December 5, 2012

High School Freshman Heading to Breakfast Injured in Pedestrian Accident


A freshman at Northwestern High School was hit while heading across the street to the Burger King.

According to the Herald Online, the student was dropped off at the school before class started. He decided to cross the street to the Burger Kind to grab some breakfast. The accident happened just before 8:30 a.m. He was taken to a local hospital and treated for injuries.

Crosswalks and traffic lights surround the school, but that's still not a sure bet against an accident. Many don't obey these traffic control devices.
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"Schools are always talking with students about safety," said Elaine Baker, a spokesperson with the school. "Kids get injured on and off school property."

Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys understand that pedestrians of all ages are at some serious risks for accidents regardless of how many traffic-control devices there are in the area. But this is especially important when talking about our younger pedestrians. Many times, these young ones don't understand the workings of traffic and oftentimes unknowingly put themselves in danger. As traffic picks up with the holiday season and these young ones are let out on winter break, we're asking parents to sit down and talk with their young ones about their risks for pedestrian accidents.

Each year, North Carolina sees about 2,200 people involved in traffic accidents. Roughly 200 people are killed and another 300 are seriously injured, too! It's the older adults and the young child who are mainly involved in these accidents. Most of these accidents happen in urban areas. These accidents accounted for about 70 percent of all of the accidents reported in the state. Increasing urbanization of the State could possibly contribute to the increasing trend of these kinds of accidents. The truth of the matter is that cities are becoming more walkable and residents are taking advantage of that convenience, without considering the risks associated with it.

Over the last 4 years, there were close to 3,300 children under the age of 21 were involved in pedestrian accidents in the state of North Carolina. Help to reduce these numbers by talking with your young one today! Review the following safety tips from the Highway Safety Center at The University of North Carolina to get started!

Child Pedestrian Safety Tips:

-Make your moves as predictable as possible.

-Avoid walking along freeways and areas that are restricted.

-Always cross the road by using a crosswalk or at the corner.

-Wear bright clothes so motorists can see you more easily.

-Don't walk when it's dark out.

-Most drivers are nice people, but don't count on them paying attention. Watch out - make eye contact to be sure they see you!

-Never rely on traffic signals.

-When there's a sidewalk -- walk on it!

-Where there are no sidewalks, walk as far from traffic as possible while facing oncoming vehicles.

Continue reading "High School Freshman Heading to Breakfast Injured in Pedestrian Accident" »

December 3, 2012

Buckle Up North Carolina: Seat Belts Save Lives!


All drivers and passengers over the age of 15 are required to wear a seat belts -- regardless of their location in the vehicle. Children under the age of 16 are covered by the NC Child Passenger Safety law, according to buckleupnc.com.

Kids younger than eight AND weighing less than 80 pounds must ride in a car seat or booster. Depending on which comes first, kids can upgrade to a seat belt once they turn eight or top 80 pounds.
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With these laws in place, and with seat belt usage rates at an all-time high, there are still millions of Americans who aren't buckling up and thousands who are being killed in traffic accidents each and every year.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are asking everyone to buckle up! It's your best defense against injury and death in the event of a car accident. This is especially important during this time of year -- the holiday travel season. During this time of year, we typically see more car accidents because there are many more travelers out there. Protect yourself and buckle up!

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the rate for seat belt usage has been climbing every year since 1994. Today, our seat belt usage rate sits at about 85 percent. That's not high enough though!

"When it comes to driving safely, one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your family is to use a seat belt," says the U.S. Department of Transportation's Secretary Ray LaHood.

Seat belt usage rates are higher in states that have primary enforcement seat belt laws. This means that a law enforcement official can pull you over for not wearing your seat belt and for that alone. In state that have secondary enforcement seat belt laws, officers must observe you breaking another road law before they can pull you over and cite you for not wearing a seat belt.

Regardless of the seat belt laws, you should wear your seat belt, and properly buckle in children, to help to improve your safety out there. Some of the best drivers even get into accidents. You can't always depend on the driving habits of other to keep you safe. Help to protect yourself!

There are 32 states in the country that have primary seat belt laws. There are another 17 that have secondary seat belt laws. Currently, the state of New Hampshire is the only state in the country that has no primary or secondary seat belt law. The only seat belt law New Hampshire has makes it a requirement for all vehicle occupants under the age of 18 to be properly buckled in.

We're especially talking to the men here! According to the National Safety Council (NSC), men are less likely than women to wear a seat belt.

