North Carolina Legal Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When you or a loved one is injured in an accident, no one hands you a pamphlet containing all of the information you need to understand your case. In this section we strive to answer the basic questions that everyone has in the time following a car accident, on-the-job injury, medical malpractice, abuse, or other accident.

If you don't find the answers to all of your North Carolina injury questions here, we encourage you to contact our Raleigh injury lawyers for answers to questions specific to your case. The consultation is free and confidential.

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  • My doctor prescribed the wrong amount of medication and the overdose caused permanent nerve damage. What can I do?

    prescription errorsPrescription error claims are one of the most common reasons medical malpractice claims are made, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. During a complimentary consult, our attorneys would learn more about the nerve damage allegedly caused by the medication. Has it caused paralysis? Loss of sensation? Permanent disability? Our legal team would review all of the details of your case, including how long you were on the medication, if the wrong dosage amount was in place the entire time, and more.

    If you were hospitalized due to an overdose, and that prescription error caused you to miss work or to no longer be able to perform your job duties, you might be entitled to reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages, future healthcare expenses, and loss of future earnings. In addition to medical malpractice claims, our attorneys also handle disability cases. Our firm has an attorney on staff who happens to be one of just forty other attorneys in North Carolina who are Board-Certified Social Security Disability Specialists.

    Prescription medication errors are preventable. Sadly, the systems in place sometimes fail. Depending on the circumstances of your case, our North Carolina medical malpractice attorneys might encourage an investigation to determine where the error occurred, who or what caused it, and why it was not discovered and corrected. If you believe your doctor made the error, that might be true, but there could be additional parties at fault. The pharmacist, a nurse, a caregiver administering the medication--our attorneys help you address each possibility. 

  • What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and how does it affect my North Carolina bankruptcy case?

    fair debt collectionIndividuals in North Carolina who file for bankruptcy have protections under state and federal law. Bankruptcy applicants should educate themselves on their rights under these laws. For example, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission and offers protections to consumers who experience unfair practices. Although this Act is a lengthy piece of legislation, it is actually one part that was added to another Act: The Consumer Credit Protection Act (CCPA). The CCPA is regulated through the United States Department of Labor.

    Items included in the FDCPA that might be helpful to bankruptcy applicants include:

    • Includes definitions of harassment and abusive debt collection practices
    • Prohibits bill collectors from knowingly contacting employers of debtors regarding outstanding payments
    • Rules regarding communication, for example - if a collector was notified and given the debtor's attorney information, the collector should only correspond with the attorney from that point forward

    Many other conditions are included in the Act as well. If you are navigating bankruptcy in North Carolina you have likely had the experience of receiving a phone call from a bill collector. Bill collectors who are found in violation of federal laws might owe debtors $1,000 per call that included a violation. Victims in North Carolina might be eligible for additional penalties on the state level.

    Curious if the treatment you are receiving from debt collection services is illegal? Our bankruptcy attorneys in Raleigh and Cary offer confidential and complimentary case evaluations.

     

  • What can I do if I suffered property damage, but my insurance company is not paying the full replacement cost in my policy?

    replacement cost claimHomeowners insurance companies should provide the full replacement value of the loss. (Sometimes policy holders don't realize that full replacement cost is not the actual cash value.) Insurance payouts are meant to help policy holders return to the position they were in before the damage occurred. For example, if a kitchen was destroyed in a fire and the kitchen had never been updated with new cabinets, countertops, or appliances and the house was thirty years old, the insurance company would not necessarily payout the cost for rebuilding the kitchen with granite countertops, custom cabinetry, commercial-grade appliances, and gourmet kitchen features. However, the policy holder could elect to use the insurance payout toward expenses they intend to cover with their own money to make upgrades.

    If your insurance company is offering a far lower value than your policy outlines, you are not alone. Our insurance dispute attorneys in Cary and Raleigh recently cited studies where insurance companies made insufficient offers, excessively delayed claims, or sometimes denied them altogether. Insurance companies are focused on making a profit. This does not mean they can get away with breaking the law. 

