February 23, 2014

Mann v. Northgate Investors, LLC - Landlord Premise Liability

A recent case heard by the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the legal principle that holds landlords have a statutory duty to maintain safe conditions on their properties, extended to both tenants and guests of tenants, and that breaches of that duty may constitute negligence and grounds for legal liability.
Rock Hill premise liability lawyers know that the same principal is outlined in South Carolina, where business owners as well as private landowners can be held liable for a wide range of injuries, including slip-and-fall accidents, swimming pool drownings and even third-party criminal acts.

In the case of Mann v. Northgate Investors, LLC, the plaintiffs alleged that the landlord negligently failed to maintain adequate lighting on the premises, and that the plaintiff suffered injury relating to a fall on the property as a result.

This case unfolded back in 2007. At that time, the plaintiff was just 16-years-old and was visiting a friend, who was a tenant at the apartment. her friend resided on the second floor of the building. As the plaintiff exited the apartment around 11 p.m., she had to walk down two flights of stairs with a landing between them. The hallway was dark, both because it was night and there was lighting. The existing light figures were not operational.

She made it to the bottom of the stairs, but at the last step, she mistakenly thought there would be another step. She stumbled forward, through a glass panel next to an exit door, sustaining serious injury.

She filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging negligent failure to maintain adequate lighting for safe egress from the building at night, which created a danger to both residents and guests.

The landlord responded by filing a motion for a summary judgment, asserting he had not breached any duty of care to the plaintiff, who was an invitee to the property. The duty owed would be ordinary care of property maintenance, the landlord stated, and that duty was met. It was further argued that darkness is an obvious danger, and that business owners could reasonably expect invitees to recognize the danger and take appropriate action to protect themselves.

The plaintiff countered that the state's landlord-tenant act required the landlord to keep the common areas of the premises in fit, habitable condition.

However, the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant, indicating that because the plaintiff was not a tenant but a business invitee, the landlord owed her only a duty of ordinary care, further accepting his argument that the darkness of the staircase was an open and obvious hazard, negating the duty of ordinary care.

That ruling was appealed, and the appellate court reversed that finding, holding that tenants' guests are entitled to the same protections as tenants. However, the court certified the question to the state supreme court, as it acknowledge this finding conflicted with that of another state appellate court.

The state supreme court determined that a landlord is in fact liable for injuries suffered by tenant guests when that injury is proximately caused by the landlord's failure to fulfill the duties it normally owes to tenants.

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February 21, 2014

"Retained Surgical Items" Grounds for Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

In the recently-reviewed case of Tucker, Jr. v. Tombigbee Healthcare Authority, the plaintiffs alleged that the health care staff was negligent after a surgical hemostat clamp was left inside her abdomen during a hysterectomy and appendix removal. medicalinstruments.jpg

Not only did the doctor fail to account for and remove the clamp at the time of the surgery, it went undiscovered for six years, until the patient began to complain of severe pain and cramping, resulting from serious infection and life-threatening medical problems, including blood clots, sepsis, infection and most likely, a stroke.

The first count of her claim was against the surgical team who left the device. The second count pertained to the doctors who failed to diagnose, treat and make timely referrals for her condition. She eventually died as a result, though not prior to filing a lawsuit.

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February 17, 2014

U.S. v. Chhibber - Medicare Fraud & Medical Malpractice Claims

Both federal and state attorneys general have been focused in the past two years on cracking down on doctors, hospitals and other health care providers that commit Medicare fraud.
Just recently, the Charlotte Observer reported that several doctors working at a for-profit hospital have alleged the owner offered them illegal kickbacks to order unnecessary tests on patients and admit more of them so that the hospital could bolster its corporate revenues. Two of the doctors have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Charlotte against Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medical Associates - the fourth-largest for-profit hospital chain in the country.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, alongside the U.S. Department of Justice, lists numerous Medicare fraud arrests that have occurred over the last five years in North Carolina.

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February 15, 2014

North Carolina Emergency Care Given "C" Grade

When it comes to the quality of emergency medical care, mediocrity is certainly nothing to celebrate.
Our Charlotte medical malpractice lawyers are not encouraged by the "C" grade given to North Carolina by the American College of Emergency Physicians in their most recent emergency care environment report card - despite the fact that it's a step above the national "D+" grade.

