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On Friday, September 28, 2012, Garrett Prince entered a guilty plea to felony death by motor vehicle and DWI. 16 years old at the time of the accident, Garrett was a student at Millbrook High School in Raleigh when he was reported to be driving while intoxicated, and was involved in an automobile accident which killed one of his classmates. Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers first wrote about this tragic accident on January 11, 2012, which resulted in the death of Elizabeth Molloy, 17.

According to a medical examiner’s report, Prince had a blood alcohol content of .29 at the time of the accident. This is nearly four times the alcohol level at which drivers are considered to be drunk under North Carolina law, which is .08. Molloy was also allegedly legally intoxicated at the time of the accident.

The investigation revealed that the driver, Garrett Prince, was traveling 75 miles per hour or more through a residential area. After reportedly losing lost control of a 1999 Jeep SUV on Rainwater Road in Raleigh, he struck a tree. The accident happened on January 7, 2012 at approximately 2:00 a.m. According to news reports, neither the driver nor passenger were wearing seat belts at the time of impact and were ejected from the vehicle. Prince was injured but survived and Molloy was pronounced dead at the scene.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Alcohol Law Enforcement Division charged Anthony Du Juan Geter, 21, with four counts of aid and abet after allegedly buying four minors spirituous liquor on the night of the accident, including Prince and Molloy. Another Raleigh teenager was charged with two counts of aid and abet for allegedly hosting an underage party that Prince and Molloy attended.

According to the Wake County District Attorney’s office, Prince was immediately placed in jail to serve a six month term. Upon release, he will face five years of probation, during which time he will have to return to jail from December 26 to January 8 of every year.

Other provisions of his probation are that he cannot drive for the first four years and he must abstain from drinking any type of alcoholic beverage. Additionally, he has to serve 300 hours of community service, which includes speaking to high school groups and driver’s education classes about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Sadly, neither individual involved was reportedly wearing a seat belt. Our North Carolina laws require all passengers of moving motor vehicles to be wearing seat belts and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are over 13,000 lives saved by their use.

If you, a family member or someone you know has been seriously injured or lost a loved one because of someone who was driving drunk, it is recommended that you seek the advice of an experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyer. Remember, under North Carolina law, any contributory negligence on the part of the injured party can result in them being unable to recover damages.

At Auger & Auger, we are experienced in handling all types of serious personal injury and fatality cases, including those caused by drunk drivers. We have nearly 40 years of collective experience negotiating with insurance companies and facing them in the courtroom to help maximize your recovery.

We have three offices in Charlotte and an office in Greensboro and Raleigh, for your convenience.

Contact us for your own confidential meeting to discuss your particular case and the options available to you. We handle cases on a contingency basis. This means that you will only owe us a fee, if we get you a settlement.

Other Resources:

Raleigh Teen Pleads Guilty In Fatal Crash, WTVD-ABC Local News, September 28, 2012

Report: Driver In Student Death At 3 Times Legal Limit, WTVD-ABC Local News, January 31, 2012

Related Blog Posts:

One Teen Dead, One Teen In Jail Following Raleigh Drunk Driving Accident
, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, January 11, 2012

Boyfriend’s Alcohol Related Accident in Cumberland County Seriously Injures Passenger Girlfriend
, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 19, 2012

Construction Workers

With a rash of tragic accidents resulting in serious injuries or fatalities to those people who have to work near or on North Carolina roadways, there are plans to broaden the state’s Move-Over Law.

Originally, the North Carolina Move-Over Law was passed some 11 years ago to help protect police, firefighters, ambulances and other vehicles that exhibited red or blue colored flashing lights at an accident scene. Motorists were required to move over into another lane, if it could be done safely, to provide extra room and safety for emergency personnel who were near the lanes of speeding vehicles.

The new broadened version of the Move-Over Law, which was adopted in June 2012 by the General Assembly, became effective on Monday, October 1, 2012. The expanded version now requires motorists to change lanes and move over, as they approach road maintenance or utility crews, tow trucks and other vehicles that exhibit flashing amber lights.

