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.

What To Do When You’re Rear-Ended by a Semi Truck - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

In the United States there are an estimated 2 million semi trucks on the road, and about 500,000 of them are involved in automotive accidents across the country. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 22% of these crashes involve a semi truck colliding with the rear end of another vehicle.

Unfortunately, these statistics show that accidents involving semis are much more common than most people think. So with these growing numbers and the seriousness of being rear-ended by a 40 ton truck, it’s reasonable to question what to do when you find yourself in such a situation. This article will help you understand what to do right after the crash, who may be liable, and steps you should take to ensure you’re adequately protected and compensated for your injuries.

What Do I Do Right After the Crash?

As with all automotive accidents, the most important step right after a crash is to call 9-1-1 and report the accident. This is not only important to ensure that emergency responders can provide aide as quickly as possible, it may also bear on any legal issues that stem from the matter. It’s important to alert authorities and establish an official record of what has occurred. In most cases, you’ll also want to take photographs of the collision to have physical proof of what happened.

Once the crash has been reported, it’s also crucial that you obtain medical treatment for your injuries. Although this may seem obvious right after a major car accident, it also includes ensuring that you attend all follow-up appointments with your doctor and keep them informed about your overall health. Again, receiving adequate care and following up with your doctor is vital for any ensuing litigation.

On that note, once authorities have been alerted and you have received any emergency care, you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer to assess your case. In addition to understanding the facts of your specific case, an attorney will also know the nuances of North Carolina law addressing accidents involving semi trucks.

Negligence and Last Clear Chance

When you’re rear-ended by a semi truck it is important to know who is at fault. Typically one would expect the driver of the truck that rear-ends another car will be found to be at fault for the accident. However, there are many cases where the driver in the front is actually held accountable for the damage.

For example, if you were rear-ended by a truck and your taillights were not working properly, a judge may well find that because of your failure to have working taillights, ultimate responsibility lies with you. In many jurisdictions, fault may even be split between the involved parties. Unfortunately, that is not the case in North Carolina.

North Carolina follows the legal principle of contributory negligence. Under this principle, the law prohibits injured victims from recovering any compensation if their actions contributed to the crash–even if the other driver was 99% at fault. Conversely, and to provide some relief, North Carolina also follows the last clear chance doctrine.

This legal doctrine may allow you to recover compensation, even if partially at fault, if you 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.

Damages and Compensation

In North Carolina, parties may file a lawsuit to recover compensation for damages suffered from being rear-ended by a semi truck. Examples of these damages include, pain and suffering, lost wages, medical costs, and property damage, among others. Moreover, if a passenger is killed in the accident, you may seek to recover costs related to funeral and burial expenses, and lost income of the decedent.

Getting rear ended by a semi truck can be a terrifying experience. It can also be extremely serious. Notifying authorities and obtaining any emergency medical care are primary steps that should be taken if you find yourself in such an unfortunate situation. However, it is also essential to engage a qualified lawyer that is experienced in semi truck accidents as well as the many nuances of North Carolina law. A qualified lawyer will help you navigate through the daunting investigation and legal processes, and work to ensure you are fairly compensated for your injuries.  

What is the second impact syndrome brain injury_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion, is one of the most serious and frightening injuries a victim can experience. The gravity of the injury increases significantly when a second concussion occurs shortly afterward.

Second Impact Syndrome, or SIS, is a result of suffering a second TBI before the brain has adequate time to recover and repair from a previous brain injury. In such an instance, the brain swells rapidly causing dangerous bleeding that can cause death or permanent disability. To make the condition even more precarious, SIS can occur days–and even weeks–after the first concussion is diagnosed.

This article is aimed at helping readers understand SIS, as well as what symptoms to look for, how to prevent a SIS from occurring, and what to do if you or a loved one suffers from SIS.  

Understanding Second Impact Syndrome

TBI’s such as concussions can come from a myriad of sources: car accidents, athletic competitions, or simple slip-and-fall incidents. Thankfully, SIS is a fairly rare syndrome. However, this also means that there are relatively few cases to study for the purpose of understanding how SIS effects the brain, and who is at risk.

