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.

Continue reading "North Carolina Hospital Explosion and the Risk of Fire and Evacuation Injuries" »

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.

Continue reading "Speeding Driver Causes Halloween Accident, Four in Hospital" »

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!

Continue reading "Meningitis Outbreak in North Carolina Linked to Tainted Drug Injections" »

October 30, 2012

Contaminated Drinking Water Threatening Wake Forest Residents


Residents in Wake Forest aren't too happy and with good reason. They just found out that officials with the state of North Carolina have known that the area has been dealing with water that has been contaminated with a number of toxic chemicals for over 5 years -- and residents were never notified.

According to NBC News, the EPA got in touch with some families in the area last summer, telling them that their water was contaminated and they were at higher risks for cancer because of the trichloroethylene, or TCE, in it. They were instructed not to bathe, drink or cook with the water.
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"It makes me feel horrible," said local homeowner Michele Hamilton said about giving the unknowingly contaminated water to her children. "They're the most important things to me."

Our Wake Forrest personal injury lawyers understand that city water departments are required to ensure that water meets federal safety standards and is safe for residents and others to use. According to the United State Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these public drinking water systems are required to provide areas with safe and clean drinking water. Private, individual household wells, are not regulated by EPA. Still, private wells are also affected in this situation.

Just days after homeowners were called, the EPA activated an emergency command post and placed safe water on the doorsteps of these individuals every day. Officials with the EPA also installed water filters in the residences in which the contamination level read above the federal safety standard. There was also a meeting held within the community to explain that kind of water these residents were consuming.

According to the leader of the North Carolina University's Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, TCE is in fact a chemical that is used within the cleaning industry. It's used to remove grease. It's effective, it's cheap and it's extremely toxic. Studies on animals have concluded that this chemical can do some serious harm when ingested. It's so serious that it can cause cancer. It can cause lung cancer, breast cancer and even leukemia.

There are residents in the area who claim they now have Parkinson's disease, cysts and lumps in their breasts. Doctors have yet to confirm that these conditions are a result of the contaminated water.

It all started 10 years ago. Circuit boards in a shed near Stony Hill Road were cleaned with the toxin. The chemical left the building and went right into the ground. Three years later, the chemical was found in the well of the home next door. The reason it made it to water elsewhere in the area is because the chemical is heavier than water. It easily sinks into the ground and into groundwater. There, it spread through the water table and into wells that are nearby.

Officials with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources are looking into the claims.

Continue reading "Contaminated Drinking Water Threatening Wake Forest Residents" »

October 29, 2012

Carolina Injury Lawyers Urge Caution for Hurricane Sandy


There are whipping winds, pelting rain and even mass evacuations. The truth of the matter is that Hurricane Sandy is serious business. And it's only expected to get worse. While we don't typically worry about hurricanes like our friends in the south, when we get them, it can create a life-threatening emergency.
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It's important for residents to bunker down before, during and after the storm. There are hazards that accompany storms. The bulk of the storm may have passed, but our Asheville personal injury lawyers are here to help to keep you safe.

CNN iReporter, Elizabeth Switzer, reported that there were waves more than 23 feet along Carolina Beach just outside of Wilmington.

"We're seeing more flooding than you normally do, and particularly since the storm's not here," Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware.

Before Sandy even hit the U.S. it took the lives of more than 65 people.

When it hit the Carolinas, restaurants, stores and even homes shut down and boarded up. Sandy brought about 75 miles per hour winds.

Nags Head saw severe flooding. There were three counties along the Outer Banks that near the beach. Companies throughout the area reported a number of power outages.

Ocracoke Island is currently experiencing extreme sound side flooding, N.C. 12 is flooded with up 24 inches of water in the village and at least 2 inches of moving water on the highway north of the village, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services offers you these "After the Storm: Injury Prevention" Tips:

-Follow the orders of emergency personnel.

-Wear life jackets when the waters are rising. Make sure they fit the size of the person wearing it.

