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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

Three teenagers were killed in Ridgeland and a fourth was critically injured when the vehicle in which they were traveling ran off an exit ramp on Interstate 95 and rolled over numerous times. The vehicle reportedly entered the exit ramp traveling at speeds in excess of 100 mph.teen1

It occurred at the start of what is now widely known as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” which starts Memorial Day and stretches through Labor Day. Officials coined this phrase after noting the extremely high number of motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers once school lets out and more teens are on the road.

In fact, if the last five years are any indication, we can expect at least 1,000 people to die in crashes involving teenage drivers during this three-month window. In fact, crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19 spike substantially during this time frame, with the average number of deaths 16 percent higher than during other times of the year.  Continue reading

A limousine carrier in Illinois has been shuttered and is now facing at least two lawsuits following a fatal crash in which a 20-year-old driver was operating a commercial vehicle across state lines.limosuine

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the one person killed and six injured all hailed from Wisconsin and were on their way to the airport in Chicago for a vacation to Mexico. The driver was reportedly blinded by sun glare, struck a median barrier and flipped.

The young man should never have been driving the vehicle because Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation requires only 21-and-over drivers to operate commercial vehicles across state lines. In addition to that, federal regulators discovered the limousine carrier failed to conduct pre-employment background checks on its drivers, kept no maintenance records of the vehicles and did not monitor its drivers in order to prevent fatigue. It also did not maintain a $1.5 million liability insurance policy as is required by law of for-hire passenger carriers. Further, it had been more than three years since the limousine service had filed its required safety registration. It was inactive for failure to file at the time of the wreck.  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

A hyped college football match between two bitter rivals. A rowdy 80-member fraternity preparing to tailgate the game. A U-Haul truck full of beer kegs. A 30-year-old artist and fashion designer who was simply crossing the street. pedestrians2

All of these collided tragically in 2011. It ended with the death of that 30-year-old woman, who was struck by the U-Haul truck when one of the fraternity members, on his way to tailgating at the Yale-Harvard football game, tried to rev the engine to get pedestrians to move out of his way faster. Instead, he stepped on the gas. Several pedestrians were struck. This woman died of her injuries. The case resulted in Yale University banning kegs at athletic events and imposing restrictions on tailgate parties, including disallowing all large commercial vehicles and box trucks from university lots unless driven by a pre-approved, authorized vendor.

Now, The Guardian reports the family of the woman has settled its lawsuit against the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. The amount of that settlement has not been disclosed. Defendants in the case included:

The national Sigma Phi Epsilon office;

  • Yale chapter of the fraternity;
  • The 80 individual fraternity members at the time of the crash;
  • U-Haul;
  • Yale University;
  • Other defendants.

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The Virginia Court of Appeals has upheld a conviction of a Greenboro, North Carolina bus driver who reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel, killing four and injuring the other 53 passengers on board.
Our Greensboro bus accident lawyers know that while drowsy driving isn’t a crime for regularly-licensed drivers in either North Carolina or Virginia, commercial drivers are held to a higher federal standard for hours of service and adequate rest.

This case, Kin Yiu Cheung v. Commonwealth of Virginia, is a prime example of why adherence to these rules so important.
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The level of concern for distracted-driving accidents in Asheville, Charlotte and elsewhere in the state has grown dramatically over the years. The issue may even match the level of concern for drunk-driving accidents because many people are losing their lives in accidents caused by someone texting, putting on makeup or fiddling with the radio.
Greensboro car accident lawyers know that advocates, state lawmakers and government officials direct a lot of attention to distraction-related behaviors. Like drunk driving, it is a choice and a damaging behavior that can be changed if motorists make a commitment to do so.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is an organization that works with state highway safety offices in implementing programs that can improve safety for roadway users. We posted previously on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog that the GHSA released a comprehensive distracted-driving study recently in which they looked at the dangers of distracted driving, the impact it has on driving performance and what states can do to begin curtailing the problem.

The GHSA periodically surveys state highway safety offices to learn which programs are being implemented to improve roadway safety for pedestrians and motorists alike. In 2010, the GHSA distributed a survey to state offices asking them to detail what countermeasures are being implemented to reduce distracted driving accidents.

According to the 2010 Survey of State Safety Programs , most states are vigilant in their efforts to keep accidents at a minimum. The problem is that technology is growing so fast that it is nearly impossible to keep motorists from getting distracted by smartphones and in-vehicle devices. Key findings from the survey include:

-State highway safety offices have made distracted driving a primary concern. Twenty-seven states have incorporated distracted driving into their strategic highway safety plans.