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February 13, 2014

Carolina Bicycle Accidents & Premise Liability Claims

So often when we discuss bicycle accidents, we're talking about incidents in bicyclist was hit by a motor vehicle.
However, there are instances in which dangerous road design or other hazards may have played a part in the crash. In these cases, it may be appropriate to seek action against those entities responsible for maintaining the property where the crash occurred.

This was the case in Camicia v. Howard S. Wright Constr. Co., a matter that was recently litigated before the Washington state Supreme Court. Here, the question of liability rests largely on how the land on which the crash occurred was formally classified.

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February 12, 2014

Hicks v. Zondag - Physician Liability in Prescription Overdose Deaths

Pain management has consumed a large portion of the medical industry over the last few decades, with the National Center for Health Statistics reporting that more than a quarter of all Americans over age 20 report having a problem with persistent pain lasting longer than a day. pills6.jph.jpg

Adults between 45 and 64 years of age are the most likely to report having chronic pain, lasting a week or more. Good physicians and health care providers seek to alleviate these ailments with a carefully-planned approach of physical therapy, medication or some combination of both.

The problem is that pain medications can be extremely powerful, particularly in concert with other drugs. In some instances, these adverse effects can even be fatal. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that drug overdose deaths have steadily climbed for 11 years straight, tripling since 1990.

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February 9, 2014

Prescription Drug Lawsuits in Charlotte Hindered by Recent Court Rulings

Prescription drug injuries can occur when drugs are poorly made, improperly maintained, over-prescribed, wrongly distributed or have severe side effects of which the manufacturer failed to warn. pillsdrugs.jpg

Any of these could be grounds for filing a personal injury lawsuit in Charlotte.

However, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year has made it tougher to file suit against generic drug manufacturers. In a decision that sharply divided the court 5-4, the case of Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. v. Bartlett, resulted with the finding that generic companies couldn't be held accountable for failure to warn of potential dangers when their warning labels matched the design and language of the brand name, as approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Failure to warn through improper labeling is one of the most common complaints filed against generic drugmakers.) However, these same victims are not free to pursue action against name brand manufacturers when their injuries were caused by generic versions of the drug that the brand name manufacturer did not actually make.

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February 7, 2014

School Bullying: Sending Thousands to E.R.

Bullying is no secret. It's found in homes. It's found online. Most commonly it's found in schools. According to NBC, there are more than 90,000 school children who suffer from "intentional" injuries that are severe enough to land them in the emergency room each year.
A recent study published in Pediatrics shows us that the number of bullying incidents and intentional injuries at school has decreased little, despite all of the attention on the issue.

Our Rock Hill child injury attorneys understand that bullying is largely unreported. In this study, researchers only look at incidents that made it to the E.R. Unfortunately, many children are oftentimes too intimidated to speak out against their bully and report the abuse to an adult. These statistics are merely the tip of the iceberg. With this study, officials are hoping to raise awareness of this very serious problem.

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February 3, 2014

Protecting Carolina Residents Through the Wicked Winter

We've got frequent temperatures in the teens and residents throughout the state are trying to stay warm, but with this warmth come some serious risks. With many of us using generators and space heaters to stay warm, we're all increasing our risks for an accident.
But the risks don't stop with the heaters. We've also got serious risks for snowy car accidents, icy slip and fall incidents, carbon monoxide, heart attack risks from overexertion and hypothermia dangers.

Our Greensboro personal injury attorneys understand that the recent polar vortex caused some serious problems throughout the U.S. and really heightened our awareness of the cold weather and its risks. Authorities have blamed a total of 15 deaths on the cold so far, 11 of them from traffic accidents. Luckily, the best way to head off all of these dangers is preparation.

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February 1, 2014

Pedestrian Injured At Asheville Home

A pedestrian was injured recently in West Asheville after a vehicle slammed into construction dumpster. According to the Citizen-Times, the accident happened just before 9:30 a.m. in front of the victim's home at 170 Riverview Drive. He was taken to Mission Hospital with a number of injuries, including a possible broken leg.
"He was getting ready to get into his truck," said a witness of the accident. "It freaked me out. I was amazed he wasn't dead."

