A personal injury blog containing useful information for anyone in Charlotte looking for information about personal injury or looking for a Charlotte personal injury attorney.

Halloween is a great time to be a kid. The thrill of running house to house for free candy is tough to beat. During trick or treating, you’ll see exhausted parents who would have given up hours ago if their kids would only let them. But alas, the battle wages on into the late evening until porch lights are turned off, and jack-o-lanterns blow out; it’s the national symbol for “It’s over. Go home now, kids.”

As an adult, and as a personal injury lawyer, you see the world a bit differently than children do. As a result, you think of Halloween a bit differently. Every child’s dash out into the street is a potentially life threatening moment. Candy needs to be examined before being consumed. And of course the truly scary stories of Halloweens past fill the news. If you’re an adult, you’re just hoping to survive Halloween. Here are a few tips to for you and your family to make it through the holiday safely.

Stay Visible: Costumes are meant to be scary, but a little bit of reflective material or a light of some sort makes your child visible to vehicles navigating busy streets during trick or treat hours. Wal-Mart, Target and other stores all sell clip-on blinking red lights (check the bike section) which will do the trick.

Stay Together: Kids tend to trick or treat as a group, but they run from house to house like a bunch of goblins on the loose. Remind kids to travel together as a group between houses. They are more likely to be seen by drivers, and you’re less likely to lose a little one in the mayhem. Just the peace of mind that comes with a full head count will make the evening easier on you as an adult.

Stay Sober: The temptation to carry along a little treat for daddy or mommy by way of the bottle is strong on a stressful night. Be responsible and remember you’re in charge of children who are terrorizing the neighborhood streets high on sugar and adrenaline.

Drive SLOWLY: If you have to drive a car on Halloween, the burden is on you to drive with extra caution. If you’re in a neighborhood at dusk, you should expect kids to jump out in front of you at random, crossing the street in search of the next mini Snickers bar. Even if it’s chilly, drive with your window down or cracked, so you’ll hear kids coming.

Charlotte Pedestrian accidents increase dramatically around Halloween, for obvious reasons. It’s a busy night with lots of foot traffic. Give kids a break and use extra caution when you’re on the road.

We hope you and your kids have a Happy Halloween!

It amazes me how often I enter a Charlotte restaurant bathroom to find there is water on the bathroom floor. It is usually easy to tell if the wet floor has just been mopped, or if the water on the bathroom floor is from the sink or a spill. Either way, the wet bathroom floor presents a particularly dangerous condition. Most restaurant bathroom floors are made of slick tile, and when someone slips and falls, there’s nothing soft to break their landing.

If you’ve been injured by slipping on a wet floor in a restaurant, you may be wondering whether you have a personal injury claim against the restaurant. It’s not always an easy answer, but if you review the four prong test for dangerous conditions on business premises, you can get a sense as to whether you may have a claim.

Was There A Duty?

In order for the business or restaurant to be liable to you in any way, you must first establish that they had a duty of care. If you are a business invitee on a property, the answer is generally yes, the establishment has a duty to keep the premises free of dangerous conditions, including wet bathroom floors. An example where a business may not have a duty would be if you were trespassing on the property late at night when the business was closed, and you were injured as a result.

Was There A Breach Of Duty?

Not only must you establish that a duty existed, but you must also establish that the duty was breached. This means the business, its agents or employees, failed to meet the standard of care the law holds them to, regarding the condition of the property. If the premises are to be kept reasonably free of hazards, and if there is water on the bathroom floor (a hazard), then you would have a strong argument the duty to you has been breached.

Was There Notice Of The Hazard?

It is not enough that there is a duty and that the duty was breached. In a negligence case involving the example of water on a bathroom floor, you must show the entity in control of the property had notice of the hazard. This notice can be actual notice, or constructive notice. An example of constructive notice would treat the party as if they knew, simply because they should have known. If a banana peel drops on the floor and five seconds later you slip on it, chances are the party controlling the premises didn’t have actual or constructive notice. If you trip instead on a dark brown banana peel, suggesting the peel has been on the floor for quite some time, you could argue the store knew or should have known about the existence of the dangerous condition.

Were There Damages As A Direct Result?