-Keep an eye out for fallen and dangling power lines. Don't even get near them.

-Never leave your children unsupervised.

-Make sure you're wearing sturdy shoes and protective clothing at all times.

-Keep a lookout for snakes.

-Check for structural damage before reentering your home. You should turn off your outside gas lines and make sure your generator is properly grounded. Tuck away all lose cords to prevent trip and fall accidents.

-Be ready for bites. Mosquitoes, bees and caterpillars are out after these kinds of storms. Make sure you wear the proper repellant and be sure to cover your skin.

-Make sure that your eyes are always protected. You should be wearing eye protection when working outside and working to clean up the debris.

-Be careful of animals on the loose. The number of animal bites has increase following past storms.

-Be careful of the exhaust from gas-powered generators and keep an eye on the carbon monoxide levels.

Continue reading "Carolina Injury Lawyers Urge Caution for Hurricane Sandy" »

October 24, 2012

Carolina E. coli Hospitalizations on the Rise, One Child Dead


Recently, officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services were forced to look into an E. coli infection outbreak in Lincoln, Cleveland and Gaston.

It happened to people who went to the Cleveland County Fair from the 28th of September through the 7th of October. A of mid-October, there were close to 10 children and 5 adults who had been reported to have gotten sick from the outbreak. According to Laura Gerald, the State Health Director, there have been two confirmed cases of E. coli O157:H7 infections. This is bacteria that is found in the feces of animals. It can be transferred to and from victims through food, by touching their hands to their mouths and by touching others.
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"We are working with county health departments, hospitals and physicians in the region to identify any additional cases related to this outbreak," said Gerald.

Our Gaston County personal injury lawyers understand that there has been one death reported from this outbreak. It happened to a child in Gaston County. When someone suffers from this infection, they can experience bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea and even a low-grade fever. Following the exposure, some can develop some serious complications, including hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), kidney failure and even death. Young children, elderly residents and people with specific medical conditions are at serious risk for these infections and the side effects that come with them. When this is not treated, death is likely. If you think you've been infected by E. coli, contact a medical professional immediately and talk with an experienced attorney to help you to fight for your rights.

Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services have not determined where exactly this outbreak started. All they know is that it came from the Cleveland County Fair.

"With fairs and festival season underway, we would be remiss not to remind people of the importance of hand washing as a way to prevent the spread of this and other illnesses," said Gerald.

The outbreak continues though. As of the most recent updates from the health department, there have been a total of 64 children and more than 40 adults who have been affected. There are a dozen who sought medical treatment in the hospital and the one child death.

"Our goal throughout this investigation is to identify how to prevent similar outbreaks and deaths in the future," said State Health Director Laura Gerald.

Officials are talking with those who have been infected, their families, and people at the fair to try and figure out the source. The investigation has also included geographical analysis and environmental sampling at the fairgrounds as well as laboratory testing. Officials are expecting the number to rise as the inflection spreads.

Each year, E.coli affects close to 270,000 people and kills about 100.

Continue reading "Carolina E. coli Hospitalizations on the Rise, One Child Dead" »

October 23, 2012

Helping to Prevent Fires in Your Home


Safety officials with the National Safety Council (NSC) feel that household fires are a serious risk to residents across the country. For this reason, they held Fire Prevention Week earlier this month and are pushing residents to use October to make sure their home is safe.

In 2011, there were approximately 3,100 people who were killed in these kinds of fires. Officials believe that many of these incidents could have been prevented had residents been more aware of the safety precautions that can be taken to stop fires before they start.
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As the temperatures drop, the risks for household fires increases. In the cooler months, these incidents are more common and are more likely. That's why our Asheville personal injury attorneys are here with some safety tips from the NSC. We're here to help you to prepare your house and to help to prevent the risks for a fire accident.

Please read review and share the following safety tips and precautions. You can help to keep your family and your neighborhood safe. Start today!

Fire Safety Tips:

-Make sure that all of the smoke detectors in your home are working properly.

