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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Auto Accident MYTHS

When an auto accident occurs, there are a lot of assumptions made. The reality is that all auto accidents are different, but there are certain truths that remain through every type of crash. Here’s a look at some of the most popular myths about auto accidents.

Statements are required

The insurance company for the at-fault driver may pester you for a recorded statement. Some may even go as far as to say that your claim will be denied unless you provide a recorded statement. Your claim is not contingent on providing a statement and at Hefferon & Hefferon, P.A., we advise that you respectfully decline to give a statement to the other insurance company until you have consulted with an auto accident attorney. On the other hand, you have a duty to cooperate with your own insurance company, and if they ask for a statement, you should cooperate and provide it. You still have the right to consult with an attorney first.

Rear end collisions are always the fault of the trailing driver

This is usually, but not always the case. If a car slams on its brakes without any justifiable reason, or suddenly changes lanes in front of you and then brakes, or stops at night without lights activated, the driver of that car is at fault. Accidents happen as a result of an infinite variety of factual scenarios, and every accident should be thoroughly analyzed by an experienced attorney before accepting fault.

Compensation is guaranteed if someone hits you

In some auto accidents, it may be obvious who is at fault. But it’s not always obvious that an injury resulted. Providing the necessary proof to recover fair compensation can be complex and time-consuming. Insurance companies are skeptical of all claims, and they review each and every claim carefully. They never take anyone’s word for anything, and they don’t pay unless and until they are thoroughly convinced by all the evidence that liability is clear, that damage occurred, and that payment is warranted.

Police reports solve everything

Just because a police officer wrote down that things happened a certain way does not make it so. Most auto accidents are not witnessed by police officers, who usually arrive at the scene after the collision. Officers then report only what they were told, and they often misunderstand the conflicting accounts of drivers and witnesses. An official police accident report is a beginning, not an end.

You don’t need medical attention after a car crash

Not all injuries from a car accident show up right away. Whiplash, nerve damage and back injuries could take some time to fully set in. Seeking medical attention will provide you with clear evidence that the NC accident caused serious injury. Also, be sure to retain documentation of all medical-related issues and doctor visits.

I have to file an auto accident lawsuit right away

In North Carolina, injured persons have three years from the date of the accident to settle their claims or file a lawsuit. Nevertheless, you should not wait to begin the claims process by gathering and securing evidence, seeking medical treatment, and seeking legal advice.

If you have recently been in a motor vehicle accident, let Hefferon & Hefferon P.A., help you through your case. As Charlotte auto accident attorneys, we will dispel any myths you may have about these type of lawsuits and help put together the right strategy for you.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Surviving Spouses’ Rights in North Carolina Wrongful Death

When a married person dies as a result of the carelessness of others (called a “wrongful death,”), the surviving spouse should be aware of his or her legal options.

The family of a person who dies a “wrongful death” has a right to recover damages from the responsible parties, whether an individual or a company. Under the NC Wrongful Death Statute, the family may recover compensation for such things as

  • The medical bills related to the death
  • The funeral expenses
  • The pain and suffering of the decedent at leading to his death
  • The value of the decedent’s lifetime net income
  • The value of the services the decedent would have provided to his family
  • Loss of companionship, comfort, guidance and advice of the decedent
  • Punitive damages where the cause of death warrants it (e.g., drunk driver).

North Carolina also has a statute that sets forth guidelines for the allocation of recovered damages between spouses and other family members in a wrongful death claim. Following payment of attorney fees and expenses, funeral expenses, and medical expenses up to $4,500.00, any remaining recovery proceeds must be disbursed between a spouse and other family members as follows:

  • Where there are no children or surviving parents, the spouse is entitled to all net proceeds;
  • Where there is one child, the spouse is entitled to the first $60,000 and the remainder is divided equally between the spouse and the child;
  • When there are two or more children, the spouse is entitled to the first $60,000 and one third of the remaining compensation. The children would then divide the remaining two thirds equally among them.
  • Where there are no children, but the deceased parents are alive, then the spouse is entitled to the first $100,000 and one half the remainder. The other half would be disbursed to the decedent’s surviving parents.

If a married couple was in the middle of a separation or divorce at the time of the wrongful death, it can substantially impact the amount of damages that might be recoverable. Clients and attorneys should also work together to minimize the effect of problems in the marriage on the settlement value of a wrongful death claim, including the decision whether to have a different family member pursue the claim on behalf of the family.

If someone else is responsible for the death of your loved one, it’s time to take action by contacting Hefferon & Hefferon P.A. We are highly experienced in wrongful death claims and litigation, and will make sure not only that every detail is covered, but that you thoroughly understand what is happening as it happens in the case. Call Hefferon & Hefferon, PA. Today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

North Carolina Auto Accidents Increase During Holidays

The winter holidays are meant to be a joyous occasion when people are surrounded by family and friends. But with so many people taking to the road to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, there is a heightened risk of winding up in an auto accident and in need of a Charlotte personal injury lawyer.

