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nessa and leihaIn Shelby Saturday afternoon, a 34-year-old driver was driving a Buick LeSabre recklessly on a busy street while trying to avoid police.  Police spotted Demetrist Lendell Roberts speeding on Dixon Boulevard about 1 p.m.  They began to pursue Roberts, but stopped due to the heavy vehicle and foot traffic.  Roberts continued to flee and ran a red light.  He struck a Ford Taurus in the intersection.  The impact ejected a twelve year old boy and killed the adult passengers in the car. 

 

The driver of the Buick was charged with two counts of felony death by vehicle, felony speed to elude arrest, driving while impaired, driving while license revoked and speeding.

The Center for Disease Control reports that every day about 30 people in the US die as a result of accidents caused by a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  The math makes that about one death every 48 minutes.

Unfortunately, many drivers such as Roberts do not have insurance.  But just because a driver does not have insurance does not mean that there is no coverage.

When involved in an accident with a drunk driver, the impaired driver’s auto insurance pays claims out of their liability insurance.  If the driver has no coverage, the victim can often collect from their own insurance under uninsured motorist coverage.  Don’t assume there is no coverage.  Speak to an expert who can thoroughly evaluate your claim by looking at your insurance as well as the insurance of the person at fault.

A victim of injury caused by an impaired driver, or in cases like the story above, a victim’s family, may be eligible for compensation through a civil lawsuit.  The criminal court only deals with fines and punishment, a civil suit allows for a victim or family members to file a personal claim against the impaired driver for loss of income, medical bills, pain and suffering among other things.  Personal injury compensation is designed to try and make a victim whole again.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by an impaired driver, call us.  Auger & Auger are experienced in recovering compensation for injuries, pain and suffering, lost work and loss of enjoyment of life in these types of cases.  We will listen to you and give you an honest evaluation of your claim.  Call us today for a free consultation.

Mark HaynesRecord lows, snow, and ice gripped North Carolina over the past couple of days.  The lows dropped to the single digits, something unprecedented within recent years. Fayetteville and Raleigh came very close to breaking their own record lows.  The temps in Raleigh were the lowest since a snowstorm in 2000.

The roads were iced over, making it difficult for drivers in eastern and central North Carolina. The ice and snow didn’t just hit North Carolina.  It was widespread all over the South.  Most of the transportation out of Atlanta was snarled because of the inclement weather. Atlanta received three inches of snow on Tuesday, which shut down the city.

This has also impacted deliveries to North Carolina, including a special one for an aquarium. A delivery of sharks and stingrays that were scheduled to be at the aquarium in Concord Mills has had to be rescheduled. This has pushed back the opening of the aquarium to February 20th.

While they will thaw over the next couple of days, be careful while you’re on the road. When North Carolina receives this type of weather, it lays the foundation for plenty of car accidents and slip and fall injuries.  If you’ve been injured as a result of the winter snowstorm, please don’t hesitate to give Auger & Auger a call for a free consultation.

In the early hours of a week day morning, a retired man from North Carolina crossed the center line and collided with an SUV, first grazing a tractor trailer and then hitting the SUV straight on. Both the man and driver of the SUV died at the scene of the accident. The man was driving the wrong way on Interstate 26, and it is believed that he was confused about several things, including his direction of travel. The driver had been experiencing several health problems prior to the collision and may have left early to go to a doctor’s office.

Blurry vision drivingThe sudden death of a loved one leaves family members with a lot of financial strain on top of the natural grieving process. Car accident deaths, like the one described above, can leave family members scrambling to find money for funeral expenses, medical expenses (if the family member was seen by a doctor after the accident, prior to the death), and household bills. Finding compensation that you might be entitled to under your family member’s policy to help relieve some of the financial burdens can become a difficult process. Insurance adjusters may offer a quick settlement to a family member during this vulnerable time, and the full compensation that would be owed under the policy may not be awarded.

