July 2, 2014

Keeping Kids Safe this Fourth of July


Fourth of July weekend is a great time for families to have a cookout and enjoy a day at the pool. While this can be a lot of fun, our personal injury lawyers urge you to take extra precautions to make sure the kids stay safe.

fireworks12.jpgA swimming pool, whether it is the backyard or a public facility, poses many dangers to children. Some of these dangers, like drowning, are obvious, but there are also some less obvious dangers like slip and fall accidents. According the North Carolina Child Fatality Prevention Team, an average of 29 children will die each year across the state from drowning. Many of these deaths occur in children aged one to five and primarily in children with little or no prior swimming lessons or other experience with the water. It was also noted that insufficient supervision of small children at the pool played a large part in these tragedies.

It is imperative that small children be watched at all times when they are in the water. It is also important for parents to familiarize themselves with what drowning actually looks like. In the movies and on TV, we are used to seeing people thrashing around in the water with arms flailing wildly. We see huge splashes until the victim finally slips below the surface of the water. While this Hollywood depiction of drowning may add to the drama on the big screen, it is often far from what drowning looks like in real life. Often, drowning victims have reached a level of fatigue that makes it difficult to keep their heads above water. Once a victim starts having trouble breathing, he or she may start to experience blackouts, hypoxia, or other neurological symptoms caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. The victim will likely be completely silent at this point, with very little movement.


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June 29, 2014

Kelly v. Haralampopoulos - Exception to Hearsay Rule in Medical Malpractice Claims


In civil court as well as criminal, it's imperative that only accurate evidence be presented, and that both sides have a fair chance to refute information detrimental to their claim.
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Anderson medical malpractice attorneys know that one of the ways courts accomplish this is by barring hearsay evidence. Hearsay is information obtained from another source that cannot be adequately substantiated.

However, there are sometimes exceptions, and South Carolina defines them in its Rules of Evidence, Rule 804. Additionally recognized are exceptions within the Federal Rules of Evidence, and relevant to our discussion here is Rule 803(4), which addresses statements made for medical diagnosis or treatment.

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June 27, 2014

Gregory Coogan v. Cherryl Nelson et al.: Proving Dog Owner Knowledge of Vicious Tendencies


Asheville, North Carolina personal injury lawyers know how complex an animal attack case can be. While there is often no question that a defendant's dog (or other domestic animal) caused harm to the plaintiff, North Carolina law provides three basic ways in which a person can be liable for injuries caused by his or her dog. The first method of proving liability in a dog bite case is under a theory of negligence. Basically, the owner of the dog owed a duty of care to the injured plaintiff, and the dog owner breached his or her duty of care. This is the same negligence standard used in most personal injury cases in the Carolinas.

angry-dog.jpgThe second way in which your dog bite lawyer could prove a case is through the North Carolina dog bite statute (Chapter 67 of the North Carolina Code). If the owner engages in certain dangerous behaviors such as allowing his dogs to run free at night or using a dog unlawfully in a hunt, he may be liable under this statute.

The third way to prove a dog bite case in North Carolina involves the issue of whether the owner of the dog knew or had reason to know that his or her dog had dangerous tendencies. This is what lawyers typically refer to as the "every dog gets one bite rule." What this means is that if you own a dog, and that dog has never bitten anyone, you should have no reason to know your dog is likely to bite someone. However, once your dog has bitten someone, you should know that your dog has such tendencies, and you must take appropriate precautions to prevent your dog from biting other people. With this theory of proof, your personal injury lawyer must present evidence that the defendant knew or had reason to know that his or her dog was likely to bite another person.

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June 25, 2014

Cox, et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.: Usual or Expected Dangers and Their Effect on Premises Liability Actions


Winston-Salem premises liability lawyers routinely deal with the issue of whether a particular dangerous condition was known or should have been known by the property owner. While there have been some legislative actions addressing landowner liability in the North Carolina Code, most of the law on this topic comes from judicial decisions. The following is a recent case in the Fifth Circuit dealing with this issue.

caution-tripping-hazard.jpgIn Jamie Cox; Rickey Lee Cox v. Wal-Mart Stores East, L.P., the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit examined the issue of whether a defective door threshold was unreasonably dangerous for the purpose of a premises liability action.

