NC Aviation Law Attorney

N.C. Personal Injury Attorney Warns Parents About Waivers For Children’s Activities


   If you are a parent of small children, you have seen them.  The devices by which businesses and organizations seek to avoid responsibility for their carelessness, defective products, or lax supervision.  I am speaking of releases, waivers and their dastardly cousin, hold harmless agreements.  Our clients have been asked to sign these for church camps, birthday parties, basketball camps, and even when one of our children took Chinese lessons!

     Our experience is that anytime our children attend a paid event at a company that invites children in—for profit—parents are asked to sign one of these things.  They even come on pre-printed invitations that the company supplies to unsuspecting parents.  They also are presented when children attend a religious affiliated camp.

       If you sign a release or waiver, and if your child is injured, you might well be giving up your rights to recover for injuries to your child from the party responsible for those injuries.  In my view, the entity that caused the harm, and its insurance company, should be responsible.     

     Think of them in the alternative:  “I hereby give you the right to maim, injury and even kill my child and allow you to (1) not  keep your equipment in repair (2) not certify your instructors (3) not have adequate emergency equipment on hand, (4) permit a drunk employees to drive a bus, etc., and (5) to allow your insurance company to receive the premiums which we are paying without the risk of having to pay a claim.”  That’s a great deal for the insurance company.

     If you are asked to sign a “hold harmless” agreement, you could be agreeing to pay for that entity’s lawyers and any damages awarded by a court—if someone sues that company for the acts of your child—or for anything else.

     We advise clients not to give up their children’s rights. Why should you give up your money so that the business can pay insurance premiums and then be mandated by that same insurer to get these releases/waivers signed so, potentially, it won’t have to pay a claim?  Why agree to pay their legal bills when you’re not responsible?

      Think of the releases this way:  if a parent  handed you one of these releases to sign when you brought your child over for a play date—allowing the host family not monitor the children, leave out knives or dangerous tools or unlocked loaded guns, leave chemicals unsecured, flammable materials within reach, would you leave your child there?  Of course not.     

       Insurance companies might pay on the smaller injuries, but they are holding the release for a larger injury.   The release is held back for a truly severe injury—the one where a family really needs help.

       These releases prey on the unknowing public, with greater risk to the less fortunate.  Some may have the resources to challenge these releases, but the resource-less will be pushed away when the signed release is shoved in their face.

       Our advice is first of all not to sign these documents.  If you sign and are confronted with one after an injury to your child, consult a lawyer in your state to learn what can be done.  Laws vary from state to state.

        But it’s better not to risk it.  Just say no, and don’t sign them.  Don’t patronize businesses that make you sign them.  Don’t send your children to parties, functions or camps—religious or otherwise—if you are asked to sign one of these as a condition of use or attendance. Boycott businesses and camps that use them.  Explain to whoever presents the release why you are declining.   They will stop if we stop.

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Posted by 3:17 pm

Parents Sue When Stove Tips And Kills Two-Year-Old

On July 11, 2010, a two-year-old was crushed to death when the stove in his family’s kitchen tipped over on him, reports  The parents have since filed a wrongful death lawsuit in St. Louis County Circuit Court seeking damages from the Oak Tree Apartments for an undisclosed amount.

The lawsuit claims the accident could have been prevented and the child’s life saved if the landlord had secured the stove with a simple bracket. 

 At least 34 people have been killed since 1980 in similar accidents.  The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission counted 107 incidents of injury or death from 1980 through 2006 – half of the fatalities were children under age 2.  Most of the injuries were from burns from hot liquids when the range tipped.  

Accidents such as these are frustrating for safety advocates who have tried for years to prompt people to install the inexpensive bracket.  Pressure on an open oven door – even from a small climbing child – may be enough leverage to cause the stove to pitch forward.  Children often use an open door as a step to be able to reach something on the counter – too often with deadly results.

The making of lighter weight stoves made the industry provide anti-tip brackets since 1991.  Even with the warnings of danger, consumer experts estimate as many as 45 million American homes have not installed the anti-tip device.

