March 31, 2014

Buechel v. United States - Prison Negligence Results in Lawsuit


Plaintiffs who have served time in prison aren't always the most sympathetic in a personal injury lawsuit. prison.jpg

However, prison administrators have a responsibility to ensure that those in their care are afforded basic protections with regard to their health and safety. Just because a person was sentenced to serve time does not mean they deserve to suffer ill treatment or conditions leading to illness.

This is what was alleged in the recent injury case of Buechel v. United States, which was reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

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March 28, 2014

Tougher DUI Laws in South Carolina Closer to Passage


South Carolina has one of the highest rates of DUI deaths in the nation. In 2012, the last year for which figures are available, nearly 360 people were killed in South Carolina by drunk drivers. carcrash.jpg

To put that into perspective, there were 239 people aboard the missing Malaysian jet flight that has received so much attention of late. Meanwhile, a single alcohol-related fatality in South Carolina can cost upwards of $4.9 million.

Our personal injury attorneys in Anderson recognize it is in the spirit of reversing this trend that South Carolina lawmakers are pressing a measure called "Emma's Law," (S. 137) named after 6-year-old from Lexington County who was killed by a repeat OUI offender in January 2012. The intoxicated driver is now serving a nine-year prison sentence.

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March 26, 2014

Non-Economic Damage Cap Deemed Unconstitutional by Another State Supreme Court


Florida has recently joined seven other states in finding that non-economic damage caps in medical malpractice cases are unconstitutional. The case, Estate of McCall v. United States,, stemmed from the death of a young woman who died shortly after childbirth.
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The finding is important because, while North Carolina has had non-economic damage caps in place since 2001, there has yet to be a constitutional challenge on the issue here. The more states follow this precedent, the more likely we are to see a similar outcome.

Charlotte personal injury lawyers know that part of the reason we have non-economic damage caps stems from a major push by health care lobbyists in the late 1990s and early 2000s for tort reform. Doctors would be driven from states in droves, they said, unless legislators could enact reforms to bring the cost of medical malpractice insurance down. One of the best ways to do this, they asserted, was to cap the amount of damages plaintiffs could collect for serious injuries or wrongful death.

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March 24, 2014

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit Moves Forward


An emergency room doctor whose allegedly negligent care resulted in a patient sustaining a traumatic brain injury will not be allowed to claim immunity under his state's Good Samaritan Act, as he had tried to do when first confronted with the lawsuit.
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Spartanburg injury lawyers know that medical malpractice defendants tend to have more resources than most to fight claims, and will mount a vigorous defense whenever possible. This doctor had attempted to assert that he was acting as a "volunteer" when responding to a Code Blue in an emergency room - despite the fact that he worked at the hospital, was compensated for his time there and was required by way of his contract to respond to Code Blue emergencies.

The trial court had initially granted the doctor summary judgment, but that was later reversed upon appeal and the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the second decision.

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March 22, 2014

Timely Filing of Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuits


Generally in North Carolina, filing an Asheville wrongful death lawsuit must occur within two years of the date of death. This is called the statute of limitations, and the courts require strict adherence to time limits. A case could be tossed for filing even one day too late.
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There are, however, exceptions. There are a few instances under which the length of time could be tolled (paused and thus lengthened). Then there are some circumstances wherein the date of injury occurs much earlier than the date of death, and here, the clock on that statute of limitations may start ticking at the time of injury.

This is why it's so imperative to meet as soon as possible with an attorney if you are contemplating filing a case. Wrongful death lawsuits are complex, and even before your attorney can file, he or she will likely want to:


  • Research the case;

  • Gather all necessary documents and records;

  • Evaluate the potential strengths and weaknesses of the case;

  • Determine specifically what legal claims of negligence can and should be made;

  • Identify all parties to be sued;

  • Select the proper court in which to file.

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March 17, 2014

Amputation Work Injury Highlights Risk of Ignoring "Minor" Incidents


A PBS science correspondent recently recounted a medical emergency which led to the amputation of his arm

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Our Greenville personal injury attorneys know that even a seemingly small injury can have severe medical implications.

While the PBS correspondent was on an assignment in Asia he suffered an injury to his arm.

