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Will My Health Insurance Continue if I File for Workers’ Comp?

By Ali Overby

Many people wonder how filing a workers’ compensation claim might affect their employment status and their benefits – especially their health insurance.

It’s important to understand that your employment relationship with your employer should remain the same even though you have filed a workers’ compensation claim for an on-the-job injury. Although you are pursuing a claim, you are still an employee of this employer and you should continue to receive benefits just as you always have. You should pay the same health insurance premiums, if any, that you are normally required to. Your employer should continue to pay their portion of your health insurance as they have been doing.

What Happens if I Go Out of Work Receiving Workers’ Compensation Checks?

If your authorized treating provider writes you entirely out of work or your employer is unable to accommodate your work restrictions, you will be placed out of work. You will stop receiving your regular paycheck and you should begin receiving weekly workers’ compensation checks from the workers’ compensation insurance company that services your employer.

This is called temporary total disability or TTD. Your TTD payments are two-thirds of your average weekly wage for the 52 weeks prior to your work injury. While you are out on TTD it is important to talk to your employer about how to maintain your health insurance coverage.

If you usually contribute to your health insurance premium through payroll deduction, your employer may not automatically notify you that you need to continue making these contributions to maintain your health insurance.

Do not assume your regular health insurance contributions are coming out of your TTD check!

If your employer continues to make health insurance payments for you, but you are not making your usual contributions, your health insurance may end up being cancelled before you ever realize you owe anything. Talk to your employer, and find out if you need to send in a check each pay period to keep your health insurance coverage current.

What Happens to My Health Insurance if I’m Fired?

Unfortunately, you can still be fired by your employer even if you have an open workers’ compensation case. If you are terminated, you can expect your health insurance benefits to end the same way that they would for any terminated employee.

You have the option of temporarily continuing your health insurance under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Your health plan administrator must give you a notice stating your right to choose to continue benefits provided by the plan. You then have 60 days to accept coverage or lose all rights to those benefits.

If you elect to continue coverage through COBRA you will have to pay the full cost of the coverage plus a 2% administrative charge. If your employer was paying the bulk of your health insurance expense before your termination you can expect that health insurance through COBRA will likely be much more expensive than you are used to.

COBRA generally applies to all group health plans maintained by private sector employers (with at least 20 full-time employees) or by state and local governments. If you work for an employer that has fewer than 20 full-time employees, North Carolina has a state continuation program similar to COBRA. Either way, you may want to shop around and consider other insurance companies to find your best options for obtaining private insurance.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Workers’ Comp Attorneys

If you are concerned that your employment status or your right to health insurance benefits may have been unduly affected by your workers’ compensation case, contact one of our workers’ compensation lawyers right away. There is a lot at stake, and if you are trying to negotiate on your own against a big powerful insurance company, you are likely at a huge disadvantage.

There is no charge to call us for an initial case evaluation. It is completely FREE to you.

Click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

P.S. Think you can’t afford a James Scott Farrin workers’ comp attorney? Click here to see why you can.

Categories: Insurance Coverage

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

A Must-Read If You Want to Avoid Insurance Mistakes After an Accident

Who wouldn’t trust khaki-wearing Jake-from-State-Farm to be there for us, even at 3 in the morning? And good ol’ Flo from Progressive. You can trust her too – she’s like your quirky bestie. You can tell her anything.  AllState deep-voice guy? He’s not going to let anyone or anything mess with you. You’re in good hands.

Or are you?

Based on our experience? Not necessarily. There’s a reason why insurance companies spend so much money every year on “trust us” advertising.

Free Book on Avoiding Common Insurance Company Pitfalls

When you’re in an accident and you make a claim, why wouldn’t you think twice about giving one of these or any insurance company a recorded statement over the phone?

Why wouldn’t they believe you when you explain that you swerved into oncoming traffic because of a deer, and the car wreck was unavoidable and not your fault. And why wouldn’t they want to pay for all your medical bills caused by the accident, and time off work, or give you what your totaled car may really be worth?

Why would your insurance company try to low-ball you?

Because most insurance companies operate for profit. Theirs. And based on our years of experience of recovering more than $700 million in total* for over 30,000 clients they can’t be trusted to put your financial interests ahead of theirs.

Why do you think their ads emphasize the trust factor?