-Check on your smoke detectors at least once a month.

-Change the batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year.

-Make sure that carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and that the batteries are always fresh.

-Make sure that each floor of your home has a smoke alarm.

-Each bedroom in your home should have a fire alarm.

-Keep the number to your local fire department posted in a visible spot in your home.

-Consider installing a sprinkler system in your home.

-Make sure that there are fire extinguishers in your home and that everyone knows how to operate them properly.

-Make sure that your family has an escape plan should a fire break out in your home. Make sure that the plan includes how to get young children out, too.

Your Family's Fire Escape Plan:

-Each room should have two ways to escape.

-If you live in an apartment building, make sure you plan multiple ways to get out.

-Plan for everyone in your home, including babies.

-Make sure windows open easily.

-Teach children never to hide during a fire.

-Practice getting out, by keeping your eyes shut, staying low to the floor and crawling. You want to cover your mouth, too.

-Make sure you have a designated meeting spot for when everyone has exited the home.

Check your house. Make sure that appliances don't have any frayed cords. If so, toss them out! Never overload your electrical sockets either. Never allow children to play in the kitchen unsupervised. Whenever you're cooking, don't leave the stove on and walk away. You also want to make sure that there are no lamps or other electrical devices touching fabrics in your home, whether it is a couch, a comforter or curtains.

Continue reading "Helping to Prevent Fires in Your Home" »

October 20, 2012

Carolina Injury Lawyers Urge Caution this Halloween


All Hallow's Eve is the most dangerous night of the year for pedestrian accidents in the country. This is especially relevant for our young ghosts and goblins.

As parents, our Charlotte child injury attorneys are urging parents and guardians to step up and to help to ensure the safety of our young ones this Halloween. CBS Charlotte is here to offer some simple safety tips that all adults should take to help to make sure that this year's holiday is a safe one.
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Keeping Candy Safe:

-Before allowing your child to chow down on and of their Halloween treats, you want to make sure that you look them over first. Make sure you toss out any candy that is open or appears to have been tampered with.

-Feed your child dinner before heading out to trick-or-treat. On a full stomach, they're less likely to start chomping on candy that hasn't been inspected yet.

-Toss out any candy with wrappers that are discolored or faded.

-Don't accept any home-made treats.

-Pay attention to any foods that your kids may have allergies to.

Staying Safe on Our Streets:

-Remember that Halloween is the most dangerous night of the year for pedestrian accidents.

-Make sure that children are wearing brightly-colored clothing so that motorists can see them easily. It's also a good idea to make sure they each have a flashlight or that they have reflective materials on their costume.

-Put them in a comfy pair of shoes. It's sure to be a long night of walking. Make sure they're in their most comfortable sneakers to ensure a safe journey.

-It's best to pass on the masks and to use face paint instead. Masks can cut off a child's visibility to their surroundings. When traveling near vehicular traffic, you want to make sure that your little gremlin can see everything.

-Never trick-or-treat alone.

-Teach your child to stay away from dogs and other animal that they do not know.

-Never walk out from behind parked cars.

-Make sure that kids know to only cross at crosswalks and at street corners. Avoid jaywalking during this time.

-Drivers are asked to drive slowly and cautiously when driving through residential areas on Halloween. Kids don't always understand the workings of traffic and face some serious risks for accidents. Stay one step ahead of them and help to keep them safe.

-Urge kids to never run across yards. Decorations can serve as trip and fall hazards. Only walk -- not run -- along sidewalks and driveways.

-If your child has any loose ends on their costume, tie them up. Not only do these serve as trip and fall hazards, but they can easily catch fire on jack-o-lanterns, too.

-Residents are also urged to use fake candles or glow sticks when lighting up jack-o-lanterns. If you feel the need to use a real candle, never leave it unsupervised.

With cooperation from everyone in the community, we can work to make sure that this is one of the safest Halloween's yet.

