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The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin Has Filed Class Action Claims Against Chemours and DuPont for GenX and PFOA Contamination of the Cape Fear River Water Supply in Wilmington, N.C.

Cape Fear River Water Contamination

By Gary Jackson

On October 3, 2017, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin and our co-counsel The Hannon Law Firm, LLC have filed suit against The Chemours Company and duPont Chemical Corporation seeking compensation for property related damages and funds for a monitoring program for early detection of disease because of GenX and other toxic contamination released from the companies’ Fayetteville Works Site. The GenX and other toxic chemicals, including PFOA and other perfluorinated chemicals, have contaminated water that the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) in Wilmington, North Carolina uses to supply the majority of properties in Wilmington.

The CFPUA provides water to over 100,000 residents in Wilmington using surface water from the Cape Fear River. Testing done by North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (“NCEDQ”) has verified that PFAS and PFECAs including GenX released from the Fayetteville Works Site have contaminated the CFPUA water supply from the Cape Fear River.

Read the Nix v. The Chemours Company, et al. Complaint

Learn More About GenX

On June 22, 2017, the US EPA measured over 720 ppt of GenX in the finished water delivered to properties serviced by CFPUA. In July, 2017, CPPFUA reported GenX in finished water from CFPUA at 250, 286, and 185 ppt. High levels of other perflourinated compounds including PFO2HxA and PFO3A were also found in July.

North Carolina Law Firm Offers Free GenX Case Evaluation

If you think you have been impacted by the Cape Fear River contamination, call us right now for a free case evaluation. We will review your claim and try to answer any questions you have.

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

Categories: Legal News

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

N.C. Workers’ Compensation Settlements: Proceed With Caution!

North Carolina Workers Comp AttorneysBy Ryan Bliss

At some point, most injured workers receive a phone call from the workers’ compensation insurance company asking whether they’re ready to settle their case. Maybe you’ve already received that call…

If so, it’s probably a good time to consult a James Scott Farrin workers’ compensation attorney. More than half our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation law. This is the highest level of specialization available in N.C., and only a small percentage of N.C. attorneys can make that claim. Very small.

Navigating the twists and turns of the North Carolina workers’ compensation system is hard enough while your case is still open. But when you receive that phone call, you’ve got a whole new set of issues to consider. This is your livelihood we’re talking about. You don’t want to make any decisions you later regret. And when it comes to determining the “value” of your case, Facebook said it best:

IT’S COMPLICATED!

Do all workers’ comp cases settle?

First thing’s first. It’s important for every injured worker in North Carolina to understand that not all workers’ compensation cases settle. There is no requirement that your case should eventually settle, and you can’t force a workers’ compensation insurance company to offer a settlement. In fact, based on my experience, some injured workers are better off leaving their cases open. That being said, many cases do eventually resolve by “clincher” agreement. This means the insurance company offers a lump sum of money to an injured worker in return for a full and final settlement of their case. A clincher (or settlement agreement) typically closes the case in full, including all medical treatment and wage replacement benefits.

If you find yourself considering a settlement, BE CAREFUL! Before making any big decisions, there are two important issues you should examine.

Is it a good time to settle your case?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Every workers’ compensation case is different. Based on my opinion, however, for most cases, the best time to settle is after your major medical treatment has concluded. If the insurance company pushes you toward a settlement too quickly, they may be unable to reasonably evaluate the value of your case. This can result in lowball settlement offers, which typically do more harm than good.

Additionally, there are many other benefits you may or may not be receiving, which can adversely affect (or be adversely affected by) a workers’ compensation settlement. Social Security Disability benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, and even private disability/health insurance plans can cause complicated legal issues when it comes time to settle your workers’ compensation case. All of these issues must be carefully considered in order to determine whether settlement is a good idea, based on your particular set of circumstances.

What is the “value” of your case?

Once you decide it’s a good time to settle your case, there’s still another looming question that will need to be answered: How much?

My job as a workers’ compensation attorney would be a lot easier if there was a magic “settlement calculator,” but unfortunately, it doesn’t exist. In order to determine the reasonable value of your claim, an experienced professional will typically consider the following:

  • The cost of your future medical treatment
  • The likelihood that your injury will prevent you from returning to work in some capacity down the road
  • Any decreased earning potential resulting from your injury

Additionally, you may be entitled to an award for a permanent partial disability rating to your injured body part or parts. This is typically determined by your doctor. The calculation associated with this potential award is set by statute in North Carolina.

