Personal Injury Lawyer
Office Locations
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
1-866-900-7078
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

What You Need to Know About NC Lake Electrocutions

Electrocutions by drowning in a lake or pool are considered by some to be “freak accidents.” The reality is that they happen a lot more often than you might think, and are often the result of someone’s negligence.

Potential for Electrocution in NC Lakes, Rivers, Pools

Being electrocuted while swimming in a lake, river, or pool is not something you might consider when taking a refreshing dip. But it happens. A 17-year-old Raleigh lifeguard was electrocuted and drowned in 2017 when she tested the water at a public pool where she worked. Negligence and “shoddy workmanship” was alleged to be the reason the water became charged, and the parents have filed a lawsuit.

How Does Drowning by Electrocution Occur?

When you are swimming in water that becomes charged, your body seizes up and you are unable to move or swim away. One of the reasons you see "No Swimming" signs at public docks and marinas is to prevent electrocution by keeping swimmers at least 150 feet away from the dock, which authorities claim is usually a safe distance.

If you own a dock on Lake Norman, Lake Gaston, Kerr Lake, or on any NC waterway, or if you run electricity to any body of water, make sure a licensed electrician checks the wiring at least every two years. Incidentally electric shock can occur in any body of water, however, experts say fresh is more of a conductor than salt water.

Safety Tips to Help Deter Electrocutions in NC Lakes

  • Use a plastic ladder, rather than a metal one, so it won’t help to facilitate transfer electricity into the water
  • If you start to feel a tingle in the water, swim away from the dock, which is where most electrical issues occur
  • Check all of the wiring around your dock, including your ground fault circuit breaker.
  • Purchase a Dock Lifeguard, a device that detects electricity on your dock and in the water around your dock.

Electrocutions Can Happen Near Boats

Boats can have faulty wiring too, which can charge the water around it.  Two boys were electrocuted in a large lake while swimming between houseboats. It was determined that the wiring was faulty on one of the houseboats and it charged the water, killing one boy and severely injuring the other.

If you are a boat owner, you should have a marine electrician periodically check your boat’s wiring and fix any problems.

Electrocution Accidents, Injuries, Deaths

Electrocution is generally classified as death by electric shock. Yet, it also encompasses a wide range of injuries from contact with electricity. Here are the four primary types of electrocution injuries, as defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Muscle, nerve, and tissue destruction
  • Thermal burns from contact with an electrical source
  • Falling or other similar injuries associated from an electrical shock

If a person is electrocuted in the water and survives, they could potentially suffer long-term effects, including:

  • Headaches
  • Amnesia or short-term memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, aggression, and schizophrenia

Drowning by Electrocution Liability

Drownings by electrocution are almost always a result of negligence, including faulty equipment and poor maintenance, human error, poor workmanship. Potentially liable parties may include:

  • Property owners
  • Power companies
  • Equipment and boat operators
  • Contractors or operators responsible for repairs and past maintenance

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If your loved one drowned by electrocution or was injured by an electrical shock of any kind, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. You could be compensated for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or wrongful death.

Shocking Video Emphasizes Elder Abuse at Raleigh Nursing Home

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I admit that I had a few choice words when I viewed the WRAL video that caught Raleigh nursing home “caregivers” abusing a defenseless stroke patient.

This video needs no explanation. The actions it portrays can’t be “justified.” If I hadn’t been practicing law and developed a strong belief that most people are fundamentally good and well intentioned, this video may have put me over the edge.

Click here to view it. Fair warning: You may find the actions extremely disturbing.

30% of Nursing Homes Cited for Abuse

Nursing home abuse is real. So is neglect.

Reports of serious, physical, sexual, and verbal abuse are widespread among the nation’s nursing homes, according to a two-year congressional study. The study found that 30% of nursing homes in the United States, more than 5,000 facilities, were cited for nearly 9,000 instances of abuse during that time.

Worse, much of the abuse and neglect often go under reported because some patients are too frightened of repercussions and live in fear of retaliation from staff, management, even other patients. In one case, the report noted, attendants bribed a brain-damaged patient with cigarettes to attack another resident, then watched the two fight.

A National Institutes of Health report entitled Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America, quotes a certified nursing assistant justifying abuse:

“Oh, yeah. I've seen abuse. Things like rough handling, pinching, pulling too hard on a resident to make them do what you want. Slapping, that too. People get so tired, working mandatory overtime, short-staffed. It's not an excuse, but it makes it so hard for them to respond right.”

Signs of Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect

Some well-meaning loved ones may not recognize signs of abuse. We urge you – if you have a parent or loved one in a nursing home or with a caregiver, please take note of the following signs of potential neglect to look for:

Negligent Hiring of Nursing Home Staff

Nursing homes are obligated to hire qualified staff with the appropriate academic and other credentials for their particular position. Background checks are required and there should be no record of abuse or violence found in that background check. Yet, in many cases, we have discovered this has not always been the case.

Nursing Home Understaffing

Many nursing homes and senior care facilities are notoriously understaffed. They can potentially be liable if a resident suffers an injury or dies because of an inadequate number of caretakers to properly care for residents.

