February 2009

North Carolina Motorcyclist is Seriously Injured After Car Driver Fails to Yield the Right of Way on UNC-Charlotte Campus

February 25, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Charlotte, North Carolina, a motorcycle rider sustained serious injuries when his vehicle collided with a car on the UNC-Charlotte campus. According to campus officials, the car hit the motorcycle after failing to yield.

The Charlotte motorcyclist, who is a UNCC student, had to be pulled from under the vehicle. He sustained serious injuries and was taken to Carolinas Medical Center.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcycle rider is the person operating the motorcycle, while a motorcycle passenger is the person who is on the motorcycle but is not driving it. Motorcyclists can refer to both groups.

2007 NHTSA Motorcyclist Accident Facts:
• 5,154 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents.
• 2,641 of all motorcycles involved in deadly accidents were in traffic crashes with another vehicle.
• 78% of these two-vehicle crashes involved a motorcycle getting hit from the front.
• 5% of these collisions involved a motorcycle getting hit from the back.
• 36% of motorcycle riders involved in deadly accidents had been driving over the speed limit when the collision happened.
• 26% of motorcycle riders involved in fatal accidents did not have a valid license.
• 3.7% of motorcycle riders involved in deadly accidents had at least one previous DUI conviction.
• 103,000 US motorcyclists were injured.
• There were 195 North Carolina motorcycle fatalities.
• There were 119 South Carolina motorcycle deaths.

Motorcyclists are at greater risk of getting involved in a deadly auto accident with a nonmoving object than other motor vehicles. In North Carolina and South Carolina, motorcyclists are entitled to personal injury compensation if the negligence of a driver or another party caused their injuries.

Motorcyclist injured in crash on UNCC campus

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina State Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle Safety Foundation

71-Year-Old Motorist Charged with Felony Hit-and-Run in North Carolina Pedestrian Accident Death

February 23, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Pender Couny, North Carolina, a senior driver has been charged with felony hit and run in the death of a 30-year-old substitute teacher. According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Amy Suzanne Kornegay was struck by a pickup truck on February 9 while walking along a road.

The driver of the truck, 71-year-old Amon Hall, was charged with failing to file a police report and leaving the scene of the accident site. Hall reportedly did go back to the scene later because he thought he struck a dear.

Amy’s husband, volunteer firefighter Jamie Kornegay, rushed to the scene after he heard on his pager that a pedestrian accident had happened in the area where he knew his wife had been walking. He was off-duty at the time the call came through.

NHTSA 2007 US Pedestrian Fact Sheet:
• There were 4,654 pedestrians that died in US traffic accidents.
• A pedestrian dies in such accidents every 113 minutes.
• A pedestrian gets hurt in traffic crashes every 8 minutes in this country.
• 70,000 pedestrians were hurt in traffic collisions in 2007.
• 73% of pedestrian deaths took place in urban areas.
• 90% of pedestrian fatalities occurred under normal weather conditions.
• 67% of pedestrians were killed at night.
• 77% of the pedestrians that died were killed in traffic accidents that took place at non-intersections.
• 48% of deadly pedestrian accidents happened on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
• Of the 1,675 North Carolina traffic deaths that occurred in 2007, 171 of these fatalities were pedestrians.
• Of the 1,066 South Carolina traffic fatalities that occurred in 2007, 106 of the people that died were pedestrians.

If you are driver who has accidentally struck a pedestrian in a North Carolina traffic accident, you must stop at the accident site, contact local authorities, and make sure that the injured person gets medical help. Failure to do so could result in criminal charges against you.

If you are a pedestrian who was injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another party’s reckless, carelessness, or negligent behavior, you may have grounds for filing a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit.

