A reported distracted driving accident in Gastonia on Interstate-85 resulted in serious injuries when a driver on her cell phone reportedly crashed into a stopped semi-truck on the side of the highway. Money in hand

The truck had just been in a crash in which another vehicle tried to merge into the same lane and the two collided. The two occupants of the smaller car in that accident suffered minor injuries, and they stopped alongside the shoulder, as did the truck. A few minutes later, the distracted driver reportedly slammed into the back of the semi. Authorities say there was no evidence the woman even attempted to brake before the collision. She was reportedly trying to make a phone call. Police don’t believe speed or impairment were factors. Driver suffered serious injuries and was air-lifted to a hospital in Charlotte.

Although North Carolina law prohibits drivers from texting while driving – including entering multiple numbers and letters into a phone while the vehicle is in motion – it continues to be a serious problem. It’s expected that car insurance premiums may go up this year with an uptick in such crashes.  Continue reading

Four bicyclists were seriously hurt following a Carolina car accident in Angier, south of Raleigh. bicycle

Authorities say it happened on a Saturday afternoon, shortly before 3 p.m., while three men and one woman were bicycling on Massengill Pond Road. A driver in his early 50s approached the cyclists from the rear and struck all four, ejecting them from their bicycles. Each suffered serious injuries.

Today, on this first day of spring, it’s necessary to point out to drivers that there will be an increasing number of bicyclists taking to the roads throughout the state. North Carolina is the 10th most dangerous state for cyclists in the country. There were 22 cyclists killed on North Carolina roads in 2013, the most recent year for which data is available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Continue reading

While many serious accidents occur on public roadways, a fair number occur in or near private parking lots.


Although the property is private, motorists still have a duty to operate their vehicles with caution, mindful of other vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists who may be in the vicinity.

When parking lot accidents do occur, there may be numerous options for victims to recover financially. Of course, there may be a case against the negligent driver/ vehicle owner. But it may be worth exploring the design and maintenance of the parking lot itself. Property owners owe a duty of care to guests – especially business patrons – to design and maintain parking lots to ensure they are in reasonably safe condition for use.  Continue reading

When an auto insurance company fails or refuses to pay an insured or third party in accordance with its policy, injured persons can sue for actual damages, plus attorney’s fees. In some cases, when it’s proven the company acted in bad faith or engaged in unfair or deceptive acts, insurers can also be liable for amounts beyond those limits. caroncurve

A practice can be deemed unfair when it goes against public policy or when it is oppressive, unscrupulous, unethical or substantially injurious to consumers. Some examples are failure to acknowledge and respond with reasonable promptness to claims, refusal to pay claims before conducting an adequate investigation and making no attempt in good faith to work out a prompt, fair settlement.

As a recent Florida Supreme Court illustrates, an insurer can still be held liable for additional bad faith damages, even if it pays the policy limits at the eleventh hour. Insurance companies should not be allowed to drag their feet and force consumers to litigate claims that reasonably should have been paid.  Continue reading

Motor coaches can be a fast and fuel-efficient way to travel long distances. They can also be fairly dangerous. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported in October 2015 that transit buses accounted for 33 percent of all bus accidents in the country from 2003 to 2013. bus

Further, the number of buses involved in fatal crashes increased by 11 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 253 to 280, and the vehicle involvement rate for bus crashes increased by 8 percent.

The FMCSA is the federal agency responsible for overseeing motor coach/ transit bus safety in the U.S. It has the power to impose sanctions against companies that flout important safety rules, such as operational equipment, qualified drivers and adequate supervision of driver hours. However, that does not necessarily mean it can be held accountable for bus accidents.  Continue reading

You care about your family. That’s why you make sure the auto insurance policy you choose will allow for adequate coverage of injury in the event of a serious accident.noatvs

But one provision you need to watch for is called the “step-down” provision. There are many different variations, but the intended purpose to reduce the amount of insurance coverage from the policy minimums to the state-mandated minimums. This is true no matter how severe the severity or how negligent the driver or how much insurance you purchased in the first place.

Take the recent North Dakota Supreme Court case of Nodak Mutual Ins. Co. v. Koller. This was a tragic accident that involved a young mother who was killed when her boyfriend, who also died, lost control of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) he was operating.  Continue reading

Officials say seat belt use in 2015 was higher than other, up to 88.5 percent overall across the country. That’s a slight uptick of 2.1 percent from 2014. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports seat belt use has been on the rise ever since 2000, and this has been associated with a reduction in the number of unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant deaths during daylight hours.

Both North Carolina and South Carolina have primary enforcement seat belt laws. That means occupants are required to wear their seat belts or other appropriate restraints (i.e., child car seats) when they are traveling in a moving vehicle. We also know the use of seat belts can greatly reduce the chances of injuries. But will it affect your injury lawsuit if you or a loved one weren’t wearing one?  Continue reading

Citing his 5th Amendment protection against self-incrimination, an engineer for Takata Corp. is refusing to testify in a defective airbag lawsuit filed by a woman rendered paralyzed in a 2014 crash. drive7

Accident victims say the airbag manufacturing company, based in Japan, withheld or altered test results both prior to and after the company’s airbag inflators started exploding, firing shrapnel into drivers and passengers when they deployed during crashes.

In preparation for trial, plaintiff attorneys sought testimony during the deposition phase from a man named Al Bernat. He’s an auto safety specialist at the firm, and he’s considered a key witness on a number of those aforementioned tests. However, he says his lips are zipped, citing his constitutional right not to be forced to testify to facts that might result in a criminal prosecution against him.  Continue reading

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports 20 percent of all auto accidents occur in commercial parking lots. Mostly, these will involve property damage and perhaps minor injury. parkinglot1

However, where pedestrians are involved, injuries may be serious.

There is generally a false sense of security while navigating parking lots. It’s part of an everyday routine. But that also means people often aren’t paying attention. Drivers are adjusting their radios, pedestrians are pushing carts, a child darts out in front of his mother. In a split second, everything can change.  Continue reading

The vast majority of car accident claims and lawsuits result in a settlement. That is, the cases never make it to the trial phase because the attorneys on both sides work out a deal that is fair on both ends and saves the expense and time of presenting the case to a jury. The settlement is approved by a judge, and that’s usually the end of it.caraccident7

However, it’s important in this process to have a competent lawyer who is mindful of future claims that may arise. The language in a settlement agreement could preclude plaintiff from making further claims – even against others who aren’t specifically named in the settlement agreement.

This is what happened a recent South Dakota Supreme Court case, Gores v. Miller Continue reading

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