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

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.

Injured While Cycling? Why You May Need Legal Protection (From Your Insurance Company)

I am an avid bicyclist. I ride trails. I cycle in triathlons. And sometimes I commute to work. I appreciate the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s efforts to build more bike-friendly roadways, such as complete streets that help promote cycling and make it potentially safer and more convenient. On the other hand, a 2014 article in the Ashville Citizen Times reported North Carolina ranks among the nation’s top 10 “most dangerous states for cyclists.” I understand why. I have seen a rise in the number of distracted drivers and this concerns me.

Rising Bicycle Accidents Put North Carolina Riders at Risk

North Carolina cyclists need to be aware of what to do in the event of a cycling accident, and how to protect both their health and their legal rights.

Protecting Your Health

The most important step an injury victim can take toward recovery is to ensure that the proper medical attention is administered as soon as the accident occurs and throughout the recovery process.

If urgent symptoms are not immediately noted, accident victims should nonetheless consult with their primary care provider just to be safe. The head of our medical review department, Naa Atsoi Adu-Antoh, urges anyone who has sustained a personal injury to have a medical evaluation to see if there are any potential issues that may be underlying. If your condition worsens over time and you have to make a medical claim, this initial documentation is largely what insurance companies use to determine the extent of your injuries.

Naa is an attorney as well as a Johns Hopkins-educated and trained nurse. She explains, “When you're in an accident there's a lot going on in your body, and sometimes you may not feel pain right away, especially with soft tissue injuries. Your body is reacting on adrenaline, and adrenaline helps keep pain away for a while."

Or maybe you're like many of us and are just too busy to go to the doctor for what you think is just a skinned and bruised knee. That skinned and bruised knee could turn into something else when you start overcompensating for it.

The longer you wait to go to the doctor about your pain, the more you could be hurting your recovery and your legal case, if you have one.

Ongoing medical care is often required after an accident. This may involve consultations with specialists, medical pain management, physical therapy, or chiropractic services. Accident victims should carefully consult with their providers to determine which specific services are right for them. Injuries which are not properly treated may tend to get worse over time.

Protecting Your Legal Rights to Claims for Damages

When officers respond to the scene of the accident, they will often take statements from everyone who was involved as well as witnesses. Give the police a concise statement including just the facts of the accident. Make sure to ask how you can obtain a copy of the police report once it has been completed. If possible, tangible evidence such as photographs, video, and audio recordings can go a long way toward trying to present the best possible evidence for your personal injury litigation. Smartphones have made it increasingly easy to take photographs and video recordings of an accident scene.

Injury victims should also be sure to document any symptoms or losses caused by the accident. These can include physical injuries – such as bruises, scars, and cuts – and should be documented to help support your personal injury claim.

And make sure to photograph and document damages to your bike, and preserve the bike if you can. Some bikes can cost thousands of dollars. Whether your bike needs to be repaired or replaced, the insurance adjuster may have little knowledge of the real value of certain bikes.

Keep a record of any time missed from work as a result of the accident to help support your claim for lost wages, if you have one.

In today’s instantaneous digital society, it is highly tempting to want to update friends with news of an accident or injury, but this can sometimes compromise your personal injury claim. We would caution you from posting any information about the accident or recovery on social media until your claim has been settled or resolved at trial. We have known some insurance companies to troll social media accounts in an effort to find any evidence they can use to try to minimize or deny your claim for damages.

Once you leave the scene of the accident, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon possible. Statements made on the scene of the accident and to an insurance representative can be used against you. So keep conversation to a minimum and stick to the facts only.

Insurance companies will contact you after an accident to obtain a recorded statement of what happened at the scene. While this is a necessary step in the investigative process, the recorded statement can sometimes be a trap for the unwary. Insurance adjusters may use the recorded statement against the claimant when it comes time to settle for monetary damages.

Your best course of action with regard to a recorded statement is to let an attorney handle it for you. Or at least we can be on a three-way call with you, so we can object to any potentially damaging questions.

NC Bicycling Accident Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you or someone you love has been injured in a cycling accident, contact one of our bicycle accident attorneys as soon as possible. Click here to contact us right away (24/7) or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

10 Ways to Try to Prevent Rear-End Crashes in North Carolina

During my commutes to and from work every day, it never fails to amaze me just how many people drive in ways that could all too quickly end up in a rear-end car crash situation. As a personal injury lawyer, we see how people’s lives can change for the worse in one split second, just because they became a victim of a rear-end crash or other car injury.

Rear-end crashes make up almost half of the car accidents in the U.S.

According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions. Drivers and passengers are at risk of being severely hurt due to rear-end accidents. No one knows this better than personal injury lawyers.

We have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured – sometimes seriously – as a result of rear-end collisions. One client^, a mother, was simply driving home from work one afternoon, stopped in traffic when a distracted driver rear-ended her so hard she was ejected out of the car and killed.

