May 6, 2015

Study: Drunk Driving Prevention Good for Economy

When people think of drunk driving and the tragic effects of drunk driving accidents, people are often thinking in terms of personal injury and loss of life. However, according to a recent news feature from Reuters, preventing or reducing the number of drunk driving car crashes may benefit the economy as well as preventing injury.

beeratbar.jpgOver the past 30 years, we have experienced a significant reduction in the number of alcohol-related car accidents on a nationwide basis. A recent study on the economic effects of drunk driving accidents suggests this reduction may have actually benefited the national economy.

Researchers estimated with $200 million of annual (compounded) growth to the United States gross domestic product since 1986, around five percent of this growth can be attributed to a reduction in the amount of drunk driving car accidents during this period.

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May 3, 2015

Bruce Jenner Sued for Negligence Deadly Car Accident

In recent weeks, Bruce Jenner, known for being an Olympic gold medalist and starring on reality television's Keeping Up With the Kardashians, has been featured in the news on an almost daily basis. While most of those articles and reports dealt with his decision to transition into a woman, he has also made headlines for being involved in a deadly car accident.

carcrash7.jpgWhile he was never charged with any crime in connection with the fatal car accident, according to a recent report from CNN, Jenner has recently been named as defendant in a civil wrongful death lawsuit filed by alleged victim's family.

Plaintiffs in this car accident lawsuit are decedent's three stepchildren. In their complaint, they alleged Jenner negligently hit their stepmother's car with his SUV, causing the car to be pushed into the path of an oncoming vehicle. In total, four cars were involved in the deadly crash.

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April 29, 2015

Four-Car Crash on I-40 In Winston-Salem

According to a recent news article from WXII 12, one person was injured in a four-vehicle motor vehicle accident, which occurred just before 8 a.m. on Interstate 40 in Winston-Salem.

unusual-dumper-217365-m.jpgAuthorities say the accident occurred on the westbound off-ramp of Interstate 40 leading to State Highway 52 North. While authorities are still trying to determine the exact cause, when first responders arrived at the scene they found a dump truck and car that had driven up an embankment and two other vehicles on the roadway with damage from the crash.

Witnesses say the off-ramp was closed for several hours, and there were extensive delays on the highway. They saw a crash victim being loaded onto an ambulance from a stretcher, but the extent of victim's injury are not fully known. There was at least one other victim taken to a local hospital.

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April 29, 2015

Mental Capacity of Defendant at Issue in Asheville Car Accident

Most auto accidents do not end with an arrest, unless there are allegations of drunk driving, street racing, or some other outrageous act. This is because the law generally treats car accidents as civil issues for which victims can make a claim with alleged at-fault driver's car insurance company or file a civil personal injury claim if it can't be settled.

medical-doctor-1314902-m.jpgIn some cases, prosecutors charge defendant with a crime, in addition to any civil lawsuit brought by victims. In the prosecution of any criminal case, the constitution requires defendant have a fair trail, and this means defendant must have the mental capacity to stand trial. More specifically, defendant must understand the nature of the offense and the roles of the parties, including judge, defense attorney, and prosecutor.

A recent case from The Citizen-Times discusses this issue. Authorities alleged defendant, from Leicester, was involved in a car crash in Buncombe County in December 2011. During that crash, it is alleged defendant was driving while intoxicated (DWI), and prosecutors eventually charged her with serious bodily injury while driving and DWI.

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April 27, 2015

Asheville Man Arrested - Allegedly Killed Mother in Car Accident

According to a recent news article from The Citizen Times, prosecutors charged a 60-year-old man in connection with a car accident in which his mother was killed. Authorities in Asheville report 60-year-old defendant failed to stop at a stop sign and drove through an intersection while another car was traveling through the same intersection.

coldbeerisolatedonwhite.jpgWhen defendant's car entered the intersection, it collided with another vehicle, causing serious bodily injury to the driver. Officers say the exact cause of the accident is still under investigation, and they intend to use the vehicle's onboard data recorder to determine what was happening with defendant's car prior to the fatal collision.