James Scott Farrin workers’ comp attorneys are trained to help you weigh the pros and cons of settling your case. If you decide to move forward with settlement, your attorney can then help you negotiate with the insurance company in order to try to maximize the amount you could potentially receive. Regardless of whether or not you decide to retain an attorney, when it comes to settling your workers’ compensation case, proceed with caution.

North Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

Workers’ comp is complicated to navigate. We urge you to consult with us if you have any questions whatsoever.

If you think you can't afford a workers’ comp lawyer, you may be surprised. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis to try to help our clients navigate the best course of action for their unique situation.

Feel free to contact us by clicking here or calling us toll free at 1-866-900-7078. We'll have an attorney evaluate your case for FREE.

Will I Be Denied Social Security Disability Benefits if I Work 1 Day a Week?

The government has a methodical five-step evaluation process to determine if you are eligible for Social Security Disability benefits. Social Security examiners must follow those five steps in sequential order every time someone walks in their office to find out if they qualify for benefits.

There’s no wiggle room.

We know from firsthand experience. Nearly everyone on our Social Security Disability team previously worked for the Social Security Administration. You must be able to proceed through the first three steps or all five steps in order to be found disabled.

However, if you fail the first step the inquiry ends altogether.

Step 1. Are You Working?

The first step is the one that trips up many people. It is at this step that the inquiry can end abruptly. Here is how this works.

Step 1 asks about your current work status. What many clients do not realize is the weight and importance the government gives to whether or not you are working. It is very telling that your work status is the first question rather than what disability or disabilities you claim to have.

Here is what the Social Security Administration says about work status as it relates to potential benefits:

“At the first step, we consider your work activity, if any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will find that you are not disabled.”

What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

As you might imagine, the government has a very specific definition as to what substantial and gainful activity means with regard to your potential to receive disability benefits.

Substantial refers to anything you are doing physically or mentally, and can even include part time work or volunteer work.

Gainful is something you get paid to do. But even if you don’t get paid (such as volunteering or helping a friend or family member with their startup business by taping boxes to ship) the Social Security Administration may conclude your activity is gainful if other people usually get paid to do it.

In 2017, substantial gainful activity is defined as earning $1,170 or more monthly ($1,950 for those who are blind).

Someone Has to Put Food on the Table”

We will sometimes have clients come to us and say they are working only because it is necessary in order to put food on the table for their family. They explain to us how difficult it is for them because of XYZ disability and they are barely getting by. We understand and we empathize. But the government reasons, if you are able to put food on the table today, you can do it tomorrow and the next day. The Social Security Disability Benefits document makes this very clear:

“Social Security pays benefits to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. While some programs give money to people with partial disability or short-term disability, Social Security does not.”

FREE Social Security Disability Case Evaluation

When you are completely unable to work to put food on the table is when you should come see us. Unfortunately, the government ties the hands of all Social Security Disability lawyers unless you say you are not working during Step 1 questioning.

Everyone’s situation is unique and we have helped hundreds in their time of need. If you’d like a FREE case evaluation, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We would love to try to help in any way we can.

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

Hurt on the Job? Forms That Need to be Completed for Possible Compensation

When you’re injured on the job in North Carolina, it’s enough to deal with just trying to recover. Let alone, trying to put food on the table and pay the light bill while you’re not able to work.

In order to try to help make those payments and to propel your worker’s comp claim from one step to the next, the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) will play a key role in your claims process. It is the state agency responsible for ensuring that you, your employer, and its insurance company are all playing by the rules and treating each other fair and square.

We know these rules from first-hand experience. Two of our workers’ compensation lawyers, Doug Berger and Matthew Harbin were formerly NCIC commissioners presiding over workers’ comp hearings. As a former four-term N.C. state senator, Mr. Berger helped write some of our workers’ compensation laws.

As with many large bureaucratic agencies, you will be required to fill out a number of forms during the course of your claim. Strict deadlines apply. If your forms are late, you can lose your claim rights.