    If you believe your insurance company is failing to provide the coverage outlined in your policy you may pursue an insurance dispute claim. Our insurance dispute attorneys in North Carolina help homeowners understand their rights and navigate the resolution process, plus we offer free case reviews.

  • My spouse was injured in a car accident. I was not in the car, but can I file a claim?

    consortium loss Yes, depending on when the car crash took place and the severity of your spouse's injuries in the accident, you may pursue a claim for loss of consortium. Sometimes accident victims are focused on injury claims that pursue compensation for their own medical expenses, lost wages, pain management, rehabilitation, and more. These are all important, but in traumatic life-changing accidents we also want to consider the losses a spouse suffers as well.

    Loss of consortium claims in North Carolina provide compensation to a spouse who may no longer experience the joys of companionship, sexual relations, and more. Injured spouses need to have suffered significant injuries in order for these claims to be recognized. Loss of consortium claims are generally made in severe cases where an unharmed spouse becomes the accident victim's caregiver, takes over full responsibility of household chores, and similar circumstances.

    Our injury lawyers can review your case and explain whether or not the statute of limitations has run out for your consortium loss claim. Contact our North Carolina injury law firm for a complimentary case evaluation.

  • I don't live in North Carolina, but I slipped-and-fell while traveling there. Do I file my accident injury claim in North Carolina?

    out of state injuriesGenerally the state in which an accident occurs is where an injury claim must be filed if the negligent party does not settle out of court. If your slip-and-fall accident occurred in North Carolina, our state's statute of limitations would apply to your claim. However, this is not true in all cases. Without knowing all the details concerning your accident, a number of other factors could change our answer:

    Were you traveling in North Carolina for work-related purposes? If so, you would likely be eligible for workers' compensation benefits in the jurisdiction where your employer is headquartered. For example, a North Carolina resident and employee who is injured while traveling out of state on a work trip would file a workers' comp claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, even though the injury occurred across state lines.

    What factors contributed to your fall? Was a sidewalk poorly maintained--did you slip on loose stones? If a property owner failed to properly maintain walkways, you will need to pursue them for compensation. Were you drunk or intoxicated at the time of your fall? North Carolina has a contributory negligence law which provides an individual may not collect compensation for injuries or damages that resulted by any action of their own, even the slightest degree. Did you seek medical attention immediately following your accident? Some injuries may take time to develop--like brain injuries--and these could affect required surgeries, lost work, and more - considerably changing the amount of compensation you are entitled to.

    The answers to all of these questions could change how you approach and proceed with your injury claim. The slip-and-fall accident attorneys at Brent Adams & Associates meet with individuals for a consultation at no charge. Our lawyers only earn money when we win money for clients. Schedule a consultation today

  • I saw another driver on their phone before they hit my vehicle, but they claim they were not texting or on a call. What is legal mobile phone use in NC?

    texting drivingWhen it comes down to evidence of the other driver's negligence, is it really just your word against theirs? At the following link our car accident lawyers in Cary review ways you can prove another driver was texting while driving. One of which is pulling cell phone records. Even if the other driver deletes texts and call records off their phone before police or investigators retrieve the device, the phone company still maintains records of this information. 

    One caveat is that the other driver may be telling the truth - perhaps they were not texting or making a call, and the records may substantiate this. However, they could have been checking email, social media, messaging through applications, finding a Pandora station, or many other mobile phone activities that distract drivers from the road. These actions are also illegal in North Carolina. According to G.S. 20-137.4A, unlawful use of a mobile phone while operating a motor vehicle encompasses texting, calls, emails, messaging, or entering of text to be 'stored within the device'. (North Carolina law provides that individuals who operate a motor vehicle may not use their mobile devices while the vehicle is in motion. If the vehicle is parked or stopped, mobile activity is permitted.)

    In the event another driver's mobile phone actions are not captured on a phone company's reports, statements from witnesses can help. Also, checking the at-fault driver's social media accounts could reveal incriminating evidence.

    Distracted driving is the second most common cause of accidents in North Carolina. Local news reports revealed in 2014 that "distracted driving has been a contributing factor in 71 crashes in Cary since 2013." There are likely more. Many cases go unreported, plus there are hit-and-runs where officials may never learn the cause behind the negligent driver's actions.

