National Childhood Injury Prevention Week happens in September.  It’s a time when parents in North Carolina, South Carolina and across the U.S. help raise awareness about preventable accidents that result in injury and death to children each year.

shutterstock_547980853-300x200According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9.2 million people from ages 0-19 are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries, while another 12,000 die from “unintentional injuries” each year.

The leading causes of these “unintentional injuries” are pedestrian/traffic accidents, drowning, falls, and burns. For children under 1 year of age, suffocation was the leading cause of death, while drowning was the most likely cause for children 1 to 4 years of age. From 4 to 19, more children were killed as the result of being an occupant in a motor vehicle crash than any other cause of death.

Continue Reading

stockfresh_4472715_veteran-letterpress_sizeS-300x200Most disabilities stemming from injuries or illnesses accrued or aggravated while in military service are compensable under the VA’s disability compensation benefits scheme.  A notable exception is when the illness or injury stemmed from the service member’s willful misconduct.

What the Law Says

The United States Code states that “no compensation shall be paid if the disability is a result of the veteran’s own willful misconduct or abuse of alcohol or drugs.”[1]  The Code of Federal Regulations (hereinafter “the CFR”) state that “[b]asic entitlement for a veteran exists if the veteran is disabled as the result of a personal injury or disease (including aggravation of a condition existing prior to service) while in active service if the injury or the disease was incurred or aggravated in line of duty.”[2]  The CFR defines in line of duty as:

an injury or disease incurred or aggravated during a period of active military, naval, or air service unless such injury or disease was the result of the veteran’s own willful misconduct or, for claims filed after October 31, 1990, was a result of his or her abuse of alcohol or drugs…Requirements as to line of duty are not met if at the time the injury was suffered or disease contracted the veteran was: (1) Avoiding duty by desertion, or was absent without leave which materially interfered with the performance of military duty.  (2) Confined under a sentence of court-martial involving an unremitted dishonorable discharge.  (3) Confined under sentence of a civil court for a felony as determined under the laws of the jurisdiction where the person was convicted by such court.[3]

The CFR defines willful misconduct as:

Continue Reading

Nursing homes offer a level of medical attention and daily care that would be difficult to provide for elderly loved ones in their own homes. At the same time, nursing home abuse is an unfortunately common problem, and it is important for family members and friends to remain vigilant.

stockfresh_3884028_closeup-of-senior-womans-hands_sizeS-300x192Elder abuse can take a variety of forms, and understanding what constitutes abuse and nursing home neglect – and how to identify and report it – can help ensure those you care about are protected.

Common Types of Elder Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines elder abuse as an intentional act that has the potential to cause harm to someone age 60 or over. It can occur at the hands of family or caregivers when older adults live in their own homes, or as the result of nursing home abuse committed by a facility’s workers or staff.

The following are five common types of abuse identified by the CDC:

Continue Reading

stockfresh_6321710_bright-eyed-unique-looking-dog-canine-looks-at-camera_sizeS-300x200As “man’s best friend,” dogs are known for their friendly, devoted nature and their willingness to protect those they love. At the same time, the gentlest dog can get aggressive under certain circumstances, and can end up biting or attacking strangers, acquaintances or even those they know well.

At Grimes Teich Anderson, LLP, animal attacks are one of the many types of cases we handle. We understand the serious injuries and potential scarring these attacks can cause. In many cases, it is possible to get compensation for your damages through a homeowner’s insurance claim against the dog owner’s policy, avoiding the need for any further legal action.

Dog Bite Injuries

According to the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP), as many as 4 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the U.S. More than 800,000 dog bite injuries are serious enough as to require medical treatment.

Over half of the dogs involved in these attacks were owned by family members, friends, and neighbors. A significant percent of the victims in these cases are children.

Even if you are familiar with a dog, there are certain situations in which they could attack. Dog bite injuries are more likely to happen if the dog is sick or feels threatened, and a get together with friends or neighbors involving music and lots of noise could be enough of a trigger.

Continue Reading

Following a major medical operation, you may have had an inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter) inserted into your chest. This filter is inserted in a patient’s inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart.

stockfresh_7306517_surgery_sizeS-300x150In theory, this medical device was designed to help reduce the risk of dangerous post-operative blood clots. Yet, tragically IVC filters have proven to be dangerous and defective medical devices. Indeed, more than two dozen deaths have been directly linked to IVC filters, as reported by NBC News.

