What are the elements of a personal injury claim?

February 1, 2023|

The elements of a personal injury claim based on the negligence are:

  • Duty of care: The defendant had a legal obligation to act with reasonable care towards the plaintiff.
  • Breach of duty: The defendant failed to fulfill their duty of care by acting carelessly or recklessly.
  • Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury.
  • Actual damages: The plaintiff suffered actual harm or injury as a result of the defendant’s actions.
  • Proximate cause: The defendant’s breach of duty was a direct and foreseeable cause of the plaintiff’s injury.

What is the Federal Estate Tax?

January 31, 2023|

The federal estate tax is a tax imposed by the U.S. government on the transfer of the estate of a deceased person. The tax is levied on the value of the estate above a certain exempt amount.

It’s important to have a seasoned tax attorney that can help you navigate some of the particulars of the federal estate tax such as:

  • The complexity of the tax laws and regulations.
  • To ensure compliance with the tax laws and minimize liability.
  • To maximize exemptions and deductions available.
  • To plan for efficient transfer of assets and minimize tax liability.
  • To represent the estate in any tax disputes with the government.

What is example of a breach of duty

January 15, 2023|

An example of breach of duty in personal injury law is when a driver runs a red light and crashes into another vehicle, causing injury to the occupants of that vehicle. The driver has a legal duty to follow traffic laws and drive with reasonable care, and by running the red light, they have breached that duty and are responsible for any injuries caused as a result.


How do you plan for a divorce?

December 22, 2022|

Divorce is a significant life change. Preparing and planning for this life change is essential. Adjusting your finances is something you’ll need to do. With new expenses, there may be opportunities to save. The following steps could help those considering divorce.

  • Build up a financial cushion
  • Develop a budget
  • Readjust your financial goals
  • Take advantage of your employee benefits
  • Find a good financial advisor
Our firm handles many types of family law, and we’re here to help. So please reach out to us if we can help. Contact us today.

What is Joint Custody?

September 24, 2021|

Joint custody involves sharing parental responsibility for the child. In North Carolina, no laws limit where parents with joint or sole custody can move with their children. In addition, the law does not define joint custody versus sole custody; instead, these terms are generally defined within the separation agreement or custody order. Child custody refers to a parent’s authority to care for their child during a divorce. A court can assign these powers between spouses as joint custody or only one parent in sole charge.

Dividing these rights is understandably complicated, and couples should avoid trying to arrange these issues by themselves. Instead, lawyers need to be involved in assessing the child’s best interests are being met and not forgoing any of their fundamental rights.
These disputes do not have protracted, nasty fights. On the contrary, most couples agree that working together in a child custody agreement makes the divorce a lot less stressful.

How do you plan for a divorce?

May 6, 2021|

Divorce is a significant life change. Preparing and planning for this life change is essential. Adjusting your finances is something you’ll need to do. With new expenses, there may be opportunities to save. The following steps could help those considering divorce. 

  • Build up a financial cushion
  • Develop a budget
  • Readjust your financial goals
  • Take advantage of your employee benefits
  • Find a good financial advisor
Our firm handles many types of family law, and we’re here to help. So please reach out to us if we can help. Contact us today.

What is a Certified Check?

March 11, 2021|

A certified check is a check for which payment is guaranteed by the issuing bank. A certified check shows sufficient funds in the account to meet the amount for which the check was drawn.
Although not totally foolproof against scammers, certified check fraud is a real thing. Scammers can create fake-looking certified checks that look incredibly authentic and legitimate. If a customer deposits a fake certified check, the bank will reverse the deposit as soon as the fraud is uncovered. If there are insufficient funds, the customer will be responsible for paying back the deficiency. The only recourse for the customer would be against the person or company that issued the fraudulent check.

What is a Hold-Harmless Agreement?

August 17, 2020|

A Hold-Harmless Agreement (also known as an Indemnity Agreement) allows one party to protect another party against future losses or claims resulting from a particular activity. An Indemnity Agreement is where a person indemnifies another person or promises to reimburse \ for any damages. In signing such a clause, the other party accepts responsibility for particular risks involved in contracting for the service.

Even if it wasn’t the fault of a specific party, that party might still be obligated to pay damages. Therefore, it is essential to understand the pros and cons of a Hold- Harmless Agreement before entering into this type of contractual relationship.

What is a Bill of Sale?

May 11, 2020|

Quite simply- a Bill of Sale is a document that transfers ownership of an asset from a seller to a buyer. A Bill of Sale can be used for any transaction in North Carolina, but its most typically used for the purchase and sale of used cars.
In most cases, the contract is legally binding between buyer and seller as long as the bill of sale follows guidelines that are required in North Carolina. Basically, a Bill of Sale is a receipt of purchase and is therefore somewhat difficult to enforce.
If the Bill of Sale is the only document you use in a transaction, it is best to ensure there is enough detail on it to make the transaction enforceable.

