Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

We trust school buses and other transportation systems to get our children safely from one place to another. When school administrators and drivers fail to use due care, a serious accident can result. There are special rules that apply to when a public entity can be sued in a tort action, making it critical to seek guidance from a seasoned Raleigh bus accident lawyer. highway

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether the plaintiff could bring a lawsuit for the alleged negligence of a school board employee in operating an activity bus that was transporting students to an extracurricular event. The accident happened in 2011 when the plaintiff was hit by the bus while it was on its way to a football game. The plaintiff contended that the driver of the bus was negligent at the time of the accident and that she was entitled to compensation as a result.

The plaintiff filed a claim with the North Carolina Industrial Commission pursuant to the Tort Claims Act. This statute provides a limited waiver for local government immunity by allowing lawsuits against boards of education for the negligent operation of school buses and school transportation service vehicles if the plaintiff is able to show that certain criteria are met. The Commission is the body vested with jurisdiction to hear these claims.

car accidentOne of the most complicated aspects of any personal injury accident is dealing with insurance companies and determining the scope of any coverage involved. At Maurer Law, we have substantial experience as North Carolina car accident lawyers, ensuring that insurance companies treat our clients fairly and provide them with the benefits promised in the policy.

In a recent North Carolina appellate opinion, the court considered the application of an insurance policy in a car accident. The parties were two women injured in a car accident who required medical treatment for their injuries. The first woman was a passenger in the vehicle owned by the other woman. At the time of the accident, the at-fault motorist crossed the center line and collided with the driver’s vehicle. Immediately after the crash, a third vehicle struck the injured parties’ vehicle.

The injured driver asserted that she incurred $58,000 in medical expenses, while the passenger stated that she incurred $104,000. The first defendant had an insurance policy through GMAC with limits of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. The second defendant who was the driver of the third car to strike the injured women’s vehicle had a policy through All state that provided limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. He also had a policy through Mercury with a limit of $250,000 per person. The first defendant’s insurer, GMAC, tendered the policy limits, which were split up among other parties involved in the accident, including the injured women.

two school busesWhen a government entity is involved in an accident, special considerations must be made. There are different rules and procedures that apply to public entities in litigation. As dedicated North Carolina motor vehicle accident lawyers, we are ready to assist you in evaluating your claim and ensuring that you follow the appropriate procedures.

A recent appellate decision highlights the unique aspects of a government entity being involved in the litigation. The appellate court was asked to consider the liability of a local school board employee in a negligence action involving a school bus accident.  The plaintiff’s car was hit by a school bus transporting student-athletes to a football game. The driver of the bus was an employee of the county Board of Education.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury action against the defendant with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, seeking compensation for her injuries and damages. The plaintiff initiated the action in accordance with the Tort Claims Act, which includes a provision that provides a limited waiver of local governmental immunity from lawsuits in situations involving the negligent operation of school buses and school transportation vehicles in situations in which certain criteria are met. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on the basis that the Commission did not have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the claim because the claim did not fall within this waiver of immunity. The Commission granted the summary judgment motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

bus in streetWhen an accident involves a public agency or government body, there can be complicated procedural rules regarding how the claim must be filed and which court or agency has authority to hear the dispute. As seasoned North Carolina car accident lawyers, the legal professionals at Maurer Law are prepared to help you ensure that you assert your legal rights through the appropriate channels.

In a recent decision from the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the court considered whether the Commission has jurisdiction over negligence claims that involve allegations about the operation of school buses. The defendant, an educational board for a city, appealed an order that the Commission entered denying their motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging many different claims stemming from the death of a 14-year-old child who was hit by an oncoming vehicle when she was crossing the street to board a school bus.

