North Carolina and South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Although self-driving cars could someday reduce injuries from car accidents and ease traffic jams, recent reports show that the technology still has a long way to go, and error-prone humans are still needed to take over in situations that the computer can’t handle.

Google, one of the leaders in the autonomous vehicle field, recently revealed that its self-driving prototypes experienced 272 failures with their autonomous technology that required human drivers to take the wheel between September 2014 and November 2015, according to an article on AutoBlog. There were an additional 69 instances in which the driver felt the need to take control, Google reported. Continue Reading

Companies in the North Carolina are facing stiff penalties if they fail to purchase required workers’ compensation insurance to pay for their employees’ workplace injuries and occupational illnesses, according to a recent report by the Raleigh News & Observer.

In the past year, more than 100 employers across the state have been charged with crimes for failing to carry the legally required workers’ compensation insurance, and more than $1 million in fines have been levied against uninsured employers, according to the article. Continue Reading

It is the holiday season, and many people in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina may forego driving themselves from party to party and gathering to gathering and instead leave the driving to someone else. Uber – a popular ridesharing service – and traditional taxi services are alternatives for those who do not wish to get behind the wheel themselves.

But being a passenger in a taxi or riding with another driver using Uber is no protection against car accidents. Accidents involving Uber vehicles and taxi accidents happen in both North Carolina and South Carolina. Injured passengers of both taxis and ridesharing vehicles often have the same question following a taxi accident or Uber accident: “Who pays”?

Who Pays If I Get Hurt While Riding in an Uber or Other Ridesharing Vehicle?

If you are a passenger in a vehicle and you are injured in a ridesharing accident, the ridesharing service (Uber, Lyft, or other similar service) or its insurance company should cover your injuries. This assumes, however, that the driver met all of the requirements to be covered by the ridesharing company’s insurance policy.

You should not expect that the rideshare driver’s personal auto policy will pay for your injuries, as many personal policies exclude any injuries or damage caused while the driver is engaged in ridesharing or livery services.

How Does Insurance for Uber Riders Differ from Typical Taxi Passengers?

For a taxicab driver, insurance is relatively simple. If he or she is an employee of the taxicab company, the taxicab company’s commercial insurance policy covers any accidents, damage, and/or injuries the cab driver causes while he or she is on duty and about his or her job – even if the cab driver does not have a passenger.

While Uber claims its insurance policies have limits similar to those of taxicab and livery services, its insurance may not cover all losses. For example, a recent report in Forbes indicated that Uber’s insurance may not cover collision damage to the driver’s car in all circumstances.

How Can My Own Uninsured Motorist/Underinsured Motorist Coverage Help If I’m Hurt in a Taxi or Uber Accident?

In a case where it is not clear who is at fault, or where the at-fault driver (either your own driver or a third-party driver) is either underinsured or not insured at all, your own uninsured motorist insurance (UM) / underinsured motorist insurance (UIM) coverage may prove to be valuable, as described by the North Carolina Department of Insurance Consumer’s Guide to Automobiles.

UM and UIM coverage step in when you are injured in an accident but the at-fault party either does not have insurance or his or her insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover your losses.

Grimes Teich Anderson LLP is your North Carolina and South Carolina rideshare and taxi accident law firm. If you are injured in an accident in Asheville, Waynesville, Franklin, Greenville, Spartanburg, or surrounding areas, we are available to assist you. We are committed to helping victims injured in a ridesharing accident or taxi accident recover the compensation they need, whether that is from Uber insurance, the taxi company’s insurance, or some other individual or entity.

Contact us for assistance by calling one of our office locations, or contact us through our website.

In the event of claimed military sexual trauma (“MST”), the VA rater cannot treat the fact that the assaults were not recorded in either a veteran’s service personnel record or a veteran’s medical records as pertinent evidence against a veteran’s claim that a sexual assault occurred. In other words, a lack of official documentation does not equate to negative evidence.

Veteran, AZ, served from 1973 to 1974, and was pregnant when she was honorably discharged. In 2004, she was diagnosed with PTSD, which she stated was due to a senior non-commissioned officer (“NCO”) sexually assaulting her while in service, resulting in her pregnancy and the birth of her daughter. AZ filed a claim for service connection for PTSD and was denied due to the fact that there was no record of the sexual assault in her service records. AZ submitted lay statements from her siblings, whom all stated that she told them, at the time of her pregnancy, that she was sexually assaulted by her NCO and that she did not report him to any military authorities out of fear. She was denied again and she appealed to the Board of Veterans Appeals (“BVA”), which held that her service records must support and not contradict the veteran’s testimony. The BVA stated:

Here, the evidence of record does not corroborate the Veteran’s account . . . . [T]here is no documentation in the service records to indicate that the Veteran reported having been personally assaulted, or that she instigated proceedings against her alleged attacker. Moreover, the Veteran’s service treatment records contain no evidence that the Veteran sought treatment for the alleged sexual or physical assault itself. . . .

