February 2011

Couple Fitted with Prosthetic Legs Following Deadly North Carolina Motorcycle Crash

February 28, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

According to the Hickory Daily Record, the couple that survived a 2009 Catawba motorcycle accident must now use prosthetic legs. Roger and Cindi Seibers were injured on September 4, 2009.

The Dodge truck that struck the couple had crossed the center line. The impact of the crash caused the Seibers’ motorcycle to travel 131 feet. While Cindi, 49, was tossed into the underbrush, Roger, 54, ended up pinned under his motorcycle.

In addition to their severe leg injuries, Cindi lost broke her neck. Roger had a compound fracture of his femur and was burned to the bone by his bike’s hot tailpipe.

The couple was hospitalized for two months, and they were initially confined to wheelchairs. Cindi also required in-home nursing care for half a year. The Catawba County motorcycle accident has drastically altered the couple’s previously active lifestyle.

Police are still investigating the Catawba traffic crash. The Seibers are hoping that the driver comes forward.

North Carolina Motorcycle Accidents
Although riding a motorcycle is generally considered more dangerous than riding a car, truck, or bus, this does not mean that serious injuries have to happen. Contrary to popular belief, most motorcyclists are safe riders that obey the rules of the road and they have every right to be there.

An experienced Catawba motorcycle crash lawyer can help determine who was at fault. For example, a driver may have been distracted or failed to stop in time to avoid causing a North Carolina traffic crash. Speeding, aggressive driving, or drunk driving may have been factors. Vehicle defects and road hazards are also common causes of motorcycle accidents.

Motorcyclists seek answers in life-threatening crash, Hickory Daily Record, February 10, 2011

Related Web Resources:

Insurance Information Institute

Motorcycle Accidents, Nolo

More Blog Posts:
Rider Killed in Mint Hill, North Carolina Motorcycle Accident, North Carolina Accident Lawyer Blog, January 22, 2011

Decrease in Helmet Use Causing More Young Motorcyclists to Suffer Traumatic Brain Injuries, North Carolina Accident Lawyer Blog, November 30, 2010

Charlotte, North Carolina Motorcycle Crash Kills 51-Year-Old Motorcyclist, North Carolina Accident Lawyer Blog, November 4, 2010

US Supreme Court Reinstates Seat Belt Lawsuit Against Mazda Over Woman’s Wrongful Death

February 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

In a unanimous ruling, the US Supreme Court says the family of Thanh Williamson can sue Mazda for her wrongful death. The lower courts had dismissed the seat belt defect. lawsuit blaming the automaker for failing to install lap-and-shoulder belts in the rear seat of the 1993 minivan she was riding. Williamson died in 2002 while wearing only a lap belt. The other passengers in the vehicle who were using lap-and-shoulder belts survived the deadly head-on crash.

Mazda sought to have the case dismissed on the grounds that it had been in compliance with federal safety regulations that give automakers the option of installing lap belts only in certain rear seats. It also referred to Geier v. American Honda Motor Company, a previous Supreme Court case over a similar regulation that let automakers decide whether to install air bags. The lower courts had referred to Geier when dismissing the family’s auto products liability complaint.

In Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, although the Supreme Court is not disavowing Geier or that the history of regulation is similar to the history of air bags, Justice Breyer’s opinion noted that the regulators were not worried about lap-and-shoulder restraints’ consumer acceptance and they weren’t afraid there might be more safety risks from these belts. They also were certain that the lap-and-shoulder belts would improve safety and their concerns about how much it cost to install the more elaborate seat belt system were no longer as great.

North Carolina Seat Belt Defect Cases:
Seat belt defects can cause serious injuries during a traffic crash. A vehicle occupant thinks he/she is properly secured but in fact is not. When a seat belt defect is a result of a manufacturing or design error, the automaker can be held liable for North Carolina auto products liability or wrongful death.