Originally, the Commission concluded that it had jurisdiction over the matter, pursuant to the North Carolina Tort Claims Act, to oversee the plaintiffs’ negligence action against the driver of the school bus as well as their claims against certain identified members of the school administration board that alleged negligent design for the school bus pick-up system. These claims also included allegations stating that the school board was negligent in making routes for the school buses as well as in certain training, hiring, and staffing actions.

arbitration on typewriterOne of the most challenging aspects of a car accident is dealing with insurance companies. Whether you are having trouble getting your own insurance company to provide you with coverage, or you are having issues working with the at-fault party’s insurance company, a seasoned North Carolina car accident lawyer can make all of the difference when it comes to asserting your rights. In a recent appellate decision, the court considered the suitability of an arbitration award entered in a car accident victim’s favor against an insurance company. The plaintiff and the defendant were involved in an accident in 2013. At the time, the plaintiff had underinsured motorist coverage through Farm Bureau. The policy obligated the insurer to pay compensation to the plaintiff if the plaintiff was involved in a crash with a driver whose coverage limits were too low to cover the amount of damages that the plaintiff suffered.

After the accident, the plaintiff entered into a settlement with the defendant’s insurance company. Farm Bureau provided a check to the plaintiff totaling $35,000, which included coverage for different items. The plaintiff rejected this offer, however, since the parties had a dispute regarding the amount that the plaintiff was entitled to recover under the policy. The plaintiff demanded an arbitration before a three-member panel. It unanimously concluded that the plaintiff was entitled to $110,000. The award stated that the arbitrators did not consider costs or interest in reaching this amount. The plaintiff then filed a motion with the court, seeking confirmation of the arbitration award and requesting interest and costs, which the court awarded.

Farm Bureau appealed, stating that the court committed an error when it awarded costs to the plaintiff, including pre-award interest and post-award interest when it confirmed the arbitration award. The insurer did not dispute the $110,000 determination. Ultimately, the court affirmed the lower court’s award of post-award and pre-judgment interest, but it reversed the award of pre-award interest and costs. According to the appellate court, pre-award interest is categorized as included in a compensatory damages item for which the underinsured motorist may be liable unless the policy provides for an exclusion on this topic. As a result, the arbitrators have the authority to decide whether pre-award interest should be included as part of the compensatory damages. It is not appropriate for the trial court to make this decision. If the arbitrators do not include pre-award interest, the trial court must affirm the arbitration award as written unless the arbitrators expressly defer the determination to the trial court.

Insurance Requirements PaperIf you are injured by another motorist in a car accident, you probably have countless questions about your insurance coverage and whether the other motorist’s insurance will be sufficient to cover your losses and damages. Our dedicated North Carolina car accident attorneys have assisted many victims with navigating the insurance claims process after suffering injuries inflicted by a careless driver. We are also seasoned trial lawyers who are not afraid to take the matter to litigation if that is what is necessary to protect your rights.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether the primary underinsured motorist insurer can obtain an offset for any liability payments that it made to an accident victim when there are multiple underinsured motorist insurers involved. The underlying facts of the case are as follows. A man was driving his son’s vehicle with his wife as a passenger at the time of the incident. The man fell asleep while driving, and the car collided with a tree after veering off the roadway at a high speed. The man’s wife, unfortunately, died in the crash, and the son suffered serious injuries.

The son had three insurance policies with the same insurer. The policies each provided liability and underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $100,000 for each person and $300,000 for each accident. One of these policies applied to the vehicle involved in the accident, while the other two were taken out for different vehicles. The man also had an insurance policy through a different insurer that provided similar amounts of coverage. In each of the policies involved, there was the same language regarding underinsured motorist coverage.

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Tree on RoadwayCar accidents can arise in a wide variety of circumstances. One of the most common issues in a pedestrian accident case is whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent. As seasoned North Carolina pedestrian accident attorneys, the lawyers at Maurer Law are prepared to help you evaluate your potential claim and to assist you with protecting your right to compensation.

