January 31, 2015

Hyundai Motor Co. v. Duncan - Court Puts Brakes on Defective Vehicle Lawsuit

A $14 million dollar product liability judgment favoring the parents of a teen severely injured when his vehicle side air bag failed to inflate in a crash was reversed recently by the Virginia Supreme Court, which found plaintiff's expert witness testimony lacking.
Specifically, the court found the expert witness had failed to conduct adequate testing proving his theory that if the airbag sensor had been moved to a different location in this model of vehicle, it would have prevented the teen's injuries. The expert had opined the location of the side airbag sensor had rendered the vehicle unreasonably dangerous.

The case, Hyundai Motor Co. v. Duncan, stemmed from a single-vehicle crash in which the teen lost control of the car, careened off the road, struck two snow banks, a bale of hay and finally, a tree. His side air bag did not deploy, and the teen suffered serious and debilitating head injuries.

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January 30, 2015

Road Deaths Fall... But Are South Carolina Drivers Safer?

The number of people dying in motor vehicle accidents has dropped throughout the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle accident fatalities have fallen about 25 percent over the past decade and the number of people dying in car crashes in this country is historically low. car accident 2.jpg

While it is good news that fewer people are dying in car crashes, a Spartanburg auto accident attorney knows that there is still lots of work to be done in terms of saving lives. Every car accident fatality leaves devastated family members behind and results in significant financial and non-financial losses. The NHTSA needs to do more to prevent fatalities and drivers need to do more to prevent needless collisions caused by things like distracted driving and drunk driving.

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January 26, 2015

Guarino v. Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. - Underinsured Motorist Benefits Dispute

Underinsured motorist coverage is tacked on to many drivers' automobile insurance policies, but few have a full understanding of what it is or how it works.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is coverage you purchase in the event you are the victim of another driver's negligence, and that driver either lacks insurance altogether or doesn't have enough insurance to cover your damages.
Most UM/UIM coverage covers the difference between the damages you incurred and the insurance available on the at-fault vehicle. States differ on how they ascertain what insurers should pay when the accident limits exceed the UIM policy or when the at-fault driver's payout exceeds your own UIM coverage, but still doesn't cover all your damages.

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January 24, 2015

South Carolina Speeding Drivers Cause Rear-End Crashes

Recently, a school bus accident occurred involving a bus from the Greenville County School District. The accident happened before 7:00 a.m. and there were 10 students on the bus at the time of the incident. The bus slowed down to come to a stop and was rear-ended by a dump truck. The driver of the dump truck was reportedly charged with driving too fast for the conditions on the road according to WYFF 4. speeding.jpg

A Greenville injury lawyer knows that speeding is a common cause of motor vehicle collisions in the state. According to the South Carolina Traffic Collision Fact Book for 2009, speeding was the leading traffic violation citation written during an investigation into a collision. Drivers need to slow down to prevent accidents that could cause serious injuries or fatalities.

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January 22, 2015

Comstock v. UPS Ground Freight, Inc. - Misconduct Ends in Crash Case Dismissal

On any given day in the U.S., more than 90 people die and hundreds more are injured in motor vehicle accidents. In instances where these individuals and/or their survivors suffered harm due to the negligence of another, there may be ample grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
It's important for each claim to be carefully vetted prior to bringing such an action, and it's necessary to be forthcoming about all pertinent facts. Failure to do so can result in sanctions - up to and including dismissal of the case.

This was reportedly the case in Comstock v. UPS Ground Freight, Inc., before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. A less-than-forthcoming plaintiff failed to abide by discovery rules, and subsequently forever lost the opportunity to have her case heard.

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January 18, 2015

Chain Reaction Crashes Cause Injuries and Raise Legal Questions for North Carolina Drivers

Drivers who are hurt in crashes can pursue compensation if someone was to blame. Sometimes, however, there are multiple drivers who could potentially be responsible for a collision. A Charlotte injury attorney can help in situations where multi-vehicle crashes occur and questions are raised about liability. car accident 1.jpg

One common type of multi-vehicle accident is a chain reaction crash. ABC News recently reported on a North Carolina driver who experienced this type of accident. The driver was rear-ended on his way home from school. The impact from the rear-end accident pushed the car into oncoming traffic where it was subsequently hit in the front by another motorist. The crash was called a "domino" crash because the rear driver striking the vehicle set off the chain of events that led to multiple accidents.

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January 15, 2015

Semian v. Ledgemere Transp., Inc. - Comparative Fault in Bicycle-Bus Crash

Nationally, there has been a steady increase of cycling fatalities and injuries in recent years, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating in its most recent report a 6 percent uptick in fatalities and1,000 more reported injuries.
The vast majority of these incidents involve collisions with motor vehicles. In many cases, the driver is solely at fault, though there are some situations in which cyclists share a portion of the blame.

In personal injury law, when a plaintiff is responsible to some extent for his or her own injuries, this is called "comparative negligence" or "comparative fault." Different states have varying civil procedure approaches to this. For example, South Carolina allows injured parties who share blame to recover damages from others, so long as plaintiff's own fault doesn't exceed 51 percent (called modified comparative fault). However, in North Carolina, any degree of fault by plaintiff will bar compensation for personal injury.

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January 12, 2015

Is North Carolina Effective at Preventing Drunk Driving?

