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Economy Affects Fatal Accident RatesWhether from actions by the government or by natural market trends, a large portion of the nation is finally seeing a turnaround in the economy. Unemployment has be trending downwards, and more people have found a fulfilling job that pays the bills for themselves and their family. But this has had an unintended consequence that is actually costing the the local and national government big bucks: more car accidents.

According to the National Safety Council, the first half of 2015 (the most recent data year) saw a national increase of 14 percent in fatal traffic accidents. Some experts say this was caused by a variety of factors. First of all, gas prices have been plummeting over the past year, allowing more people to travel. In addition, there was more severe weather last year than we’ve had in some time. Finally, and most importantly, a recovering economy means more drivers going to work every day, naturally leading to more accidents.

Effects on the Local Scale

While national statistics are still being gathered and therefore unavailable, there are some states who have put out some convincing numbers. For instance, North Carolina’s unemployment rate has been consistently falling since reaching nearly 12 percent in 2010. Last year, unemployment rates were at just under 6 percent. In combination with the falling gas prices we began seeing in the beginning of 2015, more and more drivers were on the road.

This led to an increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents. While no official statistics have been released for 2015 as of yet for the state, it was reported that fatal accidents were up by 19 percent in the first half of the year. If that trend continued the rest of the year (which is likely, with more traveling during the holiday season at the end of the year), that would result in about 1,400 traffic fatalities in North Carolina. That is the highest number of fatalities since 2008, as you can see in this graph:

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According to Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson, it’s simple math: “More miles driven, more cars on the road, more accidents.”

Creating the Perfect Storm

When other factors are considered, it seemed rather obvious that fatal accidents would increase across the nation. For one, the population of the United States has continually crept up since 2010, naturally leading to more drivers on the road. In addition, gas prices were the lowest they were since 2010. This led to drivers collectively traveling 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of the year — a 3.5 percent increase from 2014 and a historic record.

Seeing these trends, insurance companies prepared themselves for increased claims. But that wasn’t always enough, as Geico recorded a much lower profit in 2015 Q2. Insurance companies may have dodged many potential claims, however, when the cause of the accidents was revealed.

Symptoms of an Epidemic

While increased cars may naturally increase the number of accidents, there is an underlying factor causing the majority of these crashes. According to Warren Buffett, as more and more drivers use their cellphones on the road, the rate of accidents will continue rising. Distracted driving is one of deadliest problems on the American roads today, and can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.

But cellphones aren’t the only problem. Eating, picking something up off the floor and even driving drowsy can all be considered distractions. In all, at least eight people are killed and more than 1,100 hundred are injured every day in accidents involving distracted driving. The statistics make sense when you consider the fact that over a quarter of all car accidents involve cellphone use in one way or another.

So What Can Be Done?

For many Americans, driving may seem like the only way to get to work every day. While that may be true for some, there are many alternatives. Of course, living close to work could mean walking or biking there. For farther distances, consider public transit. While it may take longer to get to where you’re going, it all but eliminates your risk of being in a dangerous accident. Or, you could carpool to work with family or friends. However you do it, try to avoid driving by yourself if you can. The fewer cars that are on the road, the less likely an accident will happen.

If you do have to drive, do so safely. Leave yourself some extra time in the morning to get to work so you don’t have to speed. Keep your phone out of sight, and don’t fiddle with the radio. Remember all those lessons of defensive driving you learned in driver’s ed? With a record number of cars on the road, now would be an ideal time to remember and practice them. The safer you drive, the less likely it is you’ll be in an accident, at least one that’s your fault.

 Newton’s LifeWhen it comes to having fun on the gridiron, no one tops the Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. You rarely see him without a smile on his face, and, of course, who can forget the dab? He brings a certain level of entertainment and enjoyment to the game, and there’s a reason for that: In December of 2014, Cam Newton was in a car accident that nearly claimed his life. New he uses that incident to fuel his spirit on the field, and his teammates have taken notice.

Cam Newton was recently awarded the Ed Block Courage Award, after being nominated by his teammates for the award. This is likely not the only award Newton will be given this year. Here’s why he deserves the Ed Block Courage Award this year.

Struggling Before the Accident

Cam Newton’s career so far with the Carolina Panthers has been riddled with injury. He went into the 2014 season coming off of a major ankle surgery. Yet, he still put of massive passing and rushing numbers. Any given week, he may be suffering from bruised ribs, muscles and any other number of minor injuries. But as one of the biggest quarterbacks in the league, he always has a huge target on his back. This doesn’t stop him from carrying his team by throwing crucial touchdown passes and running down the field on his own.

