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  • Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County ranks #1 in overall car accident fatalities as well as DUI-related deaths
  • Mecklenburg County has a high rate of deaths related to people not wearing proper restraints
  • Efforts by the city, county, and state intend to reduce these deaths by enforcing laws while also educating drivers of these risks
The sun setting over Charlotte, NC.

 

In terms of overall traffic-related fatalities, Charlotte, North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County ranks first — or last, depending on how you look at it. The most populous county in the state also had the highest number of drunk-driving related fatalities as well as fatal accidents involving occupants who didn’t wear their seatbelts.

These facts were compiled over several years by the state’s Governor’s Highway Safety Program and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The 2018 Highway Safety Plan Report for the state recorded incidents that occurred as recently as 2015. Our Charlotte car accident lawyers want you to be mindful of these statistics and we also want you to be aware of efforts taken by the state to reduce fatal road accidents in Mecklenburg County and throughout North Carolina.

By knowing what’s at stake and how our state intends to fix it, we hope that you will take steps of your own to reduce deadly serious accidents in North Carolina’s biggest city.

Charlotte: North Carolina’s Deadliest City for Road Accidents

According to the 2018 North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program Report, Mecklenburg County ranked at the top of the list of North Carolina counties for overall road fatalities in 2015. The county had 80 overall deaths stemming from motor vehicle crashes that year, beating the #2 county (Wake) by 15.

On the other hand, Mecklenburg happens to be the state’s most populous county. In 2015, census estimates put the entire county, which includes the city of Charlotte, at 1,035,605 people. From that perspective, it makes sense that the county with the most people and likely the most cars on the road would by extension have the highest overall volume of motor vehicle accident fatalities. Looking solely at the county’s rate of car accident deaths per 100,000 people, Mecklenburg has 7.72. This figure means it ranks 90th out of 100 counties.

By comparison, rural counties in North Carolina tend to have a low number of overall road fatalities but a high rate relative to their population. Robeson County, for instance, which includes the cities of Lumberton and Pembroke, had 53 road fatalities in 2015. Compared to its population of 133,375 people, the county had a fatality rate per 100k population of 39.74: over five times the rate of Mecklenburg! Robeson also had the fifth-highest number of overall motor vehicle crash fatalities, making it somewhat of an outlier.

 

Other, smaller counties had more exaggerated fatal accident rates. Sampson County, with just 63,993 people in 2015, had 25 total road accident deaths, making it #2 in the state by rate.

Mecklenburg County Ranks High for Alcohol-Related Crash Deaths and Unrestrained Occupant Deaths

While one might be able to give context to Mecklenburg’s high accident fatality volume given its high population, but the county has no excuses when it comes to drunk driving and especially seat belt use.

Statistics from the report indicate that between 2011 and 2015 the county had 127 total fatalities in crashes where alcohol-impaired driving was a factor. That figure accounts for nearly 7% of all such fatalities in the state and gives the county a death rate of 1.23 per 10,000 people.

Again, rural areas in the state do tend to have higher rates than that. Hoke County, for instance, accounted for just over 1% of all DUI-related road deaths but had a rate 3.7 times higher than Mecklenburg’s. Robeson again topped the charts with its rate, which was an alarming 4.95.

In this case, even a relative comparison still makes Mecklenburg County and the city of Charlotte far from blameless. DUI-related deaths are entirely avoidable, yet they tend to cause an anguish-inducing amount of fatal accidents per year.

Even more alarming is the fact that Mecklenburg County has had a very poor record of seatbelt use, which directly contributes to the volume and rate of fatal accidents in the region. The report indicated that 44.6% of all road fatalities in the area happened to individuals who were not properly restrained. This figure includes both adults not wearing seatbelts as well as minors who were not given the proper restraints. In total, Mecklenburg saw 90 such fatalities between 2011 and 2015, accounting for just under 5% of the state’s total.

Reduce the Number of Car Accident Deaths in North Carolina!

The purpose of the state’s highway safety report was not just to scare individuals into making smart decisions — although that was certainly part of it. Alongside these grim statistics comes a ray of hope in the form of action-oriented programs designed to improve road safety and prevent avoidable deaths.

