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auger & auger disability scholar winner - leanne joyceAuger & Auger is proud to announce that Leanne Joyce is one of the recipients of our 2018 Fall Semester Disabled Scholar Award. During the fall and spring semesters, scholarships are presented by Auger & Auger to students throughout America who have exceeded expectations and worked very hard to overcome their disabilities. Additionally, recipients of the Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar award have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom and they make positive impacts in their communities. Recipients of the award receive $1,000 to assist them with their educational expenses.

Leanne was born with aortic valve stenosis, a heart condition that narrows the valve. But she’s never let that keep her down. At age 11, Leanne received an award for her ability to complete 290 jump rope double unders in one minute, and swim 25 yards freestyle in under 15 seconds. Yet, at age 12, her cardiologist told her she could no longer participate in aerobic exercise due to her condition.

When she received this news, Leanne was forced to face the challenge and confusion of the loss of her identity as an athlete.  Facing this challenge was something that Leanne internalized for some time. During this struggle, a simple act of kindness inspired her when she received an iTunes gift card from some hospital volunteers. That small gesture was a positive impact for her and she began to believe that maybe she could do something for other children with similar circumstances. With this realization, she turned to a new goal: Helping other children who are hospitalized. She founded a nonprofit organization called Positive Impact for Kids. Through her nonprofit, she has raised over $140,000 to improve the hospital experience for pediatric patients throughout the United States.

This financial support is used to purchase distraction and education tools, such as iPads, which are then distributed to hospitals.  The hope is that that these tools will help to meet the various emotional needs of hospitalized children. So far, Positive Impact for Kids has provided more than 130 iPads, 2,000 gift cards, gaming systems, laptops and other items, impacting the lives of more than 600,000 children.

Leanne also currently serves as a role model and peer mentor for Adults Transitioning to Leadership and Success (ATLAS), which provides comfort and assistance to adolescents dealing with chronic illness.

Leanne is currently enrolled at Furman University. After college, she plans to attend medical school to pursue her goal of becoming a psychiatrist. She plans to work in a pediatric hospital or found her own practice. And, of course, Leanne plans to continue her involvement with Positive Impact for Kids for the rest of her life.

Leanne wants people who are facing similar conditions she faced to know that there are people who care about them.

“It is important to remember there is always someone you can talk to for comfort or advice,” she says. “I want to remind people that they should be patient and take care of themselves as much as possible.”

Evidence is the backbone of any injury case, and having solid evidence could mean the difference between your claim succeeding or not. While you do have several top priorities after your accident — such as calling the police and seeking medical attention for all hurt parties, including yourself — documenting the accident scene as soon as possible falls right in after those in terms of importance. This evidence typically includes photos, eyewitness testimony, detailed notes, official documents, and anything else that’s relevant.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys have seen countless cases where solid evidence either strengthened a claim or poked holes in the negligent driver’s defense. Without evidence, negotiating or receiving a judgement in your favor could easily turn into a game of “he said, she said.” With it, you can definitively and confidently point to the truth of the matter. You may also be better equipped to remember crucial facts or details you may have otherwise gotten mixed up.

evidence to collect after a car crash

In short, documenting evidence of your car accident could easily play in your favor in most injury cases.  You can use the following tips to help you gather evidence on your own at the scene of your next car accident.

 

First Make Sure Everyone Is Safe, and Call an Ambulance for Anyone Who Needs It (Including You)

Before you gather evidence after your car accident, you should take some immediate steps to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

  1. Check if you’re ok. If you need an ambulance, dial 911 immediately.
  2. If you are able and can do so safely, go check on the other people involved in the accident. Determining their condition and whether they need emergency medical attention is critical.
  3. Get to a safe place away from the road, and dial for emergency services if you haven’t already. Inform them of how many people are hurt and if possible, give them information regarding their injuries. Give 911 your location as accurately as you can. Use nearby landmarks and businesses to supplement any street names you offer. If you are on the highway, try to identify a billboard, road sign, nearby exit, or a mile marker. 

