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    Attorney Will Reaves

    When it comes to assault cases, there are two potential outcomes that may befall the defendant: criminal charges or cicil lawsuit. Though the crimes are similar, both the circumstances and the way they are handled after the inciting incident are different. So let’s dive in and distinguish between civil and criminal court injuries.

    Criminal Charges

    In order to be charged with criminal activity, the defendant must be found to have broken the law (local or federal) and committed a crime in some way. Every state has their own statutes regarding assault and battery, encoded and enforced via local legislature. Criminal assault charges typically come with time in prison and a hefty fine of up to thousands of dollars.

    If you ever find yourself in a position where you’ve been attacked and injured, turn to the law for guidance and clarity. After that, contact a professional attorney to discuss the situation and see whether criminal charges can reasonably be pressed. Remember, this is the best course of action to follow for someone who may be a danger to themselves or others. For simple misunderstandings, minor first-time offenders, or cases without injury, one can still pursue a civil lawsuit.

    Civil Lawsuit

    Although civil lawsuits are typically far less serious than the full weight of criminal charges, they can still be a big deal. One of the major differences between the two is that civil lawsuits can be won even if the plaintiff has not sustained injury. If they are made to feel unsafe or that harm was imminent, then their case has legs. Simple negligence or mechanical malfunction cannot be charged with assault, however. These cases present different circumstances with different procedures.

    Ultimately, the goal of a civil lawsuit is to award the plaintiff with monetary compensation for physical, mental, and/or emotional trauma. These types of lawsuits rarely include any threat of time in prison, and plaintiffs often try to incorporate as many parties into the lawsuit as possible to gain the most monetary advantage in the end.

    Summary

    Again, if you’ve sustained physical or mental injury at the hands of another person, seek out a professional immediately. At the very least, you may be entitled to compensation. At most, you may be instrumental in putting a dangerous person in prison. Contact Wayne Hardee Law to make an appointment for any questions or concerns you may have, and we’ll put you in touch with a skilled attorney who can guide you through the process. Keep up with our blog for the latest stories and FAQs!.


     
    Attorney Will Reaves

    If you are in a motor vehicle accident in the state of North Carolina, the law does not require you to automatically call the police to the scene. If there is no bodily injury to either party and no significant damage to either vehicle, such as may be the case in a “fender bender”, you do not have to make a call to the authorities. However, when injury or death or at least $1,000 worth of property damage, the police must be called. If the accident is on private property, a call to the authorities may not be required. When in doubt, call the police department or state highway patrol to discuss what is needed.

     

    The officer who comes to the scene will take statements and photos and fill out an accident report. In every single instance of a vehicular accident, both parties must contact their insurance companies. Insurance companies will typically utilize the crash report as a main tool in their investigation to determine liability.  

     

    What Information Is Collected?

     

    The police officer investigating at the scene must file a report within 24 hours of the accident, according to North Carolina law. Things that will be included are:

     

    • The date and time of the accident
    • Make, model, license plate number of all vehicles involved
    • Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
    • The city and county, as well as the nearest intersection
    • Contact information of the parties involved in the accident including passengers
    • The drivers’ insurance information
    • An estimate of property damage
    • Any citations issued as a result of the accident
    • Statements from any witnesses

     

    Who Was At Fault?

     

    There is an entire section of the crash report for the officer to give a professional opinion as to how the accident occurred. Observations and conclusions are made. Was one party speeding? Was a traffic signal or law missed? There will be space on the report form to draw a diagram of the scene. The officer is a neutral party and will collect all evidence from the scene and witnesses to come to a conclusion of fault. 

     

    How Can I See My Report?  

     

    Drivers who have an accident in North Carolina can request a copy of the report. All crash reports must be filed with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, and you can obtain a request form either online or in person. Simply follow the steps at the DMV’s website listed under Records and Reports. Once you have obtained a copy of the report, carefully check all the details. The details of this report may be vital to your insurance claim. If you see anything that you believe is an error, contact the Wayne Hardee Law office. We would be happy to discuss your concerns with you.


    Attorney Will Reaves

    If you own and operate a watercraft of any kind, it’s crucial that you know the local laws and regulations, as well as any safety procedures that will keep your passengers protected. But boating crashes and general mishaps do happen. While they are much fewer and further between than land vehicle collisions, there are still a number of injuries and fatalities recorded annually due to watercraft accidents.

    You may be unfamiliar with how this process works. On land, contact information is swapped, pictures are taken, details are recorded, and an insurance claim is filed. It’s typically pretty easy to determine the liable party, whether they were speeding or they broke another traffic law, such as running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign. But it’s a bit different on the open water. So, how do you determine liability in a watercraft accident?

    Unsurprisingly, it actually depends on the circumstances of the incident. There are several possible culprits that could be held responsible. The following is a list of parties that may be held liable, accompanied by the circumstances that would lead to such liability.