While many insurance company ads are admittedly enjoyable, dealing with insurance companies when you’ve been injured in a car crash – not so much.

That is why we developed a FREE 40-page Personal Injury Guide (How to take control of your personal injury claim, before it controls you). It’s a booklet we believe will help you try to avoid common pitfalls the insurance companies don’t want you to know about.

“No one should go through the personal injury process alone. If we can’t help, maybe this booklet will.”— Attorney and Shareholder, Michael Jordan

How to Deal With Your Insurance Company After a Car Wreck

Our book outlines some of the most common traps people fall into when trying to handle claims on their own, such as giving a recorded statement over the phone, not getting proper medical care for injuries, not pursuing all available coverage, even signing the wrong documents, and many other little-known traps the unwary can fall into.

The information highlighting common pitfalls, however, is just the beginning, covering just one chapter in our comprehensive guide. We know that when some people are injured in an accident, they may prefer to deal with the insurance company themselves instead of hiring a lawyer. We get it. Not every situation warrants legal help.

How to Understand Your Rights and Potential Barriers

That is why we created this easy-to-read guide. We wanted to help you try to understand your rights, the legal process, and potential barriers you may face after an injury in North Carolina. In the words of the guide’s author, attorney and shareholder Michael Jordan, “No one should go through the personal injury process alone. If we can’t help, maybe this booklet will.”

From the basics of the first things you should do after an injury, to dealing with specific injury types, to DWI victims’ rights, and even premises liability, we’ve tried to make this guide a key go-to resource for many different types of situations general and specific.

We’re Just As Available As Jake – (And We Won’t Raise Your Rates)

There’s a reason you’re reading this. If you have been injured, and if you find yourself falling into some of these common pitfalls the guide warns you about, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

We’re available at 3 in the morning too, just like Jake-from-State-Farm.

* Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

 

Will My Case Settle or Go to Trial?

If you're like most of my clients, you probably would like to avoid going to court. The good news is most cases don't. They're settled out of court instead.

But sometimes, if it's in our clients' best interests to tell their story to a judge and jury because the insurance company and the defendant aren't playing nice and won't give them a fair offer, that's exactly what we'll do.

One question clients often ask us is: How do we decide whether to settle or go to court?

Insurance Companies Don't Want to Go to Court Any More than You Do

The vast majority of personal injury cases settle. Some of the most appealing reasons for both sides to want to reach a settlement are:

  • Jury uncertainty. You can pick a jury, but you cannot control them once they are seated in the juror's box.
  • Compensation assurance. Settling allows you to eliminate the variable of not knowing how much a court may or may not award the plaintiff (you).
  • Public image. Who knows what ripple effects the jury's decision could potentially have on how the plaintiff is portrayed by the insurance company's lawyers?
  • Most insurance companies are for-profit businesses. And jury trial expenses can add up fast. Likewise, the plaintiff's court expenses are paid out of any settlement money.

With that said, the insurance company should know your attorney is 100% willing and able to take your case to trial.

The willingness to take cases to trial affords us the ability to try to negotiate your case from a position of power. If the insurance company is under the impression that you and your attorney have any hesitation about presenting a strong case to a jury and judge, they might feel they have the upper hand and withhold some of the compensation you may deserve.

Understanding Your Options for Settlement or Trial

Whether it's in your best interest to try to settle or go to court, we do our homework. And from day one, we involve each and every client in their case. We try to keep you informed and we ask that you do the same with your legal team.

We ask a lot of questions. We want to know what happened, who was involved, and how you were impacted. We research how the law applies. If necessary, we speak with doctors, insurance companies, state agencies, witnesses, and experts to try to determine all the facts of your case, not just what may be favorable to you. We're not looking for quick easy answers. Our goal is to try to obtain the most compensation that our clients may deserve. The more we know, the better we can represent you.

As we said, insurance companies typically don't want to go to court any more than you do. But if we feel they are not being fair, and we believe a jury trial is in your best interest, we won't hesitate to go.

While most of our cases are settled out of court, if your case does go to court, we will try to prepare you every step of the way.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

Our law firm is one of the largest personal injury firms in North Carolina. And we have vast resources to draw from. Some of our best resources, in my opinion, are our paralegals, administrators, and others who work "behind the scenes" with our lawyers to help research and prepare your case - for a possible settlement or trial.