These injuries and constant hits from his opponents’ defenses didn’t bring him down. In 2014 alone, he threw for 3,127 yards and 18 touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 539 yards and five touchdowns. To make it even more impressive, he missed two games at the beginning of the season. But his toughest struggles were still to come.

A Fateful Day in December

On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, Cam Newton was on his day off. Of course, being the dedicated player he is, Newton made his way down to the Carolina Panthers’ stadium to watch game film. On his way, a car pulled out in front of his truck and clipped him. Newton’s truck skidded over and flipped, coming to a stop on the Interstate 277 overpass. If he had skidded a few more feet, his truck would have fallen off of the overpass.

After the accident, Newton managed to pull himself from the wreckage and limp to the side of the highway. When the medical staff arrived, they rushed him to the hospital for examination. Somehow, Newton made it out of the wreckage without a bruise or cut. His injuries consisted of two transverse fractures in his back. After an overnight stay, he was in the Panthers locker room the next day — not suited to play, of course.


 Newton’s LifeA Changed Person

Even though the wreck could have been much worse, Newton realized what life was really about. He says one of the things he remembers most after the accident was standing on the side of the highway with a big smile on his face. He only missed one week due to his injuries. If you asked his teammates, they would say it was a completely different Cam Newton on the field when he returned. This was when he learned to smile through his adversity. At the beginning of his career, a loss would put him in a terrible mood that resonated throughout the rest of the team. Now, he smiles through the disappointment and enjoys his life, no matter what is going on around him.

In Cam’s eyes, he doesn’t care what his critics think. He knows pundits, both professional and otherwise, think he acts like a child on the field. His dancing, his constant talking and, of course, that huge Cheshire grin are a part of who he is now. Has that positivity lead to the Panthers’ new-found success? Whether or not it has, it has created a new atmosphere for the team.

A Good Reason for Joy

Now, Cam is seen as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Besides the Ed Block Courage Award, he is on track to be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this season. In the 2015 regular season, he passed for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. While these are not the best quarterback stats in the league, his fight through adversity has given him unquantifiable qualities that have propelled him to the top.

Now, after Cam and the rest of the Panthers thrashed the Arizona Cardinals, they are on their way to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. Newton showed his dedication to playing the game well and having fun while doing it, giving ball after ball to fans in the stands. This playoff win at home propels the Panthers to their first Super Bowl in 13 years. With the dynamic the team presents, this year could easily be the franchise’s first championship win.

Love him or hate him, Cam Newton has taught us one thing: Car accidents define our lives. We can let them ruin us, or we can take the experience and let them shape us into an even better version of ourselves. The most important thing to remember: No one can make that decision except you.

Authorities report that a teenager was killed when his car was struck by another vehicle. The teen from Raleigh, Eddie Urieta-Yariez, 19, had pulled over to the side of the road on westbound I-40.

According to reports, Urieta-Yanez was driving a 1996 Toyota car and had parked on the roadside. At approximately 3:42 a.m., a commercial box truck was merging onto I-40 west when it failed to slow down. The truck slammed into the smaller car, virtually running it over. The truck came to a stop about 150 yards west of the location of the crash.

It is unclear why Urieta-Yanez had stopped his car at the end of the on-ramp, and whether or not he had his hazard lights activated has not been reported. What is known is that the car’s driver was killed at the scene and the truck’s driver has not yet been charged in the incident. It is unknown whether or not he will be.

As we leave the holiday season behind, it is important to remember that we cannot reduce our attention to the roadways. If you are on any highway, drive safely and with your full attention to the road ahead of you. This is especially important when you are traveling in unfamiliar areas.

If you are hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our team of personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and tell you if we believe that you should move forward. Call now.

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A fire west of Apex caused smoke that was seen for miles and caused what amounted to a black out in western Wake County last week. The smoke that everyone saw was caused by a mulch pile that had been on fire for several days.

People in the area had a difficult time driving along Jenks and Wimberly roads, thanks to the dense fog-like smoke that swathed the area.

According to reports, SunCon-Suncoast Contracting was clearing land for a planned development on Green Level Church Road. There were trees being ground up and thrown into a burn pile. The pile smoldered and created the smoke that was seen around the area. The owner of the company, Todd Hamilton, said that fog, still air and low-lying land made it the “perfect storm” for the dense smoke to take form.

