September 2011

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accidents: What You Should Know About Working with a Claims Adjuster

September 29, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you were involved in a Charlotte, North Carolina car accident, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation from any liable parties. You should speak with a North Carolina injury lawyer right away to find out whether you have grounds for a case.

What you shouldn’t do is talk to the other party’s claims adjuster about the accident or your injuries. The job of a claims adjuster is to investigate claims, negotiate settlements, and decide how much a claimant should get. They are tasked with resolving cases as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

While they do perform a necessary function in the North Carolina car accident claim process, giving them too much information could hurt your case more than help it. For example, a recent MSN.com article cautions that some claims adjusters will:

• Try to get you to agree to a settlement right away.
• Get you to a compromise that might not be in your best interests.
Convince you to go to a repair shop that is “preferred.”
• Try to get you to accept less than fair placement value for a totaled car.

The MSN.com article goes on to talk about what you should to prevent these outcomes from happening:

• Make sure that all written statements go through your Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyer.
• Be careful about what you say to a claims adjuster—less is more.
• Try not to apologize for what happened—even if it is the polite thing to do—because you’re “sorry” may be construed as an admission of guilt.
• Don’t joke about the situation.
• Don’t say anything that might later damage your credibility.
• Be wary of questions trying to get you to admit that you were at fault.
• Even if the North Carolina motor vehicle crash may have been your fault, don’t say anything to incriminate yourself. Remember, you have the right to remain silent.
• Make sure to report any injuries, aches or pains.

Remember, the Charlotte, North Carolina car accident law firm that you hire is there to make sure you receive the maximum recovery possible for your injuries and the damage to your property. Your legal team is also here to protect your rights. If you settle right away, your North Carolina personal injury lawyer won’t be able to get you a bigger sum that might actually be owed to you.

Investigating the extent of property damage and the severity of a victim’s injuries can take time. While it may initially seem like a relief to have a settlement in your hands, this could prove problematic. Your best bet is to let your lawyer handle all interactions with the other party and the people they’ve brought on to counter/minimize your claim.

Secrets of car insurance adjusters, MSN, September 27, 2011

Car accidents and Negligence, Nolo


More Blog Posts:

HB 542 Could Cost North Carolina Motor Vehicle Crash Victims Who Have Medical Insurance, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 24, 2011

Visualizing Auto Safety: A Powerful Way to Avoid North Carolina Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, September 28, 2011

What Really Caused Your North Carolina Car Accident?, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, September 2, 2011

 

HB 542 Could Cost North Carolina Motor Vehicle Crash Victims Who Have Medical Insurance

September 24, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Beginning October 1, 2011, HB 542, a new law passed by the state’s General Assembly could reduce the amount of financial recovery a North Carolina car accident victim stands to receive. The HB 542, which allows for smaller claims for auto crash injuries, would be reduced by a victim’s medical coverage.

For example, a negligent driver and his/her car insurance company can lower the value of your North Carolina car accident compensation by only letting you claim the same amount of accident-related medical expenses that your health insurer agreed to cover. This lowers your recoverable damages, while reducing the amount that you are able to repay your insurer and your own recovery, including pain and suffering and lost wages, as well as your legal fees.

Because admission of evidence representing total medical costs is prevented under the new law, a jury won’t have this information. This means that starting next month, any settlement or damages awards have to be based on the lower figure—how much your medical insurer agreed to cover—which will result in lower recovery and verdict amounts.

While supporters of this “billed vs. paid” law” say HB 542 prevents “phantom damages” that bring up the size of recovery awards, if the person injured in a North Carolina car crash has health insurance coverage, he/she could end up losing out. Meantime, auto insurers stand to gain financially from these reductions.

Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney Michael DeMayo, wants to remind everyone that this law goes against the collateral-source rule that most US states follow. This rule says that the wrongdoer shouldn’t be able to benefit from an innocent citizen’s contract that the latter paid for to benefit him/her. This is why most states allow complete recover of the amounts were actually billed—not just paid—and introduction of evidence of only what the insurer paid hasn’t been allowed. Attorney DeMayo points out that while those who don’t have health insurance won’t lose anything from HB 542, it will be those who pay for health coverage each month or receive it as part of their employee benefits that will suffer.

