NC Aviation Law Attorney

$8.8M Awarded In Defective Product Suit

A New York jury has awarded a 21-year-old woman $8.8 million for injuries she suffered when the pocket of her coat was caught on a bolt of a digger being operated by her stepfather.

The bolt was protruding from the drive shaft of an auger-like post-hole digger and her arm wrapped around the digger when the pocket was caught on the bolt, resulting in the loss of her arm in 2004 when she was only 16-year-old.

The jury cited the manufacturer of the digger, Ford New Holland (now known as Case New Holland) for selling a defective product.   The bolt that caught on the girl’s coat was supposed to be covered by a shield, but the shield broke under normal use and was removed by Peter A. Smith, the owner of the digger, in 1999.  The lawsuit alleges the shield was always inadequate and there is nothing to support the fact it was ever tested.

The jury placed 35% of the blame on Case New Holland and 30% each on Peter A Smith, the  owner of the digger and the person who loaned the digger to the stepfather, and on SMC Corp. from Sioux Fall, S.D., the company who assembled the digger.

Products are often made carelessly, designed without using the most appropriate design standards, are haphazardly tested, or have insufficient instructions, warnings or labels. This includes products around the home.

Personal injury cases involving defective products often involve serious injury and permanent disability. A qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer is needed to make sure you receive the maximum compensation for your loss.




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Posted by 3:13 pm

Medical Negligence Often Not Reported

I have known for sometime that most acts of medical negligence are never reported, let alone brought into litigation.  In a previous post I have also decried the fact that legislators are limiting the rights of these people who have been harmed by medical negligence – medical malpractice – without addressing the source of the harm – mistakes made by our medical profession including doctors, hospitals and drug companies.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by 2:43 pm

Another Automotive Recall – Ford Pickup Trucks

The Associated Press has reported Ford Motor Co. will recall almost 150,000 F-150 pickup trucks from 2005-2006 in the U.S. and Canada to fix the air bags.  In what Ford calls a “relatively low risk”, the air bags could deploy without warning.

One would imagine the “relative low risk” factor would vary depending on if you are the driver or an innocent victim when the air bag deploys unexpectedly while driving down a busy street.  Even one severe injury or death is too much when a known problem exists.  This is 2011 – why we are hearing about the 2005-2006 models six years later?

This recall is much smaller than the government wanted.  Citing dozens of injuries, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told the company the recall should cover 1.3 million vehicles from the 2004-2006 model years.

Unexpected personal injury from a defective product is a concern for Crouse Law Offices, especially when a severe injury or even death can occur.  If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, call us today at 1-919-861-0500 or use our online contact form.

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Posted by 12:41 pm

Lawsuit Follows Truckee Tahoe Airport Crash

A negligence lawsuit has been filed by a 15 year-old girl because of injuries she suffered in a 2009 plane crash at the Truckee, Nevada airport.

On Sept. 7, 2009, the then 14 year-old girl was flying from Truckee to San Jose with her friend in a plane piloted by her friend’s parents. The lawsuit claims the pilots of the Cessna P206B filled the plane with an excessive amount of fuel – because fuel is cheaper in Truckee than in San Jose – and therefore made the plane too heavy for takeoff.

The young girl suffered multiple injuries including her back broken in six places and a brain hemorrhage with a concussion.  She continues to suffer from her injuries.

One of the pilots, now a paraplegic from the crash, claims they were not “tankering” fuel to save money and that she had planned the flight including the weight of the fuel.  Her daughter and her husband also suffered injuries in the crash.

The lawsuit claims the pilots disregard for the high-density altitude or “thin air” was the major cause of the crash.

The amount of damages asked requested for personal injury has not been released.

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Posted by 6:07 pm

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

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