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If you live in the beautiful states of North Carolina or South Carolina, there is a high probability that you have a car and use it to get around.  Whether it’s to work or taking your kids to school or soccer practice, getting around most of the cities and towns across the Carolinas is done by licensed drivers that have their own vehicle.  Sure there are options for people that don’t have their own transportation.  Car pooling, taxis and ride sharing applications make it possible for people to get around and if you are lucky enough to live in a city that has public transportation, that option may also work.  However, most of us drive and driving is a privilege, not a right and that is why it is so important to be a good driver and to always know the ramifications of poor driving decisions may result in the loss of your license.

Most states including the Carolinas use a point system to determine when someone’s license should be suspended or revoked.  Typically there is a threshold for how many points a driver can have before being penalized with the loss of their license.  Depending on your driving history and what you do behind the wheel of your car, losing your license can be for a short amount of time and in some serious cases some people can lost their license forever.  Besides impacting your actual legal ability to have a license to drive, points against your license can affect your car insurance rates and even your ability to get a job. Most people have the obvious desires to avoid accidents, and tickets but accidents and tickets aren’t just problems for your wallet or safety.   So many points on your license in a certain amount of time will very likely result in changes to your legal ability to have a license.

If you are fortunate enough to not have a driving record that has resulted in points on your license, you should be proud of that and you should try to keep up the good work.  Unfortunately many people can’t say that they have do not have any points are on their license. Many of those people do not even know the amount of points that they have accumulated. That can be very problematic if you are on the edge of having so many points that another incident or ticket will result in a suspension. If you are one of the many people that don’t know how many points are on your license, finding an up to date record is very easy, quick and it is free. All you need to know if your license number and other personal info such as your date of birth or social security number.

The following links will lead you to official state provided resources that will help you find out how many points are on your license:

North Carolina –  https://edmv.ncdot.gov/MyDMV/MyDMVAccount/Login

South Carolina – https://www.scdmvonline.com/Public/Authorization.aspx

Follow those links to the DMV for your state, follow the directions and log in to find out this very important information.  It is a good idea to check this info out from time because errors can occur and making sure that the information tied to your license is accurate is very important and can save you trouble in the long run.  Also knowing this information may motivate you to become a safer driver and there is nothing wrong with that.

Auger & Auger is an established law firm that limits its practice to serious motor vehicle accidents and personal injury matters.  If you or someone you know has been injured in North Carolina or South Carolina, please call toll free 1-800-559-5741.  A case evaluation will be provided to you at no cost.

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One of the most common questions we hear relates to civil liability and the question of whether or not there is a valid case against another driver that may have caused the accident but was not ticketed at the accident scene.  A lot of people think that the driver that caused their accident should always receive a ticket.  They wonder if that person does not get a ticket, does that mean that they do not have a valid case against them.  The answer is no.  There does not have to be a citation against the other driver that caused the accident for you to be able to have a successful personal injury claim against the driver and their insurance company.  Many times we see Charlotte, NC car accidents where an at-fault driver clearly causes an accident but does not receive a citation.  There are multiple reasons for this kind of situation.  Typically it is the fact that the officer may not have enough evidence or there is no witness to verify the necessary facts that would warrant a ticket.  Additionally the officer that responds to a motor vehicle accident scene generally does not witness the accident and they may have limited information to be able to make the determination on whether or not a driver receives a citation.

It is generally up to the discretion of the police officer to make the decision on whether or not someone is cited for contributing to a motor vehicle accident.  Speaking of North Carolina car accidents and citations, we see that some jurisdictions or branches of law enforcement cite drivers more often than others.  For instance when we evaluate car accidents reported by the NC State Highway Patrol, more often than not we see the person that is considered to be the cause of the accident receive a citation.  Every accident case is different so there is no exact formula that suggests the criteria required for the writing of a ticket against the driver you consider to be at fault.  If you are involved in a car accident and the other driver did not receive a citation you may very well have a valid case against that driver.

Please feel free to contact our office for a free evaluation of your motor vehicle accident.  We can help you get your accident report and we will help you understand it as well. Drive safely North Carolina.

