North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog

In many motor vehicle accident cases, it’s worthwhile to explore whether product liability may be at issue. That means our legal team would look into the vehicles involved and the various parts – including tires, steering system, brake systems, seat belts and more – to determine whether they functioned as they were supposed to. atvtrail

When vehicle parts do not function as intended, this could cause a crash or at least contribute to the severity of injuries. In turn, this may be grounds for legal action.

However, problems can arise in these cases if there is evidence the product was significantly altered from its original intended design. Usually as this relates to car accidents, that could mean a part was defectively installed by a mechanic. This could be grounds to take action against that company, rather than the manufacturer of the vehicle. But of course, every case will be different.  Continue reading

There are three core elements that have to be proven in any negligence lawsuit – whether it’s a car accident or a slip-and-fall at the grocery store. Those elements are:

  • A duty of care. Defendant has to owe plaintiff some duty to act with reasonable care in the situation.
  • Breach of duty.
  • Causation of compensable injuries. The breach of duty caused plaintiff to suffer actual injuries. street2

The absence of any of these elements will result in a case likely being dismissed or decided against plaintiff in summary judgment – before it ever even reaches the trial phase. Continue reading

In most car accident cases, the at-fault driver can be found liable for the crash and compelled to pay damages for injuries sustained as a result of negligence. If the at-fault driver was on-the-job at the time of the crash, his or her employer may be found vicariously liable and also ordered to pay. police3

When the at-fault driver is a public employee, however, issues of negligence and liability can get thornier, particularly if the driver was in law enforcement.

In general, we grant law enforcement officers a great degree of latitude when it comes to “reasonable” actions. They are not always held to the same standards as the typical driver, particularly if they are responding to an emergency. For example, statutes and internal policies provide exemption for officers who speed, proceed through red lights and take other actions that would be considered by any other driver to be negligence per se. That does not mean officers can disregard public safety. It just means that the standard of care is different.

Still, officers who violate departmental policy regarding certain driving procedures or who fail to terminate a dangerous pursuit may be subject to civil liability if it results in injury or death to an innocent bystander. Continue reading

The family of a 24-year-old man killed in a car accident earlier this year is awaiting judicial approval of a $25,000 settlement with the 30-year-old driver of the vehicle in which their son was a passenger at the time of his death.highway8

According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, the female driver rear-ended a tractor trailer as it slowed to make a right turn into a private driveway. The driver of the passenger car allegedly failed to apply the brakes in time, and slammed into the back of the large truck. Neither driver nor passenger were wearing seat belts at the time. Investigators say that while speed was not a factor, distraction and possibly impairment were. Driver had cocaine and marijuana (but no alcohol) in her system, and was reportedly eating something behind the wheel at the time of the crash.

The news story makes no mention of an insurance company’s involvement in the settlement, but we do know that $25,000 is the minimum coverage amount drivers are required to maintain per person for bodily injury or death in Missouri. In South Carolina, the minimum is $50,000. Continue reading

For his involvement in a car crash that killed a 2-year-old child and, shortly thereafter, the boy’s newborn brother, a 29-year-old box truck driver has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. The judge sentenced the driver to between 1 and 3 years in prison, followed by three years of probation.truckoverbridge

According to news reports, the delivery driver was transporting a load of sea food on U.S. 17 near Wilmington when the crash occurred earlier this year. Investigators would later learn the driver had less than five hours of sleep the night before, and had purchased illicit drugs from a street dealer some nine hours before the crash.

The box truck driver was reportedly looking down at his sandwich as he approached a line of stopped traffic. He looked up and realized he needed to stop fast. Although he slammed on his brakes, it was too late. He crashed into the car ahead of him. This sparked a chain reaction. One of the vehicles in that chain reaction was driven by a Charlotte pastor, his wife, who was 37 weeks pregnant, and their 2-year-old son. Continue reading

A long-married Wisconsin couple knew they were preparing to say good-bye. He a retired newspaper publisher and she a former university home economist and school food service director, the couple met in college, enjoyed successful careers, raised four children together and enjoyed traveling and their 12 grandchildren in their golden years. ambulance

But he’d been enduring a long battle with cancer, and the hospital said there was nothing more they could do. Arrangements were made for him to spend his final days in hospice care. His wife of 62 years rode in the ambulance beside him. On the way, the ambulance driver, who was allegedly speeding, slammed on the breaks to avoid a collision with a driver who had suddenly stopped in front of him. The wife, who was not properly secured in a harness, pitched forward and struck her head on the interior of the ambulance. The 85-year-old suffered grave head and spinal cord injuries as a result.

