Language:

"TELL THEM YOU MEAN BUSINESS" | 1-866-900-7078

Employees Paying for Workers’ Compensation Loophole, Newspaper Reports

Employees discussing issues with their manager.The cost of workers’ compensation insurance can be very costly for some businesses. According to a new report from the News & Observer, some businesses are finding ways to get around paying these premiums by using a loophole in which they declare their employees to be “contractors” – a move that is costing some injured workers the benefits they are supposed to receive by law.

In North Carolina, businesses with three or more employees are required by law to buy workers’ compensation insurance. If they don’t want to purchase insurance, they can show they have the funds to cover liability for any potential workplace injuries.

The newspaper reports that some employers are using a loophole that allows them to declare themselves sole proprietors and their employees contractors. They then purchase what is known as a “ghost policy,” which provides coverage for one person as a failsafe in the event that the “sole proprietorship” hires an employee within the year.

According to the newspaper, the ghost policies cost about $1,000 a year, compared to tens of thousands of dollars a year for workers’ compensation insurance premiums for some businesses.

One worker featured in the investigative article became injured in a wreck when another employee fell asleep at the wheel. The man became paralyzed from the neck down, and doctors expect his medical care to cost as much as $8 million. His employer had purchased a ghost policy, which didn’t provide benefits for the man.

His case is currently being litigated to determine who is liable for paying for his injuries.

The News & Observer reported in April that at least 30,000 businesses in North Carolina have not purchased workers’ compensation insurance. It is unclear how many businesses have incorrectly classified employees as contractors in order to purchase ghost policies.

By labeling employees “contractors,” employers also avoid having to pay Social Security, unemployment, and insurance for these workers.

The North Carolina Rate Bureau has reported that there are about 16,000 ghost policies for high-risk employers who could not buy workers’ compensation insurance, according to the N&O.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

If you have been injured on the job, the North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 right now for a free evaluation of your case!

Rural Counties in North Carolina “Killing Grounds” for Automobile Accidents, AAA Says

AAA Carolinas released its annual report of the most dangerous roads in North Carolina, and it found that rural counties had the most fatal crashes, calling those places “killing grounds” for automobile accidents.

medical helicopter about to land near an ambulance and car accident sceneThe annual report is based on a comparison of miles driven and the number of deadly North Carolina car accidents that occur. The report also provides results for the types of vehicles driven, including motorcycles and tractor trailers.

Clay County was determined to be the most dangerous for fatal crashes. Rounding out the top five were Graham, Hyde, Robeson and Hertford counties.

Those five counties accounted for 5.4 percent of the state’s total fatal crashes, yet only accounted for 2 percent of the miles driven in the state.

Drivers in Graham County were determined to have the highest risk of being in an injurious crash. Rounding out the top five were New Hanover, Pitt, Wayne and Cumberland counties.

“Rural counties have roads that are generally narrower, with more curves, lower shoulders, faded or nonexistent road markings and less police presence than major highways,” said David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas. “These roads are notorious for single-vehicle accidents involving speeding, drinking and younger drivers.”

Officials with the N.C. Highway Patrol said they were trying to increase patrols in areas known to be problematic and were working with the N.C. Department of Transportation to improve roads and lower speed limits in those areas.

This is the third straight year that rural counties have topped the list for having the most dangerous roads. However, the news was not all bad for rural counties: Some also topped the list for safest counties.

Swain County was determined to be the safest for total number of crashes and number of injurious crashes, and Yancey County was considered safest for fatal crashes.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been injured in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case and to find out if one of our North Carolina personal injury lawyers may be able to help you!

Texting and Other Distracted Driving May be Possible Factor in Increase in Traffic Fatalities, Data Shows

Last month, it was reported that the number of traffic fatalities had increased 13.5 percent in the first three months of the year over the first three months of last year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Automobile Association (AAA) both suggested that warmer-than average winter weather may have contributed to more people driving, increasing the number of accidents.

However, data from the NHTSA during the same time period also showed that distracted driving became more of a factor in accidents during that time, and a new study from Ohio State University reported on the dangers of texting while driving.

In the last several years, the number of accidents caused by distracted driving has risen significantly. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving rose from being a factor in only 10 percent of crashes in 2005 to 18 percent in 2010.

Some officials believe that distracted driving and texting may be a bigger factor in the rise in traffic fatalities than the warmer weather encouraging more people to be on the roads. Preliminary data from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) showed that there was only a 1.4 percent increase in miles traveled for the first three months of 2012.

woman is distracted while by driving by applying dark red lipstickResearch shows that not only are more people getting in wrecks as a result of distracted driving, but that many people are overconfident in their abilities to multitask while driving, perhaps contributing to the increase in accidents.

“What is surprising is that our results also suggest that people may perceive that texting is not more dangerous – they may think they can do a good job at two visual tasks at one time,” said Zheng Wang, a lead author of the study at Ohio State University.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have been injured in an accident – whether it was the result of distracted driving or not – you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 to get a free evaluation of your case and find out if one of our North Carolina personal injury attorneys may be able to help you!