Though 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Busiest Holidays for Road Travel in the United States
Holidays make most of us want to travel, whether it’s to see family or just explore somewhere new. This inclination makes the roads busier and consequently raises our risk of a getting in a serious car accident. Holidays also correspond with a rise of alcohol consumption, and not everyone makes the right decisions to avoid driving while impaired.
These two factors combined can mean that your favorite holidays are dampened by the risks others create on the roads. While we don’t want that to sour your excitement for holiday road travel, but we do want everyone to be aware of the risks so that they can be more careful while traveling.
Our North Carolina car accident lawyers also want you to know that you have the right to representation if you have been in a car accident. A car accident attorney can help you negotiate settlements with insurers and if necessary, represent you in court against negligent drivers and the big insurance companies.
Be safe out there, and be aware of the following 7 most dangerous holidays to travel so that you can exercise caution appropriately.
Christmas has the lowest travel risks of all the major holidays both according to fatal accident rates and drunk driving rates. The period around Christmas has an average of 231 fatal accidents throughout the U.S., although this number can grow or shrink depending on whether the holiday falls near a weekend. In 2014, for instance, a four-day weekend led to a higher-than average 355 fatalities.
However, alcohol tends to play a significant role in car accidents around Christmas, with over a third of all accidents in recent years involving inebriated drivers.
Thanksgiving means a heavy travel schedule for millions of families, and it also corresponds with a rise in drunk driving accidents. The holiday falls on a four-day weekend, raising the relative risks. On average, there are 258 fatal accidents around Thanksgiving, and 35% to 40% of accidents involve alcohol impairment.
Shockingly, New Year’s Eve is far from the worst holiday for car accidents and drunk drivers. The holiday tends to be particularly safe when it falls on a weekend, which is the complete opposite trend compared to the most dangerous holidays to travel by car. Perhaps partygoers tend to make more responsible plans when they don’t have to worry about going to work the following day?
Whatever the reason, New Year’s averages 245 fatal accidents annually, which is lower than an average weekend on the calendar. Even still, 36% to over 50% of these accidents involve alcohol as a factor, which means drivers should be cautious, especially in the wee hours of the morning after the New Year has begun.
Easter offers another curve ball for this list: it has the fourth-highest fatal accident rate and the third-highest average for drunk driving accidents. The combination of warm spring weather and a weekend holiday may be behind this trend, which sees an average of 280 fatal accidents and 37% of accidents involving alcohol.
Independence Day falls right in the middle of the summer, and it’s also a holiday that strongly encourages people to go all out when enjoying themselves. As a result, America’s Birthday also tends to be an extremely dangerous day on the road. On average, there are 307 fatal accidents and high drunk driving accident rates that usually exceed 40%.
The risks of driving on 4th of July grow bigger when the holiday falls on a weekend. For example, in 2014 there were 461 accident-related deaths on July 4th when the holiday created a four-day weekend.
Both of the most-dangerous holidays to travel create three-day weekends and happen during warm weather. Labor Day is the second-worst of these, with an average fatal accident rate of 308.
Last Labor Day was one of the most dangerous on record, with 394 deaths reported as a result of car and truck accidents. Around 40% of people also tend to have excess alcohol in their system when they get in an accident on Labor Day weekend.
Memorial Day is consistently the most dangerous holiday to drive out of the year. The holiday represents the first vacation opportunity of the summer for many, and millions of people are anxious to take trips and enjoy themselves. Congested roads and a higher likelihood of drunk driving combine to make the holiday weekend risky and outright deadly year after year.
On average, there are 312 deaths over Memorial Day weekend, and over 40% of all accidents involve alcohol. In 2015 (the most recent year for which FARS data is available), there were 367 deaths total across the three-day weekend period.
You unfortunately can’t control anyone else on the road, but you can control yourself.
Start by only driving when you are alert, aware, and fully awake. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drink in your system. Avoid driving if you feel ill or are on any medications that warn you about operating machinery. Definitely do not drive if you have consumed alcohol that has impaired your abilities or put you over the legal limit.
Know your route so that you don’t have to divert your focus to navigation and so you also aren’t caught by surprise by sudden turns.
Obey all speed limit laws. Give other cars a wide berth, especially on highways. Anticipate when others may stop suddenly or come into your lane unexpectedly. Predicting that other drivers might make careless decisions or mistakes is the root of defensive driving techniques.
Finally, know your rights if you are in a car accident. Don’t speak to an insurance company without first speaking to a lawyer. You don’t have to accept an insurer’s first offer or negotiate your accident settlement alone. You do have the option to pursue a personal injury claim and potential lawsuit in order to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your damages after a car accident.
