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After a car accident, medical bills can be quite expensive, even if you have health insurance. On top of that difficulty, severe injuries may cause you to miss multiple days — or even weeks — of work. In this scenario, you’re not only gathering a large amount of medical debt, but you’re also missing out on the income you would normally use for day-to-day expenses.

If your injuries were caused in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be able to claim the income you’ve lost in addition to medical bills, property damage, and other losses.

However, any insurers have strict policies on who is eligible to claim lost wages based on specific scenarios, making the process difficult for car accident victims. Victims must provide airtight documentation of their exact injuries, missed work hours, and the income they could have expected, and some policies may only reimburse a percentage of the lost income.

An Asheville car accident lawyer can make this process much easier and less stressful for you. Your attorney can provide tailored advice and assemble the strongest available evidence to back up your lost wages claim. During this process, your injury lawyer will consider a lot of important information to determine the right legal strategy for recovering lost wages after your car accident.

Calculating Lost Wages and Income

To calculate lost income, an injury victim needs two figures: the amount of income they have earned since they have been injured, and a projected amount of income they could have earned had they gone to work every day as expected. A lost wage claim, if successful, can then pay the difference (or the nearest difference according to the insurance policy’s rules).

Claiming lost income, therefore, is easiest for those who work steady hours and earn a steady paycheck. If your salary contract or work schedule can demonstrate that you reliably would have worked X amount of hours to earn Y amount of income had you not been hurt, then calculating lost wages can be accomplished rather easily. Even if an insurer or jury does not honor the full amount requested, the victim at least has documented a pattern of earnings that was demonstrably interrupted by their injuries.

However, not everyone works the same hours or earns the same income every month. They may be scheduled erratically. They may depend on tips or commissions. They may be self-employed or an independent contractor, earning what they can when work is available.

In these situations, injured plaintiffs must come up with a near approximation of what they would have earned. If the individual has been working the same job earning about the same income for several years, then tax returns can allow them to determine what their average income might have been. If their earning has been inconsistent, or if they recently underwent a major change that affected their income, then it can be difficult to prove to the court what you should have earned given all of the variables.

Because the calculation for lost wages can get so complex, Asheville, North Carolina car accident attorneys typically caution injury victims not to expect a certain amount, especially if they have not earned consistent income in the past few years. In very serious cases lawyers may secure the testimony of an economist to build a strong case and come up with an accurate estimate for lost wages. An economist can use their expert knowledge of the current labor market and income levels to form an accurate estimate for what the seriously injured plaintiff would have earned had they not been hurt.

Lost Wages Help with a Carolina Car Accident Lawyer

Make no mistake: missing work after a car accident injury leads to an economic loss. Injury victims have the right to pursue compensation for these losses from all at-fault parties. Proving the total amount of losses can be difficult, especially in cases where the victim did not earn consistent income, but asking the right questions of doctors, economists, and accounting experts can help you build a strong case.

Find out how much your possible lost wages claim could be during a free consultation with one of our experienced Asheville car accident lawyers. Schedule your free, no-obligation consultation now when you call (855) 559-5741 or contact us online.  Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We are happy to see if we can help you!

 

Bayer was ordered to pay a California couple more than 2 billion dollars in damages on 5/13/19 after a jury ruled in favor of the couple’s claim that their 30-year use of Bayer’s Roundup weed killer caused their cancer. This 2-billion-dollar award is the largest jury result of 2019 as of the date of the verdict. It is also noted that the result is the eighth-largest ever in a claim related to defective products litigation. This latest trial is the third in a row that Bayer has lost – all trials relating to claims that the weed killer Roundup causes cancer.

The media reports that jurors agreed that the plaintiff’s exposure to Roundup for residential landscaping was a “substantial factor” in their non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Bayer claims that the jury’s finding is in direct conflict with the US EPA’s recent review decision and the consensus among worldwide health regulators that glyphosate-based products can be used safely and that glyphosate is not a cause of cancer / carcinogenic.  Bayer plans to appeal all of the adverse verdicts, including the most recent trial loss. While it is unclear whether there are legal merits to have this most verdict overturned, it is important to note that the bulk of the awarded damages was in punitive damages and in many cases appellate courts have ruled that punitive (damages for the purpose of punishing a defendant) should not be more than 10 times the amount of the awarded compensatory damages.

