Charleston County Detention Center Faces Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

Seven month after she passed away while incarcerated at the Charleston County Detention Center, Joyce Curnell’s family has announced their intention to file a medical malpractice case against the medical staff who was responsible for her health at the time.

1122Curnell had only been an inmate at the Charleston County Detention Center for a day before passing away. Apparently, Curnell was at a hospital when her son learned a warrant for her arrest related to a shoplifting charge had been issued. He contacted the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office and alerted them to her location.

Hospital documents and jail records indicated that Curnell was admitted to Roper St. France hospital for stomach pains. After examining her, doctors issued a diagnosis of hypertension and gastroenteritis. At about the same time, her son, Javon Curnell, was on the phone with the sheriff’s department.

As soon as the hospital discharged Curnell, she was taken into custody and transported to the jail. Records indicate that she was booked at 2:30 p.m. July 21, 2015.

Lawsuit form with a stethoscopeThough the discharge papers from the hospital listed clear instructions for Curnell’s medical care, the personal injury lawyer handling the case states that the staff at the correctional facility ignored them. The family’s attorneys state that Curnell continued to vomit the entire time she was incarcerated, while the sheriff’s office says she in the morning of July 22, and after that didn’t complain.

The facility’s medical staff checked on her at 2:00 p.m. July 22, 2015. Three hours later, she was in her cell and unresponsive.

An autopsy was done on Curnell which revealed her cause of death to be both natural and connected to her flu diagnosis. Her attorneys said that if the jail staff had taken the steps to make sure she was kept dehydrated and treated for alcohol withdrawal, she’d still be alive today.

Stephen Corson says, “It’s not okay and we have to draw the line and say ‘this stops here; we won’t tolerate this anymore.’ We as a community need to show that our voices matter.”


Stephen Corson doesn’t want Curnell’s death to be in vain and has organized a walk in her honor. “We need to get beyond pointless deaths, pointless murders at the hands of the people that are meant to protect us. To keep our community safe. It’s hard to trust those people when they do things like this.”

“I can’t imagine the pain and heartbreak the family must be feeling right now,” said Attorney Joseph Sandefur of Myrtle Beach’s top personal injury firm. “I’m certain that when her son contacted the authorities he thought that he was doing what was best for both his mother and the community. To have it end like this … it’s tragic.”

If you were hurt as the results of someone else’s actions, your entitled to have any financial demands placed on you as a result of the incident resolved via a personal injury civil lawsuit. To learn more, contact Joe and Martin for further assistance.


South Carolina Appeals Court Overrules Trial Court Regarding Stand Your Ground Defense

CA_Court_of_Appeal_RiversideIn 2005, South Carolina lawmakers signed what would become known throughout the state as the “Stand your Ground” law. The law was designed someone is allowed to use deadly force if threatened and doesn’t have to retreat if they believe that deadly force is required to prevent severe bodily harm or death to themselves, or to prevent someone from committing a felony. The law, in its entirety, can be found in the South Carolina Statutes in sections 776.012 and 776.013.

While the law seemed pretty straight forward as for as the judicial system was concerned, in 2014, it was questioned in South Carolina’s Civil Court.

In the beginning, the case started out as a criminal case of aggravated battery filed against Jose Alvarez who was charged with attacking and beating co-worker Derrick Roy Flemmings with a baseball bat while they were working for the South Carolina business, Professional Roofing and Sales. The judge who heard the case ultimately dismissed it after he examined the evidence and stated that Alvarez’s use of the baseball bat was justifiable based on South Carolina’s Stand Your Ground Law.

Before the judge made his ruling in criminal court, Flemmings had already filed a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. According to the paperwork, Flemmings not only felt that Alvarez should be held financially responsible for the matter, but also named his former employer as a defendant, stating that the man was negligent when he hired Alvarez and that the other employee should never have been retained.

Both defendants tried to get the civil case overturned after the case was dismissed in criminal court, but they were denied. The felt that the Stand Your Ground defense should hold true in both courts. They were wrong.

