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10 Safety Tips for Driving Near Big-Rigs (Some May Surprise You)

A colleague was having dinner with a truck driver recently who shared an alarming story. He recounted the time he had driven more than 18 hours in order to make a deadline. He was so tired that he began to hallucinate while driving on the highway! The truck driver thought that was funny. My colleague did not.

It’s clear the truck driver has never been in a North Carolina courtroom representing an extended family whose lives changed in an instant when some of the family members were killed as a fatigued big-rig driver slammed into their vehicle.

I have a great deal of respect for most truck drivers. Having handled my share of big-rig cases, I can tell you from experience that fatigued drivers are almost always an issue. A big one.

Fatigued Truckers a Major Factor in Accidents

A U.S. Department of Transportation study states that 41% of serious tractor-trailer crashes in the country were caused by fatigued truck drivers, as reported by WNCN.com.

You might remember the two 18-wheeler crashes near the Triangle almost back to back last fall. A tractor-trailer flipped over on I-85 near Hillsboro spewing a load of bananas across the highway. Driver fatigue was the cause. A bridge on I-95 near Smithfield was closed for two weeks when a tractor-trailer rammed into the bridge’s support columns ripping the truck apart and throwing frozen chickens all over the highway. Fatigue, again a factor.

To compound the issue, a U.S. Department of Transportation article suggests that among the most dangerous elemHow ents of fatigue is its ability to sneak up on any driver, not just truck drivers. They evaluated research that showed that truck drivers (like any driver) often can’t assess their own fatigue levels accurately and are unaware of their failing performance behind the wheel, such as drifting between lanes. A driver who drifts off to sleep for just three seconds traveling 65 miles an hour will travel the length of a football field.

Many truckers, themselves, are frustrated by the fatigue issue, blaming it on an industry where 60- to 80-hour workweeks are the norm and even expected. One trucker cited rules written by “a pencil pushing college graduate [who has] never even been in a truck” and trucking industry lobbyists for refusing to adequately address the issues of driver fatigue.

I encourage you to read the USDOT blog Why We Care About Truck Driver Fatigue. Judging from some of the truckers’ comments in response to that blog, it seems they are fed up too.

So what can we do to help ourselves try to stay safe around big rigs?

“One of the hardest parts of being a professional driver, is trying to guess what the guy in the car is going to do next,” offers truck driver and author of a safety article on smart-trucking.com. Here, excerpted from that article, is some simple common sense safety advice on how to share the road more safely with tractor-trailers.

How to Drive Near 18-Wheelers

  1. Do not travel close to a big rig if at all possible. They require a lot of time and distance to stop safely simply due to their size and weight.
  2. Stay out of blind spots. Truckers have a lot of them. Directly in front of the truck (because of the long hood). Directly behind the truck. And especially on the right side of the truck. Truck drivers can see you best when you’re on the driver’s side of the truck.
  3. Do not pass a truck on the right side if possible. The driver is not expecting this. And try not to drive along the right side of the truck because of the large blind spot.
  4. Don’t travel too closely behind a truck. The driver cannot see cars that are directly behind them. You’ve probably seen cars “drafting” behind trucks. Never do this. Ever. If the truck stops, you’re probably going right underneath that truck in what is known as an underride. Underrides often lead to decapitation.
  5. Do not pass a truck, pull directly in front of it, and then immediately slow down. It is difficult for the trucker to see cars over its long hood. This could result in what is known as an override. An override occurs when the truck is unable to slow down fast enough and it is forced on top of the car in front.
  6. Stay away from trucks when they are turning, especially when they are making a right turn. As the trailer follows the truck around a corner, the trailer closes in and will crush anything that gets in the way. There’s a great deal of weight and momentum, which could cause the trailer to track over anything in its path.
  7. If it’s necessary to pass a tractor trailer, pass on the left. Pass the rig quickly, maintaining a consistent speed, and move away from it. The closer you are to the truck, the more potential there is for risk.
  8. In general, try to avoid driving close to large tractor trailers period.
  9. Avoid making sudden moves in the vicinity of trucks. Move slowly and be predictable with your actions. If you need to change lanes or turn, signal well in advance. Change lanes or make your turn when you are away from the truck, where the driver can see you, and clearly see what your intentions are. Signal well in advance of a move, so the truck driver isn’t trying to guess what your next move is.
  10. I would add to this writer/trucker’s list to be courteous. Having represented many individuals involved in trucking accidents, I have met many truck drivers who are diligent and hard-working people working in an industry that can be very hard on you physically and mentally. These are service industry workers who ship fresh produce from farm to table. They are the mail carriers and gas carriers and carriers of merchandise. They work long hours and are away from their families, sometimes for long periods.