Know that you can trust in North Carolina car accident lawyers to be by your side after a serious car accident. If you have been in a car accident on a holiday or any other day of the year, you can reach out to our knowledgeable team for a free case evaluation.
Enjoy your holidays, drive safe, and know your rights!
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.
Electric scooters have been in the news recently. No, they aren’t the hottest toy this holiday season, although Razor scooters are still popular among kids. These scooters are making the news because they are popping up on city streets across the United States.
From Santa Monica, California to Charlotte, North Carolina, these machines have been showing up on streets seemingly without notice. Go to bed in your urban apartment with an empty sidewalk in front of your window and you may wake up to a street lined with dozens of scooters.
Where are they coming from? It’s hard to tell which company put the first scooters out for the masses, but companies like Bird, Lime, Skip and Spin have all put their tiny vehicles on the street.
Download an app from one of the companies and you can pay for and ride a scooter for as long as you like. When you are done with your ride, simply park the scooter on the sidewalk, end your rental in the app, and walk away.
It sounds great, so what’s the problem? Injuries and liability are the issue, along with crowded city sidewalks that no one planned for. This is mainly because the scooter companies never asked for permission or waited until the use of the scooters were regulated before placing them in the excited hands of the public.
For now, the dangers are real and the companies behind the scooters are free from liability.
According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, several people in California have been seriously injured as a result of an accident involving an electric scooter. Here are just a few of the accidents detailed.
So what’s the issue with liability? In essence, when a person rents a scooter from one of the companies, they are agreeing that the company cannot be held liable for any accidents they are involved in. Unless the scooter itself malfunctions and leads to an accident, the companies who rent them out cannot be held responsible for any financial damage that arises from an accident.
If a person is involved in an accident on an electric scooter they have rented, they may be able to sue the at-fault party, assuming that there is indeed someone else at fault. When the person falls off the scooter or makes an evasive maneuver that results in an accident, they may have no recourse at all.
As a Charlotte personal injury attorney, we believe it is in anyone’s best interest who decides to ride one of these electric scooters down the block or for several miles to heed a few safety tips.
Keep your eyes open and stay aware of your surroundings. Accidents happen in the blink of an eye, but some can be avoided.
Watch for uneven pavement, sewer grates that can catch small wheels, and pedestrians who aren’t paying attention to you. If you know what’s coming at you, you have time to react accordingly.
Don’t hop on an electric scooter for the first time and think you are invincible. Scooters take practice and going too fast can put you in harm’s way.
Don’t hit top speeds until you’ve gotten a feel for the scooter and how it reacts.
You know that your vehicle’s tires can slip when the pavement is wet, but so can a scooter’s. In fact, the small wheels on a scooter may slip and slide across wet pavement more readily than a vehicle’s tires.
Avoid riding in the rain or on wet pavement.
Our Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyers are Here for You
If you are involved in a scooter accident in Charlotte, you are not without recourse. You may not be able to sue the rental company, but you may be able to seek compensation from the person responsible for your accident if it wasn’t you.
Reach out to the team at Auger and Auger for a free case evaluation. As a team of Charlotte personal injury attorneys, we know what it takes to make things right. Don’t assume that you have to absorb the financial damage caused by your accident without first speaking to our experienced attorneys.
If someone else was responsible for your accident, we believe they should be held accountable, and we will fight to make that happen.
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.”
Whether from actions by the government or by natural market trends, a large portion of the nation is finally seeing a turnaround in the economy. Unemployment has be trending downwards, and more people have found a fulfilling job that pays the bills for themselves and their family. But this has had an unintended consequence that is actually costing the the local and national government big bucks: more car accidents.
According to the National Safety Council, the first half of 2015 (the most recent data year) saw a national increase of 14 percent in fatal traffic accidents. Some experts say this was caused by a variety of factors. First of all, gas prices have been plummeting over the past year, allowing more people to travel. In addition, there was more severe weather last year than we’ve had in some time. Finally, and most importantly, a recovering economy means more drivers going to work every day, naturally leading to more accidents.
Effects on the Local Scale
While national statistics are still being gathered and therefore unavailable, there are some states who have put out some convincing numbers. For instance, North Carolina’s unemployment rate has been consistently falling since reaching nearly 12 percent in 2010. Last year, unemployment rates were at just under 6 percent. In combination with the falling gas prices we began seeing in the beginning of 2015, more and more drivers were on the road.
This led to an increase in the number of fatal traffic accidents. While no official statistics have been released for 2015 as of yet for the state, it was reported that fatal accidents were up by 19 percent in the first half of the year. If that trend continued the rest of the year (which is likely, with more traveling during the holiday season at the end of the year), that would result in about 1,400 traffic fatalities in North Carolina. That is the highest number of fatalities since 2008, as you can see in this graph:
According to Allstate Chief Executive Tom Wilson, it’s simple math: “More miles driven, more cars on the road, more accidents.”
