rollercoasterNorth Carolina officials are issuing a moratorium on Fire Ball rides. One was used in Charlotte at the Carolina Fair at Park Expo weeks ago. On the Fire Ball, riders are swung up 40 feet and spun around at 13 revolutions per minute.

The ride had been inspected and was certified for the Charlotte location. Our Raleigh injury lawyers know that amusement park rides in North Carolina are supposed to be inspected every time they’re assembled. Recently, however, somebody died and seven were injured when one of these rides malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair.

The Fire Ball malfunction resulted in people being thrown from the carnival ride. The riders who were injured included a 14-year-old boy, an 18-year-old girl, a 19-year-old man, and others who were older. Ohio’s governor ordered the rides to be shut down pending safety inspections. All of the rides are to stay closed until each attraction can be inspected.

recordIn a recent North Carolina wrongful death case, the 23-year-old decedent was punched in the face by a 25-year-old assailant and taken to two hospitals. In 2010, he died from his injuries. The decedent’s brother sued the defendant.

The two men had gone to a club in September. They were good friends. The defendant got to the club at around 10 pm and called the decedent to tell him so. The defendant planned to talk to the decedent about something that happened months earlier when the defendant’s sister and the decedent had both gone to the same party. The sister had told the defendant that the decedent had made unwanted sexual advances toward her at that party. The defendant didn’t know if this was true.

The decedent got to the club at around 11 with his brother, the plaintiff, as well as his sister, two friends, and the son of one of the friends. The son testified he heard the phone conversation between the decedent and the defendant. While they were on the way to the club, the decedent talked to another man on the phone, which may have been the defendant.

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brick buildingIn a recent North Carolina injury case, the plaintiff sued a university for an assault committed by other students in his dorm. He lived at a residence hall at the university, and the other students pranked him by putting a cup of liquid over the door, such that it would spill when the door was opened. When the plaintiff opened the door, the liquid spilled onto him and the floor. He approached the students he thought were involved, and it turned into a physical fight.

During the physical fight, the plaintiff was seriously injured, sustaining multiple fractures. After the fight, the five students involved in fighting and the prank were suspended while awaiting a hearing before the Student Conduct Board. The plaintiff and his roommate were moved to another dorm, and eventually the plaintiff withdrew from the school and enrolled in a different college.

In 2014, the plaintiff sued the university and its trustee board, asking for damages for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as well as punitive damages related to the university’s allegedly willful and wanton disregard for his rights and gross negligence. The university moved for summary judgment and asked the court to dismiss the case. The university’s summary judgment motion was granted, and the plaintiff appealed.

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skullIn a recent North Carolina appellate case, the plaintiff appealed after a lower court granted a directed verdict for a hospital on a medical negligence claim. The plaintiff claimed that the hospital’s process for X-ray over-read discrepancies wasn’t up to the professional standard of care for hospitals.

The case arose when a man came to the ER of a hospital, asking for treatment for his pain. He had sickle cell anemia. In the ER, he was treated by a doctor who gave him pain medication and a saline solution and ordered different tests.

The tests showed most of his vital signs were normal. His white blood cell count was high, but his red blood cells were normal, and his body didn’t show inflammation. The doctor found his chest x-ray to be normal and, thinking his vital signs were normal, discharged him from the hospital early in the morning and told him to come back if he got worse. The man did come back a day later, and the ER doctors decided he had acute chest syndrome, which is a complication of sickle cell anemia. He was admitted to the ICU and died early the next morning in spite of getting more treatment.

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dog attackIn a recent incident, a passenger on an airplane was attacked by an emotional support dog. The dog was a mixed lab, and the victim was sitting in a window seat with the dog and his owner, a North Carolina Marine veteran, next to him. After the attack, which happened before the flight took off, the victim was drenched in blood. The police came to the scene, and the dog and his owner were booked to a later flight with the dog flying in a kennel.

Although dogs are beloved pets and often provide emotional support formally, they can act in unpredictable ways or ways not anticipated by their particular owners. The harm that dogs are capable of inflicting is tremendous and may include injuries so severe they are fatal. In North Carolina, you have three years after suffering injuries from a dog bite to file a lawsuit against the owner. In most cases, you will not be able to have your case heard or to recover damages if you wait for more than three years after being bitten to file suit.

Under section 67 of the North Carolina General Statutes, a dog owner may be liable for damages if you can prove it was a dangerous dog and it injured you. Unlike some other states, this law applies even if there was no bite and the injuries were inflicted by some other means, such as the dog knocking you over.

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carAn interesting unpublished 2013 appellate decision related to contributory negligence arising out of a rear-end car accident. The plaintiff sued the defendants, arguing that the accident happened as a direct result of their negligence. She voluntarily dismissed one of the defendants but took the other defendant to trial.