Capture Photos of the Other Driver’s License Plate

Your next order of business is to protect yourself if the other driver decides to speed off.

You should immediately capture a picture of their vehicle and, preferably, a close up picture of their license plate to help with identifying them if necessary.

If they allow you to, you will also want a photo of their driver’s license and insurance policy card. Do not confront the driver if they are being belligerent or simply refuse to present this information to you.

 

Document Your Injuries

Once you have the other driver’s information, document your injuries. Snap a few quick photos now while the injuries are fresh. Try to have a strong, clear light in all the photos. You can include common objects like a quarter or dollar bill as reference props to give an idea to the size of your bruises or cuts.

Later, you can get some better close-ups of your injuries in proper lighting. You will want to document the condition of things as they develop, such as how the color of a bruise deepens hours after your accident.

 

Take Wide Photos of the Accident Before Vehicles Are Moved

After you get at least one photo of all your injuries, you will want to snap photos of the accident.

Try to capture multiple angles and viewpoints. You will want a few wide angles of the entire accident scene so that everyone reviewing the case can have a frame of reference. You can also take a few orienting pictures with road signs or landmarks in the background to verify the accident’s location.

A walking video “tour” of the accident may also help orient people trying to recreate it.

At this point, if your vehicles are functional and you can safely enter them and move them, you should immediately move to a safe, secure location nearby with all the other drivers involved. North Carolina law mandates that you remove vehicles from the main roadway unless they are disabled or you cannot reasonably approach them.

When moving your vehicle, go to the closest location where you feel safe. That may mean the shoulder of the road or a short drive to another location. If one is available, you may wish to find a well-lit area where other people are present.

Ideally, you will have told 911 dispatchers that you intend to move the vehicles if possible and let them know where you will be going.

On the other hand, your vehicles may not be functional or safe at all to approach. For instance, you may have gotten into an accident along a busy freeway with poor visibility. If this is the case, find a safe place for yourself to wait for police and medics.

 

Take Closeups of Vehicle Damage and Debris

Regardless of whether you moved the vehicles, your next step is to get a close up photo of all the vehicle damage. Try to capture details like crunched metal, broken glass, or obvious indicators of damage. If your front tire is pushed into the driver’s side fender, for example, get a closeup of that.

 

Get Video Statements of Eyewitnesses

If you have a smartphone that you’re snapping photos with, you can switch to video mode to interview any eyewitnesses.

Capture statements that include specific details, like the timing of who hit whom and where it happened. Do not interrupt the witnesses to correct them or attempt to lead their answers in any way. Ask them to tell you their full name and contact information in the video. If they’ll let you, take a photo of their ID.

 

Take a Video Testimonial

You will want to take notes of your experience during the accident before you forget important details. You can take notes using a pen and paper or your smartphone’s note-taking function. Or, you could simply record yourself making a statement as you did for eyewitnesses.

 

See Police and Medics

At this point, the police may have arrived and begun providing instructions. Or, maybe you have been largely incapacitated because you knew you had a major injury and shouldn’t move.

In either case, you should accept all medical care offered to you. That may include accepting an ambulance ride to the hospital even if you did not initially request one on your emergency call.

Provide complete, accurate, detailed statements to the police officer so they can note them on their report. Remember that the police report may be very helpful in proving the cause of the accident. You are the only person who can tell the police what happened from your perspective and the police report is your opportunity to explain how the accident happened.

 

Request Copies of the Police Report and Your Medical Documentation

A copy of the accident report will be made available to you within a few days or weeks after it is filed. Request several official copies, including some for your Charlotte car accident attorneys.

Likewise, keep a copy of every bit of medical notation or billing information you receive. Keep a running tab of your out-of-pocket costs, too, like copays. You can even track incidental expenses that were only made necessary because you had an injury, such as mileage to and from your doctor visits.

