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Angry DogSilvia Lugo, a recent North Carolina resident, now living in Elgin, IL, has been fined $2,200 by the City of Elgin and her two pitbulls have been declared “dangerous dogs.”

Lugo’s dogs became loose and chased a man lawfully walking his dog. That man happened to be Elgin mayor, Ed Schock. The animal control law in Elgin allows for a dog to be declared dangerous even if it doesn’t bite anyone. The law also allows owners to be fined $1,000 if a dog is declared dangerous, and another $100 if the owner cannot immediately provide proof of a current rabies vaccine. In addition to the $1,100 per dog fine that was issued to Lugo, she is also required to obtain a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance, register her dogs, muzzle the dogs when outside, and have them microchipped.

In North Carolina, a “dangerous dog” is one who has killed or severely injured a person without provocation, or has been declared a dangerous dog by the county. Once a dog in North Carolina has been declared a dangerous dog, the owner of the dog is strictly liable for any injuries to person or property inflicted by his dog. In Mecklenburg County, the owner of a dangerous dog may be required to contain the animal in a secure fence, purchase liability insurance, install warning signs on property, muzzle the dog when off property, and tattoo the dog to identify it as dangerous.

Our North Carolina dog bite attorneys are available to provide a free consultation for victims of dog bites.

Speeding Semi TruckThe Charlotte, North Carolina truck accident lawyers at Auger & Auger are hopeful that Operation Road Watch yields successful results.

NC Highway Patrol (NCHP) announced that starting today, August 24, 2010, and running through August 26, 2010, “Operation Road Watch”will be in effect on I77 in Mecklenburg County. Troopers will be conducting safety inspections on commercial vehicles and will be on the lookout for motorists who are following too closely, speeding, and driving aggressively.

Last year, NCHP investigated 5,577 out of 8,641 wrecks that involved tractor trailer trucks. Of the crashes they investigated, there were nearly 100 deaths, and almost 2,000 injuries. Officials are hopeful that their crackdown on safety will reduce the number of accidents between cars and trucks.

A Charlotte, North Carolina car accident claimed the life of an innocent pedestrian Sunday morning, and a second pedestrian is clinging to life at Carolinas Medical Center. The Charlotte Observer reports that 21 year old Leah Anne Watson was driving down Craig Avenue when she turned her attention from the road in order to reach for a cigarette. In doing so, she crossed the center double yellow line and crossed two lanes of oncoming traffic before jumping the curb, striking two pedestrians. Watson, who had previously been arrested but not convicted of compumption of alcohol under the age of 19, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless driving, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, no liability insurance, and driving with a revoked registration.

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) estimates that as many as 30% of all reported car accidents are due to driver distraction. A study conducted by HSRC found one third of subjects used a cellphone while driving, and 40% engaged in reading or writing. The severity of distracted driving in this country has lead the US Department of Transportation to hold a Distracted Driving Summit and launch a government website, www.distraction.gov, in order to bring awareness to this growing problem. The second national Distracted Driving Summit is scheduled for September 21, 2010.

If you or a family member has been seriously injured due to a distracted driver, call Auger & Auger. Your consultation is free.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers want to remind you to exercise extra caution on the roadways as Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will begin classes on Wednesday, August 25. School buses are already navigating Charlotte’s roads learning their routes.

Under North Carolina law, motorists are required to stop when a school bus is operating flashing red lights or has its mechanical stop sign displayed. The only time a vehicle is not required by law to stop is when a vehicle is traveling in the opposite direction of the school bus and is on a divided highway made up of four or more lanes that are separated by either a median or center turn lane.

Traffic Team 9 of WSOCTV has identified the heaviest traffic spots as Old Statesville Road between Huntersville and Harris Boulevard, Park Road between Johnson Road and Sharon Road West, Monroe Road between Village Lake Drive and Rama Road, and Pineville-Matthews Road between Providence Road and Alexander Road.

Angry DogOur Charlotte, North Carolina dog bite attorneys want to remind you of the dangers of contracting the rabies virus, whether by being bitten by a wild animal or even your own dog or cat. It is important to keep your pets rabies vaccination current, and never try to pick up a wild animal, no matter how adorable it might be.

Brunswick County, NC just reported its third confirmed case of rabies for this year. Animal Control reports that a kitten in Calabash was attacked and killed by a rabid raccoon. Three other cats that had come into contact with that same raccoon had to be euthanized as they lacked valid rabies vaccines. A dog in Calabash was also euthanized the same day after being bitten by a rabid fox which has not yet been caught.

Signs & Symptoms of Rabies

Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous symptoms, and, without prompt treatment, is always fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the initial symptoms are much like flu symptoms-irritability, headache, fever, and fatigue. As the disease progresses and the brain begins to swell, more severe symptoms develop, including delirium, seizures, paralysis, and, ultimately, death.

Treatment

Immediately after being bitten by any animal, it is important to thoroughly cleanse the area with soap and water. After the bite has been cleansed, seek medical attention. Your medical provider, in conjunction with your local animal control or health department, will determine whether you will need a rabies vaccination.

Contrary to popular belief, postexposure rabies treatment does not consist of a series of injections into the stomach. Rather, one injection of immune globulin is administered in the arm, followed by four doses of the rabies vaccine, in the arm, over a two week period.

Seatbelt SkeletonAs Charlotte, North Carolina car accident attorneys, we want to remind you that failure to wear a seatbelt is not only a traffic violation in the State of North Carolina, but can result in serious injury or death.

