Articles Tagged with car accident

A proposed class-action lawsuit alleges that vehicle manufacturer Tesla’s Model S and Model X are prone to unintentional, sudden acceleration. Several owners detail instances wherein their electric vehicles without warning barreled straight into a garage or wall, either as a result of human or computer error. More than two dozen cases of these unintended acceleration incidents are on file with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).drive

The lawsuit claims thousands of these vehicles have the potential to suddenly careen out-of-control.

Now, as the ABA Journal reports, the auto maker that specializes in high-end, fully-electric vehicles disputes the notion that it has a duty to consumers to design a vehicle that is fail-safe. The proposed class action lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Central California. It cited 26 reported incidents of sudden acceleration, 22 of which resulted in a crash. One of those crashes was accompanied with photographs in which a plaintiff reportedly was parking his vehicle in the garage and the vehicle allegedly propelled suddenly into the back wall of the garage. The wall collapsed partially into his living room. No one was home at the time, so the primary damage was to property. Continue reading

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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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 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 Southeastern U.S. has the most dangerous roads in the country for pedestrians. That’s according to a new report by Smart Growth America. “Dangerous by Design 2016” details the number of pedestrian accidents in the country between 2005 and 2014. Within that span, nearly 46,200 people were struck and killed by motor vehicles while walking. crosswalk

In 2014, which is the most recent year for which federal data is available, 4,884 pedestrians died after being struck by a vehicle, which is an increase of 105 from the previous year. That figure means that each day in this country, on average, 13 pedestrians lost their lives. That figure doesn’t include the number who may have survived but suffered serious and debilitating injuries.

South Carolina ranked No. 7 in the nation for the most pedestrian deaths during the study period. There were reportedly 1,057 pedestrians killed in South Carolina between 2005 and 2014. The annual number of pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people was 2.24. (The most dangerous state in the country, Florida, had a rate of 2.66.) The pedestrian danger index, or PDI, in South Carolina was put at 106.5. PDI is a measure of the local commuters who walk to work and the most recent data on pedestrian deaths. North Carolina didn’t fare well either. It ranked No. 11, with 1,690 pedestrian deaths during the study period, amassing an annual pedestrian fatality rate of 1.73 per 100,000 people and a pedestrian danger index of 96.3.

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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

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