    The Cary car accident attorneys at Brent Adams & Associates can review more ways of establishing another party's negligence, pursuing compensation from third parties, and more about your accident case during a complimentary case evaluation.

  • I was walking and was hit by bicyclist. Can I sue the bicyclist to cover the cost of my injuries and lost work?

    pedestrian-bicycle accidentYou may be concerned that there is no insurance policy to pursue if you have suffered injuries in a non-motorized vehicle accident. Although bicyclists in North Carolina have the same road rights as motorized vehicles as per the Bicycle and Bikeway Act, bicyclists are not required to maintain liability insurance policies.

    If the bicyclist was at-fault in the accident, you may be able to pursue a claim directly with the cyclist. Depending on the circumstances, an asset search may be completed. You may be able to settle your claim out-of-court. If negotiations are not satisfactory, then a lengthy court process may be required.

    The accident events need to be reviewed carefully. Was the cyclist in an area that permits bicycles? Are there speed limits in place for cyclists and were these being observed? Were you as a pedestrian following crosswalk signs?

    Pedestrian victims may be able to receive compensation from other parties. Sometimes insurance policies cover instances outside their general scope or intent. For example, some homeowners insurance policies will cover the theft of your laptop if it was stolen from your car. Also, some homeowners insurance policies will cover damage to your vehicle if the damage occurred while on your property--the damage could be a result from a number of reasons: a tree falling or even someone breaking into the car.

    Not every insurance policy is the same. As a victim in an accident where the at-fault party is uninsured, in addition to pursuing the negligent party directly you may be able to seek compensation from your own insurance policies if any are present. For example, your personal automobile insurance policy has underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage. UM/UMI coverage helps cover your medical expenses wen the other party lacks or has inadequate insurance. 

    Getting hurt by a bicycle can cause serious injuries, and even death. Earlier this year two pedestrian-bicycle fatalties occurred in Central Park. In both accidents, the pedestrians died and the cyclists survived. 

    Fortunately, the rate of pedestrian-bicycle accidents is going down. The Journal of Safety Research released a report this October 2014 on the rates of pedestrian-bicycle accidents. The report attributes a developing cycling infrastructure as a main cause for the lower accident rate.

    North Carolina has a growing network of greenways, bike lanes, and hundreds of cyclist groups. Raleigh cycling clubs can be found most nights of the week on downtown streets, gathering at cafes, breweries, and coffee shops. As the number of cyclists grows, the chances of being involved in a bicycle accident also grow. Brent Adams & Associates maintains five offices in the greater Triangle area. From Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville, Dunn, and Clinton, our bicycle accident lawyers help victims navigate their injury claims. Anyone who has been hurt by no fault of their own deserves to know their rights. Our firm enjoys helping accident victims understand their rights under state and federal law, and we take great pleasure in representing their interests in negotiations in and out of court. If you were hurt in a bicycle accident, contact our attorneys for a complimentary consult.

  • My job requires me to be on my feet, but after foot surgery I am not able to. My employer fired me. Am I eligible for Social Security Disability in NC?

    disability lawyers raleighIf you feel you have experienced employment discrimination due to your disability, you may qualify for compensation. Were the terms of your job loss memorialized in writing? An email or letter from your employer explicitly stating that you were terminated due to your disability would be powerful evidence for a claim, both out-of-court and in court. Whether you qualify for federal disability benefits is a separate issue. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, applicants must go through a detailed legal process. First, they must have worked in a job covered by Social Security. Next, it has to be determined if your specific medical condition meets the Social Security's definition of disability, which requires a review of your medical treatment records. 

    After a review of the federal adult disability checklist, applications can be made online or at the local Social Security Administration office. To complete the application process, you must fill out an adult disability report, which includes your medical and work information, then complete form SSA-827 (medical information disclosure). Applicants then have to wait for a decision to be made by the Social Security office. 

    If you meet the set standards and are unable to work for a year or more due to your condition, you could be eligible for a monthly cash benefit. In most cases, your cash benefits will continue until you’re able to return to back to work on a regular basis.

