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Charlotte North Carolina Legal Blog

What is a herniated disc?

A person's backbone is made up of several smaller bones called vertebrae, all of which surround the spinal cord, which is arguably the most important nerve in the body. To prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against each other, there are softer tissues between the vertebrae called discs. These discs work a lot like the brake pads on one's car in that they prevent the wear and tear of two hard substances grating against each other. A herniated disc is a common type of back injury that probably affects many people in the Charlotte area.

A disc is considered herniated when the softer part of the disc comes out of the slightly tougher encasing around it. This leaking tissue can irritate the sensitive nerves around the spine, which causes pain. The symptoms of a herniated disc can be severe. The severity depends on how bad the condition of the disc is and where the defective disc is located along the spine. In the worst cases, pain, along with a weak or numb sensation, can keep a worker off the job. Corrective surgery may be required.

Rate of distracted driving increases at accident scenes

According to a recent study, the frequency of distracted driving behavior, including texting and driving and the like, skyrockets when motorists are passing through the scene of an accident or another roadside emergency where first responders, like police officers and firefighters, are present.

Specifically, the study by the National Safety Council concluded that, around accidents, over 70% of motorists admittedly either took pictures of the accident on their phones or sent a text, presumably about the accident. In other conditions, only about 25% of motorists are engaging in texting and driving. Additionally, 60% of motorists said that they quickly posted to their social media accounts about the accident, while about 2 out of 3 motorists said that they had sent an email while driving.

Can I still get disability with a drinking or drug problem?

Although people may not like to talk about it, many Charlotte residents suffer with alcoholism or some form of drug addiction. Oftentimes, they are still able to go to work and live productive lives despite their struggles. However, such behavior does have a tendency to take its toll on the body. On some occasions, a person may develop a medical or mental health problem that can be directly tied, or partially tied, to his or her addiction. These problems can force a North Carolina resident out of the work force permanently, leaving them to find some means of paying the bills.

The good news is that Social Security disability benefits are still available for those who struggle with drugs or alcohol, even if their addiction may have contributed to the disability in some way. As this blog has mentioned before, Social Security is a no-fault system, meaning that, for the most part, so long as a person qualifies as disabled, there will not be questions asked about who is responsible for the injury or illness.

Why do ladder falls happen to construction workers?

For construction workers in particular, ladder falls pose a serious daily threat. Ladders see extensive use in potentially chaotic settings, and falls can prove incredibly dangerous, even from the shortest ladders. It's not just a fall off of a 30-foot ladder that workers have to worry about. Falling from a 5-foot ladder while installing a light, for instance, can lead to serious back, neck and head injuries. Some of these "short" falls even take lives.

The key, then, isn't to limit exposure. Workers must use ladders and they must face some risks. Instead, the key is to figure out why ladder falls happen so as to make their use safer.

What if I got hurt after I mishandled some equipment?

As any Charlotte worker knows, people often make mistakes while on the job. Errors at work are almost inevitable, even when the culture of the workplace is solid and the workers themselves honest and diligent.

Unfortunately, there are some mistakes, however innocent, that can have disastrous results. For instance, someone who misses a step when handling a piece of machinery or a tool may wind up with a serious or even debilitating injury.

Drivers should remember to watch for motorcycles

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, a time in which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages motorists both in North Carolina and across the country to take the necessary steps to avoid collisions with motorcycles.

As many people have probably noticed, more and more motorcycles are appearing on Charlotte's roads and highways as the weather continues to get warmer. The spring weather makes May an opportune time to remind motorists that there are simple things they can do to avoid motorcycle accidents.

Prom night a dangerous time for North Carolina teens

Now that May has arrived, many high school students in the Charlotte area will celebrate the end of their school year by attending their school's prom. Likewise, this is the season for graduation parties and other celebrations that young people love.

Unfortunately, many teens choose to drink alcohol or use drugs on these occasions, even though doing so is illegal under North Carolina law. According to one study, around one in three teenagers will either drink alcohol or use drugs on the night of their prom.

Soft-tissue injuries can halt your lifestyle completely

After a car accident, you may feel a sense of relief if you quickly assess yourself and do not feel any serious pain or obvious injuries. Hopefully, you truly escaped the accident without suffering any harm, but it is possible that you suffered injuries that you cannot feel — at least not yet.

Delayed pain injuries are often difficult to diagnose without a full medical examination because they do not produce pain in a victim or any visible signs of injury, like bleeding. Unfortunately, many of these injuries are still serious, and may result in lasting pain and significant suffering.

Social Security fund for the disabled given new lease on life

According to those in charge, the trust fund that helps cover Social Security disability payments to injured and ill North Carolina workers has experienced a new lease on its life. Experts now say that the fund will run out of money by 2052. Last year, they predicted the fund would be depleted in 2032, or in less than 15 years from now. While this is not wonderful news, it does mean there is more breathing room for lawmakers and others to resolve the funding issues which have recently affected the Social Security Disability program.

Although there are about 10 million workers across the country receiving SSDI, the number of new applicants for benefits has been trending downward since 2010. Moreover, there has been a push, at least since 2014, to trim the roles of already existing beneficiaries who may no longer want the payments or who may no longer be eligible for them.

Worker killed in construction site accident

Accidents can happen at any type of workplace, but the hazards at construction sites are especially dangerous. At a busy work site where heavy equipment and materials are moving around, any accident can easily turn deadly.

A person described as a self-employed truck driver died in what police described as a construction accident that took place a little over an hour away from Charlotte. According to police, the truck driver had hauled certain heavy wall slats that were meant to soundproof an area around the road to the construction site. Apparently, the truck driver went to the back of the truck to help unload the slats. However, as he was removing the straps holding the material in place, a slat slipped and came off the back of the truck, striking and pinning the truck driver. The driver died at the scene of the accident.

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