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Anyone who commutes to and from work every day knows that it can be a hassle. From bumper-to-bumper traffic to car accidents that put the highway at a standstill, driving to work everyday can be a test of your patience. No matter how frustrating your ride, your daily goal should be to make it your destination safely. Here’s how you can accomplish that.

1. Leave Early to Avoid Rush Hour

You may not want to leave earlier than you have to, but it is the best way to avoid rush hour. You may have to find something to do before the workday starts, but chances are good that it will be better than sitting in traffic going nowhere fast.

2. Your Shoes Matter

This is more a tip for those who wear heels and open-toed shoes than those who don’t. Wear the appropriate footwear while driving. Heels can get caught on floor mats, mules can slip off and strappy sandals can get stuck. Wear sneakers or flats while you are driving and put your work shoes on when you get out of the car.

3. Stay Focused

Think of all of the things you do when you are behind the wheel. From eating breakfast to catching up on email, commuters do all sorts of things they shouldn’t while they are driving. If you are guilty of trying to multitask while you are operating your vehicle, now is the time to change your habits. Distracted driving is one of the top causes of car accidents across the United States.

4. Mind the Sun

The bright sun is a very real problem for some commuters. If you find yourself traveling into the sun on your way to work and then again on your way home, make sure that you are protecting your eyes. Your vehicle’s sun visor may not be enough; wear a good pair of sunglasses. Remember that you may need to increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you if the glare is especially bright. You may not see things as quickly as you need to, preventing your ability to stop in the typical amount of time.

5. Be Defensive, Not Aggressive

If you feel yourself getting frustrated, take a few deep breaths and refocus your emotions. One of the most dangerous things you can do is to drive aggressively. In turn, you don’t want to become the victim of someone’s road rage. Drive defensively and peacefully. Nothing will be accomplished by tailgating, shouts and hand gestures.

If you are involved in a car accident in North Carolina during your commute, you have legal rights. If that accident was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation and let us discuss your next steps. An initial call to our office is always free and we work on a contingency basis which means that it does not cost anything up front to hire us to start work on your case.  Ask us about the details when you call!

Football helmet closeupChronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has dominated headlines, at least in the sports world, for the last few weeks. In a recent study, researchers examined the donated brains of 111 former players in the National Football League. The results were stunning: 110 of those brains showed signs of CTE.

The shockwave of this discovery was almost immediate. Two days after the study was released, Baltimore Ravens’ offensive lineman John Urschel announced his retirement. At age 26, he was only three years into his NFL career. But, he has a promising career ahead of him in mathematics — he’s already published two papers in mathematics journals during his time at MIT during the offseason. He made the decision to preserve his brain power by hanging up his cleats.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also responded to the study, saying, “The average NFL player lives five years longer than you. So their lifespan is actually longer and healthier. And I think because of all the advancements, including the medical care, that number is going to even increase for them.”

Goodell has a history of downplaying the severity of concussions and CTE in the league, and his message has remained consistent.

While CTE is most often discussed in relation to professional football, some are wondering if they are at risk for the disease, especially if they’ve gotten a concussion before. To answer that, it’s important to first understand what CTE really is.

A Brief Explanation of CTE

Chances are, you’ve heard of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and at least know the basics of the disease. It’s caused by repeated head trauma, a.k.a. concussions. This repeated trauma triggers two conditions. One, it causes the brain to slowly deteriorate. Two, it causes the buildup of tau protein — which is also one of the main causes of age-related dementia.

As CTE progresses, victims may experience a host of symptoms, including:

  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Issues with impulse control
  • Impaired judgement
  • Progressive dementia

For some, these symptoms may set in a few years after their last brain trauma. For others, they may not set in for decades. But once they do, it’s currently impossible to cure or reverse CTE. What’s more, even if patients exhibit clear signs of the disease, it’s impossible to truly diagnose until the brain is autopsied after death.

Who’s at Risk?

USA patch flag on soldiers armCTE is most often associated with professional football players, boxers and other athletes. But, they aren’t the only ones at risk. Recently, CTE has been linked to many different categories of people who suffered repeated head trauma in their lives, such as military veterans. Those who played contact sports in their youth could also be at risk. Football players, soccer players and hockey players specifically who didn’t play past high school or college have been noted for experiencing symptoms of CTE.

In recent years, the revelation of the severe and widespread nature of CTE has caused many high schools to disband their football teams. Some experts are also calling for tackling to be eliminated from youth leagues. For those who will continue playing youth contact sports, protective gear manufacturers continue to develop safer pads and helmets to reduce the side effects of being tackled.

