August 2011 Archives

August 30, 2011

Popular Defensive Driving Course Teaches Teens Safe Behaviors in Order to Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Greensboro, Elsewhere

As the 100 deadliest days of summer for teens nears an end, it is no time for young drivers to short change themselves by getting lax behind the wheel. Teens are just as prone to being involved in a Greensboro car accident now as they were at the beginning of summer.

Young drivers may not be overly anxious to head back to school so soon but our car accident lawyers in Asheville, Statesville and Gastonia want to remind teens to remain calm and attentive while behind the wheel as the new school year begins.
WSOCTV reports that Mecklenburg County ranks first in the state for teen car accidents leading to serious injuries or even fatalities. In 2010, 105 teens were killed on North Carolina roadways. Mecklenburg County, along with Wake and Johnson Counties have all topped the list for fatal teen car accidents the last three years.

North Carolina Highway Patrol wants to offset the high number of teen car accidents in the state by raising enough funds to offer a defensive driving course called BRAKES initiated by Doug Herbert. We first introduced the BRAKES program on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog when we posted that NASCAR driver Kyle Busch was going to attempt to be a better role model for young drivers by getting involved in the program.

Following a speeding violation on a rural North Carolina roadway, Busch realizes that many teens make the same mistake of driving too fast and causing an accident with unsafe behaviors like speeding.

The BRAKES defensive driving course costs the state roughly $10,000. Registered teens can take the course to learn about defensive driving, anti-lock brakes, driver inattention, driving in dangerous weather conditions and much more.

NCHP is also taking several other measures to reduce teen car accidents as students head back to school and make roadways more congested during morning and afternoon hours. The Daily Reflector reports that the department will work with school officials to arrange presentations offered to students about driving safety in driver education classes. Key points of emphasis will be drowsy driving, driving under the influence, distracted driving and legal issues. School zones with a high number of commuters will be patrolled for speeders, cell phone users, seatbelt violators and reckless drivers.

Patrolling will also be heavy at student functions or school bus stops where more traffic congestion is expected. As school resumes, troopers will be at different locations handing out fliers to promote child restraints and seat belt laws.

NCHP offers these few simple tips for motorists:
-Never race to beat a school bus about to flash its lights or swing the motorized arm to alert traffic to stop.

-Stay off the phone while driving in school zones, neighborhoods or other areas that are more likely to have children near the roadway.

-Remember speed limits are reduced in school zones during more commutes and afternoon hours and should always be adhered to.

Continue reading "Popular Defensive Driving Course Teaches Teens Safe Behaviors in Order to Reduce Teen Car Accidents in Greensboro, Elsewhere" »

August 26, 2011

Heat Illness a Concern for Student-Athletes in August, Especially Among Football Players in North Carolina

Student-athletes returning to school for football or other fall sports practices should take warning that heat illness is a concern that should not be taken lightly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heat illness is the leading cause of death and disability for athletes in high school while practicing or competing in an event. When body temperature reaches 105 degrees, a person can become at risk of permanent organ damage.

Personal injury attorneys in Charlotte know that athletes can't always detect when they are on the brink of danger so it is the responsibility of the coach to keep a close eye on them and not push them too far. Winning isn't everything, especially when it can cost an athlete their life or cause a disabling injury that can last a lifetime.
In a recent study, CDC found there were 118 reported incidents in 100 sample schools from 2005-2009, which required lost time from practice as a result of an athlete suffering from a heat-related illness. Results of the study indicated football players were most at risk of missing time from practice and reported a rate of ten times more than the average rate of the other 8 sports studied. August was the worst reported month for time-lost heat illness in over 66 percent of cases.

Heat-related illness in Asheville, Statesville and elsewhere in North Carolina is a concern because it has been a brutal summer with heightened temperatures resulting in several tragedies already being reported in the United States.

Max Preps reports there have been four players and a coach die in a 7-day span, all believed to be heat-related pending the autopsy results. Three of the five deaths have already ruled heat exposure as a contributing factor, and if it turns out they are all related to heat-illness, it would be the most deaths in high school football since 2006.

