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 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.
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!
Why Should I Have to Submit to a Drug Test for My Workers’ Comp Case?
If you’ve been injured at work and have filed for workers’ compensation, then you’ve probably been asked to take a drug test. If this feels like a pointless invasion of privacy, don’t worry — we agree. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to avoid this: it’s the law.
Of course, we don’t condone the use of illegal drugs or drugs that were not prescribed to you; however, that doesn’t mean we think the insurance company should be allowed to drug test you. In reality, there’s not much of a relationship between what you possibly took at a party two weeks ago, and how a coworker drove a forklift into you yesterday.
The scenario that we see more often than illegal drug use is people taking prescription drugs that aren’t prescribed to them. For example, if while waiting to see the doctor, you take some of your wife’s prescription painkillers, you could test positive for drug use. In that case, you could lose your right to benefits.
Taking someone else’s painkillers might not seem like a big deal, especially when you’re in a great amount of pain, but the reality is that it is illegal. Don’t put your case in jeopardy by taking medication that’s not prescribed to you.
If you’re concerned that a drug test may prevent you from receiving workers’ comp benefits, be sure to contact an experienced attorney. We can help you determine whether or not your case will be affected.
If you’ve been injured at work, don’t hesitate to contact Oxner + Permar for a free consultation. We can help guide you through your case and ensure that you get the benefits that you deserve.
If My Boss Says I’m an Independent Contractor, Can I Still Get Workers’ Compensation?
Just because your boss says you’re an independent contractor, doesn’t mean you are. In a workers’ compensation case, the court doesn’t really care what your boss has to say on the matter. They’re going to look at a few other factors.
Long story short, whether or not you’re an independent contractor really comes down to how much control your boss has over you. For instance, does your boss set how, when, and where you work? The more control your employer has over these factors, the less likely you’re an independent contractor — even if you’re called an independent contractor in your contract.
Employers in certain industries are notorious for calling employees “independent contractors,” and because it prevents them having their taxes withheld, many employees are happy to go along with it.
We often see sales representatives, construction workers, and truck drivers who believe they are independent contractors but actually don’t fall into that category when it comes to workers’ compensation.
The best thing to do is to speak with an experienced attorney. We can help you determine exactly how the Industrial Commission will view your position. Our experienced attorneys can also help you apply for workers’ compensation benefits and navigate all of the complicated aspects of workers’ comp law.
If you’ve been injured at work and you’re unsure whether or not you really are an independent contractor, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Oxner + Permar offers free consultations, and we can help you decide how to proceed with your workers’ comp case.
Do I Really Have to Give My Adjuster My Medical Records for the Last Ten Years?
We know. We get it — and we agree with you. It’s absolutely ridiculous that the adjuster would demand this of you. Not only is it a huge pain, but it’s a huge invasion of your privacy. Nevertheless, the Industrial Commission routinely allows for this to happen.
The problem is, on paper, this sounds like a way for the adjuster to check for fraud. However, what the Industrial Commission fails to take into consideration is the human side of things. There’s no rule to prevent your adjuster from sharing your records with your coworkers. If this happened, it would be a huge invasion of privacy.
If you sustained a knee injury at work, why would the adjuster need to know if you’re taking birth control, or if you broke your arm five years ago, or if you have asthma? We do understand that they might need to know if you’d had a previous knee surgery before you were injured at work, but anything not related to your injury is unnecessary.
That’s why it’s important to us that we fight for our clients’ right to privacy. We make every effort to limit this horrible intrusion. Dealing with a workplace injury is difficult enough; you shouldn’t have to add worrying about your privacy.
If you’re concerned about your privacy, don’t hesitate to call us. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience, knowledge and commitment to protect your rights.
What is a Mediation?
If you’re dealing with a workers’ comp case, it’s possible that you might have to have a mediation. But what exactly is mediation? Also known as a mediated settlement conferences, mediations are informal meetings where a neutral party will hear both sides of your case and help you work out a compromise. If that happens your case can settle there.
There are several reasons why your case might go to mediation. For example, if your claim is denied, the Industrial Commission will probably order your case to mediation before it goes to a hearing.
Another reason you might go to mediation is if your case has gone on for a long time. The Industrial Commission will want to see if mediation can help wrap up your case in a satisfactory way for both parties.
However, just because you are required to go to mediation doesn’t mean it has to end in any kind of agreement. The only requirement is that you are there — which means if you are uncomfortable with the compromise suggested in mediation, you don’t have to agree to it. If you do reach an agreement, it will be written up, and boths sides will be asked to sign it. Once that happens, the decision is final: there is no backing out.
Another good thing to keep in mind is that the objective of a mediation isn’t necessarily to settle your case. In many instances, you and your case might not be ready for settlement. But that doesn’t mean your mediation is a waste of time. You can still come to agreements on other things such as a change of physicians, approval of surgery, raising your weekly checks etc. These things will put you on a much faster route to settlement and ensure that you’re getting a settlement that’s fair to you.
Mediations may seem scary, but they aren’t! We’ve done thousands of them, and we’ll be happy to guide you through yours. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to stand up for you.