There is no plan to charge the company with any type of crime even though Karl Huegerich, Apex Fire Marshal, said that it is against town code to burn materials openly on a construction site. Huegerich was under the impression that the materials would be hauled away, but that the company decided to burn the waste instead. Because the materials were burned just outside Apex town limits, no laws were violated.

Rush hour was a bit complicated and state troopers were forced to respond to several crashes that were caused by low visibility. At least six crashes were reported but no one was injured. Collisions ranged from those involving single cars to those involving several vehicles.

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HOA, normally built and classified as non-profit organizations, have never been considered exempt from obtaining workers’ compensation insurance in North Carolina. Even unpaid volunteers were expected to be covered along with officers and directors.

About a year ago, some attorneys expressed their concern with the fact that many of these people failed to obtain coverage for themselves. Many insurance brokers and even the state insurance information were confused as to why these attorneys felt that HOA volunteers would be setting themselves up for litigation, despite being non-paid workers.

As a result of the confusion and ensuing discussions, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 765. This bill revised the definition of “employee” in the Workers’ Compensation Act. Briefly, anyone who performs voluntary service for a nonprofit and receives nothing more than reasonable reimbursement is excluded from the definition of employee.

If the nonprofit chooses to utilize someone’s services and gives them compensation for those services, then that person must be considered an employee. This does not mean, however, that people who run nonprofits or hire volunteers are prohibited from carrying workers’ compensation insurance, they are simply not required to do so by law.

If you have been injured at work and need an attorney, reach out to our team of attorneys. We are here for you and are ready to review the details of your case at no charge. Call our team of experienced legal professionals today or browse our website for more information about how our firm can assist you.

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When it comes to workers’ compensation, North Carolina workers may be getting the short end of the stick. Compensation, or the combination of the value gained by wages and benefits, has been dwindling throughout the country. In North Carolina, the numbers are bleak when compared to neighboring states. In fact, North Carolina’s economic value puts the state at 37th in the country.

In 2000, NC workers received close to 57% of the value of what was produced in the state. That was on par with the rest of the country. In the following years, North Carolina’s value has dwindled and workers are feeling the strain, receiving few financial benefits from their hard work.

But just what is the real impact to workers? If the workers in the state were receiving the same type of compensation and benefits as they did in 2000, taking into account the current cost of living and inflation, there would be an additional $24 billion going to those hard working men and women. That may not seem like a lot of money when you take into account all of the workers in the state, but it would have meant better cars, homes or even more recreational opportunities for those people. As it stands, no new jobs have been created, consumer spending is at a virtual standstill, and many people across the state have seen no improvement in their economic fortune.

Experts think the state can do better. Recovering in a way that improves compensation is imperative for the future success of the state’s workers and, in turn, the state as a whole. Everyone deserves a share in the economic growth of the state, especially the people that work so hard to make that growth happen.

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downloadA construction worker was critically injured after falling 20 feet from a scissor lift to a concrete floor on Wednesday. According to authorities, the 45 -year-old worker fell in an industrial incident at a facility located in the 1800 block of Highway 5A in Canada. He was transported to Royal Inland Hospital where he later underwent surgery.

Work Safe B.C. and the Kamloops RCMP have launched a joint investigation which police say is ongoing.

When you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury on the job, it can be an agonizing experience not just for the person who has been injured, but for their family as well. With the high cost of medical treatment, and the potential loss of income for being off the job recovering from their injuries, the bills can pile up quickly.

While the money awarded in a worker’s compensation settlement can give some relief to injured workers and their families, more often than not, it is nowhere near enough money to cover all expenses incurred after an accident. That’s when having a qualified and experienced attorney working for you can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Before signing any sort of statement with either your insurance provider or your employer, call the law offices of Auger and Auger first. When you call, we will schedule an appointment for you to meet with an attorney about your on the job injury. We can serve as your point of contact when dealing with insurance companies and all other legal entities so that you can concentrate on your recovery.

Give us a call and speak with us today. We can help. Your initial consultation and legal analysis are completely free.

downloadRoad rage is never a good situation to find oneself in. However, a quick thinking motorist in Conover, North Carolina used the camera feature on his cellphone to capture video footage of a road rage incident that unfolded right in front of him.

Dustin Curtis posted his video on his Facebook page and also took it to local authorities.

