March 2013 Archives

March 29, 2013

Teenager Killed at Carolina School Bus Stop

A Garner Magnet High School student was killed in a recent bus stop accident. According to The Daily Dispatch, the 14-year-old student was hit by a vehicle as she attempted to cross the road to catch her approaching bus. The accident happened at about 6:30 a.m.
According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the driver isn't facing any charges.

Our Greensboro personal injury attorneys understand that school buses are vital tools in getting our kids to and from school safely. We rely on our kids to get to and from that bus stop safely. We just can't always rely on other drivers to be careful and cautious of these young children traveling near the street. The best we can do is teach our young students the safest of travel habits and teach them to steer clear of these dangers.

We've also got to teach them to be safe when walking near the school bus, too. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more kids die when they're hit by a school bus that when they're riding a school bus. The cause of these crashes should be independently investigated. Even when a child is blamed, there may be issues with the location of the bus stop or other considerations.

Children routinely get lessons at school about the danger of getting in the way of buses, among other bus stop safety rules. Please review the follow safety tips from the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Share these tips with the little bus rider in your family to keep them safe.

-Parents and guardians should escort young children to and from the bus stop.

-Make sure you're always on time when arriving at the bus stop. You never want to have to rush. That's when accidents happen.

-Make sure everyone at the bus stop stands at least 10 feet from the road. To make it easy for your child to remember, tell them to stay "five giant steps" from the street.

-You want to wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it. Stay off the road until then.

-Once you're on the bus, sit down. Always use an "inside voice."

-You should always wear brightly-colored clothing to help ensure that passing motorists can see you. This is especially important with bus pick-up times scheduled so early in the morning.

-Always look both ways before crossing the road. Look before exiting the bus and before stepping on the road to board it.

-Never walk behind the bus or directly in front of it. Bus drivers cannot see these areas and children can be overlooked and injured if they travel too closely.

Make sure that you're talking with your young bus rider about these safety tips frequently. You want to make sure that they can travel to and from the bus stop safely to help to keep them safe. We see far too many children die at bus stops in the U.S. each and every year.

Last year, more than 25 children were killed as pedestrians getting on or off a school bus or while they were waiting at the school bus stop. Other motorists illegally passing a stopped school bus continue to be a problem in every community and the school bus industry urges strict police and judicial enforcement against violators.

Continue reading "Teenager Killed at Carolina School Bus Stop" »

March 26, 2013

Truck Driver Faces Prison After Fatal Carolina Accident

A fatal trucking accident that happened on Interstate 26 could land a Wisconsin truck driver in prison for five years. Five died in the accident. He recently pleaded guilty to charges after slamming his truck into a line of stopped cars on a N.C. interstate.
According to JS Online, the trucker faces five counts of involuntary manslaughter. Authorities say he was traveling at about 70 miles per hour when the accident happened. The crash has been attributed to driver fatigue.

Our Charlotte truck accident lawyers understand that truck drivers are to abide by federal hours of service (HOS) standards. They're not to be behind the wheel for extended periods of time to help to prevent these kinds of accidents. The problem is that trucking companies have a responsibility to get products to their destination in a timely manner. More deliveries means more money. It's a system that rewards drivers by the mile -- and therefore encourages them to push the envelope when it comes to time spent behind the wheel.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), these HOS rules apply to drivers who operate vehicles that weigh over 10,001 pounds, have a gross vehicle weight of 10,001 or more, transport more than 9 or more people for compensation or are involved in interstate or intrastate commerce.

If drivers or companies are caught breaking these rules, there are some serious consequences:

-Placed out-of-service (shut down).


-Civil penalties on both driver and/or carrier of up to $11,000.

-Federal criminal penalties.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were close to 4,000 people killed in trucking accidents in the U.S. in 2010. Another 80,000 were injured. And those numbers are on the rise. As the economy improves, we'll be seeing more trucks on our roadways. The more trucks there are, the higher the risk for accidents.

In the state of North Carolina, there were more than 100 large trucks involved in fatal accidents in 2010.

Driving Safe Around Trucks:

-Make sure you keep your distance. Never follow too closely or cut off a truck. They don't drive the same way our vehicles do.

