Drowsy driving, or nodding off at the wheel, is no laughing matter. Drowsy driving can be linked to nearly 328,000 car accidents every year. Some populations like teens or those whose employment requires work in off hours are at higher risk for drowsy driving than the average person. Being aware of and knowing the risks gives you a chance to take action before you find yourself on the open road.

Teens

While the average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night, teens require at least nine hours to function at their best. Along with that, the adolescent body reacts differently to sleep deprivation than that of an adult. Teens are better able to resist drowsiness, which means they often push the limits. However, once they’ve reached their fatigue threshold, they fall asleep far quicker.

The schedule and lifestyle of many teens also put them at high risk for sleep deprivation. Early start times combined with a change in the circadian rhythms of teens causes a shift in their sleep schedule. Where they once got tired at 9 pm, they often find themselves wide awake until 11 pm. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that high school students who attended a school with a later start time experienced fewer car accidents that students with an early start time.

Work-Related Sleep Deprivation

Some occupations put workers at higher risk for sleep deprivation and drowsy driving than others. At risk populations include:

  • Shift workers
  • Commercial vehicle drivers
  • Business travelers

Shift workers battle against the body’s own circadian rhythms, which naturally makes the body feel sleepy between the hours of 12 am – 6 am. After a long shift, many shift workers struggle to keep their eyes open. Commercial vehicle drivers find themselves in a similar situation wherein they’re on the road when the body naturally wants to rest. Business travelers suffering from jet lag may have a long drive home from the airport. Extreme flight times, either late or early, can lead travelers as well as flight crews to drive while drowsy.

Lower the Risks, Sleep More, Drive Smart

If you or a loved one is at high risk for driving while drowsy, you can take action to prevent an accident. Working to develop good sleep habits is a good place to start.

  • Keep a Consistent Bedtime: Once you know how many hours of sleep you need, make an effort to keep a consistent bedtime that allows you get enough sleep.
  • Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day: Your circadian rhythms like consistency, even on the weekends. Try to avoid sleeping in if you can.
  • Create a Sleep Sanctuary: Even if you are getting the hours of sleep you need, you might not be getting high-quality sleep. Keep your bedroom dark and cool, between 60-68 degrees at night. Make sure your mattress offers good support and isn’t lumpy.

Even if you’ve got good sleep habits, there will be times when you find yourself struggling to stay awake on the road. Here are a few tips to try:

  • Pull Over at a Rest Stop: Even a solid 15-20 minute nap can help you get home safely.
  • Chew Gum: While not a long-term solution, chewing gum works the jaw muscles and stimulates your body. Strong flavors like cinnamon and spearmint can give you a quick jolt to stay awake.
  • Drive in Daylight: The brain knows it should be awake in daylight and will work to keep you alert.
  • Play Upbeat Music: Turn on upbeat music and let it give you the lift you need.

Author, Ben DiMaggio. Ben is a researcher for the sleep science and health organization Tuck.com. Ben specializes in investigating how sleep, and sleep deprivation, affect public health and safety. Ben lives in Portland, Oregon. His worst sleep habit is checking his email right before bed.

the likeable lawyer

I credit my time teaching negotiation courses with The Likeable Lawyer for many of the results I’m able to obtain for clients. In personal injury claims, the end result is almost always a product of a long negotiation between the personal injury lawyer and the insurance adjuster or defense counsel for the insurance company. Having a set of negotiation skills in place is a crucial part to surviving and thriving in this environment.

Understanding Needs

One central focus of successful negotiation is understanding the needs of all parties involved. Much to the surprise of many lawyers, this means attempting to understand your ‘enemy’. By understanding the other side’s motivations, however, it opens you to the possibility of proposing a solution which will be acceptable to them. Quite often, with a deeper understanding of the needs or concerns of the other side, you can negotiate a better result for your client. This happens as a result of being able to describe to the other side the benefit of saying “yes” to your offer.

While needs will change from situation to situation, the lawyer’s goal should be to see beneath the demands and statements of the client and the adversary, toward understanding what is really driving their behavior. A personal injury client with a broken ankle, for example, may be equally concerned about a monetary award as he is about seeing that a store implements a new policy when mopping floors to avoid slip and fall accidents.

Maintaining Emotional Poise

I will be the first to tell you that maintaining emotional poise during a frustrating negotiation is a challenge. It’s one we face nearly every day as attorneys battling it out for our clients. Developing the ability to maintain and understand emotions plays a key role not only in the longevity of your career, but also in your ability to negotiate through difficult moments. While understanding your own emotions is critical, it’s also extremely effective to understand or seek to understand the emotions of your adversary—you can use that understanding to foster a relationship and reach an agreement.

