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#1 Killer of Teens is Car Accidents -- Could Defensive Driving Courses Help?

You never forget your first one.

Your first driver's license, that is.

Remember when you first got your driver's license and you couldn't wait to get behind the wheel of your mother's station wagon? Funny how many things we'd eagerly volunteer to "go get" for our moms. Windows down, radio blaring, checking ourselves out in the rearview mirror, looking to see who sees us. (Never mind that you're driving a mom mobile.)

The carefree days of teenage driving. It's a rite of passage.

For today's teens, it's a rite that is fraught with responsibilities, distractions, and hazards many times over what we faced. Are your teen drivers prepared? Really prepared?

Car Accidents #1 Killer of Teens

Nationally, car accidents are the #1 killer among teens - and texting while driving is the #1 reason for those highway deaths, WRAL reported. Just in the first three months of 2016, nearly half as many teens have died in car accidents on North Carolina's roads than in all of 2015, according to WRAL.

Put that on your Twitter page and tweet it (but not while driving).

To the Rescue! Defensive Driving Schools for Teen Drivers

To help teens become better prepared for today's increasingly perilous driving environment a number of defensive driving schools and courses have been popping up nationwide, many here in North Carolina. This is not your father's Driver's Ed 101. It's Driver's Ed on steroids. Teens get up close and personal with roadway hazards by getting behind the wheel with a professional instructor to learn how to maneuver in an effort to avoid hazardous situations.

carHere is a statistic from one such school - Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe). This statistic is so alarming, even your over-confident teen driver may stop Snapchatting long enough to pay attention.

There's an 89.2% chance a teen driver will be in a car accident during the first three years of driving.

The laws of rounding indicate that's nearly a 100% chance. But don't take away the keys just yet.

According to B.R.A.K.E.S, teens who have completed the free* four-hour B.R.A.K.E.S. training are 64% less likely to be in a car crash in the first three years of driving.

B.R.A.K.E.S is a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offering behind-the-wheel training in advanced safety maneuvers for teens. All of the instructors have backgrounds in various professional driving instruction, including racing, law enforcement, or stunt driving in movies. The school is AAA-approved, endorsed by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, and Consumer Reports listed the organization among its preferred list of defensive driving schools. KIA sponsors them by supplying the cars that the teens drive in the program.

The good news for North Carolina teens (and parents!) is that, although B.R.A.K.E.S offers training throughout the U.S., it is headquartered in Charlotte and offers monthly training courses at the Zmax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as periodically in the Raleigh area. Here are some of the defensive skills they teach new teen drivers, according to their website.

Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise

The accident avoidance and slalom course is a two part course that forces students to make a split- second reaction to negotiate a quick, evasive lane change without losing control. This part of the course is designed to simulate an animal or object jumping out in front of a car. The second part of the course is a coned slalom course where students must negotiate their vehicle around cones while focusing on weight transfer, hand positioning, and eye scanning.

Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise

The drop wheel recovery course teaches students how to effectively recover from a drop wheel situation by regaining control of the car and safely returning to the roadway. Drop wheel accidents are among the highest causes of injuries and deaths across the U.S.

Distraction Exercise

The distraction course forces a driver to negotiate a tightly coned course while being distracted by the instructor. The course is designed to demonstrate just how dangerous cell phones, text messaging, music, traffic, and friends in the car can be.

Panic Stop Exercise

The panic stop course is designed to teach students the proper technique to stop a vehicle in the shortest distance while maintaining control. Students experience first-hand the effects of an A.B.S. (Anti-Lock Braking System) and its ability to keep the wheels from locking while pulsating brake pressure.

Car Control and Recovery Exercise

The skid pad course is designed to prepare students how to drive in bad weather situations and not to lose grip (control). The students are taught how to properly recover from both over-steer (rear wheel) and under-steer (front wheel) skids.

