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Taking Your Aging Mom’s Car Keys: How to Steer the Conversation

An auto accident dumps enough problems on your life. But, if you are a senior citizen, its complexity grows when an accident triggers the dreaded question: Should you even be driving at your age?

And further, what determines whether you should or should not drive and who makes that determination?

What Determines if Your Aging Loved One Should Drive

According to experts, reports U.S. News & World Report, whether or not a senior citizen should continue driving should be determined by function – not necessarily age. Nuance can creep into these decisions.

For example, a senior’s personal decision to stop driving at night may be praiseworthy, but may also be a sign for concern. Or perhaps they’re not venturing out onto I-277 near downtown Charlotte during peak times when there are events at Bank of America Stadium, NASCAR Hall of Fame, or Spectrum Center. Or perhaps you notice that they begin to avoid certain busy and dangerous intersections like the following, which are rated the most dangerous in Charlotte:

  • Reagan Drive at Tom Hunter Road
  • John Kirk Drive at University City Boulevard
  • North Tryon Street at University Pointe Boulevard
  • East W.T. Harris Boulevard at North Tryon Street

The U.S. News article noted that doctors consider three areas that impact seniors’ driving abilities: vision, mobility, and thinking or cognition. Observing driving habits can help determine whether your aging loved one should consider giving up their driver’s license. Confusing the gas pedal for the brake is serious, for example, but riding the brake is perhaps less serious.

Perhaps you notice them driving too fast or too slow, struggling to change lanes. Their reaction time may be slower and they don’t seem to follow signals as they should. Hearing loss can cause some seniors to miss hearing horns and other sounds.

NC DMV Guidelines for Aging Drivers

The DMV will also help you determine whether your loved one may need to consider curbing their driving partially or fully. Remember that the process of aging impacts everyone differently and every state has its own rules. In North Carolina, licenses issued to adults 66 and older are valid for five years, according to the NC Department of Motor Vehicles.

In addition, the North Carolina DMV might not license an individual who suffers from a mental or physical condition that could keep them from driving safely. A person with a disability might be issued a restricted license, provided the condition does not keep them from driving safely.

If a DMV evaluation is needed, it can be recommended by a family member, police officer, or emergency medical technician. An authorized DMV officer would conduct the examination, which would include an interview and perhaps vision, written, and driving tests.

How to Talk With Your Mom or Dad About Giving Up Their License

As you consider whether your aging loved one should stop driving, think of how important your own independence is. But also keep in mind the safety of your loved one and that of others. It’s a tough decision.

To help dispel any defensive reaction, begin this conversation well before issues arise. Make it a casual conversation and use empathy and tact. Perhaps use the weather to slide into such a discussion by noting that heavy rain can be a bad time for driving – for anyone, not just seniors.

Have a plan in mind that includes perhaps keeping the senior behind the wheel but in a limited capacity like driving only during the day and only to familiar places. Engage a local senior center or council on aging. These facilities are typically equipped to help with rides and to help caregivers deal with the question of whether seniors should stop driving.

Also important is for family members, friends, and caregivers to remember that a senior’s ceasing to drive could result in additional responsibilities for them, like providing rides for the senior and spending more time with them. Help set up these alternatives for them.

Click here for more ways to try to help your loved one keep their freedom and independence even without their car.

To find transportation services in your area call 1-800-677-1116 or click on the links below to visit:

NC Car Wreck Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

We are lawyers, but we are also sons and daughters of aging parents too. If your aging loved one has been injured in a car crash that is not their fault, contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. We’ll try to see to it that your loved one gets the maximum compensation they are potentially entitled to.

Deadly Cars in the Triangle: Which Car Models Should You Stay Away From?

Whether you’re buying used or brand new, purchasing a car can be an exciting time. Although, with so many makes and models to choose from, car shopping can often get overwhelming. In the midst of your confusion and stress about car buying, a car salesman swoops in and offers you an amazing deal. You don’t know much about the car, but they’ve “talked to their manager” about giving you a lower price, and now the price is right where you want it.

Convenient, right?

Before you sign on the dotted line, it is important to know which makes and models have a pattern of driver/passenger fatality in a collision, especially in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Research Triangle area. The car’s aesthetic and the latest electronics aren’t worth much if the car itself can’t save your and your passengers’ lives.

The Triangle’s Deadliest Vehicles

According to a study conducted by iSeeCars, an independent automotive research firm, occupant fatalities from collisions occurs at a higher rate in some vehicles than others.  In the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle, the top 5 cars with the highest occupant fatality rates are as follows:

  1. Nissan Versa
  2. Hyundai Accent
  3. Jeep Wrangler
  4. Ford Fiesta
  5. Ford Mustang

A majority of the cars that made the list are smaller cars. The CEO of iSeeCars inferred from the results that even with advancements in technology and safety, subcompact and sports cars still lack sufficient safety features. Additionally, subcompact cars perform at a below-average rate in crash safety tests. The only SUV that made the list, the Jeep Wrangler, is notorious for being an unsafe car. The Ford Mustang, a sports car, also made the list of deadliest cars.

