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N.C. Court of Appeals Upholds Ruling in Favor of Woman Who Fell During Lunch Break

The North Carolina Court of Appeals upheld a ruling by the North Carolina Industrial Commission awarding workers' compensation benefits to a woman who fell while walking on her lunch break.

The woman, who worked for Verizon Wireless, took an hour-long unpaid lunch break and went for a walk through the hallways of the first floor of her building for exercise. Near the end of her break, she slipped and fell on some ice near an ice machine. The fall caused her to land on her knee, and doctors say it aggravated arthritis in her knee caused by a previous knee injury.

Medical31_07232014The woman was awarded medical compensation, indemnity benefits and attorney's fees. However, her employer appealed the award on the grounds that her injury did not "arise out of" and "in the course of" her employment, and that her fall aggravated her previous injury.

The N.C. Court of Appeals found that even though the woman was on her lunch break when the fall occurred, the work injury "arose out of" her employment because she was in a building that was not open to the public and was, therefore, only accessible to her because of her employment. The court also found that her work injury arose "in the course of" her employment since this definition "includes times during the workday for rest and refreshment" and since "'[a]n employee tending to her personal needs is indirectly benefiting the employer[,]' and 'it was in [d]efendant-[e]mployer's interest that [p]laintiff be rested and refreshed so she could provide pleasant and effective customer service, and the activity in which [p]laintiff was engaging when she fell thus indirectly benefited [d]efendant-[e]mployer."

The court also upheld the judgment of the N.C. Industrial Commission regarding the evidence and witness testimony that the fall "materially aggravated" the woman's previous injury.

The full judgment of the N.C. Industrial Commission was upheld, including the full award granted the woman for her on-the-job injuries.

National Transportation Safety Board Identifies "Most Wanted" List to Reduce Personal Injury for 2013

Ambulance_06062014The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) releases its "Most Wanted" List each year, identifying its top safety priorities to reduce personal injury across a number of areas. The list is designed to "increase awareness of, and support for, the most critical changes needed to reduce transportation accidents and save lives," according to the NTSB.

The 2012 NTSB Most Wanted List includes:

• Improve safety of airport surface operations
• Improve the safety of bus operations
• Eliminate distraction in transportation
• Improve fire safety in transportation
• Improve general aviation safety
• Preserve the integrity of transportation infrastructure
• Enhance pipeline safety
• Implement positive train control systems
• Eliminate substance-impaired driving
• Mandate motor vehicle collision avoidance techniques

Six new issues were included on the list: distraction, fire safety, infrastructure integrity, pipeline safety, positive train control and motor vehicle collision avoidance technologies.

"Transportation is safer than ever, but with 35,000 annual fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries, we can, and must, do better," NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said in a statement. "The Most Wanted List is a roadmap to improving safety for all of our nation's travelers."

The Most Wanted List identifies the top priorities for the NTSB, which will be the focus of advocacy and lobbying efforts to enact reforms.

Several of the issues identified on the list are those that North Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin deal with everyday. If you have been injured in a transportation accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Natural Disasters like Hurricane Sandy can Lead to Increase in Bankruptcy Filings

Hurricane Sandy devastated some parts of the East Coast. Homes and businesses were destroyed. Some are left without a place to live. Some businesses will be closed for months.

Tornado_07312014Early estimates of the damage are in the billions, but the true financial impact may not be known for some time. The pace of the cleanup effort will impact businesses, jobs, and economic recovery.

For some, Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters like it don't just represent a loss of property. Natural disasters that cause as much damage as Sandy did can cause devastating financial loss that can lead to bankruptcy.

First, these natural disasters can destroy personal property and possessions. While some homeowners may be protected by insurance, many others only carry basic protection, which may not cover damages from a natural disaster. Still others may only be renting their homes, and may not carry renter's insurance to protect against damages.

Not only can a natural disaster wipe out a person's home, but it can also destroy valuable personal possessions. When the tally is totaled for the home, cars, and personal items, the damages could be hundreds of thousands of dollars. Few of us have that kind of money in our savings, and without good insurance to cover those damages, few of us would be able to withstand that kind of financial blow.

Second, as Hurricane Sandy showed, natural disasters can shut down businesses for months, leaving some workers without a way to earn a wage. Without savings, a few months without a steady income can be a financial blow to anyone. For some, it could mean losing everything.

Many who are in the path of devastating natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy may find relief from the overwhelming financial stresses through bankruptcy. Depending on the extent of the debts you face as a result of the natural disaster, the type of debts, and your income, you may be able to eliminate some of the debts and seek a fresh financial start.

