September 1, 2014

Vehicle Recall Compliance Aided By New NHTSA Technology


Defective vehicle parts cause an untold number of crashes each year, or at least serve to make the outcome worse by failing to protect drivers and passengers.
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While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other federal regulators seek to curb these incidents by quickly identifying problem designs and products and pressing for recalls (or in some cases, initiating them), the problem is that recalls have a notoriously low response rate.

Our Asheville car accident lawyers would point to the recently-released analysis indicating the total number of recalls this year is likely to exceed not only last year's total of 28 million vehicles, but also the record high set in 2004 of 33 million vehicles. Yet there is growing evidence to suggest millions of those will never be repaired. In fact, the NHTSA estimates, only 1 in 4 is ever repaired.

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August 29, 2014

Report: Asheville Most Dangerous NC City for Pedestrians


Asheville recently earned the dubious distinction of being, per capita, the most dangerous city in the state for people on foot. Cyclists don't fare much better, though there is evidence to suggest that element might improve the more cyclists are on the street.
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Our Asheville car accident attorneys understand that between 2008 and 2012, the average number of annual vehicle-versus-pedestrian accidents was 8.1 per 10,000 people. That is by far the highest of any of the 10 largest metro areas in the state, according to a recent report from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Figures aren't yet available for the 2013 calendar year, but a report from the Asheville Citizen-Times indicates we'll likely see the uptick continue, given a number of serious crashes reported by the paper last year and so far in 2014.

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August 27, 2014

Truhan v. Walston - NC Appeals Court Reverses Crash Case Dismissal


The North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed a summary judgment in favor of a plaintiff police officer who sued a woman he struck while traveling 87 mph through an intersection in response to an emergency.
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In Truhan v. Walston, the court found there were numerous issues of material fact that warranted further consideration by a jury, and the officer was not automatically protected by sovereign immunity just because he was on duty at the time of the crash.

Our Greensboro car accident lawyers know that while public servants in general are afforded a broad range of legal protections while carrying out their duties, those protections are not without limit. Crash cases involving government workers must be handled by an experienced injury lawyer.

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August 25, 2014

Crash Case Dismissal for Willful Discovery Violations


When pursuing damages for injuries sustained in a car accident, it is never a good idea to lie or even exaggerate with regard to injuries suffered. Even the slightest evidence of dishonesty can be used not only to mar your credibility, but may even result in a dismissal of your case.
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Our Spartanburg car accident lawyers believe in careful vetting of each case to determine whether there are weaknesses and how they may be legally overcome. Trial courts are given broad discretion in determining whether inconsistent discovery responses are willful violations, or simply vague answers that could be open to interpretation. Having a lawyer argue the latter on your behalf could preserve your claim.

The recent case of Ashmore v. Mississippi Authority on Educational Television reveals what can happen when plaintiffs are less-than-honest with defense attorneys, the court or even their own lawyers.

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August 22, 2014

Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. v. MMG Insurance Co.: UM/UIM Coverage for Passengers


Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. v. MMG Insurance Co., a case from the Vermont Court of Appeals, involved a passenger who was severely injured in a single car accident. The driver of the car, according to court records, was the only person responsible for the accident.

269548_emergency.jpgThe owner of the vehicle was the victim's mother. The vehicle had an accident liability policy with a limit of $500,000 and an UM/UIM policy with limits of $500,000. As your Charlotte car accident lawyer can explain, car insurance typically has limits for an individual injury, all injuries in a single accident, and a provision for total property damage as a result of the accident.

In North Carolina, the state's legal minimum coverage requirement is $30,000 in personal injury per person, $60,000 in total personal injury damages in any one accident and $25,000 in personal property damages. This number is normally written in the following form: 30/60/25. While this may seem like a low legal limit, it is actually higher than limits in many other states.

If a driver has the North Carolina legal limit, but causes an accident where a person suffers $100,000 in damages, that driver is considered an underinsured motorist (UIM). If a driver has no insurance and causes an accident, they are considered an Uninsured Motorist (UM).

