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fireworks-200x300According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 230 people per day are admitted to the hospital for injuries caused by fireworks in the days leading up to the Fourth of July. Several of these injuries result in fatalities.

Fireworks have been known to prematurely explode and cause severe injuries. Most of the injuries due to the use of fireworks are burns to the head, face, ears, hands and fingers. Even fireworks like sparklers pose a huge safety risk since they can burn at over 2,000 degrees. Using handheld fireworks can be very dangerous and are the reason why so many people end up in an emergency room during the Fourth of July holiday.

Due to the dangers posed by fireworks, North Carolina has fairly restrictive laws. Fireworks that are illegal in North Carolina include:

According to a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente, there is a noticeable spike in emergency room visits during the warm summer months. The study showed a 15 to 27 percent increase in visits to emergency rooms from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

stockfresh_1904915_emergency-sign_sizeS-300x142Children made up a significant portion of the increase in accidents and illness, and the pattern of injury was very distinct. This led researchers to conclude that the longer days and increases in popular activities in the summer also put individuals at higher risk of injury.

As summer begins, you should be aware of the top reasons for summer ER visits and how to prevent injury to yourself and your children. Some of the most commonly reported injuries that result in ER visits during the summer include:

Hiking and exploring waterfalls are great ways to see nature, explore, and get some exercise. Enjoying the great outdoors can come with specific risks though. In Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina, including popular sites like Table Rock State Park and DuPont State Forest, hikers have suffered serious, and sometimes fatal, injuries in recent hiking accidents and waterfall accidents.

The stockfresh_6602562_waterfall_sizeS-200x300Charlotte Observer reports that the first local waterfall death in 2018 occurred at Western North Carolina’s Catawba Falls in the Pisgah National Forest. There, an out-of-state visitor walked ahead of his hiking group and fell over the edge of a 50-foot cliff while trying to take a picture. In another recent tragedy from April, a man visiting a North Carolina waterfall near Twin Bridges fell nearly 70 feet and suffered fractures.

Failure to follow basic hiking and waterfall safety precautions while hiking and visiting waterfalls could easily lead to serious injury or death. In order to avoid serious or fatal accidents, outdoor enthusiasts should consider the following safety tips:

The 2018 hurricane season has begun and continues until November 30, with the peak season occurring between mid-August and late October. Hurricanes are powerful systems with winds of 74 miles per hour or higher. When tropical storms or hurricanes move onto land, they sweep the ocean inward and cause tornadoes, heavy winds and rain as well as massive flooding.

stockfresh_7830887_city-in-the-rain_sizeS-300x195Not only do hurricanes affect the coastal areas, but they can also affect mountain areas hundreds of miles from the coast. Catastrophic high winds and extensive flooding are real threats. In 2004, Hurricane Frances and Hurricane Ivan struck back to back, dumping parts of Western North Carolina including Asheville with more than 18 inches of rain. In 2017, Hurricane Irma made its way through Greenville and surrounding areas of Upstate South Carolina, causing flooding and heavy wind damage.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips

It’s all over the news; Bill Cosby was found guilty of sexual assault.  But many people might ask, why was he convicted this time and not last time? Last year Cosby was tried, and because the jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict, a mistrial was declared.  So what made the big difference this time? Same victim, dreamstime_s_29662892-300x199same crime, same investigation. One key difference was the prosecution’s use of an expert witness.  What is an expert witness? How are they different than a normal witness? Expert witnesses are people with so much training and education in a specific field that they are qualified to be “experts” in a particular field.  This is important because it allows them to testify to their opinion, rather than just testifying to the facts like is required of normal witnesses.  The expert in the Cosby trial was Dr. Barbara Ziv, a psychiatrist who specialized in the treatment of sexual assault victims and offenders. While a sexual assault prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, I had several opportunities to work with Dr. Ziv and call her as an expert witness.  In any case, where an expert is called, the expert’s schooling and work history is presented to the jury.  So, Dr. Ziv’s education in becoming a psychiatrist and her work history working in the field of sexual assault would have been analyzed in depth by both the prosecution and defense before the Judge in the case qualified her as an expert witness.  After this Dr. Ziv would have been allowed to testify to her opinion regarding the behavior of sexual assaults victims, combating many pre-conceived notions and myths held by jurors. This education of jurors from the witness stand likely played a critical part in their ultimately reaching the guilty verdict.

