July 28, 2015

Police: Underage UNC Student Drives Wrong Way Drunk, Kills Three


A 20-year-old University of North Carolina Student has been arrested on three charges of second-degree murder following the deaths of three people in a wrong-way drunk driving crash on Interstate 85.
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The young man was previously charged with DUI, driving the wrong way on an interstate, reckless driving, driving while impaired as a minor, possession of alcohol as a minor and having an open alcohol container in a vehicle.

Witnesses say he was driving the wrong way on the highway for nearly six miles when he collided with a vehicle, killing a a 49-year-old woman, her 6-year-old granddaughter and the woman's 46-year-old friend. The driver's 9-year-old daughter, who was also in the vehicle, survived but with serious injuries.

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July 25, 2015

South Carolina Crash Fatal: 2 Girls Killed, 6 Injured


A man allegedly at-fault for a South Carolina crash that resulted in the deaths of two North Carolina girls and injury to six other people has been charged with reckless homicide. Additional charges could follow, as authorities did cite him for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. Authorities are waiting on toxicology reports.
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According to news reports of the violent crash, it happened on Highway 17 Business near the Pirateland Camp Ground in Myrtle Beach.

The defendant was operating a Mercedes with three passengers traveling south bound when he collided with a minivan that was traveling north and then turning left. The van was carrying a family of five, including two girls, ages 11 and 9. They were pronounced dead at the scene as a result of internal injuries.

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July 22, 2015

Report: Hackers Remotely Control Jeep on Busy Highway


The story recently told by one Wired.com reporter sounds like a Hollywood script.
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As the author drove his Jeep Cherokee down the highway, the radio suddenly kicked on, blasting rap music. Then without warning, the air conditioning turned up full blast. The windshield wipers began scraping against the dry windows. And then - the scariest moment of all - the sport utility vehicle, which had been in "drive," suddenly went into "neutral" gear. Then the brakes were disabled, and the driver was forced to steer into a ditch.

The Jeep had been "hacked" by two individuals. The writer was a knowing participant, though it had been with the understanding the hackers wouldn't do anything that would endanger him or other motorists. They did not exactly keep their word, though thankfully, no one was injured.

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July 20, 2015

Kimminau v. City of Hastings - Truck Spill and Local Government Liability


Any time there is an auto accident, there is likely to be debris in the roadway requiring cleanup. This is typically the duty of local authorities.
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Cleanup can be especially arduous when one of the vehicles involved was a large truck, hauling massive amounts of materials and goods. There have been many cases in which trucks carrying food products, oil or hazardous chemicals have crashed. Because these substances create a dangerous situation on the road, they must be thoroughly cleared before traffic is allowed to resume.

The case of Kimminau v. City of Hastings involved one such spill. The question before the Nebraska Supreme Court was who could be held responsible when dangerous conditions on a roadway, created by an earlier spill, contributed to a crash the following day.

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July 18, 2015

Hamilton v. Alpha Services - Fatal Crash and Workers' Comp Death Benefits


When a car or truck accident involves a driver who was working at the time of the collision, it is important to explore whether workers' compensation benefits can be collected.
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Workers' compensation benefits cover a portion of lost wages, reasonable medical expenses and, in the case of a death, funeral and burial expenses. These benefits do not cover losses for pain and suffering, so those involve will also want to pursue action against any third parties who may have been at-fault for the crash.

Whatever damages are collected as a result of that third-party action will then be offset by the amount of workers' compensation coverage collected. Because worker's compensation often supplies an immediate form of compensation to employees and their families, it is important to explore this option. It may also be prudent in cases where the at-work driver was also the at-fault driver, as no third-party compensation may be recovered.

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July 15, 2015

Fleming v. Dionisio - Fatal DUI Wrongful Death Verdict Affirmed


A jury verdict favoring a widow of a motorcyclist killed by a drunk driver has been affirmed. That verdict was for $3.4 million and included both compensatory and punitive damages against the driver, who at the time of the crash was 21-years-old.
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Impaired driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel after a three day blur of drinking, consuming drugs, getting little sleep and working 16-hour days at a local restaurant.