From 1995 through 2009, the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research from the University of North Carolina reported a total of 30 fatalities as a result of football players not recovering from a heat-related illness. On average, it was two deaths per year with the only exceptions being in 2002 and 2003 when no deaths were reported.
Eastside Medical Center offers the following tips to athletes, parents, trainers and coaches:

-Look for symptoms like dizziness, nausea, headache, weakness, or confusion.

-Staying hydrated is the best defense. The more an athlete sweats, the more they need to drink to keep the nutrients replenished.

-On average, an athlete needs to drink 2 to 4 16-ounce glasses per hour to make up for the 1-2 liters of hydration lost through perspiration.

-Weigh an athlete before and after practice to determine how much water is needed to replenish fluids.

-For meals eaten before practice or competition, put two shakes of a salt shaker on your food to replace sodium chloride lost through sweating.

-Coaches should ease athletes into lengthy practices or over-strenuous activity for the first two weeks.

-Plan practices early in the day or late at night to get athletes out of extreme conditions and lengthened heat exposure.

-Always have medical staff or a trainer on hand. Athletes should report to the coaches and trainer any heat illness-related symptoms they are feeling.

For more information about summer heat emergency data or athlete tips to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke, visit North Carolina Division of Public Health.

Continue reading "Heat Illness a Concern for Student-Athletes in August, Especially Among Football Players in North Carolina" »

August 26, 2011

Residents in North Carolina Asked to Prepare for Hurricane Irene

At last check, Hurricane Irene was less than 400 miles away from the coast of North Carolina. This information is from CNNand was recorded at 8:00 a.m. ET. on Friday.

Although the storm is still a ways away from our state, tropical storm-force winds are only about 100 miles from our coast. We can expect to start feeling the effects of this storm by late tomorrow morning or early afternoon. Residents are urged to bunker down now and prepare themselves and their family properly to help avoid property damage or personal injury in North Carolina.
"The timing is such that tonight into Saturday will be the worst for North Carolina and the Virginia Tidewater, Saturday into Sunday for the Delmarva (peninsula) and the eastern part of New Jersey, and then all day Sunday for New England," said Bill Read, the Director of the National Hurricane Center.

Our North Carolina personal injury attorney encourage all resident prepare for the storm. Gather emergency supplies and prepare your homes before the storm hits our coast. Don't wait until the last minute. Keep safety as a top priority for you and your family.

Resident should gather a hurricane safety kit, including:

-Bottled water.


-Insurance documents.

-Toilet paper.

-Blankets and sleeping bags.


-Weather radio or a portable radio.

-Extra money.


-Antiseptic spray.


-Non-perishable food items.

-Pet food, if needed.

-Baby formula, if needed.

-Bandages and other first aid kit items.

-Eye glasses, contacts and other eyecare products.

Once you've gathered all of the necessary items, you're urged to pack them in a waterproof duffle bag or even a covered trash can. Keep all medications and important first-aid items in a plastic baggie.

Irene is currently a Category 2 hurricane and is heading northward from the Bahamas. It's expected to run along Florida's coast, right by Georgia and then through South Carolina. Tens of millions of people could be affected.

A number of cities along the East Coast of the country have already been ordered to evacuate and a number of airlines have already started to cancel flights that would put them in danger. More flights are expected to be canceled.

"Everybody should take this very seriously," said North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue,

A number of counties in South Carolina that are east of I-95 have already declared a state of emergency.

The Hurricane Center reports that the state could face rising water levels as much as 5 - 10 feet because of a storm surge.

We ask that all residents please be safe and prepared for Hurricane Irene. With the proper safety precautions we can all help to prevent serious injury. Please be safe through the next couple of days.

Continue reading "Residents in North Carolina Asked to Prepare for Hurricane Irene" »

August 24, 2011

Mapping a Safe Route to School Can Reduce Child Injuries Related to Pedestrian or Bicycling Accidents in Charlotte, Gastonia

We conclude our "Back to School Safety" series with our final topic, North Carolina's Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program.

The goal of our series has been to get parents to communicate to their children about dangers they can face and try to minimize child injuries at school in Charlotte, Asheville and throughout the state.
Previous topics have included school safety on playgrounds, motorists and teen driving tips, and children walking and biking to school safely.

