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What If I'm Hurt on My Friend's Property? Can I Sue?

You are invited to a party at your friend's house, and when you arrive, you slip and fall on an electrical cord that is running across the walkway, chipping your tooth and seriously injuring your face. You end up having to get dental surgery and stitches for the injuries on your face. Your doctor tells you that you will have a serious scar and that you will need plastic surgery to fix it. Your medical bills could cost thousands of dollars.

Frustrated5_06032014Can you sue your friend for damages?

It depends on the circumstances of your case and whether your friend was negligent or has some other liability. However, if the question is simply can you sue a neighbor, friend or acquaintance in the same way you can sue a business for injuries you sustain as a result of their negligence, the answer is yes.
Personal property owners are not subject to the same liability as business owners, so it may be a bit more difficult to pursue a claim in some instances.

However, the law still protects you if you are injured, no matter who owns the property in question.

But Should I Sue My Friend?

In most cases, people are more worried about whether they should sue a friend or acquaintance rather than whether they can.

If you are injured on your friend or neighbor's property, you may face thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost time from work, or even permanent disability.

If you do not seek the compensation to which you are legally entitled, you will have to pay these expenses yourself and you could even face the loss of your ability to care for yourself and your family if you become unable to work.

In most cases, you will be suing your friend or neighbor in name only -- their homeowner's insurance company actually provides the defense and pays any settlement or judgment. Your friend buys this insurance for this very reason -- protection against financial liability.

The majority of personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. In most cases, your friend will never have to pay a dime directly and will never have to appear in court. You can get the compensation to which you are entitled under the law, and you can preserve your relationship with your friend.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

Every case is different, and a North Carolina personal injury lawyer can help you determine what the factors are in your case that may influence your legal rights. If you have been injured on a friend's property or in a place of business, the North Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Categories: Auto Accidents

USA Today Notes Social Security Disability Applications Backlog - Difficult Approval Process

Bills2_07152014On December 2, 2012, USA Today published an article lamenting the backlog of SSDI claims. The article involved interviews with people who had been waiting months in order to get benefits claims approved and stressed that the system is set up for people's claims to fail. The USA Today article also warns that the SSA's disability benefits program is growing so quickly that it could be insolvent by 2016 unless changes are made.

Our Durham social security disability attorneys are not surprised by the claims made in the article about the difficulty of applying for benefits. Clients who are disabled need to have a lawyer to help guide them through the process of applying for benefits. Our attorneys are also concerned with the future solvency of the program and urge lawmakers to make the necessary changes to keep this important social safety net in place for those who need it.

The Challenge of Applying for SSDI Benefits

USA Today addresses many of the issues inherent in the current application process for SSDI benefits. For instance, the article discusses:

  • The long wait for claim approval. USA Today interviewed one disabled individual who had waited 2 ½ years to receive benefits and cited a 316 day waiting period for a benefits hearing in some parts of the country. As USA Today points out, this creates a serious hardship for people who can't work and who have rent or mortgages to pay and families to support.
  • The complications inherent in applying for benefits. USA Today indicates that the system is set up to be very complicated in order to discourage fraudulent applications. It becomes even more difficult if your condition is not listed in the SSA's list of qualifying impairments.
  • The high denial rate. According to one expert cited in the article, the system is set up to require appeals in many cases.
  • The difficulty of proving medical impairments. Some conditions, according to USA Today, can allow you to qualify for benefits but documenting that you have the required symptoms is very difficult.


USA Today also cited one recipient of SSDI benefits who indicated that it was almost impossible to collect without the help of an attorney. This is an important reality about the social security disability benefits program- those who want to be approved do need expert advice to get through the complicated claims process successfully.

Insolvency Risks

The backlog in claims, the high denial rate and the difficulty of qualifying for benefits are real problems with the social security disability system, but having good legal help can allow you to overcome these issues and get the benefits that you are entitled to.

A bigger problem, however, is the fact that the SSDI system is becoming overburdened and will be insolvent by 2016. There are around 11 million people throughout the United States who are relying on disability benefits and the country needs to take the necessary steps to make sure that those who are currently disabled and that those who are disabled in the future are taken care of.

If you are disabled and unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case. We have a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law who may be able to help you get the benefits you need.

N.C. Court of Appeals Overturns Lower Court Order Barring Woman from Seeking Damages for Accident that Killed Her Son

Law5_07312014A Cleveland County woman brought suit against the county after her son was killed in an accident at the Self-McNeilly Solid Waste Management Facility. A lower court ruled that the woman could not pursue damages for negligence since she had already received workers' compensation benefits, but the N.C. Court of Appeals overturned that ruling, saying that the county was not protected by workers' compensation law since the man who died was not an employee of the county, but was a temporary worker covered by another company's workers' compensation insurance.