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The defendants took the case to the Third District Court of Appeal were the judge made the rather surprising decision to reverse the trial judge’s dismissal.

The reason given for reversing the trial judge’s dismissal was that the Court of Appeals with a failure of “mutuality of parties” and the lack of a “critical element,” the Stand your Ground Law did not grant immunity in civil cases.

While this case marks one of the first times the Stand Your Ground law was truly contested in civil court, by no means will it be the last.

court_650x488_41453697029“The problem with the current Stand your Ground law is that there’s a lot grey area,” Joe and Martin South Carolina attorneys  explained. “ Each case is so different, that each one needs to be considered on its own merit. Eventually, I think a time will come when state lawmakers realize they need to explore and amend the Stand Your Ground law in order to make the language clearer.”

In many countries it is necessary to change certain things in the law and fill certain “gaps” in the law. It is also necessary to examine the work of individual judges who often abuse their position.

The gray areas he spoke of make it impossible for the average citizen to know how their case will fair in civil court. Rather than potentially letting a much needed settlement pass you by, you need to contact a good personal injury attorney and ask their advice. They will carefully examine both your case and similar Stand Your Ground cases before advising you on the best way to proceed.




Three Lives Saved After California House Floor Collapses

LomaPrieta-Marina.jpegThree people were rescued after they became trapped by a floor collapse inside a house in West California on Tuesday. When a floor collapsed inside a West California home, the story could have ended in tragedy.

The owner of the home had been ordered by officials to have work done on the house. The building’s state of disrepair as well as extensive water damage meant it was no longer safe. In order to correct the problem, the owner hired a crew who was tasked with removing the dilapidated section of the building and securing it. As the hired crew worked to complete the task, the floor they were standing on collapsed. This trapped a third man in the building’s basement.

Recognizing that attempting to rescue themselves could result in further damage. The three workers trapped within the house sat tight until rescuers arrived at the Salford Street address. The two contractors who’d been standing on the floor at the time of the collapse were the first to be rescued.

Witnesses who watched the events unfold said that once the original two contractors were freed from the house, they swiftly informed the rescue crew that a third man was caught beneath the rubble. “Our understanding at this point is that that gentleman was not part of the construction crew and may have been in the building looking for scrap and that kind of thing,” said Karen Goss of L&I.


To remove the third man, specially trained firefighters were called to the scene. They employed the use of air bags to remove the rubble that had trapped the man. The entire process took about an hour to complete.

Freeing the trapped men was just one of the concerns the rescue crew had to deal with. They were also worried about how the collapsed floor impacted the structural integrity of the building which prompted them to evacuate the residents that lived on each side of water damaged building.

“They told us that we had to evacuate. We couldn’t be in our house in case the house next door collapsed,” said Marie Tyson who was located next to the damaged building.

Once freed from the rubble, the man who’d been in the basement was immediately transported to Penn Presbyterian Hospital for observation.

“This is a stunning example of the fine work the local firefighters do in this city,” said Drew Warren managing partner of a top personal injury firm in California. “Thanks to their quick actions and training, they were able to rectify the situation before anyone was seriously injured, or worse, killed as a result of the accident.”

2-f317969edca6192a1388748ccb7866b6b4afcf65Warren was also quick to point out the danger older buildings present to the city. “According to reports, this particular building has received numerous code violations over the years. This recent accident serves to highlight why it’s so important to deal with these dilapidated structures as quickly as possible. Not only do they pose a danger to the crews who have to work inside of them, but they are also attractive to teenagers and children who don’t know how delicate the structural integrity is.”



Are You Really Covered for Sinkhole Damage? How Insurance Companies Often Deceive

6Sinkholes in Florida are a fact of life. Due to the unique combination of bedrock, limestone, and sandstone ground structure, it is a recipe for disaster.  As water erodes against the ground, the acid dissolves the limestone. Since the limestone is the middle layer, the dissolution occurs where it cannot be seen at first.. A sink holes typically comes quickly, without warning. These massive craters can be small, but are typically large, reaching diameters over 100 feet.