In North Carolina, the Ford Mustang has the highest occupant fatality rate.

The Deadliest Cars in America

Across the U.S., the cars with the highest fatality rates per billion vehicle miles are:

The average fatality rate per billion vehicle miles was 2.6, and in comparing just metropolitan areas around the U.S., the Chevrolet Spark has the highest fatality rate amongst all makes and models included in the study.

Methodology Behind the Vehicle Fatality Study

According to iSeeCars, in order for them to get to the numbers behind the deadliest cars in America, they used the following method of research and analysis:

“The results above came from a study of data from the US Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System as well as iSeeCars unique data. Only cars from 2013–2017 model years in crashes that resulted in occupant fatalities between 2012–2017 were included in the analysis. To adjust for exposure, the number of cars involved in a fatal crash were normalized by the total number of vehicle miles driven, which was estimated from iSeeCars’ data of over 25 million used car sales from model years 2013-2017 sold in 2013-2017. Heavy-duty trucks and vans, models not in production as of the 2019 model year or since the 2013/2014 model year, low-volume models, and models with fewer than 20 crashes with occupant fatalities were removed from further analysis.”

If you are interested in seeing the full report, please click here.

3 Quick Tips Before Buying a Car

Research:

When looking to buy a car, whether new or used, it’s imperative to thoroughly conduct research. One simple Google search will return websites and funded research, like iSeeCars, the NHTSA’s recalls page, Consumer Reports, and the Kelley Blue Book – among many, many others – which should help guide you to the best choice. Additionally, reading consumer reviews can make all the difference. Other consumers have valuable, honest information that car salesmen likely will not tell you.

Test Drive:

You should always test drive the car. Every car drives and handles differently. It is important that you purchase a car that you feel comfortable operating.  Pay special attention to things such as the car’s blind spots that may hinder your driving ability.

Second Opinion:

When buying a used car, it is important to take the car to a trusted mechanic. A mechanic will be able to look in closer detail at the car to make sure that nothing is out of place. Taking this extra precaution may save you from buying an unsafe car that could possibly result in an accident.

How the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin Can Help

A collision can change your life in the blink of an eye. If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision, we can help take the stress and weight off your shoulders. Contact us or call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin’s 24/7 team at 1-866-900-7078.

Shocking Story of Denied Workers’ Comp Claim

Jolene* was a 32-year-old beautician when she suffered a significant wrist injury working for her employer. Her wrist was hurt so badly that within a few months of her injury, she needed surgery to get better. Then she spent a lot of time out of work and couldn’t earn wages.

The workers’ compensation insurance company should have accepted responsibility for Jolene’s injury and paid her benefits, but it didn’t. Instead, the insurance company denied the claim. (Shockingly, this happens more than you might realize.)

This is the story of how the workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin successfully* fought the insurance company on Jolene’s behalf.

Workers’ Comp Insurance Company Pretends to Do the Right Thing

In the early weeks after Jolene was hurt at work, the insurance company acted like it was going to do the right thing. It sent Jolene to the doctor to see why her wrist hurt and why she couldn’t lift anything with her arm. An honest individual, Jolene told the doctor that during her freshman year in college, she had a few minor problems with her other wrist, but nothing that ever required medical treatment.

That was all the insurance company needed to know. Even though Jolene’s prior wrist issues happened over a decade earlier and never required medical treatment, the insurance company used this irrelevant medical history to deny responsibility for the recent work-related injury to the wrist.

Workers’ Comp Insurance Company Denies Rightful Claim

By the time Jolene got to the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, her claim had already been denied. We see this a lot. Some people may not consider hiring a workers’ comp attorney until their claim is denied. Waiting until the claim is denied, however, is often a mistake for many reasons – not the least of which are medical considerations.

As we typically do, we went right to work and filed a hearing request to challenge the denial. This would get us in front of a judge so we could plead Jolene’s case. But, as sometimes happens, this can take time. Meanwhile, Jolene got medical treatment using her husband’s health insurance – treatment that included wrist surgery, numerous follow-up visits with the doctor, and extensive physical therapy.

Before an injured worker can make their case to a judge, they and their attorney have to meet with the attorney for the workers’ compensation insurance company to try to reach a settlement. This is called mediation. At Jolene’s mediation, the workers’ compensation insurance company tried to lowball Jolene and pressure her to accept an insultingly low settlement. We told Jolene we should take the fight to court, and she agreed.

We Convinced Judge to Order Insurance Company to Pay Up*

After the first hearing in Jolene’s case, the judge ruled that she was indeed hurt on the job and that the insurance company was responsible for her injury. The judge ordered the insurance company to pay Jolene medical and wage benefits. Jolene had waited a long time for this decision – two years after her injury, in fact.

