NC Aviation Law Attorney

Release Forms (Waivers) Unenforceable Says Iowa Court

Iowa Supreme Court has ruled a 19-year-old who was injured on a field trip in 2005 can proceed with her negligence lawsuit because the release forms signed by her mother are unenforceable.

The then 14-year-old was on a field trip to Milwaukee with a youth program called Upward Bound and organized by the University of Northern Iowa and the state of Iowa.  The students had to cross a busy street in the middle of a rainstorm without order or supervision and as the young girl got off the bus, she was hit by a car. 

In overturning a lower court’s decision, the court stated, “We believe a strong policy in favor of protecting children must trump any competing interest” to nullify a child’s personal injury claim.  The lawyer for the young girl argued “a parent can’t waive the potential negligence of a person or party” to whom they are releasing custody of their children and the person who is negligent in caring for the children can’t stand behind a waiver which signs the children’s rights away. 

The state argued ruling the liability waivers unenforceable could impact opportunities for children to participate in field trips and that public policy weighs in favor of releases.  The court acknowledged there is valid policy supporting waivers for adults, but believed strong public policy favoring protecting vulnerable children needs a different rule. 

When her first attempt at filing a lawsuit was turned down by the lower court because of the waiver, she argued to the higher court that parents are “ill-equipped” to know in advance all the risks of injury their children may face when the releases are signed. 

The high court agreed.

Waivers Unenforceable

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Posted by 4:48 pm

$175K Awarded In Escaped Race Horse Injury

A Madison County, Illinois, jury has awarded $175,000 to a man injured when race horses escaped from their pasture in 2008, according to the Madison Record. 

According to the lawsuit, the owners did not take proper precautions to keep their horses contained.   The plaintiff claimed the horses came out of nowhere onto Illinois State Road 159 and he saw them strike a mini van that was in front of him.  When he swerved to avoid hitting another horse, he heard a “pop” from his right shoulder and although he refused an ambulance the night of the accident, he sought medical help the following day. 

His lost wages and medical bills have cost him over $59,000. 

The owners of the horse farm have over 40 years experience with horses and this was only the second incident in the farm’s history.  Although they speculated the horses jumped the fence, they never found out how the horses escaped.

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Posted by 3:00 pm

City of Oakland Pays $1.2M For Personal Injury

The city of Oakland will pay $1.2 million to a woman who suffered 3rd degree burns in a police raid in October 2008, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. 

During a search of a home the 31-year-old woman was visiting, a member of the police SWAT team threw a “flash-bang” grenade into a house.  The grenade exploded near her, causing burns over 11 percent of her body and leaving her permanently disfigured.

The woman accused the police of using an “extreme level of force” when they used the grenade which typically used to disorient dangerous suspects and had full knowledge the grenade could severely burn or injure innocent bystanders.  She subsequently spent nearly a month in the hospital and incurred $400,000 in medical expenses. 

The City Council admitted no wrongdoing when they unanimously voted to approve the settlement.

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Posted by 9:58 am

$65M Verdict In 2007 Motor Vehicle Crash Upheld By Appeals Court

Considered to be one of the largest in Polk County, the 2nd District Court of Appeals has upheld a $65 million verdict for a woman injured in a 2007 traffic crash, reports the Lakeland’s ( Florida ) The Ledger. 

In 2007, the 19-year-old was driving her Dodge Neon when she was struck by a tractor-trailer at an intersection.  An eyewitness to the accident testified the young college student had the green light. 

Prior to the accident, she was majoring in psychology, could speak six languages, and was working as an aide for Florida Institute of Neurologic Rehabilitation.  Following the accident, she was left with extensive injuries and is totally unable to care for herself. 

The lawsuit was filed against Bynum Transport and the part-time truck driver who caused the crash.

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Posted by 2:39 pm

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

$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

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

N.C. Couple Receives $1.5M Awarded For Post-Surgery Injury Caused By Hernia Patch

A North Carolina couple has been awarded $1.5 million by a federal jury for injuries the husband suffered when a hernia patch ruptured in his abdomen following surgery, reports The Providence Journal. 

The patch, made by Cranston firm Davol Inc. was implanted in the 52-year-old man in 2005 to repair an abdominal hernia.  The mesh patches are folded in half and inserted behind the hernia through a small incision.  Once inserted it’s supposed to open, but this ring broke under the stress and traveled inside the body, causing swelling, pain and an abscess which had to be drained constantly.  So far he has undergone several surgeries to repair the damage with more expected in the future. He will be able to lift only 5 to 10 pounds for the rest of his life. 

The jury found Doval and its parent company, C.R. Bard Inc., had failed to warn about the dangers of the mesh path and the poor design of the patch was the cause of the couple’s suffering. They awarded $1.3 million to the husband and $200,000 to his wife for the time she spent dressing his wounds.

This case was the second of about 3,000 involving the Kugel Mesh hernia-repair patch made by Davol. 

Defective design, defective manufacture and failure to warn about potential hazards of products are three ways to claim a product is defective.  If you or a loved one suffered a personal injury due to a defective product, contact the experienced attorneys at Crouse Law Firm at 1-919-861-0500 or use our online form.  There is no cost to evaluate your case.

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Posted by 2:44 pm

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