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Get More from Insurance. Ask for Diminished Value for Your Wrecked Car

One of the benefits of being a plaintiff’s attorney is that I am able to advocate for the “little guy” against Big Insurance and Big Corporations. It’s quite humbling and rewarding to know I can help empower others to stand up to “the powers that be” to try to get what they may be potentially owed.

So in the interest of empowering the general public, I’d like to go on record to out a widespread tactic that some insurance companies use that prevents their claimants from recovering millions of dollars a year.

Non reimbursement for diminished value claims.

What Is a Diminished Value Claim?

Have you ever heard of a diminished value claim? I didn’t think so. That’s what some insurance companies may bank on. And they likely won’t bring it up to you. (That’s more money they get to keep, you see.) It is one of the insurance company’s dirty little secrets and it can be a real money maker for them – millions of dollars a year.

Diminished value claims allow you to recover the difference between the car’s pre-accident value and the value of the car after it has been repaired. Let’s say, for example, a car that has never been in a wreck may be worth $20,000 at resale, but worth thousands less if it had been in a car wreck and repaired. The difference in those two amounts would be the diminished value claim.

Although you pay for diminished value through your insurance premiums, the insurance company may not necessarily pay you for it after an accident. We have had clients come to us who have asked their insurance company to pay them diminished value, but were low-balled on the amount. They had to get us involved to try to recover what they were potentially rightfully owed – something they had paid for year after year in their premiums.

This is money the insurance companies often keep – money that might be yours!

ABC11 Talks to Hoyt Tessener About Diminished Value Claims

Senior Litigation Attorney, Hoyt Tessener, was featured in a news report on ABC11 about diminished value claims after a car crash. Click here to view Hoyt’s interview with ABC11.

As car wreck attorneys we see this money being left on the table A LOT. We almost always have to ask for diminished value reimbursement when demanding recovery for damages. If we take your NC car wreck injury case, we will evaluate whether you may have a diminished value claim. If so, we will negotiate with the insurance company to try to get them to pay for all the damages you are potentially due by law.

We think it is important for people to know that they may be entitled to diminished value payment if their vehicle has been wrecked due to an accident that was not their fault. (Diminished value claims are void if the accident was your fault.)

Get a Free Case Evaluation From NC Car Wreck Lawyers

If you have been injured in an NC auto crash and we accept your personal injury claim, we will try to determine if you may have a diminished value claim as well. Contact us, or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

PS… Click here for another relatively unknown secret some insurance companies may not admit to. This secret could put your life in jeopardy or potentially leave you liable for another person’s injuries.

Eating While Driving Increases Crash Probability 80%

Next time you pass someone on the road who is texting while driving, don’t be so quick to judge. At least, not if you have ever eaten a burger or sipped a soda while you were driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that eating is more distracting while driving than using a cell phone to text or talk.

But… you justify to yourself. This goes against every soccer mom’s weekly routine. Every morning rush-hour commuter. Every family road trip. Every tired trucker.

Every American.

Eating on the go has become as American as apple pie. Thanks to the drive-thru, eating in our cars has become commonplace – routine, even. It is woven into the frenzied fabric of our everyday lives so intricately that we don’t think twice about it, let alone consider it a “distraction.” Yet many of us have never stopped to consider if we may be putting others (or ourselves and our passengers) in harm’s way as we careen down the I-40 in a minivan full of little sluggers, while we force down yet another McNugget.

How Bad Is Eating Behind the Wheel?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that eating and driving increases the likelihood of crashes by 80%. And a mindboggling 65% of near-miss crashes are caused by distracted drivers who are eating or drinking.

Yet eating on the go in our cars is pervasive. The fast-food drive-thru is so ingrained in American culture there’s even a national holiday celebrating it. July 24th every year. Here are some startling facts:

  • Over 40% of Americans visit a fast food restaurant every week and 20% visit twice a week.
  • There are over 160,000 fast food restaurants in the U.S.
  • These fast food restaurants serve roughly 50 million Americans every day and bring in $100 billion in annual revenues.
  • A Stanford University study says that over 20% of American’s meals are eaten in the car.