The insurance company wouldn’t stop fighting. It appealed to a panel of several judges. Again, the judges ordered the insurance company to accept responsibility for Jolene’s injury and to pay medical and wage benefits. By this time, Jolene was on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills and was owed tens of thousands of dollars in wage benefits.


The insurance company in Jolene’s case hoped she would just go away or accept a lowball offer.


But Jolene didn’t do either. With the help of her workers’ comp attorney and the worker’s comp team, Jolene had her day in court and got several different judges to tell the insurance company that they were wrong to deny her any longer.

Insurance Company Ignores Judge – Still Wont’ Pay

Alas… the fight isn’t over. As sometimes happens, work injuries (any injury) can require subsequent medical treatment. Jolene was recommended to undergo another surgery, and the insurance company started its old tricks again – refusing to pay for the surgery. And just like last time, Jolene and the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin went back to court to fight them, so she could get the treatment she needed to get better, get back to work, and support her family.

Free Workers’ Comp Case Evaluation From James Scott Farrin

This story could be any one of a hundred cases we handle at any given time.

It is not until some injured workers realize that they may not be in good hands with their workers’ comp insurance company that they come to us.

If you have been injured on the job, contact us immediately or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. We’ll let you know what we can potentially do to help you try to get maximum benefits for your injury.

*Name and personal information have been changed to protect privacy. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

 

Protecting Loved Ones from Their “Protectors”: Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

You did your research, you visited the places you liked best, you worked out the finances ever so carefully, and you’re well on your way to providing your mom or dad with the care they need — and achieving some peace of mind for yourself. Care facilities and nursing homes are where your loved ones are supposed to get the round-the-clock help and attention they need, and you trust these facilities to do just that.

But what happens if those same places end up violating their commitment to take care of your loved ones — even when they have the highest ratings in your town or state?

Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Case Shocks the Nation

You may remember hearing about the woman in an Arizona facility that gave birth in December 2018, even though she had been in a vegetative state for over a decade, and currently still is. The suspect was one of the male nurses in charge of the victim’s care, and was arrested. Investigations are still underway to find out how the facility did not notice the woman’s pregnancy until her medical distress while giving birth.

Senate Hearing on Nursing Home Sexual Assaults

Sadly, sexual abuse at care facilities is rampant across the nation, and yet little has been done to put the discussion at the forefront of people’s minds.

Thus far, nursing home and care facilities who have been cited for some form of abuse have been able to fly under the radar because so little has been done to keep them accountable. Not to mention, there is a high standard for proving sexual assault, so cases often go unreported.

On March 6, 2019, similar stories emerged during a senate hearing convened for the sole purpose of investigating the nursing home abuse crisis. Witnesses recounted their stories to lawmakers of how their loved ones experienced sexual abuse at the hands of their caretakers. Notably, one witness had placed her mother in a facility that was ranked at the highest possible level for quality of resident care by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). However, it had also been fined for verbal and physical abuse.

Reforms to Long-Term Healthcare Facility Reporting

As lawmakers await reports from watchdog reporting agencies, it would seem reforms are on the horizon regarding how nursing homes and care facilities are run. CMS announced that it was updating their online Nursing Home Compare and the Five-Star Quality Rating System, which helps families find and compare facilities for their loved ones. It also announced that it was updating its guidelines that identify red flags in those situations.

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect – Red Flags

The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care released the following checklist that may signal sexual abuse and neglect:

  • Bruises around inner thighs, the genital area, or breasts
  • Unexplained genital infections or STD’s
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, pain, or irritation
  • New difficulty sitting or walking
  • Torn, stained, or bloodied underclothing
  • Extreme agitation
  • Withdrawal from social interactions
  • Panic attacks or emerging PTSD symptoms
  • Suicide attempts
  • Sudden or unexplained changes in behavior including:
    • Fear or avoidance of a person or place
    • Fear of being left alone or the dark
    • Increased nightmares and/or disturbed sleep
  • Victims of dementia will exhibit anxiety or excessive fear around the person providing or tending to their care. They may also engage in more aggressive behaviors.

Click here for common signs of general abuse and neglect at care facilities.

North Carolina Nursing Home and Elder Abuse Investigations Underway

If someone you know in a nursing home, rest home, assisted living, or senior care facility has complained about any mistreatment, we urge you to take them seriously. Ask questions. Get the facts. Talk to management. View their medical records. Place a hidden camera in the room like this Raleigh woman did.

And contact us immediately if you suspect abuse. You may be eligible for compensation for:

  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of care and family duties
  • Loss of the victim’s earnings
  • Wrongful death
  • Funeral expenses for the victim

The statute of limitations for reporting is a short window. We are available 24/7 to offer you a free case evaluation. You can use our live chat feature or send a message through our secure and confidential form on this page.

Contact us or call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 to find out if one of our North Carolina lawyers may be able to help you try to protect your loved one from elder abuse.

