Warning symbol

We have taken steps to try to ensure safety through the COVID-19 crisis. Learn more here.


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

Can I Trust a Doctor that Has Been Provided by My Employer for My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Doctor writing while holding a prescription bottle.Under North Carolina law, if you are injured on the job and your employer agrees to provide workers’ compensation benefits for your injury then your employer and their insurance carrier generally have the initial right to choose the physician who will treat your injuries. As North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Barry Jennings explains, even though your employer or insurance carrier may select your doctor, it is in their best interest for you to get the best medical care possible.

However, if you feel that your employer sent you to a doctor that did not give you the best medical care, then you should consider contacting a North Carolina Workers’ Compensation lawyer.

As an injured worker, you have the right to request to be provided with treatment from a different physician. North Carolina law allows you to petition the North Carolina Industrial Commission to obtain further treatment if the employer and their insurance carrier will not agree. Additionally, if you are released by the doctor with an impairment rating, North Carolina law allows you to request a second opinion evaluation on that rating to be paid for by the employer and their insurance carrier.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

If you feel that the doctor your employer or the insurance company has provided for your workers’ compensation claim is not providing you the best care, you may need to speak with a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online for a free evaluation of your case. Representatives are also available to offer you a free evaluation if you have been injured on the job and want to explore your legal rights.

Social Security Considerations for Tax Time


Person doing taxes on a calculator and writing in a journal.With the new year comes a new tax season. Though the deadline to file is not until April 15, these next couple of months will pass by very quickly. It is important to start getting your tax information together now so you have enough time to prepare a thorough file and to submit it by the deadline.

To help make filing a bit easier, the Social Security Administration released a few tips for handling Social Security matters on your taxes. Here’s what you need to know:

Taxed Benefits

Depending on how much you receive in Social Security benefits and how much income you receive, you may have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits. If your total income and benefits are at least $25,000, you will be responsible for paying federal taxes on some of those benefits. Married couples will have to pay some taxes if their income and benefits are at least $32,000.

You should receive a Social Security Benefits Statements form (Form SSA-1099) by January 31. This will be used to file your taxes.

Claiming Children

If you had a child in 2012, you can claim him or her as a dependent on your taxes. You will need a Social Security number for your child, which you can apply for along with the birth certificate in the hospital. However, if you did not apply for the number while you were in the hospital, you can apply directly to the Social Security Administration.

You can also use your child’s Social Security number to apply for benefits on his or her behalf (if eligible).

Changing Your Name

If you were married in 2012 and you decided to change your name, you will need to apply for a new Social Security card updated with your new name. Your Social Security number will not change.

It is important to make sure that you have changed your name legally and that you have changed your name with your employer when you apply for a new Social Security card. If there is a discrepancy over your name between your employer and the Social Security Administration, there could be a delay in receiving your Social Security benefits.

Employee Benefits

Small business owners can easily report their employees’ social security taxes and other taxes online. You can simply submit your employees’ W-2s online at www.socialsecurity.gov/bso. If you are in danger of missing the deadline for submitting W-2s, then submitting them online buys you a little extra time: The deadline is a month later on March 31.

If you have any questions about how to file for your Social Security benefits or any other issues regarding Social Security and your taxes, it is best to contact the Social Security Administration directly. You can find information online at www.ssa.gov. A qualified certified public account may also be able to offer you some advice and guidance.

If you believe you are eligible for disability benefits or your claim was denied, contact us onlineContact Us or call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078.

* Disclaimer: This is for general informational use only. The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin does not practice tax law, nor are we trained as certified public accountants, and, therefore, cannot give financial or tax advice. Please consult with a tax attorney or certified public accountant to discuss any specific tax questions you may have.

I Have Asked My Landlord Several Times to Fix a Dangerous Problem. What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

Red for rent sign in front of a house

You are renting an apartment or a house, and you have noticed a dangerous problem. Maybe it is exposed wiring that could lead to fire or even electrocution. Maybe it is a loose floorboard that could lead to tripping and being injured on nearby furniture or appliance. Or maybe it is a leak that could lead to a slip or the accumulation of deadly black mold.

When you are renting an apartment or house, your landlord has a responsibility to make the dwelling safe. If you notice a potentially dangerous problem like those listed above, or similar, you should notify your landlord right away about the problem to have it fixed.

Unfortunately, not all landlords are responsive or meet their obligations. It is important to document what you have done to notify your landlord about the problem and your request to have it fixed. You can do this by sending your notification by e-mail or through a letter sent by certified mail. Be sure to provide details about the problem and to specifically ask to have it fixed. Take photos both for documentation and for sending in with your request to your landlord.