Children spend much of their time being educated inside the classroom but Gastonia personal injury lawyers know that not enough attention is given to teaching children to walk or ride safely to school or to use safety precautions at school drop off zones and bus stops.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation devotes resources to bicycle and pedestrian safety partly because the youth of our country have become very stagnant and increasing fitness levels through bicycling and walking is a simple way to promote exercise. The reason that safety initiatives are needed is because roadways are filled with distracted or speeding motorists who make it extremely unsafe for our little ones to travel by foot or pedal on the same streets.

The North Carolina Safe Routes to School Program was created to make walking and biking more appealing to students who live close to school. Many communities have issues with congestion and traffic safety on roadways. Studies from 1969 indicate that 87 percent of children living within one mile from school transported themselves to school and 50 percent used walking or biking as a method of transportation.

Presently, less than 15 percent of children walk or bike to school and 26 percent of morning congestion on roadways is attributed to parents driving their kids to school. With many schools omitting physical education classes from their curriculum, inactive lifestyles have become even more of a health concern for young children.

Successful SRTS Programs require community support and full participation from school officials, parents, teachers, community leaders and others. Developing strategies to improve health, the environment and transportation safety can ultimately reduce bicycle and pedestrian injuries and prevent kids from becoming overweight among other health issues that come from an inactive lifestyle. Some of the key improvement areas include: reducing fuel consumption, improving air quality, reducing obesity in children, promoting active lifestyles, making roads more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists and finding ways to gain interest in walking and biking.

Between 2004 and 2008 in North Carolina, of children ages 6-10 years-old, 506 were injured in pedestrian crashes and 479 were injured in bicycle crashes. NCDOT encourages parents to map out a safe route for your child to take to school and practice riding or walking the route a couple of times before school starts.

Visit online to learn more about the 2011 Walk to School Day in October.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycling or pedestrian accident in your North Carolina community, contact the personal injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. We offer free consultations to victims and their families so call 1-800-887-1965 to discuss your case today.

More Blog Entries:
Back to School Puts Children at Risk for School Bus Accidents in Asheville, Statesville, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2011.

Pedestrians in Charlotte at Risk of Being Struck by Alcohol Impaired Drivers, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, July 23, 2011
Residents Participate in Spring Ride to Raise Awareness of North Carolina Bicycling Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2011.

August 23, 2011

North Carolina Tire Blowout Causes Tragic Accident

Tragedy hit a family from New York City when the SUV they were traveling in flipped over several times on I-95 near Wilson. According to Fox News, it appears that the driver lost control of the vehicle after a rear tire experienced a blowout.

Our Greensboro car accident attorneys and the staff of our law offices offer our condolences to the family; the accident claimed the lives of three generations. We recently posted on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog about the dangers of tire blowouts, especially in extremely hot temperatures.
The North Carolina accident killed a grandmother, mother and daughter, three generations of one family. All three victims were ejected from the vehicle. The family was returning from a trip to Florida where they had gone to Disney World. The 22 year-old daughter was driving when the blowout occurred causing her to lose control. There were five other family members in the SUV who were not seriously hurt in the crash.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) between 2005 and 2009, nearly 3,400 people died in car crashes related to tire issues and an additional 116,000 were injured. Roughly 33,000 people are hurt and 600 people die each year in crashes due to poor tire pressure.

Hot temperatures can cause heat stress to your vehicle's tires which can lead to a blowout causing a deadly crash. A recently released survey indicated that most drivers don't know basic tire knowledge. Most drivers, both male and female, don't know the correct way to check tire pressure. Most car owners have no idea where to find the right inflation pressure for their tires. Sadly, drivers wash their vehicle more often than they check the tire pressure and over 50 percent of drivers don't know when it is time to get new tires.

Properly reacting to a tire blow out could mean the difference between life and death. When hearing the BANG of your tire blowing out, most drivers jerk the wheel, stomp on the brakes and head to the side of the roadway. Though these reactions are typical they could make matters worse. Be prepared before the incident happens, which means have both hands on the steering wheel. The correct way to handle a blowout is to maintain your speed, don't step on the brake and steer gently in the opposite direction that your vehicle is pulling towards. Once you have control of the vehicle then slow down and start heading for the side of the roadway.