-Stay out of their blind spots. These are the areas around the truck where the driver cannot see. Your best bet is to remember that if you can't see the driver, then the driver cannot see you.

-Stay away from trucks when they're turning. Many times, trucks have to make wider turns than our vehicles. You don't want to get stuck in a tight squeeze.

-Always use your turn signal. Let other traffic, especially trucks, anticipate your moves.

-If possible, pass a truck on the left, not on the right, because the truck's blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out three lanes.

-Always wear your seat belt. That's your best defense against injury and death in the event of an accident.

Travel safely and cautiously around these large vehicles to help to preserve your own safety. You can never rely on the safe driving habits of other to keep you safe.

Continue reading "Truck Driver Faces Prison After Fatal Carolina Accident" »

March 23, 2013

Carolina Car Accidents --Targeting Distracted Driving through April


That's the message to drivers from the National Safety Council (NSC) as part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and it's going on for the entire month of April. Safe driving advocates are asking you to do the right thing and to put down the phones and place more of your attention on driving. It's a move that could wind up saving your life.
Our Asheville car accident lawyers understand that there are thousands killed each and every year because of driver distraction. Cell phones and text messaging devices don't belong in the driver's seat. Still, there were more than 3,330 people killed in the U.S. in distracted driving car accidents in 2011. Another 416,000 people were injured in these accidents, too. It's time to put an end to it.

In the state of North Carolina, only drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a cell phone in the driver's seat. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), all drivers are banned from text messaging behind the wheel.

But these laws are no good if driver's aren't listening.

During the month of April, for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, drivers are asked to consider the following:

-Keep the cell phone out of the driver's seat. This means no texting or phone calls from drivers of any age. There should be no excuses and no text or phone call that's worth a human life.

-Learn a little more about the risks involved with these distractions. Knowledge is the key to safety and to safe driving habits. Share this information with your friends and family.

-If you call someone who is driving when the answer, let them know that you'd be happy to continue the conversation once they've come to a stop. Have them call you back.

-If you're riding with someone who is engaging in these distractions behind the wheel, politely ask them to stop.

-Share the message of this month-long campaign with your friends and family members. Talk about the risks and dangers with your young drivers, too. They face the highest risks for these kinds of accidents.

-Make sure you take the pledge to drive cell free.

The truth of the matter is that driving while using a cell phone reduces the amount of brain activity associated with driving by more than 35 percent.

And don't think you can run out and get a hands-free device. Studies have proven that these devices are just as dangerous behind the wheel.

Sending or receiving a text takes a driver's eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent-at 55 mph-of driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
Help to save a life, possibly yours, and keep the phone out of the driver's seat, hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

Continue reading "Carolina Car Accidents --Targeting Distracted Driving through April" »

March 23, 2013

United States Is Number One for Texting and Driving

When you visit England or places in Europe, you may be a little bit scared of drivers driving on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to, or of aggressive drivers who seem to dart in-and-out of traffic. Although the UK and European roads may seem daunting, they are safer in one very important way when compared to the streets of the U.S.: there are a lot less people texting and driving.

Our Rock Hill accident attorneys know that texting and driving is incredibly dangerous, so much so that sending or receiving a text as you drive makes you 23 times more likely to get into a crash. Yet, despite the known dangers and despite extensive public education and bans in many states, many people continue to text and drive. A new study now confirmed that U.S. drivers are the worst when it comes to texting and driving, with far more drivers in the U.S. sending or receiving texts than those living in other countries. shattered.jpg

Survey Shows Americans Most Likely to Text and Drive

According to a March 14, 2013 article on NBC news, a new government survey revealed that:

  • Almost 69 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 64 admitted that they talked on their cell phone as they drove at least one time in the 30 days before taking the survey.

  • Just 21 percent of drivers in Britain said that they had talked on their cell phone as they drove in the prior 30 days. Britain also had the lowest rate of people who text and drive than any other country surveyed.

  • 40 percent of adults in France said they used their cell phones one or more times while driving in the prior 30 days. While this is more than Britain, it is considerably less than the 69 percent of Americans who chatted while driving.

  • 31 percent of drivers in the U.S. admitted to texting and driving.

