October 2007

6-Year-Old Thrown From Van In Charlotte, North Carolina Sustains Serious Injuries

October 30, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Two young boys were thrown from a van in South Charlotte, North Carolina on Friday when the van collided with a car. Police say that the boys, two brothers ages 7 and 6, were not buckled in properly by the driver of the van that was hired by Charlotte-Mecklenberg School to transport the boys to and from school. The police also think that the driver could have been speeding.

Gavin, 6, had to undergo facial surgery.

Statistics show that seatbelts save many lives and prevent many others from suffering from serious injuries in motor vehicle crashes. Over 63% of people killed in motor vehicle collisions were not using seatbelts.

In North Carolina, any child younger than 8 years of age and weighing under 80 pounds has to wear a child restraint device that must be properly buckled. The CRD must meet federal standards of safety at the time it was manufactured.

Under the NC Child Passenger Safety Law, the driver of a motor vehicle is responsible for ensuring that a child younger than 16 is properly buckled up. Failure to do so can lead to penalties and personal injury liability if a child is injured or killed because he or she was not properly restrained.

Not only must children be buckled up, but their seatbelts must be secured properly.

• Children under 20 lbs and under age 1 should be placed in a rear-facing CRD.
• Children 1-4 years of age and weighing between 20-40 lbs should be placed in a forward-facing car seat.
• Children should not wear a regular seatbelt until they are the proper weight and age.
• Children 5-8 years of age should use a booster seat.
• Children 9-12 years of age can use a regular seatbelt. It is highly recommended that they sit in the backseat of a car.

Not properly restraining a child could result in the child sustaining serious injuries or dying.

Child Severely Injured After Being Thrown from a Van, WBTV.com, October 30, 2007

Buckling Up Is Not Enough To Protect Children In Auto Accidents; Seat Belts And Child Safety Seats Must Be Used Properly, Science Daily, June 8, 1999

Child Passenger Safety Law, Buckleupnc.org

Related Web Resources:

National Child Passenger Safety Board

North Carolina Bicyclist and Brain Injury Awareness Advocate Dies After Accident With Van During Charity Bike Ride

October 22, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Lee Anne Barry, the founder and executive director of the BIG Ride, a non-profit bike tour that travels around the country to promote brain injury awareness, died from motor vehicle-related injuries on Sunday, at Carolinas Medical Center. Barry, a North Carolina resident, was riding her bike during the cross-country charity bike ride she had organized when she was involved in an accident with a van on US 521, close to Lancaster County yesterday afternoon. Thomas Hoskins, a Columbia, South Carolina resident and also a cyclist, died at the accident scene.

If someone you love was a cyclist who was killed in a motor vehicle crash because of the negligence of a motorist or another party in North Carolina or South Carolina, you should speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer right away.

Barry had been a strong advocate of brain injury awareness, ever since she was struck by a car when she was five. She spent months in a coma before having to relearn how to talk and walk. She had brain surgery at age 15, which allowed her to get back most of her physical agility and strength.

Unfortunately, a bicycle accident can lead to catastrophic injuries for the cyclist, who doesn’t have much protection against the force of impact when struck by a car, bus, or truck or being thrown onto the road.

Common scenarios that can lead to personal injury accidents involving cyclists and motorists:

• Bicyclist does not yield the right-of-way
• Motor vehicle driver does not yield the right-of-way
• Bicyclist merges or turns into the path of the motor vehicle
• Motorist merges or turns into the bath of the cyclists
• Motor vehicle driver tries to overtake a bike

Every year, over 1000 bicyclists in North Carolina are involved in motor vehicle crashes, with 30 of these cyclists dying from their injuries; 160 others suffer from serious injuries. South Carolina ranks as one of the “Top 10” US states with the highest number of per capita deaths of bicyclists and pedestrians. 16 people were killed in bicycle-motor vehicle accidents in South Carolina in 2005.

Two die in charity bike ride accident, Charlotte Observer, October 22, 2007
North Carolina Bicycle Crash Data, Pedbikeinfo.org
Bicycling Crashes : Crash Types, Bicyclinginfo.org
The Need for Bike and Pedestrian Facilities, SCDOT

Related Web Resources:

The B.I.G. Ride

North Carolina To Pay Boat Captain $72,000 in Property Damages

October 12, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Sterling Stevenson, the captain of a CSY-44 sailboat that crashed into the Heidi Trask drawbridge in North Carolina ,when the bridge dropped onto his boat’s mast, has reached a settlement agreement with the state over damages his boat sustained in the collision.

Stevenson says that the State Attorney General’s Office offered to pay him $72,000 to compensate him for the damages to Marijke IV, his Bluewater Cruiser, and the personal expenses he has incurred from the September 10 crash. The State Attorney General’s Office confirmed that an agreement had been made with Stevenson but did not reveal the details.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation conducted a complete investigation with the State Attorney General’s Office and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. The state, not Stevenson, was named the negligent party in the personal injury accident.

Improper maintenance of the drawbridge was cited as the cause of contributory negligence. A blind spot on one side of bridge will be examined, as will the issue of boats that are idle on the channel’s west side.

N.C. DOT division engineer Allen Pope says he is recommending relocating the closed-circuit television cameras and replacing the bridge house windows for greater visibility. He also wants to make improvements to the bridge operator’s workstation. He says these issues should be taken care of within 30 days. Pope would not say whether Wanda Ramsey, the bridge operator on duty when the accident happened, was at-fault in causing the collision. She has been a bridge tender for over 25 years.

