January 2011

Tire Defects Can Cause Deadly North Carolina Traffic Crashes

January 31, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers also represent clients who were injured in car crashes because of auto defects. Tire failure is a common auto defect that can cause serious injuries.

A tire defect can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in a collision with another auto or a single-vehicle crash that can even turn into a deadly rollover accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 8,000 US traffic crashes resulting in catastrophic injuries or deaths are a result of tire failures.

Common Types of Tire Defects:
Tread separation: Commonly associated with steel belted radial tires, tread separation can cause tire blowouts.

Multi-Piece Rim Failure: Safety administrators have tired banning tires with multi-piece rim parts without success.

Bead Failures: Weak bead wiring can cause an explosion if the tire is overfilled.

Sidewall Failures: Also known as zipper failures, this type of failure can cause serious injury to a person inflating the tire or to those around him/her at the time.

Tire defect lawsuits have resulted in huge verdicts against manufacturers. Just recently, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the $32.2 million blow out verdict against Goodyear over the deaths of three people in Moab, Utah in 2004. Seven others sustained injuries.

Goodyear had argued that it did not get due process because the judge that had presided over the civil case wouldn’t let the tire manufacturer defend itself in the civil case after determining that Goodyear’s attorneys had acted in bad faith. The jury was then instructed to issue a verdict, which the Nevada Supreme Court upheld. It now is refusing to reconsider its ruling.

Your Charlotte, North Carolina auto products liability law firm should know how to gather and present the evidence in your case to prove that a tire defect caused your accident. While some tire failures occur because of wear and tear or poor maintenance, some are a result of design and manufacturing defects.

$32 million judgment against Goodyear in fatal crash upheld, Las Vegas Sun, July 2, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Safety Recalls, NHTSA

The Center for Auto Safety

Charlotte, North Carolina Driver Charged in Monroe Bicycle Accident that Killed Rider

January 28, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Charlotte man is charged in the deadly hit-and-run Monroe bicycle accident that killed Roy Dean Mittelsteadt last night. A passing motorist saw the 46-year-old cyclist on the side of Rocky River Road and notified police.

An alert was put out in the area and a Wingate officer later spotted a Honda Element with “massive front end damage.” Its driver, Stephen Lance Helms, is charged with second-degree murder and DWI. More charges are pending.

Hit-and-run driving is against the law and is an act that can definitely place the defendant of a North Carolina car accident lawsuit at a disadvantage when it comes to determining negligence. All motorists are supposed to stay at a crash site when an injury is involved. When that driver caused the accident by driving recklessly and then fleeing the scene without reporting the accident or getting help for the injured party, he or she may end up owing significant damages to a crash victim that has suffered serious injuries.

For a bicycle accident victim, working with an experienced Monroe, North Carolina car crash law firm can increase your chances (and the amount) of your recovery. Your Monroe injury law firm should know how to gather evidence, assess the extent of your injuries and their resulting costs, interview witnesses, and hire the right experts to prove your case. Also, because North Carolina is a state with a contributory negligence law, if a victim is found to be even 1% at fault for causing the injury accident, he or she cannot get any compensation from the other party—even if that person or entity is 99% responsible for the crash. This is yet another reason to make sure your case is being handled by experienced Monroe traffic accident lawyers.

Charlotte man charged in hit-and-run that killed bicyclist, Charlotte Observer, January 28, 2011

Related Web Resources:
North Carolina Department of Transportation

Bicycle Accidents, Nolo

Huntersville Teacher Dies from North Carolina Car Accident Injuries

January 25, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A 4th Grade teacher has died from serious injuries she sustained during a Huntersville car crash on NC 73 on Thursday morning. Aimee Elisabeth Powell was driving to work at Southlake Christian Academy when she was struck in a head-on crash by Dodge pickup truck.

Huntersville police say the two autos were moving at a speed of about 50 mph when the pickup truck, driven by Stephen Todd Richard, 19, crossed the center line and hit the 25-year-old teacher’s Pontiac. Powell was transported to Carolinas Medical Center where she died that night.

