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blocked off street with "high water" signAs what may be the biggest storm in history makes its way to the United States, people are looking to the recent difficulties in Houston and surrounding areas as an example. Many people are criticizing government officials for not calling for mandatory evacuations in some of the hardest hit areas, and people are preparing for just those orders should Hurricane Irma hit as fiercely as predicted. Here is how to prepare for and respond to an evacuation order and stay safe.

Before the Evacuation

Before an evacuation is ordered, you should identify several places that you can go if you are told to evacuate your home. You may want to travel to a family member or friend’s home. You should choose several places you can go in different directions should one way be in the path of danger.

If you have pets, you will want to either find somewhere that will accept both them and you, or find a place you can take your pets, like a boarding facility or shelter. Listen carefully to the instructions of local officials before you leave home.

Develop a plan to remain in communication with your family. Charge several portable battery packs so that you can keep cell phones charged. Know where you will reunite with each other should you become separated.

During the Evacuation

Keep your ear close to a battery-operated radio so you are aware of instructions being given. Take pre-made emergency kit, and leave early enough that you will avoid the majority of evacuees. Take your pets and be prepared to have to leave them somewhere should they not be accepted at shelters that are set up for people.

If you have time to do so, contact a family member out of the area to let them know where you are going. Unplug all appliances and lock your doors and windows. If instructed to do so or if there is a great risk of flood, turn off your utilities before you leave. Leave a note attached high on the wall alerting others as to your direction of travel and intended destination.

As you are traveling to your destination, follow the directed route. Stay alert for any washed out bridges or roads and keep an eye open for downed power lines. If you are forced to walk through flooded areas, do so with care. There can be obstacles and hazards in the water that aren’t visible.

If you are injured in Charlotte due to someone’s error or negligence, you may have the legal right to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. Reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys today for a no-cost case evaluation. We will listen to the details of your accident and help you determine the appropriate next steps. You and your family should not have to suffer financial difficulty due to an accident.

flooded street after a hurricaneHurricane Irma, if it stays on its current track, is expected to hit Southern Florida and possibly the East Coast by the weekend and into the following week. While it is not immediately known if evacuation orders will be mandated, people are being advised to prepare themselves. If you’ve never been through a hurricane before, knowing what to do can mean a difference between remaining safe and experiencing catastrophic loss.

1. Plan for an Evacuation

You may not be evacuated, but being ready in the even that an order is put in place is important. You should know where you will go if an evacuation order is given, and you should make a plan for your pets. Know the route you will take, and plan for alternate routes should the original be blocked.

2. Purchase Supplies

Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase the supplies you will need. If you wait until the hurricane is howling at your door, you may be unable to get out to buy what you need. If you are able to make it to the store, you could very well find yourself in long lines and playing a premium.

3. Check Your Policy

Before the hurricane hits, take time to check your insurance policies for your information about your coverage. Understand what it covered and what you may have to pay for own your own.

4. Copy Your Documents

Make a copy of important paperwork. You should make copies of any identifying documents you have, proof of ownerships and other important papers. Keep the copies in a hurricane kit or mail them to a relative or trusted friend that lives outside the path of danger. These copies could be necessary if your home is flooded and you lose the originals.

5. Protect Your Home

Last, but certainly not least, you will want to protect your home to the best of your ability. Board your doors and windows, put belongings in totes and raise them off the floor, and reinforce fencing. While doing these things may not save your home, they will protect it better than if you do nothing at all.

If you have been watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey, you undoubtedly understand that preparing for Irma is in your best interest. Use the tips above to ensure that you are as ready as possible for the next major storm projected to strike the United States.

According to statistics, the most dangerous time on the road for people hoping to avoid drunk drivers is Labor Day weekend. Throughout the year, a person has a chance of being in an accident with a driver who is impaired about once every 51 minutes. During Labor Day Weekend, that risk jumps to 1 accident every 34 minutes.

Law enforcement officials in Charlotte and across the rest of the country are aware of this. If you have seen more patrol cars than usual sitting on the median of the highway, you aren’t imagining things. Police are out in greater numbers as the summer dwindles down. The goal is clear: Get drunk drivers off the road.

Thanks to targeted enforcement, there is an average decline in these types of accidents of about 20 percent. It’s still not enough. The more people that make wise choices, the fewer people will be injured. According to MADD, there are ways to host a Labor Day party that will help to ensure that your guests aren’t putting people at risk.

