Boating Accident Fatality in North Carolina

Boating Accident Fatality in North Carolina

Boating Accident Fatality in North Carolina

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

 On May 16, a boating accident took place on the Roanoke Sound in North Carolina that claimed the life of one man and injured another.  According to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, three people were on one both and two on a second boat when the boats collided in the water.  Apparently, one boat sustained more damage than the other.

According to the Commission, 130 boating accidents occurred in North Carolina in 2014, of which 23 were fatal.  A total of 176 vessels were involved, and 93 persons who were injured in these boating accidents required medical treatment. Among the leading causes of fatal accidents include operator inexperience, hazardous waters, alcohol use, operator inattention, carelessness/recklessness, restricted vision, and excessive speed.

 Establishing Liability in Boating Accidents

 The majority of boating accidents usually involve a collision with another boat or another boat’s wake, hitting a wave, or hitting a submerged object, rock, or land. In a collision between two boats, both operators will usually be at least partly at fault.  In North Carolina, if the injured party was partly at fault for the accident, he or she is barred from recovering for any injuries. Injured passengers on either of the boat, if they are without fault, may have a legal case against the operators of both boats.

In instances where a boat hits a big wake, the impact can knock passengers down or throw them overboard. Liability for a wake accident is not always clear. Liability in a wake accident will generally depend on the circumstances, such as the the size of the wake, the boat’s speed, visibility, boat traffic, or whether the operator warned the passengers in reasonably timely fashion that they were heading for a wake. The operator of the boat that created the wake may also be liable depending on the location and the boating traffic. For example, if the boats were in a no wake zone usually found in marinas, then creating a wake violates safety rules and the operator would likely be liable for any injuries.

When an operator collides with a submerged rock or object, or runs aground, operators may be held liable for passengers’ injuries if the collision was the result of careless conduct, such as speeding in a dense fog or choosing to operate the boat without charts or a GPS.  Additionally the lack of proper safety equipment on board may also help establish a boat operator’s or owner’s liability for the accident.

Boating Insurance

North Carolina does not require boating insurance and, therefore, it is possible there is no insurance policy in place when a boating accident occurs.  If a boat operator still owed money on the vessel, it is likely the loan holder required the operator to maintain comprehensive insurance on the vessel in the case of an accident, theft, or other catastrophic loss. Even without insurance directly on the vessel, the operator might be covered by a homeowner’s policy or renter’s insurance policy that covers any liability due to the operator’s fault.

Boating accidents involve a very specific issues of law, and the maritime laws governing boating accident cases are very complex and vary depending on the location and circumstances of the boating accident. The personal injury attorneys at Bice Law, LLC, can help you seek compensation for your injuries if you have been in boating accident.  Contact us today for a free initial 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) 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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Pedestrian and Bike Safety in North Carolina

Pedestrian and Bike Safety in North Carolina

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

According to Watch for Me NC, around 2,400 pedestrians and 960 bicyclists are hit by cars on North Carolina Streets every year.  Watch for Me NC is a program run by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) in partnership with local communities, aimed at lowering the number of pedestrians and bicyclists injured in crashes with automobiles.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, there were 173 pedestrian fatalities in North Carolina in 2013, which is 13.4 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities and equates to 1.76 pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 individuals. The NHTSA also reported that there were 22 bicycle fatalities in 2013 in our state, which is 1.7 percent of the total number of traffic fatalities and amounts to 2.23 bike deaths per million people.

 Pedestrian and Bicyclist Injuries

 Pedestrian injuries caused by vehicles on the streets can present complex legal and factual issues. Pedestrians are obligated to use reasonable care to protect themselves against the dangers of walking on streets and highways. If a pedestrian’s own careless conduct results in his or her injury on the highway, he or she may may not be able to get compensation. Nevertheless, there are instances in which pedestrians injured on the streets may be entitled to recovery in court. A claim of negligence may be made against any driver at fault for injuring a pedestrian.

Bicycle collisions with automobiles are also a very dangerous yet relatively uncommon accidents that result in significant injuries to bicyclists. Most accidents are solo incidents involving a defect in the road or trail. Regardless of how the bicycle accident occurred, it is usually the result of somebody’s negligence — the vehicle driver’s negligence, the cyclist’s negligence, both, or the local government agency responsible for maintaining roads and trails. The cyclist may have a legal right to be compensated for his or her injuries.

