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Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

North Carolina Traffic Safety: The car you choose may help you avoid an accident

When choosing a car, you might be tempted to focus on the price, the gas mileage and even the car's expected reliability, but what's far too often left out of the picture is the car's ability to save your life when an accident happens.

Fortunately, manufacturers are making cars safer and safer each year. For example, as the Consumer Reports Guide to Safety Features points out, cars have added front, side and rear air bags and most have multiple airbags that cushion not just the head but also the torso and even the knees.

All of these features designed to protect you in the event of a crash have had a substantial impact on the number of fatalities resulting from auto accidents.  In fact, in 2011, Car and Driver noted that the fatality rate for auto accidents has been steadily declining for more than a half century, largely because of these improvements.

This is good news, but as car accident lawyers in North Carolina can attest, injuries and fatalities do still happen when collisions occur because sometimes the force of the crash is just too much for the body to withstand, even with airbags and seat belts to protect motorists and cushion the blow.

Now, some industry experts report that a shift in focus is taking place when it comes to safety technology. Instead of technologies primarily designed for making you safer when a crash happens, new features on many vehicles actually help to prevent the crash from happening in the first place.

Seatbelt_06082014New Safety Technology Can Save More Lives By Preventing Accidents

According to Edmunds, several keynote speakers at the 2013 Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) conference pointed out that new in-vehicle technologies aim to try to help drivers reduce the number of auto accidents that occur.

One speaker was David Strickland, Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who discussed new safety technologies in vehicles designed to prevent human errors that lead to crashes.  Another, Jeremy Anwyl, is a former Edmunds Vice Chair who pointed out that a lot of these accident-reducing technologies have made their way into vehicles already but that more advances are coming onto the market.

Just a few of the many examples of features found in new vehicles that are designed to reduce crashes include:

  • Forward collision warnings. These alert a driver when there is an obstacle in front of the vehicle that he is about to hit.
  • Electronic stability control. This is a computerized technology that helps motorists to maintain better traction on the roads by applying the brakes to help direct the car if the vehicle detects loss of steering control.
  • Lane departure warnings. These can help drivers to avoid swerving or veering out of their own lane, thus reducing the risk of sideswipe accidents.

 

Since as many as 90% of all accidents are caused by human error according to NHTSA estimates, technologies that give the car and computers more control may make a significant difference in reducing the number of car wrecks, no matter the type of car accident.

However, as experts point out, it is important that new safety technology is affordable so it can find its way into vehicles at all price points. The higher the number of people on the roads with safe vehicles encompassing collision-avoidance technologies, the safer everyone will be.

A car accident lawyer in North Carolina can help if you are injured in an accident through no fault of your own. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Categories: Car Accidents

In NC, does workers' compensation only cover my medical bills?

One of our NC Board Certified Workers' Compensation Specialists recently answered this question on Youtube:

If you've been hurt at work, you've probably heard that workers' compensation benefits don't quite work the same way as other types of insurance or even personal injury claims.

And it's true. With workers' comp, the types of claims you can make are limited, but you may be eligible for much more than just medical benefits.

However...you might need to know what to ask for.

Workers' comp benefits for time off work

Workers' compensation essentially provides for two types of benefits - medical benefits and then wages-lost benefits.

Wages-lost benefits can be divided two ways:

  1. Benefits for time you had to take off of workThis category of wages-lost benefits is fairly straightforward. If you broke your leg at work and then had to stay at home and rest for 6 weeks, you could receive benefits for the time you were unable to work during those 6 weeks.
    Benefits for time off of work might also include trips to the doctor, time out for physical therapy, working less hours or less strenuous jobs that pay less, etc.Temporary Total Disability (TTD) and Temporary Partial Disability (TPD) are both types of workers' compensation benefits in this category.
  2. Benefits to make up for wages you might lose in the future.This group of benefits can be a little more complicated. If your work injuries will leave permanent damage that may make your job difficult in the future, you may be eligible for benefits in this category.For example, let's say you work in construction, fall off a roof and hurt your back. And after it's healed as much as possible (or reached "maximum medical improvement" in workers' comp terms), you just cannot stand on your feet for long periods of time like your construction job requires you too.Then you might be eligible for future lost-wages payments.