The plaintiff's son was 24 years old at the time of his death and lived with his mother. He was an employee of WorkForce Staffing, a temporary employment agency that contracted him out to work at the county landfill as a "spotter," helping to guide dump trucks and other vehicles through the landfill. In February 2010, the man was spotting a trash compactor with a "backup camera" that did not have adequate visibility. The driver unknowingly ran over the plaintiff's son and pushed him into a pile of trash.

Another driver spotted the man in the pile later and called for help. The man died at the hospital later that day.

The plaintiff collected workers' compensation benefits from WorkForce Staffing. However, the lower court ruled that she could not also collect damages from the county or the driver because her claims were already covered by the Workers' Compensation Act.

The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiff's son was not an employee or a special employee of the county since the county made explicitly clear in its contract with WorkForce Staffing that he was not to be considered an employee of the county. Therefore, the court ruled, the county was not protected by the Workers' Compensation Act against claims for negligence.

The ruling does not award the plaintiff damages. It only reverses the lower court ruling dismissing her case in pursuit of damages.

Social Security Administration Adds 35 More Compassionate Allowance Conditions for Fast-Tracking Disability Benefits

The Social Security Administration announced the addition of 35 more compassionate allowance conditions to fast-track the process for applying for disability benefits.

Injury11_06082014There are now 200 conditions on the list of compassionate allowances, which include diseases and other serious medical conditions that automatically qualify an applicant for disability benefits if the criteria are met. Applicants with one of these conditions can receive a decision on their social security disability benefits within days rather than weeks.

Conditions on the list include certain types of cancers, brain disorders, and other severe health problems. These conditions are considered to be so severe that Social Security Administration examiners do not need to fully develop an applicant's work history to make a decision on the claim.

The new conditions added to the compassionate allowances list are:

1. Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
2. Adult Onset Huntington Disease
3. Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome
4. Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma
5. Aplastic Anemia
6. Beta Thalassemia Major
7. Bilateral Optic Atrophy - Infantile
8. Caudal Regression Syndrome - Types III and IV
9. Child T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma
10. Congenital Lymphedema
11. DeSanctis Cacchione Syndrome
12. Dravet Syndrome
13. Endometrial Stromal Sarcoma
14. Erdheim Chester Disease
15. Fatal Familial Insomnia
16. Fryns Syndrome
17. Fulminant Giant Cell Myocarditis
18. Hepatopulmonary Syndrome
19. Hepatorenal Syndrome
20. Jervell and Lange-Nielsen Syndrome
21. Leiomyosarcoma
22. Malignant Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor
23. Malignant Germ Cell Tumor
24. MECP 2 Duplication Syndrome
25. Menkes Disease - Classic or Infantile Onset Form
26. NFU-1 Mitochondrial Disease
27. Non-Ketotic Hyperglcinemia
28. Peritoneal Mucinous Carcinomatosis
29. Phelan- McDermid Syndrome
30. Retinopathy of Prematurity - Stage V
31. Roberts Syndrome
32. Severe Combined Immunodeficiency - Childhood
33. Sinonasal Cancer
34. Transplant Coronary Artery Vasculopathy
35. Usher Syndrome - Type I

Michael J. Astrue, commissioner of Social Security, said that nearly 200,000 people with severe disabilities have been approved for benefits quickly, usually within two weeks, through the compassionate allowances program since it began in 2008.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

If you have been denied for Social Security disability benefits, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

How can a worker tell if an employer has workers' compensation benefits?

In North Carolina, it should be as easy as knowing how many co-workers you have. As North Carolina Workers' Compensation Attorney Barry Jennings explains, under North Carolina law, every company that has three or more regular employees is required to carry workers' compensation insurance or be self-insured for workers' compensation coverage.

WorkersComp22_06042014Businesses who carry workers' compensation insurance or are self-insured are required by law to post a notice in your workplace. Employment notices are usually posted in common areas such as break rooms or other gathering spots.

However, not all businesses who are required to carry workers' compensation insurance in North Carolina do so. The Raleigh News & Observer published a report in April that as many as 30,000 companies in North Carolina do not have the required workers' compensation insurance. The newspaper also reported that some companies exploited a loophole in the law by classifying their employees as independent contractors and then purchasing a policy known as a "ghost policy" in which they purchased coverage for a single worker to be added to the payroll at a later date. The policy was meant to cover one of the "contractors" in the event of an injury.