When a victim sustains a blow to the head, the body responds with physical and chemical changes that engage to protect the brain from massive swelling. During this healing process the brain is more vulnerable to severe complications if a second impact is sustained. If the injured victim receives a second blow to the head while still suffering from the first injury, the brain experiences further swelling, and death can result in a matter of mere minutes. The cause of death is SIS.  

Symptoms

When a victim suffers from a concussion, typically only minor injuries are sustained. Dizziness, confusion, headache, nausea – these are all symptoms of a concussion. The majority of concussion victims can recover in a matter of hours. However, the symptoms of SIS are more severe and can include:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Severely dilated pupils
  • Unconsciousness
  • Loss of vision
  • Seizures
  • Brain herniation
  • Death

Symptoms of SIS can appear within hours, days or even weeks after the sustained injury. Because SIS is a life-threatening emergency, immediate measures must be taken once symptoms occur.

Preventing Second Impact Syndrome

The most important factor to consider in an effort to prevent SIS is time. Failure to give the brain adequate time to heal after a TBI is vital to preventing SIS. While some victims can fully recover in a matter of days, it may take months for other victims to reach the level at which their brain has fully recovered. In most cases, a qualified medical professional should examine the victim both after the initial injury and in follow up visits afterward.    

One of the most frequent incidents in which victims experience SIS is during sports-related activities. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that once a player has sustained an initial TBI, the player only return to any activities after 24 hours or more have passed. CDC also recommends that once a victim has experienced a TBI, immediate medical examination is performed on the victim to assess cognition, balance, and signs of neurological function deterioration. 

The seriousness and complexity of brain injuries such SIS demands professionals who are at the forefront of evolving medical issues. This includes ensuring that if you or a loved one has suffered from a brain injury, you engage a qualified lawyer that understands the syndrome and can help determine what important steps need to be taken in your case.

Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

You have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s carelessness. The medical bills are piling up and so are your monthly bills due to work loss. You know you need an attorney to help you, but how to pick the right one? Well first, you need to find a few attorneys who specialize in your type of case. From Auto Accidents to Medical Malpractice, attorneys, just like doctors, concentrate their practice in specific areas. You’ll need to find the best attorney for your case.

What kind of case do I have?

There are many ways to find an attorney. But before you begin, you may need to narrow down the type of case you have:

  • Slip and Fall – You were injured on someone else’s property.
  • Auto Accident – You were injured in a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian accident.
  • Medical Malpractice – You were injured due to a doctor’s negligence.
  • Dog Bite – You were bitten by someone else’s dog.
  • Negligent Security – You were injured because an establishment failed to provide adequate security.  
  • Product Liability – You were injured by a defective product.
  • Drug Claim – You were injured by taking a medication.
  • Nursing Home – You or a loved one was injured while living in a nursing home.
  • Wrongful Death – A loved one was killed by the indifference or negligence of someone else.
  • Assault, Battery, and Sexual Assault – You were injured in a criminal act.   

Once you have narrowed down what category your case may fall in, you can start looking for an attorney whose specific skills and experience will benefit you.

How do I find an attorney?

Some of the best resources for finding an attorney are your family, friends, and co-workers. If you personally know someone who has hired an attorney in the past and had a good experience, you may want to start with that attorney. An attorney in any specialization can refer you to the correct type of attorney from the very beginning of your case. Ethical, hardworking, experienced attorneys usually only refer to other attorneys who will provide the same level of service they do, as their reputation is on the line. Other resources include:  

  • The Bar Association
  • National Websites
  • Internet Searches.
    • “Medical Malpractice Attorney”
    • “Auto Accident Attorney”
    • “Slip and Fall Attorney”

While you are busy on the internet, don’t forget to check out their Google reviews. However you go about finding an attorney, choose more than one to contact.

How do I decide which attorney is right for me and my case?