Some of our staff members previously worked for the very same insurance companies we deal with day in and day out. So they know their negotiation tactics.

When there's no doubt on the insurance company's part that we are ready, willing, and able to challenge them in court, often a settlement may look very good to them. Whatever the course, we are with you all the way.

If you were involved in a car wreck, don't worry about whether your case will settle or go to court. Let our experienced car accident lawyers discuss this with you once we have the facts.

Contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE and let you know if we think we can help you.

Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Road Debris – Who Pays for Your Damages?

A colleague of mine was hauling one of those large plastic toddler play houses in the back of her truck recently, when suddenly the roof of the house blew off right onto the roadway, causing traffic behind her to swerve into other lanes to avoid crashing into the roof. She pulled over and retrieved the runaway roof, thankfully avoiding injury to herself or other drivers.

The incident prompted a conversation about injuries and accidents from escaping debris. Who is responsible? What role does insurance play? And just what would have been the legal consequences to my colleague if that roof had caused an accident and injury in North Carolina? Points on her license? A fine? Traffic court? Jail?

Road Debris Causes Numerous Crashes Says AAA

A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that unsecured loads falling off cars and trucks have been blamed for more than 200,000 crashes on U.S. roads between 2011 and 2014. There were 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths from those incidents during that time.

More than a third of those deaths occurred because drivers swerved to avoid the debris.

Roadway debris can be a serious matter. One of our clients was severely injured in a life-altering way because of roadway debris.

What NC Law Says About Debris on NC Roads

Drivers responsible for creating road debris can face fines in every U.S state. All 50 states have laws that make unsecured loads illegal, according to AAA, with fines that range from $10 to $5,000. North Carolina's fines are capped at $100.

North Carolina says you must properly secure all items on a vehicle. If you don't and you cause an accident, you may be held liable. Specifically NC law states:

"No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is constructed and loaded to prevent any of its load from falling, blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom, and the vehicle shall not contain any holes, cracks, or openings through which any of its load may escape."

Legal penalties for infraction are determined by the degree of the infraction. It could be misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the degree of willful negligence.

Will Auto Insurance Cover Road Debris Accidents?

But what about auto insurance? Will it pay for your damages or injuries if you crash as a result of running into or trying to swerve from road debris? In many instances, yes.

Crashing Into an Object

If your vehicle is damaged from running into or running over an object in the road, then your collision coverage should most likely pay for repairs.

Flying Objects That Land on Your Car

If the object flies through the air and hits your car, then your comprehensive coverage may come into play.

Personal Injury

If you or a passenger are injured, personal injury protection or medical payments would likely pay for treatment of injuries.

Getting the At-Fault Driver to Pay

If the accident was the result of someone failing to secure a load, you may be able to make a claim against the other driver's liability insurance.

It's always prudent to file a police report, which can help establish the facts for your insurance claim.

Road Debris Safety Tips

If You Are Driving

  • Try to look farther than two or three cars ahead, so you potentially have time to change lanes before you reach a hazard.
  •  In many instances it can be safer to hit the debris than to swerve to try to avoid it. (Remember that more than a third of road debris deaths occurred from swerving.)
  • If you're on a roadway at night (and it's not foggy and there's no traffic), drive with your high beams on so you can potentially spot debris in the road.
  • Call 911 to report hazards in the roadway.

If You Are Carrying a Load

  • Properly secure the load on your vehicle. Test your cargo before you leave. If it moves, secure it better.
  • If you lose something, pull to the side of the road where it is safe and call 911. Keep your seatbelt fastened until help arrives.

Get Free Advice From Experienced NC Road Debris Lawyers

Proving liability can be tricky because North Carolina laws on road debris can be vague and leave lots of room for interpretation. Based on our experience in fighting the insurance companies for compensation for damages and injuries, we strongly advise getting an experienced roadway debris lawyer.

If you have been injured by roadway debris, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. Our experienced auto accident lawyers will evaluate your case for FREE.

If You Ignore a Recall and You’re Injured, Will Insurance Pay?

From the latest VW emissions cheating device scandal to GM ignition switch malfunctions to the Takata airbag recall (the largest recall ever), car and car parts recalls seem to have accelerated exponentially over the past several years.

