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Shocking Facts About Hit-And-Run Crashes

The only thing more infuriating than being in an accident that’s not your fault is watching the driver flee the scene, and it’s unfortunately not all that uncommon. According to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than one hit-and-run crash happens every minute on America’s roads.

Hit-and-runs occur when at least one person involved in the crash flees the scene before offering help or information to others involved. While hit-and-runs typically occur between two moving cars, they may also involve pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, parked cars, and other property.

Hit-and-runs are serious business and can increase the cost of your medical care and the severity of outcomes, given the delays or total absence of medical attention for victims. These types of accidents can be very difficult for you and your family, and you may be looking for remediation and insurance support. If this has happened to you, you may need a hit-and-run lawyer.

Unfortunately, hit-and-runs are increasing. Experts say staying to help the injured victim could save a life. So, why do people flee the scene of the accident?

Hit-and-Run Stats: Putting Them in Perspective

Here’s what a national AAA study shows about the severity and frequency of hit-and-runs.

  • Hit-and-runs accounted for over 5% of traffic fatalities.
  • There’s an average increase of 7.2% every year.
  • Fleeing drivers accounted for 20% of pedestrian crash fatalities.
  • 68% of people killed due to hit-and-runs were pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • 737,100 hit-and-run crashes occurred in 2015.
  • 2,049 people were killed in hit-and-runs in 2016 – a 60% increase since 2009.

To put it in perspective, that’s almost six deaths per day and more than one hit-and-run every minute on US roadways.

stat of people killed due to hit-and-runs

Possible Causes of This Alarming Trend of Hit-and-Runs

No one knows exactly why there is an increase in hit-and-run collisions, but there are many theories, ranging from population increase to distracted drivers.

Population Growth

With a population of 328 million, the United States is the third most populous country in the world. And the U.S. Census anticipates that the population will double during this century.

This means there are far more people on the road, which increases the number of collisions, including the likelihood of hit-and-runs.

Distracted Driving

Another theory for the increase of hit-and-runs centers on distracted driving, namely cell phone usage.

In many states, texting and driving is illegal, meaning that a collision due to phone usage turns an accident into a criminal offense. This may be a scary enough consequence to send a driver fleeing the scene and creating a hit-and-run situation.

A Zendrive study  revealed what many of us intuitively suspected. More than half of Americans (60%) use their phones when they get behind the wheel. The study also found that drivers spend more than 3.5 minutes every hour on their phones while driving, even though a two-second distraction increases the chances of a crash by 20 times.

Drunk Driving

Driving a vehicle drunk or impaired is a crime. Like texting and driving, fear of that criminal charge on top of causing a collision could lead someone to flee the scene, effectively creating a whole new criminal charge.

Every day, about 28 people in the United States die because of alcohol-related vehicle crashes – or one person every 52 minutes in 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

While these represent only a few theories on the hit-and-run increase, there is no definitive answer as to why hit-and-runs have continued to increase.

Some potential reasons for the increase of hit-and-runs

Common Characteristics of People Involved in Hit-and-Run Crashes

Leaving the scene of a collision is illegal in every state and can lead to serious criminal charges. In some states, even a misdemeanor hit-and-run (involving property damage or minor injury) carries a potential sentence of up to one year in jail, as well as fines.

According to Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations at AAA, “While no one likes being involved in a crash, leaving the scene will significantly increase the penalties for drivers – whether they caused the crash or not.”

Yet, it happens over two thousand times a day.

Who Are Hit-and-Run Victims?

  • Fatally injured pedestrians under age six or over age 80 were half as likely to be victims of hit-and-runs as in any other age groups.
  • In crashes involving children, the driver is identified more than 60% of the time versus 39% for older victims.
  • Males make up around 70% of hit-and-run victims in crashes.

Who Are Hit-and-Run Drivers?

  • Drivers are likely to be young males with a history of prior DWI and license suspension.
  • Drivers tend to drive older model cars, suggesting a lower socioeconomic status.
  • Drivers frequently have positive blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of arrest, and drivers who leave the scene are between two and nine times more likely to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash.
  • Drivers who flee crashes involving children ages 15 and younger or women are more likely to be identified later on.
  • Drivers are about twice as likely to be identified in hit-and-runs when they happen in locations other than the road or crosswalks.

What Factors Contribute to Hit-and-Runs?

  • Environmental factors such as lighting, roadway design, and location.
  • A lack of witnesses on a low-traffic road.
  • The time it happens — hit-and-runs are 4.5 times more likely to happen between midnight and 4 a.m., because of low visibility and a higher likelihood of an intoxicated driver.
  • What type of roadway it is – because if it is undivided or has a lower speed limit, pedestrians often attempt to cross it.
  • How heavily populated the area is — urban areas have more hit-and-runs than low-population areas simply because more vehicles and pedestrians are in close proximity.

How Insurance Issues Can Impact Hit-and-Run Driver Decisions

In the United States, all drivers are required to have automobile insurance. If a driver causes a crash, his or her insurance will potentially pay for damages that the accident victim suffers as a result.

Unfortunately, not every driver has insurance. Some drivers:

  • Don’t have a valid driver’s license
  • Have a suspended license
  • Are unable to afford insurance
  • Do not qualify for coverage

Any time a driver has no insurance, that driver is a risk to others on the road. When uninsured drivers are at-fault in accidents, they are supposed to pay the bills that victims incur as a result of the crash.

Without insurance, few drivers have assets to cover the medical bills, lost wages, and other damages associated with the accident, which may total in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Drivers with no license and no insurance are more likely to hit-and-run because they know they are breaking the law. This could result in victims being injured more seriously due to delayed medical care.

Can Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Policies Protect You in a Hit-and-Run?

If you’ve been in a hit-and-run, you need to find out if your insurance will pay through an uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.

Whether an insurer will pay and how much they pay will depend on the type and extent of coverage you bought when you purchased your auto insurance. If you are a victim of a hit-and-run accident, consult with an experienced attorney who can help you review your policy and determine if an uninsured motorist claim is a viable solution.

Countermeasures: What You Can Do

These statistics are alarming. What can you do to avoid being a victim of a hit-and-run?