    You might receive a Permanent Partial Disability rating and be compensated for the physical damage to your body and how it might affect your work, you might be able to apply for vocational rehabilitation benefits to go back to school and learn another trade that's easier on your body or you might be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability if you're unable to work at all.

Click here for a full list of the different types of workers' compensation benefits.

WorkersComp38_06062014No coverage for pain and suffering in workers' comp

If you heard that there are certain benefits you might not get in a workers' compensation claim, it might be that someone was talking about "pain and suffering."

As part of the "workers' compensation bargain," workers are not permitted to sue their employer personally (unless he/she intentionally caused the accident) and can therefore only receive benefits related to their physical needs and ability to work.

However, if your injuries were the result of a third-party, then you might be able to pursue a claim that takes into account the non-economic impact the injury has caused.

For example, if you're a truck driver and, while working, you have a car accident that was not your fault, then you might be able to take up a claim with the other driver's insurance company. This claim might be able to include charges for your pain and suffering.

"Pain and suffering" could include something like being burned and having to painstakingly dress your wounds daily or undergo painful skin grafts.

(It's worth noting that if the accident WAS your fault, you can typically still file for workers' compensation as workers' comp is a "no fault" system).

NC workers' comp lawyers

In our experience, insurance companies are probably not very likely to tell you about all the additional benefits you may qualify for. If you've been hurt at work, we strongly recommend speaking with an experienced workers' compensation lawyer.

You can check out our team's credentials here. If you would like us to evaluate your case for free, please give us a call at our 24/7 hotline - 1-866-900-7078.

Texting and Driving Video: “From One Second to the Next” An It Can Wait Documentary

CryingGirl_06192014There's a powerful Warner Herzog documentary called "From One Second to the Next" that's making waves right now about the dangers of texting and driving.

There are tear-jerkers.

Then there are sob-wrenchers.

And then there is this video.

Watch it.

These are true stories. If you, or a loved one, sometimes think texting and driving isn't such a big deal, this might change your mind.

(produced by www.itcanwait.org)

Texting and Driving Kills

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes.

That's more people than were killed in the 9/11 attacks.

In just that one year, 3,000 mothers, fathers, sons and daughters were taken from families that loved them - families who are now left to live with a gnawing pain that the horrendous accident that killed their loved one could have been prevented.

And people are still being killed. Every. Single. Day.

Not to mention all the victims like Xzavier or Debbie who were not killed, but their lives are forever changed.

Get an NC texting and driving car accident lawyer

Texting and driving is illegal in North Carolina and it ­must be taken seriously.

If you, or a loved one, were the victim of a texting and driving accident, we strongly encourage you to seek legal help.

Dealing with the consequences of a texting and driving accident can be costly and long-lasting, we need drivers to realize what a serious, serious problem this is and taking legal action might just be the push they need.

We're committed to trying to help those injured by a distracted driver, one case at a time. If you need help, please call us for a free case evaluation at 1-866-900-7078.

Can I sue my employer over a work-related injury in North Carolina?

Good question. But we need a little more clarification first.

What do you mean by "sue my employer?"

If you mean to press charges or "sue" in the traditional sense, then no - you are not usually allowed to do so, in North Carolina and most other states.

But if you want to know if you can receive compensation for being injured at work, then that answer is: probably yes.

Workers' Compensation in North Carolina

Basically workers' compensation works something like this:

  1. Your employer takes out a workers' compensation insurance policy
  2. In return, you give up your right to sue your employer personally

In North Carolina, employers with three or more employees are required to carry workers' compensation insurance by law - although there are some exceptions.

There is not a specific point where you formally give up your right to sue your employer, it is simply implied when you are hired and there is a workers' compensation policy in place.

And in NC, workers' compensation is a "no fault" system - meaning it typically doesn't matter who or what caused the accident.

Law1_07312014A quick history of workers' compensation laws

Before workers' compensation laws were in place, if you got hurt on the job, you would have to sue your employer for the damages.

As we all know, the court system can be a long, drawn-out process. And if you're hurt, you probably don't have time to waste.

So workers' compensation laws were designed to provide a quicker route for an injured employee to receive medical benefits and payment for wages lost.

The benefit for employers is that they're no longer personally responsible for damages when you're hurt on the job.

But like most rules, there are exceptions.