1. Be a Responsible Host With Plenty of Non-Alcoholic Options

You don’t have to serve only alcohol at your party. There are a variety of mocktail recipes easily found online that are fun and easy to make, and they do not have alcohol. Provide soft drinks and water as well.

2. The Right Food

Salty snacks will have your guests reaching for the nearest drink over and over. If you are serving alcohol, keep the food light but plentiful. Think fresh fruit and chopped vegetables. Cheese cubes and other bite-sized snacks are a great option – just make sure the snacks are not salty. Serving food will also help keep drinking to a minimum. People will full stomachs tend to drink less.

3. Have a Plan

Your guests should have a plan for getting home should they become too intoxicated to drive. Have your guests jot down their plan and send it to you along with their RSVP. Having a plan is far more useful than trying to come up with a way home at the end of the party.

4. Stay Sober

It’s your party and you can cry if you want to, but why would you? You’ll have no reason to get upset when you know that all of your guests are safe. Instead of acting as a designated driver, act as a designated host. Skip the alcohol and stay sober. By doing this, you can keep a better eye on your guests and handle anyone who thinks that they are okay to drive when they really aren’t.

If you happen to be involved in an accident in Charlotte and a drunk driver is found to be at fault, you have rights. 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 legal rights. You may be entitled to damages for medical bills, lost wages and more.

Tourist season is kicking into full swing. Whether you are visiting Charlotte or live in the city and are visiting elsewhere, knowing how to avoid common vacation accidents can help ensure that you and your family have a wonderful time from beginning to end.

An injury or illness during a vacation can grind things to a halt. Keep you and your family safe and able to enjoy your break by protecting yourselves from the most common issues that arise during family vacations.

1. Allergies

You may know what you are allergic to in your backyard, but flora and fauna that you aren’t used to can kick off a round of hay fever, hives and other issues that you would rather not deal with. Before you take a trip out of your home city, research the indigenous plants of your destination. Know what you will encounter and pack plenty of your allergy medications.

2. Car and Bicycle Crashes

Driving on two wheels or four can be dangerous. It’s even more so when you are cruising along unfamiliar roads. Locals will drive the way locals do, and tourists will drive the way they do. At time, these two driving styles don’t match up. If you are driving through unfamiliar territory, try to stick with the speed limit and be sure that you understand how to get where you are going before you set off on your journey.

3. Swimming Accidents

Swimming is a fantastic part of summer. Whether you are in a hotel pool or the calming waves of the ocean, swimming accidents can happen in a split second. If you are a parent, keep an eye on your children at all times. If you are swimming in natural waters, heed any warning signs and obey the lifeguards at all times.

4. Food Poisoning

Some may find it surprising that food poisoning is the number one cause of injury and illness during vacation. It’s completely normal to want to try a bit of the local cuisine if you are in a new place, but ask for a few tips before you do. The locals can tell you what restaurants are worth visiting and which are best to avoid. If you decide to cookout, follow food safety rules to ensure that you aren’t making yourself or your family ill.

If you or a member of your traveling party gets ill or is injured on vacation, stay as calm as possible. If the issue is a minor one, you can take care of it and go about enjoying your vacation. If the injury or illness is a major one, or seems to be, seek medical help as soon as possible.

If you are injured in Charlotte whether you are visiting or live here permanently, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. If your injury is due to someone’s error or neglect, call our office and schedule a free case evaluation. We will review the circumstances of your injury and advise yo of your legal options.

If you drive on the highway on a regular basis, it’s fair to say that you have driven near an 18-wheeler. For many people, the thought of cruising along side a large truck is nerve wracking. Your heart speeds up, your blood pressure rises and you become anxious. This is completely normal. Considering that a semi truck is a very large and fast moving vehicle, it’s easy to see how people may become stressed when having to drive near a tractor trailer.

In most instances, you can drive along side a big rig and pass it with no problem. In other instances you may find yourself forced into another lane or, worse, the shoulder. In situations like that, you may believe that the tractor trailer driver is driving aggressive or unsafely.  However, there is a better explanation and it is simple; the driver of the 18 wheeler may not have seen you because of a blind spot.

Semi Truck Blind Spots

When you slip behind the wheel of your vehicle, you are aware that you have two blind spots on either side of your car. For most non commercial vehicles dealing with a blind spot is as easy as adjusting the mirrors and looking over your shoulders before you change lanes or merge onto the highway. It’s not quite that simple for truckers.