He was later sentenced to five years in prison, and the motorcyclist's widow sued him in civil court. She won, and he appealed on grounds trial court erred in several respects, including:

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July 13, 2015

Dakter v. Cavallino - Truck Driver Duty of Care on the Road


All drivers in the U.S. are required to operate their vehicle with reasonable care. That means to operate the vehicle in such a way as a reasonably prudent driver would in the same or similar circumstances.
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Drivers of large trucks - also known as tractor-trailers or semi-trailers - are no different.

However, given that they must abide by special restrictions and regulations and are given ample training on how to operate these large vehicles, they are expected to drive as a reasonably prudent truck driver would. In other words, the standard is no different, but it does take into account the skills and training any trucker would be expected to have.

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July 10, 2015

Ray v. Draeger - Challenging Expert Witness Bias in Crash Lawsuit


In car accident litigation, it is common that both sides seek testimony from independent expert witnesses to verify various positions.
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For example, a medical doctor could be called to dispute the causation or nature of injuries. Or an accident reconstruction expert could be asked to testify as to the cause of the crash or certain aspects of it that may be in dispute.

It's reasonable that these witnesses are compensated for their time and travel. However, the auto insurance industry has come under fire in the past for "hiring" certain expert witnesses on a regular basis to testify on their behalf. When a witness routinely testifies for one side or another and/or receives a substantial portion of their annual income from this type of work, that may be an indicator of bias. In other words, the witness is only lending his or her professional opinion to the favor of the defense because he or she is paid well and often to do so.

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July 7, 2015

Lopez v. U.S. - Fault in a Rear-End Collision


A rear-end car accident is one in which one vehicle strikes another from behind. In most of these cases, it's presumed the driver who is tailing is to blame/liable because of the "assured clear distance ahead" rule. This generally requires drivers to maintain a safe distance between her vehicle and the one ahead of her.
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Drivers have to operate their vehicles with the presumption that the vehicle ahead of them may brake suddenly. If that happens and the tailing driver doesn't have enough time to stop and causes a crash, that's considered a violation of the assured clear distance rule.

However, this rule is not absolute. Not all rear-end accidents are the fault of the passenger who strikes from behind. However, proving this fact requires that a driver show there was either some sudden or unlawful intrusion into her rightful lane of travel or that the lead driver accidentally put their car in reverse.

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July 4, 2015

Cooper v. Thompson - Car Accident Lawsuit To Go For Third Trial


It may seem car accident lawsuits are some of the most straightforward types of injury cases.
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Unfortunately, that's not really the case, as there are many complexities and nuances in car accident litigation.

The recent crash case of Cooper v. Thompson, before the Alaska Supreme Court for the second time, is slated to now undergo a third trial.

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July 1, 2015

Distracted Driving Claims Yet Another Life in North Carolina


Yet another car accident is being blamed on distraction.
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A 35-year-old woman in Caldwell County, about an hour-and-a-half north of Charlotte, crashed her car while attempting to access her GPS navigation on her phone. As a result of the crash, her 61-year=old father was killed and six others were injured.

She was charged with driving with a revoked license, but she may also be charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

The accident occurred amid new figures released from AAA, which indicates the use of cell phones by drivers causes 300,000 accident and more than 2,500 deaths annually. (The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration puts the fatality figure at closer to 3,100.)

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June 30, 2015

Spartanburg Crash Proves Fatal, Man Thrown from Vehicle


Many fatalities involving motor vehicle accidents are a result of an occupant being thrown from the vehicle during the crash. Being thrown from a vehicle often results in serious personal injury or death.