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP represents North Carolina car accident victims in a number of North Carolina counties, including Cabarrus, Union, Catawba, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Stanly, Caldwell, Rowan, Lincoln, Cleveland, Robeson, Burke, Alexander, Iredell, Anson, Richmond, Scotland, and Cumberland, and South Carolina Counties, including Dillon, Marlboro, Lancaster, York, and Chesterfield. We have seen the damages that can be incurred, the bills that can accrue, and the toll that becoming the victim of a traffic crash can take on the victim and his/her family.

Tort Reform’s Defective Fix, Charlotte Business Journal, August 26, 2011 (PDF)

HB 542, North Carolina General Assembly


More Blog Posts:

Republicans Propose Bill Protecting Drug Makers from North Carolina Products Liability Lawsuits, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, March 29, 2011

Beyond “Just So Story” Theories: A Unified Solution to End (or Reduce) North Carolina Car Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, September 5, 2011

Join the Fight Against Texting While Driving: Enter Our Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm’s Sweepstakes on Facebook to Win a Flip Camera and Watch Our Distracted Driving Video, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, September 19, 2011

Join the Fight Against Texting While Driving: Enter Our Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm’s Sweepstakes on Facebook to Win a Flip Camera and Watch Our Distracted Driving Video

September 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to some studies, texting while operating a motor vehicle is eight times more dangerous than driving while drunk. Yet, for many people, knowing this information isn’t enough to stop them from reading, composing, or sending a text while driving. Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo would like to invite you and your friends to join us in the fight against distracted driving. Please watch our Distracted Driving is Like Driving Blind video on YouTube and enter our Distracted Driving Awareness Sweepstakes on Facebook. The deadline to participate is October 10, 2011.

Texting While Driving
In North Carolina, it is actually illegal for all motorists to text while driving. Unfortunately, this texting ban isn’t enough to ensure that people won’t engage in this type of distracted driving behavior. Here are a couple of reasons why:

• Not everyone understands that texting, which poses no physical danger when done while not operating a vehicle, is dangerous when driving. It takes just a few seconds for a catastrophic North Carolina car crash to happen. Usually, to text the driver has to have his/her eyes off the road for at least that long and one, even both of his/her driver’s hands will be off the steering wheel to hold and work the phone/PDA device. This can make it hard for a motorist to stay in control of a vehicle to avoid an accident.

• In this multitasking society, it can be hard to stop what has now become a bad, even compulsive habit of constantly checking and responding to text messages and emails.

According to Internet & American Life Project from the Pew Research Center, adults are just as likely as teens to text when driving. In the report, issued last year, 47% of adults reported sending or receiving a text from a mobile phone while behind the steering wheel of a motor vehicle. If adult drivers can’t restrain themselves from texting, how can we expect our teen drivers to stop? Please stop distracted driving by pledging to limit your texting when operating a motor vehicle.

We are familiar with the devastating consequences that can result because someone was texting or talking on the phone while driving. Please do not hesitate to contact our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury law firm to ask for your free case evaluation.

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, LLP
Over the years, the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has fought hard for our clients to make sure they received the damages they were owed by all liable parties. We also have been fierce advocates of combating drunk driving with our Arrive Alive: Don’t Drink and Drive community service program and the Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program for college kids. Our Charlotte, North Carolina injury law firm is committed to helping stop the growing epidemic known as distracted driving. Won’t you join us in saving more lives?