Then there’s the story of Tony who was also rear-ended. He had been “living the dream” before he lost everything as a result of a distracted driver rear-ending him at a high rate of speed. Read Tony’s story here.

10 Ways to Reduce Chances of Rear-End Crashes

The prevention of rear-end accidents is the responsibility of every driver every time they get behind the wheel. Here are ten tips drivers should remember to try to reduce the chances of a rear-end accident.

  1. Don't tailgate. We all know what tailgating is and we know we should not do it. Tailgating is reckless and dangerous. It is rude. And it can often be avoided. If you tailgate and leave too short of a stopping distance, there's a very real chance you will end up hitting another car and you could be blamed for causing an accident.
  2. Check your mirrors often. Look to see what the drivers behind you are doing and if they will be able to stop in time.
  3. Leave two to three car lengths between you and the car stopped ahead of you. If someone from behind is going to crash into you, you may have enough room to push forward without rear-ending the car in front of you.
  4. Don't stop short or cut people off. When a driver slams on their brakes suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly changes lanes or pulls in front of another vehicle, cars around them may not have time to react. This can result in a rear-end accident. Try to always be aware of cars around you and try to anticipate their moves.
  5. Go the speed limit and try to maintain a steady speed. Drivers who slow suddenly can cause a car following them to hit them.  A driver who goes too fast also faces an increased chance of hitting another motorist who is in front of his vehicle. Faster speeds mean more momentum, which results in a longer stopping distance and makes rear-end crashes more likely. These types of accidents can also result in more serious injuries.
  6. Pay careful attention at all times. All motorists need to pay careful attention to what is going on in front of them to avoid having to hit the brakes suddenly. Stay off cell phones and avoid using other distracting devices – even maps.
  7. Look a few cars ahead of you in anticipation of what may happen. If you see cars braking up ahead it gives you more time to brake and allows the car behind you to begin braking (assuming they are paying attention). If you are behind a truck stay back until you can see the driver’s face in his side mirror. If you can see his face, he can see you. And stay out of the trucker’s 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. Click here for more safety tips for driving near big-rigs.
  8. Check your brake lights periodically.
  9. If you are being tailgated don’t brake to try to get them to back off. This can result in a rear-end situation and, depending on the driver’s demeanor, it could make them angry and lead to road rage. Simply try to move to another lane when safe to do so.
  10. Avoid drunk or drowsy driving. Both drunk and drowsy driving can make it harder to pay attention to what is going on with other cars and can cause delayed reaction time, which makes rear-end accidents much more likely to occur. If you have been drinking call a sober ride home service. Many in North Carolina will take you and your car home. And if you become tired while driving, stop to rest for about 20 minutes. A recent AAA Foundation  study found that one in five fatal auto accidents involved drowsy drivers. Click here for tips on what to do if you begin to feel drowsy while behind the wheel.

NC Car Crash Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation for Rear-End Crashes

If you were injured in a rear-end accident, contact us right away or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

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 own*.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

^Client identities have been removed or changed to protect their privacy

 

What If I'm Injured While Driving on the Job?

By Barry Jennings

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin regularly handles cases for people who are injured in accidents where the injured person can pursue both a personal injury negligence claim and a workers’ compensation claim.

Injured While Driving on the Job

Typically what we might see while someone is driving for work are auto or truck accidents.  For instance, I have represented sales people who have been injured in a car accident while traveling from one sales call to the next. In those circumstances, the individual would likely have both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim against the individual that caused the wreck.

Other Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claims

Other types of accidents can also result in two claims being pursued at the same time. These might include construction accidents, accidents with faulty equipment, and other types of accidents that occur when someone acts unreasonably and causes a person to be injured.

It is important to consider legal representation if you are injured in an accident where two separate parties may be responsible for paying your damages. Things can get very complicated very fast because of the many entities involved. If you try to handle your claims without legal help, it can result in one party taking advantage of the other party’s payment of benefits, potentially causing you to receive less than the maximum you may be due by law.

How Do I Pursue a Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claim at Once?

Generally speaking, when an accident occurs which is the fault of another individual, and that accident occurs when the injured person is working, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier is responsible for payment of medical expenses and wage replacement while the injured person is unable to work.  Typically (hopefully), the workers’ compensation insurance carrier begins paying benefits immediately. That is one of the significant benefits of filing a workers’ compensation claim.

The individual or other party that caused the injury will not normally begin paying any sort of damage at the beginning of the claim. Instead, that claim would be pursued separately while the workers’ compensation claim is moving forward. Then, once the injured person’s medical treatment stabilizes and their future medical treatment needs become clearer, it may then be appropriate to pursue payment of damages from the party that caused the injury.