When a Collision Happens

If you are in a vehicle and are the victim of a hit-and-run, follow these steps:

  1. Pull over to get out of traffic. Write down or take a picture of the license plate number of the other vehicle. Police say that many victims are tricked when the driver of the other vehicle appears to pull over but then takes off, leaving behind a very confused victim.
  2. Try to get a description of the vehicle and where it is heading if it speeds away.
  3. Contact law enforcement immediately.
  4. Photograph the damage.
  5. Stay at the scene — panicking decreases your chances of getting viable information.

Avoid a Hit-and-Run as a Pedestrian

A pedestrian hit-and-run accident can be even more challenging to deal with. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind as a pedestrian to try to reduce the risk of being hit by a car:

  1. Wear bright colors or reflectors so you can be more visible to drivers. Colors that easily reflect light, like white or yellow, are good choices. Reflectors can make you visible in a car’s headlights within 500 feet.
  2. Stay on the sidewalks and crosswalks, especially at night.
  3. Stay off roads without sidewalks, or walk against traffic if there are no sidewalks. Walking against traffic allows you to see oncoming cars that might not see you.
  4. Look where you are going. When crossing a street, look left, right, and then left again.
  5. Be alert. You can’t control what other people are doing, but by being alert, you can control what you’re doing and how you might need to react to a potential situation.

Of course, none of these things can guarantee your safety, but by doing your best to stay safe, you are potentially reducing your risk.

Get a Free Case Evaluation from Experienced Lawyers

If you or someone you know was the victim of a hit-and-run, contact us immediately or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. You may be unable to obtain the compensation you may deserve on your own. Our car accident attorneys are here to help. The call and case evaluation are free.

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How Can I Get Medical Treatment Without Health Insurance After A Car Accident

Ambulance moving down the street at high speed under the rain

One minute you’re driving and minding your own business, and the next, you’re injured in a car accident and need medical care. But what if you don’t have health insurance? You’ll have to negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for how much they may owe you for your damages – including the cost of your medical treatment.

This is important: The only way to prove the extent of your injuries is to get medical treatment. You have to show what it took to resolve your injury. Your medical treatment becomes your story of why the insurance company should compensate you.

When Does the Insurance Company Actually Pay You?

This “story” for trying to prove your case begins at the time of your injury and ends at the last date of your medical treatment. This is why you often have to wait until “maximum medical improvement” (or “MMI”) before the insurance company will talk about settling and paying your claim. You are just seeking reimbursement for all of the bills you’ve already had to pay.

Note: if the insurance company attempts to settle your injury claim before you are done treating, you are at risk of a lowball offer and should contact an attorney right away.

You may also have a right to be compensated for pain and suffering and lost wages.

How Can You Pay for Medical Care If You Don’t Have Health Insurance?

This is the problem many people face. Maybe you’re between jobs, or maybe you have a job that doesn’t include insurance and haven’t obtained any for yourself. Most doctors and other medical providers require payment at the time of service. If you don’t have health insurance, it may seem impossible to get medical treatment.

It’s not, and you absolutely must get care. Not only does your health depend on it, but your claim to potential compensation does as well. Here are types of care common in car accident injuries and how you can handle payment while you’re recovering and negotiating with the other driver’s insurance company.

Blur of the emergency room entranceEmergency Room Visits

Why seek this care: You should not take chances if you’ve been hurt. It may be obvious, or it may be difficult for you to recognize the severity of your injuries. After a car accident, most injured people go to the emergency room (ER) for initial treatment. The ER visit needs to happen early in your treatment, preferably the day of the accident. Remember: you are protecting the connection between your accident and your injuries. You need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible for an injury resulting from the accident.

However, you should not go to the ER repeatedly because an ER is set up for emergency visits only, not for ongoing care. Essentially, if you are experiencing an emergency, by all means, go to the ER. If it is not an emergency, seek your care elsewhere. Multiple non-emergency treatments at the ER will risk the insurance company refusing to pay the excess bills.

What If I Just Go to Urgent Care Instead?

If you believe an urgent care clinic can handle your injuries, you’re free to choose that route. However, some serious injuries may not be apparent immediately. The stress of being involved in an accident can “mask” injuries, so you may not even realize you’re injured.

While an ER certainly has access to better technology and diagnostic equipment, the urgent care clinic will be far less costly. Understanding the trade-off is essential here. An urgent care clinic may not detect an injury that an ER would, but it will likely cost much less. We caution against cutting corners with your care.

Essentially, urgent care clinics are a cost-effective option for follow-up care after you’ve visited an ER and your injuries have been thoroughly checked. Appointments are more widely available, and urgent care clinics may also refer for further treatment.

How to pay without insurance: Some ERs will attach a “lien” to your bill. A lien means the provider will give you treatment without immediate payment, and instead collect it later, out of any future final settlement. The lien gives them a legal right to be paid directly out of your potential settlement.

Other ERs do not automatically attach a lien and instead try to collect payment at the regularly scheduled interval. If the ER tries to collect payment immediately, you should let them know your treatment resulted from a collision and the status of your case. Ask the ER to give you the option to pay the bill when the case is resolved. They may or may not agree.

If delay is not an option, offer to pay minimal amounts to keep the bill out of collections and then pay the balance once the case is resolved. The last thing you want is for the bill to be sent to collections, so stay in touch with the provider.

A chiropractor placing their hands on a patient's back.Follow-up Care for Muscle Strains/Sprains

Why seek this care: After the initial ER care, if you have general muscle strains and sprains, chiropractic treatment is usually a good option. The reason chiropractors are helpful is that they do a good job with soft tissue injuries, which are common after car accidents. Also, chiropractors are highly accessible: you can typically schedule an appointment within a day, which means you are protecting the connection between your accident and your treatment for the accident.

You do not need a referral to see a chiropractor. However, if the severity of your injury is a concern, asking your physician or care provider if they recommend chiropractic care could be a good idea.

Do not miss appointments – the insurance company may take that as a sign that the appointment wasn’t necessary. You should follow the chiropractor’s plan but constantly communicate with the chiropractor about what is working and what’s not.

