Should There be Changes to North Carolina’s Dangerous Dog Law?

Should There be Changes to North Carolina’s Dangerous Dog Law?

 

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

A Cleveland woman is hoping to use her recent ordeal as a catalyst to encourage North Carolina to change the state’s dangerous dog law. Kadie Anderson and her two dogs were hiking in the woods of Graham County when she and her two dogs were attacked by several bear hunting hounds. The hunting dogs’ owners eventually emerged and were able to stop the attack, but not before both Kadie and her two dogs suffered serious injuries. Kadie’s two dogs required over $1,000 in medical treatment, and Kadie herself required rabies shots totaling $600.

North Carolina’s Dangerous Dog Law

 North Carolina imposes a duty on the owners of “dangerous dogs.” A “dangerous dog” is one that kills or injures a person, one that has killed or severely injured a domestic animal while on another’s property, or one that has approached a person who is not on the dog owner’s property in a vicious or terrorizing manner. If a person’s dog fits the definition of a “dangerous dog” then the dog must be confined and prohibited from leaving the owner’s property without a leash and muzzle or other forms of restraint.

If a dangerous dog causes injury to another person requiring more than $100 worth of medical treatment, the owner can be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Not only this, the owner can be held strictly liable in a civil suit for the injuries caused. “Strict liability” means that an injured plaintiff does not need to show that the dog owner was negligent or careless in any way: simply showing that the dog was owned by the defendant and the dog fit the definition of a “dangerous dog” is sufficient.

As Kadie Anderson discovered, however, there is an important exception in North Carolina’s dangerous dog statute for hunting dogs. Specifically, the statute exempts a dog “being used in a lawful hunt” or injuries sustained by a domestic animal where the otherwise dangerous dog was working as a “hunting dog.”

What Should I Do if I Am Attacked by a Dangerous Dog?

If you, a loved one, or a family pet is injured by a dangerous dog, it is imperative that you treat any injuries right away. If you do not recognize the dog, a rabies shot may be necessary. Try to obtain an accurate description of the dog and attack, including anything distinctive about the dog, the direction it came from or left toward, and whether anyone approached you and claimed ownership of the dog. The more details you remember about the incident, the easier it will be to obtain compensation for your 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) 500-BICE 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 When a Product is Recalled

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Kiddie is recalling nearly five million fire extinguishers sold online and at several national stores like Home Depot after reports that eleven Kiddie-brand extinguishers failed to discharge properly. This can obviously pose a risk to someone attempting to suppress a fire. Unfortunately, product recalls seem to be occurring with greater frequency. Whether the recall covers automobiles or clothing, children’s toys or fire extinguishers, there are certain steps consumers should take when they receive news of a product recall:

  • Remain calm. First, fight any urge you may have to panic or worry. The vast majority of recalls are voluntary recalls, meaning that the company has voluntarily agreed to recall the product. These recalls can occur even if no injuries have been reported.
  • Follow the instructions regarding the recall. Along with the recall notice (which identifies the precise product or products that are being recalled) there should be instructions included for what to do next. This can include returning the product to a local service center, returning the product through the mail, or discarding the defective product.
  • Check with family members to make sure no one was injured by the product. Make sure no one in your family was injured by the defective product. Sometimes an individual may use a defective product without even realizing the product has been recalled. This can result in injuries to that person.
  • If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, contact an experienced product liability attorney. There are three main types of defects: design defects (where a product is designed in a defective and dangerous manner), manufacturing defects (where a product as designed is safe to use, but something occurred in the manufacturing process to make the product dangerous), and instruction or warning defects (where there the instructions or warnings provided to consumers on how to use the product are defective or inadequate). In any event, if you or a loved one is injured by a defective product, attempt to preserve as much evidence as possible. Document facts about the injury and how it occurred, and attempt to keep the defective product so it can be examined.

It is generally advisable that you speak with a product liability attorney. Even in supposedly “clear” cases, holding the appropriate individuals and/or entities responsible can be difficult. Not only this, but recovering full compensation can require identifying all the parties who were responsible or contributed to the defect – some of which may not be readily apparent. A product liability attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.

Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law

At Bice Law, LLC, we are committed to helping those injured by defective products recover the compensation to which they are entitled. We do this by conducting a thorough investigation into the facts of your case, identifying those who are responsible, and aggressively advocating on your behalf. Contact us at (855) 5-BICE-LAW right away for help in recovering compensation after a product-related injury.

