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On Wednesday morning, three separate crashes happened on I-26 in South Asheville. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the initial wreck was a rollover crash involving a truck. The first crash happened just after 8:00 a.m., near Exit 33 to Brevard Road. The driver of the truck was ejected, when the vehicle rolled over. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of a severe head injury.

There were at least two other wrecks in the area following the initial crash. Very few details have been released about the crashes, which are likely still under investigation with local law enforcement authorities. Traffic was backed up for hours as crews worked the scenes. At this time, there’s no word on the truck driver’s condition.

The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. wishes the victims full and speedy recoveries from their injuries.

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With the weather conditions quickly deteriorating, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has some important driving tips for safely navigating wintery roadways. Although many drivers in Asheville consider themselves seasoned and savvy winter weather drivers, icy roads and distracted or inexperienced drivers can be a recipe for disaster.

When You Can, Stay Home

The NHTSA encourages drivers to stay home, if possible. Unfortunately, you can’t protect yourself in every possible situation, even if you are a good winter weather driver. There are still going to be inexperienced or dangerous drivers taking to the roadways in bad weather, putting other motorists and themselves at great risk. If you can’t stay off of the roadways in poor weather conditions, the NHTSA has a few tips to help you get where you’re going safely.

NHTSA’s Winter Weather Safe Driving Tips
• Before leaving, clear snow and ice from windows, windshields and lights.
• Always buckle up, and make sure children are in age and size appropriate child safety seats.
• Drive slowly.
• Don’t text behind the wheel.
• Focus on the road.
• Know your brakes.

When You’re in Trouble
You should know what kind of brakes you have. If you have antilock breaks, apply firm continuous pressure. If you don’t have antilock brakes, pump them gently. If you’re car is skidding, try to remain calm. The NHTSA recommends easing your foot off of the gas carefully, while steering in the direction you want the front of your automobile to go. Stay off of the pedals until you regain control of the vehicle.

If You’re Stranded
• Stay with your car and don’t overexert yourself.
• Put bright markers on the antenna and windows.
• Leave the interior dome light on.
• To avoid asphyxiation from carbon monoxide, don’t run your car for long periods of time with the windows up.

Car Accidents in Asheville

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving icy roads or winter weather, contact the skilled team at Davis Law Group, P.A. at 866-397-2897 for a free consultation today, and stay abreast of the latest weather conditions with WLOS ABC News Channel 13. If you have to travel, slow down and drive safely.

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On Wednesday morning, a Landrum High School student was killed in a one-car crash on Highway 11. The incident happened at about 7:30 a.m. on Highway 11. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, 17-year-old Jordan Powell was on his way to school when he over-corrected his Honda Civic and drove off of the side of the road.

Powell was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, and he was ejected from the vehicle. He died on the scene. Classmates visited the site of the crash to reflect on the wreck and the loss of their friend.

The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to Jordan Powell’s family members, friends, classmates and football teammates.

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Early Sunday morning, a single-car crash on I-40 killed one person and injured another in Asheville. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened in the eastbound lane near mile marker 48, near the Farmer’s Market. For currently unknown reasons, the 2000 Chevy Camaro left the roadway and struck a patch of trees. The 29-year-old driver, Andrew Anderson of Weaverville, was killed in the crash. The passenger, 33-year-old Alan Morgan of Etowah, was injured in the crash.

Fatal Crash Under Investigation

At this time, there’s no word on why the car left the roadway. Additionally, there’s no word on Morgan’s condition, but his injuries were initially described as non-life threatening. As of Monday morning, the crash was still under investigation with the Asheville Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit. At that time, no charges had been filed in the case.

DOT’s 2013 Traffic Fatality Numbers
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has recently issued a press release regarding the number of roadway crash fatalities in 2013. There’s good news. Fatality rates are at a historic low. They have declined nearly 25 percent over the past decade. Additionally, there was a 3.1 percent decrease in traffic crash fatalities in 2013 from 2012.