When pursuing these types of claims, it is very important to consider how the workers’ compensation payment of benefits affects the other party’s responsibility for payment of benefits. In most cases, the payment of benefits by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier will be evidence of the injured person’s damages and used to try to prove that injured person’s case against the negligent party.

However, the workers’ compensation insurer will have a legal right to seek repayment from the negligent party. If the resolution or settlement of these claims is not coordinated for the benefit of the injured person, then the injured person could lose substantial potential damages.

As you can see, these types of cases can become very complex very fast and there are a lot of moving parts and changing scenarios that need continual monitoring.

James Scott Farrin Personal Injury Lawyers

We often work with our personal injury lawyers in a collaborative effort to try to ensure our clients get the maximum they are potentially due for their damages under the law.

Our personal injury attorneys fight for you inside and outside the courtroom. They have won awards and have been recognized for community, civic, and legal advocacy in many settings, including the North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), a state-wide legal advocacy group.

Every year since 2006 one of our personal injury attorneys has achieved the designation of “Super Lawyer” by North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine*, and since 2008, Best Lawyers in America’s* “Best Lawyer.” In 2016 that same attorney also achieved Best Lawyers in America’s* “Lawyer of the Year” designation for the Raleigh area, and Business North Carolina’s*Legal Elite in 2015.

One of our attorneys is the author of a number of published legal articles and helped write a part of the North Carolina Personal Injury Liens Manual. Many have spoken at seminars for legal and advocacy organizations, and one is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

We also have an attorney who is a Johns Hopkins-educated and trained registered nurse. She leads our medical review team – uniquely valuable in many tough cases.

Our legal expertise has been sought for coverage in the media for both English and Spanish-speaking outlets.

With roughly one million Hispanic/Latinos in North Carolina, we think it’s important to have attorneys, paralegals, and administrators on staff who are bilingual. We have over 30 bilingual staff that help serve our Hispanic/Latino community.

James Scott Farrin Workers’ Comp Attorneys

Best Lawyers 2018 badgeOur firm was named one of the “Best Law Firms” for workers’ compensation by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® for the greater Raleigh area* in 2018.

That doesn’t happen by accident. So who’s on this team?

  • Former defense attorneys and paralegals for insurance companies who have worked inside the insurance companies (they know what you’re up against).
  • More than half our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation law. This is a NC State Bar certification denoting a high level of proficiency in a particular practice area, and less than 4% of licensed NC attorneys can make that claim**.
  • We have two former North Carolina Industrial Commissioners. The North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) is the impartial agency that administers and enforces workers' compensation laws.
  • We have a former North Carolina State Senator who was elected to serve four terms. He also helped write some of North Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws.
  • Many of our attorneys have been acknowledged by colleagues and peers. They are often asked to speak at seminars for other workers’ compensation attorneys. Others are accomplished authors of scholarly articles and two have received coveted awards for workers’ compensation, including Best Lawyers “Best Lawyer*” and NC Super Lawyers Magazine’s “Rising Star*.” One was named NC Super Lawyers Magazine’s “Super Lawyer*” three times and Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year*” for Raleigh twice.
  • Our attorneys are givers and champions of the underdog. Many of them join our side because they are advocates for those without a voice. And that is often the injured worker. Of our 13 workers’ comp attorneys, 12 are members of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of legal representation in our state. Many are active members in their communities – from teaching at local colleges, to counseling the Hispanic/Latino community.

NC Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

All of our attorneys are advocates dedicated to fighting tooth and nail for each and every client.

It is almost always a good idea to speak with us about your circumstances, especially in a situation that involves both workers’ comp and personal injury. Contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078 to learn how working with both a workers’ compensation lawyer and a personal injury lawyer from the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin could potentially benefit you.

 

* For more information regarding the standards for inclusion for “Best Law Firms,” visit www.usnews.com; “Best Lawyers” and “Lawyer of the Year,” visit www.bestlawyers.com; “Rising Star” and “Super Lawyers,” visit www.superlawyers.com; “Legal Elite” visit www.businessnc.com.

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

Be Safer on NC’s Rural Roads. Here’s How.

By Jennie R. Glish

Driving on rural roads in North Carolina can be a spectacular experience, especially during autumn. But these roads can also be challenging particularly in poor conditions such as at night and during rain and fog.

Unfortunately North Carolina has the dubious distinction of having the third most rural road fatalities in the country, behind California and Texas. The 855 rural road deaths in NC account for 62% of the 1,379 overall traffic deaths recorded statewide.

NC Ranks #3 in Rural Road Fatalities

Rural Road Fatalities, top 3 statesWhether maneuvering the Great Smokey Mountain’s circuitous path to the summit, or taking in the salty air along NC 12 on the Outer Banks, traveling safely is a priority. The Tar Heel state boasts some truly amazing landmarks, but the path to get us there often finds us on two-lane rural roads. While inviting, these rural roads can often put travelers in harm’s way if they don’t follow some basic safety and travel guidelines.