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Even Tripping at Work Can Be Compensated Through Workers’ Compensation

Charlotte, NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In two decisions handed down last month by the South Carolina Supreme Court, the court held that workers who suffer an injury at work – even if that same injury could have happened someone other than work – can receive workers’ compensation benefits.  In both cases, the injured plaintiffs had tripped and fallen while at work, suffering injuries. Both workers had their claims initially denied on the grounds that the workers’ accidents could have happened anywhere and there was nothing specific or notable about the walking surfaces or hallways that contributed to the accidents. But the South Carolina Supreme Court disagreed, holding that all that was required in order for a worker to receive benefits was a causal connection between a worker’s employment and his or her injuries.

Facts of the Cases

In the first case, an administrative assistant was walking down a hallway in order to check the e-mail of a co-worker when she tripped and fell. In the second case, a supervisor for the South Carolina Department of Social Services was walking to a meeting when she also tripped and fell in a hallway, suffering injuries. In the first instance, the administrative assistant’s claim was denied on the grounds that her employer was not to blame for her accident. The other woman’s claim was denied after a workers’ compensation commissioner found that the injury could have been sustained anywhere, and there was nothing special or noteworthy about the floor at her workplace that would have made a tripping accident more likely.

What Then Do I Need to Show to Get Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

In both instances, the South Carolina Supreme Court held that all that a workers’ compensation plaintiff must show in order to receive benefits is a “causal connection” between the plaintiff’s injuries and his or her employment. It does not matter how accident-prone the plaintiff is or whether the injury is of a kind that could also be suffered at home or at a grocery store (for instance).

In some cases, showing this connection is relatively straightforward. In each of the two cases, for example, the plaintiffs were injured while they were at their workplace and on their way to accomplish some work-related task. In other cases, however, showing the “causal connection” can be more difficult.

Do I Need a South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorney?

While you do not need a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney to file for benefits, retaining one can increase your chances of recovering benefits quickly. An attorney can review the facts of your claim and help you complete the necessary paperwork. If difficulties arise in your case – if, for instance, a commissioner states your injury is not work-related – an attorney can argue for benefits on your behalf.

When you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be concerned about your medical bills and how you will make ends meet without being able to work. We can help you recover the compensation and benefits you deserve. Contact Bice Law, LLC today at (855) 500-BICE.

 

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Childcare and Daycare Neglect

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

NBC Charlotte is reporting this week that a daycare center in Rock Hill, South Carolina is under investigation after a child at the center came home with unexplained scratches and marks around his nose and eyes.  The child’s mother alleges her child also had inexplicable bruising and that an employee of the daycare center caused the mystery injuries. The South Carolina Department of Social Services has launched a full inquiry into the treatment of children under the care and supervision of the center.

Unfortunately, the maltreatment of children by childcare and daycare centers does occur in this country, sometimes with catastrophic consequences for the child and their families.

What is childcare neglect?

The South Carolina’s statutory code governs childcare centers in this state. It provides the proper practices and standards by which all facilities and centers must abide, including licensing requirements and employee hiring guidelines.

When a childcare center, or one of its employees, fails to act with the reason and responsibility of an ordinary adult with regard to a child’s care, and a child is hurt or harmed, the center may be found negligent.  Further, criminal charges may be in order based on the circumstances of the case.

Failure to adhere to the statutory guidelines provided by the state listed within the statute may be enough to hold a childcare center negligent in their care of children. For example, if the center creates a dangerous playground environment or unsafe napping situation for a child, they may be held liable. Further, an inadequate hiring process that places children in the care of a dangerous individual may be considered childcare neglect.

How to recover for suspected childcare neglect?

South Carolina’s statutory code governing negligence controls recovery in childcare neglect cases. In order to establish that a childcare center was negligent, all four of the follow requirements much be demonstrated:

  1. A duty of care was owed to the child from the center;
  2. The center breached that duty of care;
  3. The breach of care by the center caused the child’s injury; and
  4. Damages were incurred.

If all four requirements are met, a family may be able to recover monetarily for the injuries sustained by the child.

