April 16, 2014

Operation Slow Down

It's no secret that speeding is a dangerous behavior behind the wheel, but motorists in North Carolina and across the U.S. are still driving too fast. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol is cracking down on speeding offenders and other dangerous drivers this week. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, State Troopers are going to be out in full force cracking down on dangerous drivers. "Operation Slow Down" will run until Sunday, April 20th. State Troopers will be utilizing unmarked and marked patrol vehicles to catch speeders on highways and interstates across North Carolina. According to The Dispatch, over 19,581 citations were issued for a variety of traffic violations during last year's Operation Slow Down.

Speeding: Just the Facts

• In 2011, 9,944 people died in speeding-related crashes.
• In 2010, 10,508 people died in speeding-related crashes.
• Speed was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes in 2011.
• In 2011, 35 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding.
• Only 13 percent of speeding-related fatalities happened on Interstate Highways in 2011.

The Dangers of Speeding

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that economic societal costs of speeding-related crashes are about $40.4 billion each year. Racing, driving too fast for conditions and exceeding posted speed limits are all forms of speeding which can injure or kill drivers and passenger vehicle occupants. Speed limits aren't posted to keep drivers from getting where they're going in a timely manner. They're posted to keep roadway users safe. Preventing fatal and injury-causing crashes in North Carolina needs to be a top priority for motorists. After all, speeding was listed as a contributing factor for nearly a third of all fatal crashes that happened in 2011.

When to Contact an Attorney

When drivers choose to exceed the speed limit, they're putting everybody on the road at great risk. Hopefully, Operation Slow Down will encourage drivers to obey posted signs and increase roadway safety across North Carolina. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a speeding driver, contact the experienced team at the Davis Law Group, P.A. at 866-397-2897 for a free consultation today.

April 11, 2014

Fatal One-Car Crash in Mars Hill

On Tuesday morning, a crash in Mars Hill took the life of a paraplegic passenger. The car he was riding in was headed west on Bull Creek Road, when the driver reportedly fell asleep at the wheel. The car left the roadway and ended up in a ditch. Sadly, the victim, 24-year-old Wesley Coates, was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. No other vehicles were involved in this wreck.

According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, this crash is still under investigation, but alcohol and speed don't appear to have been factors. The driver was treated for injuries on the scene. The team at the Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Wesley Coates.

April 10, 2014

Charges Filed in Fatal Moped Crash

Charges have been filed in a crash that took the life of a moped rider in Asheville last month. Graham Shepley was riding his moped on Patton Avenue at Mimosa Drive when he was struck by Dimitry Stynka. The crash, which happened on March 21st, occurred when Stynka was making a left turn. According to WLOS ABC Channel 13 News, Stynka told police that he didn't see the moped when he initially made the turn. Sadly, Shepley was pronounced dead at the scene. Stynka was charged with two misdemeanors, death by vehicle and failure to yield to a left turn.

Share the Road

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's "Share the Road" campaign is aimed at raising awareness for safely sharing the road with motorcycle riders. Moped and scooter riders face many of the same dangers as motorcycle riders. They're on smaller vehicles. They don't have the added benefit of being protected by a steel cage. They don't have airbags or seat belts. Even when moped and scooter riders wear the appropriate safety gear, they can still get injured or killed. Some people may mistakenly think that mopeds and scooters are safer than motorcycles, because they are much slower. Unfortunately, with distracted and impaired drivers on the road, nobody is safe.

Put Down the Electronic Devices

You can't safely share the road and send or receive a text at the same time. Distracted driving puts other motorists, motorcycle riders, cyclists, pedestrians, scooter riders and moped riders at great risk. If your attention is on anything other than the task of driving, devastating and deadly crashes can happen. Mopeds and scooters are smaller than traditional passenger occupant vehicles, so drivers need to be extra watchful when changing lanes and making turns.

After Losing a Loved One

If you lose a loved one in a motorcycle, scooter or moped crash, you should contact an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Surviving loved ones are often facing medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of future income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. If you have lost a loved one in a fatal bike crash, contact the experienced team at Davis Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation today. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Graham Shepley.

April 3, 2014

North Carolina is 10th Most Dangerous State for Cyclists

WLOS ABC Channel 13 News just reported on the disturbing fact that North Carolina was recently ranked the 10th most dangerous state or cyclists. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2011, North Carolina had 2.59 cyclist deaths per million people. Florida came in first place with 6.36 deaths per million people.