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Posted by 3:32 pm

$23M Awarded To Family Affected By Pesticide Spray

According to The Republic, a southern Indiana family has been awarded $23.5 million to a family whose two children have suffered severe neurological problems after pesticides were sprayed in their apartment. 

In 1996 the parents sued the Prestwick Square Apartments and its management company after their children started having seizures caused by pesticides sprayed in their apartment in the mid 1990s.  

A year after moving into their apartment in February, 1994, both children were hospitalized with seizures and other neurological problems.  The family moved out of the apartment in January, 1995. 

The daughter, now 20, can do little more than feed herself.  The son, now 17, has physical ability, but is academically and socially challenged. Exposure to Creal-O, a chemical based on the pesticide Diazinon, was cited as the cause of the children’s illnesses. The chemical was banned for residential use by the environmental protection agency in 2004. 

The parents were awarded $500,000 each.  The daughter will receive $16 million and the son will receive $6.5 million.

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Posted by 1:47 pm

Hyundai Settles In Death Of Motorcyclist

The Orange County Register reports Hyundai has made a confidential settlement with a family whose son was killed while riding his motorcycle in 2005.  The incident was caused by a Hyundai executive who was driving drunk. 

The 23-year-old musician and motorcyclist was killed when the executive lost control of his Hyundai SUV after drinking at a company –sponsored dinner, hitting the young man causing him to be thrown from his motorcycle onto the freeway where he was run over by several other vehicles.

 The family of the young man sued the executive and Hyundai claiming the company had a corporate culture of promoting drinking at company functions and that Hyundai helped the executive flee the country shortly after the accident.

 The family stated it is pleased with the settlement.  Their son was a college student and participated in a band that often played at Disneyland.

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Posted by 1:43 pm

Crouse Law Firm Retained To Investigate Personal Injuries Suffered On Delta/ASA Flight

James T. Crouse of Crouse Law Offices in Raleigh, N.C., has been retained by a family of five to explore injuries they suffered on a recent Delta Airlines/ASA flight. 

The family, which includes three children ages 9, 5 and 21 months, suffered injuries on a commercial flight in August of this year when the airliner encountered three bouts with severe turbulence, which caused the aircraft to eventually make an unscheduled landing in St Louis. 

Before takeoff, the pilot made an announcement which was almost inaudible to the passengers – it was clear the intercom was not working properly—that he was going to try to beat the bad weather. During the flight, the father was in the cramped bathroom changing the baby’s diaper when an announcement concerning imminent turbulence was made over the intercom. It was so muffled the flight attendant had to go up and down the isle repeating the announcement to the passengers.  Because he could not understand the announcement, the father had no idea they were heading for severe turbulence until the plane hit it and he had no choice but to stay in the restroom and to brace himself and his daughter as best he could.

In the meantime, the flight attendant told the wife to leave her seat and to tell her husband about the announcement.  While making her way to the rear of the plane to her husband, she was thrown by the turbulence and landed across some seats.

When at the airport in St. Louis, baby was taken to an emergency room because the EMTs feared internal injuries due to bruising all up her back and thought she might have a broken hand.  The mother was later diagnosed as having spinal trauma – two bulging discs in her back – and a bruised lung.

The family continuues to deal with their injuries as well as the trauma suffered by the two older children.

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Posted by 4:52 pm

Owner Sued After Man Dies From Dog Bite


The Seattle Times reports the family of a man who died 10 days after being bitten by a dog has sued the dog’s owner. 

According to the family of the victim, the Redbone Coonhound had a history of biting people and was still allowed to roam unleashed.  The owner has denied the dog was off-leash the day he bit the victim. 

The owner and the victim were at a storage facility when the victim was bitten on the finger, drawing blood.  The next day the victim severe pain in his leg and went to the hospital where they found a blood clot in his leg.  Later an infection he developed was diagnose as Capnocytophaga canimorsus sepsis – a bacterium common to cat and dog saliva.  The bacterium led to multiple organ failure and tissue necrosis – a very painful death. 

