Earlier this year, a former Anderson University assistant baseball coach pleaded guilty to driving drunk and killing three young people and seriously injuring a fourth. He’s serving an 18-year prison term.beers

Now, the mother of the lone survivor – now 13-years-old and suffering from permanent, debilitating brain injuries, is suing two of the bars that allegedly served that driver at least 13 beers and 1 shot of liquor over the span of just a few hours that night. The young girl who survived was initially believed to have been killed, but when a first-on-scene police officer – also a trained paramedic – noted a faint pulse, he performed an emergency tracheotomy on the girl. She suffered severe damage to her spinal cord resulting in paralysis, plus a fractured neck and brain damage.

The DUI dram shop lawsuit alleges the two bars at which that driver drank – Hooters and The Bench – should have refused to serve him, or else called him a taxi or Uber so he would not have attempted to drive after leaving. Records showed he was given at least one free shot of liquor at The Bench. At Hooters, the driver reportedly had conversations with the manager and also flirted with/ hugged a waitress, meaning workers were close enough to the man to know that he was impaired. That should have been their queue to stop serving him alcohol. Continue reading

Just one week shy of the start of high school football, North Mecklenburg High School was struck with profound tragedy. funeralflowers

A 14-year-old junior varsity cheerleader was killed and a 17-year-old senior football player was seriously injured in a car accident in Huntersville, about 20 minutes north of Charlotte. The crash was reportedly a head-on collision that occurred just after 5 p.m. at the intersection of Beatties Ford and McCoy Roads. Authorities say Enjoneah Reel was killed on impact while Kalvin McCollum, a college football prospect, was severely injured and rushed from the scene to a local hospital to undergo surgery.

Investigators haven’t been forthcoming with details of the crash, including who was driving, who was in the opposite vehicle and which vehicle may have crossed the center line. The department did say one car was traveling northbound and ran off the road, striking another vehicle that was traveling southbound. The vehicles made impact on the front passenger side.  Continue reading

An Alaskan woman will get a second chance at her car accident lawsuit, even after a jury decided the case against her in a previous trial. That’s because the Alaskan Supreme Court ruled the trial court should not have dismissed her earlier claim against another defendant, the man who was reportedly driving the car at the time of the crash. accidents

Under the relation-back rule, plaintiff’s amended claim against the purported driver in Sellers v. Kurdilla was not time-barred and should have been allowed to proceed.

The relation-back rule, for those unfamiliar, holds that whenever a claim or defense asserted in an amended pleading arose out of the conduct, transaction or occurrence that was set forth or attempted to be set forth in the original pleadings, the amendment relates back to the date of the original pleadings. It’s a rule that is followed at the federal level (in Rule 15(c)) and in most states (also codified as Rule 15(c) in the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure).  Continue reading

In any Charlotte car accident case, it’s not enough to prove the other driver was at-fault. The injured person – or plaintiff – also needs to show they suffered damages as a result of that crash. This is rarely as straightforward as it sounds. It’s not a matter of simply producing medical bills. One needs to show the injuries they suffered were clearly caused by the crash – and not something else – and that the injuries are as severe as claimed. Further, any estimation of future damages or losses takes a careful accounting of a person’s expected future earnings, quality of life, health of personal relationships and more. sad2

In the recent case of Christ v. Schwartz, a couple appealed a verdict in which jurors assigned 100 percent of the blame on the other driver – yet awarded $0 in damages to plaintiff. The major flaws in plaintiff’s case had to do with:

  • Lack of credibility;
  • Lack of corroboration.

Jurors did not believe plaintiff suffered the injuries she said she did – or if she did, that they were not caused by the crash. This was true even though they fully agreed the other motorist was fully responsible for the wreck.   Continue reading

Shredded tires. Random boxes. A sofa. All of these are things that were cited as having been the catalyst for car accidents across the country, per a new AAA safety report on roadside debris. highway02

Unfortunately, these occurrences are startlingly frequent. The agency reported there were more than 200,000 road debris-related crashes resulting in tens of thousands of injuries and some 500 deaths over the last four years.

From 2011 to 2014, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports nearly 40,000 people suffered injuries in these accidents. More than one-third of those that ended in fatality involved a driver who swerved in order to avoid striking the debris. In other cases, vehicles struck the debris and in turn set off a chain-reaction of crashes.  Continue reading

A teenager and her father have been named defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a very recent fatal motorcycle crash in New Jersey. driver1

According to The Daily Record, the 47-year-old motorcyclist, married for 27 years, died within minutes of being struck on Route 15 in the city of Jefferson. The teen was reportedly attempting to cross the road shortly after 5 p.m., but she entered the roadway at the same time the motorcyclist was passing.