Inadequate Caregiver Training

Nursing homes and other senior care facilities can potentially be held accountable for injuries if their staff has not been provided proper training and a resident suffers an injury as a result.

Get a Free Case Evaluation from Experienced North Carolina Lawyers

If you feel your loved one has suffered elder abuse of any kind, contact us immediately or call 1-866-900-7078. Our North Carolina nursing home abuse lawyers can offer a free case evaluation for your unique circumstances.

Categories: Personal Injury

Potential Lawsuits Grow as GenX Concerns Escalate

If the increasing number of inquiries we have been getting from NC property owners are an indication of what’s to come, there’s a potentially massive property value issue in the southeastern portion of our state. And a potentially massive health crisis.

Property owners have been contacting us over fears of water contamination from GenX.

GenX is in the molecularly close-knit family of super toxins known as perfluoroalkyls and polyfluoroalkyls (PFAS), which are used to make Teflon-type products. The toxin has seeped from the DuPont Chemours Fayetteville plant into the Cape Fear River and has infiltrated wells and municipal water supplies in at least three counties. No one knows how to filter it out.

GenX is said to be so toxic that even one drop
dissolved into 20 Olympic sized pools may pose health risks. 

Contamination by the same family of chemicals may date back as far as 1980, according to a DuPont spokesperson. Experts are only scraping the surface of the potential for widespread harms after decades of contamination.

Just recently, additional testing by the state and Chemours has expanded contamination concerns to include air, rainwater, honey, wild game, and fruits and vegetables grown in the area.

Diminished Property Values in Wilmington, Pender, Brunswick, New Hanover

If you own property in the Wilmington area, or Pender, Brunswick, or New Hanover counties, your property values may be diminished 10% to 30% due to contaminated drinking water discovered in wells and municipal water treatment plants. You may not even be able to sell your property at all.

GenX. Same Toxic Chemical. Benign New Name.

GenX is the chemical cousin to DuPont’s C8, which poisoned tens of thousands of residents and livestock along the Ohio River Valley. DuPont recently settled lawsuits for over $670 million for knowingly releasing C8 into mid-Ohio Valley streams and tributaries that flowed into the Ohio River.

The U.S. government has since banned C8 from being produced in the U.S. because of its extreme toxicity and its ability to exist indefinitely in the environment. DuPont complied by discontinuing production of C8. Instead, they tinkered with its molecular structure to create a similar chemical, and gave it a new benign-sounding name – GenX.

You say potato, I say potaahto. No matter what you call it, this chemical is in the same toxic family of perfluoroalkyls and polyfluoroalkyls.

Is History Repeating Itself?

Is GenX to the Cape Fear River what C8 was to the Ohio River?

This is a thought-provoking question and no one knows the answer at this point. Studies are proliferating on the potential harms GenX may have already posed or could potentially pose to humans, animals, and the environment.

Here is what we do know. Many North Carolina residents may have been drinking and bathing in extremely contaminated water, potentially since 1980. Not only has this created a potential health issue, but property values may potentially be affected.

As a result, many North Carolina residents are suing the Chemours Company and DuPont.

 

Categories: Personal Injury

Hard Knocks Lawyer, Rosa Antunez, Knows How to Stand Up to Adversity for Clients

Personal injury attorney Rosa Antunez has been described as soft-spoken and even quiet at times. In a social setting she may come across as somewhat reserved. Don’t be fooled. She is anything but when fighting for her clients. Or when negotiating with insurance companies to try to get the maximum that her clients potentially deserve.

Rosa learned to fight for what she wanted early in life when her family was abruptly uprooted from their upper class Honduras lifestyle to relocate to America under much different circumstances.

Some people may have given up when faced with the obstacles Rosa has faced. Not Rosa – it is part of what has made her a highly effective attorney and tenacious client advocate. It is what has given her a heart to serve others – to try to bring justice to her clients who have been wronged.

We recently had an opportunity to sit down with Rosa to talk about what led her from Honduras to North Carolina, and what led her to want to become an attorney after working as a paralegal for many years.

What drove you to become an attorney?

I had worked as a paralegal since 2005, and it was so rewarding because you are in the trenches with the clients daily. You are doing much of the research, dealing with the medical providers and insurance companies. And you are a sounding board for injured people who really need a shoulder to lean on, sometimes to cry on.

I have a B.A. in psychology, and I grew up in a home with a mother who was a psychologist. Psychology was my first love, and to some extent still is. I've always loved to work with and help people try to overcome their struggles. Having that psychology background, I felt I was more equipped professionally to help people through their issues – which is a lot of what many paralegals I know face every day.

The more I worked with the attorneys, the more I realized how much of a difference I could make as an attorney with my unique background as a paralegal with a degree in psychology.

Once I began to go through law school, I understood the dynamics of why an attorney would make certain decisions that didn’t seem to make sense to me as a paralegal. It all started coming together in law school. Those puzzle pieces I was piecing together as a paralegal came together to give me the bigger picture as an attorney.

