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woman checking her car during a snowstorm, safety triangle in foregroundIf you had your choice, chances are you would ride out a blizzard or severe snowstorm from the comfort of your couch. Few people, if any, want to find themselves trapped in their car during extreme weather scenarios.  If you should ever find yourself in such a situation, don’t panic!  Cooler heads always prevail.

With winter almost upon us, it’s a good idea to brush up on what you know about surviving in your vehicle.  Preparation can save lives! You may think it will never happen to you, and we hope it doesn’t. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, North Carolina may have a snowy winter this year. Here are some ideas to help you get home safely during a snowstorm.

1. Keep Your Car Serviced

Before a storm hits, make sure your vehicle is serviced. Your windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze should be topped off. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, have good tread and that your brakes are in good working order.

2. Keep the Tank Full

If you become stranded, you will want to be sure that you have enough gas to keep the heat running. You may have heard that you should never let your tank get below a quarter in the cold weather. Why take a chance?  If you can, fill up the tank once it gets to the halfway point.

3. Make an Emergency Kit

You stand a better chance of surviving if you have the tools you need. Invest in a hard-sided cooler if you don’t already have one. Fill it with nonperishable food items, phone charger, bottles of water, a change of socks and shoes, a blanket, a hat and gloves, a flashlight, extra batteries, flares and anything else you think you may need in an emergency situation.

4. Stranded!

What you have prepared for actually happens, and now you’re stranded. First, don’t panic. Make a call to emergency services and huddle down and wait. Get those supplies out of your trunk, wrap yourself in a blanket and wait it out. Get out of the car occasionally, after checking to be sure it is safe to do so, and clear off your car so that it is visible. Don’t let snow and ice clog your exhaust pipe. Put flares or emergency triangles around your vehicle and turn your hazard lights on.

5. Stay Put

You may feel as though help is never coming. Your phone’s battery may have died. You could have a myriad of reasons why you believe that you are in it for the long haul. No matter what you do, do not leave your vehicle. You are more likely to be seriously harmed, or even killed, if you wander off.

Being stranded in the snow is not something anyone wants to be forced to deal with, but it can happen. If you are injured in a vehicle collision in Charlotte this winter, be sure to reach out to our office. We have attorneys who are ready to stand up for your rights. Your case evaluation won’t cost you a thing.

person skiing down a mountainWinter is just around the corner, and your mind may be turning to all of the things you can do outside. For some people, winter sports are far more enjoyable than sports played under the hot summer sun. If you count yourself among the people who are fairly sedentary, as far as athletics and exercise, during the warm-weather months, you’ve got to prepare for the slopes before you hit them.

If you toss your snowboard in the backseat or strap your skis to the roof and don’t take the time to prepare your body, you could be asking for an injury that you would rather not deal with. While some accidents can’t be avoided, those caused by poor conditioning certainly can. Here are some tips for getting yourself ready for enjoying the winter snow in the North Carolina mountains or wherever else you may be headed.

1. Get Fit

You don’t want to strap on your skis without at least first getting yourself somewhat in shape. Start walking, running or any activity that will get you moving. You don’t have to knock yourself out, but you may need to get a bit more fit than you are right now. You want to enjoy yourself on the slopes and getting more fit before your trip may help you enjoy it even more.

2. Get the Right Equipment

Don’t rely on last year’s equipment if you haven’t gotten it out, inspected it and tried it on. Make sure that your cold-weather gear still fits and is in good repair. If you don’t want to spend more money on new equipment, you may be able to rent it at your destination.

3. Sun Protection

You may wear sunscreen at all times in the summer and then relax with it a bit in the winter. The truth is that sunscreen is just as important on the slopes as it is on the beach. In fact, with the sun reflecting off the snow, you could be at an even greater risk of getting burned. Look for a sunscreen that is made to be worn during activity so you don’t have to reapply it as often.

4. Dress in Layers

Be prepared for whatever the weather throws at you by dressing in several light layers. If you get too hot, you can take a layer off. If you get cold again, you can put what you’ve taken off back on. Dressing in layers allows you to remain comfortable no matter the temperature outside.

5. Get Eye Protection

Just like sunscreen, good sunglasses aren’t just for summer. The sun bouncing off of the snow can be harmful to your eyes, as can the wind and blowing snow. Buy yourself a good pair of sunglasses or tinted goggles. You’ll want to protect your eyes when you are flying downhill.

Before you head to the slopes this winter, make sure you’re prepared. Don’t plan on getting in shape on the slopes, you will only be setting yourself up for injury.

If you are injured in North Carolina or elsewhere while traveling to the slopes, reach out to our office. We will review the details of your injury and advise you of how we may be able to help. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and more.  Stay warm and safe!

It is never too early to start planning for next year!  With so many people celebrating this past Halloween , we thought we would take a moment to highlight some issues that we usually see after Halloween with hopes of preventing injuries in the future.  Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays for children. With all of the anticipation leading up to the big day, children can easily forget all that you’ve taught them about staying safe. While the day and evening should both be enjoyable, the sad truth is that the potential for injury is ever present.

Here are some tips to consider before you head out in search of the best candy in the neighborhood.

1. Watch for Drivers

One of the largest causes of injury during trick-or-treat is accidents with vehicles. Children are struck by cars for a variety of reasons, but most often it is because one didn’t see the other. Make sure your children are highly visible. This may mean putting reflective tape on their costumes, having them carry a flashlight or both. You can even attach glow sticks to your child’s outfit to make them more visible.