Adults as likely to text while driving as teens, study says, CNN, June 18, 2010

Cell Phone and Texting Laws, Governors Highway Safety Association, September 2011


More Blog Posts:

Turn Down the Music! (and Avoid North Carolina Car Accidents), North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, August 4, 2011

16-Year-Old Driver Involved in Fatal North Carolina Car Accident is Charged with Texting While Driving, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 30, 2011

Lawmakers Deliberate Whether to Step Up the Fight Against North Carolina Distracted Driving Crashes with a Ban on Handheld Cell Devices, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 26, 2011

FDA Advisory Panel Meets to Discuss Fosamax and Other Bisphosphonates But Offers No Specific Recommendations on Duration of Long-Term Use

September 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Although a Food and Drug advisory panel is recommending that labels on bisphosphonate drugs clarify how long a patient should take them for, the panel refrained from specifying any actual time limits. The panel met because of growing concerns that using a bisphosphonate drug long-term—more than three to five years—can cause jaw bone death and thigh bone and femur fractures in women. Please contact our Charlotte, North Carolina Fosamax law firm if you are someone who has been taking bisphosphonates and developed Osteonecrosis of the jaw or suffered a bone fracture.

Bisphosphonates are often prescribed to treat osteoporosis. Fosamax, Aclasta, Reclast, Actonel, Boniva, and Altevia are examples of bisphosphonate drugs. While the FDA advisory panel acknowledged the unusually high rate of thigh fractures in women who had been taking Fosamax and other bisphosphonates for a number of years was unusually high, it also noted that there isn’t enough data available for it to make specific recommendations.

Osteonecrosis of the jaw
Also known as dead jaw, ONJ involves the death of jawbone tissue. This can lead to exposed bone, teeth loss, swelling, infection, and pain in the gum and jaw, jaw numbness, loss of sensation, gum loss, and the eventual collapse of the bone area. More than 125 ONJ cases have been linked with bisphosphonate drug use. Some researchers say that bisphosphonates stop new blood vessels from forming in the jawbone tissue.

Fractures
Considering that bisphosphonates are supposed to make bones stronger, if they are in fact actually weakening the bones, then the drug is causing damage. A number of women have come forward claiming that their femur bones snapped suddenly while they were walking. In some instances, the damage to the bones was more severe than one would typically see from this type of incident. Symptoms of a possible femur fracture can include:

• Serious pain
• Deformation in the leg area
• Tissue swelling
• Leg immobility
• Bone fragments coming through the skin

Esophageal Cancer
There is also concern that bisphosphonates increase the chance of a user developing esophageal cancer, which hits the channel in the body through which food travels to the stomach. However, there is conflicting information about that at this time. There is usually no cure for esophageal cancer.

Over 1600 Fosamax fracture complaints have already been filed.

North Carolina Dangerous Drugs
Drug makers must warn of any serious side effects that taking their medication can cause. Failure to warn of side effects or dangerous that result in serious health complications can be grounds for a North Carolina products liability lawsuit.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina defective products law firm can help you determine if your bone condition is a result of taking Fosamax or another bisphosphonate. If so, you may be entitled to North Carolina personal injury compensation from Merck, which makes Fosamax, or the manufacturer of any other bisphosphonate drugs that you may have been taking.

Fosamax Scare: Those With Osteopenia Gauge Risk, ABC News, March 10, 2010

FDA panel unclear on osteoporosis drug labels, CBS News, September 12, 2011


Related Web Resources:

Bisphosphonates, FDA

ONJ, Rheumatology.org

More Blog Posts:
North Carolina Dangerous Drug: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Yasmin and Ocella Contraceptives for Daughter’s Fatal Pulmonary Embolism, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, June 21, 2011

Yaz Lawsuit Seeks Damages for Wrongful Death Teen Who Went into Cardiac Arrest While Attending Elon University in North Carolina, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 16, 2011

Another Dangerous Drug?: Woman Claims Humira Caused Permanent Nerve Damage, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2011

North Carolina Nursing Home Shooting Rampage: Man Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

September 12, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Robert Stewart, the man convicted of eight counts of second-degree murder in the 2009 mass shooting at a North Carolina nursing home, has been spared the death penalty. Instead, he will spend life in prison without parole.