One of my professors in law school once confided, "Maybe we can't personally go out and change the laws as an attorney, but the way we change the entire system is by being an advocate for the people." As you're doing that, as you're actively taking these cases and advocating for them, fighting for them, then you're changing the system one client at a time rather than letting the system take them over.

I feel this is especially the case for women and immigrants. I immigrated from Honduras as a teenage girl, and I understand firsthand how the system can derail your plans.

What brought you to America from Honduras?

I loved growing up in Honduras. We had a very happy family life. My father owned a candy factory and my mother was a psychologist and full-time mom and she ran other businesses. Like many upper class families in Central America, we had live-in maids, chauffeurs, bodyguards. I never had to do chores! Although we did go down to my father’s candy factory to “help” wrap the candies – meaning we would wrap one, eat one.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch tore through Honduras. It was one of the deadliest hurricanes in history and destroyed most the infrastructure of Honduras – the economy, and thousands of businesses. Within a couple of years, my father lost his candy factory as a result of the widespread economic struggles the hurricane set into motion, and we could not pay our bills.

I’ll never forget how my parents faced this life altering devastation. They knew they had lost everything. There was no choice for us but to pack up what little we had left and move to Florida near relatives to start a new life.

Life as we had known it was over.

My parents’ attitude was “this too shall pass.” That kind of strength was ingrained in me my entire life, but to see my parents live it in real time really had an effect on how I would live my life.

When we arrived in Florida, my formerly wealthy, highly educated parents cleaned houses to make ends meet. My father used to always do a little something extra for his candy customers in Honduras. My parents did the same when they cleaned houses in Florida.  My father would leave flowers behind and my mother would engage with the customers. The customers appreciated the effort my parents gave and the caring they showed. Word of mouth spread and within just a couple of months, they were able to start their own cleaning business, which is very successful today.

Those are two things that have been engrained in me – never despair or give up, and always give that extra effort. And I definitely try to do that with my clients – even talking to people who call in and do not become clients. I often find myself offering them legal advice. Who knows, maybe they will need us one day for another legal matter.

How were things different for you in the U.S.?

Very different. I was a junior in high school when I first moved here. Fortunately I knew English, so I was able to graduate high school. But even though my parents had the money to send me to college, I was not legally allowed to attend college in the U.S. at that time because I was considered an “overstayed visitor.”

I took some classes, got married, moved to North Carolina, and eventually attended undergrad at UNC, which is where I got my psychology degree. I worked during college, so it took me twice as long to get my degree.

With a psychology degree, how did your path evolve to becoming a lawyer?

It was a tough road. Although it didn’t start out that way.

I got a full scholarship to law school. Then I became pregnant with my daughter. Two very happy moments in my life! I maintained my grades, but my daughter was born prematurely in the middle of my spring semester. Unfortunately, she was in the NICU for three weeks.  Plus, I had to have a blood transfusion, which kept me in the hospital for a week. I lost the scholarship because I was away from school for about a month. Not too long afterward, my husband and I divorced.

I needed a job and had experience as a paralegal. So I applied here at James Scott Farrin. I was very blessed to be able to find this law firm. I worked as a paralegal and was able to go back to law school and finish my law degree. For the first time in my life, I feel as though I am where I was meant to be.

What are you to your clients? How do you connect?

I thrive off being a no-nonsense advocate for my clients. Especially when some insurance companies try to play semantics’ games, and belittle my client’s situation, as in this case I handled for a client injured by a drunk driver.

My client was hit by a drunk driver, but thankfully escaped with relatively minor injuries. The drunk driver was charged with a DUI. However, that driver was not convicted due to a technicality (despite being several times over the legal limit). As expected, the insurance adjuster low-balled my client on the recovery offer. While a low offer is expected, what got to me was that the adjuster had the unmitigated gall to laugh about my client’s injury claims. Actually laughed at the suffering of another human being! When I subsequently demanded policy limits because of the egregious behavior of the drunk driver, the defense attorney’s response was, “We all have bad days.” Suffice it to say that the defense attorney had a bad day, too – when I forced the insurance company’s hand to pay my client the policy limits*.

Don’t disrespect another human being. And don’t laugh at the expense of my client’s misfortune.

What are some encouraging words you have lived by?

My parents used to always tell us, “This too shall pass.” And that is what I try to impart to my clients. No matter how bad a situation they may find themselves in, it will eventually pass.

Who or what has influenced you most?

I would have to say my parents. They have taught me to always strive to do better. I am the third of four children. My parents have told me my whole life that ... their first kid was a girl, their second kid was a boy, so they were learning how to be parents with them. I'm the first one they really got to relax with and enjoy. I grew up being their sweetheart. But they were (and still are) very strict. They have always pushed me to do better. I would get A's, and I would get a 96, and my dad would say, "You could have gotten a 100." Not enough.

I watched them hold fast in the face of major adversity and disaster. They didn’t miss a beat. They just kept on faithfully believing that “this too shall pass.”

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

Victim of a Drunk Driver? Let Us Help You Fight for Compensation.