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March 12, 2014

Reducing Medication Errors in Nursing Homes


There are many situations, which lead tomedication errors in nursing homes. If for example, a newly admitted resident arrives at a nursing home from a hospital, it is possible that the doctor who released the patient is not familiar with all the medications the patient has been prescribed.

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According to the American Medical Directors' Association, the "vast majority" of medication errors at nursing homes involve one of the following:

--Lack of assessment;
--Lack of monitoring for efficacy;
--Lack of reassessment for continuous need;
--Lack of monitoring for adverse drug reactions;
--Lack of recognition of adverse drug reactions;
--Attribution of adverse drug reactions to other causes.

OurSpartanburg personal injury attorneys are fully aware that the more medications a patient is taking the great the chance that a mistake will be made. Often individuals in the care of nursing homes are taking a great deal of medication the risk for caregiver missteps is great.


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March 11, 2014

Prescription Drugs: Overdose and Malpractice Risks on the Rise


If proscribed and used responsibly, prescription medication is a way to assist patients in living healthier lives but when prescription drugs are abused the consequences can be very serious, leading to overdoses and major accidents that can cause death, including car accidents.

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Our Spartanburg personal injury attorneys caution patients to monitor the medicines they prescribe themselves. As well as those prescribed by a health care provider. Unfortunately, doctors and hospitals cannot always be relied on to manage multiple medicines a patient may be ingesting, even if this is their job.

Studies show that since 1999 the number of deaths attributed to prescription painkillers has increased by over 300%. It is estimated that 45 U.S. residents perish every day due to unintentional overdoses on pain relieves acquired through a prescription. In addition to the problems with patients taking pills as they are intended, nearly 1 in 20 United States citizens over the age of 12 admits to ingesting prescription painkillers for recreational purposes.

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March 9, 2014

Carolina Medical Malpractice Cases Must be Properly Filed


No matter how strong your medical malpractice lawsuit is, it won't get very far if you don't file it properly. gavel51.jpg

This means not only filing it within the statute of limitations, but providing timely and proper notice to any and all defendants and providing proper statements of sustained injuries and monetary damages.Failure to do this could result in a lawsuit dismissal, which means you will either have to start all over again, or worse, you could lose your chance to obtain compensation altogether.

This became obvious in Sleeth v. Sedan City Hosp., reviewed recently by the Kansas Supreme Court. At issue here was whether one or more letters to hospital administrators and an insurance carrier representative amounted to substantial compliance with state statutes that require certain forms of notice prior to filing a civil lawsuit for medical malpractice.

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March 6, 2014

Fighting Insurance Auto Companies Over Wrecks With "Excluded" Drivers


We all know there are drivers who take their chances behind the wheel without insurance.
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In some cases, these individuals may be "excluded" drivers, or those who have been expressly named as not being listed on a household member's policy. People or insurance companies will list individuals as excluded for a host of reasons, ranging from a spouse who has a bad driving record to a teen whose presence on the policy would cause rates to spike.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys know that auto insurance firms love these policies because it minimizes their risk. In theory, anyone you allow to drive your vehicle is considered a "permissive user" of that vehicle and as such, will be covered under the vehicle policy. However, if a vehicle owner allows an excluded driver to operate the vehicle and he or she is subsequently involved in a crash, the insurance company may be indemnified and both the driver and the car owner may be held personally liable.

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March 3, 2014

UNC Hazing Incident Highlights Personal Injury Rights


Fraternities and sororities are promoted as a way for college students to make friends, get more involved on campus and give back by participating in various charities or public service opportunities.
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Unfortunately, there are some chapters that have taken to converting new pledges into their own personal punching bags through ritual - and largely accepted - hazing. Such practices - which range from encouragement of immense alcohol consumption to subjection to physical assault - are not only personally degrading, they have in some cases been known to result in serious injuries - and even death.

Just recently at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a fraternity was suspended over allegations of possible hazing that involved "alcohol violations and inappropriate new-member activities."

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March 1, 2014

Root v. Balfour Beatty Construction LLC - Keeping Personal Injury Complaints Off Facebook


It's perfectly understandable that grief-stricken, frustrated or outraged victims of personal injury, who have been wronged by the negligence of some other party, might take to social media to express those emotions.
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You want affirmation and solace and to not feel so alone.

