November 2007

North Carolina State Highway Patrol Issues More Than 50,000 Traffic Violation Citations During Operation Slow Down

November 27, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Troopers in North Carolina issued over 50,000 traffic violation tickets during the November Operation Slow Down/No Need 2 Speed program, which is designed to apprehend drivers speeding on highways in North Carolina. From November 13 until November 25, 2007, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and local troopers worked together to apprehend anyone driving over the speed limit.

Speeding is considered a major cause of motor vehicle accidents. Last year, 554 people in North Carolina died in a motor vehicle accident where speeding was a factor. The NHTSA says that 13,713 people died in the United States in 2002 because of accidents involving speeding.

North Carolina’s Highway Patrol says that of the 51,198 citations that it issued, 24,274 of them were for speeding violations. 954 violations involved DWI (driving while impaired).

If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a car accident, truck collision, bus accident, pedestrian accident, or motorcycle crash because another driver on the road was speeding, you should contact an experienced South Carolina or North Carolina motor vehicle accident lawyer right away.

Perils of Speeding
Speeding can make it hard for a driver to stop their motor vehicle suddenly and safely. It also decreases a driver’s ability to steer around objects on the street or go around curving roads safely. A driver who is intent on speeding may end up changing lanes unnecessarily in order to keep up the pace. Many deadly car crashes happen because a driver was speeding.

Safedrivingtest.com offers a number of survival strategies that doesn’t involve speeding:

• Drive the speed limit.
• Don’t let the car behind you pressure you to speed.
• Slow down even below the speed limit in rainy, icy or snowy weather or on a road that is under construction.
• Don’t tailgate.
• Generally keep pace with the flow of traffic.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol says that it plans to continue keeping a vigilant watch for anyone speeding on the roads.

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, 20 peopled were killed on North Carolina’s highways. Although the causes of all the accidents have not yet been determined, officials expect that speeding, not paying proper attention to the roads, carelessness, drunk driving, and not wearing seatbelts will arise as some of the reasons for the deadly crashes.

Troopers issue 50,000 tickets during statewide speeding crackdown, Charlotte.com, November 27, 2007

20 killed on N.C. highways over holiday, Charlotte.com, November 27, 2007
N.C.’s Operation Slow Down to ‘Crack Down’ on Speeders, Enhance Safety, Insurance Journal, November 13, 2007

More about Speed, Safedrivingtest.com

Related Web Resource:

Gov. Easley Announces Operation Slow Down/No Need 2 Speed, State of North Carolina Office of the Governor

North Carolina's Charlotte-Mecklenburg Area Reports Over 550 Dog Bite Incidents This Year

November 20, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Injuries from dog bites can be more serious than you think—especially if you are mauled or attacked by a large or dangerous dog.

In North Carolina, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area is reporting more than 550 dog bite incidents this year so far. Children and the elderly tend to be at highest risk for being attacked by a dog.

North Carolina has a dog bite law that holds the owner of the dog strictly liable for injuries inflicted by the pet on another person or another person’s property if the pet was unrestrained when the attack occurred. That said, the owner must have allowed the dog to run at large at night, the dog must be of a certain age, and the injured victim must prove that the dog owner knowingly and purposely allowed the dog to be at large without restraint.

If a victim incurs a serious dog bite injury when the dog was not “running at large,” the dog owner can be held strictly if the dog was previously declared a “potentially dangerous dog.” A dog is declared “potentially dangerous” if it has killed or injured another animal while not on the owner’s property or previously terrorized or seriously terrorized a human being.

Dog bite injuries can range from minor bite marks to serious injuries, including abrasions, punctures, lacerations, tissue loss, fractured bones, facial injuries, permanent disfigurement, scars, rabies, infection, and death. Emotional and mental trauma can also result. Some mauling injuries, especially to the face, may require multiple surgeries (including reconstructive surgery and plastic surgery).

Every year, about 800,000 people require medical care for their dog bite injuries. Some 4.7 million people a year are attacked by dogs. 15-20 dog bite injury victims die annually.

In 2004, the following dog breeds topped the CDC’s list of dangerous dogs:

• Pit bulls
• Rottweilers
• German Shepherds
• Huskies
• Alaskan Malamutes
• Doberman Pinschers
• Chow Chows
• Great Danes
• St. Bernards
• Akitas

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dog in North Carolina or South Carolina, an experienced dog bite lawyer may be able to help you prove that the dog attack occurred because the owner was negligent.

