October 2009

Kids are Twice as Likely to Die in North Carolina Pedestrian Accidents on Halloween Night, Says Safe Kids USA

October 26, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to Safe Kids USA, a child’s chances of dying in a pedestrian accident more than doubles on Halloween night. 4-10pm on October 31 is when child pedestrian fatality statistics go from 1 child death/night (for these same six hours) to 2.2 kid fatalities for the evening.

One reason for the increased danger is because kids who trick or treat are likely to walk outside in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them—especially if they are small in size or short in height. Also, a child dressed in full costume, such as a mask or a headdress, might have a hard time seeing approaching vehicles.

North Carolina Child Pedestrian Accidents
While there are steps that parents and kids can take to prevent North Carolina child pedestrian accidents from happening, such as using a flashlight, not jaywalking, and making sure that costumes are easily visible for motorists, drivers are responsible for exercising caution and watching out for pedestrians regardless of the time of day or the year.

Careless or reckless driving can be grounds for a South Carolina or North Carolina pedestrian lawsuit involving injuries to minors if a child is hurt because of driver negligence.

To avoid causing a Charlotte, North Carolina pedestrian accident, you might want to look at the following suggestions offered by the The National Safety Commission:

• Look out for trick or treating kids.
• Make sure headlights are on so that you are visible.
• Do not drive drunk.
• Do not talk on the cell phone.
• Do not text message.
• Check your blind spots.
• Expect that a child might decide to run between cars or cross the street without looking.
• Consider driving lower than the posted speed limit.
• Be ready to stop at any moment.
• Be patient with child pedestrians.
• Try not to go around or pass vehicles that are stopped.

Related Web Resources:
Real horror of Halloween: Pedestrian deaths, USA Today, October 26, 2009

Holiday Driving: Halloween Safety Tips, The National Safety Commission, October 13, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Top Ten Tips for Safe Trick-Or-Treating this Halloween , Safe Kids USA

Pedestrians, 2008 Traffic Safety Fact Sheet, NHTSA (PDF)

Wrongful Death?: Following 3rd “Sweat Lodge” Fatality, One Family Member Cries “Murder”

October 19, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A third person has died after participating in the sweat lodge ceremony facilitated by self-help expert James Arthur Ray. Participants paid over $9,000 each to take part in his “Spiritual Warrior” program.

Part of the program involved over 50 people entering a sweat lodge for a purification ceremony. The October 8 ritual turned tragic when Kirby Brown, 38, and James Shore, 40, were pronounced dead and 19 other people became ill from a number of conditions, including respiratory arrest, elevated body temperature, dehydration, and kidney failure. On Saturday, sweat lodge participant, Liz Neuman, also died.

Neuman sustained multiple organ damage and went into a coma after sitting in the sweat lodge. Now, her family says that they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit over the incident.

Meantime, Tom McFeeley, Brown’s cousin and the family’s spokesperson, is alleging that she, Shore, and Neuman were murdered.

Hey says that Ray decided when participants could leave the sweat lodge. McFeeley says he doesn’t believe that the self-help guru was equipped to facilitate the event.

Police are still investigating the fatal incident, which occurred on the grounds of the Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat in Arizona, to determine whether criminal charges should be filed against Ray or anyone else involved in the event.

According to the New York Post, the sweat lodge incident was not the only event facilitated by Ray resulting in injury or death. In July 2009, a woman attending one of Ray’s seminars committed suicide by jumping from the third floor of a balcony mall. In May 2005, a woman shattered her hand after Ray allegedly pressured her into breaking a board. She sued the self-help teacher for personal injury and the lawsuit was settled in 2007.

Mystic’s past is guru-some, NY Post, October 19, 2009

3rd person in sweat lodge ceremony dies, Boston.com, October 19, 2009

Related Web Resources:
James Arthur Ray

Angel Valley Spiritual Retreat

The Native American Seat Lodge

Court of Appeals Gives Green Light for Widow’s North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against City of Gastonia

October 12, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A woman’s Gaston County, North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Gastonia can move forward, says the NC Court of Appeals. The appellate court reversed a Superior Court judge’s decision to drop the lawsuit because of a procedural technicality.

Kelle Renzulli Tallman’s husband Brian died from irregular heartbeat complications on December 21, 2004 after roughhousing with his stepson, Jordan Renzulli. In her North Carolina wrongful death complaint, Kelle Tallman accuses firefighters of preventing Renzulli from administering CPR to her husband yet, at the same time, not acting to provide him with medical care while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Renzulli was at first charged with second-degree murder but in October 2007, prosecutors dismissed the charges against him. Kelle Tallmen has always maintained that her husband and son were wrestling and just having fun with one another.

Although Brian was never diagnosed with heart problems, autopsy reports indicate that he died from arrhythmia. Kelle says her husband might not have died if firefighters had taken medical action or let her son continue administering CPR to Brian.

In December 2006, she applied to have the two-year statute of limitations for filing a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit extended. The city of Gastonia, however, attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed because even thought the Superior Court assistant clerk granted the extension, the estate of Brain Tallman, which Kelle noted as the plaintiff of the lawsuit, did not legally exist when she filed her extension request.