Drunk driving accidents can often have tragic outcomes for victims as well as for the drunk driver.

Victims could suffer permanent and crippling injuries and potentially lose their lives. Drunk drivers who cause the accidents could have their lives derailed due to criminal charges. Even civil charges can have life-long and ruinous financial consequences.

One recent collision illustrates how tragic drunk driving accidents can be, and it underscores the importance of preventing drunk driving collisions.

If you do enjoy an adult beverage or two,
click here to contact one of North Carolina’s sober ride services.

They take you AND your car home.


Tragic Consequences for North Carolina Drunk Drivers

The News & Observer reported on an impaired driving collision which could result in the driver spending 70 years in prison. The driver, a Goldsboro resident, was charged with multiple felonies after a collision he caused in Raleigh led to six people injured and three deaths. The crash happened at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Highroads Boulevard in Raleigh.

The impaired driver was in a 1995 SUV traveling approximately 50 miles per hour. He lost control of the vehicle and struck a light pole, a street sign, and a tree before overturning.

Seven people were inside the SUV at the time of the collision – one of the victims who died was sitting in the driver’s lap at the time of the collision. The victims who were killed were just 22, 21, and 18. Two of the victims were thrown from the vehicle as a result of the force of the impact.

The driver, just 22-years-old, was convicted of three counts of aggravated felony serious injury by vehicle, as well as three counts of aggravated felony death by vehicle. Each felony could potentially carry a lengthy prison sentence, and he is facing 17 years in prison for each death and seven years for each serious injury if found guilty. His father, who is a pastor, indicated he would be paying for the victims and the families of the victims who were killed and injured in the accident.

When I read this story, I couldn’t help but wonder how the drunk driver’s father plans to pay for the victims who died and their families. Our attorneys and paralegals have dealt with hundreds of drunk driving cases. Believe me. We try to leave no stone unturned when it comes to compensation for injuries and deaths. There is not enough money in the world to compensate for the death of a child.

Tragic Endings for Victims and Families

Our firm handled a drunk driving claim for the family of a father and husband whose life was cut off in one instant because of a drunk driver. A negligent driver.

This father and husband was in his car, stopped in traffic. The drunk driver had left work early in the day to go drinking with his friends. He was so drunk that he didn’t even slow down when he plowed right into the rear of our client's car. The impact was so forceful the victim was ejected and killed on impact. The victim who was a pillar of his community left behind a devastated wife and young children. This one irresponsible, irreversible event plunged his family into a downward spiral.

We went after everything we could to help ease this family’s financial burden to try to get them a settlement that would help pay for therapy, loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and punitive damages, among other things*.

Getting behind the wheel after drinking is not only irresponsible, it is not worth it. Yet people do it anyway. A lot.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Traffic Safety Facts reported that in 2013, every 52 minutes a death occurred as a result of a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08 or higher. That equates to more than 10,000 children, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, grandparents, sisters, brothers – loved ones – whose lives were cut short. Those deaths represented one-third of all traffic deaths. One third!

What Does a BAC of 0.08 Mean?

In North Carolina a BAC of 0.08 is the legal limit of the amount of alcohol you can consume before you are considered too drunk to drive. That is about four standard drinks in one hour for a 170-lb. man or three drinks in an hour for a 140-lb. woman.

But why would anyone push the envelope with so many sober ride services throughout North Carolina, including Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, Fayetteville and surrounding communities.

Most of these sober ride services make it very convenient by taking you and your car home.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From NC Personal Injury Lawyers

Drunk driving accidents are cases of negligence plain and simple, and we will try to pursue every avenue for compensation for you. If you or a loved one was injured by a drunk driver contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Damages may include:

  • Medical costs, lost wages, disability, and pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages for reckless disregard for life
  • Liability of the bar, restaurant, or person that served an inebriated person
  • Liability of a party host who served alcohol, particularly to a minor

 

*Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The outcome of a particular case cannot be predicated upon a lawyer's or a law firm's past results.

5 Common Reasons People Call Tow Trucks (And How to Avoid Them)

A colleague was sharing her recent experience of driving over a curb which lacerated her tire. She called AAA, and a tow truck driver towed her car to a repair shop.

While riding in the tow truck with the driver she shared an interesting conversation about how the majority of the calls the driver responds to are from stranded motorists who could have prevented their situation with a modicum of planning and foresight. And common sense.

Here are five things her tow truck driver said he wished all drivers would be mindful of to help them avoid the hassle of having to have their cars towed.

E does not mean Everywhere

When your fuel gauge is on E, stop and get gas. Better yet, he advised, get gas when you have a quarter of a tank left. First, running out of gas can be unsafe in today’s cars because when the engine quits so does your ability to steer the car. He added that running out of gas can be damaging to your engine too because the sediment that settles to the bottom of your gas tank can get sucked into the engine and possibly cause the fuel line to freeze. Fixing that is a lot more expensive than a tank of gas.