Our injury lawyers in Asheville understand that these kinds of accidents are alarmingly common in residential neighborhoods. In this incident, the driver was cited for neglecting to reduce his speed. Citizens frequently express their concerns regarding traffic speeds and pedestrian safety in residential neighborhoods. It involves a joint effort between the residents and the city to improve traffic safety in their neighborhoods. Talk with your neighbors about traffic safety. Be aware of existing conditions and notify the city when situations seem to create a problem.

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January 30, 2014

Schroeder v. Weighall - Misdiagnoses and the Statute of Limitations

A report last year indicated that the lion's share of medical malpractice claims in the U.S. stem from incidents of missed or improper diagnoses, totaling some $39 billion in payouts over the last 25 years.
One of the biggest complications in a missed-diagnosis claim in Charlotte is the issue of the statute of limitations. While the law is clear that plaintiffs only have a small window in which to formally allege wrongdoing, there are a few situations in which exceptions are made and the statute of limitations clock can be halted or "tolled."

In North Carolina, medical malpractice lawsuits have to be filed within three years of the act or omission that gave rise to the injury or within two years of the date of the discovery. (Actions for objects left in the body have to start within one year of discovery or up to 10 years after the date giving rise to the injury.) These limits can be tolled when a person is a minor, deemed mentally incompetent or if the defendant is undergoing bankruptcy.

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January 26, 2014

South Carolina Premise Liability Claims Stemming From Crime

Criminal actions that result in injury or death are almost always handled by the criminal justice system.
However, there are situations in which a crime may give rise to a civil action, particularly if the action resulted in severe pain, suffering, lost wages, disfigurement, high medical bills or loss of life. In some cases, the criminal courts will order restitution paid directly to the victim by the defendant.

But when the criminal act would not or could not have happened but for the negligence of another, a third-party liability lawsuit may be appropriate. Our Greenville premises liability attorneys know that many of these claims center on inadequate security. Possible examples of defendants include owners of nightclubs, casinos, apartment complexes, malls, hotels, universities, restaurants and office buildings.

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January 24, 2014

South Carolina Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements May Not Be Enforceable

Nursing home administrators recognize that they have much to lose when abuse, neglect or negligence at their facilities comes to light. black4.jpg

In an effort to mitigate their potential risk, many have begun thrusting arbitration agreements at new residents at the time they are admitted. Our Anderson nursing home abuse lawyers want to make you aware that by signing these papers, you or your loved one is effectively giving up your right to sue the nursing home if there is a dispute about care or even evidence of wrongdoing.

Instead, the case would go before an arbitrator. Not only do plaintiffs generally burden the cost of the arbitrator, but the outcomes tend to be more favorable toward the nursing home. Even in cases where the plaintiff emerges victorious, the damages awarded are often far more modest than those awarded by a jury.

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January 21, 2014

Black Lung Benefits in South Carolina

Coal mining is a $60 million industry in South Carolina, providing some 2,420 jobs in the state, according to the National Mining Association.
The number of miners in the state used to be even higher, before the emergence of numerous health issues became apparent. One of those was "black lung disease," an irreversible condition also known as pneumoconiosis, a result of a build-up of coal dust in the lungs that results in inflammation, fibrosis and, in some cases, death of lung tissue.

Some 10,000 Americans have died from the condition over the last decade, and even though the disease is preventable, many miners are continuing to develop it. Since the early 1970s, benefits have been available to ailing coal miners, former coal miners and their dependents as part of the Black Lung Benefits Act. These benefits are paid out by private coal companies, though the claims are processed through the federal department of labor.

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January 20, 2014

Suing Multiple Defendants in South Carolina Premise Liability Claim

Slip-and-fall injuries in Rock Hill may represent straightforward premise liability claims.
That is, the owner of the property knew or should have known of a certain hazard and failed to correct or warn of it when he or she had a duty to do so, resulting in a proximate injury to the plaintiff.

But there are other cases, such as the one in Crabtree v. BASF Building Systems, LLC, in which multiple defendants may be deemed responsible for the plaintiff's injuries.

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