North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Late last year, a woman filed a lawsuit against Dollywood, a theme park owned by entertainer Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment.amusementparkswing

Now, the Tennessee defendants in Brown v. Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. have fired back, alleging plaintiff is to blame for her own injuries. Where plaintiff asserts the park is negligent for failure to maintain a working lock mechanism on a motorized swing ride, defense asserts plaintiff voluntarily left the ride before it was finished, jumping to the ground and causing her own injuries.

Although this kind of defense – known as comparative fault – is a challenge that is often raised in personal injury lawsuits across the country, it can be especially damaging here in North Carolina. That’s because we, along with just three other states plus the District of Columbia, adhere to a system of pure contributory negligence. Under this principle, plaintiff may not recover damages if his negligence proximately caused his injury. This is true even when defendant shares more of the blame than plaintiff. Continue reading

We instinctually seek to protect children from harm. We make sure they can’t reach an open flame or touch the sharp edge of a blade. We keep guns out of reach and we clear coins and other small choking hazards from the hands of toddlers. blinds

Window cord blinds, on the other hand, don’t look all that dangerous. In homes throughout the country, these products are silent killers. The danger, as as been proven time and again, is that there is a risk the cord can get wrapped around a child’s neck, causing strangulation.

Although the industry has insisted that its own voluntary manufacturing guidelines and educational programs were enough to curb the danger, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is renewing its fight to ban blinds with potentially dangerous cords. Continue reading

A $6.6 million verdict in favor of an asbestos injury plaintiff was reinstated after the Florida Supreme Court ruled an appellate court had wrongly reversed the trial court’s conclusion of the case. dust

Plaintiff in Aubin v. Union Carbide Corp. was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, a form of terminal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Plaintiff claimed he was exposed to the toxic material by way of a product called SG-210 Caldria, a product designed and manufactured by defendant. He had worked as a construction supervisor at his father’s firm between 1972 and 1974, overseeing construction of a residential development in South Florida, and claimed it was during this time he was exposed to the dust during the sanding and sweeping of drywall compounds and ceiling texture sprays, which contained SG-210 Caldria.

At the time, plaintiff asserted he did not know the compounds he was working with contained asbestos, and therefore had no idea he was at risk of developing the serious illness. Continue reading

Halloween is an exciting time for families with young children as well as college students and recent graduates. While these two groups obviously have vastly different ideas as to what constitutes the perfect Halloween party, one thing they do share is a love of Halloween decorations. This includes carved real pumpkins, plastic pumpkins, spider webs, lights, candles, smoke machines, and anything else
you can imagine.

1250811_halloween_related.jpgWhile these decorations can really add a lot to the festivities and be a lot of fun, according to a recent article in Claims Journal (as insurance industry trade publication), they can also serve as a potential fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that between the years 2006 and 2010, there were 900 reported cases of home fires where the primary point of ignition was a decoration. Of these 900 home structure fires, one person was killed and 41 civilians were injured. The agency separates civilians from firefighters when reporting statistics, since firefighter deaths would skew the data, as they involve lots of additional variables.
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According to a recent news article from WUSA 9, a fire in a high school chemistry class injured five students and one teacher. Authorities say the science teacher was doing a demonstration for the class, which involved adding different elements to an open flame, so that you see it change color. This is known as the rainbow demonstration.

choollab.jpgWhile the demonstration was going well at first, at some point the teacher introduced alcohol to a heat source, and it unexpectedly ignited in what students are calling a flash fire. While the fire itself was fairly small, and the building’s sprinkler system was activated, thus extinguishing the fire, the sudden flash caused five students and the teacher to suffer burn injuries. Once the building sprinkler system activated, the building was evacuated, and all students and staff reported to the school’s football stadium.
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According to a recent news article form CNN, a shooting at Winston-Salem State University has left one student dead and another seriously injured. The gunman, who is not believed to be a student at the university, has not been arrested as of this time.

ggun1.jpgThe shooting occurred around 1:20 a.m. on Halloween night, and the school was placed in lockdown for the next few hours. All students on campus were told to stay inside and not leave for any reason. There were also many students who had left for the evening to go to Halloween festivities, and they were told not to return to campus until the lockdown was lifted. Authorities say they are still concerned the gunman may still be around campus and have told visitors to stay away at this time.
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According to a recent report from Wood TV, a man was injured after his girlfriend allegedly attacked him without a mounted fish. Authorities say the alleged assault took place just before 2 a.m. early one Sunday morning. At the time, the 61-year-old complaining witness was apparently drawing a sketch of the mounted sailfish hanging on his wall, when his 58-year-old girlfriend came into the room and moved the fish, because she was angry for some reason not mentioned in the reports.

blue-marlin-1320608.jpgAt this point, the fish fell and broke as the girlfriend was leaving the room. She returned a short period of time later and blamed her boyfriend for the broken fish. She then allegedly picked up the broken fish and smashed him over the head with it and stabbed him in the hand with the fish’s pointed bill. This resulted in a potentially serious cut to his hand. Police and first responders were called to the scene. The man was treated for his injuries. The police determined the couple had allegedly been driving around at the time of the assault with the fish. They did not, however, place her under arrest at the time they were at his house because of some undisclosed health issues. Prosecutors say the will review the case and see if they will charge her with any crime at a later date. It should be noted that she has not been formally accused of any crime at the time of writing this article.
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Every year, families across the country jump in the car and head to pumpkin patches or apple orchards for a nice day outdoors. It is nice to enjoy the crisp fall air, eat some good food, and have a fun day. One of the popular activities at these venues is going for a hayride. For those who have never experienced a hayride, it is basically a wagon or work trailer being pulled by a tractor around a farm or into the woods.

pumpkin-wagon-1361404.jpgAccording to a recent news article from Fox, however, sometimes a hayride can end in serious personal injury or death. A three-year-old victim’s mother says she remembers exactly what happened during a recent hayride accident. She said she took two children and her husband to the farm, along with the child’s preschool class as part of class trip.
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With the weather turning cooler and the long days of summer behind us, many across North Carolina are taking to the woods and going hunting. Hunting can be a lot of fun, but obviously there is a chance someone will be injured. There are various ways someone could be injured, including tripping and falling, falling from a tree stand, or, of course, being injured in a firearms accident.

gun-1312492.jpgAccording to a recent news article from WNCT, a man died in a hunting accident in Pitt County, North Carolina. This is the first fatal hunting accident for this particular county in 2014.
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In sidewalk trip-and-fall lawsuits, one of the best strategies for defendants is to bring up the “trivial-defect doctrine.” It allows a judge to determine that even if there was a defect in the sidewalk and even if that defect caused a fall, it was “trivial,” and therefore not actionable as a matter of law. The idea is that the defect was so slight or inconsequential that the defense wasn’t legally obligated to take action.
Although courts have recognized that minor defects can be dangerous to pedestrians, their existence sometimes is not sufficient in order to create constructive notice (i.e., defendant “should have known” of the problem), which is essential to winning a premises liability lawsuit. Injuries caused by minor defects can still be actionable, but each case needs to be weighed carefully.

North Carolina law holds that local governments are responsible for maintaining all pedestrian facilities, except in some cases where local ordinances were passed that shift liability onto adjacent property owners. It is in these case a matter of who “controls” the sidewalk, rather than who “owns” it.
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