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

Have You Relaxed Car Seat Rules Now That Your Baby is Older? Don’t! Here’s Why.

While driving in to the Durham office, I saw something that irritates me even more than texting while driving. A woman (I assumed she was a mom) had her little girl, who could not have been more than 5 or 6, in the front seat of her Beamer traveling down a very busy four-lane road.  Without a car seat. Seriously? I wanted to shout out:

“HEY MOM! DID YOU KNOW YOUR CHILD IS 24X MORE LIKELY TO DIE IN A CAR ACCIDENT IF NOT PROPERLY RESTRAINED?

(Sorry for shouting in all caps. But I get worked up every time I think about it.)

If she had my job as a personal injury lawyer she’d think twice about her irresponsible, reckless, and potentially life-threatening decision.

We have represented far too many forever broken families whose children have died or been paralyzed or brain damaged as the result of car accidents. It can happen in a split second. And often it can be preventable.

“Just going down the street…”

Too often, parents might tend to loosen the rules a bit if they’re just going down the street. What some may not realize is that more kids get hurt when parents are running routine errands like going to daycare or the grocery store – or carpooling to school – than are injured on longer road trips. Safekids.org reports that 75% of car crashes affecting children happen within 25 miles of home. And 60% of crashes occur on roads with posted speed limits of 40 mph or less.

Many accidents and some child deaths happen at speeds of less than 25 MPH.

Children are not fully developed physically and are less able to withstand the impact of a car crash, compared with an adult. According to research conducted by the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania, because air bags (and seat belts) were designed to protect average-sized adult males and NOT children, they can be extremely dangerous to infants or young children seated in front of them. Moreover, they report that children exposed to air bags during a crash are twice as likely to suffer a serious injury. Many people may be surprised to learn that a crash of less than 30 MPH can cause severe harm or death to a child as a result of airbag deployment. Why?

The technology used to deploy airbags is similar to the technology in some rocket boosters!

Keeping North Carolina’s Young Children Safer in the Car

Because of the position of airbags, children under 13 are safest when placed in the back seat, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Never place an infant in a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat with an air bag. In a crash, the air bag comes out of the dashboard with its force directed at the back of the infant's head if riding in the front passenger seat.

Kids need to be in a rear-facing car seat until they’re 2 years old. A 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention showed that children under age 2 are 75% less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing in the back seat. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to keep their toddlers in rear-facing car seats until age 2, or until they reach the maximum height and weight for their seat.

Keep most kids in a belt-positioning booster seat until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall and are between 8 and 12 years old, says the AAP. Only 20% of parents put children ages four to eight in booster seats, even though safety experts recommend it. The result of this is that kids between the ages of four and eight actually face a bigger risk of dying in a car accident than a child under the age of three, according to an article in parents.com.

If you don’t have enough room in the back of your car to safely transport the number of children who need to travel safely, visit a car seat check station in your area (typically the local police or fire station) where a trained expert will help evaluate your situation. Click here for Safekids.org safety check stations in North Carolina from Dare County in the Outer Banks to Cherokee County to the west.

5 Car Safety Tips for Kids 13 and Up

(That includes your college-aged “kids” and even you.)

  1. Move the front seat as far back as possible from the dashboard.
  2. Passengers 13 and up need to wear a lap and shoulder belt when riding in the front seat. Air bags are designed to work with the lap and shoulder belt to protect the occupant.
  3. Teach your child not to lean forward to change the radio station, insert CDs, or plug in their phones.
  4. Insist your child sit upright against the seatback, with the seat belt snug at all times.
  5. Find out what you need to know about air bags when buying a used car. Some, such as Takata have been recalled on thousands of vehicles.

We’re lawyers, but we’re parents too. It is beyond heartbreaking when we have to represent a mom and dad who has lost a child in a car crash, no matter what age or circumstances. I am adamant about safety rules in the car (especially teens texting and driving). Maybe it’s because of the brokenness I have seen as a lawyer – brokenness that didn’t have to happen. And it can happen just like that.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Car Crash Lawyers

We have represented far too many clients with children injured in car crashes. Their stories are heartbreaking. If your child or anyone in your family was injured in a car wreck, please have them contact us immediately or call 1-866-900-7078. We are available 24/7 and will evaluate the situation for FREE.