With this latest trial win for victims claiming injury because of their regular use of the weed killer Roundup, one could assume that the news will result in the additional filings of claims / lawsuits by others making similar claims. Roundup is one of the world’s most popular herbicides – so popular that genetically modified crop seeds “Roundup Ready” are sold to farmers by the maker of Roundup because the seeds are resistant to Roundup.  The use of Roundup Ready crops has increased the usage of herbicides measured in pounds applied per acre 6 times as much as initially measured in 1996.

It is important to note that the main issues litigated in the cases is not the issue of whether or not the product actually causes cancer, but more related to negligence of the company pertaining to allegedly attempting to discredit an international scientific research project that resulted in a finding that Roundup probably causes cancer. Juries have ruled against the company after hearing allegations that the company manipulated its own research, colluded with regulators and intimidated scientists to keep secret the cancer risks from glyphosate.

Our dangerous and defective products attorneys are currently investigating claims related to potential Roundup injuries. If you or a loved one developed a form of lymphoma after regular use of the herbicide Roundup, please call our office for a free case evaluation.  If you were hurt because a company was negligent in the way it manufactured or marketed its product, you have rights and you may be entitled to compensation  Call us today at 855-971-0559 or visit www.augerlaw.com for more information.

As we have previously written, Charlotte like many other cities has been overtaken by electric scooters.  It is unlikely that you will spend very much time in uptown Charlotte without seeing someone riding electric scooters that they can rent through an app on their phone. This issue of scooters in the city has been a hot button issue in the Queen City, as it has been in other cities as well.  While most of the focus on these scooters has been positive, some other municipalities (Columbia, South Carolina) have out and out banned them.  Other cities have also legislated the issue of scooters which has caused new rules on how many scooters can be in a city, where they can be ridden and issues related to keeping riders, drivers and pedestrians safe.

While Charlotte has embraced scooters and also addressed some issues through city government, the latest news on the issue of electronic scooters has to do with the city’s plan to Charge the scooter companies a premium for allowing the scooters in the city. Until now Charlotte was one of the few cities that has not been charging the scooter companies for access to the Charlotte market. Because of the issues that come with these scooters – those relating to the scooters effect on the Charlotte infrastructure, it was only a matter of time before Charlotte put together a plan to charge these scooter companies.  While this may not sound like anything that should alarm folks that use them, it should be noted that some are concerned with the possibility that these costs will be passed down to riders, increasing the cost of a ride.

Local news has recently reported that Charlotte is preparing to charge the companies a “dynamic pricing” structure which equates to various monthly fees that depend on how riders use their scooters.  For example, the companies could be charged more when riders park scooters inappropriately, don’t wear helmets or park scooters in low-usage areas. In turn, the cities hope that the companies will encourage their riders to ride with helmets, not block sidewalks or park near mass transit and high-use areas.  This “good behavior” would save the companies money as opposed to having to pay more for rider bad behavior. At the time of this post, no exact details on the pricing plan have been released.

Most other scooter friendly cities in NC charge the scooter companies a type of annual fee, though they are not uniform. For example, Greensboro charges $50 per scooter and Durham charges $100. In Raleigh the city is charged a $300 annual per-scooter fee which has caused them to charge riders a $2 per trip surcharge.  It remains to be seen how Charlotte will be affected once this planned pricing structure has been implemented.  Any of these programs that result in the cities becoming safer is a good thing. Unfortunately, there is no news on plans to enforce any liability insurance requirements for riders. With our office receiving regular calls on injuries related to electronic scooters, it is important to note that it can be very difficult to recover against a negligent scooter rider or any other negligent person if there is no insurance coverage. Maybe that issue will someday be resolved.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Charlotte, or elsewhere in the Carolinas, give us a call. Our team of experienced lawyers want to see if they can help.  We are happy to speak to you about the facts of your case to find out if we are able to help. Anyone that calls will receive a free case evaluation to find out more about their options for moving forward after their accident. Call us at 855-969-5671 to speak to someone today!

 

St Patricks Day dog – french bulldog

It is hard to believe that it’s already St. Patrick’s Day!  Whether you are Irish or not, we wish everyone a safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day.  This year March 17th falls on a Sunday which means that anyone out on St. Patty’s night may reconsider because they have to work on Monday. That being said, anyone out and about on St. Patrick’s Day should still expect a significant amount of people out to celebrate the greenest day of the year.  While we wish everyone a safe and happy time, we want to make a reminder that there is never a good day to drink and drive!