What About Concussions from Car Wrecks?

For those who have been in a car wreck or some other kind of accident that caused a concussion, there is good news: CTE is believed to be caused by repeated head trauma. While the specific number of concussions needed to trigger CTE is still unknown, it most likely is greater than just one or two. However, that doesn’t mean a single concussion isn’t dangerous.

Depending on the nature of the concussion, it could have long-term effects, especially if it’s not treated correctly. Most often, the recommended treatment for a mild traumatic brain injury (a concussion) is rest to give the brain time to heal. However, if the brain is not completely healed and another concussion occurs, it could have long-term consequences. This is most often seen in athletes who try to get back on the field too quickly after a head injury.

Regardless of the cause, if you suffer a concussion, you should be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. A doctor can evaluate the extent of the injury and prescribe the right treatment plan to make sure your brain fully heals properly. Otherwise, you could be putting yourself at risk for greater injury — though probably not CTE.

Schools across the country are gearing up to get started, if they haven’t already gotten underway. When classes begin, more teenagers are on the road as they commute to and from school. Teenagers are statistically more prone to causing auto accidents. If you have a teenage driver in your household, here are some tips to help ensure that they are as safe as possible this school year.

1. Talk About Responsibility

We know that people should buckle-up in the car, we know about the dangers of driving and texting and so on, and we assume that our kids do as well. If you haven’t talked to your children about responsible and safe driving, it could be a mistake to assume that they already know what you do.

2. Be Observant

Let your child drive you around town and carefully observe their driving. If you notice that they are making risky or dangerous maneuvers, point it out and tell them the safer choices they should be making. If you never let your kid drive while you are in the passenger seat, you won’t know how they behave behind the wheel.

3. Know Who’s In the Car

In some states, it is unlawful for newly licensed teenage drivers to have any non-family member in the car as a passenger. Those restrictions are gradually reduced as the driver gains more experience.  In other states, a teen driver can have no more than one passenger. Know the laws in your state, talk about them with your teenager driver and make sure that your child follows them. If your child is permitted a passenger, know who they will be riding with.

4. Install an App

There are several apps available today that help you control just what your teenager can do with their cell phone while they are driving. There are also apps that allow you to see how fast your child was traveling and where they went. Take a look at the app store for your phone’s provider and see what may be useful to you.

5. Be an Example

Children hear what we say, but they are more likely to do what we do. Be an example for your child every time you slip behind the wheel. Drive appropriately and safely. Avoid distractions and obey traffic laws. This is especially important when your child is riding in the car with you.

No parent wants to get a phone call that says their child has been involved in an auto accident. A car accident can have a devastating affect on a family as a whole, especially if severe injuries are incurred.

If your child is involved in a car accident, reach out to our office for assistance. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation and speak to you at a time and location that is convenient for you.

Have you ever heard that UPS drivers aren’t allowed to turn left? That isn’t completely accurate.  Operating procedures at UPS directs that drivers should avoid left-hand turns when possible, but there is no outright ban on them.  Believe it or not, the cost savings related to this is in the millions annually.  Think about it.  If the vehicles are not stopped to wait for a left turn, then they are not sitting, wasting fuel. Besides fuel savings, one may tend to think that fewer left turns could potentially mean fewer accidents.  Our firm sees quite a few accidents related to a left turning vehicle.  It can certainly be dangerous to make a left turn in busy traffic or non ideal conditions related to road and object visibility.

There are several reasons why left turns are considered to be one of the most dangerous routine maneuvers a driver can make.

1. Acceleration

It’s not unusual for drivers to accelerate as they are going into a left turn. This can be dangerous, especially if near an intersection where pedestrians may be present.

2. Shoulder Power

Many don’t realize that a left turn requires more muscle strength than a right turn. A left turn is often wider, and it takes longer to complete. This can be difficult for senior drivers or those with mobility issues.

3. A-Pillars

The A-pillars in your vehicle are the posts that are on either side of your windshield, holding it in place and supporting the weight of your roof. Increased safety standards have required wider pillars. These can block your vision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that more than a third of all accidents occur at an intersection or while turning. Statistics out of New York have shown that crashes involving vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists are twice as likely to be fatal when the crash occurred during a left turn. There was a serious injury rate of three times higher than when making right turns.

It is also known that a driver must be able to judge the speed and distance of oncoming vehicles when making a left turn. This needs to happen quickly, and a wrong estimation can put everyone in danger.

