Archive for May, 2018

​Can Energy Drinks Kill? A South Carolina Teen’s Family Says Yes

Energy drinks can be purchased almost anywhere you go, from gas stations and supermarkets to clubs and restaurants. In today’s fast-paced world, where work and day-to-day responsibilities take priority over sleep, they’re a go-to just to get through the day. Most people know that energy drinks aren’t “good” for them, but what many people fail to understand is that energy drinks can be very dangerous — one South Carolina teen’s family found this out the hard way and now, the state may be banning the sale of energy drinks to minors.

A Sudden Collapse Leads to a Terrifying Discovery

On the morning of April 26, 2017, 16-year-old Davis Allen Cope began his day like any other at Spring Hill High School in Chapin, South Carolina. Over the course of two hours around lunchtime, the teen consumed a Mountain Dew, a McDonald’s latte, and an unnamed energy drink. The teen collapsed in a classroom at around 2:28 p.m. and was transported by EMS to Palmetto Health Baptist Parkridge Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:40 p.m. Richland County Coroner Gary Watts ruled the boy’s death the result of a “caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia.” Cope’s father later spoke out, saying the teen had no preexisting medical conditions that could have been exacerbated by the caffeine.

The Dangers of Energy Drinks

While many people assume that Cope’s death was the result of a deadly trifecta of caffeine-laden beverages, Dr. Amy Durso, deputy chief medical examiner for Richland County, says “a cup of coffee, a can of soda isn’t going to cause this thing.” After seeing a rise in the number of emergency room visits and deaths due to energy drinks, the Journal of the American Heart Association published a recent study that indicated heart rhythm and blood pressure were significantly higher in subjects that consumed energy drinks compared to those who consumed only caffeine. An older study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic, showed that just a single energy drink can increase blood pressure and norepinephrine levels significantly, which, in turn, can lead to an increased risk of adverse cardiac events, even in healthy individuals.

South Carolina Considers Energy Drink Ban for Minors

The evidence is piling up and along with the tragic death of Cope last year, the state is now considering banning the sale of energy drinks to minors. State Representative Leon Howard proposed a bill that would impose a $50 fine and a misdemeanor charge to those caught selling an energy drink to anyone under the age of 18. Supporters of the bill, including Cope’s parents, argue that the law would have saved the boy’s life if it had been in place last year.

Are Energy Drink Manufacturers Responsible Too?

While Cope’s death seems to be an isolated case, data gathered from the American Association of Poison Control Centers from 2010-2013 painted a different picture. Of the 5,156 calls that came in for the ingestion of energy drinks, a staggering 40% of them were for children. Currently, energy drinks are not labeled with caffeine content or as potentially hazardous to minors. Additionally, the marketing efforts of many energy drink companies position the beverages to have a distinct appeal to a younger population. Can companies be held responsible for deaths like Cope’s? Perhaps.

When a Wrongful Death Attorney Needs to Be Involved

When a previously healthy individual dies unexpectedly after consuming an energy drink, it’s not difficult to determine the cause. Families who have lost loved ones due to the dangers of energy drinks may be eligible to compensation — not only from negligent store owners and managers who sell to minors if Howard’s bill passes, but also from companies who have failed to warn parents and children of the dangerous effects of their energy drinks.

If you have lost a loved one due to energy drink consumption, don’t wait to reach out to a wrongful death attorney. Call now for a consultation and get the help you need finding justice for your loved one.

​South Carolina Woman Killed at Columbia Construction Site in a Wrongful Death Accident

On May 1, a South Carolina woman, 49, was killed in a construction incident that took place in Columbia, SC. She was reportedly working on a scissor lift when she became trapped between the railing of the lift and the ceiling that she was working on.

Suspected Wrongful Death Accident in Columbia

According to Richland County Coroner Gary Watts, the South Carolina woman died due to traumatic asphyxiation. When she was pinned between the lift and the ceiling, her chest was compressed to the point that it became impossible for her to breathe. Despite the seriousness of her injuries, she was transported to an area hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries and was pronounced dead.

Right now, the exact cause of the incident that lead to the death is unknown. Gary Watts said that he does not expect any criminal charges to come from the incident, however, he did confirm that OSHA had been notified of the accident and that an investigation was underway. While a criminal suit against the construction company may be unlikely, they may still be facing a wrongful death civil suit if the investigation finds that negligence on behalf of the company and their maintenance of the scissor lift was the cause of death.

There’s no denying that construction sites can be a dangerous place to work, and workplace accidents on construction sites are unfortunately common. While these accidents are not typically fatal, there are the sad, extreme instances where they do lead to the death of one or more workers.

It falls to those in charge of a construction site’s equipment and employees to ensure that the work is carried out in the safest way possible and that all measures to prevent dangerous accidents are taken. In some cases, accidents are unavoidable and the company in charge is at no fault. In far too many other instances, though, negligence and oversight on behalf of those in charge leads to accidents that cause serious injury or even loss of life.

Workplace Accident Attorney

If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, it is crucial that you get in touch with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. If you would like to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney about your case, we invite you to contact our Columbia attorneys today.