Tips for Securing Safe Childcare for Children

Parents who practice common sense and keep their eyes open should have no problem securing safe and adequate care for their children.  Here are a few helpful tips for spotting a safe childcare center:

*Always take a tour of the center or facility prior to enrolling your child

*Interview the center’s staff and ask questions about their background

*Pay attention to the child-to-caregiver ratios at the center

*Find out what the licensing requirements for the centers are

*Ask your child about their day at the center and listen to how they respond

*Ask friends or family for childcare recommendations

Childcare neglect is a very serious allegation that carries very serious consequences.  Your children are so very precious to you and the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC understand that special relationship. If you or someone you know may have experienced childcare neglect or any other type of serious injury, contact an attorney today for a free consultation.

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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Recovering Damages After a Chemical Spill

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Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

A train derailed recently near Allendale, South Carolina, leaking some of the hazardous chemicals it was carrying. Although the spill did not result in any homes needing to be evacuated, a local plant was evacuated. In addition, two individuals on the train were injured. While this particular derailment did not appear to result in any serious injuries, these sorts of incidents can cause serious property damage, mandatory evacuations for private citizens, and lead to personal injuries and illnesses. After a train derailment, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney can help individuals affected by the derailment recover much-needed compensation.

Train Derailment Statistics

According to preliminary data from the Federal Railroad Administration Office of Safety Analysis, there were approximately 10,804 total train accidents or incidents in 2014.  This number is higher than 2013’s total of 10,524 accidents and incidents and even higher than 2012’s total of 10,175. This included a total of 1,124 instances of derailment.

There are a number of situations that can cause a train to derail. In many of these situations, the negligence of one or more parties contributes to or even causes the derailment. Common causes of derailment include:

  • Poorly maintained tracks;
  • Collisions with other trains or vehicles on the track;
  • Improper switch alignment;
  • Mechanical failures of the train engine or rail cars;
  • Failure to remove obstacles and obstructions from train tracks; and
  • Excessive speed during poor weather conditions.

Damages Following a Train Derailment

A train derailment can upend the lives of individuals and families, leaving them with significant losses. These individuals and families can receive compensation for their damages. For instance, monetary damages are available for:

  • Personal injuries;
  • Illnesses contracted as a result of a spill;
  • Property damage;
  • Impairment of earning capacity;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Lost wages;
  • Time away from home due to an evacuation; and
  • Wrongful death.

Recovering Damages After a Train Derailment Can Be Difficult

Recovering compensation after a train derailment can be difficult for a number of reasons:

  • Depending on the exact circumstances of the derailment, there may be federal laws that apply and supersede state laws. This can affect things such as how a claim for damages must be brought, what would constitute negligence in the case, and what sort of recovery is available.
  • Many railroad companies and those that do business on and around railroad tracks employ dedicated lawyers tasked with limiting the liability of the company. This means that they may try to pressure victims into accepting settlements that are far less than the damages these victims suffered.
  • Because of the technical nature of these claims, important evidence and witnesses can be lost if prompt action is not taken immediately following a derailment.

 

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 <a href="http://www discount levitra online.bicelaw.us/contact/”> personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

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Injured on the Job?  File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Charlotte, NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

An injury at work can happen in any industry at any time. On Sunday, for example, a Columbia, South Carolina firefighter was injured when the fire truck in which he was riding overturned. The firefighter was taken to the hospital and was listed as being in stable condition. Workers’ compensation is available to compensate workers who are injured on the job. In order to recover workers’ compensation benefits, however, an injured worker should take several steps:

  • First, the injury needs to be reported to the worker’s employer as soon as possible after the injury is sustained. While your first priority should be obtaining medical treatment for any life-threatening injuries as soon as possible, most employers require that an injury sustained on the job be reported within 24 hours. When reporting the injury to your employer, include as many details about the accident as possible such as where you were when the accident happened, who may have witnessed the accident, and whether any third party may have been involved.
  • Submit yourself to examination and treatment by the workers’ compensation carrier’s doctor. You may be notified by your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier that you are to visit a particular doctor for examination and treatment. If you receive such notification, you should report as directed. Failure to submit to an examination or treatment at the request of the insurance carrier can result in denial of your workers’ compensation claim.
  • Preserve as much evidence of the accident as possible, especially if a third party (another contractor, for example) contributed to your accident. This can include the names, contact information, and notes from witnesses who observed the accident, photographs of the accident scene and what it is that injured you, and any medical records you can obtain that describe the extent of your injuries and/or the treatment you have received.
  • Speak with a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. Although you do not need an attorney to file for or receive workers’ compensation benefits, it is not uncommon for meritorious claims to be delayed or initially denied for technical reasons. Enlisting the support of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help ensure the proper paperwork is correctly filed so that you receive the full benefits to which you are entitled quickly.