  • Only 15 percent of drivers in Spain said that they had texted as they drove.

Researchers indicated surprise at some of the information obtained in the international texting and driving survey. One of the major puzzles presented by the data was the fact that there are universal laws throughout Europe on texting and driving that are very similar to each other, but that there are still major variations as far as how people behave towards the use of wireless devices as they drive.

In the United States, differences in behavior from state-to-state would be more expected than variations across Europe, since each state in the US can set its own texting and driving laws for within its borders. Around 33 states in the U.S. have imposed some restrictions on cell phone use and/or texting, at least for teen drivers, as compared with widespread bans throughout Europe.

Still, while numbers differed in Europe from place-to-place, there were always fewer Europeans admitting to texting or talking on cells while driving than there were Americans. As such, perhaps America should consider modeling Europe, and adopting the recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board, to impose a blanket ban on cell phone use and/or texting. Such a ban might reduce the number of distracted drivers and potentially save lives.

Continue reading "United States Is Number One for Texting and Driving" »

March 21, 2013

New Smartphone App Aims to Cut Down on Drunk Driving Accidents

In today's day and age, pretty much everyone knows that drunk driving is illegal and extremely dangerous. Yet, every year, thousands of people still make the choice to get behind the wheel and drive drunk. Some of those who drink and drive may make the conscious decision that they don't care about the laws and that they are going to take the risk. Others, however, may get behind the wheel and drive drunk simply because they do not realize how intoxicated they are. 1381077_yconco_glossy.jpg

Our Charlotte accident attorneys know that drunk drivers not only endanger their own lives but also put other innocent passengers, bystanders and drivers in danger as well. As such, it is very important to do everything possible to cut down on the number of drunk drivers on the road. One way to do this is to make sure that people are actually aware of whether they are over the limit before they drive so they can make the informed choice to call a cab or get a ride.

There's an App to Prevent Drunk Driving
In an effort to give people the tools to judge whether they are too drunk to drive, a California start-up has produced a smartphone blood alcohol content tester.

According to MSN Autos, the smartphone BAC meter, dubbed the Breathometer, will work when you plug in a small device to the headphone jack of the phone. The device will allow you to blow in so your breath can be tested. You'll then download an application that will take the reading of your BAC and alert you if you are over the limit.

The Breathometer will work with both Android devices and Apple smartphone devices. Its technology capitalizes on the ubiquity of smartphones and the fact that almost everyone has some kind of smartphone with them so much of the time. By creating a breath test that works on the smartphone, it thus becomes possible for drinkers to also have a BAC test with them at all times. Party-goers can easily check if they are too drunk to drive and hopefully make the smart decision to call a cab.

Calling a cab is even made easier with the Breathometer, since the app also provides you with information on local taxi cab and transportation companies.

Can You Buy the App?
While the app has been developed and the smart-phone BAC test technology is just waiting approval, the product is not yet ready for widespread sale. There is an Indiegogo crowdsource funding campaign underway in order to attempt to raise money to actually produce the Breathometer.

Those who donate $20 will receive a Breathometer device while individuals with a larger $500 donation will get the current Breathometer and will also become eligible for lifetime upgrades to new products.

In the meantime, if you want to be sure you have a tool to monitor your BAC and test your ability to drive sober, there are plenty of small devices that can currently be used to test your alcohol levels. One such device, according to MSN Autos, is a BAC test that fits on your keychain and that costs just $30.

Continue reading "New Smartphone App Aims to Cut Down on Drunk Driving Accidents" »

March 18, 2013

Higher Uninsured Motorist Coverage Could Protect You in Car Accident Claims

When you buy insurance, you make the purchase in order to protect yourself from financial disaster. In some cases, you get to choose how much insurance you want to buy. In other instances, the law dictates the minimum coverage requirements. 160461_wrecked_car.jpg

When it comes to car insurance, lawmakers in South Carolina want to ensure that you have sufficient protections in case you get into a crash. In 2006, lawmakers upped the mandatory minimums on auto insurance coverage, boosting the required liability protection that all drivers must have. Our Greenville South Carolina car accident lawyers know that lawmakers are now considering another increase in the minimum auto insurance requirements within the state.

