Articles Posted in Personal Injury – Other

Baby in cribIn order to protect younger individuals, there are many unique and special rules that apply to legal claims involving minors. If you aren’t careful, it is easy to make a mistake or to miss a procedural rule, which could have a devastating outcome for the minor’s claim. As North Carolina personal injury lawyers with experience handling claims on behalf of minors, we have the experience it takes to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.

The North Carolina Supreme Court recently considered whether the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a minor removes a disability and starts the statute of limitations for that minor’s claim. A guardian ad litem is an adult party assigned to represent the best interests of a child and to make legal decisions on behalf of that child. In the case at hand, a baby suffered a brain injury during delivery under the guidance of a nurse midwife who managed the delivery. Three years later, a trial court appointed a guardian ad litem for the child for the purpose of bringing a civil claim against the nurse. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit on that same day against the medical professionals involved in the delivery. For unknown reasons, the guardian ad litem eventually dismissed the claim.

Six years later, the trial court appointed the same guardian to represent the child in a similar medical action, which the guardian filed the same day. This time, the complaint named additional defendants. The trial court dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that the statute of limitations for the claim had expired, relying on North Carolina’s three-year limit for bringing a medical malpractice claim.

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Drinks on TrayWhen it comes to the sudden loss of a loved one, there is no amount of money or legal action that can truly make you whole again. It may, however, assist with the financial burden of the sudden loss and help your family get back on its feet after such a tragic and untimely loss. As Charlotte wrongful death lawyers, our seasoned team of professionals is ready to help you ensure that your family receives the justice that it deserves.

Recently, the Supreme Court of North Carolina considered whether the state recognizes an injured person’s first-party claim for dram shop liability and, if so, whether that claim will be barred when the decedent is deemed contributorily negligent. The complaint alleged that the plaintiff and his wife checked into a resort one evening to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The defendant was a hotel company that operated the resort and a restaurant on the premises. After the couple checked in, they had dinner at the restaurant and consumed 24 alcoholic beverages. The wife consumed at least 10 drinks, and testimony indicated that she was visibly intoxicated. The wife was so intoxicated she had to be transported via wheelchair to her hotel room.

The next day, the husband woke up to find his wife dead on the floor next to the bed. Medical reports indicated that the wife died from alcohol poisoning. The man filed a wrongful death action against the hotel, alleging many causes of action, including dram shop liability. He also alleged negligent aid, assistance, or rescue, and he sought punitive damages on the basis that the hotel acted in a wanton, willful, and reckless manner.

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view of hospitalThere are many different medical issues that can take place in a hospital or a nursing home facility. We trust medical professionals to take good care of us and to provide us with the attention and treatment that we require. When we fail to receive this treatment, and we suffer unnecessary and avoidable injuries as a result, the outcome can be devastating. As North Carolina personal injury lawyers, we have assisted numerous individuals and families with understanding their legal rights following a medical malpractice incident.

In a recent appellate decision, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against a hospital, alleging that she suffered injuries as a result of sepsis while in its care. The jury returned a verdict finding that the hospital was not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff appealed this decision, arguing that the trial court made a number of errors regarding the evidence that it allowed or disallowed in the proceedings. It also dismissed her claim based on a nursing negligence theory.

The plaintiff’s first argument on appeal alleged that the trial court made an error when it allowed evidence from experts regarding three medical studies that were published many years after the plaintiff suffered the alleged injuries. In response, the defendants argued that the plaintiff did not make an appropriate objection to the admission of these studies at the time they were offered into evidence at trial. In reviewing the appropriateness of admitting the studies, the appellate court first noted that the trial court provided the jury with a limiting instruction regarding the studies and advised the jury that the studies were not indicative of the standard of care in the case. The appellate court found the limiting instruction appropriate and an effective way to mitigate any prejudice resulting from the admission of the studies. As a result, it rejected the plaintiff’s argument on this appellate issue.

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Gavel on PaperThere are many important procedural rules that parties must follow when it comes to a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not file certain documents by certain deadlines, or fail to respond to certain documents, you may waive your right to compensation. As experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers, we are well-versed in North Carolina’s rules and can ensure that your claim is handled effectively and appropriately.