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August 20, 2014

Two Injured in Winston-Salem as Car Falls Down Embankment into Drainage Ditch


According to a recent report from Fox News, a single-vehicle crash in Winston-Salem resulted in injuries to a grandmother and grandchild when their car crashed through a fence and careened down an embankment.

canal-construction-1280966-m.jpgWitnesses say the car was apparently pulling into a parking spot when it suddenly accelerated, barreled through the fence, rolled over and plummeted about 25 feet into a drainage ditch. The child was able to get out of the car, but his grandmother was trapped in the vehicle until first responders rescued her. They were both taken to the hospital and treated for what authorities say were minor injuries.

As your Winston-Salem car accident lawyer can explain, an injured passenger may file a claim with the driver's insurance company, but their claim may be denied or the insurance company may offer significantly less than the case is worth. It is not uncommon for an insurance company to make an insultingly low offer in the area of a few hundred dollars.

This creates an uncomfortable situation where a passenger may have to sue the driver of the car who is a friend or family member. While it sounds strange, it is really the driver's insurance company you are suing, so that they will settle the claim for an appropriate amount.

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August 18, 2014

Estate of Edmund M. Carman v. Tinkes: Negligence Per Se in Car Accident Cases


Estate of Edmund M. Carman v. Tinkes is an appeal that involved a deadly car crash between a Ford F-350 pickup truck and a Honda Civic. The driver of the Honda was operating the vehicle in the dark without headlights when he crashed into the commercial pickup truck at a traffic light.

pickup.jpgAccording to the court opinion, the Civic hit the corner of the pickup truck's large steel bumper and was sheered in half. The driver of the Honda was killed in the car accident.

Our Spartanburg car accident attorneys know that this is different than most car accident lawsuits by the fact that the plaintiff was the estate of the driver of the Civic and not the pickup truck driver.

While it would seem likely that the at-fault party was the driver of the Civic, the plaintiff claimed that the pickup driver was negligent in several ways and was actually the responsible party. The claims of liability were based on the fact that the driver of the truck was allegedly making an illegal turn at the time of the accident, and that the bumper was dangerous and created the unsafe condition that resulted in the death of the plaintiff.

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August 15, 2014

Inman v. Boykin - Timely Filing of Car Accident Lawsuit Critical


A legal rule known as the "statute of limitations" requires that injured parties wishing to file a lawsuit against another must do so within a certain amount of time, or their claim will be barred. That is, they will forfeit the right to sue and collect damages for their injury.
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Ever state, including South Carolina, has a statute of limitations, which varies depending on the type of injury and the state where it's filed. In both South Carolina and North Carolina, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is 3 years.

Our Spartanburg car accident lawyers know that while there are some situations in which the statute of limitations can be "tolled," or set aside for a certain amount of time, the circumstances under which this can be done are limited. This is why it is critical that claims for injuries arising from car accidents be filed within a reasonable amount of time after the crash. Consulting with an experienced injury lawyer as soon as possible after the wreck can help you avoid potential problems with the statute of limitations.

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August 13, 2014

Correa v. Estate of Hascall - Car Accident Lawsuit Against Estate of Deceased


Those who have been injured in a car accident in North Carolina have only a short amount of time in which to file a lawsuit. The rules vary from state-to-state, and here, an injured party has 3 years from the time of the incident to file. If the claim is for wrongful death, that window of time is shortened to just two years.
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And then, occasionally, there are circumstances under which claims must be filed even sooner. A recent example of this was indicated in the case of Correa v. Estate of Hascall before the Nebraska Supreme Court.

The case illustrates why it is critical to consult with an experienced Greensboro car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a wreck. Usually, the earlier a plaintiff can file, the better.

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August 11, 2014

Floyd-Tunnell v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co. - Battling Partial Exclusions in Auto Insurance


Auto insurance companies are notorious in their efforts to mitigate liability however they can, and one of the most common ways they do this is through the use of partial exclusions.
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These sorts of exclusions can allow the insurer to slide out of responsibility to pay when, for example, a person who is not a member of the household is driving or when the vehicle is not specifically listed on the insured's policy. Arguing against these sorts of partial exclusions can be difficult when they're written into the contract.