To say that you should never turn left again is true but unrealistic. If you can avoid a left turn, do so. If you can’t, proceed with caution. Make sure that you can see clearly before proceeding, and make sure you are driving without distraction.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte and the other driver is found to be at fault, reach out to our office. You have legal rights under state law that include recovering damages for the financial losses you have suffered. Call our team today and we will help you schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation. We understand the stress you are under, and we are ready to put our knowledge and experience to work for you and your family.

When a victim of a car accident sustains a serious head injury, there are very real complications that become an immediate possibility. Certainly not the least of these issues is brain death. Many people have heard of brain death, but may not have a clear picture of what it means. Here is a closer look at brain death following a vehicle collision, or any other type of accident for that matter.

Brain Basics

In order to understand brain injuries, you must first understand the basic mechanics of the brain. The organ can be divided into two areas: the upper brain and lower brain. The upper part of the brain is responsible for thought, memory, personality and cognition. The lower part controls our bodily functions, such as breathing and the sleep/wake cycle.

Most Serious Brain Injuries

There are three types of injuries that people sustain that are considered very serious. These are coma, a persistent vegetative state and brain death.

Coma: When someone suffers a brain injury in a car accident, the may fall into what is known as a coma. In some cases, a person is put into a medically-induced coma to alleviate brain swelling. A person who is in a comatose state looks as though they are sleeping. The upper and lower parts of the brain are still active, and many victims recover.

Persistent Vegetative State: This is a condition in which the upper brain has lost function, either partially or completely. The lower half of the brain is still working. The person can breathe, has a heartbeat and shows signs of life. Because the upper part of the brain is not functioning, the person has no thoughts or memories. Cognitive abilities are lost.

Brain Death: In the medical field, brain death occurs when both the upper and lower portions of the brain cease to function on their own. There is no regulation of bodily functions, and there is no evidence of cognitive function. Doctors may be able to keep bodily functions working through the use of machines.

When a person is declared brain dead, the family may be given the option of organ donation. In some cases this is not a possibility. When a person suffers brain death as the result of a vehicle collision, the surviving family may also have the legal grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident in Charlotte and suffered a traumatic brain injury of any type, you may be legally entitled to compensation for those injuries. You may receive damages for medical bills, lost wages and more. Reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys for help in determining what you may be compensated for. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your options.

 

When people are involved in car accidents, they often dread calling their insurance company. There is a misconception that insurance premiums will go through the roof when a driver is involved in an accident. While this may be the case in accidents in which you are at-fault, it is not true in each accident. Unique circumstances, along with your driving history, will be considered when adjusting premiums.

While your premiums may not go up due to an accident, there are some other factors that will send them higher. Here are a few of the real reasons you could see your auto insurance premiums rise.

1. Driving Record

You could see a spike in your premiums if you have several traffic tickets on your record and receive another. The same can be the case if you have multiple accidents. It is rare, but heard of, for premiums to rise due to a single ticket or one minor crash. Your premiums will rise once your insurance company views you as a risk.

2. Teenage Drivers

Earning a driver’s license is an exciting time for a teenager, but not so much for parents who are paying for insurance. When you add a teenage driver to your police, you can expect your premium to increase. Teens are statistically more likely to cause or to be involved in an accident, and insurance companies know this.

3. Your Vehicle

The type of vehicle you drive will make a difference in your premiums. If you choose to drive a sports car instead of a family sedan, you will pay for it. The fancier the car you drive, the higher your premium. A flashy car is attractive to thieves, but not so attractive to insurance agents.

4. A New Car

People often wonder why a new car with all of its safety features would cost more than an older model to insure. Any new car, no matter its make or model, could cause your premiums to go up. This has nothing to do with safety features and everything to do with the cost to replace the car if you are involved in an accident.

5. Getting Divorced or Staying Single

One of the benefits of getting married, financially, is a decrease in insurance premiums. Married drivers, especially those with children, are considered to be safer. If you are married and get divorced, your insurance premiums may go up. If you choose to stay single, you will be paying more than your married friends.

While being involved in an accident could cause your premiums to rise, you are more likely to see them go up for the reasons above. If you do happen to be involved in a vehicle collision in Charlotte, our experienced personal injury attorneys can deal with the insurance companies for you and represent you in a personal injury lawsuit. Call our office today to schedule your free case evaluation and discover more about your legal options.

