The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine: A Risk for Homeowners

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine: A Risk for Homeowners

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine: A Risk for Homeowners

Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer

 Childhood is usually a wondrous time of discovery and exploration. It is enjoyable to see the look on a child’s face when he or she is learning about something for the first time.

However, it is not always enjoyable from a legal perspective. It can be problematic when a child wanders onto a homeowner’s property and gets injured in the process of exploring. This area of law is referred to as the attractive nuisance doctrine, and could lead to a homeowner being liable for injuries a child sustains on his property.

This doctrine, created in the 19th century, requires homeowners to exercise reasonable care to protect children, particularly those who trespass onto the homeowners’ property, against harm.  The homeowner is required to take precautions with items or areas that would entice a child to enter onto the property.

What Leads to a Cause of Action Under this Doctrine?

 In order to show cause under this doctrine, the homeowner/defendant must know or have reason to know that children are likely to come onto his or her property, and must know that an unreasonably dangerous condition exists on the property. In addition, it must be shown that the child would not be able to discover or appreciate the risk imposed by the condition.

Other elements to show are whether maintaining the condition and the burden of eliminating it are less than the potential risk to children and whether the defendant/homeowner failed to reasonably care and make safe conditions on his or her property.

What Constitutes an Attractive Nuisance?

The next question on most people’s minds is what exactly constitutes an attractive nuisance?  Swimming pools are often enticing to children – easy access, plus an awareness there are children nearby could pose a risk. Machinery such as lawnmowers and other tools that are left unattended can also be problematic. Wells, sheds, treehouses and other structures can all appeal to an unsuspecting child who is seeking to satisfy his curiosity and might not be aware of any risk in doing so.

Modern Application

Many states have abolished the traditional attractive nuisance elements and simply utilize premises liability law or have a statute that defines specific rules for homeowners. For example, many states have a statute that requires a fence or other security measures be placed around a pool. Failing to comply with such a statute can often lead to liability for injuries.

In general, premises liability law focuses on whether a homeowner was negligent and failed to exercise reasonable care with regards to dangers on his or her property. The approach here assigns a duty to the homeowner to warn of known and latent dangers which are not known to a child and which the child could not reasonably discover on his or her own.

The age of a child is often considered when determining whether he or she is able to appreciate a possible risk. For example, most children, even those very young, know that fire is dangerous.  However, there are other risks that teenagers may understand, but a younger child may not.

Get Legal Help

If you or a loved one was harmed on another’s property, be sure to reach out to an injury lawyer today to learn about your rights. For experienced counsel in North or South Carolina, contact us as Bice Law, LLC today to ensure you receive the fair compensation you need to help your road to recovery.

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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Uninsured Employers Fined Extensively in 2015 in North Carolina

Uninsured Employers Fined Extensively in 2015 in North Carolina

Charlotte, NC Attorney

According to an article by the Raleigh News and Observer, the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which has the responsibility to enforce the state’s workers’ compensation laws, targeted employers who failed to carry proper workers’ compensation insurance. According to the article, the agency collected nearly $1 million in civil fines from uninsured companies and charged 100 employers with misdemeanors for willingly going without coverage. If you were injured at work and are seeking to file a workers’ compensation claim in North or South Carolina, should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney such as Justin Bice of the law firm of Bice Law, LLC.

In North Carolina, any employer with three or more employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance at no cost to the workers. This applies to both full and part-time workers. Those employers who do not carry required insurance can be fined up to $100 a day for each day without coverage, and an additional fine equal to the injured workers’ medical bills and disability payments may also be assessed.

Increased Fraud Detection Capacity

According to the article, the Industrial Commission’s fraud detection has been made possible by software that combines data from several state agencies. For years, the Industrial Commission had apparently worked in a silo and was not receiving or sharing information with other departments responsible for ensuring that companies followed the law. However, it is now able to mine several databases to detect inconsistencies that suggests a problem with workers’ compensation coverage. This is a huge leap from its previous state before 2012, when the agency failed to ensure that the state’s employers carried proper coverage. Data from that time indicated that as many as 30,000 employers in the state who were required to purchase workers’ compensation did not do so. The commission is now trying to correct that problem. Last year, the agency investigated nearly 2,000 cases involving potential lack of coverage, and those efforts brought 800 companies into compliance. In the same year, it ruled that 71 workers were injured while working for employers without proper workers’ compensation insurance.

Investigations Last Year

During the last 18 months, investigators for the commission apparently visited business in six North Carolina counties that were suspected to have no workers’ compensation insurance coverage. The agency targeted these companies because they had a prior claim involving an injured workers, which is an indicator that the company knew or should have known that it had a duty to carry such insurance. After those investigations, the agency issued 100 charges, all misdemeanors, against the company owners. The charges were dismissed by prosecutors if the employer bought insurance and came to court to prove it.

