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Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer. While the calendar says that summer ends deeper into September, the holiday signifies the end of the season for people across the country. Children are going back to school, the weather is turning cooler and the days are growing shorter.

While Labor Day Weekend is a typical time for celebrations, it is also one of the most dangerous weekends on the road. With so many people planning short holidays, parties and other outings, there will be more people than usual on the highway. Along with the parties, sadly, comes an increase in vehicle collisions.

Drunk Driving

Many adults will have a few too many alcoholic beverages during the holiday weekend. While some will arrange for sober rides home, others will try to drive themselves. These people are putting everyone on the road at risk of injury — or worse. Statistics show that Labor Day Weekend is one of the deadliest times of year when it comes to fatal drunk driving related accidents.

Drunk Boating

Drunk driving isn’t something that only occurs on the road. People will be celebrating on the water as well. Drunk boating is just as dangerous as getting behind the wheel of a car while impaired. Crowded waters increase the chance of accident and coupled with intoxicated operators, people are a heightened risk for being involved in a crash.

Other Accidents

Many people associate the word “accident” with vehicles. The truth of the matter is that accidents can occur anywhere and in any situation. Other common accidents during Labor Day Weekend include sports injuries, ATV accidents, bicycle accidents, burns and dog bites.

If you and your loved ones will be celebrating during the holiday, with or without alcohol, make sure you keep safety in mind. If you choose to drink, do not operate a vehicle or a boat. If you play a friendly game of football, be sure to keep it friendly. If you encounter a dog you don’t know, don’t assume it is friendly.

You work hard and you deserve a chance to relax and unwind. There is perhaps no better time to do this than at the close of the summer season. While you are celebrating, remember that the choices you make may impact not only you and your friends, but strangers you encounter. Let this summer come to a close on a safe note!

If you do happen to be injured in an accident in Charlotte this Labor Day Weekend or at any other time of year, you have legal rights. This is especially true if your injuries are caused by someone’s error or negligence. Call our office and speak with a member of our team to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will speak with you about the cause of your accident and advise you of your options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. We are here if you need us.

You’re on the road trip you’ve dreamed up for years. You’re cruising down the highway with the top down in the rental car you treated yourself to. Things are amazing – until they aren’t. You find yourself involved in a car accident and thankfully walk away relatively physically unscathed. Your thoughts immediately turn to the damaged rental car.

Did you decline the car insurance when you signed the rental contract? Will your own insurance company cover the damage? It’s not unusual for people to panic when they are involved in an accident while driving a rental.

Following the Accident

Because you are involved in an accident with a rental car doesn’t mean that the steps to take following the collision are different if you had been involved in an accident in your own personal vehicle. You should still make sure everyone involved is okay and you should still call emergency services. Your next call should be to the rental company. Many companies have a set of procedures to follow if one of their vehicles has been involved in an accident. Most will want you to file a police report.

Fault in the Accident

Liability is a very important part of determining who is responsible for repair or replacement of the rental car. If the other driver made an error and caused the accident, their insurance company may be responsible for paying for repairs to the rental. If you are considered to be at fault, you may be on the hook for the repairs.  Of course insurance coverage rules vary by state, so please make sure you speak to an attorney if you have questions about liability issues.

Drivers who are fully insured may have a liability rider attached to their policies. This means that the rental damage may be covered by your policy. If the other driver doesn’t have insurance and is found to be at fault, your uninsured motorist insurance coverage may pay for the repairs.

Rental Car Insurance

If you declined the rental coverage this time around, you may not want to make that mistake again. If you aren’t sure whether or not your own policy will cover injury or damages in accidents like these, the insurance being offered to you may be a good idea. It may cost you a bit more, but it can protect you in the long run.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte and aren’t sure what type of coverage you have, reach out to our team of experienced attorneys. We can help you deal with the insurance companies, and we can help you seek damages from the at-fault driver. We have an in-depth knowledge of the local laws and can put that knowledge to work for you. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation.

If you are involved in an accident, one of the first people you will have to deal with is the insurance company. What you say can make or break your case. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to speaking with an agent either on the phone or in person.

Do

1. Consider speaking to an attorney before speaking to any insurance company.  If you are injured and are considering hiring an attorney to help you with your case, why talk to the insurance company when you are going to hire a lawyer to do that for you.

2. If you decide to contact your own insurance company, take a look at your policy before you pick up the phone. You will want to know what is covered and what is excluded. The more educated you are with regards to your policy, the better you will be able to understand your options for getting a rental car and other benefits that you may be entitled to.

3. Keep notes of all conversations you have with the insurance company. Be sure to write down the date and time you spoke with a representative, along with their name, job title and claim number if one is provided.

4. Take pictures of the damage to your vehicle. If you remember to do so, take pictures of the accident scene and the other vehicle as well.

5. Keep receipts of any monies you have to spend as the result of the accident. You may not be handing these over to an insurance agent, but they will be helpful to your attorney if you decide to file a personal injury claim.

Don’ts

1. Do not be talked into giving any type of statement in writing or otherwise on the record to any insurance company. There is no obligation for you to allow any insurance company to record your telephone conversation.

2. Never assume that the initial estimates or settlements you are offered are accurate. Get multiple damage estimates from multiple repair companies.  Don’t let an insurance company or over zealous repair company dictate where you get your car repaired.

3. Do not sign any type of waiver or release without first speaking to an attorney. Doing so without the advice of an attorney can potentially negate your ability to file a lawsuit should it become necessary.

4. DON’T ignore the time limits outlined in your policy. Your insurance coverage will only provide coverage if you follow the rules. You will be given only so much time to report the accident and file the claim(s). Make sure you are aware of the time frames as dictated by your coverage.  An experienced car accident lawyer can help you understand these important timelines.

5. NEVER assume that what the insurance company says is final. If you do not believe you are being treated fairly, you have options.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of experienced attorneys. We will review the details of your crash and advise you of your legal options. We can help you deal with insurance agents, review documents and, when warranted, file a claim in court for damages.

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.

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

1. Leave Early to Avoid Rush Hour

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

2. Your Shoes Matter

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

3. Stay Focused

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

4. Mind the Sun

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

5. Be Defensive, Not Aggressive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Brief Explanation of CTE

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

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

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

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

Who’s at Risk?

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

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

What About Concussions from Car Wrecks?

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

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

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

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

1. Talk About Responsibility

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

2. Be Observant

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

3. Know Who’s In the Car

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

4. Install an App

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

5. Be an Example

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

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

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

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

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

1. Acceleration

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

2. Shoulder Power

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

3. A-Pillars

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brain Basics

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

Most Serious Brain Injuries

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

1. Driving Record

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

2. Teenage Drivers

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

3. Your Vehicle

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

4. A New Car

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

5. Getting Divorced or Staying Single

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

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

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