Recently in Personal Injury Category

November 13, 2014

Zylstra v. Boise State University - Student Wrestler Head Injury Case


Football players have become the unfortunate poster child for sports-related head injuries in recent years, with a flood of lawsuits filed by professional players on down to those in the Pop Warner-age leagues.gym.jpg

Certainly, football can be a dangerous sport, and reports one of the highest rates of head injuries for any athletic activity. But it's not the only one. As the recent case of Zylstra v. Boise State University highlights, wrestling too can be hazardous to participants - especially when coaches fail to recognize possible head injury symptoms or take appropriate precautionary measures.

A 2010 study published in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine researched numbers and characteristics of wrestling injuries among male athletes in the U.S. between 2000 and 2006. Culling figures from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, study authors found 173,600 emergency room visits involving wrestlers between the ages of 7 and 17. Of those, 91 percent involved wrestlers 12 to 17, with an injury rate in that group of nearly 30 injuries per 1,000 wrestlers. Those included sprains, fractures and bruises, but the vast majority of injuries (75 percent) occurred above the waist (including to to the head).

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October 30, 2014

77-Year-Old Woman Killed in Tragic Swamp Boating Accident


Tourists and visitors to the Southeast region may be put at additional risk if they are unaware of their surroundings or attempting new recreational activities. According to reports, a 77-year-old North Carolina woman drowned in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia after she fell out of a boat in the Suwanee Canal. The woman was visiting the swamp with her husband at the time of the accident. Authorities reported that the Efland woman was staying with her husband at the Laura S. Walker State Park while visiting the swamp.

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Drowning and boating accidents are common along the coast and on inland streams, rivers, and lakes throughout the Southeast. According to reports, the victims' husband stopped to look at something and had turned off the engine. When he restarted the motor, the boat lurched forward, "standing on end" and they both fell backwards out of the boat. Police reports indicate that the husband tried to help his wife, but she become entangled in the boat's propeller and suffered fatal injuries. The accident occurred approximately 7 or 8 miles down from the boat basin where they launched. After initial calls for help were made, local law enforcement officials, fire and rescue personnel, as well as officers from U.S. Fishing and Wildlife Service and the State DNR responded to the scene. Though attempts were made to revive the woman, she was pronounced dead at the refuge by the Ware County coroner.

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October 29, 2014

Family Awarded $97 Million for Death of South Carolina Mayor


The family of a South Carolina mayor who was shot by a police officer has been awarded $97 million in a wrongful death case. According to reports, the mayor was shot and killed after he complained about the officer's aggressive behavior. The wrongful death verdict was considered a success for the family who tragically lost their loved one in a preventable crime. The mayor was shot in the chest with a revolver belonging to an officer in May 2011. The mayor was shot on a small dirt road and, according to local authorities, the officer still has not been charged with the crime.

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The tension between the mayor and the officer grew after the mayor objected the arrest of an employee in his construction business. The family sued the officer and the town of Cottageville, alleging that it should never have hired the officer due to his checkered past and troubled employment history. An attorney representing the officer alleges that the mayor had bipolar disorder and was enraged when he confronted the officer. A defense attorney claimed that the officer only shot the mayor in self-defense.

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October 14, 2014

Nguyen v. Western Digital Corp: On the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases


Nguyen v. Western Digital Corp., a case from the Court of Appeals of the State of California, Sixth Appellate District, involved plaintiff who was born in 1994. Her mother worked for defendant from the late 1980s through 1998. Her mother worked in clean rooms in which she was exposed to tetratogenic and reproductively harmful chemicals for extended periods of time.

3mspraymount-138829-m.jpgThese chemicals are now known to cause serious harm to unborn children. Plaintiff's mother was pregnant during the time she was exposed to the chemicals. Her employment involved the manufacturing of semiconductors that required the use of a combination of toxic substances and chemicals, and there is to no way to separate which specific chemical she was exposed to at any give time.

Plaintiff (through her guardian) alleged in her complaint that the clean rooms were clean in terms of protecting the company's products but not in terms of protecting workers from toxic chemicals. The protective clothing given to workers was also to protect the semiconductors from contamination from the workers and did nothing to prevent the workers from absorbing the toxic material through their skin or inhaling toxic vapors into their lungs.

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October 4, 2014

Hunting Accident in North Carolina Results in Death


According to recent report from ABC News 13, a North Carolina man was killed in a hunting accident when his friend allegedly shot him with a crossbow. The two men were deer hunting on private property when one hunter had mistaken his friend for a deer.

archery-2-358728-m.jpgThe hunters were wearing camouflage and not blaze orange. However, under North Carolina law, during archery bow season, hunters are not required to wear blaze orange, as they are during rifle season. The apparent logic behind this regulation is that a hunter will be much closer to a deer when shooting with a bow, as opposed to a gun, where it is more likely that a fellow hunter could be mistaken for a deer.

As of this time, charges have not been filed against the hunter, and authorities have stated that, at least for now, they are treating this as an accident pending further investigation.