AZ appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Court affirmed that The BVA acted within its authority and that it was allowed to weigh the lack of documentation as evidence against the assault’s occurrence.

Veteran, AV, served from 1980 to 1983. Like AZ, she claimed to have been sexually assaulted while in service and did not report the incident out of fear. Also like AZ, Her service records contain no record of a report of sexual assault, treatment for sexual assault, or psychiatric problems. She was diagnosed with PTSD in 2002. She filed a claim for service connection for PTSD and was denied. Like AZ, AV filed statements from veterans who served with AV, all of which state that AV told them that she was sexually assaulted. None of the lay statements were from witnesses of the event. The VA stated:

Service connection has been denied since there is insufficient evidence to support that you were raped while in service. The statements you provided from your friends and family were insufficient to substantiate your claimed stressor, since none of them witnessed the incident, and only knew of the incident due to your statements alone. The service records failed to show that you had any difficulties while in service. Your records show that you had commendable military service.  There is no evidence that can substantiate that you were raped while in service. Therefore service connection for PTSD is denied . . . .

AV appealed to the BVA and was denied. She appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which not only affirmed the BVA, but further held that AV’s stellar service records contradicts her claim that she was assaulted, suffered any trauma, and attempted suicide.

Both AZ and AV appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which disagreed with the prior rulings.

The Federal Circuit stated that “no reasonable person could expect records documenting the assaults to exist, or infer that the absence of such records tends to prove the assaults did not occur.” The Federal Circuit also stated that the “VA may not treat a claimant’s failure to report an alleged sexual assault to military authorities as pertinent evidence that the sexual assault did not occur.” The Court remanded both cases back to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

AZ v. Shinseki, No. 12-7046 and AY v. Shinseki, No. 12-7048, __F.3d __ (Sept. 30, 2013)

 

A VA disability rater cannot consider the positive effects of current medication when rating a disability if the applicable diagnostic code is silent with respect to medication. However, this can be reversed by the VA amending the Federal Code.

During the rating decision, the VA looks at the current level of disability claimed and applies the rating schedule, found in 38 C.F.R. Book C. Quite often, the rater looks at the current level of disability as the veteran presents at that moment, as described in the veteran’s application, as described by a medical doctor, and as presented in the veteran’s medical charts. The veteran’s current condition is usually rated including the positive effects of any medication. Continue Reading

When you have been injured in an accident, you may instinctively know that you need legal representation to file a personal injury claim. But amid a sea of attorneys in North Carolina and South Carolina all clamoring for your business, how do you decide which law firm is best suited to handle your case?

Selecting the Right Law Firm for Your Claim

If your car breaks down, you want to know that the mechanic fixing your car has worked on your make and model before. In a similar way, it is important to seek out an attorney who has experience handling personal injury cases if you have suffered a personal injury.

There are important deadlines that must be met and procedures that must be followed in order for your personal injury lawsuit to make it to the settlement table or to trial if necessary. Do not entrust your legal rights to an attorney or law firm that does not have experience representing personal injury clients with claims like yours.

Why Attorneys’ Credentials Matter

Many attorneys advertise their credentials such as awards they have won, professional societies to which they belong and their past results. These can be important factors in determining whether a particular attorney is right for you and your case.

Professional memberships and awards are an indication that an attorney has developed a certain level of experience and reputation in a particular area of the law. Many of our firm’s attorneys are members of professional and philanthropic groups in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Although you cannot expect an attorney to guarantee results in your case that are similar to past results in other cases, an attorney’s track record can demonstrate an attorney’s experience with certain types of cases. We are proud to have obtained numerous six- and seven-digit awards for our injured clients.

Questions You Should Ask a Lawyer Before You Choose

Ultimately, you will want to meet an attorney before you make your decision. Since you will be placing your legal rights and interests in the lawyer’s hands, you want to ask questions and talk with him or her to determine if he or she is the right attorney for you.

Consider asking about:

• Your attorney’s strategy for handling your type of case.
• What contact you can expect to have with your attorney.
• How long your attorney anticipates the case will last.
• Fees and costs and how these will be paid.

If you meet your attorney and do not feel as if you can trust him or her, trust your gut. It is important that you be able to have full faith in your attorney. If you do not, your relationship with your attorney may be difficult and cause you significant worry and grief. It could also result in a recovery that is less than you deserve.

At Grimes Teich Anderson, LLP, our accident lawyers have represented claimants in personal injury lawsuits in Asheville, Greenville, Spartanburg and throughout Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina for several decades. We are proud of the results we have been able to obtain on their behalf.

Speak with us about your case during a free injury consultation and learn if we might be able to assist you in obtaining compensation for your injuries. Contact us today at (800) 533-6845.

I handed the document to my client while the jury watched us. I asked my client, “Can you tell me what this document is?” He answered honestly, “It’s the property damage estimate… prepared by State Farm”.  I knew what was coming, and I slumped. Defense counsel stood up and asked the judge, “Can I take a matter up outside of the presence of the jury?” The jury was marched out of the courtroom so the lawyers could speak to the judge.