 

Make Copies of Your Evidence as Backup and to Provide to Your Charlotte Car Accident Attorneys

All of these bits of evidence can greatly benefit your personal injury case. Since they are so important, you should make backup copies just in case something happens to your device. Consider saving them to the cloud or emailing yourself the information from your phone.

After an accident, you should consider speaking to an accident lawyer about your potential injury case.  Initially an injury lawyer may be able to help you determine if you need their assistance. An injury lawyer is going to want to see your police report (let them pull it for you) and to speak to you about your recollection of the accident and the evidence that you have gathered.

You can reach out to Auger & Auger today to schedule a free case review regarding your accident when you call us or contact us online. With your evidence and your attorneys’ legal expertise, you stand equipped for the fight for compensation relating to your medical bills, lost wages and your pain and suffering.  Call Auger & Auger at (855) 969-5730 to find out more about how we may be able to help you!

As winter hits North Carolina, car accidents are going to become more common. Ice and snow have already made the roads slick, causing vehicles to slide on the roads and into other cars. When these incidents happen, it’s important to know how to determine who’s at fault.

As Charlotte car accident lawyers, we’ve seen time and time again drivers make one simple mistake that shifted blame for the wreck: Apologizing or otherwise admitting blame at the scene. This simple mistake can have massive ramifications down the road.

It’s important to understand how North Carolina assigns fault for car accidents, and how you can help prove that you weren’t to blame for the wreck.

North Carolina: A Contributory Negligence State

North Carolina is one of the very few states that follows contributory negligence laws. In a nutshell, this means if you’re even a tiny bit at fault for your car accident or contributed to causing your accident or injury, you won’t be entitled to any compensation from the driver even if they are overwhelmingly at fault.

In comparison, most states follow a type of comparative fault model. This means that, even if you’re partly at fault for your accident, you can still recover damages. For example, say one of your tail lights doesn’t work. You’re at a stoplight at 10 p.m., and you get rear-ended, injuring your back. Because your tail light is out an insurance company may make the argument that you’re 20% at fault for the wreck.  If a judge or jury agrees with them, the overall amount of the recovery for your damages would be reduced by 20% –  because of your own negligence.

If the same scenario happened in North Carolina you would have no legal right to ANY compensation due to North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws.

Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Case

Because North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws are so strict, it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side if you’re in a car accident. Together, you and your lawyer can explore the different elements of your injury / negligence claim.

In general, all of the following must be proven to have a successful negligence case:

  1. Causation
  2. Duty of care
  3. Breach of duty
  4. Injury due to the breach of duty
  5. Damages caused by the injury

1. Causation

In North Carolina, there are two types of causation:

  • Cause in fact: This one is straightforward. If your injuries wouldn’t have happened without the other driver’s actions, then their actions, in fact, caused the injuries.
  • Proximate cause: This type of cause explores whether your injuries were a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the accident. The details of proximate cause can be extremely confusing, but cause in fact and proximate cause are often one and the same. Your Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyer can go through the nuances of this legal concept and how it relates to your own case.

2. Duty of Care

In general, drivers have a duty to other drivers on the road. This means drivers are expected to be reasonably careful when they encounter anyone on the road, whether that’s another car, a pedestrian or another party.

3. Breach of Duty

This one’s pretty simple. If the other driver didn’t drive carefully in the same way another “reasonable person” would, they’re said to have breached their duty of care.

4. Injuries Caused by a Breach of Duty

In order to prove negligence, you must be able to prove your injuries were caused by the car accident. This is one of the main reasons it’s so important to seek medical treatment within a reasonable amount of time after your accident. Otherwise, the other driver could claim your injuries were not caused by the accident.

5. Damages Caused by the Injury

It’s not enough just to show that you were injured in the wreck. You must have suffered some kind of compensable loss. This could be property damage, medical expenses, lost wages/earning capacity, pain and suffering or other losses. It’s important to keep track of all expenses associated with the wreck to prove this factor.