The NHTSA reported that 77 percent of passenger vehicle occupants involved in fatal crashes that were ejected died, according to 2008 data. Roughly 35 percent of passenger vehicle occupant fatalities were involved in rollover crashes. In 2008, SUVs had the most occupant fatalities in fatal rollover type crashes at 58 percent, followed by pickup trucks with 48 percent, vans had 35 percent and passenger cars had 25 percent.

Continue reading "North Carolina Tire Blowout Causes Tragic Accident" »

August 21, 2011

Playground Injuries Common in School-Related Accidents in Asheville, Hickory

Parents on the verge of sending their kids off to school for another year might be uneasy about the high rate of school-related injuries to children in Asheville, and throughout the country each year.

Hickory personal injury lawyers agree that your concerns are legit and should never be taken lightly considering it is estimated that children spend a fourth of their awake time on school property.
Concussions, abrasions, cuts and broken bones are all common injuries that can occur at school and can be considered severe enough to need medical attention for recovery.

Topic three of our four-part blog series on "Back to School Safety" focuses on child injuries that can be sustained at school or on the playground and some tips on how to avoid them. Teen/motorist safety tips, walking and biking to school safely, and safe routes are other areas of interest we have included in the series.

Employees working for school districts have a responsibility to keep children safe while on their watch. The National School Nurse Partnership Inc. reports that approximately 1 million children suffer playground injuries each year and 160,000 of these injuries require a trip to the emergency room. Roughly 15-20 children die each year from a playground injury. A quarter of school accidents are considered severe, resulting in 1 in 14 children seeking medical attention for their injuries.

Approximately 40 percent of playground injuries occur during the months of May, June and September and 70 percent are caused by falling off playground equipment. Sadly, 40 percent of playground injuries occur because children are not being supervised properly.

To avoid playground injuries, have your children practice safe behaviors while supervisors pay close attention to these suggestions offered by the National Safety Council:

-Have children play on equipment surrounded by soft surfaces. For example, wood chips, shredded tires, pea gravel, sand, rubber mats and mulch can soften a falling surface and help reduce the risk of injury to small children when they fall off of equipment.

-Most equipment requires climbing which has a high risk of injury when children fall off.

-Small children should never be left unsupervised when climbing on equipment.

-Maintenance workers at the school should ensure that all faulty equipment is either repaired or removed from the playground. Examples of faulty play equipment are unsecured climbing ropes, loose railings, unsecured slides, or collapsible platforms.

-Never send your children to school with drawstrings or cords in their clothing. They are a high risk for strangulation when they get caught in a slide or monkey bars.

-Merry-go-rounds should have secure hand grips, a level standing or sitting surface, smooth edges, and plenty of space to operate the equipment.

North Carolina is one of few states that require playground standards as issued by American Society for Testing and Materials. Failure to follow these standards is against the law.

Backpack injuries are another school-related injury that most parents may not give much thought to. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there are roughly 7,300 emergency room visits treating sprains, bruises or strains to backs and shoulders as a result of backpack injuries each year.

Backpack injuries can be reduced with these tips from the NSC:
-Limit the weight stuffed into the backpack. Remove any unneeded items or only select books needed to complete an assignment.

-Compartmentalize by spreading the weight out to different areas.

-When you lift your backpack off the ground or floor, bend your legs at the knees for support and place one strap on your shoulder at a time.

-Always wear a backpack with both straps, not draped over one shoulder.

-Make sure straps are adjusted for comfort and properly fit.

-Hip and chest belts can help distribute weight to stronger areas like hips or torso, so if you have them secure them in place.

-Reflectors should be placed on backpacks to enhance visibility for drivers at night.

If you or someone you know have been injured in a North Carolina school-related accident, contact the experienced team of injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. for experienced advice and a free consultation. Call 1-800-887-1965 today.

More Blog Entries:
Strangulation Hazard a Serious Danger in Children's Clothes, Cribs in North Carolina, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, August 2, 2011.

Defective Products a Danger to North Carolina Children This Holiday Season, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, November 27, 2010.

August 19, 2011

Back to School: Carolina Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents a Danger in Greensboro, elsewhere

Topic two of our "Back to School Safety" series is bicycling and pedestrian safety. Many parents rely on a school buses to transport their children to school but there are some children close enough in proximity to walk or ride a bike to school. Bicycle and pedestrian accidents are a leading cause ofchild injury in North Carolina throughout the fall season.

