Aggravation of Spinal Stenosis_ A Serious Result of Traffic Accidents - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

A remarkable amount of force is in play when automobiles collide with one another or other objects.  This powerful force has the potential to cause life-changing injuries. The lower back injury referred to as activation/aggravation of spinal stenosis is one of the more common injuries that impacts the spinal canal.  The symptoms have the potential to be severe enough that they cause disability. If you have spinal stenosis or any other injury resulting from a car accident, contact our Wilmington, NC attorneys right away to schedule a review of your case.

 

A Closer Look at Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal in which the spinal cord is positioned.  The narrowing of the spinal cord and accompanying roots has the potential to lead to an array of symptoms.  As an example, those plagued by this typically suffer back pain, heightened pain when walking or standing, foot drop and lower body weakness.  Furthermore, some of those delaying with spinal stenosis have to deal with burning, tingling and numbness in the legs and/or the buttocks. The sad truth is it merely takes on negligent driver to create a violent collision in which structures along the lower back are significantly damaged.  A single accident really can cause an aggravation of spinal stenosis or worsen a congenital condition in which the spinal canal is overly-narrow.

 

The Diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis Aggravation

Spinal stenosis is somewhat challenging to diagnose.  The symptoms and other injuries might not be obvious in the immediate aftermath of an auto accident.  However, every auto accident victim should meet with a reputable medical professional for a diagnosis immediately after the accident.  This medical evaluation and ensuing reports will help prove a causal relationship between the car accident and your injury.  

The typical doctor will assess auto accident victims by pressing along the spine to determine if the pressure elicits pain.  The doctor will also take an X-ray of the lower back for a clear view of what, exactly, happened to the vertebrae during the accident. This medical professional might also rely on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to analyze the spinal cord’s soft tissues.  If the doctor determines stenosis is present, he or she will also likely perform additional tests to determine if it is possible for something else such as a brain tumor or stroke to have caused the stenosis.

 

The Two Types of Spinal Stenosis

There are two primary types.  The position of the damage determines which type of stenosis is present.  Cervical spinal stenosis is present when there is compression in the neck. This is a serious condition as narrowing usually takes place in the central spinal cord channel.  Such compression is likely to cause pain along with symptoms of numbness and/or weakness. It is even possible for cervical spinal stenosis to lead to paralysis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis impacts the lower back.  The spinal nerve root pathways can narrow and protrude from the back to other areas of the body.  If these nerves are compressed, you will feel a tingling sensation. If the stenosis moves from the lower back to the legs, buttocks or thighs, sciatica is present. 

You Deserve Compensation if Your Post-Accident Back Pain

Do not assume your post-accident back pain is nothing to worry about!  Even if you do not feel significant pain, you should still meet with a doctor for an assessment as this analysis will lay the groundwork for establishing a causal relationship between the collision and your injury.  There is the potential for your spinal stenosis to worsen and possibly preclude you from working full-time or even part-time. Meet with our personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your car accident so we can determine if there is a good chance to obtain compensation for your spinal stenosis and/or other accident-related injuries.

 

My firm works with you to maximize your recovery following a spinal cord injury. Message me today.

We offer our clients a free initial consultation, and work on a contingency fee basis.

Tips for Safely Sharing the Roads with Motorcycles | Robert Armstrong

The temperature is rising as we transition to spring.  There will be that many more motorcycles on the roads in and around Wilmington in the months to come.  Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to see bikers on the road. Be hyper-aware while behind the wheel, follow the tips detailed below and you will have done your part to prevent a potentially deadly accident with a motorcyclist.

 

Check Your Blind Spot

It is much easier for a motorcyclist to be caught in your blind spot than a regular automobile.  After all, motorcycles are comparably small so they are more likely to be difficult to see, especially when positioned in a driver’s blind spot.  The last thing you want is to hit a motorcyclist at a high rate of speed while attempting to perform a simple lane change. Be sure to check your blind spot before initiating every lane change.  Take your time, look closely for motorcyclists and do not proceed until you are certain no bikers are in the way.