We offer some insight here on what to expect while driving on rural roadways and guidance about how to arrive at your destination safely.

Expect the Unexpected on Rural Roads

Being aware of your surroundings and paying attention are keys to staying safe. Here are some routine hazards you can sometimes expect when driving along North Carolina’s rural roads.

  • Sharp twists and turns, blind turns, steep hills, and dips
  • Poor visibility of road signs, faded roads signs, signs hidden by trees or bushes and even knocked down
  • Narrower roads which can be harder to maneuver or to pass other vehicles
  • No or low shoulders and sometimes no guard rails
  • Crossing wildlife and farm animals
  • Slow-moving vehicles, including farm vehicle crossings (some 50,000 farmers use North Carolina’s rural roads)
  • Rough pavement, potholes, and uneven surfaces
  • Rocks and other debris
  • Poor lighting making for harder visibility at night and in poor weather

Top 3 Causes of North Carolina Crashes

The top three causes of all traffic accidents in North Carolina in 2015 were due to speed, lane departure, and distracted driving*, according to North Carolina 2015 Traffic Crash Facts. These infractions can be particularly dangerous on rural roads because of the potential hazards above.

3 Tips For Driving on NC’s Rural Roads

Stay Alert and Watch For

  • Speed limit and other roadway signs that indicate upcoming road conditions or sharp turns
  • Animals, deer, and small critters can run across roads with little warning. Click here to learn how to try to avoid hitting a deer, and if you cannot, what you should do.
  • Other drivers who may be swerving or driving unsafely

Stay Prepared and Check For

  • Sufficient gas and cell phone charge. You don’t want to end up stranded, especially at night or on a road with no shoulders.
  • Proper tire traction
  • Roadside tool kit. Always carry a spare tire, a jack and lug wrench, flashlight (and extra batteries) and roadside flares or beacons, jumper cables, duct tape, a multi-purpose tool, an escape tool, and water at the minimum. Depending on weather conditions where you live, you might also want to include something to keep warm, a rain poncho, a candle and lighter. And if you travel with your family, include items they may need – diapers and wipes if you have a baby, non-perishable food, medications, etc.

Share the Road and Prepare For

  • Enough space between cars
  • Anything you might suddenly happen upon in the road, such as an animal, fallen rock, limb or tree, huge pothole, or standing water

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From NC Accident Lawyers

If you sustained a car accident injury due to another driver’s negligence on any kind of road in North Carolina, contact us right away or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case. We work on a contingency basis, so you pay no attorney’s fee unless we recover for you.

*P.S. Click here to read a fascinating blog on why our brain’s chemical makeup compels us to look at incoming texts.

Why We Are Not Wired to Multitask and Drive

North Carolina Distracted Driving Accident AttorneysBy Sidney Fligel

What is Multitasking?

You know what multitasking is. Everyone does. It’s almost a given these days. I don’t care what task you are performing you are probably in the habit of multitasking while doing it.

I’m multitasking right now.

I’m answering a colleague’s question, kicking off my shoe under the desk, while I am typing this sentence. Meanwhile, Taylor Swift is whining on Spotify about some guy who’s so mean all he’s ever gonna amount to is mean. But she’ll be livin’ in a big ol’ city. Oh… and I just got a ping from my cell – my sister wants me to drive to her house this weekend (150 miles). Her peaches are coming in fast and she has to pick them before the birds eat them. So now I’m also weighing the pros and cons of fighting holiday traffic for a bag of fresh-picked peaches.

But I am stationary behind my computer screen. I am not behind the wheel of a two ton vehicle traveling 60 miles per hour with many other innocent drivers and bystanders nearby.

Do I multitask behind the wheel?

Do you?

Unfortunately we all do. And we may not even realize we do it.

Back in the day it used to be fine to sip a soft drink while driving, and maybe even change the radio “dial” or “roll down” our windows. But that was before seven-lane highways rife with left turns, commuting bicyclists, roadway signage everywhere, and millions of cars on the roads with minivan-wielding soccer moms filled with distracting kids rushing from practice to Chik-fil-A and on to the next practice.

And cell phones. Texting. Bluetoothing.

Our driving habits have become a real mess.

Who’s Guilty of Distracted Driving?

We are all guilty. Teens. Moms. Dads. You. Me.

Many people think distracted driving is a teenager problem. Not entirely. All of us become side-tracked and distracted without even realizing we’re doing it. Or realizing what a mistake it can mean to your life or someone else’s.

I was shopping in a locally-owned shop recently when the owner learned I work at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin in personal injury. She shared her tragic story of why she had to go back to work after she’d retired. Her husband was hit by a distracted driver, suffered a severe brain injury and had to leave his job as CEO of a major corporation. Their lives took an abrupt about face as they lost nearly everything they had due to medical bills. (He did not hire a lawyer, unfortunately.)

