July 2009

Charlotte, North Carolina Dog Attack Injures 9-Year-Old Girl

July 27, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 9-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital on Thursday after the neighbor’s pit bull attacked her. The Charlotte, North Carolina dog mauling incident happened in the girl’s own home after a neighbor brought the pet over so her family could consider whether to buy it.

Giselle Moquete, 9, was petting “Rocky” when he suddenly started mauling her face. The pit bull’s owner, Johnathan Hall, pulled the dog off the girl. Hall says a man he met while shooting basketball had given him the dog the day before the dog attack occurred.

Giselle had to get stitches for her facial injuries. Meantime, Rocky has been quarantined. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says they won’t file charges against Hall, who is unfamiliar with the dog’s history.

While not all pit bulls are dangerous, the police department says that they get a number of calls each year regarding Charlotte dog bite incidents involving pit bulls. This breed of dog is one of the most common breeds in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area.

If someone you love was injured in a Charlotte dog attack, you should talk to a North Carolina personal injury law firm to determine whether you should file a personal injury case.

Young children are especially vulnerable to dog bite injuries. Because young kids are smaller and shorter than adults, they are more likely to sustain neck and head injuries during a dog attack. According to research published in the March issue of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, a large number of dog attacks happen during the summer. One reason for this could be that kids are out of school and are spending more time outdoors where dogs may also be playing. Dogs may also become more easily irritated when the weather is hot.

The study reported that areas of the neck and the head that dogs are most likely to bite include the:

• Cheeks
• Lips
• Ears
• Nose

Pit bulls were the dogs most likely to cause facial injuries during dog attacks. 64% of young children that sustained neck or head injuries sustained injuries in more than one area.

9-year-old girl recovering after pit bull attack, News 14 Carolina, July 24, 2009

9-year-old hospitalized after pit bull attack, WCNC, July 24, 2009

Dog Bites A Particular Threat To Young Children, Especially As Temperatures Rise, Science Daily, March 2, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Pit bulls at top of fatal attacks, SF Gate, June 23, 2005

Chapel Hill Daycare Operator Sued for Infant’s Traumatic Brain Injury

July 22, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Durham County, the parents of a 7-month-old infant are suing Chapel Hill daycare operator Cheryl McAdoo Alston for his permanent traumatic brain injury. The North Carolina injuries to minor complaint accuses Alston of injuring the baby, who was attending Cheryl’s Infant and Toddler Preschool, and neglecting to get him medical care in a timely manner after she allegedly hurt him. The child’s parents are seeking over $10,000 in damages for their son’s personal injury.

A North Carolina traumatic brain injury lawsuit is not the only legal woe that Alston is facing. She was arrested last week for allegedly shaking the infant so violently that now, more than two months after sustaining the head injury, he is still under close observation at UNC Hospital’s neonatal unit. The boy’s parents say that he is impaired for life, and it is too soon to tell whether he will be able to walk or talk normally.

Alston, who has spent most of her life taking care of babies, has lost her license to run her at-home day care, and an Orange County, North Carolina judge has ordered the 53-year-old woman to stay away from kids.

Alston claims that after returning from washing her hands, the baby, who was in a car seat, would not respond to her. She says that when she grabbed him out of the seat, his head fell back when she tried to press him into her shoulder. The infant’s father arrived at the day care center at this time.

Alston maintains that she would never hurt a child. However, this is not the first time that social workers have questioned the care that she provides at her day care center.

In April 2008, North Carolina investigators interviewed Alston about another child under her charge who also sustained injuries. The child’s guardian was worried that Alston had failed to properly supervise the boy and that another child might have fallen on him.

Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are usually caused by a jolt or blow to the head or an injury that is penetrating enough that the brain’s functioning is disrupted. Depending on the severity of the TBI, the injury can be mild, resulting in temporary impairment, or severe, resulting in permanent or fatal brain injuries.

