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A new bill is headed to the Governor’s desk. If it is signed into law, the bill would hold operators of zip lines liable for accidents and injuries on their courses. The state senate passed the bill unanimously. It is expected that the governor will add his signature.

Once made into law, Senate Bill 100 will require operators of zip lines and similar attractions to carry liability insurance. The minimum coverage would be $1 million per incident or a total of $2 million. Zip line courses owned by the government or those that are not open to the public would be exempt.

Titled “Aerial Adventure Financial Responsibility,” the bill stems from a 2015 accident. After the accident, a study of zip line safety was conducted. It was found that zip lines would not be regulated like amusement park rides. The report said, in part, that increased regulations would not remove all risk or make the industry a safer one.

There are currently more than 100 zip lines in operation throughout the state. most are inspected at least yearly as part of insurance requirements, but, until now, none have been required to carry liability insurance. Once the governor signs the bill into law, that will change.

Common Zip Line Injuries

In 2012, a study found that there were about 10 injuries resulting from zip line accidents each day. Most injuries occur, according to experts, when people fall or crash into a stationary object. Broken bones are the most highly reported injuries. Others include sprains, concussions and bruises.

Some of the injuries occur on publicly accessed zip line sites, and some occur in people’s backyards. With the popularity of zip lines and the relative ease of purchasing the necessary equipment, many people are installing them on their own properties for the use of family and friends.

Zip Line Safety

It is suggested that anyone visiting a zip line attraction perform due diligence before strapping on any harnesses. Take a good look around the site to make sure that it seems legitimate. Listen to all rules and safety suggestions before taking off, and check your safety gear frequently over the length of the course.

People are also urged to know their own limits. If they are over the weight limit, have a heart condition or are pregnant, they should pass up the ride. While zip lines are certainly exciting, they are not designed for everyone.

If you are injured on a zip line or amusement park ride in Charlotte or elsewhere, you may be entitled to compensation if your injuries are due to someone’s error or negligence. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal rights.

empty courtroomWhen you hire an attorney and file a personal injury lawsuit, your ultimate goal is to prove that someone has been negligent. Once this has been proven, your attorney will work to prove that the negligent party’s actions caused your injuries. When both of these elements are proven, a judge will award damages in the case.

Damages are a monetary award that compensate a victim for any injury or property damage that has occurred due to another person’s negligent actions. There are two main categories of damages that a defendant may be ordered to pay: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are the standard that is sought in court. They are meant to pay back the victim. Punitive damages are sought in extreme cases as a way to punish the person who is found to be at-fault or negligent.

Compensatory Damages

These damages are awarded for actual loss. Compensatory damages are normally sought when a victim has been injured. The purpose of compensatory damages is to restore the victim’s financial status to the state it was in before the injury. Under the umbrella of compensatory damages are those for tangible losses and intangible losses.

1. Tangible losses include medical treatments, loss of income, loss of property and legal fees. These damages are easily calculated using receipts, bills and estimates. Damages awarded for medical costs may include those that have already been paid and those that a doctor deems will be necessary in the future.

2. Intangible losses include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment and loss of consortium. Intangible losses are not as easily calculated. These types of losses may be calculated based upon testimony from the victim, friends and family and even experts.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages are exactly what they sound like: Punishment. These damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages and are meant to serve as a warning or motivator to the at-fault party to not behave in a specific way again. Punitive damages are not awarded in every case. A judge typically only considers punitive damages when the plaintiff is determined to have acted in a way that disregarded the safety of others.

To be awarded any type of damages, a victim must prove fault. This is done by entering evidence against the plaintiff. When a personal injury attorney is able to prove that the plaintiff’s actions caused injury or property damage, they will be made to compensate the victim of their actions. In some cases, depending on the types of damages awarded, there may be a cap, or maximum amount, set.

