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When you sue someone for a personal injury, you know that you may be entitled to compensation. What begins to be confusing is exactly what type of compensation you are entitled to. If you believe what you see on television, you assume that you are entitled to hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation for your injuries. Don’t believe what you see on TV. In truth, you may be entitled to economic and non-economic damages and, in extreme cases, punitive damages. Here’s a brief overview of the three.

Economic

Economic damages are those for the money you lose. In other words, you will receive compensation for past and future medical care, the loss of earning, loss of the use of your property, the money you had to pay to have property repaired or replaced, the loss of employment opportunities, and even reimbursement for domestic services that were necessary.

Non-Economic

Non-economic damages are for non-monetary losses. These may include pain, inconvenience, emotional distress, loss of companionship and loss of enjoyment of life.

Punitive

Punitive damages are those that are awarded to a plaintiff as a way to punish the defendant. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter the defendant from intentionally or recklessly performing the same behavior that led to the lawsuit. Punitive damages are not as common as many people believe.

If you are hurt in an accident, seeking the advice of an attorney is your best option. An attorney experienced in personal injury law can review the details of your injury and advise you as to what compensation you may be entitled to. An attorney can also tell you if you have a case that is worth taking to court.

When you need a personal injury lawyer in North Carolina, reach out to our team. We are here for you and will provide you with a free initial consultation. Call our office today to speak with a member of our team. We are here to help you put the pieces of your life back together. Call us now or browse our website for more information about our firm.

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Dale StewartAbout one in three fatal crashes are caused by excessive speeding.  According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) it is the third leading contributing factor to traffic crashes.

In Charlotte, speed seems to be the factor in the death of a 24-year-old driver.  Reports indicate that Yoan Alberto Hernadez Tosca was driving a Honda Accord through traffic at a high rate of speed on Sunday afternoon when the driver over-corrected and lost control of the vehicle.  The car slid off the road at the intersection of Winterhaven and Albemarle where it stopped after striking a tree.  Both the driver and the passenger were trapped inside the vehicle.

Around twelve firefighters worked to extract the driver and his passenger, 30-year-old Rangel Garcia Cabrera from the vehicle.  Both were transported to the hospital with life threatening injuries.  The driver was pronounced dead at the hospital.

It’s unclear if alcohol was a factor in the one vehicle accident.  It is also unclear as to why the driver was traveling at such a high rate of speed while weaving in and out of traffic.  Reckless driving not only puts the lives of the vehicle’s occupants in danger, it also puts in danger all of the other drivers and passengers on the road in the vicinity of the reckless driver.

Statistics show that young male drivers are more likely to speed and be involved in crashes than any other gender or age group.  In 2007, the NHTSA found that 39 percent of male drivers, 15-20 years-of-age, were speeding when involved in a fatal accident.

Though this accident was tragic, it could have been a lot worse.  Other vehicles could have been involved and other injuries or deaths could have resulted from one driver’s careless decision to drive recklessly.

If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault you are entitled to be compensated for medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages that are a result of your injuries. Even as passengers in one vehicle accidents, you are entitled to be reimbursed for losses suffered as a result of another driver’s negligence.  We at Auger & Auger understand how accidents disrupt lives.  If you were involved in an accident let us help you build a strong claim against the parties responsible.  Call us today.  We will give you an honest evaluation of your claim.

Brad Hole Via Wikimedia Creative CommonsA 25-year-old man died from injuries he sustained as a result of a rear-end collision in Charlotte-Mecklenburg on Sunday.

Barnette White Jr., was a passenger in a 1999 Toyota 4Runner when a 1998 Saturn crashed into the back of the vehicle ejecting White.  The driver of the Saturn, 28-year-old Daniel Lewis Roberts was charged with DWI following the accident.  Roberts was seriously injured as a result of the accident.

The accident report suggests that the 4Runner was making a right turn onto Independence Boulevard when the Saturn hit it in the rear.  The 4Runner slid out of control and turned over on its top.  The Saturn also lost control and flipped over and hit a telephone pole.

The driver of the Toyota, and another front seat passenger were taken to Carolinas Medical Center with minor injuries.

Roberts will be charged with death by a vehicle, reckless driving, and expired registration plate in addition to the DWI charges once released from the hospital.

Even though there are criminal actions against the driver of the Saturn, a civil action may still be filed by the family of Barnette White Jr.  The passengers in the Toyota also have a civil claim against the Roberts.

When involved in an accident caused by an impaired driver, the criminal court deals with fines and punishment but a civil suit allows for a victim or family members to file a personal claim against the impaired driver.

A wrongful death claim arises out of a civil action accusing one party as responsible for causing another party’s death.  Since the person who died cannot bring a lawsuit against the one who caused the death, the civil action allows close relatives to bring the claim to court on the decedent’s behalf.

Every state has different laws and interpretation of statutes surrounding wrongful death claims.  These statues are important in understanding statute of limitations and other important matters of law that apply to the wrongful death statute in the jurisdiction where the death occurred.  If you have lost someone in an accident that was someone else’s fault, we at Auger & Auger are sorry for your loss.  We can help you build a strong claim against the parties responsible.  Call us today for a free consultation.