For example, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will continue its DWI task force project for the fifth straight year. The program aims to reduce alcohol-related fatalities, traffic crashes and injuries through both enforcement and education efforts. This task force includes seven dedicated officers who cooperate with other local offices to set up DWI checkpoints during peak hours at night, on weekends, and during holidays.

Mecklenburg County has also participated in concerted efforts to improve proper restraint use. 2016 data from the seat belt survey indicates an observed seat belt use rate of 92.7% in Charlotte and the county at large.

Drivers can help with these efforts — and reduce their risk of being part of a fatal crash — by practicing smart, safe driving techniques. Always use a seat belt, never drive impaired, and obey all road laws including posted speed limits.

You Need Charlotte Car Accident Lawyers on Your Side

Every accident can be serious, but the dangers are increased when drivers engage in reckless behavior such as DWI. Even the most careful driver may suddenly find themselves the victim in a life-changing accident.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident — remember that you have the right to get legal representation to assist you with your injury claim. You could be eligible for not just medical bill reimbursement but also compensation for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

You can contact our Charlotte car accident lawyers today if you have any questions or want to find out how you can have someone fighting for your rights as soon as possible. Get in touch, and we will try our best to answer your questions and see how we may be able to help.  Your first call starts our initial case evaluation process. Call us today! Our phones are answered 24 hours per day, 7 days a week! (855) 971-1114

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.”

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.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. That means good food and good times with family and friends. But for too many, it also means an unfortunate trip to the ER. Though injuries can happen on Thanksgiving, they can also be avoided easily.

 

As Charlotte, NC personal injury lawyers, we’re all too familiar with the injuries that happen on Turkey Day. Though people can get injured in a variety of ways, it seems the most common reasons are food safety and outdoor activities.

Here’s a breakdown of those two categories, and how you can avoid injury this year:

Outdoor Activity Safety

Backyard Football

Playing touch football has become as much of a tradition as family meals themselves. While many of these makeshift games end with a proper celebration for one team, some are called early when an uncle throws his back out or a young cousin twists her ankle.

Don’t let your annual family football game end in injury. Here are a few ways you can avoid injury this year:

Training: You won’t see a professional athlete sitting on the couch for three months and hitting the field without proper training. Why would you do anything different? You certainly don’t have to train for months but if you know you will be playing in the annual family game, start getting your body ready a few weeks before.

Even walking around the neighborhood every day after dinner can help your body prepare for the physical demand of a football game.

Warm Up: It’s not unusual for the family to arrive, hit the backyard and start throwing the ball. This can be a bad idea. Most people warm up before exercise for good reason. Warm ups lubricate joints and increase flexibility to the muscles.

Take five or 10 minutes to warm up before the football game.

 

Know the Field: Many an injury has occurred because someone stepped down on a rock or got their foot stuck in an unnoticed hole. Take a walk around the section of yard you will be playing in before the first pass is thrown.

Toss or pick up any objects that could potentially be a trip and fall hazard.

Suit Up: Don’t wear tight, heavy clothing. Instead, opt for several light layers that you can both move easily in and remove should you get too hot. Encourage your family members to do the same.

While you are at it, make sure that you are wearing sneakers with a decent tread. Boots and flats are better suited for the indoors.

Stay On Your Feet: It’s not unusual for backyard football games to get a bit heated. Resist any urge you have to tackle another family member. Tackling increases the risk of injury, especially to younger players.

Drink in Celebration: Stick to drinking after the game. Alcohol not only decreases your balance and ability to make quick decisions, but it’s also dehydrating.

Drink plenty of water or sports drinks when you are playing the game instead.

Food Safety

When you’re preparing food, be sure it all reaches the right temperature before serving. Specifically, make sure your turkey gets to at least 165° F by checking the thickest part of the breast or thigh. A good rule of thumb is 15 minutes of cooking per pound, but always use a thermometer to check.

When you’re serving food, be sure the hot food stays hot, and the cold food stays cold. Otherwise, harmful bacteria may start growing, causing food poisoning among you and your guests.

