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Happy New Year!!!Here at Auger & Auger, we are always happy to provide assistance to those who need it. We are even happier when people do not need our services due to proactive behaviors on their part. When it comes to holiday celebrations, an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

New Year’s Eve is a time for reflecting upon the past and looking towards the future. It is a time when many of us gather with friends and family to celebrate what is to come. If you are hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration this year, we urge you to do so with everyone’s safety in mind. We ask that you please follow these tips:

  • Name a Designated Driver

It is your responsibility as a host to ensure that your guests have a good time. It is also your responsibility to make sure they get home safely. Before a single guest walks through your door, designate a driver that will get everyone home safely. Whether this is yourself or another volunteer, you will rest better knowing that you protected the lives of your guests and others on the road.

  • Offer Non-Alcoholic Options

You may have some guests who would prefer not to consume alcohol. Be sure to have non-alcoholic beverages on hand. You can find non-alcoholic mixers that mimic your favorite adult beverages, sparkling ciders, and even soft beverages that your guests will enjoy.

  • Stop Serving

Stop serving alcoholic beverages several hours before the end of the night. Offer your guests a small glass of champagne to toast with at midnight if they like, but no more. Having two or more hours between the last drink and starting the engine gives your guests a chance to metabolize their alcohol (re: sober up)!

  • Open the Guest Room

If none of the options above, open up your sofa bed, your guest room, or even pitch a few tents in the backyard. Providing your guests a place to stay means that everyone will get home safely…tomorrow!

  • Take Keys at the Door

Most guests will be cooperative when you tell them that they shouldn’t drive home. There will be that one guest who wants to bully his way out of your home and into his car. To curtail this, make a condition of attending your party is that everyone hands over their keys at the door. The only way to get them back is to pay you a visit before they leave, letting you check to be sure they are sober.

If you host a party and continue to serve people who are knowingly intoxicated, you could be held partially liable for any accidents they cause. Do yourself and everyone a favor and follow the tips above for a safe New Year’s Eve party.

We at Auger & Auger wish you, your family, and your loved ones all of the best in the coming year. We wish you joy, peace and, above all, safety. Enjoy your celebrations as we all welcome 2015!

Quinny Buzz 3 with Maxi-Cosi Mico infant car seatIn response to an online report published by The Observer, state lawmakers have given the state medical examiner’s budget a $1 million boost. Why? Because of issues brought to light that the office blames on a lack of personnel and an improper budget.

In its report, The Observer points to a 2012 case in which 4-month-old Jams Phillips died in Brunswick County. The death was ruled an accident without an autopsy or even a visit to the scene. The infant’s mother claimed that she had been sleeping with the child and possibly rolled over on him.

Fast forward 18 months and the infant’s brother, 8-month-old Luke, dies under similar circumstances. Again, the death was ruled an accident with no autopsy and no visit to the scene. Says the father, Seth, “If there had been any serious investigation after Bo died, I feel like Luke’s death wouldn’t have happened.”

Unfortunately, investigations, or a lack of, like these occur throughout the state on a regular basis.

It has been discovered that the state’s medical examiner’s office rarely visits the scene in the case of infant death and, perhaps more surprisingly, rarely looks at the body. This flagrant misuse of investigatory powers brings to question the ruling in thousands of deaths.

According to the article, the office visited the scene of infant death in just 2 percent of the cases. The numbers a decade ago are not much better – the office visited the scene of infant death just 7 percent of the time. Experts want the job done better. Infant and toddler deaths deserve unique attention because these young children are especially vulnerable to abuse.

The office defends its practices, stating that even if they do not respond to the scene, the police do. This is in no way an acceptable excuse. Police officers, say experts, are on scene to collect information and solve a crime, not to determine the ultimate cause of death.

Because of the report, a state committee has recommended sweeping reforms to the way the state medical examiner’s office conducts death investigations. Suggestions include required training for medical examiners, an increase in pay, and the hiring of professional death investigators. According to State Senator Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, “Our medical examiner system needs serious help.”