Hopefully this question makes sense. Even if there is a duty, and even if that duty is breached, if you don’t have damages you don’t have a claim or case. The reason is that you have not experienced a loss. A personal injury claim is made to seek compensation for a loss. That loss can be physical (a broken arm, a concussion), and it can also be less tangible, as is the case with anxiety. Typically, you can recover for all damages which stem directly from the injury sustained.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you want to know if you have a personal injury claim or case, give us a call. We will listen to your story, ask a few questions, and help you understand your options. We can be reached by requesting a call HERE, or by calling us at 704.749.7747. We hope you choose to Recover With Us.

Pedestrian right of way is something most of us feel comfortable with. We all grew up with the understanding that “The pedestrian always has the right of way.” In most people’s minds, this maxim applies whether you’re walking, running, or riding a bike. If you’ve handled pedestrian personal injury cases in North Carolina, you know that insurance companies often disagree. This article is intended to help clarify some issues involved with pedestrian accidents in North Carolina.

Charlotte Pedestrian Accidents

A pedestrian accident in Charlotte, NC can be a unique personal injury case. It’s not that Charlotte has its own set of laws, but being a larger more densely populated city in North Carolina, Charlotte has more crosswalks, more pedestrians crossing outside of crosswalks, and more complicated roadways in general.

The Pedestrian Right of Way

The state of North Carolina has codified (made into law) some of the rights of pedestrians. Chapter 20 of the North Carolina General Statutes addresses pedestrian concerns. NC General Statutes Section 20-155(c) states specifically:

“The driver of any vehicle upon a highway within a business or residence district shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing such highway within any clearly marked crosswalk, or any regular pedestrian crossing included in the prolongation of the lateral boundary lines of the adjacent sidewalk at the end of a block, except at intersections where the movement of traffic is being regulated by traffic officers or traffic direction”

The first aspect of this is extremely helpful when building a pedestrian personal injury claim. If the pedestrian is crossing within the crosswalk, they are protected. While the latter part of the paragraph carves out an exception where traffic is being directed by an officer, that rarely comes up in my personal injury practice.

The Gray Area Involving Right of Way

North Carolina follows a rule called Contributory Negligence. Essentially, it means that if the plaintiff (The pedestrian in this instance) contributed in any way to the accident, then they can not recover from the defendant. This is typically the first claim of insurance companies defending a claim for a pedestrian personal injury case. The typical reasons given are:

  • Not in a crosswalk
  • Wearing dark clothing (Not visible to the driver)
  • Impaired (Drugs or alcohol)
  • Last Clear Chance
  • Crossing at Night

If you’ve been in a pedestrian accident, your personal injury lawyer will discuss some or all of the items on the above list, in anticipation of the insurance company claiming you did not have the right of way. If the insurance company can establish the pedestrian did not have the right of way, then the driver did not have to yield to the pedestrian. Next, the insurance company will attempt to establish at least some part of the accident was the pedestrian’s fault. While our firm has successfully made claims regarding pedestrian personal injury accidents, it is almost never without a fight from the insurance company in this manner.

The Pedestrian Crosswalk Dilemma

As a driver, I am always on the look out for pedestrians, because I know that pedestrians quite often cross a street outside of a crosswalk. I do it myself, and I see others do it every day. As a result, I believe it’s reasonable to expect a pedestrian to cross the road in these circumstances. There are several circumstances where a driver should anticipate or even expect this behavior:

  • No other crosswalk opportunity within sight
  • A break in the median
  • Handicap ‘cut-outs’ on either side of the street suggesting a ‘crosswalk’

While every pedestrian right of way claim is a challenge, pedestrians are also quite sympathetic to juries. Even where a pedestrian has been crossing in the evening, or wearing dark clothing, if the jury decides the driver had the last clear chance to avoid the accident, there is a good chance the pedestrian will win the personal injury lawsuit.

Speak With A Personal Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love has been struck by a vehicle, please call us to find out your rights. We are more than happy to hear your story and give you a complimentary assessment of your case or claim. If we can not take your case for some reason, we will help you find another lawyer that we trust, who can assist you. If you’d like to speak with an attorney today, call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to send us a request for a phone consultation. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.

charlotte car accident

Working with personal injury clients in Wilmington, NC for car accidents is a critical part of our practice. We are a North Carolina based personal injury and car accident law firm and we focus our representation between Wilmington, NC and Charlotte, NC.