Personal Injury Attorney Takes a Look at Recent Hazing Incidents

Hazing is a cruel process and often times is a ritual designed to humiliate and to embarrass the individual who is being hazed. Some common forms of hazing include physical abuse, sexual abuse and alcohol abuse. The attorneys at Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law represent victims of hazing abuse. Contact our personal injury attorneys located in Columbia and Greenville, South Carolina if you or someone you love has been injured as a result of fraternity hazing or abuse.

Hazing in the United States

Recently, the hidden side of hazing has been exposed as media reports have exposed college and team hazing practices. In many cases, hazing has led to physical abuse, and caused severe damages to young adults and their families.

Most recently, Rodney Kim Junior was beaten during a hazing in his high school football locker room. Mr. Kim suffered a broken arm as well as psychological damage. The brutal hazing was caught on camera and now his parents have filed a $12 million lawsuit against the Mobile County Board of Education.

This year, a University of Central Florida fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, was suspended after being accused of hazing and providing alcohol to underage students. A mother of a pledge complained that her son was forced to chug a bottle of alcohol during a pledging event.

Another internationally known hazing case, involved Tim Piazza, a 19-year-old sophomore at Pennsylvania State University who was pledging at Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Piazza consumed a dangerous amount of alcohol and fell several times during a party. Following the death of Piazza, 11 Pennsylvania State University fraternity brothers were arrested in connection with his death.

Some may consider hazing as a part of college or sports life, but the truth is, it is extremely dangerous and at times has been fatal.

Contact Personal Injury Attorney About Hazing

It takes a lot of courage for a victim to admit to authorities they have suffered from hazing abuse. At the Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law, P.C., we fight for the rights of victims who have suffered personal injuries because of hazing. We know what help our clients need and get the compensation they deserve. If you have been the victim of a hazing related personal injury, contact us today. We represent victims from the Midlands to Upstate South Carolina.

​Inmates at South Carolina Prison Claim Negligence

After seven inmates were killed in a South Carolina prison riot, those who survived are now claiming that negligence on behalf of the prison’s authorities is to blame for the deaths of their fellow inmates.

Alleged Prison Negligence in South Carolina

On April 15, a riot broke out inside the Lee Correctional Institute as three different wings of the maximum security prison battled over contraband and territory. The riot carried on for seven hours before prison officials were finally able to restore order. By the time the dust had settled, twenty-two inmates had been injured and seven inmates had bled to death due to stab wounds.

Following the riot, an inmate sent messages to the Associated Press describing the events that transpired. He detailed bodies being stacked on the sidewalk, saying that they were “literally stacked on top of each other, like some macabre woodpile”. The inmate also described seeing his fellow prisoners slowly bleed to death while no help came, saying that one man tried to get up but “started into that ‘death rattle’ people often hear about, but never experience firsthand.”

The result was the deadliest prison riot to take place in the last twenty-five years, and the inmate who contacted the AP is blaming it on the negligence of prison officials, saying, “The COs (corrections officers) never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance. They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective a**es”

Corrections Director Bryan Stirling disagrees with this conclusion, saying, “We gathered as many people as we could, as quickly as we could and went in as soon as we thought it was safe for our staff.” However, State Sen. Gerald Malloy – whose district encompasses the Lee Correctional Institute – had a harsher outlook on the way the riot was handled, saying, “It’s an incredibly bad day in South Carolina. We failed. That’s it.”

Currently, an investigation is underway looking into what caused the riot as well as how it was handled by prison officials. If it is found that officials were negligent in how they handled the riot, those injured and the families of those dead will be able to sue to prison for damages.

Negligence Lawyer in Greenville and Columbia SC

Anytime negligence leads to loss of life or serious injury, the victims have a very strong case against those responsible for the negligence. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed due to negligence, we urge you to contact our offices today.

Driving Safety Tips and the Highest Rated Vehicles for Safety Today

If you are thinking about shopping for a new car, you will want to check out what vehicles are considered the safest to buy. According to the Institute for Highway Safety, 15 vehicles meet the Top Safety Pick Plus designation for 2018, while another 35 were named Top Safety Pick. Toyota leads the field, with 10 models listed as a Top Safety Pick or better. Hyundai came in second place, with nine vehicles listed. The best cars rated for safety in 2018 include the Kia Forte, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Santa Fe, and BMW 5 Series. A wide range of other vehicles made the Top Safety Pick list.

Safe Driving Tips

Staying safe on the road can’t be taken for granted. Aside from buying a top safety rated vehicle, being a responsible driver can ensure your protection on the road. Many accidents are caused because of a distracted driver or because a driver is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In order to drive safely, minimize distractions. Don’t check a cell phone while driving and turn down the radio if necessary. If you are in the car with loud passengers, remind everyone that you are trying to focus on the road.

While you are driving, maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you. When the weather is bad, take a break if necessary. Try to avoid driving if you are too tired. Keep your car in good working order by scheduling all routine maintenance. If a dashboard light goes on, have your car serviced as soon as possible to make sure it remains safe to drive.

When You are In an Accident

If you suffer from a personal injury because of a distracted driver, you are entitled to receive financial compensation. If you cause an accident because of your own negligence and you hurt someone else, you can be held responsible. When injuries occur, it’s time to seek legal help to determine how to handle the situation. Accidents will happen, and the attorney you choose to represent you can greatly change the outcome of any court case. In any accident, know what your rights are and write down the details right away. Contact Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law to discuss your auto accident claim.