Storing Leftovers

There are right ways and wrong ways to store your Thanksgiving leftovers.  Food should be in separate containers within two hours of serving. You may be tempted to store “meals” in sealed containers, but your foods will go bad at different speeds. Storing them together is a mistake unless you plan on reheating them within a few hours.

When putting food containers in the fridge, make sure that you don’t stack them too tightly. Your fridge needs to be able to circulate air. It can’t do that if it is filled wall to wall with plastic containers.

Speaking of your refrigerator, make sure that the temperature is correct. Your food needs to be kept under 40° F, so set your refrigerator’s temperature accordingly.

Your food is generally safe for up to four days, provided it has been stored properly. Thanksgiving is on a Thursday every year. Any food that isn’t eaten by Monday should be thrown away or frozen.

Eating Again

When you decide you want a bit more turkey, make sure you are heating it to the right temperature. It needs to be reheated to above 165 degrees. The same can be said for all of your leftovers unless they are meant to be cold. Soups and gravy should be brought to a boil.

If you have frozen any of your leftovers, don’t thaw them on the counter. Let them thaw in the refrigerator so they remain as cold as necessary before you decide to reheat them. Otherwise, bacteria may start to rapidly grow.

Frying a Turkey Outdoors

Deep frying a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner has become wildly popular in the past few years. However, it can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing (and even if you do know what you’re doing). If you’re going to be deep-frying your turkey this year, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

 

  • Set up the fryer on a flat clearing: Find a patch of grass (or preferably, dirt) that’s flat and has no trees or structures around it. NEVER deep fry a turkey on a deck or patio.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions: Your deep fryer should have come with instructions on how much oil to use, and how big of turkey to use. Always follow those directions for safe frying.
  • Wear protective clothing: You should have goggles to keep oil from splashing up in your face. You should also have long pants, a long sleeve shirt, a heavy duty apron and gloves on when you’re near the fryer.
  • Don’t leave the fryer unattended: Unless you want a fire, always stay near the deep fryer. You should also keep children and pets away. Make sure you always have a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Go oil-less: There are deep fryers available now that don’t require oil. These infrared fryers are much safer than traditional oil fryers.

 

Keep a Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer’s Number On Hand

Even if you follow every safety tip you can find, there’s still a chance you could get injured. If you get hurt by someone else’s actions or negligence, you have legal options. Call the Charlotte personal injury attorneys at Auger & Auger today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Let us help make sure your holiday season goes right. 1-855-969-5671

Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Amauri Bowman is one of the recipients of our 2018 Fall Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These $1,000 scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community.

Amauri was born with sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder that can cause tremendous pain and serious health problems. When she was 7 years old, her sickled cells clotted an artery, and she suffered a stroke. She underwent an emergency blood transfusion, and has received transfusions once a month since that incident.

Now in her third year at Francis Marion University in South Carolina, Amauri has had to learn how to cope with her pain and prioritize her school work, extracurricular activities and doctor’s appointments. However, he’s always made sure her grade point average was at or above 3.0. Amauri’s always strayed away from using her disability as a hindrance or a crutch, but rather she takes the fullest advantage of life she can.

After graduating from Francis Marion University, Amauri plans to start her nursing career at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). She wants to work at MUSC because that’s where she has been taken care of for the last 20 years.

Amauri plans to further her education and become a Pediatric Doctor of Nursing Practice. With this higher education, she wants to give back to those who aren’t able to afford the best healthcare.

She believes her chronic illness and the lessons it’s taught her, including how perseverance, courage and maturity, have prepared her for college and for her career as a nurse. She believes that, because she has sickle cell, she will be able to relate to patients on a different level and be an advocate for them when they’re in pain.

Ultimately, she wants to open as many free health service clinics she can around the globe to provide more than the bare necessities of healthcare. She wants to make sure that every child, woman, man, and elderly person with a chronic illness has access to the proper healthcare for their specific needs.

To those who are also facing disabilities, especially “invisible disabilities” like sickle cell anemia, Amauri’s advice is to “always keep your head up and find the silver lining in situations.”

