A number of car accident lawsuits and personal injury cases involve parties who know one another. They may be friends, neighbors, or even family members. While plaintiffs may initially be reluctant to file a case against a loved one, these matters are often not about collecting directly from the defendant but instead from the defendant’s insurer. Often, it’s essential and the only way to get medical bills and lost wages covered. curb

A recent case before the Alabama Supreme Court involved two individuals who had been friends and neighbors for approximately 20 years prior to the incident in question. Every month – sometimes a couple times a month – the two women would shop together and share rides to help ease the burdens of gas prices and wear-and-tear on their vehicles, and to keep each other company. They typically alternated as to whose vehicle they would use.

On one morning in August 2013, the defendant called the plaintiff to ask if she could accompany her to the store. The defendant was taking her elderly aunt with her that day to buy medication and other merchandise in preparation for her aunt’s upcoming move out of state. The defendant explained the elderly aunt was “very old” and moved slowly, and the plaintiff said she would appreciate the extra help. The defendant also suffered from a number of health problems that impeded her mobility, but she was able to walk without assistance.

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An investigation by federal auto safety regulators has reportedly found there were no defects in an Autopilot-enabled vehicle that was involved in a fatal car accident last spring.car crash

According to The New York Times, auto safety regulators have determined the car manufacturer does not need to issue a recall of the model, which was in computer-assisted mode at the time of the collision.

The announcement was viewed as a significant victory for the manufacturer, although it’s not necessarily the last word on whether the vehicles may be defective. Certainly, it could be a setback for any individuals who may have pending litigation, but expert witnesses could potentially come to different conclusions about whether the vehicle was safe and whether a defect existed. It’s also possible that even if there was no defect in design, there may have been a defect in manufacturing, which could have affected solely the vehicle involved or a small number of vehicles produced at the same time.

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A six-year-old boy was killed in a Charlotte car accident recently, and police have charged the driver of the vehicle in which he was riding with involuntary manslaughter.seat belt

According to The Charlotte Observer, the boy died at a local hospital after being rushed there when the vehicle in which he was riding, driven by a 28-year-old family friend, blew through a red light and slammed into a pickup truck. The driver of that truck did not have a drivers’ license, and worse, the child was not properly secured by a child restraint seat or a seat belt. That’s according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. In fact, detectives on the scene didn’t locate a child seat anywhere in the vehicle.

Authorities had initially identified the driver as the child’s stepfather, but in fact the two were not related. The driver was originally charged with operating without a driver’s license, running a red light, reckless driving, and misdemeanor child abuse. The charge of involuntary manslaughter was later added after the boy died. Although alcohol and speed were not contributing factors, there is no question that this tragedy could have been prevented at a number of turns.

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A Florida man was arrested on charges of DUI manslaughter and numerous counts of DUI injury following a crash that killed a three-year-old boy and seriously injured severacar accidentl others.

Troopers with the state highway patrol reported the boy was in a truck driven by a 20-year-old woman. Also in that truck was another adult, plus a baby and four other children, ages one, three, four, and 10. The truck was traveling eastbound in the inside lane when a 38-year-old man in a passenger car tried to drive across that same road at the cross street. However, as he entered the intersection, he drove right into the family’s path, according to NBC-8. The front end of the car collided with the driver’s side of the family’s truck, causing it to spin and then flip.

A nearby food truck worker rushed over to help and began CPR on the three-year-old, but he could not be saved. Meanwhile, the driver of the car was arrested. He has previously been arrested for DUI and possession of cocaine and also for discharging a gun from a vehicle. He reportedly had his five-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter in the vehicle with him at the time of the crash.

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A new study by SafeRoads.org takes aim at the recent uptick in traffic deaths nationally and on a state-by-state basis, and it suggests that the lack of driver safety laws may be at least partially to blame. curve

The report was released at the close of two consecutive years in which traffic fatalities rose for the first time in decades. In 2015, there were nearly 35,100 people killed in car accidents, which was the largest increase in the country in 50 years. Early data from 2016 appears to be even worse, revealing an eight percent increase in just the first nine months of the year. The final data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for 2015 indicates sharp increases for nearly every category of crash, including motorcycle fatalities (eight percent), unbelted vehicle passengers (five percent), pedestrians (10 percent), teen drivers (10 percent), children (six percent), impaired drivers (three percent), cyclists (12 percent) and distracted drivers (nine percent).

In this 14th annual report, Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, researchers opine that too many states are lacking a number of critical safety laws. For example, a number of states don’t require motorcyclists to wear helmets, even though we know it saves lives. Numerous states don’t make it illegal to talk on a cell phone, even though we know this can be just as distracting as texting.