Upping Uninsured Motorist Coverage
When lawmakers changed the obligations of drivers in 2006, The State reports that they intended the higher insurance minimums to apply across the board. Unfortunately, while the law boosted liability coverage, it failed to increase the mandatory minimum uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured motorist coverage serves a very different purpose than liability coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage is intended to make sure you have your medical bills and costs paid if you get into a car accident with another driver who is at fault but who cannot pay. Liability coverage, on the other hand, is intended to make sure you can pay if you get into a crash and hurt someone else.

Liability coverage, of which you now must have a minimum of $25,000 in coverage, doesn't pay for your damages if you are in a crash that you cause. Instead, your victims are compensated for their injuries and you are left to turn to your pocket or to turn to your own insurance company to pay whatever bills they will, based on the coverage you have.

Uninsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, is a form of protection for you. If you get into an accident with a driver who is at fault but who has no insurance or money to pay a claim, uninsured motorist coverage pays out so your bills can be met. If you get into an accident with a hit-and-run driver and the driver isn't found, then again you'd be out of luck without uninsured motorist coverage.

Uninsured motorist coverage means your insurer stands in for an at-fault driver who should be paying but isn't. You'll need to have enough of this coverage so your bills and costs are actually paid. The law that aims to increase the mandatory minimum uninsured motorist coverage will help to ensure you have enough coming in from the insurer.

Under the current laws, you are required to have only $10,000 in coverage. If the new legislation passes, you will need to have no less than $25,000 in uninsured motorist protection. You can choose to buy more if you wish to do so, but you cannot buy any less. This higher limit ensures that even in more serious accidents, you will be able to have your bills paid.

Continue reading "Higher Uninsured Motorist Coverage Could Protect You in Car Accident Claims" »

March 17, 2013

South Carolina Accident Involving Ambulance Leaves 1 Dead

According to the South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP), officials are investigating a fatal accident involving an ambulance. It happened just after 1:00 a.m. along South Carolina Highway 302.

WLTX reports that an International Ambulance was heading east on 302 when the driver of a truck heading in the opposite direction crossed over the center lane and slammed into the side of the ambulance. The driver of that truck was pronounced dead at the scene. Accident reports indicate that he was not wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident. The two occupants of the ambulance were not injured in the wreck.
Our Lexington County car accident attorneys understand that accidents with government and official vehicles may be some of the hardest to handle. Many times, it can seem extremely difficult to get the compensation you deserve. Whether it's a federal, state, city or county vehicle, it's tough, but compensation can be achieved.

The problem with accidents involving these kinds of vehicles is that a government entity gets the privilege of protections known as "sovereign immunity" or "government immunity." What this means is that there are a set of laws and situations in which you can (and cannot) sue the government. However, if you were involved in an accident -- you deserve compensation, especially if the accident was the fault of another driver's negligence.

Immunity laws essentially mean that federal, state and local governments must give consent to be sued. This is meant to prevent judgments against the government because it would ultimately be tax dollars that provide this compensation.

It's important that you travel carefully around these vehicles. Oftentimes, these vehicles do not have to adhere to road laws like you and I. They get to follow special exceptions that allow them to do their job better. Unfortunately, it's innocent travelers that oftentimes are injured in these kinds of accidents. Anytime a traffic collision occurs involving a government vehicle -- especially rescue workers or law enforcement -- an independent review of the crash should always be conducted.

Each and every year, there are millions of people who are sent to an emergency room because of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S.

As we recently reported, the number of car accidents across the U.S. in on the rise. More people are being injured and are being killed in crashes. It's important that you know the proper way to pursue compensation for your damages after an accident -- and that's where an experienced attorney comes in.

Continue reading "South Carolina Accident Involving Ambulance Leaves 1 Dead" »

March 13, 2013

Charlotte Rollover Collision Kills 1, Injures 7

Officials with the Charlotte Mecklenburg police are looking into a recent fatal accident in North Charlotte on Mallard Creed Road. According to WBTV, one person is dead and seven more were injured.