Cyclists in Asheville and across North Carolina are encouraged to take appropriate measures to increase their personal safety while cycling. Helmets, flashing lights and high-visibility clothing are three great ways to protect yourself while cycling the roadways. Unfortunately, even cyclists who take all possible safety precautions can still get struck by distracted, careless or impaired drivers. If you or a loved one is injured in a bicycle accident, contact the experienced team at Davis Law Group, P.A. at 866-397-2897 for a free consultation today.

April 1, 2014

Greenville Bans Distracted Driving

As of April 1st, distracted drivers who are caught in Greenville will be facing hefty fines. WLOS ABC News Channel 13 recently reported on the new distracted driving ban in Greenville. Community concern prompted the ban which was passed on February 10th. Hands-free devices will still be allowed, but drivers should note that the ordinance says "The act of touching a mobile device, whether it is being hand held or not, to text message is never considered hands free."

The Fines

$100 for the first offense
$200 or the second offense
$300 for each subsequent offense that occurs in the same year
After the third offense, drivers can have their electronic devices seized and destroyed

National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

This ban is just in time for National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be publicizing their "U Drive. U Text. U Pay" campaign from April 7-15. This high-visibility campaign is aimed at raising awareness about not only the dangers of distracted driving, but also the financial costs associated with texting while driving.

Distracted Driving: Just the Facts

• Each day more than nine people are killed in distracted-driving crashes across the U.S.
• More than 1,060 people are injured in distracted-driving crashes across the U.S. each day.
• In 2010, nearly one in five injury-crashes involved a distracted driver.
• In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in distracted-driving crashes.
• In 2012, more than 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers.
• Approximately 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2012.

After a Crash Involving a Distracted Driver

Whether there is a distracted driving ban in effect or not, drivers who text behind the wheel are putting everybody on the road at risk. If you or a loved one is injured in a crash involving a distracted driver, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Distracted driving takes many forms too, so it may not always be immediately apparent that a driver was distracted at the time of a crash. A skilled attorney can stay abreast of official investigations and look after the rights of injured victims. If you or a loved one has been injured by a distracted driver, contact the experienced team at Davis Law Group, P.A. at 866-397-2897 for a free consultation today.

March 28, 2014

One-Car Wreck in Haywood County

On Monday, 21-year-old Leah Worley's car wound up in a ditch off of US 276. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, Worley was on her way to school when she hit a patch of black ice. Unable to keep her car on the roadway, the automobile flipped into a ditch. A witness saw the wreck and dialed 911.

With the assistance of first-responders on the scene, she was able to exit the overturned car. She was transported to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Workers with the NCDOT were on the scene after the wreck, shoring-up the area where creek water seeped onto the roadway. Motorists are encouraged to practice safe winter-weather driving habits with the recent precipitation and below-freezing temperatures. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, contact the experienced team at Davis Law Group, PA for a free consultation today.

March 26, 2014

Pedestrian Critically Injured on Sunday Night

On Sunday night, a pedestrian was struck by a car and critically injured. The incident occurred at the intersection of Broadway Street and Campus Drive, by the rear entrance of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. At about 9:30 p.m., a pickup truck struck 47-year-old Paul Travis Schaible. According to WLOS ABC Channel 13 News, the victim was listed in critical condition as of Monday afternoon. Additionally, this incident is still under investigation, and no charges have been made.
Pedestrian Crash Facts

• In 2010, 4,280 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S.
• In 2011, 4,432 pedestrians were killed in crashes.
70,000 pedestrians were injured in crashes in 2010.
• Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to be killed in a car crash on each trip.
• In 2010, nearly one in five children, between the ages of 5 and 9, who were killed in traffic crashes, was a pedestrian.
• On average, one pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes in 2010.

Everyone is a Pedestrian

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA's) "Everybody is a Pedestrian" campaign is aimed at raising awareness about pedestrian safety. A variety of grants have been made available to fund educational and enforcement programs. The NHTSA offers great tips for increasing your safety while walking. There are even tips specifically aimed at keeping children safe on their way to and from school. Finally, the most important part of the campaign is truly recognizing that "Everybody is a Pedestrian." Pedestrians are still getting struck and killed even when they're using crosswalks, obeying signals and wearing high visibility clothing. Motorists need to be on the lookout for pedestrians and always share the roadway with other users.