    You could also qualify for “work incentives,” which are additional benefits that extend healthcare coverage, to make your transition back to work even more seamless.

    If the form is not completed correctly or on time, your application could be rejected. You have the right to appeal the disability decision if you are denied benefits, although the process can take months to complete. 

    To find out if you’re eligible for Social Security Disability, or if a Social Security office has recently denied your claim for benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers in Raleigh, Fayetteville and Dunn with Brent Adams & Associates. If your foot surgery was required as a result of a work injury, it is important to discuss the details of the work accident with a lawyer so that you can pursue benefits through the North Carolina Industrial Commission.

  • Does insurance follow the driver in a North Carolina auto accident?

    Rauto insurance disputeegardless of the vehicle an individual operates, as long as they have liability insurance coverage on a personal auto policy, it generally will follow them. There are certain conditions of course! One, the vehicle must be eligible for insurance coverage. Two, what type of insurance coverage is the individual concerned about? Some insurance coverage options (like liability) follow the driver, while others (like comprehensive and collision) may stay with the vehicle. Understand issues with comprehensive and collision coverage have many conditions themselves. Three, some insurance companies simply refuse to cover individuals who are not named in the policy.

    If an individual borrows a vehicle owned by a family member, friend, or even a rental car company, liability coverage generally follows. Questions may arise when a relative or friend comes to visit and the vehicle owner allows them to use the vehicle during their stay. Insurance may follow the vehicle and limitations may apply. However, if the vehicle is being used for "regular use" - insurance may not be applicable. For example, if a driver's car is inoperable and they are not repairing it, but their parents have an extra vehicle they can use every day, there could be insurance issues in the event of an accident if the driver does not get added on to the vehicle's insurance policy and regularly operates their parents' vehicle.

    Another variable: Permission. Sometimes certain insurance coverages are void if an individual is driving a vehicle without the owner's permission.

    Back to the question at hand: Yes, typically some type of insurance will follow the driver, and some type of insurance will follow the vehicle. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys can help you understand the complicated legalese terms in insurance policies so that you can first understand how much and what types of insurance coverage you are entitled to, and then we can assist you with an insurance dispute claim if the company fails to provide what was outlined in your policy.

  • Am I allowed to drive through a red light in North Carolina if I'm driving in a funeral procession?

    funeral traffic accident north carolinaTraffic signals, right of way, and other road rules followed while operating a motor vehicle are different during funeral processions, and these differences are unique to every state. Since every state has statutes addressing traffic rules during funeral processions it is important to research what is permissible if you are visiting a jurisdiction outside your home state for a burial.

    In North Carolina it is legal to drive through a red light during a funeral procession if certain conditions have been met; this does not relieve any particular driver of fault should an accident occur as the circumstances of each accident are unique and should be reviewed with an attorney. 

    "Funeral procession" is defined by the N.C.. Gen. Stat. § 20-157.1 Funeral Processions as two or more vehicles. According to the statute:

    The operator of the lead vehicle in a funeral procession shall comply with all traffic-control signals, but when the lead vehicle in a funeral procession has progressed across an intersection in accordance with the traffic-control sign or signal, or when directed to do so by a law enforcement officer or a designee of a law enforcement officer or the funeral director, or when the lead vehicle is a law enforcement vehicle which progresses across the intersection while giving appropriate warning by light or siren, all vehicles in the funeral procession may proceed through the intersection without stopping, except that the operator of each vehicle shall exercise reasonable care towards any other vehicle or pedestrian on the highway. An operator of a vehicle that is not part of the funeral procession shall not join the funeral procession for the purpose of securing the right-of-way granted by this subsection.

    As you can see, funeral processions have the right-of-way in North Carolina, but they must yield to emergency vehicles or as directed by police. Also, the lead vehicle must be marked with a flag or light to signify a funeral procession. Each vehicle in the procession must have its headlights and hazard lights on.

  • My son was bit by a dog a year ago in North Carolina. Is it too late to file a claim?

