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cyclist on a busy roadNo matter how careful you drive, it can be difficult to avoid bicyclists who aren’t obeying the rules of the road. If you are a cyclist, it can be difficult to avoid drivers who aren’t aware of their surroundings. When everyone on the road acts responsibly and looks out for one another, some of the collisions between bicycles and vehicles can be prevented. Here are some of the most common accidents involving bikes and cars and what you can do to avoid them.

1. Darting Out of Driveways

You’re driving along when all of a sudden a bicyclist rolls out of a driveway or alley directly into your path. You have no time to react and hit the cyclist. This accident could have been avoided.

If you are on a bicycle, do not pull straight out into a roadway. Always look both ways to make sure the way is clear before you leave an alley or driveway. If you are driving a vehicle, drive at speeds that are appropriate for the area you are in. If there are cars lining the road in a residential neighborhood making it difficult for you to see, slow down.

2. Controlled Intersections

Accidents at intersections happen for a variety of reasons that can be attributed to cyclists and drivers. If you are on a bicycle, remember that you must follow the traffic signals just as a driver has to. If you are a driver, be sure to look both ways, even if you have the right of way. Anyone approaching an intersection should make sure the way is clear no matter what type of machine they are operating.

3. Wrong Way Drivers

It’s not unusual for a cyclist to cut down a wrong-way street thinking that it will be safer than riding with traffic. Unfortunately, drivers are less likely to be looking for things heading their way when they are on a one-way street.

As a bicyclist, avoid the temptation to travel the wrong way. If you are a driver, don’t assume that you won’t be running into anything ahead of you. Keep your eyes up and on the road. If you encounter a cyclist, slow down and let them pass.

4. Unexpected Left Turns

Both bicyclists and drivers make left turns without signaling and without the right to do so. These maneuvers are often the most risky for bicyclists. If you are in a car, always look over your left shoulder before you turn left. If you are on a bike, do the same. It’s important to make sure that there is nothing next to you before you make a turn.

Some accidents between bicycles and vehicles cannot be avoided. But by driving cautiously, both cyclists and drivers can keep each other safer on the road. If you are involved in a bicycle accident in Charlotte, you have legal rights. Reach out to our team today for more information about the types of compensation you may be entitled to. Our team is here to help you take the next steps appropriate to your unique situation.

 

One of the most common questions we hear relates to civil liability and the question of whether or not there is a valid case against another driver that may have caused the accident but was not ticketed at the accident scene.  A lot of people think that the driver that caused their accident should always receive a ticket.  They wonder if that person does not get a ticket, does that mean that they do not have a valid case against them.  The answer is no.  There does not have to be a citation against the other driver that caused the accident for you to be able to have a successful personal injury claim against the driver and their insurance company.  Many times we see Charlotte, NC car accidents where an at-fault driver clearly causes an accident but does not receive a citation.  There are multiple reasons for this kind of situation.  Typically it is the fact that the officer may not have enough evidence or there is no witness to verify the necessary facts that would warrant a ticket.  Additionally the officer that responds to a motor vehicle accident scene generally does not witness the accident and they may have limited information to be able to make the determination on whether or not a driver receives a citation.

It is generally up to the discretion of the police officer to make the decision on whether or not someone is cited for contributing to a motor vehicle accident.  Speaking of North Carolina car accidents and citations, we see that some jurisdictions or branches of law enforcement cite drivers more often than others.  For instance when we evaluate car accidents reported by the NC State Highway Patrol, more often than not we see the person that is considered to be the cause of the accident receive a citation.  Every accident case is different so there is no exact formula that suggests the criteria required for the writing of a ticket against the driver you consider to be at fault.  If you are involved in a car accident and the other driver did not receive a citation you may very well have a valid case against that driver.

Please feel free to contact our office for a free evaluation of your motor vehicle accident.  We can help you get your accident report and we will help you understand it as well. Drive safely North Carolina.

Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_aijohn784′>aijohn784 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

close up of little girl on a playground swingThe calendar says that it is officially autumn, but on a few days lately it has felt like mid-July. As we deal with summer-like temperatures, children are taking advantage by spending afternoons and evenings on the playground.