    • The Operator. This is perhaps the most obvious and straightforward of the possibilities. If the operator is not following the laws and regulations put forward for watercraft, then they will be held responsible for their actions if they end in an accident.
    • The Manufacturer. Perhaps the accident is not the operator’s fault. Perhaps the boat has faulty equipment that caused the operator to lose control. In this case, the manufacturer would be held responsible for any damages sustained in the accident.
    • The Passengers. This isn’t quite as unlikely as it may seem. If the passengers are distracting or otherwise hindering the operator’s ability to maneuver the craft, then they may be held liable after an accident.
    • The Owner. Even if the owner is not present during an accident, they may be held liable for neglect. Perhaps they didn’t properly care for the craft or perform regular maintenance checks. Under these circumstances, the owner may be held at least partially liable for any damages sustained in an accident.

    Whether you want to know more or you’ve been in a boating accident yourself, it would be wise to call a law firm to discuss your options. Our team of skilled lawyers here Wayne Hardee Law would be glad to meet with you and discuss the case. Visit our offices or contact us today to schedule an appointment!


    Attorney Will Reaves

    In recent months, we’ve discussed automobile accident statistics and the importance of these numbers on a national level. This can be very informative of nationwide trends, but perhaps it’s time we analyze the local statistics. What do these same numbers look like when you concentrate the scope of the analysis to a state level? How are we doing here in North Carolina? Are the findings here in NC representative of the national statistics? Are they higher, lower? We’ll address all these questions and more below.

    First, let’s do a brief recap of the national statistics regarding automobile accidents. According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the numbers for 2021 were rather concerning as a whole. Reports show that the first six months alone were some of the worst in recorded history. Nationally, over 20,000 people were killed due to automobile accidents, and over 31,000 were killed over the entire course of 2021.

    Now let’s examine that same period of time in North Carolina exclusively. North Carolina saw over a staggering 1,700 road-related deaths over the course of 2021, accounting for more than 5% of the national number. This number represents a 5% increase from the year before. Even more concerning is the fact that this number is now a North Carolina state record. We covered some of the potential reasons for the increase, including texts, phone calls, drunk driving, driving without a seatbelt, and even the relaxing of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

    Fortunately, local and national law enforcement are looking to improve statistics and make the roads of the United States safer and more efficient for everyone. 2021 saw law enforcement being awarded grants for the purpose of launching and maintaining initiatives that will aid in road safety. It’s unclear exactly what the focus will be and what to expect from these new regulations, but it’s certain to encourage safe driving through more frequent monitoring and enforcement. As a state that is responsible for 5% of traffic-related deaths over the past year, it is time we take responsibility for our actions and start taking the necessary steps to protect our drivers, our passengers, and our pedestrians.

    If you were in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Visit our offices here at Wayne Hardee Law, or contact us via website or phone to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Don’t let yourself become a statistic!


    Attorney Will Reaves

    Much like being in a typical car accident on the roads, a truck accident can have similar long-term consequences, potentially only made worse by the massive size and wight of a semi-trailer or pickup. The driver and anyone involved may have been injured or killed in the accident, and the vehicles may have been damaged or totaled. This, in turn, leads to an avalanche of expenses in the form of medical bills, repairs, and funeral preparations.

    Such dramatic loss can be traumatizing, and the mental and emotional effects may go far beyond any physical injury. But there’s hope for recovering at least part of the damages. This way, you won’t be overwhelmed with bills and expenses that you could never hope to pay.

    The first thing to do after you’ve been in a truck accident is contact a law firm, particularly one skilled in personal injury law. Simply meeting with an attorney to seek guidance in your situation is entirely free of risk, as these attorney-client relationships are typically results-oriented and don’t require payment up front. In other words, the attorney will usually represent your case and succeed before requiring any form of compensation.

    After you’ve been advised regarding your unique situation and decided to proceed, you must evaluate the damages you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. Damages typically fall into one of several categories: physical trauma, emotional trauma, full or partial loss of income, and death. Some of these categories may overlap with one another, but do a full self-evaluation and determine the ways you’ve been negatively affected.

    For example, maybe you were rushed to the hospital after the accident and are now facing an expensive medical bill. Maybe the accident gave you injuries that left you unable to work for a period of time, or perhaps you’ll be unable to work ever again. Maybe the accident caused the death of a friend or loved one, and the funeral preparations are causing physical, emotional, and monetary strain. Though only hypothetical, these are all things to consider when building a case in favor of proper compensation.

    If you or someone you know has been in a truck accident, then you know how difficult of a process it can be. Be sure to seek legal help immediately. If you’re looking for representation, then consider Wayne Hardee Law. Our team of attorneys would be glad to meet with you and advise you on the facts of your case. Contact us today to make an appointment!


    Attorney Will Reaves

    Liability waivers are powerful documents. Under normal circumstances, they take precedence over the natural law, as the signer is willingly waiving their right to hold a second party liable for any injuries or damages that they may sustain. These are typically used in situations where the participant may be put at risk doing a potentially dangerous activity.

    Of course, there are some guidelines. Before agreeing to the terms of any document and waiving their right to claim liability, a signer will want to know that every precaution was taken to prevent any injuries or other damages. The document itself must be clearly worded, without any hidden intentions or fine print, and specific in its applications and limitations. In other words, what does this apply to? What does it not apply to?

