Recently in Car Accidents Category

August 23, 2015

MythBusters: Hands-Free Cell Phones No Safer When Driving


There is a pervasive belief that hands-free cell phones are safer than handheld cell phones when driving. smallheadphones.jpg

It's an erroneous assertion, but it's underscored in the many state statutes across the country that allow exceptions for cell phone conversations by a driver who is using a wireless headset, dashboard system or speakerphone instead of a handheld device.

Now, the MythBusters has debunked this myth.

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July 31, 2015

Purscell v. Tico Ins. Co. - Intentional Wrongdoing and Bad Faith Insurance


The case of Purscell v. Tico Ins. Co. is at once sad and strange.
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The legal questions it asks are intriguing.

It involves the excess liability incurred by a driver who was apparently trying to be a friend to a co-worker, a young woman who was impaired and clearly troubled. The problem is that their actions collectively resulted in the death of that young woman, as well as serious and permanent injuries to another man and other injuries to that man's wife.

Sorting through the question of who should pay became complicated.

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July 20, 2015

Navarrette v. Meyer - Interfering With Driver May Be Liability Grounds


In many personal injury cases, there is the potential for action against numerous defendants. speedometer1.jpg

Car accident cases are no different, and it's important for an experienced injury lawyer to carefully examine the facts and evidence in your case to identify all potential defendants.

In the case of Navarrette v. Meyer, plaintiffs sued not only the driver of the vehicle, but also the passenger of the vehicle, who had encouraged the driver to speed down a dark, hilly road with the intention of "getting air."

Instead, what happened was the driver lost control of the vehicle at 70 miles-per-hour and slammed into a father loading his young child into a car seat. The father was killed instantly.

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July 15, 2015

Williams v. City of Omaha - Police Liability for Crash After Chase


Police chases may be exciting to watch on reality television, but for the innocent motorists and bystanders caught in the midst of one, the reality can turn tragic.
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In these cases, where innocent people are injured as a result, those injured or survivors of those killed may be able to recover damages from the city/police agency involved - but it's not easy. In North Carolina, it's necessary to prove police officer(s) acted with gross negligence in their pursuit of a criminal. N.C. Gen. Stat. 20-145 states regular speed limits don't apply to police in pursuit of suspected criminals, and authorities are often given great latitude of discretion in determining what is reasonable.

However, an officer who acts with "reckless disregard for the safety others" may be found to have committed gross negligence, and thus may be liable.

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July 2, 2015

George v. Cooper - Liability Admission Only Partial Victory


If a defendant in a personal injury case admits liability, one might think that would be the end of the case, with victory handed to plaintiff.
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But that's only really part of the story. In fact, a defendant may admit liability and the case could still very well go to trial. The reason is because proving fault is only half of what must be proven in an ordinary negligence case. By no means is it an indication that you will receive any compensation.

That's because there are four elements in most injury cases that must proven. Those elements are:


  • Duty

  • Breach

  • Causation

  • Damages


A defendant who concedes liability is admitting he owed plaintiff a duty of care and breached that duty. But he is not conceding that his actions caused plaintiff's asserted injuries or that those injuries resulted in damages.

The element of causation can refer to either the cause of the accident or the cause of the injury. if a defendant admits liability for the accident, he is only admitting he caused the accident. He is not, however, admitting the accident caused your injuries.

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May 24, 2015

South Carolina Rep. Clyburn Injured in Car Accident


According to a recent report form News 12, South Carolina State Representative Bill Clyburn was involved in an auto accident. Authorities say Clyburn had attended the funeral of a former South Carolina representative in the Williamsburg area.

748825_crash_car.jpgClyburn and his wife were in their vehicle when they were allegedly rear-ended by another driver. First responders arrived at the accident scene shortly following the crash and provided immediate medical attention to Clyburn. EMTs then transported Clyburn to a local hospital. A member of Clyburn's staff said he was taken to the hospital solely out of an abundance of caution, as any injuries as a result of the car accident are not believed to be life-threatening or serious in nature. Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of what is being descried as a minor car accident, and it should be noted there have been no reports of anyone being cited with a moving violation in connection with this rear-end collision.

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May 1, 2015

Two Injured When Amtrak Train Hits Car in North Carolina


In recent months, we have seen several incidents of passenger trains hitting cars and trucks, resulting in serious personal injury and death to people in the cars and people on the trains in the case of a derailment. Although, it should be noted, in one of these recent train accidents, authorities alleged people in the car intentionally parked it on the tracks in attempt to cause an accident for which they later planned on filing an insurance claim.

railway-crossing-1444336-m.jpgAccording to a recent news article from The Washington Times, two people were taken to the hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries after an Amtrak train collided into the car in which they were riding.

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April 8, 2015

Golnick v. Callender - Proof of Injury Cause as Important as Crash Cause


In any injury case, establishing the negligence of the other party is often a key issue in obtaining compensation. But one cannot overlook the requirement to prove the injuries alleged were proximately caused by the defendant, or at least substantially worsened as a result of defendant's negligent actions.
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This is especially important for plaintiff's who have pre-existing health problems or who have endured a subsequent injurious accident, as defendant will almost certainly argue against proximate cause.

That was the case in Golnick v. Callender, an injury lawsuit before the Nebraska Supreme Court. Here, defendant actually admitted negligence in causing a head-on collision with plaintiff's vehicle, though he denied the assertion that he had been texting when he crossed the center line to avoid stopped traffic ahead. However, defendant still prevailed in this case because plaintiff was unsuccessful in proving his injuries were proximately caused or substantially worsened as a result of this particular crash.

