Self-Driving Cars

Self-Driving Cars

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

The Self-Driving Car, Google’s latest science-fiction project to solve the world’s problems, continues to make headlines while vexing safety officials, insurance companies, and car manufacturers.

What’s a Self-Driving Car?

In December 2014, Google unveiled its first road-legal, working prototype of its self-driving car. While the car does have some manual controls in the event of an emergency, the self-driving is part of google’s push to make services more community-oriented and safer. The road-legal prototype has headlights and a full set of manual controls that allow for an immediate human intervention in the event the car’s software backfires. The adorable almost cartoon-like car will be about 1 of 200 prototypes that Google plans to make. This will allow google to engage in thorough testing and buy time for the software giant to find industrial partners that can bring the self-driving car to the mainstream in the next five years.

Because car manufacturing is not one of Google’s many specialties, the company is reaching out to well known car manufacturers to bring its vision to the masses. The rationale for this is that traditional automakers already have the knowhow and the institutional knowledge on how to mass-market cars successfully. General Motors, Ford, and Toyota are some of the traditional auto companies that Google plans to contact. Other car companies such as Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and GM have already begun working on their own driverless car systems.

As amazing as the self-driving car is, there are some safety considerations that must be addressed before the car can be available to the public. While Google has been in regular contact with safety regulators, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging states to adopt laws that will require drivers to receive additional training and special license before they operate a driverless car.

Liability as it pertains to safety and accidents is another factor. It is unclear how driverless cars will be viewed in the context of car accident lawsuits. If you are in an accident with a driverless car, who would you be able to hold responsible for your damages? Would it be Google or the manufacturer of the driverless car? The human driver? Would the human driver’s insurance cover for any accidents or does the self-driving car have its own type of insurance?

These are questions that will remain unanswered until self-driving cars are closer to being introduced into the mass market. It is important to always find an experienced and up-to-date attorney who can quickly evaluate your case and find innovative arguments so that you may recover for your injuries or property damage.

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.

Share this article on Social Media!

Can I Recover Compensation When Extreme Weather is to Blame?

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

 

Two women were struck by lightning while on Crane Beach in Massachusetts recently. A 61-year-old Connecticut woman was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she later died from her injuries. A 69-year-old woman from Massachusetts was also struck; she was taken to the hospital in critical condition but also died from her injuries. No other injuries were reported in connection with the storm.

Mother Nature can cause serious, even life-threatening injuries. These in turn can cause a person or family to incur thousands of dollars in medical expenses alone. Add to this the costs of missed time from work, funeral expenses, loss of future income and the emotional suffering that the family of someone killed or injured by extreme weather, and it can be nearly overwhelming for a normal person to bear.

In cases such as the one discussed here – where an individual is on the property of another and there he or she is injured by extreme weather – can the injured person recover compensation?

The Basics of Premise Liability

In general, a person who invites another onto his or her property for the purpose of recreation, socializing, or business (for example) owes a duty of care to that invited person. This “duty of care” requires the property owner to take reasonable measures to address any known dangers on the property or, in some instances, to warn the invitee of the dangers that the property owner knows about. For instance, when a grocery store knows that its floors are wet and pose a slip and fall hazard, they must take steps to notify shoppers of the danger and take reasonable steps to prevent shoppers from injuring themselves.

Foreseeable Harm – The Crux of the Case

Because of the unpredictability of weather – especially extreme weather events like thunderstorms and lightning – it is often difficult to hold a property owner responsible for injuries caused by weather. This is because courts generally only hold property owners responsible for “foreseeable” dangers – that is, dangers that the property owner knows about or should have known about.

Just because holding a property owner responsible for weather-related events is difficult does not mean one should not try. There have been cases in recent decades where a plaintiff was injured by lightning while on the property of another and the property owner was held responsible. Just recently, a Philadelphia family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against NASCAR and the Pocono Raceway after Marion Zimmerman was struck and killed by lightning in the raceway’s parking lot.

Contact an Experienced Premise Liability Lawyer

Holding a property owner responsible for injuries that occur on his or her property is never easy, and it takes an experienced and dedicated attorney to investigate all the relevant circumstances, interview knowledgeable witnesses, and present these facts to a court in a compelling manner. At Bice Law, LLC, we are dedicated to helping people injured by careless acts of others recover full compensation for their expenses.

