Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What Are the State Rules About Jet Skis?

    North Carolina law does not allow anyone under 14 to operate a jet ski, wave runner or another type of personal watercraft. A person 14 or older may use such a watercraft if they graduate from a boat safety course approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, or are with a person 18 or older. 

  • Which Safety Devices Must Be On All Recreational Boats in North Carolina?

    State boating laws mandate that all boats used for recreation must include a personal flotation device for every person aboard. Boats 16+ feet in length must have a throwable Type 4 personal flotation device aboard. All of those 12 or younger must wear a life jacket when the boat is moving. Boats at night must have display lights illuminated from sunset to sunrise. 

  • What Are Common Reasons for North Carolina Boating Accidents?

    Many factors can lead to a serious or fatal boating accident. No one should ever operate a watercraft or boat in a manner that is a danger to others. According to a US Coast Guard study, the five leading causes for boating accidents are: 
    • Operator inattention
    • Careless or reckless operation
    • Speeding
    • Alcohol or drug-impaired operator
    • Inappropriate behavior or passenger or skier

  • I’m an electrician. Can I file a personal injury claim for getting shocked?

    Workers’ compensation covers electric shocks and electrocutions on the job. An injured worker or a deceased workers’ family may also have grounds for filing what is called a third-party lawsuit if the cause of the injury or death was a defective tool, faulty protective equipment and clothing, or dangers created by workers for a company other than one that employed the individual who suffered the shock or electrocution.

    Hiring a Virginia or North Carolina personal injury lawyer who has experience handling both electric shock and dangerous and defective product cases will help the injured worker or the worker’s family conduct the investigation that is needed to discover if filing a third-party lawsuit is an option. Such a lawsuit can proceed if the investigation shows that the worker was using the tool or equipment as designed and instructed, and also if the worker had no reason to suspect that an earlier crew had made the mistake that produced the electric shock.

    If your case meets a set of strict criteria and you suffered your electric shook injury on a job site in Virginia or North Carolina, you may be able to file an insurance claim or civil lawsuit against the the company that hired you or against a fellow worker who acted negligently or recklessly. You should speak with a personal injury lawyer before filing such a claim, though, because the grounds for doing so are very narrow,

  • Who has responsibility for the bad wiring that shocked and injured me at a hotel?

    Several individuals and businesses could have insurance liability after a guest suffers a serious electric shock in a hotel room in Virginia or North Carolina. To figure out which insurance policies apply, a personal injury lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation into the incident to determine exactly how and why his client received a shock serious enough to send the client to the hospital.

    Faulty wiring could be the result of improper construction, shoddy maintenance, or a failure to inspect rooms for damage and needed repairs. In each of those scenarios, claims could conceivably be filed against a contractor and the individual hotel’s management. If a chain demonstrates a pattern of neglecting the safety of travelers, that entire organization may owe a duty to pay the medical bills of and other forms of compensation to the person who suffered the electric shock.

    If the shock came from a dangerous or defective product supplied by the hotel, the hotel’s management and the company that made the product could have insurance liability. Lamps, coffeemakers, televisions and hair dryers present electric shock dangers, and all come standard in hotel rooms.

    To succeed with a claim, the injured hotel guest must present evidence that he or she did not cause the shock by damaging wires or misusing items in the room. One reason to hire a Virginia or North Carolina personal injury lawyer to pursue an electric shock claim is that the hotel management will argue that the guest caused his or her own injury.

  • What is the difference between an electric shock and electrocution?

    An electrocution results in death. While people survive getting shocked, they may struggle for the rest of their lives with burn scars, seizures, chronic pain, severe headaches, nerve damage, paralyzed limbs, memory loss and other forms of brain damage. Some injuries due to electric shocks also result from falls, as electricity can knock a person unconscious or knock someone several feet through the air.

    Electrocutions are relatively rare -- fewer than 100 each year in the United States -- because the electric force, or amps, it takes to kill a person exceeds what most wiring and electronic devices can deliver. Serious electric shock injuries occur frequently. Damaged wires, shoddy construction and poorly constructed power tools are among the most-frequent causes of electric shocks that hospitalize and disable individuals.

  • Why are premises liability cases often called slip & fall cases?

    Most people call premises liability cases “slips and falls” because the classic example of a premises liability claim involves a plaintiff who fell on a wet floor in a store or slipped on an icy sidewalk in front of a business. The category actually covers any type of injury that can be caused by a property owner or occupant’s negligence. A short list of premises liability cases includes


    • Dog bites and animal attacks
    • Falls down stairs and from balconies
    • Assaults by staff, customers or other visitors
    • Injuries from falling objects
    • Electric shocks and electrocutions
    • Drownings
    • Recreational vehicle crashes (e.g., ATVs)
    • Injuries on rides and attractions


    The liability for compensating the injured person arises from the property owner or occupant’s legal duties to protect customers and visitors from injuries by keeping premises and equipment in proper repair, controlling the behavior of other people on the premises to the extent that is reasonable and complying with all applicable safety laws and regulations. 

    A final consideration is that Virginia bars premises liability claims from individuals who materially contribute in any way to causing the harm they suffered. Virginia and its neighbor North Carolina are among the only four states that still enforce this strict interpretation of contributory negligence.

  • What types of cell phones are legal for truckers to use behind the wheel?

    The FMCSA states that truck drivers can legally use a cell phone while driving if it has an earpiece or if the speakerphone function is being used. It also is legal for the trucker to use voice activated dialing, as well as the hands-free feature. The driver may initiate, answer or terminate a call only by touching a single button.

  • What are consequences of trucker using cell behind wheel?

    According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a commercial vehicle driver can be disqualified from driving for using a mobile device with his hands behind the wheel. Penalties can be as high as $2750 for the driver and $11,000 for the trucking company. The trucker and company also may be sued for personal injury damages.


  • Are there any cases where a liability waiver can be enforced in Virginia?

    They might be enforceable in a situation where the injured party voluntarily and knowingly participates in an activity that is ‘inherently dangerous,’ perhaps race car driving. A 2001 case ruled by the Circuit Court of Wise County upheld a prospective liability waiver against a car racing driver who was hurt while driving. The court stated that race car driving is inherently dangerous and noted organizers may not have such events again without a liability waiver.