After a Pedestrian Accident

If you or a pedestrian you love has been struck by a car, contact the experienced team at Davis Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation today. A skilled attorney can stay on top of official investigations and get the ball rolling on your case. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. wishes Mr. Schaible a speedy and full recovery.

March 20, 2014

GM Recalls 1.6 Million Cars Due to Faulty Ignition Switches

According to CBS News, at least 12 deaths have been linked with faulty ignition switches in certain GM model cars. These ignition switches can unintentionally turn to the 'off' or 'accessories' position at unpredictable and inopportune times when motorists are driving. If this happens, the engine or electrical systems can shut off without warning, leaving drivers and passenger occupants in dangerous and potentially deadly situations.

Models Being Recalled Due to Faulty Ignition Switches

• 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 and Pontiac Pursuit
• 2003-2007 Saturn Ion
• 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR
• 2005-2007 Pontiac Solstice
• 2007 Saturn Sky

If your car is one of the automobiles being recalled, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website recommends taking all of your keys and key chains off of the key when you start and drive your automobile, and getting the ignition switch repaired as soon as parts become available at your local service center. If you or a loved one is injured because of a faulty or defective part in your automobile, contact the Davis Law Group, P.A. for a consultation today.

March 19, 2014

I-40 Wreck in McDowell County

On Saturday night, a three-vehicle wreck sent at least two people to this hospital. The wreck happened at about 8:50 p.m. on I-40, near exit 75. Westbound lanes had to be closed or almost an hour while crews worked the scene. According to WLOS ABC Channel 13 News, a dump truck hauling a cement mixer was struck from behind by a pickup truck as it was merging into westbound lanes. The pickup truck was then struck by an additional vehicle. At least two victims were taken to Mission Hospital for treatment of injuries. As of Monday, March 17th, the crash was still under investigation, and no information on potential charges was released. Additionally, there is no word on the condition of the victims or the extent of their injuries. WLOS ABC Channel 13 News did report that their injuries were described as non-life threatening on Saturday.

At this point, it seems clear that the driver of the pickup truck is liable for the collision with the dump truck. Most likely, the people in the pickup truck were the ones injured in this crash. If the passenger in the pickup truck was injured, then that person would have the right to make a claim against the pickup driver's insurance company. But what if the passenger was seriously injured? In that case, the pickup driver's insurance company should pay the policy limits. In North Carolina, the minimum limits of liability coverage are only $30,000. You can rack up more than $100,000 in medical bills with one orthopedic surgery and a 5 day hospital stay.

The point here is that you must protect yourself from drivers who have minimum limits liability coverage. How do you do that? You purchase Under-Insured Motorist Coverage (UIM) on your own auto insurance policy. Talk to your insurance agent, and get the most UIM coverage you can afford. At Davis Law Group, P.A., we see people each week who have been seriously injured in situations where the liability coverage is only $30,000. Unless these people have UIM coverage, then the most they will be able to recover for all of their damages, including medical bills, is $30,000. The absolute minimum UIM coverage we recommend is $100,000.

Car Accident Facts

• More than 30,000 people are killed in car crashes each year.
• Total crash-related death costs in North Carolina amount to $1.5 billion in a year.
• Motor vehicle wrecks are the leading cause of death in children, teens and young adults.

Improving Highway Safety in North Carolina

In January, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Governor's Highway Safety Program held their third annual Highway Safety Symposium. Over 600 law enforcement officers, district attorneys, magistrates and judges from across North Carolina gathered in hopes to improve highway safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in the state. Topics included bicycle and pedestrian issues, texting while driving and ignition interlocks among other safety issues.

When to Call an Attorney

After any wreck, you should always take care of your immediate health needs first. Whether you're transported from the scene or visit a hospital later, make sure to get medically evaluated after a crash. Even seemingly minor crashes can leave victims with painful after-effects. If you were injured in a crash due to another person's careless, negligent, distracted or impaired driving, you need to speak with a skilled lawyer sooner than later. An attorney can get the ball rolling on your case, and help you deal with pushy insurance companies. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident, contact the experienced team at the Davis Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation today.

March 14, 2014

Multiple Crashes in Asheville on Thursday Morning

There were multiple crashes in and around Asheville on Thursday morning. Traffic was backed up in a variety of locations. Additionally, the morning commute was further delayed by the poor weather conditions. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, power lines were down on Sugarloaf Rd near Highway 280. Also, a three-vehicle wreck happened on Hendersonville road at Caribou road.