Although the dog owner contends the dog was in his SUV and the victim reached in the window to pet him, according to state law, a dog’s owner can be held civilly responsible if his or her dog bites someone and the owner knew the dog was potentially dangerous.  The dog has bitten another person earlier the same day and veterinary records show the dog bite people as a puppy. 

When the dog owner’s insurance policies refused to pay the full amount of two policies – about $1.5 million – to the family of the deceased, they decided to sue.

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Posted by 11:58 am

Claim Of Defective Seats Brings Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Honda

A lawsuit has been filed in Texas against Honda Motor Co., Ltd. by the parents of a young woman who died in her 2005 Honda Civic in April of this year, reports the Southeast Texas Record. 

The young woman died when she lost control of her car and skidded off the rain slick road. She hit several trees and even though she was wearing a seatbelt, she was killed when her seat collapsed and she was thrown into the back seat. 

The lawsuit claims the Honda Civic violated the principles of crashworthiness by failing to provide adequate restraint and failed to prevent ejection.  It also claims the car was unreasonably dangerous and defective because the collapsing seat exposed the driver to the risk, hazard and danger of ejection.  Honda is accused of not conducting adequate testing and proper engineering analysis.

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Posted by 11:51 am

Crouse Law Firm Retained To Investigate Tucson Medical Helicopter Crash

James T. Crouse of Crouse Law Offices, Raleigh, N.C., has been retained to investigate the cause of a medical helicopter crash on July 28, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona, in which all three crew members were killed.  No patients were on board at the time of the crash. 

The Eurocopter AS350, owned by Colorado-based AirMethods and operating as LifeNet Arizona, was based in Douglas, Arizona.  AirMethods transport people requiring intensive medical care to highly skilled centers or tertiary care centers, providing medical care while en route. 

The helicopter, known as LifeNet 12, was en route back to home base after undergoing routine maintenance at Marana Regional Airport.  Although the cause of the crash will not be known for some time, there has been a history of defects in some engines installed in AS350 B3 Eurocopters.  However, the engine manufacturer, Turbomeca, was to have addressed this issue before turning the helicopter over to Air Methods.

 This is not the first incident of trouble for the AS350 B3 in Tucson.  In September another helicopter operated by Air Methods was forced to make a hard landing at St. Mary’s hospital after it swerved to the left just a few feet from the landing pad. In this incident the 3 crew members and the patient were uninjured.

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Posted by 6:36 pm

Parents of Student Killed By Propeller Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The parents of a Chinese flight student who was killed when hit by a propeller has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Sierra Academy Aeronautics at Castle Airport, reports the Merced Sun-Star of California. 

In November 2008, the 26-year-old exited a plane before it taxied to a stop running toward the front of the plane and into the turning propeller.  An instructor had checked the weather, endorsed the man’s logbook, and OK’d for a solo flight, but before take-off another student boarded the plane and flew the last leg back to the airport.  The instructor was unaware another student would be on board. The man killed ran from the plane in hopes of not being seen by the instructors at the school.

 The lawsuit claims the school should not have let the man fly without an instructor and that the school acted negligently when it let him fly in bad weather.  

 The NTSB found the incident was caused by the student’s own failure to see the propeller.  Initial investigators thought the incident was partly caused by the two students trying to hide the fact they had piloted the plane together.  Further investigation proved this to be the case.

 This was the first death of this kind in the school’s 44 years of operation.

Wrongful Death

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Posted by 2:17 pm

Preliminary Report Released On Deadly Medical Helicopter Crash

The NTSB’s preliminary report on the medical helicopter crash which killed three people in Arkansas includes a witness statement of hearing an explosion before the aircraft went down.  The witness also reported hearing the sound of crushing metal, then seeing the helicopter turn left – then right before it disappeared. 

As reported earlier on this site, on August 31, an AirEvac Lifeteam helicopter based in Vilonia, Arkansas, crashed killing all three crew members on board.  According to CNN, the helicopter was en route to an accident in Crabtree, Arkansas when it crashed.

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Posted by 1:46 pm

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