July 12, 2014

Cannizzaro v. Marinyak: On Alcohol-Related Car Accidents

Our North Carolina car accident lawyers understand that alcohol-related car accidents can result in complex litigation.

Carcrash.jpgIn Janine Cannizzaro v. Stephan Marinyak Et. Al, the at-fault driver was attempting to pass the victim's vehicle when he allegedly collided with her, causing significant personal injury. According to court documents, the accident resulted in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and loss of a leg.

The state police conducted an investigation of the car accident and determined that the at-fault driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. It was alleged by police that the at-fault driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .19, which is more than two times the legal limit.

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July 10, 2014

Colvin v. Giguere: Workers' Compensation as a Bar to Car Accident Lawsuits

Our Winston-Salem car accident attorneys often hear from potential clients who were injured in a car accident while on the job. It is not always clear whether a plaintiff can recover in a negligence action if they are also eligible for workers' compensation benefits. The North Carolina Industrial Commission provides some guidance on this issue.

van.jpgIn Dana D. Colvin and Shaw Colvin v. Joseph Giguere, the Supreme Court of the State of Utah ruled on this particular issue. Kelly Colvin and Joseph Giguere were both employed by Advanced Millwork Installation ("Advanced") in Lehi, Utah. Advanced, a custom millwork company, sent Colvin and another employee to Maryland and Virginia to complete custom cabinet installations. Colvin was driving a van owned by the company's owner. The van had a company logo painted on it, Advance paid the insurance, and Advance listed the van on its company taxes. Colvin was the only driver listed on the van's insurance policy, and Advance allowed him to use the van for business and also personal use.

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July 8, 2014

Pouzanova v. Morton: Punitive Damages in Car Accident Cases

Our North Carolina car accident attorneys understand that punitive damages are only appropriate in certain circumstances.

In Ekaterina V. Pouzanova v. Kuuipo T. Morton, decided by the Supreme Court of the State of Alaska, Ekaterina V. Pouzanova ran a stop sign and was hit on the side (T-bone collision) in a car driven by Kuuipo Morton. Morton went to the emergency room after the car accident and suffered from lower-back pain and a possible compression fracture.

car-crash-m.jpgPrior to trial, Morton asserted damages for pain and suffering but also damages for lost earnings and medical expenses. She also claimed punitive damages under a theory that Pouzanova was not only negligent, but also reckless.

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July 3, 2014

Insurance Carriers Push to Raise Rates in North Carolina

After emergency medical needs are taken care of, your first question after an accident may involve insurance coverage. Do I contact my insurance company or the company of another driver? How much will my insurance cover? Who will pay my medical bills? Insurance plays a significant role in car accident claim resolutions. Now out-of-state insurance companies are pushing for legislation to put an end to low-cost car insurance coverage. North Carolina drivers may not realize they have a bargain, but the state has the lowest car insurance rates in the region, sixth-lowest in the country. Due to potential shifts in the law, drivers and voters in the state should understand how laws and policies shape their premiums.


Big insurance companies, including State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, and Geico must tailor their insurance plans to meet the demands and competition of each region. The insurance companies are now pushing for higher insurance rates in North Carolina--but will it make coverage any better after an accident? Our Asheville car accident attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers and victims who have suffered in a car wreck. We will take a comprehensive approach to uncover the facts about your case, identify responsible parties, and pursue compensation on your behalf.

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July 2, 2014

Another Recall: GM to Reveal Compensation Plan

Extending the string of safety issues and problems, GM has announced three more recalls bringing the total to more than 20 million cars and trucks this year. This means that GM broke its own recall record of 10.75 million vehicles in 2004. This month, the company plans to identify those entitled to compensation for the ignition switch recall, and how much each recipient can expect to receive.


The compensation plan is expected to be presented by a consultant who is considered a "compensation expert." The internationally renowned compensation strategist also helped develop compensation packages for victims of 9/11 and families who lost loved ones in the Virginia Tech shooting.

The most recent recall covers over 474,000 vehicles worldwide. After investigations, the company finally admitted that a transmission transfer can cause the vehicles to shift into neutral on their own. The ignition switch issues have resulted in loss of power as well as roll away vehicles, though GM says that it knows of known crashes or injures. Our Greensboro car accident attorneys are dedicated to providing comprehensive and strategic advocacy to individuals who have been injured in a car accident. We have experienced representing individuals in cases involving complex auto accidents and truck accidents resulting from texting and driving, failed maintenance, drinking and driving, defective auto parts, and general negligence.