Other topics in our series include avoiding school-related accidents on the playground, North Carolina's Safe Routes to School Program and tips for teen driver.
Free spirits and carefree attitudes often put innocent young children at risk of accidents; our Greensboro injury lawyers hope that parents take a few minutes to go over some reminders and establish some ground rules as school returns to session.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2008, one out of every five children ages 5 to 9 years-old killed by a car was not a passenger in the car but rather a pedestrian involved in the accident.

In 2001, 59 percent of all emergency room visits following a bicycle accident were children under the age of 16.

There is an obvious health benefit to encouraging children to walk or ride a bike to school so we by no means want to discourage them from this behavior. It is important to review some safety precautions so that children can stay safe while getting the recommended amount of exercise each day. The National Safety Council offers these tips to parents and young children:

Bike to school tips:
-Wear protective equipment to reduce injuries in a collision.

-Take your child out to an empty parking lot or side street with no traffic to practice riding. The more experience they have, the more confident they will be which will result in less likeliness of an accident.

-Accompany your child if they need to ride in the dark. Make sure they wear bright clothes, have reflectors on their bike and clothing and place a light on the front of the bike to serve as a headlight.

-Educate your child on the rules of the road like when to stop, when to yield, when to merge and which direction to ride.

-Acknowledge that a driver sees you before you attempt to cross a street.

Walk to school tips:
-Avoid walking in the road next to cars when sidewalks are available.

-Hold your child's hand as you walk across the street. Teach them to look left, look right, and then left again before crossing.

-Encourage your child to walk with friends rather than walking alone.

-Contact the school system if there are no crossing guards or patrolmen at busy intersections in your neighborhood.

-Teach your children to never dash out in front of a moving vehicle, especially from behind a parked car where the driver can't see them.

-Never assume a vehicle will stop as you cross the street using a crosswalk. Be alert for moving vehicles.

Children of all ages can benefit from reviewing safety tips. Before each school year, check off items from the Back-to-School Checklist to ensure your children are aware of the do's and don'ts for getting to school safely.

Continue reading "Back to School: Carolina Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents a Danger in Greensboro, elsewhere" »

August 18, 2011

Legislation Would Limit Compensation on North Carolina Malpractice Claims, Leaving Victims to Pay Out-Of-Pocket

Slated to start in October, a reformed medical malpractice bill could discourage North Carolina lawyers from taking on those kinds of cases, says an article in the Star News.

Some think a drastic increase in malpractice filings could occur prior to the October start date. The reformed law puts a $500,000 limit on certain types of compensation that a person can be awarded.
Our personal injury lawyers in Gastonia think this law is completely unfair considering many long-term injuries exceed well over the capped amount when all is said and done. Though big business interests failed in passing caps on workers compensation, they succeeded in passing them on medical malpractice claims. Studies have shown less than 10 percent of the cost of medical care has anything to do with malpractice claims - or less than 1 year of increased premiums. Meanwhile, an estimated 100,000 people a year died due to medical error - three times more than die in car accidents.

Supporters of the bill say the changes will decrease the cost of medical insurance and boost the economy. There will be no limit on the amount paid for suffering and pain if two of the following conditions happen: disfigurement occurs, functioning of any part of the body is lost or is permanently damaged or if a person dies and actions of the defendant were negligent or reckless.

A representative for the North Carolina Advocates for Justice, an organization of lawyers that help defend individual rights, said it is likely that lawyers will take on less medical malpractice cases. The malpractice bill was vetoed by Governor Beverly Perdue but policymakers later overrode the veto.

It is likely the bill will have legal confrontations on its constitutionality. Supreme Courts in Illinois and Georgia have already dismissed laws that put a cap on compensations. The same could happen in North Carolina, though it is not expected any time soon.

First, the case would have to be filed after October 1. A malpractice case can take as long as 2 years to go to trial. Then, a person would have to be awarded damages over the cap. Following that, the appeals process would start. Recently, a past Supreme Court Chief told policymakers he felt a law putting a cap on damages awarded by juries would be unconstitutional.

Several local attorneys are watching to see if there is a change in the amount of malpractice cases after the new law. North Carolina Advocates for Justice looked at statistics from 1998 to present day on the quantity of malpractice cases that have been filed.