In Cox, plaintiff Jamie Cox went to a Wal-Mart store in Fulton Mississippi along with Rickey Lee Cox. As she entered through the automatic door, she fell and suffered injury. According to a witness sitting on a nearby bench for approximately an hour prior to Mrs. Cox's fall, the threshold of the door had been rocking back and forth whenever a person stepped on it or a shopping cart rolled over it. This witness further testified that the threshold plate would rise as much as one-half an inch and that the lifting seemed to be caused by the plate not being property secured to the floor. He testified that when Mrs. Cox stepped on one side of the threshold plate, the other side lifted up and caused her to fall. The plaintiffs filed claims for personal injury and loss of consortium in state court. The defendant, Wal-Mart, removed the case to the local United States District Court and then filed a motion for summary judgment. This motion asserted that the threshold defect was not unreasonably dangerous. The trial court agreed with the defendant and granted the motion for summary judgment.

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June 23, 2014

North Carolina Appeals Court Rejects Liability Claim Against Landlord for Dog Bite


When dogs cause injuries to people, it's clear their owners can be held liable for injuries, usually through homeowners' insurance claims.
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But what if they are renters? Charlotte dog bite injury lawyers know the owners of the dog can still be held liable, and it's possible their landlord may be held liable as well.

However, as the recent New York Court of Appeals case of Stephens v. Covington shows, the circumstances under which a landlord can be held liable are narrower than the negligence theory applied to the owner.

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June 21, 2014

S.B. 648 - North Carolina Measure to Restrict Product Liability Lawsuits Fails


Imagine a bill that would grant unprecedented immunity to product manufacturers who obtain the approval of any federal regulator. Multibillion-dollar companies would face virtually no accountability for the products they put on the market, so long as it was rubber-stamped by an understaffed government office first - no matter how much harm that product caused.
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That was exactly the measure that was weighed here in North Carolina three years ago, pushed hard by the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America lobbyists.

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers weren't the only ones relieved when it finally died in committee. However, it reared its ugly head again this spring in the form of Senate Bill 648. Once again, representatives from the PRMA were pushing it hard.

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June 18, 2014

Sims v. Graystone - NC Appeals Court Allows Negligence Claim


A Catawba County woman will have the chance to have her negligence claim against an ophthalmology clinic heard before a jury, after the North Carolina Court of Appeals recently reversed a trial court's summery judgment in favor of the defendant.
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The plaintiff in Sims v. Graystone Opthamology Associates alleged ordinary negligence by the staffers at the center for placing her in a rolling chair that subsequently slid out from underneath her, causing her to fall to the ground and fracture her hip and shoulder. She had to undergo surgery, rehabilitation and incurred high medical costs.

Greensboro personal injury attorneys understand the incident occurred after the plaintiff arrived for her exam, but before the exam began.

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June 16, 2014

Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc.: Tolling the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Action


One of the most important questions Asheville wrongful death attorneys have is when a cause of action arose. In other words, when did the injury or accident occur? This question is important because all civil actions, including those for wrongful death under a theory of negligence, must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations.

The specific statute of limitations varies by state and by type of case, but essentially these calendar.jpgstatutes limit the amount of time you have to file a case against somebody. In North Carolina, pursuant to Article 5 ยง 1-53 of the General Statutes, wrongful death actions have a two-year statute of limitations. This two-year period starts running at the time of death. In the North Carolina General Statutes there are several different statutes of limitations depending on the type of case and even the type of injury.

In Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc., the Indiana Supreme Court dealt with the issue of what happens if the cause of the accident is not discovered during the statute of limitation. In Alldredge, the plaintiff's personal injury lawyer discovered that Venita Hargis, a nursing home patient, had died after being attacked by another resident, and not as a result of falling as claimed by the nursing home. In our legal system, you generally cannot sue for something that is truly an accident where nobody is at fault. The injury or harm must be caused by someone's negligent or intentional actions. In Alldredge, the court found that not only did the victim die from being attacked by another patient, but the defendant nursing home purposefully and fraudulently covered or "concealed" the real cause of Ms. Hargis' death. Even though it was not discovered during the two-year statute of limitations, the court said the plaintiff could still bring an action because the defendant's fraudulent concealment "tolled" the statute of limitation.

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June 13, 2014

Don't Assume People See You


An Elon University freshman riding her bike to class, turned to enter a crosswalk on campus and WHAM! - she was struck and knocked off her bike by an oncoming car the victim said didn't even slow down.
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"I thought he was stopping and I went ahead into the crosswalk, and he kept going and he just hit me," the student told Elon Local News. She ended up with a gash above her right eyebrow, a mid-range concussion and lifelong concerns about riding her bike in a crosswalk, no matter how clearly marked. "Don't assume that people see you," she was quoted as saying. "Always be careful. You'll be glad that you stopped."