If you have been involved in an accident in Charlotte and believe that your injuries are due to someone’s negligence, you may have the elements necessary for compensation. Reach out to Auger & Auger Law today for a free case evaluation. We will sit with you to discuss the details of your accident and advise you of the options available to you under current state law. Call us today or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.

shutterstock_149842034Plans have been set for this year’s Thanksgiving Bowl. Teams are being chosen for the Christmas Crunch. No matter when you will be tossing the pigskin in the backyard, no one wants to end the game early due to an injury. Playing touch football has become as much of a tradition as family meals themselves. While many of these makeshift games end with a proper celebration for one team, some are called early when an uncle throws his back out or a young cousin twists her ankle.

Don’t let your annual family football game end in injury. Read on to discover how your family’s yearly sporting event can go off without a hitch.

Training

You won’t see a professional athlete sitting on the couch for three months and hitting the field without proper training. Why would you do anything different? You certainly don’t have to train for months but if you know you will be playing in the annual family game, start getting your body ready a few weeks before. Even walking around the neighborhood every day after dinner can help your body prepare for the physical demand of a football game.

Warm Up

It’s not unusual for the family to arrive, hit the backyard and start throwing the ball. This can be a bad idea. Most people warm up before exercise for good reason. Warm ups lubricate joints and increase flexibility to the muscles. Take five or 10 minutes to warm up before the football game.

Know the Field

Many an injury has occurred because someone stepped down on a rock or go their foot stuck in an unnoticed hole. Take a walk around the section of yard you will be playing in before the first pass is thrown. Toss or pick up any objects that could potentially be a trip and fall hazard.

Suit Up

Don’t wear tight, heavy clothing. Instead, opt for several light layers that you can both move easily in and remove should you get too hot. Encourage your family members to do the same. While you are at it, make sure that you are wearing sneakers with a decent tread. Boots and flats are better suited for the indoors.

Stay On Your Feet

It’s not unusual for backyard football games to get a bit heated. Resist any urge you have to tackle another family member. Tackling increases the risk of injury, especially to younger players.

Drink in Celebration

Stick to drinking after the game. Alcohol not only decreases your balance and ability to make quick decisions, but it is dehydrating. Drink plenty of water or sports drinks when you are playing the game instead.

The annual family football game doesn’t have to result in injury if everyone plays with safety in mind. Go out back, have a good time and then enjoy your feast.

If you or a loved one are injured in Charlotte through no fault of your own, you may have the legal right to seek compensation for those injuries. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your injury and advise you of the options available to you.

shutterstock_243809152Come on. A blog about winter injuries? Have you forgotten that we live in one of the most beautiful states in the nation where winter is something that happens to other people? Before you dismiss this article as nonsense or unnecessary, consider that the weather is changing.

It is more common to hear of unusually high temperatures during the summer, and freezingly cold temperatures in the winter. States that aren’t used to hot and humid days experience deaths. Where winter is unheard of but suddenly appears, people are injured. North Carolina is typically protected by the mountains, experiencing winters that are wet but mild. With the changes in weather, it is not unreasonably to expect that people in Charlotte may experience harsh weather at least once this season.

Knowing how to stay safe in the winter is important for everyone, whether you are caught in a freak storm or trapped in your house by mountains of snow for days at a time. Follow these tips to reduce your risk of injury this frigid season.

1. Slips and Falls

Slips and falls are one of the most common accidents in the winter months. Slipping and sliding on ice and snow is easy to do, especially when you can’t immediately see the slippery patch. Even if you only skid for a moment, you can strain muscles trying to catch yourself. It’s not uncommon to incur an ankle twist, a fracture or even a head injury in this kind of accident. Stay as aware of your surroundings as possible and tread carefully.

2. Shoveling

No one likes to shovel snow, and many people shovel in a hurry just to get the job over with. Rushing while shoveling can cause injury. It’s important to pay attention to your body when you are shoveling snow as doing it the wrong way can cause injury to your shoulders, neck or back. Shovel slowly and with purpose. If you begin to feel tension in your back, stop and take a break if you can. Always remember to use your knees and not your lower back.

