Frequently Asked Questions

You ask questions, we give you answers.

We answer a wide variety of questions that we receive from prospective clients, associates and fellow attorneys in this Frequently Asked Questions page.

We try and provide detailed responses rather than just answering yes or no to your questions. We hope this FAQ section provides you with some information about your rights and options.

At Shipman & Wright, we pride ourselves in devoting sufficient time and energy to each of our clients to thoroughly educate and explain their claim in the legal process.

Boundary Disputes With a Neighbor

Encountering a boundary dispute with an adjacent neighbor is a fairly common issue for landowners. There are many ways a boundary dispute can arise. Sometimes, deed descriptions are inaccurate and have been this way for a long time. Sometimes, though the neighbors all agree that the legal description is correct, one neighbor has been occupying a portion of the land for long enough to claim ownership of it, under a theory of “adverse possession.”

First, make sure you have a full understanding of the cause and nature of the dispute. You will need to get a professional analysis of whether you are encroaching on your neighbors’ property or vice versa and find out how long the encroachment has gone on, how much land is being encroached upon, and whether permission was ever given to encroach. For more information, read here.

What are the differences between libel, slander, and defamation of character?

Libel and slander are both types of defamation. Libel is an untrue defamatory statement that is made in writing. Slander is an untrue defamatory statement that is spoken orally. The difference between defamation and slander is that a defamatory statement can be made in any medium. For a more detailed definition, please visit this LegalZoom article.

North Carolina’s Definition of Defamation

Under North Carolina defamation law, libel is the publication of false statements about another in written or broadcast form, while slander consists of spoken false statements about another.

For North Carolina defamation plaintiffs to succeed in their libel or slander lawsuit, they must prove the following four (4) elements:

-A false statement of fact;

-Cause of injury to the plaintiff’s reputation;

-Of and concerning the plaintiff;

-Published to a third person.

For more information, read here. Or contact us today. 

What is Predatory Lending?

What is Predatory Lending and if I don’t pay back a loan?

Predatory lending benefits a lender at the expense of a borrower. Practices include charging unfair fees and rates or setting borrowers up for failure. Read more info here.

No, the “worse case scenario” would be a judgment against you on the records at the courthouse. They cannot arrest you, take your house, or your car, garnish your wages, attach to your taxes, etc. For more information, read here. Or contact us today. 

Harassment in the workplace

All employees have the right to work in an environment free from discrimination and harassing conduct. No State employee shall engage in conduct that falls under the definition of unlawful workplace harassment, including sexual harassment, or retaliation, and no employment decisions shall be made on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, color, disability, genetic information or political affiliation.

For more information, read here.


What’s the Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Negligence?

In some circles, the terms “negligence” and “medical malpractice” are used interchangeably. However, there are clear differences. In reality, medical malpractice is a subcategory of negligence. Both of these concepts require a medical professional’s actions or lack of action to lead to the injury or death of a patient. However, in the case of medical malpractice, the medical provider takes action or fails to take action with the knowledge that the patient may suffer harm. In the case of negligence, on the other hand, the medical provider makes a mistake and/or doesn’t know that his or her actions will be harmful. Medical malpractice is considered more serious than medical negligence.

For more information, read here.


If someone used my debit card online unauthorized to do so and I dispute the charges, can the bank deny credits back to me?

When Banks Can Refuse to Refund Fraudulent Debit Card Charges

If you are a victim of debit card fraud, you are responsible for the following:

  • $0 if you report the loss or fraud immediately and the card has not been used,
  • Up to $50 if you notify your bank within 48 hours of your lost or stolen card,
  • Up to $500 if you notify the bank with 48 hours and 60 days of your lost or stolen card, and
  • All of the fraudulent charges if you don’t notify the bank until after 60 days.

For more information, read here.


Can a practice legally refuse to treat a patient if they have an unpaid balance but they haven’t been officially dismissed from the practice?

In all patient challenges, the most important goal is to avoid a claim of patient abandonment and assure that patient care is not neglected. Regardless of the reason for your issues with a patient, whether it’s unpaid bills, failure to follow advice, or mistreatment of staff, the same advice applies. For more information, read here.


What happens if I slip and fall on the painted line outside of a store due to rain and the pavement being smooth there?

North Carolina negligence laws follow the doctrine of contributory negligence, which bars recovery by the plaintiff if he or she is partially at fault. The majority of other states follow the doctrine of comparative negligence, in which the amount of damages is reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of fault. Therein is the issue; who saw it such that someone should have picked it up; there has to be “notice”, actual or constructive, of the alleged “defect” in the property; Again – there’s no “strict liability” in North Carolina; merely because you hurt yourself on someone’s property doesn’t make them liable, especially given that NC is a contributory negligence state.


For more information, read here.


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