January 22, 2015

Comstock v. UPS Ground Freight, Inc. - Misconduct Ends in Crash Case Dismissal


On any given day in the U.S., more than 90 people die and hundreds more are injured in motor vehicle accidents. In instances where these individuals and/or their survivors suffered harm due to the negligence of another, there may be ample grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
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It's important for each claim to be carefully vetted prior to bringing such an action, and it's necessary to be forthcoming about all pertinent facts. Failure to do so can result in sanctions - up to and including dismissal of the case.

This was reportedly the case in Comstock v. UPS Ground Freight, Inc., before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. A less-than-forthcoming plaintiff failed to abide by discovery rules, and subsequently forever lost the opportunity to have her case heard.

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January 18, 2015

Chain Reaction Crashes Cause Injuries and Raise Legal Questions for North Carolina Drivers


Drivers who are hurt in crashes can pursue compensation if someone was to blame. Sometimes, however, there are multiple drivers who could potentially be responsible for a collision. A Charlotte injury attorney can help in situations where multi-vehicle crashes occur and questions are raised about liability. car accident 1.jpg

One common type of multi-vehicle accident is a chain reaction crash. ABC News recently reported on a North Carolina driver who experienced this type of accident. The driver was rear-ended on his way home from school. The impact from the rear-end accident pushed the car into oncoming traffic where it was subsequently hit in the front by another motorist. The crash was called a "domino" crash because the rear driver striking the vehicle set off the chain of events that led to multiple accidents.

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January 15, 2015

Semian v. Ledgemere Transp., Inc. - Comparative Fault in Bicycle-Bus Crash


Nationally, there has been a steady increase of cycling fatalities and injuries in recent years, with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicating in its most recent report a 6 percent uptick in fatalities and1,000 more reported injuries.
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The vast majority of these incidents involve collisions with motor vehicles. In many cases, the driver is solely at fault, though there are some situations in which cyclists share a portion of the blame.

In personal injury law, when a plaintiff is responsible to some extent for his or her own injuries, this is called "comparative negligence" or "comparative fault." Different states have varying civil procedure approaches to this. For example, South Carolina allows injured parties who share blame to recover damages from others, so long as plaintiff's own fault doesn't exceed 51 percent (called modified comparative fault). However, in North Carolina, any degree of fault by plaintiff will bar compensation for personal injury.

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January 12, 2015

Is North Carolina Effective at Preventing Drunk Driving?


Drunk driving accidents remain a serious problem despite efforts to encourage sober driving. Many different factors can affect the rates of drunk driving in North Carolina. For example, Jackson County, NC saw a dramatic increase in alcohol-related traffic collisions between 2012 and 2014 according to Smoky Mountain News. The increase may have been caused by a change to local laws that lifted the ban on alcohol sales within county limits. A higher number of students enrolling in local colleges and a growth in population also played a role in increasing drunk driving, as did an improving economy that sent more people to a local casino in the area. Many of the victims of these collisions are not residents of the county, but instead come from South Carolina or other parts of North Carolina because they are passing through the area or because they are visiting the casino. DWI Arrest.jpg

As drunk driving death rates rise, an Asheville auto accident lawyer knows that it becomes more important than ever to enforce laws designed to crack down on impaired drivers. Just recently, Consumer Health Day reported on a study showing that states that do the most to enforce DUI laws tend to have the lowest rates of impaired driving.

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January 9, 2015

Lunsford v. Mills - NC Supreme Court Weighs on UM Coverage in Multi-Vehicle Accidents


The North Carolina Supreme Court recently took on the issue of uninsured/underinsured motorist benefits in instances where there is more than one at-fault driver.
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Here's the primary issue: Many automobile insurance companies have provisions that won't allow insureds to recover UM/UIM benefits unless and until that person has exhausted the liability coverage of the at-fault motorist. So let's say you suffer $100,000 in damages and you have a UM/UIM policy that allows for up to $100,000 in coverage. If the person who hit you has $20,000 in coverage, you have to collect that $20,000 first before you can request the remaining amount from your insurer.

