North Carolina Chain Reaction Crashes: Determining Fault

February 28, 2014, by

A mile-long stretch of busy interstate was blocked by mangled metal that ground traffic to a halt. Nearly four dozen vehicles - many of those tractor-trailers - were involved in a chain-reaction wreck on I-94 in Indiana that was eerily similar to the I-77 pileup on the Virginia-North Carolina border last year. snowroad2.jpg

In the latter case, there were some 17 crashes involving 95 vehicles within a one-mile span of the southbound lanes. There, three were killed and 25 injured. In the Indiana crash, there were also three killed, while 20 were seriously injured.

Both of those wrecks were caused by sudden, inclement weather. Asheville car accident attorneys know that anytime you have a chain-reaction crash like this, it can be very difficult to determine who is at-fault.

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Child Car Seat Safety Target of Study, Recent Recall

February 26, 2014, by

According to a recent government study, motor vehicle deaths of children have fallen 43 percent over the last 10 years, largely attributed to the increased use of child safety restraints.
The bad news is that there were still more than 9,000 children who died in crashes during that time, and what's more, the child safety seats that millions of children are currently using may not be as safe as manufacturers purport.

Our Spruce Pine car accident attorneys note motor vehicle accidents remain a leading cause of death and serious injury for children under the age of 12 in this country. In North Carolina, children are required to be restrained in either a car or booster seat on every trip through the age of 7 or until they reach 80 pounds. Beyond that, they have to be strapped into a regular adult safety belt. The law also requires children under 5 and weighing less than 40 pounds be seated in the back seat of the vehicle.

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Dogra v. Liles - Determining Jurisdiction in Asheville Traffic Injury Claims

January 20, 2014, by

Almost universally, if you are injured in an Asheville car accident, the claim is going to end up in state court. usamap1.jpg

That's because state courts have well established that they have jurisdiction over the incidents that occur on their roads. This is generally true even when the person who caused the crash is from out-of-state.

The primary exception would be if the party you are suing is from out-of-state and you are seeking damages in excess of $75,000. In these situations, which are questions of personal jurisdiction (as opposed to subject-matter jurisdiction), it's possible that the defendant could request to have the case moved to federal court.

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Premises Liability & Duty of Care

January 13, 2014, by

Successful premise liability claims are going to be predicated on the ability of your attorney to establish a strong link between your quantifiable injury and the defendant's breach of legal duty. cautionwetfloor.jpg

The very first step in determining whether you have a claim is figuring out whether the defendant owed you a legal duty, and then further the legal extent of that duty. Property owners who oversee the operation of spaces open to the general public are going to owe a high duty of care to patrons to ensure the premises is safe for routine use.

In some cases, that duty of care extends beyond simply the property owner. It may involve a construction firm or contractor or even manufacturers of certain products.

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Carter v. Standard Fire Insurance - Stacking Underinsured Motorist Coverage in South Carolina

January 9, 2014, by

Many car insurance policy holders don't understand the difference between stacked underinsured motorist coverage in South Carolina and non-stacked coverage - other than perhaps that the former costs more. driverglance1.jpg

Becoming educated on the issue could prove highly beneficial in the long run.

In the case of Carter v. Standard Fire Insurance, reviewed recently by the South Carolina Supreme Court, the difference between stacked and non-stacked coverage meant $750,000 more in pay-outs following a devastating car accident.

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New Bassinet and Crib Standards to Prevent Child Injury in NC

November 25, 2013, by

Officials with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently approved new safety standards for bassinets and cradles. These new standards are going to be used to help to prevent injuries and death that can result from poorly designed or utilized consumer products.
From 2007 to 2012, there were close to 150 children who were killed in faulty cradles and bassinets. The CPSC is aware of more than 450 reported incidents during the studied time period.

Our child injury attorneys in North Carolina understand that, small, cozy, and portable, a bassinet might seem like the perfect place to put your baby. But regardless of how cute, your bassinet won't get that much use since babies outgrow them by about 4 months of age. In addition, a crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep.

But if you're going to use a bassinet, doing so correctly is vital to keeping your infant safe.