Remember: Wearing a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injury by 50 percent.

Continue reading "Buckle Up North Carolina: Seat Belts Save Lives! " »

December 1, 2012

New App Helping to Improve Pedestrian Safety


There's a new way to help you to get around safely. It's the WalkScore app and it's helping pedestrians to pick the safest walking routes, thereby improving their safety along the way.

According to Transportation for America, this app helps you to see the good, the bad and the ugly about the walkability in the places where you live.
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Now, the app is more interactive than ever. iPhone users can upload their own photos to point out dangerous areas. Users can even comment and vote on these pictures. The app will even provide the highest-rated routes and tours.

Our Asheville pedestrian accident lawyers understand that pedestrians are some of our most vulnerable travelers. They have virtually no protection against the weight and power of motor vehicles. Unfortunately, drivers aren't looking out for pedestrians. Distractions, such as phone calls and text messages, are taking attention away from pedestrians. They're being overlooked all too often and they're being involved in some serious -- or fatal -- traffic accidents.

Whether you're looking to move to a new area or you just want to get to know more about the areas you walk, this app is here to help.

It's not all bad news. It's designed to be a fun and interactive, too! Pedestrians are urged to stop and point out the more lighthearted features of their walk. Shoot a photo of a decorative water fountain, capture a shot of the local dog park or even upload some pictures of the greenery in your area. This is a chance to brag about the good in addition to pointing out the bad.

"We're excited, because this is the first thing we've done that moves beyond numbers to the esthetic and qualitative," said Matt Lerner, co-founder of the app.

Those behind the app are hoping that it serves as a useful tool for pedestrians across the country. The hope is too that it helps to shine light on dangerous areas and get the message to transportation officials. Oftentimes, dangerous areas are never addressed until a fatal accident happens. This is going to help to raise awareness, save lives and make changes.

There were close to 4,500 pedestrians who were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. in 2010, according to walkinginfo.org. There were another 70,000 people injured in these kinds of accidents. Many of these accidents were the fault of roadway design and many were the fault of poor driving habits. Both of these factors can be changed!

Just as pedestrians are working to make walkways safer throughout the area, motorists need to do so as well. Be cautious and alert out there -- help keep our walking friends safe. Keep the distractions at bay and follow all traffic laws. Pedestrians have right out there. Their safety relies heavily on your driving behavior.

Continue reading "New App Helping to Improve Pedestrian Safety" »

November 30, 2012

Firewood Injuries a Risk as Winter Approaches the Carolinas


In 2005, the National Institutes of Health published a study reporting that occasional wood cutters experienced three times as many injuries as professional loggers. The results of the study were derived by contacting individuals who had visited a Wisconsin emergency room as a result of woodcutting injuries. The outcome of the study suggests that casual woodcutters everywhere may be at increased risk of injury when cutting winter firewood.

Cutting firewood is an inherently dangerous activity and our Asheville personal injury attorneys urge everyone who is cutting or splitting wood this winter season to be aware of the dangers and to follow some basic safety tips to minimize the risk. 1362561_chopping_wood.jpg

Injuries from Cutting Firewood
Cutting winter firewood can take two forms: you may cut down or "fell" a tree and then chop the tree into firewood or you may cut up an existing downed tree to produce firewood. Felling is the more dangerous of the activities because you have the added risk of the tree falling on you and causing a crushing injury. Other dangers involved in either felling and cutting or in simply cutting firewood include the risk of:


  • Amputation: When using a saw or an ax, there is a risk of cutting off your fingers, your arm or other limbs. Amputation may also be necessary if your limbs are crushed by a falling tree.

  • Eye injury or blindness: Flying debris can get into your eyes, causing serious injury or blindness.

  • Cuts, punctures or abrasions: A saw or an ax can cause cuts, punctures or abrasions as can contact with flying debris.

  • Death: Death can result from a tree falling on you or from an accident with an ax or saw.

These injuries can happen to anyone, at any time, even to the most experienced tree cutters. However, the risk of injury is significantly greater if you are not familiar with tree cutting and if you do not follow all safety procedures.