Stewart admitted to shooting 11 people at the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center. Eight of the people he shot at the Carthage nursing home died:

• Tessie Garner, 75
• Jesse Musser, 88
• Lillian Dunn, 89
• Bessie Hedrick, 78
• Margaret Johnson, 89
• John Goldston, 78
• Nurse Jerry Avant, 39
• Louise DeKler, 98

Already, the estates of DeKler, Goldston, Johnson, and Dunn have filed a North Carolina wrongful death claim alleging nursing home negligence and premises liability. Stewart’s wife Wanda is believed to have warned administrators that her husband was going to come after her.

On the day of the shooting, March 29, 2009, Wanda was working in a locked area of the facility. The rest of the nursing home, however, remained easily accessible to anyone. The victims’ loved ones say that the facility never warned them that Stewart might go to the Carthage nursing home and cause anyone harm. (Wanda has also been named a defendant for allegedly failing to warn the residents that her husband posed a danger.)

While prosecutors tried to get Robert convicted of first-degree murder—contending that he was aware of his actions and motives when he went looking for his wife, his defense lawyers claimed that at the time of the shooting he had been under the influence of a combination of prescription drugs that put him in a zombie-like state. They also contended that he was depressed because his wife had left him and he believed he was dying from cancer.

Following the jury’s conviction of second-degree murder, the judge sentenced Robert to 189-236 months behind bars for each murder count (that is 126 to 157 years in prison) sans parole. He also was sentenced to 16-22 years for other assault convictions. The defense plans to appeal.

North Carolina Nursing Home Negligence
In addition to protecting residents from North Carolina nursing home abuse and neglect, it is up to staff to make sure that patients and their guests are kept physically safe. This means ensuring that there is adequate supervision, security, and safeguards to prevent sexual assault, physical assault, and other violent crimes.

Nursing homes should be properly secured to prevent unwanted persons from entering or leaving the premise without notice. Security guards, locks on doors and windows, surveillance cameras, and controlled entry and access are just some of the safety measures that can be implemented. If there is an imminent danger that suddenly arises, then adequate warnings, heightened security, and closer supervision can be implemented to provide adequate protections.

Robert Stewart guilty of 2nd-degree murder, sentenced to life in prison, FayObserver.com, September 4, 2011

NC man gets life in prison for Carthage nursing home killings, NBC17, September 3, 2011

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Nursing Home Compare, Medicare.gov

More Blog Posts:
Alleged Shooter That Caused Eight Carthage, North Carolina Nursing Home Deaths to Go on Trial, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, July 11, 2011

Over 18,000 Reports of North Carolina Elder Abuse and Neglect Made in 2010, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, May 9, 2011

Caretaker Accused of North Carolina Elder Abuse in Beating of 91-Year-Old Woman, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, January 27, 2011

North Carolina 15-Passenger Van Accident on I-95 Sends Several People to Hospitals

September 6, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Several people were injured on Monday in a North Carolina 15-passenger van crash close to I-95 in Wilson County. The single-vehicle crash resulted in the van flipping over and landing upside down in a field. The Wilson County Highway Patrol says the vehicle was transporting migrant workers.

According to one witness, people were crawling out of the vehicle while others were pulled out. There was a lot of screaming by the victims, who didn’t appear to speak English. Several of the 15-passenger van victims were sent to the hospital.

15-Passenger Van Accidents
Unfortunately, 15-passenger vans are among the vehicles most at risk of rolling over during a North Carolina motor vehicle accident. This information is now common knowledge, yet many schools, groups, day care centers, camps, athletic programs, recreational centers, shuttle services, churches, hotels, and organizations continue to use 15-passenger vans for transportation. If you or someone you love was hurt in a 15-passenger van crash, do not hesitate to contact our Charlotte, North Carolina 15-passenger van law firm to request your free case evaluation.

The problem with 15-passenger vans is that they are designed in a way that when they are actually loaded to capacity cargo and passengers their rollover risk triples. Yet approximately 500,000 15-passenger vans continue to transport millions of people every year.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, although 15-passenger vans have a lower death rate than other vehicles, it has a higher occupant fatality rate. Also, not just anyone can operate a 15-passenger van. Federal standards require that 15-passenger van drivers have a commercial driver’s license.