Please consider the following if you are going to be celebrating with alcohol on March 17th or any other day of the year:

There is no excuse for drunk driving.  There are multiple ways that anyone drinking outside of their home can catch a ride home without having to put their own or someone else’s life at risk.  Take a cab, a bus, a train, an Uber, a Lyft or even walk if you can do so safely.  Call a friend, call your mom, call anyone but do not get behind the wheel if you have been drinking!

Paying for a ride home is cheaper than paying for a DUI. Besides the many obvious reasons that you should never drink and drive, remember that a DUI and related traffic offenses and car accidents can be expensive!  Not only do you have to consider legal fees and fines and citations, but consider that a DUI or DUI car accident can result in a lot of bad scenarios that affect your wallet.  If you have a DUI on your record, you could lose your job and future opportunities for employment. Having a DUI  on your record if you work in certain fields or aspire to have a certain profession can completely end someone’s lifelong goal of obtaining and keeping a certain job.  If that isn’t bad enough how about the fact that having a DUI on your record is certainly going to make an impact on the amount of money that you pay for car insurance, assuming that you ever get your license back.

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is stupid. There isn’t much to add to this one.  Being drunk or high while you are driving is just plain dumb.

If you are driving under the influence you are playing with people’s lives.  Nobody really likes being told what to do by someone else.  If you think about it, if you are drinking and driving. you are essentially making safety and possibly life altering decisions for other people that are also driving and walking on the roads while you are driving drunk.  You are potentially making a decision for them that may result in their serious injury or death.  Nobody has the right to make that choice for anyone else!

Enough lecturing already!  We want everyone to have a safe and fun time whenever they go out and especially on a fun day like St. Patty’s day. However as injury lawyers, our Charlotte, NC team of experienced attorneys unfortunately all too often sees the results of drunk driving accidents.  We see the injuries and we see the consequences for our clients and for the drunk drivers. Drunk driving accidents are 1oo percent preventable.  Just don’t do it – ever!

Our Charlotte, NC Injury team represents accident victims and focuses helping people that have been hurt by the negligence of others.  We have been serving our communities for more than 20 years and we do so with pride.  If you or anyone you has been hurt by a drunk driver or anyone else, we are happy to talk to see if we can help.  It all starts by calling our office or submitting a request for a free case evaluation through our website for us to call you. We are experienced and compassionate lawyers and we fight for our clients every day.  Please let us know if we can help!

Under North Carolina law, all vehicles (except for utility vehicles that aren’t used on public roads) must be protected by insurance policies. In fact, you can’t get your license plate for your car until you have proper insurance — and many car dealerships won’t sell you a car until you prove you have insurance.

If you drive without insurance, you are not only breaking the law, but you’re also setting yourself up to financially responsible for any injuries that you may cause as well as for any damages to vehicles or other property involved in your accident. Our Charlotte car accident lawyers have seen this issue come up frequently in cases involving uninsured motor vehicles.

Without car insurance, you are taking a huge risk. If you are going to be out on the road behind the wheel of a car, be a responsible person – be a safe and responsible insured driver! Here’s everything you need to know about insurance in North Carolina, including how a lawyer can help if your insurance company doesn’t send you a fair settlement.

Who Needs Insurance in North Carolina?

Under North Carolina law, every vehicle that operates on a public road must have insurance. This includes personal passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, motorcycles and, unlike some other states, mopeds. However, there are some vehicles that don’t have to be insured.

Utility vehicles like dirt bikes, ATVs, UTVs and golf carts don’t have to be insured — as long as they are never used for transportation on public roads. This is because they aren’t generally designed to be used in road traffic. However there are exceptions.  For example if you use a dirt bike on public roads, it must be registered as a motorcycle, which requires liability insurance.

How Much Insurance Do I Need?

The state’s minimum insurance requirements include:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage of at least $30,000 per person in the accident for bodily injury
  • Bodily injury liability coverage of at least $60,000 per accident
  • At least $25,000 in property damage liability
  • At least $25,000 in uninsured/underinsured driver property damage coverage
  • At least $30,000/$60,0000 in uninsured/underinsured driver bodily injury coverage

What isn’t included in the minimum requirements is collision and comprehensive coverage, rental car coverage or roadside insurance for towing your car or truck after an accident. However, if you can afford these coverages, they can be incredibly beneficial in the event of a car wreck.

You may have some questions about the uninsured/underinsured driver coverage that is listed above. While this coverage can help if you’re in a collision with a driver with less-than-adequate insurance, it’s vital for hit-and-run accidents. In these cases, your uninsured/underinsured driver coverage should kick in to cover the injuries or property damage you sustain if you should ever be hit by a vehicle that leaves the accident scene.