Witnesses say that an SUV was leaving a neighborhood when it broadsided another passenger vehicle. Luckily, the passengers of the SUV were able to climb out of the vehicle, but some of the passengers of the other vehicle had to be cut out by emergency crews.
The accident reports indicate that the SUV went airborne after the collision. It flipped twice and slammed down on its hood. There were four children in the SUV. Two victims were transported to Carolinas Medical Center. One remains in critical condition.

Our Charlotte car accident lawyers understand that many out there fear SUVs -- because of their likelihood of rollover. The latest reports say that high-riding SUVs are now much less likely to be involved in deadly crashes than ordinary cars. But that doesn't mean you're in the clear. How you drive these vehicles is a big indicator into just how likely you are to flip. When push comes to shove though, someone in a 2009 model year car is almost twice as likely to die in a rollover accident as someone driving a 2009 model year SUV.

From 2006 to 2009, there were close to 30 fatalities per million newer SUVs, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The bottom line is that SUV drivers need to be careful. Unfortunately, many of these drivers get a false sense of security because they're riding in such a massive vehicle. The risks are still there. Although SUVs are better equipped nowadays with electronic stability control (ESC) and come with a more stable design nowadays, these rollover accidents can still happen.

What might be the saddest statistics about these kind of accidents is the fact that about 75 percent of all occupants killed in rollover accidents were not wearing seat belts at the time of the rollover.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 300,000 rollover accidents are reported each year, claiming more than 10,000 lives annually.

Unfortunately, neither cars nor trucks are subject to a federal rollover standard, though pressure for such a requirement has been building. The only thing we have to work with is a rollover rating system from the NHTSA, introduced back in 2001. The more stars a vehicle has, the safer it is expected against a rollover accident.

When protecting yourself against these kinds of accidents, your driving habits are the biggest influence. You always want to keep an eye on your speed. The faster you're going, the higher your risks for a rollover are. You especially want to be careful when traveling through inclement weather and while driving along country roads. These are two scenarios where we see a whole lot of these rollover accidents.

Continue reading "Charlotte Rollover Collision Kills 1, Injures 7" »

March 9, 2013

Hit-and-Run Driver Accused of Hitting Three Vehicles in Asheville

Authorities have charged a local man with hit and run after an accident on Haywood. According to the Citizen-Times, the 26-year-old driver was also charged with resisting arrest and malicious conduct by a prisoner as well as driving while impaired.
It all happened when the driver slammed into a parked car by the Music Hall and the Isis Restaurant on Haywood. That vehicle was pushed into two other parked cars. It happened around 10:15 p.m. Officers say that two of the vehicles suffered some serious damage. Unfortunately, those drivers will have to worry about collecting compensation for their damages from a locked-up criminal.

Our Asheville car accident lawyers understand that the driver just kept on going. He went off the road on Sand Hill where he hit a tree head-on and came to rest. The driver only suffered minor injuries. Luckily, no one else was injured in this incident.

According to North Carolina state law, a driver is required to provide their name, address, driver's license number and the license plate number of his vehicle to the driver or occupants of any other vehicle involved in the accident or collision or to any person whose property is damaged in the accident or collision.

Unfortunately, the number of hit-and-run accidents has been on the rise. We've actually seen a near 20 percent increase since 2000. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a majority of hit and run accidents result in property damage. Many drivers believe that if no one saw, then no one is going to be reprimanded for their actions. Unfortunately, the victims of these kinds of accidents are left dealing with the fallout, both emotionally and financially. That's why hit-and-run accidents usually come with some prison time and with a number of fines.

The problem is that these irresponsible drivers can be hard to hunt down. Even if you can identify the vehicle involves, there are some areas that require a witness to determine who was responsible. An eye witness can oftentimes be critical in pressing charges.

The truth of the matter is that every victim of a hit-and-run accident has the right to pursue a case in court to cover medical expenses, repairs and other aspects influenced by the accident.

Why do drivers flee the scene of an accident?

-They may not be properly insured.

-They might be in some kind of legal trouble already.

-They may be living in the US illegally.

-The driver may have struck a pedestrian or a bicyclist.

-They may not have a valid driver's license.

-They were under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident.

-There is a warrant out for the driver's arrest.