North Carolina Bankruptcy Lawyers

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Consumer and Business Bankruptcy Law may be able to help you find debt relief through bankruptcy. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Holiday Travel Alert: Be Cautious on NC Rural Roads

As we gear up for Thanksgiving and the year-end holiday travel season, our Durham car accident lawyers want to take a time-out to urge you and your loved ones to make safety a top priority.

CarWreck_07182014Although we often hear about the awful wrecks that occur on our highways, a study by AAA Carolinas indicates that more traffic deaths in North Carolina occur on rural roads. Although rural roads accounted for just 0.6 percent of the vehicle miles traveled in 2009, they accounted for an outsized portion of the state's traffic fatalities.

And a recent report by NPR indicated that of the nation's approximately 37,250 annual traffic fatalities, nearly 60 percent occur on rural roads. In some states, more than 90 percent of car accident related deaths occur on rural roads. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that drivers on rural roads die at a rate of 2.5 times higher per mile they travel than those on urban highways. In other words, those who travel in urban areas drive twice as many miles but suffer about half the number of fatal accidents.

Why is this?

For one thing, rural roads tend to be narrower. They may have lower shoulders, more curves, faded or non-existent road markers and street lights and far fewer police officers patrolling. This means people may be more likely to speed or take these routes if they are intoxicated - putting you and your family at risk.

The most dangerous rural road in the country has been identified as a stretch of lone highway in Utah. In the last 10 years, there have reportedly been more than 520 fatal accidents on that road. Of those, NPR reported:

  • 117 were at night;
  • 280 were during the day;
  • 260 were in clear weather conditions;
  • 84 were in poor weather conditions;
  • 9 involved crashes with animals;
  • 32 cases involved a DUI;
  • 46 involved driver fatigue;
  • 145 involved speeding;
  • 288 involved driving off the road.


These same sort of scenarios play out all over the country, including in North Carolina, and particularly over the holidays, when more vehicles tend to share the roads.

In North Carolina, about 1,355 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2009. While North Carolina is ranked the 18th most dangerous state for driving, South Carolina is in the top three.

With Thanksgiving coming up, the National Safety Council is projecting an estimated 451 traffic fatalities in the U.S. over that long weekend, starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25. Further, the council estimates there will be somewhere in the range of 48,300 traffic-related injuries during that same time frame.

The council bases this estimate on mathematic calculations from previous years' fatalities. Since 2005, the actual traffic deaths during Thanksgiving weekend have ranged from between 605 and 401.

The average number of traffic deaths during the handful of most recent Thanksgiving holidays was about 10 percent higher than on a regular November or December day.

But even one is too many.

Although rural highway fatalities overall are down about 20 percent across the country over the last 10 years, the disparity between urban and rural highways remains.

So wherever your travel takes you this year, please use extreme caution.

If you've been injured, contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin for a free and confidential consultation. Call 1-866-900-7078.

Categories: Car Accidents

What Factors Does the Social Security Administration Use to Determine If I'm Disabled?

Every application for Social Security disability benefits will be reviewed individually on its own merits, and many factors can be considered when determining eligibility.

However, the Social Security Administration does use a 5-step process as a basic framework for determining eligibility for benefits. Of course, interpretations of these guidelines may vary, so each case may be treated differently.

Here are the five questions that the Social Security Administration asks when determining benefits:

Are you working?

If you are working, you may still be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, depending on how much you are making. Generally speaking, if you average more than $1,010 per month in income, you will not be considered disabled for the purposes of receiving benefits. Income limits will vary according to other factors, so you may be able to make more or less than this and be considered disabled.

Is your condition "severe?"

"Severe" is a relative term, and it is defined by how much your disability impedes your ability to do the work to which you are accustomed to performing. If you are unable to perform basic work-related duties, you may be considered disabled for the purposes of receiving Social Security disability benefits.

Injury1_07232014Is your condition found in the list of disabling conditions?

The Social Security Administration maintains a list of medical conditions that are considered "so severe they automatically mean that you are disabled." Such conditions include ALS, multiple myeloma, and being on a list to receive a liver transplant. Mental disorders are also included.

If you condition is not on the extensive list, it will be evaluated based on whether it is comparable to a condition on the list.

Can you do the work you did previously?