What Happens If I Don’t Have Insurance?

Car insurance is required by North Carolina law; that’s why officers always ask to see proof of insurance if you get pulled over. If you are caught without insurance, the first offense can carry a penalty of $50. The second offense is $100, and the third and subsequent offense is $150. These fines must be paid (and you must show proof of insurance) within 10 days, or your license will be suspended.

But these penalties are small potatoes compared to being in a car wreck without insurance. If you don’t have insurance covering you, you may be on the hook for all the damage to your own car and any injuries to yourself, passengers or other people that you may have hurt. In NC, all of the other people in the wreck you caused (including your passengers) can file personal injury claims against you, which could result in you being sued or having to go to court.

A commonly asked question is whether you can buy insurance that would provide retroactive coverage for an accident that has already happened. After an accident is always a good time to review your coverage with your insurance co, but a policy purchased after an accident won’t cover the accident that you were just in. In addition, that wreck and lapse in insurance coverage may mean any future policies you purchase will cost you more than other drivers that do not have lapsed coverage or at-fault accidents on their driving record.

In short, make sure you have car insurance if you are going to be on the road!

How Are Insurance Premiums Calculated?

Insurance premiums are your payments for coverage. They’re usually paid monthly or every 6 months. Premiums are generally based on the odds of how likely it is that you will file a claim.

That sometimes is calculated based on a variety of factors that may include:

  • Your credit rating
  • Your driving history
  • Your location
  • Your age
  • The value, make and model of your car
  • Your gender
  • What type of coverage you buy, and how much you buy
  • Any previous lapses in insurance coverage
  • Other risk factors (criminal history / previous DUIs)

Each insurance company has their own proprietary formula to decide how much of a risk you are to insure. The higher the risk, the more your premium will increase. So, for instance, a 23-year-old man who drives an expensive sports car may pay a higher premium than a 40-year-old woman who drives a minivan.

Perhaps the biggest factors in the above example are age and gender. It’s been proven time and time again that young male drivers are more aggressive than young female drivers. Mix in the fact that younger drivers have less experience on the road, and the fact that young male drivers generally have higher premiums makes more sense.

Other Factors You Need to Know About Car Insurance in North Carolina

Like every state, there are specific details in North Carolina’s car insurance laws that you should be familiar with if you’re driving in this state. For example:

  • If anyone that you live with will be driving your vehicle, have them listed as additional drivers on your policy.
  • Insurance companies must provide a reason why they deny your claim and/or cancel your policy.

A Comment on Insurance and Providing Rideshare Services

Your “regular” auto insurance policy may not cover any accidents that happen while you’re driving for Lyft or Uber. If you work with Lyft, Uber or some other application that involves your vehicle, speak to your insurance co and the ride share company / app about the type(s) of insurance you need to be fully covered in the event of an accident.  Please note that these coverage issues can have a negative effect on you even if you are not the at-fault driver.  There are significant disclaimers on most auto policies regarding using your vehicle to provide rideshares or deliveries.  In some instances, our firm has been contacted about coverage disputes where the driver was denied coverage because they did not have the proper type of insurance, and this was in a situation where the Uber driver did not even cause the accident!

 

If you use your vehicle for work, talk to your insurance company and your employer about your insurance coverage!

Insurance for Commercial Vehicles

Commercial vehicles can generally be thought of like work trucks, work vans, tractor trailers, some delivery vehicles and others as well. If you are involved with a large commercial vehicle in a motor vehicle accident or other vehicle that you may think would be considered a commercial vehicle, you should speak to an experienced motor vehicle accident injury attorney because these types of cases are very different than accidents involving non-commercial vehicles.  In some accidents an experienced accident lawyer may even want to conduct their own investigation that may involve expert analysis of important evidence such as the commercial vehicle’s “black box” and driver’s log.

For the most part, people driving commercial vehicles have different licensing and insurance requirements for their vehicles. If you have questions about licensing or insurance requirements for commercial vehicles you should reach out to a commercial vehicle insurance broker and the state DMV.

When Should You Contact Your Insurer After an Accident?

After an accident, your first call should be to 9-1-1 to get a police officer and ambulance to the scene. After you’ve received medical attention and you have spoken to the police, you should consider speaking to an experienced injury law firm before talking to anyone from any insurance company.