Continue reading "Carolina Injury Lawyers Urge Caution this Halloween" »

October 17, 2012

Dog Bite Law in North Carolina


We've recently been discussing the dangers and the risks for dog bite attacks. But did you know that there are very specific laws in the state of North Carolina that are designed to help to reduce the risks of these kinds of incidents?
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If a dog attacks a person or damages property when they're off of their own property, then the owner of the dog will be held liable for any of the damages, injuries or deaths that were sustained. They're also liable to cover the costs of suit. If someone owns a dog and allows them to run at large, the owner may be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.

Our Charlotte dog bite injury lawyers understand that dogs are prohibited from running at large in the state. The bad news about this law is that it's so restrictive because it only applies during the evening hours and to dogs that are a specific age. This creates a loophole for dog owners and puts everyone at increased risk. In most other states, dog are not allowed to run at large regardless of their age or the time of day. In the state of North Carolina, an owner can only be held liable if you can prove that they were in fact aware that their dog was out running at large. In many cases, without proper representation, the owner is let off of the hook and violations are void.

If the owner is found to be guilty of allowing the pup to run at large, then there can be some strict liability in the case if the dog has a history of this aggressive behavior and has previous injured another person or damaged properly, according to North Carolina dog bite law.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is critical for you to contact and experienced attorney. There are laws protecting you from negligent owners. In some cases, you may be covered by your own homeowner's insurance policy. An attorney can help you to track down the paperwork you'll need to back your case, including police reports, medical records and photographs. A lawyer can also help you to collect the items needed to prove the compensation that you deserve, including medical information.

Another thing that is commonly overlooked in these incidents is your credit score. What does your credit score have to do with a dog bite attack? When you can't afford medical treatment and you're awaiting compensation for your injuries, an attorney can help you to get creditors to hold off on late notices until you've collected compensation.

These kinds of suits can be awfully complicated. Make sure you have experienced legal representation on your side will help ensure your rights are protected should future medical complications arise as a result of a dog attack.

Continue reading "Dog Bite Law in North Carolina " »

October 15, 2012

North Carolina Dog Bite Incident Kills 10-Month-Old Child


In a recent dog bite incident, a 10-month-old boy was killed. He was killed by his own family's dog, according to Pilot Online.

Officials with the Perquimans County Sheriff's Department report that the accident happened off of West Railroad Avenue at roughly 6:00 p.m. When they arrived, they found that the child had already been bitten a number of times. The pup was quarantined and was euthanized without the standard 10-day waiting period, according to Sheriff Eric Tilley.
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The child was inside of the family's home when the attack happened. We recently talked about these accidents on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog.

According to the child's grandma, she and some of the other children were in the bathroom at the time. When she witnessed the attack, she tried to get the dog away, but was injured in the process. She was also treated for dog bite injuries. The family was not opposed to euthanizing the dog. Previously, an older boy inside that home was bitten by that same dog. The grandmother says she is still surprised by the incident though, saying that the family dog had never showed any kind of aggression toward the young child.

Our Charlotte dog bite injury lawyers understand how severe dog bite attacks can be. As a matter of fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are close to 5 million people who are bitten by man's best friend each and every year. Safety advocates think that public education can actually help to reduce these risks. This is one reason why the third week in May is always used to host National Dog Bite Prevention Week. But it's important that we are aware of the risks and the preventative measures year round!

Americans seek medical attention close to 1 million times each year because of dog bite accidents. Half of these Americans are young children. As a matter of fact, there are more than 385,000 people who require treatment in an emergency room every year in these incidents. Close to 20 people die.

Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are the most at risk for a dog bite injury. As a child ages, their risks for one of these incidents decreases. About 70 percent of the injuries sustained by these young individuals happen to the neck or the head region. Boys are typically at higher risks than girls, too.

Before bringing a pup into your home, you're going to want to do your research. Talk with a professional about the breed of pup that is most suitable for the members of your family. Make sure that you don't get one that has a history of aggression if you've got children in your home. Spend a lot of time with the dog before purchasing or adopting. You want to make sure that you and your family members mesh well with it.