The at-fault driver was a teenager. He was texting.

The woman shared with me how very sad she felt for that teen who was not only unrepentant, but snarky about what his carelessness did to her family.

I was stunned.

One careless mistake and an entire family’s path went south.

Multitasking Behind the Wheel is Epidemic

Distracted driving has become epidemic. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) statics show distracted driving was the highest cause of “human choice” accidents, with six of 10 caused by distractions.

Cell phones, as we all know, are a common distraction (and one of the most deadly). In the era of Smartphones, one of the most common causes of accidents has been distractions from texting and using apps behind the wheel – even a map app.

Why Our Brains are Not Wired to Multitask

According to numerous research studies, our brains were not designed to focus on multiple tasks at once. Psychologists who study what happens inside your brain when people try to perform more than one task at a time have found that we are not wired for heavy-duty multitasking.

Switching between tasks (multitasking) can cause a whopping 40% loss in brain productivity, and the National Safety Council underscores why multitasking is particularly dangerous behind the wheel.

If you can walk and chew gum at the same time, why can’t you drive and talk on your cell phone? Walking and chewing gum involve both thinking and a non-thinking task. Driving while talking on your phone are two thinking tasks that involve many areas of the brain. Your brain rapidly switches between two cognitive activities rather than processing both simultaneously and some things can get lost or minimized in the switching.

Isn’t talking on a cell phone the same as talking to someone in the car? No. Drivers talking on cell phones are more oblivious to changing traffic conditions because they are the only ones in the conversation who are aware of the road. When you are talking to another adult in the car (with another set of eyes) they may be able to help you remain aware of traffic.

Isn’t using hands-free devices safer than a cell? Research shows it is not. As different parts of our brain share tasks, activity in one part will decrease as activity in another part increases. If you focus on a conversation, whether it’s with another passenger, using a hand held device, or cell phone, activity in the parietal lobe will decrease by as much as 37% says a Carnegie Mellon University study.

When you use a cell phone you get what is known as “inattention blindness.” You look but you may not see. You can miss seeing up to 50% of your driving environment.

Drinking and driving vs. driving while distracted. A study by the University of Utah illustrated in a controlled simulator that using a cell phone while driving is just as dangerous as driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08, which is the legal limit behind the wheel in North Carolina. Just like alcohol, people can become addicted to their cell phones. Click here to find out the fascinating biological reason why.

Text behind the wheel and you are 23% more likely to cause a crash says the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA) website, nhtsa.gov. As a matter of fact, it’s the same as drinking four beers. Both cause distraction and impaired driving that can result in following too closely, not being able to brake on time, or weaving into oncoming traffic.

We’ve all seen those cars that drift outside their lane. The RAC Foundation, a British motoring research organization, reports that texting while driving reduces steering control by 91%. And it decreases reaction time by 35%.

Multitasking Results in TMI

All of this is a result of too much information causing cognitive overload – our brain’s inability to hold so much information.

We are wired to have a working memory that can retain only two to four pieces of information at a time.

When more is required, our brain replaces the old with the new or it borrows from the auditory and visual parts of the brain.

Even when contemplating the next task, researchers discovered that an interruption – be it a phone call or deciding to check your email can cause you to take up to five minutes to refocus on your work.

Here’s a trivia question for you. What is the #1 distraction behind the wheel? (Keep reading for the answer.)

Just Drive

  • Don’t put your car in drive until you and your passengers are settled in and ready to go.
  • Take the time to check your surroundings and make sure anything you may need while driving is in reach so you won’t need to look for them on the road
  • If you need directions, get them before you put your car in gear

Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road and just drive.

Tell Us Your Good Driving HabitsGet a FREE Case Evaluation from an N.C. Car Wreck Lawyer

If you or a loved one were the victim of any kind of distracted driving accident, we strongly encourage you to seek legal help. We don’t want anyone to end up in a situation like the shop owner whose husband was incapacitated and didn’t hire a lawyer which could have potentially helped save his family from financial ruin as a result of that car wreck.

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 own*.

Contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for your free case evaluation.

Trivia answer. The #1 distraction behind the wheel, according to Safestart.com? Wandering thoughts.

* Insurance Research Council 1999

N.C. Police Target Aggressive Drivers in Ghost Cruisers

Car Accident Lawyer North CarolinaBy LaDonna Williams

Most drivers view aggressive driving as a serious or extremely serious risk that puts everyone’s safety in jeopardy. They are right, of course, but that doesn’t stop many from doing it, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Recently, authorities in North Carolina committed to cracking down on this issue by investing in “ghost cars.” CBS North Carolina reports that these cars don’t look like your typical marked cruisers, as you can see from this WBTV NC photo.

