February 5, 2015

Bicyclist Challenges Ticket for Refusing to Stay Right - And Wins

South Carolina bicycle law mirrors many states with regard to bicyclists' rights and responsibilities as shared users of the road.
Firstly, Section 56-5-3420 states cyclists must be granted all rights and are subject to all duties applicable to a driver, except where the law expressly states otherwise. Further, Section 56-5-3430(A) states that "as practical," cyclists shall ride as near to the right side of the road as possible.

It's that "as practical" section that many cyclists base their decision to ride in the middle of the lane. The reason is because when traffic is allowed to pass a cyclist who is to the right of the road, there is greater potential for injury to the cyclist. This is why absent a bicycle lane, many cyclists opt to ride in the middle of the road, with motor vehicles having the option to pass either using the left lane or crossing the center line when there is no oncoming traffic.

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February 2, 2015

Myers v. City of West Plains - Lack of Parental Supervision as Bar to Damage Recovery

An 11-year-old boy who suffered serious and permanent damage to his knee after falling on glass shards that littered a local park is entitled to $425,000 in damages, affirmed a Missouri appellate court recently.
The fact that the child's mother was not present at the park to supervise at the time of the incident did play a role in reducing the park's liability from 100 percent to 85 percent. However, despite the city's objection, appellate court ruled trial court properly gave an instruction to jurors on the matter of lacking parental supervision as a "stray issue" that should not greatly sway the outcome of the case.

Both sides in Myers v. City of West Plains had agreed prior to trial the lack of supervision hadn't played a significant role in the fall, and likely would not have prevented it from happening. Yet, during the voir dire process of vetting jurors, many said they would be prejudiced in finding a city liable for injury to an unsupervised child. Thus, the court gave an instruction to jurors regarding how such information should be weighted.

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January 31, 2015

Martin v. Dematic - Wrongful Death Lawsuit to Proceed

In any civil court case, there are strict deadlines by which certain things have to be done - from filing to discovery to trial.
Courts do have some degree of discretion, but usually, if either side misses a deadline without just cause, it could mean severe repercussions, up to and including dismissal of the case or judgment favoring the other side.

One of these rules that holds fairly standard across the board is that plaintiffs have to name all defendants in a given action prior to the expiration of the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is the amount of time one has to file a claim before the opportunity is forever lost.

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January 30, 2015

Carolina Residents Injured by Faulty Exercise Equipment

Many people will make a New Year's resolution to begin exercising more. Exercise is supposed to improve your health. For some people, however, using exercise equipment can actually lead to serious or even fatal injuries. These problems occur when the exercise equipment malfunctions and the user gets hurt as a result. elliptical-trainers-489121-m.jpg

If faulty exercise equipment causes you injury, you may be able to make a defective product claim. A Greenville personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal options and pursue compensation from those responsible.

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January 22, 2015

Sadler v. PacifiCare - Actual Injury Established in Medical Error Case

In the case of Sadler v. PacifiCare of Nev., Inc., there was little question that health care providers made mistakes. They had reportedly engaged in unsafe injection practices during certain procedures involving patients, and as such, they had put patients at risk of contracting highly contagious, serious blood-borne illnesses.
But when the patients sued in a personal injury action, defendant countered they had not standing because they had not proved "actual injury."

It is true that with any negligence action, plaintiffs have to show:

  • The existence of a duty of care owed by defendant to plaintiff;

  • A breach of that duty of care;

  • The breach proximately caused injury to plaintiff;

  • Plaintiff's injury was/is compensable.

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January 20, 2015

Winter is the Season for Carbon Monoxide Injuries in North Carolina

A North Carolina teenager has been killed and the teen's father has been hospitalized as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. According to WRAL, the incident likely occurred because the house was being heated by an improper heating device that was not meant to be used indoors. The device created too much carbon dioxide, resulting in the injuries and fatality. toxic-smoke-1394828-m.jpg

Carbon dioxide is an odorless gas that cannot be seen. An Anderson injury lawyer knows that it is also the top cause of poisoning deaths within the United States. While many different appliances can produce carbon dioxide, heating systems are one of the leading causes of poisoning due to this gas. During the winter season, it is important to know the risks of carbon monoxide and to do everything possible to avoid the dangers.

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January 19, 2015

Wannall v. Honeywell, Inc. - Mesothelioma Claim Standard Shifts, Affecting Cases

In asbestos and mesothelioma litigation, there are varying standards across the country on what courts will accept as proof of causation. carrepair.jpg

While it's generally accepted that exposure to asbestos causes mesothelioma, asbestos and lung cancer, what's usually in dispute is the level of exposure necessary to result in illness. Specifically, the question arises to what extent exposure to a defendant's certain product caused or contributed to plaintiff's or decedent's illness and/or death.

It's also important to note these standards are somewhat fluid and prone to change as the medical understanding and legal theory on this complex issue evolves.

We saw this recently in the case of Wannall v. Honeywell, Inc. before the U.S. Court of Appeal for District of Columbia Circuit.

