Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What if the accident was my fault?”

 

Public policy has ended a man’s lawsuit against a bar owner for injuries the man sustained in a skydiving incident.

skydiving Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Wrongful Death AttorneyThe man, Stephen Scheuren, was a spectator at The Smiling Moose Saloon & Grill’s 2009 Moosefest, a charity event organized by Smiling Moose owner Cheryl Vogel. At the event, paper plates with numbers written on them were scattered throughout a skydiving landing zone. Skydivers were to pick up plates on landing. Those whose numbers were written on the selected plates won raffle prizes.

Two tandem skydivers, including Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickel, landed in the landing zone but then slid between two tents into the group of spectators, striking Scheuren and an eight-year-old boy. Scheuren suffered unspecified leg injuries that required surgery.

Mayor Nickel was ultimately dismissed from Scheuren’s lawsuit, but Scheuren obtained a default judgment against one defendant and settled with several others. Only Scheuren’s claims against Vogel remained. She argued that Wisconsin’s so-called “recreational immunity statute” shielded her and The Smiling Moose from liability. A circuit court ruled against Scheuren, so Scheuren appealed.

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What does the “one-bite rule” mean in NC dog bite cases?”

 

A killer is on the loose in Union County. On Saturday, a pet owner in the county notified law-enforcement authorities that his two Great Danes had been shot by arrows.

Dog close up Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg North Carolina Dog Bite AttorneyAn officer responding to the call found one dog lying near the back corner of the man’s property, while a second dog was found under a shed. An arrow was still stuck in the first dog. The officer could not find a second arrow, but observed what appeared to be an arrow wound to the second dog’s neck. Both dogs died of their injuries.

This followed the fatal shooting of a dog in Union County last week. In that case, a woman found her husky mix dead under her storage building, with four gunshot wounds. The storage building also was riddled bullet holes, according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office. The dog’s owner said the husky was valued at $500.

Last month, two dog owners in Union County reported that their pets had been poisoned with antifreeze. The dog owners theorized that hunters had put out antifreeze to ward off dogs or coyotes. The Union County Sheriff said an investigator was working on those cases, and that using antifreeze to get rid of dogs was illegal.

North Carolina treats cruelty to animals as a criminal matter, and the state routinely prosecutes those who commit cruel acts upon or who are neglectful toward animals. But what recourse does a pet owner have against one who is found responsible for the death of a beloved animal?

Believe it or not, the North Carolina courts have answered this question, but pet owners may not like the answer.

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What if the accident was my fault?”

A 32-year-old American author who wrote a survival guide for Spain’s Pamplona bull-running festival was gored on Wednesday by a 1,320-pound bull named Brevito during the annual San Fermin festival.

Running of the bulls Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Wrongful Death AttorneyThe man, Bill Hillman, was skewered in the right thigh by the bull’s horn; the bull also gored a 35-year-old Spanish man in the chest. A friend of Hillman’s said the bull’s horn had missed the artery in Hillman’s right thigh and that Hillman had undergone surgery at a local hospital and was expected to survive.

Hillman co-authored a 2014 e-book called “Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona.”

Dozens of people were injured in the annual bull-running, held on a narrow, half-mile course. The bulls took under four minutes to run the course before being led into a bull ring to face matadors and death. The most recent human bull-run fatality came in 2009, when a Spanish man was gored to death.

Hillman may be lucky, but if he thinks he has any legal claims, he is out of luck. Of course he couldn’t sue the bull, but could he sue Pamplona or the outfit that organizes the bull runs? No. The reason why may seem obvious, but in the law, sometimes obvious answers lead to absurd results.

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

Time cures all ills, as the saying goes. For at least one North Carolina sex abuse victim, time is the enemy of justice.

Priests walking Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg County North Carolina Wrongful Death AttorneyOn July 1, a Stanly County Superior Court Judge dismissed a sex abuse charge against the Rev. Joseph Kelleher. The judge ruled that Kelleher, who is 86 and lives in a retirement home in High Point, is not mentally competent to stand trial.