Use Your Blinker to Give Motorcyclist a Heads Up

If there is a motorcyclist in your vicinity, turn on your blinker ahead of time.  Give the biker forewarning of your intention to change lanes by flicking on your blinker slightly earlier than you normally would.  This early warning of your intention to turn will give the motorcyclist plenty of time to react accordingly.

 

Be Careful When Passing 

You can pass a motorcycle similar to the way you pass regular automobiles as long as the stretch of road permits passing.  However, you should be aware of the fact that the gust of wind generated from increasing speed has the potential to cause the motorcycle to be unstable.  In fact, the biker might even be blown off the road as a result of your pass. Be sure to leave at least a couple car lengths between your vehicle and the motorcycle ahead of you as you pass.

 

Look Twice Before Executing a Left Turn 

A collision with an oncoming motorcycle has the potential to be quite severe, especially if you are executing a left turn.  The result could be a nasty t-bone accident that causes serious injury or even death. Do not cross one or several lanes of traffic for a left turn until you look twice.  Look for oncoming motorcycles as well as pedestrians, vehicles, etc.  

 

Maintain Extra Space Between Your Vehicle and Motorcyclists

Leave some extra space between your vehicle and the motorcycle ahead.  It is important for Wilmington drivers to know motorcyclists can stop quicker than car drivers.  The problem lies in the fact that motorcyclists can roll off the throttle or downshift to slow down without using the brakes.  This means the brake lights will not illuminate.  Leave additional space between your vehicle and the motorcyclist to compensate for the fact that you might not be aware of the motorcyclist’s reduced rate of speed.

 

Intersections are Especially Dangerous 

Plenty of motorcycle accidents occur at intersections.  In particular, blind intersections are especially dangerous for bikers.  Adhere to the safety protocol for the intersection without exception: come to a complete stop, obey traffic signals/signs, look each way for oncoming traffic and proceed with caution.

 

Recognize the Motorcyclist’s Rights

Some drivers errantly assume motorcyclists are required to share driving lane spaces and parking lot spaces simply because these vehicles are diminutive in stature.  Motorcycles are legally permitted to use the entirety of road/highway lanes as well as parking spots. Provide motorcyclists with ample space, give them their own lane and recognize the fact that they have just as much of a right to the road as those driving traditional automobiles.

After your motorcycle accident, you do not have time to wait—you need an attorney who will take action right away.

If you or a loved one were involved in a serious motorcycle accident, contact me for a free initial consultation about your case. My firm represents injured motorcycle riders throughout North Carolina.

To speak with our North Carolina motorcycle accident injury lawyer, email us or call 910-256-1233.

 

Updates to Federal Trucking Regulations in 2019 | Robert Armstrong Law

Truck drivers in the United States face some of the most precarious safety concerns of any profession. Like most drivers, they are constantly on the lookout for evolving rules and regulations they must comply with on the road. One of the main differences between daily commuters and long-haul truck drivers, however, is that trucks must know and obey these laws as part of their means of earning a living.

Another difference is that in addition to the standard “rules of the road” most drivers face, the truck driving industry must also comply with rules set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an agency under the purview of the U.S. Department of Transportation.   

This article summarizes some of the most important changes to trucking regulations passed by FMCSA in 2019.

 

Electronic Logging Devices Required by Year-End

In late 2017 the FMCSA began requiring most commercial vehicles to install electronic logging devices (ELDs) on their vehicles. While most rigs were equipped with the older Automatic On-Board Recording Devices (AOBRDs), FMCSA excluded AOBRDs from that requirement at the time. However, FMCSA has finally provided a date by which all “grandfathered” AOBRDs must transitioned to a mandate-required ELD: December 16, 2019.

 

Hours of Service Reform

Related to logging devices, truckers have stated their issues with Hours of Service (HOS) requirements. In August 2018 the FMCSA requested opinions from truck drivers specifically regarding these requirements in relation to split sleeper berths and rest breaks. In response to driver opinions, there are two rules being presented to the U.S. House of Representatives: HR 5417 (REST Act) and HR 6178 (HOURS Act).