Why Eating Behind the Wheel Is So Distracting

There are a whole lot of reasons why eating and driving is so dangerous. One major reason is that when you eat behind the wheel you are multitasking big time. Click here for some surprising insight into just how little it takes for us to become unfocused while multitasking. (Spoiler alert. You’re not as good at it as you thought you were.)

Two Hands

Eating and driving almost always leads to driving without both hands on the steering wheel.  Drivers must unwrap fast food items, apply sauce packets and condiments, clean up spills and crumbs, throw away trash, and more – all while trying to steer the car.

Even if you bring your own food to eat in the car, you are most likely handling lunch boxes with zippers that get stuck or Tupperware with lids that won’t open. Your hands are busy. But not busy doing what they should be doing, which is driving.

Eyes Off the Road

If your hands are off the wheel when you’re eating, your eyes probably are too. What happens when a pickle falls off your burger? Our eyes (and hands) are trying to find that pickle instead of trying to stay on our side of the road. And chances are your mind is not on your driving at all at this point. It is on that pickle.

With your eyes off the road, you most likely will not notice changes in road patterns or road conditions, road signs and warning signs, or even other drivers who may be trying to find their own pickle while driving.

Slower Reaction Times

With your hands, eyes, and mind off the road your reaction time will naturally be much slower. This contributes to the potential for collisions as drivers cannot always react in time to make the necessary maneuvers to avoid car accidents.

One university study found that drivers’ reaction times when eating dropped by over 40% compared to their non-distracted counterparts.

Distracted driving, which includes eating while driving, also slowed down younger drivers’ reaction times to that of a 70-year-old.

Passengers With Food

We know that having rambunctious or loud passengers can result in distractions. But we don’t often think about how passengers who are eating can affect our ability to focus. Driving-Tests.org states:

“A backseat full of friends chowing down on burgers and fries can be just as distracting as enjoying some drive-thru fare yourself. The smells and sounds of passengers eating while you are attempting to concentrate on the important task of driving, not to mention offers of fries and ‘bites,’ can tempt you to turn around and take your eyes off the road.”

Car Clutter and Food Wrappers

Every time you pick up fast-food, you are left with a pile of paper bags, napkins, empty cups, straw wrappers, and more. Oftentimes, this trash is tossed to the floorboard to be picked up “later.” “Later” typically takes a while to come around, and slowly, the food wrappers and trash on your floorboards can create a hazardous cluttered environment. Have you ever had a water bottle roll around your car? That bottle could easily get caught between your brake pedal and the floorboard.

According to one insurance company:

  • Loose objects can fly through the air if you have to stop suddenly – creating 20X the punch they normally would, and this punch can cause injuries to you and your passengers.
  • Loose objects rolling around your car can be distracting all by themselves. Garbage from food or drink can pose health hazards, becoming home to nasty bacteria that generally increase in hot weather. This can lead to multiple health problems, including E.coli.

Even an odor (rotting food and trash) or sight (trash piling up and making your car an eyesore) can be distracting and take your mind and eyes off the road.

Tips to Try to Avoid Eating and Driving

Treating your vehicle like a dining room is asking for more than just a big mess. Here are some tips to avoid the mess – and the potential mess of dealing with car crash.

Eat Before You Leave

Wake up a few minutes earlier and eat your granola bar before getting in your car and heading to work. It may be slightly less convenient, but I can guarantee you it is way more convenient than dealing with a car wreck.

Make Your Car a Snack-Free Zone

Keep snacks like granola bars or fruit snacks out of your car. Some people keep snack foods in the glove compartment or center console. But if you don’t have food there, you won’t be tempted to eat it in a non-emergency setting like when you’re driving.

Eat in the Parking Lot or the Restaurant

Eating in a parking lot or in the restaurant – or even pulling off the road to eat a snack – could save a life (even yours) by keeping you focused on your driving.