NC Truck Accident Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

Studies have shown that, on average, accident victims who hired
a personal injury lawyer received 3.5 times more* compensation for their loss than they would have on their own.

If you were injured in a big-rig accident or know someone who was, contact us immediately or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation by an experienced trucking accident lawyer.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

How to Stay Safe on NC’s Roads Memorial Day Weekend

 

 

 

Here at James Scott Farrin we are proud to have among us many U.S. military veterans who have bravely fought for our freedoms. We are honored they chose our firm as a career step after serving in the U.S. armed forces.

—James S. Farrin, Founder and President, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

 

 

Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer. Pools open. Neighborhood barbecues.  Parades that honor our nation’s military veterans. And it’s a welcomed long weekend.

Last year, spurred largely by cheaper gas prices, AAA estimated that more than 38 million hit the highways Memorial Day weekend – the highest number since 2005.  The downside?

Memorial Day is considered one of the most dangerous weekends to be on the
roads* and marks the beginning of what AAA has coined the “100 deadliest days for teens.

44% of Memorial Day Traffic Fatalities Involve Booze

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 13% more people die during a typical Memorial Day weekend than on a non-holiday weekend. You can probably guess what they report is a contributing factor.

Booze contributes to 44% of Memorial Day traffic fatalities.

That’s a substantial factor you want to keep out of your travel equation. Even if you are driving stone cold sober, obviously many others are not.

Here are some safety tips from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to help you travel NC’s roads more safely over Memorial Day weekend:

  • Leave early to get a head start on your drive. Travel at non-peak hours when possible.
  • Stay alert, especially in construction zones. Even if work is suspended, you may encounter narrowed lanes and traffic shifts in work zones.
  • Be patient and obey the posted speed limit.
  • Use alternative routes when possible to avoid traffic congestion.
  • Stay informed. Real-time travel information is available online and over the phone by dialing 511.
  • Don’t drive if you are drowsy. Travel at times when you are normally awake, and take frequent breaks.
  • Avoid distracted driving. When drivers stop focusing on the road ahead, they react more slowly to traffic conditions and are more likely to be involved in an accident.
  • Give yourself a buffer by not following other cars too closely.

If you do enjoy an adult beverage or two, there are many driving services today
across North Carolina that take you and your car home.
Click here for contact information.

“100 Deadliest Days” Begins Memorial Day

According to AAA, the 100 days between Memorial Day through Labor Day are the “100 deadliest days” for teens. That’s partly because teens are out of school and more of them are behind the wheel. The other reason is that many are driving distracted. Texting, talking, or generally not paying attention. And they’re inexperienced.

Jurek Grabowski, Research Director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety explains, “Every day during the summer driving season, an average of 10 people die as a result of injuries from a crash involving a teen driver.” Research shows that distraction continues to be one of the leading causes of crashes for teen drivers.

You Can Help Curb Distracted Driving

Cars.com reports that half of all teen drivers will be involved in a crash before graduating from high school.

Distracted driving among teens is your problem. It’s my problem. It’s everyone’s problem. Here are some things each of us can do to help try to encourage teens to break this deadly habit.

  • Practice what you preach. Don't drive distracted yourself.
  • Start discussions early on, well before teens reach driving age.
  • Take advantage of some of the latest apps (some are free) and tech gadgets that can help make it easier for teens (and all of us) to avoid using phones while behind the wheel.
  • Visit the org (End Distracted Driving), a non-profit organization started by the father of a 21-year-old daughter who was killed by a distracted driver. And print and display their YES! I WILL family pledge and safe driving agreement.
  • Visit aaa.com/NCfor safety resources for your teen drivers.

