Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Younger drivers often get a bad reputation on the roads. As it turns out, the newest drivers aren’t necessarily even the worst. It’s the cohort just a few years older that reportedly has the worst driving habits.driver

That’s according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which revealed 88 percent of young millennials (between the ages of 19 and 24) had engaged in at least one risky behavior at one point in the last 30 days.

These are dangerous behaviors, and include red-light running, texting while driving and speeding – all of which exponentially increases the odds of a crash. Continue reading

The ride-share industry has exploded in North Carolina and beyond since bursting onto the scene just five years ago. As of last year, Uber alone reported it offered two million rides daily. Other competitors, such as Lyft, report only slightly lower rates. highway at night

However, the question of whether these services are adequately covered with auto insurance remains. It was only recently that both Uber and Lyft promised up to $1 million in liability and uninsured/underinsured auto coverage for passengers. But that policy is only applicable under certain circumstances.

Recently, a new survey indicated that many drivers for these services don’t purchase enough of their own insurance to fully protect them at all times, and they may not fully understand the risks involved. That has implications not just for the drivers if they are involved in a crash, but also for anyone with whom they might collide and potentially also with passengers.

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Drivers in the U.S. logged 3.2 trillion miles last year – a record that rounds out the fifth straight year in mileage increases nationally. That’s according to the Federal Highway Administration, which underscored the demands facing America’s roads and bridges, reaffirming the need for updates and investment in infrastructure. highway

This coincides with rising car accident rates across the country. Early estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) on 2015 total crashes reveal 6.3 million police-reported accidents that year, resulting in 35,100 deaths and 2.45 million injuries. That is one fatality every 15 minutes, or a total of 96 daily. While the highest-severity crashes declined about 17 percent from 2006 to 2015, there was a seven percent hike in the number of fatal crashes from 2014 to 2015. There was also a four percent uptick in the number of non-fatal injury crashes and a 3.7 percent increase in the number of property damage-only crashes that same year. The overall number of police-reported crashes climbed by nearly four percent. The federal agency notes this is a statistically significant increase.

The estimated economic cost (including lost productivity, medical costs, emergency services, insurance administration costs, congestion costs, legal expenses, and societal harm) of car accidents as of 2010 was $836 billion. This is astronomical. Individuals and families directly affected by these losses absorb the brunt of this burden.

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An appellate court has ordered a partial re-trial of a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent motorcyclist and a defective road. curve

The new trial shouldn’t result in any less damages for the plaintiff, but it could alter how much each defendant has to pay. That’s because the issue of apportionment was decided with the help of an alternate juror, who was a replacement for another juror removed by the trial court. The juror who was removed later said she was leaning toward finding that the state had lesser liability than the defendant driver. Appellate court justices ruled that the trial judge erred in removing the juror, and the error was prejudicial because the juror was inclined to favor the state.

The facts of the case, recently before California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Six, are that two motorcyclists were involved in a crash on a two-lane highway. The speed limit on the road was 55 mph. The crash happened on a sharp, blind curve. The state installed a warning sign for motorists northbound to reduce their speed to 25 mph in order to safely negotiate the curve. However, there was no such sign for motorists traveling the other way. Defendant was traveling southbound. He did not reduce his speed. As a result, he lost control of his motorcycle as he turned the curve. He crossed over the center line, striking decedent head-on. Decedent died at the scene.  Continue reading

Some people are surprised to learn that compensation for car accident injuries and wrongful death does not always require a case to go to trial. In fact, some cases may not even require a lawsuit at all. car insurance

Although you should never accept an insurance company’s offer for pre-suit settlement without first discussing the matter with an experienced accident lawyer, there are some instances where your attorney can negotiate a fair deal with insurers without the time and expense of a lawsuit.