We get it. However, our Winston-Salem personal injury lawyers would generally advise against it. As it stands now, personal injury defendants will likely be combing through your social media profiles, trolling for any information that could help bolster their case.You might not even realize that what you are posting could have significance to your case. Through the discovery process, opposing counsel might even be allowed to obtain electronic communications you thought would be considered private.

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February 27, 2014

"Error in Judgment" Jury Charge in Medical Malpractice Cases


In any sort of injury trial - but specifically those involving alleged medical malpractice - judges must be extremely careful when instructing jurors on the laws of negligence.
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Our medical malpractice lawyers in Charlotte recognize that in these incredibly complex cases, it is crucial that the jury be given clear instruction on the law.

Commonly referred to as a judge's "charge" to the jury, these instructions will succinctly spell out the issues of the case, define any words or terms that may not be familiar to the jury and discuss the standard of proof that should be applied in each case.

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February 25, 2014

North Carolina Construction Fall Results in Death


A 30-year-old worker was killed in a North Carolina construction accident, after suffering a five-story fall from scaffolding.
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The incident occurred in Raleigh, about an hour outside of Greensboro, and was the second construction accident in that city in just two days.

News reports of the incident, citing Department of Labor sources, indicate that the company that had been overseeing the site was cited two times in recent years for safety violations involving scaffolding and worker fall protections.

Our Greensboro wrongful death attorneys know that this is so often the case when there is a death or catastrophic injury stemming from a workplace accident. While many companies do try their best to adhere to proper safety protocol, we see the same offenders violating these laws again and again.

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February 23, 2014

Mann v. Northgate Investors, LLC - Landlord Premise Liability


A recent case heard by the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the legal principle that holds landlords have a statutory duty to maintain safe conditions on their properties, extended to both tenants and guests of tenants, and that breaches of that duty may constitute negligence and grounds for legal liability.
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Rock Hill premise liability lawyers know that the same principal is outlined in South Carolina, where business owners as well as private landowners can be held liable for a wide range of injuries, including slip-and-fall accidents, swimming pool drownings and even third-party criminal acts.

In the case of Mann v. Northgate Investors, LLC, the plaintiffs alleged that the landlord negligently failed to maintain adequate lighting on the premises, and that the plaintiff suffered injury relating to a fall on the property as a result.

This case unfolded back in 2007. At that time, the plaintiff was just 16-years-old and was visiting a friend, who was a tenant at the apartment. her friend resided on the second floor of the building. As the plaintiff exited the apartment around 11 p.m., she had to walk down two flights of stairs with a landing between them. The hallway was dark, both because it was night and there was lighting. The existing light figures were not operational.

She made it to the bottom of the stairs, but at the last step, she mistakenly thought there would be another step. She stumbled forward, through a glass panel next to an exit door, sustaining serious injury.

She filed a lawsuit in 2010 alleging negligent failure to maintain adequate lighting for safe egress from the building at night, which created a danger to both residents and guests.

The landlord responded by filing a motion for a summary judgment, asserting he had not breached any duty of care to the plaintiff, who was an invitee to the property. The duty owed would be ordinary care of property maintenance, the landlord stated, and that duty was met. It was further argued that darkness is an obvious danger, and that business owners could reasonably expect invitees to recognize the danger and take appropriate action to protect themselves.

The plaintiff countered that the state's landlord-tenant act required the landlord to keep the common areas of the premises in fit, habitable condition.

However, the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant, indicating that because the plaintiff was not a tenant but a business invitee, the landlord owed her only a duty of ordinary care, further accepting his argument that the darkness of the staircase was an open and obvious hazard, negating the duty of ordinary care.

That ruling was appealed, and the appellate court reversed that finding, holding that tenants' guests are entitled to the same protections as tenants. However, the court certified the question to the state supreme court, as it acknowledge this finding conflicted with that of another state appellate court.

The state supreme court determined that a landlord is in fact liable for injuries suffered by tenant guests when that injury is proximately caused by the landlord's failure to fulfill the duties it normally owes to tenants.

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