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5 Common Reasons People Call Tow Trucks (And How to Avoid Them)

A colleague was sharing her recent experience of driving over a curb which lacerated her tire. She called AAA, and a tow truck driver towed her car to a repair shop.

While riding in the tow truck with the driver she shared an interesting conversation about how the majority of the calls the driver responds to are from stranded motorists who could have prevented their situation with a modicum of planning and foresight. And common sense.

Here are five things her tow truck driver said he wished all drivers would be mindful of to help them avoid the hassle of having to have their cars towed.

E does not mean Everywhere

When your fuel gauge is on E, stop and get gas. Better yet, he advised, get gas when you have a quarter of a tank left. First, running out of gas can be unsafe in today’s cars because when the engine quits so does your ability to steer the car. He added that running out of gas can be damaging to your engine too because the sediment that settles to the bottom of your gas tank can get sucked into the engine and possibly cause the fuel line to freeze. Fixing that is a lot more expensive than a tank of gas.

If your Check Engine light comes on…

…check your engine. The driver emphasized that this distress call represents the majority of calls he receives. He likened the Check Engine light to a toothache. If you ignore it, it can get worse, cause more problems, and potentially be more expensive to fix. This type of call could almost always have been avoided in the first place, he added. If your Check Engine lights illuminates, he advised, first pull over in a safe place and check to see if your gas cap is loose. (A loose cap sends an error message to the car's computer.) If the gas cap is loose tighten it and continue driving. The light should eventually go off. If it does not, get your engine checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

Locking your keys in the car

Who has not forgotten their keys, misplaced them, or locked them in the car? The tow truck driver offered what he referred to as a “no brainer” solution that costs less than $5.00. He suggests purchasing a magnetic key holder and affixing it underneath the rear bumper of your car. This simple device can save you the time and headache of having to call AAA, or the expense of summoning a locksmith.

Dead battery is easy to prevent

The tow truck driver said that when he tows cars with a dead battery, the owners will often seem surprised that the battery died. He said he usually askes them one question, “Have you noticed your car has been hard to crank or turn over lately?” That is the first sign that you need to replace your car battery. There are other signs too, but they may not always indicate a battery drawing its final few breaths. They are worth mentioning: an engine that cranks but won’t start; an engine that starts intermittently; an engine that has trouble starting in cold weather; having to have the car jumped frequently. If you see any of these signs, take your car to have the battery’s charge tested. If the voltage is low it’s time for a new battery.

Worn tires need replacing sooner than you think

If you have a penny you can ascertain whether your tires are worn or bald. Place your penny head first into some of the tread grooves on your tire. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn and probably need replacing. Bald tires are particularly dangerous because of the potential for shredding and blow outs, which can cause an accident. And they are more likely to hydroplane in wet weather. Additionally, when there is less tread there is less traction to grip the road when braking and in wintry weather. For less than $5.00 you can purchase a tire tread depth gauge to more accurately measure your tread. A tire is considered bald when one or more of the treads shows 2/32 of an inch. Interestingly, considers tires unsafe before you can see the top of Lincoln’s head. They say that tires can give up a significant amount of grip even at the halfway point, and they suggest replacing your tires when the tread reaches 4/32 of an inch.

“Move over/slow down”

It’s the law in North Carolina to move over and slow down when you see an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of the road. If you’re on a four-lane highway you are required to move to the inner most lane of that highway. If you’re on a two-lane, road you’re supposed to come to either a complete stop, go left of center, or reduce your speed. This tow truck driver had been a firefighter before he decided to drive a tow truck as a result of an injury he suffered while fighting a fire. He said sometimes being on the side of the road with cars and trucks whizzing by too closely can be more frightening than running into a burning building. At least there’s some predictability in fighting fires. With all the distracted drivers on the road, he said he never knows when someone might crash into him because they are distracted.

I hope you have learned as much as I did from this tow truck driver’s experiences and common-sense advice. While there will always be emergency situations that may call for a tow truck, at least these five non-emergency situations can sometimes be prevented with a little planning.

Moving Your Workers’ Comp Claim Forward

You were injured at work. Now you have a workers’ compensation claim. How do you move your claim forward in an effort to try to recover from your injury?

The answer, hands down, is to get medical treatment and provide all necessary medical documentation to show evidence of the medical treatment you are receiving.

Without medical treatment, not only do you risk not getting better, but you also run the risk of stalling your workers’ compensation claim. (In my experience, that’s just what some insurers hope for.) If you do not have proper medical documentation, it makes it easier for the workers’ compensation insurance company to try to deny you the benefits you may be entitled to.

