Yearly Archives: 2018

Who Is At Fault When A Self-Driving Car Causes A Wreck?

Personal Injury

Who Is At Fault When A Self-Driving Car Causes A Wreck?

 

We are living in a time where technology is advancing quickly and in ways our great grandparents probably would not have predicted. As impressive as self-driving cars are, there are also questions about how safe they are.

 

When two cars collide under normal circumstances, North Carolina law holds the at-fault party responsible for all damages and losses that he or she caused. But in the age of self-driving cars, the question of responsibility must be determined. In general, liability depends on one or more of these options:

 

Human Error

Human error is still the first place an injured victim should look. Even the best technology cannot protect the public from negligent human operators, if the human driver has ultimate control of the vehicle. If a driver fails to remain alert while at the wheel or misuses the technology, then the driver may be responsible for a crash.

 

Vehicle Malfunction

Sometimes technology simply fails. If a driverless vehicle is being operated properly and as designed but somehow fails, then the manufacturer may be the appropriate party to hold responsible for any injuries that the faulty machine caused.

 

Lax Government Oversight

A government regulatory agency that permits self-driving vehicles to be tested on public roads may potentially be responsible for allowing experimental vehicle testing on public roadways if the testing exposes the public to unreasonable risk of harm.

 

Improper Design or Manufacturing

In some cases, the design of the vehicle is defective and it must be considered whether this is something that the manufacturer should have recognized.

 

Self-driving vehicles raise new questions of liability. If you have been injured by a self-driving car and have questions give Oxner + Permar a call for a free consultation!

¿Sabias que…

Spanish

¿Sabias que…

 

Si su empleador no tiene seguro de lesiones laborales, usted todavía puede proceder con un reclamo si eres lesionado en el trabajo? Si su empleador no tiene seguro, tienes la opción de proceder en contra de ellos directamente, o, si su empleador era un subcontratista de un contratista general, puedes proceder en contra del seguro del contratista general. Antes de empezar un reclamo sin seguro, debes saber que el proceso será un poco más complicado – esto es porque tendrás que estar directamente en contacto con su empleador.

 

Es por esto que es importante que usted se ponga en contacto con abogados con experiencia si eres lesionado en el trabajo. Nosotros aquí en Oxner + Permar tenemos bastante experiencia con estas situaciones, y podemos ayudarle en español.  ¡Llamenos!

What Are People Referring to When They Mention “Grid Rules” in Social Security Disability?

Social Security Disability

What Are People Referring to When They Mention “Grid Rules” in Social Security Disability?

 

Applying for Social Security Disability can be a lengthy and sometimes frustrating process. I get questions every day about how applicants can make the process go faster, what the eligibility requirements are, and what some of the frequently used terms mean, such as the grid rules.

 

There are a few ways a disability applicant can argue they qualify for benefits. An applicant may argue that they meet a medical impairment listing, are unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (earning over a certain amount set by the Social Security Administration), or that they are disabled because they meet a Medical Vocational “grid rule”.

 

The Social Security Administration uses a grid of rules to answer when an individual is disabled or not disabled. This takes into account an individual’s age, education level, transferable or non-transferable skills, and your residual functional capacity (RFC).  

 

The older an individual is, the easier it becomes to be approved for disability benefits. Under the grid rules, education is evaluated based on the following:

  • 1) Whether an individual is illiterate or unable to communicate in English.
  • 2) If they have  limited education or less than 12th grade.
  • 3) A high school education or more.
  • 4) Education that required specific training or specialization.

The grid rules classify your past relevant work as either unskilled, semi-skilled, or skilled and also take into account whether or not you have transferable skills. This considers if the skills used in your past work can be transferred to a different job. Lastly, your RFC level categorizes whether your abilities limit you to perform sedentary, light, medium, or heavy work.  

 

An experienced attorney who understands how the grid rules are analyzed can determine if they could work to your advantage in your claim or not. Contact Oxner + Permar today for a free consultation to speak with an attorney who can answer your questions about your Social Security Disability claim.

Is There Anything I Can Do To Help Get My Social Security Disability Hearing Scheduled Faster?

Social Security Disability

Is There Anything I Can Do To Help Get My Social Security Disability Hearing Scheduled Faster?

 

Waiting to get a hearing for your Social Security Disability benefits can be frustrating. The current wait time to get a Social Security Disability hearing scheduled in any of the four North Carolina offices is at least 18 months. This is a lengthy amount of time to wait for disability benefits when you’re unable to work.

 

During this time an attorney will continue to build the case based on medical evidence for a claimant. The best steps to take during this time are to continue treating with doctors and work toward getting supportive records and statements from your physicians.

 

The good news is there are some things you can do that may help get a hearing scheduled faster. One step is a “Congressional Inquiry”. One way to possibly expedite the process is to contact the office of your local congressman or senator. This inquiry would involve a congressional staff member to call or write the Social Security office on your behalf. Although there are no guaranteed results, it can’t hurt your case, and it could possibly get your hearing scheduled in six months rather than a year or two.

 

Working with an experienced attorney from the beginning can help strengthen your case. If you have any questions about your Social Security Disability case and how you can expedite your hearing give Oxner + Permar a call for a free consultation. 

I Fell On Someone Else’s Property, Who Is Responsible for My Medical Bills?

Personal Injury

I Fell On Someone Else’s Property, Who Is Responsible for My Medical Bills?

 

A common question I get when someone has a slip and fall accident at a store or someone else’s property is who is responsible for their injuries and medical bills. Many people believe that if they fall or are hurt on other another’s property the owner of the property is responsible for any injuries or medical bills. This is a misconception and these cases are typically very tough to win in North Carolina.

 

The law is clear that owners of real property are not responsible for the safety of visitors. Rather, owners of real property only have a duty to ensure the property is reasonably safe and to tell visitors if there are any “latent defects” in the property, or defects that could not be found upon reasonable inspection. What that means is if a person steps in a hole that is “open and obvious” or slips in a pool of water that one can see if keeping a reasonable lookout, the property owner is not responsible.

 

For example, if you were walking through a parking lot after a snowstorm and fell because it is slick, this would not be the fault of the property owner because they have no duty to warn that the snow makes the parking lot slick. However, if a person is walking down the stairs from his apartment and the stairs collapse because, unknown to him, the stairs are in need of repair, the property owner is probably responsible for any injuries.

 

As if the law of liability was not tough enough, North Carolina is also one of five jurisdictions in the United States that still follows the doctrine of contributory negligence. Contributory negligence means that the person who slips and falls, regardless of fault by the property owner, was not using due care, or not keeping a reasonable lookout. So, let’s go back to the stairs. If the stairs are in need of repair, but it is obvious the stairs are not safe, a person might be blocked by his own contributory negligence by using the stairs and be at fault.

 

The laws can be confusing. If you have been injured on someone else’s property and have questions concerning who’s at fault, give Oxner + Permar a call for a free consultation.