Where it gets complicated is if there is more than one at-fault motorist. The question is, does an injured person have to exhaust all efforts to collect from every at-fault motorist in order to trigger the insurer's obligation to provide UIM benefits? Answer: No.

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January 6, 2015

South Carolina Highway Patrol Steps Up Target Zero To Reduce Traffic Deaths


In South Carolina, a total of 806 people have died this year in motor vehicle collisions. Live 5 News reports that this is an increase compared with 762 deaths in 2013. police.jpg

An experienced Anderson auto injury lawyer knows that many fatalities occur around the holidays and during the winter season. To try to reduce the number of deaths, the South Carolina Highway Patrol stepped up its "Target Zero" program during the holiday season.

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January 4, 2015

Arnold v. Insurance Company of Pennsylvania - Truck Accident Insurance Wrangling


We all know automobile insurance companies can be difficult opponents in fair compensation negotiations. However, when you're injured in an on-the-job crash, there is the assumption that it should be fairly straight forward. After all, we have a whole workers' compensation system in place to ensure claims are paid out relatively quickly.
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But when we're dealing with third-party defendants, secondary insurance policies and disputes over the extent of proximately-caused injuries, the waters can get muddied. There may be more than one source from which to recover damages, and insurance companies are always looking to bolster their own bottom line.

Still, judges have little tolerance for insurance companies that drag their heels on legitimate claims or fail to cooperate with court orders. This can result in a finding of bad faith that can be very costly for the insurer.

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January 2, 2015

Could Carolina Truckers Soon be Required to Buy More Liability Insurance?


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates truck drivers and trucking companies in an effort to reduce motor vehicle collisions. Unfortunately, despite strict licensing rules and detailed safety requirements, truck accidents still occur frequently. Just this December, SC Now reported on a deadly crash in South Carolina allegedly caused by a trucker's reckless driving. truck.jpg

When a truck driver or a trucking company causes a collision through its negligence, victims may recover compensation with the help of a Greenville auto injury attorney. Typically, the insurance provider for the trucking company ends up covering the majority of the plaintiff's damages. In some cases, however, there is insufficient insurance coverage. The FMCSA is trying to change that by requiring higher minimum liability coverage.

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December 30, 2014

Wilmoth v. Hemric - Liability for Wandering Livestock on NC Roadways


In rural North Carolina, it can be a common site to encounter a deer or other large animal looming in the roadway. These animals do pose a danger to motorists, but in the event of a crash, usually the only option is to seek compensation from one's own insurer. cattle.jpg

The exception to this is if that animal is owned as livestock by a nearby farmer or pet owner. The law in North Carolina holds animal owners have a duty to ensure those creatures do not wander off their property and onto neighboring roadways, resulting in a hazardous condition for nearby motorists.

Fact is, when motorists crash into these large animals, the result is not only thousands of dollars in property damage to the vehicle, but also often serious injuries to the driver and vehicle occupants.

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December 28, 2014

North Carolina Teens Face Unique Driving Dangers in Winter


The story of one Lexington, N.C. father is wrenching. Days before Thanksgiving, he learned he will never again see his teenage son, a high school student killed instantly in a crash just down the street from the family home.
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As WFMY News 2 reported, the father passed the crash scene just moments after it happened. He didn't recognize the vehicle, but started texting his son anyway, wanting to make sure he wasn't involved.

"Where are you?" read the first. The second, "John, answer me right now. There has been a very serious wreck... I want to know it isn't you."

A trooper called from his son's phone several minutes later to confirm his worst fear. His only child, age 18, was dead. The driver, 16, has been cited for numerous misdemeanors related to careless driving and being a novice driver with too many teens in the car, a violation of the state's graduated driver's license laws. A 15-year-old girl in the vehicle was also killed. Her brother, 17, was seriously injured and reportedly fighting for his life.