If you’ve been in a car accident in Wilmington, NC or in New Hanover county, we would love to speak with you. With a free phone consultation you can determine whether you have any rights against the driver who hit you. Our job is to help you determine that. If you’d like to have a lawyer call you, just click HERE and make the request. You’ll receive a call today.

Working With A Wilmington, NC Car Accident Lawyer

Every law firm is different, but at The Layton Law Firm, we have built our reputation upon achieving good results for clients while keeping them informed along the way. A car accident is disruptive to your life, and we are sensitive to that. Whether you’ve been in a Truck Accident, a Pedestrian Accident, or even if you’ve been rear-ended in a fender bender, it’s never something you planned or invited into your life.

Dealing with insurance companies on your own is not only frustrating but it’s dangerous—you can easily sign away your rights against the insured driver who caused your injuries. When you work with a Wilmington, NC car accident lawyer, not only do you preserve your rights, but you turn all of that stress over to the lawyer and the paralegals.

Recover With Us

If you read the articles on this website, you’ll find over and over again the phrase Recover With Us. This is the hallmark of The Layton Law Firm. It is our belief that we can play a critical role in recovering financially for our clients, and that we also express care in such a way that we help clients to recover emotionally from a car accident, workers compensation injury, slip and fall, or any other injury.

We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us. Call 704.749.7747 or click HERE to speak with an attorney now. We’re here to help.

Our experience is that a large majority of car accidents are the result of a rear end accident. While many of these are minor “fender benders”, they can still lead to meaningful injuries for one or both drivers or passengers in the car accident.

Treating Injuries From A Rear End Car Accident

If your injuries are soft tissue injuries—no broken bones—then you may seek immediate emergency treatment from the scene of the car accident. Most likely, you’ll be referred to a chiropractor or physical therapist for a course of therapy designed to help you recover from the accident. If you are working with a personal injury lawyer, typically your medical provider will defer their bill until you reach a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company. Your personal injury lawyer can facilitate this relationship by communicating with the medial provider.

Your may also have Medical Payments coverage under your own insurance policy. This is an option when taking out your insurance policy. Your personal injury lawyer will reach out to your insurance company to determine if you have the coverage, and help facilitate a payment. There is no harm in you using this aspect of your own auto policy if you have already paid for the coverage.

Establishing Liability In A Rear End Accident

Liability in a rear end accident is typically clear. While there are some exceptions for sudden stopping done by the driver in front, in North Carolina it is almost always the responsibility of each driver to leave enough stopping distance between your vehicle and the next vehicle, to accommodate sudden stopping.

Because each personal injury claim has two key components (Liability and Damages), a rear end accident claim tends not to involve an argument over liability as much as a negotiation over your damages.

Damages In A Rear End Accident

First, you must establish that damages exist. This is one key component to a successful Negligence claim. At the scene of the car accident, you can do this by taking photos of the position of the vehicles, as well as the physical damage to your own car. It is not a bad idea to take photos of the other vehicle damage as well—it can establish the severity of the accident, and also help to establish how the vehicles made contact with one another.

Obtaining a police report is a key element in overcoming liability and also goes toward establishing damages. The police report may list witnesses, insurance companies, and also a narrative written by the officer, regarding the car accident. If you know a police report was generated for your car accident but you don’t have one, we can obtain one for you for FREE.

Using A Personal Injury Lawyer For Your Rear End Accident

While your claim may seem uncomplicated by the nature of being rear ended, if you proceed without a personal injury lawyer you’ll quickly find that there are hurdles to maximizing your damages recovery. Not only will insurance adjusters hurry you through the process of settling the claim, but they may pick up value at each turn by offering you less money for your property damage, minimizing your medical damages, and settling your claim prior to making sure you’ve received all the medical treatment you need.

Your personal injury lawyer will also negotiate your medical bills as part of your settlement. While you’ll get a full explanation of how this aspect of settling the claim works, essentially it means more money from the settlement goes into your pocket.

If you have been in a rear end accident and would like to speak with a personal injury lawyer, we’re here to help. Call us at 704.749.7747 or email us HERE to tell us when you’d like to speak. The consultation is free and it’s part of our job. We hope you’ll choose to Recover With Us.