Option to Cancel? Maybe Not…

“Do I have a right to cancel this contract?”  I get this question quite often from potential clients and far too often I have to answer with a resounding “no.”  Recently, however, I was made aware of a local vehicle dealership which apparently is providing a 3-day money back guarantee on certain pre-owned vehicles.  It sounds like a good deal but I would suggest folks still be careful and protect themselves by taking the following three steps:

Get it in writing:  At the time you make your purchase (or preferably, before deciding to purchase) make sure you have this money back guarantee and all terms and conditions in writing.  Review them and ask any questions before making a decision to buy.

Have the vehicle checked by a mechanic:  During this 3-day period in addition to driving the vehicle you should be sure to have it inspected thoroughly by an experienced mechanic.  Have the mechanic provide you with a written report of any issues or potential issues with the vehicle.

Think:  If you have taken the above two steps you should have the information needed to decide if you want to keep the vehicle.  Note that most dealerships do not provide any money back guarantee so this is your opportunity to back out if it makes sense to do so. If you do decide to rescind the deal and seek your money back be sure to provide the notice required in the Flow policy.

For more resources in protecting yourself when purchasing a used vehicle visit the O’Neal Law Office Free Information Center.  Best wishes in finding a vehicle that fits your budget and meets your needs.

John T. O’Neal is a practicing attorney in Greensboro, NC who focuses his practice in Personal Injury/Wrongful Death, Consumer Law (includes Auto Dealer Fraud/Vehicle Issues, Lemon Law, and Debt Collection Defense), and various types of Civil Litigation. A long-time NCAJ member and a two-time Ebbie Award winner, he is a former Chair of the Consumer Areas of Practice Section and the Hispanic/Latino Issues Division.

How Waiting Too Long to See a Doctor Can Be Used Against You

When you have an accident, whether it involves a car crash, falling off a ladder, tripping and falling on sidewalk debris or any other incident, unless bones are obviously broken or you are bleeding, the common human tendency is to respond, “I’m okay.” Additionally, your body responds to stress by releasing adrenaline and endorphins giving you a rush which masks your pain and your awareness that you have been injured. Even if you have a couple of bruises or abrasions, you may avoid getting medical treatment because you either have no insurance or have high deductibles. You worry about paying for treatment and just go home. You assume you will be fine.

A few days after the accident, you may feel dizzy or have aches and pains. You hope they will go away, but they do not. Finally, days or weeks later, you go to a doctor and discover you have serious injuries, such as a concussion, nerve or spinal cord damage. You begin accumulating medical bills and lose time off of work. You consult an accident attorney in Charlotte, NC who asks you to submit your medical records for review. Your attorney discovers that you waited a long time to seek medical care. This may complicate your claim for damages and how much compensation you will eventually receive.

Waiting to Seek Medical Attention May be Used Against You

Waiting longer than 72 hours to seek medical treatment may be used against you for two main reasons:

  1. Insurance companies now use software programs in determining how much they think your claim for damages is worth. The program considers your failure to receive medical treatment within 72 hours of your accident as a sign that you were not seriously hurt. If you have received treatment within that time frame, a value is added to your claim.
  2. The law requires you to do your part to mitigate your damages. A failure to get prompt medical attention that results in your injury getting worse than it would if you got prompt treatment may result in a reduction of the amount of damage to which you will be entitled.

You should seek treatment for your own health. Medical professionals are trained to look for injuries that may not present immediate symptoms and will tell you what symptoms to watch for. For example, dizziness and headaches are indications of a concussion. Pain in the neck and extremities are symptoms of nerve damage or whiplash.

If you delayed seeking medical treatment after your accident, an experienced Charlotte personal injury attorney at Campbell & Associates will work to overcome this obstacle and work to see you receive all the compensation to which you are legally entitled.

 

Campbell & Associates is one of Charlotte’s premier trial practice law firms representing victims seeking compensation due to the negligence of another. The firm also has offices in Hickory, Gastonia, Monroe, and Rock Hill, South Carolina. The firm concentrates its practice on Plaintiff’s personal injury, representing people and their families damaged by injury and wrongful death cases arising from serious motor vehicle collisions, medical negligence, construction accidents and work place environments. For more information visit http://www.campbellandassociateslaw.com/

Types of Defective Product Liability Claims

If you’ve been injured from a defective product, you may be eligible to file a defective product liability claim. The claim you file may fall into one of three categories of product liability, and understanding these categories can help determine the validity of your claim. In this blog, our North Carolina personal injury attorney explains the three types of product liability claims:

Defectively Manufactured Products
A defectively manufactured product is perhaps the most obvious type of claim. If you’ve sustained an injury from a product that was flawed as a result of how it was made, your claim falls under the category of a defectively manufactured product. In these cases, you must prove that your injury was caused directly from the manufacturing defect, and not from user error. Examples of a defectively manufactured product include a swing set with a cracked chain pads or a tainted batch of cough syrup.

