North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Under South Carolina premises liability laws, property owners can be responsible for injuries suffered by lawful guests at the hands of third-party criminals. It depends on the situation, of course, but in general, it’s understood that property owners owe a duty to patrons, residents and guests to make sure the site is safe from foreseeable risks. On some properties, one of those foreseeable risks is criminal activity. opendoor

The standard isn’t going to be the same for every site or for every guest, and that’s why it’s important to discuss the statutory nuances with an experienced injury lawyer. But if you have been victimized by violent crime on property that is owned by someone else, it can be worthwhile to explore. For many victims, it’s not just about receiving just compensation, but making sure the same doesn’t happen to someone else.

In the recent case of Jenkins v. C.R.E.S. Mgt. LLC, plaintiff worked as a courtesy officer for an apartment complex, which provided him with a rent-free apartment. Part of his duties included responding to reports of criminal activity on the property, verifying such reports and, if necessary, contacting the police.  Continue reading

Prior to the adoption of the Equine Activity Liability Act in North Carolina, codified in N.C. Gen. Stat. Ch. 99E, liability for harm to people by horses was determined with consideration for traditional injury law concepts. Primarily, these were assumption of risk and comparative negligence. That is, to what extend did the plaintiff assume the risk of activity with a large animal and to what extent did that person play a role in causing their own injuries. horse1

However, the Equine Liability Act – which has been adopted in some form by 44 states – limits the amount of liability that equine professionals, owners and sponsors would bear in the event of injury or death to an individual by a horse.

The statute protects these potential defendants in cases where person engaged in equine activity suffers injury or death resulting form an inherent risk of the activity. This doesn’t include spectators, and it doesn’t cover potential defendants for providing unsafe equipment, unreasonable failures to make the activity safe or willful or wanton disregard for the safety of participants.  Continue reading

A $2 million car accident verdict in favor of an injured plaintiff was overturned by an appeals court in New Jersey recently, after the judge agreed with defendant’s assertion that the amount of compensatory damages was “shockingly excessive.”carcrashinsurance

Beyond that, the court ruled the trial judge had made numerous errors during the proceedings, including refusing to delay the trial when defendant was hospitalized for a medical emergency two days before the proceedings and allowing plaintiffs to make certain factual assertions to the jury absent the backing of an expert witness.

In Berkowitz v. Soper, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division, the judge ordered a new trial was necessary as there had been a “clear miscarriage of justice.”  Continue reading

For plaintiffs in Cisson v. C.R. Bard, the recent multidistrict litigation transvaginal mesh case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, there was good and bad news.woman

Good news: The court affirmed the $250,000 in compensatory damages and the $1.75 million in punitive damages against defendant C.R. Bard, maker of the transvaginal mesh that caused injury to plaintiff.

Bad news: The court also affirmed the split-recovery pursuant to Georgia statute, which gives the government 75 percent of any punitive damages awarded. Continue reading

Many recreational activities may be accompanied by a certain level of inherent risk for participants. Beyond that, the company offering the experience to participants may require a signature on a waiver of liability. weight

States have different interpretations about whether companies should be allowed to evade liability simply with a signature on a waiver, and what kind of criteria waivers have to meet in order to be valid.

North Carolina law does allow a person to “effective bargain against liability for harm caused by his ordinary negligence in the performance of a legal duty” (Strawbridge v. Sugar Mountain Resort, Inc., W.D.N.C., 2004). The courts have interpreted this to mean that waivers of liability are going to be upheld unless they violate a statute, are gained through unequal bargaining power or there are contrary to a substantial public interest (Wagoner v. Nags Head Water Sports, U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1998).  Continue reading

The South Carolina Supreme Court has reinstated a $4 million verdict in favor of a family whose three special needs children were removed from their custody without an adequate investigation as to the injuries they sustained as a result of consuming contaminated medication. yellowpills

In Bass v. DSS, the state supreme court reversed an appellate court ruling regarding a trial court rejection of judgment notwithstanding verdict requested by the defendant agency.