People can often be confused and intimidated as to which forms to fill out and why. We get it. We fill them out all day every day. That’s one of the conveniences of having a workers’ compensation lawyer handle your case.

If you do not have a workers’ comp lawyer working on your behalf, and you’ve decided to try to tackle your claim on your own, we have compiled a list of some of the more common forms the North Carolina Industrial Commission requires.

NCIC Workers’ Compensation Forms

File Immediately After a Work Injury

Form 18

Your report of the injury. A Form 18 should be filed with the NCIC as soon as possible, but no later than two years from your date of injury. You should notify your employer immediately after you are injured, or as soon as is practical, and within 30 days of your injury. This form lets the NCIC and your employer know that you are requesting to be compensated for your injuries. If you do not file within the 30-day deadline (which begins the day you were injured), your claim may be dismissed after a period of time.

Form 19

Your employer’s report of the injury. Form 19 must be filed within five days of the employer’s knowledge that you were injured. Do not assume your employer will file this claim or file it within the deadline. We have seen employees’ claims get bogged down right from the start because this form was not filed or not filed on time. If you are able, we suggest you follow up, as there is no penalty to the employer if they do not file.

File to Determine Benefits Status and Amount

Form 60

If your employer accepts the claim, they need to file a Form 60 admitting responsibility and agreeing to pay full workers’ comp benefits (wage loss benefits and medical treatment).

Form 61

If your employer denies responsibility for your injury, they need to file a Form 61 stating the reasons why they are denying responsibility.

Form 62

Your employer or insurance carrier should file a Form 62 to make modifications to your weekly benefit amounts and the reasons for doing so.

Form 63

A Form 63 allows your workers’ comp insurance carrier to pay some of your medical bills, while they investigate your claim. However it does not obligate them to accept responsibility for your injury or to pay wage loss benefits.

File for Mileage Reimbursement

Form 25T

The insurance company may not always mention this mileage benefit to you. You should be aware that you are allowed reimbursement for mileage to medical appointments when you have to drive more than 20 miles round trip.

Returning to Work

Form 26A

Be vigilant when signing Form 26A. This form is typically used when you are able to continue working for your employer in your pre-injury job after your medical treatment has concluded. The insurance company fills out Form 26A utilizing the information from your doctor’s assigned permanent partial impairment rating. You will receive a lump sum based on a statutory formula, which is based on your weekly compensation rate and the part of your body that was injured. We have handled thousands of workers’ comp settlements. We can tell you from experience that it is prudent to have a worker’s comp lawyer on your side when finalizing your settlement amount.

We guarantee you the insurance company has their own lawyers to call on when
determining your settlement amount.

Request an NCIC Hearing

Form 33

If you believe you require a hearing before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, you can file Form 33 to request one.  Be forewarned. Your employer and the insurance company will almost certainly be represented by attorneys who will fight for their rights which could include not paying you benefits.

We do not recommend you go through an NCIC hearing without your own workers’ comp attorney to help try to even the battlefield on your behalf.

You Can Afford a James Scott Farrin Workers’ Comp Lawyer

Many of our clients come to us after trying to negotiate the workers’ comp bureaucracy with its many forms, deadlines, and confusing and seemingly conflicting information on their own. While we have helped many who threw in the towel mid-process, we suggest injured workers come to us right after their injury. You can see why. The NCIC clock starts ticking on Day 1 of your injury.

Our contingency fee is the same whether you hire us from the beginning, middle, or toward the end. So you might as well take full advantage and hire us from the start. If we take your case, you don't pay an attorney's fee unless we recover compensation for you. And you only pay a percentage of the money you potentially recover.

If we don't recover for you, we won't charge you an attorney's fee.

NC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Offer Free Evaluation

Of the more than 28,000 attorneys who are licensed in North Carolina, only 140 are N.C. Board Certified in workers’ compensation law*. Several of our workers’ comp attorneys are NC Board Certified Specialists in Workers' Compensation law.

If you have been injured on the job, take full advantage of the experience we have to offer. Don’t wait. Contact us right after your injury for a free case evaluation. As you can see, the forms alone are a lot to deal with, and we’d love to help you fight for the compensation you potentially deserve.

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

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

 

Is it Too Late to Hire a North Carolina Workers’ Comp Lawyer?