Recently, the Georgia Supreme Court considered a certified question from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit regarding whether it’s lawful to set certain conditions that require action – such as timely payment – in order for the agreement to be valid. The court ruled that nothing in state law prohibits a claimant from making conditions on a pre-suit offer.  Continue reading

When you file a North Carolina personal injury lawsuit against someone, the defendant could request an “independent medical examination.” This is not necessarily “independent,” since the physician or expert would be someone commissioned by the defense, but it will serve as a “second opinion” to the plaintiff’s stance on injury causation and scope. The right of a defendant to request an independent medical exam is well established in North Carolina law.gavel

However, the question of whether a defendant can compel a plaintiff to undergo an independent vocational exam may not be entirely settled. It’s not in California, where an appeals court ruled the issue is best left to the legislature.

A vocational exam is when a person trained and experienced in employment matters holds a personal interview with someone regarding their employment history, education, skills, training, and income. With that information, the vocational expert will issue a report speculating on the person’s income capabilities.

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Based on data from four years ago, we know that at least one in nine bridges nationally is structurally deficient, meaning it requires significant repairs or maintenance or should be replaced. That was partially predicated on the fact that the majority of American bridges were designed to last 50 years, and the average age of a bridge in America was 43 years. Today, that average age is 47, and we haven’t made any significant progress on this front. The average age of structurally deficient bridges is 65 years. An estimated 260 million trips are taking place daily over bridges that are deemed “deficient.” By 2023, it’s estimated one in every four of our bridges will be 65 or older. bridge

But people tend to think of this as a problem that exists primarily elsewhere. However, a new analysis by The Washington Post allows users to examine county-by-county the bridge deficiency crisis. Nationally, 9.4 percent of all bridges are structurally deficient.

Here in North Carolina, we’re doing a bit better, mostly because much of our infrastructure is younger than what we would find in northern states. Specifically in Mecklenburg County, 3.9 percent of our bridges are structurally deficient. However, nearly 15 percent – or 95 total – are functionally obsolete. Bridges classified as functionally obsolete can’t handle the required traffic needs.

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The sudden emergency doctrine is a defense that can be raised in North Carolina car accidents lawsuits. If proven, it lowers the duty of care a person owes, as long as the sudden emergency wasn’t caused by the driver’s own negligence. The North Carolina Court of Appeals outlined the applicability of the doctrine in the 1995 case of Holbrook v. Henleybus

In Henley, the court held that if a vehicle driver is suddenly placed in an emergency situation – not of his or her own negligence – and is compelled to act instantly to avoid a collision or injury, he or she won’t be liable for negligence if they are acting as a person with ordinary prudence would if placed in a similar situation. This offers a defense even if the choice ultimately made isn’t the wisest choice or one that would have been required in the exercise of ordinary care but for the emergency. In other words, a driver can’t be judged according to the standard of ordinary care. Instead, the reasonableness of the driver’s actions will be judged in light of the emergency.

In a recent case before the Utah Supreme Court, the incident in question was a bus crash that happened when a driver carrying a Utah high school band swerved off an Idaho interstate and crashed on its side. One teacher was killed, and numerous students were seriously injured. Two students were transported to a hospital by helicopter, another dozen by ambulance, and 30 by bus. The driver, who was also a school bus driver, was working at the time for a private motor carrier. No drugs or alcohol were found in her system, and she apparently suffered a medical emergency that caused her to “black out” behind the wheel.

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More must be done to protect motorists on North Carolina and South Carolina roads. When it comes to highway safety laws, the annual report by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety asserts that both states are lagging when it comes to seat belt laws, child restraint restrictions, preventative DUI statutes, and graduated drivers’ license laws.car accident

In 2015, there were 1,379 people killed on North Carolina roads, which cost taxpayers nearly $8 billion in economic costs. In South Carolina, there were 977 people killed, costing $4 billion in economic costs. These do not include the societal impact, which nationally amounts to approximately $836 billion annually. That amounts to a “crash tax” of $784 per year for each man, woman, and child in this country.

Nationally, there were 2.45 million people injured in motor vehicle accidents in 2015.

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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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