The newspaper used public information to compile the report, and in response, legislators passed a law making this information confidential. Now, not even employees can find out if their employers have workers' compensation insurance. Lawmakers have said this was an unintended consequence of the law, and they have vowed to push for changes in the law.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

If you have been injured on the job and you have a question about whether your employer has workers' compensation benefits, you may need to call a lawyer to help you find out. 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 North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers may be able to help you.

What is Contributory Negligence and How Does It Affect My Personal Injury Claim?

Frustrated2_06042014When determining compensation for injuries in an accident, North Carolina is one of only a few states in which the contributory negligence of the plaintiff may result in a complete bar of the plaintiff's claim.

Here's how contributory negligence works:

Let's say that you are driving through an intersection and another car runs a red light or a stop sign, hitting your car. You had no stop sign or red light, and the other driver is clearly at fault. If you were speeding at the time or not following traffic rules in some other way, you may be found to have some responsibility for the accident -- otherwise known as contributory negligence.

In such an example, you would not be eligible for any compensation for damages to your car or for injuries that you suffered. Even if the other driver is 99 percent responsible for causing the accident, if you are found to be even 1 percent at fault, you will be unable to receive compensation for damages under North Carolina law.

You may be able to overcome the contributory negligence defense in some instances, such as being able to show that the person responsible was "willful and wanton" in the actions that caused the accident. Additionally, evidence of "gross" negligence on the part of the other party may overcome a plaintiff's contributory negligence.

North Carolina is one of only three states and the District of Columbia that recognize contributory negligence as a complete defense. Most other states consider comparative negligence, which assigns a percentage of compensation based on the percentage of responsibility assigned to each party.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

A qualified North Carolina personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights under the law and how contributory negligence may be a factor in your case. A lawyer may be able to help you overcome this defense if it is preventing you from getting compensation for your injuries caused by an accident that was not your fault.

Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

Raleigh News & Observer Reports that Advocates are Pushing N.C. Lawmakers to Create a Safety Net for Injured Workers

Raleigh_07032014Last April, the News & Observer reported that 30,000 or more employers do not carry the workers' compensation insurance required under North Carolina law, leaving thousands of workers vulnerable if they were to become injured on the job. The paper reports that advocates are now pushing North Carolina lawmakers to create a program that would provide a safety net for workers who are injured on the job and are unable to collect compensation from their employers.

The program would help workers who can't collect benefits because their employers did not have workers' compensation insurance and who then went out of business or just plain refused to pay the benefits. Some workers can fight their employer for years trying to get the benefits that the courts have ruled they deserve, only to have to rely on government programs such as Medicaid or food stamps in order to get the support they need.

The N&O reported that at least half of the states in the country have programs that offer compensation to workers who are hurt while working for companies that do not carry the required insurance. South Carolina has one such program, and it brings in about $18 million a year through a fee assessed on workers' compensation policies.

Advocates also suggest better enforcement of existing rules, including penalties for those who don't carry the insurance.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

If you have been injured on the job and your employer does not have the required workers' compensation insurance, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you fight to get the benefits you may deserve for your injuries. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out how one of our North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers attorneys may be able to help you.

North Carolina Lawmakers Vow to Reverse Decision on Workers' Compensation Law

Last April, the News & Observer produced a report that as many as 30,000 businesses in North Carolina failed to carry the workers' compensation insurance required by law, leaving employees at risk if they were hurt on the job. The paper used public information to compile the report, prompting legislators to pass a bill in July that made much of that information confidential.

WorkersComp15_07022014Some legislators say they didn't realize the bill would effectively block employees from finding out if their own employers carried workers' compensation insurance, and now some lawmakers say they want to reverse course.

Rep. Dale Folwell, a republican , told the News & Observer that he didn't know the provision would block employee access to the records, and he told a legislative committee meeting that "the legislature shouldn't seal information from employees."

Some legislators said the changes were made to protect insurance companies from competition on their rates.

This year, legislators said they expect to change the law again, though they are still unsure of how to protect some of the information while making it available to employees.

Legislators are also expected to take up the issue of so-called ghost policies this year. These policies are meant to provide coverage for one employee who may be hired in the future. They are often used by businesses to cover contractors or legitimate employees instead of buying protection for all workers.

North Carolina Workers' Compensation Lawyers

The North Carolina workers' compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin are here to help you if you have been injured on the job and have been denied workers' compensation benefits or have not been given the full benefits to which you feel you are entitled. Call 1-866-900-7078 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