Why We Believe Open, Regular Communication is Key to Fighting for Your Compensation

Handling someone’s legal case is very intense and there are many moving parts. A person’s future is on the line. Possibly an entire family’s future. It’s not uncommon that when someone is involved in a car wreck, they might lose time from work, and as a consequence could fall behind on their bills, including car and mortgage payments. We’ve had clients lose their homes just because they were in a car accident and had to take a lot of time off work – through no fault of their own. We’ve had clients who were fired from their jobs as a result of the same thing.

Why We Insist on Regular Two-Way Communication

Communication from day one is critical. We don’t want lack of communication to potentially thrust our clients into a destitute situation. There is so much detail that must be cross communicated starting from that very first phone call. Medical correspondence, photos, doctors’ appointments, follow-ups, progress reports.

We are sticklers about keeping regular and open communication with our clients. So much so that we make sure to emphasize the importance of two-way communication to each and every client as soon as we accept their case. And we try to reinforce that fact throughout the case.

We had one client1 come to us not too long ago for this very reason. He was a communicator and wanted a law firm who would try to do the same.

He came to the right firm.

When we accept a case, one of the first things we do is discuss with the client the importance of keeping the lines of communication open. If we can’t get in touch with you to ask you important, often time-sensitive questions about your accident or your medical progress, it can delay progress on your case. On the other hand, if you cannot get in touch with your lawyer or paralegal when you have important updates or information to share, it can delay your case. We pledge that from our end, we will dedicate a lawyer and a paralegal to you.

Once we accepted this client’s case, we immediately set about finding out about his medical treatment plan in our efforts to fight for him to obtain recovery2 (which ended up being very significant despite his extenuating circumstances).

One of the keys to achieving a good result for him was simply having regular two-way communications. We would communicate with him about the progress of his case and he would communicate with us about his treatment and health progress. Another key is establishing trust. That too, we believe, can come from good communication. Here is this client’s story.

How Open Communication Helped Our Client

A caller contacted us a few weeks after his car wreck. He explained on the call that he needed open and regular communication about the case if we decided to accept it and he decided to hire us. After talking with us and learning that our standard operating procedure is to openly and regularly communicate with our clients, he hired us to try to help him obtain compensation for his injuries.

The case was a bit of a challenge from the start. First, the client was rear-ended by a government official’s vehicle. These claims can often take longer than private claims, and can be wrought with minimal cooperation from the other side and often mired in bureaucracy.

Secondly, there were large gaps in time where the client was unable to seek treatment due to extenuating circumstances. And treatment can often be the star player in determining what compensation our clients may obtain. We knew we had our work cut out for us. But we also knew this man was injured through no fault of his own and he needed someone to help him try to prove it.

When he initially called us we were unsure about taking his case, primarily because he had not sought treatment. Yet he had not done so because he did not have health insurance. We explained the various options he could pursue for someone without health insurance.

Upon exploring some of these options on his own he began to treat conservatively before seeing a specialist and then briefly going through pain management.

As can sometimes happen, we had to address another hurdle when all of his diagnostic testing came back negative and showed other pre-existing issues, which we knew the insurance company would use against him.

As expected with this type of claim, negotiations took a few months. The client became somewhat impatient and was anxious for a settlement. That can happen sometimes with clients. We get it! They need money to pay bills while they are healing. Yet through regular communication and having already forged a bridge of trust we had established in the beginning, we were able to keep him updated about the progress of his case.

We ended up resolving his case for significantly more2 than we and the client had initially anticipated, based on the client’s lack of treatment and his pre-existing conditions.

It’s Our Mission to Make Good Things Happen for Clients

While no lawyer is a miracle worker, we really like it when we are able to make good things happen – even when the odds seem stacked against a case, as it was in this client’s situation. Truth be told, our clients can often be a key factor to their own results. And while it’s always rewarding when a case is completed and another client walks out the door with their settlement check, it can sometimes be bittersweet to close the case.