Get a FREE Evaluation From NC Car Wreck Attorneys

If you or someone you care about was injured in a car wreck during Memorial Day or any other day, contact an experienced car wreck lawyer.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal
injury lawyer to represent them received 3.5X more compensation for their loss
than they would have on their own**.

Contact us now for a free case evaluation to see if we can help or call us at 1-866-900-7078.

 

* According to Yahoo, other deadly days to drive are Black Friday, NFL game days, the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and St. Patrick’s Day.

** Insurance Research Council 1999

 

Scam Targeting Your Social Security Benefits. What You Should Know.

Have you received a suspicious call from someone stating that they are an Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigator? Don’t buy it.

The Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General have received numerous calls from people who have reported receiving such calls.

These are very likely scammers and should be reported immediately.

Reports say the caller will identify himself or herself as an “officer with the Inspector General of Social Security and that your Social Security account, Social Security number, and/or your benefits are being suspended. The caller instructs the person to call a non-SSA number to resolve the issue. When you call the number, the person answering claims there’s a warrant for your arrest. This person then tries to strong-arm the caller to purchase iTunes or other gift cards or prepaid banking cards, for hundreds of dollars, and to provide the card information to him or her to resolve the warrant.

Here is what the OIG advises:

  • Avoid calling any number provided by a suspicious source, as the unknown source might pressure you to provide your personal information, or to make a payment or purchase for fictitious reasons.
  • Avoid making payments over the phone or purchasing gift cards or bank cards to resolve government or business matters.

If you get a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the OIG, report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

For that matter, any suspicious communication — a phone call, email, letter, or text – claiming to be from the SSA or the OIG, contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday to verify whether it is a legitimate call.

Why File a Lawsuit After My Car Wreck? Can’t I Negotiate on My Own?

For the vast majority of our car accident clients, the last thing they dreamed they’d ever do is file a lawsuit because they were injured. But sometimes, when you are injured your world can spiral downward fast.

You may have to take off work for medical appointments. You may have had to go to the hospital and get X-rays or surgery. That’s expensive. You might have to miss work for an extended period of time. You may not even be able to go back to your regular job. But you still need to put food on the table, pay the light bill, and pay your mortgage or rent.

Are You in Good Hands Negotiating on Your Own?

You assume you are in good hands with your insurance company. After all, they’re on your side, so you see no problem trying to negotiate on your own. Unfortunately, you may not be in such good hands. Here are the depths some insurance companies have stooped to with our clients, based on actual accounts.

Sometimes insurance companies try to delay liability decisions.

Our firm represented a client who suffered a significant fracture in an accident and was out of work for a long time. She went through surgery, treatment and physical therapy and had very good coverage of $250,000 liability. Our hope was that once she was done treating and we sent the demand letter to the insurance company, it wouldn’t be any problem getting her full benefits. But as often happens with these companies, weeks went by and we heard nothing. Finally the insurance adjuster said he could not make an offer because her injuries were prior to the accident. The adjuster demanded we prove her injuries were accident-related, even though the doctor indicated in her notes that the injury was caused from the accident. We went into litigation with our client. She was angry with the insurance company because she had to wait so long, but she was not going to settle for just anything.

Sometimes insurance companies have wrongfully denied claims.

We had a client who was hit by a truck while she was riding a bike. Despite overwhelming evidence that their insured was guilty, the insurance company denied liability. It was our belief that one of the reasons the insurance company maintained their denial was because they were counting on a jury to penalize our client because she didn’t speak English. We hired an accident reconstructionist who concluded that the truck driver was at fault in the accident*.

We’ve seen some insurance companies try to trap claimants into a quick low-ball settlement.