How to pay without insurance: Most chiropractors will treat on a lien, or at least they may be more inclined to do so when an attorney is involved. Even if they won’t, they often will not require immediate payment. If they do not treat on a lien, speak to them about your situation and your case, and again if you must pay, pay as little as they will accept to keep the bill from collections.

Follow-up Care for More Serious Injuries

Why seek this care: If you suffered more serious injuries or don’t feel better after several weeks of consistent chiropractic care, you may need to seek medical attention from a family care doctor or specialist. Again, you should attempt to find whatever care or treatment you need to heal from your injury

How to pay without insurance: You may have to find a clinic or family care doctor who will treat you on a lien, and ask them for a referral to a specialist who can treat you on a lien. These providers can be difficult to find, but they can be invaluable to your case if they are available.

Some urgent care facilities will treat on a lien. You can also investigate free clinics and free medical providers in your area. There are usually links to these services through your local health department. Large providers in our area, like Duke University Health Systems and UNC Health Systems, often provide charitable care services for uninsured individuals.

Negotiating a Lien

If you get treatment on a lien, the extent to which a provider is paid is based on what you may be able to recover for the final settlement. If the provider is not paid in full, then you will be responsible for the rest. Sometimes, an attorney can negotiate with the lien holder to try to reduce the out-of-pocket expense to the client.

For example, once a victim’s case settles, if the medical provider is only scheduled to be reimbursed 70% of their bill, then the medical provider may agree not to charge the client for the remaining 30%. Having an experienced car accident attorney handling your case from the beginning means you have experienced representation and people experienced in negotiations working on your behalf.

How Can an Attorney Help You?

In many cases, it is important to have skilled representation that can help direct your case with your best interests at heart. Without an attorney, you risk making a mistake that could cost you. With our team of more than 50 attorneys, we have extensive knowledge to assist our clients without health insurance try to get the treatment they need.

Treatment on a lien is a highly complex arrangement. Having an attorney handle the case may help you avoid personal liability and may help you put more money in your pocket.

This is important because, as we said at the beginning, settlement is most often related to treatment. Our goal as attorneys is to try to ensure you get as much as possible as quickly as possible, and that’s especially important when you don’t have health insurance – you want to know those bills are going to be paid. We understand! We’ve represented more than 50,000 clients and recovered a total of more than $1.2 billion in compensation.1

If you’ve been injured, time is not on your side. Contact us online for a free case evaluation or call us at 1-866-900-7078. Remember, there’s no attorney’s fee unless we recover compensation for your claim.2

Eating and Drinking While Driving Can Be Dangerous Distractions

Next time you pass someone on the road who is texting while driving, don’t be so quick to judge. At least, not if you have ever eaten a burger or sipped a soda while you were driving. Because eating and drinking are driving distractions, too.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that 8% of fatal crashes and 15% of injury crashes in 2018 were reported as distraction-affected crashes. That equates to 2,841 people killed and an estimated additional 400,000 people injured – all from distracted driving. And eating and drinking are considered to be driving distractions by the NHTSA.

But … you justify it to yourself. Eating while driving is part of every soccer mom’s weekly routine, right? And doesn’t every morning rush-hour commuter and tired trucker do it? And what about family road trips – surely that’s ok?

Eating on the go has become as American as apple pie. Thanks to the drive-thru, eating in our cars has become commonplace – routine, even. It is woven into the frenzied fabric of our everyday lives so intricately that we don’t think twice about it, let alone consider it a “distraction.” Yet many of us have never stopped to consider if we may be putting others (or ourselves and our passengers) in harm’s way as we careen down the road in a minivan full of little sluggers, while we force down yet another McNugget.

How Common Is Eating Behind the Wheel?

Eating on-the-go in our cars is pervasive. The fast-food drive-thru is so ingrained in American culture there’s even a national holiday celebrating it. July 24th every year. Here are some startling facts:

  • According to the CDC, 36% of adult Americans get food each day at a fast food restaurant.
  • There are over 204,000 fast food restaurants in the U.S.
  • These fast food restaurants serve roughly 50 million Americans every day and bring in $110 billion in annual revenues.
  • A Stanford University study says that over 20% of Americans’ meals are eaten in the car.

Why Eating Behind the Wheel Is So Distracting

There are many reasons why eating while driving is so dangerous. One major reason is that, when you eat behind the wheel, you are multitasking big time. You may not know just how little it takes for us to become unfocused while multitasking. Here’s a quick multitasking exercise that can help you determine just how good you are. (Spoiler alert: you’re not as good at it as you thought you were.)

Fewer Than Two Hands on the Steering Wheel

Driver eating a large burger while driving may increase his chances of a wreck.

Eating and driving almost always leads to driving without both hands on the steering wheel. Drivers must unwrap fast food items, apply sauce packets and condiments, clean up spills and crumbs, throw away trash, and more – all while trying to steer the car.

Even if you bring your own food to eat in the car, you may be handling lunch boxes with zippers that get stuck or Tupperware with lids that won’t open. Your hands are busy. But not busy doing what they should be doing, which is driving.

Eyes Off the Road

If your hands are off the wheel when you’re eating, your eyes probably are, too. What happens when a pickle falls off your burger? Our eyes (and hands) are trying to find that pickle instead of trying to keep our car on our side of the road. And chances are your mind is not on your driving at all at this point. It is on that pickle.

With your eyes off the road, you can easily miss changes in road patterns or road conditions, road signs and warning signs, or even other drivers who may be trying to find their own pickle while driving.

Slower Reaction Times

With your hands, eyes, and mind off the road, your reaction time will naturally be much slower. This contributes to the potential for collisions as drivers cannot always react in time to make the necessary maneuvers to avoid car accidents.

One university study, entitled ‘Two Hands Better Than One,’ found that drivers’ reaction times when eating increased by 44%, compared to their non-distracted counterparts. (And by increased, we mean got slower.)

Passengers With Food

We know that having rambunctious or loud passengers can result in distractions. But we don’t often think about how passengers who are eating can affect our ability to focus. Driving-Tests.org states:

“A backseat full of friends chowing down on burgers and fries can be just as distracting as enjoying some drive-thru fare yourself. The smells and sounds of passengers eating while you are attempting to concentrate on the important task of driving, not to mention offers of fries and ‘bites,’ can tempt you to turn around and take your eyes off the road.”

