Recently in Wrongful Death Category

December 2, 2014

Black Friday Injuries and Retailer Liability


In the weeks leading up to the notorious "Black Friday" for bargain-seeking shoppers, media sources reflected on past incidences of injury, even death related to stampedes, fighting, and brawls between customers and employees. In the event that a shopper is injured onsite, who is at fault? Can a consumer take action against a shop owner or corporation if they have suffered an injury? Black Friday attracts shoppers from all over the nation and has even spread to the UK. It is the busiest and most publicized commercial day of the year, but has also resulted in serious injuries and poses risk to consumers as well as retail employees.

604006_shoppingcenter.jpg

The National Retail Federation reports that there were over 90 million consumers participating in online and in-store Black Friday events. Those who decide to brave it in the masses could face potentially dangerous conditions. While many retailers will invest in a few extra security guards--they are not always sufficient or able to properly manage large crowds. A website found at www.blackfridaydeathcount.com tracks the number of injuries and deaths that have occurred as a result of Black Friday mobs. Individuals who have suffered a Black Friday injury do have the right to take action to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and additional personal losses that may have been incurred.

Continue reading "Black Friday Injuries and Retailer Liability" »

November 11, 2014

May and Hill v. Melrose South Pyrotechnics, Inc. - Trial Slated in Fireworks Tragedy


Trial is slated to begin this month in the case of a 2009 explosion of a truck containing fireworks on Ocracoke Island that killed four workers and seriously injured a fifth.
fireworks1.jpg
Earlier this year, plaintiffs in May and Hill v. Melrose South Pyrotechnics, Inc. won a substantial victory at the North Carolina Court of Appeals when the court declined to dismiss the case simply because defendant labeled decedent's as employees. The court found such a ruling would be premature. That will be decided as a matter of fact by the jury, as opposed to being decided as a matter of law by a judge prior to trial.

The question of the relationship between the workers and defendant pyrotechnic company is an important one because if they were employees, as defendant asserts, any claims for recovery would be limited to workers' compensation law. However, if the workers were independent contractors, as alleged by plaintiffs, they are not bound by the exclusive remedy provision of workers' compensation benefits.

Continue reading "May and Hill v. Melrose South Pyrotechnics, Inc. - Trial Slated in Fireworks Tragedy" »

November 6, 2014

Aycock v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. - Product Liability Litigation


North Carolina is the site of many tobacco-based industries, including giants Lorillard (Greensboro) and R.J. Reynolds (Winston-Salem). While these industries have in some ways benefited the local economies, they have also resulted in countless people nationwide contracting serious and often fatal illnesses. What's worse, for a long time, these companies concealed the extent to which their products were harmful.
cigarette.jpg
It's for this reason tobacco companies have been the subject of thousands of lawsuits from former smokers and relatives of those who died after suffering a smoking-related disease.

Just last year, the North Carolina Attorney General announced the state would be receiving a total of $211 million from tobacco companies (R.J. Reynolds, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard) for smoking-related health care costs among taxpayers.

Continue reading "Aycock v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. - Product Liability Litigation" »

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.

suwannee.jpg

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.

Continue reading "77-Year-Old Woman Killed in Tragic Swamp Boating Accident" »

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.

blackgun3.jpg

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.

Continue reading "Family Awarded $97 Million for Death of South Carolina Mayor" »

October 16, 2014

Temple v. Mary Washington Hospital: On Discovery Motions in Medical Malpractice Cases


Temple v. Mary Washington Hospital, a case from the Supreme Court of Virginia, involved a medical malpractice case filed in the name of decedent. According to court records, decedent went to defendant's emergency room complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. Four hours after getting to the hospital, he was deceased.

ekg-293359-m.jpgAfter filing the personal injury case, plaintiff, through counsel, requested certain discovery from defendant. Included in these requests were copies of defendant's policies and procedure related to how a patient in decedent's condition should be treated by hospital staff. Defendant responded to plaintiff's requests for production of documents, claiming these documents were not relevant to the lawsuit and were privileged documents.

Plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery, requesting that the trial judge order defendant to produce the requested documents. The trial judge found that these documents were not relevant, as they would not lead to discoverable evidence, agreed that they were privileged, and denied the motion.

Continue reading "Temple v. Mary Washington Hospital: On Discovery Motions in Medical Malpractice Cases" »

September 30, 2014

Davis v. Brickman Landscaping - Fire Death Negligence Standard of Proof High


The death of two children in a horrific hotel fire sparked a civil lawsuit brought by their parents, after they learned a storage closet beneath the stairwell lacked a fire sprinkler, as is required under state fire codes.
fire5.jpg
Our Spartanburg wrongful death attorneys know in negligence actions where municipal building and fire codes may have been breached, the attorney handling the case must have extensive experience. Statutes regarding these matters can be convoluted, and when it's alleged someone died as a result of a violation, there is a lot at stake.

In Davis v. Brickman Landscaping, Ltd., the primary question before the New Jersey Supreme Court was whether plaintiff's expert witness testimony was adequate in showing the defendant, a private company that employed fire sprinkler inspectors, breached the applicable standard of care in carrying out its duties. Because of the complexity of state and local fire codes, an expert witness was required in the case, and the one produced by plaintiff reportedly failed to adequately attest to the alleged breach of industry standards. Therefore, dismissal of the claim was upheld.