Familiar scene, unique tragedy for widowed firefighter, StarNewsOnline.com, February 13, 2009

Charges filed in hit-run death of firefighter’s wife, WRAL.com, February 12, 2009

Pedestrian Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Pedestrian Crash Statistics, University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center

Walking Info.org

South Carolina Medical Malpractice Verdict Awards Parents Over $4 Million for Baby’s Brain Injury

February 17, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A South Carolina jury says Piedmont Medical Center must pay the family of Sierra Wilson $4.4 million for medical malpractice. Wilson, who was born on November 18, 2003, sustained a serious brain injury due to lack of oxygen during delivery. She died from cerebral palsy-related complications in February 2008. The medical malpractice complaint, filed on behalf of Robin and Brice Wilson, claims that a nurse failed to properly monitor the pregnant mother’s fetal heart strips and therefore did not realize that the unborn baby was experiencing fetal distress and in need of emergency medical attention.

Doctors, obstetricians, nurses, surgeons and anyone involved with the delivery of a baby are supposed to provide a certain level of medical care to ensure that the infant and mother get through the delivery process safely. Sometimes, however, mistakes can happen, which can lead to serious, if not fatal injuries for a newborn.

Examples of medical mistakes that can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit:
• Failure to perform C-section delivery in a timely manner
• Failure to properly monitor fetal symptoms
• Failure to diagnose uterine abruption or preeclampsia
• Improper use of forceps of vacuum extraction

Some Injuries that can occur as a result of birthing errors:
• Brain damage
• Cerebral palsy
• Spina bifida
• Erb’s Palsy

Babies born with birthing injuries will usually require costly and specialized medical care for the rest of their lives. There is also the unquantifiable loss of never being able to experience a normal, healthy life and the emotionally and financially devastating effect this can have on an injured infant’s family for years to come.

Filing a North Carolina or South Carolina medical malpractice lawsuit can allow you to pursue financial recovery from all negligent parties so that you can obtain the financial resources that you need to give your son or daughter the medical care that is required.

Jury: Hospital must pay parents $4 million, Charlotte.com, February 17, 2009

Piedmont Medical Center brain injury baby $4.4 million jury verdict!, Justice News Flash, February 17, 2009

Medical Malpractice and Childbirth, Wrong Diagnosis

Cerebral Palsy Information, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Greensboro Spa Patient Wins $500,000 North Carolina Personal Injury Lawsuit Against Alternative Medicine Spa

February 11, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 38-year-old Greensboro woman won a $500,000 judgment against an alternative medicine spa that she sued for North Carolina personal injury. Shirleen Sifford says she sustained a serious blood infection nearly two years ago after she was treated at Altmed of the Triad for a procedure to reduce fat in her stomach.

She says she received some 100 injections over the course of three spa visits. Sifford was trying to lose weight before she got pregnant.

Because complications resulted from the infection, Sifford says she has to take steroid shots and that this has delayed her plans to start having children. While Sifford did not file a complaint with the Guilford County Health Department, a number of spa patients reportedly filed complaints for botched procedures they received at the Greensboro spa.

In December 2007, three women said that after receiving buttocks-enhancing injections at the spa, they developed acute kidney failure. The injections were reportedly administered without medical supervision. As a result of these incidents, 20 felony charges of prescription fraud were filed against Lauretta Cheek, the spa’s owner.

Cheek did not appear in court for Sifford’s case, and now the judge has issued the half a million dollar judgment in the plaintiff’s favor. Included in the judgment are $3,500 for lost wages and $5,200 for medical costs.

Sifford says that the botched procedure not only left her with the blood infection, but she now has small nodules and scars under her skin and she has gained weight because of the medication she has to take.

Spas that provide medical procedures are obligated to maintaining the same standard of services that other medical providers are expected to give their patients. When mistakes made during a botched cosmetic procedure causes the patient to get sick, hurt, or die, the spa and others responsible for the botched medical procedure can be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death.

Spa patient is awarded $500,000, News-Record, January 19, 2009

Spa investigation slowed by need for coordination, News-Record, August 21, 2008

Related Web Resources:
Prosecutors may decide on Altmed case this week, News-Record, January 28, 2009

Another Teenager Dies in North Carolina Traffic Accident

February 6, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Henderson County, a 16-year-old driver died on Tuesday when the vehicle he was driving went off the road and hit a tree. According to North Carolina Highway Police, Travis Sain was driving approximately 50mph in a 40mph zone. Another teenager who was riding in the car with him was transported to Mission Hospital.