The REST Act proposes that truck drivers would be allowed a rest break up to three hours, a 14-hour clock pause, and would eliminate the 30-minute break requirement. The HOURS Act proposes four different requirements: ag exemption, short-haul alignment, a decrease in supporting documents, and omitting the advanced noticed for the split sleeper berth.

 

Drug and Alcohol Testing

The FMCSA Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse will go into effect on January 6, 2020, and within 60 days the FMCSA administrator must submit a status report to Congress on the Clearinghouse status. Under the new rule, employers will be required to examine the clearinghouse for any drug or alcohol violations before proceeding with a pre-employment screening and annual confirmation.

However, before DOT can change the rule, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must develop guidelines regarding hair follicle testing. Currently, only urine testing is approved which can identify drug use within the past days or weeks. Conversely, hair testing can identify drug use within the past 2-3 months.

 

Sleep Apnea and Speed Limiter Updates

Sleep apnea is one of the largest safety concerns for truck drivers across the country. In March 2016 the FMCSA and Federal Railroad Administration proposed a rule that would include a higher degree of sleep apnea testing.

In August 2017, FMCSA and FRA decided against moving forward with this proposed regulation after significant industry push-back. As of April 2019, the regulation has been put on hold, but according to federal regulators, it is not completely dead.

Similarly, proposed rules regarding speed limiters for commercial trucks faced industry pushback in August 2016. The rule required that all commercial trucks have speed limiter devices installed. Discussed speeds ranged from 60 to 68 mph. This rule, although not dead, has also been placed on hold as of April 2019.

Sharing the Road with Semi-Trucks - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

For most drivers across the country, sharing the road with semi-trucks is a common occurrence. However, most people don’t know many of the differences between semi-trucks and passenger vehicles, or how they can drive more safely around them. With over 75% of all commercial motor vehicle accidents caused by passenger vehicle drivers, knowing the distinctions and how to adjust driving habits can be the difference between life and death.

 

Distinctions in Operation of Semi-trucks

Semi-trucks operate very differently the common passenger vehicles. For starters, most semis weigh approximately 80,000 pounds (or 40 tons), and have 18 wheels spread across a large cabin and extra-long trailer. The mere size and separate components mean that semi-trucks can’t perform many of the maneuvers that passenger vehicles can.

For example, these extra-long trailers provide extra-large blind spots for truck drivers. Because of this, it’s extremely difficult for drivers to see passenger vehicles when they change lanes or make a turn. Moreover, merely making a turn with these trailers requires truck drivers to go out and make wide turns to accommodate the extra payload behind them.  

Also, stepping on the brakes with 40 tons of steel behind you means that you won’t get the same immediate reaction you do when stopping a Toyota Corolla. Semi-trucks require long stopping distances and passenger vehicles that do not allow for this often see themselves on the wrong side of a rear-end accident with these giant trucks. The weight also means that truck drivers have limited maneuverability in traffic or other obstacles.  

 

Safe Driving Tips

While there are many distinctions in how semi-trucks operate on the road, everyday passenger vehicle drivers should be aware of some practices that will help them avoid an accident with these trucks. Below is a brief rundown of five of the most important safety tips to keep in mind when sharing the road with semi-trucks:

 

  • Avoid blind spots and pass quickly

Many drivers are not aware that the right side of a semi-truck is the largest blind spot for a trucker. The right side can often block two, three or four lanes. Drivers should avoid spending time directly in front of a truck’s cab and behind the trailer as well, and when you do have to pass, make sure you do it as quickly, and as safely, as possible.

  • Keep a safe distance 

Like most of us, truckers often have to make sudden stops. However, the damage to a passenger vehicle (and the passengers themselves) is much more catastrophic when they rear end a large semi-truck. Moreover, semis often experience tire blowouts and their trailers are susceptible to forcing a rollover due to strong gusts of wind. Make sure to keep a safe distance from semis in order to avoid potential accidents resulting from this.    

  • Drive defensively

Driving a vehicle down the highway is most likely second nature to most drivers. But no matter how relaxed you may be with the process, drives should always take extra care when driving near large semi-trucks. The mere size and weight mean they are slower to react. Take a more defensive driving approach when around semis so you can anticipate any potential sudden change on the road, and react accordingly.