Sinkhole Laws

Title 37, Chapter 627, Section 706 of Florida law requires all property insurance policies to include, “Catastrophic ground cover collapse.” This law is very tricky when it comes to sinkholes. Technically, this coverage is not going to be helpful unless you meet very specific guidelines. Though you may have suffered catastrophic life altering damage, it is very likely that you are not covered under this policy.


In order to qualify for “Catastrophic Ground Cover Collapse”, your property damage must meet all four qualifications:

  1. The ground abruptly collapses
  2. A depression in the ground is visible to the naked eye
  3. There is structural damage to the building, including the foundation
  4. The building is condemned by the government and ordered evacuation

6a00d834515bc269e2019aff6402eb970d-600wiIf your domicile were to unfortunately meet all of the qualifications, your home and all personal possessions would be covered under the policy. However, sinkholes are typically not that cut and dry. Your residence can suffer catastrophic damage, including flooding, cracked foundation and all your personal items could be destroyed and you still may not qualify, simply because the house is not condemned. Just because your house does not fall in the middle of the sink hole does not mean you are not gravely effected by a sinkhole that occurs in your neighbor’s front yard. Unfortunately, the average person mistakenly confuses “Catastrophic ground cover collapse” with full sink hole insurance. They are unpleasantly surprised after already experiencing such a traumatic event to find out they are financial responsible for their loss.

The proper insurance that you need if living in a sinkhole danger spot, like Florida, is “Sinkhole loss” insurance. However, Florida law suggests that insurance companies offer the policy, but insurance companies can choose not to include it in the policy. Some insurance companies may want to evaluate the property in order to assess their risks, prior to keeping it in the policy. Regardless, if the company decides to omit sinkhole loss insurance from the policy, they must indicate so in the policy at 14 point bold or higher. It is also important to note that insurance policies can cancel the sinkhole insurance at any time—so always read those renewal forms!

How can a Sinkhole claims attorney help?

Be a step ahead of the game. Consulting a sinkhole claims attorney prior to purchasing a policy can be very advantageous. They can ensure that the policy you are considering has the proper coverage or lead you towards insurance companies that they have successfully worked with in the past that they believe are “sinkhole friendly.”

If you have experienced damage from a sinkhole, immediately contact a John Bales Attorneys. Insurance companies can be ruthless to deal with. Lawyers that specialize in working with sinkhole victims, know their way around the system. Regardless of the type of policy you have or the extend of your damage, skip the insurance companies and “experts” and go straight to the lawyer. A sinkhole claims attorney know exactly how to protect you from the insurance sharks.

Basic Information You Need to Know about the IRS Offer in Compromise Program

It’s impossible to enjoy a high quality of life when you know you owe the IRS back taxes, especially when the number of fees and the interest attached to the bill keep increasing, making the amount you owe something you’ll never be able to manage. If this is a situation you’re currently in, something you make want to think about is applying for an IRS Offer in Compromise.

What is an IRS Offer in Compromise

For many of the millions of Americans who owe back taxes, the IRS Offer in Compromise is a financial life saver. The Congress approved programs is designed to help people who lack the financial resources to pay their back taxes. If approved, the applicant will often pay less than 20% of what the IRS claims they owe.

Applying for an IRS Offer in Compromise

When you file for an Offer in Compromise, you shouldn’t expect a fast resolution to your back tax woes. According to the IRS, it can take up to two years for a decision to be made.

When you apply for an Offer in Compromise you’ll need:

  • A $186 application fee which must be paid whether you’re application is approved or rejected. The only exception is if you’re living below the poverty line, in which case the fee will be waived.
  • Extensive financial documentation
  • Form 656-A Income Certification

Once the application has been submitted, the IRS will launch an extensive investigation into your current and past financial history. Based on their findings, they’ll determine whether or not you have the financial where with all to pay your back taxes in full, or if your lack the financial resources needed to even work with an installment agreement.