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A runaway bull recently caused a serious pileup in California. It’s fair to say that you don’t expect to see a bull on the road in Charlotte, but stranger things have happened, right? Even if you hit something a bit smaller, say a deer, you still need to know how to react. For most people, hitting an animal is a shock. There is an immediate rush of adrenaline and a bit of momentary panic. Many people wonder how to react when they strike an animal in the road. If it happens to you, here’s what to do.

1. Stop Your Car

The first thing you want to do is to stop your vehicle. If it is safe to do so, get out and check for any damage. Take pictures of the scene, the damage you’ve incurred and the animal if it is still on the road.

2. Call the Police

Unless someone is injured or you don’t know your exact location, it is not necessary to call 911. Instead, call the non-emergency number for the local police department and report the accident. Ask the police dispatcher if you are required to stay on scene and follow the instructions you are given. In some areas and depending on the type of animal you hit, the police may want to respond to the scene to complete a report.

3. Check on the Animal

If you have hit a wild animal, keep your distance. Your approach may be enough to frighten an animal that has only sustained minor injuries back off of the road. Keep in mind that an injured animal is likely to bite or scratch to defend itself. Do not touch a wild animal.

If you believe that you have hit someone’s pet and it is safe to do so, look for a collar and identification tag. Contact the owners if you can. If there is no tag and the animal is injured, contact the police if you haven’t already. They may be able to respond and transport the animal to a local veterinarian. Alternatively, if you believe that you can do so safely, you can transport the animal.

4. Call Your Insurance Company

If you’ve got damage to your car, get a couple of estimates to see how much it will cost to fix. It may be affordable and fixing it out-of-pocket may make more sense than filing a claim. If the damage is extensive, filing a claim can help ensure that the necessary repairs are made.

Hitting an animal in the road can be a frightening experience. Sometimes hitting an animal is unavoidable and swerving is almost never a good idea. Know that it was an accident and take the proper next steps.

If you are involved in an accident with another vehicle in Charlotte, you may have the right to compensation for injuries and property damage. Reach out to our team of experienced auto accident attorneys for assistance in recovering the damages you are entitled to. Your first consultation is free.

As people start planning for their summer vacations, many are considering a road trip. Maybe you have a fear of flying or perhaps you think that a few days in the car will be a great family-bonding experience. No matter the reason, mapping out your road trip is one of the most important things to consider when you are making your plans.

There is always a bit of risk to driving, but some locations may be more dangerous than others. If you will be driving through a single state or across several, plan your route with safety in mind. Here are five of the most dangerous states for driving.

1. Montana

Most people wouldn’t think of Montana when they think of dangerous drivers. After all, the state is fairly wide open. However, the state sees just more than 2 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven. It is thought that the high fatality rate is due to the fact that residents of the state drive for longer stretches than people in other states. Studies have shown, interestingly, that the state was safer to drive in before the 1990s when set speed limits were put in place.

2. Louisiana

For every 100 miles driven, there are approximately 2 fatalities. It is estimated that at least half of the roads in the state are in ill repair. Bad roads and drunk driving are the leading causes of car accidents. Unlike Montana, Louisiana is a fairly small state with a large population, putting more people on the road at any given moment.

3. South Carolina

There are 1.86 road fatalities for every 100 million miles driven. A GMAC survey showed that the state is in the bottom ten when it comes to knowledge of traffic laws. This may be contributing to accidents throughout the state.

4. West Virginia

Following closely behind South Carolina is West Virginia with 1.82 fatalities for every 100 miles driven. The state is full of mountains, making driving a problem for people, especially those not familiar with the twisty terrain. Because the state is also coal country, drivers can expect to see heavy equipment and big trucks dotting the roadways at any time of the day or night.

5. Arkansas

There are 1.81 fatalities on the roads for every 100 million miles driven. This state comes very close to tying West Virginia, making them nearly equal in risk. No studies have shown just why Arkansas is so dangerous, but anyone on a road trip through the state should keep a lookout for unsafe drivers.

It’s fair to say that an accident can occur in any state, not only those that have made the list. If you are taking a road trip, be sure to make frequent stops to stretch your legs and regain your focus, and always make sure that you stop for the night to keep your body’s natural sleep rhythms intact.

We are proud to say North Carolina is not in the top 5, but our roads can still be dangerous. If you are in an accident in Charlotte, reach out to our experienced auto accident attorneys. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of the options available to you.