These same steps should be followed if you believe you have become ill due to a workplace condition or hazard.

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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Legalization of Marijuana May Increase Rates of “Driving While High”

A recent news story projected that it is likely that legalized possession of marijuana will make its way to North Carolina. Colorado and Washington already allow the recreational sale and use of marijuana, and Alaska and Oregon are planning to phase in legalization later this year. Not only this, but twenty-three states – including North Carolina – have decriminalized simple possession of marijuana or possession of marijuana for medical purposes.

Advocates on both sides have debated and will continue to debate the effects of marijuana compared with the effects of other substances such as alcohol. But even if legalization of marijuana does occur, driving while high will continue to be prohibited under the law and can result in civil liability should an accident result.

Effects of “Driving While High”

Studies are ongoing to determine the impact of marijuana use on driving behaviors. Most studies (even those in favor of the relaxation of marijuana use and possession laws) agree that marijuana consumption has some effect on a person’s driving capabilities, although the exact extent of this effect is debated. It is generally agreed that, at the very least, marijuana consumption delays a person’s judgment and reflexes. This means that it takes a person who has used marijuana a greater amount of time to react to hazards and obstacles in the road than a driver who has not used marijuana.

Is “Driving While High” Reasonable?

If a driver who has consumed marijuana causes an accident, holding the driver responsible for the injuries that result requires showing that the driver acted “unreasonably” by consuming marijuana and then driving. Some studies suggest that a driver who has ingested marijuana is liable to drive more slowly and cautiously than a sober driver. Does this mean that a driver who has consumed marijuana and then caused a crash can argue he or she drove more reasonable and thus should not be held civilly liable?

The determination of what is “reasonable” or “prudent” depends on the norms of society. While a slight majority of Americans approve of the legalization of marijuana (according to some polls), so long as the majority of Americans believe it is not reasonable or appropriate for a person to consume a substance that can potentially impair his or her judgment, a driver under the influence of marijuana who causes a crash will likely have a very difficult time convincing a judge or jury that he or she acted reasonably (and thus should not be held civilly liable for damages) by consuming marijuana and then driving.

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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When You are Injured by a Public Employee

In a typical personal injury lawsuit, the defendant – the person or entity accused of negligently injuring another – is generally a private individual or business. But consider the recent story of Columbia Police Department investigator Tyrone Pugh. In the early morning hours of January 19, video footage emerged that appeared to show Pugh punching an unidentified man who had been lying face-down on the ground. Undoubtedly, the unidentified man suffered injuries as a result of the altercation. But as a police officer, Pugh is a public employee. Suppose the unidentified man wanted to bring a personal injury lawsuit against Pugh for the injuries he suffered; can the man do so?

The Importance of State Tort Claims Acts

Ancient legal principles that generally held that the government and those that act on behalf of the government could not be sued. This principle – referred to as “sovereign immunity” – meant that the government could not be sued unless it specifically consented to be sued. In modern times, states like South Carolina have enacted statutes (called the “South Carolina Tort Claims Act”)  that specifically allow tort claims like personal injury suits to be brought against government agencies and their employees.

Although the existence of these tort claims acts means those like the unidentified man can old governments and government employees liable for the injuries they cause, these acts usually contain specific instructions about how these claims must be brought. A violation of these instructions can mean the dismissal of your case.

How Do I Bring a Suit Against the Government in South Carolina?

Although a personal injury attorney is not required, it is very helpful to have the assistance of an attorney familiar with bringing cases under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act if you intend to sue the state, a county government, a city government, or a government employee. The basic steps are as follows:

First, a claim must be filed with the agency or entity that committed the wrong. In the case of the unidentified man, his claim would be filed with the City of Columbia government since Pugh was an officer and employee of the city. This claim is usually filed on an official form and is submitted directly to the agency or entity. The person who was injured has one year from the date of the injury to file this claim. If the person waits too long to file the claim, he or she may be barred from obtaining any sort of compensation or recovery from the government entity.

Next, the agency or entity has 180 days to either approve or deny the claim. During this time the injured party must wait until the agency acts.

Finally, if the claim is denied or no response is received within 180 days, the injured party can bring a suit in court.

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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