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Know your legal rights in personal injury cases

Know your legal rights in personal injury cases

(ARA) – You’re a passenger in a friend’s car when it’s struck by a truck running a red light. Your child is bitten by the neighbor’s dog and requires a trip to the emergency room. You’re skiing at a well-known mountain resort when a snowboarder who was drinking hits you from behind and knocks you unconscious. You eat a hamburger at a local restaurant and later become seriously ill, the result of an E. coli bacterial infection.

Americans of all walks of life experience personal injuries every day – many of them through no fault of their own. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. While most can recover from these injuries, the road to recovery is long for others. Some may never again be able to lead normal, healthy lives.

What should you do if you’ve been involved in an accident that left you with injuries? According to, the nation’s leading source of free online legal information, people who have been injured should act quickly to ensure that their rights are protected and they receive fair compensation to pay for medical treatment and lost wages.

Here are some tips from to keep in mind if you’re involved in an accident:

Seek medical help immediately. It’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible to recover from your injuries – and to establish they were caused by the accident and not by a previous incident. Medical bills and receipts will be crucial in demonstrating the extent and nature of your injuries.

Call the police. Sometimes it’s critical to call legal authorities into a situation to not only provide immediate help, but also to establish a legal record of an accident or incident. For example, the neighbor’s dog gets off its leash and attacks your child, resulting in a trip to the emergency room where your child receives stitches. Filing a police report may be the right thing to do to protect your rights and prevent the dog from attacking another child in the future.

File an accident report. If you’re involved in a workplace accident – either you were injured or were a witness to an accident – file a report with the person responsible for a safe working environment. Following this procedure will be critical to creating a safer work environment, and to recovering compensation for injuries and lost wages.

Document the accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, it’s vital that you document what happened. The longer you wait, the greater the possibility that memories fade and physical evidence disappears. This involves writing down what you remember about the accident, identifying all possible witnesses and obtaining detailed observations from them about what happened, and preserving evidence that may be essential to proving your claim (including photos and video). The more information you have to lend credibility to your claims, the greater the chance you will be believed and recover compensation for the damages you suffered.

Find the instructions. Every year, thousands of Americans suffer personal injuries when using a product. If it happens to you, be sure to keep the item exactly as it was when the injury took place. You also should store any instructions, labels, warnings or packaging that came with the product in a safe place.

Contact a personal injury attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine if your case is strong enough to file a claim. In addition, a personal injury attorney can help evaluate any offers you may receive from the insurance company representing the person or company that may have injured you. To find a personal injury attorney in your area, consider using the attorney locator at

Keep track of the time. Every state has laws regarding time limits under which you can file a personal injury lawsuit. This is called the “statute of limitations.” In some states, you may have only a year to file a lawsuit involving an auto accident. If you miss the deadline, your claims may be dismissed. That’s why it’s important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident.

Recognize that you may be at fault. There’s always a chance that you may be partially at fault in an accident. For example, if you were hit by a car while bicycling, you may be at fault if you did not follow the road regulations for cyclists in your state at the time of the accident. This could affect any compensation you may receive for your injuries. If it’s determined you were 50 percent at fault, for instance, your compensation may be reduced by that amount.

To learn more about your legal rights if you’ve been personally injured, visit

Local attorneys

Thanks to Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Telecommunications as Commons Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for his contributions to this article. You can follow his reporting on public networks at

Conservatives would have us believe the public sector can’t compete with the private sector. The private sector itself knows better. Nowhere is this more evident than in the telecommunications sector.