When you CAN sue your employer (in court)

The exception to the "no suing" rule is if your employer acted in a way that may have been intentional.

For example, if your boss got angry and whacked you over the head with a chair, you would probably be able to sue them personally (and it might be time to look for a new job...).

A less clear situation might be if your boss didn't report something, like a dangerous chemical he/she was storing on site, and it injured you. In this situation, if your employer intentionally hid the dangers of something from you, then you might be able to sue him/her.

Need a NC workers' compensation attorney?

We have an entire department of lawyers who only work on workers' compensation cases.

Three of our workers' comp lawyers are NC Board-Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation Law, several used to work for workers' compensation insurance companies and two of our attorneys used to work for the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC - the legal body in charge of enforcing workers' comp laws).*

If you've been injured at work, call us for a free case evaluation today at 1-866-900-7078.

*Please note that some attorneys may have multiple designations.

Children killed by drunk drivers – the numbers are higher than you think

When you hear the phrase "drunk driver," the picture in your mind is probably a 20 or 30-something-year-old stumbling out of a bar and into the driver's seat of a car late at night.

And what's probably not in your mental picture is a crying baby in the backseat.

Because...well...there shouldn't be one.

However, according to a recent news release by MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), of the 181 children under the age of 15 who were killed by alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2011, more than half were killed riding WITH drunk drivers.

The release went on to say that MADD receives 17,000+ phone calls per year related to "child endangerment" - and they're an organization specifically dedicated to eradicating the number of children killed by drunk drivers.

It has to stop.

Child in Car_06192014"Every Child Deserves a Designated Driver"

That was the title of MADD's news release.

According to MADD, children riding with a drunk driver are not only at risk because of the driver's impairment, but also because drunk drivers are much less likely to use proper safety restraints, like child safety seats or seat belts.

In fatal crashes, drunk drivers were found to have only properly restrained their children 18% of the time, while sober drivers did so 30.5% of the time.

The release went on to say that MADD considers driving drunk with an underage child in the car to be child abuse and should be treated as such.

However, individual state laws vary widely on this issue.

Laws for children killed by drunk drivers

Currently, 43 states have enacted laws that impose stricter punishments for those found guilty of driving drunk with a child in their vehicle.

But some states only consider the crime a misdemeanor, while others have made it a felony with some pretty hefty punishments.

The state of New York is helping to lead the movement toward more serious actions against violators.

In 2009, the state enacted a "DUI Child Endangerment Law" they call "Leandra's Law" - named after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado who was killed on the Henry Hudson Parkway in New York City when her friend's mother flipped the car they were riding in, while under the influence of alcohol.

Leandra's Law makes it possible to charge first time offenders (.08 Blood Alcohol Content and a child under 16 years-old in the car) with a class E felony that would be punishable by up to 4 years in state prison. In addition:

  • The driver's license is automatically suspended.
  • The driver is required to install an ignition interlock in his or her vehicle for at least 6 months (beyond any term of imprisonment) - note, this applies to all drunk drivers, not just those with children in the vehicle.
  • Violators are automatically reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.
  • If the drunk driving accident resulted in the child's death, the driver could be charged with a Class B felony - punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
  • If the drunk driving crash resulted in serious physical injury to the child, the driver could be charged with a Class C felony - punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.

 

NC's laws for children killed by drunk drivers

Driving drunk with a child under the age of 16 in the car is only punishable as a misdemeanor in North Carolina, although the penalties are somewhat stricter than those for just driving "under the influence."

The North Carolina statute carries a penalty of 7 days to 12 months in jail and a fine of no more than $2,000. However, these penalties may increase to a jail term of 30 days to 24 months and a fine of no more than $4,000 under aggravating circumstances.

While North Carolina's statute does not reach the level of Leandra's Law, it does contain harsher penalties than a number of states who have not enacted similar statutes.

Click here to see the full list of DUI Child Endangerment Laws in each state.

Was your child killed by a drunk driver?

If so, we extend our very deepest and most heartfelt sympathies - we can't even begin to imagine what you're going through.

No amount of money can replace your loved one. But it might help raise awareness of the issue and, no matter who was at fault, your family may be eligible for compensation.

Please give us a call for a free case evaluation. We would appreciate the opportunity to help you if we can.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078