A dad's testimonial about putontheBRAKES.org

"My son and I attended BRAKES at the LA County Fairgrounds on April 26th. Yesterday, he was alone driving home from a high school baseball game approaching an intersection, on a green light about 45 mph. At the very last second, a car turned left in front of him. My son hit the brakes hard, engaging the abs, and steered away from the car as he stayed hard in the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. He attributed his reaction and collision avoidance to everything he learned at BRAKES. He described how, during the incident, he had anticipated the other driver turning in front of him and he knew the ABS engaged because of the feel and knew to stay on them as he steered away. The scenario was virtually identical to what he experienced at the school. Your school paid for itself 1000 times over last night. Thank you so much."

 

North Carolina Defensive Driving Training

Here is a list of some of the defensive driving courses in NC as of May 2016.

Charlotte

B.R.A.K.E.S once a month

Offers courses once a month at the ZMax Dragway in Charlotte. Four 4-hour classes are offered each weekend - two on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Raleigh

NCSHP Training Center, 380 East Tryon Road, Raleigh, NC 27529

Franklin

Street Survival School Saturday, May 28th, 2016

Sutton Public Safety Training Center, 225 Industrial Park Loop, Franklin, NC 28734

NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE

The last thing we want is your teen in an accident. Many of us are parents and we understand how much is at stake. If you're in that unfortunate situation, let us help with the legal issues. Click here to contact us 24/7, or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

 

*B.R.A.K.E.S training asks for a $99 refundable deposit to hold your reservation. If you choose to leave your deposit, it will turn into a donation, which is tax deductible.

What Is a Permanent Impairment Rating?

It's bad enough that you've been hurt on the job.

You want to get better and return to work, but you don't want to go back to work too soon and risk further injury or hurt your chances for a full recovery. Most people who've been through a workers' compensation claim can tell you, things can get complicated pretty quickly. And your recovery may often seem like it gets lost among the noise of this complicated machine known as the workers' compensation system.

Oftentimes, insurance companies will send injured workers to doctors they prefer. We've seen over and over that sometimes these doctors may clear our clients to go back to their jobs before they feel ready.

If you don't feel you are medically ready to return to your job, contact us immediately. We may be able to help you get another doctor's opinion.

Maximum Medical Improvement or MMI

In workers' compensation language, when your healing period ends, you have reached what is known as "maximum medical improvement" or MMI.  If you have made a complete recovery and have no pain or loss of function, your doctor will likely record in your medical records that you have made a 100% recovery and you are back to normal - the way you were before your injury.

However, if you still have deformity, pain, weakness, or loss of function that has not improved through medical treatment, your doctor may assign you a "permanent impairment rating." This impairment rating is supposed to reflect the percentage of change from your normal pre-injury condition.

If you don't agree with this rating, or you don't feel medically ready to return to your job, we can help you take the necessary steps to try to get a second opinion with a doctor you choose. Not necessarily one the insurance company chooses!

NC Compensation for a Permanent Impairment

Most of our clients are shocked to learn that North Carolina state law sets a maximum amount of compensation for each body part. Here is a list of the maximum amounts you could receive for a total loss of body parts: 

BodyPart

NC Compensation for Permanent Partial Impairment

For anything less than total loss, benefits are figured on a percentage basis. For example, a 10% impairment rating to the leg would be worth 20 weeks of benefits at your weekly compensation rate. A 10% rating to your back would be worth 30 weeks at your weekly compensation rate. The North Carolina Industrial Commission publishes a ratings guide to help physicians make impairment evaluations. Click here for those guidelines.

If your workers' comp claim has been approved, you are likely entitled to receive this payment for permanent impairment even if you are able to go back to work and even if you don't have any reduction to your wages. This is a partial settlement that is made in a lump sum, usually when the injured worker goes back to work for the same employer earning the same wages as before the injury. Under this kind of partial settlement, the injured worker retains the right to request additional medical treatment for another two years.

If you disagree with the doctor's rating, you are entitled to get a second opinion from another doctor of your choosing. The Industrial Commission will average the two ratings to determine your benefits. 

If, however, your healing period ends and you are still unable to return to work, you can choose to continue receiving weekly compensation checks instead of payment for your disability rating. Except under special circumstances, you can only receive weekly benefits for a total of 500 weeks from the date you became disabled.

Complicated, isn't it?