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December 25, 2014

Giles v. Eagle Farms Inc. - Drinking and Driving and Workers' Compensation


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports motor vehicle accidents are consistently the No. 1 cause of work-related fatalities in the U.S. A full 36 percent of the work-related deaths counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics are associated with crashes.
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An estimated 1,275 workers die annually from crashes on public roads. Another 310 are killed in wrecks that occur on industrial premises or off the highway, and nearly 340 pedestrian workers are killed when struck by vehicles.

We're not just talking about professional drivers at risk here, either. Many people spend an increasing amount of their work day in or near motor vehicles.

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December 21, 2014

Winston-Salem Hit-and-Run Crash Lawsuit Filed Against Fire Chief


A lawsuit has been filed against the fire chief of Winston-Salem, as well as the city, after a hit-and-run plaintiffs say was caused by someone driving a pickup truck registered to the chief.
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The bizarre series of events began in late March, when plaintiff was driving with a passenger and passenger's daughter on South Maine Street near Pasadena Drive. Suddenly, a dark-colored pickup truck rear-ended her vehicle. The impact of the crash caused total damage to the vehicle and minor injuries to vehicle occupants, who noted a large "Dodge" sticker on the rear window of the offending vehicle. However, it all happened so fast, no one in plaintiff's vehicle was able to get the license plate number.

A responding officer left the three women at the roadside around midnight to search for the offending vehicle. When plaintiff called dispatch 45 minutes later to see if the officer might return, the officer instructed plaintiff to drive her totaled vehicle to her home. He later said he could not find the offending vehicle.

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December 17, 2014

North Carolina v. Roberts - Reporting Suspected Drunk Drivers


Over the holidays, Santa isn't the only one who makes a naughty list.
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During the last holiday season in North Carolina, law enforcement officers throughout the state arrested 3,164 people for drunk driving during the annual holiday "Booze It & Loose It" campaign, which ran from Dec. 13, 2013 - Jan. 5, 2014. There were additionally 11,6,500 traffic and criminal citations issued statewide during that time, including 32,700 speeding violations and 4,050 drug charges.

When police agencies engage in these kind of enforcement actions, it's a form of proactively attacking the drinking and driving issue - known to be especially prevalent over the holidays. It's not only up to police to take action on this problem. Of course, people should never drink and drive. But they do. And when that happens, it's on the citizens of North Carolina to report it.

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December 14, 2014

Mohr v. Matthews - North Carolina Appeals Court Tackles Social Host Liability


The death of a teenager due to a drunk driving crash left one North Carolina family devastated - and seeking justice. They sought to do so through North Carolina's Social Host Liability law.
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State courts recognize under general negligence principles of common law, a social host may be liable for injuries caused by intoxicated guests. This was established in the 1992 North Carolina Supreme Court decision in Hart v. Ivey. Although Hart concerned injuries caused by intoxicated minors, the court's language indicates liability could also result from injuries caused by intoxicated adult guests.

(Dram shop laws may also result in liability for establishments that provide alcohol, though circumstances are limited and damages capped at $500,000.) The law specifically holds licensees are not liable for injuries sustained by a voluntarily intoxicated person.

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December 12, 2014

Uber Car Accidents: Who is Liable?


The rise of Uber and other ride-sharing apps and opportunities is a testament to changing times and an increased interest in alternative transportation options. In addition to providing an alternative to drinking and driving, Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing applications cut down on gas mileage and are better for the environment. While there is still a lot of hype, one of the criticisms of Uber is that drivers are not adequately covered by insurance. Riders throughout North and South Carolina should be aware of the potential risks of getting in a vehicle and their options for taking legal action in the event of an accident.

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According to the Uber website, consumers who choose to solicit a ride through the mobile application should understand that they will be riding in a personal vehicle, not a company car. In the state of North Carolina, personal automobile policies exclude coverage for liability when the vehicle is "being used as a public or livery conveyance." This can create significant complications for victims of Uber accidents, pedestrians, and others injured by an Uber driver.

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