North Carolina Car Wreck Lawyers

Even though we are one of the largest personal injury law firms in North Carolina, each case is personal to us. And we communicate that to our clients. We think they like it that way, and so do we. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we have grown to roughly 200 staff members, including nearly 40 attorneys and have recovered over $700 million2 total for more than 30,000 clients since 1997.

Several of our lawyers have achieved peer- and client-reviewed designations including Best Lawyers “Best Lawyers in America” 20173 and “Lawyer of the Year” 20174; “Super Lawyer” 20165 by North Carolina Super Lawyers, and Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite 2015”6.

See for yourself what our clients have to say about us.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From North Carolina Injury Lawyers

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, and you want a law firm who will communicate with you regularly throughout your case, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE and let you know if we think we can help.

 

 

1 Client identity has been removed or changed to protect privacy.

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.

3, 4  For information regarding standards for inclusion visit www.bestlawyers.com.

For information regarding standards for inclusion visit www.superlawyers.com.

6 For more information regarding the standards for inclusion for Business North Carolina’s Legal Elite, visit www.businessnc.com.

 

Striving to Become a Better Attorney – Q&A With Our Newest N.C. Board Certified Specialist in Worker’s Comp Law

Recently workers’ compensation attorney Ryan Bliss became a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in workers’ compensation law. Becoming North Carolina Board Certified is quite an achievement. Out of the more than 28,000 attorneys licensed in North Carolina, only 140 are board certified in workers’ compensation law – that’s less than 1%*. While not all practice areas in North Carolina offer board certification, workers’ comp does.

Not every attorney who has the opportunity to become board certified chooses that path. It’s a tough one to forge. The time commitment alone can deter many capable attorneys.

We sat down with Mr. Bliss to get his thoughts about why he chose to become North Carolina board certified in worker’s compensation law.

What prompted you to become a North Carolina board certified specialist in workers’ compensation law?

For me, it was a no-brainer. The board certification process gives lawyers a unique opportunity to demonstrate specialized knowledge, skill, and proficiency in a designated area of practice. Specialization is a distinguishing accomplishment in the legal profession, and very few lawyers licensed in North Carolina can claim this designation.

I’m proud to say we now have eight attorneys at our firm who are board certified. I chose to apply for board certification because I want my clients to know I strive to be the best lawyer I can be for them. Becoming board certified is one more step toward that effort.

What was involved in becoming board certified in workers’ compensation law?

Candidates for board certification must devote a significant portion of their legal practice to workers’ compensation for at least five years. Additionally, they must meet Continuing Legal Education requirements and be favorably evaluated and recommended for certification by other lawyers and/or judges. There’s also a lengthy written exam, which lasts six hours and covers many aspects of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation law, including nuanced details from decades of court decisions.

What was this experience like for you?

Rigorous. Interesting. Enlightening. Often stressful. I knew that finding time to study while working full time and having a family wasn’t going to be easy, but I looked forward to the challenge.

Before allowing applicants to sit for the exam, the specialization board requires attorneys to demonstrate their experience and skill via a written application. We are asked to list our qualifications and summarize years of active legal practice in just a few pages. Applicants must also provide several personal references from upstanding peers in the legal community.

The exam covers a lot of ground so I began studying in advance. It was a major time commitment, but what I learned has already begun to pay dividends in the cases I am handling. My firm is all about doing what is best for the client, and board specialization certainly runs in that vein.

What did you learn that might potentially enhance and fortify your practice?

In many ways, I believe I’m a better attorney because of this experience. After immersing myself in the intricacies of our workers’ compensation system, I’m now able to be more creative when crafting legal arguments. As a specialist, I can offer my clients a much broader perspective when discussing complex issues that arise in their cases.

I’ve looked forward to this experience for a long time. In my role as a workers’ compensation attorney, I make important decisions every day that directly affect my clients’ livelihoods and families. As a board certified specialist, I know I’m giving them the very best I have to offer.

 

* Figures provided by the N.C. State Bar as of December 2016.

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

201 McCullough Drive, Suite 220
Charlotte, NC 28262
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