Deciding which attorney to choose can feel very daunting. But with a little work and thought you will find the right attorney for you. Once you have narrowed it down to a handful, you can contact them to set initial appointments. Almost all personal injury attorneys will offer you a free consultation. Take advantage of that fact and schedule some appointments with attorneys you liked when you saw them online or when you talked to their office on the phone. Go armed with a pad, pen, and a list of questions, such as:

  • How many cases has the attorney handled that are similar to yours?
  • How many years of experience do they have with your particular type of case?   
  • What percentage of their “caseload” is dedicated to your particular type of case?
  • Where did they go to college and law school?
  • Do they carry Malpractice Insurance?
  • Do they outsource any of their legal work?
  • Do they involve attorneys outside of their law firm to get the job done?
  • How often can you expect their office to call you to give you updates?
  • How often do they go to “trial”?
  • What are the terms of their contract?
  • How will my case work?
  • What would be your plan for my case?

If an attorney balks at answering any of these questions promptly, you may want to reconsider. All of the above questions are easily answered by an attorney who takes their work seriously and cares about educating their clients. Giving you a prompt, accurate answer that is professional and courteous will tell you whether or not the attorney is hard working, understanding, forthright, ethical, compassionate, and honest.   

How do I choose whom I want to represent me?

Deciding on one attorney out of the several you met with may seem difficult, but now it is time to ask yourself some questions:

  • Does the attorney seem to have enough experience to handle my case?
  • Was the attorney prompt and courteous to me when I questioned them?
  • Did I meet with the attorney, or did they send someone else to meet me at my appointment?
  • Is the attorney someone I feel comfortable with?
  • Do I feel confident in their skill to handle my case?
  • Where they able to answer all of my questions?
  • Did the attorney treat me with respect and compassion?
  • Did the attorney’s plan for your case make sense?
  • Did you understand how your case will progress?

Once you have asked yourself these questions about each attorney you met with, you will find the one that will be the best fit for you. Once you have gone through the process of locating, interviewing, and contemplating a few attorneys, you will get a good feel for what is right for you. Don’t delay too long, as having an attorney as soon as possible after you are injured can help you get the best results. And remember; never talk to an insurance company until you have consulted with an attorney.  

 

Can an Insurance Company Deny Treatment Recommended by a Doctor_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Who pays my medical bills after an auto accident?

When buying an auto policy, you may find yourself being offered Medical Payments coverage. Medical Payments coverage can pay your medical bills whether or not you were at fault for the accident. If you were not at fault for the accident, these funds can help keep your medical bills out of collections until you receive your recovery. You may also be able to collect a lump sum recovery to pay for your medical bills and other damages.

Can my auto insurance carrier refuse to pay my medical bills?

Auto insurance carriers may refuse to pay your medical bills by asserting that they are not reasonable or necessary. Your carrier may send your medical records to an outside party for review. Medical Doctors and others specialists will review the treatment you have had to date. Based on their recommendation, they may deem the medical treatment as not reasonable or necessary and refuse to pay the related bills. Issues with this process arise immediately; it is readily apparent that the outside parties are working for your insurance carrier, not you. They are neither impartial nor unbiased. More often than not they declare that your treatment isn’t covered under your policy, right when you need medical care the most.  

I wasn’t at fault for my auto accident. Can the insurance carrier deny my medical bills?

There are many reasons that either the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier or your own carrier may refuse to pay your medical bills.

  • The auto policy has lapsed.
  • You are partially at fault for the accident (Not applicable for Medical Payments coverage).
  • The policy was canceled because the applicant gave false information to the insurance carrier.
  • The medical treatment was not reasonable or necessary.
  • Prior or new medical conditions that have similar symptoms to your current injury.
  • Pre-existing injuries that were only aggravated by the accident.
  • There isn’t enough objective evidence in your medical records to support that your injury is real.  
  • The insurance carrier doesn’t believe you sustained the injury in the accident due to the time between the accident and when you first sought treatment.

Although a few of the above issues are clear-cut, such as a lapsed policy, most  are not. Proving to an insurance carrier that your medical treatment is necessary as a direct result from injuries you sustained in the accident can be difficult. The insurance carriers will work to find reasons to deny your claim or pay as little on your claim as possible. You need an attorney working for you to help you assemble the evidence you need to document that your injury is related, real, and deserves compensation.

The auto insurance carrier has denied my medical bills. What do I do?   

Whether it is your own insurance carrier or the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver, you will have to file a lawsuit. Insurance claims for medical bills are routinely denied by the insurance carrier. Hiring an attorney early on in the process will ensure that you have all the evidence you need to prove the insurance carrier should pay. If it becomes necessary to file a lawsuit, you will be ready.