There are many reasons people may choose not to contact or hire an attorney during the course of their workers’ compensation case. Some people are afraid of losing their jobs or feel intimidated by their employers. Some feel that they are getting adequate medical care and receiving a weekly check, and therefore do not see the value of contacting an attorney.

When Problems Arise During a Worker’s Comp Case

Problems can arise at any time during a workers’ comp case. Unfortunately, too often, injured workers may become more aware of these problems at or near the end of a case. Those who do not seek legal advice are faced with the prospect of dealing with the insurance companies on their own, and without knowing their rights. That’s an outmanned battle.

It is never too early or too late to contact an attorney to discuss your particular situation. But what we have often found is it is generally better to get an attorney involved earlier on, when appropriate, to make sure your workers’ compensation rights are complied with by the insurance company – and your employer.

If, however, you don’t seek legal guidance from the beginning, we strongly urge you to consider hiring an attorney when settlement time comes. Just because things may go smoothly and your weekly checks are being sent, we’ve seen the tides turn dramatically when settlement money is on the table.

Workers’ Comp Laws Can Be Lengthy and Complex

No one should ever attempt to resolve or settle their case with a workers’ compensation insurance company without knowing and understanding their rights under the law. Many clients have questions that, without an attorney’s guidance, are nearly impossible to answer because there are literally thousands of pages of North Carolina workers’ compensation laws and just as many interpretations of those laws. Moreover, many insurance companies have at their disposal entire departments full of lawyers and other professionals who are trained to try to settle for as little money as possible.

That is why we strongly urge injured workers to contact, not just a worker’s comp law firm, but one with lawyers experienced in N.C. worker’s compensation law. Decisions that are made at and near the end of a workers’ compensation case can have a huge impact on the rest of an injured worker’s life and the lives of their family members. An attorney may be able to identify and help resolve problems that lead to a better result for the injured worker.

Ways Some Insurance Companies Minimize Settlement Payouts

There are all kinds of ways some insurance companies may try to minimize your settlement payout – and you may not even realize they are doing it. Bullying is a favorite settlement tactic with some workers’ comp insurance companies.

We had a client* who is over the age of 65. He could not drive and he walked with a cane. He was on Social Security retirement with multiple injuries and restrictions…and he had a limited education. His insurance company wanted him to try vocational rehabilitation to see if he could find a job, but the chances of that happening were slim. But, we believe they knew that already. I wonder if their intention was to stress our client to the point that he’d take the offer that was on the table. His case is an example of how some insurance companies will seemingly try to bully our clients into accepting their offer.

Stonewalling is another approach we’ve seen some use. We feature a story* in our free booklet, Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly about an insurance adjuster who waited months before responding to an injured worker. When we got involved and reached the adjuster, she made light of the fact that she had ignored our client, and said she would make a decision in two weeks. Two weeks?

Attorneys do not create rights. Your rights under the workers compensation system are established by our state legislature, and may be enforced through the North Carolina Industrial Commission. I discuss those rights with injured workers on a daily basis. I see firsthand how some insurance companies sometimes try to limit entitlement to those rights. I have talked with people who are near or at the end of their case and think they have been treated “fairly.” When I explain what the law actually provides, oftentimes these people feel betrayed by the insurance company.

A client* of ours worked at a store for over 20 years making minimum wage. He fell at work and before we intervened, the adjuster didn’t want to give him anything. His employer gave him time off work, and asked him not to come back.

He came back, though. With us.

What that employer did was just plain wrong. Legally, ethically, and morally. Yet we see situations like this all the time.

We had a client* who came to us after he had asked for a second opinion from another doctor – one not provided by the workers’ comp insurance company. That second opinion confirmed that our client would need additional therapy and more time off work. His employer fired him because he “took too long to heal.” It didn’t take him long to contact us after that. Here is his inspirational story.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From Our NC Workers Comp Lawyers

Even if your worker's compensation case has been pending for weeks, months, or years, contact us about your situation. You can see there is a lot at stake, and if you’re trying to negotiate alone 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.

 

*Cases or matters referenced do not represent the law firm’s entire record. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer’s or a law firm’s past results. These are specific examples of experiences we have had with some insurance companies, adjusters, employers, clients or others. These stories do not necessarily represent any industry or employer as a whole. These descriptions of events are based upon the recollections of individual staff members. Client identities have been removed or changed to protect their privacy.