Drunk driving accidents remain a serious problem despite efforts to encourage sober driving. Many different factors can affect the rates of drunk driving in North Carolina. For example, Jackson County, NC saw a dramatic increase in alcohol-related traffic collisions between 2012 and 2014 according to Smoky Mountain News. The increase may have been caused by a change to local laws that lifted the ban on alcohol sales within county limits. A higher number of students enrolling in local colleges and a growth in population also played a role in increasing drunk driving, as did an improving economy that sent more people to a local casino in the area. Many of the victims of these collisions are not residents of the county, but instead come from South Carolina or other parts of North Carolina because they are passing through the area or because they are visiting the casino. DWI Arrest.jpg

As drunk driving death rates rise, an Asheville auto accident lawyer knows that it becomes more important than ever to enforce laws designed to crack down on impaired drivers. Just recently, Consumer Health Day reported on a study showing that states that do the most to enforce DUI laws tend to have the lowest rates of impaired driving.

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January 9, 2015

Lunsford v. Mills - NC Supreme Court Weighs on UM Coverage in Multi-Vehicle Accidents

The North Carolina Supreme Court recently took on the issue of uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits in instances where there is more than one at-fault driver.
Here's the primary issue: Many automobile insurance companies have provisions that won't allow insureds to recover UM/UIM benefits unless and until that person has exhausted the liability coverage of the at-fault motorist. So let's say you suffer $100,000 in damages and you have a UM/UIM policy that allows for up to $100,000 in coverage. If the person who hit you has $20,000 in coverage, you have to collect that $20,000 first before you can request the remaining amount from your insurer.

Where it gets complicated is if there is more than one at-fault motorist. The question is, does an injured person have to exhaust all efforts to collect from every at-fault motorist in order to trigger the insurer's obligation to provide UIM benefits? Answer: No.

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January 6, 2015

South Carolina Highway Patrol Steps Up Target Zero To Reduce Traffic Deaths

In South Carolina, a total of 806 people have died this year in motor vehicle collisions. Live 5 News reports that this is an increase compared with 762 deaths in 2013. police.jpg

An experienced Anderson auto injury lawyer knows that many fatalities occur around the holidays and during the winter season. To try to reduce the number of deaths, the South Carolina Highway Patrol stepped up its "Target Zero" program during the holiday season.

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January 4, 2015

Arnold v. Insurance Company of Pennsylvania - Truck Accident Insurance Wrangling

We all know automobile insurance companies can be difficult opponents in fair compensation negotiations. However, when you're injured in an on-the-job crash, there is the assumption that it should be fairly straight forward. After all, we have a whole workers' compensation system in place to ensure claims are paid out relatively quickly.
But when we're dealing with third-party defendants, secondary insurance policies and disputes over the extent of proximately-caused injuries, the waters can get muddied. There may be more than one source from which to recover damages, and insurance companies are always looking to bolster their own bottom line.

Still, judges have little tolerance for insurance companies that drag their heels on legitimate claims or fail to cooperate with court orders. This can result in a finding of bad faith that can be very costly for the insurer.

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January 2, 2015

Could Carolina Truckers Soon be Required to Buy More Liability Insurance?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck drivers and trucking companies in an effort to reduce motor vehicle collisions. Unfortunately, despite strict licensing rules and detailed safety requirements, truck accidents still occur frequently. Just this December, SC Now reported on a deadly crash in South Carolina allegedly caused by a trucker's reckless driving. truck.jpg

When a truck driver or a trucking company causes a collision through its negligence, victims may recover compensation with the help of a Greenville auto injury attorney. Typically, the insurance provider for the trucking company ends up covering the majority of the plaintiff's damages. In some cases, however, there is insufficient insurance coverage. The FMCSA is trying to change that by requiring higher minimum liability coverage.

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December 30, 2014

Wilmoth v. Hemric - Liability for Wandering Livestock on NC Roadways

In rural North Carolina, it can be a common site to encounter a deer or other large animal looming in the roadway. These animals do pose a danger to motorists, but in the event of a crash, usually the only option is to seek compensation from one's own insurer. cattle.jpg

The exception to this is if that animal is owned as livestock by a nearby farmer or pet owner. The law in North Carolina holds animal owners have a duty to ensure those creatures do not wander off their property and onto neighboring roadways, resulting in a hazardous condition for nearby motorists.

Fact is, when motorists crash into these large animals, the result is not only thousands of dollars in property damage to the vehicle, but also often serious injuries to the driver and vehicle occupants.

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December 28, 2014

North Carolina Teens Face Unique Driving Dangers in Winter

The story of one Lexington, N.C. father is wrenching. Days before Thanksgiving, he learned he will never again see his teenage son, a high school student killed instantly in a crash just down the street from the family home.
As WFMY News 2 reported, the father passed the crash scene just moments after it happened. He didn't recognize the vehicle, but started texting his son anyway, wanting to make sure he wasn't involved.

"Where are you?" read the first. The second, "John, answer me right now. There has been a very serious wreck... I want to know it isn't you."

A trooper called from his son's phone several minutes later to confirm his worst fear. His only child, age 18, was dead. The driver, 16, has been cited for numerous misdemeanors related to careless driving and being a novice driver with too many teens in the car, a violation of the state's graduated driver's license laws. A 15-year-old girl in the vehicle was also killed. Her brother, 17, was seriously injured and reportedly fighting for his life.

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December 25, 2014

Giles v. Eagle Farms Inc. - Drinking and Driving and Workers' Compensation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports motor vehicle accidents are consistently the No. 1 cause of work-related fatalities in the U.S. A full 36 percent of the work-related deaths counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are associated with crashes.
An estimated 1,275 workers die annually from crashes on public roads. Another 310 are killed in wrecks that occur on industrial premises or off the highway, and nearly 340 pedestrian workers are killed when struck by vehicles.

We're not just talking about professional drivers at risk here, either. Many people spend an increasing amount of their work day in or near motor vehicles.

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