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download (76)A crash involving a commuter train and an SUV has turned out to be the deadliest in Metro-North Railroad’s 32 year history. According to officials a total of 15 people were injured, with seven people reported killed in the accident.

Investigators believe that the female driver of a Mercedes SUV may have gotten out of her vehicle to see what was hanging it up on the track.  The driver then got back into the vehicle and tried to move it off the tracks when the Metro-North train struck her car at about 7:00 p.m. The northbound train dragged the SUV 400 feet  The third rail of the track came up and rammed through the entire first car of the commuter train, according to Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino.

Emergency crews came onto an “horrific and unimaginable,” scene Astorino said.   The train was engulfed by flames, and the car was a melted and charred shell.  Six of the seven fatalities were burned beyond recognition and required dental records to identify them.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority is fully cooperating with investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the investigation of the crash.  Some estimate that it may take up to 12 months for the NTSB to conclude their investigation.

Thousands of people are injured or even killed in accidents involving public transportation.   The cities and municipalities responsible for the safety and maintenance of these vehicles, whether they are buses or trains, have an obligation to insure that their transit services and the vehicles used for them are safe. Accidents can happen, whether by negligence or some other factor.

Companies that insure these transit services would much rather deal with the claims of the injured and their surviving families directly.  The last things that these companies and the cities they represent want to have are for the accident victims to hire an experienced attorney. Insurance companies will attempt to convince victims that the initial settlement they offer should be adequate.  Insurance companies will rarely offer the full value of your claim unless you have an attorney working for you that won’t let them off the hook so easily.

Before you sign a statement or any settlement offer, call the Law Offices of Auger & Auger.  We will be there to act as a representative between you and the insurance companies. We will also make sure that you receive what your case is really worth.  While nothing will bring back the tragic loss of a loved one, we are here to help.  Call us today.

File:Preston Bus Preston Bus Station PN57NFC.jpgYou may remember a tragic bus accident that made headline news about a year ago in Jefferson County Tennessee.  Recently, a feel good story was also covered for this tragic event.

Nine months post-crash, the twelve survivors of the deadly bus crash traveled back to Jefferson County to thank all of the first responders and doctors who assisted in saving their lives.  The scene this day was so much different than the panic and chaos of nine months past.  Today, they simply wanted to say “thank you”.

Tears and hugs greeted the doctors, nurses, helicopter pilot, and others; all who all aided in saving the lives of the twelve survivors.  They also mourned the loss of the six who died on that horrific day when the church bus carrying the 18 passengers blew a tire on Interstate 40.

Tire blowouts are one of the most common reasons for accidents on the road.  Michelin reports approximately 535 fatalities and 23,000 collisions per year due to a tire blowout.

Preventative maintenance to tires is a necessity in reducing the chance of a blowout.  Make sure your tires are property inflated and monitor the wear and tear of tires.

The most common reason for blowout is a puncture when hitting a curb.  Other causes are low tire pressure and tire malfunction.  If you find yourself in a situation where your tire gives out, here are some tips that you can follow.

The first thing you will hear is a very loud pop.  Remain calm, slightly accelerate to compensate for the vehicle pulling towards the side of the blowout and get the vehicle out of the way of traffic.  Once you are clear, lightly hit brakes until the vehicle comes to a stop.

The normal reaction is to hit the brakes and steer away from the pull.  This reaction is what causes most accidents.  Although scary, acceleration will actually help you maintain control of the vehicle while you get it out of the way.

If you are involved in an accident and have suffered injuries as a result, Auger and Auger can help.  We are premier accident attorneys in North Carolina. We strive for excellence and will do our best to represent you or your loved one in a manner that can assist in making you whole again following an accident that is due to someone else’s negligence.  Call us today for a free consultation.

ICotet seems like there are a lot of news stories today about violent shootings at schools and places of employment.  Definitely more stories than we would like to hear.  They have been reported throughout the United States and it’s scary that they can happen anywhere at any time.  Even Georgia is not immune from such violence.

With all the bad news it’s good to hear some good news about one of these stories.  The FedEx facility shooting in Cobb County last April seriously wounded security guard, Christopher Sparkman.  Sparkman has been recovering in the hospital since and just underwent his 18th surgery as a result of injuries sustained when shot during the shooting spree of 19-year-old Geddy Kramer.  Sparkman has improved significantly and is expected to make a full recovery.

Jamie Lynn, Sparkman’s wife, updates his internet page regularly.  Her latest post was that four days post-surgery.  She stated that Sparkman will receive reconstructive surgery on his small bowel and abdominal region after Christmas.  However, this is sooner than originally expected.

She further stated that “Christopher is heartbroken because of his love of all things edible, but he understands and is willing to do what it takes to help make a full recovery possible.”  He is disappointed, but understands, that his diet for the next several months will continue to consist of IV food, ice chips, sips of water and popsicles until his small bowel heals after his surgery.

The physicians estimate that Sparkman will spend another month or so in the hospital before returning home for outpatient treatment.

Injuries can happen when least expected and some injuries can be life altering.  How you are compensated for injuries depends on how and where the injury occurred.  Sometimes compensation for injuries sustained come from more than one party involved.  If injured in an accident or personal tort, an experienced injury lawyer understands where to look for coverage and can help you receive compensation to make yourself whole again.

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. Often times, there is lost wages from missing work for treatment of the injury.  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.

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.

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.

Recently, an 18 year old Asheville teen dropped his cell phone onto the floor board of his car. As he leaned down to retrieve it, he lost control of his car and plunged his vehicle 150 feet down a sharp slope. He and his 19 year old friend were ejected from the car, causing serious injury to the friend in the passenger’s seat.