How Good Are You at Eating & Talking on the Phone While Driving? Take Our Test.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making it illegal to talk on the phone while driving. North Carolina may be next. If some NC lawmakers have their way, by 2020 it will be against the law to talk on the phone while driving.

As personal injury lawyers, we think this is a good thing.

Think You’re Good at Multitasking While Driving?

We are not wired to get behind the wheel and text, talk on the phone, or even eat fries. (Eating behind the wheel, incidentally, has been shown to be more distracting than using a cell phone to text or talk.) Face it. Wielding a two-ton vehicle at 60 mph on an eight-lane highway surrounded by 18-wheelers and your garden variety of inattentive drivers is no place for multitasking distractions of any kind.

Yet why can’t we stop? We know the statistics and understand the devastating consequences of one split second gone wrong. But what makes us continue to check that text or voicemail. Spoiler alert: your own brain’s dopamine production. Click here for your chemistry lesson explaining why it is so hard not to check that text message while driving.

Everyone Multitasks Behind the Wheel

It seems as though everyone is a drive-by multitasker. It’s something we’ve done since the early days of auto travel. Today, not only is it hard to stop multitasking while driving, but we tend to think we are better at it than we really are. (Oh yes you do, admit it.)

But are you as good at multitasking as you think? Click here for a fun and quick exercise that can help you find out.

What Do You Think About People Who Multitask While Driving?

Are you a “hang up and drive” person? Or are you the one applying mascara at a stoplight on Trade and Tryon in Uptown Charlotte? Tell us on the social media links below what you thought of this exercise. Better yet, share this exercise with your teen drivers!

 

Wheel Runoff Accidents – Will Insurance Try to Blame You?

No one is prepared for a wheel to come off their car while they are careening down the I-85 near Greensboro or the I-77 near Charlotte. Nor are they usually prepared to encounter a runaway tire as they are headed down the I-40 to the Crystal Coast. Yet it happens more often than you might realize.

Crashes involving a detached wheel are known as wheel runoff or detached wheel accidents.

A Wheel Runoff Crash Is a Road Debris Crash

A wheel runoff accident is often referred to as a road debris crash. Approximately two-thirds of road debris-related crashes involved debris that became detached from a vehicle, including wheels, tires, driveshafts, etc. These items can either strike another vehicle as they detach or remain on the roadway and contribute to a crash.

Our firm has represented thousands of car wreck cases, some of them wheel runoff accidents. Here is how these types of accidents happen – and who can potentially be at fault when they do happen. (Spoiler alert – you could potentially be blamed even if you are the victim.)

Wheel Runoff Accident Causes

Many things can cause a car wheel to fall off while in route. Some of the more common can include:

  • Over-torqueing the lug nut: Overtightening the bolts that are used to secure the wheel to the car. This is the most common cause of wheel runoff accidents.
  • Under-torqueing the lug nut: When the bolts securing the wheel to the car aren’t secured tightly enough.
  • Wheel paint thickness: When the paint on a wheel is too thick, causing parts to become defective.
  • Hub failure: Like the lug nut, the hub of the wheel can become defective if it the axle nut is too tight or too loose. Additionally, the hub can lack necessary lubrication or be overloaded.

Some Reasons Why Wheels Detach

Experience has taught us that typically the causes mentioned above are usually a result of an error during the wheel maintenance or installation process. Here are some specific examples:

  • Incorrect use of tools: Over-torqueing the lug nut occurs because of the widespread use of impact wrenches. These tools make it fast and easy to add a lot of torque. But sometimes this results in dangerous outcomes when used incorrectly.
  • Use of defective tools: Under-torqueing can be caused by using cheap or worn out wrenches.
  • Hasty remanufacturing: Paint thickness defects can potentially occur when tire dealers and traders try to quickly repaint wheels to make them look new for resale.
  • Not following procedure: Correct axle installation involves following detailed steps to adjust and preload bearings.
  • Improper maintenance: Hub failures are usually progressive and often come with warning signs. These include leaking hub seals, tire tread wear anomalies, strange sounds and smells coming from the car, and smoke.

Who Is at Fault for Wheel Runoff Crashes and Injuries?

Wheel runoff accidents can be complex and must be investigated thoroughly to try to determine who was at fault. Negligence can sometimes be found in:

The driver or owner of the car. Did the driver or owner know about the defect? Was the owner a private party or was the vehicle a company vehicle? Maintenance records must be thoroughly examined and, in some cases, mechanics may need to be interviewed.

The mechanic or repair shop. While there are many exceptional mechanics throughout North Carolina, as in every profession, some can be less than exceptional. Of course, no mechanic wants to admit fault, and in many cases, they may not have been aware that they potentially contributed to the wheel runoff situation. It takes an experienced car accident attorney who is skilled at interviewing potentially negligent parties to try to uncover the truth as to who was at fault.