Car Clutter and Food Wrappers

Every time you pick up fast-food, you are left with a pile of paper bags, napkins, empty cups, straw wrappers, and more. Oftentimes, this trash is tossed to the floorboard to be picked up “later.” “Later” typically takes a while to come around and, slowly, the food wrappers and trash on your floorboards can create a hazardous, cluttered environment. Have you ever had a water bottle roll around your car? That bottle could easily get caught between your brake pedal and the floorboard.

According to one insurance company:

  • Loose objects can fly through the air if you have to stop suddenly – creating 20x the punch they normally would and potentially causing injuries to you and your passengers.
  • Loose objects rolling around your car can be distracting all by themselves. Garbage from food or drink can pose health hazards, becoming home to nasty bacteria that generally increase in hot weather. This can lead to multiple health problems, including E.coli.

Even an odor (rotting food and trash) or sight (trash piling up and making your car an eyesore) can be distracting and take your mind and eyes off the road.

Tips to Try to Avoid Eating and Driving

Treating your vehicle like a dining room is asking for more than just a big mess. Here are some tips to avoid the mess – and the potential mess of dealing with a car crash.

Eat Before You Leave

Wake up a few minutes earlier and eat your granola bar before getting in your car and heading to work. It may be slightly less convenient, but I can guarantee you it is way more convenient than dealing with a car wreck.

Make Your Car a Snack-Free Zone

Keep snacks like granola bars or fruit snacks out of your car. Some people keep snack foods in the glove compartment or center console. But if you don’t have food there, you won’t be tempted to eat it in a non-emergency setting – like when you’re driving.

Eat in the Parking Lot or the Restaurant

Eating in a parking lot or in the restaurant – or even pulling off the road to eat a snack – could save a life (even yours) by keeping you focused on your driving.

The 10 Worst Foods to Eat Behind the Wheel

If you absolutely have to eat behind the wheel, try to make the situation less distracting by using more accessible containers, keeping your trash in check, and avoiding certain messy foods. Here’s a list of the 10 worst foods to eat while driving, as reported by Drive-safely.net.

The top 10 worst foods to eat while driving include chocolate, soda, donuts, burgers, tacos and coffee.

  • Chocolate
    It may not be as bad as other foods because it isn’t something you can spill. But chocolate can leave stains and fingerprints that tempt us to clean them up, which is another major distraction when driving.
  • Soda
    Any drink can be distracting because you risk a real mess if you spill. Soda, because of its sticky nature, may be one you want to avoid, especially opening the can. We’ve all gotten sprayed with Sprite or Diet Coke, and it is not something that we want to happen in our car.
  • Donuts
    Jelly, cream-filled, or powered donuts can lead to a messy end-result. Use that willpower and resist the Krispy Kreme drive-thru on your next road trip.
  • Fried Chicken
    Fried chicken is greasy. A driver eating it is likely going to be cleaning their fingers or trying to wipe grease off the steering wheel. Consider eating your KFC inside or in the parking lot before pulling back onto the interstate.
  • Barbecue
    Like fried chicken, barbecue is extremely messy with its hot, dripping sauces. Getting it all over your hands, car, or clothing can be a major distraction.
  • Hamburgers
    Hamburgers are hard to resist on a road trip. But burgers have many parts – pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, bacon – all of which can slide out of the bun and make a mess in your car. And no one wants ketchup on their khakis.
  • Chili
    Hot chili on your clothes, hands, and car can not only be distracting, but it can be painful. Don’t let yourself get burned or distracted by eating chili. Some years ago, a driver of a Metro bus in Cincinnati hit two pedestrians because he was looking down to throw away his cup of chili. One was killed, the other was injured.
  • Tacos
    Tacos are hard enough to eat when you’re not driving. The mess will likely create an even bigger mess in your car. One driver crashed into two parked cars and flipped his own car onto its roof because he was eating a taco and brushing crumbs off his lap, thus causing the collision.
  • Soups
    Eating hot soup in your car is a bad idea. Period. It’s easy to spill, a mess to clean up, and depending on how hot it is, dangerous if you spill it on yourself.
  • Coffee
    Who doesn’t drink coffee in their car? Everyone needs a pick-me-up from Starbucks or McCafe, but hot coffee can burn your mouth or your hands, which can certainly take your focus off the road.

Keep in mind that many food-related car crashes happen in the morning during the rush to work. One driver was eating breakfast while driving 50 mph through an area already occupied by first responders. His breakfast distraction caused a second collision.

Are You Breaking the Law if You Eat and Drive?

No. In the United States, eating while driving is not prohibited by law. However, most distracted driving laws are interpretable, making it a very gray area.

One police officer put it this way: “Would I pull someone over if they have some french fries in their hands? No. But if someone is eating a sub, swerving all over the road? For sure. And I have.”

Importantly, North Carolina is a contributory negligence state, meaning you may be barred from compensation if you were in any way negligent in contributing to the accident.

For example, if you were in a car accident, and it was found that eating or drinking contributed, you could very well be considered negligent and denied potential compensation. Even worse, you could face legal action.

So, is eating and driving illegal? No, but it is certainly safer not to, and you could potentially be held liable if you contributed to an accident.

Now You Know – So What?

First, don’t be a distracted driver – of any kind. Try to find ways to avoid eating behind the wheel. It’s not as hard as you think. It could be as simple as setting your alarm five minutes earlier in the morning. It may not be convenient to you at first, but it could save your life or someone else’s.

Second, be a conscientious passenger. Help the driver keep his or her eyes on the road, even if food is involved.

And finally, encourage others not to eat or drink while driving so they can keep both hands on the wheel and both eyes on the road. Distracted driving is dangerous, claiming more than 3,100 lives in 2019 in the U.S. Almost all of these tragedies are preventable.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Personal Injury Lawyers

Far too many people are injured because of distracted drivers – including those eating while driving. If you or someone you know was injured by a distracted driver, please contact us or call 1-866-900-7078 for a free case evaluation. Our car accident attorneys can help you seek the compensation you may deserve. We are here for you 24/7.