When a colleague called to make initial contact with a new client, he said his insurance company sent him a check and that he cashed it that morning – not knowing any better. It was money in the mail and he didn’t think twice about it – so he took it to the bank. What people don’t realize is that once you cash that check, you’ve settled. The insurance company didn’t give him a chance, but what’s worse is the check was only for $500. Unfortunately we’ve seen this happen a lot.

Sadly, the injured person is often caught in the middle with little experience or knowledge of how to try to get the compensation they may deserve.

I can tell you from experience, the insurance company is almost never going to
give you what your case may be worth if you are negotiating on your own.

That is why we urge people who have been injured in a car crash through no fault of their own to call us and tell us about their situation. The case evaluation is free. Should you decide to retain us to represent you, in most cases, you will not go to trial. However, it is best to be prepared to go to court if that is what it takes to try to get the insurance company to compensate you fairly.

Claims Process from Beginning to End

Here is a brief step-by-step overview of what happens after you call our offices and we take your case. Most of the time it is not necessary to go to court. But sometimes, if the insurance companies aren’t willing to pay what we think your claim is worth after good faith negotiations, we will go to court. And they know that.

Negotiating Your Claim

The at-fault insurance company will contact us to offer a settlement amount. As you might imagine, it is rarely what the client really needs, so we negotiate for the payment we believe your case is worth.

If negotiations fail and the parties cannot come to a settlement agreement, the next option may be to file a civil lawsuit in court. Filing a lawsuit and preparing a case for trial is a methodical step-by-step process and must be done in precise order. Just because you file a lawsuit, however, does not necessarily mean you will go to court.

Filing a Lawsuit in North Carolina

The first step is to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. You, the injured person filing suit, are the plaintiff and the at-fault driver is the defendant (the person being sued). Once the lawsuit is filed, the suit must be served on the defendant. The defendant then has a certain amount of time to answer the lawsuit and the allegations in it.

Discovery

After the defendant files an answer, both parties exchange what is known as discovery. Discovery occurs before trial, and it is the time for both sides to obtain information from each other. This includes interrogatories (a list of written questions) and requests for documents. There can be many sets of discovery back and forth between both sides, and sometimes this can go on for several months. The purpose is to get all the information needed to support your case and for the defendant to get information to defend himself.

Depositions

Once written discovery is completed depositions come next. The deposition does not happen in a courtroom or in front of a judge. Rather, these are typically taken in an office setting. In an effort to prepare for trial, the defense attorney will ask you questions about the case, about medical treatment, bills, lost wages, and other things related to your claim. Your attorney is with you during the deposition and will have a chance to object to questions they feel are unnecessary. Deposition testimony is given in front of a court reporter, who prepares a transcript of everything said. Depositions work both ways, meaning your attorney will also ask questions and “depose” the defendant. Any witnesses are deposed in the same manner.

Mediation

Your case will be filed in either District or Superior Court. In Superior Court, once discovery is complete, the parties are required to attend mediation. A mediation is a settlement conference which usually takes place in an office setting, not in court.

A neutral third party (who is also an attorney) tries to bring both sides to an agreeable solution. This person is called a mediator. During mediation, both parties begin in the same room and present their side of the case. The mediator then explains his role – to try to bring both parties to a satisfactory resolution. After both sides have been presented, the parties go to separate rooms. The mediator goes back-and-forth from room to room to discuss and negotiate the other party’s position, including offers and counteroffers. Many cases resolve in mediation.

If your case is filed in District Court the pretrial process tends to be a bit less complex. Some counties require that District Court cases go before an arbitrator. The arbitrator conducts a short hearing and then decides the case. The arbitrator’s decision is not binding and either party may appeal the decision and ask for a jury trial.

Jury Trial

When the case does not settle at mediation or is appealed from an arbitration hearing, the last step is a jury trial. The court will set the trial date and both sides must be ready by that time.

We advise clients never to go into litigation under the assumption that their case will settle and bring them more money. Litigation is a rigorous process and we urge clients to assume that the case will go to trial and that they should be committed to the process.

By the same token, we will willingly go to trial to fight for what we believe our clients potentially deserve.