The manufacturer of the wheel or wheel part. While many of these errors are caused by those performing car maintenance and upgrades, wheel runoff accidents can also be caused by manufacturer defects. In late 2018, Toyota recalled the 700 2019 C-HR Crossovers because of axle issues that could cause the rear tires to come off. It seems that tire recalls are almost as common as new tires, themselves. Michelin, Firestone, Goodyear, Bridgestone – all have had recalls for one reason or another. When an accident occurs because a tire failed to function properly, the manufacturer or distributor could potentially be found negligent.

Contributory Negligence – Are You Partially at Fault?

There’s one more entity that the insurance company could try to pin the blame on. You.

North Carolina is one of the few states known as a contributory negligence state. In insurance terms, that means that, barring a few exceptions, if you are at found to be fault for an accident or injury – even partially, just 1%, for example – the insurance company may not have to compensate you for your injuries or damages. Worse, you may even have to pay for some of the damages caused from the accident or injury.

NC Personal Injury Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you have been injured in a wheel runoff accident we urge you not to try to settle with the insurance company on your own.

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 or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

 

*Insurance Research Council, 1999.

Don’t Let Insurance Take Advantage of You With a Swoop and Settle Offer

Imagine you’ve been in a car accident – nothing serious, but your injuries are enough to send you to the hospital to get checked out. You have head, neck, and back pain. The doctors note some whiplash and send you home with pain medication and a caveat that you may feel worse the next few days. A few days later the at-fault driver’s insurance company calls and offers you a settlement for your hospital bills and an additional $500 to settle your case. You think, cool…an extra $500. And they want to settle so quickly. You’re busy and you’d just as soon put this all behind you. So you accept the offer and cash the $500 check.

Life is good. Or so you thought.

A month later you begin to get consistent migraines and you have tingling down your left leg that has gotten progressively worse. You go back to the doctor and learn that you have a concussion and a slipped disk, which will require an operation and weeks of rehab and treatment. The doc notes that these secondary issues likely stemmed from your car accident.

What do you do? You might as well cry. When you cashed that $500 insurance check, you settled with the insurance company whether you were aware of it or not.

The insurance company duped you into falling for what is known as the  “swoop and settle.”

By cashing that check, you absolved them of any further liability. And now you’re on the hook for your own medical bills. We’ve seen this rush to settle to be a favorite ploy among some insurance companies to try to trick injury victims into settling prematurely in an effort to pay them as little as possible.

The “Swoop and Settle” Insurance Tactic

Here is how swoop and settle typically works. An insurance company representative contacts you very soon after a wreck and makes you a lowball settlement offer. They know you have a lot going on, you’re probably in pain, have no car to drive, and could be missing work. And the insurance company may try to settle before any “secondary” injuries manifest.

This is a confusing time for victims, and the insurance company may try to take advantage of your confusion to get you to settle for way less than your case is worth, and to give up your rights before you know how badly you are hurt or before you have had time to talk to a lawyer to learn about the many rights you have to fight for more money. The idea is to get you to quickly settle for a miniscule amount before you even know the full extent of your injuries. To many people, this quick cash seems too good to be true. But you know what they say about that – too good to be true usually is.

Sadly, we’ve seen a lot of our non-English-speaking clients (especially Hispanic clients) become victims of “swoop and settle.” When one of our paralegals had called to make initial contact with a new client, he said his insurance company sent him a check and that he cashed it that morning. It was money in the mail and he didn’t think twice – so he took it to the bank. The insurance company didn’t give him a chance, but what’s worse is the check was only for $500.

We also represented a client who had an adjuster come into the client’s house, make an offer and sit on the couch, refusing to leave until someone accepted his offer. The client didn’t know what to do.

These are just two of dozens of examples of insurance company tactics we feature in our free downloadable booklet Insurance Companies (and others) Behaving Badly. Read it if you dare. It’s a real shocker.

Beware the Recorded Statement

As part of any accident protocol, the insurance company will likely call you as soon as possible for a “recorded statement.” What you say to the insurance representative and the words you choose on this recorded statement are extremely important to your settlement. (Click here for five things not to say on a recorded statement.)

The recorded statement is so important, I advise my clients not to give one unless they have consulted with me first, or I am on the phone with them during that statement.

We’ve seen it time and time again. The representative may likely ask you leading questions that may get you to admit partial fault, or answer in such a way that your own words may be used against you in court, if it comes to that. Even something as simple as “How are you doing today,” needs to be dealt with carefully. If you respond, “Oh, I’m fine, thank you,” some insurance companies may try to interpret that to mean you are indeed fine from a medical perspective. When all the while, you were speaking rhetorically.

Other Insurance Tactics to Try to Pay You Less

Most insurance companies are for-profit companies. Their profit, not yours. And many of them have a variety of methods to try to keep as much of their money as possible. Click here to learn some surprising ways some insurance companies have devised to keep money you potentially deserve out of your hands.