Defending yourself against a dangerous dog, WCNC, November 14, 2007

North Carolina Dog Bite Law

CDC’s 10 Most Dangerous Dogs List, Free Republic, January 14, 2004

Related Web Resource:

Dog Bite Statistics, The Pet Friendly House

North Carolina Family Sues Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Teacher and District for Sex Abuse

November 16, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

A North Carolina family is suing Jimmie Grubbs, a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher and the school district for the sex abuse of their son, who is still a minor.

If you or your child was molested by a teacher, a coach, a priest, a counselor, a therapist, a doctor, or a family member, you may have grounds to file a sex abuse lawsuit against the negligent party.

Sexual abuse can lead to traumatic physical, psychological, and emotional injuries that can take years and lots of therapy to recover from. Depression, social withdrawal, eating disorders, anxiety attacks, sexual problems, and suicide are some of the aftereffects of sexual abuse.

Jimmie Grubbs, a 67-year-old language arts teacher from Huntersville, is serving a 20-year-prison sentence on charges that he molested children from 2002 to 2006. Investigators, however, say they believe that he has been abusing children for decades. According to federal prosecutors, Grubbs took children from North Carolina to South Carolina (Columbia and Myrtle Beach), where he intended to sexually abuse them.

Grubbs was a language arts teacher at Bradley Middle School when he resigned in May 2005.

The Associated Press says that from 2001 to 2006, 123 teachers lost their licenses. 91 of those revocations were due to sexual misconduct. From 2001 to 2005, 2570 educators were investigated on allegations of sexual misconduct. 69% of the cases involved young victims. At least 446 of the sexually abusive teachers molested more than one person.

Unfortunately, the majority of abuse cases involving teachers go unreported because children are too scared to or unable to report that they were abused.

A personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for psychological, physical, and emotional pain and suffering, as well as costs associated with medical expenses, therapy, and any permanent or temporary impairments caused by the abuse.

Teachers are entrusted to ensure that the children who come to them grow as human beings through the education that they receive from them in the classrooms. When that trust is violated and a child is molested or raped by the teacher or becomes sexually involved with the teacher as a result, the teacher can be held civilly liable by the injured party and/or his/her family, as well as criminally liable by the criminal justice system.

Family sues schools, Grubbs, Charlotte.com, November 16, 2007

AP: Sexual Misconduct Plagues U.S. Schools, ABC News.com, October 21, 2007

Related Web Resources:

Sex Abuse by Teachers Said Worse Than Catholic Church, Newsmax.com, April 5, 2004

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Merck to Pay Nearly $5 Billion to Settle Vioxx Lawsuits

November 11, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Pharmaceutical company Merck says it will be $4.5 billion in settlements to the thousands of victims who suffered strokes or heart attacks from taking prescription painkiller Vioxx.

The drug maker pulled Vioxx from pharmacies in September 2004 because a clinical trial proved that using the drug for an extended period of time increased the chances of strokes and heart attacks. Thousands of people have filed personal injury lawsuits claiming they had a heart attack or stroke because they took Vioxx.

The $4.85 billion settlement amount is significantly less than what Merck could have paid had it continued with its original plan to fight every single personal injury lawsuit in court. The amount is equivalent to about a nine-month profit for the pharmaceutical giant. Previous analyst estimates had Merck paying up to $25 billion for the different lawsuits had it continued to fight the lawsuits.

In order for the settlement to go into effect, however, 85% of the plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits in state and federal courts must agree to the terms of the settlement. Plaintiffs are expected to receive about $120,000 each before legal costs from the fund.

The settlement agreement was reached between attorneys for Merck and a committee representing the plaintiffs who sued Vioxx in federal court. If the agreement is accepted by most of the plaintiffs, Merck would not have to pay more than the $4.85 billion cap—regardless of how many new plaintiffs claims and lawsuits are filed.

As part of the terms of the settlement, plaintiffs now will not have to prove that taking Vioxx caused their strokes or heart attacks. They will, however, have to prove that they took Vioxx for no less than 30 days and that their strokes or heart attacks happened within 14 days of the last time they took Vioxx. Injured plaintiffs who had more serious health problems and took Vioxx for longer periods of time will be paid larger settlement amounts.

Vioxx
More than 9.1 million prescriptions have been written for Vioxx, a COX-2 inhibitor drug used to alleviate pain. The FDA approved Vioxx as a painkiller to treat acute pain, menstrual pain, and osteoarthritis. Diarrhea, respiratory infections, high blood pressure, and nausea had been listed as the side effects.

For the first quarter of 2004, Vioxx sales reached $661 million internationally. Beginning in 2000, however, a number of started to show that patients taking Vioxx appeared to be at higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

When you take an FDA approved prescription drug, you have the right to expect that your prescription medication will treat your medical condition or illness.