Authorities have yet to determine what caused Richard’s pickup truck to drive into opposing traffic. They don’t think that alcohol, drugs, or use of a cell phone contributed to the deadly Mecklenburg County car accident. However, criminal charges may be filed against Richard once police determine what caused the deadly collision. The 19-year-old also suffered serious injuries during the North Carolina head-on collision.

Head-On Crashes
Head-on collisions often result in fatalities. The abrupt manner in which they happen, with two vehicles colliding head-on into each other and then stopping abruptly doesn’t allow for much absorption of the force from the instant impact. Some of the more common causes of head-on car accidents include:

• Speeding
• Vehicle malfunction
• Accidentally driving over the center line
• Driving the wrong-way up a road
• Incorrect lane passing
• Drunk driving
• Drowsy driving
• Texting while driving
• Talking on a cell phone
• Falling asleep at the wheel
• Lane drifting

Teacher seriously injured in head-on collision, Charlotte Observer, January 21, 2010

Teacher Injured In Huntersville Crash Dies, WSOCTV, January 21, 2010

Rider Killed in Mint Hill, North Carolina Motorcycle Accident

January 22, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Motorcyclist Richard Cullinan was killed in a Mint Hill, North Carolina traffic accident on Thursday. Police say that the 41-year-old motorcyclist was approaching the Evans Road intersection on NC 51 when a Ford Windstar van pulled into his path in an attempt to turn left. Cullinan, who lost control of his bike, was thrown into the air before crashing into a Jeep Cherokee. He was pronounced dead at the Mint Hill motorcycle crash site.

Speed doesn’t appear to be a cause of the crash, but the authorities are continuing to investigate what happened. Depending on the evidence, criminal charges may be filed against at least one of the drivers. That said, regardless of whether a criminal case is pursued, Cullinan’s loved ones may have grounds for filing a Mecklenburg County wrongful death case against any responsible parties.

North Carolina Motorcycle Accidents
Although North Carolina traffic laws mandate that motorists and motorcyclists share the road safely with each other, this is not always the case, and it is usually the rider who sustains the more devastating injuries. Granted, the state requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, but sometimes the impact of landing on the road or into a concrete wall or colliding with a tractor-trailer or another vehicle can be too much for any protective gear to withstand.

To prove liability, an intensive investigation will have to be conducted and questions such as who was at fault in causing the crash, what were the road and traffic conditions at the time, who had the right of way, was anyone driving under the influence, were traffic rules disobeyed, and were their any vehicle defects involved may need to be asked and answered.
Mint Hill man dies in motorcycle wreck, WBTV, January 21, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Motorcycle Accidents, Nolo

State Motorcycle Riding Laws

FMCSA’s Proposed Changes to Hours-of-Service Rules for Commercial Truckers Will Hopefully Decrease The Number of US Truck Accidents

January 19, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

After unveiling its proposed changes to its hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is now welcoming commentary on the proposal. The new rules were created to make the roads even safer and decrease the number of truck crashes.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina tractor-trailer accident lawyers would love to see the number of catastrophic collisions go down. We represent victims and their families throughout the state who have been injured or lost a love done in a large truck crash.

The proposed rule changes includes provisions that:
• Reduce a trucker’s allowed on-duty time to 13 hours.
• Lower daily drive time by 1 hour to 10 hours/day.
• Allow for a 14-hour workday that includes an hour long break.
• Give a trucker the option of working a 16-hour shift two times a week to make time for the unloading and loading of cargo.
• Allow for time off spent in a parked truck to count as off-duty time.

Although the 34-restart would stay the same, a trucker would only be able to avail of it once in seven days and it must include two overnight rest periods. The restart lets a driver work a 60- to 70- hour shift after breaking for 34 hours straight.

Already, members of the trucking industry have stepped up to criticize the proposed changes. The American Trucking Association has said that the US Department of Transportation “missed the mark” with its proposal that not only places “unnecessary restrictions on truck drivers, but also would substantially lower the industry’s productivity.