2013 Traffic Crash Facts
• In 2013, 32,719 people were killed in traffic crashes across the nation.
• The number of injuries in traffic crashes declined by 2.1 percent from 2012 to 2013.
• Pedestrian fatalities increased by 1.2 percent, the highest since 2006.
• An estimated 424,000 people were injured in distraction-related crashes in 2013.

After a Car Accident

After any kind of car accident, it’s a good idea to speak with a skilled personal injury attorney. A lawyer can stay on top of official investigative details and be your family’s advocate during a difficult time. Whether you’ve lost a loved one in a semi truck crash or a distracted driver has injured you, an experienced lawyer can be an indispensable asset.

The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Andrew Anderson and wishes Alan Morgan a full and speedy recovery from his injuries.

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On Wednesday morning, a fire truck crash in Hendersonville sent two firefighters to the hospital. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened at around 8:00 a.m., when the fire truck was responding to a nearby crash. The fire truck left the roadway and went down an embankment.

Two of the injured firefighters had to be carried on stretchers back up to the roadway. One of the firefighters had to be admitted to Mission Hospital for treatment of a broken collarbone and internal injuries. He was listed in stable condition though. At this time, the crash is being blamed on icy roadway conditions.

The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. wishes the injured first responders full and speedy recoveries.

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In the early morning hours, a person was killed in a one-car crash in Greenville, South Carolina. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened on Latimer Ridge Road, near Honea Path at about 1:22 a.m. For currently unknown reasons, the 2001 GMC pickup truck left the roadway and struck a tree. The driver was killed, and his or her name has not yet been released.

Driver Not Wearing Seat Belt

Sadly, WLOS ABC News Channel 13 also reports that the driver was not buckled up at the time of the crash. Very few details have been released, as the cause of the crash is still under investigation with local law enforcement authorities.

U.S. Seat Belt Safety Facts
• In 2012, seat belts saved an estimated 12,174 lives.
• From 2008 to 2012, almost 63,000 lives were saved thanks to seat belts.
• In 2012, an additional 3,031 lives could have been saved if all unrestrained occupants ages five and older were buckled up at the time of their crashes.
• 66 percent of pickup truck occupants who were killed in car crashes were not buckled up.
• 62 percent of 18 to 34-year-old passenger vehicle occupants killed in car crashes were not buckled up.

Seat Belt Safety in Asheville
Improving seat belt safety in North Carolina and across the country needs to be a top priority for motorists. Drivers should always set a good example for passengers of all ages by using their seat belts for every trip. Since a large majority of passenger occupants are also children, size and age-appropriate restraint systems should always be utilized, whether it’s a rear-facing car seat or a booster seat. Improving roadway safety for communities in Greenville and the surrounding areas starts with buckling up.

Fatal and Injury Causing Crashes

Fatal and injury-causing crashes are devastating for families and communities in and around Asheville and Greenville. Whether you’re recovering from an accident, or you’ve lost a loved one, an experienced legal team can help to answer your questions and be your advocate during a difficult time. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of the victim.

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On Monday evening, a 22-year-old Mauldin police officer was killed in a motorcycle crash. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened at the intersection of West Butler Road and Cary Street.

For currently unknown reasons, Austin Gotowka lost control of his bike and slid through the intersection. There was another vehicle involved, but there’s no word on what happened with that vehicle. As of Tuesday, the driver had not been cited, but very few details have been released about the investigation. Gotowka was wearing a helmet at the time of the wreck.

The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Austin Gotowka.

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Last week, a fatal chain-reaction crash occurred in Transylvania County. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened on Asheville Highway 280 in the Pisgah Forest area. Although very few details about how this crash happened have been released, we do know that a vehicle crossed over the center lane of the roadway and struck another automobile. The initial collision caused a chain reaction. At least two other vehicles were involved in the crash, and 80-year-old Robert James Giuduci was killed.

Three other people were hospitalized for injuries, but there’s no word on their current conditions. There’s also no explanation for why the initial car crossed over the centerline. Could it have been a case of distracted driving? Did the driver have a medical emergency or a mechanical problem with the car?