When it comes to vehicle accidents, there are certain people who are more likely to cause accidents than others. Read on to discover what research has shown.

Teenager or Senior?

If the competition for worst drivers is between teenagers and seniors, teens lose. Drivers who are between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to cause a car crash than drivers 20 and over.

Seniors get a bad rap when it comes to driving. Teens do as well, but it is more deserved. According to the United States Census Bureau, teenagers are responsible for just over 12 percent of all car accidents in the country. Seniors are responsible for just over 7 percent.

Man or Woman?

Sorry guys, but women come out as better drivers statistically. Men are more likely to be charged with driving under the influence, be cited for a traffic violation and cause an accident than women. That said, it’s important to know that men also clock more miles on the road than women.

Men are surpassed by women when it comes to which gender holds the most licenses, but men drive up to 40 percent more each year. Some people surmise that men get into more accidents because they drive more aggressively than females. This, of course, is only based on conjecture.

Bicyclists or Drivers?

Bicycle versus vehicle accidents are particularly dangerous for cyclists. The power of being struck by a vehicle can send a cyclist through the air, causing a serious impact when they land. Statistics show that while cyclists are more likely to get into an accident than a vehicle driver, both are equally responsible for causing the accidents.

Only a third of reported bicycle accident involve cars. A cyclist is more likely to fall, be attacked by a dog or crash due to poor road conditions than be struck by a car. Most bike accidents, in fact, have to do with road conditions, poor signage and a lack of bike lanes.

While there may be drivers who are more statistically likely to cause a crash, anyone can be a danger behind the wheel. It is in the interest of everyone on the road for those operating vehicles to do so with safety in mind. Staying focused, obeying the rules of the road and driving for road conditions can go a long way in keeping you out of harm’s way.

If you do happen to be involved in a vehicle accident in North Carolina, you may be entitled to damages and compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.  Reach out to our experienced team of auto accident attorneys to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and advise you of your legal options.

Do you feel jet-lagged? Fatigued? If you are feeling more tired than usual this time of year, you aren’t alone. Daylight saving time has kicked in and left people feeling sleepy and sluggish, no matter how much sleep they’ve gotten. It should come as no surprise, then, that vehicle accidents rise after we “spring forward.”

When you stop to think about it, losing an hour’s sleep doesn’t seem like it should matter much. After all, you can always go to bed an hour earlier. Unfortunately, for many people it simply doesn’t work that way. Any disruption to our normal sleep patterns can cause havoc on our bodies.

Increased Traffic Accidents

A 1999 research study conducted by Johns Hopkins University and Stanford found that there was an increase in crash-related fatalities immediately following daylight saving time. The first Monday after the clock shifted forward saw the average number of fatal car crashes rise from 78.2 on a normal Monday to 83.5.

A study conduced in the United States in 1996 found an increase in fatalities related to car accidents following daylight saving time. Another study in Great Britain found the same in 1980. Whether or not any person or group has undertaken research to show that these results are not true is unknown.

Why the Rise?

It is not clear why the number of vehicle collisions rise. What is thought is that, particularly in America, people are already sleep deprived. The change in clocks, no matter how minor, can push already tired people over the edge. The stress is felt in the body in a number of ways, and car accidents aren’t the only result. Studies have shown that heart attacks and workplace injuries also increase following the time change.

Staying Home on Monday

What one should take from the research and information provided is not that they should avoid driving on the Monday following the time change. What should be taken from the information is that even the smallest of sleep disruptions can impair our ability to drive safely.

If you are sleep-deprived, establishing a regular sleep pattern is the best thing that one can do. A regular night’s sleep on a normal schedule will reduce the stress on your body, will help to reset your body’s natural rhythms and make you a more healthy person overall. It’s a misconception that one can “catch up” on their sleep. There is no getting sleep back. The only thing you can do is to start establishing healthy sleep habits for yourself from this day forward.

When a person is involved in a car accident through no fault of their own, they may be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, and more. If you have been injured in a car accident in Charlotte and the other driver was at fault, reach out to our experienced team of auto accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and advise you of your legal options.

With millions of people driving the country’s roadways everyday, it is easy to see why so many traffic tickets are written. At virtually any time of the day, some driver somewhere is violating a traffic law. When you know the most common moving traffic violations, you know not only what to avoid yourself, but what you can expect from other drivers on the road, helping you to avoid accidents.