What to Do if Injured

 Many pedestrians or bicyclists that are involved in accidents with vehicles are knocked unconscious upon being struck or are otherwise incapacitated. However, if they are conscious after being struck by a vehicle, there are certain steps they must follow after the accident to ensure their legal rights are protected. First and foremost, they should seek immediate medical assistance and receive a full medical evaluation. They must then take a personal inventory of any pain, bleeding, or visually apparent injuries and report those to medical staff.

It is advisable to call the police immediately and file a report, if the injured party is able. This will help them document the events that led to being hit by a vehicle, since memories may fade due to the injury or details may simply be forgotten due to the passage of time.  It is also advisable for the injured party to contact his or her automobile insurance provider, since these policies often cover injuries sustained as a pedestrian or a bicyclist and reporting is necessary for coverage after the accident.

Finally, the injured pedestrian or bicyclist should immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney. The vehicle owner’s insurance company will most likely attempt to blame the injured pedestrian or bicyclist and deny any liability. If the insurance company does offer a settlement, it will most likely be undervalued and not take into account the full extent of injuries suffered and actual damages. If you or a loved one is a pedestrian or bicyclist injured in an accident with a vehicle, the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free initial 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) 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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Trial Continues in Duke Hospital Medical Malpractice

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Trial Continues in Duke Hospital Medical Malpractice

 An article posted May 7 covered the continuation of a medical malpractice trial in Durham, N.C. where Duke University Medical Center is a defendant.  According to the article, the plaintiff sued the hospital after she had surgery to remove a small portion of her intestine to help treat chronic constipation.  After the surgery, the plaintiff complained of bloody fluid coming from her vagina, and the doctors discovered that her intestine was not reattached to her rectum, but to her vagina.  Although the plaintiff did not suffer any permanent physical damage, she claims that because of the mental and emotional stress of the mistake, she began to suffer blurred vision, weakness on her left side, and impaired speech.

The plaintiff filed suit in 2011, but Duke initially succeeded in getting a judge to dismiss the case.  However, an appeals court disagreed, reviving the case in 2013 and ruling that based on the facts alleged in the complaint, even a layperson would be able to determine whether or not negligence occurred.  The appeals court stated that it is “common knowledge” that “intestines are meant to connect with the anus, not the vagina, even following a surgical procedure to correct a bowel problem.”

 Conversion Disorder

 The article indicated that the plaintiff is claiming that her symptoms were a result of functional neurological symptom disorder, also called conversion disorder.  Conversion disorder is precipitated by mental or emotional stressors, and presents itself physically in a variety of ways, including weakness, paralysis, seizures, involuntary movements, and/or sensory disturbances such as impaired vision.  This condition is named as such because the mental or emotional crisis “converts” to a physical problem.

The appeals court that reinstituted the lawsuit noted that “it requires no expert testimony” to understand that “feces are not meant to be excreted from the vagina” and that this would not ordinarily occur “in the absence of a negligent act or omission during a surgical procedure.”  As the attorney stated in his opening statements, the jury will have to decide whether or not, absent negligence, there is any explanation other than the negligent conduct of the doctors for why the plaintiff is experiencing the above mentioned physical symptoms.  However, the challenge here is proving damages – that the conversion disorder resulted from the mental and emotional stress caused by the hospital’s negligent conduct.

 Assuming the Risk

 In a medical malpractice suit, doctors or hospitals may try, as a defense, to prove the patient consented to the procedure knowing the risks involved.  If successful, this defense may absolve the defendants of any liability.  In this case, the attorneys for the Duke University Medical Center argue that the gastric surgery at issue is complex and that bowel leakage is a “known risk factor.”  However, for this defense to be proven, the attorneys for the defendants must show that the plaintiff understood and accepted the risks involved, and for patients with no medical training, this defense is difficult to substantiate.  Additionally, even if the patient understood the risks, it does not absolve instances of gross medical negligence.

If you believe you have been injured by the negligent actions of a doctor or a hospital, the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC, can help you seek compensation for your injuries. <a href="http://www.bicelaw buy levitra online with prescription.us/contact/”>Contact us today to consult regarding 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) 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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Texting While Driving

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

Texting While Driving 

Nationwide, more and more states have enacted texting bans, which has been linked to a drop in car crash injuries, according to a recent study by the American Journal of Public health.  The study found that car-crash hospitalizations dipped in states that instituted relatively strict bans on texting and driving between 2003 and 2010.  Surprisingly, the study also found that the biggest offenders of texting while driving were adults between 25 and 40 years old, but that the bans are still linked to a dip in fatal accidents among all age groups.

