Articles Posted in Personal Injury

Suing the government for premises liability requires overcoming a number of legal hurdles. It is true that government entities do owe the public a reasonable duty of care on public property, and the government can be successfully sued when they fail in this duty and someone gets hurt.grassypark

However, claims against the government are often up against tighter timelines. In some states, claims have to be filed within just 30 days of the incident. You also generally have to provide proper notice to the government agency so that they can launch their own investigation. It’s only once the statutory timeline has passed for that investigation that you can actually file your lawsuit. And then from there, you may have to deal with the headache of sovereign immunity. The government does waive its sovereign immunity rights for a wide range of personal injury claims. However, if the injury stemmed from negligence related to a function of government that involved planning decisions and discretionary choices, the discretionary function exception may apply and the government could be immune from litigation.

Typically, if your claim is based on an act or omission of a government worker who exercised due care in executing a regulation of statute, the government won’t be liable. Further, the government generally isn’t liable if that government worker used discretion in his or job – regardless of whether that discretion was abused. Continue reading

Wyers v. American Medical Response Northwest Inc., is the consolidated appeal of six women – just a handful of the many reported victims – who sought recompense from an ambulance company that employed a paramedic who repeatedly sexually assaulted women he was transporting. Victims ranged in age from their teens up to their late 80s and most reported being in a vulnerable state, barely conscious or in shock as the paramedic assaulted them. Their complaints to the ambulance company were ignored, dismissed or “lost.” ambulance2

Then, in 2007, defendant paramedic was transporting a female patient to the hospital when he reportedly placed his hand on hers and then shoved both their hands down inside the front of her pants. As soon as she arrived at the hospital, she began screaming and crying to hospital staff. Police responded to the scene and, in the course of their investigation, they learned the ambulance worker had an extensive history of complaints from female patients who had been transported by him. He was arrested – and later convicted – of first-degree sexual abuse of four women.

The publicity from the initial claim caused other women to come forward. That first victim and three others filed civil lawsuits against the transport company. Plaintiff in Herring v. American Medical Response Northwest prevailed (the verdict was affirmed on appeal), and the other former patients’ claims were then settled out-of-court. Preparation for these cases resulted in other victims being discovered. They asserted that their complaints were not taken seriously at the time. Six of those women filed their own personal injury lawsuits against defendant ambulance company.

And that brings us to the Wyers case.  Continue reading

Electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping – all are terms for a nicotine delivery device that contains no tobacco smoke. It’s hailed as a safer alternative to cigarettes and other tobacco products that burn plant matter. But an increasing number of personal injury reports are calling that safety claim into question. smokeswirls

Some have suffered burns. Some have lost teeth. Some have suffered facial fractures. Still others have been victims of severe internal injuries. Some of these cases stem from the fact that the chemicals inside these devices are largely unknown and unregulated. The devices have also been known to occasionally blow up.

Although statistics outlining the danger are scant, we do know the Federal Emergency Management Agency has tallied at least 25 instances of e-cigarettes exploding in the U.S. between 2009 and 2014 . However, that data is based on which cases the media reported.  Continue reading

Earlier this year, South Carolina lawmakers rejected the South Carolina Medical Marijuana Program Act, which would have granted access to caregivers and patients suffering from serious illnesses. Meanwhile in North Carolina, House Bill 983 is pending that would allow marijuana as medicine. Given the growing tide of approval for medical marijuana in the U.S., it’s ultimate approval in the Carolinas seems inevitable, as legal marijuana is one of the fastest growing markets in the U.S. joint

One of the benefits of legalized marijuana is accountability for those who cultivate, process and distribute the drug. Reasonable regulations help patients and customers understand what they are getting and ensure that those who fail to ensure their products are safe properly compensate those who are affected.

Take for example the recent lawsuit filed against Colorado’s largest cannabis cultivator by two consumers over the use of pesticides. As The Denver Post reports, the plaintiffs – one who uses the drug for treatment of brain tumor symptoms – allege defendant LivWell Inc. have been using a dangerous chemical called Eagle 20 to kill pests, but in turn have been endangering users who became sick when they inhaled the drug. They assert that the fungicide, when it’s heated to smoke, produces a dangerous gas about which users were not warned. The consumers are seeking class action status for their product liability claim.  Continue reading

A woman in California is suing SoulCycle for negligence after an injury that followed when an instructor allegedly barked at her to pedal faster in front of her bosses and co-workers. Even as the woman could feel her knees begin to buckle, she tried briefly to push herself harder. She couldn’t keep going. But, she soon realized, she couldn’t stop the bike. She fell off, her feet still strapped to the pedals. According to her personal injury lawsuit, she suffered catastrophic damage to her ankles.indoorcycle