Proposed Rulemaking for Hour-of-Service, FMCSA

Trucking industry unhappy with proposed drive time rules, The City Wire, December 27, 2010

Related Web Resources:
American Trucking Association

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident Law Firm Invites Local High School Students to Join the Fight Against Underage Drunk Driving and Possibly Win a College Scholarship

January 13, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Michael DeMayo are proud to announce that for the ninth year in a row, the Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship program will be awarding $2,500 each to 15 local high school seniors. Recipients will be chosen among those who submit an essay or a presentation on how to prevent underage drinking and driving.

In total, our Charlotte, North Carolina personal injury lawyers will be awarding $37,500 in scholarship funds. Participating students must come from one of the following counties in North Carolina—Gaston, Mecklenburg, Union, Catawba, Cleveland, Cabarrus, Rowan, Lincoln, Stanly, Caldwell, Burke, Alexander, Scotland, Robeson, Cabarrus, Anson, Richmond, Iredell, or Cumberland—and South Carolina—Lancaster, York, Marlboro, Chesterfield, or Dillon. They also must have applied to a four-year university or college for full-time enrollment. The deadline for submitting the following items to our North Carolina car accident law firm is March 7, 2011:

• A completed application
• A presentation that emphasizes the dangers of drunk driving and encourages teenagers to refrain from underage drinking and driving. Essay, PowerPoint, video, brochure, or Web site formats are accepted.
• A high school transcript
• SAT results
• Two letters of recommendation

Visit our web page with the 2011 Official Contest Rules for more information on how to apply.

Winning presentations will be published in a booklet and given to lawmakers and community leaders. The Law Offices of Michael A. Mayo has awarded $162,000 in college scholarships since 2003 and is looking forward to continuing to help get the message out to teenagers that underage drinking and driving together can prove catastrophic.

Drunk driving continues to be a problem affecting all age groups. It can destroy lives and kill people. It helps to start educating drivers at a young age about the dangers of driving under the influence. Hopefully, this knowledge and awareness will save lives.

DeMayo Law Offices Awarding $37,500 in Scholarships to Graduating Seniors, PR Newswire, January 11, 2011

Winners of the 2010 Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Join the Fight to Stop North Carolina Car Accidents Caused by Underage Drinking, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, May 22, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Michael A. DeMayo Scholarship Program

Impaired Driving, Students Against Destructive Decisions

Woman Sustains Serious Head Injures in Charlotte, North Carolina Car Crash with Police Vehicle

January 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Kay Guillermina Floyd, a 43-year-old nurse, suffered serious head injuries on Monday when a police SUV that was speeding to the scene of foot chase struck her minivan. At the time, the police vehicle did not have its lights on or its siren activated.

The Charlotte, North Carolina auto accident occurred while Floyd reportedly had the right of way. The police SUV, which was going at a speed of about 45 mph in a 35 mph zone, struck Floyd’s vehicle on the driver’s side, and she was ejected from the auto. Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer and canine cop Cory Milbourn, who was driving the police vehicle that collided with the minivan, sustained minor injuries.

Under state law and per the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, police can drive faster than the speed limit if their sirens and lights are on. Police are trying to determine what happened and whether criminal charges should be filed against Milbourn.

As our Charlotte, North Carolina car accident law firm has reported in the past, NC traffic crashes involving state highway patrol troopers is a problem. Per state records, in 2009, officers were involved in seven car crashes a week. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 360 deaths a year occur in US vehicle collisions involving a police pursuit. 30% of those who die weren’t even involved in the actual pursuit and this figure doesn’t even factor in the number of deaths that occurred immediately after a chase.

There are rules that a police officer must follow when heading to a scene or engaged in a pursuit of any kind. Failure to abide by these rules or warn bystanders can cause catastrophic traffic crashes.

Woman hurt after police vehicle crashes into her minivan, Charlotte Observer, January 4, 2011

Police K-9 SUV did not have lights or siren on during wreck, KSLA News 12, January 4, 2011

State Highway Patrol Troopers Involved in Seven North Carolina Car Accidents a Week During 2009, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer, May 19, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

Chases by police yield high fatalities, USA Today, April 23, 2010