All too often people make the mistake of speaking to the insurance company before they realize they should have spoken to a lawyer first. The insurance company may want you to give a statement about the facts of your injury accident and information about your injuries.  Such statements can effect whether or not an insurance company pays your claim and how much they pay.  If an insurance company gets ahold of you before you have spoken to an accident attorney, tell them politely but firmly that they can get further information from the police report and that you’d like to speak with your attorney before answering any questions.

Let Our Car Accident Injury Lawyers Help You

At Auger & Auger, we always offer free initial consultations. That means we’ll review the details of your case and let you know how we may be able to help you. Call us today at (704) 364-3361 or contact us online for a free, no-obligation consultation. We know how insurance companies work and we have the experience to help you fight for the compensation that you may be entitled to. Give us a call to see how we can fight for you!

Since Charlotte became one of the many cities to be inundated with rental e-scooters in 2017, there has been much discussion about how to regulate e-scooter usage in the Queen City. As we wrote in a previous article last year on e-scooters, there are many uncertainties when it comes to the risks that riders take when they agree to rent an e-scooter through an app on their phone. Some of these concerns include worries related to safety, financial responsibility for accidents or injuries involving rental bikes/scooters and when, where and how the vehicles can be ridden.

The Charlotte City Council has debated the issue and put a lot of time and thought into the rules that are in place for these popular e-scooters. The Charlotte Observer reports that in December alone, Charlotte riders racked up 82,523 trips covering 81,484 miles. With those kinds of numbers there are certainly going to be discussions regarding safety, financial responsibility and how the scooters should be regulated to best impact residents and the city.  While the scooters have been very popular and have made an impact for people making small commutes around uptown, there have also been concerns specifically related to crowded sidewalks caused by riders and the scooters themselves when they are abandoned after a ride is over.

After significant discussion, debate and time given to the issue, the Charlotte City Council has enacted the following rules for e-scooter use in Charlotte:

  • Scooter speeds are to be capped at 15 mph.
  • Scooters are now banned in the densest part of uptown Charlotte – the area is bounded by Stonewall, Seventh, College and Church Streets. Outside of that area, sidewalk riding will be permitted.
  • The number of overall scooters allowed in the city can be increased when scooter companies can document that their scooters are being ridden an average of at least three times a day for 30 days.
  • The number of scooters a company can have in the city can also be reduced if the average number of rides should fall below 2 rides per day.
  • The city of Charlotte can now charge the scooter companies a fee for allowing the scooters in the city. Before now, there has been no fee assessed to these companies for the costs incurred by scooter companies use of the city’s public infrastructure (roads and sidewalks).
  • Scooter companies are no longer required to have 20 percent of their vehicles in low-income neighborhoods. The city will still encourage the companies to put more scooters near transit and bus stops.

While these rules will certainly impact the way that e-scooters are being used in our city, the Charlotte City Council stopped short of making any requirements related to helmet or insurance requirements.  At this time someone renting an e-scooter is not required to wear a helmet when they ride it. Additionally, there are also concerns about financial responsibility for accidents and injuries caused by negligent use of these e-scooters. If someone using one of these scooters in a negligent or unsafe manner causes an injury to another person, there is no liability insurance to recover against in the same manner that there would be if the accident was caused by an automobile.  If a pedestrian or someone in a car is injured by an accident caused by one of these scooters, how will these injured people recover money for their medical bills, lost wages or other compensable damages?

At the state level, the NC Legislature may choose to make state-wide requirements that could potentially supersede the regulations that are in place throughout Charlotte, and other cities in NC such as Raleigh and Greensboro.  Requiring helmets and liability insurance would be a step in the right direction as far as additional regulations that need to be implemented. The timing of these regulations should also be in a timely manner before too many people are seriously injured with injuries and damages that could be limited under the proper types of government oversight. As the use and regulation of e-scooters continues to evolve, the effects of the current rules will have to be consistently looked at if we truly expect them to have a significant impact.

Auger & Auger Law Firm is an injury law firm that handles cases related to car, truck, motorcycle and tractor trailer accidents, as well as other types of injury cases. Our firm focuses on helping people that have been injured because of the negligence of others.  If you or someone that you know has been injured in a scooter, car, truck or any other type of accident involving a vehicle, give us a call.  We will provide a free case evaluation to see how we can help. Our phones are answered 24 hours per day, every day of the year.  Please call our office at (855) 971-1114.

Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous or even more dangerous than drunk driving.

1.2 million accidents are caused annually by sleeplessness. While watching this video, there will be  several accidents in the United States caused by drowsy or sleep deprived drivers.