Why Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Get a Lawyer

The real reason insurance companies don’t want you to get a lawyer? Insurance industry studies show that, on average, car accident victims who handled claims on their own received 3.5X LESS* compensation for their loss than they would have if they hired a personal injury lawyer.

What Can an Accident Lawyer Do for You?

We will deal with the insurance company and your medical bills for you. All you have to do is follow your doctor’s orders and heal up as quickly as possible. While you’re healing, we’ll do all the heavy lifting to try to:

  • Prove damages
  • Determine fault
  • Prevent and deflect insurance stalling tactics
  • Investigate claims
  • Secure evidence
  • Negotiate a fair settlement

You may have a right to maximum compensation for:

  • Medical and rehabilitation bills
  • Lost time from work
  • Cost of vehicle repairs
  • Diminished earning capacity for permanent injuries

Not only do we offer a free case evaluation, but you pay us nothing upfront and no attorney’s fee if we don’t recover for you.

NC Car Wreck Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you see a check in the mail or are offered a settlement too soon, that is a red flag. If you cash that check, you just may be cashing in your financial future. Take your time and talk to an experienced car accident attorney before settling your case

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

 

*Insurance Research Council, 1999.

 

Who Pays for E-scooter Injuries?

If you’re in the Triangle area, you’ve undoubtedly seen at least one brand of electric scooter (most likely Byrd or Lime). These e-scooters, as they are more commonly known, have become a popular method of transportation. They have their good qualities, a handful of bad injury repercussions, and some downright ugly outcomes of the ramifications of these injuries.

The Good. On one hand, their arrival has created jobs, reduced pollution, helped to decrease traffic in some areas, and given riders a chance to get from point A to point B in a novel new way.

The Bad. Unfortunately, however, e-scooter injuries have increased exponentially.

The Ugly. When it comes to paying for these injuries, don’t look to the scooter companies. Or to insurance.

Common E-scooter Injuries

WRAL cited a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) study, which stated that head injuries are among the most common e-scooter mishaps (40%). Although this study was conducted in California, Triangle physicians also reported seeing broken bones (more than 31% of injuries), and arm, wrist, or hand fractures. Many are serious enough to require permanent plates and pins.

Injuries span all ages. From younger people under the age of 18, who are sometimes seen as risk seekers, to those over the ages of 50.

The JAMA study noted that nearly 5% of those injured, were intoxicated during the accident. Drinking and operating an e-scooter can lead to more serious injuries that have required some people to receive intensive care for bleeding on the brain or intracranial hemorrhages.

If that is not bad enough, even worse accidents have been reported. In recent months, there have been at least three deaths across the country related to e-scooters. One young woman riding a scooter in Ft. Lauderdale was so severely injured, it left her in a vegetative state. The woman’s mother is suing Lime based on the argument that Lime’s app includes language that specifically instructs people not to operate scooters on local sidewalks, pushing them onto city streets instead. The conundrum here is that operating a motorized scooter on the street is against the law in Fort Lauderdale, though the city does permit e-scooters to be ridden on sidewalks.

There have been so many accidents nationwide that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has entered the picture. The agency is studying the health risks associated with e-scooters by analyzing injuries to riders and pedestrians.

Safety Rules for E-scooters

As that story illustrates, the rules governing e-scooters are confusing. They vary from state to state and seem to change. In North Carolina, riders are not allowed to ride on sidewalks and they must wear helmets. Yet, these rules are routinely broken.

Who Pays for E-scooter Injuries?

Are riders completely held liable, or do the scooter companies provide insurance for its riders? According to Bird’s and Lime’s rental agreements, the rider assumes all responsibility.

When an at-fault driver of a car is involved in an e-scooter collision, that driver’s car insurance coverage may potentially apply. That might lead someone to believe that if they are a scooter rider and become injured as the result of a vehicle driver’s negligence, the driver’s auto insurance might pay for the scooter rider’s injuries. Not necessarily so.

Don’t think that the negligent driver’s insurance company is simply going to hand you over a fat check for all your medical bills and other expenses to fully compensate you for the injuries you suffered. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses – some of the world’s most profitable. They are so profitable, in fact, that in 2016, the insurance industry’s assets ($5.8 trillion) totaled more than the GDPs of all but two countries – the United States and China.

Insurance companies understand how to try to avoid paying you what you may potentially deserve. Click here for stories of individuals who have had to deal with insurance companies’ tactics.

Did You Contribute to an E-scooter Crash?

One more thing. North Carolina is a contributory negligence state. What that means is if the insurance company can prove you were partially at fault – even just 1%, – you will most likely not get compensation.

Electric scooter accidents have been proliferating in NC cities and towns and across the nation. If you decide to ride an e-scooter, make sure you obey the rules and remain extra cautious to try to avoid injury to yourself or others.