Tips to Avoid Injury
While accidents can always happen, even a relatively-inexperienced woodcutter can be safer when splitting wood if proper safety precautions are used. The Natural Handyman provides a number of tips for cutting firewood more safely. These tips include:

  • Wearing safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from flying debris or from exposure to sawdust.
  • Wearing earplugs or other hearing protection when using a loud saw.
  • Wearing clothing that allows you to freely operate the saw but that is not likely to become caught in the saw. Appropriate clothing may include overalls, a hat, gloves and boots.
  • Have someone with you when you are cutting in case of accident. If you cannot have someone with you, have a cell phone very close to you.
  • Watch out for tree limbs that are under tension and that could snap back when the tension is released by cutting.
  • Keep your body parts clear from a running chain saw.
  • Reading all operating instructions in the saw's manual before beginning and following the instructions carefully.
  • Understanding the entire wood cutting process, including the appropriate stance and technique to use.

Above all, if you have any doubts about your ability to cut firewood safely, get a professional to take on the job for you. Finally, remember that saws and other equipment can malfunction, even when practicing all appropriate safety procedures, causing serious injury or even death.

Continue reading "Firewood Injuries a Risk as Winter Approaches the Carolinas" »

November 26, 2012

Tourist Injuries in North Carolina


Going on vacation to North Carolina provides the opportunity to enjoy many recreational activities. Unfortunately, some of these activities can be dangerous and a fun vacation event can sometimes cause injury or even turn deadly.

Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys encourage visitors to the state to be cautious when engaging in risky activities. This means participating in tours and trips only with reputable tour operators and considering the inherent dangers of any recreational activity before participating during your vacation. 956448_parasailling.jpg

Parasailing: A Dangerous Pastime

On Ocean Isle Beach, parasailing is a popular activity for adventure-seeking tourists. Unfortunately, for two women vacationing in the area in August of 2009, their parasailing trip ended in disaster. While the women were parasailing, a strong wind blew up. The wind snapped the line that connected the parasail to the tow-boat, Tied High. The women plummeted into the ocean and were dragged toward the town's fishing pier. Unfortunately, the News Observer reports that the incident resulted in the death of both women from blunt force trauma.

The captain operating the boat pled guilty to maritime negligence. The incident was attributed to his failure to check the weather prior to going out on the ocean, a failure that was considered to be unreasonable in its carelessness.

Other Risks for Tourists
While this incident was tragic, parasailing is not the only potentially dangerous activity that tourists partake in. Boating, jet skiing, biking, hiking and even driving a car on unfamiliar roads can all be dangerous to visitors to North Carolina.

Visit NC reported that an estimated 36.8 million people visited North Carolina in 2010 and that some of the top reasons for the visits included:


  • Going to state and national parks

  • Hiking or backpacking

  • Nature travel

  • Wildlife viewing

  • Visiting beaches

  • Fresh or salt water fishing

  • Biking

All of these activities can be dangerous, especially with an inexperienced or careless guide.

Suffering an Injury When on Vacation
Being injured far away from home presents many complications to visitors. Often, you'll need to get treatment at local hospitals, especially for serious injury, and it may be several days or weeks before you are well enough to leave the hospital. This means it may be difficult for you to travel home immediately and you may be far from friends and family who can provide you with the support so often vital to recovery.

There may also be complications associated with making a claim against the person responsible for causing the injury. If you are harmed by a North Carolina tour operator or a driver within the state of North Carolina, you need to take legal action within the state -- you cannot just go back to where you are from and file a lawsuit.

We understand the challenges inherent in seeking recovery on behalf of out-of-state victims and each member of our team is dedicated to seeking justice on behalf of you and your family.

Continue reading "Tourist Injuries in North Carolina" »

November 21, 2012

Black Friday Holiday Shopping Dangers Don't End in Stores- Beware of Parking Lot Accident Risk


When considering the dangers of Black Friday holiday shopping, most people immediately think of the risks presented in stores. The risks in retail establishments are not insignificant, with stories each year of people being trampled or getting into fights and even firing weapons.

Knowing the risks in stores while shopping for Black Friday merchandise is important but our Spartanburg personal injury lawyers believe that it is also essential to be aware that the dangers don't stop in the shops. In fact, one of the most dangerous places on Black Friday is the parking lot outside of malls and retail establishments.888970_guess_my_ride.jpg

The Deadly Risk of Back-Over Accidents
According to a November MSN Money Article, Black Friday car accidents -- including those in parking lots -- are on the rise. These accidents can be deadly, especially for children and older adults who drivers may not see and who may not be able to get out of the way in time to prevent being backed over.

MSN Money has compiled a number of statistics related to Black Friday car accidents, especially those in parking lots, to help illustrate the dangers of parking lot accidents. According to their information:


  • 25 percent of Black Friday car accident claims made to Progressive Insurance occurred in parking lots.