If your Check Engine light comes on…

…check your engine. The driver emphasized that this distress call represents the majority of calls he receives. He likened the Check Engine light to a toothache. If you ignore it, it can get worse, cause more problems, and potentially be more expensive to fix. This type of call could almost always have been avoided in the first place, he added. If your Check Engine lights illuminates, he advised, first pull over in a safe place and check to see if your gas cap is loose. (A loose cap sends an error message to the car's computer.) If the gas cap is loose tighten it and continue driving. The light should eventually go off. If it does not, get your engine checked by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible.

Locking your keys in the car

Who has not forgotten their keys, misplaced them, or locked them in the car? The tow truck driver offered what he referred to as a “no brainer” solution that costs less than $5.00. He suggests purchasing a magnetic key holder and affixing it underneath the rear bumper of your car. This simple device can save you the time and headache of having to call AAA, or the expense of summoning a locksmith.

Dead battery is easy to prevent

The tow truck driver said that when he tows cars with a dead battery, the owners will often seem surprised that the battery died. He said he usually askes them one question, “Have you noticed your car has been hard to crank or turn over lately?” That is the first sign that you need to replace your car battery. There are other signs too, but they may not always indicate a battery drawing its final few breaths. They are worth mentioning: an engine that cranks but won’t start; an engine that starts intermittently; an engine that has trouble starting in cold weather; having to have the car jumped frequently. If you see any of these signs, take your car to have the battery’s charge tested. If the voltage is low it’s time for a new battery.

Worn tires need replacing sooner than you think

If you have a penny you can ascertain whether your tires are worn or bald. Place your penny head first into some of the tread grooves on your tire. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn and probably need replacing. Bald tires are particularly dangerous because of the potential for shredding and blow outs, which can cause an accident. And they are more likely to hydroplane in wet weather. Additionally, when there is less tread there is less traction to grip the road when braking and in wintry weather. For less than $5.00 you can purchase a tire tread depth gauge to more accurately measure your tread. A tire is considered bald when one or more of the treads shows 2/32 of an inch. Interestingly, consumerreports.org considers tires unsafe before you can see the top of Lincoln’s head. They say that tires can give up a significant amount of grip even at the halfway point, and they suggest replacing your tires when the tread reaches 4/32 of an inch.

“Move over/slow down”

It’s the law in North Carolina to move over and slow down when you see an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of the road. If you’re on a four-lane highway you are required to move to the inner most lane of that highway. If you’re on a two-lane, road you’re supposed to come to either a complete stop, go left of center, or reduce your speed. This tow truck driver had been a firefighter before he decided to drive a tow truck as a result of an injury he suffered while fighting a fire. He said sometimes being on the side of the road with cars and trucks whizzing by too closely can be more frightening than running into a burning building. At least there’s some predictability in fighting fires. With all the distracted drivers on the road, he said he never knows when someone might crash into him because they are distracted.

I hope you have learned as much as I did from this tow truck driver’s experiences and common-sense advice. While there will always be emergency situations that may call for a tow truck, at least these five non-emergency situations can sometimes be prevented with a little planning.

FREE Hands-On Safe Driving Training for North Carolina Teens

More teens died in North Carolina car accidents in 2016 than compared to previous years. WRAL reported on the troubling statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Administration showing that car crashes and accident-related fatalities are becoming more likely among young drivers in North Carolina.

A common reason for teen car crashes and deaths is distraction from other passengers. There’s a reason North Carolina law limits the number of passengers and their ages in cars driven by teens.

It is dangerous!

Teen Car Accident Risk Rises With Additional Passengers

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety published a comprehensive report on how dangerous it is for young people to have teen passengers under the age of 21 with them while they are driving. The report showed that if a teenager has one other passenger in the car with them who is 21 or under and there are no older passengers in the car, the risk of a collision for a 16 or 17 year old driver is 44% greater per vehicle mile driven as compared with a teen driver who doesn't have younger passengers in the car. With two or more passengers, the risk of a collision is doubled and with three or more passengers you can quadruple that risk.

FREE Hands-On Driving Course for NC Teens

Hands-on teen driving courses geared toward teens may be able to help teen drivers become more aware of the real dangers they face from passenger distractions as well as other safety hazards, such as hydroplaning and skidding, veering off the road, etc.

One such driving safety course offered to teenagers in Raleigh, Charlotte, and surrounding areas (including other states) is Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe).

B.R.A.K.E.S is a national non-profit organization offering
behind-the-wheel training in advanced safety maneuvers for teens, and it is FREE*.

The instructors are professional drivers who are or have been involved in drag racing, law enforcement, or movie stunt driving. The school is AAA-approved, endorsed by the National Coalition for Safer Roads, and Consumer Reports listed the organization among its preferred list of defensive driving schools. KIA sponsors the school by supplying the cars the teens drive during training.

B.R.A.K.E.S is headquartered in Charlotte and offers monthly training courses at the Zmax Dragway at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as well as periodically in the Raleigh area. Click here to sign up for Raleigh courses.