  • Always signal 

As mentioned above, semis are slower to react than most passenger vehicles. This means they take more time to respond to other cars stopping, turning or merging. For this reason it’s important to give notice to truckers and use your signal to alert them of any upcoming changes. This allows truck drivers time to anticipate your move and slow down or change lanes safely.

  • Dim bright lights  

Unlike passenger cars, semis have large mirrors surrounding them so they can see as much of the road as possible. Unfortunately, this means they have more light reflecting into their cabin than the typical vehicle. This light reflection can cause temporary blindness for truckers, so it’s important to dim your hi-beams when driving around semis.

There are many differences between passenger vehicles and semi-trucks. Many of these differences can mean drivers are at an increased risk of a significant accident when encountering big-rigs on the road. Drivers can minimize this risk by knowing how to drive safely around them.

Accidents to happen, however. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a semi-truck, contact an experienced and qualified semi-truck accident attorney to ensure your rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries.

Trucking Accidents in North Carolina: Facts and Statistics

Auto accidents involving semi-trucks can be some of the most devastating violent on our roads. They’re also exceedingly common. Across the United States, there are an estimated 500,000 trucking-related accidents each year. 5,000 of these result in death. Perhaps even more surprising than these numbers is the fact that over 70% of these occur when the weather is clear and the roads are dry.

With the major highways and freight routes throughout North Carolina, the Tar Heel State sees a higher number of accidents than most states in the country. Actually, there were over 14,000 large truck accidents in 2016 alone. This article provides some facts and statistics regarding trucking accidents in North Carolina, and the importance of seeking the unique and qualified counsel of an attorney specializing in trucking accidents.

 

Facts about Large Commercial Trucks

In the United States, the trucking industry is regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which falls under the U.S. Department of Transportation. Additionally, commercial trucks are also subject to laws governed by the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Semi-truck drivers must possess a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), and are subject to restrictions on hours of service, keeping driver logs and meeting strict maintenance requirements, among other duties.

Although these strenuous requirements are meant to keep drivers safe and reduce accidents on the road, the mere nature of a large commercial semi-truck subjects them to increased chances of being involved in an accident. Weighing over 80,000 pounds with enormous trailers in tow make them a strong force on the road. Not to mention the number of trucks on the road each year.

In fact, semi-trucks are much more likely to be involved in a fatal, multi-vehicle crash than other large passenger vehicles such as busses or vans. And considering that 70% of America’s resources are transported by trucks, including approximately 15 million on the road each year, it’s not surprising to hear the large numbers associated with accidents, injuries and deaths involving semis.

 

Accidents by the Numbers

Commercial Motor Vehicles in North Carolina pose a large risk to drives throughout the state. According to recent statistics, accidents involving commercial busses, firetrucks and school busses accounted for nearly 2,500 of the total accidents in the state.

However, tractor trailer truck accidents accounted for nearly double that figure in 2017 alone. Even more disturbing, of the 2,500 from busses and firetrucks, 3 resulted in death. Compare that with 66 fatalities from large truck accidents.

Unfortunately, these numbers don’t seem to be declining either. According to the FMCSA, large truck and bus accidents across the U.S. have increased nearly 30% since 2009. During this time that means that a passenger or driver sustains an injury or is killed in an accident involving a semi-truck or tractor trailer every 15 minutes.

Another statistic that is quite alarming comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). According to the IIHS, in crashes that involve large trucks and other passenger vehicles, 98% of fatalities happen to the individuals in the passenger vehicle.

The size and strength of large trucks combined with the increasingly busy highways in North Carolina make for a deadly combination. And unfortunately, the number of accidents, injuries and deaths stemming from large trucks in the state do not appear to be slowing down.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving a large commercial vehicle in North Carolina, it’s important to consult an experienced and qualified attorney that knows the nuances of trucking law in North Carolina. Having a qualified lawyer on your side can help you fight insurance companies and ensure your rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries.