“My mother always reminded me when I was down about being sick, that there is always someone who is in worse conditions, and that even though we go through things, we are always blessed in some way or another,” she says. “The obstacles that you face in life are put there for a reason, whether it be a lesson to be learned or to make you stronger; whatever you’re going through, just remember that all things work together for your good.”

Even though having sickle cell anemia is challenging, and the pain can sometimes be unbearable, Amauri would never trade the life lessons it’s taught her. She says that having a chronic illness has made her look at life and enjoy even the bad days, because every day spent on this earth is precious — and should be treated as such.

Part of the thrill of riding a motorcycle is being able to cruise over the open road and take in beautiful scenery. There may be no other better way to take in your surroundings than a bike ride. On a bike there is nothing separating you and your location and some people say that is the freedom they love and feel when they are on their motorcycle. If you are looking for some info on cool motorcycle routes in North Carolina, you are in luck. Here are some great rides to take if you are looking for some new ideas.

 

 

 

1. Deal’s Gap

This route is also known by its other, perhaps more popular, name: Dragon’s Tail. If you start in North Carolina, you will be in Tennessee before your ride is over. You can catch the road in Tapoco, NC and take it all the way into Tallahassee, TN. You’ll drive near the Smoky Mountains, beautiful forests and navigate no fewer than 318 curves. The road is a challenge that is better left to someone who has experience on their bike; new riders beware.

2. Blue Ridge Parkway

This is another two-state route. The Blue Ridge Parkway will take you from North Carolina into Virginia. There are two places to start the route in North Carolina: Asheville and Cherokee. As you are riding, you will be able to take in the sights of the Smoky Mountains in the south and several historic sites to the north.

3. The Copperhead Loop

Look for the beginning of the loop near the Asheville Regional Airport on Interstate 26. Take Exit 40 towards the airport, head toward Brevard and make your way to the Pisgah Forest. You’ll only travel three roads on this loop, making it an easy one to remember. Riders on the loop will see Davidson River, Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock, just to name a few sites. There are several places to stop along the route if you are feeling like a shutter bug.

4. The Cherokee Run

Take US 19 South and then one of three choices: U.S. Highway 441 North, U.S. Highway 441 South or U.S. Highway 74 west. Any of the choices will lead you down roads that are full of scenic and beautiful roads. Keep an eye on your speed because of the road quality! This ride is a good one for someone gearing up for the Tail of the Dragon route.

5. Devil’s Whip

Find Pleasant Gardens, NC and you can start this ride which will have you climbing to 2500-ft elevation. As you ride, be sure to take in the beautiful water and lovely views of Mt. Mitchell. Riders enjoy this route because once you get past residential areas; there isn’t much else but plenty of road. If you are looking for a ride that has you feeling like it’s just you and the road, this is the one for you. Get something to drink and gas up because there is nowhere to stop past the golf course.

6. Full Day of North Carolina Twisties Loop

This ride will take you through 133 miles of some of the most challenging asphalt in the state. You will find yourself on Highways 23, 107, 64, 281 and 276 during your ride. You will ride through the Nantahala National Forest and be pleasantly surprised at how well the roads are kept. Your smooth ride will take you down Highway 276 which is full of some of the most twists available on any loop.

7. The Coastal Huggin’ NC 12

If you want to do this ride from one end to the other, you’ll have to use the Ocracoke Ferry. If you don’t want to maneuver your bike onto the ferry, you can start in the middle and head either north or south. The middle point is in Whalebone. As you ride along NC 12, you’ll be treated to the sight of the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal Waterway. You’ll see tourists enjoying what our state has to offer as well as some gorgeous sand dunes. There are a ton of tourist attractions along this route which means you can easily make a day of it.

8. Old Liberty Road

Sometimes you don’t want to ride for hundreds of miles and you don’t want to be gone for hours. If you are looking for a fun little ride, this is the one. Old Liberty Road stretches for only 17 miles, making it perfect for a jaunt in the evening after a long day at work. If you’re in the mood for farmland and pastures, take this ride. Take Old 220 north from Asheboro and turn right onto Old Liberty Road. Enjoy the ride to Liberty, NC and back.