2. Properly Fitting Costumes

There are so many costumes on the market today that it can be hard to choose just one. No matter which one your child finally settles on, make sure the costume fits properly. Bottoms shouldn’t drag on the ground and there shouldn’t be any sharp objects attached to it.

3. Supervise

Children, no matter how old, should not be permitted to trick-or-treat alone. Make sure there is at least one adult with a group of children who can be on the lookout for potential danger.

4. Your Own Home

Make sure your property is well lit, that any sidewalk or driveway damage is repaired or blocked off and your decorations aren’t hazardous.

5. Watch the Candy

Chances are that you take a close look at the loot your child collects before you let them dig in. You should also be watching the candy that you are handing out. Before you pass out a morsel to an unsuspecting ghoul, be sure to check that none of the packaging has been tampered with and that the candy is within the expiration date.

6. Shoes Matter

If clever shoes are a part of your child’s costume, they should still be able to walk in them. Pointy witch shoes and oversized clown shoes may make a costume come together, but they can make it easier for your child to slip and fall. Your child should wear sensible shoes with good traction if they will be walking from house to house.

If you ever have questions about an injury that occurred because someone else was negligent, please call our office for a free consultation and learn more about your options. We are here to assist you – reach out to our office now or browse our website for more information about our firm and the types of cases we handle.

It’s almost that time of year. Ghosts and goblins, zombies and clowns will be taking to the street in search of the best treats in the neighborhood. Halloween is quickly taking over as the most popular holiday of the year for both children and adults. If your little one will be taking part in any festivities, either at school, home or in the neighborhood, now is a great time to talk with them about safety.

As you get your little ones ready for the spooky night ahead, here are some things to do and talk about.

1. Plan a Route

Make sure that you know where your kids will be going if you won’t be walking with them. Older kids are sometimes permitted to trick-or-treat on their own, but you want to know where they are. Plan a route ahead of time and make sure your child knows they must stick to it.

2. Costume Choice

There are hundreds of available costumes on the market. When helping your little one pick a costume, make sure it is flame-resistant. Beyond that, make sure that your child is able to see and be seen. Attach glow sticks to the costume or have your child carry a flashlight.

3. Treats

When your child is visiting homes in search of the big haul, let them know that it is okay to accept treats at the door, but to never go inside someone’s house. If a neighbor is hosting a haunted house, be sure to accompany your child.

4. Beware of Dogs

Halloween isn’t only for humans. Many people dress up their pets and take them along for the fun. Teach your child to be respectful of any dogs they see on the sidewalk or street. Expect your child to be more tempted than usual to pet a dog when it is wearing a cute costume. Teach your child to always ask permission before stroking a stranger’s pet.

5. Your Own Home

Before you welcome any little ghouls onto your property, get it ready. Sweep debris from your walk and steps, clear your porch of any trip and fall hazards and install extra lighting to ensure people’s ability to see where they are going. If you are pulling in or out of your driveway, look an extra time or two. Children will be excited and may not be paying attention to moving vehicles.

Halloween is a fun holiday, but it can also prove hazardous. Take the time now to explain the expectations to your little ones and use the coming weeks to remind them of your discussion.

If your child is injured in an accident on Halloween in Charlotte, you may have the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit. Reach out to our office and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of the accident and advise you of your legal rights.

Are you afraid of Halloween? If you’re an adult, the chances are that you are actually looking forward to being scared. Halloween is the perfect holiday for harmless frights. The unfortunate truth is that not all frights are as harmless as you may believe. Some can be downright terrifying.

While many parents believe that the worst they have to fear is candy that has been tampered with, there are risks that are more substantial. Knowing what to look out for this Halloween can help keep you and your little ones safe. Here are some fears that are worth having this holiday and how you can avoid tragedy.

1. Slips and Falls

A slip and fall accident can happen at any time and for any reason. On Halloween night, the most common causes for slips and falls are too-long costumes and masks that inhibit vision. If your little one is dressing up and heading out for some candy, make sure that their costumes are short enough to not be tripped over. Face paint is always a safer option when compared to a mask.

2. Vehicles

You may have given your child lessons on looking both ways before they cross the street, but reiterate those lessons before trick-or-treating commences. Remind your little one that they should stay on the sidewalk at all times and should never cross the street on their own. Teach your child to look both ways before they cross and to never dart out from in between parked cars or other hazards.

3. Pumpkins

If you and your family will enjoy turning pumpkins into works of art, do so without a kitchen knife. When your hands are covered in pumpkin guts, they will be slippery. This can cause a knife to slip dangerously out of your grip and the blade to slice your fingers. There are special tools on the market that allow you to safely carve pumpkins. Alternatively, you can paint them or decorate them with paper and fabric.

4. Pets

Keep an eye on your pets during Halloween. They are often forgotten about during the rush of the holiday evening. If your pet is likely to be frightened by loud noises or by costumes worn by tiny humans, put them in a back room or in their crate. When your kids come in with the big candy haul, put the candy up and out of reach of snooping paws. Your dogs will be the better for it.

Halloween doesn’t have to be risky for you or your little ones. Use the tips above to stay safe. If you are ever involved in an accident in Charlotte or elsewhere in North Carolina, reach out to our experienced team of personal injury attorneys for assistance. We may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries. Call today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and let us tell you more about your legal options.

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.

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