Semi-truck vs. Passenger Vehicle Accidents_ 5 Significant Differences - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

All vehicle accidents can result in serious injury or extensive property damage. However, when these accidents involve 80,000 pound semi-trucks, the injuries and damage are often much worse. Due to the mere nature of semi-trucks and the damage they can inflict, there are many differences between auto accidents involving big-rigs and those involving your everyday commuter.

This article discusses five of the most significant differences between semi-truck and passenger vehicle accidents. From more stringent federal regulations to larger insurance payouts, one important thing to note about semi-truck accidents is that usually require unique legal experience. If you or a loved one has been injured in a semi-truck accident, contact a qualified and experienced attorney to help you navigate this nuanced area of law.

 

 

  • Operational Requirements

 

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, a commercial truck is defined as a motor vehicle that meets at least one of the following operational requirements:

  • Has a gross combination weight of 26,001 or more pounds (including a towed unit with a gross vehicle weight rating of more than 10,001 pounds)
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds
  • Is designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver
  • Is used to transport hazardous materials (regardless of the size of the vehicle)

As anyone who has seen these trucks on the road, it’s clear that they tower over every passenger vehicle out there. These operational requirements set forth by the federal government ensure that semi-trucks are in a class of their own. Indeed, these trucks take longer to come to a stop, accelerate more slowly, need additional space to maneuver around, and require special handling when backing up. These all can lead to increased risks of an accident.

 

  • Different Regulations

 

Of the nearly 500,000 semi-truck accidents in the United States each year, nearly 90% of them are caused by human error and 30% are caused by driver fatigue. When you consider these numbers, it’s obvious to see why there are separate regulating bodies to set different rules and regulations for truck drivers.

All commercial trucks in the country are required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation. The FMCSA sets numerous regulations that commercial trucks must comply with, including more stringent maintenance schedules, special driver’s licenses and qualifications, logbooks, and annual inspections.

 

 

  • Insurance Policies

 

Semi-trucks are naturally much larger than passenger cars and most of them travel across interstate boundaries. This means not only that semis can inflict extensive damage when they are involved in an accident, but that insurance companies must charge more to cover their claims. These increased insurance policies can potentially be worth millions of dollars. And with increased policies, comes more aggressive adjusters.

Insurance adjusters investigating semi-truck accidents are notoriously known for being some of the most experienced in the auto industry, and are aggressive in trying to settle claims with victims. They will also go to extensive lengths to ensure any claim is denied. Victims of a semi-truck accident should ensure an experienced attorney in this field property investigates the accident and can handle seasoned insurance adjusters.

 

 

  • Accident Evidence

 

The typical passenger car crash investigation involves similar aspects of evidence gathering: written witness statements, photographs of the vehicles involved, police reports, recorded video, etc. While these are important in semi-truck accidents as well, there is much more that is required for a complete and accurate investigation.

As noted above, semi-truck drivers require special licenses. This means that evidence related to the truckers qualifications, training file, hours of operation, driver inspection records, and post-collision drug and alcohol screening results. Moreover, cargo evidence such as weight tickets, dispatch instructions, and delivery documents can all either benefit or hurt a victim’s case.

 

 

  • Require Unique Attorney Experience

 

Semi-trucks differ from passenger vehicles in a number of ways. From the different operational and regulation requirements, to increased insurance policies and evidence gathering, the mere nature of a semi-truck accident requires specialized knowledge. This is especially true when attempting to determine liability. Because semi-truck accidents require unique attorney experience that cannot be found in traditional auto accident lawyers, it’s important that you find a qualified semi-truck attorney that can help accurately investigate your case and ensure you or your loved ones are fully compensated.

Semi-Truck Accidents in N.C. - Common Causes and Determining Liability - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Semi-trucks can often be some of the most overwhelming vehicles on the road. While getting in any car accident is frightening enough, it can be much worse when an 18-wheeler is involved.

A fully-loaded semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can require over 100 yards to come to a complete stop. Compound that with the fact that there are over 15,000 trucking accidents in North Carolina alone and you realize how dangerous these trucks are and how likely an accident involving one of them is to occur.