First responders with the Asheville Police Department were working multiple scenes this morning. There was even a crash involving an 18-wheeler in Haywood County. The wreck happened near 18-MM westbound, in the Gorge. Dispatchers were letting motorists know that they could take I-26 to I-81 as a detour if travelling west. No injuries were immediately reported in the crash involving the semi truck, but very few details have been released on the crash. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car or truck accident, contact the experienced team at the Davis Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation today.

March 11, 2014

Overturned Tractor Trailer on NC 226

On Monday, a semi truck overturned on NC 226, also known as Coxes Creek Road. The 18-wheeler was hauling a mobile home at the time of the crash. The roadway was shut down for hours as crews worked on the scene of this McDowell County wreck. Motorists were diverted on detours through NC 226A and NC 221 North. At least two people were injured as a result of the crash.

At Least Two People Injured in NC 226 18-Wheeler Crash

According to WLOS ABC 13 News, one victim was taken to Blue Ridge Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, and a second victim was airlifted to Mission Hospital for treatment of serious injuries. Very little information has been released about this crash which is likely still under investigation. There is no word on what caused the 18-wheeler to overturn in the roadway. Additionally, there is no information on the condition of the two victims involved in this collision.

Large Truck Crash Causation Study

When a semi truck overturns and results in an injury-causing wreck, it's absolutely critical to find out why and how it happened. In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the results of a Large Truck Crash Causation Study. Half of the collisions studied involved passenger vehicles. The study found that for crashes involving both large trucks and passenger vehicles, there was a statistically significant link between the 10 factors listed below for both the trucks and passenger vehicles.

Associated Factors for Large Truck Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles

1. Interruption of traffic flow
2. Roadway unfamiliarity
3. Inadequate surveillance
4. Driving too fast for conditions
5. Illegal maneuver
6. Inattention
7. Fatigue
8. Illness
9. False assumption of other road user's actions
10. Distraction by object or person in the vehicle

Commercial Truck Accidents in North Carolina

Crashes involving commercial trucks can leave victims in the hospital and out of work. Since the trucking industry has a variety of additional laws and regulations to follow, it's a good idea to contact an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible if you have been injured in a crash. The experienced team at the Davis Law Group, P.A. can answer your questions and make sure you're on the right track for getting the compensation you deserve after an accident involving an 18-wheeler.

March 7, 2014

School Bus Crash in Buncombe County

Last Friday afternoon, a Buncombe County school bus struck a car. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, there were three children on the bus at the time of the crash. The bus was on Blake Drive, and it struck a car coming out of the Royal Pines community.

Authorities stated that the car was seriously damaged. Very little information has been released on the cause of this crash or the extent of the driver's injuries. Channel 13 said that no charges had been filed, but the wreck was still under investigation. Anytime a crash involves a school bus, making sure the children are okay is the top priority. Even though school buses are designed to be safer than traditional passenger occupant vehicles, children can still get hurt in crashes. If you or a loved one is injured in a crash involving a school bus, contact the skilled team at the Davis Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation.

March 6, 2014

Rule for Electronic On-Board Recorders Perpetually Delayed

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) seems to perpetually delay the proposed rule for requiring electronic on-board recorders (EOBR's) for vehicles in the trucking and transit industry. Many suggest that the delay is the result of the well-healed truck industry lobby. Proponents of the potential rule are hoping that greater accountability and accurate logging of hours will help to improve roadway safety for motorists across the U.S. With 26,000 Americans dying each year in crashes with big trucks, we need all the help we can get to make truck drivers safer.

Electronic On-Board Recorders (Electronic Logging Devices)

EOBR's, also known as electronic logging devices, are on-board monitors that will keep track of the amount of time a particular vehicle has been driven. These devices are of incredible importance to the trucking and transit industry, where hours-of-service (HOS) rules regulate how often and for how long a driver can get behind the wheel. It's not uncommon for unscrupulous drivers to violate HOS rules. These rules were put in place to prevent collisions caused by driver fatigue. If EOBR's are required on all commercial trucks, it will be difficult for truck drivers to violate HOS rules without getting caught. Accurate logging of hours and greater accountability will help keep big-rig drivers awake and alert.

Safety Implications

Critics are citing too much regulation and 'unnecessary' expense as two reasons why they don't agree with the proposed rule. It's important to note that the potential safety implications of EOBR's would mean fewer crashes involving fatigued drivers. Since crashes involving tractor trailers are often incredibly devastating, preventing these wrecks needs to be a top priority for the FMCSA. Semi trucks are much larger and heavier than traditional passenger occupant vehicles, and crashes can often cause serious and fatal injuries.