It remains to be seen if the suggestions offered will be put into effect or if they will be followed. Until that time, people who have lost a loved one due to questionable circumstances may have very little recourse.

If a loved one has died and you suspect abuse, negligence, or other foul play, contact the wrongful death attorneys at Auger & Auger for assistance. We can offer you the assistance that you seek, and we will work tirelessly on your behalf. Contact us today for immediate assistance. Your first consultation is always free!

Sassy and Carter's Hug N Tug Baby Toys RecalledNo matter what holidays you celebrate, if you have kids, chances are good that you have new toys laying around your house. This is the perfect time for a reminder about toys, kids, and safety.

At times, toys pose a threat due to recalls, at other times, injuries occur due to a lack of supervision or misuse. Here are 10 tips that will help you keep your kids safe, no matter what toys they have received this season.

1. Pay Attention to Age Recommendations

People typically pay attention to age recommendations when buying toys for children, but it never hurts to double-check the package after it has been opened. If the toy your child receives is labeled for children who are older, put the toy away and bring it out when your child is old enough.

2. Plastic Wrap

Do not be tempted to toss plastic wrap on a table or, worse, the floor. Children may grab the wrap without your notice, posing a very real health hazard. Always discard plastic wrap immediately.

3. Non-Toxic for Little Ones

Babies and young toddlers explore the world with their mouths. Make sure that toys are labeled as non-toxic before handing them over to these little ones.

4. Inspect for Small Parts

Until your children are old enough to avoid the temptation to put small objects in their mouths, ears or noses, inspect all toys for small parts. These things can be choking hazards and should be removed.

5. Sharp Edges

Inspect toys for sharp edges, poking tags, or wires. These objects can scratch and cut children and should be cut off. If they are not removable, do not give the toy to your child.

6. Remove Strings

Unfortunately, some toys are made with long strings, cords, or ribbons. These can pose a danger to young children who can get tangled in the cords. Only allow your child to play with these toys under your supervision.

7. Throw Away Broken Toys

Be sure to inspect your child’s toys periodically. Any toy that is broken or in ill-repair should be thrown away.

8. Supervise

Even the safest toys can pose a threat if they are not played with as they were designed to be. Always supervise children, especially young ones, when they are at play to prevent injury.

9. Keep a Toy Box

Teach your older children to put their toys away when they are done playing. Put your little one’s toys away yourself when they are not in use. This can prevent accidental trips and falls.

10. Teach Older Children

If you have both older and younger children in your home, teach the older kids to put their toys away and out of reach of their young siblings.

Toy safety is not something that parents think about frequently. Unfortunately, children are injured every day due to improper play or faulty toys. If you believe that your child has been injured by a toy through no fault of their own, or yours, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Auger & Auger today!

Sinkhole.Residents of Raleigh, North Carolina recently had to deal with road closures thanks to a sinkhole. This unusual occurrence raises an interesting question to residents: Who pays for vehicle damaged caused by sinkholes?

Unfortunately, the answer may not be the one you hoped to hear. If your vehicle has been damaged by a sinkhole, you better hope your insurance pays up. The city is not typically liable for the damage. But why? Because, unless you can prove that the city had prior knowledge of the road damage and made no move to make repairs, the city cannot be held accountable.

While sinkholes may be a fairly atypical event on North Carolina roadways, the recent news does offer the perfect time to remind drivers how to avoid damage to their vehicles during the course of every day driving.

1. Remain Aware

Sinkholes literally appear out of nowhere. One moment you are driving along, the next, you are at a complete standstill. Stay aware of the road in front of you. This means that eating, applying makeup, texting, reading, and talking on the phone should always be avoided when driving. Consider the fact that, at 55 MPH, diverting your eyes from the road for even 5 seconds means that you covered the length of a football field blindly.

2. Do Not Tailgate

The general rule of thumb tells you that you should be able to see the rear tires touching the pavement when it comes to the car in front of you. This is equal to approximately one car-length of space between you and the leading car. If you cannot see the rear tires, you are driving too closely. Should the vehicle in front of you come to a sudden stop, you will not be able to avoid a collision.