    The statutes of limitations affecting injury cases in North Carolina vary depending on the type of accident. You may be worried it's too late and that you lost the legal opportunity to file a claim. For dog bite injury cases in the Tar Heel State, as of this writing, victims have three years from the date of attack.

    Basic North Carolina dog bite laws not only include this deadline, but other critical requirements like the One-Bite Rule. Owner liability is important to review, but there may be other areas of negligence that contributed to the dog bite victim's injuries. Was the victim a minor and a guardian failed to maintain adequate supervision? Was someone other than the dog owner responsible for the animal at the time of the accident? Before pursuing a claim, meet with dog bite injury attorneys. Our lawyers in Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Dunn offer complimentary case evaluations in our offices, your home, or your hospital. 

  • What is the statute of limitations for North Carolina water contamination cases?

    water contaminationIndividuals who suspect their water is contaminated may need to satisfy special deadlines. These deadlines may or may not be limited to North Carolina's statutes of limitations. 

    Under some circumstances the negligent party may notify homeowners, businesses, or property owners of a leak or contamination that may have affected water supplied to the property. These could be legal notices that automatically trigger the figurative start of a ticking clock on a deadline for making a claim.

    When it comes to the North Carolina statutes of limitations on water contamination cases, potential claimants need to learn about North Carolina's statute of repose. The statute of repose applies to parties who have polluted water. It provides that a lawsuit against a government organization or a company must be filed within 10 years of the activity that caused the contamination. (This means if a homeowner discovers their water is polluted 10 years and 1 day after it was initially contaminated, they would have missed the deadline.) This particular requirement poses great responsibilities on the claimant--not only do they have to prove who the negligent party is, but they need to have evidence of when the contamination occurred and for how long.

    Another matter that affects some cases is whether or not federal statutes trump state laws. One example about a water contamination in Asheville can show how this surfaces with claims:

    Residents of Asheville sued CTS Corp. over a polluted property. Residents initially discovered the pollution 13 years have the closure of the CTS factory. The residents cited the federal statute of limitations--which provides claims may be made within 2 years of the date of discovery. However, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in June 2014 in the case of CTS Corp v. Waldburger that the state's statute of limitations applies. The residents have no case.

    Interested in learning about other water contamination cases in North Carolina? Contact our accident lawyers and review:

    Contaminated well water

    Wake Forest water contamination

    Tips for safe groundwater

     

  • I was hit by a family member in a car. How should I proceed with my injury claim?

    accident with familySadly, a Fayetteville car accident recently involved a wife hitting her husband unintentionally--and killing him. Although unintentional, the crash has posed the question for those who survive accidents caused by a family member: How to make a claim?

    Regardless of how you are related to the negligent party, you may be entitled to compensation if you were hurt by no fault of your own. When you are hit by a family member, you are not only recovering from your accident injuries, but you're trying to understand how you should move forward with an injury claim.

    It is possible a relative may assure an accident victim they will take care of all the medical costs and damage expenses to the vehicle (if the victim was in a car at the time of the accident), but there is no way to predict how these accident injuries may affect a victim's life for years to come. There are injuries that manifest themselves over time, like brain injuries. What may not be apparent immediately following an accident could cause serious life changes later on. Will your family member be prepared to cover long-term costs associated with an injury like that? Pain management? Home modifications? Lost wages? It is not likely.

    Make a claim. It is important to pursue an injury claim through an insurance company right away. What's more important than an insurance claim? Getting medical treatment as soon as possible and advising your healthcare provider how your injuries were caused. 

    Get a police report. Sometimes individuals think they don't need a police report for car accidents involving family members since they know and trust their relatives. This does not offer any benefits. A police report is an official document that outlines the events that took place, the location of the accident scene, and includes all parties' available contact and insurance information. Insurance companies will use this as part of a claim, and should the case ever go to trial, it will be one of the many pieces of evidence an injury lawyer will reference.

    Retain an injury lawyer. You need an injury lawyer that does not work at the same firm as one your family member is retaining. There would be a conflict of interest otherwise, and most law firms would decline from representing opposing parties.

