accident-on-the-city-road-at-night_t20_neaR6K-300x200Picture it:  you’re driving home from a long day at work. You reach an intersection with a green light. But, you’re t-boned by someone that runs the red light while on their cell phone. You have suffered some very severe injuries. You must be extracted from your car by the fire department. You’re flown by helicopter to the nearest trauma left and spend a month in the hospital. Your medical bills when you’re released are more than $150,000. You also have a permanent injury and can’t return to your old job or way of life.

The liability insurance for the person that caused the accident becomes the first source of your recovery. Each state sets the minimum amount (“minimum limits” in lawyer-speak) each driver must have in order to drive. North Carolina’s minimum limit is $30,000South Carolina’s minimum limit is $25,000.  There are no hard statistics, but (in our experience) the vast majority of drivers carry only the amount required by law. It doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that a minimum limit policy doesn’t go very far in your situation.  This sad scenario is something that we as injury lawyers see far too common. There is no worse feeling than telling an injured person that there is no way to get more money for a client.

The 7th Amendment, is a tool designed by our founding fathers to ensure that the powerful and the weak, the rich and the poor, the politically connected and the unknown are equal in their ability to share their story with a jury.  Making sure these rights are forever retained by the citizens, helps protect us from tyranny.  This changed in the early 80’s when a handful of Supreme Court decisions incorrectly applied the Federal Arbitration Act to consumers and employees instead of leaving it between merchants as it was intended. It was a voluntary way merchants (equal power) could resolve disputes quickly and cheaply without having to go through the court system for contract disputes. The Supreme Court has allowed the Arbitration Act to be applied to individuals and enforced even when state law has voided them. This irrational reasoning was again the foundation of a 5 to 4 Supreme Court decision last year in Epic Systems Case, which allowed enforcement of arbitration clauses preventing employees from banding together to hold employers breaking the law accountable.

When Wells Fargo cheated its customers by creating and charging for extra accounts, it protected itself with the forced arbitration clauses consumers did not know they had signed when they opened accounts. You find these forced arbitration clauses in all kinds of unusual places like nursing home agreements, cell phone contracts, banking agreements etc. It protects big business by preventing the harmed individual from having his or her day in court. The arbitration process limits discovery of information does not apply the rules of civil procedure, they frequently require secrecy of the results and are subject to the whim of a private arbitrator without the ability to appeal.

Voir Dire, the Art of Jury Selection

its-hard-being-an-adult_t20_BAelLP-300x200

I have picked a handful of juries over the years and I must tell you that it can be one of the hardest parts of a trial for a lawyer. First off, we really do not pick the jury. The court sends out random notices to citizens that they have been selected for jury duty and tells them where and when to show up or what number to call to find out about having to show up. Then, they all go to a room and watch a video, and some get randomly called by a clerk to go to a particular court room. Perhaps more than one trial is going on in the court house. Then those random folks sit in a court room and the clerk randomly selects (in most cases) twelve of the group to get in the jury box.

insurance-agent-examine-damaged-car-and-customer-filing-signature-on-report-claim-form-process-after_t20_VL9777-300x200

Liability Insurance: A Necessary Evil

Let’s face it, just about nobody likes auto insurance.  For most people, it’s a cost you’re forced to pay for something you never get anything from.  Making matters worse, most people have no idea about what coverage they are paying for or what kind of options they really have.  For many, the only thing that matters is the cost.  However, if you are involved in a collision, having the right types and amount of insurance can make all the difference.  This post will address one of those types, liability insurance.

traffice-light-camera-225x300

Chances are that you have encountered driving through a city that has placed red light cameras at intersections.  The stated purpose is to increase safety at intersections by imposing a penalty for those drivers who run red lights.   The penalty fine varies from place to place but is typically $50 or $100 for a violation.  If not paid timely, then the fine amount doubles in most locations.

The Good.  When driving through an intersection, it is nice to know that other drivers may be less likely to run a red light if they fear being fined for that bad driving habit.  We know that 40% of the roughly 6 million car crashes that occur in the United States every year are intersection-related crashes.  Various surveys and data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warn us that intersections can be dangerous places.  If red light cameras cause drivers to be more careful not to enter an intersection on a red light, then that should be a good thing for all of us.

53607309_429589447816937_3099377748028686336_n-1-300x235

Choose Wisely…Your Insurance Company Matters

It seems like any time you turn on a television, radio or computer these days, you can’t escape a commercial from an insurance company.  Think about.  I bet you can hum the jingle or say the catchphrase from half a dozen insurance companies without even thinking hard.  That’s not a coincidence.  There are a handful of insurance companies that flood the airwaves with commercials and have done so for years.  I’ll admit, some of these are pretty clever.   Whether it is a talking amphibian, a guy constantly causing chaos or an athlete giving neighborly advice, the goal is always the same: to sell you insurance.  And you know what, it works!  The biggest advertisers have the most insureds in the United States.

close-up-of-hand-showing-insurance-word-and-car-people-house-through-magnifying-glass_t20_eo2mEa-300x200 As a personal injury attorney in North Carolina, I hear this from clients all the time.  Unfortunately, in most cases, it is not true.  At the very least, it is not what they believe it to be.  In North Carolina, as in most states, you are required to purchase auto insurance to legally be allowed to drive on public roadways.  Each state sets its own requirement as to the minimum amount of insurance and type of insurance that you must purchase to be a legal driver.  The primary purpose of these requirements is to protect innocent persons from your negligent driving.  In North Carolina it is called the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act and can be found at NCGS §20-279.21.

North Carolina requires that all drivers carry at least $30,000 in liability insurance.  This is sometimes referred to as “minimum limits” or a “30/60” policy.  That means that you only carry the minimum amount of auto liability coverage required by law in North Carolina.  Under a minimum limits policy, the most any one injured claimant can collect is $30,000 and there is only $60,000 in available liability coverage for all the claimants involved in an accident.  For example, if you, your spouse and your children are involved in a car accident and spouse and children of the at-fault driver are in the other vehicle, there is a total of $60,000 in available liability coverage for all seven claimants (assuming two children in each car).  With the costs of health care rising, if all seven claimants are transported by ambulance and get checked out at the hospital, you can easily see how quickly that $60,000 is exhausted, let alone if there are any serious injuries or follow up visits are needed, or worse, if someone dies as a result of the accident.  None of those factors change the amount of money available to the claimants in a minimum limits policy.

At the Law Offices of Jason E. Taylor, we are proud to participate in various community events throughout the year (especially if they involve motorcycles!). We sincerely believe that one good deed can change the world, which is why we strive to support the residents of North Carolina and South Carolina both in and out of the courtroom. Our team is always looking to partake in new and exciting events and charities that support people in need. Despite the rainy and chilly weather, our staff participated in 5 wonderful charity events this December!

28th Annual Conover School Toy Run

If you sustain an injury at work, you may not know what to do. Most employers have to provide workers compensation. But the entire process can be overwhelming and confusing. Take the steps in this post to and it will help you get the best possible outcome.

Immediately Tell Your Employer

Contact Information