Articles Posted in Premises Liability

There are countless laws that apply to a personal injury accident lawsuit and some of these laws allow the defendant to examine whether a plaintiff acted negligently in contributing to his or her injury. At Maurer Law, we have seen firsthand how disruptive and stressful an injury accident can be for the victim. Our seasoned team of Charlotte personal injury lawyers is standing by to help you explore whether you have a right to compensation.

Recently, a plaintiff in a personal injury action filed an appeal after the lower court denied her claim against the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) seeking compensation for injuries that she suffered when she cut across a grass median and fell into a storm drain some five feet underground. She alleged specifically that the entity was negligent in maintaining and inspecting the storm drain because when she fell into the drain, the grate that would have covered the opening had been removed and was lying on the grass five feet away.

The plaintiff brought the claim under the North Carolina Tort Claims Act. This statute sets out a different set of rules and guidelines that parties must follow when seeking damages from a government entity. Unlike a regular negligence claim against a private person, there are different things that a plaintiff must prove to prevail against a government entity. In most cases, claims against municipalities are more complex and require the experience of a dedicated personal injury lawyer.

Continue reading

Premises liability accidents involve any injury that happens on someone else’s property as a result of the property owner’s failure to maintain the premises in a safe manner. Many people commonly associate this type of accident with a slip and fall at the supermarket but there are countless different scenarios that have caused North Carolina residents to suffer injuries. As seasoned Raleigh personal injury attorneys, we are ready to help you fight for the settlement or the judgment that you deserve.

In a recent claim, a plaintiff attended a funeral at a church in Dunn, North Carolina, where he claimed that he suffered injuries while carrying the deceased’s casket during the service. The plaintiff offered to help carry the casket after the minister asked the plaintiff if he would be willing to help because there were not enough church employees to help carry the casket out of the church after the service.

The plaintiff exited the church at the start of the service and walked to the hearse where the casket was located. When the plaintiff was carrying the casket along with other pallbearers back through the same entrance, he alleged in his complaint that he tripped on the top step of the staircase and suffered injuries to his knees.

Continue reading

Vacation rentals are a great way to unwind, but they can also pose serious threats to your health and safety. It’s hard to know whether a property has been maintained safely, especially with the rise of apps that allow you to stay in someone’s private home. The lack of oversight from a professional management company can make it easier for the property owner to miss safety issues. As dedicated North Carolina premises liability injury lawyers, we are prepared to help you secure the compensation you deserve from a careless property owner.

In a recent case, the plaintiff’s filed a complaint against the owner of a property that they rented through an app-based service alleging that they suffered Legionnaires’ disease due to the owner’s failure to properly maintain the hot tub and adjacent waterfall located on the property. They also asserted a claim against the company that the property owner had retained to maintain the water features after construction and installation was complete.

The defendants filed motions for summary judgment that the plaintiffs had failed to prove a connection between the disease they contracted and the defendants’ maintenance of the property. The trial court ultimately agreed with the defendants and granted summary judgment in their favor. The court noted in its statement of decision that the plaintiffs had failed to offer sufficient evidence to prove their claim.

Continue reading

Slip and fall accidents can happen virtually anywhere in North Carolina. If you are injured due to someone else’s failure to maintain his or her property in good working condition, then you can bring a premises liability claim against the owner to recover compensation for your injuries. When the owner of the premises is the government, however, special rules and considerations apply. The doctrine of governmental immunity states that municipalities cannot be deemed negligent in some situations for personal injuries. Our diligent team of North Carolina slip and fall lawyers is standing by and ready to help you ensure that you proceed with your claim in the correct manner.

A North Carolina appellate court recently considered a claim asking whether a city was immune from tort liability for the plaintiff’s slip and fall injury based on the doctrine of governmental immunity. The defendant leased the premises to various groups and the lease stated that the defendant was responsible for maintaining the exterior of the building and that it had the right to inspect the premises at any time.

The plaintiff in the matter was one of the tenants of the building. She was leaving through a rear exit carrying a large stack of items when she lost her balance and fell down the steps on a section of the steps that she alleged had eroded. She suffered a broken hip and other injuries. She filed a personal injury claim against the defendant alleging that it was negligent in its maintenance of the stairs and that it waived the doctrine of governmental immunity because it purchased liability insurance. She also alleged that the government was engaged in a proprietary function, which deprived the defendant of governmental immunity.

