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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

Number of motorcycle injuries down; fatalities up

According to statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of people injured in a motorcycle accident during 2015 dropped by a little over 4 percent, down to 88,000 injuries from 92,000 injuries in 2014.

Unfortunately, the number of deaths due to motorcycle accidents rose over 8 percent, from 4,594 in 2014 up to 4,976 in 2015.

Distracted driving rules proposed

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has consistently warned drivers about the dangers of distracted driving such as talking or texting while operating a motor vehicle. It recently announced part of its proposed solution to the dangers caused by a distracted driver.

The NHTSA's voluntary guidelines that were issued in two phases. The first phase covered devices or systems that were built into the vehicle during manufacturing. These guidelines include recommendations to restrict the time that motorists take their attention from the road to perform any task to two seconds at one time and for a total of 12 seconds.

Our skills are at the service of delivery truck crash victims

In addition to large trucks hauling freight, there are all kinds of commercial vehicles traveling on the roads in and around Cary, North Carolina. For instance, commercial vehicles include delivery trucks and vans, which could range from the van of the local florist to the box-shaped trucks of major private carriers like UPS and FedEx.

Unfortunately, these types of delivery services -- while usually performing valuable services with their different types of vehicles -- can also be responsible for serious and even fatal accidents. There are many reasons these types of accidents occur. Even setting intoxicated driving aside, many of these accidents happen because the driver was speeding or engaged in reckless driving. In other cases, an accident is caused by driver fatigue on account of traveling long hours or because the driver's company is simply putting too much pressure on the driver to make deliveries.

Can I be fired for filing for workers' compensation?

One of people's greatest fears when considering workers' compensation is that they will be fired for filing. This fear is understandable, since nobody wants to feel that they're getting on their employer's bad side, but in reality, you are legally protected from termination based on workers' compensation. Most employees in North Carolina are entitled to workers' comp if they are injured on the job and employers cannot retaliate against them.

In North Carolina, any company with three or more full-time employees is required to provide workers' compensation for on-the-job accidents. In many cases, part-time and temporary employees are entitled to workers' compensation as well. If a contractor is completely independent, they usually will not have the same rights to workers' compensation, but it depends on the specific situation.

Impaired driving may have caused fatal Raleigh accident

Police have recently suggested that a fatal accident that happened in the downtown Raleigh area may have involved drugs or alcohol. Specifically, police think a young man from the Raleigh area was operating under the influence when he drove his SUV through an intersection and struck another vehicle. Unfortunately, the driver of the vehicle the young man struck died at the scene of the accident.

According to a police accident report that recently became publicly available, the young man disregarded a red light and was driving 10 miles over the speed limit. The young man suffered a significant injury in the crash and had to be transported to the hospital.

The doctrine of respondeat superior in North Carolina

Although it is often taken for granted when discussing responsibility for commercial vehicle accidents, there is in fact a particular legal doctrine, accepted in North Carolina, which specifically those in North Carolina who are injured by a negligent driver to sue the driver's employer.

The idea behind respondeat superior, which literally means "let the master respond," is that someone who tasks another with a job or other duty shares some responsibility for the outcome of that task, particularly if someone winds up hurt. Accordingly, if an employee who is driving a vehicle is doing so within the "scope of employment," and employer must be prepared to pay compensation for the employee's negligence.

Is cell phone usage causing more highway deaths?

It is hard to argue that the number of fatal accidents on the roadways has been on the rise of late. However, the common wisdom in Cary, North Carolina and elsewhere, specifically that a lot of the uptick in fatalities can be attributed to distracting driving or using technology while driving, has been called in to question by more than one notable group.

Although none of these groups are suggesting texting while driving is a safe practice, there is a reluctance to attribute the increase in the number of fatal accidents to other factors. For example, the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has suggested much of the increase can be attributed to a stronger economy and lower fuel prices, both of which tend to result in more people driving. Combine increased traffic with more traditional poor driving practices, like speeding or drunk driving, and one can explain the increase without specifically blaming technology.

Video: Disability and workers' comp | The Law Offices of John M. McCabe, P.A.

After a workplace accident, an injured worker may need medical treatment. Yet what happens if modern medicine cannot make the worker whole again?

In the field of workers' compensation law, this situation is called maximum medical improvement. A worker who cannot function the way he or she did prior to the workplace accident may require a disability rating. That rating will determine eligibility for wage replacement benefits paid under the Workers' Compensation Act.

Accident in Raleigh vicinity leaves two dead

A recent accident on Interstate 95, less than an hour away from Cary, North Carolina, left two aspiring musicians dead and one injured. The musicians, who were living and working in another state, were traveling from one gig to another. From all accounts, the band members who died were well-known in the world of music.

According to reports, the fatal accident happened when a semi-tractor trailer struck the musicians' recreational vehicle from behind. Apparently, the musicians were stopped on the interstate, but the truck behind them may not have noticed the stopped traffic and, in any event, did not slow down. The impact forced the musicians' vehicle underneath another big rig that was immediately in front of them.

Video: Employee rights after accidents | The Law Offices of John M. McCabe

The guiding principle behind workers' compensation law is no fault. Accidents sometimes happen, and an injured worker may receive benefits regardless of who may have been at fault.

Unfortunately, not all employers respect the principle of no fault. Although North Carolina law requires nearly all employers with three or more employees to purchase workers' compensation insurance, employers may not want their premiums to go up after a workplace accident. For that reason, employees who were injured on the job may be afraid to seek workers' compensation benefits.