    If you were hit by a relative, our car accident injury lawyers in Raleigh would need to learn:

    • If the relative owned the vehicle they were driving when they hit you.
    • Whether the driver was intoxicated, impaired, or acting in another negligent manner, like texting-while-driving.
    • If the driver, owner of the vehicle, or yourself have insurance policies. Car accident victims commonly don't realize they can receive insurance coverage from multiple sources. For example, a victim may claim on their own auto insurance policy even if their vehicle wasn't involved in the accident.)
    • Whether a third party was responsible or contributed to the accident. Faulty car manufacturing? Was the vehicle recalled?

     

    The details to the items above can help build a clear picture of negligence and will collect important resources that could help maximize your car accident injury claim. Getting hit by anyone is an unpleasant and stressful experience. Getting hit by a family member makes the experience all the more personal. It's a challenge to put your personal feelings aside, but if you are not at fault you need to accept what the law provides. Brent Adams & Associates injury lawyers in Raleigh hope to win compensation to the full extent that the law allows.

  • I am on total disability at the age of 59. At what age will this turn over to Social Security?

    The quick answer to your question is age 66. The amount of money is the same as it’s essentially a bookkeeping issue.

    Why? There are two trust funds from which Social Security benefits are paid: The Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund. When a person receiving disability benefits reaches full retirement age, the Social Security Administration will stop using the DI trust fund for that person’s payments and move them to the OASI trust fund. Also, because you’ll then be receiving full retirement benefits, your disability will no longer be the basis for your entitlement. This means that you will no longer have periodic reevaluations to ensure that you are still disabled and there will be no more restrictions on earnings if you feel well enough to attempt working.

    The Social Security Administration does not send annual statements to those currently receiving benefits. As for the Social Security statement, the SSA will send these out yearly to all Social Security number holders with earnings on their records from the time they reach age 25 until they begin receiving benefits. They will stop sending them after a person becomes entitled to receive benefits. Therefore, the reason why you are not receiving them is because you are currently receiving benefits.

  • Will I get paid for vacation time while I'm collecting workers' comp benefits in NC?

    calculate workers comp rateIf you are collecting workers' compensation benefits in North Carolina for temporary total disability (TTD) you will not receive pay for vacation time. However, bonuses and overtime (during one year prior to your incident) should be calculated into your average weekly wage. Check with our firm's Raleigh workers' comp lawyers to learn if your benefits are being calculated properly. 

    Sheila Chavis, our workers' comp lawyer in Raleigh, explains how to calculate your NC workers' comp rate correctly in the video at the link.

    Remember these important facts about your workers' comp benefits:

    • Your North Carolina workers' comp benefits are non-taxable
    • There is a maximum weekly compensation rate that changes annually. As of January 1, 2014, the amount is $912.00 per week.
    • Note: Your comp rate does not change once it is determined. It does not adjust annually or with inflation.

    Every injury case is unique--check with an attorney for legal advice regarding your comp claim.

     

  • I slipped and fell on snow at my home in Raleigh, how can I get compensation?

    snow injuriesSlip-and-fall accidents in the snow bring up several questions. Our injury lawyers in Raleigh handle cases on both public and private properties that involve trips, slips, or falls. When an individual falls at home due to snow or ice accumulation, our lawyers must ask a few questions. Here is one important question, possible areas of compensation, and what individuals need to do after a snow injury:

    Do you own your home?

    If you own your home you should have a homeowners insurance policy, which has coverage limits for personal injuries sustained on your premises. Whenever your insurance company fails to provide coverage outlined in your policy, contact our Raleigh insurance dispute attorneys to help manage your claim. However, keep in mind that North Carolina is one of just a handful of states that has a contributory negligence statute. This law provides that any individual who contributes in any way to their own injury or loss will not be able to recover compensation from another party. A slip-and-fall case in the snow on your own premises may be difficult to prove. You will need to prove that you completed adequate snow removal, salted, and made the area as safe as possible prior to your accident. As is the nature of nature, the weather conditions at the exact time of your accident may be difficult to document and prove. Immediately following your accident you likely sought medical attention or moved to a safe place--taking photographs of the accident area were probably the last thing on your mind. Our lawyers may be able to pursue a third party on your behalf if other factors contributed to your fall. Were you using a snowblower at the time of your accident and did a malfunction cause you to fall on your own property? Our lawyers have also handled defective product cases and we can review your rights.

