Accidents happen so fast in Wilmington. And the aftermath is not much better. There can be so much confusion with both drivers pointing accusing fingers at each other. Sorting out who is at fault in a Wilmington accident can seem like a complicated matter.
Despite the complications, Wilmington accident lawyers still find a way to determine who is at fault. So how does a Wilmington accident lawyer determine fault? We’ll get to that, but first, what are the things that could cause an accident? And what can you do after an accident?
Common Causes of an Accident in Wilmington
An accident generally happens when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, a person, or an object. It can include multiple vehicles and multiple people. The more vehicles are involved, the more difficult it is to figure out who is at fault.
Although accidents can be caused by extenuating factors like sudden snow storms or earthquakes, other causes are a little more common. Some of these common causes of accidents in Wilmington include:
- Driving above the speed limit
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of illegal drugs
- Aggressive driving
- Driving distractedly, either as a result of texting, eating, making a phone call, etc.
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Manufacturing defects in the vehicle
What to do After an Accident in Wilmington
No one wants to experience an accident. Nonetheless, it can happen even if you are driving as safely as possible. Should an accident occur, the first you want to do is stop and access the situation. It’s best to remain exactly where you are if moving is hazardous to yourself or others. Doing this would also help to preserve evidence.
However, if remaining where you are, poses a danger to others, then you can move to a safe location that is close to the accident scene. The next thing to do is to call the police. It doesn’t matter if anyone is hurt or not; you are required by law to notify the police after an accident. Also, call an ambulance if anyone is injured.
While waiting for the police to arrive, you can take pictures of the accident from as many angles as possible. These pictures will serve as evidence of the accident. Before leaving the scene, you should also exchange contact information with the other party or parties involved.
How to Determine who was at Fault
A Wilmington accident lawyer can determine fault by investigating the accident and interviewing any witnesses. The lawyer would also examine pictures, and any other available evidence to deconstruct the accident scene and follow the chain of events that led to the accident.
The location of the damage on the vehicle may also help to determine fault. If the accident was a rear-end collision, the law is generally in favor of the driver in front. This presumption of fault remains even where the front driver stopped in traffic, and the gap was minuscule. However, if the front driver failed to maintain brake lights, he may share in the fault.
Also, if the damage is on the passenger side of the vehicle, the presumption of fault is on the other driver. This happens when a vehicle that’s turning left at an intersection hits another car going straight. The police report of the accident can also be useful in determining fault.
An accident can be very overwhelming, during, and after. The effect can be devastating as well, not only on the victims but on their families too. Determining fault in the event of a Wilmington accident becomes important as it determines who is entitled to be paid damages. A Wilmington accident lawyer can not only help to determine fault but also help to determine the legal options.
Rollover crashes – in which a vehicle rolls over onto its side or its roof – are pretty rare (about 2 percent of all crashes), but they’re also more serious, “violent’ even, making up roughly 35 percent of all traffic accident fatalities, according to the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration.
In 2010 alone, more than 7,600 people died in rollover crashes, and sadly, the majority of them – 69 percent – were not wearing a seat belt. Roughly 85 percent of rollover crashes are single-vehicle accidents.
It can happen in any vehicle, but SUVs, pickups and vans are more susceptible to rollover crashes because they are taller, more narrow and have higher centers of gravity.
The injuries are usually more serious, including:
- Head injuries – Concussions, skull fractures, scalp wounds
- Traumatic brain injuries – Brain dysfunction caused by an outside force, usually a violent blow to the head.
- Neck injuries – Whiplash, strains, disk injuries, etc.
- Spinal cord injuries – These injuries can cause problems with mobility or even permanent paralysis.
- Internal bleeding – a loss of blood from a blood vessel that collects inside the body.
- Broken bones and a lot of cuts and bruises
Common causes of rollover crashes in North Carolina include:
Speed: About 40 percent of fatal rollover crashes are caused by excessive speed.
- Alcohol: Nearly half of all fatal rollover crashes involve alcohol.