A construction worker who loses the ability to walk may not be able to work anymore, while a writer who loses the ability to walk may still be able to work. The construction worker may be considered disabled, while the writer may not since the writer would be able to do the work performed previously. Your disability will be considered in relation to the type of work you have been accustomed to doing, as well as your age and your education.

Can you do any other type of work?

Even if you can't do the type of work you are accustomed to doing, you may be able to do other work. If that is the case, you may not be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits. The Social Security Administration will consider your age, education, work history and skills to determine whether you may be able to do another type of work.

Every case will be evaluated on its own merits, and application of these guidelines is open for interpretation. In fact, a majority of applications for Social Security disability benefits are initially denied.

If your application for Social Security disability benefits has been denied, a North Carolina Social Security disability lawyer may be able to help you appeal the decision and get the benefits that you may deserve. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out how one of our Social Security benefits lawyers may be able to help you.

Will Filing for Workers' Compensation Hurt My Employer?

If you have worked for a company for a number of years, it may start to feel like your home away from home. You may have become good friends with your co-workers and become invested in the long-term success of the company, feeling like it is yours in some small way.

WorkersComp18_07022014When you start to feel this way about your company and your co-workers, you want to do everything you can to contribute to its success. If you become injured on the job, you may feel hesitant to file for workers' compensation benefits because you don't want to hurt the company.

However, as Workers' Compensation Lawyer Barry Jennings explains, it is the law in North Carolina that businesses with more than three employees carry workers' compensation insurance or be self-insured for workers' compensation benefits. That means that if a worker is injured and qualifies for benefits, the insurance carrier or self-insured employer will pay the claim.

Just like auto insurance protects you against losses in an accident, workers' compensation insurance protects businesses against losses if one of their workers gets hurt. And just like auto insurance, you shouldn't think twice about using these benefits if you have been injured: That's the reason they exist.

If you are hurt on the job, you could be out thousands of dollars for medical expenses and lost time from work. It's only right that you should be compensated for these losses, and the law is there to protect you.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

Barry Jennings is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers' Compensation Law. If you have been injured on the job or denied workers' compensation benefits, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin right now at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out if he or another one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you get the benefits you may deserve.

What is the difference between my DMV record and points on my insurance policy?

Confused2_07082014Many people are confused about how the information on their driving record may differ from what is found on their insurance policy. The points you accrue on your North Carolina driving record may not be the same as the points your insurance company assigns to your policy to determine your rates.

As North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney Michael Jordan explains, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicle (NC DMV) assigns points to your driver's license when you are found at fault in an accident or are found guilty of a traffic violation, such as speeding or running a red light. If you accumulate a certain number of points, you can have your license suspended or revoked.

Some common violations and their points include:

• Failure to stop for a stop sign or siren: 3 points
• Speeding more than 55 miles per hour: 3 points
• Reckless driving: 4 points
• Hit and run (property damage): 4 points
• Passing a stopped school bus loading or unloading children: 5 points
• Aggressive driving: 5 points

If you get 12 or more points within a 3-year period, your license may be suspended for up to 60 days.

The Department of Insurance determines the points that are used to calculate your insurance rates, and these points are completely separate from the points the NC DMV uses. The points your insurance company uses are based on accidents, liability claims against you, and any other incidents in which you were found at fault and your insurance company had to pay a claim.

Under this system, it is possible to have a ticket dismissed and to not receive any points on your driving record but to still have points counted against your insurance policy.

Of course, the best way to keep your insurance rates down is to practice safe driving and to maintain a clean driving record.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to legal compensation for your injuries. Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case to find out if one of our North Carolina personal injury lawyers may be able to help you.

N.C. Department of Transportation Worker Killed in Construction Accident on N.C. 12 in Outer Banks

A Hertford man who was helping with cleanup after Hurricane Sandy was killed in an accident on N.C. 12 on Sunday.

WorkersComp13_06162014The man, who had worked for the N.C. Department of Transportation for 15 years, was driving a dump truck while cleaning up tons of sand covering the highway south or Oregon Inlet in the Outer Bank after Hurricane Sandy. The road has been closed for two weeks while crews try to clean up the sand and debris.

The accident involved another dump truck driver, but no other details were released about the cause of the accident.

Traffic was reopened on the road a day earlier from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. The accident happened after traffic was closed again for the day - sometime between 1 a.m. and 1:45 a.m.

Sand is still deep on the highway along Pea Island, and stretches of pavement north of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island have to be repaired. N.C. DOT officials say that it will take several more weeks to finish repaired storm damage along the road and on the Oregon Inlet bridge.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

The accident highlights the importance of workers' compensation benefits to protect workers and their families after an injury or death on the job. If you or someone you love were injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out if one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you!