Continue reading

Negligence claims can be complex, especially when they involve government entities. If you are bringing a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit against a government entity seeking compensation for your injuries, there are specific rules and procedures that you must follow that are different from bringing the same claim against a private individual or business. At Maurer Law, we have handled numerous government torts and are prepared to help you ensure that you assert your rights to the fullest extent.

The North Carolina appellate court recently considered a dispute involving the Tort Claims Act. The plaintiff was injured after she deviated from a crosswalk and cut across a grass median at which point she stepped into an uncovered storm drain and fell five feet underground. The plaintiff’s husband dropped her off to go jogging and returned later to pick her up. The plaintiff admitted that she deviated from the crosswalk when she saw her husband’s vehicle approaching.

She brought a claim against the North Carolina Department of Transportation pursuant to the Tort Claims Act and filed it with the Industrial Commission. She alleged that DOT negligently failed to inspect and maintain the drain because the cover that would have been on top of the hole was lying a few feet away.

Continue reading

In a recent North Carolina trip and fall case, the plaintiff had sued after falling at an aquarium. She visited the aquarium in 2011, and after parking she was walking to the aquarium in a crowd. At a wooden bridge, she fell and fractured her hip, which necessitated hip replacement surgery and physical and occupational therapy. Her medical bills were $22,691.71.

She claimed that the aquarium, through its director, had been negligent in maintaining the aquarium’s common areas and failing to provide warnings about the dangerous condition. She claimed damages of $250,000. When it answered, the defendant denied the negligence claims. It argued that the plaintiff had been contributorily negligent. When a plaintiff is found contributorily negligent in North Carolina, she is barred from recovering any damages.

A deputy commissioner issued an order that found the defendant had breached its duty of care to the plaintiff and that she was not contributorily negligent. She was awarded more than $72,000 for medical bills and pain and suffering damages. The defendant appealed to the Full Commission. The Commission found that the plaintiff was 88 and owned a beauty salon, where she worked more than 40 hours per week until she was injured. She had no prior medical conditions affecting her walking ability, although she’d had an ulcer on her leg in 2011.

In 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.

Continue reading

In a recent North Carolina appellate case, the court considered injuries to a basketball referee. The case arose while the plaintiff was hired to referee a high school basketball game. The tournament was created by a basketball club, but the high school was managed by the Education Board. The club paid the Board a fee to use their basketball court as the site of the tournament.

Before the day he was injured, the plaintiff hadn’t refereed at that particular gym. As a ref, he had to run along the court while monitoring the participants’ play. He claimed that while running alongside the game, he stepped on a warped part of the floor next to the court. He fell down and experienced an injury to his knee. The plaintiff also claimed that after taking the spill, the other officials advised him they ran around the warpage so that they wouldn’t fall.

The plaintiff sued the club and the Board, as well as the club owners, alleging he’d suffered a ligament tear and fracture, for which he needed surgery and incurred more than $300,000 in expenses. The Board denied the allegations and defended on the basis of failure to state a claim, and then it moved to dismiss. The judge granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice.

Continue reading

In a recent North Carolina appellate case, the plaintiff appealed after summary judgment was granted for the defendant, the City of Gastonia. The city owned a commercial building within a downtown revitalization district. The building wasn’t used to house a municipal or government office or department.

Starting in 2013, the city leased the building to an art guild, which wasn’t affiliated with the city or the county. The city leased the building in order to fill a vacancy and remove blight from the vacant downtown buildings. The purpose of the lease wasn’t profit, and the city kept its responsibility to inspect the building and maintain its exterior.

The art guild was limited to using the location as an art gallery, studio, and gift shop under the lease terms. The art guild had to provide compensation in the form of 90% of all of the rent money it got from subtenants, 30% of the gross sales receipts received for art sold in that location, and 15% of its gross sales receipts, and the subtenants had to provide at least 15 hours of volunteer time at the gallery as well as performing other tasks.

Continue reading