Creating the Perfect Storm
When other factors are considered, it seemed rather obvious that fatal accidents would increase across the nation. For one, the population of the United States has continually crept up since 2010, naturally leading to more drivers on the road. In addition, gas prices were the lowest they were since 2010. This led to drivers collectively traveling 1.54 trillion miles in the first half of the year — a 3.5 percent increase from 2014 and a historic record.
Seeing these trends, insurance companies prepared themselves for increased claims. But that wasn’t always enough, as Geico recorded a much lower profit in 2015 Q2. Insurance companies may have dodged many potential claims, however, when the cause of the accidents was revealed.
Symptoms of an Epidemic
While increased cars may naturally increase the number of accidents, there is an underlying factor causing the majority of these crashes. According to Warren Buffett, as more and more drivers use their cellphones on the road, the rate of accidents will continue rising. Distracted driving is one of deadliest problems on the American roads today, and can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.
But cellphones aren’t the only problem. Eating, picking something up off the floor and even driving drowsy can all be considered distractions. In all, at least eight people are killed and more than 1,100 hundred are injured every day in accidents involving distracted driving. The statistics make sense when you consider the fact that over a quarter of all car accidents involve cellphone use in one way or another.
So What Can Be Done?
For many Americans, driving may seem like the only way to get to work every day. While that may be true for some, there are many alternatives. Of course, living close to work could mean walking or biking there. For farther distances, consider public transit. While it may take longer to get to where you’re going, it all but eliminates your risk of being in a dangerous accident. Or, you could carpool to work with family or friends. However you do it, try to avoid driving by yourself if you can. The fewer cars that are on the road, the less likely an accident will happen.
If you do have to drive, do so safely. Leave yourself some extra time in the morning to get to work so you don’t have to speed. Keep your phone out of sight, and don’t fiddle with the radio. Remember all those lessons of defensive driving you learned in driver’s ed? With a record number of cars on the road, now would be an ideal time to remember and practice them. The safer you drive, the less likely it is you’ll be in an accident, at least one that’s your fault.
When it comes to having fun on the gridiron, no one tops the Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. You rarely see him without a smile on his face, and, of course, who can forget the dab? He brings a certain level of entertainment and enjoyment to the game, and there’s a reason for that: In December of 2014, Cam Newton was in a car accident that nearly claimed his life. New he uses that incident to fuel his spirit on the field, and his teammates have taken notice.
Cam Newton was recently awarded the Ed Block Courage Award, after being nominated by his teammates for the award. This is likely not the only award Newton will be given this year. Here’s why he deserves the Ed Block Courage Award this year.
Struggling Before the Accident
Cam Newton’s career so far with the Carolina Panthers has been riddled with injury. He went into the 2014 season coming off of a major ankle surgery. Yet, he still put of massive passing and rushing numbers. Any given week, he may be suffering from bruised ribs, muscles and any other number of minor injuries. But as one of the biggest quarterbacks in the league, he always has a huge target on his back. This doesn’t stop him from carrying his team by throwing crucial touchdown passes and running down the field on his own.
These injuries and constant hits from his opponents’ defenses didn’t bring him down. In 2014 alone, he threw for 3,127 yards and 18 touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 539 yards and five touchdowns. To make it even more impressive, he missed two games at the beginning of the season. But his toughest struggles were still to come.
A Fateful Day in December
On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, Cam Newton was on his day off. Of course, being the dedicated player he is, Newton made his way down to the Carolina Panthers’ stadium to watch game film. On his way, a car pulled out in front of his truck and clipped him. Newton’s truck skidded over and flipped, coming to a stop on the Interstate 277 overpass. If he had skidded a few more feet, his truck would have fallen off of the overpass.
After the accident, Newton managed to pull himself from the wreckage and limp to the side of the highway. When the medical staff arrived, they rushed him to the hospital for examination. Somehow, Newton made it out of the wreckage without a bruise or cut. His injuries consisted of two transverse fractures in his back. After an overnight stay, he was in the Panthers locker room the next day — not suited to play, of course.
Even though the wreck could have been much worse, Newton realized what life was really about. He says one of the things he remembers most after the accident was standing on the side of the highway with a big smile on his face. He only missed one week due to his injuries. If you asked his teammates, they would say it was a completely different Cam Newton on the field when he returned. This was when he learned to smile through his adversity. At the beginning of his career, a loss would put him in a terrible mood that resonated throughout the rest of the team. Now, he smiles through the disappointment and enjoys his life, no matter what is going on around him.