602535_seatbelt.jpgAccording to a recent news article from WFF4, the driver of a pickup truck was traveling on South Carolina State Highway 72 when he ran off the road. As the vehicle went off the road, the driver was ejected from the vehicle and thrown to the ground at a high rate of speed. Authorities say, as the driver was thrown from the vehicle, it overturned and crashed into the median.

First responders arrived at the scene to assess victim's condition and provide immediate medical attention but realized the severity of his injuries after being ejected from the car. They immediately called for a medevac helicopter, which arrived and airlifted victim to the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. The County Coroner said victim was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the level-one trauma center, as his injuries proved to be too severe for doctors to save his life.

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June 28, 2015

Charlotte Fatal Motorcycle Crash Ends with Arrest


According to a recent news article from WBTV, a driver was arrested following a deadly motorcycle accident in Charlotte. Authorities say the accident involved a van, a passenger car, and a motorcycle, and it occurred around 6:30 p.m. in south Charlotte, North Carolina. The accident resulted one person being killed and several other victims suffering varying degrees of personal injury.

54505_motorcycle_01.jpgWitnesses say a Ford Edge was stopped in traffic when the 35-year-old driver of a Honda Odyssey was driving toward the city on South Boulevard. The Odyssey was unable to stop in time to avoid hitting the Edge, so he rear-ended the stopped vehicle. When alleged at-fault driver hit the Ford from behind, it caused the car to spin out of control and cross the center line of the highway and enter the lanes of oncoming traffic.

At this point, a motorcycle driven by a 37-year-old man hit the Ford head-on and then deflected into the Odyssey and hit that vehicle head on. First responders arrived at scene shortly after the multi-vehicle accident and provided immediate medical attention to the motorcycle rider before transporting him to a level-one trauma center in Charlotte, but his injures were too severe, and emergency room doctors pronounced him dead shortly after the ambulance arrived.

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June 26, 2015

Two Killed in Florence, South Carolina Car Accident


According to a recent news article from WPDE, a 29-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man (husband and wife) were both killed in a fatal car accident at the "Five Points" area in Florence, South Carolina early on a Wednesday morning.

carcrash9.jpgWhile authorities do not the exact cause of the fatal car accident, which occurred just prior to 7 a.m., many witnesses say this particular intersection is well known as a "bad intersection" due to the very high volume of traffic and the many serious traffic accidents that have occurred in the same location. Authorities do know it was a two-car accident involving a small passenger vehicle and a pickup truck.

One of the problems with this particular intersection, according to those interviewed for the news article, is that drivers often run red lights, and this leads to frequent car accidents, many of which are serious or even fatal. Others said there is a problem with the traffic lights and think the city should inspect the lights and reevaluate their timing to see if it is appropriate for the current volume of traffic and road conditions.

While not all accidents at the site are as serious as this one, witnesses say minor accidents happen there nearly every day.

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June 25, 2015

Car Crashes Into Charlotte Medical Office, 3 Injured


Some car accidents, even fatal ones, involve a single vehicle. In these cases, we see cars run off the road and crash into trees, utility poles, guardrails, and ditches, and the damage can be extensive. Other car accidents involve at least two vehicles crashing into each other, and, in some cases, many more vehicles are involved in a multi-vehicle chain reaction car crash. We also see accidents in which a car crashes into a nearby building, such as restaurant, home, or local business. Sometimes these accidents can be fatal not only to the driver of the car, but also to the people in the building.

medical-doctor-1314902-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from The Charlotte Observer, a car allegedly crashed into a primary care practice on Albemarle Road in Charlotte. Authorities say the car smashed through the mostly-glass front of a medical primary care office and traveled about 20 feet into the clinic before coming to a complete stop. This Charlotte car accident occurred around 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning.

There were three victims injured in the car accident, and one of these victims was seriously injured. When first responders arrived at the accident scene, they were able to provide immediate medical attention before transporting the victims to a Charlotte hospital. The victim who was most severely injured was listed as being in critical condition with life-threatening injuries.

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