Being hurt in an accident is a scary, confusing and frustrating.  Besides the possibility of being hurt and unable to work, car accident victims may also have problems related to unpaid medical bills, lost wages and a general lack of experience in knowing their options for moving forward and what they can expect for their possible future compensation.

It is common for accident victims to want to know the potential value of their injury case.  It would be wrong for an attorney to communicate to a prospective client or anyone else a guess or estimate of the potential value of their injury case.  Even a rough “ball park” figure is something that should not be expressed.  We caution everyone that is evaluating their options for legal representation to please exercise care with anyone that does this or expresses any guarantee of any kind of result.

Besides the ethical problems of enticing potential clients with promises or guarantees, every case is different and there are many, many factors that will effect a possible settlement or trial verdict. Legal professionals with experience in handling personal injury claims must fully evaluate a client’s evidence, injuries, insurance, bills, records and much more before ever being able to assess any potential compensation scenarios.  To best serve a potential client that is investigating their options for hiring a personal injury attorney, it is more accurate and ethical to discuss with them the types of damages that they may be able to recover.

If you have been involved in a car accident, here are the types of damages that you may be able to recover.

Medical Expenses

A personal injury claim involves the medical expenses incurred by the victim. An element of every personal injury case is that the incident caused injury and that damages resulted from that injury. A victim may be compensated for past, current and future medical bills related to the accident.

Loss of Income

If the injuries sustained in the accident are severe enough that a person is unable to work, the at-fault party may be held responsible for compensating the victim for lost wages. Economic damages can be very difficult to understand and speaking to an experienced attorney about past and future lost earnings from an accident or injury is something that injury victims should consider.

Pain and Suffering

Some injuries will linger after a car accident or other serious injury and some may get worse. When this occurs, you could be compensated for the persistent discomfort you experience. Because pain and suffering is not based on receipts or pay stubs, the exact amount a person may be entitled to will vary depending on the unique circumstances and facts of their case.

Emotional Damages

When a person is involved in a car accident or other serious injury case, they may experience stress, anxiety or other mental health problems that may continue long after the accident or initial injury occurred. Those issues may include but are not limited to fear, anxiety or depression that results from the accident or injury. Attorneys will often argue for compensation for clients that have received diagnosis’ and treatment for these types of damages.

Loss of Enjoyment

When you and your family have to make alterations to your lifestyle because of injuries sustained in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation for loss of enjoyment. Like pain and suffering and emotional damages, the amount of compensation paid for the loss of enjoyment will vary on a case by case basis.

When a person is involved in a car accident, they should not have to suffer. These unexpected hardships can be devastating to an individual or family. If you have been involved in an accident and suffered an injury, speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer that will fight for you by your side.

If your accident occurred in Charlotte or anywhere else in North Carolina, reach out to our team. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your possible options. You may be entitled to the damages described above. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.

 

There have been several reports this year of people being stranded on the side of the road or having to stop to make minor repairs to their vehicles, only to be struck by oncoming cars. One of the easiest ways to avoid these types of car accidents is not to be stranded in the first place. Overheating can cause your car to come to a sudden halt, but it is something that you can prevent.

1. Watch the Gauge

You may not pay attention to your dashboard until it lights up like an airport runway, but this is a mistake. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge during the hot months of summer. Your gauge will alert you to a possible problem with heat in your engine. Look in your owner’s manual or online to determine the normal needle position for your vehicle. If it starts to climb, you need to pull into your nearest service station.

2. Turn Off the Air

Turning off the air conditioning is the last thing you want to do, but it could be the first thing that prevents your engine from overheating. Turning off your air conditioning will ease up on the stress you are placing on your engine and possibly help it cool down.

3. Turn Up the Heater

You have zero desire to turn on your vehicle’s heater in the summer, but it can take the heat away from your engine. If you notice that the temperature gauge starts to climb higher, crank up the heat. It’s often the first step in preventing damage to your engine.

4. Step On the Gas

As soon as you are stopped in traffic, shift your gear to park or neutral. Step on the gas and rev the engine. This will speed the water pump and fan, allowing your radiator to work more efficiently, even if only for a moment.

5. Maintain a Steady Speed

Accelerating and braking, especially frequently, puts pressure on the engine. If you are in traffic, try to maintain a steady speed, even if it’s a slow one. This will allow your engine to operate at a regulated rate, reducing the strain it is experiencing and, ultimately, running cooler.