If you have ever wondered, “How many beers can I drink and drive?” or “Can I drive after three beers?” there are many factors to take into consideration.

A 180-lb man may be able to drink 3.5 regular 12 ounce beers in one hour and keep his Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) under the legal limit of .08%. Similarly, a 140-lb woman may be able to consume 2.5 regular beers in an hour and maintain a BAC of less than .08%.

Keep in mind that these numbers are general estimates that assume that the average regular beer has a 5% alcohol by volume (ABV) level, and they do not take into account other factors. The following are known contributing factors to BAC levels:

  • an individual’s metabolic rate
  • age
  • food consumption
  • and more

There are also plenty of craft IPAs, stouts, and ales available with higher ABV levels which would impact the amount you can consume and stay under .08%. On the other hand, light beers have an average ABV of 4.2%, so the same 180-lb man and 140-lb woman may each be able to drink an additional beer in that hour timeframe and potentially keep a BAC lower than .08%. (And remember, there is no limit to the number of non-alcoholic beers you can drink!)

So those are the facts, but not all the facts. Read on for a closer look at the consequences of drinking and driving, plus some North Carolina-specific information that everyone should be aware of.

The Reality of Drunk Driving

You’ve probably seen the ads: “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.” And seen plenty of DWI statistics. But unless you have personally felt the effects of drunk driving or you work as a personal injury lawyer representing actual people whose lives have been ripped apart by the real devastation a drunk driver can cause, it probably doesn’t hit home.

But home is exactly where drunk drivers hit – and hit hard.

Families shattered. Children and teens’ lives cut short. Relatives left permanently disabled. Severely disfigured. Brain damaged.

I’ll never forget my first DWI case in particular, involving a registered nurse on her way home from a long shift at the hospital.

My client was leaving work where she routinely aided her patients. The other driver – the drunk driver – was considered a heavy drinker. The drunk driver ran a red light, striking my client in the driver door. My client was unable to work for months due to a shoulder injury.

While we were not able to turn back time and prevent the collision from happening, we did everything we could to help our client. We sought money from the drunk driver to try to:

  • “fix” our client’s shoulder with surgery
  • “help” our client after her surgery with physical therapy to try to regain her mobility and strength
  • “make up for” the intangibles our client suffered in the form of pain and suffering

Also – as a collision involving impaired driving – we sought money from the drunk driver to “punish and deter” him from getting behind the wheel and putting someone else in the community at risk of serious injury or death.1

Drunk Driving: U.S. Facts

So here are those national statistics again. Read them. But this time read them knowing that each statistic represents a real person.

Drunk driving facts including frequency of accidents and deaths, and the worst time of the day.

  • NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts reported that in 2018, every 50 minutes a death occurred as a result of a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content (BAC) was 0.08 or higher.

That’s 10,511 deaths.

  • Among those fatalities, 67% were in crashes in which at least one driver in the crash had a BAC of .15 g/dL or higher – or roughly six to eight drinks in an hour.
  • Those 10,511 deaths represented 29% of all traffic fatalities for that year! Simply put, drunk drivers were behind about a third of all traffic deaths!
  • The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2018 was 4 times higher at night than during the day.
  • The highest rates of drunk driving occur among drivers aged 21-34. This age group makes up 52% of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal collisions.

Drunk Driving: North Carolina Stats

Unfortunately, 3,848 people were killed in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver in North Carolina between 2009 and 2018. The state also had higher alcohol-impaired driving death rates than the U.S. for every age range, as well as for both sexes, in 2018.

This same year, North Carolina drivers who reported driving after drinking too much in the past 30 days (1.3%) was less than the national average (1.7%).

North Carolina death rates by drunk drivers are higher than the U.S. average for each age range.North Carolina drunk driving death rates are higher than the U.S. average for both males & females.

Am I Liable If I Serve Alcohol to Guests?

You may be. North Carolina law says that when an intoxicated guest causes an accident, the injured party may be able to seek damages from the host if certain conditions exist. So pay attention to the amount you serve your guests and read this list of Ten Way to Minimize Your Liability When Hosting a Holiday Party.

Drunk Driving Links Worth Sharing

We know what alcohol does to the body and brain – it slows our reactions, blurs our vision, makes us brave, and sometimes compels us to take unnecessary risks. Here are some links worth sharing with friends, family, and others – especially teens and twenty-somethings.

And, it bears repeating, if you’ve been drinking, call a cab, or Uber or Lyft. Contact a sober friend or relative. Use public transportation. Use your head – DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

 

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers. When teen drivers have other passengers in the car, the risk of a fatal car crash doubles. And teenagers are more prone to have a collision during the first months of licensure. Now, North Carolina roads may see an influx of teen drivers who have not even had a road test.

New Law Puts Untested Teen Drivers on NC Roads

Governor Roy Cooper recently signed a bill that allows teen drivers to get their limited driver’s license without a road test during the coronavirus pandemic. House Bill 158 permits the NC Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to temporarily waive the requirement of a road test for young drivers attempting to obtain a Level 2 limited provisional license. The road test will now be administered after 6 months of violation-free driving with their provisional license. According to the NC DMV the road test will be waived provided that the teen drivers meet the following criteria:

  • Be 16 or 17 years old
  • Have their Level 1 Limited Learner Permit for at least 12 months
  • Have completed at least 60 hours of supervised driving, including time at night
  • Have no moving violations or seat belt/cell phone violations within the last six months
  • Have coverage under a liability insurance policy

Rules of Level 2 Limited Provisional License

If the above criteria are met, the teen driver will be able to get their Level 2 Limited Provisional License. However, there are still several regulations that drivers must abide by, including:

  • Drivers must be at least 16 years old, but less than 18.
  • Drivers may drive without supervision from 5 a.m. until 9 p.m. and at any time when driving directly to or from work or any volunteer fire, rescue, or EMS activities.
  • Supervising driver must be seated beside the driver during restricted times.
  • Only one passenger under the age of 21 is allowed in a motor vehicle when the driver is the holder of a Level 2 license.
  • There is no limit on passengers under the age of 21 if all passengers in the vehicle are members of the driver’s immediate family or members of the same household as the driver.
  • If there is a supervising driver in the car, the passenger restriction/limit does not apply.