The 10 Worst Foods to Eat Behind the Wheel

If you absolutely have to eat behind the wheel, try to make the situation less distracting by using more accessible containers, keeping your trash in check, and avoiding certain messy foods. Here’s a list of the 10 worst foods to eat while driving, as reported by Drive-safely.net.

Chocolate – It may not be as bad as other foods because it isn’t something you can spill. But chocolate can leave stains and fingerprints which tempt us to clean them up, which is another major distraction when driving.

Soda – Any drinks can be distracting because you risk a real mess if you spill. Soda, because of its sticky nature, may be one you want to avoid, especially opening the can. We’ve all gotten sprayed with Sprite or Diet Coke, and it is not something that we want to happen in our car.

Donuts – Jelly, cream-filled, or powered donuts can lead to a messy end-result. Use that willpower and resist the Krispy Kreme drive-thru on your next road trip.

Fried Chicken – Fried chicken is greasy. A driver eating it is likely going to be cleaning their fingers or trying to wipe grease off the steering wheel. Consider eating your KFC inside or in the parking lot before pulling back onto the interstate.

Barbecue – Like fried chicken, barbecue is extremely messy with its hot, dripping sauces. Getting it all over your hands, car, or clothing can be a major distraction.

Hamburgers – Hamburgers are hard to resist on a road trip. But burgers have many parts – pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, bacon – all of which can slide out of the bun and make a mess in your car. And no one wants ketchup on their Calvins.

Chili – Hot chili on your clothes, hands, and car can not only be distracting, but it can be painful. Don’t let yourself get burned or distracted by eating chili. A few years ago, a driver of a Metro bus in Cincinnati hit two pedestrians because he was looking down to throw away his cup of chili. One was killed, the other was injured.

Tacos – Tacos are hard enough to eat when you’re not driving. The mess will likely create an even bigger mess in your car. A driver crashed into two parked cars and flipped his own car onto its roof because he was eating a taco and brushing crumbs off his lap thus causing the collision.

Soups – Eating hot soup in your car is a bad idea. Period. It’s easy to spill, a mess to clean up, and depending on how hot it is, dangerous if you spill it on yourself.

Coffee – Who doesn’t drink coffee in their car? Everyone needs a pick-me-up from Starbucks or McCafe, but hot coffee can burn your mouth or your hands, which can certainly take your focus off the road.

A couple more things to keep in mind:

  • Most food-related car crashes happen in the morning during the rush to work. One driver was eating breakfast while driving 50 mph through an area already occupied by first responders. His breakfast distraction caused a second collision.
  • A car with a manual transmission doubles the chances of a distracted driving accident due to eating.

Are You Breaking the Law if You Eat and Drive?

No. In the United States, eating while driving is not prohibited by law. However, most distracted driving laws are interpretable, making it a very gray area.

One police officer put it this way, “Would I pull someone over if they have some French fries in their hands? No. But if someone is eating a sub, swerving all over the road? For sure. And I have."

Importantly, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, meaning you may be barred from compensation if you were in any way negligent in contributing to the accident.

For example, if you were in a car accident and it was found that eating or drinking contributed, you would likely be considered negligent and could potentially be denied compensation. Even worse, you could face legal action.

So, is eating and driving illegal? No, but it is certainly unsafe and you could potentially be held liable if you contributed to an accident even a little.

Now You Know – So What?

First, don’t be a distracted driver – of any kind. Try to find ways to avoid eating behind the wheel. It’s not as hard as you think. It could be as simple as setting your alarm five minutes earlier in the morning. It may not be convenient to you at first, but it could save your life or someone else’s.

Second, be a conscientious passenger. Help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road, even if food is involved.

And finally, encourage others not to eat behind the wheel. Approximately nine people are killed and 1,000 are injured every single day in the U.S. because of some form of distracted driving. Almost all of these tragedies are preventable.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Personal Injury Lawyers

Far too many people are injured because of distracted drivers – including those eating while driving. If you or someone you know was injured by a distracted driver, please contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. We are here for you 24/7.