If your boat, car, truck, or motorcycle has sustained damages because you were in a collision caused by another party, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer right away. An experienced personal injury attorney can meet with the other party and try to negotiate a settlement to compensate you for the costs associated with the property damage. If your attorney and the other party cannot reach a settlement agreement, your lawyer can sue the negligent party for you.

It is important that you work with an attorney who is experienced in handling property damage and personal injury cases. Your lawyer should be able to handle both kinds of cases for you.

State settles with boat captain, Luminanews.com, October 11, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Bridge collides with sailboat, captain to seek damages, Lumnia News, September 13, 2007

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Sam’s Club Pulls Cargill Ground Beef Off Shelves In North Carolina and Other US States

October 8, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

National warehouse chain Sam’s Club is issuing a nationwide recall of ground beef patties made by Cargill. The recall comes after four children developed E. Coli from eating the patties. Cargill is requesting that Sam’s Club customers who purchased any patties after August 26 destroy or return the frozen meat.

Food manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and restaurants are legally obligated to make sure that the food products that they make, distribute, prepare, or cook are safe for consumption. A consumer who gets sick, injured, or dies from eating a food product that wasn’t properly prepared, stored, or cooked, may have grounds to file a products liability case against any negligent party responsible for allowing the contaminated food product to enter the marketplace or restaurant dinning room.

The four kids got sick between September 10 – September 20 after they ate patties that had been purchased frozen under the name “American Chef’s Selection Angus Beef Patties” in Minnesota. Two of the children had to be hospitalized.

Cargill is one of the largest privately owned makers of food ingredients in the United States. It ships products internationally as well. The patties had a February 12, 2008 expiration date and were coded UPC 0002874907056 Item #700141.

Cargill is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to figure out the scope of the problem. Officials had traced the source of the E.coli to a ground beef facility in Wisconsin.

E. coli is a bacterium that can be found in animals, such as cows and sheep. When meat products are not properly cooked, the bacterium can infect a person that has eaten the food product. E. coli is a foodborne bacteria that can infect humans when food that is already contaminated is undercooked. Person-to-person contact is another way to transmit E. coli. Fresh leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce, and unpasteurized milk have also been known to contain E. coli.

E. coli can lead to bloody diarrhea, nonbloody diarrhea, cramping, and a sight fever. E. coli illnesses usually last between 5 to 10 days. However, kids and elderly people with a lower immune system can experience kidney failure and even death if they are infected with E coli.

The Sam’s Club-Cargill recall comes on the heels of a recent recall by Topps Meat Company to pull 21 million pounds of ground beef off shelves because of E. coli worries. The recall was one of the largest in U.S. history and forced the 67-year-old privately owned company to shut down operations.

Sam’s Club Beef Recalled After Illnesses, AP, October 6, 2007

After Extensive Beef Recall, Topps Goes Out of Business, The New York Times, October 6, 2007

Escherichia coli O157:H7, CDC.gov

Related Web Resources:

Sam’s Club Statement Regarding Minnesota Department of Health Investigation of Frozen Ground Beef Patties and E. Coli cases, Sam’s Club Press Room, October 5, 2007

Cargill Meat Solutions recalls frozen ground beef patties, Cargill, Inc., October 6, 2007

Five Diseases that are Frequently Misdiagnosed and North Carolina's Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations

October 2, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

A CNN.com article published on Saturday lists five diseases that are commonly misdiagnosed by doctors:

1) Aortic dissection
2) Clogged arteries
3) Cancer
4) Infections
5) Heart attacks

The article offers suggestions that patients can use to empower themselves from being the victim of misdiagnosis, including:

1) Request additional tests
2) Ask yourself if your symptoms could be indicative of a different illness than what your doctor has diagnosed
3) Make sure that you follow up on test results—your doctor may have forgotten about your tests

Misdiagnosing a patient’s illness can lead to serious injuries, health problems, and even wrongful death. Misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, and delayed diagnosis are just a few of the many kinds of medical errors that a medical caregiver can make. When a patient becomes even more ill or dies as a result of a medical error, the injured patient or his or her surviving family members may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against any negligent parties.

In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is either three years from the time that medical malpractice incident occurred or one year from the time that the injury or death caused by medical malpractice was discovered. A lawsuit cannot be filed, however, more than four years from the time the medical malpractice incident, which led to the injuries or death, took place.

Other kinds of common medical malpractice errors can include surgical errors, failure to obtain informed consent from a patient, negligence, failure to property monitor a patient’s vital statistics, lab errors, prescription errors, and other errors by primary care physicians, nurses, dentists, orthodontists, hospitals, hospital workers, and other medical providers.

If you or someone you love is seriously injured or killed because of a medical error, you should speak with a medical malpractice lawyer right away. Medical care providers are required to fulfill a certain standard of care when treating patients. When that standard of care is not fulfilled and a person is seriously injured or dies because of this negligence, you need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer working for you that knows how to thoroughly investigate and prove your case.

You are entitled to compensation for your injuries or loss, pain and suffering, and any related damages, including loss of work, lost income, permanent disability, medical costs, future medical care, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Five commonly misdiagnosed diseases, CNN.com, September 29, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Medical Malpractice in North Carolina: Medical Malpractice, Wrongdiagnosis.com

Wrongdiagnosis.com

Medical Malpractice, Insurance Information Institute

 
 

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