What is Cyberstalking and How is it illegal?

November 7, 2019|

Cyberstalking is a crime in which the attacker harasses a victim using electronic communication, such as e-mail or instant messaging (IM), or messages posted to a Web site or a discussion group. A cyberstalker relies upon the anonymity afforded by the Internet to allow them to stalk their victim without being detected. Cyberstalking messages differ from ordinary spam in that a cyberstalker targets a specific victim with often threatening messages, while the spammer targets a multitude of recipients with simply annoying messages.

Should you become the victim of a cyberstalker, the most effective course of action is to report the offender to their Internet service provider (ISP). Should that option be impossible, or ineffective, the best thing to do is to change your own ISP and all your online names. WHOA reports that over 80% of cases reported in 2001 and 2002 were resolved by these methods, while 17% were reported to law enforcement officials.

Read more here.

My employer physically slaps me in the workplace. What can I do?

August 28, 2019|

  • What is Assault?

    In the realm of personal injury law, assault is a purposeful act by one person that creates a fear of imminent harmful or offensive contact in another. In legalese, an assault is known as an “intentional tort” when it is made the subject of a civil case.

    Contrary to popular belief, assault does not always involve some type of physical contact, at least not when it comes to civil liability. The simple fear of a harmful or offensive touching is usually enough for an assault to have occurred; if the touching actually occurs, the physical contact is usually considered a “battery” in civil law, although both claims are often made together. Learn more about assault and battery as personal injury claims.

    Elements of Assault

    If you are going to file an assault lawsuit, there are a few main elements you must be able to prove:

    • an intentional action on the part of the defendant
    • the defendant’s intention to cause apprehension of harm, and
    • your resulting reasonable apprehension of immediate harm.

To learn more, visit here.

Can my HOA place a lien or foreclosure on my home for unpaid dues?

August 15, 2019|

In North Carolina, an HOA or COA is entitled to a lien for unpaid assessments and related charges once the amount due is 30 days late. The lien becomes effective when the HOA or COA files a claim of lien with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the property is located (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 47F-3-116(a), § 47C-3-116(a)).

State law and the HOA or COA’s governing documents, such as the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and bylaws, will often set out the type of charges that may be included in the lien. In North Carolina, an HOA or COA is permitted to include the following in its lien (unless the governing documents provide otherwise):

  • Past-due assessments
  • Late charges (not to exceed the greater of $20 per month or 10% of any unpaid assessment) (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 47F-3-102(11), § 47C-3-102 (11))
  • Fines for violations of the CC&Rs
  • Interest on past-due common expense assessments (not to exceed 18% per year) (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 47F-3-115(b), § 47C-3-115(b)), and
  • Other charges (such as those connected with the preparation and recordation of documents, including amendments to the declaration or statements of unpaid assessments). (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 47F-3-116(a), § 47C-3-116(a))

What do I do if I slip and fall in a restaurant?

July 26, 2019|

Restaurant customers are injured every day by slip and fall accidents. Uneven flooring, poorly maintained parking lots, and snow-covered sidewalks are hazards that lead to slip and fall injuries at any business. Restaurants have an additional high risk of customer injuries caused by spilled food and drinks.

Every state has laws that hold restaurant owners to a duty of care to provide a safe environment for customers. This means restaurant owners must do everything reasonably possible to make sure their customers don’t get injured.

A restaurant’s duty of care includes not only following government laws and regulations but also considering events that might foreseeably harm customers. This doesn’t mean every event, just those that similar restaurant owners and managers can reasonably expect.

Rear End Collisions

July 8, 2019|

Unless the rear-ending driver can prove that there were extenuating circumstances—such as being pushed by another car—it is likely that the rear-ending driver will be liable for the injured party’s injuries. As always, it is prudent to contact a local attorney when faced with the prospect of bringing or defending a lawsuit.


In North Carolina, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for damages associated with a rear-end car accident. Damages that may be awarded in a rear-end car accident case include:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

Can I sue my spouse’s lover for our becoming divorced?

June 7, 2019|

“I can live without money, but I cannot live without love.”  This sentiment — voiced by Judy Garland, who married five times and boasted a net worth of $20 million at the time of her death — might explain why Keith King does not count himself a victor, even after a judge in North Carolina ordered another man to pay him $8.8 million for wrecking his marriage.

But because of precepts borrowed from English common law, there actually is a dollar amount — $2.2 million in compensatory damages and $6.6 million in punitive damages, according to a decision last week by a Superior Court judge in Durham, N.C. The judge found that an affair lasting more than a year harmed King through criminal conversation, meaning adultery, and alienation of affection, meaning responsibility for marital fracture, typically through enticement.

Alienation of Affection in North Carolina is when someone takes away the affections of one spouse for another destroying the marriage. the state also recognizes the claim of Criminal Conversation, which involves the act of having sex with someone else’s spouse. Check out our family law section for more information

The legal argument is scarcely more intricate than this: He had a happy marriage until someone came along and lured away from his wife.