9. Back Country Church Roads

53 miles packed with scenery is what you will find on this route. In Durham, you’ll take Erwin Road, W. Cornwallis Road and Walnut Grove Church Road. W. Cornwallis Road changes names a few times so don’t be alarmed thinking you made a wrong turn. You’ll see several churches along the way as well as forests, fields and little towns. Take the ride when the weather is clear and you’ll be treated to dozens of pleasant sights.

10. Quiet Country Ride

Here’s another route to take if you are looking for a relaxing ride through the countryside. 77 miles along Route 157 north and through the towns of Elfland and Cedar Grove and up to Roxboro. You’ll eventually loop back to your starting point in Durham. Streams, small lakes and twisting farm roads highlight this route through the sleepy countryside.

Speak to a North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today

If you are looking for a new route, any of the above are well worth a try. You might just find a new favorite. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or elsewhere in the state, call our office. When an accident is caused by someone’s negligence or error, victims have the right to compensation.

Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Haley Avery is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These $1,000 scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community.

In the summer of 2012, Hailey awoke one morning to find herself unable to get out of bed. Struck with sudden paraplegia, she was rushed into emergency surgery. Over the next 20 months, she endured 13 major surgeries to remove cysts along her spine. These surgeries left her with a variety of ongoing issues, including recurring paralysis.
Looking back on her ongoing struggles, one thing became abundantly clear: Hailey refused to be defeated, to give up or to lose. She made up her mind that she would overcome this obstacle. Hailey chose to combat her challenges with resilience and strength and her determination is to be greatly admired.

Due to her previous surgeries and continuing spinal cord abnormalities, Hailey has gained a new sense of empathy for others. She’s found that what she has gone through isn’t unique in the sense that we all have something we are suffering through. In addition, Hailey has learned that not all struggles are physical, and this has helped her as she has succeeded in her academic studies and in her professional pursuits.

Most of Hailey’s surgeries occurred during her freshman and sophomore years of high school and because of this she completed her studies online. Employers that review her academic records have asked her about this and at first it made her uncomfortable. At that point she was more private and guarded about discussing matters related to her health. Her point of view on this matter has since changed. She now believes that her struggles with her spine have given her a new perspective and have allowed her to connect with others. Hailey has become a lot more accepting of herself and is able to use her own experiences as a way to relate to and communicate with other people.

Hailey is currently a student at Arizona State University at Tempe-Barrett, The Honors College. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with certifications in International Business Studies and Data Analytics, with a minor in Russian. After she completes her undergraduate education, she plans to work for a government agency for a few years. She hopes to then either go on to get an MBA or go to Law School. She has even thought about potentially working in tax law matters as future career path.

Her advice to anyone enduring a physical or mental struggle is to never give up. “Although you’re often limited by your struggles, you can always push past them and change your world for the better,” she said. “I initially thought I’d never be able to walk again. I’d never finish high school and go onto college. Now, I’m doing things that I have never dreamt of. The world and your situation do not limit you. Your mind is the only thing that sets you back from your dreams.”

Legal office of lawyers and attorneys legal bronze model statue of Themis goddess of justiceIn a recent turn of events, two students at the Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina have filed a lawsuit against the institution. In the lawsuit, the two students, Robert C. Barchiesi and Lejla Hadzic, claim the for-profit school hid ongoing academic issues in order to continue collecting tuition money. Tuition and expenses at the school is about $60,000 a year. The lawsuit names $5 million in damages for the named plaintiffs, as well as other students affected.

The lawsuit comes after a December 31 announcement that federal student aid will be cut off by the US Department of Education for misleading prospective and current students regarding the school’s accreditation by the American Bar Association. This was the first time in US history a fully-accredited law school has lost access to student loans and other financial aid. Within the class action suit, the Charlotte School of Law is accused of engaging in misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and constructive fraud.