The case arose when the plaintiff and the defendant were driving southbound when the defendant rear-ended the plaintiff. The plaintiff had been driving at about 35 mph when she signaled to make a left turn. She was starting the turn when she was hit on the rear passenger side of her car. The defendant had been following the plaintiff and felt aggravated by the slow speed of the plaintiff, and she said that there was no turn signal when the plaintiff suddenly stopped. The defendant braked and turned right to try to avoid hitting the plaintiff.

After the crash, the plaintiff’s car went to the right of her driveway and moved through her yard before hitting trees and a deck and landing on its side. The impact resulted in the deployment of the airbags. The windshield shattered. The plaintiff’s body was pushed back, while her head moved forward, and she had to be taken out of the car by firemen. She suffered injuries to her neck and back and had medical bills of about $12,500. However, when the accident happened, her driver’s license had been revoked, and she didn’t have a license to operate a car.

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airbagMany drivers feel secure because they believe that if there is a serious accident, their airbag will deploy and possibly save them from catastrophic or fatal injuries. Many North Carolina residents who suffer from injuries arising out of a car crash point out, “My airbag never went off.” They have this reaction even when it would have made no difference to their injuries. However, airbags aren’t designed to go off in every crash and situation.

Back in 1999, the federal government changed the standards for airbags, noting that airbag deployment sometimes caused serious injuries or even death. Those at particular risk were kids, small adults, and sometimes occupants who weren’t wearing a seatbelt. Due to the change in standards, car manufacturers developed sensors that evaluate different data points including deceleration and make a determination about whether to deploy the airbags. Some sensors exist outside the car and react to an object hitting the car, while others are inside and relate to the occupants’ weight and size. Airbags can sometimes deploy when the bottom of the vehicle hits a low object on the road.

In some cases, an airbag can kill or injure someone, although such injuries and fatalities are rare. If your airbag didn’t go off when you thought it should have, as a plaintiff you’d have to show what’s called an “enhanced injury” as a result of the failure. This means you’ll have to show your injuries were worsened or exacerbated because of the failure. In most cases, this is hard to do and viable only in cases involving catastrophic injuries or a wrongful death.

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moldIn a recent North Carolina appellate case, the plaintiff sued a Homeowners’ Association when she fell and hurt herself on a moldy walkway in her condo complex. Before falling, she’d been a tenant for six years and went to her unit by using a staircase on the side of the building. After having a rotator cuff surgery, she had to start using the elevator to get to her unit.

She could get to the parking lot from the elevator by using the wooden walkways. There were two, each of which included a 90-degree turn around a column. Tenants would come out of the building, walk down the wooden walkway, turn at the column, and keep walking on the walkway to get to the parking lot.

The HOA contracted with a management company in 2012 and 2013, and the company took over maintenance of the walkways. An employee of the management company told her employer that the walkways were dangerous because of mold that made them slick when wet in 2012. She submitted an estimate to get the walkways power washed, but the defendant didn’t respond.

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truckIn a recent North Carolina appellate case, a woman appealed from an order in favor of several defendants, including a contractor and a seafood company. A driver of a rollback commercial truck had delivered a propeller in Virginia on his way to a newspaper company. On the same day, a driver of a pickup truck who was employed by a seafood company drove for his employer to the newspaper company. The driver of the rollback met up with him for the purpose of taking possession of a scallop dredge and getting a crane to load it onto the commercial truck.

Neither the driver of the rollback nor the driver of the pickup operated the crane. Once the crane left the dredge and was put on the commercial truck, the dredge was strapped down by the defendant and the driver of the rollback. The two decided the rollback driver would drive the pickup truck back, and the defendant would drive the commercial truck with the dredge.

About five minutes later, the defendant began backing out of the gate and felt the dredge shift. He pulled over. The rollback driver got out of the pickup and went over to his truck. They made sure the straps were fastened, but when the defendant got next to him, the dredge crushed the rollback driver, killing him.

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operating roomIn a recent North Carolina appellate decision, the court considered an appeal dismissing a plaintiff’s complaint against a doctor, health care system, and physician group. The plaintiff had sued the defendants, asking for money damages for medical negligence after the defendant doctor performed heart surgery on the plaintiff. During surgery, the doctor didn’t control or monitor the plaintiff, and while she was open with surgical tools inside her, she fell from the surgical table. Her head and body hit the floor.

She suffered a jaw injury, bruises, and a concussion and was battered on the side of her body. Later, she’d have nightmares about the fall. A process server served the physician group by serving its registered agent in September 2015. Ten days later, the doctor was served. Five days later, the health care system was served by delivering the complaint to its CFO.

The doctor and physician group answered and moved to dismiss. They denied the allegations and raised various defenses. The health care system moved to dismiss. The CFO provided an affidavit, explaining he was just the CFO, rather than the registered agent.

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