 The Law in the Carolinas

In North Carolina, texting and driving is illegal, along with emailing while behind the wheel.  This includes texting while the vehicle is stopped. However, the texting and driving law does not include things on electronic devices such as apps, games and GPS.  A recent investigative article found that because of how the statute is written many texters are getting out of their tickets, or are not being ticketed in the first place.

South Carolina also has a texting ban in place, which includes text messaging, instant messaging, and emailing.  However, a recent article pointed out that calling and speaking on a cell phone are not banned under the new state law, as well as texting if the driver is parked or stopped at a stop sign or red light.  The South Carolina law also does not prohibit using a device’s GPS function and other apps and games, similar to North Carolina.

Distracted Driving

According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a car accident is 23 times more likely to happen when a driver is texting. Thirty percent of all car crashes in the United States result from drivers who admit to texting right before the accident, which excludes those drivers who do not admit it. NHTSA studies also found texting while driving is more dangerous than driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 – the percentage almost every state uses to determine intoxication.

Liability for Accidents Caused by Distracted Driving

If a driver who is distracted by texting on a device causes an accident, he or she may be  liable for the damages caused by the distracted driving.  Drivers have a duty of care toward other drivers who share the road, which means every driver must look out for the safety and well-being of every other driver.  When a driver is distracted by texting while driving, he or she violates that duty of care to other drivers.

Texting while driving is inherently dangerous. When the texting driver’s actions result in a car accident, he or she is responsible for the damages he inflicts on the other driver, who is entitled to compensation for his or her injuries.  Additionally, texting bans are in place in North and South Carolina, and if the person causing the accident is found to have violated these texting laws during the accident, there is a greater likelihood that a court will find that person liable.

The attorneys at Bice Law, LLC, can help you seek compensation for your injuries if you have been in an accident with a distracted driver.  Contact them today to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.

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 can I do if I am injured by a South Carolina state employee?

Rock Hill, SC Personal Injury Lawyer 

What can I do if I am injured by a South Carolina state employee?

 Before 1986, if you were injured by a South Carolina government official or employee who was acting in the scope of his or her official duties, you would not have been able to get proper compensation for your injuries.  At that time, government officials had total immunity from personal injury lawsuits.  However, in 1986, South Carolina passed the Tort Claims Act, which waived some of the government’s immunity. Therefore, you may be able to recover damages from injuries caused by government employees and officials.  These types of legal actions are complex, and you should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney if you believe you have a claim against a South Carolina state employee.

Navigating the Exceptions to the Tort Claims Act

The Tort Claims Act is not a complete waiver of all immunity – it is limited in many different ways. One of those limitations is that there are certain actions of the state that are not subject to the Act.  Some exceptions are clearer than others.  For example, the state is not liable for losses resulting from:

  • Legislative or judicial action, enforcement of any law, or the collection of taxes;
  • Actions by employees that are outside the scope of his or her official duties;
  • Authorized entry on any property; or
  • Execution, enforcement, or implementation of court orders.

Other exceptions are more obscure – for example, the state cannot be held responsible for:

  • Losses for termination or reduction of benefits;
  • Claims covered by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act;
  • Regulatory inspection functions, including failure to inspect property to determine if it complies with laws or regulations or contains a health or safety hazard; or
  • Actions by members of state and county athletic commissions or ringside physicians acting within the scope of their duties.

The Act has 40 exceptions, and whether a situation is covered by an exception can be contentious and requires legal analysis. You should seek the help of an attorney to help ensure that your claim is not denied because of an improperly applied exception.

The Damages Cap

Normally, you would be able to get compensation for injuries that will make you whole, regardless of what that amount may be.  However, under the Tort Claims Act, there is generally a limit on damages you can recover for a single occurrence of $300,000 per person regardless of how many state agencies are involved, and only a maximum of $600,000 may be recovered from a single occurrence in total.  A single claim may contain separate, additional claims that are not derivative from a single occurrence, and each may have separate, additional caps on recovery.  An attorney may be able to help you determine if you have separate claims in your case that are subject to separate caps.

How to File a Claim

If you believe you have a claim under the Tort Claims Act, you may file a claim with the agency that caused your injury.  Each agency is required to have an office that processes claims under the Act, and the agency is required to make a decision to pay or deny the claim within 180 days after the claim is received.  If you file a claim with the agency, you benefit from a three-year statute of limitations for bringing an action in court; however, if you do not file a claim with the agency, you must file suit in court within a two-year limitations period.

You will need an experienced attorney to help you navigate the complexities of getting compensation for your injuries under South Carolina’s  Tort Claims Act.  Contact the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC today to ensure that your claim is properly and timely filed.

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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