  • 12.57 percent of Black Friday car accident claims made to Progressive involved someone getting rear-ended.

  • 11.13 percent of Black Friday claims made to Progressive involved parked cars being struck.

  • 7.68 percent of Black Friday claims involved one car backing into another.

Passengers in cars that are struck are in danger of being injured by the impact, even though the accident did occur in a parking lot and/or even if the vehicles were moving at a relatively slow speed. Soft tissue damage and whiplash are some of the most common injuries that occur in low-speed and low-impact collisions, especially in rear-end collisions where a driver is thrust forward and then forcibly backwards.

Those who are struck or rolled over when they are walking in a parking lot, however, are in the most danger. Accidents involving a pedestrian may cause serious injuries or even be deadly as the pedestrian has no protection to cushion the impact of the striking vehicle.

Avoiding Black Friday Auto Accidents
Avoiding Black Friday accidents, especially back-over accidents in parking lots, should be very important to every person going out shopping on this famous retail holiday. Avoiding crowded parking lots, parking away from the crowd and walking in groups through the parking lot can also help, as can ensuring you look carefully before crossing or walking behind a vehicle that has a driver inside it.

Continue reading "Black Friday Holiday Shopping Dangers Don't End in Stores- Beware of Parking Lot Accident Risk" »

November 19, 2012

Premises Liability & Holiday Shopping Risks


Many people enjoy visiting the mall or stores, finding shopping to be a soothing activity. Others, of course, will go into stores only when they absolutely have to buy something. Regardless of whether you are a frequent shopper or someone who gets dragged into the mall kicking and screaming, it is important to keep some basic shopping safety tips in mind.

Hazards exist in shopping malls and retail establishments that can affect everyone. Children and adults alike are both at risk of injury, especially in certain areas like escalators or if store owners and shop keepers fail to keep their establishments up properly. 604006_shoppingcenter.jpg

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers see accident victims regularly who got hurt on a day out during a shopping trip that was supposed to be fun. As the prime shopping season approaches, we want to offer some shopping safety tips to help you avoid injury and stay safe while out doing your shopping.

Dangers and Pitfalls That Can Lead to Shopping Accidents
Shopping accidents can happen anywhere and in any store, from a grocery store to a big box store to the finest department store. However, there are certain situations where shopping accidents are more likely to occur. These include:


  • When riding on an escalator.

  • When riding in an elevator.

  • When trying to access items on high shelves.

  • When aisles are narrower.

  • When merchandise is stored in an unsafe way.

  • When floors are wet and cleaning is taking place.

Any of these situations creates a potential danger. Slipping and falling, having a shoe lace caught in an escalator or having boxes or crates fall on you are all possible scenarios that could occur during your shopping expedition.

Staying Safe and Avoiding Shopping Accidents
To help avoid shopping accidents, it is a wise idea to make sure that you are aware of the dangers. If you see precariously stacked boxes or a potential wet floor, for example, steer clear. You should also ensure your shoes and your children's shoes are securely tied before getting onto an escalator.

Ultimately, however, it is incumbent upon store owners to take the necessary steps to keep patrons safe and to help prevent accidents. Store owners and shopkeepers owe a very high duty of care to guests at their establishments and they are obligated to inspect the premises regularly to identify any potential risks. If and when a shopkeeper or store owner identifies a potential source of danger, they need to either correct the problem or warn their patrons.

If a store owner or shopkeeper fails to keep patrons safe by ignoring or even creating a dangerous hazard, the owner/operator of the store can be held liable for damages. The Asheville personal injury attorneys at Lee Law Offices can help you to take action.

Continue reading "Premises Liability & Holiday Shopping Risks " »

November 17, 2012

The Latest News on Dangerous Drugs from Ameridose and the New England Compounding Center


Manufacturers of drugs are expected to ensure the drugs are reasonably safe and that patients taking the drugs are warned of any potential risk. Unfortunately, despite the requirements intended to protect consumers, sometimes dangerous drugs are released anyway.

One recent example of a dangerous drugs is a steroid injection produced in a compounding center called the New England Compounding Center (NECC). The NECC's drug turned out to be a serious public health risk, and the company was forced to stop operations. Its sister company, Ameridose, also had to shut down. 1238929_untitled.jpg

Our North Carolina defective drug attorneys want to warn those who may have been exposed to drugs from NECC or Ameridose of the potential dangers and wish to keep you up-to-date on the latest news on these dangerous drugs.