Careful With Opioids – What Greensboro Is Doing to Try to Help

A colleague’s 16-year-old daughter recently broke her arm. Although the daughter had stated that the pain was not “that bad,” the ER sent her home with opioid pain medication. The mother gave her ibuprofen, instead. Smart mom.

This information happened to come on the heels of an article I recently read about Dr. Wayland McKenzie of Greensboro. Dr. McKenzie is a doctor who lost his license for overprescribing opioids – allegedly to addicts.

When are some doctors going to wake up and smell the poppy seeds? There’s an opioid crisis in our country and it has reached epidemic levels. Innocent victims of injuries continue to unwittingly fall prey to the highly addictive nature of opioid pain killers. Why? Part of the reason is because some doctors have been handing them out like candy for years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US in 2017. More than 67% of these deaths were from opioid overdoses.

Opioid Crisis in Greensboro Triad Area

North Carolina is among the states that showed statistically significant increases in drug overdose deaths from 2016 to 2017. In fact, a Winston-Salem Journal article reported that an average of four people die from opioid overdoses in North Carolina every day. The highest death rate among the 14-county region of the Triad and northwest North Carolina is Guilford County with 73 deaths in 2016.

Cone Health Pilots Opioid Peer-Support Program

In 2018, Cone Health launched a pilot project to try to combat opioid abuse. This one-year test program has put certified peer support specialists, each of whom have been in recovery for at least three years, in the emergency departments of the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital and Wesley Long Hospital.

NC Personal Injury Attorneys in Greensboro and 13 Other NC Offices

As a personal injury attorney, I applaud this effort. I have been privy to cases involving the misuse of drugs and dangerous medical devices. These cases are heartbreaking and often preventable. Opioid addiction is insidious and can sneak up on victims before they realize their plight. Sadly, many of these addictions begin with a family doctor or ER prescription.

 

No permita que el seguro se aproveche de usted con una oferta de “Precipitarse y Resolver”

Imagine que ha estado en un accidente de auto – nada grave, pero sus heridas son suficientes para enviarle al hospital para ser evaluado. Tiene dolor de cabeza, cuello, y espalda. Los doctores mencionan latigazo cervical y le despachan a la casa con medicamentos para el dolor y la advertencia de que se podrá sentir peor en los próximos días. Unos días después, el seguro del conductor culpable le llama y le ofrece una transacción  cubriendo sus facturas del hospital y unos $500 adicionales para resolver su caso. Usted piensa, bien… $500 extra. Y ellos quieren resolver tan rápido. Usted está ocupado y quiere dejar todo esto en el pasado. Así que usted acepta la oferta y cambia el cheque por $500 en efectivo.

Todo está bien. O eso pensó.

Un mes después, empieza a tener migrañas consistentes y siente hormigueo por su pierna izquierda que progresivamente ha empeorado. Usted regresa al doctor y se entera que tiene una concusión y una vértebra dislocada, que requiere una operación y semanas de rehabilitación y tratamiento. El doctor dice que estos problemas secundarios probablemente surgieron por su accidente de auto.

¿Qué hace usted? Más le vale llorar. Cuando cambió el cheque del seguro por los $500 , usted resolvió el reclamo, sabiéndolo o sin darse cuenta.

La compañía de seguro le engañó  usando lo que se llama el
 “Precipitarse & Resolver”

Cambiando el cheque, usted los libró de responsabilidad adicional. Y ahora usted es responsable por sus facturas médicas. Hemos visto esta prisa por llegar a un acuerdo como la estrategia favorita de algunas compañías de seguro para intentar  engañar a víctimas de lesiones y transigir prematuramente  para pagar lo menos posible.

La Estrategia “Precipitarse y Resolver” del Seguro

La técnica de “Precipitarse y Resolver” típicamente funciona así : un representante de la compañía de seguro le contacta poco después del choque y le hace una oferta muy baja. Ellos saben que usted tiene muchas cosas que hacer, probablemente siente dolor, no tiene un carro para manejar, y puede estar faltando al trabajo. Y la compañía de seguro va a intentar resolver antes de que otras lesiones “secundarias” se manifiesten.

Este es un tiempo confuso para víctimas, y la compañía de seguro puede intentar aprovecharse de su confusión para que usted termine resolviendo el reclamo por mucho menos de lo que vale su caso, y que renuncie a sus derechos antes de que usted sepa cuan herido usted está o antes de que tenga la oportunidad de hablar con un abogado para aprender sobre los varios derechos que usted tiene para luchar por más dinero. El objetivo es tratar de que usted acepte una minúscula oferta antes de que usted sepa la magnitud de sus lesiones. Para muchas personas, este dinero rápido parece demasiado bueno para ser verdad. Pero usted sabe lo que dicen sobre eso – demasiado bueno para ser verdad usualmente lo es.

