Articles Posted in Personal Injury – Other

The media has covered several stories lately chronicling the dangers of hazing in fraternities and sororities. When students take initiation rituals too far, the consequences can be devastating for those involved. Although the police may investigate potential charges against the individuals responsible for the injuries that result, the victim and his or her loved ones may have a civil claim to recover compensation for their injuries.

In a recent case, the North Carolina Court of Appeals considered an unfortunate situation in which a student died while at the apartment of another student. The victim was a pledge of a local fraternity chapter and his estate brought a claim against the fraternity and other individuals alleging that the victim lost his life as a direct result of the fraternity’s failure to protect the victim from the dangers of hazing-related activities.

The fraternity moved for summary judgment and the trial court granted the motion on the basis that the plaintiff failed to plead facts showing that the victim’s death was the foreseeable cause of the fraternity’s conduct. The victim’s estate appealed.

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Some traffic accidents aren’t the result of another driver’s negligence. Instead, they may be the result of a poorly designed roadway. In this instance, the injury victims can bring a lawsuit against the government entity responsible for designing and maintaining the roadway under the North Carolina Tort Claims Act. The procedures and rules that govern cases against municipalities are much different than traditional negligence cases, however, which makes it extremely important to consult with an experienced attorney about your claim.

Recently, a North Carolina appellate court considered an appeal in a case involving an allegation that a government entity in North Carolina did not properly design and/or maintain a roadway. The plaintiff filed a claim for damages pursuant to the Tort Claims Act against the North Carolina Department of Transportation (DOT) seeking damages in excess of $1 million. He asserted that the DOT employees were negligent in designing, maintaining, and providing appropriate warning measures for a curve in a roadway next to a pond.

The plaintiff alleged that he was delivering firewood at the end of a rural, dead-end road that featured an “S” curve around a pond and that some of his relatives were following in an SUV behind him. There were no warnings about the curve or speed reduction signs. The driver of the SUV was unfamiliar with the roadway. Plaintiff heard tires screeching and looked in his rear-view mirror to see the SUV tumble into the pond where it landed upside down. Two occupants of the SUV passed away and the third suffered permanent, severe brain damage.

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Under North Carolina law, a jury can take into consideration whether a plaintiff’s own negligence was a contributing factor in causing his or her injuries. This is often one of the defenses that a defendant will assert in a personal injury case in an attempt to avoid paying damages. If the defendant is successful in establishing that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent, the defendant will not be required to pay damages. At Maurer Law, we can assist you in protecting your right to recovery and securing the outcome that you deserve.

A recent appellate opinion discussed the doctrine of contributory negligence. The plaintiff went with his fraternity to a state park that included a picnic area with a pier that extended several hundred feet into the middle of the lake. The plaintiff decided to take a swim one morning and went to the pier. The water was dark and he could not ascertain the depth. There were no signs regarding the depth of the lake, but he recalled seeing boats on the lake and various indications that swimming from the pier was acceptable. He also saw the metal ladders leading from the pier into the water. The plaintiff and his friends also threw rocks into the water in an attempt to determine its depth.

The plaintiff ultimately dove off the pier and struck the bottom of the lake with his head resulting in sharp pain in his right arm and torso stiffness. He ultimately required spinal surgery and spent six weeks in a cranial halo, although he lacked sensation in his right side and lower right extremity.

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Personal injury incidences always involve deeply stressful and emotional situations. In some instances, however, they are extraordinarily painful for the victim and his or her family. A common example of this type of case is a sexual abuse incident. Although there is a criminal prosecution component, the victim can bring a civil claim seeking compensation for his or her suffering. Our experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers are standing by to help you seek the justice you deserve.

Recently, the North Carolina appellate court considered a claim involving alleged sexual abuse against a minor. The victim was a 15-year-old girl raised in a strict household with her mother and her sisters. Evidence in the record indicated that due to her mother’s beliefs, the girl lived a very sheltered life which included not being able to spend the night at friends’ houses and not being allowed outside unsupervised past dusk. The mother needed to leave the state to care for her dying mother and the mother agreed to let the girl stay with a friend under the agreement that the friend’s mother provide constant supervision. The mother was unaware that the family had an adult son who was living at the house and that he had an alcohol abuse problem and history of violence.

One evening, the son and some friends were partying in the backyard. The friend’s mother went to sleep and the friend went into her bedroom, leaving the girl alone with the son and his friends. According to the victim, the son provided her with a beverage containing some kind of drug and ultimately raped her in the home. The girl filed a lawsuit against the friend’s mother and the son, alleging negligent infliction of emotional distress based on the friend’s mother’s alleged failure to protect the girl from her son and to provide support for her after she informed the mother of what happened. The friend’s mother’s insurer defended the action and requested a declaratory judgment stating that it had no duty to the mother or son to defend against the claims. The lower court granted the insurer’s motion. The defendants appealed.

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Personal injury lawsuits often involve car accidents and other types of bodily injury. What few people realize, however, is that North Carolina law provides causes of action for other types of harm, including emotional distress. Our knowledgeable team of North Carolina personal injury lawyers is standing by to answer any questions you may have regarding whether you have a legal claim against someone else.