J_BaryThe news team at WCNC out of Charlotte has been conducting an interesting investigation into the deaths of people strapped to restraint chairs while in custody. These chairs are frequently used when inmates who are violent, drugged, or mentally ill are transported. At least four people have been killed by them in the Carolinas, and at least three dozen nationwide.

It is unknown if these chair deaths are being under-reported. Some jails have stopped using them after having to settle lawsuits because of the deaths. Human rights groups have also called for these chairs to be banned.

The reason that people die in these chairs is that they’re unable to respond appropriately to medical emergencies. Sometimes the prisoners convulse in the chair and cause damage to their bodies. Excessive restraint can cause blood clots to form, leading to death when the prisoner is released. Others have choked on their vomit, or thrown themselves and the chair against walls violently.

Sometimes it’s even police action after restraint that causes the injury. One mentally ill man was sprayed with pepper spray after being restrained in a chair. There are many other stories linked in the article describing these incidents.

Psychiatrists say that restraint should only be used when all else fails, but detention officers like to use them to prevent attacks on staff and officers. However, if the injury rates continue to rise, lawsuits will continue to be filed.

Even convicted criminals and their families have the right to pursue civil cases for injuries they received while in custody. If you feel you have a case, call our law office immediately for more information.

Public Domain PhotosPeople who commit senseless violence are punished by the criminal system, but victims are also entitled to seek damages through civil proceedings as well. The results of a criminal case weigh heavily in a civil court. The question will turn from “will he pay?” to “how much will he pay?”

Take the case of a man from Union County who is accused of an unprovoked attack on a teen as the teen was leaving church.  He was stabbed seven times with a screwdriver. He received injuries to his pancreas, intestines, and his neck. The teen is recovering at a local hospital, unable to speak but able to write.

Witnesses were shocked at the attack, and believe that the man may have been on drugs. The two individuals had never met previously. Even more shocking, this isn’t the first time this man stabbed someone unprovoked. He did a similar act in 2010 in a Walmart parking lot.

The criminal evidence is heavy against this man, and if he is convicted in this attack the teen may be eligible for substantial damages. Hiring a personal injury lawyer after an attack or an accident is the first step in determining if a civil case is worth pursuing in court. If you have been the recipient of violence from another person, call Auger & Auger for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Credit: Rodrigo Marin MatamorosWhen grief and pain strike a person, they can react in very unusual ways. Sometimes these acts are criminal. One of the classic phases that a person will enter is anger over what happened. That’s what may have happened in a case in Charlotte earlier this week that has one man fighting for his life in a coma.

Two room-mates were living together near Harrisburg. One of the room-mate had died earlier that day in an overdose. That man’s brother is now accused of beating the other room-mate with a 2×4 it what may have been revenge for that according to prosecutors.

The victim’s mother said that her son didn’t resist the attack, and was surprised that authorities let the suspect go without posting bail. Currently he is charged with felony assault, but that may get upgraded to murder if his alleged victim dies.

When senseless violence happens like this, there are always more repercussions than just the physical beating and recovery. Medical expenses, lost wages, and other financial hardships can result. Even permanent disability can happen. That’s why it’s important to consult with a lawyer if you or a family member has been injured in a violent act.

The lawyers at Auger & Auger are ready to help defend your claim in court. Call our law offices today for more information. We represent clients all over North Carolina. To view some of our testimonials, click on this link.

Credit: ZeevveezPersonal injury cases are very tough to try sometimes. People come in through our offices with all kinds of sad stories about how they were injured. Sometimes these injuries turn out to be freak accidents or due to negligence. It’s far worse when the injury inflicted was deliberate.

According to a report on the WSOC website, a pregnant woman was assaulted by three assailants in Statesville. It happened just weeks before her due date. The three alleged perpetrators broke into a home and started beating the woman and her fiancé who were in the house.

The woman tried her best to curl up her body around her belly so that the unborn child would not be injured while the assailants beat and kicked her and her fiancé. She was afraid for her life and the life of the baby. She managed to call 911 while her fiance tried to fend them off, but then two of the assailants, both female, forced their way back there and continued the assault.

EMS and police did make it to the scene, and the two women were arrested and held on bond. The woman was treated at the scene. They were charged with first-degree burglary, assault by strangulation, and assault on an unborn child.

The third suspect, Byrum Holmes, left before police arrived and is still at large.

The criminal legal system will definitely try to prosecute the suspects in this case, but there may be further complications down the line for the anonymous woman in the attack. If the baby was harmed due to the attack and it is not discovered until later, she may not be able to cover the unexpected medical expenses depending on her insurance.

If you have been injured by someone and need to file a suit, call the offices of Auger & Auger. You may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact us for your free consultation and we’ll help you decide whether filing a suit is in your best interest.