-Data collection from crashes has improved with 43 states indicating that they determine and document on police reports whether distraction caused the accident.

-Almost half of the states have created documents geared toward teen drivers and the dangers of driving distracted. A third of the states have a driver distraction question on the driver’s license test.

-Thirty-seven states provide education campaigns and public information on distracted driving. North Carolina is one of very few states that provide technical assistance or training to judges and courts on distracted driving.

-Only 15 states use Twitter and Facebook as a method of conveying anti-distracted driving messages to the public.

North Carolina is not a state that has made distracted driving a priority in the strategic highway safety plan, nor do law enforcement officials collect and document data regarding whether a form of distraction caused the accident. Teens are not provided with distracted driving materials in North Carolina, but it is a required component of driver education and included on the state driver’s license test. North Carolina educates the public about the dangers of distracted driving through traditional methods but not through the use of media or social networking.

It is clear that much can still be done to create a balance that is needed between enforcement, education and legislation if our state wants to minimize the number of distracted driving accidents occurring on roadways.
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Drivers in some states are benefiting from the Yellow Dot car program, a service that helps first responders treat car accident victims faster. North Carolina is not currently one of the states participating in the program. Asheville car accident attorneys are hopeful that North Carolina car accident victims will soon reap the benefits knowing that the first 60 minutes following a Charlotte car accident are the most crucial in saving or losing a life.

USA Today reports that nine states are currently using the Yellow Dot car program – Connecticut, Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Virginia. The program began in 2002 in Connecticut. Alabama joined in 2009 and by June of 2011, the state will have a total of 27 counties and about 40,000 users authorized and profiting from the quick response program when involved in a car crash.

The Yellow Dot program makes it easier for first responders to treat crash victims who can’t communicate or relay important information needed to treat the patient at the scene. For example, a crash victim who is allergic to morphine but in too much pain to speak can have the information relayed to the rescue worker from information in the yellow folder. The program is simple and easy. It works as follows:

-State residents sign up for the Yellow Dot kit usually found at full-time fire departments, police departments or a sheriff’s office.

-Once signed up, they receive a kit that includes a yellow dot sticker, a yellow sleeve envelope and medical information record sheet.

-Adhere the yellow dot to the rear window of your vehicle.

-Complete the medical information sheet for the yellow envelope to be placed in the glove compartment of your vehicle. Place a photo in the yellow envelope along with medical history, medications prescribed by doctors, allergies to medications, contact phone numbers of both doctors and family members, and hospital emergency room preference.

-First responders arrive on the scene, look for the yellow dot and check for the corresponding yellow sleeve in the glove compartment.

-Victims are then treated accordingly with very little effort to communicate important information to the rescue worker.

-Keep the medical record updated as needed.

Though it was originally geared toward older individuals, the Yellow Dot Program can benefit any driver with special medical conditions like diabetes or a pacemaker. It can also help determine which medications can be given right at the scene of the accident.

“Actually, this is one of the goals of automated crash notification systems. Eventually, when there is a crash, these key data such as medication needed will automatically be available to EMTs, etc. The Yellow Dot program may be a system that can be helpful in the meantime,” says Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association.

Advocates for the program are hopeful that each state will adopt the efficient and fast approach to treating crash victims at the scene. Saving a life can be expedited with the Yellow Dot program.
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One teen was killed and three others were seriously injured in a South Carolina drunk driving accident on their way to school earlier this month reports USA Today.

The story made national news when the young driver who was killed was driving on a stretch of State Highway 129 that was recently named for his heroic father, a National Guard sergeant killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb.
The fatal crash is a tragic reminder of how so many lives can be affected and changed in a split second by a drunk driver. Our personal injury lawyers in Anderson and Spartanburg know that drunk drivers are responsible for over 30% of total traffic fatalities in the country each year.

In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported almost half of South Carolina traffic fatalities were a result of a crash in which at least one driver involved had a blood alcohol concentration of .01 or higher. Drunk driving is a serious crime in this state, as well as nationwide.

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reported after the incident that the 27 year-old drunk driver has been charged with three counts of felony DUI with injury, driving with a suspended license, and driving under the influence with death.

The teenager, driving a Honda, was hit head-on by the accused drunk driver who allegedly swerved left of the center line. The three teen passengers were transported to Spartanburg Regional Medical Center in critical condition while the driver was the only one fatally injured.
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