An immediate side effect of not getting enough sleep is a lack of concentration.  Not being able to pay attention because of not getting enough sleep can be dangerous when a sleepy driver gets behind the wheel.

Drowsy drivers can cause accidents when they fall asleep behind the wheel or when they experience a momentary lack of concentration called microsleep. These last for just a few seconds during which time the eyelid will either partially or fully close.

During a microsleep, your brain becomes blind to the outside world for a brief moment. You may experience microsleep and not even realize it.

You don’t have to be sound asleep behind the wheel to cause a serious accident, a brief moment of inattention caused by a lack of sleep and concentration can be deadly! Unlike drink drivers who are late in braking or making evasive maneuvers, when you fall asleep, you stop reacting altogether.

 

How long can someone go without sleep before their ability to adequately function is impaired?

 

Did you know that after 16 hours of being awake the brain begins to fail?  We need more than seven hours of sleep each night to maintain cognitive performance.

Some research has shown that ten days of six hours of sleep at night is all that it takes to be impaired the same as someone that has gone 24 hours without sleep!

One study showed that sleep deprived people, deprived of sleep for 19 hours were as cognitively impaired as other drivers that were legally drunk with a .08 percent blood alcohol content.

Operating on less than 5 hours of sleep, your risk of a car crash increases by three times.

If you drive with just four hours of sleep or less the night before you are 11.5 times more likely to be involved in a car accident.

What about drowsy drunk driving? Consider this:  Most individuals are driving drunk in the early morning hours rather than in the middle of the day, meaning that most drunk drivers are also sleep deprived.

Truck drivers are at a greater risk of having a condition called sleep apnea, a condition which causes chronic, severe sleep deprivation.

That puts truck drivers at 200 to 500 percent more likely to be involved  in a traffic accident as compared to a non commercial vehicle.

 

Drowsy driving injuries and deaths are 100% preventable.

 

Sleep is important to all aspects of your life, especially your ability to maintain concentration.  If you don’t get enough sleep, don’t get behind the wheel. Say no to drowsy driving!

For more information on the importance of sleep, and more sleep related facts check out Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD

As winter hits North Carolina, car accidents are going to become more common. Ice and snow have already made the roads slick, causing vehicles to slide on the roads and into other cars. When these incidents happen, it’s important to know how to determine who’s at fault.

As Charlotte car accident lawyers, we’ve seen time and time again drivers make one simple mistake that shifted blame for the wreck: Apologizing or otherwise admitting blame at the scene. This simple mistake can have massive ramifications down the road.

It’s important to understand how North Carolina assigns fault for car accidents, and how you can help prove that you weren’t to blame for the wreck.

North Carolina: A Contributory Negligence State

North Carolina is one of the very few states that follows contributory negligence laws. In a nutshell, this means if you’re even a tiny bit at fault for your car accident or contributed to causing your accident or injury, you won’t be entitled to any compensation from the driver even if they are overwhelmingly at fault.

In comparison, most states follow a type of comparative fault model. This means that, even if you’re partly at fault for your accident, you can still recover damages. For example, say one of your tail lights doesn’t work. You’re at a stoplight at 10 p.m., and you get rear-ended, injuring your back. Because your tail light is out an insurance company may make the argument that you’re 20% at fault for the wreck.  If a judge or jury agrees with them, the overall amount of the recovery for your damages would be reduced by 20% –  because of your own negligence.

If the same scenario happened in North Carolina you would have no legal right to ANY compensation due to North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws.

Proving Negligence in a Car Accident Case

Because North Carolina’s contributory negligence laws are so strict, it’s important to have an experienced personal injury attorney by your side if you’re in a car accident. Together, you and your lawyer can explore the different elements of your injury / negligence claim.

In general, all of the following must be proven to have a successful negligence case:

  1. Causation
  2. Duty of care
  3. Breach of duty
  4. Injury due to the breach of duty
  5. Damages caused by the injury

1. Causation

In North Carolina, there are two types of causation:

  • Cause in fact: This one is straightforward. If your injuries wouldn’t have happened without the other driver’s actions, then their actions, in fact, caused the injuries.
  • Proximate cause: This type of cause explores whether your injuries were a reasonably foreseeable outcome of the accident. The details of proximate cause can be extremely confusing, but cause in fact and proximate cause are often one and the same. Your Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyer can go through the nuances of this legal concept and how it relates to your own case.

2. Duty of Care

In general, drivers have a duty to other drivers on the road. This means drivers are expected to be reasonably careful when they encounter anyone on the road, whether that’s another car, a pedestrian or another party.