Additionally, North Carolina’s governor issued an executive order placing the Commission in charge of coordinating how various state agencies respond to information about businesses that might be cheating. He charged each agency to enforce its rules and issue appropriate sanctions.

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered a compensable work injury, the attorneys at Bice Law, LLC can help you navigate the complex process of filing a workers’ compensation claim. 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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Proposed Revamped Mandatory Training for Truck and Bus Drivers

Proposed Revamped Mandatory Training for Truck and Bus Drivers

Charlotte, NC Attorney

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed a new set of comprehensive training requirements for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators who are seeking a commercial driver’s license. These proposed standards were contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that purports to represent the recommendations of a committee consisting of FMCSA representatives and 25 stakeholders. It is currently posted, and the agency is collecting public comments.

These new training requirements are important towards helping prevent commercial truck accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney such as Justin Bice of the law firm of Bice Law, LLC.

Entry-Level Driver Training Requirements

The proposed rule would first require an individual to complete a mandatory driving practice training program prior to taking a commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test. The training program must be provided by a trainer provider who appears on FMCSA’s training provider registry and is appropriate to the license for which the individual is applying. Required individuals would include those applying for an initial CDL, an upgrade of their CDL, a hazardous materials, passenger, or school bus endorsement for their license, or someone seeking reinstatement of their CDL.

Those exempted from these requirements would include military drivers, farmers, and firefighters. Additionally, restricted CDL applicants such as drivers from Alaska, farm-related service industries, and the pyrotechnic industry, would be exempted from these proposed requirements.

Required Training Hours

The proposed rule would require Class A CDL driver-trainees to receive a minimum of thirty hours of behind-the-wheel training. With a minimum of ten hours on a driving range. They would also be required to drive on a public road, which Class A CDL driver-trainees may fulfill by either driving for ten hours on a public road, or ten public road trips each no less than fifty minutes long.

As to Class B driver-trainees, they would be required to receive a minimum of fifteen hours of behind-the-wheel training. At a minimum, they would be required to log seven hours of public road driving.

Training providers, at a minimum, would have to offer and teach a training curriculum that meets all FMCSA standards for entry-level drivers and would have to also meet requirements related to: course administration, qualifications for instructional personnel, assessments, issuance of training certificates, and training vehicles. Training providers that meet these requirements would be eligible for listing with FMCSA and would have to continue to meet the eligibility requirements in order to stay listed with the agency. Also, training providers would have to attest that they meet the specified requirements, and in the event of an FMCSA audit or investigation of the provider, would have to supply documentary evidence to verify their compliance.

Commercial truck drivers will be held to higher standards if these proposed training requirements become required. They are aimed at reducing accidents involving commercial trucks, which occur with alarming frequency nationwide. If you are considering filing a suit for injuries suffered in a large truck accident in North or South Carolina, Bice Law, LLC can provide you with the expertise and effective advocacy you need to pursue your case and obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at (855) 500-BICE or by submitting our online form.

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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Driving Drowsy: Liability for Falling Asleep at the Wheel

Driving Drowsy: Liability for Falling Asleep at the Wheel

Charlotte, NC Attorney

One very common cause of serious car accidents is when a driver falls asleep while driving. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), each year, more than 100,000 police-reported car accidents result from drivers who fall asleep. Of those accidents, more than 1,600 cause fatalities, and more than 72,000 cause serious injuries. The actual number is probably much higher since not everyone reports all drowsy-driving accidents. Similarly, a Farmers Insurance Company survey states that almost three times as many men (15.9% as women (5.8%) said they had fallen asleep at the wheel, and those ages 55 to 64 had the highest percentage of any age group surveyed (13.7%).

If you or a loved one has been injured in car accident potentially involving a driver who fell asleep at the wheel, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney such as Justin Bice of the law firm of Bice Law, LLC.

Liability of Individuals Who Fall Asleep at the Wheel

All drivers have a legal duty of care to drive safely while and to help ensure the safety and well-being of others. Failing this legal duty of care results in liability for any corresponding accidents that occur. Establishing liability when a driver is speeding, driving recklessly, texting and driving, or driving while intoxicated are clear examples of failing this duty of care or negligence. However, when it comes to falling asleep while driving, proving negligence is a more complicated endeavor. Unless a driver admits to falling asleep at the wheel and causing the accident, plaintiffs will find it difficult to gather enough evidence to prove liability. This is usually a case built on circumstantial evidence.