Workers and Firefighters Injured in Three Fires around the Triangle

Three separate fires around the Triangle last week left firefighters and hospital workers injured.

The first broke out early Tuesday at Durham Regional Hospital and may have started from use of a defibrillator. Although the fire was initially reported as an explosion, according to, the preliminary findings by the State Department of Health and Human Services concluded that a spark from a defibrillator ignited the fire.

FireAlarm2_07022014Four employees were treated for smoke inhalation, and one critically ill patient died.

The second fire broke out on Thursday in an abandoned house in Johnston County. The roof collapsed on a firefighter who was battling the fire at the house that had been vacant or a couple of years.

The firefighter was kept overnight for observation, and the cause of the fire was not known.

Finally, the third fire in The Lakes Apartments in Raleigh on Friday night was believed to have started in a bedroom. About 50 people living in 10 apartments were displaced by the fire.

One person was treated for smoke inhalation, and two firefighters were treated on the scene for minor injuries. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation

The firefighters and other workers affected by these fires could have faced serious injury as a result of just doing their jobs. If you were injured on the job, you could be entitled to compensation under the law. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation and to find out if one of our North Carolina Workers' Compensation lawyers may be able to help you.

What You Can Do to Prevent Future Bankruptcies

No one ever wants to be in a position where they have to consider filing for bankruptcy, and most do so only as a measure of last resort. However, according to the U.S. Courts, those who file for bankruptcy have a 1 in 3 chance of filing again.

Though bankruptcy may be your best option for debt relief it's safe to say that no one wants to wind up in the same position having to consider bankruptcy because they are facing seemingly insurmountable debts and creditor harassment. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to reduce the likelihood of filing for bankruptcy for a second time. Here are a few ideas for how you can prevent future bankruptcies:

Set a Realistic Budget

It is important to have a realistic sense of your finances in order to avoid taking on debts that may lead to your needing to file bankruptcy. Make a list of all your expenses -- not just the ones you hope to limit yourself to, such as rent and utilities. If you know you won't be able to stop eating out or going to the movies, make sure you budget a line item for these things and then limit the number of outings you have to save.

When calculating your budget, also be sure you have realistic expectations about your income. Set your budget based on your current income -- not what you hope to be making after an expected promotion or bonus (which may never come).

Create an Emergency Savings Fund

The unexpected can happen, and it's usually what leads to situations that cause you to consider bankruptcy. Many people have lost their jobs in this economy -- jobs they have held for years. Others have been sidelined by unexpected medical bills after an illness or injury. Some face having to start over after a divorce.

While you can't prepare for every possibility, you can create an emergency savings fund that will provide a cushion when the unexpected happens. Aim to save enough to cover at least six months of your salary.

Be Cautious with Credit

Many people who file for bankruptcy have high credit card debts. Sometimes the credit card debt is the cause of the financial struggle that led to filing bankruptcy. Sometimes, other overwhelming financial circumstances have led to the need to use credit in order to cover basic living expenses.

Once you start to accumulate a lot of credit card debt, it can be difficult to pay it off as high interest rates compound the debt. Reserve credit card use for emergencies only or limit their use to purchases for which you have the cash ready to pay off at the end of the month.

Get Good Insurance

A major illness or injury is one of the common reasons that people find themselves in over their heads in debt and considering bankruptcy. While you can never protect yourself against all possibilities, you can reduce your risks by getting a good insurance policy that will pay your medical expenses if you are injured or become ill.

Insurance won't protect you against all losses. Depending on circumstances and your policy, you may not be covered for lost wages, long-term disability, or even all of your medical care. However, having a good insurance policy will minimize your losses and protect you from dire financial circumstances.

The unexpected happens, and bad things happen to good people. You can't insure that you won't ever have to face overwhelming debts. However, you can take steps to minimize your risks so that if you've already had to file for bankruptcy, you can reduce your chances that you will have to file again.

Of course, if you are unsure about your options, you can always call a North Carolina bankruptcy lawyer at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin to review your case and get tailored legal advice. Call 1-866-900-7078 right now for a free evaluation of your case!

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

301 S McDowell St, Suite 900
Charlotte, NC 28204
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

Morganton Law Office

216 N. Sterling Street, Suite B
Morganton, NC 28655
Phone: 828-219-3080
Toll Free: 1-844-520-2894

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