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January 15, 2015

Helm v. 206 Massachusetts Avenue - Staircase Fall Lawsuit Revived

A premise liability case against the owner of a beach front vacation rental has been revived after a court review found the trial judge improperly applied the legal doctrines of primary assumption of risk and comparative negligence in granting summary judgment to defense.
Generally, all property owners owe a duty of care to those they invite on site, particularly if the invitees are there to further the commercial interests of the owner. That duty of care includes addressing or warning of any hazards that may be on site. However, there are some exceptions. If the invitee fails to use a reasonable amount of care in protecting himself or herself from injury from an obvious danger, this would be comparative negligence, and it could reduce defendant's liability or even eliminate it altogether.

Further, the assumption of risk purports invitees assume some degree of risk when on certain properties or while engaging in certain activities.

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January 12, 2015

Powell v. Christopherson - $500k Car Accident Injury Verdict Affirmed

Seeking immediate medical attention right after a car accident is a smart thing to do not only for the benefit of ensuring your health, but also because it could preserve your personal injury claim.
Failure to at least get a check-up following a crash opens the door to a successful defense assertion that some other incident or condition is the cause of injury, as opposed to the crash. Injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents aren't always immediately apparent, so if they do crop up later, it's important to have as much documentation as possible.

This was shown recently in the North Carolina Court of Appeals case of Powell v. Christopherson, involving a distracted driver who blew through a red light and slammed into plaintiff's vehicle as she proceeded through an intersection.

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January 10, 2015

Could Eye-Tracking Technology Help Diagnose South Carolina Brain Injury?

After a blow to the head, it can be difficult to determine the severity of the injury or whether it is life-threatening. This is a major cause for concern since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have cited brain injuries as the top cause of both death and disability for people under the age of 35. eye-1434286-m.jpg

As the Washington Post reports, around 1.4 million people experience a traumatic brain injury every year in the United States. A Spartanburg injury lawyer knows that triaging these patients is a challenge that doctors face. Now, however, a new test could be the solution to identifying when a brain injury is serious.

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January 5, 2015

Fall Prevention Efforts Can Save Both Money and Lives

Falls remain a top cause of unintentional injuries throughout the United States. In fact, in 2011 alone, almost nine million people sought treatment at the emergency room as a result of injuries sustained in falls. An experienced Spartanburg fall injury lawyer knows that many of these ER visits could be prevented if some basic efforts were made to try to reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls. slippery floor.jpg

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January 5, 2015

North Carolina Skiers Face Risk of Injury This Winter

It is ski season in North Carolina. Numerous resorts throughout the state including Wolf Ridge Ski Resort, Appalachian Ski Mountain, the Cataloochee Ski area, Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain have open trails and open lifts and skiers are taking advantage of the opportunity to hit the hills. skiing-in-the-trees-1425767-m.jpg

As people enjoy this winter outdoor activity, however, a Greensboro injury lawyer knows that there are some serious dangers associated with skiing. In addition to the chances of falling on the slopes, ski lift injuries are a major safety issue. Ski resorts need to be responsible for maintaining lifts in a safe way, as well as for ensuring that skiers do not encounter unexpected dangers due to problems on open ski trails.

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January 3, 2015

Rutland v. Smith - NC Appeals Court Weighs Dog Bite Injury Claim

Dog bite injuries can be both frightening and painful, sometimes resulting in severe and even lifelong injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 4.7 million dog bites every year, with 800,000 people requiring medical attention. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports the average cost of a dog bite-related hospital stay was more than $18,000.
But when it comes to recovering damages for dog bite injuries in North Carolina, there is a high bar of proof for the injured.

In a general negligence case, a plaintiff must prove a duty of care, a breach of duty, proximately-caused injury and damages.

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January 1, 2015

Scooters Raise Safety Concerns For North Carolina Residents

Scooters have become increasingly popular in North Carolina. From electronic scooters used by kids as a means of recreation to scooters as a means of transportation on the roads, scooters are everywhere. Unfortunately, a Greensboro injury lawyer knows that all types of scooters can be very dangerous. scooter-1058830-m.jpg

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December 27, 2014

Cope v. Utah Valley State College - Liability for Student Athlete Injuries

Intercollegiate sports generate many millions of dollars annually for universities and colleges nationwide. Just as one example, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has a seven-year, $1 billion contract with CBS.
Colleges benefit a great deal financially from their student athletes, and this has generated a debate regarding the duty of care owed by these institutions to student athletes. Generally, colleges may be bound by general theories of negligence with regard to most students, but many student athletes have asserted - successfully - that a "special relationship" exists between them and the school, which increases the duty of care owed by the school to the student athletes.

Establishment of this "special relationship" can be critical in negligence litigation, where otherwise a school might argue it had no duty of care to someone injured. Courts have generally not been inclined to find colleges liable for injuries to students while they are attending classes. Basically, it's been assumed college students are mature adults, capable of independently looking out for their own safety. General negligence laws may apply in injuries, but it holds colleges to a lower standard with regard to protection of students. A primary exception, however, is when a special relationship exists. Essentially, this heightens the duty of care standard regarding foreseeable injuries involving student athletes.

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