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September 24, 2014

Brewer v. Hunter - Medical Records of Non-Parties Relevant in Malpractice Suit, Court Rules


A man rendered permanently paralyzed following back surgery has won a key victory in his lawsuit against the surgeon and hospital, after the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's decision to allow the medical records/outcomes of other surgical patients to be considered as evidence.
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Medical malpractice attorneys in Charlotte know that while the outcome of any case is going to be heavily weighted to the facts in that particular instance, the assertion of malpractice is a complex one, and by allowing a broader range of evidence, the courts gave plaintiffs an opportunity to determine whether this physician had a problematic history. This information would be relevant in a medical malpractice case, where plaintiffs have to prove a breach in the acceptable standard of care. A pattern of such breaches would strengthen the claim and potentially dampen defendant doctor's credibility.

Here, in Brewer v. Hunter et al., the patient in question first underwent thoracic spinal surgery to treat his severe back pain, leg weakness and spinal stenosis. Less than a decade later, he sought treatment from his primary care physician for many of these same issues. He was referred to a neuroscience and spine center specialist doctor after an MRI scan revealed severe canal stenosis and diffuse degenerative disease in his lumbar.

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September 20, 2014

Reed v. Malone's Mechanical, Inc., et al.: On Jury Instructions in a Personal Injury Case


Reed v. Malone's Mechanical, Inc., et al., an appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit, involves a mechanic ("Plaintiff") who was hired to help renovate a chicken processing plant. Plaintiff was employed by a contractor ("Defendant 1"), and that contract was managed by another contractor ("Defendant 2").

pipes1.jpgPlaintiff was performing work on overhead pipes designed to transport hot cooking oil to cooking equipment located in other parts of the factory. Plaintiff was diagnosing a problem with a commercial fryer when another worker ("Defendant 3") was operating a scissor lift. The worker on the lift was adjusting a 12-pound pipe saddle when it fell and landed on Plaintiff, injuring him.

Plaintiff first sued all parties except Defendant 2 in federal court under diversity jurisdiction. As your Winston-Salem personal injury lawyer can explain, for a case to be heard in federal court, it must involve either a federal question (such as the constitutionality of a statute) or have complete diversity and an amount in controversy over $75,000. In the context of a federal case, diversity means that the plaintiff and defendants are from different states. A corporation is considered a resident of the state in which it has its principal place of business, corporate headquarters, or any state in which it conducts business.

The chicken plant owner ("Defendant 4") moved for summary judgment, and the case was dismissed. At this point, Plaintiff re-filed his lawsuit against Defendant 1 and Defendant 3, claiming that the employer was negligent in failing to secure the pipe saddle, for failing to warn him that dangerous construction work was going on above him, and that it was negligent to schedule work on an overhead pipe while others were working below.

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September 19, 2014

Patterson v. Domino's Pizza, LLC: On the Agency Relationship in Civil Actions


Patterson v. Domino's Pizza, LLC, a case from the Supreme Court of California, involved an employee ("Plaintiff") who was employed by a franchised pizza restaurant operated by Defendant. Defendant hired a male employee to work as a supervisor at the restaurant. Plaintiff was hired to serve costumers at the store.

gavel22.jpgPlaintiff filed lawsuit against Defendant, alleging that her supervisor had sexually harassed her anytime they worked the same shift. She claimed that he made lewd comments and gestures and grabbed her breasts and buttocks. She asked her supervisor to stop, but he continued to harass her, according to court records.

At this point, Plaintiff informed her father, who called police. He also called corporate offices of the pizza franchise and spoke with someone in human resources. Plaintiff did not return to work for one week. When she returned, her hours had been reduced, and she quit her job. It was Plaintiff's belief that her hours were cut in retaliation for filing a complaint against her employer.

Her lawsuit contained various claims, including sexual harassment, failure to take reasonable steps to avoid harassment, and retaliation for reporting sexual harassment. She also made common law claims of negligence, assault and battery, and emotional distress. She sought both compensatory and punitive damages. As our Charlotte personal injury lawyers can explain, compensatory damages, as the name implies, are designed to compensate an injured party for any damages caused by the defendant's negligent or intentional conduct. These are the normal form of damages awarded under our legal system.

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September 7, 2014

Hahn v. Walsh - Ensuring Adequate Medical Care in S.C. Prisons


Although the prison population tends to garner little sympathy, the fact of the matter is, many are locked up for non-violent crimes. Regardless of the transgression, inmates are entitled under the Eighth Amendment to receive adequate medical care while in custody.
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Unfortunately, our Spartanburg personal injury lawyers know that because prisoners are isolated from their families and out-of-sight from the rest of the community, they are vulnerable to care that is deficient, resulting in unnecessary suffering and, in some cases, death.

Bringing a claim in these situations requires an attorney with extensive experience. These claims are complex as it is, but when they involve a government institution and a person accused or convicted of a crime, matters are even more complicated. While private medical firms contracted with the institution may face a claim of medical malpractice, the institution itself could be held liable if it is shown prison officials treated the inmate with "deliberate indifference to serious medical needs."