Under the law, motorists are required to move over a minimum of one lane, when there are two or more lanes going in each direction. Obviously this means moving over at least one lane, when it can be done safely. When there is only one lane of traffic going in each direction, motorists are required to slow down and be prepared to stop. The fine for violating the Move-Over Law is $250, plus court costs.

There are 47 states which have some type of law requiring motorists to slow down and move over, if it is possible to do so safely, to avoid police cars, ambulances, fire trucks and other emergency response units stopped near or on the roadways.

Unfortunately, motorists continue to have accidents with police officers, construction crew workers, utility workers, surveyors, tow truck drivers and other emergency responders, seriously injuring them or causing the loss of lives.

In August 2012, there were two North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) workers killed after a vehicle lost control and went into a construction area near Murphy. Another similar accident in May 2012, left two people dead and another seriously injured in Yancey County. A North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper was seriously injured in September 2012, when his vehicle was struck from behind while he was performing a routine traffic stop in Madison County. Finally, another NCDOT worker was killed on October 2, 2012 when he was struck by a vehicle as he was trying to remove a tree that had fallen across a roadway in Watauga County.

If you or someone you know have suffered serious injuries or lost loved ones because of a motorist who has violated the North Carolina Move-Over Law, it is important for you to contact an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney.

Auger & Auger is a Charlotte, North Carolina law firm experienced in handling serious personal injury cases and fatalities. Its attorneys have almost 40 years of collective experience in personal injury cases, including automobile accidents and wrongful death cases.

In addition to having three offices in Charlotte, we have offices in Greensboro and Raleigh, for your convenience.

Contact us for a no obligation consultation to discuss your case. Our firm handles cases on a contingency basis, which means you owe us no fee unless we get you a recovery.

Other Resources:

NCDOT Road Rules

‘Move Over’ Law Expands in North Carolina, Asheville Citzien-Times.com, Article by Gary D. Robertson, October 1, 2012

Related Blog Posts:

One Worker Killed, Another Injured At Construction Job in Greenville County
, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 18, 2012

AAA Carolinas Study Reveals Safest and Most Dangerous Counties For Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 16, 2012

Deer Crossing Sign

With the colder weather and the changing of the leaves, fall has arrived. The scenery in North Carolina is magnificent and many people visit the area this time of the year. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has issued a warning to all motorists about the dangers of deer on or near the roadways during the fall months. Our North Carolina car accident attorneys have seen what happens when a vehicle collides with a deer or crashes trying to avoid striking one.

The NCDOT data reveals that there have been over 19,500 wildlife-related accidents in each of the last three years, with 90% of those involving deer. During those three years, nearly 3,500 people were injured in these accidents. There were 17 fatalities and a whopping $139.1 million in property damage to the vehicles involved.

Deer-related accidents occur throughout the year but are more prevalent during the last three months of the year, when mating season and hunting season is causing increased movement. Kevin Lacy, State Traffic Engineer, said that during these months deer can be seen in more densely populated areas than normal. He also says that it is better to go ahead and hit a deer if you cannot safely avoid it, rather than losing control and causing more serious injuries and damages to yourself and others. The most common time period for crashes is between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., when there is increased deer movement and decreased visibility makes them difficult to see on or near the roads.

From 2009 through 2011, there were over 61,000 wildlife-related accidents reported throughout the state. The counties reporting the most collisions were Wake (1,105), Duplin (646), Guilford (642), Pitt (623) and Johnston (535). Wake County has led all counties in wildlife-related accidents for the last 11 years.

Some warnings to motorists by the NCDOT are:

  • Be extra cautious during the late afternoon and evening hours, especially in posted deer crossing areas;
  • Most deer-related accidents happen near bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, streams and ditches;
  • Drive with high beam headlights on and watch for reflections from eyes;
  • Since deer are prone to travel in groups, if you see one there are likely others nearby;
  • If you see a deer, give your car horn one long blast to warn them;
  • Never swerve to avoid a collision with a deer. This could result in loss of control, flipping the car or going into oncoming traffic, resulting in a far worse accident involving more serious injuries and property damage.