If All These Factors Aren’t Met…

Proving all of these factors is the easiest way to prove the other driver was negligent in a car accident case. There may be other legal doctrines that your North Carolina car accident lawyer can explore if one or a few of these factors aren’t met. They can explain these doctrines and your other legal options to you.  It is extremely important to meet all of these requirements in addition to showing that the accident was 100% the fault of the other driver. If you come up short in either area, you will not be able to successfully recover against the other driver(s).

Proving You Aren’t at Fault for a Car Accident

As we mentioned earlier, you essentially have to prove you weren’t at fault at all for the car accident to get compensation in a NC accident. Here are some pieces of evidence your lawyer may consider when evaluating your potential injury claim:

Independent Witness Statements

Anyone not in your or the other driver’s vehicle who saw the accident may be an invaluable witness. If you see someone who witnessed the wreck, take down their name and contact information. Provide this information to law enforcement and your car accident lawyer. You lawyer may want to contact them to see if their testimony is helpful to your case.

Photos of the Scene

As soon as you’re out of your car and safe, take as many pictures as you can of the accident. Take photos of:

  • The damage your car and the other vehicle
  • Road conditions
  • Weather conditions
  • Skid marks
  • Traffic control devices in the area
  • Injuries you sustained
  • Any other details you may think are important.

 

It’s always better to have too many photos than not enough!

The Police Report

If police came to the scene of the accident (you should always make sure they do), make sure you get a copy of the police report. We have guides for many cities throughout the Carolinas to help you obtain and read your police report. Also, we are happy to help you get your report if you don’t already have it.

Once you’ve gotten the police report, check it for accuracy. If there are any errors, call the reporting officer and let them know. The officer will make the ultimate decision on whether to revise the report. Remember, the NC Police Report does not determine fault but it can be helpful in determining how an insurance company may react to any potential claims that you submit to them.

Speak to a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in North Carolina, you have legal options. The experienced attorneys at Auger & Auger can review the details of your case and help you figure out how they may be able to help.  You may be entitled to compensation. Speak to our experienced team to see what options you have. Call (855) 971-1114 or contact our Charlotte car accident lawyers online today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.door

staying safe when shopping during the holidaysThough Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed us by, the holiday shopping season is still in full swing. Whether you’re in Charlotte or elsewhere in the Carolinas this holiday season, remember that a lot of people will be out there on the road and in the stores with you as you look for gifts for your loved ones. With everyone out shopping unfortunately there is an opportunity for more people to be involved in car accidents and other situations where they can get hurt. Our Charlotte, North Carolinas personal injury and accident lawyers are here to help this season if necessary, but it is our most sincere hope that everyone have a safe, happy and wonderful holiday season.

Here are some of the top ways you can stay safe while shopping for the holidays this season in North Carolina.

1. Practice Safe Driving

When you’re out and about this season, drive defensively. Keep your cool, and be proactive on the road. Allow traffic to merge as needed, and don’t speed down the highway or through intersections. You should also keep an eye out for increased pedestrian traffic this season, especially children walking with their parents.

Along the same vein, be predictable when you drive. Don’t swerve in and out of lanes, and make sure you use your turn signal. When you’re driving through parking lots, drive slowly in the proper lane. Be on the lookout for other shoppers returning to their cars and pulling out of parking spaces.

2. Be Safe While Shopping in Stores

Try to stick to shopping during the day. If you have no choice but to shop at night, don’t do so alone. Use the buddy system when you must go to the stores after dark. A thief or other criminal is less likely to strike pairs or groups of people than those walking alone.

Avoid being flashy. Keep your clothes casual and your accessories to a minimum. Don’t be so eye-catching that you make yourself a target. Wear comfortable shoes to avoid slips and falls. As an added benefit, sneakers may give you a longer and more comfortable shopping experience.