If you are injured in a semi-truck accident, you want to know what to do and how to get compensated for your injuries. While it is vital to engage a qualified lawyer early in the process, this article helps to shed some additional light on common causes of semi-truck accidents, and what you should expect if you’re involved.

 

Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents

Across the country there an estimated 2 million semi-trucks on the road each year, and nearly one quarter, or 500,000 of which are involved in accidents. Even worse, in 98% of the semi-truck vs. passenger vehicle accidents in which there is a death, the person killed was in the passenger vehicle.  Although semi-truck drivers are prone to many of the same issues that everyday drivers face, the nature of the job adds another aspect that common commuters don’t have to worry about, including long hours and extensive wear-and-tear on their rigs.

According to federal regulations, truckers cannot drive more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days. When you break that down, that means that most drivers are putting in eight and a half hours a day on the road, and some log as much as 11 hours of driving time! Combine the long hours with an estimated 28% of truck drivers having sleep apnea, it’s a big cause for concern.

Another common cause of accidents for semi-truck drivers is mechanical issues with their trucks. Most semis are forced to endure tens of thousands of miles across the country, often logging thousands of hours without a tune-up. If a truck weighing over 40 tons has a tire blowout, for example, it’s not the same as a Honda Civic experiencing the same problem. Drivers can often lose control and put other drivers at risk.

 

Assigning Appropriate Liability

It can be tricky assigning liability for an accident involving a semi-truck. Although drivers may fall asleep or become distracted while driving, liability can fall on other parties as well. For this reason, it’s important that immediately after an accident involving a semi you engage a qualified attorney that can help investigate and handle any immediate contact with insurance companies.

After a thorough investigation, your attorney may find that the driver’s employer or the manufacturer of the truck may be liable. Although the individual driver was the one driving when the accident occurred, employers are often held accountable for the actions of their employees. This is especially true when the employee is acting under the control of the employer. Due to legal principles such as negligence, and joint and several liability, obtaining a attorney is important to ensure all responsible parties are held accountable.

 

Negligence Laws in North Carolina

Most states across the country assign liability to the party that caused the damage – both to people and property. However, North Carolina follows a different legal theory called “contributory negligence”. Under this theory, if a party contributes to the crash, even if the other driver was 99% at fault, the injured victim may be prohibited from recovering any compensation.

However, to provide some relief to victims, North Carolina also follows the last clear chance doctrine. This legal theory may allow injured parties to recover compensation, even if partially at fault, if they can prove that there was a dangerous situation making it impossible for you to avoid the crash, and the other driver had a clear chance to avoid the collision but they failed to take it.

When pursuing an injury claim following any kind of automotive accident, the question of fault is one of the most important matters to address. Your attorney must be able to prove that some other party was negligent in some way that resulted in your injuries. Due to the many nuances of North Carolina law in this area, consult with an experienced North Carolina lawyer as early in the process as possible. It is also vital to never admit liability or enter into any agreement before you have consulted a lawyer.

 

My firm works with you to maximize your recovery following a trucking accident. We offer our clients a free initial consultation, and work on a contingency fee basis.

Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment

How do semi-truck Accident Cases Work - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Semi-truck accidents are particularly devastating as the sheer size of the truck makes collisions that much more violent.  If you are involved in a semi-truck accident, there is a good chance you will have the opportunity to accept a sizable settlement offer as long as you lean on a skilled legal team.  This type of auto accident case is unique in a number of regards. Let’s take a look at how semi-truck accident cases work.

 

The Basics of Semi-truck Accident Cases

Most people involved in semi-truck accidents assume a resulting legal case will take an abundance of time.  Though this type of auto accident is comparably complicated, there is no guarantee the legal battle will prove lengthy.  Hire an attorney and you will be able to focus on recuperating from your injuries while a comprehensive liability investigation is conducted.  Our legal team is here to compile evidence, keep track of your related expenses, prove the truck driver’s negligence and help you enjoy a high quality of life after the accident.

It might be necessary to put a physical hold on the truck involved in the accident to guarantee evidence is available should the matter proceed to court.  Our legal team will take as long as necessary to perform a full investigation of the damage to the truck as well as possible truck defects that might have contributed to the accident or directly caused it.  Though this detailed legal investigation has the potential to extend the length of time it takes to reach a favorable settlement offer, it is important to serving justice. An in-depth investigation will reveal essential information and insights that help prove the truck driver’s guilt and build your case for justice as well as financial compensation.