Tristemente, hemos visto a muchos de nuestros clientes que no hablan inglés (en especial clientes hispanos) convertirse en victimas del “Precipitarse y Resolver”. Cuando uno de nuestros paralegales llamó a un cliente nuevo por primera vez, él dijo que la compañía de seguro le envió un cheque y que lo había cambiado en efectivo esa mañana. Fue dinero en el correo, y no lo pensó dos veces – así que lo llevó al banco. La compañía de seguro no le dio oportunidad, y lo peor es que el cheque solo fue por $500.

Nosotros también representabamos a un cliente que tuvo a un ajustador de la compañía de seguro que fue a la casa del cliente, hizo una oferta y se sentó en el sofá, y se negó a irse hasta que alguien le aceptara la oferta. El cliente no supo que hacer.

Estos son solo dos, de docenas de ejemplos, de las estrategias de las compañías de seguro que tenemos en nuestro folleto gratis Compañías de Seguro (y otros) Comportándose Mal que usted puede descargar de nuestra página web. Léalo si se anima. Es realmente impactante.

Cuidado con la Declaración Grabada

Como parte de cualquier protocolo de accidente, la compañía de seguro probablemente le llamara lo más pronto posible para obtener una “declaración grabada.” Lo que usted diga al representante del seguro y las palabras que usted escoja son extremadamente importantes para la transacciónde su reclamación. (Haga click aqui por cinco cosas que no debe decir en una declaración grabada.)

La declaración grabada es tan importante, que yo le aconsejo a mis clientes que no provean una antes de consultarlo conmigo primero, o solo si yo estoy incluido en la llamada telefónica durante la declaración.

Lo hemos visto una y otra  vez. El representante probablemente le hará preguntas para dirigirlo, que pueden hacer que usted admita culpa parcial, o que responda en tal manera que sus propias palabras pueden ser usadas en su contra en la corte, si llega a esto. Algo tan simple como “¿Cómo te sientes hoy?,” requiere ser manejado con mucho cuidado. Si usted responde, “oh, yo estoy bien, gracias” algunas compañías de seguro pueden tratar de interpretar que eso significa que usted está bien desde la perspectiva médica, aunque usted solo respondió retóricamente.

Otras Estrategias de Seguros para Pagarle Menos a Usted

La mayoría de las compañías de seguro son compañías con fines de lucro. El lucro de ellos, no el suyo. Y muchas de ellas tienen varios métodos para intentar  retener tanto dinero como sea posible. Haga click aquí para aprender maneras sorprendentes que algunas compañías de seguro han creado para quedarse con dinero que usted posiblemente merece, de sus propias manos.

Por qué el Seguro no Quiere que Usted Contrate a un Abogado

¿La verdadera razón por la cual las compañías de seguro no quieren que usted contrate a un abogado?  Estudios de la industria de seguros muestran que, en promedio, víctimas de accidentes de auto que manejaron su reclamo sin ayuda legal recibieron 3.5 VECES MENOR* compensación por su pérdida, de lo que hubieran recibido si hubiesen contratado a un abogado de daños corporales.

¿Qué puede hacer un Abogado de Accidentes por Usted?

Nos ocuparemos de la compañía de seguro y sus facturas médicas por usted. Lo único que usted debe hacer es seguir las órdenes de su doctor y recuperarse lo más rápido posible. Mientras usted se recupera, nosotros haremos lo difícil e intentaremos:

  • Probar daños
  • Determinar la culpa
  • Prevenir y bloquear tácticas evasivas de los seguros
  • Investigar el reclamo
  • Proteger la evidencia
  • Negociar un acuerdo justo

Usted puede tener derecho a la compensación máxima por:

  • Facturas médicas y de rehabilitación
  • Tiempo faltado al trabajo
  • El costo de reparaciones a su vehículo
  • La disminución de la capacidad de generar ingresos por daños permanentes

No solo ofrecemos una evaluación gratuita para su caso, usted no paga nada por adelantado, y no paga los honorarios de abogado si no obtenemos compensación para usted.

Abogados de Choque en NC ofrecen Evaluación Gratuita de su Caso

Si usted ve un cheque en el correo, o le ofrecen un acuerdo demasiado pronto, eso es una señal de peligro. Si usted deposita o cambia el cheque, usted puede estar intercambiando su futuro financiero. Tome su tiempo y hable con un abogado de accidentes de auto con experiencia antes de llegar a un acuerdo.

Contáctenos o llame 1-800-968-5342 por una evaluación gratuita de su caso.

 

*Insurance Research Council, 1999.

 

Contact Information

Asheville Law Office

300 Ridgefield Court Suite 309
Asheville, NC 28806
Phone: 828-552-8215
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

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

2915 Raeford Road, Suite 204
Fayetteville, NC 28303
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

1308 Wayne Memorial Drive, Suite B
Goldsboro, NC 27534
Phone: 919-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Greenville Law Office

702 Cromwell Dr. Suite G
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
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

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
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

144 Woodridge Court
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