In fact, many of our clients have come to know us as their champions. Our lawyers have more than 450 years of combined legal experience. Many of our attorneys have at least 20 years’ experience, and some were formerly defense attorneys for the insurance industry – so they’ve seen the law from both sides.

Free Case Evaluation from North Carolina Auto Wreck Law Firm

If you have been injured in a car wreck, you will need compensation to help pay for your injuries. Filing a lawsuit does not mean you will necessarily have to go to court. Most cases can be resolved before it gets to that point.

Call us at 1-866-900-7078 for a FREE case review, or click here to contact us right away.

 

* 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 or employer as a whole. These descriptions of events are based upon the recollections of individual staff members. Client identities have been removed or changed to protect their privacy.

 

5 Things Your Insurance Adjuster Doesn’t Want You to Know (But We Do!)

People who have been injured will often come to us after they have tried to deal with the insurance companies themselves.

They may be frustrated with the lack of timely response from insurance adjusters. Some tell us the insurance company will not offer them enough to cover their medical expenses and other damages. Sometimes people are simply overwhelmed by the amount of phone calls, paperwork, follow-up, and excessive bureaucracy just to try to get the insurance company to cover damages. We know how they feel. We have dozens of people here who play paper chase with the insurance companies all day every day.

Here are some statements we often hear from people who call us for help. These are people who have never dealt with insurance adjusters and claims-filing entities. We work with these types every day. (Some of us used to work on the other side!) Here is what you need to know about your “friendly” insurance adjuster. And your “good neighbor” insurance company.

  1. The insurance adjuster handling my case seems very nice and is even willing to settle as soon as possible. But the settlement amount is so low. 

    The adjuster is not your friend and neither is the insurance company. Most insurance companies are in business to make money. The less money the adjuster offers you to pay your damages, the more money insurance companies keep for themselves. Fact is, it is part of an insurance adjuster’s job description to offer you as little as possible. Adjusters may seem pleasant and sympathetic to your circumstances. Perhaps they are. But the bottom line is you are not signing their paychecks.Adjusters go through intensive training programs to learn the art of negotiation. They can get very detailed, even covering the psychological aspects of negotiating in many instances.Insurance companies have auditing systems that show how much their adjusters paid out to claimants, based on the medical reports and what they can mitigate in their claimants’ files. Sometimes the adjuster’s pay can be tied to whether or not they meet the criteria the company has devised as “best practices” for payouts.

  2. My adjuster said a lawyer won’t do anything more for me other than drag my case on and on. 

    Insurance companies do not want you to hire a lawyer. If you hire a lawyer, they know they may potentially have to pay you more money. They know we know what you need to know. They will call us ambulance chasers, sharks, greedy, and all kinds of names to try to prevent you from getting legal advice. And they certainly don’t want to go to court to try your case in front of a jury. The one thing insurance companies do not like is uncertainty. And juries are by their very nature an uncertainty. We will go to court in a heartbeat if we think it will help you get the compensation you may deserve. That is something the insurance companies don’t want to hear.

  3. My pre-existing shoulder condition prohibits them from paying me the full extent of my shoulder, neck, and back injuries. 

    Ah! The pre-existing condition. That’s an oldie goldie. We know better than to fall for that one. Some of our employees used to be insurance adjusters. Here’s what one of them had to say about this tactic:“As a former insurance adjuster, our job was to gather the evidence and point out all the potential negatives to try to reduce the payout. If a claimant had a prior neck problem, and the wreck caused an injury to their neck, we would argue that they may have caused aggravation to the neck so we would not offer 100%. Same with degenerative issues. We would focus on that to reduce payout.”The reality is many times pre-existing conditions are not an issue. But if the pre-existing condition becomes a real issue, we simply consult with our Johns Hopkins-trained registered nurse Attorney Naa Atsoi Adu-Antoh. She leads our firm’s medical review team – a team we believe is fundamentally important in our efforts to analyze clients’ medical issues as they relate to their legal cases.