A North Carolina appellate court recently considered a claim in which an employee of a political campaign pulled a gun on the plaintiff in the back of a vehicle. The employee worked for the campaign as a director of its North Carolina office. The employee was known for carrying a gun through a concealed carry permit. While the plaintiff and defendant were riding in the back of a car to a campaign event, the plaintiff alleged that the employee brandished the loaded weapon and held it against his knee with his finger on the trigger. The plaintiff filed a complaint against the campaign alleging civil claims for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent retention and supervision. The plaintiff’s claims were based on a doctrine called vicarious liability, which holds employers responsible for the tortious acts that their employees commit during the course and scope of employment.

The campaign filed a motion for summary judgment on all the claims, which the lower court granted. The plaintiff filed an appeal alleging that it was improper for the court to grant summary judgment. The appellate court first rejected the campaign’s contention that the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter and that it was a workers’ compensation claim. The court noted that a workers’ compensation claim does not preempt intentional torts because the risk of being potentially assaulted at gunpoint by a coworker is not something that a reasonable person would foresee experiencing on the job.

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Knowing when and how to file an appeal after a ruling in a case is a critical step to preserving your rights. If you do not comply with the appeal procedures, you will lose your right to appeal. There are many different ways and times during the proceedings that you can file an appeal. As knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury lawyers, we have handled numerous trials on behalf of injured residents and understand how to help you protect your rights.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether the plaintiff properly appealed from a partial summary judgment order dismissing her claims against two defendants in a wrongful death action that she asserted after her husband was killed in a car crash. The crash happened when a dealership allowed a relative of a vehicle buyer to take the newly purchased vehicle from a dealership lot. The relative crashed it into the back of the decedent’s vehicle, pushing him into oncoming traffic. The decedent’s wife brought a wrongful death claim against the vehicle buyer, the relative, and the dealership. All defendants brought motions for summary judgment and the trial court granted the dealership’s motion. The plaintiff appealed this ruling while her claims against the vehicle buyer and the relative remained.

Because the plaintiff still had pending claims against other parties in the lawsuit, the appeal was classified as an appeal from an interlocutory order, which means the order only resolved some of the claims in the action and not the entire action as a whole. In most situations, there is no immediate right to an appeal from interlocutory orders. In seeking her appeal, however, the plaintiff failed to comply with N.C. Gen. Stat Section 1A-1, Rule 54(b), which requires a trial court’s certification that an order is appropriate for immediate appellate review.

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Injury accidents can take place virtually anywhere, including in a hospital. If you believe that you were harmed as a result of someone else’s negligence, then it is essential that you speak with a competent North Carolina personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to understand and protect any legal rights that you may have.

One aspect that an attorney can assist you with is determining the appropriate venue and method for asserting your rights. In a recent appellate opinion, a North Carolina court discussed whether a plaintiff’s cause of action was properly based in medical malpractice or personal injury. In the lawsuit, a hospital patient was injured during a fall while undergoing an x-ray examination. The plaintiff asserted a cause of action for ordinary negligence. During discovery, however, the evidence indicated that the fall happened when the technician operating the x-ray machine was rendering specialized services that required skill and clinical judgment. As a result, an issue arose regarding whether the plaintiff should have brought the claim as a medical malpractice action, which would have required compliance with certain procedural rules.

The plaintiff was an elderly woman who was brought to the hospital by her daughter on the day of the accident. The mother had been experiencing chest pains after suffering a fall several days beforehand. She had a history of falling as a result of her lack of steadiness and she frequently requested assistance to walk. At the emergency room, the personnel determined that a chest x-ray was appropriate. She was transported to the radiology room in a wheelchair. The technician asked the elderly woman whether she would be able to stand for the procedure and she indicated that she believed she would be able to stand. Once she stood up and walked a few steps, the technician indicated that she seemed stable so he turned around and walked a few steps away to position the equipment. It was at that time that he turned around to observe the elderly woman falling backward, resulting in a severe traumatic brain injury.

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When an assault or another type of intentional bodily harm happens, there is often a criminal investigation and prosecution. The victim of the incident also usually has a civil claim against the perpetrator to recover compensation for any medical bills and other damages associated with the event. At Maurer Law, our seasoned team of North Carolina personal injury lawyers is prepared to help you protect your legal right to compensation during this difficult and stressful time.

In a recent opinion from the North Carolina Supreme Court, the justices considered a civil claim stemming from a criminal matter. The plaintiff and defendant were long-term domestic partners who separated. They had three shared children.

In September 2010, the woman filed a claim against her former partner in addition to claims on behalf of their three children in her capacity as guardian ad litem. The claims included allegations of negligence, premises liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and gross negligence. The complaint also sought punitive damages. According to her complaint, the woman alleged that the defendant attempted to break into her home and was eventually successful. She alleged that the defendant attacked her by hitting her with a ladder from the attic, thereby causing serious injuries to her head and neck that resulted in permanent injuries. Hearing the noise, the children awoke, came to the scene of the attack, and saw their mother being hit by the ladder.

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In 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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When 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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