P.S. Click here if you want your teen driver to learn what it’s really like to drive distracted (but experience it in the safety of a simulated environment). The non-profit Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) offers defensive maneuvering instruction throughout N.C. and the United States. Students are taught by former race car drivers, policemen, and other professional drivers.

Should I Negotiate My Own Workers’ Comp Settlement?

After a serious injury on the job, many people may assume that they will be able to return to their life as it was prior to the injury. They may believe they will be able to regain their health 100%, keep their same job, and be able to live relatively symptom free.

Why Workers’ Comp May Want You to Settle

History tells us the reality is often much different when there is a significant trauma or a serious injury that requires an extended period of time to recover. People are often surprised to learn that their employer may not be obligated to hold their job until they reach a full recovery. An injured worker may find that their doctor will not let them return to the type of work they performed prior to getting hurt.

What comes next for many of these injured workers is even more surprising. They are often contacted by the insurance company or the employer about settling their case.

The court, or North Carolina Industrial Commission in workers’ compensation claims, cannot make parties settle a claim. The law does not require an injured worker to enter into an agreement to resolve their case. So why, then, do insurance companies and employers sometimes push workers to enter into a settlement?

They may be looking to end their liability and monetary exposure in your case as quickly as possible.

Is Settling in Your Best Interest?

There are sometimes reasons an injured worker may benefit from a settlement. It may allow them to move on from a difficult work situation. It can take away the uncertainty of a court result. It may allow an injured worker sufficient resources to get treatment on their own without dealing with the insurance company’s doctors. It can also give an injured worker sufficient resources to pursue training for a new occupation. Under these circumstances, settlement can make sense for all parties.

If you are approached by an insurance company or employer with an offer to settle your claim, we urge you to question whether it is fair and in your best interest.

Is the NC Industrial Commission Looking Out for the Injured Worker?

The insurance company and employer may tell you that the Industrial Commission has to approve a settlement and will determine whether the settlement is fair and in your best interest. This is technically true.

During my time at the Industrial Commission, I often approved settlement agreements in which an injured worker did not have an attorney and accepted the employer’s settlement offer. My responsibilities, however, were not necessarily to ensure that the injured worker got the best deal, but instead, that they received at least the minimum required by law. There were certainly times when I sent an agreement back to an insurance company and injured worker indicating that I could not approve the settlement as being fair because the amount was too low. Even in those cases, I could not tell the parties what I thought a reasonable amount was.

More importantly, I could not tell the employee whether I thought he was getting everything he or she may have been entitled to under the Workers’ Compensation Act. In other words, someone may accept a settlement that does not consider their future medical needs, how long it will take them to find a new job, whether they need money for retraining, or to make up future lost wages. So what seems like a fair settlement to the injured worker may actually be a bargain basement deal for the insurance company.

Farrin Workers’ Comp Lawyers Have Your Best Interests at Heart

As a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation law representing injured workers, I am now able to look out for all of my clients’ potential needs. In fact, that is one of the most important aspects of my role as an attorney – to make sure I try to consider and address each and every need in settlement negotiations.

Our workers’ compensation attorneys want to have a comprehensive understanding of our clients’ medical condition, a thorough understanding of the injury’s impact on their ability to work, even an understanding of the local job market before advising our clients about what may make sense for them. Often this means trying to obtain a second opinion to provide a comprehensive overview of our clients’ medical condition. We often calculate varied cost projections on medical and disability exposure. We do not want any of our clients to enter into a settlement agreement unless it is their decision and that it is in their best interest for their future health and that it makes economic sense.

NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers Offer Free Case Evaluation

If you are contacted by an insurance company about settling your claim, we urge you to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We offer a no-cost case evaluation regarding your claim. It may be that the insurance company is being fair with you. We have seen that happen – although it is not the norm in our experience. That is why I hope you take the time to give us a call so you can make that decision for yourself.

If You’re Just 1% at Fault for Injuries, Insurance May Give You Nothing. What You Can Do.