Simply asking your landlord verbally to fix the problem is not enough. Should your landlord neglect or refuse to fix the problem, it is important to have tangible documentation that you provided notification about the problem and requested to have it fixed. You can use this to appeal to a local housing court, or to take the matter further in a civil case, if necessary.

Should you become injured as a result of the problem, this documentation will become even more important.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have become injured because of a problem in your apartment or house that your landlord refused to fix, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online 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.

The Social Security Administration has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit in Queens that accused administrative law judges of bias when reviewing claims for Social Security disability benefits. The lawsuit claimed the judges trivialized the impairments presented in the application and often brought applicants to tears with harsh questioning. In the settlement, the Social Security Administration has agreed to remove those judges from those cases, which will allow them to be reheard by new judges.

 man with neck injury sits in a chair after social security benefits deniedThe Social Security Administration has also agreed to develop and enact new policies that would try to prevent bias in the review process. A special unit will be created to monitor disability claims for the next 30 months.

According to an article from The New York Times, the Queens office was considered to be one of the toughest in the country in regards to approving Social Security disability claims. The office rejected nearly half of all applicants — many of whom were immigrants.

The settlement may offer some hope for claimants in other jurisdictions who feel that bias may be affecting decisions reached on their applications for disability benefits.

North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyers

If you have been denied Social Security disability benefits and you feel that the denial was unjust — possibly even based on bias — please call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-909-7078 or contact us online. You will receive a free evaluation of your case to find out if one of our North Carolina Social Security disability lawyers may be able to help you.

How to Prepare Your Car for Winter Driving

Snow covered road in a winter blizzard

As the temperatures drop outside, driving conditions can become more dangerous. Snow and ice make the roads slicker, increasing your chances of getting into an accident with another vehicle or skidding off the road into a ditch or, worse, a tree or a building.

It is important to prepare your car for the winter weather so that you can travel safely throughout the season. Here are a few tips for you can prepare your car for winter driving:

Check the Tires

When you’re driving over heavy snow or slick ice, it is important to have the proper tread on your tires so you don’t skid all over the road or become stuck. Check your tires for any thinning tread, bald patches, or bulging. If any of these are present, you should replace the tire. Be sure to follow up with a tire rotation to make sure you get even wear from your tires.

Check the Fluids

It is always important to make sure your vehicle has adequate levels of all the necessary fluids, but it is even more important when you’re driving in the winter. Without adequate levels of brake fluid, you could take even longer to stop on an icy road. If your steering fluid drops too low, it could be hard for you to react quickly to another vehicle skidding out of control in front of you.

Make sure you check these and other fluids regularly to make sure that your car is in top working condition.

Check the Headlights and Brake Lights

Cars driving on a winter road with their lights onVisibility will already be diminished in the winter, when the days are shorter and fog, snow, or just generally cloudy and dreary conditions persist. Make sure that all your lights are in working order to make sure you can see well when you’re on the road. Also be sure to check for any cracks or damages to the area around the light that could impair your visibility.

Change Your Wiper Fluid

Water freezes – that includes your water-based wiper fluid. You can choose a wiper fluid that won’t freeze that can help you to clear frost, ice, dirt, and other debris from your windshield so you always have a clear view when you’re driving. You might also consider heavier wiper blades that are made for winter weather conditions.

Wax Your Car

This step won’t help you stay safer on the road, but it will protect your car. The salt, sand, dirt, and other grime that accumulates on the road to keep it free of snow and ice will eventually accumulate on your car and will eat away at the paint job. You can protect your car by giving it a fresh coat of wax at the beginning of the season and by keeping it clean.

Use Weather-Proof Mats

Here’s another one to protect your car itself: Getting in out of the car so often, you are bound to track in snow, ice, salt, and even mud. Your carpets can take a beating. You can easily protect them by using weather-proof mats throughout the season. Switch back to your regular carpets when the ice has finally thawed out for good.

Preparing your car for the winter weather can help to keep you safer on the roads, and it can also help you to protect the investment you have made in your car. Follow these practical tips to get your car ready for the season, and you will improve the safety of your family all winter long.

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation.

Workplace Deaths Drop 34 Percent in North Carolina, NC Department of Labor Reports

NC Department of Labor logoThe number of tragic accidents in the workplace dropped last year, and there was a 34 percent decline in workplace fatalities, according to preliminary numbers provided by the N.C. Department of Labor. There were 35 workplace deaths in 2012, down from 53 in 2011.