1. Speeding

Pay attention to traffic around you, particularly on the highway. If you notice someone traveling faster than the posted speed limit or weaving in and out of traffic, do your best to stay out of the way. Speeding is one of the leading causes of accidents.

2. Running Traffic Signal

People are frequently ticketed for running red lights and stop signs. When you come to an intersection, be sure to look both ways before you move through it, even if you have the right of way. If it appears that a vehicle coming from the other direction is driving too fast to stop, slow your own vehicle to avoid a collision in the intersection.

3. Unsafe Lane Change

Another cause of tickets, particularly on the highway, is unsafe lane change. This can happen when a driver is changing lanes too quickly or doesn’t signal before they move over. Do your best to stay out of driver’s blind spots, and always be sure to use your turn signal if you are the one changing lanes.

4. Following Too Closely

It is tempting to tap your brakes or drive more slowly if someone is driving too closely behind you, but both of these maneuvers can be dangerous. Instead of playing cat and mouse with the tailing driver, get out of the way and let them pass. There is virtually nothing you are going to do that will get the other driver off your tail except for letting them pass.

5. Violating Rules of Railroads

No one likes to be stuck waiting for a train. It seems as though it takes forever, and it almost always happens when you are in a hurry. If the lights are flashing, stop. If the line of cars in front of you is deep and following behind them will cause you to have to stop on the tracks, stay where you are. If you are stuck on the tracks when a train comes along, your vehicle could very well be destroyed.

When you follow the rules of the road, you avoid being ticketed. When you know why people are ticketed most often, you know which behaviors to be on the lookout for when you are driving. When you know what to expect from other drivers, you are better able to avoid an accident.

If you do happen to be involved in a car crash in Charlotte, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and property damage. Reach out to our experienced team of auto accident attorneys for assistance in determining your rights. Call today to schedule your appointment for a free case evaluation.

Maybe you have seen it on television. A nefarious criminal cuts the brake line of their victim, hoping to cause a severe car accident. The victim finds out that their brakes aren’t working at the worst time, and chaos ensues.

Brake failure is rarely this glamorous, but it does happen. Brakes can fail for any number of reasons, and most of those can be attributed to wear and tear. Reacting appropriately can help to reduce your chance of accident. Keep these tips in mind if you find that your brakes aren’t stopping your vehicle.

1. Stay Calm

This tip is the first and hardest: stay calm. Panicking at this point will do nothing to help you. Staying calm and collected will help you to follow the next steps correctly.

2. Try Again

Today’s vehicles have dual-braking systems. This means that one system controls the front and one controls the back. While your brakes may fail at one end of your car and cut your braking ability in half, you should still have enough braking power to bring your car to a halt. Try depressing the brake pedal again, applying steady pressure.

3. Reduce Your Speed

If by some chance both of your braking systems have failed at the same time, reduce your speed. You can attempt to apply the emergency brake slowly. Do not jerk up on the brake. Instead, bring it up slowly and wait for your car to gradually come to a stop. If your emergency brake doesn’t help you, slow your car by taking your foot off the accelerator and letting it slow naturally. If you have a manual transmission or an automatic that allows you to drive manually, shift your car to the lowest gear.

4. Get Out of Traffic

This may take some maneuvering on your part, but work your way out of traffic if you can. Use your turn signals and pay close attention to the traffic around you. Make your way cautiously to the right side of the roadway. Once you get to the shoulder, let your car coast until it comes to a stop. When it does, put it in park and turn off the engine.

5. Turn the Engine Off

Speaking of turning the engine off, don’t do it until your car has come to a complete stop. It may seem like a smart move to turn the power off to the car, but this will reduce your steering capabilities. Keep your ignition on until your car has come to a rest. Once it has, turn the key and turn on your hazards.

There is no doubt that a brake failure is frightening. The good news is that, barring congested traffic, you can typically steer yourself to safety. If you find yourself without brakes, follow the tips above to help ensure you and the vehicles around you don’t collide.

If you are in a car accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of car accident attorneys. We will help you decide the next steps to take at your free consultation.