The sexual abuse allegation was levelled against Kelleher in 2010 by a man who said he was abused by Kelleher in 1977, when the man was 14-years-old. At that time, Kelleher worked at Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Albemarle.

Lawyers for the victim called the case “one of the oldest, if not oldest” criminal case pending in Stanly County, and questioned why it was delayed for some four years before being dismissed.

Delays of a different kind resulted in dismissal of two civil lawsuits brought in Mecklenburg County against the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte. Those lawsuits were premised on decades-old sex abuse of children by Kelleher and another priest. Lawyers for the diocese argued successfully that plaintiffs in those cases missed the deadline to file their lawsuits.

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?”

 

The online dating world took a collective gasp as one of its leading lights, Tinder Chief-Marketing-Officer Justin Mateen, was accused of sexual harassment and discrimination. The company says it has suspended the cofounder.

Sexual harassment Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina medical malpractice AttorneyTinder compiles information from users’ Facebook accounts and, based on a set of criteria, tries to connect potential mates.

In the sex harassment lawsuit, brought by former Tinder Vice-President of Marketing Whitney Wolfe, Mateen is accused of connecting with Wolfe inappropriately both online and the old-fashioned way. Wolfe alleges Mateen pursued her romantically, and the two began “officially dating” in February of 2013.

It didn’t take long, however, before Mateen became verbally controlling and abusive. He told Wolfe if she hurt his pride by dating another man, he’d fire her. A few months after breaking off their relationship, Mateen called Wolfe a “whore” at a company event. He also went behind Wolfe’s back, describing her as a “gold digger” and a “liberal lying slut” to coworkers. Wolfe claims pressure from Mateen led to her termination.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

A North Carolina Senate committed has added language to a piece of legislation that will now require drivers of mopeds to purchase liability insurance before legally operating the vehicles on state roadways. The measure, House Bill 1145, has already been approved by the house, though the new language will need to be agreed to before the bill progresses any further.
Moped parked Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Accident AttorneyThe language attached by the Senate says that moped drivers are required to register their vehicles with the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, in addition to purchasing liability coverage. Moped drivers will have until July 1, 2015 to comply with the new regulations.

 

Under current North Carolina law, mopeds are not among those vehicles that must be registered or insured in the state. Mopeds are also not subject to any property taxes, allowing owners to essentially avoid any fees associated with their use.

 

The new measure would require moped owners to pay a $15 registration fee as well as demonstrate to the Division of Motor Vehicles that the moped was designed and manufactured specifically for highway use. These requirements mirror those for motorcyclists, something that some legislators believe is necessary to guarantee the safety of all North Carolina motorists.

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Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matthew R. Arnold of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can my employer fire me because I filed a workers’ compensation claim?”

 

A New Jersey woman is driving workplace discrimination claims in a new direction, claiming that congested roadways on her work commute aggravated her “great anxiety and depression.” The woman, Andrea DeGerolamo, doesn’t blame Gov. Chris Christie for the congestion; instead, she blames her former employer, Fulton Financial Corp., for not letting her change her work schedule to avoid it.

Brake light traffic Charlotte Injury Lawyers North Carolina Wrongful Death AttorneyDeGerolamo alleged in the suit that her doctor mandated the change in commuting times after determining that DeGerolamo was clinically depressed and that her condition was “especially aggravated by crowded roadways during the heavy traffic of rush hour.”

Fulton hired DeGerolamo in 2007 as a marketing coordinator. In her suit – premised upon New Jersey’s workplace antidiscrimination act – she alleged that Fulton refused “to enter into an interactive dialogue… aimed at reaching a reasonable accommodation.”

DeGerolamo alleged that she took a medical leave of absence in 2012, but after returning to work she was terminated. She said her termination amounted to discrimination, based on her efforts to “address alleged workplace bias.” She also alleged that Fulton retaliated against her for using the Family Medical Leave Act to take some time off.