It’s not only families; drive past a school during your lunch hour and you may see little ones swinging from tires and climbing on monkey bars. Parents and teachers alike are taking every opportunity to get children outside before the cold weather sets in. While it may be good for children to exercise, playgrounds pose dangers that adults should be aware of. Don’t let your attention wane simply because summer is over.

Adult Supervision

Proper adult supervision can help to ensure that children do not sustain injuries on the playground. Do not allow children to use equipment outside of the ways it was intended. Don’t take your eyes of kids to check your cell phone or to speak to another adult. Keep your attention on the children and if you see a little one behaving in a way that isn’t safe, have them sit down for a bit.

Equipment Check

Before children are allowed to play on equipment, give it a quick once over. Look for loose bolts and screws. Be sure that the equipment is stable. Also check for issues like wasp nests. If you notice any hazards on the playground, look for signage that tells you who owns or operates the play area and advise them of what you have found. Don’t let children play on any equipment that doesn’t appear safe.

Teaching Kids

Children don’t know what we don’t teach them. Tell your children about expected behavior on a playground. Your kids should know how to use equipment properly, how to treat other children who are playing and when to find an adult. If you notice that your child is not following the rules, take them off of the playground, have a talk with them and try again.

Contained Playgrounds

Some playgrounds are contained with netting or ropes. Before you allow your child onto the equipment, look for any tears or rips in the netting. Make sure that spaces between strings and ropes are not so wide that your child’s head could slip through and become caught. Don’t allow your child to wear any clothing with drawstrings and have them remove any jewelry they are wearing.

Spraygrounds

More cities than ever have spraygrounds or splash pads for children. If you take your child to one of these play areas, make sure that you read the posted rules and share them with your child. Do not let your child drink the water in order to minimize the risk of illness.

The temperatures are high — don’t forget about playground safety while enjoying the weather with your little ones. If your child is injured on a playground in Charlotte, you have legal rights. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your child’s accident and help you make the best decisions for your family.

alexa jo palmer auger and auger disabled scholar award winner

Auger & Auger is proud to announce that Alexa Jo Palmer is one of the recipients of our Fall Semester Disabled Scholar Award, worth $1,000 each.  The scholarship awards are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America that have overcome their disability and achieved excellence in both the classroom and their community.

When she was 16, Alexa Jo was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. This is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine. Though the cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, Alexa Jo noticed her symptoms always seemed to flare up when she was stressed out — and as a high schooler, that was all the time.

It took Alexa Jo a year to become comfortable with herself and the disease, which at first was embarrassing for a 16-year-old high school student.  Along with the pain she was experiencing, the steroid treatment caused her to put on excessive weight.  All of these issues combined were enough to crush the spirits of any teenage girl.

But not Alexa Jo.

She attended a one-week overnight summer camp for kids with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease. There, surrounded by others her age facing the same challenges, she learned to be comfortable with herself. When she returned to school for her senior year, she was more confident, and was able to joke about her disease. Since then, she has taken great strides to raise money and awareness for finding a cure.

In 2016, she participated in Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis, raising over $6,000. She also raised awareness on a local radio station, and is very active in the Crohn’s/colitis community. For her efforts, she was honored by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Before being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, Alexa Jo wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life. Now, her path is clear: pediatrics. For now, she is attending Widener University in Pennsylvania and majoring in nursing. She’s still undecided on whether or not to continue her education to become a pediatric surgeon.

Through all of her struggles, Alexa Jo says her parents have been the most influential people in her life. She says they always told her she could do whatever she wanted in life, and that she was capable of doing anything if she put my mind to it — even after her diagnosis.

Though ulcerative colitis is a disease many aren’t familiar with, Alexa Jo says she hopes our society gains a greater understanding of it. It’s an invisible disease; though she may not look sick, she suffers from the disease every day.

“Some days I can be in pain and you might not even know it,” she says.

More than anything, Alexa Jo lives her life by the mantra, “Be the change you wish to see in the world. She believe that if you believe so passionately about changing something, then you should stop waiting for someone else and do it. And ulcerative colitis isn’t going to stop her from making the world a better place.

 

teens driving a car on a sunny dayIt’s a call that no parent wants: their child has just been involved in a car accident. The last thing a parent is worried about is liability. The first thing on their mind is making sure their child is uninjured or, if they do experience an injury, that they are given the appropriate medical attention.