Their research concluded that the amount of cases has decreased in recent years. Medical malpractice declined over 19 percent from 2008 to 2010. There were only 7 cases in New Hanover County since 1998 that had jury trials and only 2 of the cases were successful with damages awarded of $25,000 and $10,000.

Continue reading "Legislation Would Limit Compensation on North Carolina Malpractice Claims, Leaving Victims to Pay Out-Of-Pocket" »

August 13, 2011

Back to School Puts Children at Risk for School Bus Accidents in Asheville, Statesville

Summer is coming to a close, so kids are scampering to gear up for another school year while parents are faced with the anxiety of how their kids will get to school safely each day.

Most would agree the big yellow bus is probably the safest mode of transportation for our kids, which is why so many parents rely on the school system to transport their kids to and from school, sporting events, and school activities.
Asheville injury lawyers want parents to understand that you do have rights if your child is injured in a school-related accident, so don't be afraid to exercise them. School bus-related accidents in Statesville, Gastonia and elsewhere can occur in front of your home, at a school drop off zone or just about anywhere, and they don't always involve another vehicle.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that school transportation-related crashes kill an average of 19 school-age occupants each year nationally, of these, 6 are typically pedestrians. Forty-three percent of school-age pedestrians killed in bus-related accidents were ages 5 to 7 between 2000 and 2009.

Due to the fact that the dangers outside of a bus when children enter and exit are equally as hazardous as when a child is involved in a bus crash, the National Safety Council urges parents to talk to their kids about bus safety. It only takes a second for an accident to happen, so take a few minutes to go over some important reminders that will keep your children safe throughout the school year.

  • Don't rush to the bus pick-up location.

  • Even if it is at the end of the driveway, make sure you are waiting in plenty of time.

  • Stand back from the curb when a bus is pulling up to a stop.

  • If you must cross the street to get on the bus, wait for the bus driver to signal that it is OK to cross.

  • Always walk in front of the bus, never behind.-Use the hand rail when you get on and off the bus.

  • Use quiet voices when you are riding on the bus. The bus driver needs to focus on driving, not on bad behavior.

  • Prepare for your drop off location by gathering your things together ahead of time.

  • Keep personal items like books or backpacks in the seat or on your lap, not in the aisle.

  • When you leave the bus, wait for the bus driver to nod or give a hand gesture that it is fine to cross the street.

  • Always be alert for vehicles on the roadway.

  • Always make yourself visible by never hiding behind or near a wheel of the bus.

The NHTSA offers a printable tool that makes it fun for kids to learn about bus safety, walking or riding a bike to school. To view and print Gus the yellow school bus guide, click here.

The Back-to-School Safety Checklist is a helpful tool for parents to use before your child heads back to school. Traveling to school safely and minimizing school-related injuries can give you and your child peace of mind throughout the school year.

Continue reading "Back to School Puts Children at Risk for School Bus Accidents in Asheville, Statesville" »

August 11, 2011

Lake Norman Boaters at Risk for Accidents

We posted previously on our North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog that boating accidents occur at a high rate in our state, especially on Lake Norman.

North Carolina ranked in the Top 9 in three categories in 2010: boating accidents, injuries and fatalities. This isn't a statistic for which we should be proud.
Greensboro injury lawyers want to remind everyone that as the height of boating season comes to a close this summer, safety precautions should not take a back seat in order to avoid a boating accident injury in Charlotte or worse, a drowning.

Davidson reports that boaters are concerned about their safety with the number of renters causing accidents while using North Carolina lakes and waterways. The Lake Norman Marine Commission, which consists of 5 members in bordering counties, are considering changing rules on the popular lake to improve safety and reduce the risk of avoidable accidents by inexperienced boat operators.

The members of the committee will look at requiring renters to become certified or get a license before they drive a boat. A boating accident last June that seriously injured a Charlotte woman, who was backed over by a rental boat driver, has caused concern for those who regularly use Lake Norman.

At a recent meeting, the question was posed to Commission officials of what could be done to improve safety by stating "It appears there's a growing number of inexperienced (boaters) on the lake," said Colin Furcht, a recreational boater. "That ... impacts those of us that do have that experience and try to be as safe as possible."

