People Lifting TireSometimes work injuries result in serious consequences for the victims, including death. Although some work injuries are clear-cut when it comes to whether the work-related accident was the cause of the injury or unfortunate death, other cases are rife with issues regarding causation. At Maurer Law, our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers have handled many workers’ compensation claims on behalf of victims and grieving families, and we are ready to assist you in asserting your right to compensation.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered a workplace injury that eventually resulted in the death of an employee who suffered groin and abdomen injuries on the job. The injury occurred while the victim was attempting to lift a tire. He did not immediately die from these injuries. The employer and workers’ compensation insurer accepted the validity of the claim and filed a corresponding form that admitted the employee’s right to compensation. The insurer then began providing temporary total disability payments to the decedent’s estate in a certain amount until the victim passed away. The insurer also provided compensation for medical expenses that the decedent incurred, including surgeries, chronic pain, and extensive additional procedures, treatments, and medications.

Some time thereafter, the decedent was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent additional treatments and multiple surgeries to address this treatment, including chemotherapy. The decedent continued to experience pain and symptoms associated with his various conditions. One day, he reported to the emergency room, complaining of severe pain in his abdomen and difficulty urinating. He eventually underwent an emergency surgery to treat a catastrophic necrotic bowel, but he did not regain consciousness following surgery and passed away shortly thereafter. The primary cause of death listed was bowel ischemia.

Continue reading

Tree on RoadwayCar accidents can arise in a wide variety of circumstances. One of the most common issues in a pedestrian accident case is whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent. As seasoned North Carolina pedestrian accident attorneys, the lawyers at Maurer Law are prepared to help you evaluate your potential claim and to assist you with protecting your right to compensation.

A recent appellate decision discussed whether the driver of a vehicle that struck a tree lying across the roadway on which the plaintiff was standing was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff was driving a truck near Asheville in an evening during October 2015. The plaintiff’s father was a passenger in the vehicle. While driving toward their home, they observed a tree branch that had fallen across the roadway and was hanging off the ground. The plaintiff’s father told the plaintiff to slow down, and they pulled over to remove the branch. They turned on the vehicle’s traffic lights, and the plaintiff’s father contacted his wife to ask her to bring a chainsaw to their location. The plaintiff climbed onto the tree so that he could get across and attempt to wave down any passing cars while waiting for the chainsaw. A vehicle approached, and the plaintiff started waving his arms to get the vehicle operator’s attention. The plaintiff’s father testified later that the plaintiff had been goofing around while on the tree and that he did not get down from the tree as the vehicle approached because they thought it was going to stop.

The driver of the approaching vehicle testified that the sun was shining into his windshield immediately before the incident, making it difficult for him to see the plaintiff on the tree. The oncoming car collided with the tree, and on impact a branch struck the plaintiff in the head and threw him onto the adjacent roadway. The plaintiff was airlifted to the hospital and required serious medical attention.

Continue reading

construction siteRecently, two North Carolina plaintiffs appealed after the defendants’ summary judgment motion was granted in a case alleging negligence, gross negligence, battery, assault, vicarious liability, and reckless infliction of emotional distress, among other causes of action.

This North Carolina personal injury case arose when the defendants started constructing on a piece of property adjacent to the plaintiffs’ home. The construction company’s trucks used the plaintiffs’ driveway as a turnaround for large construction trucks. This damaged the plaintiffs’ driveway. The plaintiff explained to an employee (the defendant) that he’d given some information about their own home and how valuable it was to them. The goal of the plaintiff was to make sure the construction company and its employees understood the importance of the property, since they were turning around on their little driveway, which was made of river rocks. The plaintiff was concerned that the workers were tearing up the driveway and being inconsiderate.

The defendant’s construction workers kept using the driveway as a turnaround. The plaintiff and the defendant spoke three times about the workers using the driveway. The defendant told the plaintiff he had a small crew and would talk to them about it.

Continue reading

barbed wireIn a recent North Carolina injury decision, the defendant doctors appealed the lower court’s denial of their motions to dismiss based on grounds of public official immunity. The plaintiff started his case against the defendants in their individual capacities and also claimed that the doctors (both employed by the Department of Public Safety) were negligent.

The claims alleged the doctors hadn’t met the professional standard of care for doctors when treating the incarcerated plaintiff. He claimed he started suffering serious back pain in 2012, and he turned in the first of multiple requests for medical care. For 10 months, nurses, the doctor’s assistants, and a doctor repeatedly evaluated him for his back pain. One of the doctors evaluated him nine times and asked for an MRI to be done. A member of the review board, also a doctor, denied the request for an MRI and instead recommended a month of physical therapy. The plaintiff kept submitting requests as he got worse.

Eventually, a doctor’s assistant sent the plaintiff to the ER for treatment. There, imaging showed that the plaintiff’s L3-L4 vertebra had eroded and that he had a spinal infection. The plaintiff claimed that it was medical malpractice for his doctor to fail to treat his condition and for the board member to refuse the requested treatment.

Continue reading

vintage carIn a recent North Carolina car accident decision, the plaintiff appealed from an order granting a defendant insurer’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff sued a man and woman in 2009. Summons were issued against them, and service was made soon afterward. Summons was then issued to the insurer through the Commissioner of Insurance. The insurer moved to dismiss years later, and an order of voluntary dismissal without prejudice was entered.

Shortly after the dismissal, the plaintiff refiled the lawsuit, and service was made against the defendants and insurer. Towards the end of the year, notices of voluntary dismissal without prejudice were filed. In 2016, the complaint was refiled.