Daycare operator sued over abuse, ABC Local, July 21, 2009

Day care operator charged with injuring baby, NewsObserver.com, July 22, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Traumatic Brain Injury, CDC

Abusive Head Trauma, KidsHealth.org

North Carolina Lawmakers Considers Adding “Comparative Fault” to State’s Personal Injury Laws

July 13, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A new North Carolina bill has made its way to the state’s Senate. The legislation, which passed 72-43 in the House, would ask juries and judges to determine how much a North Carolina personal injury should be award based on the premise of “comparative fault.” A plaintiff would then be able to receive damages based on how much percentage of fault was allotted to the defendant and the plaintiff.

For example, if a negligent motorist was 80% responsible for causing a North Carolina bicycle accident, then the injured rider would be entitled to recover 80% of the amount awarded by a jury. If, however, a judge or jury found the plaintiff to be over 50% at fault for causing the North Carolina personal injury accident, he or she would recover nothing.

Under current North Carolina tort law, a person suing for personal injury cannot recover anything if the injured person played any role in causing the injury accident. This can be very frustrating for personal injury victims and family members whose loved ones have died because other parties were negligent.

For example, the Winston-Salem Journal told the story of a woman whose son was killed in a North Carolina car accident. Jackson Vogel, who was an Appalachian State college student at the time, died when the car he was a passenger in flipped over. The driver of the car was his roommate, who was later convicted of DWI and involuntary manslaughter. However, the defendant was able to successfully defend himself in the North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit by arguing that Vogel, who had been drinking that night, was partially negligent for making the choice to get into the car.

In another tragic North Carolina traffic accident case, Stephen Gates died in October 2003 when he was struck by an SUV while fixing a flat tire. The vehicle dragged him and left him by the side of the road. However, because of where he chose to change his flat tire, the 27-year-old could be considered at least partially at fault for the pedestrian accident—enough so that the insurance company denied the family’s claim for damages.

Injury bill gets to N.C. Senate, Journal Now, July 13, 2009

N.C. reviews its negligence standard, News-Record.com, May 24, 2009

Related Web Resource:
North Carolina House Bill 813 (PDF)

North Carolina Fireworks Explosion Kills Four People Killed on July 4

July 6, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Four people are dead from injuries they sustained on July 4 in Ocracoke when a truck filled with fireworks exploded. The four victims were workers who were preparing for an Outer Banks celebration for the 4th of July.

According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives investigators, the fireworks blast was an accident that occurred while the fireworks show was being set up. The tractor-trailer was loaded with enough fireworks for a 22-minute program.

One of the victims sustained serious burn in injuries from the North Carolina fireworks accident and was flown to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. He died on Monday. Another fireworks victim died at the accident scene. A third victim was taken to UNC-Chapel Hill Jaycee Burn Center.

The company in charge of setting up the fireworks for the Ocracoke show was Melrose South Pyrotechnics, which is located in Catawba, South Carolina. Company officials say they are working with investigators to determine the cause of the deadly blast.

Fireworks Injuries
According to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission, almost 7,000 people in the US had to go to hospital emergency rooms in 2008 because they sustained a fireworks injury. At least 11 people were killed in fireworks accidents in 2007. Almost 2/3rds of these injuries occurred within the one-month period around the 4th of July.

Common kinds of fireworks injuries include:

• Burn injuries
• Eye injuries
• Hand injuries
• Leg injuries

If you or someone you love was injured in a North Carolina fireworks accident, you may be entitled to personal injury or wrongful death recovery. Even if you were a worker injured while setting up a fireworks display, there may be third parties that can be held liable for the harm you have suffered. You also may be entitled to receive North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits.

Companies and premise owners charged with overseeing a fireworks display or any other event are responsible for making sure that there are no hazardous conditions on the premise that could cause injuries or death. Otherwise, they could be held liable for North Carolina premises liability.