The Bulldog Lawyer

It’s not uncommon for clients to seek out what they might refer to as a Bulldog Lawyer—someone who isn’t going to take no for an answer, and who will bully their way to good results. Despite what we see on television, this behavior is most often ineffective and creates a divide between parties which is often irreparable. The Likeable Lawyer course offerings have shown thousands of lawyers, myself included, that what clients want more than a bulldog lawyer is results. In the end, the client cares mostly about getting the best results. Lawyers who take the courses I’ve taught with The Likeable Lawyer comment routinely to me that the courses are refreshing, offer a new perspective, and ultimately help them achieve better results for their clients. Happy clients make for happy lawyers.

Clients call us routinely with personal injury inquiries about foreign objects in food. Essentially, foreign objects in food are anything that does not belong in the dish, meal or drink you are consuming. This article will examine how foreign objects make their way into food products, and also give you some tips on what to do if you find a foreign object in food.

If you already know you would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer about a personal injury claim, you can call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. The consultation is free.

How Did It Get There?

Most of us are perplexed as to how something not meant to be in our food could end up there; however, upon examining the food industry a little more closely, some of these foreign objects found in food start to make a little more sense. For instance, in pre-packaged food, it is not uncommon to find a screw or piece of metal in the packaging. This can be the result of a machinery piece breaking off on the assembly line in the packaging plant. In restaurants, the environment is much less controlled, and objects like broken glass, plastic or hair may end up in food at some time or another during the transport or preparation of the food inside the restaurant.

The existence of foreign objects in food gives rise to contamination of the food. In most cases, the foreign object is a non-edible object which can give rise to injuries such as broken teeth or internal bleeding. The failure of the food manufacturer to ensure that foreign objects do not end up in food is a breach of the manufacturer’s duty to you, the consumer. This breach may be a breach amounting to negligence. It may also give rise to a products liability claim.

What You Should Do

If you find foreign objects in food, you should take immediate steps to alert others around you. These cases are challenging cases to win from an evidence standpoint. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that the object was in fact found in the food, and that the foreign object entered the food when it was still under the seller’s or manufacturer’s control. Take the following steps if you find foreign objects in food:

  • Alert a manager – if you’re at a restaurant, be sure to report the incident to a manager and complete an incident report in compliance with whatever the restaurant’s procedure is for doing so;
  • Take Photographs – We live in a time where you are carrying a camera with you at all times. Take photos of the foreign object while it is still in the food, if possible. In the alternative, take quality photos of the foreign object in the restaurant.
  • Keep the foreign object – Do not turn the object over to the manager or supervisor as you may never get it back. Maintain possession of the item as you may need it for your claim.
  • Seek medical attention quickly—Getting the medical attention you need is critical to establishing your damages.

Talk To A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you’ve found foreign objects in food and would like to speak with a lawyer about your case, call us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a phone call. The call is free and answering questions is part of our job. When it comes to deciding on a personal injury lawyer, we know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Our firm represents new car accident clients and slip and fall clients each day in Charlotte, NC. Injuries from those accidents range from soft tissue injuries to broken bones, and each personal injury claim is unique. Your injuries directly affect the value of your claim. Understandably, clients want to know what broken bones from car accidents are worth when it comes time to settle a claim. The answer depends on a few factors.

Medical Treatment

Perhaps the most telling indicator of the value of your personal injury claim is the medical treatment you received. Your Charlotte personal injury lawyer will analyze this from two perspectives: the actual medical records, and the medical billing. Some broken bones from car accidents require a cast and time to heal, while others require numerous screws, pins and rods in order to support the broken bone while it heals. The differing nature of treatment will change the value of your claim.

Time Missed From Work

Broken bones from car accidents routinely lead to missed work. If the car accident gave rise to missed work or lost wages, your lawyer will ask you to have your employer sign a Lost Wages Affidavit in support of establishing the wages you lost as a direct result of the car accident. Depending upon your job, a broken bone may mean a few days out of work, or several weeks. Your lost wages will be added to your medical billing totals and will contribute to the total value of your claim.

Special Damages

Personal injury lawyers and insurance adjusters often talk about Special Damages. These can include but are not limited to, harm you suffered as a direct result of your car accident. They extend beyond the physical injuries. For instance, if you were in a car accident and it caused you to miss your daughter’s graduation, or a ski trip to the mountains, your personal injury lawyer will assist you in valuing those special damages. This includes both out-of-pocket expenses and intangible losses like missing your own 16th birthday or your senior year season of track and field due to a broken bone from a car accident.