In the 2016 complaint, the plaintiff claimed he owned a Chevy truck, and the defendant owned a Chevy Silverado truck. The other defendant owned a Ford truck. The defendant who owned a Chevy truck was in default on repaying an auto loan that secured his truck. The plaintiff’s employer had contracted with the bank that had given the defendant the loan to buy the Chevy truck. The plaintiff was told the defendant’s truck was on the other defendant’s property. He went with his wife to repossess the Chevy Silverado. After he took it, his truck was blocked by another car and a cable so that he couldn’t go back to the road.

Continue reading

garbage truckEarlier this month (January 2018), there was an accident involving a sanitation truck and utility van. The North Carolina truck accident resulted in the death of a 45-year-old man. The driver of the van was helicoptered to a hospital. The sanitation truck driver was taken to the Outer Banks Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was charged with misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle.

Criminal proceedings brought against a truck driver believed to be at fault for an accident that causes death to another driver are entirely separate from a civil lawsuit that may be brought in connection with the same accident. The criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an extremely high standard. Additionally, the criminal case is brought by the prosecutor on behalf of the state. Financial restitution is not always awarded even if the prosecution proves its case.

After losing a family member in a truck accident, surviving family members may face huge changes to their lives, and their only recourse to address their financial and emotional losses may be a civil wrongful death action. While no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, there are practical considerations, such as the loss of contribution of income by the decedent and the difficulties of losing someone who did a significant portion of the work around a household.

Continue reading

eyeIn a recent North Carolina appellate decision, the guardian ad litem for a man appealed the court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of a doctor and county hospital system. The North Carolina medical malpractice case arose in spring 2015, when the plaintiff sued the defendant doctor and hospital system for medical malpractice. He voluntarily dismissed the complaint in the fall of 2015.

The plaintiff re-filed the complaint and then filed an amended complaint. She claimed that he was born in 1996, and until his 18th birthday was a minor who was under a disability preventing him from suing the defendants for medical malpractice and professional negligence. The guardian ad litem claimed that her claim was filed within the appropriate statute of repose, since the last act that could be considered professional negligence happened in 2012, when their negligent treatment was discovered.

He’d started having vision problems in 2011 and was later diagnosed with a large pituitary adenoma. The guardian ad litem claimed his neurosurgeon negligently didn’t evaluate the nature of the adenoma by not ordering a blood test to decide whether the pituitary adenoma could be treated medically instead of surgically.

Continue reading

In a recent North Carolina appetreellate decision, a personal injury plaintiff appealed a summary judgment motion granted in favor of the defendant. The North Carolina car accident case arose when the plaintiff was driving a truck east early one evening. The plaintiff’s father was riding in the truck with him. Only a quarter mile from their home, they saw a tree had fallen and was blocking traffic in both lanes. The branches of the tree held the trunk about five feet above the road.

The plaintiff’s father asked him to slow down, and he stopped at most 40 feet from the tree. The father turned the hazard lights on and called his mother to ask her to bring a chainsaw, so he could remove the tree. He also told the plaintiff to get across the tree and try to slow cars down while waiting for the mom to arrive. The plaintiff climbed onto the top of the tree and asked his dad for gloves because he’d gotten pinesap on his hands.

The plaintiff stood on the tree and waved his arms at a car that was approaching. The father would later testify he never got down from the tree and was acting like a teenager because he thought the other driver would stop. The father told him to jump down, but when the plaintiff tried to jump, his pants caught on a tree limb.

Continue reading

black carA recent North Carolina car crash case arose from a car accident in 2012, involving the plaintiff and the defendants’ cars. The car driven by one defendant was owned by another person, and the only allegation of negligence in the complaint was based on vicarious liability. The investigating officer prepared an accident report that listed the defendant driver’s address, but it didn’t indicate whether the defendant driver had a suffix in his name.

The plaintiff sued, claiming negligence by the defendant driver and alleging that this caused her injuries. The complaint also alleged another defendant owned a car driven by the defendant at the time of the accident. The complaint alleged the correct owner of the car and stated she was also liable to the plaintiff for her injuries. The court issued a summons.

The plaintiff filed an affidavit of service, claiming that service had been completed by mailing a complaint and civil summons to the defendant driver at his address by certified mail with a return receipt requested. Someone had printed the name “Phillip Park Ja” or “Phillip Parker Jr.” on the form.

Continue reading

manhole coverIn a recent North Carolina appellate decision, the plaintiff was awarded workers’ compensation benefits after a car accident. The appellate court reversed on the basis that the plaintiff had chosen to settle his personal injury lawsuit against a third party without the defendant’s consent and had gotten a disbursement of settlement proceeds. According to the appellate court, this meant he was barred from obtaining workers’ compensation under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The plaintiff asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to review.

The case arose when the plaintiff slipped while working with a manhole cover as a utility technician. He hurt his shoulder and neck. The city, his self-insured employer, accepted his claim for workers’ compensation. The city authorized his treatment with a particular doctor, who restricted him from working for a certain period. When that period concluded, the plaintiff asked for a note to stay out of work because he continued to be in pain.

While going to an office to get the note, the plaintiff got into a car crash and experienced a traumatic brain injury. He was taken to the hospital and asked his wife to call his supervisor and let him know about the accident. The wife contacted the supervisor and told him the plaintiff was in a car crash while going to get a note to stay out of work, and he wouldn’t come into work. The plaintiff also had a conversation with his supervisor, his safety manager, and other coworkers about his car crash.

Continue reading