3. Auto Accidents

Most people continue to drive as they normally do despite harsh conditions. In other cases, people drive much too carefully for the conditions, posing a similar type of danger. If you aren’t sure how to drive in the snow, take the time to learn. Know how your car handles and drive appropriately. Driving too fast or too slow can both be dangerous. And if you are planning on traveling to the mountains or another snowy area this year, it may be wise to invest in a set of tire chains.

No one wants to end their day in a doctor’s office or hospital bed because of a winter injury. Follow the tips above to help make sure that you stay safe and healthy all season long.

If you happen to be injured on someone else’s property this winter due to that property owner’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries, lost wages and more. Reach out to our team of legal professionals today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. Call today for assistance.

set-of-red-chain-swings-on-modern-kids-playgroundMost parents know that there are dangers associated with contact sports like football and hockey. Safety gear is available for these sports, helping to ensure that children are kept as free from injury as possible. What many parents don’t consider to be hazardous is a good romp on a playground. Whether at school or in the public park, playgrounds pose a danger to little ones, especially a danger of concussion.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 20,000 children aged 14 and younger suffer some type of brain injury on playgrounds each year. The same study found that the rate of concussions is on the rise among young children.  The CDC can’t pinpoint what is causing this rise, but it is recommending that parents, guardians and school staff supervise children as they participate in recess and play on playground equipment.

Playground Equipment Dangers

The two pieces of equipment that are responsible for the most injuries are monkey bars and swings. Poorly assembled and poorly constructed equipment is often the cause for injuries, but even well-made equipment can be dangerous. Playground equipment should be set up on sturdy surfaces and used only as they are made to be. This means that children shouldn’t be jumping from swings, standing on monkey bars and the like.

Compensation for Injuries

Where the playground is located will make a difference in how you seek compensation. If your child is injured in a public park, you may have a case for premise liability against the city. If your child is hurt on the daycare or school playground, you could have a case against the care facility or school.

If your child has suffered a brain injury or concussion as a result of a playground accident in Charlotte, an experienced attorney can help you determine if you have a case and against whom. Our personal injury attorneys are happy to speak to you at no cost and help you determine if you have a case for personal injury or premise liability. Reach out to our team today to schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation.

close-up-of-male-bandaging-his-armFor many people, deciding to file a lawsuit comes after weeks or months of deep thought. It is rarely something that people undertake on the spur of the moment. Because people put so much thought into their decision, it can be extremely disappointing when an attorney tells them they either don’t have a case or the attorney won’t take their case.

Attorneys want to help people. It is not an easy thing to tell people they are unable to offer assistance, especially when the person and their family are experiencing difficulty. There are very specific reasons that an attorney won’t take a case, and there may be more personal ones. Here are some of them.

1. Liability

An experienced personal injury attorney always offers a case evaluation before making a decision about a case. During this evaluation, the attorney will determine liability. Even if someone feels strongly that their injuries should be compensated, an attorney cannot prove a case if they cannot first prove that someone was liable for those injuries according to the wording of the law. If an attorney believes that no one can be held legally liable for the injury, they won’t take the case.

2. Damages

Even if you were injured, it may not have been an injury that you would be compensated for in such a way that would make sense for the attorney to spend their time and effort representing you. That may sound unethical, but it is not. Consider the amount of time you would be willing to work for no pay. If an attorney won’t make money by taking your case, they often times will not take it.

3. Ability to Collect

In 99.9% of cases, insurance settlements will cover the costs of a personal injury. In most states, there is no ability to collect pain and suffering outside of catastrophic injuries. If a settlement covers your medical bills and lost wages, filing a lawsuit for more doesn’t make sense in every case. Again, because personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, they may not be willing to take a case in which they will not receive adequate compensation even if you win.

4. The Client

An attorney and a client will spend a lot of time together building a case. If an attorney feels as though you aren’t being truthful or forthcoming, they may choose to not work with you. An attorney needs to trust their client, and vice versa.