Once the dust settles and the facts come out, the thought of liability will come to mind. If your child was involved in a car accident, you may be held responsible. Then again, you may not. The unique circumstances of the accident will dictate who is held at fault and who will be paying for injuries and property damage.

Parental Liability

Every state across the nation has laws in place that dictate a parent’s responsibility for their children. Many states have something called the family car doctrine, which means that the owner of the car is responsible for damage that a family member causes while driving that vehicle.

As a parent, this law means that you can be held liable for your child’s accident. If your child is a legal dependent, you could be held accountable for their actions. This includes children over the age of 18 in some situations. If you consented to the use of your car and your child causes an accident, you can expect that you will be on the hook for making payments to the victim.

If, on the other hand, your child sneaks out of the house and takes your car without your permission, you can claim that you did not give consent. In these cases, you may not be held liable. Realistically, however, chances are that your child will not have the financial means on their own to pay damages to any victims.

Vicarious Liability

Even in states that do not have the family car doctrine, you could still be held responsible. Vicarious liability means that you can be held to task if your child takes the family car and has an accident simply due to your relationship with the child. You may also be found liable due to negligent entrustment if you knew that your child was a poor driver or that they weren’t licensed.

We all hope that our children are going to drive safely, but accidents happen. If your child is involved in an accident, it will typically be in your best interest to at least consult with an attorney to discover the extent to which you may be held liable.

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, you have legal rights. If the other driver is found to have been at fault for causing the accident, you may be entitled to damages for injuries and loss of property. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and learn more about your rights. We are here for you and your family and will help you take the appropriate next steps.

man holding his neck after a car wreckPeople who consider traumatic brain injuries often picture people lying in hospital beds being supported by tubes and machines. While this may be the case in some injuries, it is not true for all. Traumatic brain injury does not have to be severe to have an impact on a person’s life.

Mild traumatic brain injury can occur in a number of instances, none of which have to be overly dramatic. Here are the people most at risk for a mild TBI:

  • Persons who have been involved in a car collision or rollover.
  • Those who have sustained a blow to the head while playing sports, during a fall, in a workplace incident or via any other cause.
  • Someone who has been exposed to some type of blast.

What You Need to Know About Mild TBI

Many people who sustain a severe blow to the head understand that they require medical intervention. When people don’t sustain a hard blow or do not experience symptoms immediately, they may negate seeking medical diagnosis and treatment. It’s important to understand that any jolt to the head indicates the need for a proper diagnosis.

Even when a person seeks medical treatment, they may have normal brain imaging. Those who have mild TBI may experience a loss of consciousness lasting no more than 30 minutes, post-traumatic amnesia, or an alteration of consciousness for the first 24 hours following the injury.

When people are diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury, they are typically diagnosed with the more commonly known “concussion.”

Do’s and Don’ts

When you are diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, it is important that you take it easy for a while. Don’t exert yourself while you are in recovery. This includes both mental and physical exertion. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep at night, and stick to a routine. This means sleeping, waking and eating at the same times each day.

Avoid using any downtime you have to play sports or exercise. Do not consume caffeine if you can help it. If you simply can’t make it through your day without your morning cup of coffee, make that the only one you have during the day. Don’t stay up late, and try to rest your brain. In other words, avoid reading, studying or even playing video games.

People sustain mild traumatic brain injury every day and one of the most common causes is vehicle collisions. If you have been involved in a car accident, it’s important to seek medical attention, even if you feel fine.

Any person who has been involved in a car accident in Charlotte may have the right to compensation for property damage and injury. Reach out to our knowledgeable team of car accident attorneys today to schedule a case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options. There is help available for you and your family.

You may have a plan for your money. You could be saving for major life events like a home, marriage or even children. What many people don’t save for are tragic events like car accidents. The medical expenses incurred following a car accident can be debilitating. For example, a three-day hospital stay can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more depending on the severity of the injuries.

The initial medical costs following a car accident vary as every accident is different.  Remember those initial costs for an ER visit or hospital stay don’t include follow-up care costs which could involve additional treatments to other doctors for diagnostic testing, treatment, therapy or even additional surgeries. You could also have to pay for extensive medical visits, prescription medications and medical equipment. The costs associated with a car accident add up quickly and that is one of the reasons that accident victims hire attorneys to help them with their injury claims or even with have to file a personal injury lawsuit following a collision.