North Carolina is one of the few states left known as a contributory negligence state. In insurance terms, that means that, aside from a few exceptions, if you are at fault for an accident or injury – even partially at fault – they may not have to compensate you for your injuries or damages. And you may even have to pay for damages caused from the accident or injury. So be careful what you say to your insurance adjuster as you may accidentally give yourself contributory negligence without realizing it.

What Does Contributory Negligence Mean?

Contributory negligence means you were partially at fault for the accident. How much is partially at fault? Even as little as 1% at fault could mean you get nothing in North Carolina. Some insurance companies have a field day with this outdated (and one-sided) law and that is one of the first things they may try to prove in an effort to try to avoid paying you damages.

You need to know something about contributory negligence. But I’m going to warn you. You’re not going to like it.

You probably engage in contributory negligence almost every day without realizing it.

Have you ridden in someone else’s car that you knew was not necessarily in the best operating condition? Have you ever ridden “just a few blocks” without your seatbelt? Have you ever interfered with a driver’s ability to operate the car?

If you were injured in an accident and found to be contributory, in many cases the insurance company could theoretically deny you any claim for damages.

That is where an experienced North Carolina accident attorney may be able to help you. Contributory negligence, as you can imagine, is a very gray area, and it may take an experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyer to argue a contributory negligence case with the insurance company.

Our state is one of only three states and the District of Columbia that still has these laws on the books.

Simply put, contributory negligence laws can sometimes unfairly favor those who caused harm while punishing victims. If you’re just a fraction at fault, you could get zero.

It is what it is. Yet we continue to fight against contributory negligence claims on a daily basis. What we have learned is that many of our clients who are accused of contributory negligence by the insurance company simply had no idea that they may have been contributing to their injuries.

How to Minimize Your Own Contributory Negligence

Here are some things to beware of to help minimize insurance company accusations that you contributed to your injuries.

Pay attention to your surroundings. If you are a pedestrian and you cross the street in front of a bus or truck without looking and you are struck by an oncoming vehicle, the insurance company may claim you did not look and therefore you are partially at fault.

Don’t ride in a car with a driver that you know has been drinking, is reckless, or sleepy.

When your Check Engine light comes on, have the engine checked ASAP. How long do you drive your car after the “check engine” light comes on? (Be truthful.) The mechanic who makes a report to the insurance company will note this, giving fodder to the insurance company to possibly try to deny your injury claim.

Don’t distract the driver.

If you are a motorcyclist or bicyclist, don’t filter through traffic. These vehicles are difficult enough to see normally. And make sure you wear a helmet. It’s the law in NC.

NC Personal Injury Lawyers Offer FREE Case Evaluation

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*.

This can ring particularly true for instances in which the insurance company is crying contributory negligence. If you have been injured in a car crash, contact us for a free case evaluation to see if we can try to help you recover damages for your injuries, or call us at 1-866-900-7078.

 

* Insurance Research Council 1999

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

One of the most important parts of your workers’ compensation claim is the beginning.

Immediately reporting your injury and making sure all the correct forms are filed can help to try to ensure that your claim is accepted. So how do you go about filing a claim?

Report the Injury to Your Employer

As soon as you are aware that you have been injured at work you should inform your supervisor. Let them know the specifics of how, when, and where you were injured. Let them know about every body part that was injured. Fill out an accident report if your employer offers one, and if they don’t, write out a description of the accident and give it to your employer. This is important because insurance companies can use incomplete accident reports as a reason to deny all or part of a claim. We know. We have seen them use this denial tactic many times. Be detailed about how the injury occurred – particularly noting any unusual circumstances (falling, slipping, etc.).

File a Form 18 with the NC Industrial Commission

It is your responsibility to file your claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

Do not assume that your employer will file your claim with the NC Industrial Commission for you.

To file your claim, you will need to complete a Form 18, which can be found on the Industrial Commission’s website.

Form 18 should be submitted to the Industrial Commission and to your employer within 30 days of your injury.

