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The Catastrophic Injury Blog

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P: 828-252-2852

Distracted Driving: Frequently Done and Potentially Fatal

 

We all do crazy and dangerous acts each time we drive our cars, trucks, vans, or other motor vehicles. We drink coffee on the way to work. We yell at energetic kids in the back seat. Some of us read and write texts while driving or eat lunch while we’re on our way down the road. We take our eyes off the road to see who is calling us
and to decide whether we need to call them back right NOW. Each of these acts are stupid things to do but more importantly, can be deadly to you, your passengers, and/or strangers in the car or truck that you might crash into when performing them.

The U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have put together a very effective website on the dangers of distracted driving at www.Distraction.gov. You may have seen the all too realistic TV ad featuring a car full of young people out for a drive and the driver has one hand on her smartphone
and the other hand on the wheel.

The statistics from the website should get your attention:

    • • An estimated 3,328 Americans were killed in car crashes where distracted driving was a factor in 2012. That’s more than nine people a day.

• About 421,000 Americans were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2012 (up from about 387,000 the previous year). That comes to about 48 people injured every hour of every day.

• At any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices while driving.

• About 71% of teens and young drivers admit to creating and sending texts while driving, 78% stated they read texts while driving.

• Drivers in their 20’s make up 27% of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.

• Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph, that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field.

• Headset cell phone use is not substantially safer than hand-held use. North Carolina law does not make it a crime to use a handheld device while driving, unless you’re a novice driver or driving a school bus. Texting while driving is illegal in the state. Regardless of whether these practices are legal or not, they’re just plain unsafe and stupid to do while driving.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, because of their negligence, there may be a valid legal claim for compensation due to injuries. Contact my office so we can discuss the situation and your potential legal options. Most importantly, don’t be a distracted driver yourself so you’re not the one at the wrong end of a personal injury lawsuit.

 

P: 828-252-2852

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FREQUENTLY ASKED PERSONAL INJURY QUESTIONS

How do I select a lawyer?

The way your case is handled may affect you and your family for the rest of your life. You should select an attorney that is experienced, knowledgeable and caring.

Q. If I make a settlement in a personal injury arising out of a work injury, do I have to pay the workers’ compensation insurance back for money they have already paid me?

A. Sometimes. NC law is very complicated on these obligations. A Superior Court Judge can be asked to set what, if any, lien is due the workers’ compensation insurance carrier when a settlement is proposed on a civil lawsuit over the same accident. Once the Superior Court Judge sets the amount of the lien that is due, the NC Industrial Commission will issue an ORDER concerning disbursement of future workers’ compensation payments. You should consult a specialist in workers’ compensation law to avoid potential liens and pay back requirements.

How can I pay my bills while I am out of work?

You should consider all possible sources of insurance such as health and disability. Depending on your condition, you may become eligible for Med Pay, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or Worker's Compensation (if wreck occurred while on the job). Ask your agent and lawyer for more details. It is unethical for lawyers to lend you money while your case is pending. However, lawyers can often help you handle the financial crunch by promising the health care providers to pay their fees out of the settlement or jury verdict.

How much money should I receive for my injuries?

You should recover past and future medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, scarring, pain and suffering and any other loss you have endured as a result of the accident. The value of your claim depends on many different factors. For severe injuries, your spouse may be able to claim loss of consortium or companionship. If the cause of the wreck was related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, further punitive or punishment damages might be appropriate. The value of an experienced lawyer who is familiar with the jury verdicts and the range of settlements in a particular area is critical to making sure you are fully compensated for your injuries.

What if the insurance company will not make a reasonable offer to settle?

There is no fixed formula for deciding what a claim is worth. What is "reasonable" depends on who is evaluating the claim. Insurance companies have a lot more experience evaluating and anticipating what a claim might be worth than you do. It is extremely important that you select a lawyer that has experience and is knowledgeable of the value of similar claims in you area. Valuations of cases vary from county to county and city to city. Consultation with local counsel is critical.

Does it matter whether I am at fault or not in causing the accident?

Yes. North Carolina is one of the few states in the country that continues to follow the "Contributory Negligence" doctrine of liability. This harsh law means that even if the cause of the accident is in a very small part your responsibility, you may not be able to recover any damages against someone who is almost totally responsible for the wreck. The law has been used for years by insurance companies to successfully lower the value of claims in North Carolina. It is extremely doubtful that the General Assembly will change this very unfair and unreasonable law in the near future. For this reason, you should not give any statements to insurance companies, adjusters, or other third parties until you have had a chance to...

CATASTROPHIC INJURY VIDEO LIBRARY

Our Video Library is not closed-captioned.  Instead of embedding our videos, we have created posts for them, where full transcripts of can be found.
Click on the links below to view the video and its transcript.

Short Personal Injury Overview

Personal Injury Overview

Personal Injury Detailed Overview

Personal Injury Detailed Overview

Compassionate North Carolina Social Security Disability Lawyer

David Gantt describes his History in Helping People with Workers’ Compensation and Social Security Disability Cases