Category: Personal Injury

Will My Medical Malpractice Case Hold Up in Court?

Personal Injury

Will My Medical Malpractice Case Hold Up in Court?

When we visit the doctor, we’re putting our trust in them…counting on them to know what they’re doing and that they’re doing what’s best for us. After all, they’ve been to medical school and are trained to understand how the human body works and what we need when we’re sick or injured. However, doctors are human and as the saying goes: to err is human. So what happens when a doctor or other medical professional makes a mistake and you find yourself more injured in the process? Will an attorney take on your case?

 

This is one of those tricky situations in which I have to say “it depends.” Unfortunately, medical malpractice suits are often very complex and difficult. In 2014 of all the medical malpractice cases in North Carolina, only 147 of them received settlements. This means many attorneys can be very wary of these kinds of cases, and some won’t take them on at all.
It’s good to know that at Oxner + Permar we do take on medical malpractice cases. If you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice, we invite you to give us a call. That way we can assess whether or not your case will likely hold up in court. We have a lot of experience dealing with these kinds of cases, which means we know what we’re looking for. We won’t take on a case we know doesn’t stand a chance, but we can at least advise you on how to proceed. And in the case that you do have a court-worthy claim, we’re ready to stand up for you.

 

If you’ve been the victim of a medical malpractice case, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We offer free phone consultations so that we can assess your case.

Is It Possible to Obtain the Insurance Policy Limits from the Negligent Driver in My Case?

Personal Injury

Is It Possible to Obtain the Insurance Policy Limits from the Negligent Driver in My Case?

Knowing insurance policy limits can be a huge advantage when dealing with a case against a negligent driver and their insurance company. However, in North Carolina, insurance companies are not required to reveal how much insurance the at-fault driver has or what their policy limits are. As such, most insurance companies won’t reveal this information, as it would give you the upper hand when it comes to negotiating a settlement and could cause them to have to pay out more.

car crash accident on street, damaged automobiles after collision in city

There is however a way to get insurance policy limits from an insurance company. North Carolina General Statute 58-3-33 allows you to request this information from an insurance company if you have been injured or incurred property damage at the fault of one of their clients. In order to receive this information, you have to send a request to the insurance company via certified mail.

 

You must:

  1. Provide medical record releases and allow the insurance company to obtain three years of prior medical records and any medical records pertaining to your injury.
  2. Consent to the mediation of the claim.
  3. Submit a copy of the accident report and a description of the accident that’s detailed enough to allow the adjuster to make a liability decision.

 

These three points must be outlined in your letter when you request the insurance coverage limits. The adjuster will have 30 days to respond with the insurance policy limits after receiving your letter.

 

Obtaining the insurance limits of the negligent driver in your case can make a huge difference in your settlement. Be sure to seek guidance from an experienced attorney if you have any questions.

Is Not Wearing a Seatbelt Considered Contributory Negligence?

Personal Injury

Is Not Wearing a Seatbelt Considered Contributory Negligence?

In North Carolina, it’s illegal to not wear a seat belt. Regardless of age, or whether you’re the driver or a passenger, everyone is required to wear a seat belt. We’ve all seen the ad campaigns and the “click it or ticket” slogan to encourage drivers to wear their seatbelts, and hopefully this isclose up seat belt in modern car a law that we all take very seriously. Seat belts save lives: they protect not just you, but other passengers in your car as well.

However, let’s say one day you forgot to put on your seatbelt. And while you were driving through an intersection, a car coming from the other direction runs the light and crashes into your car. Your car is damaged and you’ve sustained more injuries because you weren’t wearing a seat belt. The accident was in no way your fault. Apart from not wearing your seat belt, you were obeying the laws of the road. Would you still be able to claim insurance money? Or would your lack of seat belt be considered contributory negligence?

It is important to know that North Carolina rejects what is known as the “seatbelt defense.” A case in 1968 (Miller v. Miller) ruled that failure to wear a seat belt might mean that the amount paid out could be lessened because your injuries could have been less substantial had you been wearing a seat belt. Again, no matter what, please be safe on the roads, and buckle up.

Oxner + Permar encourages all drivers to wear a seatbelt. If you have any questions regarding what constitutes contributory negligence in the instance in which a driver is not wearing a seatbelt, be sure to contact an attorney.