For more information, see this link. and please contact Shipman & Wright today if we can help you with any of your legal issues.

Understanding Damages

May 9, 2019|

Understanding Damages- is it worth filing a lawsuit?

Compensatory damages (sometimes called general damages) are monetary damages awarded to an injured or wronged individual or business to put them in the position they would have been had the wrong not occurred. It is important to note that the definition does not include getting money from a defendant to penalize them or provide the plaintiff with an advantageous outcome but simply put to make the injured party whole again. There are opportunities for punitive damages or recovery of attorney’s fees to deter bad behavior by the offending party, but these are relatively rare and generally upon the discretion of the judge overseeing the lawsuit, and have been rarely awarded in any substantial amounts in North Carolina Courts.

Another form of damages that may be present in a breach of contract action are liquidated damages if they were outlined in the subject contract and are a reasonable expectation of damages actually caused by the breach. Punitive damages may be awarded if the court finds that the defendant’s actions resulting in the injury or loss were reckless or malicious. As a form of punitive damages certain statutes, such as under the NC Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act, allow the possible recovery of double or even triple (“treble”) damages, or attorneys’ fees to the winning party, where there was irreprehensible conduct on the part of the defendant. Statutory opportunities for the recovery of attorneys’ fees for a successful plaintiff provide great impetus for an attorney to take on and pursue a matter. It could be helpful to consult with an attorney to discover if there may be an opportunity for statutory punitive damages or the recovery of attorneys’ fees for any claims in a potential matter. For more information, see this link. and please contact Shipman & Wright today if we can help you with any of your legal issues.

What is a Class Action Lawsuit?

May 6, 2019|

A class-action lawsuit in a civil lawsuit that is brought by one person or a few people on behalf of a larger group of people who have suffered similar harm or have a similar claim. Class actions can be brought in either federal or state courts, though a recent federal law, the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, makes it easier for defendants to move class-action lawsuits from state to federal courts.

For more information, see this link. and please contact Shipman & Wright today if we can help you with any of your legal issues.

Is it legal for my employer to keystroke me without my knowledge?

May 3, 2019|

Yes, employers have this right. Some states require employers to notify employees about monitoring. North Carolina is not one of those states.

According to the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), an employer-provided computer system is the property of the employer. Therefore, employers that provide you with a computer system and Internet access are free to monitor almost everything that you do with the computer and Internet access with which you have been provided. This is especially true when an employer gives you a written policy regarding the monitoring of your computer use». (‘Social Networking & Computer Privacy’ by Workplace Fairness)

For more information, see this link. and please contact Shipman & Wright today if we can help you with any of your legal issues.

Is sending someone a lewd gag gift by a mail order service illegal?

May 2, 2019|

This is probably not a good idea. You are also evoking the Jurisdiction of the Federal Government. So, it would be ok if the person you are pranking knows you, and you are identified as a friend of this person. But if you do not identify yourself, and this person decides that this is a threat, rather than a joke, you may be in some trouble.

For more information, read here. Please contact Shipman & Wright today if we can help you with any of your legal issues.

Road Debris

April 30, 2019|

Individuals who suffer injury or property damage, such as vehicles damaged because of a pothole or mailbox knocked down as a result of a snow plow, can file a tort claim to request reimbursement for damages. For more information, read the NC Department of Transportation’s website here. Please contact Shipman & Wright today if we can help you with any of your legal issues.

Worker’s Compensation

April 29, 2019|

Is a North Carolina Business Required to Carry Workers Compensation? What Can I do if injured at work and they do not carry it?

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires that all businesses that employ three or more employees, including those operating as corporations, sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, and partnerships, obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify as self-insured employers for purposes of paying workers’ compensation benefits to their employees.

Penalties for Employers who do not may face the following:

1) Face stiff financial penalties;
2) Be charged with a misdemeanor;
3) Be charged with a felony; and
4) Be imprisoned.

Read more here. Please contact Shipman & Wright today if we can help you with any of your legal issues.

At-Will Employment

April 22, 2019|

How At-Will Employment Works

At-will employment has two main purposes:

It allows employees and employers to work together without long term contracts or promises from either party. If an employee doesn’t like a job or gets a better opportunity elsewhere, they are free to leave. If an employer wants to change wages, benefits, or let someone go, they can do so freely as well.

It can be a defense for employers in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Most employers hope never to have to defend themselves in court over terminating an employee. The best employers have good documentation when they fire someone, such as performance reviews kept in the employee’s personnel file.

Bottom Line

There are so many exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine, that it’s in an employer’s best interest to follow sound HR practices, including stating that “employment is at will” in all employee documentation. Employers should document involuntary terminations with a valid rationale so that they’re prepared in advance to defend themselves against a wrongful termination lawsuit, should one be filed.

For more information, read here. If we can help, call us.

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