Include all the requested information, and again, be specific about how the injury occurred noting any unusual circumstances. Include the specific body parts involved. Body parts that are not included may be denied for treatment by the insurance company.

Mail or fax this form to the Industrial Commission at the address or fax number listed on the form. Make copies and give one to your employer. This form is what starts the ball rolling on your claim.

The Industrial Commission will send you an I.C. File Number for your case. The employer/insurer is then notified of a 30-day deadline by which to file a responsive form accepting or denying your claim.

There are a lot of moving parts to dealing with a workers’ compensation claim, and if not done correctly and within the timeframe required, your claim can become complex quickly – and it can even be denied.

Get a Free Case Evaluation From NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers

Notifying your employer and the Industrial Commission and filing a Form 18 is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are concerned about completing the form or dealing with the insurance company, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. Don’t wait until the clock runs out. If your employer has no notice of the injury, the insurance company can likely use that as a reason to deny your claim when it otherwise might potentially have been accepted.

PS… if you think it is too expensive to hire a lawyer to help you, click here to learn more about our contingency fee. You may be surprised at the long-term consequences of not hiring an attorney.

What to Do When the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance

When involved in a car wreck, you might assume the other person has insurance to cover damages. (What is it they say about the word assume?)

Next time you’re sitting in traffic, count 10 cars around you. One in nine of those drivers does not have insurance coverage in North Carolina, according to carinsurance.com.

Viewed another way, North Carolina’s roads and highways carried 105 billion vehicle miles of travel in 2012 according to a 2014 NC Chamber Foundation report. That means uninsured drivers drove 9.45 billion miles across North Carolina’s highways.

So how does that affect you?

How Do Uninsured Drivers Hurt You?

Uninsured drivers affect all of us in a lot of ways. First, insurance rates for those of us who do have insurance tick up higher. Secondly if you are involved in a car wreck with an uninsured driver your uninsured motorist coverage doesn’t always protect you.

What Do I Do After an Accident Involving an Uninsured Driver?

Get as Much Information as You Can

Write down the driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license number, and license plate number whether they are insured or uninsured. Take pictures of your car, their car, and the scene of the wreck. It is important to have this information in order to show your side of the story, to have justification and liability on your side.

Call the police

Report the collision to the police, just as you would do in any other crash. Law enforcement officers will record that the motorist didn’t have insurance and cite them for breaking the law. This report will help your insurance claim later on.

Call Your Insurance Company

You must immediately report the accident to your insurance company. Some policies have time limits on when you can make a claim, so make sure to contact them immediately. Check your policy to see if you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. (If you don’t have it, we highly advise that you get it.)

If you were at fault for the accident, your insurer should potentially cover your losses based on your collision coverage.

If you were not to blame and the uninsured or underinsured driver was, your insurer should potentially cover the losses based on either your uninsured or underinsured motorist’s coverage. The insurer will pay for your damages by standing in for the person who caused your crash and whose liability insurance should have paid.

Uninsured Motorist Insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance is designed to compensate you up to the policy limits for any injuries or damages that you sustain when the other party has no insurance.

Underinsured Motorist Insurance. Underinsured motorist insurance is designed to cover the difference up to the policy limits when the other party’s insurance coverage isn’t enough to cover the damages.

Other Insurance. Even if you do not have either of these insurance claims, you may still have coverage for your damages. Your collision and medical payments coverage may cover the damages to your car and medical bills. Your health insurance may also be used to cover the cost of medical treatment.

Click here for more ways to try to protect yourself after a car accident.

Will My Insurance Rates Go Up?

It is important to know that if you were not at fault for the crash and you make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim, your insurance rates typically should not rise. This is because an accident caused by another motorist should not count as an accident on your own driving record. Keep in mind there are always exceptions.

In situations like these we strongly urge you to contact a North Carolina car wreck attorney to try to help you obtain the compensation you potentially deserve. Click here for questions to consider asking attorneys before you hire one that suits you.

Why Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin Car Wreck Lawyers?