These warnings are also for the many who ride motorcycles on our North Carolina roadways. Hitting a deer while riding a motorcycle at highway speeds can result in devastating personal injuries or fatalities.

If you have been involved in a collision with someone attempting to avoid striking wildlife on our roadways, you need to talk to an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney.

Auger & Auger is a Charlotte based law firm that is experienced in handling serious personal injury cases. Our attorneys have almost 40 years of collective experience helping clients throughout the state and are highly respected by the judiciary and their peers.

For your convenience, we have five offices. Three are located in Charlotte and we have an office in Raleigh and Greensboro.

Contact us for a no obligation consultation. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis. You will never owe us a fee unless we recover for you.

Other Resources:

NCDOT Reminds Motorists to Keep Alert for Deer During Fall Months, October 4, 2012

Related Blog Posts:

AAA Carolinas Study Reveals Safest and Most Dangerous Counties For Accidents, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 16, 2012

Caution! Curves Ahead, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer blog, September 28, 2012

Tractor on Hill

On September 19, at approximately 5:00 a.m., rescue workers were called to Duke Energy’s Marshall Steam Station in Catawba County, northwest of Charlotte. When they arrived, they discovered that a worker operating a huge bulldozer had fallen some 20 feet into a hole. Our North Carolina workers’ compensation attorneys know about the dangers lurking on the job where heavy machinery is involved and have seen the serious injuries and fatalities that have been caused by them.

According to Duke Energy, the worker was operating a Caterpillar D11 bulldozer moving coal from a pile onto a conveyer, when it fell into a 20 foot hole with the employee trapped inside. The Caterpillar D11 is one of the largest bulldozers made, weighing roughly 230,000 pounds or 115 tons. It was initially thought that the pile of coal had collapsed on top of the overturned dozer. Fortunately, this did not prove to be true.

While trapped inside the bulldozer, the employee was able to maintain radio communications with other co-workers, who were alerted to the accident and contacted the rescue teams. Duke Energy said that employees are trained to stay with their equipment and maintain constant radio communications in emergency situations. Emergency personnel were able to lower a ladder down into the hole so the worker could escape with only minor injuries.

Reportedly, Duke intends to conduct its own investigation to determine the cause of the accident and what needs to be done to prevent other accidents. Duke’s Corporate Communications Manager, Erin Colbert, said “One of the things the incident brings to light, is that when utilities are generating electricity, some of those jobs carry with them an inherent level of risk. Employees receive substantial safety training to insure the safety of themselves and those around them.”

The Marshall Steam Station is one of the largest coal facilities owned by Duke Energy, providing electricity to two million homes through its four-unit, coal-fired generating facility.

There is always a certain degree of risk involved when operating heavy equipment and accidents are bound to happen, even with the most skilled operators. The cause of this potentially tragic accident is still undetermined but this employee is entitled to his statutory workers’ compensation benefits if he suffered injuries in the accident. As long as an employee is performing his duties on the job, he is entitled to benefits even if his own negligence caused the accident. Benefits include weekly compensation benefits while unable to work, medical care and possibly a lump sum settlement based upon the extent and duration of the injuries sustained.

In the event that you or someone you know has suffered an injury on the job, it is important that you seek the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.

Auger & Auger is a Charlotte personal injury law firm that is experienced in handling a wide variety of personal injury matters, including workers’ compensation cases. The attorneys at our firm have nearly 40 years of collective experience.

In addition to having three offices in Charlotte, we have offices in Raleigh and Greensboro for your convenience.

Contact us to schedule your confidential, no obligation consultation about your particular case and what options are available to you. We handle cases on a contingency basis, so that you will never owe us a fee unless we make a recovery for you.

Other Resources:

Worker Injured After Bulldozer Falls Into Hole At Duke Energy Plant, WBTV.com, September 19, 2012

Related Blog Posts:

NCDOL Warns Employers About Dangers of Extreme Heat For Employees, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 4, 2012


One Worker Killed, Another Injured At Construction Job in Greenville County
, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, June 18, 2012

Middle School Principal Entitled To Workers’ Comp Benefits After Being Shot, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, April 12, 2012

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