A History of Problems

The Charlotte School of Law has seen its fair share of issues when it comes to the American Bar Association. As far back as March of 2014, the ABA scrutinized the school over its lacking on admissions, bar exam pass rates and overall academic rigor. January of 2015 was when the school was first told it was failing to meet certain standards.They repeated their warning in February and July of 2016 as well. Those warnings came with the demand that the CSL tell their students what was happening — the school did not.

The school appealed the finding, but the ABA upheld its ruling in October. The next month, the school was put on a two-year probation and the ABA findings were made public. However, CSL maintained its accreditation. Finally, in December, the US Department of Education stated that they would be pulling all federal aid from the school. Of the about 700 students at the school, it is unclear how many receive federal aid, but the school received nearly $50 million in federal aid in 2015.

However, the CSL’s problems go back even further, to the founding of the school in 2006. Before the school opened, Charlotte was the largest city in the United States without a law school. When the first 53 students graduated in 2009, only 67 percent of them passed. That was the lowest rate among the seven law schools in the country. For comparison, Elon University opened its law school in 2006 as well. Of the 98 first graduates from there, 83 percent passed the bar. In 2016, the CSL pass rate for the bar hit a low of 35 percent.

Laying Blame

In an effort to correct the ship (or perhaps to appease critics), CSL has asked Camille Davidson, the school’s academic dean in charge of curriculum, to step down. The request came specifically from Jay Conison, the head dean at CSL. Davidson is a Georgetown Law graduate and, according to a former colleague, regularly shielded the faculty and students from InfiLaw, which operates CSL as well as law schools in Arizona and Florida. In fact, lawsuit plaintiff Barchiesi described Davidson as “tough but fair,” and an “excellent professor.”

However, Conison has had trouble with the ABA before. In November of 2016, the Valparaiso University Law School in Indiana was reprimanded by the accreditation board for failing to meet admission standards by accepting students who would not do well in law school. The current dean at Valparaiso said the censure covered the years between 2007 to 2013 — when Conison was the dean there. Now, CSL faculty seem to be withdrawing their support for the dean. In a recent open letter, they blamed the institutions problems on “key but unnamed decision-makers.”

The Future of the Charlotte School of Law

Charlotte_School_of_Law

On January 10, the Department of Education confirmed it had met with CSL officials to discuss a government program usually reserved for schools that are on the brink of shutting down. This program, called a “teach-out,” is defined as “a written course of action a school that is closing will take to ensure its students are treated fairly with regard to finishing their programs of study. Some plans include written agreements between the closed school and other schools that are still open for teaching.”

However, a recent announcement from the school states that it will reopen for the spring semester. To do so, at least 500 students needed to commit to taking classes in the spring. But, the school has also announced it would not be accepting new students for this semester. Though it is unclear what the future of the school looks like, it does appear students who are one semester away from graduating will be able to leave the school with an accredited law degree.

Regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit, students who attended the CSL may be eligible to have their federal loans forgiven under borrower defense. This is reserved for students whose schools committed fraud, misled them or otherwise broke certain laws.

There is no court date set as of yet for the class action lawsuit. You can find the full text of the lawsuit here.

skyline-of-downtown-charlotte-in-north-carolinaSo, you just got married or maybe had a baby, and you have the chance to move anywhere in the country. Where do you go? You want somewhere that has a great nightlife for those times you need to get out of the house, but you also need a great school system and other family-friendly amenities. Small-town living seems pretty mundane, but the big cities are just too much to handle, especially with small children. Finding the right balance can seem pretty close to impossible.

However, there is at least one city in America that can fit the needs of young families: Charlotte. The up-and-coming metropolis in North Carolina is rapidly growing, and young people are leading the charge. Large and small businesses alike are finding roots in Charlotte, making it that much easier to find a fulfilling career. In addition, the city is just a short drive from the wilderness of the Carolinas, if you ever need to just get away. We’ve compiled a list of just a few reasons Charlotte is one of the best cities for young families, with a little help from Eli Pacheco:

1. Education Opportunities

serious-schoolboy-in-schoolFor young couples with children, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is the city’s district. It operates 136 elementary, middle, and high schools in Charlotte and surrounding communities. CMS also operates alternative education programs and magnet schools. The district consistently ranks as one of the best in North Carolina. Charlotte is home to other education alternatives, too. The city has 72 private schools, with an average high school tuition of $12,909. Finally, there are also quite a few charter schools in Charlotte, which can run from kindergarten through 12th grade.