Continue reading "North Carolina Dog Bite Incident Kills 10-Month-Old Child" »

October 13, 2012

Selecting a Nursing Home: Easy Tips to Make the Right Choice


There comes a time in most of our lives when we are presented with an important question -- Which nursing home is best for a loved one?

When asking yourself this question, there are a lot of factors that you need to take into consideration. The truth of the matter is that this selection requires a lot of research and a lot of planning. This can be a stressful decision, and our North Carolina nursing home neglect attorneys understand a little research can go a long way toward keeping an elderly family member safe.
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1.) Make a list. You're going to want to lay out a list of homes that you're considering and homes that you've already visited. Take time to visit each home you're thinking about. It's a good idea to put your name on the waiting list, too. You can start checking out homes on the Senior Housing Directory. Putting yourself on the waiting list does not lock you into a home, but it helps to give you options when a decision needs to be made.

2.) Know what you need. If your loved one requires special health services, like speech therapy, occupational or physical therapy, Alzheimer care, I.V. care, oxygen or tube feeding, understand the options for advanced care at the various nursing homes. If your loved one needs any of these services, you're going to want to make sure that you're looking for homes that provide them. Not all homes offer many of these services. You're also going to want to look at the size, location and level of care at each facility. The home's affiliation is also important, like if its affiliated with a church, a private, or a corporate entity and whether it's profit or non-profit.

3.) Visit each home. This is one of the most important items on this list. You wouldn't buy a new car without seeing it or testing it out. Make sure you visit nursing homes under consideration. Go and see how they function during off-peak hours. Are they well-staffed? Are the residents comfortable and taken care of? It's a good idea to make more than one visit.

4.) Plan out your visit. You want to make sure that all grounds are covered. Consider activity directors, social services staff, dietary staff, nursing assistants, nurses and even administrators. Make sure you talk to some of the residents in the home. Talk with their families, too. Try to get every angle of the real story.

5.) Involve your loved one. When choosing a home, make sure that your elderly loved one has a say in the process, they're the ones that are going to be staying there after all. When you involve your loved one and you discuss options with them before looking into these homes, you will limit disagreement and make the process more bearable for everyone who is involved.

6.) Check ratings. One of the most important things you can do is look into the ratings and the complaints of nursing homes. You can visit the Medicare website and other readily available resources to complete your research before choosing a home.

Continue reading "Selecting a Nursing Home: Easy Tips to Make the Right Choice" »

October 11, 2012

Fall Accidents a Risk for Elderly Residents


One out of every three senior citizens, or those over the age of 64, are involved in a fall accident every year. Falls can lead to serious and debilitating injuries, including hip and other bone fractures and serious head injuries. Too often, a fall results in death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The truth of the matter is that falls are a serious health problem, but they're largely preventable.
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Our Asheville personal injury lawyers understand that only half of the senior citizens who are in a fall accident talk to their healthcare provider. For these elderly residents, falls continue to be the number one cause of accidental death. These accidents are also the number one cause of injuries and hospital stays for trauma. As a matter of fact, there were close to 2.5 million older adults who were injured and then treated in an emergency room in 2010. More than 660,000 were admitted into the hospital. All of these falls cost about $30 billion in direct medical costs.

What Happens in a Fall Accident?

-About 30 percent of people in fall accidents suffer some serious injury, like head trauma, hip or other bone fractures and even lacerations. It's these injuries that make it tougher for these older residents to get around and they may also lead to additional medical complications.

-Fall accidents are the number one cause for Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). In just 2000, these injuries accounted for more than 45 percent of deadly falls among senior citizens.

-Most of the fractures sustained by older adults happen during fall accidents. Some of the most common fractures occur to the upper arm, the pelvis, the forearm, the hip, the spine and the hands.