Medical Costs

Following a car accident, you may be presented with a variety of medical costs. You may have to pay for emergency medical services provided by EMS responders (ambulance, life flight, etc.) radiology, physicians, nurses, therapists and medication. You may have to pay for medical equipment, physical therapy, chiropractic care or inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation.

Once these medical costs begin to add up, people often become anxious. People with health insurance are often concerned with how they will be able to afford their deductibles, co-pays or out of pocket costs.  Uninsured accident victims face serious bills as well, however they can find themselves in a difficult position to find medical providers that can treat them without having insurance.  Accidents affect a victim’s physical and financial health.  Accidents often result in people being unable to work.  That can be a long or short term problem.  An inability to pay for medical costs is not unusual, and it can impact a person’s credit dramatically.

Unpaid Medical Bills

Close to 43 million Americans have some sort of medical debt. Hospitals and medical providers don’t wait long for payment. It’s not unusual for accounts to be sent to collection agencies before the injured person has settled their personal injury claim. If you are unable to pay your medical bills, you may find that your credit impacted and a problem with being able to make ends meet.

Additionally, credit problems caused by unpaid medical bills can cause issues when trying to rent or buy housing, purchase a vehicle, secure employment or even negotiate an insurance premium. It is important for people to do everything within their power to ensure that their medical bills are paid in a timely manner, and this may include filing  a personal injury lawsuit. When another person is found to be at fault in a vehicle collision, the victim should not be forced to suffer with physical, emotional or financial difficulties.

If you have been involved in a car accident in Charlotte, Raleigh, Asheville, Greensboro or elsewhere in North Carolina, our team is here to assist you. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a case evaluation. We will discuss your accident with you, advise you of your legal options and help you take the next steps appropriate for your unique situation. Do not assume that you have no recourse. Our team is ready to help you get the compensation you deserve so that your financial health is impacted in the least way possible. Call today or browse our website for more information about our firm.

two cars on the road after an accidentWhen you are involved in a car accident, you immediately experience feelings of fear and even anxiety. You may believe that these feelings will subside during the days and weeks following the accident, and you could be right. For many people, however, the emotional toll of a car accident is long lasting and can impact their daily lives.

Risk Factors of PTSD

There are several risk factors that have been found to contribute to whether or not a person experiences PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) following a car accident. These include having experienced a traumatic event in the past, the difficulties one experienced in dealing with that past traumatic event and a family history of emotional problems.

Other risk factors include whether or not the traumatic event was life-threatening, how much support a person received following the trauma and the immediate emotional response following the trauma.

Signs of PTSD Following a Car Accident

After a car accident, a person may wonder if they are experiencing symptoms of PTSD. While some feelings of distress and even anger are normal after a collision, lasting feelings may indicate that something more is going on. Here are symptoms that are typically associated with PTSD.

  • Reminders of the event trigger anxiety and an increased heart rate. You may hear a horn or even screeching tires and feel panicked.
  • You are more on edge than typical when driving. You frequently check your mirrors and look over your shoulder to be sure nothing is coming at you.
  • You may attempt to avoid driving on the highway or on specific roads. You may go out of your way to not drive on certain roads, despite adding time to your commute.

You may experience one or all of these symptoms of PTSD following a car accident. While every person is different, these feelings should subside over time. When they don’t, a person may be experiencing PTSD.

Getting Help

There are many different treatments for those suffering with PTSD.  If you or a loved one is experiencing a problem with dealing with emotional issues, fear, anxiety, depression or other mental health matter, please speak to a doctor about it as soon as possible.  If you have a primary care physician speak to them about your treatment options.  If you have health insurance, your health insurance company may be able to provide you with a list of providers that handle matters related to PTSD or its accompanying symptoms.  If it is an emergency, please call 911.  You don’t have to suffer in silence.

No matter how someone chooses to help themselves, the important thing to know is that there is a way to overcome emotional distress and the way that you are or someone you love is feeling today does not have to be permanent.

If you have been involved in a car accident in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina,  you may be entitled to compensation for physical and emotional injuries. Reach out to our experienced team of car accident attorneys to discover more about your legal options. A consultation with our office to see if we can help won’t cost you a dime. Call now to speak to someone about how we may be able to help.

