Liability for Amusement Park Injuries

Liability for Amusement Park Injuries

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

A 12-year-old girl suffered serious injuries recently at the State Fair in North Carolina after an amusement ride malfunctioned. The young girl was participating in a bungee jump attraction in which patrons leap from a high platform with an elastic cord attached to their legs. The cord is designed to keep the patron from striking the ground; instead, the patron “bounces” with the elastic cord. In this instance, however, the cord strapped to the girl’s feet unraveled, sending her falling to the ground below.

Injuries from amusement park rides are nothing new. Earlier this year patrons riding a roller coaster at a California amusement park were injured when the roller coaster derailed. Others have suffered serious and even fatal injuries at amusement parks. How can an injured patron recover compensation in these cases?

Basics of Premise Liability in North and South Carolina

In general, a property owner in North Carolina or South Carolina may owe certain obligations or duties to those who come onto the property. When the property owner invites individuals to come onto his or her property for some business or other purpose – such as for amusement – that property owner owes these potential guests a duty to make sure the premises and grounds are in a reasonably safe condition. If there are hazards (such as wet floors, defective rides, or other similar dangers), the property owner is to identify and correct these hazards or, at the least, warn patrons of the hazard’s existence. Other businesses or entities – such as the manufacturers of rides or any contractors hired to perform services for the park – may also be responsible for any injuries or fatal accidents their own negligence causes.

For instance, suppose an amusement park patron is injured on an amusement park ride after a safety harness fails. The amusement park owed that patron an obligation to inspect this safety equipment and, if the harness was defective, to prevent patrons from using this ride. A personal injury attorney would investigate the amusement park’s procedures and policies regarding ride inspection, whether those procedures and policies are sufficient to alert park owners that a problem exists, and whether those procedures and policies were followed on this ride on the date of the accident. If the park and its employees knew of the defective harness – or if they should have discovered the defect – and did not correct or warn of the hazard then the park could be held liable. If the harness was defective or not constructed to be used safely, that manufacturer can also be held responsible for the patron’s injuries.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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What To Do After a Tractor-Trailer Collision

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Estimates show that there are approximately 15.5 million commercial trucks in the United States, including about 2 million tractor-trailers. When a tractor-trailer is involved in a collision with a passenger car, the results can be devastating. The sheer size and weight of a tractor-trailer, combined with the fact that some of these vehicles transport hazardous materials and chemicals, means that a collision with one of these large vehicles often results in catastrophic injuries to the occupants of smaller cars or motorcycles. In 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that a total of 3,921 people were killed and over 100,000 people were injured in large commercial truck collisions.

What Should I Do After a Tractor-Trailer Collision?

After a tractor-trailer collision, you may be disoriented and confused. You and your passengers may be seriously injured. While compensation for your injuries may be available, you should try to take the following actions in order to increase your chances at recovering damages.

  1. Seek medical attention and get evaluated. Obviously, if you or anyone in your car is injured, you should seek immediate medical care. But even if you or your passengers do not feel injured, a medical professional should still evaluate you and them as soon as possible. Sometimes symptoms of injuries are not immediately noticeable, and if you wait to see a medical professional, it may be more difficult to prove that your injuries were in fact a result of the collision.
  2. Get the tractortrailer driver’s information. At the very least, try to obtain the driver’s license information, his or her insurance information, and the trucking company for which he or she works.
  3. Obtain witness statements and record your own statement. If there are other people around who saw the accident, be sure to obtain their names, their contact information, and (if possible) the details of what they saw. Try also to make notes about what you remember of the accident. These details can be important later when trying to prove your case.
  4. Contact a personal injury attorney to preserve evidence and protect your rights. As soon as possible, you should contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bice Law LLC. Commercial freight companies have experienced attorneys on their side to minimize their liability. Your personal injury attorney can help ensure important evidence is preserved, such as the driver’s log books and the “black box” computer that records important measurements about the tractor trailer prior to the accident.

Recovery of Compensation Depends on a Showing of Fault

Both North Carolina and South Carolina are “fault” states when it comes to tractor-trailer accidents. This means that the at-fault party – the one that caused the accident – bears responsibility for injuries that result from the crash. But if you are unable to show that the tractor-trailer driver was at fault for the accident, you may find that you are unable to recover any damages for your injuries. Your personal injury attorney can discuss with you the evidence and statements available to help you win your case and obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact Bice Law, LLC at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free consultation today.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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North Carolina’s Dangerous Dog Law & the Hunting Dog Exception

Charlotte, NC Dog Bite Lawyer

 North Carolina’s big game hunting season is officially underway for the 2014-2015 term. Many hunters employ the use of hunting dogs while out pursuing their game and as the Citizen Times is reporting, the legal use of such dogs may led to violent consequences for the public at large.