6. Pull Over

If you’ve followed the steps above and your engine is still overheating, you need to pull over. If you can get completely off the highway, do it. If you can’t, pull over to the shoulder and call for assistance. Running your vehicle when the engine is overheated can cause expensive damage.

If you are in a car accident in Charlotte and need assistance, our team of attorneys is here for you. Call today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and let us advise you of your legal options. You may be legally entitled to damages for medical bills, time off work and more. Reach out to our team or browse our website for more information about our firm.

 

If you are asked if you know how to drive in fog, chances are you will answer “of course.” Driving in fog is no different than driving on a clear morning. Or is it? There is more to driving in fog safely than simply turning in your fog lights. Read on to discover how you can avoid car accidents when you are driving in such low visibility conditions.

1. Keep Your Distance

The normal count between vehicles is 2 seconds. This means that if a vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object, like a light pole, it should take you 2 seconds more to pass that same object. Increase your distance to 5 seconds when you are driving through fog. This will give you enough time to see the vehicle ahead of you stop and allow you to do the same.

2. Use Fog Lights

If your vehicle is equipped with fog lights, turn them on. Fog lights are positioned in such a way that they light the road ahead of you without beaming straight into the fog. Experiment with your headlights. If keeping them on allows you to see into the fog, keep them on. If the light is bouncing back into your eyes, use your fog lights by themselves.

3. Watch Out for Animals

Drive cautiously as you go through the fog, keeping an eye out for animals in the road. The cover of fog makes animals feel brave. They are more likely to bolt out into the road when they feel as though they are protected. Drive slowly and stay aware of what is happening around your vehicle.

4. Keep High Beams Off

It can be tempting to use your high beams, thinking that you will be able to see further ahead. This is untrue. When you use high beams in fog, the light bounces right back into your eyes, making it more difficult to see. Keep the high beams off.

5. Pull Over

Don’t drive through thick fog if you can’t see more than a couple of feet in front of your car. It is incredibly dangerous to do so, and you run a great risk of being involved in a car accident. If you can’t see, pull over to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights to make your vehicle visible to others.

Driving through fog is not a difficult thing to do when you take a few extra precautions. If you encounter unavoidable fog, follow these tips above to avoid being involved in a collision.

If you are involved in a car crash in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, call our team of attorneys. We will help you schedule a free case evaluation and advise you of your legal options. You may be entitled to damages for any financial loss you have suffered. Call today or browse our website for more information about our firm.

Aggressive driving causes accidents. Ask a driver if they are aggressive, however, and chances are they will tell you no. Drivers in the United States have developed a habit of driving more aggressively than they should, and it has become the norm. Here are some of the maneuvers that these drivers make on a regular basis.

1. Speeding

If anyone has ever complained that you have a lead foot, you may have laughed it off. It may be illegal to speed down an empty stretch of highway, but typical. If, on the other hand, you speed every time you get behind the wheel and don’t slow it down when you hit heavy traffic, you are risking your safety.

2. Tailgating

We have all been behind that driver that travels under the speed limit despite perfect conditions. It’s frustrating. A defensive driver will hang back and give that person room until it is safe to pass. An aggressive driver will get on the person’s bumper thinking it’s going to make them hurry up. An even more aggressive driver will pass that slow driver, cut in front of them closely and then slow down themselves to “teach them a lesson.”

3. Speeding Up at Yellows

What does a yellow light mean? For many drivers, it is an indicator to hit the gas and speed through the light, not giving yourself enough time to stop if it turns red. This can lead you to being cited for running a red light, not to mention causing an accident. A yellow light cautions you that you will be coming to a stop. It actually means to slow down and proceed with caution.

4. Weaving In and Out of Traffic

This is something you have probably seen on the highway. You know the car. It’s the one that changes lanes as soon as there is an opening, believing that they are going to get where they are going faster. Changing lanes frequently is dangerous. Pick a lane and stick to it. If you are traveling the speed limit, there is no reason to get out of your lane.

5. Not Using a Turn Signal

There are popular memes on social media making fun of those that don’t use their turn signal. It’s annoying to most people, but it is also dangerous. A turn signal indicates to the drivers around you that you intend to change direction of travel. Even more dangerous is the driver who doesn’t slow appropriately, instead suddenly reducing their speed and cutting around a corner.

If you recognize yourself in any of these examples, you may be an aggressive driver. The good news is that aggressive driving is something that you have complete control over. The next time you get in your vehicle, simply follow the rules of the road. The more often you do, the more quickly it will become your new habit.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of accident attorneys. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of your legal options.

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