If you have been injured in Charlotte and are wondering whether you should file a lawsuit, call our team. We will schedule a free case evaluation, review the details of your injury and advise you accordingly. Call today for assistance.

old-furniture-and-books-in-abandoned-factory-buildingIt’s funny to watch comedies on the big screen when people’s homes are dangerous. Falling chandeliers, cracking staircases and the like make for great slapstick. Unfortunately, it isn’t so funny when these things happen in your own home. As you move about your daily life, you believe that you are safe, and rightly so. Your home is your sanctuary.

There are any number of ways you can get hurt in your own home. Let’s take a look at three of the most common types of household injuries.

1. Cleaning Supplies

It’s important to lock your cleaning supplies behind closed doors. You don’t have to lock them exactly, but they should be put up and out of reach from small children and pets. There are few cleaning supplies that aren’t toxic, so keep them tightly closed and away from interested hands.

2. Appliances

Children get caught in places that no one expects they would go. Refrigerators, ovens, dryers, washers and dishwashers are all great hiding places if you’re little and don’t know any better. Make sure all appliances have childproof locks attached. Also take the time to teach your children that they are never to get inside of an appliance, with or without your presence.

3. Cluttered Shelves and Sheds

Take a look around your shed. Is it cluttered and messy? Are your shelves piled high with items? Any of these things can come crashing down around your ears. Imagine trying to put a rake away and hitting a tall pile with the handle. It only takes one good jolt to have everything come down around you. Take the time to organize your spaces to prevent accidents like these from happening.

Injuries at home or anywhere else are no laughing matter. Sometimes you are injured due to no fault of your own. Sometimes its a defective product that causes injury. When an accident like this occurs, you may be able to seek compensation for those injuries.

If you are injured in Charlotte, reach out to our team to discover the options available to you under state law. We will review the details of your injury and advise you of your best next steps. Call today for assistance or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.

security-guard-bouncer-posingMany people are under the misconception that if they are tossed out of a bar by a bouncer, they have no right to seek compensation for any injuries sustained. While it is true that a bouncer or security guard has the legal right to remove you from the premises, but they do not have the right to do so in a way that causes injury.

Under the law, bouncers and security guards are treated as ordinary citizens. In most situations, a bouncer can ask a patron of an establishment to leave, but they may not physically force them to do so. If, however, the patron is breaking the law or is attempting to strike out at the bouncer, the bouncer is able to physically intervene. The bouncer may also protect other patrons from assault or physical harm by another.

For example, if you were asked to leave the bar and wanted to know why, the bouncer did not have a right to toss you into the street. If, on the other hand, you were in a physical altercation with another patron, the bouncer may have had the right to physically force you to leave the building. Any injuries you sustained may be seen as consequences of your poor choices.

In many cases, holding a bouncer civilly responsible may not result in fair compensation. These workers often do not have the financial means to compensate victims of assault. It may be in the best interest for the injured patron to sue the bouncer’s employer, or the establishment, for damages based on negligence.

The establishment may not be criminally responsible for the bouncer’s actions, but a experienced attorney may be able to prove that the establishment was negligent in their hiring. For example, the establishment may not have conducted background checks on its employees, they may not have enough security on the premises, or they may have failed to train their bouncers properly.

If you have been injured by a bouncer or security guard at a bar, nightclub or other establishment, you may be able to seek compensation for those injuries. Do not assume that because the bouncer was working in the scope of their duties that they had a right to cause injury. An experienced attorney can help you determine if you have grounds for a successful case.

Any person that has been injured in Charlotte can reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys. We know local and state law, and we can help determine if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call our office today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.

old-clock-on-autumn-leaves-on-wooden-table-on-natural-backgroundDaylight savings time is approaching. Whether you love it or hate it, moving the hands on your clock is inevitable. While many people enjoy falling back instead of springing ahead, getting used to the time change can take days for some and weeks for others. Changing the clocks has a strange effect on the human body. In turn, those effects have an effect on the bigger picture. Here are five odd things that may be attributed to adjusting the time.