Attorney Brian Clemmons enrolled his teen daughter in a B.R.A.K.E.S course. “She had been somewhat of an insecure driver,” Brian said. “And frankly I wasn’t totally comfortable having her drive in certain situations. This course, I feel, helped develop her confidence on the road. You could see how her self-assurance soared and she became a much better driver immediately after taking it.”

The course exposes your teen to the following hazards while driving a car, but in the safety of a large protected area.

Distraction Exercise

Your teen will be taught how difficult it is to negotiate a tightly coned course while the instructor distracts them. The course is designed to demonstrate just how dangerous cell phones, text messaging, music, traffic, and friends in the car can be.

Accident Avoidance/Slalom Exercise

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

Drop Wheel/Off Road Recovery Exercise

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

Panic Stop Exercise

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

Car Control and Recovery Exercise

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

If you are unable to attend a Raleigh class, the school offers classes once a month in Charlotte. Or you can access the B.R.A.K.E.S 2018 schedule for upcoming Raleigh and Charlotte courses.

NC Attorneys Evaluate Car Accidents FREE

Many of us are parents and we understand how much is at stake when our teens get behind the wheel. If your teen has been in an accident due to the fault of another person, click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE over the phone or online.

 

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

Injured While Cycling? Why You May Need Legal Protection (From Your Insurance Company)

I am an avid bicyclist. I ride trails. I cycle in triathlons. And sometimes I commute to work. I appreciate the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s efforts to build more bike-friendly roadways, such as complete streets that help promote cycling and make it potentially safer and more convenient. On the other hand, a 2014 article in the Ashville Citizen Times reported North Carolina ranks among the nation’s top 10 “most dangerous states for cyclists.” I understand why. I have seen a rise in the number of distracted drivers and this concerns me.

Rising Bicycle Accidents Put North Carolina Riders at Risk

North Carolina cyclists need to be aware of what to do in the event of a cycling accident, and how to protect both their health and their legal rights.

Protecting Your Health

The most important step an injury victim can take toward recovery is to ensure that the proper medical attention is administered as soon as the accident occurs and throughout the recovery process.

If urgent symptoms are not immediately noted, accident victims should nonetheless consult with their primary care provider just to be safe. The head of our medical review department, Naa Atsoi Adu-Antoh, urges anyone who has sustained a personal injury to have a medical evaluation to see if there are any potential issues that may be underlying. If your condition worsens over time and you have to make a medical claim, this initial documentation is largely what insurance companies use to determine the extent of your injuries.

Naa is an attorney as well as a Johns Hopkins-educated and trained nurse. She explains, “When you're in an accident there's a lot going on in your body, and sometimes you may not feel pain right away, especially with soft tissue injuries. Your body is reacting on adrenaline, and adrenaline helps keep pain away for a while."

Or maybe you're like many of us and are just too busy to go to the doctor for what you think is just a skinned and bruised knee. That skinned and bruised knee could turn into something else when you start overcompensating for it.

The longer you wait to go to the doctor about your pain, the more you could be hurting your recovery and your legal case, if you have one.

Ongoing medical care is often required after an accident. This may involve consultations with specialists, medical pain management, physical therapy, or chiropractic services. Accident victims should carefully consult with their providers to determine which specific services are right for them. Injuries which are not properly treated may tend to get worse over time.

Protecting Your Legal Rights to Claims for Damages

When officers respond to the scene of the accident, they will often take statements from everyone who was involved as well as witnesses. Give the police a concise statement including just the facts of the accident. Make sure to ask how you can obtain a copy of the police report once it has been completed. If possible, tangible evidence such as photographs, video, and audio recordings can go a long way toward trying to present the best possible evidence for your personal injury litigation. Smartphones have made it increasingly easy to take photographs and video recordings of an accident scene.

Injury victims should also be sure to document any symptoms or losses caused by the accident. These can include physical injuries – such as bruises, scars, and cuts – and should be documented to help support your personal injury claim.

And make sure to photograph and document damages to your bike, and preserve the bike if you can. Some bikes can cost thousands of dollars. Whether your bike needs to be repaired or replaced, the insurance adjuster may have little knowledge of the real value of certain bikes.

Keep a record of any time missed from work as a result of the accident to help support your claim for lost wages, if you have one.

In today’s instantaneous digital society, it is highly tempting to want to update friends with news of an accident or injury, but this can sometimes compromise your personal injury claim. We would caution you from posting any information about the accident or recovery on social media until your claim has been settled or resolved at trial. We have known some insurance companies to troll social media accounts in an effort to find any evidence they can use to try to minimize or deny your claim for damages.

Once you leave the scene of the accident, it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon possible. Statements made on the scene of the accident and to an insurance representative can be used against you. So keep conversation to a minimum and stick to the facts only.

Insurance companies will contact you after an accident to obtain a recorded statement of what happened at the scene. While this is a necessary step in the investigative process, the recorded statement can sometimes be a trap for the unwary. Insurance adjusters may use the recorded statement against the claimant when it comes time to settle for monetary damages.

Your best course of action with regard to a recorded statement is to let an attorney handle it for you. Or at least we can be on a three-way call with you, so we can object to any potentially damaging questions.