We have fought this fight for over 3,000 clients for whom we recovered over $100 million* in 2016 alone. Since 1997, over $700 million in gross has been recovered for over 30,000* clients. And these numbers don’t include the $1.25 billion* we helped recover against the U.S. government for 18,400 claimants in a historic class action case.

We’ve done this because we have lots of quality professionals. Nearly 200 staff including over 40 attorneys. Eight of these attorneys are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in their fields (a distinction less than 4% of the 28,000 NC licensed attorneys can claim**).

North Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys Evaluate Your Claim For FREE

If you were involved in a North Carolina car wreck and the at-fault driver was uninsured or underinsured, or click here to contact us or call any time at 1-866-900-7078.

 

*Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. In Re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin led a team of firms to recover $1.25 billion for African-American farmers from the U. S. government for discrimination.

**Figures from NC State Bar through December 2016.

How to Try to Be Safer on NC Highways

As economic recovery continues to lead to more vehicles and drivers on North Carolina roadways, the number of car accidents has also increased. And along with this increase follows an uptick in injuries and fatalities.

Data from the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles shows an overall trend toward more crashes from 2014 and 2015. The number of motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians killed in car accidents has increased. The number of accidents involving teen drivers increased. And the number of accident fatalities has increased.

Certain Cars Offer Better Protection

Information from safety tests can help North Carolina drivers select a vehicle that will best protect them in an accident.

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released data on fatality rates among vehicles in the 2014 model year and equivalent vehicles in the 2012–2015 model years. The 4-door minicars showed the highest overall death rate of 87, while 4-wheel-drive large luxury SUVs have the lowest with 6.

This data corroborates previous studies which have found that, overall, smaller cars are not as safe as some larger cars.

  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has examined the correlation between the age of the vehicle and the severity of injuries sustained in a collision. Not only were newer vehicles found to offer the best chances of survival in a fatal car accident, but the odds of survival decreased as the model years decreased. In fact, the driver of a car that was more than 18 years old was 71% more likely to be killed than the driver of a car that was three years old or newer. These studies indicate that newer vehicles are generally safer than older vehicles.

While it may seem as though we are stating the obvious, we are. You cannot emphasize enough the importance of being safe on the road.

Negligent Drivers, Responsibility, and Liability

North Carolina law prohibits specific behaviors in order to reduce driver negligence and potential car crashes. Some of these laws prohibit:

Every driver has a legal obligation to follow these and other safety guidelines. Besides, it is common courtesy. No matter what make, model, or year of car you are driving, each of us must accept personal responsibility for safe driving habits.

Sadly, when someone is negligent behind the wheel, not only could they potentially injure innocent victims, but they can also be injured themselves. Additionally, they may stand to lose a lot financially if found liable for the accident.

Get a Free Case Evaluation From NC Car Accident Lawyers

The experienced car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin have decades of combined experience protecting the rights of accident victims in the Raleigh, Greensboro, Charlotte, Greenville – all areas across North Carolina. Truth be known, we are among the largest personal injury law firms in North Carolina.

If you were injured in a car 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

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.

What You can do if Worker’s Comp Has You Under Surveillance

Some insurance companies may hate sending you a weekly check while you’re recovering from your on-the-job injury. They’re in business to make money, not give it away.

Every time you receive workers’ compensation benefits, that is money coming out of the insurance company’s pocket and going into yours instead. That’s why some insurance companies may try to find ways to avoid paying you benefits. Sometimes that means an insurance company may completely deny responsibility to pay for your injury. When this happens, they pay you no benefits at all, while you fight (sometimes for years) for what you potentially deserve.

Worker’s Comp Insurance Tactics to Pay You Less

Delay

This is what we refer to as their “delay” tactic. We have seen some insurance companies try to wait out the injured worker while they’re hurt, out of work, and in financial distress. We believe they are waiting you out. The longer they wait, the more urgent your need for money becomes, and the less compensation you may be likely to settle for. And that means less money they have to pay out.

