Young adults from 15-17 years old with a learner’s permit will need 60 hours of supervised driving, including night driving, to get their limited license. Then they will need 12 more hours over the following six months to qualify for a full license. January 1, 2012.
- New law allows fathers to challenge paternity and set aside child support orders. Law becomes effective January 1, 2012 and provides that you have one year to file the motion from the date you discover or should have discovered that you are not the father of the child. The law provides that anyone who would otherwise be eligible under the law, may file through January 1, 2013.
- Unlike North Carolina’s current Castle Doctrine, which applies only to homes, the revised law now applies to vehicles and places of work. North Carolina’s new “Castle Doctrine” law provides that the lawful occupant of a home, motor vehicle or workplace isn’t required to retreat prior to using deadly force. The law presumes that a person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter one of these locations intends to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence. December 1, 2011.
I received a great Christmas present when the NC Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Danius v. Rogers, affirming summary judgment on behalf of a lawyer in a legal malpractice case I was defending. The plaintiffs settled the two underlying cases with the original tortfeasors and then filed suit against my client arguing that the lawyer’s alleged malpractice had damaged the settlement they were able to obtain. I argued that the plaintiffs had waived any claims against their attorney by electing to settle with the original tortfeasors. The Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment, holding that the election of remedies barred the plaintiffs from pursuing claims of malpractice. A summary of the opinion appeared in the NC Lawyers Weekly December 28, 2011 edition under “Important Decisions”. The full opinion can be read here.
The new law effective on cases arising on or after October 1, 2011, requires the court to bifurcate a trial when a motion is made by counsel and where plaintiff seeks damages of $150,000 or more. This means that in a medical malpractice case the jury must decide whether the doctor was negligent in a trial without knowing how much money the plaintiff is requesting. Then if the doctor is found negligent a second trial would determine how much money the plaintiff would be awarded.
Additionally, the law limits non economic damages to $500,000 except in cases of death, loss of use of a body part or disfigurement.
- Medical Malpractice Insurance Rates by State and Specialty (prweb.com)
- The Effects of tort reform (chrisgreenmanforpresident.wordpress.com)
N.C. House Bill 542 created Rule 414 of the North Carolina Rules of Evidence, relating to the admissibility of medical expenses at trial. Rule 414 states that evidence of the medical expenses is limited to evidence of the amounts actually paid to satisfy the bills, as well as the amount actually needed to satisfy any unpaid and outstanding bills. This is a significant change in the law. These changes become effective October 1, 2011 and apply to all cases on or arising after that date.
- Mastering the Rules of Evidence: Is it really important? (the-barristers-toolbox.com)
- New Law Seeks To Limit Medical Expenses Accident Victims Recover, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Say (prweb.com)
The North Carolina Governor has just signed into law some major changes to the Attorneys’ Fees Statute, N.C.G.S. §6-21.1. These changes become effective October 1, 2011 and apply to all cases on or arising after that date. The revised Statute now applies to cases in which the damages recovered are $20,000 or less, as compared to $10,000 or less under the current version. The Statue now authorizes the trial Judge to award attorneys’ fees only when it is shown that the amount of damages recovered is more than the highest offer of settlement made at least 90 days prior to trial.
- Electronics Groups Seek Attorney Fees (businesslawdaily.net)
- N.C. secretary of state wants NCAA documents (espn.go.com)
- Beneficiary’s ability to recover attorneys’ fees for executor removal (lawprofessors.typepad.com)
More than 20 percent of injury crashes in the United States involve reports of distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Of those killed in distracted-driving related accidents, 18 percent involved the usage of a cell phone. Another study indicates that using a cell phone while driving, whether it is a hand-held or hands-free device, delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent.
Cell phones, and particularly smart phones, are considered one of the leading driver distractions. As a result, more and more communities are placing restrictions on drivers’ use of cell phones. The following tips are offered to motorists with regard to cell phone use in vehicles.
- You should wait until the car trip is complete before placing a call. Your cell phone’s voicemail feature should answer a call while you are driving.
- Absolutely essential calls should only be performed while stopped. However, it is not wise to pull over on the side of the road where a rear-end collision is possible. Instead, you should pull into a parking lot to perform this task.
- The phone should be placed where it is easy to see and reach.
- You should take advantage of speed-dialing capabilities.
- You should never drive and talk on the cell phone during stressful, emotional, or complex discussions since the risk of an accident is heightened.
- You should consider using a hands-free cellular phone since some studies indicated that these are safer to use.
- You should never text message while driving.
Get more personal lines insurance and risk management tips and ideas from IRMI.
International Risk Management Institute, Inc.
- Chicago community considers ban on eating while driving (calgaryherald.com)
- Safety board: Ban cell phones for truckers (sfgate.com)
- Cell Phone and Texting Laws (bespacific.com)
- “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” Rules Drivers’ Decisions on Cell Phone Use and Texting (prnewswire.com)
- National Safety Council Answers Distracted Driving FAQ in New Video Series (textually.org)
In NC, the claim of an employee who was diagnosed with asbestosis six years later was not barred by the statute of limitations because he promptly filed his claim after he was diagnosed.
- Asbestosis Symptoms – Breathing, Coughing and Clubbing (healthhype.com)
Insurers need actual notice to require a duty to defend. If you are an insured and you have been served with a lawsuit the first thing you need to do is notify your insurer in writing. If you fail to notify your insurer you will have to prove to the court that you had a good faith reason for the failure. This is becoming harder and harder to do. Great American Ins. Co. v. C.G. Tate Construction Co., 315 N.C. 714 (1986). See also Kubit v. MAG Mutual Ins.
Most of the time the insurance company will be responsible for expert witness fees when the insurer has a duty to defend but not in Bain v. Unitrin Auto and Home Ins. Co. The N.C. Court of Appeals, held that where the insured hired the expert witness on his own before filing a counterclaim that gave rise to the insurer’s duty to defend the insurer was not responsible for the expert’s fees even if the expert testified regarding the counterclaims that the insurer was defending.
Amazon and the American Civil Liberties Union, which later joined the case, “have established that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of individual’s reading, listening, and viewing habits,” Pechman wrote.
The North Carolina Department of Revenue requires N.C. residents to pay sales tax on all purchases even those purchases made on the internet. This year residents will see a line on their tax return to report any online purchases and pay taxes on those items. N.C. claims that Amazon owes more than $50 million in taxes. However, since Amazon does not have a local N.C. presence, N.C. cannot force Amazon to collect taxes.
- Judge: Free speech protects Amazon buyers’ data (msnbc.msn.com)
- Amazon customer purchases protected by US Constitution (go.theregister.com)
- Colorado Amazon Tax Could Be Affected By North Carolina Decision (huffingtonpost.com)