Share this article on Social Media!

Take Action After a School Bus Crash

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Fifteen North Carolina school children were injured recently when their school bus swerved and overturned. There were 45 students on the bus at the time of the accident. Troopers with the North Carolina Highway Patrol believed that a compartment above the driver’s head opened shortly before the accident, causing the driver to become distracted. It is thought that as the driver attempted to close the open compartment door, the driver lost control of the bus. Fortunately, none of the children appeared to be seriously injured.

Statistically speaking, injuries resulting from school bus crashes are relatively rare. This does not mean, however, that children riding a school bus are necessarily safe in an accident. Many school buses do not have any sort of restraints or seat belts, increasing the odds that a child might suffer a head or spine injury during a crash (in fact, in this particular bus crash, at least one of the injured children reported hurting his head in the roll over).

What Can You Do After a School Bus Accident?

Many parents might feel helpless after a school bus crash. However, there are certain steps you can take to not only protect your child but also increase the chances of being able to recover compensation for any medical bills or other losses your child sustained. For example, you should:

(1)   Seek medical attention for your child. Obviously, if your child is noticeably injured, you should take the child to the hospital or doctor’s office right away.  But even if your child does not appear to be injured, you should still take your child to a medical center to be evaluated. There may be internal injuries that are not immediately apparent; the sooner that such an injury is diagnosed, the easier it is to connect the injury to the bus accident.

(2)   Ask your child to describe the accident, and take notes. Even if your child can not describe what caused the accident, allow your child to explain what he or she remembers before the crash. What was the bus driver doing? Who else was on the bus? What sights and sounds does your child remember before and after the crash? The details your child may remember can be important in recovering compensation in a later lawsuit.

(3)   Contact a personal injury attorney. There can be a number of people or entities at fault in the crash, including the driver, the school district, the bus manufacturer, and the person or business responsible for maintaining the bus. A personal injury attorney can help you identify and bring suit against all responsible parties. Not only this, but a personal injury attorney can help you comply with any special requirements if, for example, any of the defendants is a public entity such as a school district.

If your child has been injured in a school bus crash or other similar accident, contact the dedicated team at Bice Law, LLC today at (855) 5-BICE-LAW.

Share this article on Social Media!

What are the Limits of Self-Defense in South Carolina?

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

A man defending a woman from a sexual assault has found himself charged with assault. Fifty-two year old William Mattson was involved in a sexual assault on a 21-year-old woman when Mattson’s nephew, 27-year-old Daniel Mattson, came to the woman’s defense. Daniel’s initial actions were in defense of the victim. But then police say Daniel went too far. He continued attacking William even after William no longer posed a danger to the woman. Daniel also hit the sexual assault victim for an unknown reason. Daniel now faces charges of assault and criminal domestic violence for his actions.

Defenses in Civil Cases for Criminal Actions

When an individual is injured by the criminal acts of another, the victim may pursue a civil case to recover compensation for the person’s injuries. A civil case can be filed regardless of whether criminal charges are filed. This is much like a criminal case, in which the accused can assert defenses such as self-defense. If successful, a claim of self-defense can not only result in an accused escaping criminal liability, but he or she may be able to escape civil liability as well.

Self-Defense in South Carolina

South Carolina is one of a few states that have enacted a “stand your ground” law that allows a person to use deadly force to defend oneself if (1) the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be; (2) the person is not engaged in an unlawful activity; and (3) the use of deadly force is necessary to prevent death, great bodily harm, or the commission of a violent crime.

Self-defense that involves less-than-lethal force can also allow an individual to escape criminal and civil liability. The key to the successful assertion of a self-defense claim is reasonableness. In other words, self-defense will allow an accused criminal or accused negligent defendant to escape from criminal or civil liability for his or her actions if the circumstances surrounding the use of self-defense made the use justifiable. A self-defense claim can also be used when the defendant was acting to protect someone other than him- or herself.

When Does Self-Defense Go Too Far?

Self-defense is only viable so long as you are being attacked; once the threat has been neutralized or the attacker stops, you generally cannot continue to “defend yourself” by attacking the assailant. If you do so, you may find yourself charged with a crime and/or facing a lawsuit.