Negligent Entrustment

As mentioned above, parents have a stake in ensuring their teens are qualified to be on the road, because they can be sued directly if an accident occurs. Parental liability is created under the doctrine of negligent entrustment, which says a parent can be liable when their teen causes a car accident if the parent knew, or should have known, that the teen driver was a danger to others on the road.

With driving road tests being waived, this exposes many parents to liability. For example, if you give your teen driver minimal highway driving experience and then allowed them to drive on the highway with the level 2 license, and they cause an accident. In this situation, the parents are potentially liable for any damages resulting from the accident.

Vicarious Liability

Parents can also be on the hook for an accident their child caused through the legal doctrine of vicarious liability. Through vicarious liability, the parent will be liable for the wrongdoing of their teen driver if the driver is acting under direction and authority of the parent. In North Carolina, under vicarious liability, parents can be held liable if their teen driver causes a car accident while fulfilling any family “purpose” or “use.” This purpose can be almost anything, as long as the parent has control over the teen driver’s use of the car.

For instance, if a parent asks the teen driver to go to the gas station to fill up the car, the parent could be liable if the teen were to cause an accident during that drive.

NC Personal Injury Lawyers Evaluate Your Case FREE

If you are injured in an accident caused by a teen driver, you may be entitled to compensation. As you can tell, getting in an accident with a teen driver can be a very complicated legal situation. That’s where we can help. Here at the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we have experienced North Carolina car accident attorneys who know how to navigate complicated legal problems like these. For a FREE case evaluation, call us today at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online and chat with a live representative.

Nicholas Tessener, personal injury attorney at James Scott Farrin, shared his hopes and expectations for the House Select Committee on Community Relations, Law Enforcement, and Justice in its inaugural meeting on Wednesday, September 2, 2020.​ Nicholas is one of the members of the public chosen to contribute to this committee’s goals as it examines North Carolina’s criminal justice system and proposes methods for improving police training and relations between law enforcement and its communities.

You can read the transcription of Nicholas below:

Personal Injury Attorney Nicholas Tessener

“Good morning, my name is Nicholas Tessener.

I appreciate the opportunity to serve on this committee, and I believe that we have a unique and special opportunity to make some changes with our community.

Some small background on me – I’m from Raleigh; I left after high school. I graduated from Millbrook High School. I was gone for about ten years and lived in five different states.

I came back to go to Campbell Law, right down the road here. I got to spend some time with some great professors studying in different countries, [with] different justice systems, [such as] Africa and Scotland, [in addition to] here, [so] I hope to be able to bring some of that experience [along with me.] What I hope for this committee to be able to do is to be the voice of the community that we haven’t had.

I think a lot of times we get one side of the story and we make that [snap] judgement. But one of my favorite professors from Scotland told me: “No matter how thin the pancake, there are always two sides.”

And I think that’s our job as this committee; to listen to both of those sides so that we can listen with open hearts and open minds and really mend this community.

That’s my hope.”

10 Most Dangerous Intersections in North Carolina (2019)

It is a Monday morning. Everyone is coming off the weekend – some are eager to start the week, speeding along. Others are overtired and distracted, not quite giving their full attention to the road. Some are running late, rushing and careless. All of these scenarios have the potential to lead to the same result: a car accident.

While distracted, fatigued, or careless drivers are bad enough, there are intersections that pose a statistically higher risk as well.

Intersections are naturally a high-risk area and, as the statistics show, some intersections are worse than others. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), more than 50 percent of the combined total of fatal and injury crashes occur at or near intersections. As such, drivers should take note of the most dangerous intersections in North Carolina.

A map of ten dangerous intersections in North Carolina.

 

The Top 10 Most Dangerous Intersections in North Carolina

Based on the 2019 HISP data, the intersections in North Carolina with the highest number of crashes were as follows:

  1. US 29 at NC 24 (Mecklenburg County – 272 collisions)
  2. NC 49 at SR 2827 (Mecklenburg County – 215 collisions)
  3. US 17 at SR 1309 (Craven County – 180 collisions)
  4. US 17 at US 17 Bus (Craven County – 162)
  5. US 64 WB Couplet at US 25 Bus (Henderson County – 162)
  6. US 1 at SR 3977 (Wake County – 151)
  7. NC 160 at SR 5901 (Mecklenburg County – 141)
  8. Corporation at New Hope (MP 3.60) (Wake County – 131)
  9. NC 53 at SR 1308 (Onslow County – 129)
  10. Corporation at New Hope (MP 3.76) (Wake County – 121)

Highway Safety Program and its Initiative to Help Drivers Stay Safe

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) pioneered the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) to provide precisely this type of data, with the hope of “addressing specific traffic safety concerns throughout the state.”

Through HISP, NCDOT compiled the above data from the potentially hazardous intersection locations in each county. From that, we gathered the 10 most dangerous intersections overall across the state.  While this data reflects where crashes are occurring, we are still left with one glaring question: why?

Factors Contributing to Intersection Crashes

According to a 2010 study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are several factors that contribute to intersection crashes – both related to the crashes themselves (such as traffic control, weather conditions, and pre-crash events) and the drivers.

So what can you do to avoid a crash? The study found that drivers’ errors were critical causes in 96% of crashes at intersections.  The most frequent reasons (in order from most prevalent to least) were inattentive driving, making a false assumption of other’s action, turning with an obstructed view, performing an illegal maneuver, distraction, and misjudgment of other’s speed. As such, exercising safe, attentive driving is critical.

The study also found the following characteristics to be particularly distinguishable:

  • Age: Specific driving errors were most commonly found in certain age groups. For example, intersection crashes involving those 24 and younger are most often attributed to distraction, false assumption of other’s action, or aggressive driving. Crashes involving drivers ranging in age from 25-54, on the other hand, are likely due to physical impairment (for example: sleeping, heart attack, etc.), illegal maneuvers, inattention and aggressive driving. Finally, crashes involving drivers 55 and older are often caused by inattentive driving and misjudgment of other’s speed.
  • Gender: 1% of crashes involving female drivers were at intersections, while 32.2% of crashes involving male drivers were at intersections. Furthermore, intersection crashes involving female drivers are often attributed to inattention and internal or external distractions. In contrast, crashes involving male drivers are most likely caused by illegal maneuvers, aggressive driving, or physical impairment.