In North Carolina, automobile insurance policies offer compensation for bodily injury and property damage under the mandatory coverage. If the person who caused the accident was negligent, then the injured person or the family members of the the deceased can file a claim against the at-fault’s insurance policy. If the at-fault’s party does not have insurance or the coverage available fails to meet the expenses, then the injured or deceased’s policy can possibly be used. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may be available, depending on whether the policy holder kept the mandatory uninsured coverage.

A possible challenge is if the deceased is found to be partially negligent in any way. North Carolina follows the legal concept of contributory negligence, which completely bars recovery if the party seeking damages is negligent in any way. Other states follow a much less severe precedent called comparative negligence. Under that legal theory as long as the party filing suit is 49% or less negligent, they can still recover from the other party. However, the amount of damages may be reduced by the percentage of their own negligence.

Herbert and Arlene Auger are North Carolina Personal Injury Attorneys who practice across the State of North Carolina, fighting aggressively for clients who have been injured or had a family member killed as a result of an auto accident. The attorneys of Auger & Auger know how to negotiate with insurance companies and litigate injury and wrongful death cases so your compensation is maximized. If you have been injured in a car accident or have had a family member killed because of an auto collision, then call our office at 888.487.0835 for a free, confidential consultation.

Related Blog Posts:

Pedestrians and Cyclists Are No Match For Any Kind of Vehicle, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 10, 2012

What You Should Know About Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 27, 2012

A woman from Person County was killed last week after her car crossed the center line into oncoming traffic. She collided with a truck carrying a teenage driver and three passengers who were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries. Authorities closed the North Carolina road for several hours to investigate, but the cause of the crash remained unknown at the time of the reporting.

RoadHead on collisions, like the one described above are terrifying and can cause substantial injuries to those affected, especially at high speeds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 17.3% of traumatic brain injuries occur as the result of motor vehicle crashes and traffic-related incidents. Motor vehicle crashes that cause traumatic brain injury (TBI) also have the highest percentage of deaths that occur as a result of traumatic brain injury, making up 31.8% of TBI deaths.

The medical costs associated with severe injuries like TBI can add up very quickly. The need to cover all related costs like co-pays, lost wages, and traveling to and from doctor appointments can become overwhelming. Car insurance companies do not always pay what they should under the plan you obtained, and certainly not usually what is needed. In North Carolina you can file a claim with the other motorist’s insurance company or sue the driver in a personal injury action. All motorists are required to drive safely and follow the laws of the state when operating a vehicle. If it can be shown that someone failed in their duty to drive safely, the motorist at fault can be liable for damages, or costs, if their negligence led to the injury-causing accident.

If a claim is filed with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company, but the policy does not cover the amount of damages, the injured may then turn to their own car insurance policy to cover the remainder. This is Underinsured Motorist coverage, or UIM. For UIM coverage to apply, the amount of damage must be shown to exceed the other motorist’s policy limits and that the injured’s policy limit exceeds the at-fault party’s coverage limits. Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage applies when the at-fault driver has no insurance at all, and covers bodily injury and property damage. Both types of coverage apply when the accident is a hit and run or the injured was a pedestrian hit by a car.

The experienced North Carolina head-on car accident attorneys at Auger & Auger know how to aggressively negotiate and litigate head-on collisions and hit-and-run accidents. They know that insurance companies are reluctant to pay what they should to the injured. Herbert and Arlene Auger have several years of personal injury experience and know the importance of getting the compensation you deserve. If you have been injured and would like to speak to one of our attorneys, call today for a free, confidential consultation at (888) 487-0835.

Related Blog Posts:

Pedestrians and Cyclists Are No Match For Any Kind of Vehicle, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 10, 2012

What You Should Know About Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 27, 2012

Two pedestrian car accidents marked the end of March in North Carolina. One gentleman was killed by a van and another man was hit by a car while walking to work. The North Carolina Highway Patrol has investigated 497 pedestrian accidents over the last five years, 88 of which involved fatalities. Inattentiveness has been a common factor for both the pedestrian and the driver.