The cruisers do have markings, but their graphics and decals are barely visible during daylight hours, allowing law enforcement officers to blend in with the rest of traffic. People are on their best behavior when they spot a police cruiser, the logic goes. The goal with ghost cars is to address aggressive driving habits, like speeding, tailgating, and unsafe lane changes by putting motorists on notice that police may be in the midst.

North Carolina law defines aggressive driving as careless or heedless operation of a vehicle in a manner that willfully or wantonly disregards the rights and safety of other drivers. To prove a violation, officers need to show an offender committed two or more of the following:

  • Running a red light
  • Running a stop sign
  • Passing illegally
  • Failing to yield right-of-way
  • Following too closely

A violation is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor – a charge that may betray the severity of impact these actions can have on innocent passengers and other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

One study published in the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention revealed that aggressive driving tends to increase the severity of traffic crashes.

Recovering Damages After an Aggressive Driving Accident

In some cases after an aggressive driving accident the involved parties may find themselves tempted to argue with the other driver. On the other hand, others may sometimes feel compelled to apologize. However, our North Carolina accident attorneys would urge drivers involved in any crash to neither blame nor apologize after any kind of car crash. Instead, a polite exchange of insurance and driver’s license information as well as contact information of potential witnesses is in order. Also, if you are injured, seek immediate medical attention. Click here for steps to take after you’ve been involved in a car crash.

A person who is injured and plans to file a North Carolina car accident lawsuit for damages will have to prove negligence. Your attorney will need to show:

  • Defendant owed a duty of care (in this case, to safely operate a motor vehicle)
  • Defendant breached that duty (by failing to safely operate a motor vehicle)
  • Defendant driver’s actions were the actual and proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries
  • Plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the crash

N.C. Car Wreck Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

Aggressive driving behaviors are undoubtedly a breach of a motorist’s duty. However, proving it sometimes can be challenging, and this is why we encourage injured parties to seek legal counsel from an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney.

If aggressive driving has led to a serious accident resulting in personal injury, we can help you explore your legal options.

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

* Insurance Research Council 1999

Fatalities More Likely In Older Vehicle Car Crashes

By Jennifer A. Taylor

Vintage car dashboardA colleague and I were chatting over coffee, and she shared a concern that I thought others may have. She said she and her husband received an insurance bill for an old beat-up Ford Bronco that her husband drives up at their cabin.  She joked that her sunglasses are worth more than that Bronco, so she was shocked to see the insurance bill for it was more than they pay for their newer Lexus SUV.

The reasoning behind this is simple and makes sense when you think about it.

More Fatalities Likely in Older Cars

While newer cars can be more expensive, the insurance on older vehicles may cost more because many older vehicles may not be as safe. A 2013 research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concluded …

If involved in a fatal crash, the older a car is the more likely its driver will die in that crash.

The risk of serious injury or death from a car accident, whether it’s on the I-77 near Charlotte, N.C. 12 along the Outer Banks, or scenic Rt. 221 through the Blue Ridge Mountains., spikes in an older-model car. And the older the car the more likely the severity of the injury, including fatality.

Minimum Insurance Coverage Enough?

The North Carolina Department of Insurance notes the minimum coverage for bodily injury liability is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per crash and $25,000 for property damage. However, as a personal injury attorney, I can tell you in many cases this is rarely enough to fully cover many damages, particularly in more serious collisions. A good North Carolina car wreck lawyer will generally also seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage, as outlined in N.C.G.S. 20-279.21.

Although there is a general perception that newer vehicles are less expensive to insure, the reality is that safety is considered a key factor when insurers determine how much to charge customers.

Almost all insurers give discounts for vehicles that come fully loaded with modern safety features, such as multiple airbags, rearview cameras, improved crumple zone design, blind spot sensors, and more. Vehicles manufactured prior to 2000 were not routinely equipped with those features, many of which were introduced after 2015. Safety and prevention of car accidents in North Carolina can often depend on features such as these.

When you are considering how much auto insurance you need, recognize that even if you can squeak by with lower rates on an older car, you may want to consider increasing your limit because of the heightened risk of serious injuries.

North Carolina is an at-fault state or tort-based system when it comes to how an injured person will be compensated following a car accident. That means the person who was legally at fault generally bears financial responsibility for the crash.

However, keep in mind that many people carry only the minimum level of auto insurance. If you’re in an older car and you suffer serious injuries, it is unlikely that having the minimums will be enough to cover the full scope of your damages. In those situations, you may need to tap into your own uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage for compensation. While sometimes auto insurers have been known to push back on this in an effort to minimize their own payouts, our personal injury lawyers will fight to try to ensure you receive the compensation you may deserve.

N.C. Car Wreck Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

If you have been injured by or in an older model car, I urge you to contact the James Scott Farrin personal injury Hurt Line for a free case evaluation. Things can get very complicated very fast, and with medical bills, and quite probably time out of work, you want to try to get the compensation you potentially deserve.

