Drinking teen

What does Drinking  and news have to do with your Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney?

This spring, as parents, our thoughts are on senior proms, and graduation. We are all filled up with a myriad of mixed emotions about our children growing up and becoming independent. However, there is one thing we must remain clear about. Parties and alcohol use. Every year we hear of teens or young adults who are killed and seriously injured in alcohol related crashes. We also hear of innocent travelers who are killed and injured in crashes caused by impaired driving.One thing about prom parties, and graduation parties, is that everyone who has any business being there is under age. None can purchase alcoholic beverages legally, but some always seem to come up with it. As parents and party hosts, this presents a special situation we need to think about.

In North Carolina, the host of a party can be held responsible if a guest becomes impaired at the party and then causes an automobile accident. I am reminded of the case of Hart v Ivey, in which The Olive Law Firm helped to establish this very liability on behalf of an innocent victim of just such a crash. You can read that case here: Hart v Ivey.

Under North Carolina law, social hosts have a duty to travelers of public highways not to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person who is known or believed to be driving. “Serving” can be interpreted quite broadly because this duty is to take reasonable care with respect to the consumption of alcohol. We know the propensity of young adults to experiment with alcohol, and we know they are adept at finding or bringing it even if, as hosts, we are not providing it ourselves. If your own stock of adult beverages is not secure, or if you do not monitor what guests bring with them, then depending on the circumstances, you may be found by a court to have failed in your duty of reasonable care toward travelers on the highways.

Here are some ideas to help you host a safe and sober prom or graduation party.

  1. Make sure your own stock of adult beverages is locked in a secure cabinet or removed from the house.
  2. Serve foods that are filling that can slow the absorption of alcohol.
  3. Don’t go to bed and leave young adult partiers to their own devices. Your presence will go a long way toward limiting guests from slipping drinks.
  4. If someone appears impaired, don’t allow them to leave until they have had an opportunity to sober up or find someone to drive them. It isn’t the end of the world if they have to come back tomorrow to get their car. It could be the end of their world if they cause an accident.
  5. Talk to your insurance agent about your coverages. Many homeowners’ policies cover your liabilities as a party host. Make sure that your coverage is adequate before the party, not after an accident has happened.
  6. Have a candid conversation with your young adult about the duties of hosting a party and the potential liabilities involved.
  7. Everyone wants to unwind and have fun at prom or graduation parties. With a little planning and thought, you can also help your young adult host a safe party as well.


Rating: 10 out of 10 (from 95 votes)


What does TEXTING have to do with your Charlotte personal injury attorney?

What are you thinking as you drive down the highway? I am alert and I am a great multi-tasker. Traffic isn’t too bad.

I need to let someone know how great my interview went today

Drive time is a great time to catch up with my friends.

What are you thinking as you drive down the highway?

I was driving along I-77 earlier this week on the way to Charlotte when a car zipped past me on the right. Its driver’s eyes and thumbs were focused on the cell phone held against the steering wheel. He was texting away at nearly 70 miles per hour, a distracted driver, apparently oblivious to the danger he was posing to everyone around him.

As I was getting ready to leave the house today, I heard a report on WBTV that the serious crash on I-85 earlier this week had been caused by speed and failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash. It seems a pickup didn’t notice a traffic slow-down ahead in time and swooped off the road, side swiping a tractor trailer carrying a slab of concrete. Another 18 wheeler loaded with automobiles also wasn’t paying attention, hitting a third tractor trailer and causing both of them to slam into the first one, dumping the slab of concrete right on top of . . . you guessed it. . . the pickup and its 3 occupants. Mercifully, no one was killed, but the interstate was closed for hours causing miles and miles of snarled traffic.

I have been a personal injury attorney for 25 years. In that time, I have interviewed clients and witnesses from hospital beds, from wheel chairs, with crutches. I have talked to widows and parents who have lost children to traffic accidents. Lives destroyed. It always seems to come down to one thing. Someone was not paying enough attention to what they were doing. They make a call. They send a text. They drive too fast. They look down to the floor for something they dropped. And then the crash screams upon them with blazing speed.

CBS reports today that car crashes kill 4 people every hour on America’s roads, about 33,000 per year on average. Crashes cost around $300 Billion every year. Medical services. Emergency services. Law enforcement and traffic control. Damaged property. Lost earnings and productivity among injured or killed victims. That does not include the lost productivity and expense created by blocked traffic.

What is the solution? Electronic stability controls in vehicles? Radar sensors activating brakes or airbags? Additional seat restraints? All these would likely help. But that overlooks one giant problem: vehicles’ drivers!

“We have met the enemy, and he is US!” cried Pogo Possum years ago. The real killers are speed, such as the crash on I-85, drunk driving, always a problem, and distracted driving, such as the texter that infuriated me on Tuesday.

Driving a car is complicated, requiring lots of instant decisions. We just don’t think enough about that since most of us drive all the time. It is second nature.

I could do it in my sleep,” we say. The only real answer is in the driver seat.

Have you ever swooped off the road to avoid the vehicle in front of you?

Put the phone down.

Notice the speed limit, and the traffic around you.

You are going to save the life of someone you have never met, the life of a family member, or perhaps even your own.