It’s not just in criminal cases that experts can mean the difference between success and failure.  In the right case, expert witnesses can and should be used in a personal injury case.  When people are seriously hurt in a car accident or a slip and fall, there are several experts that are used in court.  Calling an expert to testify to the cost of future medical care they will need or calling an expert to testify to the ramifications on a person’s ability to earn a living can have a huge impact on what a jury will award an injured person.  It is essential to have an attorney on your side who knows when an expert should be used, knows those best qualified in their fields, and knows how to present them to a jury.   Just like in the Cosby trial, use of an expert in a personal injury case can have a huge impact on the outcome of a case.  You need an attorney who understands that and who is skilled in their use of experts.  At Grimes Teich Anderson LLP we use expert witnesses when we believe it will help our clients’ case.

Senta Rhodes is a personal injury attorney at Grimes Teich Anderson LLP

If you are shopping for a Christmas gift for a child this holiday season, remember that safety should be a top priority. While toys may appear to be safe, some are not properly labeled or tested and may pose serious health risks.

stockfresh_5929984_portrait-of-little-african-american-little-girl-sitting-on-the-f_sizeS-300x200Fortunately, watchdog groups like the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) have taken the time to research the most popular toys this year. They recently released their “Trouble in Toyland” report, warning consumers about potentially dangerous toys and other gifts for kids.

Over the past three decades, U.S. PIRG reports have led to more than 150 recalls of potentially dangerous toys, and its public awareness campaigns have helped lawmakers and consumers alike realize the dangers of these defective products. For 2017, the group’s attention focused on the newest and biggest threats that these products pose to children today, including: Continue Reading

 

Workplace injuries can be devastating for anyone, regardless of gender. But a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while women have historically received fewer workplace injuries than men, the types of on-the-job injuries can be quite different for females.

stockfresh_4489991_work-accident_sizeS-300x208According to the recently released data, men accounted for 4,836 workplace fatalities in 2015. By contrast, 344 women died on the job during the same period. The leading cause of job-related deaths for both genders is the same – transportation accidents that occur by road, air, water or railway.

Then the numbers begin to diverge, where the second most common cause of workplace deaths death for women is by violence and other injuries by persons or animals. By contrast, the second leading cause for men are caused by slip, trip, and fall mishaps.

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For better or worse, social media has become so ingrained in our daily lives that it is almost impossible to avoid. Even people without active social accounts still see active feeds from social media accounts on the news, sports broadcasts, and other programs.

shutterstock_189811238-300x207Computer-mediated technologies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and the many other platforms give us a way to stay connected with family and friends across great distances. They let us share jokes, stories, and photos with those who are close to us and want to stay active in our lives.

Unfortunately, that very connectedness may be used as a weapon against you if you have been involved in a car accident. Insurance investigators and the other driver’s lawyers may look for any evidence that can be used to diminish your claim.

It may surprise you to find out that insurance companies now have established policies and procedures in place for investigating a person’s social media accounts for evidence that could allow them to restrict or reject your claim outright.

A few ways that social media could be used against you in a personal injury case include: Continue Reading

National Childhood Injury Prevention Week happens in September.  It’s a time when parents in North Carolina, South Carolina and across the U.S. help raise awareness about preventable accidents that result in injury and death to children each year.

shutterstock_547980853-300x200According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9.2 million people from ages 0-19 are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries, while another 12,000 die from “unintentional injuries” each year.

The leading causes of these “unintentional injuries” are pedestrian/traffic accidents, drowning, falls, and burns. For children under 1 year of age, suffocation was the leading cause of death, while drowning was the most likely cause for children 1 to 4 years of age. From 4 to 19, more children were killed as the result of being an occupant in a motor vehicle crash than any other cause of death.

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Following a major medical operation, you may have had an inferior vena cava filter (IVC filter) inserted into your chest. This filter is inserted in a patient’s inferior vena cava, the large vein that carries deoxygenated blood from the lower body to the heart.

stockfresh_7306517_surgery_sizeS-300x150In theory, this medical device was designed to help reduce the risk of dangerous post-operative blood clots. Yet, tragically IVC filters have proven to be dangerous and defective medical devices. Indeed, more than two dozen deaths have been directly linked to IVC filters, as reported by NBC News.

The FDA Recommends the Removal of IVC Filters

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