The NECC, Ameridose and Dangerous Drugs

In early October, a preservative free substance called methylph rednisolone was contaminated with fungus including Asperigillus fumigatus and Exserohilum. The methyl rednisolone and the fungus made their way into as many as 17,000 vials of steroid injection compounded by the NECC.

These 17,000 files of contaminated drugs went out to states including North and South Carolina, as well as California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, new Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and West Virginia.

Unfortunately, as many as 14,000 people received the contaminated steroid injections from NECC. The consequences of the dangerous drug were devastating -- more than 30 patients have died and nearly 500 have been sickened.

NECC suspended operations, facing allegations of violations of state operating guidelines and lawsuits. Its sister company, Ameridose, also agreed with state operators that they would suspend operations. The suspension began on October 10, and at the end of October, the company recalled more than 2,000 drugs after the FDA identified problems with cleanliness and with the sterility of the drugs they were producing.

The Latest Ameridose News
Ameridose is a major supplier for hospitals around the country, and the fact that its operations are shut down is creating shortages. However, when it comes to dangerous drugs, it is essential to do everything possible to ensure that the drugs don't do harm to consumers.

Ameridose recalled more than 2,000 of its drugs already, although no infection has been linked to their products. However, Ameridose also wishes to reopen and to continue its compounding operation. The date on which they can reopen has already been pushed back three times since the company's suspension of operations on the 10th.

The latest date that the company was supposed to reopen was November 19, but the most recent Ameridose news from the Boston Globe indicates that this has been pushed back yet again in light of FDA concerns. The FDA released a report identifying problems including the presence of both insects and a bird in a supposedly sterile area where drugs were being packaged and stored.

The behavior of Ameridose and NECC has put many patients at risk due to violations of safety precautions and the release of dangerous drugs. Those who have taken a defective drug supplied by NECC or Ameridose should consider taking legal action with the help of a personal injury attorney.

Continue reading "The Latest News on Dangerous Drugs from Ameridose and the New England Compounding Center" »

November 15, 2012

Dangerous and Defective Products a Holiday Danger in the Carolinas


The number of toy-related recalls is on the rise.

In 1997, there were less than 141,500 of these recalls. That number jumped to more than 255,000 in 2001.

Each year, there are more than 25 infants who are killed because of crib-related deaths. As a parent, it's your responsibility to keep an eye on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's (CPSC) recall list and work to make sure that none of these items are in your household. Knowledge is key in preventing these kinds of accidents, injuries and fatalities.
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Our North Carolina defective product attorneys understand that there are new recalls released each and every day. Parents should not only check the recall list frequently, but they should urge their loved ones to do so as well. Children might be some of the most vulnerable in these situations as they're not able to easily spot these dangers. Help to keep them safe and everyone else in your home safe by staying up to date with this info!

Categories of Defective Product Claims:

-Design Defects.

-Manufacturing Flaws.

-Failure to Warn Consumers.

Latest Children Defect Product Recalls:

PeaPod Travel Tents by KidCo Recalled:

More than 200,000 of these tents have been recalled by KidCo because the children can just roll off of the edge of the inflatable mattress and can get stuck between the fabric sides and the mattress. This serves as a serious entrapment and suffocation hazard. There was already a fatality reported. There were also 9 reports filed in Canada. If you have one of these tents, please contact the company at (855) 847-8600 for a free repair kit.

Double Dazzler Light Show Toys Recalled by Imagine Nation Books:

There were close to 2,000 Double Dazzler Light Shows recalled by Imagine Nation Books, of Louisville, Colorado. What can happen is the batteries in the toys can overheat and serve as a serious burn hazard to children. There have already been 5 overheating incidents reported. If your child has one of these toys, take it from them immediately and call the company at (800) 917-0213 for a full refund.

Eddie Bauer Rocking Wood Bassinets Recalled by Dorel Juvenile Group:

Close to 100,000 of these bassinets were recalled by Dorel Juvenile Group, of Columbus, Indiana. What can happen is that the bottom locking mechanism can fail to lock properly if a spring is not installed. This can allow the bassinet to tip to one side and cause child to roll to the side of the bassinet-- serving as a serious suffocation danger. There have already been 17 reports filed to the company. If you have one of these bassinets, call the company at (877) 416-0165 for a free repair kit.