However, our Spartanburg car accident lawyers know that exceptions can be made when policies are written in a way that is unclear or ambiguous.

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August 6, 2014

Harris v. FedEx National - Truck Accident Lawsuit Weighed by 8th Circuit


When suing a tractor-trailer company in connection with an accident resulting in injury or death, plaintiffs must take into account a myriad of employment factors, as many shipping firms hire subcontractors and independent contractors to complete these deliveries.
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Rock Hill truck accident lawyers understand that the detail and scope of these agreements could affect which parties are eligible for accountability. Legally, employers (and their insurers) can be held accountable when their workers act negligently in the course of their job, or by virtue of the fact that the company itself negligently hired or trained the worker.

As the recent case of Harris, et al. v. FedEx National LTL, Inc. shows, however, answering the question of who is an employee and who is not is sometimes not always as straightforward as we might hope.

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August 4, 2014

Force v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co. - Determining Who Can Sue in Wrongful Death Action


In wrongful death actions resulting from car accidents in South Carolina, there is a select group of individuals who have the right to sue and collect damages as a result of a person's death.
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South Carolina law requires wrongful death lawsuits to be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate. This can be someone the decedent previously named in a will, or it could be someone designated by the court. The wrongful death claim is then pursued on behalf of the deceased person's surviving family members, including a surviving spouse, children, parents or other heirs.

Our Greenville wrongful death attorneys recognize there is typically a hierarchy established in these claims. For example, a surviving spouse will have a greater stake to the claim than adult children. Likewise, minor children will have a greater stake than the decedent's surviving parents.

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August 2, 2014

Carter v. Progressive Mountain Ins. - Exhausting Limits of Liability


In order to collect uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage in North Carolina, the injured party must exhaust all other limits of liability.
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Car accident attorneys in Asheville recognize this means the injured person seeking to tap into their own UIM coverage need to first fully pursue all potential claims against third parties and their insurers.

So for example, let's say you are injured in crash caused by a drunk driver who carried a $25,000 liability limit. Your medical bills and other losses relating to the crash exceed that amount, and you carry an underinsured motorist coverage policy. In order to collect on your UIM policy, you must first secure a judgment for the $25,000 from the at-fault driver's insurer. Then, whatever the difference between that $25,000 and the amount of your expenses should be paid by your own insurer per the terms of the policy.

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July 28, 2014

Valedez v. Watkins Motor Lines - Crash Report Conclusions Improperly Admitted


A man seriously injured in a semi-truck crash will have a second chance to try his case, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled conclusions of fault by the investigating officer were improperly admitted by the defense.
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In Valedez v. Watkins Motor Lines, et al., the trial court ruled because the investigating officer was unavailable to offer testimony in the case, his conclusions of fault, noted in the crash report, were inadmissible per hearsay rules.

Our Charlotte truck accident lawyers understand the issue was the roundabout way the defense attorney introduced those conclusions in court, despite the order and over the repeated objections of the plaintiff's counsel.

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July 25, 2014

Passengers Injured in a Car Driven by a Negligent Driver


According to a recent article in the Citizen-Times, an Asheville woman was killed in an alcohol-related car accident. It has been reported that an SUV driving in excess of the posted speed limit drove into the median and rolled over.

bar.jpgA female occupant of the car was pronounced dead on the scene, while the male occupant was taken to the hospital. His condition has not been reported. Police have not stated which occupant of the car was the driver and which person was the passenger.

Our Asheville car accident lawyers understand that it can be an uncomfortable situation when a friend or family member who is driving a vehicle injures a passenger by operating the vehicle in a negligent manner. There is a often a question of who is going to pay for medical bills and compensate the injured person for any pain and suffering, loss of wages, cost of future of future treatment, and other special damages. The entire extent of the damage caused by the accident may not become apparent much later. Injuries caused in the crash may even affect your ability to work years later.

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