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Raleigh Personal Injury Law Blog

Standing up to negligent truckers and truck companies

A previous post here discussed the prevalence and causes of semi-truck rollovers. These types of wrecks can be extremely dangerous for not only the trucker, but also motorists who happen to be in the vicinity at the time of the crash. The truth is that far too many North Carolina residents are hurt in truck accidents, some involving rollovers, and the damage that can be caused can be significant. Sure, a victim's vehicle can be totaled, but an individual's life can also be altered due to serious injuries.

If you have been hurt in a truck accident, then you know just how harmful they can be. You might have suffered a disabling or disfiguring injury, and the medical care associated with treating it might be more expensive than you can handle. Making matters worse, you might have been subjected to pain and suffering that continues to this day, and your injuries may have caused you to miss work and thereby lose wages.

Truck rollovers and negligence

Although on the outside all semi-trucks might appear similar, their cargo can vary significantly. This can be important to other motorists as trucks carrying toxic chemicals can pose an even greater threat of harm when driven negligently. This is particularly true in the event of a truck rollover.

More than 78 percent of truck rollovers are caused by errant driving. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends that truckers watch a safety video to ensure they are safely operating their vehicles. Amongst the tips offered to truckers is to avoid sudden vehicle movements, controlling loads during turns, identifying risky areas on the roadway, remaining alert while driving and controlling speed to prevent accidents. Although these may seem like common sense issues to consider, they are often overlooked, which can prove tragic since these matters are even more important when operating a truck or vehicle carrying hazardous materials.

Contributory negligence in North Carolina

This blog spends a lot of time talking about car accidents and the harm that they can cause to victims. This is significant, as those injured in a wreck can face years, decades or even a lifetime of physical and emotional pain and suffering, as well as debt incurred via medical expenses and lost wages. Though those whose injuries are caused by a negligent driver may want to take legal action, they might be concerned about whether their own fault will affect their ability to recover compensation. We hope this post will help shed light on the subject.

North Carolina is one of only a few states that recognize contributory negligence as a complete bar to recovery. This means that if a victim is even only deemed to be 10 percent at fault of causing the accident, then he or she cannot recover compensation from the driver who was 90 percent at fault. Though this makes personal injury lawsuits more challenging, it should not discourage victims from seeking the compensation they deserve.

Holiday season efforts net 3,000 intoxicated motorists

Drunk driving is a common problem across North Carolina that leaves many motorists and pedestrians in harm's way. Those who doubt this reality need only look at the statistics from the holiday season, showing that more than 3,000 individuals were arrested for DWI. According to state authorities, 2,822 of those arrests were alcohol related, while the rest were tied to drug impairment.

The arrests came as a result of the state's "Booze It & Lose It" campaign, which established nearly 11,000 checkpoints and saturation patrols across North Carolina. The numbers are startling, and should help raise awareness of just how prevalent impaired driving is across our state. Unfortunately though, arrests for drunk driving do nothing for those who are hurt in drunk driving accidents. For these individuals, a long, hard road to recovery often lies ahead of them.

Pedestrian accidents and how to try to avoid them

Though winter's arrival may dissuade some individuals from taking leisurely walks along our city's roadways, there are still many who have to rely on their feet to either get to the bus stop, work, school or merely from the parking lot to the shopping center. Oftentimes, these individuals are unknowingly put in harm's way by dangerous, negligent drivers who, in the blink of an eye, can cause a devastating accident.

Since it is impossible to prevent all motorists from acting negligently, what can pedestrians do to keep themselves safe? First of all, they should be sure to only cross the street at intersections when the "walk" sign is on. Second, they should ensure that they only enter the street while within a crosswalk. Parents also need to keep close tabs on their children to ensure that they do not suddenly dart out into traffic.