The department said that the rate for illness and injury in private industry is at an all-time low of 3.1 per 100 full-time workers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, North Carolina is one of the top 10 safest places to work.

Officials with the N.C. Department of Labor say that the department has increased its efforts to improve safety and to prevent workplace accidents from happening. The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Division has created partnerships with businesses in some of the most hazardous industries to improve safety measures. Outreach efforts have included posters in the workplace and focused training sessions.

The OSH division identified “the big four” — major hazards that accounted for 80 percent of workplace deaths in North Carolina over the past 10 years. These include “struck-by” accidents (such as being hit by objects and falling) and accidents involving fire, heat stress, and forklifts.

The construction industry had the most fatal accidents last year at 10. The number was down from 16 the previous year. Other dangerous industries included agriculture, forestry and fishing (7 fatal accidents), manufacturing (6 deaths), and the services industry (6 deaths).

Out of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 75 saw no workplace deaths in 2012. The counties with the most fatalities included Gaston, Mecklenburg and Wake (each had three). Four counties had two fatalities each (Harnett, Iredell, Rockingham and Sampson), and the remaining counties had only one fatality each.

Men accounted for 34 of the 35 workplace deaths in 2012.

North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

Zero is the only acceptable number of workplace deaths. Even though the number of workplace fatalities is declining, the workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin won’t be happy until there are no more tragic deaths.

If you were injured on the job, or someone you love was killed in a workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.

What Does It Mean When an Attorney Is a “North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law”?

The North Carolina State Bar oversees the licensing of attorneys throughout the state. In some cases, it awards special licensure to attorneys who show special knowledge and proficiency in their specific area practice of law.

According to the North Carolina State Bar, “Certification of lawyers as specialists by an objective entity and according to objective criteria fulfills the mission of the State Bar to protect the public by providing relevant, truthful, and reliable information to consumers of legal services. Certification helps consumers to identify lawyers who have experience and skill in a certain area of practice. Certification also helps lawyers by encouraging them to improve their expertise in particular areas of practice and providing them with a legitimate way of informing the public and other lawyers of this expertise.”

North Carolina state seal on the wall of the courthouse.The North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization grants the certification, which has different requirements for each area of law. Typically, a lawyer who wants to become a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist must have a license in good standing, must have spent a certain amount of time practicing in that area of law, must have taken a certain number of hours of continuing legal education, and must take a written test and receive a peer review.

North Carolina is one of only 18 states that offers a legal certification program.

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, Attorney Rick Fleming is a North Carolina Board Certified Specialist in Social Security Disability Law. Fleming is dedicated to using his knowledge and experience to trying to help clients get the Social Security benefits that they may deserve.

If you have been denied Social Security benefits, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 today for a free evaluation of your case.

Online Services Now Available for Management of Social Security Benefits, Called “My Social Security”

disabled person uses online services for social security benefits infoIt is now possible to access information about Social Security benefits online through a service that the Social Security Administration announced called “My Social Security.” This new online service will allow people to view and print their benefit verification letter, payment history, and earnings record. They can also change their address and their direct deposit information.

The benefit verification letter can be used to provide proof of income for a mortgage, a loan, or to apply for other government benefits. It can also be used to show proof of age, disability status and Medicare coverage.

The Social Security Administration says that it processed almost 9 million request for benefit verification letters last year. Social Security employees are already taxed by higher workloads, and the agency has said that it expects to provide fewer services as a result of budget cuts and a smaller workforce. By providing this service for people to access these letters themselves online, Social Security employees will be able to shift their work load to other important tasks.

The online services are also expected to reduce the waiting time that beneficiaries face for receiving information.

The service is available online at https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. People must be at least 18 to use the service. Users will be prompted to create an online account by providing unique information about themselves.

Users who are at least 18 but who are not receiving benefits will be able to use the service to receive a Social Security statement, which estimates future Social Security benefits for retirement.

The online services will also include links to other important online benefit services, including disability and Medicare.

If you are in need of legal representation for Social Security Disability, call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078.

More Sleep Problems Create Serious Injury Risk

Getting a good night sleep is essential to being able to drive safely and to performing your job safely. Any time you get behind the wheel, it is important that you are awake and alert so that you do not start to nod off or take your focus off the road. When you are at work, it is also important that your faculties are working and that you aren’t impaired by being overly fatigued, especially if you work on a construction site, in an industrial setting or in any field where you might have to operate machinery or equipment.