Because 15-passenger vans are bigger than most other autos, the driver must know how to navigate corners and turns, as well as how to safely back up. It doesn’t help that the van’s high gravity center causes the vehicle to become less stable the more weight is added to it. Too quick of a turn or lane change made or a tire blowout can cause the driver to lose control of the van, which could roll over to result in serious injuries, including head injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries.

Many people seem to forget that riding a 15-passenger van is not like riding a bus and seat belts must be used as protection in the event of a deadly crash. Yet the driver or those supervising the van or trip don’t always enforce this.

You may have reason to pursue a North Carolina personal injury case against a negligent driver of van operator or another party. You may have reason to file a North Carolina products liability lawsuit against the manufacturer of the 15-passenger van or the manufacturer of one of the vehicle’s defective/malfunctioning parts.

Several people injured in van crash, ABC11, September 5, 2011

Multiple People Hurt In Crash In Wilson, WITN, September 6, 2011


Related Web Resources:

Q&A: 15-passenger vans, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Analysis of Crashes Involving 15-Passenger Vans, NHTSA (PDF)

More Blog Posts:
Prevent North Carolina 15-Passenger Van Crashes by Not Overloading Vehicle, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 22, 2010

Tractor-Trailer Crash Involving 15-Passenger Van Kills 11 People, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, March 26, 2010

Minivan Tire Blowout Kills Six People and Injures 9 in Rollover Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 2, 2009

Charlotte, North Carolina Personal Injury Law Firm to Provide Free Speakers Bureau Service to Talk about the Legal Issues Affecting You

September 1, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

For nearly two decades the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo has been an active member of the community and every year, our Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyers give back by participating in and offering a number of public service programs. This year we are unveiling our Speakers Bureau, a public service program that allows us to meet with you and answer your questions about specific legal issues that may be impacting you. This service is free.

At the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, we know that the legal process can sometimes seem overwhelming and confusing. This is why we want to answer your questions and explain your legal rights. Our North Carolina injury lawyers are available to speak to your group or organization in Charlotte, Hickory, or Monroe about a number of topics, including (but not limited to):

General Interest:
• What to do if you get hurt in a car crash
• Pursing law as a career
• Choosing the best auto insurance for you

Motor Vehicle/Motorcycle Crashes:
• What to do if you’ve been in a traffic crash
• Drinking and driving
• How to deal with insurance companies
• Understanding your auto/motorcycle insurance policy
• Traumatic brain injury and whiplash
• Dangerous roads

Caregiver and Family Support:
• How to handle insurers
• When you should speak with a lawyer
• Lost wages and medical bills

Social Security Disability and Workers’ Compensation:
• Who is eligible to receive benefits
• What you should do if you get hurt on the job
• What to do if your request for Social Security Disability is denied

How to Request Our Speaker’s Bureau:
To request a speaker from our law firm, fill out our Speakers Bureau Form. We will send you an e-mail notification confirming the receipt of your request. Please give us at least four weeks notice from when you would like us to speak. Speakers are available on a first come, first serve basis. Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers will make every effort to ensure that our presentation for you is informative and interesting. Professional groups, service organizations, volunteer groups, church groups, injury and illness support groups, educational groups, caregiver support groups, schools and educational groups, social clubs, and community associations are just some of the groups that could benefit from our Speakers Bureau program.

The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo is located in Charlotte, Hickory, Monroe, and Lumberton, North Carolina, and we represent clients in North Carolina and South Carolina. Other community services we offer include the Arrive Alive; Don’t Drink and Drive program and the Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program. We also remain actively involved in raising money and awareness for the Mothers Against Drunk Driving program and services, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina Thanksgiving food drive, and the Angel Tree Toy Drive.

For more information, visit our Web site or contact our Community Relations Director Kristine Woolley at kwoolley@demayolaw.com or call (704) 343-4644.

Read More About:
Arrive Alive: Don’t Drink and Drive

Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program

 
 

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