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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December 25, 2014

White v. Vermont Mutual - Homeowner Insurance for Dog Bite Injury

In 2013, officials reported 32 dog bite-related deaths in the U.S., with more than half of those being children and many others visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the attack occurred.

This is a serious considerations for all Carolina homeowners, but perhaps particularly so for those inviting a new dog into the home for the holidays.
North Carolina was one of the top two states for the number of dog bite fatalities in 2012, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated some 885,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments each year for dog bites nationwide. Victims incur an estimated $1 billion in medical bills and lost wages, according to the State Farm Times.

Many of these attacks may be covered by homeowners' insurance. Some insurers won't insure certain breeds of dogs, while others will decide it on a case-by-case basis. The Insurance Information Institute reports dog bites accounted for more than one-third of all homeowner insurance liability claims paid out in 2013, costing nearly $500 million. The average cost per claim that year was $27,900 - a 45 percent increase over the last decade.

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December 23, 2014

Robinson v. Cianfarini - Ice Slip-and-Fall Liability

Winters in Asheville tend to be fairly mild, but we do occasionally experience winter weather - and all the dangerous conditions that come along with it. Among those are icy sidewalks, driveways and walkways, which can result in a slip-and-fall accident.
When these accidents occur on commercial property, an injured person may have grounds on which to pursue a premises liability lawsuit, particularly if the condition existed for some time without action from the property owners.

But governments and private property owners have a duty of care to guests and the public as well as it relates to ice on the ground. Asheville city leaders passed a city ordinance - Chapter 16, Article I, Section 16-3 - to deal with this issue. The statute says property owners must clear the sidewalks abutting their property on or before 10 AM each day in which the temperature is over 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They also must clear abutting sidewalks of snow, sleet, hail or other accumulations within 48 hours of when that accumulation stops. Those who fail in this duty may face a citation and fine - and possible civil liability if someone is hurt.

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December 21, 2014

Izell v. Union Carbide - Appellate Court Upholds $24M Mesothelioma Award

Asbestos is a fibrous material that for decades was used in everything from flooring material to vehicle brakes. It also happens to be deadly when those fibers are inhaled, causing chronic and terminal illnesses such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, which often don't manifest until decades post-exposure.
Many companies that manufactured and sold asbestos-laden products have been the subject of thousands of lawsuits, mostly because there is ample evidence these companies knew of the dangers this material caused and failed to warn users and workers. In some cases, it's been found the companies actively concealed this information.

Some firms have established asbestos trusts to pay out proven asbestos injury and wrongful death claims. Others continue to fight the claims in court.

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December 19, 2014

Wells v. Smith - Demolition Site Injury Claims Can Be Complex

Construction workers have some of the most dangerous jobs in the country. One of the most dangerous sub-categories of construction work is demolition.
Earlier this year, after a series of demolition-related injuries and fatalities, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety & Health Administration noted far too many workers' lives were risked or sacrificed because employers and/or property owners neglected demolition safety fundamentals. The official went on to say all employers of workers involved in demolition projects have to be aware of the hazards and necessary safety measures before such work begins.

The agency recently updated its standards and page on demolition dangers, entitled, "Demolition: Construction in Reverse, with Additional Hazards."

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