl is recovering in Greenville after being struck by a vehicle at her school bus stop as she was attempting to board. The driver of the sport utility vehicle that struck her is a 53-year-old man who lacks a driving license, authorities say. He was later located and arrested and charged with unlawfully passing a stopped school bus, driving without a license and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries.schoolbus4

According to news reports, the bus was stopped on Highway 150, and it was shortly before 7 a.m. The 12-year-old walked across a private drive in order to board the bus. Meanwhile, the offending driver, in his 1996 Chevrolet sport utility vehicle, drove off the right side of the road in order to pass the bus. That’s when he struck the girl.

Although her injuries were deemed minor in comparison to what they could have been in the situation, she may well have cause for legal action against at least three parties here. Continue reading

Child sports injuries are a serious and growing problem in the Carolinas and nationwide. Safe Kids Worldwide estimates 1.35 million kids a year suffer serious sports injuries. That’s one every 25 seconds, and it only accounts for those who are treated in hospital emergency rooms. Every three minutes, a child is treated for a sports-related concussion in an emergency room. In fact, 12 percent of all ER visits involved a concussion.soccer5

It’s the head injuries in particular that plaintiffs in Meher et al v. Federation Internationale de Football Association et al sought to address. Specifically, these were a group of parents and former youth soccer players who filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in California who alleged FIFA, U.S. Soccer and the American Youth Soccer Organization were negligent in treatment and monitoring of head injuries.

This was one of the few negligence lawsuits in which plaintiffs sought no financial damages. Rather, they wanted only rule changes. Despite this, FIFA has been on the defense side of the table in a number of lawsuits alleging head injuries, just like other professional leagues such as the NHL, NFL and NCAA. This summer, a federal judge ruled this particular case against FIFA had no standing, but the case against U.S. Soccer was allowed to proceed. Continue reading

A tort happens when one person’s conduct results in harm to another. If a tort is intentional – such as an assault and battery – it can be grounds for a criminal case, but it can also be the foundation of a civil case. arrest

While many intentional torts result in serious pain, suffering and loss for the victims, it can be difficult to recover damages for a number of reasons. The first is that most tortfeasors (alleged wrongdoers) in intentional tort cases are not independently wealthy. That means simply proving the case won’t be enough. There has to be a way to actually collect on whatever damages are imposed. In other types of injury cases, this is usually a matter of identifying the tortfeasor’s insurance company and reviewing the policy. But with intentional torts, it’s trickier because most insurance companies – auto, homeowner insurance, umbrella insurance, etc. – won’t cover injuries caused by intentional harm. It’s sometimes referred to as an “intentional loss exclusion.”

Some policies may have some narrow exceptions to this, so it’s important for your attorney to analyze it closely. It may also be possible to hold a third party – such as a tortfeasor’s employer – vicariously liable. However, it will depend on the individual circumstances. Continue reading

Poor health outcomes alone are not grounds for a successful medical malpractice lawsuit in South Carolina. Rather, one has to prove the health care professionals failed to adhere to the accepted standard of care for their profession.doctor6

S.C. Code 15-79-110 is where we find definitions of medical malpractice standards and proof burdens. Medical malpractice is doing that which a reasonably prudent health care provider or institution would not do in the same or similar circumstances.

It is generally not enough to say that a different course of action by the physician or other health care provider would have had a better outcome. Just because the doctor could have done something different doesn’t necessarily mean the course of action taken deviated from the applicable standard of care. Continue reading

A California appellate court recently reversed a trial court’s ruling to deny a government agency summary judgment on immunity grounds in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from an accident involving a rope swing at a public park. ropeswing

In County of San Diego v. Super. Ct., the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, ruled trial court erred in denying the county’s motion for summary judgment, as it was immune from personal injury litigation based on California Government Code Section 831.7, which deals with hazardous recreational activity. The statute says that if someone is engaged in hazardous recreational activity (in which one knows or reasonably should know there is a substantial risk of injury to onesself) on public property, the government can’t be held liable.

North Carolina has similar statutes, spelled out in NCGS 99E-24 and NCGS 99E-25. Those laws say that if a person is engaged in hazardous recreational activity, he or she assumes the known and unknown risks associated with this activities – including legal liability for injury or death. There is a personal responsibility to act within the limits of his or her ability and purpose of the design of equipment, maintain control of his or her person and refrain from acting in a way that may cause or contribute to death or injury to oneself or other people. Failure to do so is negligence, and no governmental entity will be liable when a person voluntarily engages in hazardous recreation activities on public property. Continue reading

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