Charlotte NC, Charlotte North Carolina Downtown, sunrise, foggy, traffic

The leading cause in a high number of accidents is alcohol. With the holidays come more festivities, meaning more opportunities to consume alcoholic beverages. In the state of North Carolina, the legal limit for BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level among drivers is .08%. For drivers under the age of 21, any percentage of alcohol is prohibited. Commercial drivers are permitted to have a BAC level no higher than .04%. That same level applies to drivers who have a previous DWI on their record.

Not all auto accidents in North Carolina involve alcohol. A growing problem has been the number of accidents caused by distracted driving. Cell phones and hand-held devices contribute to these types of crashes.

Texting while driving is prohibited in North Carolina, although it is not against the law to talk on a cell phone while driving, unless you are under the age of 18, in which case all cell phone use is prohibited. Nonetheless, talking on a phone serves as a distraction to many drivers and also does not permit them to have both hands on the steering wheel.

Other types of distracted driving include eating while driving, paying too much attention to a GPS device, or changing the radio stations. Fatigue is also a form of distracted driving and can be extremely dangerous during the holiday season when people are traveling more frequently.

According to, most drivers tend to fall asleep in the time frame between midnight and dawn in addition to early in the afternoon following lunch. The DMV also states that drowsy driver accidents are often more severe than drunk driving accidents in North Carolina.

Rural and urban interstates throughout North Carolina have a maximum speed limit of 70 mph. At those speeds, distracted driving and aggressive driving could be even more dangerous. Various kinds of aggressive driving include tailgating, constantly lane changes, and failure to use a turn signal.

Drivers cannot control what other vehicle operators do, but being aware of all the dangers could aid in avoiding a potential car accident. The North Carolina Department of Transportation reported that auto accidents around the Christmas holidays nearly double the number during other holidays such as Memorial Day and Easter. Ranking right behind Christmas is the Thanksgiving holiday.

Safety is of the utmost importance every day, but it is something drivers should be even more aware of around the holidays. Paying a little extra attention to the road could pay huge dividends when it comes to your safety.

Should you find yourself in a car crash at any time of the year in Charlotte NC Hefferon and Hefferon law firm. can provide you with experienced legal counsel. We will assign you a Charlotte auto accident attorney, who will see you through the entire process. No matter what the magnitude of your auto accident in North Carolina, one of our experienced attorneys can help your case.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Construction Accident Essentials For Victims

Construction accidents are avoidable, and are usually caused by carelessness and failure to follow general safety practices. The end result could leave injured victims out of work, bogged down with high medical bills, enduring months of pain and suffering, and in many instances permanent, debilitating injuries. When a general contractor or subcontractor (or their employees) carelessly cause a construction accident, they will be liable and owe fair compensation to the injured individual.

While injuries in construction accidents differ, the causes generally remain the same. Slip and falls, scaffolding falls, trench collapses and electrical injuries are some of the more common construction accidents. Workers are also frequently hit by falling objects.

Whatever the circumstance may be, it is very important to gather as many witnesses as possible. Obtain written statements from other workers if you can. Pictures are also worth a thousand words, so be sure to take plenty.

When it comes time to take pictures, there are plenty of things to look for. There are safety guidelines that need to be met and should any of these be insufficient, make sure you capture them with a time stamp on your digital camera or cell phone.

Guardrails are required on scaffolding and all scaffolds should be a safe distance from any nearby power lines, preferably ten feet. Toeboards are also required all around any platform or floor that is elevated.

Fall protection is another area that needs to be addressed. Fall arrest systems should be in place to prevent serious slip & fall injuries. On scaffolding that is six feet off the ground or higher, construction companies must maintain dry floors that are also free of any holes.

Protective equipment should also be provided without any cost to the workers on the job site. All workers are required to be trained in regards to all the potential hazards of a specific job. Those who are not fluent in English must also have a means of having this information communicated to them.

If any of those aforementioned guidelines are not followed, it is up to the worker to report the violations in their entirety. The same applies for a trench collapse. Find out what the slope requirements are for the type of soil involved on a job. A slope violation will put workers in jeopardy and hold construction companies accountable. Trench walls also need to have certain slopes to properly ensure worker safety.

Heavy equipment is also responsible for a fair amount of construction accidents each year. Many of them are caused by operators who are not certified to work those types of machines, such as a forklift or crane. Try to validate an operator’s credentials if an injury occurs. Not only could the operator be liable, but the construction company could be as well.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a Charlotte construction accident, contact the professionals at Hefferon & Hefferon, P.A., Attorneys at Law. We will work to uncover every detail in your case and strive to get you the compensation you deserve. When it comes time to find a construction accident injury attorney in Charlotte, Hefferon & Hefferon is the first and last name you need to know.

The team at Hefferon & Hefferon is also experienced in settling disputes involving contractor, mechanical liens, construction defects, and faulty construction work. If you need construction litigation in Charlotte NC, contact their offices today.
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