Bice Law, LLC Can Make Sense of Self-Defense

The laws concerning self-defense can be complicated, but the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bice Law, LLC can help you make sense of South Carolina’s self-defense laws. Especially where someone has injured you or a loved one and has claimed he or she acted in self defense, the dedicated team at Bice Law, LLC can investigate the facts of the incident and help you recover the compensation you deserve. Contact them today at (855) 5-BICE-LAW today for a free consultation.

Share this article on Social Media!

Can a Baby Recover Damages After a Parent Dies?

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

On January 6, 2015, 24-year-old Rebecca Williams was killed when she crashed into another vehicle. At the time of the crash, Ms. Williams was pregnant and was due January 19. Thanks to the quick actions of a state trooper and other medical personnel, the baby was safely delivered by caesarian section at a local hospital. Unfortunately for the child, however, he will grow up without the love, support, care, and nurture that only a parent can provide. Assuming that the crash was the result of the other driver’s negligence, what sort of compensation can the boy recover?

Wrongful Death Suits Compensate Family Members

Sudden and unexpected deaths can wreak havoc on a family. Not only do these traumatic events cause immense emotional and mental suffering, but they can result in a great deal of financial stress as well. By way of example, consider Ms. Williams’ case: her surviving family members will likely face financial expenditures related to her transportation from the scene of the accident to mortuary, funeral expenses, and burial expenses. Not only this, but Ms. Williams’ child and her family will not be able to experience her comfort and company, nor have the benefit of her income. The means by which North Carolina residents can obtain monetary compensation for these types of losses is through a wrongful death suit.

Special Considerations Regarding Wrongful Death Suits Brought on Behalf of Children

In a normal case, the surviving family members (spouse, parents, siblings, etc.) are able to bring a wrongful death suit against the individual whose negligence caused the death of the victim. But because of their age, children cannot file or prosecute lawsuits on their own. Therefore, an adult must file a lawsuit on behalf of the child (sometimes known as the child’s “next friend”). This person is usually a relative of the child, but it can technically be any adult over the age of 18. The person brings the case and receives compensation on behalf of the child.

What is Important to Know About Wrongful Death Suits?

It is important that a wrongful death suit be brought quickly after an individual dies from another’s carelessness. Statutes of limitations begin to run on the date of the fatal accident or the victim’s death and, if the statutory period runs without a lawsuit being filed, then the surviving family members may be forever barred from seeking compensation. Even if a suit is filed before the statute of limitations runs, delaying filing can mean that important evidence necessary to prove fault or the extent of damages is lost.

Contact Bice Law, LLC for Assistance

Losing a loved one is a terrible, traumatic event. The dedicated team of attorneys at Bice Law, LLC can help you navigate the difficulties ahead. Especially when the decedent leaves behind young children, you need the assistance of experienced wrongful death attorneys to ensure the surviving family members are fully and fairly compensated for their losses – emotional and financial.

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.

Share this article on Social Media!

South Carolina Hospitals Penalized by Feds

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Attorney

Thirteen South Carolina hospitals have been penalized by the federal government for injuring patients in preventable accidents. The thirteen hospitals affected include:

  • Aiken Regional Medical Center;
  • Beaufort County Memorial Hospital;
  • Conway Medical Center;
  • Kershaw Health;
  • Mcleod Medical Center – Dillon;
  • MUSC Medical Center;
  • Novant Health Gaffney Medical Center;
  • Oconee Medical Center;
  • Palmetto Health Baptist;
  • Palmetto Health Baptist Easley;
  • Palmetto Health Richland;
  • Spartanburg Regional Medical Center; and
  • TRMC of Orangeburg and Calhoun.

These thirteen hospitals are a fraction of the more than 700 hospitals nationwide that have been penalized by the federal government. The penalties are assessed against hospitals based on the hospital’s rate of infections caused by fluid tubes pumping medicine or fluids into large veins, urinary tract infections caused by catheters, and complications patients suffer from bed sores, falls, and blood clots.

How Federal Investigations Help Medical Malpractice Plaintiffs

Any patient who is injured by the mistake of a hospital or healthcare provider can bring a medical malpractice case against that hospital or healthcare provider and recover compensation for his or her injuries. These sorts of cases can be difficult to win, as the injured patient must show that the hospital or health care provider’s mistake was such that a reasonable hospital or healthcare provider with similar experience and in similar circumstances would not have made the mistake. This usually requires expert witnesses and other doctors in order to establish not only what the “reasonable standard” in the community is, but also to opine as to whether the hospital or healthcare professional violated this standard.

