We trust school buses and other transportation systems to get our children safely from one place to another. When school administrators and drivers fail to use due care, a serious accident can result. There are special rules that apply to when a public entity can be sued in a tort action, making it critical to seek guidance from a seasoned Raleigh bus accident lawyer. Legal News Gavel

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether the plaintiff could bring a lawsuit for the alleged negligence of a school board employee in operating an activity bus that was transporting students to an extracurricular event. The accident happened in 2011 when the plaintiff was hit by the bus while it was on its way to a football game. The plaintiff contended that the driver of the bus was negligent at the time of the accident and that she was entitled to compensation as a result.

The plaintiff filed a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission pursuant to the Tort Claims Act. This statute provides a limited waiver for local government immunity by allowing lawsuits against boards of education for the negligent operation of school buses and school transportation service vehicles if the plaintiff is able to show that certain criteria are met. The Commission is the body vested with jurisdiction to hear these claims.

Legal News GavelOnce you are awarded workers’ compensation benefits, it is important that you protect your right to continue receiving those benefits for as long as you are legally entitled to receive them. Many insurers will attempt to terminate benefit payments after an initial award. As seasoned North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers, we are standing by and ready to help you protect your right to benefits at any stage of the proceedings.

In a recent workers’ compensation appeal, the worker was a 68-year-old man who was injured while working as a meat cutter. The man’s job description provided that people in his position must be able to lift up to 100 pounds on a routine basis and must be able to reach from 6 inches to 72 inches. The description also listed stooping, kneeling, crouching, balancing, and climbing as regular activities. The man sustained an injury to his lower back, right hip, and right extremities while lifting a box of meat from the top of a stack of boxes.

The man received medical treatment that showed serious injuries, including multilevel disc bulging, spinal and foraminal stenosis, and spondylolysis. The employer and its insurer admitted compensability of the injury and began paying temporary total disability benefits. The worker then underwent a functional capacity evaluation which determined that he could not return to his job as a meat cutter but that he was able to perform light physical demand work. He was later determined to have reached maximum medical improvement, but he claimed he continued to experience serious pain in his lower back and right leg. Over the course of the next few years, he continued to receive medical treatment and used a cane occasionally to provide assistance with walking.

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Legal News GavelOne of the most complicated aspects of any personal injury accident is dealing with insurance companies and determining the scope of any coverage involved. At Maurer Law, we have substantial experience as North Carolina car accident lawyers, ensuring that insurance companies treat our clients fairly and provide them with the benefits promised in the policy.

In a recent North Carolina appellate opinion, the court considered the application of an insurance policy in a car accident. The parties were two women injured in a car accident who required medical treatment for their injuries. The first woman was a passenger in the vehicle owned by the other woman. At the time of the accident, the at-fault motorist crossed the center line and collided with the driver’s vehicle. Immediately after the crash, a third vehicle struck the injured parties’ vehicle.

The injured driver asserted that she incurred $58,000 in medical expenses, while the passenger stated that she incurred $104,000. The first defendant had an insurance policy through GMAC with limits of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. The second defendant who was the driver of the third car to strike the injured women’s vehicle had a policy through All state that provided limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. He also had a policy through Mercury with a limit of $250,000 per person. The first defendant’s insurer, GMAC, tendered the policy limits, which were split up among other parties involved in the accident, including the injured women.

Legal News GavelInjury 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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Legal News GavelThere are many rules that apply to the workers’ compensation process and that can affect your right to recover benefits. This is why it is critical to consult with an experienced and competent North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney. A recent appellate opinion demonstrates the impact that some of these rules can have on your right to recovery.

The plaintiff suffered serious injuries on the job when he was unloading a truck and a pallet jack failed, causing a pallet to fall and pin the plaintiff’s leg. He suffered a broken ankle and required surgery to address the problem. The surgery did not successfully resolve all of the plaintiff’s injuries. Further examination noted that the screw used in the first surgery was too long so another doctor removed and replaced it. Additional examination suggested that the plaintiff required a third surgery, but he stated that he did not want to undergo another procedure. He was provided with a brace for his ankle at this time.

Sometime thereafter, the plaintiff was released by the doctor as having reached maximum medical improvement with some restrictions, including sedentary work only and short periods of walking and standing. He was also assigned a 15% permanent partial impairment for his ankle injury.

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Legal News GavelWhen a government entity is involved in an accident, special considerations must be made. There are different rules and procedures that apply to public entities in litigation. As dedicated North Carolina motor vehicle accident lawyers, we are ready to assist you in evaluating your claim and ensuring that you follow the appropriate procedures.

A recent appellate decision highlights the unique aspects of a government entity being involved in the litigation. The appellate court was asked to consider the liability of a local school board employee in a negligence action involving a school bus accident.  The plaintiff’s car was hit by a school bus transporting student-athletes to a football game. The driver of the bus was an employee of the county Board of Education.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury action against the defendant with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, seeking compensation for her injuries and damages. The plaintiff initiated the action in accordance with the Tort Claims Act, which includes a provision that provides a limited waiver of local governmental immunity from lawsuits in situations involving the negligent operation of school buses and school transportation vehicles in situations in which certain criteria are met. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that the Commission did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim because the claim did not fall within this waiver of immunity. The Commission granted the summary judgment motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Legal News GavelWhen 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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Legal News GavelIn 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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Legal News GavelWhen 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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Legal News GavelWhen an accident involves a public agency or government body, there can be complicated procedural rules regarding how the claim must be filed and which court or agency has authority to hear the dispute. As seasoned North Carolina car accident lawyers, the legal professionals at Maurer Law are prepared to help you ensure that you assert your legal rights through the appropriate channels.

In a recent decision from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the court considered whether the Commission has jurisdiction over negligence claims that involve allegations about the operation of school buses. The defendant, an educational board for a city, appealed an order that the Commission entered denying their motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging many different claims stemming from the death of a 14-year-old child who was hit by an oncoming vehicle when she was crossing the street to board a school bus.

Originally, the Commission concluded that it had jurisdiction over the matter, pursuant to the North Carolina Tort Claims Act, to oversee the plaintiffs’ negligence action against the driver of the school bus as well as their claims against certain identified members of the school administration board that alleged negligent design for the school bus pick-up system. These claims also included allegations stating that the school board was negligent in making routes for the school buses as well as in certain training, hiring, and staffing actions.