Rating: 10 out of 10 (from 63 votes)

Worker’s Comp Attorneys

There has been a lot of conversation recently in the news about collective bargaining, and the “right to work”, whether it is teachers in the mid-west or airplane assemblers in Seattle, or South Carolina. Some argue that collective bargaining is a threat to the economy because it reduces jobs. Others say the “right to work” is merely a euphemism for a worker’s “right” to sell his labor at below market value because the employer holds much more economic power. The only insight I guess that I could offer to this debate is a story of two of my relatives.My aunt worked in the textile industry. She went to work during the war when her brothers were drafted leaving her and their father to hold the farm and the family together while they were gone. Like many of her co-workers, she faithfully believed that “Uncle Charley would take care of us.” She continued to work uninterrupted into the 1970’s when her health failed. Brown lung from textile dust said her doctor. Chronic bronchitis said the company doctor. In any event, she could not work any longer. The company considered her to have quit. They did not offer disability benefits. Her medical bills piled up with no coverage to pay them.

Since she was not yet 65, she didn’t qualify for the company’s pension plan. Upon her early retirement, she was paid her entire vested portion in the plan in a lump sum. Less than $400.00.

She lived the remainder of her life in relative poverty and eventually ended up a patient in a residential nursing facility paid by Medicaid, government assistance, until her death.

My uncle was a truck driver. (He was the brother in law of my aunt.) In his late 50’s he was afflicted by an ailment that he never fully understood. It attacked his blood and eventually his liver, his kidneys, and his skin. He was in the hospital for months. He never went back to work.

My uncle never missed a paycheck. He was covered by his union’s disability plan. His medical expenses were covered by his union’s health and welfare plan. When he reached 65, his disability was converted to retirement which supported him for the rest of his life.

After his death, his wife, my aunt’s sister, eventually was required to move into residential nursing care herself. Her spouse benefits paid her expenses. The ailments of both my uncle and his wife were severe and expensive. Nevertheless, neither depended on government assistance, other than the Social Security and Medicare for which all seniors qualify.

I have spent the years since then contemplating what accounted for the difference in the situations my aunt, and then my uncle, found themselves in. I can’t think of anything other than one relied on her employer to take care of her, and the other relied on his collective bargaining unit.

Regardless of what one may say about the right to work and collective bargaining, I can say, unequivocally, I would rather have been in my uncle’s position than my aunt’s.


Rating: 10 out of 10 (from 31 votes)

Car Accident

I have been in an auto accident. Do I need to hire an attorney?

Isn’t asking a lawyer if you need a lawyer sort of like asking your waiter if you should order dessert? The answer is automatically suspect. But let’s consider the pros and cons as objectively as we can.Some accidents are simple. You’re read ended. No one is hurt. The body shop repairs the car and the insurance company pays the bill. Everyone moves on. You probably do not need an attorney to help you sort this out. Liability and damages are straight forward, and insurance coverage is adequate.

However, most automobile accidents, even fender benders, are not so simple. Accidents involving drivers who have no insurance are becoming a bigger and bigger problem. And is it a surprise that these uninsureds are often the worst drivers, or those with impairment problems? Many people have coverage on their own policies to protect them when this happens and they don’t even know it. They may be covered even if they opted not to purchase comprehensive or collision coverage.

An experienced attorney can review your coverages to help you determine if you are protected.

Sometimes victims of automobile accidents suffer injuries that do not seem serious at first, but which can deteriorate and last for years, or even for life. Sometimes lost earnings are not easy to properly document. Sometimes if there have been previous injuries or pre-existing conditions in the same parts of the body, the insurance company will contend that your injuries were not caused by the accident. Even cases that do not involve life changing injuries or difficult legal questions are vigorously defended by insurance companies. An innocent victim, standing alone, is simply not in an equal negotiating position and cannot stand up to the insurance company’s relentless attack.

Do you think you have a case? Do you need assistance?

An experienced trial lawyer can help you resolve the difficult issues that block the path to a reasonable settlement. A trial lawyer can stand toe to toe with the insurance company’s advocates to see that you get the outcome that is fair. Your attorney will lift the hassles from you so that you can focus on important things: your work, your recovery, and getting your life back to normal.


Rating: 9 out of 10 (from 75 votes)

Personal Injury Law
In North Carolina, many people add an optional coverage to their auto or homeowners insurance called medical payments, or med pay, coverage. Med pay is not based on fault. It would cover medical expenses, up to your limit of liability, for each person who was injured while occupying your automobile. It would also cover anyone occupying a vehicle you are driving. Finally, it would cover you or your family members in any vehicle.Doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers expect payment up front or immediately following treatment. Someone who has been injured in an accident is often unable to work and so is without his normal income. He can have a very difficult time getting the medical care he needs. A liability claim can take months or even years to resolve. This is where med pay comes in. The injured person can get treatment knowing his med pay coverage will help with the bills regardless of how the accident happened.

We have all seen the ads on television in which insurance companies contend they are the cheapest. One of the ways they reduce the cost of a policy is by eliminating the med pay provisions. Before you do that, you need to consider its cost, its benefit, and whether you can afford to get appropriate medical care if you do not have it. Your insurance agent can talk with you about your situation and help you decide whether med pay is a coverage that is worth its premium to you.


Rating: 10 out of 10 (from 11 votes)

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