Woman falling asleep on her laptop due to insomnia.Unfortunately, while almost everyone knows the value of a good night sleep, more and more Americans are struggling to get the shut-eye they need. Our North Carolina injury attorneys are concerned about the implications of an increase in the number of Americans suffering from sleep disorders. More tired people may mean more drowsy driving accidents and more workplace incidents that put people at risk of serious injury.

Americans’ Sleep Problems are Getting Worse

It is difficult to determine exactly how many people in the United States suffer from sleep problems or sleep disturbances. However, a recent article published on Money News in December shed some light on this issue. According to Money News:

  • Research conducted by the National Center on Sleep Disorders indicates that approximately 70 million Americans have disturbed sleep or sleep challenges. Sleep problems can range from sleep apnea to snoring to insomnia.
  • More Americans than ever are struggling with sleep problems and trying valiantly to get help with their issues. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has now accredited a record number of sleep clinics, more than at any time in their history since 1977. There are now 2,500 different sleep clinics where people can undergo treatment for sleep problems.
  • The Centers for Disease Control have declared insufficient sleep to be an epidemic in the United States.


This data from Money News is cause for great concern, since more fatigued people can mean more people doing their jobs when they are tired or getting behind the wheel when they are too exhausted to be safe. A recent New York Times article on Drowsy Driving also adds additional support to the facts about drowsy Americans creating a danger. According to their article, a CDC study of 147,000 adults in 19 states and D.C. revealed that 4.2 percent of all survey respondents had fallen asleep in the past month as they were driving their cars. Unfortunately, the younger drivers- those ages 18 to 44- were significantly more likely to report that they had fallen asleep as they drove. In fact, while only 1.7 percent of the over 65 group of drivers reported falling asleep, more than five percent of the younger group said they’d nodded off.

Staying Awake, Staying Alert

All of this data on drowsy drivers and an increase in sleep disorders is cause for great concern. Not only are people at risk in their cars because they could encounter a dangerous drowsy driver, but they are also at risk when they are working with someone who might be over-tired.

In order to minimize your chances of suffering an injury due to a fatigued driver or co-worker, you should be on the lookout for people who seem to be struggling to stay awake. Watch for people who seem to be overly distracted, staring off into space, having trouble keeping their eyes open, yawning frequently or even nodding off. Of course, you should also be sure you don’t become a part of the problem by making sure to get enough sleep and to refrain from driving or operating machinery if you are too exhausted.

If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident or car accident, contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin for a free and confidential case evaluation. Call 1-866-900-7078.

What If I’m Hurt on My Friend’s Property? Can I Sue?

You are invited to a party at your friend’s house, and when you arrive, you slip and fall on an electrical cord that is running across the walkway, chipping your tooth and seriously injuring your face. You end up having to get dental surgery and stitches for the injuries on your face. Your doctor tells you that you will have a serious scar and that you will need plastic surgery to fix it. Your medical bills could cost thousands of dollars.

Woman in glasses having a serious conversation on the phone.Can You Sue Your Friend for Damages?

It depends on the circumstances of your case and whether your friend was negligent or has some other liability. However, if the question is simply can you sue a neighbor, friend or acquaintance in the same way you can sue a business for injuries you sustain as a result of their negligence, the answer is yes.
Personal property owners are not subject to the same liability as business owners, so it may be a bit more difficult to pursue a claim in some instances.

However, the law still protects you if you are injured, no matter who owns the property in question.

But Should I Sue My Friend?

In most cases, people are more worried about whether they should sue a friend or acquaintance rather than whether they can.

If you are injured on your friend or neighbor’s property, you may face thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost time from work, or even permanent disability.

If you do not seek the compensation to which you are legally entitled, you will have to pay these expenses yourself and you could even face the loss of your ability to care for yourself and your family if you become unable to work.

In most cases, you will be suing your friend or neighbor in name only — their homeowner’s insurance company actually provides the defense and pays any settlement or judgment. Your friend buys this insurance for this very reason — protection against financial liability.

The majority of personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. In most cases, your friend will never have to pay a dime directly and will never have to appear in court. You can get the compensation to which you are entitled under the law, and you can preserve your relationship with your friend.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers

Every case is different, and a North Carolina personal injury attorney can help you determine what the factors are in your case that may influence your legal rights. If you have been injured on a friend’s property or in a place of business, the North Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin may be able to help you. Call 1-866-900-7078 for a free evaluation of your case.