Police reports are an important part of the potential case for liability. The police will interview all drivers and record statements, including any admissions of falling asleep at the wheel. Witnesses may also provide statements indicating whether they saw another driver nod off.

Additionally, in many cases the accident location together with the point of impact can provide proof of liability. If a driver who nodded off collided with a vehicle in another lane, that may support the conclusion that drowsiness caused him or her to drift into another lane. Additionally, the absence of skid marks may serve as evidence that the driver didn’t try to correct the trajectory of the vehicle. Without a legitimate excuse for a lane change accident, the burden passes to that driver to prove he or she did not fall asleep.

If there are any traffic videos, it may show that the driver’s turn signals were not on, which is additional circumstantial evidence he or she was asleep and did not give notice of the intent to move into another lane. If there is any proof that the driver was driving for long distances, such as an out-of-state driver’s license or luggage inside the vehicle, that may also serve as evidence of liability. Additional such evidence includes road maps, coolers, packages of no-doz or other stimulants, used coffee cups, pillows and blankets, food wrappers, etc.

Contacting an Experienced Accident Attorney

The assistance of experienced legal counsel will be crucial in proving liability for these kinds of accidents. These are fact-intensive cases that require extensive investigation, evidence-gathering, and analysis. If necessary, seasoned legal representation will be necessary in court, if a case goes to trial. If you are considering filing a suit for injuries suffered in an accident with drowsy drivers in North or South Carolina, Bice Law, LLC can provide you with the expertise and effective advocacy you need to pursue your case and obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at (855) 500-BICE or by submitting our online form.

 

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Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Port Authority Fatal Accident

Wrongful Death Suit Filed in Port Authority Fatal Accident

Fort Mill, SC Attorney

The widow of a deceased truck driver filed a wrongful death suit against the South Carolina State Ports Authority, according to an article by the Post and Courier. The driver, Derek Boyd, died following an accident at the North Charleston Terminal of the State Ports Authority. Boyd was apparently working to secure a cargo container to his truck when he was hit by another truck at the terminal and sustained head injuries. The other truck left the scene afterward. Boyd was transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina, where he was pronounced dead. The suit alleges that Boyd’s death was the result of negligence by the State Ports Authority and its employees, but the company denies any wrongdoing and has asked the state court to dismiss the case.

Wrongful death suits are not only emotionally taxing for those involved, but they also involve a lot of procedural and legal complexities. If you are seeking to bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of a deceased loved one, you should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney such as Justin Bice of the law firm of Bice Law, LLC.

Suits Against South Carolina State Entities and Employees

States are normally immune from civil actions brought against it. However, many states have waived its immunity to allow lawsuits, with some limitations. In South Carolina, the South Carolina Tort Claims Act allows government entities such as the State Ports authority to be held liable civil suits, including wrongful death suits.

There are limitations under the act. South Carolina government entities are not liable for a loss resulting from legislative or judicial action, enforcement of any law, or the collection of taxes. Other curious limitations are that the state of South Carolina cannot be held responsible for losses due to natural snow or ice conditions on any public way, failure “to provide the method of providing police or fire protection,” or the “absence, condition, or malfunction of any sign, signal, warning device, illumination device, guardrail, or median barrier” unless the problem is not corrected by the government entity responsible for its maintenance “within a reasonable time after actual or constructive notice.” In fact, there are nearly 40 exceptions to the state’s waiver of immunity.

More importantly, a restrictive limitation under the Act is the cap on damages: A single person for a single occurrence can only recover up to $300,000.

Higher Standard of Gross Negligence

Under the South Carolina Tort Claims Act, government agencies are not liable for losses resulting from their responsibilities or duties unless such responsibilities are exercised in a grossly negligent manner. Gross negligence is shown by an intentional conscious failure to do something which is incumbent on one to do or doing something intentionally that one should not do. Gross negligence is a higher standard, and is more difficult to prove than normal negligence.

Bice Law, LLC, can help you seek compensation by filing a wrongful death suit on your behalf if your loved one died because of another person or company’s negligence in North or South Carolina. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at (855) 500-BICE or by submitting our online form. Consulting an attorney as early as possible in your case can make difference, so do not hesitate to contact us 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) 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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Hit and Run Car Accidents in South Carolina

Hit and Run Car Accidents in South Carolina

 Fort Mill, SC Attorney

When a person is involved in a vehicle accident and leaves the scene without providing assistance or the required identifying information, he or she may face both civil and criminal liability for a hit and run accident. Recently, in Aiken County, South Carolina, local news reported that a 15-year old teenager died from multiple trauma due to being hit by a vehicle. The driver of the SUV involved left the scene without rendering assistance. He was arrested shortly thereafter.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a hit and run accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You should seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney such as Justin Bice of the law firm of Bice Law, LLC.