North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers

 If you find yourself in a car accident – anywhere in North Carolina, intersection or not – The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is ready to help you. We will evaluate your case for free, and we do not collect an attorney’s fee unless we get compensation for you.2

If you have been in an auto accident in North Carolina, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

If you are like most North Carolinians, you count down the days until you can be relaxing on a beach or lake having fun in the sun. What most people don’t dream of is being involved in a boating accident caused by alcohol. The unfortunate reality is that these happen far more frequently than anyone would hope. Luckily, by following our list of safety tips below, you may be able to prevent a tragedy.

Summer can be broken up into three major holidays:  Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day. North Carolina Law Enforcement has labeled these holidays the three most dangerous and busy weekends of the summer. Pairing with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MAAD), they are conducting their 10th annual “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign to help raise awareness and keep everyone safe.

MADD, Boating, and NC Law Enforcement Sobriety Checkpoints

Founded in 1980, MADD is a nonprofit organization grounded in their passion to put a stop to drunk driving, wherever it might happen. This year marks the 10th annual “On the Road, On the Water, Don’t Drink and Drive” campaign hosted by MADD, The NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and State Highway Patrol. North Carolina law enforcement plays an essential part of this campaign by conducting sobriety checkpoints.

These checkpoints will look very similar to a standard traffic stop. If you are out on the water, a police or sheriff boat will flash their lights and slowly approach your boat. They may ask for your license and registration. During this interaction, they will be on the lookout for obvious signs of alcohol in the driver: glassy eyes, slurred speech, slow motor skills, etc. They will also take inventory of the other passengers on the boat. If someone seems to be in need of medical help, the officer may order the driver to take them to shore or summon aid.

Are North Carolina Laws Regarding Drinking and Driving Different on a Boat than in a Car?

NC laws regarding alcohol consumption behind the wheel are focused on one number: 0.08. Similar to driving a car, a boat driver cannot have a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at or above 0.08.

What about the other passengers? With the exception of liquor, it is legal to have an open container on a boat. In contrast, if you were to have an open container in a car, you could be facing a suspended license or jail time. On a boat, it’s perfectly fine.

Does this increased flexibility mean that driving a boat is easier than driving a car? Absolutely not. On the road, drivers can quickly brake or change lanes. On a boat, there are no brakes, only neutral. Sometimes, especially if the current is guiding the boats together, there is no way to stop an accident from happening. Adding alcohol to this situation slows drivers’ reaction times and impairs judgement, further increasing the chances of an accident. This is why it is crucial for drivers to yield, keep their distance, and stay sober.

5 ways to stay safe on the water including yielding, knowing checkpoints and the local police number

How to Prevent Alcohol Related Boating Accidents

The risk of encountering a drunk driver on the water shouldn’t ruin your holiday plans. Follow these strategies to make the most of your time while staying safe.

  1. Don’t let anyone drive your boat if they have been drinking.
  2. Keep an eye on other drivers to see if they may be driving under the influence. Such behaviors can include: driving very slow or very fast, having no regard for the boats/people around them, cutting off other drivers, and many more.
  3. Be aware that you may go through a sobriety checkpoint. Be polite and accommodating.
  4. Yield to other boats, watercraft, and swimmers.
  5. Know the number of your local police, the Coast Guard, and local boat services to call if you believe there may be an unsafe driver on the water.

North Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys Evaluate Your Claim Free

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on the water, don’t hesitate to call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys is ready to help, and we’re here to answer your calls 24/7.

My Child Was in a Car Accident – What Should I do?

Being involved in a car accident is stressful enough, and when your child is also in the car, the situation can be even scarier.

We all want to protect our children from danger, but in a car accident, their wellbeing can be out of our control. When put in that terrible situation, we all want to ensure that our children are okay – both physically and emotionally – but it can be hard to know what to do.

Here are some steps you can take after your child is involved in a car accident.

Seeking Medical Attention is Essential!

Seeking medical attention as soon as possible is vital after a car accident. Regardless of the severity of the accident, it is important that you seek medical attention for your child: both for the child’s safety, and to ensure that you have complete documentation if you choose to file an insurance claim. However, you can evaluate the severity of the accident to decide whether an ER trip or pediatrician visit is more appropriate.

If your child is unconscious after the accident or has serious injuries, take them to the ER immediately. However, if your child does not have serious injuries and the car accident was minor, consider taking your child to their pediatrician instead.  If you’re unable to get a last-minute appointment at your child’s pediatrician, take your child to an urgent care clinic, as it could ensure that your child receives medical attention quickly without having to go to the ER.

If you were also involved in the accident, make sure to seek medical attention for yourself as well. Even though your child feels like your first priority, you could have also incurred injuries in the accident, and your child is much better off when their parent is healthy.

Is your child reacting to the car accident in a normal way?

Directly after the crash, do you notice your child crying? Believe it or not, after an accident, hearing your child cry is a good thing. Crying does not necessarily mean that your child is in pain, but it does immediately signal that they have not lost consciousness and were not stunned by the crash.

In the days following the accident, keep an eye on your child’s emotional reaction to the crash. Even if they experienced little or no physical injuries, their psychological health is also vital, so it is important to pay attention to their behavior and try to understand how they are responding. Depending on their age, the child will respond differently, so keep that in mind when trying to figure out if their response to the crash is normal. According to the State Insurance Regulatory Authority,

A normal response from a child between the ages of 0-6 might include:

  • reverting to behavior from an earlier developmental period
  • becoming clingy

If your child is between the ages of 6-12, a normal response might include:

  • avoiding talking about the crash
  • Acting more combative towards parents
  • worrying about their family’s wellbeing more than usual

For a child between the ages of 13-18, a normal response might include:

  • having a hard time sleeping and focusing on schoolwork
  • experiencing mood swings
  • avoiding social events
  • experiencing a change in school performance
  • overanalyzing their reaction to the crash

If you notice that your child is reacting to the accident in a way that does not correspond to the normal responses for their age range, be sure to discuss their reactions with a medical professional.