Continue reading "Davis v. Brickman Landscaping - Fire Death Negligence Standard of Proof High" »

September 28, 2014

Gregory v. One Republic Home Protection - Wrongful Death Claim Denied


The verdict favoring a home warranty company, sued for wrongful death by the mother of a Greensboro man who died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his home in 2008, has been upheld by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

The mother/plaintiff alleged the warranty company was negligent in hiring a heating/cooling company with a poor business quality record. The firm had been on probation by the North Carolina Board of smokealarm.jpgExaminers of Plumbing, Heating and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. Later, the same company was the target of a complaint alleging incompetence that nearly resulted in a customer's new home catching fire.

Our Greensboro wrongful death lawyers understand that while plaintiff sued on a host of negligence theories, including negligent retention and vicarious liability, the two at issue upon appeal were two claims dismissed prior to trial - Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practice and breach of implied warranty. The appellate court ultimately indicated the directed verdict for defendant on the UDTP claim was proper, and the plaintiff failed to properly preserve the grant of directed verdict on the breach of implied warranty claim.

Continue reading "Gregory v. One Republic Home Protection - Wrongful Death Claim Denied" »

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.
gun1.jpg
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. § 230 may preclude some of these lawsuits because it says operators of interactive computer services aren't responsible for material posted by users.

Continue reading "Internet Gun Exchange Host Not Liable for Death, 7th Circuit Rules" »

August 10, 2014

Ganoe v. Metalclad Insulation - Mesothelioma Litigation Back on Track


A appellate court has breathed new life into a mesothelioma lawsuit asserting wrongful death against a former manufacturer of asbestos-laden products. The lower court ruled there wasn't enough evidence to reasonably support a theory of causation, but the appellate court disagreed, and granted the plaintiff's motion to allow the case to go to trial.
pipes1.jpg
Our Greenville injury lawyers know that lawsuits regarding mesothelioma, asbestos, lung cancer and other conditions resulting from exposure to asbestos are highly complex, usually for the simple fact that symptoms of illness do not appear for decades afterward. At that point, proving which entities were responsible for the plaintiff's exposure - and to what degree - is difficult.

Matters are further complicated first by the fact that patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are up against an aggressive, terminal cancer. Timely consultation with an attorney is critical to ensuring a success in court. It's worth noting that a fair number of these lawsuits will not reach a conclusion until after the plaintiff's death. Still, it helps to ensure the victim's family will be compensated for the sudden, untimely loss of their loved one.

Continue reading "Ganoe v. Metalclad Insulation - Mesothelioma Litigation Back on Track" »

July 23, 2014

Phelps v. Hebert: Wrongful Death Actions and the Duty of Care


Our South Carolina attorneys who handle wrongful death lawsuits understand that there may be other parties responsible for a tragic loss of life than just the party who personally performed the negligent act or omission.

quad-1109243-m.jpgPhelps v. Herbert is a wrongful death case filed under a theory of negligence that was argued before the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. In Phelps, at a family's high school graduation party, a friend of the graduate showed up with a case of beer as a graduation gift. Later that evening, the friend went home to get his new All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) and returned to the party. A friend asked for a ride on the ATV. The driver offered her a helmet to wear, but she declined. He drove down the road and then returned to the house.

Continue reading "Phelps v. Hebert: Wrongful Death Actions and the Duty of Care" »

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.

champagne.jpg

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.

Continue reading "CDC: One in Ten Working-Adult Deaths Related to Excessive Drinking" »

June 16, 2014

Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc.: Tolling the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Action


One of the most important questions Asheville wrongful death attorneys have is when a cause of action arose. In other words, when did the injury or accident occur? This question is important because all civil actions, including those for wrongful death under a theory of negligence, must be filed within the applicable statute of limitations.

The specific statute of limitations varies by state and by type of case, but essentially these calendar.jpgstatutes limit the amount of time you have to file a case against somebody. In North Carolina, pursuant to Article 5 § 1-53 of the General Statutes, wrongful death actions have a two-year statute of limitations. This two-year period starts running at the time of death. In the North Carolina General Statutes there are several different statutes of limitations depending on the type of case and even the type of injury.

In Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc., the Indiana Supreme Court dealt with the issue of what happens if the cause of the accident is not discovered during the statute of limitation. In Alldredge, the plaintiff's personal injury lawyer discovered that Venita Hargis, a nursing home patient, had died after being attacked by another resident, and not as a result of falling as claimed by the nursing home. In our legal system, you generally cannot sue for something that is truly an accident where nobody is at fault. The injury or harm must be caused by someone's negligent or intentional actions. In Alldredge, the court found that not only did the victim die from being attacked by another patient, but the defendant nursing home purposefully and fraudulently covered or "concealed" the real cause of Ms. Hargis' death. Even though it was not discovered during the two-year statute of limitations, the court said the plaintiff could still bring an action because the defendant's fraudulent concealment "tolled" the statute of limitation.

Continue reading "Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc.: Tolling the Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Action" »

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.
doctor1.jpg
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.

Continue reading "Non-Economic Damage Cap Deemed Unconstitutional by Another State Supreme Court" »

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.
hourglass1.jpg
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.

Continue reading "Timely Filing of Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuits" »