3. Stay In Your Lane

It can be tempting to cut around cars that are stopped in front of you, especially if you are in a hurry, but common sense should tell you to stay in your lane. The people in front of you are not stopped for no reason. Chances are that leaving your lane will not get you where you are going any faster. Maintain your lane and your patience to avoid a collision.

If you have sustained vehicle damage due to a sinkhole, your first phone call should be to your insurance agent. He or she will be able to tell you if you are covered for the damage. Your second phone call should be to the city to find out if they were aware of the hole before you ran into it.

If you believe the city is at fault due to negligence, contact the experienced attorneys at Auger & Auger. We know what your rights are and we have the experience to fight the city for you. Call us immediately so that we can begin handling your case. Initial consultations are always free, and we are happy to tell you if you have a case before we proceed. Call now!

download (45)No one can predict when an accident will happen. It doesn’t matter whether someone is behind the wheel or an innocent bystander, being involved in an accident is always a possibility.

One accident happened in New York on West 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues in the Herald Square shopping district at approximately 10:00pm recently. A car jumped the curb and hit several people before crashing into the Forever 21 store in Mid-Town New York.

Authorities say that the vehicle involved in the Herald Square accident injured at least seven people, five of them pedestrians. The driver, a 34-year-old woman, and a male passenger were also among the injured. A spokesperson with the NYFD said that the injured were all taken to Bellevue Hospital and were treated for non-life threating injuries.

Police indicate that while no charges have been filed, the driver of the vehicle may have been intoxicated at the time of the crash. The accident is still currently under investigation.

Drinking and driving is against the law and the aftermath of a drunken driving accident can be devastating. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you need to have solid legal counsel on your side. The inevitable bills that come through medical expenses, time of the job, pain and suffering after an accident can put you in a bind.

Auger and Auger is there to help you in whatever way possible. We are knowledgeable about personal injury and accident and can help you fight to see that justice is served. Call us today for a free consultation.

Drunk Driving Among US College Students Still at an Alarming RateCharlotte, N.C. – A terrible tragedy occurred in Charlotte Friday night, leaving one person dead and another seriously injured. These things are shockingly sad at any time of year, but perhaps no more emotional than during the holidays.

Police have charged Robert John Leahy, 46, with driving while impaired, two counts of hit-and-run, no operator’s license, felony death by vehicle, and felony serious injury by vehicle.

Leahy is said to have been driving a 2011 Infiniti, while impaired, along Old Statesville Road shortly before 11:30 pm on Friday night. Leahy rear-ended a moped driven by Phillip Brice Black, 19. The impact was so great that the moped became stuck in the front end of the vehicle.

Valerie Shaak, 22, succumbed to her injuries at the scene of the collision. The couple had just left work near Northlake Mall before the crash. The couple was looking forward to the holidays, with Shaak showing off a new ring that Leahy had purchased for her just that day.

Co-workers call the couple “the sweetest people you would ever meet.”

Leahy left the scene of the accident, driving a mile away from the scene before leaving his vehicle and running on foot. Leahy was located by CMPD’s K-9 and helicopter units and transported to Carolinas Medical Center with injuries.

Unfortunately, these two young peoples’ lives were cut short by a person who should not have been driving sober, much less impaired. It is a senseless tragedy that has left family and friends shaken and grieving.

At the time of this writing, Leahy remained in the Mecklenburg County Jail.

Impaired driving is a serious crime that often impacts innocent individuals. There is no better time than the holidays to remind people that drinking and driving is never a good idea…even one drink can affect your judgment and reflexes.

If you live in Charlotte or the surrounding areas, you have options when it comes to returning home safely.

Safe Ride Home offers rides home for anyone in the Charlotte area. A uniformed driver will arrive at your location and drive you home in the comfort of your own vehicle. Another member of staff, called the chaser, will follow, returning the driver to the company. Payment is due at the time of service.