· Without provocation, has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person

· Is determined by animal control to be potentially dangerous

· Is owned primarily for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting.

NC ST 67- 4.1(a)(1) – (2)

Legally Required Precautions

The law requires that the owner of a “dangerous dog” take reasonable precautions against an attack by their dog. It is illegal for an owner to:

· Leave a dangerous dog unattended on their property unless the dog is left indoors or securely enclosed in a structure designed to restrain the dog

· Permit a dangerous dog to leave the owner’s property line unless the dog is securely leashed, restrained and muzzled.

NC ST 67 – 4.2(a)(1) – (2)

Strict Liability for Owners

The owner of a dangerous dog who attacks is strictly liable for any injuries or property damage the dog causes to a person, his or her property or another animal. Further, the owner of a dangerous dog that attacks a person causing physical injury requiring medical treatment in excess of $100 has committed a Class 1 misdemeanor.

NC ST 67 – 4.3 and 4.4

The Hunting Dog Exception

In North Carolina, dogs “being used in a lawful hunt” are immune from the “dangerous dog” rules that normally require owners to take reasonable steps to prevent their dog from harming another person or animal. So although the hunting dogs in the above story would likely be categorized as “dangerous dogs” because they inflicted severe injury upon their victims, the hunting dog exception saves their owner from any criminal or civil liability toward Ms. Anderson and her dogs. NC ST 67- 4.1(b)(1)

If a Dog Attacks You

If you are the victim of a dog bite or attack, you should first ascertain who the dog’s owner is and then seek medical attention. You may need to be treated for rabies, especially if the dog appears to be a stray. If the physical injury caused by the bite or attack appears severe, you should document with pictures your injury and make sure to keep any medical records that were created during the course of your treatment. You should also report any dog attack to your local animal control unit. The statute of limitations in which to file a lawsuit against a dog’s owner for injuries sustained in a dog attack is three years in North Carolina. If you have been the victim of a dog bite or attack, you may have a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner. Contact the personal injury law firm of Bice Law by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or submit an online request in order to consult with an experienced attorney today.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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Elder Abuse Laws in South Carolina

Charlotte, NC Nursing Home Negligence Lawyer

America’s elderly population is at its largest in history and growing. According to the 2010 US Census, 40.3 million people, or 13% of this country’s population, is over the age of 65.

Unfortunately, with this large of a percentage of the population aging, abuse of this vulnerable group is on the rise.  It is very difficult to get a good sense of the exact numbers and prevalence of elder abuse in this country. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, many of the signs of elder abuse are often missed by caretakers and even professional staff. Further, the elders themselves are often fearful of reporting abuse that is going on or lack the physical or cognitive ability to communicate the abuse. We do know that based on the most recent major study on reported incidents, 7-10% of the participants had experienced some type of abuse within the last year. Elder Abuse in South Carolina In South Carolina, elder abuse is defined as any type of abuse that results in harm or loss to an older person. At first blush, this definition seems broad, however, the Legislature has divided elder abuse into five types:

1. Physical Abuse: the intentional inflicting or allowing to be inflicted physical injury on a vulnerable adult by an act or failure to act. This types of abuse includes, but is not limited

to, slapping, hitting, kicking, biting, choking, pinching, burning, actual or attempted sexual battery.

2. Sexual Abuse: any non-consensual sexual contact with a vulnerable adult

3. Domestic Violence: any pattern of behavior that involves violence or another type of abuse against a vulnerable adult in a domestic environment

4. Psychological Abuse: deliberately subjecting a vulnerable adult to threats or harassment or other forms of intimidating behavior causing fear, humiliation, degradation, agitation,

confusion, or other forms of serious emotional distress.

5. Neglect: the failure or omission of a caregiver to provide the care, goods or services necessary to maintain the health or safety of a vulnerable adult; includes the inability of a

vulnerable adult, in the absence of a caretaker, to provide for his or her own health or safety

Reporting Requirements

South Carolina law requires suspected elder abuse to be reported to the proper authorities. Anyone who suspects that an older person is being abused, neglected or exploited must report his or her suspicions as soon as possible. If the reporting is made in good faith, the reporter is immune from civil or criminal liability based on his or her report.