So it is important that when the insurance company is sending you for medical treatment, you follow the doctor’s orders. This means:

  • Attending all appointments as scheduled
  • Taking medication as prescribed
  • Communicating with the doctor about your injuries
  • Following all restrictions the doctor puts you under

These things are important for two reasons. First, the doctor is the medical expert. If he thinks you need to do something to get better, then you need to do it. Second, if you don’t follow your doctor’s orders, the insurance company can try to use that against you. This can mean trying to deny you benefits, potentially short-changing you in settlement discussions, or asking that your weekly checks be suspended, for example. Any of these things could potentially be bad for you (but good for the insurance company.)

The law is clear. When you are hurt on the job and the insurance company admits it is responsible for paying for your treatment, you are entitled to whatever medical treatment your authorized treating doctors recommend for you. That includes not only office visits to be evaluated by the doctors, but whatever tests, prescriptions, therapy, and other treatments they think you need to get better. You can even get paid for mileage in some instances.

That doesn’t mean the insurance company will always voluntarily follow the law.

We have seen some insurance companies responsible for providing treatment try to deny the medical treatment injured workers need to get better and go back to work. They might do this by arguing that the treatment is unrelated to your work injury, or it is a result of a pre-existing condition (we see that one a lot). Some insurance companies may try to tell you it has closed your file. They cannot just abruptly close your file without your knowledge. And other times, we have seen some insurance companies ignore requests for medical treatment in an effort to try to get the injured worker to simply give up the fight and go away. Meanwhile, you won’t be getting any better.

We’ve seen and experienced our share of insurance horror stories – the deceptions, delay and deny tactics, even outright lies in some cases. So many in fact that we developed a book called Insurance Companies (and Others) Behaving Badly.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin have the knowledge and experience to fight for you if the insurance company tries to deny you the medical treatment you need to get better. Based on our team’s 150 years of combined experience, it is almost always a good idea to speak with us about your circumstances. Our confidential case evaluations are free, and you may learn that you’re entitled to more than the insurance company claims.

But don’t wait until it is too late. The sooner you contact us after your job injury the better. We can try to answer your questions about your situation. If you wait to contact us, and the insurance company tries to deny you medical treatment, then you may face delays in your recovery.

Get a Free Case Evaluation from North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

The workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin can help you fight the insurance company if they try to pull any of these stunts. We know the law, we know how to try to protect your rights to medical treatment, and we have the tools, technology, financial resources, and know-how to try to get you the medial treatment you need.

But don’t wait to see if the insurance company tries to deny your care. You need medical treatment when your doctor orders it, not after insurance company delays.

One way to show the insurance company that you mean business when it comes to medical treatment is to contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078 so we can discuss working together to try to protect your rights.

P.S. Click here for more reasons to contact us about your workers’ comp claims.

FREE Hands-On Safe Driving Training for North Carolina Teens

More teens died in North Carolina car accidents in 2016 than compared to previous years. WRAL reported on the troubling statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Administration showing that car crashes and accident-related fatalities are becoming more likely among young drivers in North Carolina.

A common reason for teen car crashes and deaths is distraction from other passengers. There’s a reason North Carolina law limits the number of passengers and their ages in cars driven by teens.

It is dangerous!

Teen Car Accident Risk Rises With Additional Passengers

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a comprehensive report on how dangerous it is for young people to have teen passengers under the age of 21 with them while they are driving. The report showed that if a teenager has one other passenger in the car with them who is 21 or under and there are no older passengers in the car, the risk of a collision for a 16 or 17 year old driver is 44% greater per vehicle mile driven as compared with a teen driver who doesn't have younger passengers in the car. With two or more passengers, the risk of a collision is doubled and with three or more passengers you can quadruple that risk.

FREE Hands-On Driving Course for NC Teens

Hands-on teen driving courses geared toward teens may be able to help teen drivers become more aware of the real dangers they face from passenger distractions as well as other safety hazards, such as hydroplaning and skidding, veering off the road, etc.

One such driving safety course offered to teenagers in Raleigh, Charlotte, and surrounding areas (including other states) is Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe).

B.R.A.K.E.S is a national non-profit organization offering
behind-the-wheel training in advanced safety maneuvers for teens, and it is FREE*.

The instructors are professional drivers who are or have been involved in drag racing, law enforcement, or movie stunt driving. 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 the school by supplying the cars the teens drive during training.

B.R.A.K.E.S 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. Click here to sign up for Raleigh courses.

Attorney Brian Clemmons enrolled his teen daughter in a B.R.A.K.E.S course. “She had been somewhat of an insecure driver,” Brian said. “And frankly I wasn’t totally comfortable having her drive in certain situations. This course, I feel, helped develop her confidence on the road. You could see how her self-assurance soared and she became a much better driver immediately after taking it.”