Do not carry large amounts of cash. It’s far easier to cancel your credit and debit cards than it is to retrieve cash that is stolen from you. If you must carry cash, don’t put it in your wallet but in your front pants pocket or inside jacket pocket. If someone does lift your wallet, your money will remain safely with you.

Don’t overload yourself with packages. Make several trips to your vehicle if you need to, securing your packages out of sight. Carrying heavy bags for long periods of time can lead to muscle strain. Carrying many packages can also make yourself a target to the bad guys.

Keep an eye open to your surroundings.

It’s not uncommon for shoppers who are concentrating on other things to run into doors, trip over cords or slip on wet floors. Know what is always going on around you . If you feel yourself getting distracted by all that is happening, take a moment to pause and gather your thoughts.

3. Practice Safe Online Shopping Methods

It’s expected that online shopping will account for around $130 billion this holiday season. Chances are, you’ll be part of the online shopping craze. If you’re planning on doing any of your holiday shopping on your computer or phone this year, be sure to keep these safety tips in mind.

Stick to Websites You Know

While Amazon and other massive retailers are the most popular sites for online shopping, there are other boutique sites you may visit. Always make sure you’re shopping on trusted sites. One of the easiest ways you can do so is to look for “https” and the lock symbol at the beginning of the website address.

You may also want to look at online reviews to make sure the online store you’re shopping at is legitimate. Otherwise, you could lose your money or have your identity stolen.

Use a Secure Connection

When you’re shopping online, you’ll obviously need to input your personal information. Make sure you’re doing so on a private connection. Shopping on public Wi-Fi leaves you vulnerable to attacks from hackers. If you’re shopping in public, use a private network at a coffee shop or other establishment. However, the most secure shopping can be done in your own home.

If you do need to do your shopping on a public Wi-Fi network, be sure to use a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN essentially creates an encrypted private network for you, protecting you from potential attacks.

Watch Out for Scams

During the holiday season, scammers are out in full force. You may think you’re savvy enough to avoid such scams; after all, you know there’s not a Nigerian prince out there waiting to send you a fortune. But scams are a lot more sophisticated than that these days.

Many scams will ask you to reset your password due to fraud or other issues and use a false link to do so. The email will look legitimate, too. If you have even the tiniest doubt about the email, don’t give out any personal information unless you are one-hundred percent sure that the email is from who it purports to be from.

Our Charlotte Accident and Injury Lawyers Want You to Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season

Shopping for the holidays is a joyful event. We spend our time thinking about what we will be giving and maybe even what we will be receiving.  Go ahead and have a great time but remember to keep your safety in mind.

When you are injured through no fault of your own in Charlotte or elsewhere in the Carolinas, an experienced attorney may be able to help secure compensation for your injuries. Reach out to our team of experienced Charlotte personal injury attorneys today and speak with a member of our team. We will help you set up an appointment for a free case evaluation so we can talk to you about what options may be available to you.

The list of prior client settlement results and client reviews/testimonials, do not constitute a promise of any particular result in any particular case, as each and every case is unique. Each case was handled on its own merit, and the outcome of any case cannot be predicted by a lawyer or law firms past results.

If a recovery or settlement by trial is made, the client will be responsible for costs advanced in addition to attorney fees. Client remains responsible for costs, expenses and disbursements, including medical bills, within the scope of representation. The attorney’s contingency percentage will be computed prior to the deduction of expenses from the total recovery.

The principal office for Auger & Auger Law Firm is located at 717 S. Torrence St., Suite 101, Charlotte, NC. The attorneys and staff of Auger & Auger Law Firm work and process all of the firm’s files at the principal office location in Charlotte, NC. Other office locations listed on our website are satellite offices that are not staffed daily. Satellite offices are operated for the convenience of our clients and who live outside of the Charlotte, NC metro area and are unable to meet with us at our principal office location. All meetings at our satellite offices must be made by appointment only. Phone numbers for satellite offices forward to our principle office location in Charlotte, NC.