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Transvaginal Mesh Fails to Improve Outcomes While Increasing the Risk of Complications

November 19, 2013, by

Patients who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse have several treatment options, including conventional surgical procedures as well as a procedure in which surgical mesh is implanted. Transvaginal mesh products were brought to the market under FDA 501(K) clearance rules that allow for approval of medical devices with minimal or no testing, provided that they are substantially similar to other products on the market. ambulance-1334532-m.jpg

Our Asheville transvaginal mesh lawyers know that many patients had procedures with these mesh products and that many of these patients were unaware that the mesh had undergone only limited testing. The mesh products promised to be a better treatment alternative. But mounting evidence has indicated that mesh products provide no real benefits while causing substantial risks.

Study Shows Mesh Products are All Risk and No Reward

One study providing further evidence that mesh products are a bad choice for patients was conducted by Georgetown University researchers and published in the September issue of the medical journal, Obstetrics and Gynecology. The study tracked the progress of 65 patients who had received treatment for pelvic organ prolapse and who had undergone follow-up exams and surveys on quality of life.

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Early Dark Increases Traffic Accident Risks in Carolinas

November 14, 2013, by

Because of daylight savings, it's now getting lighter earlier in the morning but it also gets darker earlier at night. While our Asheville auto accident lawyers know that daylight savings time has plenty of benefits, including making sure kids don't have to wait for school buses in the pitch dark every morning, it also has some downsides too. 75579_drunk_driving.jpg

British researchers recently conducted a study into the impact of daylight savings time on driving safety and accident risk. As the Coventry Telegraph reports, the research conducted over three years showed that early darkness increased the risk of auto accidents that occur on the evening commute.

Early Darkness is a Danger for Drivers

The British looked at accident rates during a three-year period in Britain when daylight savings time did not go into effect, and compared this data to accidents when the clocks were changed. The data showed that when the clocks were not turned back, there were more accidents in the darker rush hour mornings than there were when there was more morning light. However, there were fewer deaths during the evening rush hour trip home.

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Fewer North Carolina Workplace Fatalities in 2012

October 31, 2013, by

Thumbnail image for bulldozer.jpgThe latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the number of workplace fatalities in North Carolina was down by 10 in 2012, with 138 that year compared to 148 in the prior year.

Reductions were also reported in South Carolina, where there were 31 workplace fatalities reported in 2012, compared to 81 in 2011.

In both cases, our Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina workers' compensation lawyers understand, transportation injuries were the leading cause of death at work, which was a factor in line with the rest of the country as well.

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Halloween Safety in Asheville: Pedestrian Accidents, Costumes, Among the Risks

October 28, 2013, by

Halloween is here, and it's time to get out, dress up and have some fun. Kids get to dress up in all kinds of costumes to go to parties and/or trick-or-treating, and even score lots of goodies. Parents and guardians need to make sure they're doing their part to ensure a safe Halloween for everyone.
As children head into neighborhoods for parties and trick-or-treating this year, the Asheville Police Department's Traffic Safety Unit will be in residential areas running radar to make sure drivers slow down for kids and their families.

Our Asheville personal injury lawyers understand that children are four times more likely to be hit and killed in a pedestrian-traffic accident on Halloween than during any other night out of the year. To keep kids safe, parents should take this opportunity to remind children of the rules for navigating the streets and sidewalks and take precautions to ensure that their costumed kids will be seen by drivers this Halloween.

Did you know that close to 90 percent of child pedestrian deaths occur at non-intersection locations? Kinds darting out from between parked cars are among those at highest risk.

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Tragic South Carolina Traffic Accident Blamed on Drunk Driving

October 24, 2013, by

The 21-year-old's family couldn't wait to welcome the new life. A preschool teacher seven months pregnant with her first child, a son, the young woman was busying herself for a new routine of diapers and bottles.
Instead, her family has had to bury them both, following a horrific South Carolina car accident that tragically claimed both of their lives in Greenwood County recently, about an hour outside of Greenville.

Behind the wheel of the other vehicle, authorities say, was a 17-year-old driver who was reportedly drunk. One of his passengers was also killed as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. He was reportedly riding with two other juveniles and an adult at the time of the crash.

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Asheville Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Discuss Assisted-Living Standards

October 21, 2013, by

Loved ones of the 81-year-old Alzheimer's patient knew she had a host of problems. In addition to the Alzheimer's, she suffered from a fractured spine, high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Getting to and from the bathroom was impossible without a wheelchair or at least a walker.
Her family knew that they could no longer care for her at home. They made an agonizing choice that more and more family members are facing these days: the decision to put her in an assisted-living facility.