The girl has not as of this writing been charged with any criminal offense, although she was issued a summons for unsafe lane change. She was also cited for having three other teens in the vehicle at the time of the crash, which is a violation of the state’s graduated driver’s license program. Additionally, there was no red decal her vehicle’s license plate to indicate she was a teenage driver, a requirement of Kyleigh’s Law. New Jersey is the only state to have a law requiring teenage driver decals, with the goal of making young drivers readily identifiable to police. This law additionally sets a curfew of 11 p.m. for those driving with a learner’s permit, it limits the amount of passengers who can ride in a car with a teen driver and bars motorists from the use of handheld electronic devices.

Whether distraction played a role in the death of Richard Mark Bianculli Sr. remains to be seen. What we do know is that this driver had three teen passengers in the vehicle at a time when she was restricted to just one passenger (let alone youthful passengers) unless she had a parent or guardian in the vehicle, which was not the case. Because she was driving her father’s vehicle, he may be found vicariously liable solely for that reason. However, he might be found directly negligent for failing to ensure the decals were on the vehicle and failing to properly supervise his daughter in limiting the number of passengers in the car. It is alleged he negligently entrusted the vehicle to his daughter, knowing she was going to be in violation of state law.  Continue reading

In most South Carolina car accident lawsuits, the case will involve the filing of a complaint by the plaintiff, followed by an answer from the defendant(s). Then there is usually a discovery process in which both sides gather information and evidence, including witness statements through depositions and expert witness testimony. From there, the settlement negotiations are likely to begin. If the parties are unable to reach a settlement agreement, the case will then go to trial. Most cases are settled before trial.caraccident4

There is a small chance, however, that the court could enter a default judgment. This is a binding judgment that can be entered on behalf of either party and is based on some failure to take action by that party. Most often, it occurs as a judgment in favor of the car accident victim when the defendant doesn’t respond to the summons or fails to appear in court. This can save the plaintiff the expense of having to endure the trial, while still resulting in a favorable outcome. But don’t get your hopes up: The court system does not favor default judgments. Courts have long held that the best way to resolve disputes is to give both parties a fair chance to resolve the issue head-to-head. If one party isn’t there to represent themselves, they are at a clear disadvantage.

Still, courts do occasionally issue default judgments when a fair chance to respond has been given and is ignored. This was what the trial court in the recent case of Tucker v. Williams held when it awarded $3.3 million in damages to a car accident victim and her husband in a default judgment after the defense failed to participate in the proceedings. However, the Mississippi Supreme Court recently overturned that default judgment for abuse of discretion. This does not necessarily mean the plaintiff has lost, but rather that the defense should be given another opportunity to defend himself at trial. Continue reading

Authorities in Garner, North Carolina say a young woman caused a four-vehicle wreck on a recent afternoon because she was texting and driving.iphone

Reports are it was about 2:45 p.m. and the woman was swerving about the road, according to witnesses. This set off a four-vehicle collision that resulted in multiple injuries to the alleged at-fault driver, including a broken leg. No other injuries were reported, but her car was totaled. Officers say she will likely be charged with reckless driving and texting while driving, a violation of N.C.G.S. 20-137.4A.

The Wake County incident occurred not far from where another texting-and-driving crash happened earlier this year. That case proved fatal for a 53-year-old mother, whose husband and 16-year-old daughter were critically injured. In that case, a 42-year-old man who was allegedly texting and driving when he struck the victims’ vehicle as it was stopped on the shoulder, where husband and wife were trading off driving duties in the middle of a long road trip. ABC-11 reports the texting driver failed to reduce his speed and struck the van from behind.  Continue reading

Normally, any civil claim filed after the pre-determined statute of limitations is going to be barred from pursuing. drive7

However, as a recent Indiana Supreme Court case shows, there may be some exceptions, particularly with underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage benefits that require insureds to exhaust the underinsured motorist’s coverage first.

The case, State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Jakubowicz, began with a 2007 car accident that resulted in injury to a mother and her two sons.  Continue reading

When a car accident is caused by someone who is working at the time of the collision, there are a few issues that may warrant further exploration. The first is workers’ compensation benefits for the driver who was working, as these benefits can usually be paid regardless of whether he or she was at-fault. The second, for other parties, is one of vicarious liability.

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The legal doctrine of respondeat superior, Latin for, “Let the master answer,” allows employers to be held responsible for the actions of their employees when those workers are acting in the course and scope of employment. That means injured parties don’t have to prove the employer actually did anything wrong, so long is it established the employee was negligent. This can prove a valuable source of compensation for those injured.

One such case was recently ordered to be retried by the Indiana Court of Appeals. In Sony DADC U.S. Inc. v. Thompson, a security guard sued both Sony and one of its employees after the worker struck the plaintiff while on defendant property as employee was driving to recycle personal items on company property.  Continue reading

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