- Rural roads: They tend to be undivided and have no barriers to prevent a vehicle from rolling over.
There are two types of rollover crashes:
- Tripped: When a vehicle leaves the roadway and slides sideways, digging its tires into soft soil or striking an object such as a curb or guardrail. The high “tripping” force applied to the tires in these situations is what causes the vehicle to roll over.
- Untripped: These are much less common (about 5 percent of rollover crashes), happening mostly to top-heavy vehicles. Untripped rollovers usually occur during high-speed collision avoidance maneuvers.
If you’ve been injured in a rollover accident in North Carolina, you need an experienced personal injury to weave through the complex issues surrounding your case. Don’t sign anything or speak to insurance adjusters without calling Robert Louis Armstrong. Contact his office today for a consultation.
If you’ve ever been in a car accident, you know that the adrenaline starts flowing immediately. In the moments following the crash, you might not feel any pain at all. But when the dust settles and the adrenaline fades, injuries — sometimes serious ones — can creep up.
One common injury that can show itself days – even weeks – after a crash is a back injury. Back pain is often reported after rear-end crashes and side-impact collisions. These injuries can come even if the accident was minor: you don’t have to have been hit by a Mack truck or a vehicle going fast in order to injure your back.
Common car accident-related back injuries include:
- Sprains – This is the stretching or tearing of ligaments in your back
- Strains – This is an injury to your back muscle or tendon
- Herniated discs – This is a problem with one of the rubbery cushions that are placed between the individual vertebrae that stack to make up your spine.
- Damage to the vertebrae
- Sciatica – This is back pain caused by the sciatic nerve. When pressed or injured, it can cause radiating pain and/or tingling in your lower back, hips, buttocks and legs.
- Thoracic spine injuries – These are often considered the most serious kinds of back injuries, as the thoracic spine connects to your ribs and chest region.
- Lumbar spine injuries – This is the area of the back that stabilizes your spine, so injuries to this region can often be extremely painful.
What do you do if you feel back pain after an accident?
If you start to develop back pain after a crash, take these steps:
- Call your doctor immediately. Your back health depends on it.
- Schedule a consultation with a qualified, experienced personal injury attorney.
- Do not sign anything from your insurance company, or the other party’s insurance company, before speaking with an attorney.
- Consider a visit to a chiropractor for further evaluation.
With such a long list of potential back injuries after a crash, there’s no reason to wait to see a doctor and call an experienced personal injury attorney. Robert Louis Armstrong has decades of experience in helping clients to recover from car accidents while getting the compensation they deserve. Call his office today for a consultation.
Drivers who have the minimum auto insurance coverage will be in quite the bind if they are in a serious collision with an underinsured driver. The sad truth about driving is we are all at the mercy of others. You can do everything right behind the wheel and still end up in an accident with an irresponsible driver who carries insufficient auto insurance coverage. Let’s take a quick look at the merits of adding underinsured motorist coverage to your auto insurance policy.
Minimum Coverage Necessitates that you purchase Underinsured Motorist Coverage
It is awfully tempting to carry the lowest possible coverage levels on your auto insurance policy to minimize your monthly payment. However, if your coverage limits are low and you get into an accident with a driver with insufficient auto insurance, you will be on the hook for related costs in excess of your coverage. This is precisely why underinsured motorist coverage is an absolute must for those who carry the minimum auto coverage limits. It is very inexpensive to buy and can potentially pay you back big time.
Fail to carry underinsured motorist coverage and a significant accident just might ruin your finances even though you were not at fault for the collision. Think of this additional form of insurance as a policy that makes life a little bit more fair. Pay a little bit more for underinsured motorist coverage and you won’t have to endure the injustice of paying for another driver’s mistake.
Underinsured Drivers are a Fact of Life
We are all surrounded by underinsured and uninsured drivers on the roads and highways. Though a harsh accident with an underinsured driver is unlikely, it has the potential to happen. If you are the unlucky driver struck by a driver with insufficient auto insurance and you have the bare minimum insurance, you might end up with more medical/property expenses than covered by insurance.