South Carolina Highway Patrol reports that four people were killed in a car accident last night when their Saturn went through a red light and was hit by a Volkswagen. Two of the four Saturn passengers were ejected from the vehicle. None of the Saturn passengers was wearing a seatbelt.

In a recent North Carolina car accident, another four people were killed when they failed to wear their seatbelts. In the one car collision in Wake County, the driver overcorrected after veering off the right shoulder, resulting in the car entereing the left shoulder where it overturned and hit a tree. North Carolina State Highway Patrol reported that the driver and his 3 passengers were all ejected from the vehicle.

Ironically, in spite of these recent deaths attributable to the failure to wear seatbelts, the North Carolina Department of Transportation recently released a report finding that seatbelt use actually rose to 89.7 percent in North Carolina in 2009, and that North Carolina ranks above the national rate of 83%.

North Carolina law and South Carolina law require all occupants of a motor vehicle to wear seatbelts.

To discuss your case with an experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyer, call Auger & Auger. Your consultation is free.

A recent North Carolina car accident that happened during a high speed police chase has left a grandmother and an 11 year old child dead. North Carolina State Highway Patrol acknowledges that Trooper J.D. Goodnight had initially been traveling at a speed of 120mph, and was traveling at 95mph at the time of impact, without his siren blaring. Notwithstanding this admission, an investigation by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol Collision Reconstruction Unit says that Sandra Allmond, the grandmother that was killed, was the one at fault for causing the accident.

A private engineering firm prepared a second report for use by the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in anticipation of legal action by families of the decedents, however, this report will not be made public.

Back in May, our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident attorneys reported in our blog that just three days before this tragic crash, a Raleigh television station released a report indicating that North Carolina Highway Patrol Troopers crashed their vehicles at a rate of 7 wrecks per week during the 2009 calendar year, averaging one crash per day.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, Charlotte has the highest number of bicycle versus car accidents, accounting for nearly 12% of all bike crashes in North Carolina. Statistics show that 61% of bicycle accidents in North Carolina occur on roadways with a speed limit of 35mph or less, 63% occur on two-lane roads, and 61% occur on local streets.

The Charlotte Observer questions whether cyclists and motorists can share the road, and illustrates the ongoing conflict between riders and drivers. Drivers complain that they are slowed by cyclists they cannot safely pass or are riding side-by-side, and that cyclists do not obey traffic laws. Cyclists argue that motorists pass too close to their bikes and cut them off.

So who is right?

Under North Carolina law, a bicycle is considered a vehicle. This means that the rider of bike may ride anywhere except an Interstate Highway or other highway, and while the cyclist should ride as far to the right as possible, the cyclists may ride in the traffic lane if the far right is unsafe to ride on due to poor road condition, or if the cyclist can maintain the same speed as others in the road. It also means that cyclists are required to obey the same rules of the road as a car or truck.

For more information, see Bicyclists’ Rights and Responsibilities, or call an experienced bicycle accident attorney for a free consultation.

On July 24, 17 year old Charlotte college student Laura Fortenberry was killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver. The alleged drunk driver, Howard Clay Pasour, is a habitual drunk driver. In addition to his 2 prior DWI convictions, he has multiple prior convictions for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

What is Leandra’s Law?

Signed into law in New York State on November 18, 2009, Leandra’s Law is also known as The Child Passenger Protection Act. Effective December 18, 2009, this New York law makes it a felony to drive while intoxicated (.08 Blood Alcohol Content or more) with a child passenger under the age of 16 in the vehicle, and is punishable by up to 4 years in prison. The prison term goes up to 15 years if the child passenger is seriously injured, and 25 years if the child passenger is killed. The law further requires that the offending driver be reported to the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.

So far, the law seems to be working. The New York Daily News recently reported that in the 7 months since the enactment of this portion of Leandra’s Law, 248 drivers have been arrested on felony charges for driving while impaired with a child under the age of 16 in the car.

So, if North Carolina had this law, would it have prevented the needless death of this Charlotte college student?

Yes! The second part of Leandra’s Law in New York, which goes into effect on August 15, 2010, requires that anyone convicted of drunk driving, including first offense, regardless whether misdemeanor or felony conviction, to install an ignition interlock breathalyzer device that will not allow the car to start if it detects a threshold level of alcohol on the driver’s breath. It further provides a “rolling test” within 5 to 15 minutes in order to prevent a sober friend from doing the test and then the drunk driver take the wheel. Some units will even be equipped with cameras that photograph the driver. The breathalyzer is in place for a minimum of 6 months. Meaning, on a repeat offender such as Pasour, it would likely be in place for a prolonged period of time. Currently, a judge in North Carolina can choose to seize the vehicle of a habitual drunk driver, but obviously that did not happen in this case. Had Pasour’s vehicle been equipped with an ignition interlock breathalyzer device, he would have been prevented from driving drunk and this tragedy would have been avoided.

If North Carolina had a law in place such as New York’s Child Passenger Protection Act, Laura Fortenberry might still be alive today.

The car accident attorneys at Auger & Auger are licensed to practice law in both North Carolina as well as New York.

SeatbeltOur Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers want to remind you to buck up. An annual survey conducted by the Governor’s Highway Safety Program found that seatbelt usage in North Carolina rose slightly in 2009 from 89.5 to 89.7 percent. The national rate is 83 percent.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, 431 of the 1,012 traffic related fatalities in 2009, nearly 43%, involved unrestrained drivers. North Carolina law requires that all occupants of a motor vehicle wear seatbelts.

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