If you were involved in an accident with a hit-and-run driver, get in touch with an aggressive attorney today to help to get the compensation you deserve. Don't get left in the dark.

Continue reading "Hit-and-Run Driver Accused of Hitting Three Vehicles in Asheville" »

March 6, 2013

South Carolina Law Enforcement Investigating Multi-Car Pileup

On February 28, 2013, reported on a car accident that occurred near Loris in South Carolina. The accident had occurred on the prior Thursday morning and had resulted in one person being airlifted for emergency treatment. Four other drivers involved also received medical attention at local area hospitals for injuries resulting from the accident. 1209407_stop.jpg
Our South Carolina auto accident attorneys know that multi-vehicle pileups often cause very serious injury to those involved and that they also raise many legal complications. Those involved in multi-vehicle wrecks should seek advice in resolving the complex legal issues created when multiple cars are all involved in an accident.

The South Carolina Multi-Vehicle Accident
The South Carolina multi-car wreck reported on in late February occurred at just after 8:00 A.M. on Thursday. The scene of the accident was Mt. Zion Road and Higgins Road. The crash occurred when a driver of a pick-up truck disregarded a stop sign and T-boned another truck. According to the WBTW report, charges are expected to be filed when the South Carolina Highway Patrol completes their investigation.

The charges will be filed against the man who ultimately was responsible for causing the accident. When a multi-vehicle mile-up occurs, there is typically one catalyst that causes an original crash. As a result of the initial accident, other cars are unable to get out of the way in time and they also fall victim to a wreck. The other cars in a multi-vehicle accident may strike the vehicles that are stopped or impaired from the original wreck, or they may become involved in other wrecks as they try to avoid hitting those vehicles. For example, a driver swerving to avoid a stopped car after a car accident could cause a crash with cars on either side of him.

When Do Multi-Vehicle Wrecks Happen?
Multi-vehicle wrecks can happen any time there is one accident and other drivers are impacted by that wreck and get into a crash themselves. However, there are certain situations under which multi-vehicle wrecks are more likely to occur than others. These include:

  • When cars are in tight quarters. With nowhere to go, a car cannot avoid being impacted by an initial wreck. This is especially an issue on highways.

  • When cars are moving at a high speed. A fast speed increases momentum and results in a longer stopping time, thus it is more likely that a speeding car will not be able to stop in order to avoid becoming part of a multi-vehicle pileup.

  • When the weather is bad and there is low visibility. This can make it hard for drivers to see that there is a wreck that they need to slow down for or get out of the way from.

Unfortunately, regardless of the underlying reason why the wreck occurred, there remains the problem of trying to sort out the legalities. With multiple people involved in the wreck, it is essential to trace back the original cause of the accident and to determine who in the crash was negligent in some way that can make them responsible for covering your costs.

Continue reading "South Carolina Law Enforcement Investigating Multi-Car Pileup" »

March 5, 2013

Carolina Car Accidents With Public Employees

On February 4, 2013, reported on a car accident that occurred in North Carolina involving an ambulance. The ambulance hit the side of a Dodge pickup truck, resulting in heavy damage to the ambulance and to the truck. The truck driver was not injured in the accident and the ambulance drivers suffered minor injuries that were not life threatening. 1066864_police_cruiser.jpg

Our North Carolina personal injury attorneys are glad that no one suffered serious injury as a result of this crash. The accident, however, raises an important issue: what happens if ambulance drivers or police are involved in auto accidents? It is important that every driver be aware of the special legal rules that apply when dealing with public employees so they can understand their rights in the event of a wreck.

Special Rules for Auto Accidents with Public Employees
The accident reported on occurred when an ambulance was traveling south on U.S. 17. A Dodge pickup truck entered the intersection across the four-lane road. The ambulance then hit the side of the truck, causing it to spin out until it finally ended up facing north in the southbound lane on U.S. 17.

A witness to the accident who spoke to indicated that the accident was a bad one, and he provided information that seemed to indicate the truck driver was to blame. According to the witness, the ambulance had its emergency lights on and the truck driver, who had a green light, failed to yield to the ambulance.

The truck driver, however, indicates that when he entered the intersection he was unable to see the ambulance as a result of a car to the left. He indicated that he did not hear the ambulance, although the Police Sergeant responding affirmed that the ambulance had both its siren on and the emergency lights flashing.