Defectively Designed Products
Claims filed in the category of defectively designed products include products where the design is inherently dangerous. When there is a defect in the design of a product, it makes the entire line of products dangerous, even if the product met the manufacturer’s requirements and standards. A design defect claim can include a type of sunglasses that fail to protect individuals from UV rays or a line of electric blankets that can electrocute the user when turned on.

Failure to Warn
Failure-to-warn liability claims cover products that fail to provide the user with warnings or instructions on how to use the product properly. These claims involve products that are dangerous in a way that is not obvious to the user such as a paint-removing chemical that’s sold without adequate instructions for use. Warnings are typically required if the product presents a danger, the manufacturer is aware of the danger or if users are at risk of injury even if they use the product in its intended manner.

Twiggs, Strickland & Rabenau has been successful in pursuing products liability cases throughout North Carolina. If you’ve suffered injuries from a defective product, call their North Carolina personal injury attorney at (919) 701-8132 to learn more about your case.

 

Social Security Disability and Unemployment

When we speak with new clients my office goes through a list of questions that, at first glance, seem unrelated to a disability claim. Have you received unemployment? What is your education level? What do you do on a typical day? We don’t do this boring version of the “20 Questions Game” to be nosy or waste a client’s time. Instead, the answers to these questions can sometimes make or break a claim.

Let’s be clear: A Social Security Disability (SSD) case cannot be won without strong medical evidence. But a good representative knows that it is important to show that the claimant is a person, not just a stack of medical records. In this mini-series, we’ll look at a few of the non-medical factors that can impact a claim.

Unemployment:

Receiving unemployment benefits after the date you say you became disabled (“alleged onset date”) can be big issue. There is a conflict between saying “I am disabled” while certifying for unemployment. In order to receive Unemployment benefits the worker has to be *able* to work and *actively seek new employment.* Certifying that those statements are true for Unemployment while alleging, at the same time, that a person is disabled and *unable to work* doesn’t always add up.

There are long delays associated with disability applications and appeals; how are claimants supposed to survive when they cannot work? This is a tough question the Social Security Administration does not clearly address. In 2006 the SSA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge, Honorable Frank Cristaudo, issued a memorandum that stated that receiving Unemployment benefits did not make a claimant ineligible for SSD benefits. However, in 2011, a federal court case, Roberts v. Astrue, affirmed that a Judge was correct in using an application for Unemployment against the claimant.

Social Security judges are not consistent with how they approach unemployment. Some do not focus on the issue and leave it up to the State of North Carolina. Others will not award benefits for the time period when a claimant received unemployment; an amended onset date may be required.  Changing the onset date may impact the amount of retroactive benefits (“back-pay”) and the date of Medicare eligibility.

In short, when it comes to Unemployment, honesty is the best policy. If you decide to apply for Unemployment be truthful about your Disability application status. Also be sure your SSA Disability representative knows if you received unemployment benefits.

Oxner + Permar, PLLC is a leader in North Carolina injury law concentrating on workers’ compensation, personal injury and social security disability.  The firm has offices in both North and South Carolina. For more information, visit www.oxnerpermarlaw.com.

Conditions Leading to a Slip and Fall Lawsuit

Slip and fall lawsuits are one of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits. These accidents can happen inside and outside in all sorts of weather. In fact, weather is one of the main factors in slips and falls outdoors. The most common types of outdoor conditions that lead to a slip or a fall are:

  • Weather-related, especially unnatural build-ups of snow and/or ice, such as melting ice that drips to the ground due to clogged or damaged drainpipes or gutters and refreezes, or the frozen puddles that form because of poor drainage or slopes on a property.
  • Poor lighting that may lead to not seeing a curb, step, or cracked or broken pavement.
  • Parking lots, including cracks or patches and uneven areas.
  • Sidewalks; even though most sidewalks are maintained by a local municipality, if a walk is exclusively used by patrons of a business, the business owner may be liable for unkempt areas.

Indoor conditions include:

  • Floors that are wet, damp, or excessively polished as to be slick, and have not been adequately marked as such.
  • Rugs or carpets that are torn, ripped, have curled edges, or are easily moved by stepping on them.
  • Stairs that have become uneven, have inadequate lighting or handrails, or have debris.
  • Elevators and escalators that are old, worn out, or damaged, or do not work properly

One of the challenges in a slip and fall lawsuit is proving the party responsible for the premises was aware of a potential problem and did not take the proper steps to address it. You need an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you navigate such a lawsuit.

 

If you’ve been hurt due to a slip or fall in or around Raleigh, Fayetteville, Greenville or any of the surrounding areas of North Carolina, please call the Ricci Law Firm, PA at (855) 444-9764 for a free case evaluation.

 

Understanding Your Right to Remain Silent

You know it from television, if nothing else: As a criminal suspect, you have the right to remain silent. Whether or not you know it by name, you are probably also familiar with what is known as the Miranda warning, which is the statement police read to suspects in their custody along the lines of, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law . . . .”