The driver of the car was cited with entering a crosswalk or hitting a pedestrian at the crosswalk.

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June 11, 2014

Bouncing Kids Straight To The Emergency Room


When a child is injured it is difficult for all involved. Our Charlotte child injury attorneys are part of a family firm, and we understand how the law works when it comes to children: Our focus is on the injured child, a victim who should not be held responsible for actions that contributed to his or her injuries.

The popularity of inflatable bounce houses has skyrocketed over the past few years, as has the number of freak accidents - and deaths. Years ago, parents had to rent the bouncy houses from an amusement company that was also responsible for their safety. Today you can walk into a Walmart and buy one off the shelf.
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The top three contributors to child injuries while playing with a bouncy house are high winds, improper anchoring and lack of supervision.

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June 7, 2014

Peter v. Vullo et al - NC Appellate Court Weighs Medical Malpractice Appeal


Asheville medical malpractice attorneys know that sometimes, we start off with a long litany of negligence complaints, and may only be able to proceed with one or two of those. Often, this is still enough to result in ample compensation for our client, whether resolution is ultimately reached in a settlement agreement or at trial.
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This is the kind of track that the plaintiffs are on in the case of Peter v. Vullo et al, weighed recently by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

The case, out of Mecklenburg County, initially resulted in a summary judgment in favor of the doctor defendants. However, the appellate court has reversed in part, allowing that some of the plaintiff's claims should be allowed to proceed.

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June 5, 2014

Lynch v. Carolina Self Storage Centers - Proving Proximate Cause of Injury


The South Carolina Court of Appeals struck down a plaintiff's effort to have her personal injury claim retried on grounds of juror misconduct.
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In Lynch v. Carolina Self Storage Centers, Inc., the appellate court found there simply wasn't enough evidence of misconduct to justify a new trial, as none of the alleged bias involved information received from outside sources.

Rock Hill personal injury lawyers know that appellate courts will generally seek to avoid overturning a jury verdict altogether when they can, which is why it's so important to make sure your case is strong before your case is heard.

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June 2, 2014

Baird v. Owczarek - Botched Eye Surgery Plaintiff Will Have Second Chance at Trial


A man who alleges he suffered a vision-threatening corneal disease following negligence by doctors who performed eye surgery on him will have a second chance at trial, the Delaware Supreme Court has ruled.
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In Baird v. Owczarek, the high court determined there were several reversible errors at the trial court level that required the judgment in the defendant's favor be reversed and the case remanded.

Charlotte injury lawyers know that it's relatively rare for supreme court justices in any state to reverse the judgment of jury in its entirely, but the circumstances of this case amounted to egregious violations that deprived the plaintiff of a fair trial.

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May 31, 2014

Mack v. Stryker - Pain Pump Maker Couldn't Have Known Risks, Court Rules


Those seeking compensation for injuries suffered as a result of older pain pump implants manufactured by Stryker Corp. are going to have a tougher time proving liability, following the decisions in Mack v. Stryker and Rodriguez v. Stryker, handed down by the Eight Circuit and Sixth Circuit federal appellate courts.
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The issue is not whether these devices caused harm. Certainly, there is little question they did. At issue is whether the defendant knew or should have known their device caused harm, and yet failed to warn of potential dangers.

Greenville personal injury attorneys recognize that the divided rulings will likely impact those whose implants were initiated prior to 2007. It was at this time, the courts indicated, that medical knowledge regarding the potential harm of these devices was first noted. That means those with injuries sustained post-2007 still may have a strong case for damages.

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May 28, 2014

Mammarella v. Evantash - Diagnostic Error Top Cause of Medical Lawsuits


The No. 1 reason patients give for filing suit against their physicians is failure to diagnose a disease, such as cancer, according to researchers studying medical malpractice claims in the U.S., Canada, France and Australia.
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The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland found that between 26 and 63 percent of all medical malpractice claims can be traced to missed diagnoses. Charlotte medical malpractice lawyers recognize that any time a proper diagnosis is missed, it creates a situation wherein patients may miss out on potentially life-saving treatments. They may have to later endure more painful and invasive treatments than they otherwise would have if the doctor had caught their condition sooner.

In order to win in these instances, however, the patient must show a strong causal link between the missed diagnosis and some injury suffered as a result. This was where the plaintiff in the case of Mammarella v. Evantash, M.D., et al. failed. In the Delaware Supreme Court's recent review, the court affirmed an earlier summary judgment in favor of the defense, finding the plaintiff failed to present the necessary expert witness testimony that would have solidified her case.

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