In the lawsuit, DeGerolamo sought damages for lost wages and benefits, front pay, medical insurance, punitive damages, emotional distress damages, and attorneys’ fees. Fulton has removed the case to Federal Court, where it is pending in the New Jersey District.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”

 

A recent article by the Carolina Public Press concerned some of the difficulties injured bicyclists have when bringing a personal injury claim against those drivers who were responsible for the collision. The article explains that a combination of factors, including North Carolina’s contributory negligence doctrine and a deeply ingrained bias against bicyclists, contribute to making it difficult for cyclists to successfully sue after being involved in a car accident.

 

bicycle shadow Charlotte Injury Attorney North Carolina Accident LawyerThe first thing that makes it hard for bicyclists to bring personal injury cases after a car accident is the negligence system that exists in North Carolina. A handful of states, including North Carolina, use a contributory negligence standard that says that if an injured party is at all responsible for the accident that led to their injuries, then that person will not be able to recover damages in a personal injury lawsuit.

 

The vast majority of states in the U.S. follow a different doctrine known as comparative negligence, which apportions damages based on the percentage of responsibility of each of the parties. For example, if a bicyclist is found to be even 1 percent at fault for an accident, in comparative negligence states, they will only be able to collect 99 percent of the total damages awarded in the case. In North Carolina, that same cyclist would be barred from collecting any damages.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “What if the medical condition improves before the hearing?”

 

In a terrible freak accident in Taylorsville, NC, a man who was simply mowing the lawn ended up losing a hand, though not because of anything involving the lawn mower. Instead, the source of his terrible injury was a small plane that landed on top of him.

 

Airplane propeller Charlotte Injury Lawyer North Carolina Accident AttorneyEdward Sisson, an 84-year-old from Crossville, TN, was piloting the small plane. Sisson was preparing to land the single-engine plan at Taylorsville Airport Saturday afternoon when he put the plane down on a grass runway directly on top of 74-year-old John Rufty.

 

Police say that while Sisson was an experienced pilot, the Taylorsville Airport lacks an air traffic controller so there was no one around to communicate with either the pilot or the lawn mower. Sisson was reportedly heading east prior to landing, the same direction as the unlucky lawn mower. Rufty was unable to hear the approaching plane given the noise of the lawnmower and never saw it because it came in behind him. Sisson apparently never saw Rufty either, at least not until moments before impact.

 

Emergency responders have revealed that the propeller of the plane cut Rufty, leading to a horrible injury that ultimately severed his left hand. The force of the accident was so great that it caused both the plane and the lawn mower to flip over. Sisson was able to walk away from the accident scene without injuries. Tragically, Rufty had to be taken by air ambulance to Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem where he was listed in critical condition.

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Attorney Matthew R. Arnold answering the question: “Can I wait a few months to pursue a personal injury claim?”

 

Almost six months after a horrific fair accident left several people seriously injured at the North Carolina State Fair, a group has filed the first personal injury lawsuit in the case. The suit was filed by four family members who were riding the Vortex at the time of the accident and all sustained serious injuries as a result of the malfunction.

 

Fair ride Charlotte Injury Lawyer Mecklenburg County Wrongful Death AttorneyThe lawsuit was filed against a worker in charge of the ride, the owner of the Vortex machine itself and two other companies that service fair attractions. The lawsuit was filed by the Gorham family and seeks an astounding $150 million from the defendants, a sum that rests largely on punitive damages. The lawsuit estimates that medical bills could continue costing the family money for decades to come and may end up totaling as much as $30 million. The remainder, $120 million, is intended to punish those responsible and ensure that another tragedy like this never happens again.

 

The Gorham family, Kisha and her husband Anthony, as well as their 14-year-old son and a niece, were all trying to get off the ride when it sprang back to life and threw the riders back into the area, many of whom were unsecured. Anthony Gorham suffered permanent brain damage, neck and spinal trauma and is now unable to act on his own legally. The man has had multiple brain surgeries and continues to struggle with what many agree will be a lengthy recovery.

 

One of those sued in the case is Timothy Tutterrow, a man from Georgia who police have said may have tampered with critical safety systems on the ride prior to the disaster. Safety investigators say they believe Tutterrow’s actions may have allowed the machine to continue operating when riders’ safety restraints were in the unlocked position. In addition to the civil lawsuit, Tutterrow faces criminal charges including assault with a deadly weapon.

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