Over the past 50 years, 400 million cars have been recalled - as many as could stretch around the earth's equator almost 45 times! That's a lot of recalls.

When a recall is issued, the manufacturer and/or the dealer, sends a notice to the owner outlining steps to fix the problem. But surprisingly many auto owners either don't pay attention to the recall notices or ignore the issue when notified. If that happens, and an injury occurs to the owner or to others, who is liable for damages?

Here's what attorney Mike Jordan had to say about this issue when interviewed on WNCT 9 On Your Side, Greenville.

Denied Social Security Disability Benefits? Don't give up. Tony didn't.

If you've been denied Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments, don't be disheartened. Sometimes even the most clearly disabled are denied the first two or even three times.

That was certainly the case with our client, Tony (click here to read his full story).

Tony went from working in a job he loved, to being so disabled after a car accident that he can't eat, sleep, or even go outside on a sunny day. He vomits almost daily and his headaches are so severe they sometimes cause him to cry. Within a year he dropped from 155 to 123 lbs. - and he's 6'2".

Even though he's disabled by almost anyone's definition, the Social Security Disability administration denied him benefits. Twice. But he didn't give up and neither did we. It took some relentless work, but eventually we won him disability benefits1 - including back-due benefits - and he became immediately eligible for Medicare.

Don't Give Up After Being Denied Benefits

The moral of this story is that it's not unusual to be denied benefits the first or even the second time you apply. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, 67% of Social Security Disability applicants applying for benefits are denied the first time around, and 88% are denied the second time.

Sometimes All You Need Is Experienced Legal Help

A good Social Security Disability lawyer who is familiar with the system may be able to help you through the complicated and cumbersome process and may even potentially speed up your claim.

Think you can't afford to hire an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer? Think again.

Many, like our firm, work on contingency, which means you don't pay us one penny in attorney's fees unless we get you your benefits. Don't give up because you are frustrated or because you think you cannot afford legal help.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from our NC Social Security Disability Attorneys

If you are disabled, ask one of our Social Security Disability lawyers if they think they can help before you wade through the disability process alone.

One of our Social Security Disability attorneys is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law. Out of the 28,000 licensed North Carolina lawyers, only 51 can make that claim2. That same attorney also happens to be vice chair of the N.C. State Bar's Social Security Disability Law Specialty Committee.

Yet all of our Social Security Disability lawyers and paralegals know their way around the system and its processes. It's what they do. And helping those in need is their passion. If you've been denied once, twice, or even three times, don't give up. Contact us instead. Better yet, contact us before you apply. We are here to fight for the benefits you may rightly deserve. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your situation.

 

1Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

2Figures provided by NC State Bar December 31, 2015

 

Hiring an Attorney Can Make Things Happen – Often Good Things

It's hard for some people to consider hiring an attorney after a car wreck. After all, you don't want to be "one of those" litigious types. You just want what's fair. And, you reason, so does the insurance company.

But when the insurance company starts playing games with your time and potential compensation, what are you supposed to do?

Here's a story about one of our clients who gave the insurance company six ways to Sunday to treat him fair and square. But they never did. So he hired us.

It's a classic case of an injured driver who reluctantly came to us after the insurance carrier unsuccessfully tried two typical defense strategies: the lowball offer to pay medical bills to an unrepresented victim, followed by a bogus denial threat. This client wisely hired us and heeded our counsel instead. Here's the story...

The defendant's vehicle had plowed into our client, smashing the vehicle's front end. Luckily, the client emerged with moderate injuries. Initially, the client tried to work directly with the insurance carrier who verbally told him they would pay for his bills. The carrier made the process so convoluted that the client became frustrated. They gave him every excuse in the book except, "my pen won't work."  Finally, the client contacted us.

After our involvement, the insurance carrier then tried to deny him any recovery, causing further delay and frustration for the client. All of us, including the client, had had just about enough of their time-wasting tactics, and we were able to negotiate a settlement for our client that we were pleased with1.

PI Book

What Happens When You Hire a Car Wreck Lawyer?

While not all law firms are created equal, hiring a law firm can potentially make good things happen. Many on our teams have worked for the insurance companies before joining our firm. So they know effective strategies to show them we mean business.

As a matter of fact, 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 own2.