After a Truck Accident

After any kind of accident involving an 18 wheeler or other commercial truck, you should contact an experienced truck injury lawyer. Professionals in the trucking industry have an important set of rules and regulations to follow. If those regulations aren't being properly adhered to, people can get hurt or killed. Evidence of negligence or misconduct might not be immediately apparent either, so an experienced truck accident attorney can ask the right questions and safeguard your rights. An attorney can be your advocate during this difficult time. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an 18-wheeler, contact the skilled team at the Davis Law Group, P.A. for a free consultation.

January 10, 2014

Huge Gas Line Explosion at Enka Plant

Gas Line Fire Enka.jpgLocal residents near the old Enka Plant near Asheville heard a huge explosion late this afternoon. Then the ground shook like it was an earthquake. People near the explosion immediately suspected something had happened on the old Enka Plant campus. Then those close to the plant could see a huge flame of fire rising into the sky. Fire Department sirens were soon heard and fire trucks were seen approaching the explosion site.

The gas line that is on fire is located near Sandhill Road. The closest business is the Jacob Holms plant. Jacob Holm Industries, founded in 1794, is headquartered globally in Basel, Switzerland. The Buncombe County facility is the headquarters for its U.S. subsidiary. Jacob Holm Industries is one of the world's leading nonwoven corporations, offering high-quality products for the personal care, home care, hygiene, packaging and industrial markets.

An Asheville Fire Department spokesman said that a 12 inch gas line had exploded. Those living in close proximity to the fire have been evacuated to the Enka Baptist Church. Firefighters are now trying to control the blaze. It is unknown at this time whether anyone was injured or what caused the huge explosion. Most often gas lines do not explode without some external cause. Generally, there is a breakdown in some process that leads to a gas explosion.

March 14, 2013

North Carolina Legislators Taking Away Workers' Rights

workers-rights.jpgYesterday, two state Senators filed a new legislative bill that is designed to take away some very important rights to the working citizens of North Carolina. The new bill adversely changes the existing worker's compensation laws. Worker's compensation is the body of law that sets out the rules that apply when someone is injured on the job.

Worker's compensation benefits only cover lost wages and medical bills. The injured worker is not compensated for pain and suffering, mental or emotional anguish and other damages. In other words, the worker's right to recover is quite limited under worker's compensation. When someone is hurt on the job, worker's compensation is usually the worker's only remedy under the law. You cannot sue your employer even if your employer recklessly caused you to get hurt.

In some instances, when someone is injured on the job, there is a third person or entity that actually caused the on-the-job injury. For example, if a construction worker is hauling a load of lumber from a lumber company to a job site, and some third person runs a red light, crashes into him, and injures him, then the worker would receive worker's compensation benefits because he was injured on-the-job, but the third person (the at-fault driver) would also be liable to the injured worker.

In situations where the injury was caused by a third person, the employer's worker's compensation insurance company would have a "lien" (right to be paid back) against the worker's recovery from the third person's insurance company. The current law says that the employer's worker's compensation insurance company has a right to be paid back all (100%) of its lien, but that a Superior Court Judge can reduce that lien to an amount that the judge feels is fair so that justice is served to everyone involved.

In most situations, cases against third parties are settled or compromised for various reasons. Once a third party claim is settled, then the attorney for the injured worker and the attorney for the employer's worker's compensation insurance company usually work out a deal with regard to the employer's lien. If a deal cannot be reached about how much of the lien should be paid back, then the parties ask a Superior Court judge to decide what is fair.

CapitalBuilding.jpgThe new bill would chip-away at that last step, and instead give the employer the right to say whether a lien can be reduced more than 50%. In our experience, employers are usually aligned with their worker's compensation insurance company and oppose any reduction in the lien amount.

The BOTTOM LINE is that injured workers are about to see their right to recover fair compensation for their injuries further reduced so that insurance companies can continue to post ever increasing profits. "Pro-Business" and "Pro-Insurance Company" are the new mantras of our legislature.

If you are concerned about this, you can contact the legislators in your district and let them know that you do not want this bill passed into law. Here is a link to our state senators: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/reports/room-phone.pl?Chamber=senate&viewType=normal.

Here is a link to our state house representatives: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/memberList.pl?sChamber=House.