    If you do not own your home, check with your landlord or apartment complex. If they failed to remove snow timely or neglected to salt the sidewalks, you may be able to pursue a premises liability case against them. The owner of the property where you reside must help prevent the affects of snow and ice, not only for tenants' safety when they come and go, but to ensure emergency personnel can access the property in the event of an accident. (In some cases landlords may have snow and ice removal exclusions in lease agreements, which our lawyers can review.)

    After you fall, you need to seek medical attention. Document the reason for your injuries with a physician or healthcare provider. This way you can provide clear information to your insurance company.

    Whether or not you fall at a home you own or rent, if you were leaving to make a sales call or a make a delivery as part of your job, your employer may be liable for your injuries. Whenever you are injured while performing duties associated with your employment, you may be eligible for workers' compensation. Learn more about the "going and coming rule."

    Property owners and businesses are responsible for maintaining the safety of their properties. Let us know if we can help with an injury claim on your behalf.

  • When is a vehicle a total loss in North Carolina?

    total loss north carolina"Totaled" vehicles, or ones that are considered total losses after an accident, are recognized differently on a state-by-state basis. In North Carolina, a vehicle is considered totaled when the costs to repair the car or truck exceed the Actual Cash Value (ACV) by a Total Loss Threshold (TLT) of 75% or more.

    Many factors come into play when determining this figure. The value of your vehicle may be calculated based on age, mileage, and condition. Making this situation even more complicated is that valuation methods vary by insurance company. The cost of repairs need to be estimated. The salvage value may even be considered.

    It's important to review your specific auto insurance policy to understand the terms under which your provider will compensate you for damage to your insured vehicle. Language in insurance policies usually outlines maximum limits to physical repair costs, options to repair or replace parts, and the terms under which total loss are made. Don't let an insurance company take advantage of you after an accident. If you are not receiving the coverage outlined in your policy, Raleigh car accident lawyer Brent Adams is also an insurance dispute attorney and can review your rights and may handle the case for you if needed.

    If your vehicle is not considered a total loss and you elect to get it repaired, be aware of faulty auto repairs. Follow the link and you'll learn how important it is to have safety inspections of vehicles after accident repair work is complete.

  • Who is liable for injuries at the North Carolina State Fair?

    north carolina state fair injuriesThe recent North Carolina State Fair injuries suffered by fair-goers who were getting off the “Vortex” ride raises issues about who is liable for the injuries.

    According to news articles, the State hired a New York company, Powers Great American Midways, to provide and operate rides for the NC State Fair. PGAM  owned 54 of the rides at the fair, however, it did not own the Vortex--this particular ride was owned by a sub‑contractor.
      
    Investigators are looking into the issue of whether a safety switch which malfunctioned on the ride the previous Monday was one of the possible causes of the injuries to patrons who were stepping off the ride when they were injured. Two of these riders were critically injured and remain in the hospital along with a third victim. 

    In North Carolina, a concessionaire who is hired by a local fair (in this case, the North Carolina State Fair) to furnish amusements has a non‑delegable duty to ensure that the rides are in a reasonable and safe condition, even those rides not owned or operated by the concessionaire. That is, the concessionaire, may not delegate the responsibility for operating rides in a reasonably safe condition to a sub‑contractor who provides and operates the rides.

    Should it be determined that the owner and operator of the “Vortex” failed to exercise the care, the concessionaire who hired the owner of the ride, PGAM, would be liable for the negligence of the owner and operator of the ride.

    In a similar case of injuries to patrons of an amusement park which arose from an injury at the Dixie Classics Fair in Winston-Salem, the North Carolina Supreme Court held the World of Mirth Shows, Inc. liable for injuries suffered by riders on a “Scrambler” ride that was owned and operated by Michael Dembrosky. The World of Mirth Shows, Inc. hired Dembrosky to provide the Scrambler to the Dixie Classics Fair.