If all accounts of the accident are true, then the truck driver is likely to blame for causing the wreck and the ambulance drivers were not at fault in the crash. The truck driver also didn't suffer any injuries. In other incidents, however, drivers might not be so lucky.

There have been cases in the past where drivers were hurt as a result of police cars, ambulances or other vehicles driven in a negligent way, such as police officers speeding without having their sirens or lights on. When this type of action occurs and the public employees are responsible for negligent behavior that leads to an auto accident, there are many legal complications.

The big issue is that government agents who are acting within their official capacity or who are doing their jobs are generally granted immunity from civil lawsuits. Government agencies also enjoy limited immunity too. The immunity protections that exist make it much more difficult for an injured victim to file a lawsuit based on negligence.

The immunity protections, however, do not make it impossible to sue. In the event that the car accident was caused by the negligence of the public employee, then the case may fall into exceptions carved out for the limits on governmental immunity. To determine whether a case can be made against a public official or agency, therefore, the first step is determining how immunity rules apply. An experienced attorney should be consulted to advise you on the statutes providing exceptions to immunity and to make a legal assessment as to whether you can sue the public official or agency as a result of the wreck.

Continue reading "Carolina Car Accidents With Public Employees" »

March 4, 2013

Older Motorcycle Riders at Greatest Risk of Injury

According to WECT Channel 6, a North Carolina man was killed in early March when he backed his motorcycle out of his driveway into the path of an oncoming truck. The driver was 44-years-old and was hit by the truck as he reversed out of his driveway. Authorities reported that there was no suspicion alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash, but that the man likely failed to see the truck driver coming. 1301095_motorcycle_stunter_tyre_burnout_.jpg

Unfortunately, this motorcycle accident was not the first of the year in North Carolina and it won't be the last. Motorcycle accidents, like car accidents, happen every day. Our Charlotte injury attorneys urge all drivers to be aware of the potential dangers associated with riding a motorcycle. A new BBC Study also indicated that older riders may be at the greatest risk of injury in a motorcycle crash so we especially urge drivers ages 60 and up to exercise caution when making the choice to ride.

Older Drivers in Danger of Motorcycle Accidents
In mid-February, BBC published the results of a study in the Injury Prevention Journal. Researchers had analyzed data from the US National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP) from 2001 to 2008 in order to get a better understanding of motorcycle accidents and injuries.

The study showed that:

  • 1.5 million drivers ages 20 and older had to seek medical help after a motorcycle accident from 2001 to 2008.

  • Drivers ages 60 and over were three times as likely to be admitted into the hospital for treatment when compared with younger drivers in their 20's and 30's.

  • Drivers ages 60 and over were two-and-a-half times as likely as young drivers to suffer a serious injury as a result of a motorcycle accident.

These statistical differences between older and younger motorcycle riders are very significant and are cause for concern for motorcycle riders everywhere. One spokesman from the Motorcycle Action Group indicated that the number of older motorcycle riders was on the rise in Britain and the number being injured was also increasing. BBC pointed out that the same is true in the United States.

Why Are Older Motorcycle Riders at Greater Risk?
There are lots of reasons why older motorcycle riders may be hospitalized for motorcycle accidents more frequently than younger drivers. BBC reported on several of these reasons including the fact that:

  • Older drivers often have faster bikes than younger drivers because older motorcycle riders often have more financial resources to buy a fancy bike.

  • Older drivers may suffer from impairments that make them more likely to become involved in a motorcycle accident, especially if they do not ride regularly and haven't kept up their skills.

  • Older drivers tend to have more health problems to begin with, which means they can be more susceptible to being seriously hurt as a result of the accident. For example, an older driver with bone loss might be more likely to break a bone than a younger and healthier driver.

For all of these reasons, it is very important for any older driver considering buying or riding a motorcycle to tread carefully and to put safety first. Hopefully, if all motorcyclists- including older drivers- are aware of the risks they face, accidents like the one that cost the life of the North Carolina man can be avoided.

Continue reading "Older Motorcycle Riders at Greatest Risk of Injury" »