Here’s what happened:

A couple with special needs children – two of them autistic – were given medication to give to the children to help them sleep at night. This was on top of a number of other medications the children took for various ailments. But in April 2008, the compounding pharmacy that produced the drug mixed it incorrectly – and made a batch that contained 1,000 times the recommended concentration.  Continue reading

We trust the products we use will not only be effective as advertised, but safe. Unfortunately, that trust is sometimes abused because product manufacturers and retailers do not always take care to ensure that what they put on the market won’t cause harm. hair

That is what hundreds of claimants are alleging in a lawsuit against the maker of an increasingly popular and heavily-advertised line of salon products under the brand name “WEN.”

The hair care products are sold on infomercials by a celebrity stylist who boasts clients like Brooke Shields and Alyssa Milano. In federal court, some 200 plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit allege the products caused severe damage to their scalps, including bald spots and clumps of hair falling out. There are also allegations of scalp irritation, burns and rashes.  Continue reading

Successfully suing a Major League Baseball team for injuries suffered by a foul ball or a rogue bat is known to be extremely difficult. In fact, that difficulty is part of the reason some lawyers refer to the assumption of risk doctrine as the “baseball doctrine.”baseball

The hope is that could soon change, as a number of lawsuits are pending, and Major League Baseball recently issued recommendations to all 30 league clubs that encourages expansion of the number of seats covered by protective netting. It also encourages clubs to give better warnings to fans about the dangers of sitting close to the field.

“Assumption of risk” is a type of defense in tort actions in which a plaintiff’s right to recover is barred or reduced by the degree to which a negligent defendant can show plaintiff knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risks at issue that were inherent to the activity in which plaintiff was participating. So in baseball, the idea is that fans have a responsibility to keep their eye on the action unfolding in the field and to take defensive action if a ball or debris comes flying their way. Continue reading

A tort happens when one person’s conduct results in harm to another. If a tort is intentional – such as an assault and battery – it can be grounds for a criminal case, but it can also be the foundation of a civil case. arrest

While many intentional torts result in serious pain, suffering and loss for the victims, it can be difficult to recover damages for a number of reasons. The first is that most tortfeasors (alleged wrongdoers) in intentional tort cases are not independently wealthy. That means simply proving the case won’t be enough. There has to be a way to actually collect on whatever damages are imposed. In other types of injury cases, this is usually a matter of identifying the tortfeasor’s insurance company and reviewing the policy. But with intentional torts, it’s trickier because most insurance companies – auto, homeowner insurance, umbrella insurance, etc. – won’t cover injuries caused by intentional harm. It’s sometimes referred to as an “intentional loss exclusion.”

Some policies may have some narrow exceptions to this, so it’s important for your attorney to analyze it closely. It may also be possible to hold a third party – such as a tortfeasor’s employer – vicariously liable. However, it will depend on the individual circumstances. Continue reading

A California appellate court recently reversed a trial court’s ruling to deny a government agency summary judgment on immunity grounds in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from an accident involving a rope swing at a public park. ropeswing

In County of San Diego v. Super. Ct., the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One, ruled trial court erred in denying the county’s motion for summary judgment, as it was immune from personal injury litigation based on California Government Code Section 831.7, which deals with hazardous recreational activity. The statute says that if someone is engaged in hazardous recreational activity (in which one knows or reasonably should know there is a substantial risk of injury to onesself) on public property, the government can’t be held liable.

North Carolina has similar statutes, spelled out in NCGS 99E-24 and NCGS 99E-25. Those laws say that if a person is engaged in hazardous recreational activity, he or she assumes the known and unknown risks associated with this activities – including legal liability for injury or death. There is a personal responsibility to act within the limits of his or her ability and purpose of the design of equipment, maintain control of his or her person and refrain from acting in a way that may cause or contribute to death or injury to oneself or other people. Failure to do so is negligence, and no governmental entity will be liable when a person voluntarily engages in hazardous recreation activities on public property. Continue reading

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