So don’t rule out the possibility of a financially devastating collision with an underinsured driver. You really can do everything right while operating your vehicle and still end up paying through the nose after an accident with an uninsured driver. Underinsured motorist coverage is your safety net.
Request Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you are like most drivers, you do not know if your auto insurance policy has underinsured motorist coverage. Do not assume you have this coverage. If you have fairly low coverage levels or the lowest possible, you absolutely need this additional coverage to protect your hard-earned savings in the event of an accident with a driver lacking the proper insurance. Pick up the phone and contact your auto insurance agent today. Find out if you have underinsured motorist coverage. If your policy does not have this coverage, give serious consideration to adding it today, especially if your current coverage is the bare minimum.
On the Fence? Consider the Extent of Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Most drivers are surprised to learn the extent of underinsured motorist insurance coverage. This affordable coverage protects you, the driver, as well as family members and additional passengers riding in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Coverage applies to medical costs related to the accident along with loss of income for you as well as passengers up to the policy limits.
Underinsured motorist coverage even protects you outside of your vehicle. Use your mind’s eye to envision a situation in which you are riding in a buddy’s vehicle and are struck by an undersinsured driver. Your underinsured motorist coverage will kick in so you don’t have to worry about financial ruin after an accident you did not cause.
Collisions with government vehicles are different than those with vehicles driven by everyday citizens operating their own privately-owned automobiles. If you are involved in an accident with a government vehicle, the most important thing you can do is lean on a savvy personal injury attorney to pursue compensation on your behalf. Otherwise, you will likely find it challenging to obtain the compensation you need and deserve after this unfortunate accident.
Why Collisions With Government Vehicles are Different
Collisions with government vehicles are unique in that they sometimes carry extra burdens of proof. Furthermore, the statue of limitations might be shorter in this type of accident. The bottom line is an auto accident with a government vehicle really does change the rules of the personal injury case. You cannot simply work with the insurance company to sort this matter out; the government is now involved. In some cases, the law provides immunity to specific governmental positions. In other words, the individual responsible for the collision along with ensuing injuries and property damage might have legal protection against recourse.
The Federal Tort Claims Act
In general, the more important the government vehicle is, the more complex the claim will become. Such accidents involving government vehicles are grouped under the Federal Tort Claims Act. This Act essentially means private citizens can sue the United States government if it would be possible to pursue that alleged negligent driver if he or she were a private person not operating a government-owned automobile. The Act mandates the plaintiffs prove the government employee’s negligence. This is not an impossible feat, especially if the accident can be documented by eyewitnesses, video footage, a police report or other evidence.
The First Step to Obtaining Compensation: File the Claim
Our Wilmington legal team is here to help in the aftermath of your auto accident. We will help you file a claim as quickly as possible after your accident with the government vehicle. There is an abbreviated statute of limitations for a collision involving a government vehicle. If you do not file the suit within this time window, you will not be able to pursue justice in a court of law. Let our attorneys file your case as soon as possible to preserve the claim as well as your legal rights. This formal written claim includes the date of the accident, the amount sought in damages based on repair and medical bills, personal contact information and a personal statement detailing the car accident along with evidence and supporting facts.
Do not be Intimidated by the Government
Too many people involved in auto accidents with government vehicles assume legal recourse will prove either uber-challenging, egregiously costly or time-consuming. Though it is certainly a bit more difficult to obtain compensation after an auto accident with a government vehicle, it is possible. Let our Wilmington auto accident attorneys handle your case so you don’t have to worry about the nuances of this type of collision. In fact, obtaining compensation might be easier than expected if the vehicle involved in the accident is a non-emergency automobile.
Our Wilmington, NC personal injury team has handled dozens of such cases involving emergency vehicles. Put your faith in us and we will fiercely advocate on your behalf even if the government puts up a lengthy fight. Contact us today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.