September 10, 2014

11th Circuit: No Coverage, Duty to Indemnify for Intentional Tort Behind the Wheel

On the surface, the facts in the case of Travelers Property Casualty Co. v. Moore, et al. are at once tragic and absurd. Still, it resolves important questions about when employees using work vehicles might be covered under their company's auto insurance policy.
Two men working for a tow truck operation, contracted to repossess vehicles, were attacked when they tried to do their job. As they hitched a repossessed Ford Mustang to the tow truck, the enraged owner fired several shots into the air with a shotgun. When the two tow truck operators fled, the Mustang still hitched to the back, the vehicle owner jumped into his work van and gave chase, firing several shots into the tow truck.

Ultimately, one of the tow truck operators was killed and the other seriously injured. The vehicle owner was arrested, convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

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September 8, 2014

Williams v. GEICO - South Carolina Supreme Court Weighs Crash Case

When a husband and wife were both killed in a horrific crash involving a train, their families were left to pick up the pieces. Unfortunately, that meant they had to battle with the insurance company form which the couple had purchased coverage.
The case of Williams v. GEICO, recently weighed by the South Carolina Supreme Court, involved the grieving family members of both the husband and wife, and the auto insurer, which fought hard to ensure the survivors would get only the bare minimum coverage allowable under state statutes. This was despite the fact that the couple had purchased a policy that allowed for coverage far in excess of that minimum. Thankfully, the court found the provision that allowed this - the family step-down provision - violated public policy, would be injurious to public welfare and was therefore void.

Our Rock Hill car accident lawyers know the statutory minimum amount of auto insurance coverage in this state is $25,000, though at the time this policy was rendered, it was $15,000. That amount often doesn't even begin to cover expenses for injuries and damages stemming from a serious wreck, most people pay extra for more coverage.

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September 7, 2014

North Carolina Law Bars Underage Drinking - Period.

A couple in Raleigh and their son are facing criminal charges, after authorities say an 18-year-old was served alcohol in their home and then drove drunk, leading to a fatal crash.
Investigators would later describe the gathering as a wedding-related celebration. The arrests have struck home for many parents who may have assumed underage alcohol consumption is legally sanctioned in North Carolina in some instances. It is not.

Our Charlotte drunk driving accident attorneys recognize that in a case like this, even though it was a single-car crash and the driver was at-fault, the adults who served him the alcohol leading to his intoxication may be held liable in civil court, as well as convicted in criminal court. The law offers no exceptions for certain types of functions.

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September 5, 2014

Winston-Salem Crash Lawyers Urge Back-to-School Safety

As school children return to the classroom, the roads and sidewalks will be bustling with school buses, bicycles, pedestrians and newly-licensed teen drivers.
As students, parents and school staffers settle into a routine, it will be important to ensure everyone's safety, and that's going to require a multi-pronged approach.

Recently, a car-versus-bicycle accident in Winston-Salem has prompted a boosted awareness campaign that strives to drive down the number of similar incidents in the future, particularly where young children are involved. The city has begun sponsoring a program to train elementary school children how to safely ride a bicycle, both on their own streets and while traveling to school. City leaders hope it will pay dividends later when those children grow up and obtain their driver's licenses. The hope is by creating awareness now, it will be deep-rooted by the time they have those keys in hand.

Our Winston-Salem car accident attorneys know that every year in North Carolina, there are approximately 2,200 pedestrians involved in police-reported crashes, with between 150 to 200 of those suffering death. Another 500 are seriously injured, according to the state department of transportation.

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September 3, 2014

Report: Rural North Carolina Has the Most Dangerous Roads

One might think serious or fatal crashes would be more likely to occur in the hustle and bustle of a larger city, where the traffic is more condensed and the population is greater.
But that's an erroneous assumption, according to a recent report by the AAA Carolinas.

As our Greensboro crash injury lawyers understand it, the four most dangerous counties in the state are all mostly characterized as rural. They include: Pitt, New Hanover, Person and Watauga Counties. Each of those averaged more than 250 crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled.

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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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