While you can file a lawsuit on your own, it is not recommended. The rules of the Court can be complex. You will not only need the knowledge of an attorney but also their experience to avoid common mistakes. Most attorneys in North Carolina, and in particular the Wilmington area, will provide you with a free consultation. You can discuss your case with a professional to discover the ways in which an attorney can help you obtain payment for your medical bills. If you were not at fault, it is likely they can discuss obtaining a lump sum settlement on your behalf.     

While it is commonplace for an auto insurance carrier to deny your claim, it does not mean it is the end of your claim. Talk to an attorney today about getting the compensation that is due you, and get back on the road to recovery.

Passenger Compensation for Car Accident Injuries - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

Car accidents are a scary and confusing experience. They can get complicated when insurance companies disagree about who is at fault, and even further complicated when passengers are injured. North Carolina car accident laws differ from a majority of states across the country and it may be difficult to navigate all the nuances of these complex laws.

However, by taking steps to prove fault and by consulting an experienced attorney early in the process, a passenger can ensure they are fully compensated for their injuries. This article helps explore some of the nuances of North Carolina law, and provides some steps you can take to help your case.

Determining Fault

When involved in a car accident, one thing is certain: insurance companies will be involved. Because insurance companies are very reluctant to pay out in these situations, it’s important to ensure that the injured parties can accurately determine fault and take necessary steps to begin making your case to prove fault. This is especially true in a state such as North Carolina (see “Contributory Negligence” below).

As a passenger injured in a car accident, you’ll want to use visual evidence to help your case. Take photos of the cars, look to videos from nearby stores or restaurants, or look to see if any red light cameras are nearby. Also, witness testimony can be critical to your claim. An attorney can help you encourage people to speak on your behalf, and ensure that their story supports your case.

Contributory Negligence

When you’re involved in a car accident in most states across the country, the driver that is at-fault will pay for the damage caused to both people and property. However, this is not the case in North Carolina. The Tar Heel State uses a system called “contributory negligence” to determine fault in a car accident.

Under contributory negligence, if a passenger is found to be partially at fault, such as grabbing the steering wheel or distracting the driver, they will not recover any compensation. For example, if the driver is speeding at 5 miles per hour over the speed limit and smashes into another car because you told the driver to look at your phone, you could potentially be barred from recovering from the driver. Although this is often viewed as unfair, situations like these occur frequently because of the strict car accident laws in North Carolina.

Statute of Limitations

In addition to contributory negligence laws in North Carolina, passengers injured in a car accident should also be aware of the statute of limitations laws in the state. Under the general statutes of North Carolina, a civil lawsuit for injuries or property damage must be filed within three years. This means when anyone is hurt in the accident—whether the driver, pedestrian or passenger—or their vehicle was damaged, their lawsuit must be filed against any potential defendant within three years. This Statute of limitations period is different for death of a passenger or for a person underage or under a disability. So it is important to consult a personal injury attorney immediately after a wreck.

Although this may seem like a long time, when dealing with insurance companies and looking at all evidence to prove your claim—not to mention any time spent in the hospital or recovering from injury—the time can go by quickly. It’s always a good idea to begin the process as soon as possible. Talk to an experienced lawyer right after the accident to ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines.

Being involved in any automotive accident can be a frightening experience. As a passenger, this experience can be even more cumbersome. However, by engaging a qualified and experienced car accident lawyer, you can guarantee that your rights will be extended and that you are fully compensated for your injuries.  

Truck Tire Blowouts - Who Is Responsible and Who Can Help - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

One of the most frightening experiences for a driver on the highway is witnessing a semi truck blowing out a tire. Aside from the sudden gun shot-like bang, the 40 ton truck may start to swerve across the road causing serious injury and damage to vehicles in its path.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, more than 78,000 crashes including 400 deaths occur each year due to flat tires or blowouts. If you find yourself included in these statistics, it’s important to understand who is responsible and who can help you. This article will help answer these questions.

What is a tire blowout?