What Can You Do

There are many resources available to someone in South Carolina who suspects that an older person is the victim of abuse.  If you suspect elder abuse, South Carolina Adult Protective Services has a hotline available to take your report. Further, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has a Vulnerable Adult Investigation Unit , which will receive and coordinate the referral of all reported cases of elder abuse. Finally, always remember that elder abuse is a serious crime. If your loved one is the victim of elder abuse or neglect, please contact Bice Law today. An experienced attorney will take your call and listen to the details of your case.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability.  We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly.  Call (855) 5-BICE-LAW today or submit an online request  to get a free consultation with a  personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

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Tony Stewart Cleared of Criminal Charges; But What’s Next?

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

The situation involving NASCAR’s Tony Stewart has captivated audiences across the nation. In case you have not heard, Tony Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. USA Today reported that Ontario New York District Attorney Michael Tantillo announced a grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to indict Stewart on criminal charges. Tantillo stated that Ward was walking on the track toward Stewart’s car while the track was under caution when he was killed. Although the grand jury cleared Stewart of criminal charges, however, there is still a possibility that Tony Stewart may face a civil suit from Ward’s family.

Did I Consent To This?

Civil litigation can deal with an individual’s intentional or negligent actions. In some situations, a person can be strictly liable even if they were being as careful as possible. An individual, if found to be at fault for causing a plaintiff’s injuries, may have to compensate the plaintiff for their injuries. However, when generally dealing with torts, there are often defenses which the defendant may bring apply to specific situations. One such defense is the plaintiff’s consent to the activity.

Although there are many different types of defenses, consent can be used when dealing with participation in activities such as sports like NASCAR. There are generally three types of consent in dealing with torts:

Actual Consent

The first type of consent is actual consent. Actual consent means that the plaintiff expressly stated orally or in writing that he or she consented to the activity in which they were hurt. This could be shown through the use of a signing a waiver.

Apparent Consent

The second type of consent is apparent consent. Apparent consent means that the plaintiff has not given express consent, but he or she has manifested consent through their actions. Apparent consent applies the reasonable person standard, considering whether a reasonable person would believe the plaintiff consented to the actions.

Implied Consent

The final type of consent is implied consent. Implied consent is a legal fiction because there is not actually consent. Implied consent is limited to situations where the plaintiff is in danger of life or limb and the defendant acts in order to save the plaintiff.

A Bice Law Attorney Can Help

When you or a loved one get injured, there can be many immediate questions. If you believe that you may need assistance in answering those questions, contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Bice Law by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW. Our attorneys will be able to answer any question you may have regarding any legal inquiry. Even if you believe you may have consented to the activity in which you were injured, contact us today for assistance.

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Court Hits Tobacco Company with $23.6 Billion in Damages

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

You may have heard that a Florida court awarded a long time smoker’s widow $23.6 billion award in July 2014. The Washington Post reported that the award was against the cigarette company R.J. Reynolds. The reason the amount of money was so high was because R.J. Reynolds continuously lied to the government and its consumers about the hazardousness and addictive elements of cigarettes. Because of R.J. Reynolds’s reprehensible actions over a period of years, a jury awarded the plaintiff $26.3 billion in punitive damages.

What are Punitive Damages?

Punitive damages are imposed in cases involving egregious conduct to punish or make an example of the defendant. In order for a plaintiff to be awarded punitive damages, some states require that a defendant’s actions must be intentional acts of malice. In contrast, other states require only that the defendant acted with willful indifference, wanton or reckless conduct, or gross negligence. In Gamble v. Stevenson, the South Carolina Supreme Court set out eight factors to determine whether it is appropriate to award punitive damages. Those eight factors are as follows:

  1. The defendant’s degree of culpability;
  2. The duration of the conduct;
  3. The defendant’s awareness or concealment;
  4. The existence of similar past conduct;
  5. The likelihood the award will deter the defendant or others from like conduct;
  6. Whether the award is reasonably related to the harm likely to result from such conduct;
  7. The defendant’s ability to pay; and
  8. “Other factors” deemed appropriate.

What is the Difference between Compensatory and Punitive Damages?

The other type of damages one can receive are compensatory damages. Compensatory damages differ from punitive damages in one major aspect. As stated above, the court uses punitive damages in order to deter and punish the defendant for their actions because their actions are so reprehensible. In contrast, compensatory damages are damages which “make the injured party whole.” Compensatory damages include economic and noneconomic damages and are determined based on the amount of damage the plaintiff has sustained.

How Will You Know If You have a Claim for Damages?