The best way a driver can protect themselves against a  potential accident with a tractor trailer or semi truck is to understand the truck’s blind spots. There are “danger zones” on a big rig that many people are unaware of. The danger zones are:

  • The length of both sides of the truck
  • 20 feet in front of the cab
  • 30 feet behind the trailer

When you find yourself in any of these danger zone areas, the best move is to get out of the danger zone as quickly and safely as possible. This may mean you have to speed up slightly to pass or get ahead of the truck, or you may have to let off the gas and fall behind a few feet more.

Imagine driving your own car and having your side windows and mirrors blacked out. Imagine that your rear window is blacked out as well. Now consider how difficult it would be to be sure you were changing lanes safely. This is what truckers face every time they drive. Help keep the roads safe by doing your best to be aware of these danger zones and try to avoid them when possible.

It can be easy to get frustrated while driving. Traffic moves too slowly, especially during rush hour, and you have places to go. Don’t get so frustrated that you crowd a semi. You’re not only putting yourself in harm’s way — a truck accident can quite easily cause a chain reaction. If you can’t see the truck driver in one of the cab’s side mirrors, assume that the trucker can’t see you.

If you have been injured in a truck accident in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, and the truck driver was at fault, you may have a case that could entitle you to compensation and other protections that the law allows for such as money for lost wages and pain and suffering. Reach out to our team of experienced  accident attorneys today for a free case evaluation. We will discuss your accident with you and help you determine your best plan for moving forward after your accident. Please drive safe and let us know if we can help you.

According to recent statistics, there have been more than 700 children since 1998 that have passed away after being left in hot cars. This year so far, 12 children have died in hot cars. While it is clearly the children who suffer most, parents and guardians of these children are understandably devastated. These horrible accidents can be prevented — and should be.

Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) wants to make sure that these tragedies stop. Ryan introduced a bill into the legislature on June 7. The bill, titled HOT CARS Act of 2017, is co-sponsored by Peter T. King of New York and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois.

The bill outlines a plan for the requirement of a warning system if children are left in the backseat after a car’s engine has been turned off. The cost of implementing the technology is small, and General Motors already has it in place in many of its models dated 2017 and later.

When Hot Is Too Hot

Many people simply don’t think that a car is any hotter than the air temperature outside. Others believe that they will only be out of the car for “a minute,” and end up taking far longer. According to those who understand heat stroke deaths, here is a timeline for the temperatures of the interior of vehicles.

  • 0 minutes: the air inside the car will be the same as the air outside of the car.
  • 10 minutes: temperatures inside the car climb to approximately 19 degrees higher than those outside.
  • 20 minutes: temperatures are 29 degrees higher inside of the car.
  • 30 minutes: temperatures are 34 degrees higher inside of the car.
  • 40 minutes: on a 70 degree day, the temperature inside of the car is 111 degrees.
  • 60 minutes: on a 90 degree day, the temperature inside of a car that has been closed for an hour is approximately 140 degrees.

It’s already hit 90 degrees this summer in Charlotte, and it’s only going to get warmer. Even adults struggle with facilitating their body temperatures in these conditions:

How Do These Accidents Happen?

Children are not left in hot cars because their parents don’t care. Rather, it is often attributed to forgetfulness or a sense of being on auto-pilot. In many cases, it occurs when a parent who does not normally transport the child on that day or time takes them. The parent is used to their routine and distracted by other thoughts, essentially forgetting that they have their child at all. According to experts, this is a brain science issue and not a neglect issue. Technology, such as that introduced in the bill, may help bridge the gap between routine and necessary behaviors.

If a parent has a child in the backseat, they should put their purse, wallet, work bag and even cell phone in the backseat as well. The parent may remember that they carried their bag or wallet and also be reminded that their child has traveled with them.

If your child has suffered an injury in North Carolina due to someone’s neglect, you may have the legal right to compensation. Call our attorneys today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about what you may be entitled to.

Summer may not be in full swing quite yet, but we are getting close. With the rise of the temperatures and the availability of sunshine, we will soon begin to see an uptick in warm-weather accidents. Here are some of those dangers and how you and your family can avoid them.

1. Car Accidents

Studies have shown that more teenagers are killed in vehicle collisions between Memorial and Labor Days than any other time of year. It doesn’t mean that your teen has to hang up the keys for the summer, but you should take the time to review safety rules with them.

2. Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a possibility for anyone. Spending too much time in the hot summer sun can cause the human body to overheat. When the body overheats in an extreme way, heat stroke can occur. Signs include headache, confusion, nausea and vomiting. Any person spending time in the hot summer weather should be sure to stay hydrated and take frequent breaks in the shade.

3. Accidents In and On the Water

Boating and drowning accidents peak during the summer. Don’t let anyone near your pool without supervision, take your kids to swim lessons if you haven’t already, and make sure everyone on the boat has a life vest.

4. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning isn’t often thought of as a summertime injury, but it is. With the abundance of picnics, it stands to reason that food poisoning spikes during hot weather. If you are having a cookout, make sure that there are plenty of coolers filled with ice to store food. If you are uncertain about the safe condition of any food, don’t chance it; throw it away.

5. Fireworks

Fireworks used to be centered around the July 4th holiday, but people tend to set them off all summer long these days. No child should ever touch a firework, lit or not. Any adult using a firework should understand how to handle it carefully, and there should be a safety plan in place in case of accident.

6. Pets

Don’t forget about your furry family members this summer season. Dogs and cats are at the same risks, for the most part, as humans. Bug bites, heat stroke and poisoning can all occur in your pets. Do not leave your animal unattended, and make sure your pet has lots of clean water available.

While some summertime accidents cannot be avoided, many can. When you put safety procedures into place, you can reduce your risk of injury. Have fun this summer and enjoy your time with friends and family — just be safe while you are doing it.

If you do happen to be injured in an accident due to negligence in Charlotte or elsewhere in the state of North Carolina this season, reach out to our team of experienced personal injury attorneys for a consultation. We are here for you and your family and would like to advise you of your legal rights.

People tend to feel safe when they are behind the wheel. They believe that once they slide into the driver’s seat, they will get where they are going without incident. Few people, if any, expect to fall victim to a carjacking. Unfortunately, the crime occurs more often than people believe.

Most experts say that the crime is preventable as long as drivers stay alert. One of the worst mistakes that a driver can do is to let their guard down, especially in certain situations. Here are tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of this serious crime.

1. Keep Your Eyes Peeled

When stopped at a traffic light, what do you do? If you are like many people, you quickly check your phone, change the radio station or even give yourself a once-over in the mirror. You are far better to spend that time surveying the scene around you car. Know what is happening in front of, behind and to the sides of your vehicle.

2. Don’t Be Isolated

Avoid the temptation to pull into the closest ATM that you see when you need cash. Isolated areas offer opportunity for would-be criminals. If you need to make a stop, wait until you get into a heavily-populated, well-lit area.

3. Don’t Stop

If you see a stranded motorist or pedestrian, stay in your vehicle and call emergency services. While most people are truly stranded, you never know if you are falling for a ruse.

4. Keep Your Windows Rolled Up & Doors Locked 

If you see someone approaching your vehicle and cannot drive away safely, keep your doors locked and your windows rolled up. If someone asks you for directions, you can easily talk to them through a closed window. Don’t be tempted to roll your window down or open your door for a stranger.

5. Police Impostors

Police in an unmarked car will rarely pull over a motorist. If you find yourself in this situation, advise the person that you are calling 911 to confirm their identity. A real police officer will have no problem with this. Someone pretending to be an officer may attempt to flee the area to avoid arrest.

6. Make a Scene

There may come a time when someone approaches your vehicle and you know that you are in a bad situation. Lay on the horn. Criminals do not want to draw attention to themselves. The best thing that you can do in a situation like this is to make a scene. Yell, honk, flash your lights — do anything you can to draw attention to yourself.

If you are injured in an accident in Charlotte, you may have the legal right to compensation for your injuries. Reach out to our experienced personal injury attorneys today for a free consultation. We will discuss your injuries with you, including how they occurred, and advise you of your legal options. Call today.

You know how to eat — that’s no problem. That said, your New Year’s Resolution may have something to do with food. Maybe you want to lose weight and get fit. Perhaps you want to simply eat better and add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Have you given a thought to food safety? Most people don’t, but it’s one of the easiest resolutions you can make.

Whether you are cooking cold-weather comfort food in your home or getting ready for the first cookout of the spring, chances are you could up your game as far as food safety goes. Here are a few things you can start doing right away.