A truck tire “blowout” typically refers to the instance when a tire suddenly bursts and rapidly loses pressure. As the pressure quickly decreases, the truck becomes off balance causing the driver to compensate and often lose control of the vehicle. While most people expect these blowouts to happen when there is too much pressure in the tire (think of overinflating a balloon, for example), it’s actually the opposite.

When a large tire such as those on a semi truck has low tire pressure, the rubber, steel and fabric that make up the tire begin to flex. Under the intense forces of highway driving, these components continue to flex until they can no longer withstand the stress and break, causing the tire to explode, or blowout. As you may expect, the stress put on an underinflated tire increases as the temperature on the highway intensifies. Accordingly, many safety experts refer to the summer months as “tire blowout season”.

 

What are common causes?

As the tire blowout rate on semi trucks continue to increase on highways across the country, knowing the common causes of these potentially catastrophic incidents is important. Below are 4 of the most common causes of blowouts drivers on the road face.

 

  • Inadequate Tire Inflation

As discussed above, tire blowouts typically occur when tires are underinflated. If trucks begin their journey with improper tire inflation, the chances of a blowout occurring increase significantly.

  • Roadway Hazards

Tires are made up of many parts, including rubber, steel and different fibers. While these materials can withstand a significant amount of stress, potholes, uneven pavement or other roadway debris can overload the stress on the tire, causing it to suddenly burst.

  • Maintenance Issues

Maintenance obligations on semi trucks are serious business. Trucking companies and the drivers themselves must ensure the truck is safe to drive and safe to be put on the road with thousands of other drivers. Not properly maintaining each tire on a semi truck puts drivers in danger each time they hit the road.

  • Overloaded Trailer

A loaded trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This extreme weight puts significant pressure on a semi trucks tires and brakes, often causing them to fail without any warning. When trailers are overloaded, the chances of tires not being able to withstand the load increases, as does the frequency of tire blowouts.

 

Who is liable?

As you can see, truck tire blowouts can occur from a number of different reasons. While some causes are from unpreventable accidents, others may result from negligence by either the truck driver or the trucking company. Often it can be difficult to discern exactly who is responsible for injury caused by a truck tire blowout. In these cases, it’s crucial to engage a qualified personal injury attorney to help assess the situation and determine the appropriate responsible parties.  

In addition to determining who is liable, understanding negligence laws as well as joint and several liability under North Carolina law is also crucial to being fully compensated for your injuries. North Carolina follows the legal principle of contributory negligence. Under this principle, the law prohibits injured victims from recovering any compensation if their actions contributed to the crash–even if the other driver was 99% at fault.

Tire blowouts from semi trucks continue to increase in frequency across the country. These can often be come of the most frightening and serious accidents experienced by drivers. If you or a loved one were injured from such an accident, engaging a qualified and experienced truck accident attorney is important to guarantee responsible parties are held accountable, and you or your loved ones are fully compensated.

Burden of Proof in Personal Injury Lawsuits - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

A burden of proof is an important concept to understand if you are filing a personal injury lawsuit. Read over the information below and speak to a North Carolina personal injury lawyer for more information.

What Is the Burden of Proof?

The burden of proof is the legal threshold that you must meet in order to recover for your claim. In a personal injury lawsuit, the burden of proof is proof by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that it must be more likely than not that things happened the way you said, that it is 51 percent or higher likelihood that things happened the way you say. This standard is much lower than that involved in criminal cases, proof beyond a reasonable doubt. It is also below another common burden of proof: by clear and convincing evidence.

What Do You Have to Prove?

What you have to prove depends on the type of case that you are pursuing:

Strict Liability

Strict liability is a term that applies to the standard in certain types of cases in which if the legal definition is met, the other party is held legally responsible. For example, North Carolina has a strict liability rule regarding dog bite claims. If a dangerous dog (one that is over six months old and running at large at night, previously killed or injured a person or had been previously declared by officials as a dangerous or potentially dangerous dog) bites or attacks a person, its owner is held strictly liable for the damages that result. As long as the definition is met, the dog owner is held responsible. There is no need to show that the owner of the dog was negligent or careless in any way.