NC Workers' Comp Lawyers Evaluate Your Case FREE

Workers' compensation law can be extremely confusing and complicated. That's why we believe it's best to have legal guidance to help you try to make the right decisions at every step of this process. Our workers' compensation lawyers have the training and the experience to help you potentially get the medical treatment and compensation you need.

Six of us are North Carolina Board Certified Workers' Compensation Specialists. Out of the 28,000 attorneys throughout North Carolina, only 141 can claim that distinction*. We also have a former Special Deputy Commissioner, and a former Deputy Commissioner from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, (one of whom was a state senator).

When you're injured, the last thing you need is to try to become an expert in workers' compensation law. You just need to focus on getting better and getting a check to put food on the table for your family during your recovery.

Click here to let our highly experienced workers' comp team evaluate your case for FREE, or call on our 24/7 North Carolina workers' comp hotline at 1-866-900-7078.

* NC Board Certification figures provided by the NC State Bar through December 31, 2015.

 

Isn’t My Insurance Company Looking Out for My Best Interests?

In an effort to illustrate why you probably shouldn't deal with insurance companies without a lawyer on your side, let's play make-believe.

Let's pretend you are the head of a large profitable company. An insurance company. The competition on the insurance company playground is tough. Some don't always play fair and they'll do anything to take business (translation: money) away from your insurance company. Even if it means trying not to pay out money to accident victims.

Experience has taught us that the insurance company playground can have its share of bullies. Bullies who have been known to try to take money away from accident victims, just like schoolyard bullies try to take candy from little kids! And just as appalling, some clients may not even know they're being bullied into giving away their candy!

Here's a perfect example* as recalled by one of our negotiators:

"We often hear about some insurance adjusters who will put $500 checks and releases on the cars of people who have been in wrecks to encourage them to take the settlement money. If the people sign the checks, sometimes there's nothing we can do. They don't realize they're signing away their rights. This happens a lot in the Latino community because the releases and checks are in English."

Dealing with Insurance Companies up Close and Personal

If this isn't shocking enough, check out some of the stories in Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly. It highlights even more actual situations as told by our own employees - wonderful people who stand up for what's right day after day. These good folks - lawyers, paralegals, negotiators, and hard-working administrators - fight tooth and nail to try and achieve results. We believe our firm stands out precisely because of who these people are and how much they care.

The anecdotes and insights in these stories are real (although unfortunate) accounts. They serve as a microscopic view into what the real world of dealing with some insurance companies can look like up close and personal. And it shows how we have made a difference for thousands of clients*.

N.C. Personal Injury Law Firm Offers FREE Case Analysis

Years of experience has taught us a painful lesson. Sometimes, some insurance companies (and others) don't play nice. We won't stand for that kind of abuse of the system, the laws, and especially our clients - 30,000 for whom we've recovered over $600 million total since 1997!*

If you've been injured and you feel like you're getting the run-around from the insurance company, click here to contact us right now or call 1-866-900-7078. We're here 24/7, and we will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

PS: If you feel like you need a bath after reading through Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly, click here for a collection of soul cleansing stories that reveal just how far we have been known to go on our clients' behalf*.

*Cases or matters referenced do not represent the law firm's entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or a law firm's past results. These are specific examples of experiences we have had with some insurance companies, adjusters, clients, or others. These stories do not necessarily represent any industry as a whole. These descriptions of events are based on upon the recollections of individual staff members.

Federal Student Loans Forgiven for Permanently Disabled

If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits because you are permanently disabled, and you have outstanding federal student loan debt that you are unable to pay due to your inability to work, you might be in luck!

In April 2016, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) announced a process to "identify and assist federal student loan borrowers with disabilities who may be eligible for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) loan discharge."

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness for the Permanently Disabled

The DOE is in the process of proactively identifying and engaging borrowers who may be eligible for TPD loan discharge, in its effort to ensure that these borrowers have the information needed to take full advantage of the debt relief they may be entitled to. According to a DOE press release, dated April 12, 2016:

"In 2012, the Administration took steps to streamline the process to allow for Americans who are totally and permanently disabled to use their Social Security designation to apply to have their loans discharged. But too many eligible borrowers were falling through the cracks, unaware they were eligible for relief. Borrowers like one such woman whose side effects from her breast cancer treatment left her totally and permanently disabled. After repeated attempts, she finally received a disability discharge-seven years after her first application," said U.S. Education Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. "Under the new process, we will notify potentially eligible borrowers about the benefit and guide them through steps needed to discharge their loans, helping thousands of borrowers. Americans with disabilities have a right to student loan relief. And we need to make it easier, not harder, for them to receive the benefits they are due."