Semi-truck Accidents Have the Potential for a Large Payout

Insurance policies for these large trucks are typically quite large.  In most cases, semi-trucks have insurance coverage in the range of a million dollars.  This massive insurance coverage creates the opportunity for a sizable payout. Our legal team is here to maximize your payout for all related costs from medical treatment to durable medical equipment, pain, suffering, lost time at work and so on.  Add in the fact that there is the possibility for several defendant policies to be in play and the matter becomes that much more complicated.

 

Settlement Factors: Injuries, Medical Treatment and Beyond

The extent of your injuries and required medical treatment play a major role in the course settlement talks take.  The typical personal injury case reaches a conclusion after the victim has completely recovered. However, accidents involving semi-trucks are likely to result in harsh injuries that require extensive treatment and a lengthy period of recovery.  These factors all have the potential to delay settlement talks as both parties attempt to determine the true costs of the injuries. Your attorney will guide you through this process to ensure you do not settle your claim in the midst of treatment.  It is impossible to understand the true cost of related expenses, pain, suffering, lost wages and other expenses until you have been released from the doctor’s care.

Be patient, let your attorney handle settlement negotiations and you just might emerge with a good settlement offer in due time.  The majority of semi-truck cases settle yet there is always the option of bringing the case to trial. All in all, the length of time it takes to reach a resolution hinges on the forementioned medical treatment summary and liability findings.  Furthermore, the available insurance also matters. Do not attempt to navigate the legal maze on your own. We will fiercely advocate on your behalf to ensure the negligent truck driver’s actions are highlighted and penalized in the form of financial compensation.

My firm works with you to maximize your recovery following a trucking accident. We offer our clients a free initial consultation, and work on a contingency fee basis.

Contact Us to Schedule an Appointment

Underinsured Motorist Insurance Wilmington, NC - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Though it is hard to believe, there are some underinsured and uninsured drivers on the roads in 2019.  If you are struck by an underinsured driver, you will be in a much better position if you have underinsured motorist insurance.  Here’s everything you need to know about this important insurance coverage.

 

The Basics of Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Underinsured motorist insurance covers bodily injury and in some cases, property damage, resulting from an accident in which another driver or drivers are underinsured.  Property damage is included in North Carolina underinsured motorist insurance coverage. Furthermore, this additional coverage is applicable to the vehicle owner, family members and an individual operating the automobile with the owner’s permission.

This form of insurance is sometimes written with a trigger for damages or limits.  If there is a damages trigger, the coverage is applicable when the insured party’s damages exceed the limits of the at-fault party.  If there is a limits trigger, the coverage is applicable when the other motorist’s limits of liability are less than the limits of the insured party.

 

Underinsured Motorist Insurance by the Numbers

Each state has unique rules pertaining to underinsured motorist insurance.  The state of North Carolina has a bodily injury minimum liability of $30,000 per person.  The state has a $60,000 minimum limit of liability per accident. The minimum limit of liability for property damage is $25,000.  

Why so Many North Carolina Drivers are Adding Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Opt for this important auto insurance coverage and you won’t have to worry about a potential collision with an underinsured driver that leaves you on the hook for the cost of medical bills, vehicle repairs and other costs related to an accident.  If you are victimized in a car accident and the negligent driver is underinsured, it may not be possible to hold him or her accountable for all related costs by filing a personal injury lawsuit, since he may be judgement proof. The aim is to recover financial compensation to cover all expenses that exceed those provided by the at-fault driver’s paltry insurance coverage.  That’s where your own underinsured motorist coverage off of your own policy comes in to play.

Good drivers should not have to fear a potential collision with another driver who lacks sufficient auto insurance.  Add underinsured motorist insurance to your policy and you will be able to take to the roads in full confidence, knowing a collision with an underinsured driver won’t put you in a financial hole or dramatically hike your auto insurance rates.