Investigations and reports such as those that led to the federal government assessing penalties can also be immensely useful to medical malpractice plaintiffs. Being penalized in such a manner can be evidence that a hospital violated a standard or at least did not comply with the practices of other hospitals. A hospital who has a history of a certain type of injuries and who injuries another patient in a similar way may have a more difficult time arguing that the injury was unavoidable. While such investigations and statistics are rarely sufficient in and of themselves to win a medical malpractice case, they can provide important evidence for a judge or jury to consider.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

When you or a loved one has been injured by a healthcare professional or a hospital, knowledgeable legal representation is key. Attorneys with experience in handling medical malpractice cases are familiar with the sort of evidence and testimony needed to succeed. Not only this, but such attorneys generally stay informed of key studies and investigations (like the one that led to the federal penalties previously mentioned) that can help their clients win.  At Bice Law, LLC, we are committed to helping medical malpractice victims obtain the compensation they deserve. .

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.

Share this article on Social Media!

South Carolina Sees Increase in Highway Deaths

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

According to reports with the state Highway Patrol, more people died on South Carolina roadways in 2014 than the previous year. Whereas 762 individuals died in highway-related crashes in 2013, 807 people died under similar circumstances in 2014. This included 106 pedestrians, a number that has increased each year for the past several years. In other words, South Carolinians are at a greater risk of sustaining fatal injuries in a vehicle-related crash now than in years past. While any car crash can result in monetary losses, medical expenses, and time missed from work, serious or fatal car crashes can throw lives into complete physical, emotional, and financial turmoil.

What To Do After a Serious Motor Vehicle Accident

Regardless of the circumstances, there are certain actions you should take following a serious car crash. A serious car crash is one in which your injuries are so severe you must be immediately taken to the hospital for treatment. To increase your chances of recovering compensation for your injuries later, you should:

  • Receive all necessary treatment and follow your doctor’s orders. Your health should be your primary concern in the days and weeks following a serious car crash. Focus on getting well and follow your doctor’s orders. While you do not necessarily have to submit to experimental or unnecessary procedures, you should attend follow-up appointments, participate in therapy, and take medications as prescribed.
  • Write down the details you remember. As soon as you are able, write down (or have a loved one write down) the details you remember from the crash. Serious car crashes can disturb your memories; it is important to preserve the details you do remember as quickly as possible.
  • Obtain the police reports and medical records. These reports and records will not only have information about the extent of your injuries, but they may also contain information about the cause of the crash and the names of witnesses who may have seen the crash occur.
  • Contact a personal injury attorney right away. It is important that you contact a personal injury attorney about filing a lawsuit as soon as possible. If you wait too long before you file (for instance, if you wait until you are fully recovered before filing a lawsuit), you may find that the statute of limitations prohibits you from recovering any compensation at all. Therefore, as soon as you are physically able to do so, you should speak with an attorney.
  • Don’t speak with an insurance company without first speaking with an attorney. In a serious motor vehicle crash, the insurance companies involved will be eager to settle the case for as little as possible. This settlement offer may be far less than your actual costs and losses will be. Speaking with an attorney before speaking with an insurance company can help ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

When you or a loved one has been injured in a serious motor vehicle crash, contact us for assistance right away at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free initial consultation. We are committed to helping our clients recover fair compensation after a serious motor vehicle crash and will fight to ensure you are treated fairly throughout the process.

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.

Share this article on Social Media!

Do I Have a Case Against an Unvaccinated Child Who Infects My Child?

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Officials in Mooresville, NC were worried by a new case of the red measles (also known as rubeola) and the danger it presents to the general public. An unvaccinated individual had recently returned from a trip to India and presented with symptoms of the disease. Symptoms of rubeola include a high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes, and a sore throat along with a rash that spreads across the person’s body. Public officials are concerned about the spread of the disease amongst unvaccinated individuals. Prior to the successful introduction of a vaccine, various measles strains killed hundreds of individuals each year.