How Will You Know If Your Student Loans Are Forgiven?

The DOE is working with the Social Security Administration to identify federal student loan borrowers who also receive disability payments and have the specific designation of "Medical Improvement Not Expected" (MINE).

Those borrowers identified as MINE will receive a customized letter explaining eligibility for loan forgiveness and outlining the simple 3-step process to receive a loan discharge.

Streamlined Application Process

Those identified through the data match will not be required to submit documentation of their eligibility. Instead, they are eligible for a streamlined process by which they simply sign and return a completed application.

Initial Notification Letters Already Mailed

The DOE is mailing initial notification letters over a 16-week period beginning April 18, 2016. If the DOE does not receive a signed application within 120 days, it will send out another letter.

If you are considered permanently and totally disabled (MINE), and have outstanding federal student loans, look for your letter from the DOE in the mail.

Are UBER and Lyft Insured if You’re Injured in a Car Wreck?

E-hail ride sharing services like UBER and Lyft are super convenient. You just download their app, enter your pick-up location and credit card information, and a driver will pick you up and take you where you need to go.

But what happens if your super convenient UBER or Lyft driver is involved in a car crash and you are injured? Who pays for your injuries?

UBER and Lyft Carry $1 Million Coverage Per Accident

You may be covered. Each company carries $1 million per accident to protect passengers and others in the event that one of their cars is involved in a car wreck.

And depending on the circumstances of the accident, there might be other coverages available to you if there are delays or problems with the primary coverage. In some instances the at-fault driver's liability insurance may kick in.

Lots of ifs.

uber

UBER and Lyft Accident Coverage vs. Taxi Coverage

UBER and Lyft, in most instances, carry higher liability than is typical of taxis in most cities. Take the $1 million per incident insurance limits and compare them to those of taxis in three of America's largest cities. Wallet Hub, a social media company that compares financial products, offers these comparisons:

  • Chicago taxi: $350,000 per incident
  • Los Angeles taxi: $750,000 per incident
  • New York City taxi: $100,000 per person; $300,000 per incident

What if the At-Fault Driver is Uninsured?

If you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, UBER and Lyft carry a $1 million policy limit, to help try to ensure that your medical expenses are covered.

If you are injured as a passenger in a taxi cab, you may file a claim with the insurance company of the taxi driver. You may be limited, however, to the policy the driver is covered under. If the taxi cab driver does not have uninsured motorist coverage and you do not have your own personal uninsured motorist coverage, then pursuing compensation can be difficult.

Using a Lawyer Could Potentially Triple Your Compensation1

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer to represent them received three-and-a-half times more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own2.

While using the new e-hailing services, like UBER or Lyft, or using a traditional taxi is a personal matter of choice, if you end up in a car wreck, we believe it's in your best interest to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately.

Based on our experience, it can be hard enough for accident victims to try to get compensated fairly from their own insurance companies, let alone, dealing with other insurance companies.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers May Be Able to Help

  • In 2015, alone, we recovered over $75 million (gross) for over 2,700 clients1
  • We have recovered over $600 million (gross) for over 30,000 clients since 19971
  • These numbers don't include the $1.25 billion we helped recover against the U.S. government for 18,400 claimants in a historic class action case1
  • We've done this because we have quality professionals - many who've worked on the "other side" (insurance companies). Over 35 attorneys. Over 100 staff. Seven attorneys board certified in North Carolina in their fields - a differentiator that fewer than 4%3 of North Carolina attorneys can claim

If you're injured while riding in a cab or UBER or Lyft, click here to contact us 24/7, or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

 

1 Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin led a team of firms to recover $1.25 billion for African-American farmers from the U. S. government for discrimination.

2 Insurance Research Council 1999

3 Percentage calculated from figures supplied by the North Carolina State Bar, through December 31, 2015.

 

 

 

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