Our firm aggressively pursues wrongful death claims

Nothing is more difficult in life than experiencing the sudden, unexpected loss of a loved one. Sadly, though, many individuals have to face this reality. At a time when they might be struggling to cope with the emotional trauma to which they have been subjected, these individuals might also be forced to deal with very real financial difficulties. Medical and funeral expenses can leave a surviving family burdened with debt, and the loss of a family's wage-earner could make it tough to pay other bills and keep food on the table.

If you have lost a family member to the actions of a negligent driver, then you might be facing these challenges. Though it can be hard to deal with, the Law Offices of John M. McCabe urges you to stay strong. Though there may be nothing to truly ease your emotional hurt, there are steps you can take in an attempt to recover your financial losses. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you might be able to obtain compensation for your lost loved one's medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages. You might even be awarded compensation for your loss of companionship.

Wrongful death and children

Car accidents can affect anyone, including the young and the old. Tragically, far too often a negligent driver causes a wreck that leaves a young child deceased. This can be heartbreaking for a surviving family, and the emotional toll can almost be too much to handle. However, once the family is ready and able to consider their legal options, they may be stumped as to how to show the financial value of their loss. While surviving families of deceased adults can turn to lost wages to calculate a portion of their damages, this cannot be done with children.

So, how are wrongful death damages calculated when a child is the victim? There are many factors at which a court will look. It will determine the age of the child, life expectancy, his or her health, earnings potential, the petitioner's relationship to the child, and the health and age of the individual seeking damages. It can be difficult to determine a value for such a loss and it is often speculative in nature. For this reason, it is typically harder to show financial loss for a young child's passing than it is for an older child's passing as it may be easier to see an older child's earning potential.

Truck accidents and vicarious liability

Truck accident victims can suffer serious injuries that affect his or her physical, emotional, and financial well-being. The financial cost to treat these harms can be devastating high, threatening to throw a victim and his or her family into financial ruin. Fortunately, these victims can seek compensation for their damages via a personal injury lawsuit. But when filed against a negligent trucker, a victim may be rightly concerned about the trucker's ability to pay for the full extent of the damage caused.

This is where vicarious liability can kick in to help a victim hopefully reach a more favorable outcome. Under the legal theory of vicarious liability, an employer can be held liable for the actions of its employee. Therefore, if a trucking company hires a trucker who then, while acting negligently, causes an injurious accident, then the trucking company may be forced to help pay for damages. This can be quite significant, as trucking companies often have deeper pockets and are more able to pay the full extent of a victim's damages.

Hit-and-run accident leaves teen dead

On a daily basis, very little thought is given to how close pedestrians move in the midst of swiftly passing traffic. The difference can be mere inches. Though North Carolina is populated with responsible and careful drivers who are well aware of pedestrians and the protection the driving practices needed to keep them safe, there is still a significant part of the population that drives recklessly around these vulnerable citizens. As can be seen by a recent case in North Carolina, when this happens the results can be deadly.

Recently, a 19-year-old college sophomore was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. Authorities say the woman was exiting a vehicle when she was struck, and the offending driver never stopped. An anonymous caller later tipped police off, leading them to discover the damaged vehicle. They continue to look for the driver at last report. The victim's friends and family remember her a happy person who was very loving and caring.

Drunk driving still problematic in North Carolina

When North Carolinians first learn to drive, they are taught to be fully aware of their surroundings and to drive defensively. Though this practice may decrease one's odds of an injurious crash, the negligent acts of others can still injure those who employ defensive tactics. This is especially true when other drivers choose to drink and drive. These reckless motorists put other drivers, their passengers and pedestrians at significant risk of harm and death.

Drunk driving accidents are a common problem throughout the United States and North Carolina. In 2014, our state saw 371 drunk driving deaths, accounting for more than 28 percent of all traffic fatalities. That is an increase of 0.3 percent over 2013. Making matters worse, a survey of those aged 12 to 20 showed that nearly one-quarter had consumed alcohol in the past month. That equates to more than a quarter-million people. Also, nearly 15 percent of these individuals admitted to binge drinking in the past month.