This is the third teen motorist death in Western North Carolina already this year. On January 29, a 15-year-old passenger died in a single-vehicle crash that occurred close to Waynesville. The vehicle’s driver was the same age. Earlier in January, a 16-year-old driver died after he drove off the road and hit a tree close to Canton. The teen driver was reportedly driving nearly twice the speed limit in a 35 mph zone.

For the entire 2008, there were only four reports of fatalities involving teen drivers in this area. Speed was cited as a cause in two of those deadly North Carolina motor vehicle crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that in 2007:

• 3,184 young drivers died in US motor vehicle crashes.
• 252,000 young drivers sustained injuries.
• 6,982 young drivers were involved in 55,681 deadly auto accidents.
• 1,631,000 young drivers were involved in traffic accidents that were reported to police.
• 31% of young drivers involved in deadly accidents lacked a valid driver’s license when the accident happened because of a license revocation or suspension.

While North Carolina law allows teenagers to get their driver’s license when they turn 16, this does not instantly make them good drivers. Learning how to drive properly and safely takes time and experience.

According to a study conducted by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Sponsored by the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, the three most common risk factors for people ages 8 to 17 that can lead to motor vehicle deaths are riding with young drivers, riding without seat belts, and riding on fast speeding roads.

Henderson teen dies in traffic accident, Citizen-Times.com, February 5, 2009

Teen Drivers, Insurance Information Institute, January 2009

Related Web Resources:
2007 Young Driver Traffic Safety Facts, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

North Carolina Teen Drivers Guide, DMV.org

Ban Painkiller Darvon, Says Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel

February 2, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a 14-12 vote, an advisory panel for the Food and Drug Administration is recommending a ban on the prescription drug Darvon. The painkiller has been used for over 50 years.

First approved in 1957, Darvon is one of the 25 most commonly prescribed medicines. It is primarily marketed these days as Darvocet. In 2007, over 20 million prescriptions for this drug were issued.

Public Citizen, a consumer group, had asked the FDA to withdraw the Drug because its risk of overdose is so high and the amount of pain relief it actually offers is low.

The drug is marketed by Qualitest/Vintage Pharmaceuticals and Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals. Both companies maintain that the drug is effective and safe when used correctly. They also claim that there are other painkillers where the abuse risks and known consequences are far worse.

The FDA’s safety office says it found over 3,000 reports linking Darvon to serious problems, including suicide, drug overdose, and drug dependence. The office said that its findings, however, are “insufficient” for reviewers to make a decisive recommendation. Meantime, the FDA office in charge of handling painkillers says Darvon is a weak pain reliever.

Information from the US government’s Drug Abuse Warning Network found that there were 446 Darvon-related deaths in 2006 and 503 deaths in 2007. 20% of these fatalities were suicides. These figures only referred to about 30% of the country’s population.

Dangerous Drugs
Prescription drugs are not supposed to cause dangerous side effects—although the FDA is known for approving drugs that do have such side effects, as long as they don’t happen too often. Drug manufacturers and doctors are supposed to warn users of potential health complications that can arise from any prescription medications.

Sometimes, a dangerous drug is allowed to enter the marketplace. When injuries or deaths arise as a result of a dangerous drug, the victim and his or family may have grounds to file a dangerous drug lawsuit.

FDA panel recommends ban on the painkiller Darvon, Boston.com, January 30, 2009

Darvon, Drugs.com

Related Web Resources:
Petition to FDA to ban all propoxyphene (DARVON) products; prescription painkiller causes many fatalities (HRG Publication #1762), Public Citizen, February 28, 2006

Read the FDA Advisory Committee’s Briefing, January 30, 2009 (PDF)

Drug Abuse Warning Network


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