1. Use a Thermometer

Foodborne pathogens, those that make people sick, are destroyed when food is cooked. The trick is cooking food to the right temperature. Invest in and start using a food thermometer. While you’re at it, know the temperatures that are considered safe for the foods you are cooking.

2. Always Wash Your Hands

This is something that most people don’t think about unless they are cooking for guests. You deserve the same protection. Wash your hands before you cook and do it again after you handle food. This will remove any bacteria you may introduce to the food, and any bacteria that hitches a ride on your skin after you handle the food.

3. Avoid Cooking When Sick

Parents, this one is for you. You may feel like you can’t take time “off” when you are sick, but at least avoid cooking. This is especially important if you have diarrhea or are vomiting. You can easily spread your germs, even if you wash your hands. Let someone else do the cooking if you are sick, or order out.

4. Wash Fruits and Vegetables

How many times have you pulled an apple out of the fridge and taken a bite? It’s not an uncommon practice. Take a moment to wash your fruits and vegetables before you eat or prepare them.

5. Skip the Raw Foods

Eating any kind of raw food, especially meat, is risky. You may have a love affair with sushi, but know that you are taking a chance. Limit the amount of raw food that you eat. If anyone in your family is young or immune-compromised, they shouldn’t eat any raw food at all.

6. Skip the Sponge

No matter how well you think you are cleaning your sponge, if you are cleaning it at all, it holds bacteria. Avoid sponges in favor of dish towels that can be tossed in the wash. You may want to clean with wipes that can be tossed in the trash, but these aren’t exactly eco-friendly.

New Year’s Resolutions are popular right now, but some are easier to keep than others. Instead of making a resolution you know you won’t keep, make some of the changes to your habits as outlined above. Each will keep you and your family healthier this year.

If you are the victim of food poisoning or another injury in Charlotte, we are here for you. Reach out to our office to discover how you may be able to secure compensation for your injuries.

Let’s be honest: Very few people stick with the resolutions they make on January 1. Whether it’s losing weight and getting fit or saving more money, people have the best of intentions in the first few weeks of the year, and then those intentions slowly wane. If this sounds like you, why not make a few resolutions that you can stick to?

Your home is your haven. No one in your family, nor any guests, should be injured in your house. Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions for yourself, make a few for your home. You may find them easier to stick to.

1. Declutter

Trip hazards are a danger to everyone in your home and the more clutter you have, the more likely someone is to trip and fall. Getting rid of the clutter and organizing what you have left is one of the easiest ways to prevent accidents in your home. Best of all: It’s free.

Many people accumulate things throughout the year. Few people throw one item away when it is replaced by another. Take a day or two and empty out cupboards, drawers and closets. Donate what you don’t need to charity, sell it online or simply throw it away. If you aren’t sure if you can part with it, use this tip. Put it in a box labeled with the date June 1, 2017. When the box is full seal it. Come June 1, if you haven’t opened the box, you can safely get rid of its contents.

2. Look for Hazards

Check around your home for common hazards and what you are currently doing to prevent them. If you don’t have carbon monoxide detectors and have gas-powered appliances, now is a great time to install them. If you have loose area rugs or carpets, repair them. If the handrail on the staircase is loose, fix it. You may not be able to get everything done in a day, but you can certainly put together a list of all of the things you need to repair in your home and start checking it off in the coming weeks.

3. Cleaning

If you are like most people, you’re busy. Cleaning the house tends to take a backseat to other important things in your life. If you find yourself cleaning only when you get overwhelmed by the clutter, now is the time to put together a cleaning schedule. You can keep your home clean quite easily if you do one small thing each day. For instance, you may want to dust on Monday, vacuum the floors on Tuesday, and clean sinks on Wednesday. Come up with a schedule that works for you. You might want to clean an entire room each day or decide on the things that must be done daily and those that can be done weekly.

4. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

This is a great time to decide to make your home and lifestyle more “green.” Get in the habit of switching off lights as you leave a room, reduce your reliance on your HVAC system, install compact fluorescent light bulbs and turn off power strips. Look around your home and figure out ways that you can reduce your family’s carbon footprint.

Making New Year’s Resolutions for your home may seem a bit silly at first, but if you think about it, aren’t you more likely to stick to them than that fad diet you’ve been considering? Make your home a safer and healthier one this year. If you do happen to be injured in Charlotte due to someone else’s actions, at home or elsewhere, be sure to reach out to our team of personal injury attorneys for assistance in determining whether or not you may be legally entitled to compensation.

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