March 11, 2014

Prescription Drugs: Overdose and Malpractice Risks on the Rise

If proscribed and used responsibly, prescription medication is a way to assist patients in living healthier lives but when prescription drugs are abused the consequences can be very serious, leading to overdoses and major accidents that can cause death, including car accidents.


Our Spartanburg personal injury attorneys caution patients to monitor the medicines they prescribe themselves. As well as those prescribed by a health care provider. Unfortunately, doctors and hospitals cannot always be relied on to manage multiple medicines a patient may be ingesting, even if this is their job.

Studies show that since 1999 the number of deaths attributed to prescription painkillers has increased by over 300%. It is estimated that 45 U.S. residents perish every day due to unintentional overdoses on pain relieves acquired through a prescription. In addition to the problems with patients taking pills as they are intended, nearly 1 in 20 United States citizens over the age of 12 admits to ingesting prescription painkillers for recreational purposes.

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March 9, 2014

Carolina Medical Malpractice Cases Must be Properly Filed

No matter how strong your medical malpractice lawsuit is, it won't get very far if you don't file it properly. gavel51.jpg

This means not only filing it within the statute of limitations, but providing timely and proper notice to any and all defendants and providing proper statements of sustained injuries and monetary damages.Failure to do this could result in a lawsuit dismissal, which means you will either have to start all over again, or worse, you could lose your chance to obtain compensation altogether.

This became obvious in Sleeth v. Sedan City Hosp., reviewed recently by the Kansas Supreme Court. At issue here was whether one or more letters to hospital administrators and an insurance carrier representative amounted to substantial compliance with state statutes that require certain forms of notice prior to filing a civil lawsuit for medical malpractice.

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March 6, 2014

Fighting Insurance Auto Companies Over Wrecks With "Excluded" Drivers

We all know there are drivers who take their chances behind the wheel without insurance.
In some cases, these individuals may be "excluded" drivers, or those who have been expressly named as not being listed on a household member's policy. People or insurance companies will list individuals as excluded for a host of reasons, ranging from a spouse who has a bad driving record to a teen whose presence on the policy would cause rates to spike.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys know that auto insurance firms love these policies because it minimizes their risk. In theory, anyone you allow to drive your vehicle is considered a "permissive user" of that vehicle and as such, will be covered under the vehicle policy. However, if a vehicle owner allows an excluded driver to operate the vehicle and he or she is subsequently involved in a crash, the insurance company may be indemnified and both the driver and the car owner may be held personally liable.

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March 3, 2014

UNC Hazing Incident Highlights Personal Injury Rights

Fraternities and sororities are promoted as a way for college students to make friends, get more involved on campus and give back by participating in various charities or public service opportunities.
Unfortunately, there are some chapters that have taken to converting new pledges into their own personal punching bags through ritual - and largely accepted - hazing. Such practices - which range from encouragement of immense alcohol consumption to subjection to physical assault - are not only personally degrading, they have in some cases been known to result in serious injuries - and even death.

Just recently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a fraternity was suspended over allegations of possible hazing that involved "alcohol violations and inappropriate new-member activities."

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March 1, 2014

Root v. Balfour Beatty Construction LLC - Keeping Personal Injury Complaints Off Facebook

It's perfectly understandable that grief-stricken, frustrated or outraged victims of personal injury, who have been wronged by the negligence of some other party, might take to social media to express those emotions.
You want affirmation and solace and to not feel so alone.

We get it. However, our Winston-Salem personal injury lawyers would generally advise against it. As it stands now, personal injury defendants will likely be combing through your social media profiles, trolling for any information that could help bolster their case.You might not even realize that what you are posting could have significance to your case. Through the discovery process, opposing counsel might even be allowed to obtain electronic communications you thought would be considered private.

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February 27, 2014

"Error in Judgment" Jury Charge in Medical Malpractice Cases

In any sort of injury trial - but specifically those involving alleged medical malpractice - judges must be extremely careful when instructing jurors on the laws of negligence.
Our medical malpractice lawyers in Charlotte recognize that in these incredibly complex cases, it is crucial that the jury be given clear instruction on the law.

Commonly referred to as a judge's "charge" to the jury, these instructions will succinctly spell out the issues of the case, define any words or terms that may not be familiar to the jury and discuss the standard of proof that should be applied in each case.

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February 25, 2014

North Carolina Construction Fall Results in Death

A 30-year-old worker was killed in a North Carolina construction accident, after suffering a five-story fall from scaffolding.
The incident occurred in Raleigh, about an hour outside of Greensboro, and was the second construction accident in that city in just two days.

News reports of the incident, citing Department of Labor sources, indicate that the company that had been overseeing the site was cited two times in recent years for safety violations involving scaffolding and worker fall protections.

Our Greensboro wrongful death attorneys know that this is so often the case when there is a death or catastrophic injury stemming from a workplace accident. While many companies do try their best to adhere to proper safety protocol, we see the same offenders violating these laws again and again.

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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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