It’s also important to remember that you are probably feeling just as shaken up as your child, so make sure to take care of yourself and monitor your own response to the accident. Your child is happier and safer when you are also doing well.

These Physical Symptoms Could Indicate Injury in your Child

After seeking medical attention, you’ll want to make sure your child is healthy, or begins recovering. According to NBC News’s Today.com, there are specific symptoms to look out for in a child after a car accident, and if your child experiences more than two, you should contact a medical professional again. These symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Excessive crying
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Bowel irregularities
  • Lack of interest in toys
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Bleeding from nose, mouth, or ears
  • Vision issues
  • Speech issues
  • Lack of strength

Five Things You Can Do to Help Your Child Return to Normal Life

Do these five things to help your child readjust to normal life:

    1. Talk about the accident, but keep it in the past. Make it clear to your child that they are safe now.
    2. Remember to focus on the positives when talking to your child about the accident. Instead of pointing out what went wrong, discuss how well they reacted and praise them for other positive behavior to make sure they don’t dwell on the negative aspects of the crash.
    3. Keep to your normal routine, as this will bring your child comfort and help them feel safe and secure.
    4. Do activities with your child. Spend time with them and do fun things with them, like completing a puzzle, going for a walk, or watching a movie.
    5. Don’t be overprotective with your child. This could cause more harm than good – your child needs to know that they are safe now and that the danger has passed.

Don’t Forget about Car Seats!

If you experienced a minor accident, replacing their car seat might not be necessary. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an accident is only minor if:

  • the car seat does not seem damaged
  • no one involved in the accident was hurt
  • the airbags did not deploy
  • you were able to drive the vehicle away
  • the door nearest the car seat was not damaged

If your accident does not fit these criteria, replace your child’s car seat with a new one for their safety.

Seek Legal Help from the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin

At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we know how hard it is to recover from a traumatic car accident, especially when children are involved. You don’t have to go through this alone, and we’re here to help.

You or your child could be entitled to compensation for your injuries, so after taking the necessary steps to ensure your safety, contact an experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyer. We’re ready to help you fight for the compensation you may deserve.

If you or your child were injured in an auto accident, don’t hesitate to call the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin for a free case evaluation at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us online.

Drivers Guide to the Most Dangerous Intersections in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Triangle

Are you driving through some of the deadliest highways and intersections in the Triangle and don’t know it? What areas do you need to be driving defensively?

The Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, also known as “The Triangle,” continues to experience a population growth. Over the past 10 years, Wake County’s population has grown by 26%. Compared to other counties in the U.S. at the last census, Wake County is only second to Austin, Texas in terms of top fastest growing counties with 1,000,000+ residents. Between 2010 to 2015, Raleigh’s population grew by 14%!

Unfortunately, this rapid growth meant more people are driving on the roads, and more car accidents have occurred as a result. However, car accidents are occurring at a disproportionate rate — about a 45% increase overall, according to WRAL.

The Most Dangerous Intersections in Raleigh

Based on reports from the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), there are dozens of intersections where crash rates are higher than those in the area. As you may suspect If you drive through them frequently, you may already suspect high-volume roads like Wake Forest Road, Capital Boulevard, and Western Boulevard are on the list.

According to the most recent reports from the NCDOT, below are the top 5 areas in Raleigh where the most accidents have occurred between 2014 to 2018:

  1. Capital Boulevard/I-440 interchange in north Raleigh
  2. Wake Forest Road/I-440 interchange
  3. Interstate 40 at South Saunders Street in south Raleigh
  4. New Bern Avenue/I-440 interchange in east Raleigh
  5. Glenwood Avenue/I-440 interchange near Crabtree Valley Mall (the intersection of Blue Ridge Road and Glenwood Avenue also take first place with the most frequent crashes occurring there)

A map of the 5 most dangerous traffic intersections in Raleigh, NC.

In contrast, below are the areas in Raleigh where the crashes have been most severe between 2014 to 2018:

  1. The intersection of Corporation Parkway and New Hope Road in east Raleigh
  2. Dawson Street at South Street downtown
  3. Falls of Neuse Road at Common Oaks Drive in north Raleigh

The Most Dangerous Intersections in Durham

In Durham, the most crash-prone intersections between 2014 to 2018 are listed below:

  1. I-40/Fayetteville Road near Southpoint Mall
  2. I-40/NC 55
  3. I-85/Guess Road
  4. I-40/US 15-501
  5. I-40/NC 54
  6. Roxboro St/Durham Freeway
  7. I-85/N. Roxboro Road
  8. Wake Forest Highway/Holloway St

A map of the 8 most dangerous traffic intersections in Durham, NC.

When traffic engineers identify where crashes are most severe, they are able to provide crash mitigation efforts like adding red light cameras, making stop lights more visible to drivers, and restricting turn lanes to help reduce crash rates. See a map of where NCDOT Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) projects can be found.

8 Tips on How to Drive Defensively if You Are in a High-Crash Volume Area

If you frequent these intersections and areas in the Triangle, driving defensively is key to ensuring your and others’ safety. Practice the following tips below:

  1. FOCUS! That text or call can wait. Minimize being on your phone or fiddling with the air conditioning or the radio especially when you’re at one of these dangerous areas.
  2. Expect other drivers to drive badly.
  3. Follow the speed limit.
  4. Buckle up!
  5. Yield to other drivers if you are in doubt as to who should go.
  6. Don’t try to race the yellow light. Slow down.
  7. Always use your blinkers.
  8. Do not tailgate other drivers.

North Carolina Triangle Car Crash Lawyers

The Law Offices of James Scott Farrin is ready to help you if you were injured by another driver’s negligence. We may be able to help you get compensation. We’ll evaluate your case for free, and we don’t collect an attorney’s fee unless we get compensation for you. If you’ve been in an auto accident in North Carolina, call us at 1-866-900-7078 or contact us here.