Deny

But shortchanging you is not the only way some insurance companies may try to help themselves. Even when an insurance company accepts responsibility for your work injury, they can at any time, try to reduce or even stop paying you benefits.

We have seen them try to cut off injured workers’ weekly checks. Other times they may try to avoid paying for a recommended medical procedure.

No matter how the insurance company may try to keep money for themselves, it is you, the injured worker, who is simply trying to get better and go back to work, that ends up paying the price.

Surveillance

Do insurance companies randomly decide one day that they are not going to pay you? Of course not. They must have “proof” that they don’t have to pay you. To help enlist them in their efforts, they will try to piece together “evidence” to prove your benefits should be decreased or stopped altogether.

We have seen some insurance companies resort to hiring a private investigator to spy on you to try to gain the evidence they need against you.

They may hire investigators to follow you to the gas station or the grocery store or any errand. They may watch you pick up your kids at school. They may stake out your house and neighborhood at all hours of the day and night. The goal is always the same: to create reports, photographs, and video that make it appear that you are not as badly injured as you claim. Then, if the insurance company can create that impression in the mind of a doctor or judge, they may be able to cut you off or shortchange you – even if they have previously admitted responsibility for your injury.

5 Ways to Handle Insurance Company Spying

You cannot stop the insurance company from hiring an investigator to watch you. But you can be smart about your behavior so that you aren’t making it easy for them to avoid paying you benefits.

  1. Always follow your doctor’s orders. Your doctor knows best what activities you should avoid while you heal. If the doctor tells you not to lift more than 10 pounds, don’t lift more than 10 pounds. The biggest risk of surveillance is that the investigator will see you doing something outside the restrictions put on you by the doctor. If that happens and the doctor is allowed to see the surveillance, the doctor may think you have been exaggerating your symptoms. In a worst-case scenario, the doctor may decide to no longer treat you.
  2. Be thoughtful. If you aren’t following your doctor’s orders about activity restriction, it may not necessarily be because you are not injured. More likely it might be because you weren’t thinking about what you were doing, or you were in a hurry, or distracted. Life happens, and you have to lift your 20-lb toddler out of her car seat. That happens to all of us. But when you have a work injury, and an insurance company may be paying someone to watch you, the cost of being thoughtless can be significant. Violating your doctor’s restrictions just a handful of times could suggest to the insurance company and the doctor that you’re not as injured as you claim to be.
  3. Remember: appearances count. Sometimes surveillance can be harmful even when you are not caught doing something against your doctor’s wishes. Even simple appearances can be enough to cause problems. For example, let’s say your doctor told you not to push more than 10 pounds. And let’s say you’re mowing your lawn with a self-propelled lawnmower that doesn’t require pushing more than 10 pounds. And let’s further say there’s an investigator recording you. All the doctor may see when he watches this video is someone who is well enough to do yard work, including pushing a potentially heavy lawnmower. You can explain to the doctor that the mower is self-propelled, but the damage may already be done. We are not suggesting you become paranoid, but it is important to be aware of how your activity may look to an outsider.
  4. Don’t talk to a suspected investigator. If you think an investigator is watching you, don’t confront them or interact with them. They will not be intimidated by you, and they will only use the interaction to gather information from you that the insurance company may later try to use against you.
  5. Hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. When you try to take on the insurance company yourself, it is not a fair fight. History tells us that many insurance companies may try to figure out ways to maximize their profits and minimize your They have adjusters and lawyers, many of whom spend their time trying to determine the best ways to do this. Surveillance is just one tactic they sometimes rely on.

Get Your Free Case Evaluation From NC Workers’ Comp Lawyers

To try to make sure the insurance companies do not use surveillance or any other self-serving tactic to deny you benefits, call the Law offices of James Scott Farrin. Our workers’ comp attorneys represent clients throughout North Carolina and have the knowledge, experience, and dedication needed to try to see to it that the insurance company doesn’t get away with painting your injuries to be less than they really are, just to save a few bucks. Contact us today or call 1-866-900-7078. Your initial case evaluation is absolutely free.

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

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