The Superior Court judge dismissed her wrongful death lawsuit. The Court of Appeals, however, disagreed and found that Kelle becoming the administrator was enough to ratify the summons filing and extension application.

Emergency workers and their employers can be held liable for North Carolina personal injury or wrongful death if their negligence or carelessness contributes to causing injury or death.

It is important that you consider exploring your legal options before giving up on pursuing North Carolina injury or wrongful death recovery.

Court of Appeals: Woman can sue city of Gastonia for husband’s wrongful death, Gaston Gazette, September 15, 2009

The Estate of Brian Tallman v. The City of Gastonia, North Carolina Court of Appeals, Filed September 15, 2009 (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
City of Gastonia

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

Two Parasailing Companies File Complaint to Limit Wrongful Death Liability in Parasailing Accident that Claimed Lives of Two Women

October 10, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

Two North Carolina parasailing companies, NC Watersports and Ocean Isle Beach Water Sports, have filed a complaint in federal court seeking to either remove them from wrongful death liability or limit any potential civil compensation to a $100,000 cap for the parasailing deaths of two women.

Kernersville resident Cynthia Woodcock and her friend Lorrie Shoup died on August 28 after the rope that was holding them to the boat that was towing them snapped during stormy water conditions off Ocean Isle Beach. Boat Captain Thomas Provazan was reportedly unsuccessful in his efforts to reel them in. The tow line broke, causing the women to slam into the ocean. According to the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office, they died of blunt trauma.

The potential payout cap the two companies are proposing is the estimated value of the boat the women went out in and is also a limit allowed under federal law. The companies’ complaint included the liability wavers the two women signed before the parasailing accident.

The Wilmington wrongful death lawyer of one of the women who died, however, says the companies’ request could be denied if there is evidence that the owner of the boat had been aware of the factors that resulted in the fatal boating accident prior to the tragic incident. The boat’s captain has said that he didn’t know the National Weather Service had put out a warning to boaters that day.

If you or someone you love was injured in a North Carolina boating accident or a parasailing accident, you may have grounds for filing a boating accident lawsuit.

2008 Recreational Boating Accident Facts (US Coast Guard):

• 4789 boating accidents
• 3331 boating accident injuries
• 709 boating deaths
• More than 2/3rds of boating accident deaths involved drownings
• Motorboats, personal watercraft, and cabin motorboats were the most common kinds of vessels involved in recreational boating accidents

According to InjuryBoard.com, over 40 parasailing accidents happen in the US annually. In the last 10 years, at least 15 people have died and hundred of others injured.

Parasail companies seek liability limit, Charlotte Observer, October 10, 2009

Parasailing captain unaware of weather advisory before fatal accident, WRAL.com, September 24, 2009

Recreational Boating Statistics, 2008, US Coast Guard

Related Web Resources:
Parasail Safety Council

Coast Guard to weigh in on first regulations after parasailing accident, The Sun News, September 22, 2009

Charlotte, North Carolina Injury Law Firm Offers Teen Drivers College Scholarships While Discouraging Drunk Driving

October 5, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP is proud to offer 15 high school seniors the chance to win a $2,500 college scholarship–$37,500 in total. The winners will be selected based on several criteria, including their respective presentations on how to prevent minors from driving while drunk.

Winners will be selected from one of the 23 North Carolina and South Carolina counties where our Charlotte, North Carolina injury law firm represents clients, including the North Carolina counties of Cumberland, Anson, Richmond, Scotland, Robeson, Burke, Alexander, Iredel, Stanly, Caldwell, Rowan, Lincoln, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Union, Catawba, Gaston, and Mecklenburg and the South Carolina counties of Dillon, Marlboro, Chesterfield, Lancaster, and York. Applicants must have applied to study full-time at a four-year college or university.

Charlotte car accident lawyer Michael A. DeMayo, who has awarded $125,000 in scholarships since establishing the college fund in 2003, understands the tragic consequences that can arise when a traffic collision happens because someone was driving drunk.

Unfortunately, there are teen drivers who drive drunk. Combining drunk driving with driver inexperience and the propensity to become easily distracted dramatically increases the chances that a teen motorist will cause a deadly South Carolina or North Carolina car crash.

Findings from two studies, recently published in Pediatrics, report that when a parent is very involved in monitoring and restricting a teenager’s driving habits, the minor’s drinking and driving rate goes down by 71%, while the chances he or she will become involved in a car crash drops by about 50%. Teen drivers also were 29% less likely to text and talk on the cell phone while driving. Parental involvement can consist of setting up driving rules and regulating a teen’s driving habits and activities.

Educating young drivers about the dangers of drunk driving is essential to saving lives. It is important that teenagers educate themselves and each other about the deadly dangers that come with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Our Charlotte car accident law firm will award the 15 college scholarships based on each applicant’s teen drunk driving presentation, high school transcript, letters of recommendation, and SAT scores. Deadline to submit an application is March 1, 2010. Winners will be selected on April 9. For more specifics about contest rules, visit the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo on the Internet.

The Law Offices of Michael A DeMayo, LLP’s annual scholarship program

Firm Parents Keep Teen Drivers Safe, US News & World Report, September 25, 2009

Related Web Resources:
MADD North Carolina



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