3. Breach of Duty

This one’s pretty simple. If the other driver didn’t drive carefully in the same way another “reasonable person” would, they’re said to have breached their duty of care.

4. Injuries Caused by a Breach of Duty

In order to prove negligence, you must be able to prove your injuries were caused by the car accident. This is one of the main reasons it’s so important to seek medical treatment within a reasonable amount of time after your accident. Otherwise, the other driver could claim your injuries were not caused by the accident.

5. Damages Caused by the Injury

It’s not enough just to show that you were injured in the wreck. You must have suffered some kind of compensable loss. This could be property damage, medical expenses, lost wages/earning capacity, pain and suffering or other losses. It’s important to keep track of all expenses associated with the wreck to prove this factor.

If All These Factors Aren’t Met…

Proving all of these factors is the easiest way to prove the other driver was negligent in a car accident case. There may be other legal doctrines that your North Carolina car accident lawyer can explore if one or a few of these factors aren’t met. They can explain these doctrines and your other legal options to you.  It is extremely important to meet all of these requirements in addition to showing that the accident was 100% the fault of the other driver. If you come up short in either area, you will not be able to successfully recover against the other driver(s).

Proving You Aren’t at Fault for a Car Accident

As we mentioned earlier, you essentially have to prove you weren’t at fault at all for the car accident to get compensation in a NC accident. Here are some pieces of evidence your lawyer may consider when evaluating your potential injury claim:

Independent Witness Statements

Anyone not in your or the other driver’s vehicle who saw the accident may be an invaluable witness. If you see someone who witnessed the wreck, take down their name and contact information. Provide this information to law enforcement and your car accident lawyer. You lawyer may want to contact them to see if their testimony is helpful to your case.

Photos of the Scene

As soon as you’re out of your car and safe, take as many pictures as you can of the accident. Take photos of:

  • The damage your car and the other vehicle
  • Road conditions
  • Weather conditions
  • Skid marks
  • Traffic control devices in the area
  • Injuries you sustained
  • Any other details you may think are important.

 

It’s always better to have too many photos than not enough!

The Police Report

If police came to the scene of the accident (you should always make sure they do), make sure you get a copy of the police report. We have guides for many cities throughout the Carolinas to help you obtain and read your police report. Also, we are happy to help you get your report if you don’t already have it.

Once you’ve gotten the police report, check it for accuracy. If there are any errors, call the reporting officer and let them know. The officer will make the ultimate decision on whether to revise the report. Remember, the NC Police Report does not determine fault but it can be helpful in determining how an insurance company may react to any potential claims that you submit to them.

Speak to a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Today

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in North Carolina, you have legal options. The experienced attorneys at Auger & Auger can review the details of your case and help you figure out how they may be able to help.  You may be entitled to compensation. Speak to our experienced team to see what options you have. Call (855) 971-1114 or contact our Charlotte car accident lawyers online today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.door

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. As it approaches, you may be thinking about cooking the family’s bird in a non-traditional way. Deep fried turkeys have become all the rage in the past several years and are tasty for sure.

Unfortunately, cooking the Thanksgiving “bird” in a fryer as opposed to an oven has caused quite a number of accidents across the country. If you will be deep frying your turkey this year, do so with these safety tips in mind.

Even if you follow every safety tip, deep frying a turkey can be dangerous! Do so at your own risk.

Safety Tips for Deep Frying a Turkey

1. Set Up the Fryer in an Open Space

You wouldn’t grill right next to your house. Many people won’t even grill on their decks if they are using charcoal. Deep frying a turkey is no different. In fact, deep frying a turkey should be done even farther from the house and any structures in your yard. If possible, set up the fryer on a flat patch of dirt.

2. Prepare the Setup Correctly

If you are using a propane-fueled fryer, leave at least 2 feet of space between the fryer and the propane tank. This will help to ensure that the propane tank won’t explode if something goes awry with the fryer.

3. Use the Right Oil

If you aren’t experienced with deep-frying (or with cooking in general), you may not know that different oils have different smoking points. When an oil reaches its smoking point, it can make your food taste terrible — and can be dangerous. For deep-frying, be sure to use an oil with a high smoking point, such as canola or peanut.

4. Thaw Your Turkey

This cannot be said enough, and it is often one of the first questions that people ask. Ice and water will mix into the hot oil and cause bursts of flames or flare ups, which can lead to an explosion. Thaw the turkey completely before it meets oil. For info about proper methods for thawing your turkey, consult the packaging on your turkey.