NC Bicycling Accident Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you or someone you love has been injured in a cycling accident, contact one of our bicycle accident attorneys as soon as possible. Click here to contact us right away (24/7) or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

10 Ways to Try to Prevent Rear-End Crashes in North Carolina

During my commutes to and from work every day, it never fails to amaze me just how many people drive in ways that could all too quickly end up in a rear-end car crash situation. As a personal injury lawyer, we see how people’s lives can change for the worse in one split second, just because they became a victim of a rear-end crash or other car injury.

Rear-end crashes make up almost half of the car accidents in the U.S.

According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions. Drivers and passengers are at risk of being severely hurt due to rear-end accidents. No one knows this better than personal injury lawyers.

We have represented hundreds of clients who have been injured – sometimes seriously – as a result of rear-end collisions. One client^, a mother, was simply driving home from work one afternoon, stopped in traffic when a distracted driver rear-ended her so hard she was ejected out of the car and killed.

Then there’s the story of Tony who was also rear-ended. He had been “living the dream” before he lost everything as a result of a distracted driver rear-ending him at a high rate of speed. Read Tony’s story here.

10 Ways to Reduce Chances of Rear-End Crashes

The prevention of rear-end accidents is the responsibility of every driver every time they get behind the wheel. Here are ten tips drivers should remember to try to reduce the chances of a rear-end accident.

  1. Don't tailgate. We all know what tailgating is and we know we should not do it. Tailgating is reckless and dangerous. It is rude. And it can often be avoided. If you tailgate and leave too short of a stopping distance, there's a very real chance you will end up hitting another car and you could be blamed for causing an accident.
  2. Check your mirrors often. Look to see what the drivers behind you are doing and if they will be able to stop in time.
  3. Leave two to three car lengths between you and the car stopped ahead of you. If someone from behind is going to crash into you, you may have enough room to push forward without rear-ending the car in front of you.
  4. Don't stop short or cut people off. When a driver slams on their brakes suddenly and unexpectedly or suddenly changes lanes or pulls in front of another vehicle, cars around them may not have time to react. This can result in a rear-end accident. Try to always be aware of cars around you and try to anticipate their moves.
  5. Go the speed limit and try to maintain a steady speed. Drivers who slow suddenly can cause a car following them to hit them.  A driver who goes too fast also faces an increased chance of hitting another motorist who is in front of his vehicle. Faster speeds mean more momentum, which results in a longer stopping distance and makes rear-end crashes more likely. These types of accidents can also result in more serious injuries.
  6. Pay careful attention at all times. All motorists need to pay careful attention to what is going on in front of them to avoid having to hit the brakes suddenly. Stay off cell phones and avoid using other distracting devices – even maps.
  7. Look a few cars ahead of you in anticipation of what may happen. If you see cars braking up ahead it gives you more time to brake and allows the car behind you to begin braking (assuming they are paying attention). If you are behind a truck stay back until you can see the driver’s face in his side mirror. If you can see his face, he can see you. And stay out of the trucker’s blind spots. Truckers have a lot of them. Directly in front of the truck (because of the long hood). Directly behind the truck. And especially on the right side of the truck. Click here for more safety tips for driving near big-rigs.
  8. Check your brake lights periodically.
  9. If you are being tailgated don’t brake to try to get them to back off. This can result in a rear-end situation and, depending on the driver’s demeanor, it could make them angry and lead to road rage. Simply try to move to another lane when safe to do so.
  10. Avoid drunk or drowsy driving. Both drunk and drowsy driving can make it harder to pay attention to what is going on with other cars and can cause delayed reaction time, which makes rear-end accidents much more likely to occur. If you have been drinking call a sober ride home service. Many in North Carolina will take you and your car home. And if you become tired while driving, stop to rest for about 20 minutes. A recent AAA Foundation  study found that one in five fatal auto accidents involved drowsy drivers. Click here for tips on what to do if you begin to feel drowsy while behind the wheel.

NC Car Crash Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation for Rear-End Crashes

If you were injured in a rear-end accident, contact us right away or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer received
3.5 times more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own*.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

^Client identities have been removed or changed to protect their privacy

 

5 Things You Should Never Say to an Insurance Adjuster

When you’re involved in a car wreck, are injured, or make a claim for property damage, the insurance company you make a claim against will put you in the capable hands of an insurance adjuster.

Not necessarily “good hands.” But very capable hands. Capable of doing everything the insurance company has trained them to do in their efforts to pay out as little money to you as possible.

Generally within a few days you will get a call from a friendly-sounding voice wanting to “just get a bit of information…” “hear your side of the story.”

They need to make sure your story sounds plausible. And for good reason.

Insurance Fraud Costs You in Higher Premiums

Part of an insurance adjuster’s job is to try to root out fraud. According to the FBI, insurance fraud (excluding health insurance) costs more than $40 billion a year. Why does that concern you? Insurance companies aren’t going to take the hit. You do. By paying premium hikes of between $400 and $700 annually.