Dangerous Roadways Around Asheville

Apparently, this isn’t the first crash to happen on this particular stretch of roadway. Local residents report that they’ve seen multiple car accidents in this area over the past few years. One woman refuses to let her children play in the front yard due to the danger involved. It may be time for officials to take a closer look at roadway configuration or other factors that make this part of the road notoriously dangerous.

Distracted Driving in Asheville
It’s also not uncommon for drivers to veer out of their lanes or cross centerlines when distractions are involved. Distracted driving puts everybody on the road at great risk. There is even research that suggests distracted drivers have slower reaction times than alcohol impaired drivers. Texting-while-driving isn’t the only type of distracted driving either. Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the task at hand is considered a distraction.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash involving a distracted driver, contact a skilled personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Additional investigative efforts may be necessary to determine the cause of the crash. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Robert James Giuduci and wishes speedy and full recoveries to all of the injured victims involved.

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On Friday, WLOS ABC News Channel 13’s Facebook page reported on a semi truck crash on I-26. Very few details were released, but we know that the wreck involved a minivan and a tractor trailer. The incident happened in the westbound lanes of I-26, near Ferry Road or mile marker 34.

Traffic was slowed down to about 20 miles per hour in the area as crews and first responders worked the scene. There’s no word on whether or not anybody was injured, or how the crash happened. The cause is likely still under investigation with authorities.

How to Avoid Collisions with Commercial Vehicles Many motorists make the mistake of driving alongside an 18 wheeler. This is very dangerous driving for anyone. A significant percentage of all tractor trailer collisions occur when a tractor trailer suddenly changes lanes. Due to the size of these large commercial trucks, they have a huge blind spot that make changing lanes a very dangerous activity. Truck drivers are trained not to change lanes without first looking to their side to make sure there is not a vehicle sitting in their blind spot. Unfortunately, however, many truck drivers look only in their side mirror and do not actually turn their head to look in the lane beside them. As a result, many passenger vehicle drivers find themselves in the danger zone with no where to go. To avoid the danger zone, simply do not attempt to pass an 18 wheeler unless you have a clear path all the way past the big rig. If there is another vehicle in front of you, you should wait until that vehicle has completely passed the 18 wheeler before you begin your passing maneuver. Once you start to pass the 18 wheeler, then continue to make your passing maneuver so that you go all the way past the big truck. You should also avoid attempting to pass an 18 wheeler on bridges and in areas where there is a concrete median. You should always leave yourself an escape path in the event of a unexpected movement by a commercial truck.

Another danger zone exists when traffic suddenly slows down or comes to a complete stop on the interstate. This is particularly dangerous at night when visibility is low and truck drivers are more prone to be sleepy. In this situation, you should keep a careful watch on the traffic behind you. Many fatal crashes have occurred as a result of tired truck drivers running into slow or stopped vehicles on the interstate. To safeguard against this situation, we suggest activating your hazard lights / emergency flashers as long as traffic is moving slowly or stopped. Also, if you see an 18 wheeler, or any vehicle for that matter, approaching from behind and they do not appear to be slowing down well before they get close to your vehicle, then you should quickly move your vehicle off of the paved surface. You can always re-enter the highway after the truck driver has slowed his vehicle or even passed on by.

Crashes involving semi trucks can be catastrophic and even fatal for drivers and occupants in smaller traditional vehicles. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, contact the skilled team at Davis Law Group, P.A. at 866-397-2897 for a free case consultation today.

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On Friday morning, three Transylvania County children were struck and injured by an elderly driver. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the incident happened at about 7:15 a.m., as the children were getting ready to board the school bus. The driver, 85-year-old Floyd Hipps, failed to stop or reduce his speed for the school bus. Children were crossing Greenville Highway, and the bus was completely stopped with the crossing arm out and red lights flashing at the time of the wreck.

Children from Bus 77 were headed to Brevard Middle School. The bus made a stop near the Connestee Falls subdivision to pickup about five kids when Mr. Hipps drove through. The 2013 Ford Explorer hit three of them and sent two to the ground. School bus officials did report that while the bus had onboard cameras, it did not have stopping arm cameras, so no footage of the incident was captured of the incident.