Last week the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) recommended lowering the blood alcohol limit from .08% to .05%. All states, including North Carolina, implement the blood alcohol limit of .08% in their Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Impaired statutes. North Carolina has a tiered system of punishment for criminal prosecution of Driving While Impaired/Intoxicated. The six levels allow the courts to look at a combination of mitigating, aggravating, and grossly aggravating factors including prior DWI convictions, serious injury, and especially reckless or dangerous driving.

BreathalyzerWhile the criminal justice system provides a way of holding drunk drivers accountable, civil damages may also be available to those who are injured or to the family members of those who are killed by an intoxicated driver. In a civil suit for damages, the injured or representative of the deceased’s estate will have to prove that the driver’s intoxication level led to unsafe driving that caused the accident. The NTSB’s recommendation to lower the acceptable blood alcohol limit from .08% to .05% arose because the number of fatal car accidents can be substantially reduced. This information may aid in proving a negligent driver was impaired, even in the absence of a DWI conviction under current North Carolina statutes.

Impairment of one’s ability to drive can be difficult to prove, even with access to police reports and blood alcohol tests. In any suit for negligence or wrongful death, the injured party or deceased’s representative may need to use expert witnesses to aid the fact finders in analyzing the evidence presented. An expert witness in a drunk driving car accident case can explain the effects of alcohol or other controlled substances on a driver’s ability to see and process events. An expert witness may also be able to impute the level of intoxication at the time of the accident based on the blood alcohol test results, typically taken at a much later time. Tests administered hours after an accident occurs may reveal a blood alcohol level that has dropped since the accident, which means the person was driving at a higher level of intoxication and impairment when the crash happened.

The drunk driver may be liable to the injured or deceased for punitive damages on top of compensatory damages, if the driver’s conduct is considered willful and wanton. Willful and wanton conduct occurs when the driver behaved in such a way to show conscious and intentional disregard to the life and safety of others where he or she should have known it would result in injury or harm to the other person. The NTSB lowered alcohol recommendation may also aid in showing a fact finder that the driver was acting in a willful and wanton manner by driving at that level of impairment. If this can be shown by clear and convincing evidence, an injured or deceased party may be able to recover punitive damages up to $250,000 or three time the compensatory award (whichever is greater). Under North Carolina law, this cap may be removed if the actions of the drunk driver would give rise to a DWI offense.

The North Carolina Car Accident attorneys at Auger & Auger have successfully litigated and settled numerous car accident cases. Their experience has provided several clients with the compensation they need and deserve. If you have been injured or had a family member killed by a drunk driver, call the lawyers at Auger & Auger for a free consultation today at (888) 487-0835.

More Blog Posts:

Are You Prepared For The $5,000 Prom Ride, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 2, 2013

North Carolina Drivers Should Avoid Voice-to-Text Messaging While Driving, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, April 26, 2013

A North Carolina couple was driving home from a church service when they were hit by a man driving in the wrong lane. The couple was severely injured and died the same day. Police are charging the driver with two counts of felony death by motor vehicle, impaired driving, and driving the wrong way on a dual-lane highway. The driver had previously been charged with driving while impaired three times before, but received only one conviction in 2001.

Facts like these lend to outrage as family and friends cope with the grief of the sudden and tragic nature of their loved ones’ deaths. The driver in this accident will be held accountable in criminal court, but may also be subject to liability in civil court for the wrongful deaths of the deceased couple. North Carolina’s wrongful death statute allows for the recovery of funeral expenses; pain and suffering of the decedent; medical expenses related to the injury that led to the death; society, companionship, guidance, and advice of the decedents to the person(s) entitled to damages; and the net income of the decedent.

Winding road on the coastPunitive damages may also be awarded in addition to the compensatory damages in a wrongful death action. In North Carolina, punitive damages exist to punish a defendant for egregiously wrongful acts and to deter the defendant and others from acting similarly in the future. In order to collect punitive damages in a wrongful death action, the estate of the deceased must first show the defendant is liable for compensatory damages and that an aggravating factor was present that was related to the award of compensatory damages. These aggravating factors include fraud, malice, and willful and wanton conduct.

In your typical personal injury case, the proof of the liability must meet the legal standard of preponderance of the evidence, where it is more likely than not that the injury occurred as a result of the other party’s negligence. The aggravating factors for punitive damages must be shown by clear and convincing evidence, a higher standard of proof. The evidence must be highly and substantially more probable to be true than not true.

A connection must be made between the impairment as the proximate cause of the accident. The condition must have caused the motorist to violate a rule of the road and to operate the vehicle in a manner that was the proximate cause of the collision. Thus, evidence of the impairment is essential in the pursuit of a wrongful death claim. It is important to gather evidence and testimony of witnesses as soon as possible after the accident so that this connection can be established.

The attorneys at Auger and Auger have litigated numerous personal injury actions and have aided several families in their time of need. Herbert Auger and Arlene Auger know that quick, effective action is needed following an accident to maximize compensation, and are available for a free consultation at (800) 559-5741. If you or a family member has been in a car accident and need assistance, call one of our North Carolina wrongful death and personal injury attorneys today.

More Blog Posts:

Drunk Driver Injures Four In Asheboro Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, November 9, 2012

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

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.

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