So when someone says they hit a deer, you want to make sure the insurance adjuster questions that claimant in an effort to find evidence a deer was indeed the cause of that car’s broken headlight and crunched fender and side panel. And not that the driver rammed into the side of his garage at 2 a.m. coming home from a party. The difference could mean whether your insurance rates may possibly go up. If you hit a deer, your damages are covered under a comprehensive claim, which generally won’t cause your rates to go up. If you swiped the side of your garage, damages are covered under a collision claim – and that may cause your rates to go up.

Why Is the Insurance Adjuster Calling You?

You can have more than one adjuster to deal with. Many insurance companies have specialty adjusters.  Some adjusters only investigate. Some deal with injury. Others specialize in negotiating and speaking with attorneys. You may also deal with property damage adjusters who only handle vehicle damages.  These types of adjusters may be further specialized. One could be the estimating adjuster and another might be the one who pays you for damages.

But all adjusters have one thing in common.

Adjusters work for the insurance company, and their job is to try to pay out as little as they can to keep their employer happy.

Listening Between the Lines

In the interest of full disclosure I rarely, if ever, advise my clients to speak with an insurance adjuster for a recorded statement. I have found that, for the most part, these recorded statements have not been in the best interest of my clients – but have more to do with obtaining information that the insurance company could potentially use later to try to minimize payment or deny a claim altogether. All cases and facts are different, so it is important you talk with an experienced personal injury attorney before giving information to the insurance company.

But if you do happen to speak with an adjuster, you can be assured they are trained in active listening. It is important that what you say to them is true, factual, succinct, and not editorialized as in “He came out of nowhere.”

1. Where is Nowhere?

We have former insurance adjusters on our staff who worked for insurance companies for many years before they came to us. They tell us the inside joke among adjusters is they want to know where Nowhere is. Claiming someone “came out of nowhere” may lead an adjuster to wonder if you were paying attention.

2. “He had to have been speeding.”

Another editorialized comment our former adjusters often heard “almost on a daily basis” was, “They had to have been speeding.” Usually this is in reference to pulling out from a stop sign or a green light. Those active listening skills kick in causing the adjuster to question, if the other guy was speeding and they got so close to you, then why did you pull out? That screams you were not paying attention. The adjuster is taking detailed “notes to self” while you are offering damaging information without realizing it. Later, when negotiation time comes, these off-hand comments could come back to haunt you.

3. “The next thing you know they hit me.”

North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, so if someone is able to show you are even 1% at fault, you may not get compensation. Let’s say the police report showed a clear cut liability issue with the other driver. Don’t inadvertently say something that might give the adjuster an opportunity to twist your words. "Well, I saw him in the intersection and the next thing you know he hit me." You may have had the right of way, but if you saw the other car, you should have had time to stop or react. The police report may say you’re not at fault, but you just gave yourself contributory negligence by admitting to the adjuster that you were partially at fault. The adjuster can then deny liability and not pay your claim based on your statement.

4. “My light turned green so I just pulled off.”

Did you look left? Did you look right? That adjuster can very well deny your case because, without realizing it, you admitted you did not look before entering into the intersection. You may have had the last clear chance to avoid the collision.

5. “I was coming from a friend's house."

Seriously? There are a whole lot of “friends” in North Carolina who seem to enjoy having company until 4 a.m., judging from the number of times adjusters have heard that one. If you were not coming from a friend’s house, don’t say you were.

First of all, when you speak with an adjuster or any insurance representative you want to be credible and honest in all your answers. Not only is it the right thing to do, but your credibility can be a powerful weapon in your defense – especially if you have to go to court.

Adjusters have ways of getting at the truth when they think you are not being truthful. They may follow up with more questions: “How long were at your friend’s house? What were you doing? Had you been drinking? How many drinks did you have?” These are just for starters.

We Can Help You Give Your Statement to the Adjuster

As I said, I almost always advise my clients against giving a recorded statement to the insurance adjuster because I have found it can do more harm to the client.

Yet some come to us after they have already given a statement. There are so many ways we’ve seen innocent North Carolina car wreck victims hurt their case by talking to an insurance adjuster without realizing how some of their statements may be misinterpreted.

We can help you prepare to speak truthfully about your car accident, but in ways that may not necessarily harm your case. If we feel a recorded statement is in your best interest, we can be on the call with you to try to make sure the adjuster does not take advantage or twist your words.  If a written statement about the events of your car wreck is the best option, we can coordinate with you to try to come up with something that would help protect your rights.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From N.C. Car Wreck Attorneys

If you or someone you care about was injured in a car wreck and an adjuster wants to “just get a bit more information,” contact an experienced North Carolina car wreck lawyer before giving any statement. You don’t want to say anything that may inadvertently damage your case before getting a professional evaluation.

Contact us now for a free case evaluation to see if we can help or call us at 1-866-900-7078.

Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal
injury lawyer to represent them received 3.5X more compensation for their loss
than they would have on their own*.

* Insurance Research Council 1999

 

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

4325 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

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

Fayetteville Law Office

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

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

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

Greensboro Law Office

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

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078