  4. My adjuster told me that after I pay an attorney’s fee, I would probably get less than their offer. 

    An insurance adjuster might try to get you to buy into all kinds of assumptions. They are highly trained professional negotiators. They might challenge you to take them to court. “You just wait and see,” they might say, pretending like they welcome the chance. They might play the “take it or leave it” or “that’s my final offer” card. They might try to confuse you with all kinds of data and analyses and algorithms their statisticians have determined are “reasonable and fair” based on your medical bills and circumstances. They are banking on the fact that you won’t understand any of this. The list of deny and delay tactics is long. Yet it is effective in many instances! Not with us. We don’t scare. (And we understand their algorithms.) If it’s in your best interest, we don’t back down.

  5. Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer received 3.5 times more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own1.

  6. The insurance company said to go ahead and take them to court. Facts are facts, and in my case, the facts are against me. 

    Court is expensive. That is among the main reasons insurance companies typically want to settle your case quickly. Yet they may not let on that they would rather settle than go to court in most cases. Even so, they may still discount the amount they potentially owe you for damages. They are assuming that you probably have no idea what you are potentially owed. They may try to make you believe they can only compensate you for medical expenses. Not other damages like mileage to and from your medical appointments, lost time from work, prescriptions, and loss of the use of your vehicle. And sometimes pain and suffering. You won’t hear those options voluntarily from the adjuster. But you will from us. And then some.

Insurance Companies Keep Millions by Limiting Payouts

The bottom line is this. Many insurance companies are all about their bottom line. They hold millions, and in some cases billions of dollars in reserves and earn interest and dividends on these assets. Many also have shareholders to answer to – large major shareholders like investment banks and mutual fund firms. Shareholders like to keep investing in profitable companies.

Sadly, it boils down to this. The insurance company is taking care of the shareholder and investor. The adjuster is taking care of the insurance company who gives them a consistent paycheck. Who is taking care of you?

You need to take care of you. We can help. Make sure you take care of your interests by consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to deal with these issues.

Why Choose James Scott Farrin for NC Personal Injury, Workers’ Comp or Social Security Disability Claims?

It starts with great people. We have nearly 40 accomplished attorneys, many of whom have won awards for their service and advocacy inside and outside the courtroom, including Best Lawyers “Best Lawyers in America” 20172 and “Lawyer of the Year” 20173; “Super Lawyer” 20164 by North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, and Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite 2015”5.

They’ve authored books, spoken at seminars for other attorneys, and some are sought by the media for their legal expertise. One is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. All are advocates dedicated to fighting tooth and nail for each and every client.

We’ve gone to great lengths to help make sure we know how the “other side” operates by hiring attorneys who’ve represented insurance companies and large major corporations.

We also think it’s important that we have attorneys who are bilingual (as are many of our paralegals and staff).

Experienced NC Accident Attorneys Evaluate Your Case FREE

If you’re getting the run-around from your insurance adjuster or feel your best interests are not being considered, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

1  Insurance Research Council 1999

2, 3 For more information about rules for inclusion visit www.bestlawyers.com

4 For more information about rules for inclusion visit www.superlawyers.com

5 For more information about rules for inclusion visit www.businessnc.com

Cinco de Mayo – 5 Ways to Stay Safe on the Roads

True or false.

Cinco de Mayo is:

  • The date of Mexico’s independence from Spain’s 300-year rule
  • The date of a famous battle fought against the French in the state of Puebla
  • Celebrated widely in Mexico with Coronas, Margaritas, and churros
  • A relatively uncelebrated holiday in Mexico except for one state in Mexico

If you’re like some Americans, you would have assumed that the first choice was true – that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day. You would be wrong. That day is celebrated on September 16th.

Cinco de Mayo is the date a famous battle was fought against the French in the Mexican state of Puebla. It is not widely celebrated in Mexico except for in the state of Puebla in which the battle was fought. So the answers are false, true, false, true.

Before we highlight the trouble you can potentially get into on North Carolina’s roadways during Cinco de Mayo here’s a quick history lesson of why that day is celebrated mostly in the Mexican state of Pueblo rather than throughout the entire country of Mexico and why it seems to be a more wide-spread celebration in the U.S.