Being a pedestrian can be dangerous. That is especially true if the person walking is a child. Children do not have the same decision-making capabilities as adults and are not able to make quick, potentially life-saving decisions. If you have a young person in your home, teaching them how to be a safe pedestrian involves more than teaching them to look both ways before crossing the street. Here are some things you can teach your child to help keep them safer.

1. Keep Looking

Most parents teach their children to look left, right and then left again before crossing a street. What many do not teach is that a pedestrian should keep looking around them as they walk across a street. Remind your child to keep their head up as they cross and to continuously look to their left and right.

2. Eye Contact

Street signals tell people when it should be safe to cross, but a signal doesn’t know if someone is going to run a red light. Teach your child to make eye contact with drivers before they step into the road. This ensures that the driver has seen your child and understands that they are going to proceed into the crosswalk.

3. No Darting

Teach your child not to dart out between parked cars or other obstacles in the street. If a car is parked too close to a crosswalk, teach your child to walk to the next one that is clear. It may take your child a bit out of their way, but it’s much safer to cross a road where there is nothing blocking the vision of drivers.

4. Put It Down and Keep It Up

Children are connected to cell phones and tablets. Teach your child to keep their phones down and their eyes up when walking.  When your child is distracted, they are less likely to see minor issues like potholes and major issues like cars barreling toward them.

5. Stop and Talk

If your child is walking and absolutely needs to use their phone, teach them to wait until they can stop safely. Your child should find a safe area where they can talk on their phone and only continue walking when they have ended their conversation.

Pedestrians are involved in accidents with vehicles every day. Children of any age are at risk. By taking the time to teach your child how to be a safe and responsible pedestrian, you are reducing their risk of being seriously injured while navigating the streets on foot.

If your child was injured in a pedestrian versus vehicle accident in Charlotte, you have rights. Reach out to our team of experienced car accident attorneys to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal options. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a consultation.

screw puncturing a tireIt’s something some people have experienced and many hope to never experience again: a flat tire. Whether you hear the sudden “click click” of a screw in your tire or feel that tremendous jolt that occurs due to a blown tire, your thoughts immediately turn to the expense of being forced to purchase a replacement or, worse, several new tires.

It is never a good idea to drive on a tire that is damaged or losing pressure.  In some cases, a damaged tire may be able to be repaired.  Here is some info:  (Please note that it is a best safety practice to always replace a damage tired with a spare tire or have your car towed to a repair shop instead of driving on a damaged tire.) 

Repairable Issues

Traveling at highway speeds and even slower residential speeds makes it impossible to see every small object in the road. Running over a pothole is avoidable in many cases, avoiding a nail or screw is not.

When you run over a nail or screw and it sticks into the tread of your tire, you may hear a clicking noise. This is the tire or screw head striking the pavement as your tire rotates. The noise can be frightening, but closer inspection will reveal a minor problem.

A puncture from a nail or screw that is smaller than a quarter-inch in diameter can be plugged. There are kits you can purchase that will allow you to make the repair at home. Even though a do it yourself repair may be a cheaper solution, taking your vehicle to a local mechanic or tire-repair shop for professional tire diagnostics may be a your best bet.  They are trained to know whether or not the tire can be repaired.  It should be noted that repair shops are only permitted to plug small punctures in the tread. If the nail or screw has entered the shoulder or sidewall of your tire, you will need to replace the tire.

Replaceable Issues

A gash, split or tear in your tire is not repairable. When these things occur, your tire will have to be replaced. If your tire has bulged due to some defect and split, it will need to be replaced. While it can be costly, it is far safer and cheaper in the long run.  Driving on bad tires is unsafe and against the law.

Reacting to a Flat

If you have a tire that is losing air pressure or has suddenly gone flat, do not drive on it.  A malfunctioning tire may not be your only problem. If the tire blows you could potentially find yourself in a very bad accident. Also it can cause damage to your brakes, suspension or other working components of your vehicle. Driving on a flat can also damage the wheel itself, resulting in even more expensive repairs.  When you see that you have a damaged tire, replace it with a spare or call a tow truck so you can have the damaged tire evaluated and repaired or replaced.  Tires can be replaced, you can’t!

If you are involved in a car accident in Charlotte, you have legal rights. Reach out to our team of experienced car accident attorneys today to discover more about your options and next steps. We will review the details of your accident at no cost to you and help you make the best decisions for your unique situation. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation.

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