NC Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

If you want a legal team you can trust to fight for your interests, click here for a FREE case evaluation, or call 1-866-900-7078. Our phone lines are open 24/7/365.

 

1 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. Client identity and certain circumstances have been removed or changed to protect their privacy.

2 Insurance Research Council, 1999

Putting the Brakes on North Carolina’s Rear-End Collisions

You're driving along minding your own business when suddenly the driver in front of you slams on their brakes causing you to brake suddenly and unexpectedly - you barely miss hitting him. Good for you. You were paying attention.

Not good for you - the guy behind you was not. He was on his phone! One moment you realize he's not going to be able to avoid crashing into your car, the next you find yourself face first in a deployed air bag.

Wouldn't it be nice if cars could pay attention and act as a back-up for their drivers who are failing to meet their responsibility to pay attention?

Yes it would. And yes that technology is here.

(Good thing - especially for certain areas in North Carolina.)

Automatic Braking Technology Potentially May Help

The popularity of in-vehicle safety devices is nothing new. Seat belts, for example, were not even an option in many cars during much of the 1960s.  But since then, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reports that safety technologies have saved more than 600,000 lives.

Ever-advancing auto safety technology could potentially make a big impact on reducing the number of car accidents in North Carolina. This is particularly good news for rural areas in our state, where WCTI reported our state ranked third in the nation for the most non-interstate rural road traffic deaths! And according to a WRAL.com report, it's also good news for divers in Pitt, New Hanover, Vance, Person, and Stanly counties, as AAA data shows that this is where drivers are most likely to be involved in a car crash in N.C.

Clearly some N.C. drivers could use a little help behind the wheel. Enter automatic emergency braking systems (AEBS). These advanced braking technologies are designed to help reduce the chances of rear-end accidents, which caused one-third of crashes in 2013, according to NHTSA data. Why so many? A large number of drivers involved either didn't apply the brakes at all or didn't fully apply the brakes prior to the crash.

The agency reasons that AEBS systems can potentially help intervene by automatically applying the brakes or supplementing the driver's braking effort to either avoid the crash or at least mitigate it. Admittedly these systems are not perfected yet, and some car manufacturers have had to recall some models because of these braking systems. But the agency feels AEBS technology has the potential for such great promise that it wants to see manufacturers make collision avoidance systems standard equipment in newly manufactured vehicles. The rollouts would potentially begin with collision warning systems and then add autonomous emergency braking once the agency completes standards for them.

Two Types of Automatic Braking Technologies

When a car is directly in front of you and you are having difficulty stopping in time, even a few seconds can make a huge difference. AEBS may potentially help reduce the risk of human error when braking, by presumably adding those important seconds. Regulators claim that two new automatic braking technologies that show promise are the crash imminent braking (CIB) and the dynamic brake support (DBS).

Crash Imminent Braking (CIB)

CIB works by identifying when your vehicle is going to strike an object such as the car in front of you.  This system kicks in regardless of what the driver is doing. If the system determines that a crash is about to occur, the braking system is designed to automatically apply your vehicle's brakes.

Dynamic Brake Support (DBS)

The DBS system aims to enable your car to respond as quickly and effectively as possible when you brake suddenly. If the system determines that the driver's braking is not adequate to avoid the accident, the system is designed to provide added braking assistance to supplement the driver's braking efforts.

N.C. Car Wreck Attorneys Evaluate Your Case FREE

Sadly, many drivers just don't pay attention. They're distracted by cell phones, flying sippy cups, cheese stuck on a burger wrapper - or all these things simultaneously.

With the proliferation of advanced safety devices like collision warning and AEBS systems, perhaps we, as lawyers, won't have to deal with as many accidents caused by inattentive drivers.

But if you are the victim of this all too common situation, contact us as soon as possible or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

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

You never forget your first one.

Your first driver's license, that is.

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

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

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

Car Accidents #1 Killer of Teens

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

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

To the Rescue! Defensive Driving Schools for Teen Drivers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise

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

Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise

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

Distraction Exercise

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

Panic Stop Exercise

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

Car Control and Recovery Exercise

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

A dad's testimonial about putontheBRAKES.org

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

 

North Carolina Defensive Driving Training

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

Charlotte

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

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

Raleigh

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

Franklin

Street Survival School Saturday, May 28th, 2016

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

NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE

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

 

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

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