The incident happened while Curtis was on Highway 70 last week when he witnessed two SUVs apparently trying to cut each other off in traffic.

While he was watching he thought that the situation should be recorded so he grabbed his cellphone and started shooting what was happening in front of him.

Shown in the video clip is a white Blazer and a black Lexus SUV driving around each other with the drivers occasionally slamming the brakes. According to witnesses, one driver cut the other off, and they pursued each other for more than a mile.

“The incident ended when one vehicle, the black Lexus SUV pulled in front of the Blazer, causing an accident. The vehicles collided then both spun out in the roadway.

The drivers confronted each other but there was no assault between the two drivers. One of the drivers asked Curtis to hand over the cellphone video, but Curtis refused and gave it to police instead.

Police in Conover have filed charges against both drivers. The two motorists are identified as. Ryan Gregory, 23, of Hudson, and Jeffrey Burkey, 64, of Davidson. The two drivers were cited and given a summons to appear in court on reckless driving charges.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in this particular incident. Aggressive drivers put other motorists at danger when they act out their aggression behind the wheel. Taking out stress, anxiety or anger on other drivers is never the right solution. With drivers focused solely on their anger and who was “right”, this situation escalated into something that could have potentially turned tragic.

If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident that is when you need an attorney to give you sound advice.

An experienced attorney will fight on your side and will give you advice on how to handle your specific situation. Before you talk to an insurance claims adjuster or anyone else after an accident, call the offices of Auger & Auger.

At Auger & Auger, we are focused in all areas of both accident and personal liability law. Our attorneys know just what needs to be done in a personal injury or accident case. Have someone on your side that will fight for fairness and get you the settlement you deserve. Call us today for a free initial consultation about your case.

download (95)Imagine a future where a car could avoid a potential accident on the road. That is exactly what happened when an UberSelect driver was behind the wheel of his Tesla Model S recently when another driver suddenly turned in front of him. The car’s self-braking technology stopped the car for the driver and the accident was avoided.

According to Tesla Representatives, owners of the Model S can enjoy features that make the car safer and more reliable on the road than most other vehicles. Drivers are able to maintain their speed; stay centered within their lane and will prevent drivers from making a lane change if there is something in the car’s blind spot.

The car has built in radars and ultrasonic sensors and cameras that can detect objects and movement within a 16-foot radius around the vehicle.

“We trust our customers, and we expect them to be responsible,” said Khobi Brooklyn, a representative for Tesla Motors.

With cars on the road that act to assist drivers by keeping them in their lane and maintaining vehicle speed or braking when a potentially dangerous situation is sensed by the vehicle, some accidents may be able to be avoided.

Not everyone owns a vehicle that can act as an assistant to keep them safe. Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere and almost always when you least expect it to happen. When accidents do occur, much of the time it is because someone does something careless. Even with a good driver behind the wheel and careful driving habits, accidents can and do happen.

If you have been injured in an accident of any kind, give our law offices a call. . We have the resources to help you and we are the first, best step in any personal injury claim.

Call Auger & Auger today and let us help you get the compensation you need to get your life back on track after an accident. Call us today.

82522931_38a5a71869_oOne person is in critical condition after a wrong-way accident on Interstate 77 south. The accident involved a passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler.

According to state troopers, the accident occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. on I-77 south at LaSalle Street.

The driver of the car who was traveling the wrong way was ejected from his vehicle. The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured, in the crash.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in a recent study, accidents that involve a driver who is going the wrong way are increasing. Some 60% of those accidents, according to the study, can be attributed to someone getting behind the wheel and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – whether illegal, prescription or even over the counter medications.

While many incidents of wrong-way accidents can also be caused by someone who has become confused or disoriented while driving in an unfamiliar area, or they cannot see or negotiate well in the dark, only 15% of drivers that get into such accidents are elderly or are over the age of 70.

Another contributing factor in wrong way accidents is being overly tired. Being too tired and then getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle can also be a contributing factor in a wrong-way accident. It’s just as wise an idea to be rested before driving as it is to not drive after consuming alcohol.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a wrong-way driving incident, call the offices of Auger & Auger today. When you call we will discuss the details of your case with you and help you decide your best course of action before you sign or agree to anything.

At Auger & Auger, we are focused in all areas of both accident and personal liability law. We will be there on your side and will help you and y our loved ones get the settlement you deserve. Call us today.

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