Zingo provides rides every day of the week from 9 pm to 3 am or by reservation. A Zingo driver arrives at your location on a foldable scooter. The scooter is placed in your trunk, the driver takes you home in your own car, and the driver returns to base on his or her scooter.

Several more option can be found on Drinking and Driving.org.

No matter what the cost of these services, they are always cheaper than an OVI. If you have had anything to drink, using one of these services can save your life and the life of others.

If you have been charged with an OVI or have been injured as a result of someone else’s impairment, contact the experienced attorneys at Auger & Auger today. We will fight for your rights! Call now!

download (44)A driver lost control of his car in a drive up lane of a Krispy Kreme Donut Shop in Charlotte on Friday night.

Officials say that the accident happened at the Krispy Kreme store located on Sharon Amity Road at approximately 8:00 p.m. No one was injured in the accident. The car’s air bags did deploy during the crash.

No matter what kind of accident you are involved in, there are always questions about who is liable for causing the accidents and any damages that result. Many times it just is not a clear cut case of who ultimately is at fault. That is why we have a legal system in place to help determine who is liable and who has to pay.

With liability accidents, anyone with any legal experience will tell you to not talk to any insurance adjustor or admit any fault when involved in an accident. Instead,   talk to an experienced attorney first. They are on your side and will give you advice on how to handle your specific situation. Their advice can help you avoid pitfalls in a lawsuit.

The attorneys at Auger & Auger are skilled in all areas of accident and personal liability law and they understand what needs to be done in personal injury cases. They can help you obtain the best outcome possible for your accident or liability case. Don’t leave the success of your lawsuit to chance. Call us today.

Texting while DrivingAs many drivers know, texting and driving is illegal in North Carolina. Distracted driving causes thousands of injuries and deaths each year, and this law is meant to curb those incidents.

You may have heard that you can only be pulled over for texting and driving if you are seen by an officer to be doing such. For many alert drivers, simply keeping an eye on the road for patrol cars is enough to keep them from getting busted. No longer.

Troopers in North Carolina are stepping up their game. Plain-clothesed police officers have taken to riding the streets in North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to spot testing drivers.

Here’s what happens: A police officer in an NCDOT vehicle spots a driver texting. The officer radios to another officer in an unmarked vehicle further down the road. That officer, in turn, pulls over the offending driver and issues a ticket.

“We’re thinking outside the box and stepping up our game on the highways,” says 1st Sgt. Brett Snotherly.

Drivers may see this as a violation of their freedom of sorts or even entrapment, but this creative policing is simply meant to help save lives.

Texting and Driving Stats

According to Texting and Driving Safety there are statistics that every driver should be aware of.

  • In 2011, 1.3 million crashes in the United States were attributed to cell phones
  • At a minimum, your attention is taken away from the road for 5 seconds to read or respond to a text
  • At 55 mph, taking your eyes away from the road for 5 seconds means that you covered the distance of a football field blindly
  • You are 23 times more likely to be involved in a vehicle collision when texting
  • 18-20 year old respondents admitted to texting or talking at the time of an accident at a rate of 13%

These are certainly not all of the statistics, but they are enough to be eye opening. Currently, 39 states plus D.C., including North Carolina, prohibit texting and driving. Additionally, 32 states plus D.C. prohibit new drivers from any cell phone use while driving.

Distracted driving is responsible for deaths each year. Even a single death is one too many. While some accidents are unavoidable, any that is caused by cell phone use, including texting, is 100% senseless.

If you have been injured in an automobile accident, contact the experienced vehicle collision attorneys at Auger & Auger as soon as possible. Each member of our knowledgeable team is here to ensure that you get the protection and compensation you deserve.

You have rights that you may be unaware of. First consultations are always free when you call our office. There is no reason to delay—call us now and let us review your case!

handgunRaleigh, N.C. – Early Saturday morning, December 13, 2014, two men were shot outside of Thaiphon Bistro located on Glenwood Avenue.