SoulCycle, popular in large cities and among celebrities like Oprah and Kelly Roland, involves cycling while also working out the upper body, either with weights or dance moves. The classes are pricey and the studios are designed to feel elite. Beginner riders are relegated to the back of the classes, only moving forward – and closer to the instructor – once they’ve mastered the moves. This seems a bit counterintuitive, considering less experienced riders would seemingly benefit more from being able to watch the instructor more closely. But again, it has to do with the vibe of exclusivity.  Continue reading

The operator of a North Carolina State Fair ride that malfunctioned three years ago, resulting in the catastrophic injuries of a 30-year-old Durham resident, was sentenced to probation recently after last year pleading guilty to three counts of assault with a deadly weapon. fair1

Although the operator made his plea last year, sentencing was held off until prosecutors resolved the criminal case against the ride’s owner, who in February was sentenced to 30 days jail and ordered to pay $22,500 in restitution. The operator, meanwhile, will not serve jail time, even though he knew of the owner’s actions in installing jump wiring on the ride that bypassed safety measures intended to prevent the ride from starting without the safety handlebars in place.

Unsurprisingly, an accident occurred when the right started without the safety handlebars in place, as riders were exiting the ride. A total of five people were injured, including one man who suffered injuries to his brain, neck, skull and spinal cord. He was comatose for a full month after the accident, and now suffers from ongoing seizures. He’s also permanently blind in one eye and has been unable to return to work.  Continue reading

Attorneys general for Washington state and California have filed lawsuits against health care and products giant Johnson & Johnson over allegations the company for years misrepresented the risk of its pelvic mesh devices. woman2

According to a new report from CBS News, the attorneys general alleged the company, based in New Jersey, intentionally concealed critical information from patients, doctors and the public about how dangerous pelvic mesh implants could be. The complications are not only severe, but often irreversible.

Many patients who have received pelvic mesh implants report:

  • Urinary dysfunction
  • Loss of sexual function/ extremely painful intercourse
  • Severe constipation
  • Serious and chronic pain

Continue reading

Anyone who engages in a sport or other physical activity understands there may be some inherent risks involved. If you aren’t in shape, you could pull a muscle. If the game involves tackling, you might get knocked hard to the ground. weighttraining

Generally, injury lawsuits prohibit claims where the injured person assumed the risk of that injury by participating. But that doesn’t mean every injury sustained in sports, workouts or other physical activity is covered under this umbrella.

Take for example the recent case of Lik v. LA Fitness, recently weighed by the Nassau County Supreme Court in New York. Here, a patron is suing the gym where he held a membership after falling and suffering injury during a basketball game at the facility in January 2014. The issue was not that he fell during the game, but rather the injury he sustained when he hit the floor. Plaintiff alleges that a floor board on the facility’s basketball court was defective and therefore created a dangerous condition. As a property owner, the gym owed a duty of care to customers to ensure the site was reasonably free from dangerous conditions and foreseeable hazards.  Continue reading

Plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits are often required to submit to physical examinations of their injuries by doctors chosen by the defense. These exams are sometimes referred to as “independent medical exams,” but make no mistake: The doctor is being paid by the defense, and that is almost certainly how their opinion will skew.parkinglot2

Essentially, any time a plaintiff’s physical or mental condition is in controversy, any other party can serve notice and direct that party to undergo a physical or mental examination by a designated provider.

This was the situation in the recent case of In re H.E.B. Grocery Co., L.P., weighed by the Texas Supreme Court. Continue reading

Government agencies are protected from civil litigation for personal injury by sovereign immunity, which is waived only in certain instances.

However, does this same immunity extend to contractors doing government work? cardashboard

It can. Look at the North Carolina Court of Appeals decision in Pruett v. Bingham et al. This was a case that stemmed from an awful, multi-vehicle car accident in Hendersonville, just 30 minutes south of Asheville, on I-26 West approaching the U.S. Highway 25 intersection.

It was about 7 a.m., and the morning rush hour was just beginning to commence. Plaintiff was driving his pickup truck in the westbound lanes of I-26. At the same time, one of the defendants, a commercial bus driver, was operating a commercial bus owned by defendant bus service. Suddenly, that commercial bus rear-ended a pickup truck in front of it. The pickup truck was then pushed forward and into the back of another pickup truck. As a result of the collision, the bus and the first pickup truck were pushed into the right lane of I-26. That’s where they slammed into plaintiff’s vehicle.  Continue reading

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