Look Both WaysPedestrians hit by a vehicle can sustain a variety of injuries that can leave the injured party merely scratched and bruised or dealing with a complex set of ailments requiring intensive medical care. Serious injuries come at great cost to the injured – lost wages, medical bills, and property damage expenses on top of increased stress. An injured pedestrian has several avenues of recourse to be made whole and hold the negligent driver accountable. Depending on the circumstances, the state of North Carolina may elect to press charges against the driver. Even if it does not, the injured party may file a claim with the driver’s insurance company or seek to sue the negligent driver in a personal injury action. When a pedestrian is injured in a hit-and-run car accident or the driver does not have car insurance or inadequate policy coverage, the injured pedestrian may be able to file a claim with their own auto insurance company with their Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage.

Pedestrian inattentiveness may negate the ability to collect damages from the party at fault. In North Carolina, if the injured party is also negligent, their ability to seek recovery from the party at fault is barred unless they fall into an exception established by case law. If the pedestrian placed him or herself in a perilous situation but the driver had a “last clear chance” to avoid hitting the pedestrian, then the injured pedestrian may be able to recover even though their actions contributed to the accident. Gross negligence or wanton conduct is also an exception to North Carolina’s strict contributory negligence. That exception is typically seen when a driver was driving while intoxicated, speeding, or racing. A bar from recovery may also be lifted if the pedestrian was a young child or cognitively disabled, thus unable to avoid placing themselves outside of a dangerous situation as an “ordinary person” would do.

The experienced North Carolina pedestrian accident attorneys at Auger and Auger have aggressively pursued compensation for injured clients for several years. Herbert and Arlene Auger understand that your case is unique and that compensation is greatly needed to return to normalcy. They will tirelessly pursue all avenues of redress so that you and your family can be placed on financially stable ground. If you have been injured anywhere in North Carolina as a pedestrian in a car accident, call one of our personal injury lawyers for a free, confidential consultation today.
MORE BLOG POSTS:

Impaired Driver Hits North Carolina Couple in Head-on Collision in Raleigh, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 19, 2013

Freedom, Safety, and Liability: Legislator Joins the Cause to Repeal North Carolina’s Motorcycle Helmet Requirement, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 13, 2013

In early February the North Carolina driver of a moped was killed when he merged into the left lane of traffic, behind a semi tractor-trailer. His moped clipped the tail end of the trailer and lost control. The moped driver was not licensed or registered, but under current North Carolina law you do not have to be registered or insured. The North Carolina General Assembly is considering a bill that would require moped owners to register their moped and carry insurance.

MotorcadeIn 2009, North Carolina passed the Financial Responsibility Act, which mandates that all automobile owners carry Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Uninsured coverage (UM) pays for bodily injury and property damage costs when the at-fault driver does not have any insurance. Underinsured coverage(UIM) is when the at-fault driver’s policy limits do not cover all the expenses incurred from the wreck. The statutory minimum for UM coverage is $30,000 bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 bodily injury per accident (regardless of how many people were involved in the accident), and $25,000 for property damage. UIM coverage requires that the cost of injuries or property damage exceed the at-fault party’s limits, and that your contractual limits exceed theirs.

Determining whether the UM or UIM policy applies can be confusing. UM and UIM coverage includes hit-and-run accidents and insured pedestrians hit by a uninsured or underinsured motor vehicle, but it will not cover accidents that are outside a natural and reasonable consequence of the use of a vehicle.

Drivers of mopeds are not considered motorists in North Carolina. The Department of Transportation defines mopeds as 2-3 wheeled vehicles that cannot go faster than 30 mph on a level surface with a motor of no more than 50 cubic centimeters of piston displacement and no external shifting device. Moped users, like bicyclists, have the same access to roadways as standard motor vehicles; they must follow the rules of the road, comply with the state DWI blood alcohol limitations, and wear a helmet. However, if an accident occurs, they may not be protected if the other driver of the vehicle was at fault and uninsured or underinsured.