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March 6, 2015

Wadeer v. N.J. Mfrs. Ins. Co. - Recovery of Damages for "Phantom Vehicle" Accident


Uninsured motorist coverage in North Carolina provides a way to recover damages sustained in an auto accident when the at-fault driver doesn't have insurance. (In cases where the driver does have insurance, but it's not enough to cover the damages, the type of coverage sought is underinsured motorist coverage.)
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These policies do cover hit-and-run accidents, where one vehicle strikes another and the at-fault driver is never identified or located. However, "phantom" vehicle situations are tougher.

These are cases in which one driver causes another to leave the roadway, but there is never an actual impact and the at-fault driver does not stop. It is not necessary for the unidentified vehicle to make contact with yours in order to collect coverage. However, it's likely the insurance company will challenge your claim to coverage, particularly if there were no other witnesses to the incident.

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January 12, 2015

Powell v. Christopherson - $500k Car Accident Injury Verdict Affirmed


Seeking immediate medical attention right after a car accident is a smart thing to do not only for the benefit of ensuring your health, but also because it could preserve your personal injury claim.
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Failure to at least get a check-up following a crash opens the door to a successful defense assertion that some other incident or condition is the cause of injury, as opposed to the crash. Injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents aren't always immediately apparent, so if they do crop up later, it's important to have as much documentation as possible.

This was shown recently in the North Carolina Court of Appeals case of Powell v. Christopherson, involving a distracted driver who blew through a red light and slammed into plaintiff's vehicle as she proceeded through an intersection.

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October 22, 2014

Christensen v. Alaska Sales - Early Head Injury Treatment Critical


Several years ago, a woman in rural Alaska struck two moose on a dark highway. She found herself disoriented, but she hadn't broken any bones. She had the capacity to call police and her husband. They noted a large mark in the middle of her forehead, but she shrugged it off, declining emergency treatment.
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But in the days that followed, she began to experience dizzy spells and headaches. Her balance increasingly worsened, and she kept falling. Her short-term memory began to suffer. Her speech became disjointed. Her symptoms continued to worsen. After a week, she sought help from a doctor. She was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. The injury gave rise to a claim of seat belt defect in Christensen v. Alaska Sales & Service, Inc..

Latent head injuries are common, as the effects are not always immediately apparent. Early intervention can be key in reducing the damage. This is why it's critical for anyone who has suffered a head injury - whether in a car accident or sports injury or fall.

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August 28, 2014

Brooks v. Martin, et al. - Overcoming Governmental Immunity Defense


The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a complaint brought by a woman seriously injured when a police officer negligently collided with her at an intersection.
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While such action seems inherently unfair, it's an illustration of the principle of sovereign immunity, which can shield government entities and employees from legal responsibility for harm caused.

However, our Asheville personal injury attorneys recognize this protection is not without limit, and there are circumstances under which a person can successfully bring suit against the government or its workers. Such a case should not be pursued unless it has been carefully reviewed by an experienced injury lawyer.

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July 4, 2014

Injury Prevention for 4th of July Weekend


Fourth of July weekend is a time for family gatherings, beach parties, backyard pool parties, camping, and all-night festivities that commemorate our U.S. independence. While preparing your family for the big holiday weekend, remember to put safety first. Every year, thousands of Americans are injured in 4th of July accidents, including those involving outdoor barbecues, swimming, alcohol, or fireworks. North Carolina families can help to prevent injures by understanding the risks and being prepared.

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Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys represent individuals and families who have been impacted by serious and life-threatening injuries. We are experienced in accident investigations and committed to raising safety awareness to prevent future injuries or wrongful death. Here are some tips to help prevent accidents or injury this 4th of July weekend.

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March 28, 2014

Tougher DUI Laws in South Carolina Closer to Passage


South Carolina has one of the highest rates of DUI deaths in the nation. In 2012, the last year for which figures are available, nearly 360 people were killed in South Carolina by drunk drivers. carcrash.jpg

To put that into perspective, there were 239 people aboard the missing Malaysian jet flight that has received so much attention of late. Meanwhile, a single alcohol-related fatality in South Carolina can cost upwards of $4.9 million.

Our personal injury attorneys in Anderson recognize it is in the spirit of reversing this trend that South Carolina lawmakers are pressing a measure called "Emma's Law," (S. 137) named after 6-year-old from Lexington County who was killed by a repeat OUI offender in January 2012. The intoxicated driver is now serving a nine-year prison sentence.

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March 6, 2014

Fighting Insurance Auto Companies Over Wrecks With "Excluded" Drivers


We all know there are drivers who take their chances behind the wheel without insurance.
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In some cases, these individuals may be "excluded" drivers, or those who have been expressly named as not being listed on a household member's policy. People or insurance companies will list individuals as excluded for a host of reasons, ranging from a spouse who has a bad driving record to a teen whose presence on the policy would cause rates to spike.

Our Charlotte car accident attorneys know that auto insurance firms love these policies because it minimizes their risk. In theory, anyone you allow to drive your vehicle is considered a "permissive user" of that vehicle and as such, will be covered under the vehicle policy. However, if a vehicle owner allows an excluded driver to operate the vehicle and he or she is subsequently involved in a crash, the insurance company may be indemnified and both the driver and the car owner may be held personally liable.

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