A federal judge is asking the Third District Court of Appeal for clarification regarding how to proceed when there is legal wrangling among a health insurer, an injury lawyer and an injured person following a car accident.caraccident7The case, UnitedHealth v. Harvey, involves the kind of convoluted legal question that often crops up when a health insurer pays for medical treatment following a collision and then the injured party hires an attorney to sue the at-fault driver for damages. The federal judge wants the 3rd DCA to make a determination on whether the health insurance company is shielded from lawsuits for legal fees by a policyholder’s attorney if the health plan includes a provision requiring total reimbursement of benefits in the case of a third-party settlement.

Here, the accident attorney sued the health insurer for legal fees after it obtained a $150,000 judgment from an at-fault driver on behalf of an insured. Much of that money went to reimburse the health insurer. Should the health insurer be allowed to benefit from the legal legwork of the plaintiff and her attorney without having to chip in for those legal costs? The injury lawyer says no, but the health insurer said language in the policy protects it from having to pay those legal fees. Continue reading

Auto insurance companies seek always to protect their bottom line. Many customers find themselves on the other end of a frustrating tug-of-war as they seek to obtain compensation for legitimate losses.caraccident6

One of the ways the law keeps insurers in check is by allowing bad faith claims, either by the policyholder or sometimes a third party. An insurance company that acts in bad faith – by failing to settle, not timely responding to a claim, offering a sum that is far too low when facts are not in dispute – can be penalized by an order to pay triple damages. Bad faith insurance claims are litigated separately from the auto accident claims.

Some examples of bad faith include:

  • Refusing to pay a claim it owes;
  • Not timely paying a claim it owes;
  • Requiring paperwork that is unreasonable or unnecessary;
  • Failing to explain why a claim is denied;
  • Refusing to settle a claim when doing so is appropriate.

Continue reading

An arrest was made in a deadly hit-and-run pedestrian accident that happened near the South Carolina-Georgia state line on U.S. 17 earlier this month. South Carolina Highway Patrol arrested a Georgia man who was reportedly operating a 2015 Chevy Impala when he struck a 26-year-old man from Midway, Ga., who was walking along the road around 5:30 a.m.crosswalk6

The 26-year-old pedestrian died of his wounds after being transported to the Memorial University Medical Center where he died of his injuries.

Local media reported on the case and the fact that authorities were unable to locate the driver. A tipster called in to police after seeing one of those reports, and led authorities to the suspect – and his car, which was seized as evidence.  Continue reading

State troopers are investigating a horrific North Carolina bus accident that happened near Rockingham, about 1.5 hours east of Charlotte and directly south of Greensboro from I-74.bus

Early reports were that between 40 and 50 people were rushed to area hospitals, but the extent of their injuries wasn’t entirely known. Investigators say the bus was carrying a team of football players and coaches from Ramah Juco Academy in Rock Hill, S.C. to Raeford, where they planned to play University of God’s Chosen.

At around 3 p.m., the bus slammed into an overpass on I-74. An early investigation by the North Carolina Highway Patrol indicates the front tire of the bus blew, causing the bus to travel into the median, strike a guardrail and then careen into the overpass. News images of the scene were gruesome, showing the side wall of the bus had been almost entirely torn off. Some of the injured were lying on the ground for some time waiting for help as the more seriously injured were attended.  Continue reading

A new study released by the research journal JAMA Internal Medicine reveals statistically what we may have suspected since the unveiling of Pokemon Go several months ago: It poses a safety risk to drivers and pedestrians. phone

In the augmented reality game, players have to move in order to propel their avatar forward in the game. Then, players collect rewards for “catching” Pokemon figures that are placed in real-world locations. It’s fair to say that the game incentivizes physical activity – and this is a good thing. However, it can be dangerous if either:

  • Drivers are using their cars to search for Pokemon;
  • Pedestrians aren’t being mindful of their surroundings as they move through traffic.

Whatever health effects the game may espouse are negated by the risk of serious injury in these scenarios.  Continue reading

We all know drinking and driving is bad. But there is an erroneous assumption that if you can just “sleep it off,” you’ll wake up sober and ready to be a safe driver. drinkinggirl

But research has shown that driving with a “hangover” can actually be just as dangerous as driving drunk, with equal levels of fatigue and reduced reaction times. Beyond that, it’s fairly common for someone who drank heavily the night before to wake up still drunk. Both scenarios, it turns out, are quite hazardous to the driver and those with whom they share the road.

Researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and the University of West of England in the United Kingdom put it to the test when they selected a group of participants to measure their skill levels after consuming an average of 10 drinks the night before. What they found was that despite the fact that there was technically no alcohol detected in participants’ bloodstreams, their driving ability mimicked that of someone with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.05.

In another study, conducted by these same analysts, participants were asked to see how well they performed in a traffic simulator that simulated stop-and-go traffic. Here again, participants consumed an average of 10 drinks the night before. What they discovered was that drivers moved their vehicle at inconsistent speeds. They also experienced extremely delayed reaction times, which left them more likely to be involved in a rear-end collision.  Continue reading

The scene on I-77 in Chester County made it clear something awful had just happened. As news footage and photographs reveal, huge masses of mangled metal littered the highway. Smoke billowed from the tractor-trailer. Police and fire crews raced to get there as fast as they could. In the end, they couldn’t save two of those involved in the six-vehicle South Carolina highway accident. tractortrailer1

One of those who died was the driver of a tractor-trailer, while the other was an 82-year-old passenger in one of the other vehicles. Others injured included a 2-year-old, a 13-year-old and a 16-year-old. The children were each taken by helicopter to a trauma center, some with injuries that were characterized as life-threatening.

Authorities told reporters with WYFF4.com that the driver of the tractor-trailer was responsible for a chain-reaction collision, which occurred amidst congested traffic, where vehicles were moving very slowly around 3:30 one afternoon. It appears the driver of the truck did not slow down as he approached the congestion. He slammed into the back of a vehicle, and this rear-end collision ended up causing a chain-reaction. The trucker apparently crossed into the median, striking another tractor-trailer vehicle traveling the other direction head on.  Continue reading

Justices with the Virginia Supreme Court overturned a $20 million injury verdict to a paraplegic plaintiff who was injured in a single-vehicle crash when, after the car rolled over, the windshield collapsed in on the driver. convertible1

The ruling in Holiday Motor Corp. v. Walters was a major victory for vehicle manufacturers, though it’s troubling for those who advocate for safer cars.

Essentially, the justices ruled that there is no model of convertible wherein the roof is both flexible enough to fold into the vehicle while at the same time strong enough to withstand the kind of impact that occurs in a rollover crash. Justices held the defendant manufacturer did not owe a duty to design or supply a soft top that would have provided occupant protection in the event of a rollover. It was also determined the trial court abused its discretion in allowing jurors to hear testimony from plaintiff’s expert witness, whose assertion of defective vehicle design “lacked an adequate foundation.”  Continue reading

In many car accident lawsuits, there are often more than one insurance company with potential liability or some other stake. This can complicate matters for the injured person, who must ensure their rights and interests are protected during the proceedings.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Insurance companies pay experienced attorneys to duke it out in court on their behalf, and car accident injury victims need to make sure their interests aren’t lost in the shuffle.

The recent case of Countryway Ins. co. v. United Financial Cas. Ins. Co. involved two insurance companies who were fighting over the apportionment of uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and which should be responsible – and to what extent – for these benefits paid to injured plaintiff.

According to Kentucky Supreme Court records,a crash occurred in September 2007 in Bowling Green when a passenger in a semi-tractor trailer, owned and operated by her son, was involved in a collision with a passenger vehicle, owned and operated by an uninsured driver. That uninsured driver had caused the crash. There was no dispute of that driver’s negligence or that being the sole cause of the collision, which resulted in significant injuries to plaintiff. Continue reading

In North Carolina, there is a rebuttable presumption in rear-end collisions that the driver in the rear was negligent and at-fault. What that means is that because there is a law requiring drivers to maintain a safe distance from the cars ahead so they can be prepared to stop if the vehicle ahead suddenly does, it is presumed the rear vehicle is at-fault if there is a crash. However, this presumption can be rebutted with relevant evidence that may include:

  • Witness statements
  • Police reports
  • Indications that the driver ahead stopped unlawfully
  • Evidence at the scene (i.e., skid marks, potholes, etc.)caraccident

The bottom line is: Just because you were injured in a rear-end collision, you cannot assume collection of damages is going to be easy. This is especially true if the rear-end accident was at lower speeds because defendants will then press the issue of causation (i.e., the impact didn’t cause your injuries, your injuries aren’t as severe as you say, etc.).  Continue reading

Contact Information