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April 26, 2015

Ward v. Carmona: Third-Party Defendants in Car Accident Cases

Ward v. Carmona, a case from the North Carolina Supreme Court, involves plaintiff whose son was driving her 1991 Mercedes. Her son was named a third-party defendant in this car accident lawsuit. He was driving east on a road in Raleigh, North Carolina while another defendant was driving his vehicle in the opposite direction, and the two cars crashed into each other at an intersection.

gavel9.jpgPlaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging negligent operation of a motor vehicle against the defendant who was driving the vehicle that collided with her son. After being served with a summons and complaint, defendant filed an answer along with a third-party complaint against plaintiff's son, alleging he was negligently responsible for the car accident at issue in this case.

During trial, plaintiff's son testified he was attempting to turn left at the intersection when the crash occurred. When he arrived at the intersection, he said the light was green so he pulled into intersection and stopped until it was safe to make a turn. Once the light had changed to red, he attempted to complete the left turn knowing the light was red. During this left turn, the other defendant's car collided with his vehicle. He testified he had an unobstructed view of oncoming traffic at time of the accident.

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April 25, 2015

U.S. Marine from Camp Lejeune Killed in Car Accident

While many soldiers risk being killed or seriously wounded in war zones far from home, the United States Department of Defense has been warning returning soldiers and sailors that motorcycle and car accidents are a major cause of injury, and they should take extra precautions to stay safe on the road.

military-truck-1060979-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from The Marine Corps Times, a United States Marine Corps Lance Corporal was killed in a single-vehicle car accident that occurred early Friday morning.

Authorities say the victim, who was stationed at Camp Lejeune, was driving his car at two in the morning at speeds of approximately 90 mph when his vehicle ran off the road and hit a building. First responders believe he was not wearing a seat belt at the time of his fatal accident. Authorities do not, however, believe alcohol was a factor in this tragic motor vehicle accident. The intersection at which this deadly accident occurred has been the source of other serious traffic accidents on numerous occasions.

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April 23, 2015

Mother Charged After Child Dies in Alleged Drunk Driving Accident

Many people who drink too much and then get behind the wheel of a car only worry about being arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), if they worry about anything at all. However, there are often outcomes far worse than being arrested, and it is often innocent victims who suffer the worst consequences of drunk driving.

1209277_cold_beer_glass_isolated_on_white.jpgAccording to a recent news article from Fox 8, authorities placed a 41-year-old mother under arrest in connection with a fatal car accident during which her 9-year-old daughter was killed. Authorities say defendant was driving with her 9-year-old daughter and her 7-year-old son on Highway 70 when she ran off the road. After running off the road, the vehicle hit the grassy area on the shoulder before it reentered the road, crossed the median, and collided with another car traveling in the opposite direction. Witnesses say defendant was actually thrown from the vehicle while it was still in the median before entering the opposite direction travel lanes. It is believed the daughter who was killed was not properly restrained in her seat at the time of the accident.

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April 18, 2015

Cline v. Homuth - Settlement With Teen Driver's Parents Also Covered Grandmother

Many car accident lawsuits are resolved through an out-of-court settlement before the case reaches the trial phase. However, these agreements must be clear as to the exact terms, including who is released from liability, and who is not.
The recent case of Cline v. Homuth, before the California Court of Appeals for the Third Appellate District, is one such case where this became apparent.

Court records indicate the incident that started this case was one involving a teen driver and a motorcyclist. The teen had a provisional driver's license, and was operating his parent's vehicle. In the passenger seat was his grandmother, the only other person in the car.

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April 15, 2015

Ludlow v. Wise - Comparative Fault in a DUI Accident

In the vast majority of DUI negligence cases, it will be the person behind the wheel who is deemed solely responsible for injuries resulting from the act of driving while impaired. There may in some instances be third-party negligence, such as by the bar where employees served alcohol to someone who was underage or clearly already drunk.
But usually, the person who suffers injury as a result of a drunk driver's actions isn't considered at-fault.

The recent case of Ludlow v. Wise, before the Wyoming Supreme Court, is an exception. Here, a jury decided the passenger, who allegedly knew the driver was impaired and asked him for a ride anyway, held some part of the blame for the injuries she sustained as a result. When a plaintiff in an injury lawsuit is deemed partially responsible for his or her own injuries, this is called comparative fault.

