Articles Posted in Motor Vehicle Accidents

parking lotKnowing when and how to file an appeal after a ruling in a case is a critical step to preserving your rights. If you do not comply with the appeal procedures, you will lose your right to appeal. There are many different ways and times during the proceedings that you can file an appeal. As knowledgeable North Carolina personal injury lawyers, we have handled numerous trials on behalf of injured residents and understand how to help you protect your rights.

In a recent appellate opinion, the court considered whether the plaintiff properly appealed from a partial summary judgment order dismissing her claims against two defendants in a wrongful death action that she asserted after her husband was killed in a car crash. The crash happened when a dealership allowed a relative of a vehicle buyer to take the newly purchased vehicle from a dealership lot. The relative crashed it into the back of the decedent’s vehicle, pushing him into oncoming traffic. The decedent’s wife brought a wrongful death claim against the vehicle buyer, the relative, and the dealership. All defendants brought motions for summary judgment and the trial court granted the dealership’s motion. The plaintiff appealed this ruling while her claims against the vehicle buyer and the relative remained.

Because the plaintiff still had pending claims against other parties in the lawsuit, the appeal was classified as an appeal from an interlocutory order, which means the order only resolved some of the claims in the action and not the entire action as a whole. In most situations, there is no immediate right to an appeal from interlocutory orders. In seeking her appeal, however, the plaintiff failed to comply with N.C. Gen. Stat Section 1A-1, Rule 54(b), which requires a trial court’s certification that an order is appropriate for immediate appellate review.

Continue reading

motorcycle helmetsMotorcycle accidents can lead to some of the most debilitating injuries. In the worst cases, the victim loses his or her life as a result of a driver’s negligence. As competent North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers, we have assisted countless individuals with understanding their right to compensation after losing a loved one in an unnecessary and tragic crash. One of the most challenging aspects of resolving the situation is negotiating with insurance companies, who don’t always have your best interests in mind. While you and your family are coping with the sudden tragedy, we will work with insurance companies to fight for your rights and to protect your interests.

A recent North Carolina appellate opinion discussed the applicability of insurance in a crash that involved a motorcyclist and his passenger. The driver of a passenger vehicle containing three passengers lost control of her vehicle, which then collided with the victim’s motorcycle. The motorcycle rider and his passenger died as a result of the crash.

The defendant’s policy provided liability insurance with limits of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. The insurer distributed the coverage to the passengers in the passenger vehicle and to the estates of the motorcyclist and his passenger. The victims’ estates received $17,928 each. The victim also had an insurance policy that provided underinsured motorist coverage with a limit of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. The policy was distributed to the victims’ estates in the amount of $82,072 each. Ultimately, each estate received a total of $100,000 for both policies, which comprised the per-person limits of the underinsured motorist policy for the victim’s insurance.

car accidentMotor vehicle accidents of any kind are a difficult experience for the victim and his or her family, but they are particularly horrendous when the victim loses his or her life as a result of the crash. Our dedicated team of North Carolina wrongful death car crash attorneys has assisted numerous families with understanding their legal rights following the sudden and painful loss of a loved one.

A recent North Carolina appellate court opinion discusses a wrongful death case involving a motorcyclist. In the action, the administrator of the decedent’s estate filed a negligence action against the at-fault driver alleging that his negligence caused the decedent’s death.

The accident occurred when a commercial truck collided with a motorcycle. Both drivers were residents of Kane County. The crash took place roughly one mile from the county line with Cook County. Paramedics from Kane County treated the motorcyclist, who was dead at the time he arrived at the hospital. The Kane County coroner performed an autopsy. Four of the five witnesses to the accident resided in Kane County. The Kane County sheriff’s department investigated the accident.

After the action was commenced, the defendant filed a motion to transfer venue from Cook County to Kane County based on forum non conveniens, which is the legal doctrine that helps courts determine whether a particular action should be located in a specific venue based on several factors. A party can seek a venue change based on this doctrine when the chosen venue would pose an undue hardship to the defendants. There are several factors involved in making this assessment.

Continue reading

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. Legal News Gavel

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.

Legal News GavelOne 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.

Legal News GavelWhen 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.

Legal News GavelWhen 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.

Legal News GavelOne 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.

Legal News GavelIf 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.

Continue reading

Legal News GavelCar 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.

Continue reading