In Cam’s eyes, he doesn’t care what his critics think. He knows pundits, both professional and otherwise, think he acts like a child on the field. His dancing, his constant talking and, of course, that huge Cheshire grin are a part of who he is now. Has that positivity lead to the Panthers’ new-found success? Whether or not it has, it has created a new atmosphere for the team.
A Good Reason for Joy
Now, Cam is seen as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Besides the Ed Block Courage Award, he is on track to be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this season. In the 2015 regular season, he passed for 3,837 yards and 35 touchdowns. In addition, he ran for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns. While these are not the best quarterback stats in the league, his fight through adversity has given him unquantifiable qualities that have propelled him to the top.
Now, after Cam and the rest of the Panthers thrashed the Arizona Cardinals, they are on their way to face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. Newton showed his dedication to playing the game well and having fun while doing it, giving ball after ball to fans in the stands. This playoff win at home propels the Panthers to their first Super Bowl in 13 years. With the dynamic the team presents, this year could easily be the franchise’s first championship win.
Love him or hate him, Cam Newton has taught us one thing: Car accidents define our lives. We can let them ruin us, or we can take the experience and let them shape us into an even better version of ourselves. The most important thing to remember: No one can make that decision except you.
Authorities report that a teenager was killed when his car was struck by another vehicle. The teen from Raleigh, Eddie Urieta-Yariez, 19, had pulled over to the side of the road on westbound I-40.
According to reports, Urieta-Yanez was driving a 1996 Toyota car and had parked on the roadside. At approximately 3:42 a.m., a commercial box truck was merging onto I-40 west when it failed to slow down. The truck slammed into the smaller car, virtually running it over. The truck came to a stop about 150 yards west of the location of the crash.
It is unclear why Urieta-Yanez had stopped his car at the end of the on-ramp, and whether or not he had his hazard lights activated has not been reported. What is known is that the car’s driver was killed at the scene and the truck’s driver has not yet been charged in the incident. It is unknown whether or not he will be.
As we leave the holiday season behind, it is important to remember that we cannot reduce our attention to the roadways. If you are on any highway, drive safely and with your full attention to the road ahead of you. This is especially important when you are traveling in unfamiliar areas.
If you are hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our team of personal injury attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and tell you if we believe that you should move forward. Call now.
A fire west of Apex caused smoke that was seen for miles and caused what amounted to a black out in western Wake County last week. The smoke that everyone saw was caused by a mulch pile that had been on fire for several days.
People in the area had a difficult time driving along Jenks and Wimberly roads, thanks to the dense fog-like smoke that swathed the area.
According to reports, SunCon-Suncoast Contracting was clearing land for a planned development on Green Level Church Road. There were trees being ground up and thrown into a burn pile. The pile smoldered and created the smoke that was seen around the area. The owner of the company, Todd Hamilton, said that fog, still air and low-lying land made it the “perfect storm” for the dense smoke to take form.
There is no plan to charge the company with any type of crime even though Karl Huegerich, Apex Fire Marshal, said that it is against town code to burn materials openly on a construction site. Huegerich was under the impression that the materials would be hauled away, but that the company decided to burn the waste instead. Because the materials were burned just outside Apex town limits, no laws were violated.
Rush hour was a bit complicated and state troopers were forced to respond to several crashes that were caused by low visibility. At least six crashes were reported but no one was injured. Collisions ranged from those involving single cars to those involving several vehicles.
HOA, normally built and classified as non-profit organizations, have never been considered exempt from obtaining workers’ compensation insurance in North Carolina. Even unpaid volunteers were expected to be covered along with officers and directors.
About a year ago, some attorneys expressed their concern with the fact that many of these people failed to obtain coverage for themselves. Many insurance brokers and even the state insurance information were confused as to why these attorneys felt that HOA volunteers would be setting themselves up for litigation, despite being non-paid workers.
As a result of the confusion and ensuing discussions, the North Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 765. This bill revised the definition of “employee” in the Workers’ Compensation Act. Briefly, anyone who performs voluntary service for a nonprofit and receives nothing more than reasonable reimbursement is excluded from the definition of employee.
If the nonprofit chooses to utilize someone’s services and gives them compensation for those services, then that person must be considered an employee. This does not mean, however, that people who run nonprofits or hire volunteers are prohibited from carrying workers’ compensation insurance, they are simply not required to do so by law.
If you have been injured at work and need an attorney, reach out to our team of attorneys. We are here for you and are ready to review the details of your case at no charge. Call our team of experienced legal professionals today or browse our website for more information about how our firm can assist you.