-Many of those who suffer a fall accident oftentimes develop a fear of falling again. This fear can cause someone to limit their daily activities and can also cause a reduction in physical fitness, which will actually increase their risks of falling again.

If you're a business owner or a landlord or you're a member of your community's homeowners association (HOA), you have an obligation to make sure that the premises are safe for everyone, especially older adults. There are many businesses that cater to senior citizens who call North Carolina home. Keeping our elderly free from fall hazards doesn't happen by accident.

To help to prevent these kinds of accidents, make sure you're keeping up with your daily exercise. Get your eyes check periodically and keep your home and work areas well lit. Take a look at your home. Are there fall hazards? Make sure walkways are clear, cords are not lying around the floor, wet spots are cleaned immediately and walking areas are well lit. You should also talk with your doctor about the medications and prescriptions you're on and their effect on your risks for a fall accident.

Continue reading "Fall Accidents a Risk for Elderly Residents" »

October 8, 2012

Dogs and Children: Reducing Injury Risks in North Carolina


As we recently reported, there were two devastating dog bite incidents in the Carolinas in recent weeks. Both incidents occurred to small children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 4.5 million people who are the victim of a dog bite incident every year. About 20 percent of these victims require medical attention. A large number of them are even forced to undergo reconstructive surgery because of a dog attack.
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You'd be surprised to learn about how many children are involved in these incidents. Officials with the CDC report that children between the ages of 5 and 9 are more likely that anyone else to suffer a dog bite injury that requires medical attention. Our Asheville injury lawyers understand that owning a dog, or even interacting with other dogs, can lead to a dog bite when you least expect it.

Before bringing home a new dog:

-Make sure you talk with a professional (a professional breeder, an animal behaviorist, a veterinarian) to learn about which breeds of dogs are the best fit for your home.

-Remember that dogs that have a history of aggression are not suitable for homes with children.

-Pay attention to your child's reactions. If you notice that they're fearful or apprehensive about your new dog, wait a while before bringing it into your home.

-Make sure you spend an adequate amount of time before bringing a dog into your home. You want to get a thorough feel for the dog's personality.

-Make sure you get your dog spayed or neutered before bringing it home. This helps to reduce the tendencies for aggression.

-You never want to leave young children home along with your dog.

-Avoid playing aggressively with your dog.

-Teach your dog submissive behaviors.

-Make sure that you properly socialize your dog before bringing it home. Teach the dog submissive behaviors, like rolling over to expose the abdomen and giving up food without growling.

-Seek advice from a professional if you dog starts to display angry or aggressive behaviors.

There are special tips that you should consider when dealing with dogs and children! Review the following if there are young ones in your home!

Dogs and Kids: Safety Tips!

-Teach children never to approach a dog that they don't know.

-Never run from a dog or scream near one.

-If frightened, don't move! Act like a tree!

-If you get knocked over by a dog, just roll into a ball and lay down still.

-Never play with a dog unless a parent is watching.

-If you see a dog you don't know wandering around, tell an adult immediately!

-Avoid making direct eye contact with a dog.

-Never bother a dog when it's eating, sleeping or taking care of its puppies.

-Always let a dog sniff you before playing with it.

-If you get bitten, tell an adult right away!

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October 6, 2012

Carolina Dog Bite Accidents Worrying Parents


A 10-month-old boy was killed recently after he was attacked by the family's dog.

The recent accident happened just after 6:00 p.m. According to WAVY.com,at the child's grandparents' house in Hertford on West Railroad Avenue. Accident reports indicate that the child's grandma was watching him play on the bed when the attack occurred. Without warning, the dog leaped in and suddenly attacked. The family's dog was mixed breed and was named "Copper." The grandmother attempted to restrain the dog and keep it from the young child, but she was unsuccessful.
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Our Asheville dog bite lawyers are hesitant to continue on with the accident report as it gets pretty brutal. According to officers, the room was covered in blood. The grandmother said that she was in such shock that she could barely grasp what was going on. The family carried the young child to the front porch of the home where they tried to bandage up the wounds.