Duties to Provide Information and Render Aid

Relevant provisions of South Carolina statutes require that the driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in damage to a vehicle or other property that is driven or attended to by another person stop and provide his or her name, address, registration number of the vehicle he or she is driving and, if requested and available, his or her license or permit to drive. If the property owner or operator is not present to receive the driver’s information, then the driver is required to leave a conspicuous written notice containing his or her name and address and a statement of the circumstances for the accident.

If the crash results in injury to another person, including a passenger, South Carolina statute requires that the driver stop immediately, provide his or her name, address, registration information, and driver’s license. Additionally, the driver must render reasonable aid to the injured person by transporting, or making arrangements for the transportation, of the person to a medical professional for medical or surgical treatment, if the need is apparent or the injured person requests assistance.

Personal Injury Suit for Hit and Run Accident

In addition to the potential criminal penalties, a civil personal injury suit is also possible in a hit and run accident against the responsible driver. This occurs separately from the criminal prosecution and is intended to provide hit and run victims with compensation for injuries, pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. In addition to compensatory damages, victims of hit and run crashes are also more likely to be able to obtain punitive damages from the offending driver. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter similar conduct in the future, and in hit and run cases, showing the kind of conduct that deserves punitive damages is easier because of the affirmative failure to render assistance that is needed.

Hit and run accidents that result in injuries and damages can result in complicated court proceedings involving separate criminal and civil proceedings over the same accident. If you are considering filing a suit for injuries suffered in a hit and run accident in North or South Carolina, Bice Law, LLC can provide you with the expertise and effective advocacy you need to pursue your case and obtain compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at (855) 500-BICE or by submitting our online form.

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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When an Injury Incurred While Traveling to Work is Compensable

When an Injury Incurred While Traveling to Work is Compensable

Fort Mill, SC Attorney

Generally, if an employee suffers an injury or accident while traveling to or from work, that injury is considered outside the course and scope of his or her employment and, therefore, not compensable under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation scheme.  However, there are certain exceptions to this rule that will bring an injury within the scope of one’s employment. If you suffered an injury that you believe is work-related and want to file a claim for workers’ compensation in North or South Carolina, you should consult with a seasoned attorney such as Justin Bice of the law firm of Bice Law, LLC.

Death on the Way to Work

The South Carolina Court of Appeals recently considered the exceptions to the so-called “going to and coming from work rule” in the case of Wofford v. City of Spartanburg. The worker in this case was a superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City of Spartanburg who died in a motorcycle accident while traveling from his mother’s home to one of the city’s recreation centers. Mr. Wofford’s widow and surviving child filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, and the City of Spartanburg denied the claim because the accident and injury occurred while the worker was traveling to work and, therefore, not compensable. The City found that none of the exceptions to this rule applied. Additionally, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission found that even if Wofford was in the course and scope of his employment when the accident occurred, his initial trip to his mother’s house was a substantial deviation from his usual route to work, which brought him outside of the scope of his employment. The mother apparently testified that her home was in the opposite direction of Wofford’s workplace and that he was at her house for approximately three hours before he left telling her that he was on his way to work.

 

On appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals, the claimant argued, in a general way, that Wofford was on a “special task or errand” when he had his accident because he was going to retrieve something as requested by his supervisor. The Court of Appeals affirmed the Commission’s denial, stating that the task he was requested to perform were within Wofford’s typical job responsibilities.

Five Exceptions to the Travelling to and From Work Rule

As the court explained, workers who are injured traveling to and from work are generally outside the scope of activities that would be covered under South Carolina’s Workers’ Compensation statute. However, there are five exceptions to this rule:

  • The injured employee is in a company vehicle, or the time spent therein is considered compensable time;
  • The injured worker is assigned a work-related task during his or her travel to or from the workplace;
  • The injured worker was required to travel through an inherently dangerous way to the workplace, which is either the only way or the way that the employer built and maintained;
  • The worker was injured in close proximity to the workplace and the worker was required to use that way to go to and from the workplace;
  • The worker suffered an injury while performing a special task, service, mission or errand for his or her employer before or after usual working hours or on a day in which he or she usually does not work.

Determining whether an activity falls within one of these exceptions is a fact-intensive inquiry that requires extensive investigation and legal analysis. Bice Law, LLC can help you with the process of filing a claim for workers’ compensation in North or South Carolina. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling our toll-free number at (855) 500-BICE or by submitting our online form.

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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