Talk To A Lawyer Today

We are here to help. Part of our job is providing guidance and advice. Phone consultations are free. If you would like to speak with a lawyer today, call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call from us. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Accident lawyers in Charlotte assist individuals who have been injured as the result of a car accident, pedestrian accident, or some other type of vehicular accident. Choosing your accident lawyer is an important part of your personal injury claim and can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

There are numerous choices when it comes to accident lawyers in Charlotte, and it is our opinion and experience that many of them do an excellent job for their personal injury clients. We believe that a successful relationship with a personal injury client comes down to results and relationship.

Your Personal Injury Lawyer Relationship

Entering into an agreement for legal representation creates a close relationship between the accident lawyer and the client. With every relationship comes expectations, challenges, and hopefully rewarding results. Our promise to you is to keep you informed of the status of your case, and to make sure you understand your options at any time along the way to resolving the claim or navigating the lawsuit.

Unlike other firms where it’s nearly impossible to speak to the attorney, you will always have access to your accident lawyer and paralegal.

Results

We can’t promise results. What we promise is that we will do everything in our power to maximize your results and obtain a result with which you are satisfied. No case settles without your prior advanced permission, and you’ll know your final take-home amount before saying yes to an offer from a personal injury insurance adjuster. Accident lawyers in Charlotte earn their good reputation with clients by not only obtaining the best offer possible from the insurance company, but also by negotiating with medical billing providers in those instances where it makes sense to do so. This means less of your personal injury settlement goes to medical creditors and more of it goes to you.

Call A Charlotte Accident Lawyer Today

We’re here to provide guidance, whether you decide to hire us or not. The call is free. Find out more about your rights and options by speaking with a Charlotte accident lawyer. You can reach us at 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. We know you have choices. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a boating accident, call us at 704.749.7747 to speak to a lawyer today. The phone consultation is free and our goal is for you to better understand your options as a result of the call. There is no obligation to select our firm to represent you—we’re happy to just to give you the help you need.

Miles and Miles of Coastline

The lakes surrounding Charlotte, NC offer endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation; however, with Lake Norman alone boasting 520 miles of shoreline, there are bound to be boating accidents. When clients call our office with questions about boating accidents, quite often they are looking for clarification around determining fault. The reason for this is that the “rules of the road” are not as clearly defined in the water as they are on our roads and highways.

Boating accidents can be the result of two boats colliding, boats colliding with obstacles in the water, or mechanical failures of the boat. When you add the likelihood of swimmers, water skiers, and unrestrained passengers, the outcome can be deadly. All too often, alcohol is a contributing factor in boating accidents, and inebriated boat operators face additional charges for Boating While Intoxicated (BWI).

Common Injuries in Boating Accidents

Injuries resulting from boating accidents can be similar to those resulting from car accidents; however, with the presence of water there is the ever-present threat of drowning. Common injuries include:

  • Drowning
  • Broken Bones
  • Concussions
  • Property Damage
  • Soft Tissue Injuries
  • Injuries to Children
  • Injuries to the Elderly

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission compiles annual statistics related to boating accidents which can be viewed HERE.

Speak With A Boating Accident Attorney

The next step you can take to find out whether you have a negligence claim related to a boating accident is to speak with a personal injury lawyer. Call us at 704.749.7747 for a free phone consultation. Or, you can click HERE to request a call from us. We know you have choices, and we hope you  choose to Recover With Us.

Paying For Bankruptcy

I’ve always found that paying for your bankruptcy makes an otherwise difficult financial time even more… difficult. Fortunately, if you’re able to put together the funds for bankruptcy, you will experience immediate financial relief upon filing, as your creditors are no longer allowed to attempt to collect on debts. We understand the difficulty associated with paying for your bankruptcy, and we try to be flexible in that regard. Call our office at 704.749.7747 for more details, or click HERE to request a fee quote.

Down Payments Toward Bankruptcy

Our firm will start working on your bankruptcy with you, prior to receiving any funds from you. If you are willing to do the work involved in preparing to file, we take that as a showing of good faith on your part and we work with you to get started. After the firm has reviewed your submitted information, we will schedule a call with you. Once we are comfortable you will be successful in your Chapter 7 filing, then we ask you to make a deposit toward the total fee.

Using Credit Cards To Pay For Bankruptcy

Unfortunately, you can not use a credit card to pay for bankruptcy. When you place a charge on a credit card which you have no intention of paying back, that debt will survive the bankruptcy. A bankruptcy fee would fall into that category.