Analysts See Merck Victory in Vioxx Settlement, New York Times, November 10, 2007

Fast Facts on Vioxx, ABC News.com, September 30, 2004

Related Web Resources:

Merck Loses Vioxx Lawsuit: Jury Awards $253.4 Million to Widow, NewsTarget.com, August 19, 2005

Vioxx, Drugs.com

Merck & Company

Dozens of North Carolina School Kids are Injured When School Buses Collide

November 9, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Selma, North Carolina, approximately three dozen students sustained minor injuries on Wednesday in a bus accident on Highway 96. The school children were taken to local hospitals following the multi-bus accident.

Three school buses were involved in the motor vehicle collision, in which one bus rear-ended another. The driver of one of the buses sustained neck injuries. A parent of one of the children experienced a panic attack and also had to be taken to a hospital.

The school buses had come from Selma Middle School and Selma Elementary School.

Every day, more than 23 million elementary, middle school, and high school children ride school buses to and from school. At least 17,000 kids are injured in school bus accidents each year.

School bus drivers and the schools and bus companies that employ them are required to exert a reasonable duty of care to make sure that children who ride the buses are transported safely to and from school. If their failure to exercise this reasonable care causes a student on the bus or a student getting on/off the bus or walking near the bus to become injured, the bus driver, the school, and/or the bus company may be held liable for personal injury.

Bus accidents can result in serious injuries, including abrasions, internal injuries, burns, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and death.

Common kinds of injury accidents involving school buses include a bus colliding with another motor vehicle, a bus striking a pedestrian, a student sustaining injuries while getting on and off the bus, and bus rollovers. Causes of driver negligence can include speeding, carelessness, not paying proper attention (including talking on the cell phone or text messaging while driving), reckless driving, and drunk driving. The school or bus company’s hiring of unqualified bus driver and improper maintenance of the bus can also lead to bus crashes.

If your child was injured or killed in a bus accident in North Carolina or South Carolina, you should speak with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in dealing with bus accident cases.

Bus wreck injures students, News & Observer, November 9, 2007

27 kids injured in school bus crash, News14.com/AP, November 7, 2007

School bus injuries much higher than thought, MSNBC.com/AP, November 6, 2006

Related Web Resource:

School Bus Fatalities and Injuries, NCSBS.com

Four People Die in Two North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Crashes on Highway 421

November 6, 2007, by Michael A. DeMayo

Four people died in North Carolina’s mountain area in two separate motor vehicle crashes involving tractor-trailers on Highway 421.

In the October 26 crash, one woman and two men died were killed on Hwy. 421 west of Wilkesboro, North Carolina after the Chevy Avalanche they were riding in was involved in a motor vehicle collision with a tractor-trailer. The names of the victims are Thomas Cameron Simon, Mary E. Wiggins, and George Wesley Wiggins. Another injury victim, Cheryle Cotter Simon, was taken to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. As of October 30, she was reportedly in critical condition.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, tractor-trailer driver Curtis Isaac crossed the center line before his tractor-trailer overturned and struck the Chevy driven by Thomas Cameron Simon. On October 29 in Wilkes County, Mondy was charged with three counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle and reckless driving.

On October 29, another deadly accident involving a tractor-trailer and several motor vehicles occurred on Highway 421 between Zionville and Villas. The multi-vehicle collision occurred because a car driver fell asleep at the wheel. One person died in the fatal collision. Locals consider this area of the highway to be particularly dangerous—and many motor vehicle accidents involving people unfamiliar with the area occur on this section of the road.

Tractor-trailers and large trucks involved in serious motor vehicle accidents can lead to fatalities and serious personal injuries. Trucks are large in size and can be very heavy-especially if they are fully loaded with heavy machinery or other materials. A tractor-trailer or other large truck driving over the speed limit can be deadly

The US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have released preliminary national large truck crash statistics for 2006, including:

• 12,494 large trucks were involved in truck accidents where there were no fatalities
• 81,312 truck crashes resulted in people sustaining injuries
• 75,390 large trucks resulted in towaway cashes

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration holds truck drivers to specific safety driving standards and truck accidents are more challenging to prove than regular motor vehicle accidents, which is why you should hire an experienced North Carolina truck accident attorney who is familiar with the way truck companies and their insurers handle injury cases.

Two North Carolina Tractor Trailer Accidents Cause Fatalities, Associated Content, October 30, 2007

2006 National Large Truck Crash Facts, Crash Statistics

Related Web Resources:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Truck Accident Statistics, StatsSheet.com

 
 

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