Two of the children had to be airlifted to Mission Hospital in Asheville, and the third child was taken by ambulance to Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. Thankfully, none of the injuries were life-threatening. One child suffered a fractured femur, a second child suffered a concussion, and a third child suffered a fractured skull. The third child remains in serious condition at the hospital. The other two children have been released. Mr. Hipps was charged with felony failure to stop for a school bus and failure to reduce speed, but there’s no word on why he didn’t stop. The Highway Patrol spokesperson said that any time a child is hit a child is hit at a bus stop, the criminal charge becomes a felony. Hipps told Troopers that he did not see the children before the impact.

The Danger Zone

After this incident, it may or may not come as a surprise to Asheville parents that the most dangerous part of riding a school bus is loading and unloading. The 10 feet in front of, behind and beside a school bus is considered the “Danger Zone.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) encourages parents to talk to their children about safe boarding and unloading practices. Not only are children at risk from other drivers, but they’re also in an area where a bus driver may not see them. Children who have to cross the street to board the bus or unload from a bus should be instructed to stay well in front of the bus so that they can have direct eye contact with the bus driver. Children should also be told that they must still look in both directions prior to crossing the street, even if the bus’ lights are flashing and the stop arm is extended.

Civil Liability Analysis
In addition to the criminal charges, Mr. Hipps also faces the potential for substantial civil liability from this incident. The purpose of the civil justice system is to compensate those who have suffered injury or harm as a result of someone else’s careless or reckless conduct. The children who suffered injuries from this incident have the right to assert a personal injury claim against Mr. Hipps and his automobile insurance company. In a situation like this, the liability of Mr. Hipps seems clear, and the only real question would be the value of the childrens’ personal injury claims. While the injuries in this case do not appear life-threatening, the injuries are certainly serious.

What Is My Case Worth?

The children in this case would have the right to recover for all of their medical expenses, including but not limited to ambulance, hospital, and rehabilitation costs. The right to recover for these expenses exists even if the children are covered by their parent’s private health insurance. The children would also have the right to recover money damages for any permanent injuries and for the physical pain and mental suffering caused by the injuries. Mental suffering can include things like anxiety and post traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD). There is no set formula for deciding the value of such claims. Clients often want to know at the beginning of their case: “what is my claim worth?” At Davis Law Group, we always respond by saying that, “your case is worth what any 12 people off the street could agree on after hearing all of the evidence in your case.” There is no way to say what any given case is truly worth immediately after the injury. The reality is that we have to wait and see how the client does during the medical treatment and then also how the client is doing after their injuries have healed and all of the medical care is completed.

Does The Minor Receive Money?

When a minor is injured as the result of another person’s careless or reckless conduct, and the minor makes a claim and recovers money for their injuries, the money must go into either a trust account in the Clerk of Court’s Office or into a Structured Settlement. A Structured Settlement is a form of an insurance annuity.

If the money is deposited with the Clerk’s Office, then as soon as the minor turns 18 years of age, he or she can take all of the money from the settlement and do with it as they please. If the money is placed into a Structured Settlement, then the money will be disbursed to the claimant at certain intervals and amounts, depending on how the Structured Settlement is put together. Often, the parents of the minor decide that it would be better to place the money into a Structured Settlement so that the money can be disbursed in a way that is helpful to paying for a college education. Another huge benefit of a Structured Settlement is that the interest income earned prior to disbursement is tax free and not subject to capital gains taxes.

Elderly Driver Safety
Although very few details about the crash have been released, plenty of citizens are talking about elderly driver safety. As our friends and relatives continue to age, their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle may diminish. These are not easy conversations to have with a friend or loved one. But, if you’re worried about an elderly driver, it may be time to have “the talk.” The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) also provides a variety of materials to concerned family members and helpful tips for bringing up the conversation. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. wishes speedy and full recoveries for all of the injured children involved.