When Will My Bankruptcy Be Filed

The Federal Bankruptcy Code requires that the final payment be received by the attorney prior to the actual filing of the bankruptcy. So, the remainder of your payment is due any time prior to filing. Once we receive the final payment from you, we are typically ready to file your case within a week. Upon filing, which is done electronically, your bankruptcy attorney automatically receives a bankruptcy case number. The court also immediately notifies your creditors of the filing.

Can Someone Else Pay For My Bankruptcy

Yes, someone else is permitted to pay for some or all of your bankruptcy. While many clients have already borrowed money from friends or family in order to try to keep up with mounting debts and gaps in income, our clients find those same friends and family members are interested in assisting with bankruptcy payments because it represents an end to a difficult situation for you.

Other Fees In Bankruptcy

For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we charge a flat fee and we will explain to you the work included with that flat fee. In some rare circumstances, a Chapter 7 may require additional attorney work to defend against an aggressive creditor. Those situations are usually evident prior to filing and your Charlotte bankruptcy attorney will make sure you understand the risk of having to spend additional money on the bankruptcy. Typically, this is not the case.

Who Pays The Bankruptcy Court Filing Fees

In addition to the attorney fee, there are fees due to the court for filing a bankruptcy. Our firm includes those fees in our flat fee, and we pay the court fees directly, together with any 3rd party fees associated with your bankruptcy.

Taking Next Steps

Most clients tell us they feel better already after simply having a phone consultation with the attorney. If you’d like to take the next step toward financial freedom, simply call us at 704.749.7747 and speak with an attorney today. Or you can click HERE and request a call. Bankruptcy is a powerful resource which provides great relief and marks the start of your financial recovery. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

fair settlement

Everyone wants a fair personal injury settlement, and over the years, we have found that most personal injury clients’ primary desire is to be treated fairly. They are not looking for a pay day. That being said, clients calling to discuss their personal injury claim with us routinely ask what their claim is worth. While we hesitate to predict what an individual might receive in a personal injury settlement or a jury verdict, we consult a few factors to assist us:

Who Was At Fault

Parties often disagree on who was at fault for in any given auto accident or slip and fall claim. Quite often, in a car accident, both parties experience injuries as a result of the accident. The key to being compensated for your injuries begins with convincing the opposing insurance company their driver was at fault. If you can’t prove liability (in court) or convince the other side to accept liability (in or out of court), then regardless of your injuries, you will not recovery anything. This factor takes on a more complicated analysis when the injury is the result of a slip and fall accident.

Valuing Your Injury

Insurance companies and juries will typically value your injuries based on some factor of your medical billing, together with lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other special circumstances your injury caused or will cause in the future. Your disability rating is considered together with these factors, if you have one. Mecklenburg county juries are conservative when it comes to damages for personal injury plaintiffs. While this is reflected when an insurance company offers a settlement amount, you’ll find your personal injury attorney will add value to your case by defending your right to be compensated fairly.

Defining Fairness

Every personal injury client is different, and every fact scenario is different. Fairness is subjective. That being said, we maximize your settlement by employing our experience and resources to defend against denials of liability and low settlement offers. The choice is yours whether to settle or not; we are here to provide you guidance in that decision when the time comes.

Take Next Steps

Take the next step and call a Charlotte personal injury lawyer today. We conduct phone consultations at no charge. You will come away from the phone call with a much better understanding of what your options are. We would love to partner with you in your journey toward resolving your personal injury claim or lawsuit. If you would like to speak with an attorney today, call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to request a call. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

Charlotte car wreck attorney

Finding the right Charlotte car wreck attorney can be challenging, and it’s arguably the most important part of your fight against insurance companies who want to deny your claim or make you a low offer. It is our opinion that there are numerous Charlotte car wreck attorneys who will achieve a great result for you. That’s why it’s not only important to find a capable personal injury attorney, but also one who you will work well with for the duration of your auto accident case.

Factors To Consider When Choosing A Charlotte Car Wreck Attorney

The following factors will help dictate the outcome of your personal injury case, together with the experience you have with your injury lawyer along the way:

  • Availability: It’s quite common for a law firm to be available when they are signing on to represent your case, but then it becomes impossible to get the lawyer on the phone or get an update on your case as things move forward. Personal injury lawyers are busy, but there is no excuse for this. Make sure the firm allows you to speak directly with your lawyer, and ask the lawyer up front how often they will update you on your case as things progress.
  • Fees: Most Charlotte car wreck attorneys follow the same fee structure, which is known as a contingency fee. In other words, if you don’t get paid, the attorney doesn’t get paid. This is important, because you don’t want to go into debt to your personal injury lawyer before you ever even reach a settlement or jury verdict. The Layton Law Firm, like most other firms, has a contingency fee agreement with clients for 1/3 of the settlement if an agreement is reached prior to filing a lawsuit.
  • Experience: It’s fair to ask your Charlotte car wreck attorney about their experience. Have they handled cases similar to yours in the past? What do they see at the top obstacles in a case like yours? Asking these questions should get a valuable conversation started between you and your personal injury lawyer, and you should start to get a feel for whether the lawyer you’re speaking with is the right fit.
  • Co-Counsel: Ask your Charlotte car wreck lawyer if they are open to working with co-counsel if necessary on your case. This is an agreement where your lawyer pairs with another lawyer or law firm, due to the need for additional resources, or even perhaps because another attorney specializes in courtroom litigation while your personal injury lawyer specializes in pre-litigation and settlement work. The Layton Law Firm routinely pairs with other lawyers on complex cases and claims. There is no additional expense to the persona injury client in this scenario, as the lawyers share the attorney fee among themselves, with your approval.
  • Specific Attorney/Paralegal Assignment: Your Charlotte car wreck attorney should be able to commit to assigning a specific attorney and a specific paralegal to your case. This eliminates the need to speak with numerous individuals at the law firm every time you need an update on your case. You should be given a way to directly contact the lawyer and/or the paralegal, by phone or email.

Contacting A Charlotte Car Wreck Attorney

Fortunately for clients, personal injury consultations at our firm are performed at no charge. We will ask you a few questions about your injury and the facts surrounding it, and then do our best to evaluate your case with you over the phone. While we can not promise results, we will give you what we believe to be an honest assessment of your situation, as compared to the laws and case history of North Carolina.

Requesting A Personal Injury Consultation

If you would like to speak with a Charlotte car wreck attorney, it’s simple. Give us a call at 704.749.7747 and an attorney will take the call or return your call before the end of the day. If you’d like us to call you instead, simply click HERE and request a consultation. Most consultations are performed over the phone for convenience, and you’ll get the advice and help you need as quickly as possible. We know you have choices, and we hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

negligent homeowner

Negligent homeowners beware: it’s Halloween and you’re getting visitors. North Carolina premises liability law governs whether you will be held liability for injuries sustained on your property. With Halloween just around the corner, you’ll no doubt be getting lots of guests to your property, whether you like it or not. Most of these guests are small children who will be running through the dark of night toward your front door in hopes of scoring lots of candy. But what happens if they trip and fall along the way?

The Basics of Premises Liability Law in NC

Property owners have a duty to keep their property safe. Negligent homeowners will pay the price for failing to do so, as the rules of negligence in personal injury extend not only to retail property owners, but also to homeowners. In some instances there are conditions which are dangerous or potentially dangerous. If the property owner can not remedy those conditions, there is at the very least a duty to warn your visitors and guests of the dangerous conditions, especially if it’s reasonable to expect visitors.

In addition to the potential for a trick-or-treater falling on your property, you should also beware that Halloween is a time where the family dog may not be so fond of visitors dressed in strange costumes. It’s reasonable to expect dog bites and injuries related to dog attacks to increase during Halloween, and the property owner or dog owner can be held liable for the attack, especially if the dog has a documented history of such behavior.

Am I A Negligent Homeowner?

Each claim against a negligent homeowner in a personal injury matter essentially requires that the components of Negligence are satisfied in order for the plaintiff to successfully prove their case. Those elements are:

  • The homeowner owed a duty to the injured party
  • The duty was breached
  • The breach of that duty gave rise to the injury in question
  • There were damages resulting directly from the injury

There are numerous instances where a homeowner may in fact be negligent; however, if there are no damages resulting from that negligence, there is no claim to be pursued by the other party. For example, a homeowner who fails to maintain his walkway may have breached his duty to his guest. If that guest trips and falls because of this failure to maintain the walkway, the guest is well on their way to having a negligence claim against the property owner. However, consider that in some instances the trip and fall victim lands softly in the grass, gets up, wipes the grass stains off of their pants, and realizes they are not injured. In this case, there is no viable claim for recovery under the principle of Negligence, as the fourth prong of Negligence has not been met: there are no damages (other than a bruised ego from falling in front of friends).

How Long Do I Have To File A Lawsuit?

As with most negligence claims, you have three years from the date of the accident to settle the claim or file a lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. This three-year time frame gives the injured party enough time to realize the full extent of their injuries. It also gives the injured party enough time to receive treatment for those injuries and obtain representation (i.e. get a personal injury lawyer) so that they may recover from the negligent homeowner.

Call A Charlotte Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you or someone you know was injured at a private residence or in a retail location, call us today for a free case evaluation. You can reach us at 704.749.7747. Or, you can click HERE to request a phone call from an attorney. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.