However, as our Asheville nursing home abuse lawyers know all too well, not every placement turns out the way family members had envisioned.

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Rural Injuries Most Common in Carolinas

September 26, 2013, by

We recently reported on the spike in North Carolina agricultural injuries that inevitably occurs in the late summer and early fall harvest season.
Now, it seems there is extra reason for those working and living in rural settings to exercise caution. A new study, published recently in The Annals of Emergency Medicine, reveals that the majority of serious injuries and death from injuries occur in rural areas, as opposed to urban backdrops.

Our Spruce Pine personal injury lawyers have learned that of 1.3 million injury deaths that occurred in some 3,000 counties across the country between 1999 and 2006, rural county injuries deaths are 50 percent more likely than urban county injury deaths.

Of course, the actual number of urban injury deaths is higher. In fact, most of the people who died of injury-related deaths were people younger than 45 who lived in urban areas. This might reasonably lead one to conclude that cities are dangerous places for younger people to live and work. However, the figures are skewed because there are far more people overall living in urban areas.

When we break it down by population, we find that for every 100,000 people, we can expect about 74 injury-related deaths in rural America. Compare that to urban areas, which for every 100,000 people reports about 50 injury-related deaths.

It's worth noting that no matter where you live, injury is the number one cause of death for people between the ages of 1 and 44.

The study found that car crashes and gunshots were the most common causes of injury deaths overall, and those figures increased the more rural an area became. Death by motor vehicle accident was nearly three times more likely in a rural setting versus an urban setting. Part of that, we suspect, is due to the fact that people who live in rural areas drive more. Those in urban areas rely more heavily on public transportation.

The three major exceptions to this rule were: poisoning, fall-related injuries and homicides. (While gunshot-related injury deaths were higher in rural areas, not all of those were the result of homicide, and not all homicides in urban areas were the result of gunshot wounds.)

A report issued last year by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine indicates that agricultural injuries and deaths continue to be a major problem in our state. In 2009, the yearly fatality rate for agriculture, fishing, hunting and forestry industries in North Carolina was 33 deaths for every 100,000 full-time workers. That is 10 times higher than the average state fatality rate. These industries also had the highest rates of non-fatal injuries in the state.

Researchers concluded that providing evidence of the number of agricultural injuries and deaths isn't enough, and more needs to be done to provide a fully comprehensive picture of the problem. Among the specific recommendations made:

  • Form a dedicated, interdisciplinary task force that will develop standard farm safety measures and monitoring;

  • Establish a centralized farm industry and fatality registry that will provide in-depth information about each farm-related injury and death.

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North Carolina Building Codes Substandard, Report Finds

September 23, 2013, by

flooding.jpgAs we approach the height of hurricane season, the importance of strong, enforceable building codes, particularly along coastal Atlantic and Gulf states, becomes especially clear.

Unfortunately, our North Carolina premises liability attorneys understand that our state is failing its residents in terms of the kinds of protections it offers when it comes to building safety standards.

The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has recently released a midterm update to its Rating the States report, which focuses on the progress made by the 18 states along the coast that have been identified as the most hurricane prone.

Of them all, Florida ranks No. 1 with a score of 95 out of 100. North Carolina ranked No. 7 with a score of 81 out of 100 initially in the first report, released in January 2012. However, state officials have since taken negative action that in fact weakens the protective building codes that were previously in place.

The IBHS noted that while North Carolina leaders have adopted recommendations of improved building codes over the last three years, the implementation and enforcement of those measures in any sort of timely fashion is in real doubt. That's because there were a number of legislative changes adopted earlier this year that stretch the implementation cycle for building code enforcement from every 3 years to every 6 years.

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Car Accident Injury Liability for Texters NOT Behind the Wheel?

September 19, 2013, by

The dangers of texting and driving have been well publicized in recent years, and yet the dangerous behavior continues anyway, particularly among inexperienced teen drivers.
Our Rutherfordton car accident lawyers know that in cases where distraction by texting has been found to be a contributing factor in the crash, there is ample grounds for litigation and compensation.

But what about the person on the other end of that fateful text? A New Jersey appellate court recently issued a ruling indicating that person could be held liable for the crash as well.

It may seem like a bit of a leap initially and, to be fair, this is among the first of any rulings of this kind. However, it's entirely possible that as long as we continue to see crashes caused by texting, other courts could adopt this same stance. That could change the way personal injury lawyers approach these cases.

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