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September 4, 2014

Tattoo Ink Recall: Serious Infection Risk With Contaminated Products


Everyone who gets a tattoo (which is nearly 1 in 4 Americans today) anticipates some degree of pain in the process. Unfortunately, some are finding it more painful than others after developing painful rashes, skin infections and even blood diseases, like hepatitis C from contaminated inks and needles. tattoo.jpg

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers understand in the wake of a tattoo ink recall in July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are dialing up the volume of their warnings, as more reports of serious illness emerge.

Let's start with the most recent recall. It involved inks and needles produced and distributed by a company called White & Blue Lion, Inc., a firm based in Southern California. The company voluntarily pulled its products from the shelves when it became apparent the products tested positive for pathogenic bacterial contamination. The bacteria present in these products has the potential not just to result in severe skin rashes, but also in sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition that happens when the body has an overwhelming immune response to a bacterial infection.

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August 26, 2014

Internet Gun Exchange Host Not Liable for Death, 7th Circuit Rules


Lawsuits against online providers who facilitate gun sales between private buyers and sellers will likely not go far, if the recent ruling handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit is any indication.
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Although disappointing, the ruling in Vesely v. Armslist LLC is not all that surprising, given the legal precedent set by previous cases involving sites like Craigslist and EBay. Our Rock Hill injury lawyers know it's generally been held that these kinds of "online marketplaces" can't be held liable for the negligence or criminal wrongdoing of their customers.

Specifically, 47 U.S.C. ยง 230 may preclude some of these lawsuits because it says operators of interactive computer services aren't responsible for material posted by users.

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August 24, 2014

New Documentary Highlights Twisted Tort Reform Efforts


Corporations have spent millions of dollars convincing people that the majority of personal injury lawsuits are "frivolous," "trivial" and the work of money-grubbing trial lawyers. Since the 1980s, lobbyists have pressed this narrative on the public and politicians in an effort to push through tort reform efforts to limit public access to the court system - one of the only places "the little guy" can face off against a corporate giant and have a real shot at success.

And such efforts continue.
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In the new documentary, "Hot Coffee," directed by Susan Saladoff, the truth about the American civil justice system is examined - starting with the 1992 case of a 79-year-old woman who sued McDonalds after spilling hot coffee on herself.

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers know this is a classic example of how the facts are twisted in the public eye to make it seem as if the woman was absurd for suing in the first place - and the court system acted egregiously in awarding her anything.

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August 8, 2014

NCAA Settles Head Injury Lawsuit for $70M, Set to Change Rules


In response to a class-action lawsuit alleging the National Collegiate Athletic Association failed to protect college athletes from head injuries, the agency has settled, with the agreement to establish a $70 million fund to cover the costs incurred by thousands of current and former athletes for testing to determine whether they suffered brain trauma while playing contact sports.
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Additionally, the agency is rewriting its playbook with regard to how it determines whether a player is medically-cleared to return to the game after sustaining a hit. The deal doesn't set aside any funds for players who may have sustained a brain injury, unlike a previous settlement reached following a similar lawsuit against the National Football League. Instead, it provides money to current and former athletes for testing. If it is determined they have incurred neurological damage as a result of their involvement in college sports, they can pursue litigation individually.

Some sports safety advocates have criticized the deal as not going far enough, arguing that individual players could receive as little as a few thousand dollars per suit, whereas a class action settlement might have exceeded $2 billion. Players seeking to maximize their compensation would do well to consult with an experienced Charlotte head injury lawyer.

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July 7, 2014

CDC: One in Ten Working-Adult Deaths Related to Excessive Drinking


While most of us realize the dangers of drinking and driving or long-term alcohol use, we many not fully grasp the risk of excessive alcohol consumption. According to a recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in Preventing Chronic Disease, alcohol use accounts for 1 in 10 deaths among working adults. Researchers reviewed death cases among working aged adults between 24 and 64, finding that approximately 88,000 deaths between 2006 and 2010 involved the excessive use of alcohol.

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According to the report, many of the deaths did correspond to long-term alcohol abuse, including breast cancer, liver disease, and heart disease, but alcohol also triggered accidental and sudden death related to alcohol poisoning, motor vehicle collisions and violence. Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys are committed to providing strategic and experienced representation to victims of serious accidents and injury. In the event of an accidental death related to alcohol, including boating or motor vehicle collisions, our attorneys will perform an immediate and thorough investigation to identify the cause of the accident and hold responsible individuals and entities accountable.

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June 21, 2014

S.B. 648 - North Carolina Measure to Restrict Product Liability Lawsuits Fails


Imagine a bill that would grant unprecedented immunity to product manufacturers who obtain the approval of any federal regulator. Multibillion-dollar companies would face virtually no accountability for the products they put on the market, so long as it was rubber-stamped by an understaffed government office first - no matter how much harm that product caused.
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That was exactly the measure that was weighed here in North Carolina three years ago, pushed hard by the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America lobbyists.

Our Charlotte personal injury lawyers weren't the only ones relieved when it finally died in committee. However, it reared its ugly head again this spring in the form of Senate Bill 648. Once again, representatives from the PRMA were pushing it hard.

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