You have been injured in a car accident and have decided to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for your injuries. You also want your car repaired and don’t feel as though you should have to pay for it. In order to prove your case, your attorney will have to provide evidence to the court. Just what type of evidence may your attorney attempt to use?

1. Medical Records

Medical records are the best way to show the court how you were injured. This is why it is always recommended to seek medical attention following an accident. The records submitted to the court may include notes, test results and copies of images. Your attorney will need your permission to secure these records on your behalf.

2. Estimates, Bills and Receipts

You will undoubtedly have been financially responsible for things related to your car accident before your case makes it to court. In order to be reimbursed for these items, your attorney will need to present bills, receipts and even estimates to the court. Save every piece of paper that you can following your accident.

3. Pictures and Video

Your attorney may provide the court with pictures and videos. These may include images of the accident scene, the vehicles involved and even your injuries. The more you can document the better.

4. Police Reports

Police reports will be used by your attorney to paint a picture of the accident. The police report can help in assigning blame. For example, the police officer may have noted that the other driver was cited for a traffic infraction as a result of the accident. This may help your attorney prove that the other driver was at fault.

5. Pay Stubs

If you are out of work following your accident because of your injuries, your attorney will use your pay stubs to show the court how much you are losing. In many cases, the at fault driver is legally liable to pay your lost wages if the accident has caused you to be unable to return to work.

6. Testimony from Witnesses

In some cases, your attorney may use witness testimony to prove your case. If anyone stuck around after your accident to talk to the police on your behalf, you should have gotten their contact information. If you did, your attorney may ask that they testify in court as to what they saw or heard before, during and after the crash.

There are a variety of types of evidence that your attorney may introduce in court in order to help prove your case. When a person is involved in an accident, the more information they can gather, the stronger their case will be.

If you have been involved in a crash in Charlotte or the surrounding area, an experienced auto accident attorney can help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to. Reach out to our team today for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your case and help you take the next appropriate steps.

It is a fact that teens are involved in vehicle collisions more often than adults. While there are several factors that come into play in any accident, there are commonalities in those that involve teenage drivers. Inexperienced license holders often make errors that lead to crashes. Some of the most common errors that can be attributed to a lack of experience are driving in ways that aren’t safe for road conditions, failing to respond to hazards correctly, and distracted driving.

When it comes to teen drivers, experience is often the best teacher, but that experience shouldn’t come at the expense of someone else. If you have a teen, understanding the common causes of accidents caused by young drivers can help you better teach your child how to behave behind the wheel.

1. Distracted Driving

Like with adults, one of the most common causes of teen driving accidents is distracted driving. Teens may do any number of things that takes their attention off the road and traffic. These include talking or otherwise interacting with passengers, adjusting the radio, digging through bags, eating or drinking, and using electronic devices for texting, emailing or posting to social media. Any of these distractions will cause a teenager to lose focus on the road.

2. Speeding

The National Young Driver Survey spoke to teenagers across America. Of those surveyed, most defined speeding as traveling more than 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. What many did not seem to understand was that traveling even a single mile over the posted speed limit was illegal and dangerous. Speeding is such a concern for teen drivers because it takes a vehicle longer to stop the higher the speed, and teens already possess less experience for reacting properly in an emergency or hazardous situation.

3. Nighttime Driving

Another factor that comes into play with teens and accidents is nighttime driving. When driving at night, people have even less time to see what is ahead and react appropriately. It takes experience to be able to recognize hazards quickly. Nighttime driving is very different than driving during the day, and teenagers should practice with an experienced driver several times before venturing out after dark on their own.

4. Seat Belts

People between the ages of 16 and 24 are less likely to wear a seat belt than any other age group. Teens who live in an area where not wearing a seat belt is a secondary offense rather than a primary one are 15 percent less likely to buckle up. Seat belts have been shown to reduce fatalities in most accidents. Teach your child to buckle up no matter how the law is enforced in your area.

Teenagers are some of the most dangerous drivers on the road simply due to a lack of experience. The more time one has behind the wheel, the more likely they are to be able to avoid hazards and react properly when they encounter dangerous conditions. If your teenager is a new driver, take them out for practice as often as you can.

If you are involved in an accident in Charlotte and someone else is found to be at fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Call our team of car accident attorneys today for a free consultation and learn more about your rights.

 

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