Taking the Chill Out of Winter Repairs

Unfortunately with the winter weather come incidents and accidents. If your vehicle is damaged in a wreck suddenly you may be in the market for vehicle repair. When handling your vehicle repairs educate yourself. North Carolina has a Motor Vehicle Repair Act which provides rights to consumers and imposes certain obligations on repair facilities. Here are a few of your valuable rights:

  • to receive a written repair estimate for estimates of repair over $350.00
  • to inspect and retain any parts removed from your vehicle [provided you make the request at the time you authorize repairs]
  • to receive an itemized written invoice for parts and labor provided to repair/service your vehicle

And note your rights as a consumer apply all year round; long after winter is gone or before it arrives. Take some time to learn a bit more about your rights when your vehicle is in need of repair. If you have significant problems in obtaining the needed repairs and are in need of assistance you should contact an attorney for a consultation. In the end, be smart, be well, be safe, and enjoy the snow while you can. Spring is not too far away….

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

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Act Fast To Help Raise Trucking Insurance Minimums

Do you ride on our nation’s highway where there are tractor trailers, commercial buses and commercial trucks? Do you have a truck driver in your family who is daily traveling these roads?  Did you know that those who are injured in a trucking or bus accident, including drivers of these vehicles, almost never get a full recovery?

The minimum insurance requirements for interstate motor carriers have remained unchanged for over three decades. Congress set the minimum level of liability insurance coverage for tractor trailers in 1984 at $750,000.  In 29 years, the minimum policy limits have never been increased. Yes, this minimum policy requirement has not been increased since the Reagan Administration. Medical bills and the costs associated with catastrophic injuries have risen dramatically. Today, in a catastrophic case, the minimum limits are paid and quickly spent.  If adjusted for medical inflation (to keep up with rising medical costs), the minimum policy limits should be over $4 million!  With many companies maintaining only the required minimum, seriously injured victims often receive recovery that does not cover their medical bills, much less lost wages and other non-economic damages.

The minimum insurance requirements for interstate motor carriers have remained unchanged for over three decades.  Clearly it is time that the minimum limits be raised!  This is important for you and your family.  What can you do?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has a pending rulemaking to adjust the interstate truck and bus minimum insurance requirements now for inflation, and then update it every four years thereafter.  Send a comment to the FMCSA by clicking http://saferhighways-oneclickpolitics.nationbuilder.com/everyone.  Tell the FMCSA that you want to feel safe when driving on our highways.   Tell the FMCSA it is time to make a change and that the increase to the trucking insurance policy minimums is long overdue.  When liability policy minimums are inadequate, ultimately the burden of payment for injuries shifts away from the party at fault and to victims, their families, Medicare – and ultimately to taxpayers.

The deadline is February 26th – so act NOW!

Written by Jean Sutton Martin of the Law Office of Jean Sutton Martin PLLC.

They Didn’t Read My Miranda Rights

“Can I get the case dismissed?” is a common question posed by people facing criminal charges. . .which necessarily include allegations of Impaired Driving, DWI or DUI.

You, a friend or a family member may have been charged with “Driving While Impaired” or DWI. In the past, this was known as DUI or “Driving Under the Influence.”

There is no practical distinction between the two. A driver can be impaired by substances other than alcohol, like drugs such as cocaine, marijuana or even prescription medications.

The term DWI was established to encompass substances that might “impair” your ability to operate a motor vehicle, whereas DUI tended to relate more to alcohol. The definition under North Carolina General Statute 20-138.1 is entitled “Impaired driving.” Within subsection (a)(1) of the statute it also reads “if he drives any vehicle. . .(1) While under the influence of an impairing substance.” So, both DWI and DUI are technically proper.

For the purposes of this post the terms are synonymous. People charged with Impaired Driving seem to prefer the DUI abbreviation; frankly, the vast majority people arrested for impaired driving are suspected of violating the law due to alcohol consumption.

Although “Miranda Rights” are a consideration in many criminal cases, it requires careful analysis and/or explanation of a common misunderstanding of a complicated area of law. The most honest response to legal question involving Miranda Rights and DUI in North Carolina is, “It depends. Let’s talk more about the case.”

The purpose of this article by Attorney Bill Powers of PowersMcCartan is to provide background information on the law of Miranda and DWI in North Carolina, the legal rationale for the protection against self-incrimination and authority under North Carolina caselaw. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call Bill directly at: 704-342-4357.