If the uninsured or underinsured moped driver caused the accident, then the motorist may have to use other legal remedies if the accident is not covered under their UM or UIM policy. In order to recover fees, the injured motorist would have to personally sue the moped driver in civil court and have a judgment entered.

The experienced North Carolina car accident attorneys of Auger & Auger have dealt with the complexities of Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist insurance coverage for several years. They will readily apply their knowledge and experience to your case to figure out how to recover expenses incurred from an accident, whether it involves an uninsured motorist, a moped driver, or hazardous conditions caused by others’ negligence. If you have been injured and would like a free consultation with one of our esteemed lawyers, contact one of our five offices in Charlotte, Greensboro, or Raleigh.

Related Blog Posts:

Pedestrians and Cyclists Are No Match For Any Kind of Vehicle, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, August 10, 2012

What You Should Know About Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance Coverage, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, July 27, 2012

What happens if you and your family are involved in a serious accident caused by the negligence a driver who is not insured or does not have adequate insurance to cover your losses? Our North Carolina car accident attorneys have seen this happen far too often in serious injury accidents.

Blown TireNorth Carolina Financial Responsibility Laws require motorists to maintain a certain minimum amount of automobile liability insurance coverage. The minimum amounts stipulated are $30,000 bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 bodily injury per accident and $25,000 property damage coverage (30/60/25). This means that someone carrying minimum limits of automobile liability insurance has coverage to protect others from their negligence, as follows:

• $30,000 maximum for bodily injury to any one person
• $60,000 total maximum for bodily injuries sustained in the accident, regardless of the number of people injured
• $25,000 total for property damage

In 2009, North Carolina law also made it mandatory for individuals to have uninsured motorist coverage (UM). This is coverage on your auto policy that protects you against some driver who has no insurance or if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident. The statutory minimum coverage for UM is 30/60/25.

Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is coverage on your auto policy that applies when your injuries exceed the Bodily Injury limit of the at fault car, AND your Bodily Injury limit is higher than the at fault car. For example, if the person who caused your accident carries minimum liabiity limits ($30,000 per person, $60,000 per accident), but your injuries exceed $30,000, AND your liability limits are higher than the minimum, suchy as $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident, you may file under your own UIM coverage for the difference. Coverage limits for UM/UIM benefits can be purchased for up to $1,000,000.

Having uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is the best way that families can protect themselves from negligent drivers who elect to operate a motor vehicle with no insurance or simply cannot afford to have anything other than minimum coverage.

If you, a family member or a friend have been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist or with someone whose liability limits were insufficient to cover your losses, you should seek the advice of an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney. Simply carrying UM/UIM coverage on your policy does not necessarily mean your insurance company will voluntarily pay the benefits to which you are entitled.

Auger & Auger is a personal injury law firm that has devoted its practice to a wide array of personal injury matters, including representing clients who have UM/UIM claims. For over 40 years, the attorneys at Auger & Auger have distinguished themselves among the judiciary and their peers with their extensive background and experience in insurance law.

For your convenience, we have five offices. We have three offices in Charlotte and one each in Greensboro and Raleigh.

Contact us to schedule your appointment for a confidential consultation to discuss your particular case. Our cases are handled on a contingency basis, so that you will never owe our firm any fee unless we make a recovery for you.

Other Resources:

North Carolina Motor Vehicle Safety & Financial Responsibility Act

Related Blog Posts:

North Carolina College Student Killed in Cullowhwee Accident, North carolina Persoanl injury Lawyer Blog, March 27, 2012

Recently Released Data Confirms Benefits of Safety Restraints For Drivers of All Kinds of Vehicles, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 31, 2012

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