People hate their telecommunications companies. The poster child for poor customer service in the public sector may be the Department of Motor Vehicle Bureau, but its unresponsiveness and arrogance pales into insignificance to those of Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and AT&T. In 2010 Comcast, the largest cable company in America bested 31 other companies from all sectors to win’s Worst Company in America award.
As if to prove it was worthy of the award, Comcast recently pulled $18,000 in funding for a girl’s summer camp because one of the organizers had disapprovingly tweeted about Commissioner Meredith Baker’s jump from the FCC to Comcast just four months after approving Comcast’s $13.75 billion union with NBC. In an e-mail to the group, Steve Kipp, a vice president of communications for Comcast explained, “Given the fact that Comcast has been a major supporter of Reel Grrls for several years now, I am frankly shocked that your organization is slamming us on Twitter. I cannot in good conscience continue to provide you with funding — especially when there are so many other deserving nonprofits in town.” (The resulting uproar from the mainstream media’s reporting led Comcast to rescind the cutoff.)

The increased importance of high speed broadband in everything from business to education to entertainment coupled with soaring prices, slow speeds and bad service from private providers finally led cities to take matters into their own hands and build their own broadband networks.

Today, over 54 cities own citywide fiber networks. Another 79 own citywide cable networks. Over 3 million people have access to these networks. Hundreds more own and/or operate network connecting only schools and municipal buildings. An interactive map showing these networks can be found at Community Broadband Networks, a project of the Institute for Local Self-Realiance.

Cities now view high speed broadband networks as essential infrastructure like water, sewer, and roads. Says Doug Paris, assistant to the city manager in Salisbury, which launched its Fibrant network in 2010, “It’s really not a luxury anymore. It’s a necessity.”

For Harold DePriest, head of Chattanooga’s state of the art broadband network and its municipally owned electricity company an even more fundamental issue is involved. Who will write the rules for our information future? “(D)oes our community control our own fate, or does someone else control it?,” he asks.

Soaring telecommunication rates are straining already stressed public budgets, leading many cities to build networks for their own use. Montgomery County, Maryland’s network allowed it to stop leasing lines to schools and public buildings, resulting in remarkable savings.


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A contractor with a long history of problems has been found in contempt for violating a court order that banned him from paving work in North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

“Businesses that rip off consumers and violate court orders time and time again have no business operating in our state and should face full punishment under the law,” Cooper said.

Tommy Edward Clack has repeatedly pressured consumers into paying too much for shoddy driveway paving. For years, Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division has fought to stop Clack from scamming North Carolina homeowners. In June of 2010, Cooper won a court order permanently barring Clack and his associates from all residential paving work in the state.

But Clack violated that ban, and at Cooper’s request Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael J. O’Foghludha this week found Clack guilty of civil contempt. He must repay his two victims $79,600 or go to jail for at least 90 days. That 90-day period can be renewed if he still has not repaid them.

Judge O’Fughludha also cited Clack for criminal contempt for failing to show up for his civil contempt hearing as ordered. Clack must appear before Wake County Senior Resident Superior Court Donald W. Stephens on June 27 at 10:00 AM to show why he should not be found in criminal contempt and ordered to jail for an additional six months, plus pay a fine.

The order of civil contempt was granted based on information from two homeowners who said that Clack charged them for driveway work after the ban was in place. An 81-year-old homeowner in Chatham County paid Clack $7,600 to pave her small driveway in July of 2010. In March of 2011, a Greensboro homeowner paid Clack $72,000 for driveway work. Clack allegedly used false names in both cases to try to hide his identity and evade the ban, calling himself Ray Tillman and Tommy Clark.

Consumer complaints to Cooper’s office illustrate how Clack usually operates. Clack claims that he is already in the neighborhood and will charge them low price because he has materials left from other jobs. Clack’s crew then begins work as soon as the contract is signed and completes the job quickly using poor quality materials.

Under state law, consumers have three days to cancel most purchases sold door-to-door, but many consumers who’ve dealt with Clack say they didn’t feel like they could cancel once the work was underway. Consumers who tried to cancel and get a refund report that Clack is generally uncooperative.

Clack initially operated in the Wilmington area. Cooper first filed suit against Clack in 2007, winning an injunction in March 2008 that compelled him to pay $50,000 and correct previous substandard paving jobs. Clack then relocated to Greensboro, where more problems surfaced. That led to a November 2008 court order that required him to wait at least four days after a written contract was signed before beginning work.