Continue reading "Dangerous and Defective Products a Holiday Danger in the Carolinas" »

November 13, 2012

FOX's Glee and the DOT Join to Fight Distracted Driving Habits


In the state of North Carolina, all drivers are banned from text messaging behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly 40 states now have such laws on the books. Unfortunately, these laws aren't stopping drivers from this dangerous driving behavior.
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For more than 3 years now, officials with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) have been working diligently to spread the word about the dangers of distracted driving. Now, these officials are teaming up with FOX's hit series Glee to raise awareness. Of all distractions, texting might be one of the worse, too! When a driver text messages, they take their hands off of the wheel, their eyes off of the road and their mind off of the task at hand -- driving. It's a move that not only endangers a driver's safety, but the safety of everyone else on the road.

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers understand that distracted driving is one of the most common factors in car accidents. Officials estimate that about 20 percent of car accidents involve a distracted driver. In 2010, there were more than 3,000 people killed and another 415,000 injuries in these crashes nationwide. What's most alarming is that these kinds of accidents are completely preventable. All drivers have to do is put the phone away and pay attention!

Just a few months ago, one of Glee's episodes featured the dangers of distracted driving. One of the show's main characters was involved in a serious accident -- all caused by a distracted driver. The footage from that episode will be used in a brand new public service announcement (PSA). It's called the "On My Way" PSA and it's showing American drivers just how dangerous it is to take your eyes off of the road -- even for a few seconds.

On average, a driver takes their eyes off of the road for 5 seconds when reading/writing a text message. Each time a driver does this they can travel the length of a football field without ever setting their eyes on the road.

"This was a story we wanted to tell because we know the influence our show can have in starting conversations and raising awareness," said Glee's Ryan Murphy.

This PSA is all being used at a part of the national campaign to get drivers to put down the phone behind the wheel -- "Stop the Texts. Stop the Wrecks." It's all an effort from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

There should never be a text or a phone call that's worth risking your life or the lives of others. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Texts and calls should be handled by a passenger or should be handled once you've stopped in a safe area. Be safe out there, be responsible and help to keep travelers alive with good driving habits.

Continue reading "FOX's Glee and the DOT Join to Fight Distracted Driving Habits" »

November 11, 2012

Young Drivers and Risks for Drowsy Driving Car Accidents


If you've got a driver in your family who is between the ages of 16 and 24 you need to listed up!

According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it's these drivers who are most likely to be involved in a drowsy driving car accident.
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As a matter of fact, one out of every six of these young drivers surveyed by AAA officials admitted that they had nodded off behind the wheel at least once in the last year. This is compared to one out of every ten drivers of other ages. These young drivers are also about 80 percent more likely to be drowsy at the time of an accident. Drowsy driving continues to be one of the leading contributors to auto accidents, too!

Our Asheville personal injury lawyers understand that risks are only expected to increase for these young drivers. As the holiday season approaches, more and more of them will be heading home and hitting the road. The break from school and work allows these youngsters with plenty more driving time and much higher accident risks.

"Research shows that fatigue impairs safe driving, with many symptoms causing drivers to behave in ways similar to those who are intoxicated," said AAA's Robert Darbelnet.

The problem with drowsy driving is that most drivers see it as a serious threat, yet many of them continue to engage in the dangerous behavior. The recent study illustrated that about 30 percent of all licensed drivers admit to driving while drowsy in just the last 30 days.

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than drunk driving.

Can you tell when you get drowsy behind the wheel? All you have to do is keep an eye out for the following symptoms:

-Yawning a lot.

-Drifting out of your lane without noticing.

-Having a tough time keeping your eyes on the road.

-Missing your exits or turns.

-Not seeing road signs or traffic lights.

-Daydreaming.

-Disconnected thoughts.

If you notice any of the symptoms above, it's time for you to stop driving. If you're driving with another licensed driver, consider switching roles. Have them hop in the driver's seat. Sharing driving roles will help keep everyone rested. If you're traveling alone, pull over in a safe area, stop and take a break. There's no use in trying to push through your sleepiness behind the wheel. It's only going to increase your chances for getting into a potentially fatal accident.

Make sure you're getting plenty of sleep each night. Try not to drive during times when your body would normally be sleeping. Avoid eating heavy meals before and during your trips. All of these factors increase your risks for experiencing drowsiness behind the wheel and increase your risks for a collision. Stay safe out there -- especially with the approaching holiday season.

Continue reading "Young Drivers and Risks for Drowsy Driving Car Accidents" »

November 10, 2012

Graves v. CAS Medical Systems - Expert Witnesses & Proper Trial Preparation


Building a case for the courtroom requires a Carolina personal injury or wrongful death attorney with the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to win adequate compensation for victims and families.