1. Car Accidents

The opinion that car accidents occur more often when the clocks change is both supported and refuted by experts. The general thought is that the circadian rhythms and sleep patterns of drivers are altered thanks to daylight savings time, increasing the risk of an inability to maintain alertness behind the wheel.

2. Workplace Injuries

People who are employed in more physical occupations may see an onset of more frequent injuries thanks to daylight savings time. That said, a rise in workplace accidents is typically seen in the spring and not the fall. This may be attributed to less sleep and increased drowsiness.

3. Heart Attacks

There was a team of Swedish researchers who began a study about heart attacks in 2008. The results of that study showed that the first three weekdays following daylight savings time in the spring saw an increase in heart attacks. Just like with workplace injuries, the same did not occur during the fall time change.

4. Cluster Headaches

Our circadian rhythms control the release of hormones that control our hunger levels, moods and need for sleep. When our rhythms are thrown out of whack, our bodies feel the difference. For some people, daylight savings time means an increase in chronic pain, including cluster headaches.

5. Cybersurfing

No, it isn’t life threatening, but an increased bout of websurfing could have an affect on your job. Employers report that the first Monday after daylight savings time is huge for loafing on the computer. This may cost employers thousands of dollars in lost productivity. Don’t fall into the trap. Spending countless hours online watching funny cat videos could be grounds for termination.

It may not be a scientific study, but ask anyone and they will likely tell you that they feel a bit “different” or “strange” when the clocks are adjusted. Daylight savings time is creeping up on us and while there is not much you can do to prepare for it, knowing the risks involved with the change can help you notice them more quickly.

If you are injured in an accident in Charlotte, you may be entitled to compensation under current state law. Call our team of personal injury attorneys today and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We are here for you and ready to give you advice pertaining to your unique situation.

Halloween is a highly anticipated time of year for both adults and children. If you will be handing out treats this year, it’s important that you keep your property as safe as possible. When you take the time to make sure your home and yard are safe, the only thing you will have to worry about is making the little ones happy.

1. Property Lines

Many people concentrate on the area closest to their house when thinking about safety. This could be a mistake. Your liability for injury incurred by others starts at your property line. To ensure that there are no hazards, walk your property line and look for anything that could cause someone to trip and fall. Walk the path that people would typically take to your front door. Are there any hazards? If you suspect that there may be an issue, remedy it before you welcome the ghosts and goblins.

2. Lighting

It’s tempting to make your property dark and eerie for Halloween night, but you may unwittingly be making your property dangerous. At a minimum, make sure your entryway is lit brightly. This will not only provide a beacon for the ghouls, but will help shed some light on their path.

3. Decorations

Halloween decorations are becoming more elaborate every year as neighbors try to outdo one another and stores sell amazing pieces designed to delight on-lookers of all ages. If you decorate your property, be sure to tuck any extension cords neatly out of the way. Make sure lawn decorations are secured to the ground, and anything on your walls or roof should be tied down in such a manner that a strong wind won’t send them crashing to the ground.

4. Meet Children at the Sidewalk

What if your yard is a bit too dangerous? What if your driveway is cracked and your walkways are crumbling? You know your property is unsafe but you really want to hand out candy. Consider doing so at the sidewalk or, if  trick-or-treaters walk in the street where you live, at the end of your driveway. This way little ones aren’t risking their safety and you are still participating in the holiday.

No one wants to consider the fact that may be sued for trying to do a bit of good, but that is exactly what could happen if someone is hurt on your property this Halloween season. Make sure your property is as safe as possible before you hand out your first piece of candy and, if it isn’t, make the necessary repairs.

If you or a loved one is injured in Charlotte, call our team of experienced attorneys. We will review the details of your case and advise you of the options available to you. Call now and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation.

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