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July 1, 2014

Lee Law Offices Urges You to Stay Safe on the Roads this Fourth of July

July 4th is great day to spend with family and friends. It is a great time to go a ballgame or a cookout. For many, this amounts to an entire day of drinking alcohol. While there is nothing wrong with kicking back and relaxing on our nation's birthday, getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol can lead to major problems.

fireworks12.jpgAs Asheville car accident lawyers understand, alcohol-related traffic accidents can lead to serious personal injury and loss of life. As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the July 4th holiday period in the past five years, nearly 800 people lost their lives in crashes in which the driver exhibited a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) greater that the legal limit of .08. This accounts for approximately 40% of all traffic fatalities over the same five-year period.

There are several things you can do to help prevent drunk driving related injuries this Fourth of July. The first and easiest way you can help is to not get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming alcohol. While it is true that you can drink a little alcohol and still be below the legal limit, why take the chance? It is better to be safe and use a designated driver.

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June 30, 2014

Whelan v. State Farm - Insurer Must Have Written Rejection of UIM Coverage

In North Carolina, insurers are required to offer underinsured and uninsured motorist protection as part of their auto insurance coverage. Additional fees are charged for this coverage, but drivers who choose to decline it can do so through a formal written rejection.
Our Charlotte car accident lawyers do not recommend any driver decline UIM coverage, as one can never be sure when they will encounter a driver who is either not insured or not adequately insured. UIM coverage protects injured parties in these instances.

Still, insurers are notorious for seeking to avoid paying these claims. We are dedicated to ensuring that when you pay for UIM coverage - or when rejection of the policy was inadequate - you will get the coverage you deserve.

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June 28, 2014

NC Pedestrian Death Blamed on Intoxicated Motorist

In a tragic DUI pedestrian accident, a drunk driver struck and killed a North Carolina woman as she walked in Daytona Beach Shores. Reports indicate that the accused motorist has been released on bond. According to reports, the 45-year-old victim was walking with her 21-year-old son and his wife when she was struck by an oncoming vehicle. The accident occurred around 9:30 p.m. when the driver sped down a beach access ramp, crashed through a toll booth and ran over the victim. The driver was arrested at the scene and charged with DUI and manslaughter. The driver will also face criminal penalties for property damage caused by the accident.


In the event of a car accident that results in personal injury or wrongful death, victims and their families should take immediate action to protect their rights. While law enforcement officers and investigators can ensure that a driver is held criminally responsible, an experienced advocate will ensure that you get the compensation you need to cover your expenses and losses. Our Charlotte drunk driving accident attorneys are experienced in the investigation of cases involving DUI accidents. We will take a comprehensive approach to collect evidence, identify responsible parties, and pursue your legal rights in a civil case. Remember that you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, lost wages, and any other personal losses you have endured.

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June 26, 2014

Universal Ins. Co. v. Office of the Ins. Comm'r - Rental Car Insurer Loses Bid to Avoid Claim Payment

Like North Carolina, Puerto Rico adheres to a "fault" or tort-based system with regard to how an injured car accident victim is made whole. Asheville car accident lawyers know this means injured parties generally have three options: Filing a claim with their own insurer (who will later seek reimbursement from the at-fault driver's insurer), filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver or pursuing a third-party car insurance claim directly with the other driver's insurer. car1.jpg

The last option was the one pursued in the recent case out of Puerto Rico, Universal Ins. Co. v. Office of the Ins. Comm'r. The insurer, rather than follow a state court order to pay the injured party her due, filed a federal complaint. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit recently affirmed a decision by the federal district court, which found the claim barred on the grounds of res judicata. This means the matter had already been decided, and couldn't be raised again.

This case is one example of how insurers will fight to avoid paying a claim - even those that may seem perfectly legitimate. It's also relevant now during the summer, as it involves a rental vehicle, and many people are opting to rent a car when they visit from out-of-town.

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June 23, 2014

5 Star Inc. v. Ford Motor Company - SC Supreme Court on Expert Witness in Automobile Manufacturing

South Carolina car accident lawyers pay special attention to court opinions involving the use of expert witnesses at trial. In 5 Star Inc. v. Ford Motor Company, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled on whether an expert in electrical engineering and fire causation could testify about whether the defendant, Ford Motor Company, acted negligently. In this case, the plaintiff alleged that a Ford truck caught fire because of a negligently designed speed control deactivation switch. The plaintiff's expert had extensive experience in electrical engineering of automobiles. The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiff's expert had sufficient training, education, and experience to testify as to whether Ford Motor Company had breached its duty of care owed to the plaintiff.

fire-engine.jpgCar accident lawsuits, as well as most personal injury cases, deal with the legal theory of negligence. In any negligence action, the plaintiff must prove certain elements. The defendant must have owed a duty of a care to the plaintiff, the defendant breached his or duty of care toward the plaintiff, the breach of duty caused an foreseeable injury to person or property, and that the injury resulted in damages (harm suffered) to the plaintiff.