The course exposes your teen to the following hazards while driving a car, but in the safety of a large protected area.

Distraction Exercise

Your teen will be taught how difficult it is to negotiate a tightly coned course while the instructor distracts them. The course is designed to demonstrate just how dangerous cell phones, text messaging, music, traffic, and friends in the car can be.

Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise

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

Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise

Drop wheel accidents are among the highest causes of injuries and deaths across the U.S. 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.

Panic Stop Exercise

Students are taught the proper technique to stop a vehicle in the shortest distance while maintaining vehicle 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 to learn how to drive in bad weather and not to lose control. Students are taught how to properly recover from both over-steer (rear wheel) and under-steer (front wheel) skids.

If you are unable to attend a Raleigh class, the school offers classes once a month in Charlotte. Or you can access the B.R.A.K.E.S 2018 schedule for upcoming Raleigh and Charlotte courses.

NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE

Many of us are parents and we understand how much is at stake when our teens get behind the wheel. If your teen has been in an accident due to the fault of another person, click here to contact us 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 becomes a donation which is tax deductible to you.

Will Workers’ Comp Pay for Additional Injuries From Overcompensation?

Oftentimes when you injure one part of your body and overcompensate for that injury it can result in another injured body part. And sometimes it can be difficult to get your workers’ comp insurance company to pay for the other injury.

Our workers’ compensation attorneys deal with this issue frequently and it is an area where we strongly urge you to enlist the help of an experienced North Carolina workers’ comp lawyer.

Here are some questions I hear frequently on this subject which I believe warrants sharing.

Will I be compensated for injuring another part of my body as a result of overcompensating for my original work injury?

The answer to this question is probably, yes.

If your workers’ compensation claim was accepted, and a new injury or condition to another body part came about by overcompensating for the original injury, every “natural and probable consequence” that comes from that original injury “arises out of employment,” and you would likely have a right to compensation. So, for example, if your authorized doctor (the one the workers’ comp carrier sent you to) says your overcompensation comes from your original injury, then you likely would have a claim to compensation for that new injury.

What does this mean for me?

If an insurance adjuster tells you they can’t provide you medical care for your new condition, we strongly urge you to contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. There have been new laws passed recently that state that if a new body part was not listed on the initial acceptance form then you may now have to prove that the new injury is related to your original injury. Proving this can be very challenging. It has been my experience that some workers’ comp insurance companies will sometimes do everything in their power to try to deny or at the very least minimize the initial claim, much less an additional claim. One common example is that after a serious knee injury, some patients develop pain in the opposite knee or back due to an altered gate. Some insurance companies will sometimes deny the opposite knee or back conditions as unrelated or claim they are degenerative conditions related to age.

How do I show that my injury for overcompensating is related?

It may be necessary to hire an attorney to help you explain to the insurance company how your new medical condition is related to your original injury.

We can speak with authority on how these issues have been handled in other cases. If the adjuster doesn’t understand, or simply disagrees, it may be necessary to request relief with the NC Industrial Commission by filing a Medical Motion with the Executive Secretary’s office, which involves presenting evidence to a judge about how the new medical condition is related to your original medical condition.  Sometimes we will even have to request a full evidentiary hearing on these disputes about medical care. The most important thing you can do is get medical evidence that your new injury is related. It is key to let your doctor know about any condition that arises from overcompensation.

A doctor who treats you would need to promptly document your new condition and provide their opinion about whether the new condition is being caused by the original injury. This medical documentation is also extremely important, as this is in large part what the insurance company will rely on when deciding whether to pay for your new injury. Even with a doctor’s documentation, we have seen some insurance companies fight back in an effort to deny the new claim.

That can be frustrating having an insurance company adding insult to injury by saying your new injury is not related, when your doctor even says that it’s related! Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you try to overcome these obstacles that injured workers’ sometimes face.

6 NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers’ Comp Law

More than half of our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in workers’ compensation law. Of the approximately 28,000 North Carolina licensed attorneys* only 140 are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in workers’ compensation law. Seven of them practice at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin.

What does it mean to be board certified? It means you have an attorney who shows special knowledge and proficiency in their specific area of law, having undergone additional training (and other intense analysis) to become certified as a specialist.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers

Workers’ compensation law is highly complex and the system is extremely difficult to navigate successfully on your own. That is why we urge anyone who has been injured on the job to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 immediately after their injury. Whether it’s for the original injury or one that stemmed from overcompensation, we will try to ensure that all the necessary measures are taken to preserve your right to workers’ compensation benefits.

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


Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
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