When one of those ingredients is missing, the at-fault or negligent party too often prevails. 824136_empty_crib.jpg

The recent South Carolina Supreme Court ruling in Graves v. CAS Medical Systems highlights what can happen if your expert witnesses are unprepared or unqualified.

India Graves was one of triplets born prematurely. After six weeks in the hospital, all three girls were sent home with their parents and a CAS monitor to alert parents to any breathing or cardiac issues during the night. The equipment was also outfitted by CAS with a microphone system that tracked whether or not the system's alarm sounded.

On the night of April 11, India was attached to the monitor when she was put in her bassinet about 2 a.m. When mom returned at 4 a.m., she found her sisters were fine but India was unresponsive. An autopsy reported the cause of death as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The Graves filed a suit citing negligence, breach of duty and strict liability due to a design defect involving the computer code. However, the circuit court granted summary judgment to CAS after granting a motion to exclude all four of Graves' expert witnesses.

While three software engineers were prepared to testify that a glitch in computer code was likely responsible, the court noted none of the three had spent significant time with one of the monitors. And all three agreed a hardware defect was not to blame. The fourth expert in the Graves' case contended the infant likely could have been saved with timely medical attention. However, that witness was not an expert in SIDs.

We can only speak in generalities because we do not know the specifics of the efforts to prepare this case for the courtroom. However, sometimes a firm lacks the resources to hire the leading experts, or to pay them to spend time examining a machine for defects. Sometimes just paying for testimony stretches a firm's resources. In other cases, a firm may accept a case hoping to get a settlement.

And in still other cases a law firm may divide its attention among several types of law, including wrongful death, criminal defense and divorce. Often, these firms do not have the working relationships and professional contacts necessary to build a strong case using expert witnesses.

The court attempts to vett expert testimony, and producing witnesses who lack the knowledge or experience to qualify as experts can be disastrous. As can testimony of questionable scientific validity or value.

In this case, CAS argued the backup system recorded the alarm sounding during more than 30 documented respiratory or cardiac episodes suffered by India in the early morning hours. And it moved to exclude all witnesses as failing to meet the legal requirements to give scientific testimony under State v. Council, 335 S.C. 1, 515 S.E.2d 508 (1999). The Graves filed a Rule 59(e), SCRCP motion, arguing for a chance to proceed based on circumstantial evidence even without the expert testimony. The court denied the motion and granted summary judgment on behalf of CAS.

Summary judgement is a judgment against one party issued by the court without a full trial, frequently because there are no material factual issues left for a jury to decide. In other words, the plaintiff has failed to prove his case.

As it happens, the court also reports the appeal was improperly filed, which caused the Graves to forfeit several appeal issues the court might have considered.

Choosing a law firm carefully in the aftermath of serious or fatal injury is critical when it comes to securing the damages you and your family deserve as you work toward recovery.

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November 6, 2012

North Carolina Hospital Explosion and the Risk of Fire and Evacuation Injuries


There were three injured and one dead after an explosion at North Carolina's Durham Regional Hospital. According to the News-Press, the explosion happened just after 2:00 a.m. on the hospital's 6th floor.
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The sprinkler system in the hospital was working properly when the explosion occurred and the fire was controlled once firefighters arrived on the scene. The patients who were in the area were moved to different parts of the hospital. Some were moved because of flooding (from the sprinkler system). Officials are still trying to figure out exactly what caused the explosion. Patients injured in the explosion were moved to the intensive care unit after they were checked in the E.R.

Our Durham personal injury attorneys recently mentioned Fire Prevention Week on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog. There's an entire week devoted to this hazard because there were more than 3,000 people killed in fire-related accidents in 2011. The truth of the matter is that many of these incidents are completely preventable. All it takes it a little awareness, education and preparation.

We've already talked about ways to keep your home safe from fires and explosions. However, business owners and property owners must also work to keep you safe from these kinds of accidents. They're required to ensure proper and required fire protection is installed and functioning. In many circumstances, invitees may be able to hold the owner / occupier liable when they are the victim of fire or an explosion due to inadequate fire safety or other negligent conditions.

Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and similar facilities must also ensure an evacuation plan is in place and properly rehearsed. To help companies and businesses to keep their grounds safe and to keep their visitors safe, we're here to offer these important safety tips.

Fire/Explosion Preventative Measures:

-Make sure there's a fire suppression system. These are complex devices that are placed in different areas of the building and they automatically trigger when the temperature gets too high. They can also be manually turned on. These systems should be tested regularly.

