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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

How dangerous are teen drivers?

Automobile collisions are far too common in North Carolina, and the reasons can be wide-ranging. Intoxicated, distracted and tired motorists can all pose significant hazards. One reason a driver may be dangerous when on the road is because he or she is inexperienced.

According to the Center for Disease Control or CDC, teen drivers are more likely to fail to recognize dangerous situations. They are also more likely than their older counterparts to speed and follow too closely. Making matters worse, when teens drink, they are at greater risk for an accident than an older adult.

What is road rash?

With summer coming to a close, some North Carolinians may feel like their motorcycle riding days are coming to an end. But there are still a lot of good riding days left. Though this is good news for many bikers across the state, for others, it gives more time for exposure to negligent drivers who could cause a motorcycle accident that leaves the biker with serious injuries.

Amongst these injuries is what is commonly referred to as road rash. Road rash occurs when the skin is rubbed against a hard surface like the road or a sidewalk. Several layers are often removed, typically from bony areas of the body, which includes the elbows, knees, hands and forearms. Since there is a significant blood supply to the face and head, road rash in those areas may bleed profusely. Road rash is often very painful, as it exposes nerve endings.

Competent representation needed to hold truckers accountable

Our last blog post discussed the dangers presented by semi-trucks based on their massive size and the increased distance they need to stop. Though it is hoped that trucking companies and their drivers are well-aware of this issue, the seemingly constant news of tragic truck accidents portrays a different reality. If you have been injured in a wreck involving a semi-truck, then you know that the aftermath can be difficult to get through. You may find yourself having to cope with physical pain, emotional trauma and financial strife.

Even though the future may seem bleak, there can be a bright future ahead. One way to obtain that future, where financial stability and a sense of justice is acquired, is to file a personal injury lawsuit. There are two primary ways you can succeed on such a claim. First, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with the trucker and the company the driver works for. Second, you take the matter to trial and have the matter decided by a judge and jury.

Semi-trucks need more distance to stop

Semi-trucks play a pivotal role in our society. They move consumer goods across the country, allowing access to the products that we want and rely on in our day-to-day lives. However, despite their importance, these massive vehicles can pose significant risks to other motorists. A truck accident can cause not only significant property damage, but it might also leave victims with serious injuries. In the worst cases, victims may even be killed in these wrecks.

One reason that these tragic accidents occur is because trucks need significant more distance and time to come to a safe stop when compared to other automobiles. Where a car may be up to 18 feet in length and weigh perhaps 4,000 pounds, a big rig can be 65 feet long, weighing in at 80,000 pounds. To see how this affects stopping distance, let us look at an example of a car and a semi-truck each traveling at 65 miles per hour. The car will only need 316 feet to come to a complete stop. With the same reaction time, a trucker traveling the exact same speed will need 525 feet to stop. This additional two hundred plus feet is two-thirds the length of a football field.

Garner accident kills one, leaves three others injured

It is an unfortunate reality, but automobile collisions could happen suddenly, involving multiple vehicles and victims. No matter the degree of negligence, a negligent driver is often the culprit. Additionally, if fault is assigned to a negligent driver, he or she could be held responsible for the injuries, deaths and damages caused by the incident.

A woman from Raleigh, lost her life recently when her vehicle, which had broken down, was struck by a box truck in Garner. The accident took place on U.S. 70 business. The woman's vehicle broke down in an eastbound lane of traffic when it was rear-ended by a two-axle moving truck.

Measures are in place for reducing fatigue among truck drivers

Truck drivers in North Carolina may be aware of the rules and regulations regarding working hours, which were established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA in order to improve safety on the highways. The goal is to ensure that drivers on the highways are not fatigued because of extended working hours because that is one major contributing factor in the number of truck accidents that occur on the highways. There may be some trucking companies that push their drivers beyond the limit without understanding the threat that fatigued drivers pose to other motorists and pedestrians on the road.

Reports suggest that almost 4,000 people die annually in accidents involving trucks. Many truck drivers have also died in such accidents. The accident rates prompted the FMCSA to bring changes to the hours of service rule for truck drivers. Previously, drivers were allowed to take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of duty and there was a 34-hour rest period known as a restart. According to the new rule, the drivers were allowed to use the restart period once every seven days, and they were also allowed to take two breaks between 1 and 5 a.m. to ensure that they remain alert before embarking on another heavy workweek.

Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving

A recent report by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that on many highways across the United States, including those in North Carolina, an increasing number of car accidents have been cause by sleepy drivers. The NHTSA data was compiled from reports submitted by local police departments, but drivers impaired by drowsiness or sleepiness are difficult for police to detect after an accident.

Drowsiness or fatigue does not leave physical evidence, unlike impairment by alcohol or other drugs. Thus, if the accused driver denies falling asleep or being tired, not much can be done by concerned authorities. It also is difficult for police to ascertain fault for an accident if a driver fails to remember whether he or she fell asleep while driving or if a driver is unable to respond or dead.

Legal options after a North Carolina commercial vehicle accident

While it is true that a large number of North Carolina commercial vehicles, such as large trucks, mainly drives on highways or industrial roads, it is important not to ignore the fact that there are various types of commercial vehicles that also drive within city limits. For example, it is common for delivery trucks, garbage trucks and other such commercial vehicles to drive in residential areas. Occasionally, other commercial automobiles, such as construction vehicles, dump trucks and cement trucks also move through residential areas.

However, when too many of those commercial vehicles enter into residential areas or other places within city limits the risks of an individual being involved in a commercial vehicle accident increases. One example of such an incident, of which Raleigh, North Carolina, residents might be aware, was the deadly accident that involved comedian Tracy Morgan's limousine and a Wal-Mart delivery truck. In that accident, Morgan and the limousine driver were critically injured and another comedian James McNair lost his life. Eventually, the matter was settled after Wal-Mart agreed to pay undisclosed damages.

Truck accident with motorcycle kills two, injures several

It probably goes without saying, the consequences of a North Carolina truck accident can be devastating for the occupants of the smaller vehicle that was involved in the accident. The situation is worse for the victim, if the smaller vehicle was as small and as lightweight as a motorcycle. A recent incident that occurred approximately one hour west of Raleigh, North Carolina, proves just that.

According to news reports, the tractor-trailer crash that occurred in Greensboro, North Carolina, claimed the life of two motorcyclists and injured several others. Reports stated that the incident occurred when the tractor-trailer crashed into a group of motorcyclists, while they were parked on the shoulder of Interstate 85, attending to a mechanical issue in one of the riders' motorcycles.

Understanding the effect of helmet laws in personal injury claims

Many states in the U.S., including North Carolina, have strict laws against motorcyclists riding without a helmet. Authorities have tried to emphasize how important it is for motorcyclists to wear helmets because the helmet serves as effective protection in the event of a motorcycle accident. A helmet helps to reduce head injuries, leading to fewer fatalities from accidents.

Despite the best efforts of state agencies to convince riders to wear helmets, there are people who still do not obey the law. Such a response has forced many states to implement mandatory helmet laws. If the motorcyclist violates those laws, there will be legal consequences. Riding without a helmet and getting involved in a motorcycle accident may be considered negligence, and the negligent rider may have forfeited any right to compensation based on that behavior. Helmets are also mandatory for motorcycle passengers in many states.