Read more: Garner News - Poor Paver held in contempt and must face his day in court

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What you should know about your business credit report

(ARA) – While you’re running through all the financial tasks small businesses do to close out one fiscal year and start the next, don’t forget to examine an often-overlooked key financial factor – your business credit.

Between closing your books on 2010 and preparing for 2011′s tax season, knowing how creditors and others perceive your business may not be top of mind. Yet, now is the perfect time to verify the information in your business credit report and update it with current and relevant facts about your growing business. It can help you better prepare your business for the coming year. The credit experts at Experian offer some insight into the factors that affect your small business credit report and business credit score, and why it’s important to your business.

Why it matters

Does your business credit report really matter? Absolutely. It paints a picture of your small business for the world to see. Outdated or incorrect information can give the wrong impression about your business, resulting in unfavorable decisions by potential lenders and creditors – which can negatively impact your bottom line. Plus, anyone, including partners and investors, can view your business credit report for any reason.

If your business has grown or changed over the last year, it’s important to update the data reflected in your report and know the score. There are several factors that make up a business credit score, including but not limited to previous payment history, industry type and business size.

An accurate business credit report and a good business credit score can:

* Save you money because lenders usually offer their best interest rates to businesses with good credit.

* Reduce your personal liability and protect your personal assets by enabling you to obtain business credit without the need for a personal guarantee.

* Help you offer your customers competitive prices by passing your interest savings on to them, while still keeping a larger margin of profit for yourself.

* Get you the money and capital you need to keep your business running.

What’s on your report?

Your business credit report provides an up-to-date, objective overview of your business and how it manages financial obligations. It can include information on your payment history, public records about your business, background on the company, collections information and comparative information that places your business payment history in context with your industry.

You can find out how your business compares to others like it across the nation in terms of business credit with an interactive map by visiting

Managing and monitoring

Web-based services are a great way to monitor and manage your business credit report. Sites like and not only allow you to view your own business credit report and score, but also provide useful information on how Experian arrives at your credit score and how your business practices affect your score and report. These sites also allow you to check the business credit of your suppliers, customers, prospects, partners and competitors.

Your business credit information is as important to your business’ financial health as your personal credit information is to your ability to borrow money privately. While you’re wrapping up last year’s financial matters and preparing for the coming year, now is a good time to think about your business credit and how you’ll manage it throughout the new year.

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Garner police have arrested two men in connection to a string of home break-ins.

Irvin Louis Spraggins, 26, of 219 Kentucky Dr., and Ronald Keith Miller, 19, of 323 Kentucky Dr., have been charged with nine counts of felony breaking, entering and larceny.

They’re accused of being involved in nine home break-ins which occurred in the central area of Garner near Kentucky Drive since late July.

Police say the break-ins were committed during the day when residents weren’t home.

The police have recovered more than $1,500 in stolen property including jewelry, cash, and small electronics.

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An agency that accredits high schools in a North Carolina county is sending a special review team to assess recent changes in the school system.

AdvanceED said in a letter to the Wake County school district that it wants to determine whether the changes are negatively impacting the ability of schools to meet standards. The agency is asking for details about the district’s controversial proposal to move away from a diversity policy toward neighborhood schools.

The review comes in response to a complaint filed earlier this year by the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. The NAACP has accused the school board of harboring “racist attitudes,” something board members vehemently deny.

Dr. Mark Elgart, the president and CEO of AdvancED, said the organization is in the beginning steps of its probe.

“Our primary concern is are they governing in the best interest of the students and the community and to not only look at the process they followed but the determination regarding student assignment,” Elgart said by phone.

School board majority member John Tedesco tells NBC-17 he believes

Read More:MYNC.COM

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Cable TV fights municipal broadband

RALEIGH — Alarmed by the prospect of competing for customers against local governments, the cable TV industry is pushing for a state law to prevent North Carolina cities from offering Internet and cable systems to their residents.