 

How to Tell if You Have This Important Insurance Coverage

If your North Carolina auto insurance policy limits are greater than the bare minimum, the policy likely  includes underinsured motorist coverage. As an example, if your automobile liability insurance is in excess of the minimum of $30,000/$60,000, the policy will automatically include underinsured motorist coverage.  If your automobile is limited to the minimum policy requirements, the insurance provider will not provide this additional coverage to protect against accidents with underinsured drivers.

 

Do Auto Insurance Premiums Increase After Tapping Into Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

For the most part, auto insurance premiums do not increase after filing an uninsured motorist claim.  Insurance companies should not hike the monthly premium after an accident that is the fault of another driver.  However, the mere act of filing a claim does have the potential to spike your monthly auto insurance premium in the future when altering or adding to the policy.  Every insurance company relies on past claims as a factor when deciding whether premiums should increase or if insurance should even be offered.

Road construction zones injuries_ How to avoid them and what to do if you’re injured - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Road construction zones can be frustrating and costly for automobile drivers. Congested traffic, detours, delays, and even damage to your car from construction debris. However, mere frustration or being late for work can be the least of your concerns. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly 100,000 road construction zone injuries each year, and every week approximately 12 work zone crashes result in at least one fatality.

With the increasing number of injuries in road construction areas, knowing how you or your loved ones can be compensated is extremely important. It’s also crucial to know the common hazards that lead to these injuries and how they may be avoidable. This article discusses these topics and advises on what you should do if you are injured in a construction zone accident.

 

Common hazards and how to avoid them

Although road construction is necessary to improve and maintain our highways and streets, the very nature of the work provides numerous hazards that significantly increase the likelihood of injuries. From distracted drivers to improper contractor precautions, some of the most common hazards contributing to road construction zone injuries or death include:

 

  • Debris or equipment left in roadway
  • Collisions with equipment or vehicles
  • Improperly marked or uneven lanes
  • Distracted driving
  • Uneven road surfaces
  • Failure to follow temporary traffic signs and patterns
  • Improper merging
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Speeding cars

 

Most work zone accidents occur because drivers are not paying attention or there is a sudden change in their driving environment. On top of this, the mere frustration of road construction can cause drivers to become impatient or angry and not drive as safely as the work zone requires.

For example, only 16% of fatal accidents are caused by rear-end accidents in non-work zone areas. Conversely, in construction zones the percentage skyrockets to 41%. Moreover, excessive speed entering or going through a construction zone is a factor in nearly 35% of work zone accidents. Drivers that speed through these areas are traveling too fast to avoid hazards in the road, other motorists, or workers in the roadway.

These accidents can be avoidable, however. To avoid construction zone car accidents drivers should slow down, and follow the signs and construction flaggers directing traffic. Also, drivers should watch for heavy equipment backing into the roadway, and expect other drivers to slow down or stop with little to no notice. Additionally, even if a lane looks like it is clear, do not try to bypass the construction. Hundreds of construction workers are injured or killed every year when impatient drivers enter the construction zone in an attempt to save time.

 

What to do after a construction zone car accident

If you are injured in a construction zone accident or if you are a construction worker injured by a careless or distracted driver, it is important to know your rights and how you can be fairly compensated. As laws regarding automotive accidents and workers compensation in North Carolina are quite complex, it is important to engage a qualified attorney that knows the laws and can help ensure you are adequately protected.

Accidents in construction zones have many causes, ranging from driver negligence to improper site care. Whatever the reason, it is likely that anyone injured in the construction zone will engage their insurance company and you can expect a call from their insurance soon after the accident. As the insurance company may seek to limit liability and push you into a quick settlement, you’ll want an experienced attorney that will negotiate on your behalf and get the amount you are owed.

Road construction zones can be a very frustrating thing, both for drivers as well as the workers that have to watch out for cars zooming by as they work. While many of these accidents are avoidable, statistics show that the number of accidents won’t be decreasing anytime soon. If you are injured in a construction zone, make sure you speak with a qualified attorney that will help you navigate the laws of North Carolina and will advocate on your behalf to ensure you or your loved one is adequately compensated.