-Fire extinguishers should be present. These fire extinguishers should comply with both local, state and federal safety codes.

-There should be an evacuation plan and that plan should be practiced regularly. The plan should include the locations of the exits and what to do in the event of visibility problems or blocked exits. Make sure that the evacuation plan is posted in a well-seen area. Take into account disabled individuals, residents and visitors.

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November 3, 2012

Speeding Driver Causes Halloween Accident, Four in Hospital


There was a violent accident on Halloween night involving a speeding driver and two other vehicles. According to MyFox8, a sport utility vehicle (SUV) was traveling along Old Castle Drive at about 8:00 p.m. and slammed into another vehicle, throwing that one into a third vehicle. Saying that he was traveling fast would be an understatement -- he was traveling at 70 mph in a 35 mph zone! And all of this happened on Halloween!
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You may remember, our Asheboro car accident lawyers recently reported on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog about the importance of driver awareness and safety on Halloween night. It's clear some drivers didn't get the message. The truth of the matter is that we need to keep an eye on our young ones and on pedestrians. We need to supervise our young children when they're walking to and from the bus stop and when they're playing outside and we need to make sure they're properly buckled every time we get into the car.

According to officers, the man was arrested because he didn't have a valid driver's license. His license was suspended back in 2008 for driving under the influence. His new charges include DWI, failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, driving with a revoked license as well as careless and reckless driving.

Since arrested, he was permitted to sign a $2,000 unsecured bond.

To help drivers out with safe driving for the remainder of year and beyond, officials with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) are here to offer you some safe driving tips.

Safety Tips:

-Make sure you stay alert behind the wheel. Keep cell phones and other distractions out of the driver's seat.

-Make sure that you, and everyone else in your vehicle, is properly buckled in during every car ride.

-Never drink and driving. Always have a designated driver to get you home safely.

-Follow the posted limit. Speeding increases your risks for an accident.

-Never tailgate another vehicle. Following too closely only decreases your ability to react to dangers.

-Slow it down when driving in poor weather. You always want to adjust your driving habits to match the conditions on the road.

-Make sure you leave early and allow yourself with plenty of time to get to your destination to avoid rushing.

-Try to use alternate routes during rush hour and during inclement weather. Stay off of busy roadways when possible.

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November 1, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak in North Carolina Linked to Tainted Drug Injections


According to the State Health Director, Lauren Gerald, a Davidson County resident passed away recently as a result of complications from meningitis. There was recently a multi-state outbreak of this disease. As of late October, there were more than 280 cases of fungal meningitis that were identified in the country, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

These cases included two that were in North Carolina. Altogether, there are close to 30 who have died. These illnesses were caused by some fungi that is not uncommon in the environment, but it is a kind that rarely causes meningitis. Luckily, this form is not contagious. In this case, the outbreak is being blamed by state and federal health officials on unsanitary conditions at a pharmaceutical compounding facility in New England.
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"We extend our deepest sympathies to the family on the loss of their loved one," said Gerald. "Our thoughts are with them during this difficult time."

Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys understand that there is one resident of North Carolina who is still being treated for their conditions, but is no longer in the hospital. Still, the threat is serious. Meningitis is a very serious disease that causes inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are also known as the meninges, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Typically, this kind of inflammation is caused by an infection of the fluid around the spinal cord and brain.

What Can Cause Meningitis?

-Viruses/Bacteria

-Specific Drugs

-Cancer.

-Physical Injury.

In the most recent case of Fungal Meningitis, there were a number of patients who suffered strokes -- which were believed to have been a result of the infection.

Signs and Symptoms of Meningitis:

-Photophobia (sensitivity to light)

-Nausea

-Vomiting

-Stiff Neck

-Headache

-Fever

-Altered Mental Status

Who is at risk? Residents who already have certain diseases, are on specific medications or have undergone certain surgical procedures that weaken the immune system. Those who have received notice that they were injected with a back pain steroid mixed by the New England Compounding Facility are at highest risk.

Depending on what caused the infection, meningitis can solve itself on its own in just a couple of weeks. On the other hand, it can be a life-threatening emergency. When treating this condition, a patient will usually have to undergo long courses of high dose anti-fungal meds. These medications are usually given through an IV. How long a patient needs these meds depends on the severity of their case.

If you suspect that you or someone in your family has meningitis, it's important for you to seek medical care right away. Early recognition and treatment can help you to prevent serious complications!

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