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Stressed about that upcoming meeting, an irritating co-worker or your boss breathing down your neck? All of these can contribute to the chances you’ll be involved in a car accident – if you don’t manage that stress.cars

That’s according to a new study published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. Study authors note that while there are a great number of crashes that occur during work commutes (particularly during the rush hours in the morning and evening), there hasn’t been much by way of studies on employee behavior while commuting by motor vehicle. Researchers say understanding these antecedents (or what is happening just prior) to the crash are important to understanding how we can curb them. Even those studies that do exist are mostly looking at demographic variables (e.g., are they truck drivers or office workers? Are they under 21 or elderly?) and physical work-related stressors. But of course, those aren’t the only factors.

This study focused on the data that’s missing from previous research by analyzing the connection between work-related psychological stressors and unsafe commuting behavior. Researches analyzed crash data involving 216 workers in a large manufacturing plant at two separate points in time. What they discovered was that “abusive supervision” – i.e., a difficult boss – and “work-family conflict” – were both positively correlated with unsafe behavior while commuting to and front work.  Continue reading

Uninsured motorists are a serious problem in North Carolina. The Insurance Research Council reports approximately 14 percent of those on the roads in this state (and 11 percent in South Carolina) drive without the state-mandated insurance. An even larger percentage only drive with the state-mandated minimum coverage, which often does not cover the full extent of injuries and losses sustained in serious car accidents.driver

Now, the Federal Insurance Office, a branch of the U.S. Department of Treasury, has released a report showing millions of Americans live in areas where insurance is unaffordable. Whether insurance is affordable or not is measured by whether the cost of insurance exceeds 2 percent of household income. Congress has already recognized that minorities and low-and-moderate income people and communities are at higher risk of financial instability, and yet are often deprived of affordable, accessible consumer products. The affordability of insurance is directly related to how many people actually buy it and are covered – and that has a direct impact on all of us.

In North Carolina, state officials require $30,000 for bodily injury liability per person and $60,000 worth of bodily injury liability per accident, plus $25,000 in property damage liability. As most car accident lawyers know, this will not go far in the event of a serious crash. That’s why it’s imperative for drivers to carry uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage. This too is required by the state (with the same minimum limits), but even this is often not enough. Continue reading

The increase in traffic deaths between 2014 and 2015 was notable. Now, we have learned this trend has continued, with an 8 percent uptick in roadway fatalities in the first nine months of 2016. There were nearly 28,000 motor vehicle deaths reported in the first three quarters of last year, compared with the 25,800 reported during the same time frame a year earlier. driver

Some have opined that an increase in travel is a major culprit, citing lower gas prices and the improving economy. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports there was only a 3 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled during this time frame, compared to an 8 percent increase in crash deaths. So while it may account for some of the problem, the problem can’t be pinned entirely on more travel.

Analysts say some of the problem undoubtedly stems from driver distraction, primarily involving our collective pre-occupation with our smartphones. Another element to consider is the ever-expanding legalization of marijuana. Although the medical benefits may be up for debate, there is no question that it can cognitively impair users, which can be deadly behind the wheel.  Continue reading

A significant number of workers’ compensation claims every year stem from motor vehicle accidents. That’s because many people drive as part of their job, and driving can be dangerous business, whether you’re a long-haul trucker or an office worker picking up coffee for the executives. drive fast

Workers’ compensation benefits are what is known as an exclusive remedy, which means workers cannot sue their employer – or usually their co-workers – for injuries sustained on-the-job. However, there can sometimes be claims made against third parties, including other drivers or vehicle manufacturers. In one recent court case, a unique set of circumstances arose when a worker was struck by a vehicle on his way to work. The incident happened on an access road owned and maintained by his employer. The person who hit him was a co-worker who was leaving his shift in his personal car.

Plaintiff collected workers’ compensation benefits. The question for the Washington Supreme Court was whether the exclusive remedy provision – and the immunity typically extended to co-workers – barred plaintiff from bringing a claim against his co-worker.  Continue reading

The Charlotte Observer reported recently that a police detective with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department fatally shot a driver after the motorist allegedly stepped out of his car with a firearm in an apparent display of road rage. The decedent was identified as a 28-year-old, and the detective was reportedly serving in an undercover capacity.anger

The incident occurred around 1:15 p.m. when a vehicle with two occupants side-swiped the unmarked vehicle driven by the undercover detective, who was stopped in traffic on Albermarle Road. The reportedly at-fault driver then continued without stopping, prompting the detective to pull behind the car and follow him, police reported. The detective notified dispatch and requested assistance from a marked unit. While he was on the line with dispatch, the suspect reportedly stopped his vehicle directly in front of the detective, exited his vehicle and displayed a firearm. Detective, perceiving that he was in imminent danger, fired his own gun and struck the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Although the outcome of this road rage incident is unique, what is unfortunately not uncommon are the instances in which aggressive driving and road rage result in serious injury or death to others. One AAA study released mid-2016 revealed nearly 80 percent of motorists polled expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage while driving in the last year. That suggests about 8 million drivers in the U.S. engaged in the most extreme examples of road rage, which includes intentionally ramming another car or exiting a vehicle to confront another motorist. Continue reading

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