If you are looking to further your own education, Charlotte and the surrounding area is home to a few different colleges and universities. University of North Carolina Charlotte is part of the UNC system. In addition to Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte is home to Queens University, Johnson C. Smith University and Johnson & Wales University. Schools in the surrounding communities include Belmont Abbey College, Davidson College, Wingate University and Winthrop University, just a half hour away in South Carolina.

2. The Job Market

uptown-charlotte-aerial-photoCharlotte’s known for a having one of the strongest banking presences in the Southeast. However, the job market is incredibly diverse. The surrounding communities — including Concord, Fort Mill, Gastonia, Kannapolis, Monroe, Mooresville, Rock Hill and other towns — offer all sorts of jobs, from tech to textiles. If you are looking for a stable corporate job, these companies call Charlotte and surrounding area home:

  •    Bank of America
  •    Belk
  •    Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated
  •    Dale Earnhardt Inc.
  •    Duke Energy
  •    ESPNU
  •    Family Dollar
  •    The Inspiration Networks
  •    LendingTree
  •    Meineke Car Care Center
  •    NationsBank
  •    Petro Express
  •    Rack Room Shoes
  •    Red Ventures
  •    Richard Petty Motorsports
  •    SEC Network

In addition, with so many young people living in the city, there are ample opportunities for dreamers to finally start that small business they’ve always dreamed of. In fact, Charlotte has a network for small business owners to get everything they need for their start-up, from financing to tips for getting permits to location advice. Additionally, the city is home to well-known incubators such as City Startup Labs, QC Fintech, and RevTech Labs poised to support the entrepreneurial spirit. Charlotte is also host to an annual Startup Grind event that draws national interest.

 3. City Safety

charlotte-suburbJust like in any city, different parts of Charlotte can have different reputations. Communities farther from the center city tend to have lower crime rates than those in Uptown. The Highland Creek and Providence Crossing neighborhoods are among the city’s safest, as well as the Weddington area. For families with children, suburbs tend to be preferred over the city. To the north, Davidson offers lake living and a small-college-town feel. Just south of the state line, Fort Mill has both quaint neighborhoods and safe new developments with single-family housing. Businessweek named Fort Mill “One of the Best Places to Raise Kids” in 2013.

Charlotte highways, like in other places, tend to stay busy. Interstates 77 and 85 cross near the center of town. Interstate 485 loops around the city to give travelers easy access to the center of the city and its surrounding communities. While driving can become hectic during rush hour and travel weekends, compared to cities like Atlanta and Washington, D.C., Charlotte’s pace is decidedly relaxed. If you have kids who are will be driving soon, Charlotte is perhaps one of the best cities to teach them the skills they need.

 4. Fun and Games

bank-of-america-stadiumCharlotte has a thriving nightlife for those times you simply need a night out without the kids. Thanks to the eclectic community that calls this city home, you can find anything from “hipster” haunts like Amos’ Southend concert venue to raucous bars like Howl at the Moon. Of course, there are plenty of traditional bars and even a few jazz clubs as well, in addition to restaurants serving just about every kind of cuisine under the sun. No matter what kind of night and entertainment you are in the mood for, you can find it in Charlotte.

There are also great opportunities for family fun as well. For art aficionados, the world-renowned Mint Museum is a must-see. Discovery Place is also a great option for learning about science and technology. Football fans will be pleased to know that Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers, is in north Charlotte. Charlotte Motor Speedway, home of NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 and an annual Christmas light show, is also nearby. For a fun-packed day with the family, don’t miss an opportunity to visit Carowinds amusement park!