Negligence

Most personal injury claims are based on the legal standard of negligence. This standard applies to other types of dog bite claims where the strict liability rule does not apply, claims regarding defective products, car accident cases and other types of personal injury claims. To successfully recover, you must establish the following elements by proof by a preponderance of the evidence:

  • Duty – You must show that the defendant had some legal duty. If he or she was a motorist who harmed you, this requires showing that he or she had a legal duty to drive in a safe manner. If the accident was a slip or fall, this would require showing he or she had the duty to keep the premises safe from dangers.
  • Breach of duty – You must then show how the defendant was careless and breached this legal duty, such as by breaking a driving rule or failing to keep the premises clean. This element is usually proven by comparing the conduct of the defendant with what a reasonable person would have done under the same or similar circumstances.
  • Causation – You must also show that there is a connection between the defendant’s breach of duty and the injuries that you sustained.
  • Damages – You must have suffered some type of harm as a result of the defendant’s breach, such as property damage, medical expenses or pain and suffering.

Importance of an Attorney

Establishing the burden of proof is your responsibility as a plaintiff in a personal injury case. If you are unable to meet the burden of proof, you will be unable to recover compensation from the at-fault party. It is important to have the help of an experienced Wilmington NC personal injury attorney who can help you meet this burden. He or she can discuss ways that you may be able to establish the burden of proof in your Wilmington NC personal injury claim.

How Can I Make the Person Who Injured Me in a Car Accident Pay_ - Robert armstrong personal injury attorney north carolina

North Carolina is an at-fault insurance state, meaning that the at-fault driver is responsible for the damages that result because of a car accident. His or her insurance company usually pays for these damages. To make the other party pay, you will have to provide evidence that he or she was at fault.

Contributory Negligence

It is important to understand that North Carolina uses a strict contributory negligence scheme. In most states if a driver is partially at fault, he or she can still recover for the damages he or she sustained. His or her degree of fault reduces the damages award. For example, if the driver is 40 percent at fault and sustained damages of $100,000, he or she can still recover an award for $60,000. In North Carolina, if a driver is in any way at fault – even just 1 percent – he or she cannot recover any damages. This means that you must prove the other driver was 100% at fault for the accident.

A Wilmington NC personal injury lawyer can help you gather evidence to prove the other driver’s negligence caused the accident.

Evidence to Establish Your Claim

You will need to prove the following four elements of your claim: 1) duty; 2) breach of duty; 3) causation; and 4) damages. The following types of evidence can help you establish these elements:

  • Police report – After an accident, it is important that you contact the authorities and make an accident report. A law enforcement officer will arrive at the scene, conduct a preliminary investigation and may give a citation to the party who violated traffic laws.
  • Medical records – Medical records can show that you were physically injured in the accident. Collect emergency or hospital admission records, X-rays and other imaging scans, prescriptions, doctors’ notes, clinical summaries and other medical records.
  • Photos – Photos can help establish how the accident happened. Take pictures of the accident scene, including skid marks on the roadway, damage to your vehicle, damage to the other vehicle and the location of the accident. You can also use photos to establish some of your damages, such as your injuries and the damage to your property.
  • Employment records – If the accident caused you to miss work, employment records can show how much income and benefits you lost. Collect check stubs, tax returns and other payroll information. You might also want to ask your employer to write a note that indicates how many days you missed from work because of the accident.
  • Witness testimony – Objective witnesses can explain what they saw. This can help establish that the driver ran a red light, was weaving around traffic or speeding. If possible, try to get contact information for any witnesses immediately after your accident. Your Wilmington NC personal injury lawyer can contact these witnesses and determine if they may be able to help your case.
  • Video footage – Surveillance from local businesses or traffic cams may also show how the accident happened.
  • Statutory references – Because you will have to prove that the other driver was negligent, you will have to pinpoint exactly what he or she did wrong. You can then compare that act with North Carolina laws. For example, the driver could have been impaired or distracted. He or she may have sped, failed to yield, ran a red light or followed too closely.
  • Personal testimony – You may also be expected to testify about how the accident was caused and the extent of your damages. You are the best person to explain the pain and suffering you suffered as a result of the accident.

Robert Armstrong can help you gather this information to help prove your claim and seek maximum compensation against an at-fault party.