5. Submerge the Turkey Carefully

Just before you put the turkey in the fryer, turn off the machine’s burner. If oil spills or pops over the edges, it won’t land on an open flame. Turn the burner back on after the turkey has been safely submerged.

6. Don’t Overfill Your Pot

Your fryer’s instruction manual should tell you how much oil you can safely put in the fryer. While you are at it, consider choosing a smaller turkey. Smaller turkeys are more manageable when it comes to deep frying. Look for a turkey that weighs between 8 and 10 pounds. Remember, you can always fry two turkeys if you are worried about preparing enough food.

7. Don’t Fry a Fancy Turkey

Don’t stuff the turkey or use any type of water-based marinades. Make your stuffing separately and, if you like, rub a bit of marinade over the turkey after it is done or drizzle it with your favorite sauce.

8. Dress for the Occasion

Safety equipment should be worn and kept nearby at all times. Wear eye goggles to protect your eyes and safety gloves to protect your hands and arms. Keep a fire extinguisher on the ground nearby in case something catches fire.

9. Keep Interested Parties Away from the Fryer

Keep children and pets away from the fryer. It’s a good idea to keep everyone away from the fryer, as a matter of fact. However, an adult should ALWAYS be by the fryer when it’s turned on, even if there’s nothing in it yet.

What to Do If Something Goes Wrong

Though following these safety tips should prevent most mishaps, frying anything in hot oil can be dangerous. There may be a pocket of water in the turkey that causes the oil to pop, or a strong gust of wind may topple an unstable pot.

If something goes wrong while frying the turkey, follow these steps to minimize the damage:

1. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy

A fire caused by hot oil should never be doused with water. That will only exacerbate the issue. Keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher on hand to put out any flames that may occur from oil spilling from the pot.

2. Don’t Leave It Unattended

If you get injured by the oil, don’t leave the fryer unattended to treat your wounds. Make sure there’s another adult nearby at all times who can take over and watch the fryer in case you need to suddenly leave for any reason.

3. Treat Any Burns Immediately

If you get burned by hot oil, run the affected area under cool water immediately, then wash with mild soap and water. Antibiotic ointments should be used to prevent infection, and cool compresses can help relieve pain and swelling. If the burn seems severe, seek medical attention immediately.

Have the Number for a Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney on Hand This Holiday Season

Deep frying a turkey has become a holiday tradition for some, and deep frying will be a new activity for many this year. If you plan on trying your hand at this cooking method, follow the steps above to be sure that you do so as safely as possible.

If you or a loved one are injured in North Carolina this holiday season through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and more. Reach out to our team of experienced Charlotte personal injury attorneys and schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. Our office can be reached at 704-364-3361 and our phones are answered 24 hours per day.

Disability Scholarship Award WinnerAuger & Auger is proud to announce that Miles Rucker 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.

When Miles Rucker was a young boy, he was diagnosed with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy. Spastic diplegia causes extreme tightness in the muscles and connective tissues. When he was just 7 years old, Miles had his first surgery to lengthen his heel cords to help him stop walking on his toes. When he was 16, he had surgery on his hamstrings and abductors to help him stop crouching his legs as he walked.

Miles has never let his walking disorder get him down. In fact, at a young age it taught him to never give up. Miles always knew he could do all the things that his peers could do. He also knew that he had to work harder than other young people that were not challenged by a disability like his. He knew it would be harder for him but he accepted it and worked very hard to overcome adversity. Miles is competitive and focused, and his drive has given him the ability to be successful in and out of the classroom.

As an avid golfer, Miles was named the captain of his high school’s golf team, a position he kept for two years. Miles claims that his disability has humbled him and given him an underdog mentality that challenges him to be competitive and consistently striving to be the best he can be. He also is grateful for his family and friends that have supported and motivated him to be the young adult that he is today.

Miles currently attends North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, NC. After graduation, he would like to start his own robotics company where he can create new technologies that focus on assisting people with disabilities and physical limitations. His goal is to help improve the quality of lives for people that are affected by their disabilities.  

Miles wants to give back to his community and help provide more opportunities for kids like himself to get involved with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (“STEM”). Miles believes those are the fields of the future and that careers in the “STEM” fields will be in high demand.

Miles says those who are facing challenges should never allow others to set their goals or discourage them from trying. “I allowed too many people who did not know what I was going through to tell me what I can and cannot do,” Miles says. “Accept help when needed but try to push yourself so you will be able to stand on your own when you can and want.”

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.

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