A recent appellate opinion highlights how important it is to abide by procedural rules. In the case, the plaintiff filed a complaint against certain defendants, alleging that she suffered injuries as a result of their medical malpractice. The plaintiff dismissed the lawsuit voluntarily over one year after it was filed. Pursuant to Rule 41(d), the plaintiff was required to pay costs upon the voluntary dismissal of the lawsuit. Roughly one year later, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit again, and the defendant responded by filing a motion seeking costs pursuant to Rule 41(d).

Shortly thereafter, the court entered a Consent Order that required the plaintiff to pay costs to the defendant and noted that failing to pay costs within the stated time period would result in the dismissal of the current lawsuit. The defendant emailed a copy of the Consent Order to the plaintiff and later filed a Certificate of Service for the Consent Order. The payment period lapsed, and a few days later the plaintiff notified the defendant via email that a check for costs was being sent. The defendant received the payment but refused to cash the check, stating that it would seek a dismissal of the action pursuant to the Consent Order. The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss, and the plaintiff appealed.

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Insurance Requirements PaperIf you are injured by another motorist in a car accident, you probably have countless questions about your insurance coverage and whether the other motorist’s insurance will be sufficient to cover your losses and damages. Our dedicated North Carolina car accident attorneys have assisted many victims with navigating the insurance claims process after suffering injuries inflicted by a careless driver. We are also seasoned trial lawyers who are not afraid to take the matter to litigation if that is what is necessary to protect your rights.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether the primary underinsured motorist insurer can obtain an offset for any liability payments that it made to an accident victim when there are multiple underinsured motorist insurers involved. The underlying facts of the case are as follows. A man was driving his son’s vehicle with his wife as a passenger at the time of the incident. The man fell asleep while driving, and the car collided with a tree after veering off the roadway at a high speed. The man’s wife, unfortunately, died in the crash, and the son suffered serious injuries.

The son had three insurance policies with the same insurer. The policies each provided liability and underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000 for each person and $300,000 for each accident. One of these policies applied to the vehicle involved in the accident, while the other two were taken out for different vehicles. The man also had an insurance policy through a different insurer that provided similar amounts of coverage. In each of the policies involved, there was the same language regarding underinsured motorist coverage.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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park with pondIn a recent North Carolina car accident decision, a plaintiff filed a claim for damages against the North Carolina Department of Transportation under the Tort Claims Act. He asked for damages of more than $1 million. He claimed that the DOT’s employees were negligent in maintaining, designing, and installing the right safety mechanisms or warnings and speed limits in a curve on a road next to a pond.

The Deputy Commission entered a denial of the plaintiff’s claims. The plaintiff appealed, and the Commission amended its decision. However, a majority of the commission affirmed the denial.

The case arose when the plaintiff was bringing firewood to a home at the end of a two-lane residential road in a rural area. There was a short straight section at the start of the road with a double curve around the pond. At the time, there weren’t warning signs for the double curve or the 90-degree turn.

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barCharlotte, North Carolina is the county seat of Mecklenburg County. In “Operation Safe Streets,” the county’s law enforcement is visiting the parking lots of bars in an effort to stop drunken people from getting behind the wheel and causing a North Carolina drunk driving accident. The officers are in unmarked cars and look at who comes out. They approach people who seem drunk as they go to their cars and ask if it’s a good idea to drive home. They don’t arrest or write tickets as long as the drinker admits he or she shouldn’t drive home and gets a ride home. The program was started to try to think of a way to get drunken people off the streets.

If a driver can’t afford a safe ride home, the county will provide them with the money for an Uber. In the first year of the program, more than 600 drunken people have been intercepted. There are still checkpoints for DUIs around the county.

If you are injured as a result of a drunk driver’s negligent driving, you can hold the drunk driver liable for damages. You will need to show:  (1) the driver owed you a duty of care, (2) the driver breached his duty of care, (3) the breach was the legal cause of the accident, and (4) actual damages resulted. If a driver was cited or charged, you may be able to sue him or her under a theory of negligence per se (negligence as a matter of law).

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