    The waiver not only benefits the organization by protecting them from lawsuit down the road, but it also acts as an entry ticket. The organization is providing access to their goods or services in exchange for the agreement that you will not seek legal action in the future. Typically, this agreement is binding, and the waiver covers any sustained damages. But under what circumstances might waivers be made invalid? Is this even legally possible? The answer is yes, invalidating a waiver can be done under the right circumstances.

    For example, though you’ve signed a document waiving all rights to a liability charge, the organization is still responsible for promoting safety and maintaining equipment. Whether that means additional safety staff or detailed instructional videos, they are responsible for upholding their end of the waiver agreement. Gross negligence is an obvious offense. Naturally, organizations cannot harm you intentionally, as that would negate the waiver immediately. The waiver must also be signed by a willing and knowledgeable participant. In other words, a participant cannot be forced or otherwise taken advantage of when signing. This includes waivers written using opaque legalese or hidden fine print.

    If any of these requirements are breached, then the waiver can easily be made invalid. A personal injury lawyer will approach the incident from all possible angles, seeking ways to gain compensation for your injuries. The presence of a waiver makes this process more challenging but not impossible, especially if the organization is clearly at fault. If you’ve sustained an injury at the expense of a negligent third party, consider finding a lawyer. Our skilled attorneys here at Wayne Hardee Law would be glad to accept the challenge and help you receive due compensation. Visit our website and contact us today!


    Attorney Will Reaves

    Oftentimes, personal injury cases are settled outside of court. Wanting to compensate the victim for their physical, mental, and/or emotional distress, the defendant’s insurance company will provide them with a predetermined sum of money as a settlement. This can then be used to pay for medical bills or other property damages that may have occurred during the accident.

    But what happens when the case goes to trial? Under these circumstances, you must be prepared to state your case and defend your position. You are defending the right to compensation for the personal injury you sustained at another’s expense. So, it stands to reason that the court will require evidence relevant to the case. But what kind of evidence should you be collecting? What is the judge looking for, and what is acceptable in the court of law? We will cover these and other questions below.

    First, it’s strongly recommended that you seek professional help from an attorney. Attorneys, especially those well-versed in the laws surrounding personal injury and compensation, can be a considerable asset to your case. They will guide you through the process, help you get your facts straight, and assist in gathering the necessary evidence should you ultimately need to present in court.

    In terms of evidence, you must collect information that is relevant to the case and supports your claim. For example, photo and video evidence is among the most important. This has to be done at the scene of the accident, so don’t get too caught up in the moment. Keep a level head, pull out your phone, and start taking photos. The most important thing you can do is remain consistent with your story and recount the accident exactly as you remember it, so jot down some notes before they slip your mind.

    Official documents are also extremely beneficial in a court of law. These may be in the form of a testimony from a licensed professional, or it may simply be an itemized medical bill with the total cost listed at the bottom. In a similar thread, you may also call witnesses to testify on your behalf. Perhaps someone witnessed the accident and can corroborate your claim against the defendant.

    Begin by building your case with the help of a professionally trained lawyer. Here at Wayne Hardee Law, our team is dedicated to helping you get full compensation for sustained injury. Our attorneys will work alongside you to ensure that you are properly informed and well-prepared. Give us a call today!


    When is the Best Time to Settle My Case - Wayne Hardee Law

    When someone’s negligence leads to injury of a third party, the third party will almost surely be advised to pursue compensation through legal means. Of course, it depends on the severity of the injury, but even minor accidents require a thorough checkup to ensure bodily health. Whether you are the negligent party, the injured party, or the insurance company who finances the negligent party, there are really only two outcomes in a case such as this: settlement or trial.

    You may be eager to accept whatever settlement is proposed, receive your money, and put the incident behind you once and for all. In some cases, this may be your best option. But how do you know for sure you’re getting everything you deserve? How do you know when to take a settlement out of court and when to take the case to trial?

    First, it’s important to remember that when taking a case to trial, you are not always guaranteed to emerge victorious. You may see this as yet another point in favor of a quick settlement, but what if the settlement (typically arranged and proposed by the insurance company of the defendant) is not enough to cover damages suffered in the accident? Personal injury includes not only physical suffering, but mental and emotional as well. It’s crucial that you recognize the scope of your injuries and begin this process with the expectation of full compensation.

    It’s critical to hire an attorney to guide you through the process. Depending on your unique situation, they can help you make the best decision when it comes to trial versus settlement. An attorney can tell you if the settlement is a low-ball offer and, perhaps more importantly, if it will cover all necessary expenses. This would be the primary reason for taking a case to trial. Otherwise, a settlement is a great way to avoid the often lengthy court proceedings and all the stress and anxiety that comes with it.

    Ultimately, the most important thing is that you receive the compensation you are due. If you feel like a settlement is fair, then accept it by all means. But do seek the opinion of a personal injury attorney before making any final decisions. If you’re looking for a reliable law firm, we here at Wayne Hardee Law would be more than happy to represent you. Our team of lawyers will stand by you and help you make an informed decision as you seek compensation for injury. Contact us today, or visit our website for more information!



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