The Commission has been given the go-ahead by its attorney to draft new rules which would make changes to previous legislation. The question really becomes is this a Lake Norman problem or a state problem that would require lobbying to state representatives for tougher boating laws throughout North Carolina.

Marine commission chairman Paul Carter replied "The challenge of that (existing) law is there's a ton of loopholes."

The last three years, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has reported a minimum of 154 boating accidents statewide. Each of the last two years, there has been no fewer than 21 deaths as a result of these accidents. Lake Norman reported 11 boating accidents in 2010, 12 accidents in 2009 and 21 accidents in 2008.

The number of people taking a boating education course in North Carolina jumped from 4,363 in 2008 to over 31,000 in 2010. We wonder whether the number shouldn't be higher given the fact that the number of registered boaters reached levels upwards of 368,000 in 2009.

Whether new legislation takes effect or not, no boat operator should take to a body of water without being educated and exhibiting a certain amount of confidence in controlling a boat. Many factors can attribute to losing control so get the proper training to reduce the risk of injury to you or another boater.

Continue reading "Lake Norman Boaters at Risk for Accidents" »

August 5, 2011

Parents Weighing Options on Teen's First Vehicle Can Reduce the Risk of Injury in Charlotte Car Accidents

A recent article in Daily Finance reports that buying your teen's first car can be challenging to say the least. Above all, parents are looking for a safe vehicle that can reduce the risk of injury if your child is involved in a Charlotte car accident. Teens, on the other hand, are looking for a sporty, cool-looking car loaded with in-vehicle technology that can keep them entertained while they drive from point A to point B.

Winston-Salem injury lawyers are here to remind parents that sporty doesn't always equal safety so weigh your options before you purchase your teen's first vehicle. Teen drivers are the age group most at risk of a car accident so make a smart choice that you both can live with.
Things to consider:

  • Valuable lessons learned. Teach your teen the value of having a car to drive at this age by making them understand that it is a privilege not a birthright, there are financial burdens placed on a family by adding another vehicle and keeping up with their peers isn't always possible.

    Set up a car fund that the teen can make contributions to in order to help the teen understand that money for monthly payments, car maintenance, insurance, and gas are all needed to own a car.

  • New vs. Used. Purchasing a new car is sure to provide all the safety features such as air bags, electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes. A new car will also require less maintenance and money spent on repairs. Most used cars can come equipped with the same safety features beyond a certain model year but could require more routine maintenance and constant repairs if you aren't careful.

    The downside to a new car is that the monthly payment will be higher and the vehicle may come standard with in-vehicle technology which can distract your teen driver when they are behind the wheel. A certified pre-owned vehicle is a viable option because it offers an extended warranty to help with maintenance and in all likelihood, better financing rates than a new vehicle.

  • How to Save on Insurance. Adding your teen to your policy is typically the cheapest route unless the vehicle you choose for your teen is particularly expensive, in which case you may want to set up a separate policy. There are discounts offered by insurance companies that you should pursue in order to keep the premium as low as possible. Good student or dean's list honorees and defensive driving courses offer sizable discounts and should be taken advantage of if applicable.

  • Rules of the Road contract. Many parents find it beneficial to establish a parent-teen contract that you and your child agree on which can set rules and boundaries to be met and followed. A clear understanding of rules and violations can help set the mark to safe driving behavior and the rewards and consequences which will follow.

For a sample of a teen-parent contract, visit North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles online.

To research safety and crash-test information for vehicle model and year, visit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or
For tips on how to save on gas mileage or a side-by-side comparison on fuel efficient vehicles visit

Continue reading "Parents Weighing Options on Teen's First Vehicle Can Reduce the Risk of Injury in Charlotte Car Accidents" »

August 3, 2011

Examining Behavioral Data Could Reduce Risk of Car Accidents in North Carolina

A new Naturalistic Driving Study could help researchers determine if behaviors leading up to or during a crash could ultimately prevent a collision and reduce the risk of a car accident in Hickory, Greensboro or elsewhere in the state.

"Collision prevention is the central goal of the study" said Ken Campbell, chief program officer overseeing safety for the Strategic Highway Research Program, which is part of the non-profit Transportation Research Board. "And the driver is the key to prevent collision."
Gastonia personal injury lawyers know that car accidents can be frightening so if there is any kind of countermeasure that could help prevent a collision or reduce the risk of injury based on human behavior, it could be an important step to our future.