5. Vibrant Community

male-home-tutor-helping-teenage-boy-with-studiesThough there are more than 2 million people living in the Charlotte, it has the same tight-knit community feel you may find in a town a fourth of the size. There are numerous opportunities to get involved in clubs and organizations, such as Kiwanis and Rotary, that strive to make the city — and the world — a better place. In addition, there are many social clubs in Charlotte. If you are someone who struggles to make friends in a new city, joining one of these clubs may be a great, easy way to meet new people with similar interests of you.

Volunteer opportunities not associated with service clubs are also prevalent in Charlotte. For example,with more than 20 hospitals in the area, the city healthcare system is always looking for helping hands. In addition, the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity holds many events throughout the year. For more localized opportunities, Hands On Charlotte can connect you with animal shelters, mentorship and tutoring programs and other one-time or long-term volunteering projects. If you and your family are looking for a fun, enlightening and even challenging way to spend a weekend, volunteerism is a great way to go.

If you are looking for a good place to raise your family, Charlotte is hard to beat. From the school system to the job market to weekend fun, there’s no place like this city. Of course, Charlotteans all have their own reasons why they love their city so much — be sure to ask about their favorite spots when you make your move to North Carolina!

hayden-lovelace-photoAuger and Auger are proud to announce that Hayden Lovelace has won the Disabled Scholar Award, worth $1,000. When she was just 14, Hayden was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a juvenile form of macular degeneration. This condition is untreatable and caused her to slowly lose her central vision. When Hayden received this diagnosis, it was shocking. She and her mother thought their visit to the optometrist that day would be routine. But when the doctor told her she would never drive and would face other obstacles for the rest of her life, Hayden was ready to throw in the towel. However, instead of letting Stargardt’s keep her down, Hayden rose up to reach accomplishments most thought impossible.

Just two years after her diagnosis, Hayden obtained her driver’s license. In fact, she is able to do most things others can, if not with a little assistance. In school, she relies on her friends and peers to help her find the classrooms, at least until she has her schedule memorized. When she uses her computer, she has to greatly enlarge the text, and her textbooks are all in large print. Since she cannot read anything on a board at the front of the classroom, she needs handouts of everything. Yet, even with these struggles, Hayden has excelled in academia.

Hayden graduated from high school in Tennessee with a 3.8 GPA. This fall, she will start her first semester at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. She has been accepted into the university’s early-entry pharmacy program, and will eventually earn her Doctorate in Pharmacy from Ole Miss. It’s a competitive seven-year journey, made more difficult by Hayden’s vision problems. But Hayden knows she can achieve her goals, if not with a little help. She has always had an interest in the medical field, and pharmacology is an area in which tools can be adapted so she can excel.

Every year, Hayden helps to raise money for the Foundation Fighting Blindness by participating in the Memphis VisionWalk. She first became involved when her mother was researching potential treatment options and found a retinal research specialist in Memphis. Hayden began visiting that doctor, who has been conducting extensive tests to keep up with the progression of her disease. He is also the president of the the Memphis Foundation Fighting Blindness chapter, and explained the VisionWalk to Hayden and her family. This year, they have already exceeded their goal of $2,000 raised.

Though Hayden has overcome many of her struggles by her own strength, she says she wouldn’t be where she is without her parents. They have provided her with all the tools she has needed to succeed, including glasses, magnifiers, a large television and phone and zooming software for her computer. No matter what she needed, her parents were there to help and provide. What’s more, her mother is on the board for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, and has always been proactive in keeping up with doctor’s visits, researching and organizing the VisionWalk team.

“She has taught me that I will be miserable if I sit back and wait for a cure. I have to make the best of my situation, and I would not have done that if it weren’t for my mom,” Hayden says.

Along those lines, Hayden encourages those who struggle with vision impairments to be self-sufficient. There are always alternative methods to accomplishing one’s goals, even without site. In addition, being proactive is crucial. One way in which Hayden pushes forward is with her involvement with the Foundation Fighting Blindness. Each person who makes a team at the VisionWalk is getting researchers a step closer to a cure for macular degeneration, something she hopes to experience in the near future.

Above all, Hayden encourages those who are facing difficulties similar to hers to push forward. As she has learned in the four years since her diagnosis, nothing is accomplished by simply standing still.

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.