Why is Cinco de Mayo Celebrated?

During the Franco-Mexican War in the late 1800s, a ragtag group of fighters in the Mexican state of Puebla successfully stood their ground against a larger force of well-armed French soldiers. Surprisingly, the motley crew of Mexican fighters (many reportedly armed only with machetes) experienced an unexpectedly small number of casualties (1 in 5) and forced the French to retreat. The outcome was unexpected. The day was May 5th and is celebrated today as the Cinco de Mayo holiday. While the schoolchildren have the day off throughout Mexico, the holiday is optional and not widely celebrated except for in the Mexican state of Puebla where the band of soldiers held off the French army.

In the United States, however, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a popular celebration of Mexican (and Hispanic/Latino) culture and heritage, particularly in areas with above average Hispanic populations. In North Carolina the larger cities with above-average Hispanic populations (the average Hispanic population in NC is 8.9%) are Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Durham, and Raleigh. And roughly 60% of those 890,000 Hispanics in North Carolina are of Mexican descent.

Festival Fanta Charlotte Celebrates Hispanic/Latino Culture

Cinco de Mayo traditions throughout the state generally include family-friendly parades, mariachi music performances, and street festivals. The Festival Fanta, for example, is a major celebration of Hispanic/Latino culture held at McAlpine Creek Park in Southeast Charlotte.

Cinco de Mayo and North Carolina Highway Safety

Yet along with all the family-friendly fun involving any celebration where alcohol is present, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into one of the most dangerous times to be on the road across the U.S. and North Carolina.

In the U.S. this holiday has generally been celebrated with margaritas, tequila, and Mexican beer among other types of cocktails. Any time alcohol is involved in a celebration, there’s potential for alcohol-related traffic accidents and deaths.

Alcoholalert.com reports that one-third of all traffic fatalities on North Carolina’s roads involve alcohol.

Drunk Driving Penalties

In North Carolina, the penalties for driving while intoxicated can be steep. If blood alcohol content (BAC) is above 0.08% for a driver over 21, it can lead to fines, a suspension of your license, an increase in car insurance rates, and even jail time in more serious cases. (Drivers under 21 who have been drinking face an automatic penalty, no matter what their BAC is.)

However these penalties pale in comparison to the lifelong guilt many offenders have shared that they have to endure as a result of their reckless actions toward innocent victims.

Damages from accidents attributed to drunk driving can be devastating for victims and the person at fault. Truth be told, it can be devastating for those of us who legally represent these victims and their loved ones. Injuries can range from broken bones to serious traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and in some cases, death. We see this all too often and sometimes these cases are difficult to put behind you.

5 EASY WAYS to Prevent Alcohol-Related Accidents

Here are some tips to try to help keep yourself and others safe during Cinco de Mayo (and any other party, event, or holiday that involves alcohol. These are very easy and convenient to do.

  1. Designate a driver. Driving sober is driving safer. Have someone sober willing to hold the keys and get you home as safely as possible, or use a ride share service like Uber or Lyft or other sober ride home service like the ones listed here.
  2. Take away the keys of intoxicated friends. Don’t argue with them about this. You cannot reason with a drunk person. Offer to call cabs or utilize public transport for them to get home. Putting drunk drivers on the road can potentially endanger them and others.
  3. Drive defensively. Even if you are driving sober, there are most likely others on the road who may not be. Be observant, observe speed limits, and always report any unsafe driving to the authorities.
  4. If you’re hosting a Cinco de Mayo party make sure you designate a sober driver to take intoxicated guests home safely. Or contact other sober ride services. You could be liable if a guest injures someone after leaving your house impaired.
  5. Download our sober ride page. It offers information on alternative transportation that will take you and your car home after one too many.

NC Car Wreck Lawyers Evaluate Your Claim FREE

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a drunk driver who prioritized recklessness over the safety of themselves and others on the roads, contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078, and we’ll evaluate your case free.

Enjoy celebrating Mexican and Hispanic/Latino culture and all it has to offer. Just make sure you try to stay safe out there from those who have enjoyed it a little too much.

 

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