Often, the two most important issues to South Carolina lawyers who handle car accident cases, are whether the defendant breached his or her duty of care, and, if a breach occurred, how much harm (damages) was suffered by the plaintiff. In many cases, the question of whether a defendant breached his or her duty of care is a simple one. For example, if you are parked at red light and another car hits you from behind, it is obvious that the driver who hit you is at fault. At fault is another way of saying that this driver was negligent because he or she breached a duty of care owed to you.

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June 22, 2014

Pierson v. Service America Corp. - Sport Stadiums and Dram Shop Laws

It's a well-established fact that incidents of drunk driving spike anytime there is a sizable sporting event.
Every time the Super Bowl rolls around, you are likely reminded of all the ways in which to be a responsible social host and to always designate a sober driver. Drunk driving crashes that do result in injury or death often end in a civil case, sometimes against the party who served alcohol.

These are called Dram Shop cases, and our Rock Hill drunk driving accident lawyers are familiar with many that have been filed against bars, liquor stores and even parents who allowed teens to drink in their homes. However, the recent case of Pierson v. Service America Corp. involves a sports stadium beer vendor. The vendor is based in South Carolina, but conducts business at stadiums all over the country, including for one in Indiana, where the Pierson case was filed. The developments are being closely monitored by those in the business of selling booze to sports fans.

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June 19, 2014

Sholberg v. Truman - Car Accidents Involving Large Animals

As a "fault" car insurance state, injured parties or those representing estates of those wrongfully killed are entitled to pursue damages from the driver whose actions caused the crash. horseinroad.jpg

But what if the other party wasn't a person, but rather an animal? Large livestock can sometimes become loose in rural areas, and when roaming on roads, can result in crashes that cause serious injuries and even death.

Car accident injury attorneys
in Greensboro know that it is a Class 3 misdemeanor in North Carolina for any livestock owner to permit a farm animal to run at-large. Additionally, the owner may be held liable for injuries caused by that livestock if the animals are at-large with his knowledge or consent or if their escape is due to his negligence.

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June 17, 2014

Jackson v. Wis. County Mut. Ins. Corp. - Deputy Denied Employer's Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Law enforcement officers have some of the toughest and most dangerous occupations. When injuries occur in the course of that work, financial compensation may be available to cover those injuries in a myriad of means.
However, in one case out of Wisconsin, Jackson v. Wis. County Mut. Ins. Corp., a deputy was denied underinsured motorist coverage through her employer's insurer for injuries sustained to her foot when a driver ran it over after she gave him directions. She was helping to guide him back into traffic when the accident occurred.

Asheville car accident attorneys recognize that typically workers' compensation serves as a sole remedy for compensation in most states, though laws can vary from place-to-place. That means if you choose to pursue workers' compensation, you will not be able to pursue any other kind of action against your employer. However, you might still be able to file a third-party lawsuit. (In this case, for example, it would mean legal action against the driver of the car.)

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June 15, 2014

Robinson v. Erie Ins. Exch. - Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Property Damage Denied

Uninsured motorist coverage was designed for the narrow purpose of ensuring individuals who incur serious injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident can have those costs covered.
Our Spartanburg car accident attorneys recognize that property damage resulting from crashes can be an enormous drain on one's finances as well, particularly when the other party lacked insurance and yours isn't cooperating. However, uninsured motorist coverage is not the way to collect those damages, as the recent case of Robinson v. Erie Ins. Exch. highlighted.

Still, there are other ways to recover property damages, given that South Carolina is an at-fault car insurance state. Minimum liability requirements in this state require any policy have at least $25,000 to cover any damage to a vehicle sustained in a crash. If the damages exceed that amount, you could file a claim with your own carrier, who could in turn seek reimbursement from the driver's insurer. Alternatively, you could file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in civil court or file a third-party insurance claim.

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June 14, 2014

MV Transp., Inc. v. Allgeier: Punitive Damages in Bus Accidents

Our Spartanburg car accident lawyers understand that seeking punitive damages can lead to extensive litigation. In MV Transp., Inc. v. Richard G. Allgeier (Executor of the Estate of Barbara Allgeier, Diseased), the Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled that punitive damages should be considered in a case involving a bus driver with a history of alcohol abuse.

street-scene-through-rain-glass.jpgIn South Carolina, the award of punitive damages is addressed in Section 15-32-200 of the Code of Laws.

In MV Transp. Inc., Barbara Allgeier was a frequent rider on a Metropolitan Transit Authority of River City ("TARC") paratransit bus service. The paratransit bus service is operated by MV Transportation, Inc. ("MV"). A paratransit bus is a bus that is equipped to safely transport passengers in wheelchairs. The bus involved in this case was the TARC 3.

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