4 in Outer Banks Die In Fireworks Accident, Washington Post, July 6, 2009

Death Toll Rises in Fireworks Blast, NY TImes, July 5, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Fireworks-Related Injuries, CDC

CPSC Announces Drop in Fireworks-Related Injuries; Consumers Still Urged To Celebrate Safe This July 4th, CPSC.org, June 30, 2009

Injured Workers Sue Hickory Company Sued for North Carolina Personal Injuries From Con Agra Slim Jim Natural Gas Blast

July 2, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Energy Systems Analysts, a water heater maker company in Hickory, is one defendant in the North Carolina personal injury lawsuit filed by two people who were injured in the June 9 blast at a Con Agra Slim Jim plant in Garner.

300 people were working at the plant when the deadly work explosion occurred. The fatal natural gas explosion injured almost 40 people and killed three others. One of the injured workers, Tammie O’Neal, sustained back, leg, and head injuries. She was trampled by workers that were rushing to escape the explosion. Another injured employee, Leonard Spruill, sustained serious burn injuries.

Energy Systems Analysts was a Hickory contractor that made and helped install a gas water heater that investigators think may have been a key factor in the deadly natural explosion. The workers’ Raleigh personal injury lawsuit is accusing the water heater maker of not having the license in North Carolina to install, connect, or manipulate the pipes that deliver the natural gas. The plaintiffs are also accusing the Hickory contractor of failing to evacuate the plant when it became apparent that “natural gas was venting into the plant.”

The US Chemical Safety Board believes there is a strong likelihood that contractors vented the gas inside the building when they installed the device. The gas should have been vented outside. North Carolina safety officials are investigating 10 companies because of the fatal blast.

Other defendants named in the North Carolina personal injury lawsuit are Curtis Ray Poppe, an Energy Systems Analysts employee, Jacobs Engineering Group, the company that came up with the installation plans, and Southern Industrial Constructors, a mechanical contractor.

Although workers cannot sue their employers for work accidents—they are, however, entitled to workers’ compensation benefits—they can file North Carolina personal injury claims against third parties that were liable for causing their work injuries.

Hickory company named in lawsuit in wake of fatal plant explosion, Hickory Record, June 23, 2009

Injured ConAgra workers sue contractor, The News & Observer, June 16, 2009

Related Web Resources:
3 confirmed dead in explosion, The News & Observer, June 16, 2009

Energy Systems Analysts

Mint Hill Dog Attack Injures Grandmother and Six-Year-Old Boy

July 1, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

In Mecklenburg County, a 6-year-old boy is in critical condition after being attacked by a pit bull on Wednesday. Also injured in the Mint Hill dog mauling incident was the child’s grandmother, who tried to rescue him. The pit bull belongs to a relative. Both grandmother and grandson had to undergo surgery from their injuries.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care and Control has taken the dog into custody. It is not clear at this time whether charges will be filed.

North Carolina Dog Bite Injuries
Injuries from a dog bite can be excruciatingly painful for a victim. Young children and the elderly are especially at risk of sustaining dog bite injuries. Disfigurement, scarring, and emotional trauma can result.

According to Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, nearly twice as many people were hospitalized for dog bite injuries in 2008 than in 1993 when 5,100 dog bite victims were hospitalized. 9,500 dog attack patients were hospitalized two years ago.

• Also, in 2008, approximately 866 people day sought ER care for their dog bites. About 26 were admitted daily.
• About 50% of hospitalized patients were treated for tissue and skin infections.
• Many of the patients needed wound debridement or skin grafts.
• $18,200 was the average cost of a hospital stay for dog bite injuries.

Some dog bite wounds are serious enough to require plastic or reconstructive surgery. Because kids are still growing and developing, they may have to wait several years before undergoing such procedures, which can cause them to develop social issues and low self-esteem.

Because of the state’s contributory negligence law, settling your North Carolina dog mauling claim can be tough, which is why you need to explore your options with an experienced Charlotte, North Carolina dog bite law firm as soon as possible.

6-year-old boy critically injured in pit bull attack, Charlotte Observer, December 24, 2010

Risks: Hospital Admissions for Dog Bites Are on the Rise, The New York Times, December 10, 2010

Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Involving Dog Bites, 2008, AHRQ (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
Animal Bites, National Institute of Health

Quick Overview of Dog Bite Laws, Animal Law

 
 

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