A recent appellate decision discussed whether the driver of a vehicle that struck a tree lying across the roadway on which the plaintiff was standing was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The plaintiff was driving a truck near Asheville in an evening during October 2015. The plaintiff’s father was a passenger in the vehicle. While driving toward their home, they observed a tree branch that had fallen across the roadway and was hanging off the ground. The plaintiff’s father told the plaintiff to slow down, and they pulled over to remove the branch. They turned on the vehicle’s traffic lights, and the plaintiff’s father contacted his wife to ask her to bring a chainsaw to their location. The plaintiff climbed onto the tree so that he could get across and attempt to wave down any passing cars while waiting for the chainsaw. A vehicle approached, and the plaintiff started waving his arms to get the vehicle operator’s attention. The plaintiff’s father testified later that the plaintiff had been goofing around while on the tree and that he did not get down from the tree as the vehicle approached because they thought it was going to stop.

The driver of the approaching vehicle testified that the sun was shining into his windshield immediately before the incident, making it difficult for him to see the plaintiff on the tree. The oncoming car collided with the tree, and on impact a branch struck the plaintiff in the head and threw him onto the adjacent roadway. The plaintiff was airlifted to the hospital and required serious medical attention.

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vintage carIn a recent North Carolina car accident decision, the plaintiff appealed from an order granting a defendant insurer’s motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff sued a man and woman in 2009. Summons were issued against them, and service was made soon afterward. Summons was then issued to the insurer through the Commissioner of Insurance. The insurer moved to dismiss years later, and an order of voluntary dismissal without prejudice was entered.

Shortly after the dismissal, the plaintiff refiled the lawsuit, and service was made against the defendants and insurer. Towards the end of the year, notices of voluntary dismissal without prejudice were filed. In 2016, the complaint was refiled.

In the 2016 complaint, the plaintiff claimed he owned a Chevy truck, and the defendant owned a Chevy Silverado truck. The other defendant owned a Ford truck. The defendant who owned a Chevy truck was in default on repaying an auto loan that secured his truck. The plaintiff’s employer had contracted with the bank that had given the defendant the loan to buy the Chevy truck. The plaintiff was told the defendant’s truck was on the other defendant’s property. He went with his wife to repossess the Chevy Silverado. After he took it, his truck was blocked by another car and a cable so that he couldn’t go back to the road.

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garbage truckEarlier this month (January 2018), there was an accident involving a sanitation truck and utility van. The North Carolina truck accident resulted in the death of a 45-year-old man. The driver of the van was helicoptered to a hospital. The sanitation truck driver was taken to the Outer Banks Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He was charged with misdemeanor death by a motor vehicle.

Criminal proceedings brought against a truck driver believed to be at fault for an accident that causes death to another driver are entirely separate from a civil lawsuit that may be brought in connection with the same accident. The criminal case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, which is an extremely high standard. Additionally, the criminal case is brought by the prosecutor on behalf of the state. Financial restitution is not always awarded even if the prosecution proves its case.

After losing a family member in a truck accident, surviving family members may face huge changes to their lives, and their only recourse to address their financial and emotional losses may be a civil wrongful death action. While no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, there are practical considerations, such as the loss of contribution of income by the decedent and the difficulties of losing someone who did a significant portion of the work around a household.

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In a recent North Carolina appetreellate decision, a personal injury plaintiff appealed a summary judgment motion granted in favor of the defendant. The North Carolina car accident case arose when the plaintiff was driving a truck east early one evening. The plaintiff’s father was riding in the truck with him. Only a quarter mile from their home, they saw a tree had fallen and was blocking traffic in both lanes. The branches of the tree held the trunk about five feet above the road.

The plaintiff’s father asked him to slow down, and he stopped at most 40 feet from the tree. The father turned the hazard lights on and called his mother to ask her to bring a chainsaw, so he could remove the tree. He also told the plaintiff to get across the tree and try to slow cars down while waiting for the mom to arrive. The plaintiff climbed onto the top of the tree and asked his dad for gloves because he’d gotten pinesap on his hands.

The plaintiff stood on the tree and waved his arms at a car that was approaching. The father would later testify he never got down from the tree and was acting like a teenager because he thought the other driver would stop. The father told him to jump down, but when the plaintiff tried to jump, his pants caught on a tree limb.

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