What exactly is “Negligence Per Se”?

Personal Injury

What exactly is “Negligence Per Se”?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may have heard the term “negligence per se” in regards to your case. Negligence per se is what is used to determine whether or not negligence directly resulted in your injury. This could include anything from texting while driving to speeding to reckless driving in hazardous weather conditions. In order to prove negligence per se you must be able to show that:

  • The plaintiff broke the law.
  • The law broken was written in order to prevent the type of injury you sustained.
  • You are the type of person the law was intended to protect.
  • Your injury is a direct result of the law being broken.

For instance, let’s say the defendant was texting while driving, which resulted in their drifting over the centerline and striking your car. If you broke your arm in the crash, it might be possible to prove negligence per se. This scenario fulfills all of these requirements.

First of all, the plaintiff broke the law by texting while driving. The second condition is fulfilled because the law against texting while driving is to prevent drivers from causing accidents because they are paying attention to their phone rather than the road. Third, other drivers fall under the category of people this law is designed to protect. And finally, breaking your arm in the crash is a direct result of their negligence.

It’s important to note that negligence per se can be used against you as the plaintiff as well. For example, if you were the one texting while driving when another vehicle struck you, they might be able to prove that your distraction was “contributory negligence.”  In other words, your texting hindered your ability to react to the situation effectively, putting you at some degree of fault.

If you have any questions about how negligence per se could affect your personal injury case, don’t hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys at Oxner +  Permar for a free 30-minute consultation.  

Seamon v. Remington Arms Company, llc

In a closely watched case, a Federal Appeals Court has reversed a decision from a lower court, which threw out an expert’s opinion because the court said it was unreliable. The case, Seamon v. Remington Arms Company, LLC, is a tragic case surrounding the mysterious death of the plaintiff’s husband who was shot by his own Remington Model 700 rifle. The decedent, Mr. Seamon, went deer hunting and when he didn’t return, his family went looking for him and found him dead in his elevated tree stand with a single gunshot wound to his chest. Mr. Seamon’s Remington Model 700 rifle was found on the ground thirteen feet below attached to a rope that wrapped around the rifle’s scope and safety. The safety mechanism was off and there was a spent cartridge in the chamber, but there was no gunshot residue on Mr. Seamon’s body or clothing, leading law enforcement to conclude that the rifle was at least five to ten feet away from Mr. Seamon when it fired. Moreover, Mr. Seamon’s left hand was clenched around the front rail of the tree stand and his right hand was positioned as if he had been grasping something. The obvious question was how was Mr. Seamon shot?

Mrs. Seamon, the plaintiff, alleged that her husband died when the rifle accidently discharged because of defects with the trigger system. The Remington Model 700 contains the Walker fire control system, which is different than other trigger systems in that even a very slight movement of one of the parts allows the rifle to fire accidently. According to Ms. Seamon’s expert, Mr. Powell, rifles with Walker triggers have fired unexpectedly a number of times in testing reported by Remington Arms. According to Mr. Powell, little things like dirt, corrosion deposits, moisture, firing deposits and manufacturing residue can prevent the trigger parts from engaging correctly, making the rifle subject to unexpected firing. During testing, Mr. Powell found particles and deposits in the fire control housing, which he said have been show to cause interference in the Walker system and cause rifles to fire without interaction with the trigger. Mr. Powell concluded that the rifle might have gone off unexpectedly when it came into contact with the tree, rope or the ground.

The trial court struck Mr. Powell’s opinion as to why the Remington Model 700 discharged, because it said that his opinion was “speculative” and therefore, unreliable, and dismissed Ms. Seamon’s lawsuit against Remington. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s ruling and reinstated the case. The appellate court concluded that Mr. Powell had provided sufficient factual support for his opinion and that the trial court had “manifestly erred by mischaracterizing Powell’s opinion and the evidence supporting it . . . .”

Seamon v. Remington Arms Company, LLC demonstrates once again how complicated the law can be, and how important it is to have on your side experienced and knowledgeable legal representation like the lawyers at Oxner + Permar ,PLLC. If you find yourself with a complicated legal question, call us and take advantage of our decades of legal experience. You will be glad you did!