    In holding the World of Mirth Shows, Inc. liable for the injuries, the Court wrote: 

     
    “An employer is not ordinarily liable for injuries resulting from dangerous conditions collaterally creating by the negligence of an independent contractor.  But where it is reasonable foreseeable that harmful consequences will arise from the activity of the contractor unless precautionary methods are adopted, the duty rest upon the employer to see that these precautionary measures are adopted, and he cannot escape liability by entrusting this duty to the independent contractor.”

    The Supreme Court noted that public policy fixes upon the contractor the non‑delegable duty to see that adequate precautions are taken for the safety of the public. Mr. Dembrosky could not be located and the victims were therefore unable to obtain a recovery against Dembrosky whose whereabouts were unknown.

    Should it be determined that the riders who were injured were somehow themselves negligent as they got off the “Vortex”, under North Carolina’s draconian contributory negligence law, the injured victims will not be able to recover a dime, no matter how negligent the owner or operator of the amusement ride may have been. North Carolina is one of only four states in the country to enforce this seriously out‑of‑date and unfair law.

  • How can I prove another driver was texting and driving?

    texting and driving negligenceAccident evidence varies case-by-case for vehicle crashes in North Carolina. Glare, obstructions and debris, speeding - these factors can be supported by weather reports, photos of the accident scene, and crash analysis by engineers. What about a driver who was texting and driving? How can an injured accident victim prove another driver was too busy checking email or texting a friend than focusing on the road?

    Although these are only a few suggestions that should not replace a consultation with one of our Raleigh, Dunn or Fayetteville car accident lawyers, we want to help accident survivors start understanding the injury claim process in North Carolina--and evidence collection is just one part of it. If you are concerned about the challenge of proving another driver's negligent use of a cell phone while operating a vehicle, here are a few possible ways to help establish proof:

    Police report. The negligent driver may have admitted their faulty cell phone use to the responding police officer, and that officer should have noted this in their police report.

    Witnesses. Whether there were passengers in your vehicle, the at-fault driver's vehicle, or individuals nearby who were not directly involved with the accident--a collection of eyewitness accounts affirming that the other driver was texting and driving can help when negotiating your claim.

    Cell phone records. Several laws govern the accessiblity and privacy of cell phone statements, however, in most cases it is possible to acquire drivers' cell phone statements. These statements provide clear evidence of the time calls and texts were made.

    Sadly, the majority of drivers text and drive even though it is against the law. A recent study reported by Business Insider shows that 4 out of 5 college students text and drive. Statistically, we all face a great risk of being involved in an accident caused by a driver who was texting behind the wheel. Encourage your friends and family to avoid using their cell phones while driving. Even voice-to-text services have been proven to increase accident rates.

  • Safest Seat in the Car for a Child?

    child seat belt lawNorth Carolina, like all other states, has child seat safety laws that govern where children are legally permitted to ride as a passenger. These regulations are determined based on children's size or age.

    Where is the safest place for a child to sit?

    The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has created specific guidelines for children aged 12 and under, or who under 57 inches tall. Their guidelines consistently encourage parents and guardians to use:

    Rear seats. 

    Front seats are dangerous for young children as they can be severely injured or killed from air bag injuries in the event of a collision. Air bag injuries can cause facial disfiguration, loss of vision, and extensive surgeries with long recovery times.

    Parents should follow the specific car seat guidelines for proper fit, as well as follow state requirements for children's seat belt use. Infants and toddlers under the age of 2 should remain in rear-facing child safety seats until their size permits them to move into a forward-facing child safety seat.

    For parents or guardians who have three seats in the second row, or maybe even a third or fourth row of seating in a large vehicle, where is the safest place for a child to sit? According to the CDC:

    "Place children in the middle of the back seat when possible, because it is the safest spot in the vehicle."

    Learn about preventing rear-seat passenger injuries.

    Wonder if you are liable for your injuries if you neglect to wear a seatbelt? Our Raleigh injury lawyers review a special statute that addresses a seat belt law loophole.