The FDA Recommends the Removal of IVC Filters

First approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1987, 3M’s Bair Hugger warming blankets are designed to keep surgical patients warm before, during and after major operations. By helping a patient maintain their core body temperature, the blanket is supposed to lead to better surgical outcomes. Unfortunately, recent evidence indicates that this product is unsafe.

stockfresh_308226_focus-on-a-life-monitor-for-a-cat-under-anesthesia_sizeS-300x200In 2010, one of the lead inventors of the product, Dr. Scott D. Augustine, began sounding the alarm, according to a report in the New York Times, publicly stating that the Bair Hugger blanket was too dangerous to use in many situations.

In 2015, the FDA put out a safety alert, notifying the public that a likely link between Bair Hugger warming blankets and certain infections had been discovered. Additionally, as has been reported in 3M’s hometown newspaper, the Star Tribune, dozens of lawsuits have been filed against the company by patients who developed severe infections after they used the product.

I often say that lawyers are a lot like car mechanics. Some say they know what they are doing when they don’t, and then some really know what they are doing.  In either situation, you don’t want to have someone do your work when they are not experienced in the right field. You don’t want a Jeep mechanic working on your Mustang, and you don’t want a general practitioner working on your personal injury case.

stockfresh_6117069_lawyer-concept-letterpress-theme_sizeS-300x200When you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, I suggest you look at the firm’s website. Find out how long the lawyer has been practicing.   Practicing a long time is no guarantee of quality, but it is a component of quality.  See if the lawyer is a member of state and national trial lawyer groups.   These groups consist of lawyers involved and committed to the representation of injured people.  Here you will find your best attorneys.  The South Carolina Association for Justice and the North Carolina Advocates for Justice both consist of attorneys who represent injured people. Membership of this group is critical.

Continue Reading

There are many VA benefits a spouse is eligible for, but not everyone is eligible for the designation of “spouse.”  While what constitutes a valid marriage is usually left up to the individual 50 states, the VA does have its own interpretations and can add or subtract requirements in certain circumstances.  This brief article will highlight some anomalies in the VA’s marriage requirements.

stockfresh_291905_wedding-rings_sizeS-300x300The VA defines the term marriage as meaning “a marriage valid under the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of marriage, or the law of the place where the parties resided when the right to benefits accrued.”[1]  The VA defines the term spouse as meaning “a person of the opposite sex whose marriage to the veteran meets the requirements of § 3.1(j).”[2]  Though the VA and Congress has not updated 38 C.F.R. § 3.50(a) and 38 U.S.C. § 101(31), the opposite sex requirement was invalidated when the Secretary of the VA announced the VA would no longer enforce it.[3]    Continue Reading

In order for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to award service-connection for a disability, the Veteran must establish these three elements:

  • A current chronic physical or mental condition;
  • An event or stressor that occurred during Active Duty service; and
  • A link (also known as a ‘nexus’) that connects the chronic condition to the in-service event.

stockfresh_1296032_troops-foreground_sizeS-300x135Current Chronic Physical or Mental Condition 

If a Veteran is suffering from a condition (or conditions) that continue to ail him/her post service, and is considered chronic (or ongoing in nature), these condition(s) may be related to his/her time in service.  These condition(s) may include physical ailments, such as: Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD); hypertension (high blood pressure); and osteoarthritis; and diagnosed mental health conditions, such as: Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); and General Anxiety Disorder.

In-Service Event or Stressor During Active Duty

If a Veteran suffered an injury or illness while on Active Duty, this injury or illness may be compensated by the VA as a service-connected disability.  Please note that service-connection refers to the injury or illness being experienced while on Active Duty. This means that for Reserve components, or National Guard, the only way to establish service-connection is during any time the Veteran was activated or ordered to Active Duty for a specific time period, be it for training or recall purposes.  Some aspects of service-connection may require an eligible period of service, such as a specific length of time during a specific period of time (i.e. 90-days of total Active Duty service with at least one full day during a war-time period).  This may vary from benefit to benefit sought by VA.

Continue Reading

The roads and highways throughout Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina are some of the most scenic routes in the country, and the Blue Ridge Parkway and the “Tail of the Dragon” near Great Smoky Mountain National Park are highlights for motorcycle enthusiasts. However, these roads are windy, and a motorcycle accident can happen without warning.

stockfresh_5445021_traveling-on-motorcycle_sizeS-300x276Whether you are driving near Asheville or another area of Western North Carolina or Upstate South Carolina that is popular among motorcyclists, it is important to know how to share the road safely.

Here are some important tips from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that can help you travel safely alongside motorcycles regardless of the type of road you are on.

Understanding How Motorcycle Accidents Happen

A crash involving a motorcycle often occurs when a driver does not appreciate that motorcyclists are vehicles — just like a passenger car — and thus have the same rights and responsibilities of an automobile driver.

Continue Reading

Contact Information