The Terms of the IRS Offer in Compromise

Just because you’ve been approved, it doesn’t mean you have nothing to worry about. If you don’t honor every single aspect of plan, the IRS could still come after you for the original balance of your tax bill. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen you must take several steps.

First, be diligent about not only filing all of your tax returns on time for the next five years, but also making sure you’ve paid any taxes you owe during those five years on time. Pay the amount of back taxes you and the IRS agreed upon when they accepted your Offer in Compromise applications. If you qualify for a tax refund/credit during the five years following the Offer in Compromise agreement, this money will go directly to the IRS rather than to you.





When you decide to apply for an IRS Offer in Compromise, you really need to seek the assistance of a tax lawyer who has handled applications for other clients and has a reputation for working well with the IRS. The reason you need a tax attorney at your side stems from the fact that the IRS is reluctant to approve Offer in Compromise applications. In 2013 the IRS only approved approximately 31,000 of the Offer in Compromise applications it received.






How Do You Know if it was Medical Malpractice?

Recently, the New York Times published an article about a cardiologist in Indiana who allegedly performed unnecessary surgeries. According to the piece, 293 patients filed personal injury lawsuits against Dr. Arvind Gandhi and two of his associates. Many patients were shocked when the story first broke last year. Dr. Gandhi was supposed to be one of the best cardiologists—people trusted him implicitly, placing their lives in his hands. They believed him and his associates when they told them they needed stents or pacemakers. He cut them open and gave them treatments many now claim they didn’t need. How did they know Dr. Gandhi had acted inappropriately? How did they learn that he lied to them?

The notion of medical malpractice can be scary. We trust doctors to diagnose us and help us when we’re unwell. We don’t want to believe they would willfully or negligently mishandle our complaints or put our well being at risk, however we can’t ignore the evidence. According to statistics from the National Practitioner Data Bank, almost 3,000 medical malpractice claims were filed in New York in 2014. So how do you know if you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice? When should you call a New York personal injury lawyer?

Let’s use cardiological care for our example. Dr. Bender has a lucrative practice and you were referred to him by a friend who had a pacemaker inserted a couple of years ago. He credited Dr. Bender with extending his life, so of course you made an appointment to get the recurrent pain in your chest checked out. Dr. Bender informs you you’ve been having minor heart attacks and that you need to have stents placed to clear your arteries and a pacemaker to help keep your heart strong. You have the procedure done and don’t think about it until about a year later. You’ve moved and don’t want to drive to see Dr. Bender so you make an appointment with a new cardiologist. He takes one look at tests and x-rays and asks you why you had a pacemaker put in. He informs you that the pacemaker is unnecessary and may actually be causing damage to your heart. You schedule an appointment with the new heart doc to have it taken out. Afterwards, frustrated, you consider your options.

In this scenario, Dr. Bender appears to have done an unnecessary procedure which eventually caused some damage to the patient. If we assume that most doctors would not have treated the patient in the same way, then we would say that Dr. Bender did not meet the standard of care expected from his profession. He was negligent—whether willfully or not— and he caused damage to a patient. Those three words are what clues us into a possible medical malpractice case. A New York personal injury attorney will tell you that for an injury to be considered medical malpractice under personal injury law, a medical professional (doctor, nurse, dentist, etc.) must have behaved negligently, thus causing some sort of damage to a person, whether it be emotional, psychological, physical, or monetary.

If you’ve ever had an experience like the one described above, it is important to mention that there is a statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits. In New York, a victim of medical malpractice has 2.5 years after the incident in question to file a claim. Because of this, it is extremely important that individuals who believe they have been injured by a medical professional seek legal advice as soon as they can. Thankfully, reputable New York personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. A good lawyer will be able to help you determine whether you have a case and how you should proceed.