Officers responded after being called to the area just after three in the morning. According to those on scene, Hasson Harris, 36, received a bullet wound to the leg, and Emiliano Dunton, 24, was shot in the neck. Both of the injured parties were taken to WakeMed for emergency medical treatment.

Keyon Evans, also 24, was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury. As of this report, Evans was being held on a $1 million bond.

Police say that all three men are from Oxford.

No witnesses to the shooting have come forward. The manager of the bistro told WRAL news reporters that there had been a comedy night Friday. Unfortunately, the manager did not see anything outside leading up to the shooting.

Anyone who has information about the shooting is being asked to call the Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.

Injured by a Gun?

You do not have to be the target of a criminal to be injured by a gun. In today’s day and age, people in any walk of life may be at danger. Students, workers, and other members of the general public have all found themselves victims of gun violence. It is an unfortunate condition of today’s society.

Since 1995, citizens of North Carolina have been granted the legal permission to carry weapons. Concealed carry laws ascertain that people who wish to carry must take an approved course, pass an exam, and obtain and maintain a license in addition to passing a stringent background check.

In 2013, a bill was passed allowing the transmittance of weapons into restaurants and bars, provided the carrier has a concealed weapons permit. This means that you do not know who around you may or may not have a weapon.

In the majority of cases, people are not in danger of persons carrying a weapon legally. It is those who have obtained weapons illegally that assault and, in the worst cases, kill individuals. If you have been injured by a gun at the hands of another person, you have rights.

Contact a Lawyer Who Can Help You

At Auger & Auger we have experienced attorneys who can help you get the compensation that you deserve.

When you have been injured by a gun or other weapon, you may be called as a witness to testify in court. The person brandishing the weapon may be found guilty of a form of assault, but should the case end there? We do not think so.

If you or a family member have been injured by a gun, you should receive fair compensation. Our personal injury lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help you and your family. Please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience. We are here to fight for what you deserve! Call now!

profile_herbFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lawyer says other athletes may be at risk

COLUMBUS – OHIO State University football player/wrestler Kosta Karageorge was found dead in a trash bin last month. Attorney Herb Auger of Auger & Auger says he might still be alive if not for a history of head injuries.

Karageorge joined the OSU football team as a senior, but is better known on campus for his three years of wrestling for the university, according to NBC (retrieved 12.18.2014). He had never taken the field in an OSU game, a fact that his teammates said didn’t deter his love of the game.

“This is a young athlete who adored competition,” Auger said. “You see this wonderful love of life cut short in the most tragic way possible.”

Karageorge died of a gunshot wound, which police say was likely self-inflicted. Shortly before his death he texted his parents, “I am sorry if I am an embarrassment but these concussions have my head all f—– up.”

“Suicide is, sadly, not uncommon after suffering multiple head injuries,” Auger said. “Head injuries can cause depression or intensify existing mental problems. And they can cause periods of confusion.”

“Getting your players the right medical help can end up saving their lives,” he said. “That includes pulling them from a game or match when they have a head injury.”

Karageorge’s wrestling coach says he did not have any documented concussions. But one of his teammates says his history of concussions was well known. Auger says the lack of documentation is part of the problem.

“Coaches aren’t always trained to recognize the signs of a concussion and aren’t required to pull a player who has one,” he said. “Just because a concussion isn’t documented doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.”

A special autopsy is being conducted to determine whether Karageorge suffered from a traumatic brain injury. But Auger says that other athletes will still be at risk until the rules are changed.

“No one warns a college athlete what can happen if they hit their head,” he said. “These kids aren’t being protected.”

About Herb Auger:

Herbert W. Auger, Esquire is a Charlotte car accident lawyer with over 20 years of experience helping victims of auto accidents receive fair compensation. A founder of Auger & Auger law firm, Herb Auger believes in an aggressive results-oriented approach that maximizes the awards his clients receive. He can be contacted at:

Auger & Auger
717 S. Torrence Street
Suite 101
Charlotte, NC 28204
704-364-3361
www.augerlaw.com

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