Two years prior, the family found Copper wandering the streets and decided that they were going to adopt him. The family reports that the dog attacked one time before, but was always gentle with the baby and with the rest of the family. No one is sure what made the dog attack this time around.

"If you have children and you have animals, make sure you totally understand the relationship you have with your animals and your pets," said the family. The dog is going to be put down. According to local animal experts, the dog was an American Bulldog/Labrador mix.

This isn't the only recent dog attack incident. A family in Rock Hill is trying to make sure that a dog that attacked their 10-year-old doesn't do it to anyone else. This incident happened at the child's friend's house on Silverstream Drive. When the family's front door opened, the dog ran out, jumped on him and started biting, according to WSOCTV.com.

The young boy had to have seven stitches in his cheek. He also suffered from a number of scratches and a bloody nose. The father of the child isn't happy because Animal Control has yet to seize the dog. Steve Stuber with local Animal Control says that they can't seize the dog because of where the accident took place.

"If this happens on the dog's property, it's considered a provoked attack," said Stuber.

For the dog to be seized, officers are going to have to prove that the pup is in fact aggressive and dangerous. Stuber says that isn't likely in this case.

These are tragic cases. Oftentimes it's a family pet or a pet of a close friend or a neighbor that ends up hurting a child or other family member. An experienced dog bite injury attorney can work in as amicable a manner as possible to file a claim against a homeowner's insurance. But claims should always be made, even when an injury seems minor. Children may have a particularly difficult time getting over dog bite incidents emotionally, and infection, scaring and other issues can result in medical complications.

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October 2, 2012

North Carolina Nursing Home Scrutinized for Lack of Care


Waterbrooke Assisted Living and officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services are in talks about improving the conditions at this Tabor City nursing home. According to the Fay Observer, officials with the Department of Health and Human Services have chosen to delay the suspension of the nursing home's license once all of the home's 77 residents are relocated.
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According to a spokesman for the Department, Jim Jones, only five of these residents had been relocated as of last week. Once they're relocated, they will receive skills care -- care they were not getting at the Waterbrooke facility. Currently, Waterbrooke is operating under a "plan of correction" with state officials reporting progress in meeting the goal of a safer and more reliable facility.

Our Asheville nursing home neglect attorneys understand that there are close to 420 nursing homes in the state of North Carolina that are certified by Medicaid and Medicare. Within these nursing homes, there are close to 43,500 beds available. At the most recent look, more than 85 percent of these beds were occupied. On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, the state of North Carolina ranks in with a 3 for the quality of nursing home care in the state. This ranks the state 39th for nursing homes reliability and quality of care.

We want to make sure that our elderly loved ones are treated with the care and respect that they deserve. Unfortunately, nursing homes frequently aren't adequately staffed or funded and neglect and abuse is too often the result. In fact, adult care neglect and nursing home abuse is more common that you might think - and most of these infractions are never reported or even discovered.

Nursing Home Stats You May Not Know:

-About a third of nursing homes in the nation have been cited for abuse and other similar infractions.

-More than 10 percent of nursing homes have been cited for dispensing unnecessary prescription drugs.

-About a quarter of all of the aides who were prosecuted for abusing nursing home residents have a previous criminal record. About 5 percent of aides in these homes have criminal records.

-There are about 37,000 nursing home residents in the state of North Carolina.

-About a third of North Carolina residents who are over the age of 80 reside in a nursing home.

-Between 1 and 2 million Americans over the age of 65 have been neglected, abused or mistreated by their primary caregiver.

-About 10 percent of people over the age of 65 will spend some of their time in a nursing home or in an adult care facility.

-About 50 percent of patients suffer from untreated pain.

-About 90 percent of the nation's nursing homes are understaffed, according to CNN.

-Only about 15 percent of elder abuse cases are ever reported to officials.

-Some of the most common forms of abuse include emotional abuse, physical abuse, caretaker neglect and sexual abuse.

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