Many times, companies and people act in a reprehensible manner which could seriously another person. If you have been seriously injured by another’s grossly negligent actions contact an experienced personal injury attorney at Bice Law by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or visit our website to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys will be able to explain complex issues such as the difference between compensatory and punitive damages. Contact us today to see how we may be of assistance.

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Tips When You Have a Major Injury

Charlotte NC Auto Accident Lawyer

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the most common type of accident is a car accident. Car accidents occur all the time and injuries may occur as a result. In some cases, a car accident may only be a minor fender bender, and the injuries may be minimal. Examples of those injuries are bumps, bruises, and a sore neck, which can usually heal, even in the absence of medical attention. Unfortunately, however, some car accidents are major and result in catastrophic injuries. If you experience a car wreck, the following tips can help you stay safe and ensure your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries.

Remember to Remain Calm

When you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, you may have a rush of emotions. It is extremely important, however, to remain calm. Whether you sustain an injury or witness a severe injury, the way you act can have an effect on the way you and others deal with the situation.

Get to a Safe Location

It is also important that you get to a safe location where you are free from danger. Although you want to get to a safe location, however, do not leave the scene of the accident, as this could result in criminal penalties.

Assess the Situation

From your safe location, you must assess the situation. In assessing the situation, you should determine if there are any severe injuries and whether you can safely help any injured people. If you are unable to provide assistance due to your own injuries or for any other reason, the next thing you should remember to do is to call the police.

Call the Police

Calling the police is an absolute necessity. Law enforcement officials are trained to guide you through the situation and will ensure the safety of all parties involved.

Even if the accident or injuries are not severe, it is still important to call law enforcement officials. The police will be able to provide you with an accident report, which may be essential in any insurance claims or later litigation.

Take Detailed Notes and Photographs of the Accident

After you have assessed the situation and called the police, it is important to try to take detailed notes of the scene of the accident, getting names of any individuals who are involved or witnessed the car accident. If it is safe to do so, try to get photographs of the damage to the vehicles, injuries, surrounding areas, and anything you may think is relevant.

Seek Medical Attention

Immediately thereafter, seek medical attention. Whether you sustain minor or major injuries, it is important to seek medical attention because your injuries could worsen in the future. This will help increase your chances of being awarded compensation in an accident claim.

The Final Step: Contact an Attorney

Finally, if you are injured in a car accident, contact Bice Law by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or visit our website to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys will be able to remind you of all of the steps you must take after a car accident. They will also be able to maximize your recovery from a tortfeasor and your insurance company. Feel free to reach out to us today to begin working on your case immediately.

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3 Deaths Resulting from Football Collision

Rock Hill, SC Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Over the past few years, the NFL and football in general has been under a microscope for the way in which coaches deal with head injuries. In fact, the NFL Player’s Union has won litigation to compensate former NFL players for severe health issues which resulted from chronic head injuries from football. Recently, ESPN.com reported that three high school students have died from head injuries as well. It has also been reported that it is possible one of the student-athletes may have had a pre-existing brain aneurysm, which ruptured as a result of the collision during the football game. In this case, the player may not have died during the football game if he didn’t have an existing aneurysm.

Eggshell Skull Doctrine: Take your Victim As They Are 

What happens if, like the story above, you are already injured and someone is negligent in their actions, further aggravating your pre-existing injury? Likewise, what if you have a preexisting condition, such as osteoporosis, and a third party, who is unaware of your preexisting condition, shoves you like he would a normal person and you end up breaking your hip due to your preexisting condition? Luckily, there is a doctrine that deals with aggravation of a preexisting condition or injury; it’s called the Eggshell Skull Doctrine.

The Eggshell Skull Doctrine states that a tortfeasor or defendant may not escape or reduce liability because of a victim’s pre-existing condition even if that pre-existing condition made him/her more susceptible of injury. This basically means that if you already have a condition, like a brain aneurysm, and are later involved in a car accident which causes the aneurysm to burst, you can still be compensated for the worsening of your condition.

Have You Experienced a Major Injury? 

When you or a loved one is injured by another’s actions, there are many issues you must consider. One of those issues is whether the other party caused your pre-existing condition to worsen. In order to determine whether a tortfeasor’s actions worsened your pre-existing injury, it is very important that you seek immediate medical attention.

If you believe that you have sustained an injury through no fault of your own, contact an experienced attorney today by calling (855) 5-BICE-LAW or visit our website to schedule a free consultation. An attorney at Bice Law is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to listen to your story and answer any questions you may have about your ability to be compensated for your injuries. Just because you have a preexisting condition doesn’t mean that you will not be compensated for injuries you sustain as a result of another’s negligent actions.

 

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