Teenage drivers can cause a great amount of stress to their family and the family members of the passengers they have in their cars. Teens in North Carolina are twice as likely to have a car accident during the first month of driving compared to adult drivers. Three teenage behaviors can lead to crashes: Failing to yield the right of way, failing to reduce speed, and not paying attention. Inattention is often caused by cell phone use, which includes texting, emailing, or performing internet searches while driving.

Car Crashed into TreeAll drivers in North Carolina, regardless of age, are banned from texting while driving. Drivers under 18 are banned from any and all cell phone use while behind the wheel, unless they are dialing 911 for an emergency. Cell use can cause drivers to remove their eyes from the road, their hands from the wheel, and a level of mental distraction that results in slower reaction times and following distances.

In addition to a ban on cell phone use while driving while under the age of 18, North Carolina also implements a graduated license system. This system restricts unsupervised driving between the hours of 9PM and 5AM. A teen may drive unsupervised during the day for limited purposes like going to and from work or in response to a medical emergency. If driving with a supervisor, the teen driver must be overseen by a driver that has been licensed for at least five years.

For those who have been injured as a result of a teen car accident, several options are available for recovery under North Carolina law. A teen may be driving a friend’s, parent’s, or employer’s car, as teens are generally unable to purchase their own vehicle. If the teenager drove negligently and failed in their duty to drive safely, damages may be available under the teenager’s auto insurance policy, the teenager’s parents’ policy, or the employer’s policy. If the teen was driving with the permission of his or her parents and using the car for the good of the family, larger amounts of compensation and coverage under a family policy may be available. If the teen was driving a vehicle while working, then the coverage under the business policy may be available for recovery.

The North Carolina teen car accident attorneys at Auger & Auger understand the financial hardships clients face after an auto collision. Lost wages and mounting bills can make it difficult to concentrate on recovery. We have successfully litigated and negotiated personal injury claims across the state of North Carolina. If you have been injured in a car accident with a teenager and would like to work with experienced attorneys who understand the intricacies of insurance policies, then call our office today for a free, confidential consultation at (704) 364-3361 or (800) 559-5741.

More Blog Posts:

North Carolina Texters May Need to Refrain From Texting Friends On the Road, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 20, 2013

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

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

An accident off of 1-40 occurred earlier this week in North Carolina. Seven people in a sport utility vehicle were driving back from a beach trip when the teenage driver ran off the road, hit a guardrail, over corrected, and flipped the car twice into the opposite lane. The reported ages of the driver and the passengers ranged from 16 to 21. Two of the passengers were seated in the cargo area without seat belts. One passenger was seriously injured and four others were taken to the hospital.

Steering WheelsTeenage driving is replete with risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that drivers aged 15-24 account for almost 1/3 of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries. The risk of accidents with teens is believed to be larger than other portions of the population due to their inability to appreciate dangerous or hazardous situations as well as more experienced drivers. Teen drivers also have a lower rate of seat belt use and an increased likelihood to drive with alcohol in their systems.

North Carolina utilizes a graduated license system so drivers can comfortably learn the road while minimizing the risks to themselves and others on the road. A Limited Provisional License restricts any teen between the ages of 16-18 from driving unsupervised before 5 AM and after 9 PM. The supervising driver must be a licensed driver, licensed for at least 5 years, and seated next to the driver when supervising. Even then, the teen may only drive unsupervised directly to or from work or any voluntary fire, rescue, or emergency medical service. There can also be no more than one passenger under the age of 21 years of age in the vehicle with them, and cell phone use is banned while driving on public vehicular areas.

If an accident does occur and a teen is behind the wheel, the financial repercussions and legal liability of the accident may be borne by the parents of the driver. Parents may bear some of the financial responsibility if the teen driver is sued and they either own the car or have the teen insured under their family policy. In North Carolina, the Family Purpose Doctrine holds the vehicle owner liable if the driver was negligent while using the car for a family or household purpose. North Carolina courts have held that liability occurs if the operator of the car was a member of the family or household of the car’s owner, that the car was provided and maintained for family use, and that the car was used with expressed or implied permission.

In the North Carolina Court of Appeals case, Tart v. Martin, 137 NC App 377 (N.C. App, 2000), a nineteen year old son who lived with his parents ran a stop sign and collided with another vehicle. The court ruled that a parent holding the title to a car and assisting with payments did not fall under the Family Purpose Doctrine since the car was driven and maintained exclusively by the son. However, the court ultimately found that the parents, who knew of the son’s bad driving record, could be held liable under the theory of negligent entrustment. The theory of negligent entrustment holds the owner of an automobile liable when they entrust the car to someone they know who knew or should have known that they were an incompetent or reckless driver likely to cause an accident.

The North Carolina Teen Car Accident attorneys at Auger & Auger know how to find you the compensation you are entitled to and need to recover from your injuries. If you have been injured in a car accident with a teen driver and would like to talk to one of our experienced attorneys, call our office today for a free, confidential consultation at (888) 487-0835.

More Blog Posts:

North Carolina Texters May Need to Refrain From Texting Friends On the Road, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, May 20, 2013

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

DISCLAIMER: The listed settlements and client reviews/testimonials do not constitute a promise or guarantee of any particular result in any particular case, as every case is unique. Each case was handled on its own merit, and the outcome of any particular case cannot be predicted by a lawyers or law firms past results. If a recovery by settlement or trial is made, the client will be responsible for cost advanced in addition to attorney fees. Client remains responsible for costs, expenses and disbursements, including medical bills, within the scope of representation. The attorney’s contingency fee percentage will be computed prior to the deduction of expenses from the total recovery.