The industry, led by Time Warner Cable, wants to protect itself from what it calls unfair competition. The industry’s concerns are gaining urgency as some two dozen towns in the state are either planning or exploring their own telecommunications and television service for residents and businesses: Source:News & Observer

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CARY, N.C. – Michael G. Carlton, president of Crescent State Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crescent Financial Corporation (NASDAQ Global Market SM), has announced the release of an audio podcast discussing Fighting Fraud, the first event in Crescent State Bank’s Centsibility Series. In the podcast, Jo Sorbi, security director for the bank, describes what attendees can expect from Fighting Fraud, an event designed to educate the community on the dangers of identity theft. Sorbi provides a list of sensitive material attendees should bring to shred in addition to an overview of future events scheduled for the Centsibility Series.

Fighting Fraud will take place on Thursday, Oct. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Cary Chamber of Commerce, located at 307 N. Academy St. This community event will focus on the importance of discarding personal documents and sensitive material properly. The event will include a Shred-a-thon and Fighting Fraud Seminar, featuring a panel of fraud experts. The Centsibility Series, not just for clients, is designed to educate seniors, families, and business owners on a variety of financial topics such as identity theft and fraud.

The podcast is available for download at
Read More:CarolinaNewsWire

Credit cards used for illicit fill-ups

RALEIGH – Raleigh police say Dillard Roe Johnson stole gas cards from an engineering company, then hung around gas stations offering motorists fill-ups for $20 a pop. Now police are trying to track down everyone who took advantage of the special offer — possibly hundreds of people.

Johnson, 27, of 507 Dacian Drive was charged Thursday with three felony counts of financial card fraud, three felony counts of breaking and entering into a motor vehicle and one count of financial card theft, according to a Wake County jail spokesman. Police said he broke into work trucks at Bass, Nixon and Kennedy in West Raleigh over the weekend.

Company president Ed Davenport said whoever stole the cards set up an illicit gas business at Triangle gas stations. “By Monday morning, $23,000 worth of gas had been charged on the cards,” he said.

Scott Wilson, the firm’s survey manager, said the cards were used more than 300 times at more than two dozen gas stations in Raleigh, Smithfield, Morrisville, Wake Forest and Youngsville. Gas purchases ranged from $5 to $400, with most falling between $50 and $100.

“He would stay at some stations for more than an hour, moving from pump to pump,” Wilson said.

Bass, Nixon & Kennedy officials learned of the break-ins Sunday morning. Wilson said they were not too concerned because the thieves did not have the cards’ activation numbers. Wilson said he isn’t sure how someone gained the cards’ numbers, though at some stores an activation number isn’t needed to purchase gas at the pumps.

Johnson confessed to the break-ins and card thefts, according to a search warrant made public Thursday.

Read More:News & Observer

Reparations sought in 1898 riots

Statewide series of marches to end in Raleigh as NAACP conference begins
Marchers took to the street this week, calling for the state to make reparations for the 1898 Wilmington riots.
About a dozen people marched to the courthouse in Durham on Sunday. It was one of 13 such marches held across the state leading up to the 65th annual conference of the state NAACP, which starts Thursday.

The marchers are asking state legislators to make payments to the descendants of those harmed in an insurrection that led to the deaths of at least 14 black people and perhaps many more.

The riots were brought to the forefront when the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot Commission report was released in 2006 after six years of study by a state-appointed panel.

The panel found that the riots that led to a government overthrow in Wilmington were started by white supremacist leaders in a conspiracy to strip political power from black people and their allies.

State legislators have apologized for the conspiracy, but the state NAACP and other groups in a statewide coalition are calling for the state to make reparations to the families of those who died or lost their livelihoods as a result of the riots.

“You want to apologize, but you don’t want to share the wealth with these people,” said Fred Foster, head of the Durham branch of the state NAACP. “The only way to bring closure is to set things right.”

The group also seeks reparations for forced sterilizations under a state program aimed at preventing the mentally ill and those with low IQs from having children. North Carolina’s State Eugenics Board presided over a eugenic sterilization program from 1929 until 1974 that sterilized at least 7,600 people, almost all of them women and about 60 percent of them black.

Read More:News & Observer

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