A recent article in Forbes reports that researchers from the Strategic Highway Research Program are looking for 3,100 participants to join the study from 6 locations which include Seattle, Buffalo, State College, Bloomington, Durham and Tampa.

In order to participate, participants must:

  • Be a minimum of 16 years-old.

  • Own or lease their own vehicle or get permission from the vehicle owner. For a list of approved vehicle models click here.

  • Drive regularly and have a valid driver's license.

  • Allow a device to be installed in their vehicle throughout the duration of the study.

  • Live in one of the designated cities.

  • Be eligible to receive compensation in the U.S by not having any restrictions placed on availability to be employed.

  • Be able to read, understand and fill out questionnaires regarding the study.

Recruited participants will have equipment installed in their vehicle for a one to two-year period. Equipment consists of four video cameras which will record forward and rear views, as well as, the hands and face of the driver.

A GPS, wireless radar and sensors will also be installed in the vehicle which will record roadway data (lane width and range of curves) and environmental variables (weather conditions, lighting, and traffic congestion). Researches will collect encrypted data every four to six months from a storage box.

This study, which captures driver behavior in real time, will provide "objective information on driver behavior" before a collision occurs, he said. "You can't just look at collisions or near collisions to know what risk factors are. It's that comparison with what the driver is doing when there is not a safety-related event that tells you what the risk factors are."

The goal of the study is to develop better cars, driver training programs and road design which will improve overall highway safety in the future.

Drivers under age 25 or over 65 years-old are encouraged to participate because these age groups tend to be most at risk of being involved in fatal car crashes. Participants will receive $500 for each full year of participation. If you wish to participate, visit online or call 919-388-3424 to get more information.

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August 2, 2011

Strangulation Hazard a Serious Danger in Children's Clothes, Cribs in North Carolina

Parents and their infants can rest a little easier now that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has established new federal requirements for a safer generation of cribs.

Defective products can cause serious child injuries in North Carolina so our Greensboro personal injury lawyers want to remind parents not to take incidents too lightly. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers have an obligation to provide safe products so if your child has been hurt contact an experienced child injury lawyer right away.
Crib manufacturers are now required to meet the following 5 new standards:

  • Vertical slats must be made from stronger wood to prevent breakage.

  • Hardware which attaches pieces together must be made more durable by having anti-loosening devices which prevent them from falling off or coming loose.

  • Drop-side cribs are prohibited from being manufactured or sold. Repair kits and immobilizers are also prohibited.

  • Testing for overall safety should be done more meticulously withstanding tougher measures.

  • Supports for mattresses should be sturdier.

Crib safety is not the only thing parents need to worry about these days. Several defective products have been recalled which include toys, nursery room items, and clothing. Drawstrings found in children's outerwear clothing has been in the news recently following a CPSC announcement of a final rule addressing neck and waist drawstrings as a strangulation hazard.

Children's upper outwear sizes 2T through 12 with neck or hood drawstrings and sizes 2T through 16 with waist or bottom drawstrings have been recalled and deemed dangerous for small children who wear them.

CPSC announced last month that Macy's Inc. has agreed to a $750,000 civil penalty for failing to report sold merchandise containing a children's outerwear drawstring hazard. The department store had 24 hours to report the retail of children's clothing from 2006 to 2010 after gaining knowledge of the recalled item and failed to do so.

More recently is the announcement by CPSC that CVS Pharmacy Inc. is also cited for a $45,000 civil penalty as a result of failing to report sales of children's hooded jackets with neck drawstrings from August 2008 to January 2009. Golden Grove and Young USA announced a recall of the product back in March of 2009 of which CVS had knowingly sold merchandise but failed to report to proper authorities.

Federal law requires that any product that contains a hazard or defect, creates risk of serious injury or fatality, or fails to comply with consumer product safety rules as set forth or banned by the CPSC be reported within 24 hours of acknowledgement by all retailers, distributors and manufacturers.

Failure to do so leads to harsh penalties.
Parents can do their best to protect their children by monitoring them closely but if your child has been injured by a defective product it is important that you seek legal advice and report the hazard immediately.

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