She was transported immediately to a local hospital. According to a wrongful death lawsuit filed by one of their sons, the mother awoke briefly, in great pain, and was aware of her condition and prognosis. It wasn’t good. She died the next day. Her husband, meanwhile, was taken to hospice, where he too learned his wife was seriously injured and could not be by his side, as they’d planned. In his final hours, he asked for her repeatedly. He died three hours after his wife. Continue reading

When drunk drivers’ operate their vehicles recklessly, causing harm to themselves and others, they may be held personally liable for their actions. Other entities that may possibly be held to account in a drunk driving injury case:liquor

  • Driver’s insurance company
  • Vehicle owner (if different from driver)
  • Vehicle owner’s insurance company
  • Driver’s employer (if driver was working at the time of the crash)
  • The bar, restaurant or establishment that sold alcohol to the driver

Not each of these will apply in every instance, but it’s worth exploring in a DUI injury lawsuit because damages in these cases tend to be extensive. That’s why our legal team is focused on maximizing compensation for victims.

When a bar, restaurant or other establishment is held accountable for damages caused by drunk drivers, such action is taken under the state’s dram shop laws. In North Carolina, there are two relevant statutes here: N.C.G.S. 18B-302(a) and N.C.G.S. 18B-305. The former involves prohibition of alcohol sales to minors under the age of 21, and the later involves prohibition of alcohol sales to a person who is intoxicated. When a vendor or clerk knows or should know the recipient is underage or already drunk, there is a responsibility to refrain from selling alcohol to that person. Failure to do so will result in liability for any damages that person causes while drunk – including those sustained in a drunk driving accident. Continue reading

A 36-year-old immigrant from Haiti was one of 23 temporary workers crammed onto particle board bench seats of a modified passenger van in Indiana when the speeding driver yanked the wheel in a maneuver intended to get around a slower truck. That’s the last thing the woman remembers. She woke up days later from a coma, having suffered severe head trauma, fractured vertebrae, shattered arm bones and shards of glass still imbedded in her skin. Two other passengers had died and many others, like her, were seriously injured. van2

Now, the question is who should pay.

Because the immigrants crammed into that van were temporary workers, as opposed to employees, they wouldn’t necessarily be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, even if they could overcome a “coming-and-going-rule” defense. Usually workers coming from or going to work aren’t considered to be acting in the course and scope of employment, and thus injuries sustained during commute aren’t compensable. However, there is some question as to whether the employer made special effort to have immigrant workers transported to its facilities via this particular driving service company. As it turns out, the driving service company was not licensed to work in the state of Indiana. According to the other lawsuits, the vans used by the company were bought in junk yards and dangerously modified to allow more seating inside. For example in this case, 23 people were riding in a van originally intended for 15. Further, the driver of the van was not properly licensed as a commercial driver authorized to transport people. The van’s tires were found to be rotted. Continue reading

Caitlyn Jenner, a 1976 gold medalist formerly known as Bruce Jenner, is facing a third lawsuit stemming from a fatal, four-vehicle crash on the Pacific Coast Highway in California in February. coastalhighway

Reports of what happened are conflicting, but authorities have opined Jenner was the third in line of three vehicles along the highway when the first, a Prius, stopped suddenly, some 300 feet from a traffic signal. The driver of a Lexus behind the Prius hit the brakes in response. Jenner, who was operating a sport utility vehicle behind the Lexus, struck the Lexus from behind, causing the Lexus to slam into the vehicle ahead and also careen into oncoming traffic.  When the Lexus entered the opposing lane, it was struck head-on by another vehicle. The 69-year-old driver of the Lexus was killed, and several occupants of the oncoming car now say they sustained serious injuries.

In the third lawsuit filed against Jenner as a result of the crash, plaintiffs allege Jenner is liable to pay damages after the Lexus struck their vehicle, causing injury to husband, wife, wife’s mother and two minor children – including an infant who was just 1-month-old at the time of the crash. Husband, a Grammy-award winning composer, alleged in the lawsuit the baby was unresponsive immediately following the crash. Additionally, wife sustained serious blunt-force injuries and has required ongoing treatment. Finally, the emotional impact of being involved in collision so violent it claims the life of another has resulted in immense pain and suffering for the family, the lawsuit asserts. Continue reading

Recently in Laurinburg, about 1 hour, 45 minutes from Greensboro, three people were killed when two cars collided on N.C. 79 after a pickup truck initiated a dangerous improper pass. sideview

According to news reports of the tragic incident, a 17-year-old was behind the wheel of a GMC Sierra pickup truck that was traveling west on the road when it passed in a no-passing zone. Authorities say the teen was driving far in excess of the posted speed limit – 70 mph in a 55 mph zone. He passed several vehicles in the no-passing zone before striking a Honda Accord head-on.

The violent impact killed a 23-year-old mother who was behind the wheel. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Laurinburg Exchange. Her infant son was rushed to nearby Scotland Memorial Hospital. He too died soon after arrival. Another passenger, a 21-year-old man, was transported to Sandhills Regional Hospital, where he too died. Continue reading

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