The Competing Interests of Unvaccinated Individuals

This most recent public health concern highlights competing issues when it comes to public health: on the one hand, there is a concern for how unvaccinated individuals can present a danger to other members of the public; on the other hand is the right of individuals and parents to make decisions affecting themselves and their children, including what vaccines – if any – they receive. While those who are vaccinated against a certain disease rarely contract that disease from an infected person, unvaccinated individuals may remain unvaccinated for a variety of reasons. In such circumstances, conflicts can arise between individuals who choose to be unvaccinated, those who are unable to be vaccinated for health or other reasons, and the state authorities who are interested in preventing any sort of epidemic.

Can I Recover Compensation if I Become Infected by an Unvaccinated individual?

Suppose, for instance, that you become ill after coming into contact with a person who chose not to obtain a vaccination for religious or personal reasons. Suppose further that you were unable to receive the vaccination yourself because of a medical issue or complication. As a result of your illness, you suffer medical expenses and time missed from work. Are you able to recover any compensation for these losses?

While there are not any notorious examples of such a lawsuit, it does not appear far-fetched that a court may entertain such a suit for compensation. In the typical negligence case, the injured party must show that the defendant owed him or her a duty to act in a certain manner, the defendant failed to so act, and that this failure to act in a certain way caused injury or loss to the individual. A victim who becomes ill due to an unvaccinated individual could argue that the unvaccinated defendant owed the victim a duty not to infect him or her, that the defendant breached this duty by failing to take reasonable measures to protect the defendant from infection and from spreading any infection, and that as a result the victim suffered injury.

Contact Bice Law, LLC

A lawsuit against an unvaccinated individual for spreading a disease to another is a rather untested area of law. However, when you have been injured by another (regardless of the circumstances), contact us at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free consultation. We will review the facts of your case with you and advise you on the compensation to which you may be entitled.

Share this article on Social Media!

North Carolina Senate Bill 33 Effects Still Felt By Injured Patients

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Several years ago the North Carolina legislature passed Senate Bill 33, a bill that enacted sweeping changes to medical malpractice cases in North Carolina. A medical malpractice case is, in essence, a lawsuit filed against a doctor, hospital, or other healthcare provider seeking compensation for medical errors and mistakes. In times past these types of cases could result in injured patients recovering hundreds of thousands of dollars; however, in recent years, there has been significant national discourse regarding reforming medical malpractice laws as a way of curbing the rise in healthcare costs.

The changes to North Carolina medical malpractice law as a result of Senate Bill 33 are significant and can impact not only how much an injured patient can recover but whether that patient can recover any compensation at all. Some of the most significant changes include:

  • An expansion of the definition of a medical malpractice case. After Senate Bill 33, medical malpractice actions include claims for personal injury and wrongful death resulting from the furnishing of or failure to furnish medical, dental, or other healthcare services. The definition also includes claims of negligent supervision, monitoring, or credentialing of health care staff.
  • A medical malpractice claim is proven by evidence showing that the health care professional failed to deliver care in accordance with the practice standards of individuals both (1) in the same health care profession (doctor, dentist, etc.) and (2) who had similar training and experience and who were in similar circumstances at the time the malpractice occurred.
  • Emergency medical care providers can only be held responsible for care that violated the applicable standard of care and that is proven by “clear and convincing evidence” (a more difficult standard than the normal “by a preponderance of the evidence” standard applicable in most civil cases).
  • Noneconomic damages – such as damages for pain and suffering and loss of consortium – are capped at $500,000 in most cases. This is meant to prevent injured patients from receiving large sums of compensation for injuries that are difficult to assign a monetary value to. Juries can exceed this $500,000 cap only upon making certain findings.

Making Recovery More Difficult for Injured Patients

Medical malpractice cases are difficult for injured plaintiffs. Not only must injured patients deal with the physical and emotional aftereffects of a medical mistake, but Senate Bill 33 made it more difficult for injured patients to recover full and fair compensation for their injuries. If a health care provider (a term that covers a broad range of individuals after Senate Bill 33) makes a mistake, he or she can be held responsible only if the mistake or failure was one that a reasonable professional in the same discipline with similar education and experience and under similar circumstances would not have made. And even if an injured plaintiff is successful, the limit on noneconomic damages means he or she may not recover a full measure of compensatory damages.

If you or a loved one has been injured by the mistake of a health care professional, contact Bice Law right away at (855) 5-BICE-LAW for a free consultation. We are here to help in any way possible.

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.

Share this article on Social Media!