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April 12, 2015

Safety of 15-Passenger Vans Questioned After Two Recent Deadly Crashes

Just as federal transportation officials had launched an investigation into a single-vehicle crash of a 15-passenger vehicle that killed 8 and injured 10 in Florida, another accident involving this same type of vehicle - this time in Georgia - resulted in three deaths and nine injuries. Three of those injured were listed in critical condition.
The Florida crash happened on a rural highway shortly after midnight as a group of 18 church-goers were on their way home from a religious revival. Among the 10 injured was a 4-year-old child, who was not harnessed in a proper child safety seat.

In the Georgia case, which occurred about 65 miles northeast of Atlanta, the crash occurred around 7 a.m. when the driver of a van carrying band members from several heavy metal bands fell asleep at the wheel, careened off the road and struck a tree.

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April 9, 2015

North Carolina Train Collides With Trooper-Escorted Truck, 62 Injured

As investigators continue to piece together the events leading to a North Carolina collision between a tractor-trailer and a passenger train, one question stands out: Why didn't the trooper escorting the over-sized truck contact dispatchers to notify them the truck was essentially stuck on the railroad tracks?
Reports are the truck was on the tracks for somewhere between 5 minutes and 20 minutes before the passenger train approached. Once impact occurred, it was so forceful, it knocked the Amtrack train off its wheels. Thankfully, no one was killed, but one of the passengers, aged 85, was seriously injured.

Every year, North Carolina State Troopers escort between 400 and 500 oversize trucks across the state. In this case, the truck was hauling electronic gear from a suburb of Raleigh to New Jersey. The full weight of the 165-foot vehicle was estimated at nearly 130 tons. The total length was longer than half a football field. In fact, this truck was so large it was actually twice the length of the train engine. While the front end of the truck was blocking a highway intersection, the back end of it was blocking the nearby tracks.

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April 6, 2015

Report: Teen Drivers More Often Distracted Than Previously Reported

New research reveals distraction among teen drivers is a bigger issue than previously reported. cardashboard.jpg

The study analyzed in-car videos of more than 1,600 crashes involving Midwest teen drivers between August 2007 and July 2013. The results indicated that distraction was a primary factor in 60 percent of crashes in which a teenager was behind the wheel. Additionally, distraction was to blame in 90 percent of the cases in which a teen motorist careened off the road. It was also indicated in three-fourths of the cases in which a teen rear-ended another vehicle.

On average, young drivers tore their eyes from the road an average of 4 seconds prior to each accident. In most cases, it was a cell phone that had captured their attention. In fact, in 50 percent of cases where there was a rear-end collision, the teen driver didn't even attempt to brake or swerve to avoid the car in front.

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April 3, 2015

Skaperdas v. Country Cas. Ins. Co - Car Insurance Agents' Duty of Care

Auto insurance agents in North Carolina have a duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence in procuring insurance for clients, and the agent will be liable for any proximate loss resulting in the agent's negligent failure to do so. (See Kaperonis v. Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, et. al., N.C. App., 1975).
This does not mean insurers have to sell or direct you the "best" plan, but they do have to inform you of your options, the applicable costs and then secure the coverage you request.

The same degree of duty is recognized in many states across the country, Illinois being one of them. There, in the recent case of Skaperdas v. Country Cas. Ins. Co., the Illinois Supreme Court held an auto insurance agent (and by proxy his employer) could be liable for negligence in failing to procure the proper insurance for a client, who later reported a claim that should have been covered but was not.

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March 29, 2015

Lemley v. Wilson - Liability in Roadside Work Crew Death Case

Roadside work crews undoubtedly have a dangerous job. They suffer not only the risk of injury faced by all construction workers (which is high in comparison to other occupations), they also risk working near fast-moving traffic.
In fact, the danger was the basis for North Carolina's recent expansion of the "Move Over" law to include roadside work crews, in addition to emergency workers, tow trucks and incident management workers.

When a roadside crew member is injured or killed as a result of a motor vehicle collision, there may be more than one remedy available. First and foremost, there is workers' compensation. That is considered the "exclusive remedy" under state workers' compensation law, but that is only as it pertains to the employer. There may also be opportunity for civil litigation against other contractors, individuals, the at-fault driver, insurance company and other relevant third parties.

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