July 25, 2014

Passengers Injured in a Car Driven by a Negligent Driver

According to a recent article in the Citizen-Times, an Asheville woman was killed in an alcohol-related car accident. It has been reported that an SUV driving in excess of the posted speed limit drove into the median and rolled over.

bar.jpgA female occupant of the car was pronounced dead on the scene, while the male occupant was taken to the hospital. His condition has not been reported. Police have not stated which occupant of the car was the driver and which person was the passenger.

Our Asheville car accident lawyers understand that it can be an uncomfortable situation when a friend or family member who is driving a vehicle injures a passenger by operating the vehicle in a negligent manner. There is a often a question of who is going to pay for medical bills and compensate the injured person for any pain and suffering, loss of wages, cost of future of future treatment, and other special damages. The entire extent of the damage caused by the accident may not become apparent much later. Injuries caused in the crash may even affect your ability to work years later.

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July 23, 2014

Carolina Car Accidents and Defective Auto Parts

Our Winston-Salem car accident lawyers understand that a vehicle crash caused by a defectively manufactured part can involve a lot of discovery. In North Carolina, Chapter 99B of the General Statutes controls much of the procedure in these types of cases.

car-interior.jpgAutomotive News is reporting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is conducting an investigation into a potentially deadly manufacturing defect on more than 500,000 Ford sedans.

The cars in question are Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Mercury Marauder vehicles manufactured between 2004 and 2007. According to reports made to NHTSA, a heat shield can become corroded over time by road salt that eventually causes the part to become dislodged. When it becomes dislodged from the underside of the vehicle, it can obstruct the steering shaft, causing the steering wheel to lock while the car is in motion. On one occasion, this locked steering wheel caused a car to roll over. On that occasion, the driver experienced back and neck injuries after the vehicle rolled.

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July 20, 2014

Importance of Car Accident Investigation in Carolinas

Our Spartanburg car crash lawyers understand that working with private investigators can have a major effect on the amount of recovery for an injured client.

crashed-car-921217-m.jpgAccording to a recent report on Fox Carolina, police and firefighters responded to a car that was on fire after a crash. Emergency calls came in just after six in the morning in front of a middle school in Greer, South Carolina.

Police and bystanders were able to pull the driver free, but the passenger in the front seat was trapped in the burning car. By the time emergency personnel were able to put out the fire, two of the passengers had died and a third was flown by medevac helicopter to a burn center in Augusta.

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July 16, 2014

What to Do When an Insurance Company Calls You after a North Carolina Car Accident

According to a recent report from The Piedmont News Station, a Winston-Salem car crash left one car dangling from a bridge. Police report that two cars collided with each other on Spruce Street.

Fortunately for those involved, the car did not fall onto the roadway below, and the occupants of the cars only suffered what have been described as minor injuries.

highway-clover-leaf-782572-m.jpgOne of the issues commonly faced by our Winston-Salem car accident lawyers is when a potential client has already made a recorded statement to the insurance company. There is a federal law that prohibits personal injury lawyers from contacting accident victims for three weeks following an accident, unless the lawyer already had a relationship with the person. There is not, however, any restriction on the at-fault driver's insurance company contacting the victim immediately after the accident in order to settle any future claims for embarrassingly small amounts of money.

It is not uncommon for an insurance company to ask you to settle a potentially serious case for less than three hundred dollars. In exchange for this money, you must sign a waiver releasing the at-fault driver and his or her insurance company from any and all liability.

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July 14, 2014

Reis v. Volvo Cars of N. Am.: Car Accidents Caused by Mechanical Problems

Our North Carolina car accident lawyers understand that some car accident cases involve mechanical problems with the vehicle itself in addition to negligence by a driver.

shifter-454052-m.jpgIn Reis v. Volvo Cars of North America, a buyer of a 1987 Volvo station wagon (bought in 2002) was showing his friend the car, according to court papers. He had the hood up, and they were looking at the engine. The car owner asked his friend if he would like to see the engine running. The car, which was a stick shift, jumped forward when it was started, and the owner's friend was pinned against the wall. The friend lost one of his legs.

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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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