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 today or call 1-866-900-7078. We’re here for you 24/7.

*Insurance Research Council 1999

5 Things You Should Never Say to an Insurance Adjuster

When you’re involved in a car wreck, are injured, or make a claim for property damage, the insurance company you make a claim against will put you in the capable hands of an insurance adjuster.

Not necessarily “good hands.” But very capable hands. Capable of doing everything the insurance company has trained them to do in their efforts to pay out as little money to you as possible.

Generally within a few days you will get a call from a friendly-sounding voice wanting to “just get a bit of information…” “hear your side of the story.”

They need to make sure your story sounds plausible. And for good reason.

Insurance Fraud Costs You in Higher Premiums

Part of an insurance adjuster’s job is to try to root out fraud. According to the FBI, insurance fraud (excluding health insurance) costs more than $40 billion a year. Why does that concern you? Insurance companies aren’t going to take the hit. You do. By paying premium hikes of between $400 and $700 annually.

So when someone says they hit a deer, you want to make sure the insurance adjuster questions that claimant in an effort to find evidence a deer was indeed the cause of that car’s broken headlight and crunched fender and side panel. And not that the driver rammed into the side of his garage at 2 a.m. coming home from a party. The difference could mean whether your insurance rates may possibly go up. If you hit a deer, your damages are covered under a comprehensive claim, which generally won’t cause your rates to go up. If you swiped the side of your garage, damages are covered under a collision claim – and that may cause your rates to go up.

Why Is the Insurance Adjuster Calling You?

You can have more than one adjuster to deal with. Many insurance companies have specialty adjusters.  Some adjusters only investigate. Some deal with injury. Others specialize in negotiating and speaking with attorneys. You may also deal with property damage adjusters who only handle vehicle damages.  These types of adjusters may be further specialized. One could be the estimating adjuster and another might be the one who pays you for damages.

But all adjusters have one thing in common.

Adjusters work for the insurance company, and their job is to try to pay out as little as they can to keep their employer happy.

Listening Between the Lines

In the interest of full disclosure I rarely, if ever, advise my clients to speak with an insurance adjuster for a recorded statement. I have found that, for the most part, these recorded statements have not been in the best interest of my clients – but have more to do with obtaining information that the insurance company could potentially use later to try to minimize payment or deny a claim altogether. All cases and facts are different, so it is important you talk with an experienced personal injury attorney before giving information to the insurance company.

But if you do happen to speak with an adjuster, you can be assured they are trained in active listening. It is important that what you say to them is true, factual, succinct, and not editorialized as in “He came out of nowhere.”

1. Where is Nowhere?

We have former insurance adjusters on our staff who worked for insurance companies for many years before they came to us. They tell us the inside joke among adjusters is they want to know where Nowhere is. Claiming someone “came out of nowhere” may lead an adjuster to wonder if you were paying attention.

2. “He had to have been speeding.”

Another editorialized comment our former adjusters often heard “almost on a daily basis” was, “They had to have been speeding.” Usually this is in reference to pulling out from a stop sign or a green light. Those active listening skills kick in causing the adjuster to question, if the other guy was speeding and they got so close to you, then why did you pull out? That screams you were not paying attention. The adjuster is taking detailed “notes to self” while you are offering damaging information without realizing it. Later, when negotiation time comes, these off-hand comments could come back to haunt you.

3. “The next thing you know they hit me.”

North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, so if someone is able to show you are even 1% at fault, you may not get compensation. Let’s say the police report showed a clear cut liability issue with the other driver. Don’t inadvertently say something that might give the adjuster an opportunity to twist your words. "Well, I saw him in the intersection and the next thing you know he hit me." You may have had the right of way, but if you saw the other car, you should have had time to stop or react. The police report may say you’re not at fault, but you just gave yourself contributory negligence by admitting to the adjuster that you were partially at fault. The adjuster can then deny liability and not pay your claim based on your statement.

4. “My light turned green so I just pulled off.”

Did you look left? Did you look right? That adjuster can very well deny your case because, without realizing it, you admitted you did not look before entering into the intersection. You may have had the last clear chance to avoid the collision.

5. “I was coming from a friend's house."

Seriously? There are a whole lot of “friends” in North Carolina who seem to enjoy having company until 4 a.m., judging from the number of times adjusters have heard that one. If you were not coming from a friend’s house, don’t say you were.

First of all, when you speak with an adjuster or any insurance representative you want to be credible and honest in all your answers. Not only is it the right thing to do, but your credibility can be a powerful weapon in your defense – especially if you have to go to court.

Adjusters have ways of getting at the truth when they think you are not being truthful. They may follow up with more questions: “How long were at your friend’s house? What were you doing? Had you been drinking? How many drinks did you have?” These are just for starters.

We Can Help You Give Your Statement to the Adjuster

As I said, I almost always advise my clients against giving a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster because I have found it can do more harm to the client.