At that point, the lawyer hired by the insurance company to represent the person who rear-ended my client made a motion for mistrial.  Mistral means that the trial is so irretrievably broken that a whole new trial must be started. Bear in mind that only the truth had been spoken. The document had been prepared by State Farm, but it also had been carefully redacted by agreement of the parties to remove all reference to State Farm. There was no mention as to who State Farm Insurance Company insured in the case, and it was just as likely that State Farm insured my client and prepared the property damage estimate for him. Furthermore, state law requires that owners have car insurance. Nevertheless, the trial court granted the insurance company lawyer’s motion for mistrial. Days of preparation for that trial were wasted. We will re-try the case, but much will have to be redone.

Continue Reading

If you or someone you love took Risperdal and have developed gynecomastia, you may be able to seek financial compensation by filing a product defect claim. According to a fact sheet from the Mayo Clinic, gynecomastia is a condition in which breast tissue swells in boys or men, resulting in enlarged breasts.

Recent articles in Forbes Magazine and The Wall Street Journal reported that Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which is a Johnson & Johnson company, has been accused of a failure to warn about the side effect. In this product defect allegation, the articles suggest that the drug maker failed to alert healthcare providers and consumers that risperidone, the generic name for the brand-name drug Risperdal, may lead young males to develop breasts.

Understanding Risperdal and Its Uses

What kind of drug is Risperdal, and why are young male patients taking it? Continue Reading

Temperatures are dropping, days are getting shorter, and (unfortunately) flu and pneumonia are beginning to appear in Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

Getting a vaccine is a simple act of preventative care that some North Carolinians and South Carolinians fail to do. This is despite the widespread availability of vaccines throughout both states. Whether your failure to get a flu shot in the past has been due to fear about potential side effects or whether it is a task that simply gets neglected due to the business of the season, it is important that you make an effort to get a flu vaccine this year.

Why Flu and Pneumonia Shots Are Critical for Your Health

Influenza (the flu) is a serious disease that kills anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people every year in the United States. The vast majority of those who experience serious complications or death from the flu are the elderly and the very young.

Flu season can last from October to May. During this time, the flu virus is circulating among the U.S. population at a greater level than at other times of the year.

The flu shot or flu spray vaccine is strongly recommended for:

  • Children and adults over 6 months of age.
  • Those whose job or other activities bring them into contact with at-risk individuals such as young children or the elderly.
  • Others who are at risk of developing serious complications from the flu.

Pneumonia is an upper-respiratory infection that can cause serious complications in some individuals. Like the flu, pneumonia can result in hospitalization and, in some severe cases, death.

Pneumonia vaccines are typically available around the same time as the yearly flu vaccine, and many places that offer the flu vaccine also offer the pneumonia vaccination. It is recommended that the pneumonia vaccine be given to:

  • Children under the age of 5 years old.
  • Adults ages 65 and older.
  • Children and adults 6 years of age or older who have certain risk factors.

Should You Get a Shingles Vaccine?

Shingles is another condition for which many clinics and doctor’s offices offer a vaccination. Shingles is a painful skin inflammation that can affect individuals who got chickenpox as a child.

A shingles vaccination is available and recommended for individuals who are 60 years of age or older. Even if a person has already had shingles in the past, a shingles shot can help prevent future recurrences.

Our Lawyers Help Victims of Dangerous Drugs

Vaccinations for the flu, pneumonia and shingles are generally considered safe and are recommended for many individuals this cold and flu season. Even if the vaccination does not keep a person from getting sick, a vaccination can help reduce the length and severity of illness.

Unfortunately, not all drugs are as safe as these vaccines. Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause serious complications for users. If you have taken medications and suffered injuries or complications, contact our North Carolina and South Carolina drug injury law firm at (800) 533-6845. The law firm of Grimes Teich Anderson, LLP may be able to assist you in obtaining compensation for your expenses and losses.

With many American households owning at least one canine, chances are you know a friend, a relative or a neighbor who has a dog. Many dogs may appear to be friendly, but it is important to remember that any dog is capable of biting or attacking – even a dog that you are familiar with and have spent a significant amount of time around.

A dog attack is no trivial matter. Victims can face serious injuries such as:

• Deep cuts and lacerations
• Puncture wounds
• Broken bones if you are knocked to the ground by a dog
• Infections
• Disfigurement and scarring
• Loss of limbs such as fingers

If you or a loved one have been attacked by a vicious dog, the most pressing matter is for you to seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. You may also consider filing a dog bite lawsuit in North Carolina or South Carolina to recover compensation for your injuries.

Dog Bite Laws in North Carolina and South Carolina

Dog bite laws in North Carolina differ markedly from those in South Carolina. Although both states have adopted “strict liability” laws (meaning that the dog owner can be held responsible for injuries caused by the dog regardless of whether the owner acted carelessly), the conditions under which these strict liability rules may be applied are not the same. Continue Reading

Contact Information