But, do you know how these important Constitutional principles protect you? Do you know what it means if the police fail to read you the Miranda warning? Understanding your rights and hiring a criminal defense lawyer who knows how to use them to protect you could mean the difference between walking free and facing a guilty verdict at trial.

The Protection Against Self-Incrimination

The right to remain silent in criminal cases comes from the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment protects all citizens against self-incrimination, and as a criminal suspect, the government cannot compel you to make statements that implicate your involvement in a crime.

In order to make sure criminal suspects understand this right, in a 1966 case known as Miranda v. Arizona, the U.S. Supreme Court held that prosecutors and law enforcement officers must employ safeguards “effective to secure the privilege against self-incrimination.” More specifically, the Supreme Court instructed the police to warn suspects of both (i) their right to remain silent, and (ii) their right to have an attorney present during interrogations. This is where we got the “Miranda warning” that we have today.

Understanding When Your Rights Apply

Importantly, while the Fifth Amendment’s protections apply at all times, the police are only required to read the Miranda warning to suspects who are in custody. If you are not in custody, the police do not have to read you your rights, but you also do not have to say anything that could be used against you regardless of where you are. As a result, if you have been pulled over, if you are facing a search warrant, or if the police simply stop you to ask some questions, you can (and often should) stay silent in order to protect yourself.

What if the police interrogate you without giving you the Miranda warning? If the police interrogate you in custody without reading your rights, then any self-incriminating statements you make may be inadmissible in court. Any evidence the government obtains acting on your statements could be inadmissible as well.

However, if you are not read your rights and you volunteer information while in custody—as opposed to in response to interrogation—your voluntary statements are likely admissible against you.

These are important protections and understanding when they apply, when they do not apply, and how to enforce them will be critical to asserting the strongest possible defense.

The safest bet when the police are asking you questions, regardless of where you are, is to politely decline to answer questions and demand an opportunity to call a criminal defense lawyer.

Learn More about Your Rights – Contact Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan, PLLC, a Raleigh Criminal Defense Law Firm

The defense attorneys at the law firm of Cheshire Parker Schneider & Bryan, PLLC provide experienced representation for criminal suspects in the Raleigh, NC area. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for any state or federal crime, we invite you to contact us immediately to discuss your case.

The firm’s founding partner, Joseph B. Cheshire, V, began practicing criminal law in Raleigh in 1973, establishing a firm in 1978 with John Hill Parker.  In 1982, the practice moved to its present home in the Alexander Building on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.  Lawyers in the criminal law section of the firm have appeared in criminal courts in 85 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 16 states and territories of the United States, all of North Carolina’s federal districts, the Fourth Circuit United States Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.  For more information, visit www.cheshireparker.com.

Car Accidents: Watching Out For Pedestrians In North Carolina

As the weather turns warmer, more people will be out walking in Guilford County. It also means that the number of car accidents involving pedestrians is likely to increase.

According to The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, reports from law enforcement indicate that on average, 500 pedestrians are seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents every year. In addition, anywhere between 100 and 200 pedestrians are killed and the total of pedestrian accidents involving vehicles is around 2,200.

A risky situation
Alcohol impaired persons, older pedestrians and children are the most likely to be involved in a pedestrian-vehicle accident according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC states that 47 percent of fatalities involve alcohol, either for the driver or the pedestrian. Statistics show that in 2010, 19 percent of fatalities were adults over the age of 65.

It is important to stress that sometimes, it is the pedestrian who is at fault for the accident. The CDC recommends that pedestrians should stay on sidewalks, use designated crosswalks as much as possible and if walking at night, should carry a flashlight to alert drivers to their presence.

How drivers can help
There are several things that drivers can do to be more alert to the presence of pedestrians, these tips include:

  • Slow down when approaching a crosswalk – Sometimes, a pedestrian can suddenly appear as if out of mid-air. By slowing down, a driver can give themselves time to react and avoid an accident.
  • Don’t pass stopped vehicles – If a car has stopped to let someone cross the street, it is important to wait patiently instead of taking a risk which could result in serious injury to a pedestrian.
  • Pay attention – When driving in areas known for pedestrian activity, such as schools and neighborhoods, it is important to keep an eye out for children who may dart out into the street.
  • Slow down when vision is limited – During bad weather and at night, a driver’s vision is limited and that means that their chance of seeing a pedestrian decreases. By reducing speed, they can increase their chances of spotting someone crossing the street or walking alongside.
  • Look before turning – When traffic is heavy, sometimes a driver will take advantage of a gap between cars. However, it is important to give the area a double check to make sure there isn’t a pedestrian in their path.

By becoming more aware of their surroundings, drivers can avoid hitting a pedestrian and improve the safety of their communities.

If you are injured in a pedestrian-vehicle accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and seek compensation for your injuries.

The law office of R. Steve Bowden & Associates was founded in 1984 to assist people who have been injured or have lost a loved one as a result of another’s negligence.  Their practice has expanded to include not just personal injury and wrongful death representation, but also advocacy in cases involving workers’ compensation, social security benefits, and insurance claims.  For more information, visit www.rstevebowdenlaw.com.

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