Yet some come to us after they have already given a statement. There are so many ways we’ve seen innocent North Carolina car wreck victims hurt their case by talking to an insurance adjuster without realizing how some of their statements may be misinterpreted.

We can help you prepare to speak truthfully about your car accident, but in ways that may not necessarily harm your case. If we feel a recorded statement is in your best interest, we can be on the call with you to try to make sure the adjuster does not take advantage or twist your words.  If a written statement about the events of your car wreck is the best option, we can coordinate with you to try to come up with something that would help protect your rights.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From N.C. Car Wreck Attorneys

If you or someone you care about was injured in a car wreck and an adjuster wants to “just get a bit more information,” contact an experienced North Carolina car wreck lawyer before giving any statement. You don’t want to say anything that may inadvertently damage your case before getting a professional evaluation.

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

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*.

* Insurance Research Council 1999

 

Things Aging Drivers Can Do to Keep Going

There is a group of drivers on our roadways whose hazardous habits are projected to worsen as they increase a by whopping 73% by 2030, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

They’re out of control. Driving while distracted. Driving while impaired. Driving in conditions they shouldn’t be. Not obeying speed limits. And many admit to having taken drugs before getting behind the wheel!

These senior citizens today!

Elderly Drivers Cause More Deadly Crashes Than Teens

The reality is that deaths from senior drivers (85 and older) are four times higher than that of teen drivers, according to a Carnegie Mellon University and AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study.

Based on data obtained from 1999–2004, fatality rates for drivers begin to climb after age 65. From ages 75 to 84, the death rate equals that of teen drivers. After age 85 is where we see fatality rates accelerate. For drivers 85 and older, the fatality rate increases to nearly four times that for teens.

Why Do Seniors Pose Such a Roadway Threat?

As they age, senior drivers may experience many conditions that may cause them to drive at a slow pace. They may suffer from arthritis and stiff joints and weakening muscles, making it harder to turn their heads and reducing the amount of pressure they can apply to the gas pedal. You might think that driving at a slow pace would be safer. That’s not necessarily the case.

According to Essurance.com people who drive slower than normal, in the left lane for example, may cause you to have to pass on the right. This could lead to confusion and disorganization which can potentially cause an accident.

Catching up to a slow driver creates dangers even in residential areas, if you have to suddenly stop. This could start a chain reaction of braking that could lead to accidents or road rage.

Vision Decline

A natural age-related decline in vision may make it harder to see people, objects, and areas in the peripheral vision. For some it can take longer to read street or traffic signs and recognize places, even familiar ones. Decline in night vision is particularly common among the elderly and headlight glare or street lights can pose a challenge. For some, the sun might become especially blinding at certain times of day. Medicines can also cause vision problems as can the onset of glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration.

Hearing Decline

As you get older it can become harder to hear horns and sirens and even noises coming from your car potentially alerting you that something is wrong and you may need to pull over.

Slower Reflexes

As people age reflexes might become slower and you may have a shorter attention span. This might make it harder to multitask. Stiff joints or weak muscles also can make it harder to move quickly.

Eventually all of us age – unless, well the alternative happens. I’ll take aging thank you. Especially as today, there are a number of ways to try to overcome some of the problems many seniors experience on the road.

Here are some things from the National Institute on Aging to keep in mind as we age to try to keep yourself and others safer around you.

Safe Driving Tips for Seniors

  1. Did you know that there are driving rehabilitation specialists available that will check your driving skills? Occupational therapists can do the same. Who knows, you may get an all clear.
  2. Some car insurance companies may lower your bill if you take and pass a driver improvement course. Here are two resources to find driver courses near you through AAA and AARP. You can also check with your car insurance company.
  3. Remember when in doubt, don’t go out. Never try to drive in inclement weather that makes you feel uncomfortable like rain or snow. Wait it out or use public transportation or a driver service, such as Uber, Lyft, or even a taxi.
  4. Avoid highways or other high-speed roadways if you don’t feel confident using them.
  5. If you take medications, ask your health care provider if it is safe to drive while taking them.

How to Stay Mobile and Keep Your Freedom

Rightfully, many seniors worry that once they stop driving, they’re homebound. But communities across the nation are offering more of a variety of ways to get around without having to drive. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Free or inexpensive bus or taxi services for seniors
  • Carpool services for doctor’s visits, grocery shopping, the mall, hair appointments
  • Many religious and community service groups have volunteers on call who can drive you where you need to go
  • Car or driver services. (Remember, when you’re not paying for car insurance, maintenance, gas and other auto incidentals, this could end up being even cheaper than owning a car.)
  • Pay friends or family members to take you places. It could be the beginning of more meaningful relationships.

To find transportation services in your area call 1-800-677-1116, or
visit www.eldercare.gov to find your nearest Area Agency on Aging.

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