5 Things 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

 

Why Can’t I Settle My Workers’ Comp Claim Myself?

If you have a serious work injury, you are likely to be removed from work and could potentially spend a significant amount of time going to doctor visits and therapy to rehabilitate your injuries. You may have faced a lengthy recovery following a surgical procedure. During this time, you may have thought your case was going great. After all, your benefits are coming in regularly, your medical treatments are being paid on time, and maybe your employer is even working with you by providing light-duty work. They’ve given you no reason so far to doubt that when it comes time to settle, they’ll also take good care of you.

So why worry about settling your claim without a lawyer’s advice?

Beware when it comes time to settle

What happens when your doctor releases you and you are not able to go back to your job?  Maybe you were released but you are still having pain, swelling, or other symptoms that make it difficult for you to perform your previous duties. What happens to your workers’ compensation benefits?

It’s at this stage when employers and insurance companies might put pressure on the injured worker to close out or settle their claim. Insurance companies might suggest that you get a second opinion. Yet, they might also tell you which doctor you should see. Sometimes without seeming regard for whether the doctor has the expertise, you may need. I know of a situation where an injured worker had a severe wrist injury, an operation which resulted in an extended healing period. She wanted a second opinion and the workers’ comp insurance company sent her to an allergist!

Settlement Time is When You Must Fish or Cut Bait

A settlement is a complete end to your rights for further workers’ compensation benefits. This means the insurance company would not have to pay for any further medical care or benefits, even if you cannot return to work due to your injury.

You want to make sure you have strong legal representation during settlement negotiations.

Based on my experience, the goal of some insurance companies when settling is to try to cut their liability to the injured worker for as little money as possible. If you don’t have good legal representation fighting for you, one who knows workers’ comp laws and its many interpretations and nuances, this could mean you could be left without adequate health care protection and without enough money to cover your living expenses until you find another suitable job. We’ve seen situations where people have settled on their own, not realizing the consequences, put entire families in a downward spiral.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Laws Provide Protection

While our state’s workers’ compensation laws provide some protection, it can take a workers’ compensation lawyer who really understands these laws to try to make sure you are adequately and properly protected.

For example, the law says you are allowed to obtain a second opinion with a physician you can choose. If you need further treatment, you can apply for medical care even if the doctor your workers’ comp insurer sent you to release you from medical care.

Your other doctor may point out that your injury has made it more likely you will need further surgery. Let’s say you injured your knee. It may now be more likely that you will need a knee replacement at some point as a result of your work-related injury. This could be a surgery that workers’ compensation insurance would be responsible for covering. Whether that replacement occurs two months after the initial injury or two years. If you do not have medical doctors that are able to adequately explain any future complications you may face because of your injuries, there is no way to receive compensation for those potential medical needs.

You may not be able to return to the type of job you had before you got hurt. In any case, where a worker has permanent work limitations or restrictions, it is important to understand how that could impact their ability to return to a full-time job. A settlement in those cases must take into account those potential benefits because of the long term difficulty the worker may face getting back to the wages they earned before getting hurt.

The law also states that consideration must be given concerning the possibility for re-training, further education, or vocational rehabilitation before injured employees return to a job suitable to their new restrictions. North Carolina workers’ compensation laws make these and other services available to injured workers if they cannot return to their pre-injury position.

The purpose of the workers’ compensation system is to try to help restore an injured worker as near as possible to their pre-injury earning capacity. This means both medically and in terms of their ability to return to a job.

A settlement for a discounted amount could potentially leave that injured worker and their family in a financial spiral, facing long-term financial difficulties because their interests were not adequately addressed by the insurance company or potentially protected by an experienced workers’ comp lawyer.

If you are considering settling your claim or have been contacted about settling your workers’ comp claim, we strongly urge you to have an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation attorney review your case to determine whether thorough consideration has been given to the complexities of your injuries and their impact on your ability to return to work at your same wages.

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin Workers’ Comp Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluations

Why us? What makes us different? There are many good workers’ comp lawyers here in North Carolina. So why us? Click here for five heartfelt reasons that don’t have a lot to do with fancy credentials and memberships in organizations or affiliations. Click here for reasons that do have to do with the credentials and memberships in organizations or affiliations. We think both of these are important to consider.

