North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog

Long-term nursing facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes are entrusted to provide care for the basic needs of their wards. When they fail, they can be held accountable. nursinghome

It is important in these situations to choose an experienced law firm. One of the key reasons for this has to do with the fact that very early on, your legal team will need to correctly ascertain whether this is a claim of ordinary negligence or medical malpractice.

If it is a case of medical malpractice – one in which health care providers are alleged to have deviated from the accepted standard of care – the proof burden will be higher. You will need to present expert witness testimony just to get your foot in the door at trial – something that isn’t needed in an ordinary negligence lawsuit.  Continue reading

When a 100-year-old woman was murdered by her 97-year-old roommate in a Massachusetts nursing home seven years ago, some might have thought it simply an unforeseeable tragedy. After all the perpetrator was suffering from dementia, and aside from a few minor spates, the women appeared to get along fairly well. oldwomanwheelchair

However, the victim’s son, who is seeking accountability from the nursing home, alleges the incident was foreseeable and the center had a duty to protect his mother from her attacker, someone who was identified as a known threat to herself and others.

But legally, plaintiff has been caught up in a legal snag in trying to obtain recompense from the facility.  Continue reading

Parking lot accidents are unfortunately quite common, including those that involve pedestrians. An estimated 1 in 5 motor vehicle accidents take place in a parking lot, according to AAA research.parkinglot

Much of this has to do with a false sense of security. Both pedestrians and drivers anticipate that traffic is going to move more slowly in a parking lot, and therefore, they don’t take as many safety precautions. They don’t pay careful attention.

The AAA study pointed to poor lighting and blind spots as two main contributing factors to parking lot crashes. Some southern cities have reported a rise in parking lot accidents in recent years. Officials have cited cars moving too fast and people walking alongside moving cars. Plus, because law enforcement officers don’t routinely patrol parking lots, drivers take advantage of that freedom to take shortcuts or speed.  Continue reading

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently affirmed a $3.3 million wrongful death verdict against trucking company giant J.B. Hunt Transport. forklift1

Plaintiffs alleged the firm was liable after a worker helping to unload a truck load of baby chicks died from complications of an injury he suffered when a trucker operating a forklift ran over the worker’s ankle.

The trucking company argued it was prevented from making its entire case because the driver refused to testify in court, despite being issued a subpoena. However, the 10th Circuit panel ruled that trial judges have much discernment in how they run their trials, and that extended in this case to the judge’s decision not to send a U.S. marshal to force the trucker to testify.  Continue reading

When we think of potentially injurious products, chairs aren’t often first on the list. rockingchair

But in the last three months, there have been a series of chair recalls of various types of seats with the potential to put users at risk of a fall.

Although one might think a fall from a chair isn’t a serious matter, it’s important to note the way a person falls can be as important as how far they are falling.

So for example, someone falling 12 feet off a ladder may break an arm, if they extend the arm to cushion the fall. However, a person falling backward on a chair and smacking their head on concrete may suffer a skull fracture or traumatic brain injury – even if the fall height was only a few feet.  Continue reading

Four months ago, hoverboards were the hottest item on the market. In the weeks before Christmas, some 400,000 of them were shipped out of Shenzhen, China alone. skateboards

But today, they’re tough to find. On Feb. 18, the U.S. government issued a statement saying most hoverboards do not meet their basic safety standards.

Big name retailers like Amazon, Toys R’ US and most recently Target have pulled the items from their shelves and refused to stop selling. They are banned for transport on airlines and all public transportation systems. You can’t ride them on the sidewalks or streets of New York City, the UK or in any Disney park in the world.

What happened?  Continue reading

Mining is one of the most crucial industries in North Carolina, where some 6,000 workers are employed with an average income of $60,000. The combined direct and indirect output gain from the mining industry in this state was $3.4 billion, as of 2005. mine1

It’s been long been known in this state, coal mining is not without its risks. There was the 1895 Egypt Mine explosion that killed 46 men. Another explosion five years later killed another 22 miners at the same location. Then there was the Carolina Company mine explosion in 1925 in Coal Glen that killed 53 men and decimated half the company’s work force. 

Even those that survived risked long-term hazards to their health. One of those that we continue to see to this day is known as “black lung disease.” An estimated 10,000 Americans have died form the disease just in the last 10 years, and many current and retired minors are continuing to receive new pneumoconiosis diagnoses.  Continue reading

Damages for emotional injury on its own can be difficult to obtain in North Carolina injury lawsuits. Emotional injury is generally recognized as harm to one’s emotional well-being, resulting from the negligent or intentional act of someone else. sadness2

There is no set statute that addresses the issue, but North Carolina courts have held that emotional injury may be compensable if:

  • Claimant sustains some bodily injury in addition to the emotional injury;
  • Witnessed bodily injury to or death of another person (particularly someone with whom claimant was especially close);
  • The emotional injury can be classified as “severe and disabling.”

For example, a brother who witnesses his sister’s death in a horrific accident could potentially recover for damages, even if he himself wasn’t physically hurt. However, if he only learned about the accident after the fact or chose to watch a video recording of it, he likely won’t be able to recover.  Continue reading

Could a gas station be liable for injuries suffered by two patrons struck by an out-of-control vehicle? It could if the injured patrons can show the risk of such injury was reasonably foreseeable and the property owners failed to take basic measures to prevent it. gasstation

This issue was raised in the recent case of Stanley v. Scott Petroleum Corp., where a vehicle plowed into two women who were standing at a walk-up pay window, buying fuel.

The case was recently before the Mississippi Supreme Court, which reversed an earlier grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants. Justices ruled the trial court should have allowed plaintiff their requested continuance to conduct more discovery before deciding whether defense was entitled to summary judgment. The case has been remanded for further consideration. Continue reading

A woman who suffered serious burns on her face and neck after tripping over in a parking lot and spilling hot coffee on herself has settled with the chain restaurant for $522,000. coffee1

Of course, cases like this tend to get media attention because they bring to mind the infamous “hot coffee” case of Liebeck v. McDonald’s, a 1992 injury lawsuit in which a 79-year-old woman was awarded nearly $3 million in punitive damages after suffering burns after coffee spilled on her. This was spun as an outrageous sum, but firstly, plaintiff only received a fraction of that award. Secondly, the restaurant served coffee at a scalding 190 degrees – despite the fact that industry standards held anymore than 140 degrees was dangerous. Plaintiff was horribly burned, and she wasn’t the first one either. Jurors carefully sifted through all the facts and carefully considered them before deciding on the award. Anyone who cites this as an example of a “frivolous claim” need only look at the horrific injuries Liebeck suffered.

The most recent coffee injury lawsuit relied on a theory of negligence known as premises liability. Specifically, the claim was the walking surface of the parking lot wasn’t safe for patrons because it contained an exposed spike from a dislodged curb stop. Plaintiff tripped on this spike and spilled the multiple cups of hot coffee she was carrying. In addition to the serious burns she suffered, she also had numerous cuts on her hands and knees. Her attorney also indicated she sustained a back and shoulder injury and had to undergo surgery.  Continue reading

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