If you've been injured at work, don't think you will necessarily get the medical and future benefits with your workers' comp insurance company just because your insurance company obeyed the law and provided you with out of work benefits.

Click here or call us at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Kids Can Suffer Heat Stroke in a Hot Car in 10 Minutes. Here’s What to Know.

All of us know what it’s like to experience a hot car. The leather exterior of the steering can sometimes be too hot to touch and the stifling hot air makes it difficult to breathe. After just a few minutes, your heart rate begins to rise as your body tries to cool itself down.

Most of us wouldn’t sit in a hot car for more than a few minutes before turning the air conditioning on. But what if you were stuck in your car on a 90-degree day and you weren’t able to turn on the air conditioning? What if you were a child strapped into a car seat? Helpless.

Nationwide approximately 37 children die by overheating in cars every year. North Carolina ranks number 6 in the country since 1991 for hot car deaths, according to data from kidsandcars.org, an organization that advocates for stronger car safety measures for children.

I am a mom of a young child, and these statistics break my heart. Children cannot defend themselves against high temperatures like adults – their body temperature climbs three to five times faster. Even cool days can pose a threat. Every 10-20 minutes, the internal temperature of a car can rise 20 degrees.

Children have died in cars when the outside temperature was as low as 60 degrees.

Cracking the Windows Doesn’t Help

Some people believe that opening the windows will keep their child from overheating, but Kidsandcars.org asserts that lowering the windows does not help.

It is extremely important to make sure you always take your child out of the car with you, no matter how quick your errand may be.

As a busy single working mom, I certainly understand how some parents might think, “I’ll just run in and run out of the drugstore and it will only take a few minutes.” We’re busy and in a rush, and taking a child out of a car seat and putting him back in again can take time. Especially if the child is unwilling or sleeping.

Call 911 if a Child is Unattended in a Car

If you see a child left unattended in a car, take action right away by calling 911. If you notice signs of heat stroke, let the 911 operator know you plan to break the window to help the child cool down.

Signs of Heat Stroke

If you notice any of these signs, prompt action is in order.

  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Sluggishness
  • Seizure
  • Hot dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Hallucinations

How to Rescue a Child From a Hot Car

Check out this video from the Today Show that shows exactly how to rescue a child (or a pet for that matter) out of a hot car. It’s good info to know.

Half of Child Deaths in Overheated Cars Occur Because Someone Forgot

Most child deaths occur when parents unintentionally leave their infant in the car. Many parents are quick to assume that they would never “forget” their child in the backseat. But parents do forget. Parents of every background have forgotten their child in their car – it has happened to social workers, doctors, lawyers, police officers, soldiers.

52% of heatstroke deaths in cars occur because someone forgot a child was in the car.

As a parent, you’re probably used to a fast-paced and strict schedule. Some days, it may feel like you’re on autopilot – you’re so used to a particular routine that you don’t even consciously think about it. Any sudden new tasks can be difficult to remember to incorporate into your day. For instance, if you’re used to waking up and driving straight to work every morning, it may be easy to forget to drop off your child at daycare. These tragedies often happen during busy times – especially around holidays or schedule changes when parents are stressed and fatigued and forget more easily.

4 Ways to Remember Your Child Is in the Car

While it’s difficult to prevent stress and fatigue, there are several ways to help remember your child in the backseat:

  1. Put something you need (like your purse, employee ID, or cell phone) in the backseat next to your child, so that you’ll have to open the back door in order to grab it.
  2. Use drive thru services when available.
  3. Always keep your vehicles locked – even when they are sitting in your garage – so that your child can’t sneak inside and accidentally lock themselves in.
  4. A free app called Kars4Kids Safety is designed to act as an alert system for parents. A customizable alarm rings on your phone when you exit the car to remind you that your child is still inside!

Let’s spread awareness along with these helpful tips in order to try to ensure our children’s safety.

P.S. Your furry friends are at risk, too. Leaving your pet in a hot car can be extremely dangerous and have deadly consequences – animals may suffer heat stroke in as little as 15 minutes. Dogs are only able to cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paw pads, making them especially vulnerable in hot weather. If you’re running errands, it may be best to leave your pets at home.  

 

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