Examples of common seat belt defects:
• Webbing defects
• Latching issues
• Retractor problems
• Seat belt failure
• Lap belt design
Supreme Court Revives Lap Belt Suit Against Mazda, Consumer Affairs, February 23, 2011

Supreme Court Allows Lawsuit Over Rear Seat Belts, New York Times, February 23, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Geier v. American Honda Motor Company

Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America, Cornell University Law School

More North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog Posts:
Tire Defects Can Cause Deadly North Carolina Traffic Crashes, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 31, 2011

88-Year-Old Greensboro Resident Files North Carolina Auto Products Liability Lawsuit Against Toyota Over Acceleration Accident, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, February 25, 2011

North Carolina Auto Products Liability?: NHTSA Reports 16.4 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2009, Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2010


Distracted Driving Cited As Alleged Cause of Charlotte, North Carolina Car Accident that Killed Father and Daughter

February 12, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

18-year-old Clemmons resident Sharai Marie Bauer has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle over her alleged involvement in a Charlotte, North Carolina car accident that killed 67-year-old Ji Sheng Lu and his 37-year-old daughter Jing Lu. Jing’s son, age 1, survived the crash with serious injuries.

According to the Observer, the Lu family was walking in the direction of traffic near a street curb on February 9 when they were allegedly struck by the vehicle that Bauer was driving. Ji Sheng Lu died at the scene, while Jing Lu was pronounced dead several hours later at Carolinas Medical Center.

It is suspected that the teen driver became distracted when an object fell to the floor of her vehicle and she bent down to pick it up. Police are also trying to determine whether Bauer was speeding.

Neighbors in the area where the crash happened have come forward to complain that it is not uncommon for vehicles to speed through and even run the stop sign. They have reportedly asked the city of for speed bumps. In 2009, they request a 4-way-stop sign some 50 yards from where last Wednesday’s Charlotte, North Carolina pedestrian accident took place. CDOT says that it has been waiting for a majority of the neighbors to sign a petition, which it has yet to receive back.

Distracted Driving
If distracted driving did play a role in last week’s collision, then the tragic accident is yet another example of why it is so important to keep one’s attention on the task of driving and eyes on the road. A driver usually never intends to harm anyone when he/she becomes distracted while driving. Unfortunately, deadly Charlotte, North Carolina traffic crashes can happen as a result.

Neighbors push for speed bumps, sign on street where 2 killed, WCNC, February 10, 2011

Distracted driver, 18, allegedly kills 2, UPI.com, February 10, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Charlotte Department of Transportation

Distracted Driving, US Department of Transportation

Related Blog Posts:
Teen Killed in Winston-Salem Pedestrian Accident While Waiting for Bus, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, December 31, 2010
Distracted Driving?: Unfinished Text Found in Vehicle Involved in North Carolina Car Accident that Injured Two Pedestrians, North Carolina Car Accident Attorney Blog, June 4, 2010

AAA Carolinas Warns Against Distracted Driving in North Carolina and South Carolina, North Carolina Injury Lawyer Blog, October 13, 2008

Charlotte, North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Accident Involving School Bus Injures 12

February 10, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

12 people were injured in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday morning when a tractor-trailer and Charlotte-Mecklenburg school bus No. 106 collided. 11 of the students and the school bus driver were treated for minor injuries.

School bus drivers and truck drivers are responsible for safely navigating their large vehicles so that no one gets hurt. When carelessness or negligence leads to injuries or deaths, the driver can be held liable for personal injury or wrongful death.

School Bus Accidents
As a parent or guardian, we know that you entrust a school bus driver with your child’s safety every time you allow him/her to ride the bus. If your child got hurt because a school bus driver was distracted, did not obey the traffic laws, or was speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may have a Charlotte, North Carolina bus accident case against the bus driver, the school district, and other entities.

Tractor-Trailer Accidents
Most truck companies are prepared to fight against Charlotte, North Carolina truck crash cases alleging negligence on the part of the driver or the trucking company. Some truck firms will even send someone to the crash site in an attempt to do damage control. Their representative may even try to get you to settle before you have spoken with a Charlotte, North Carolina injury lawyer or are even aware of the extent of the injuries and their resulting medical costs.

Truck drivers know that they have the upper hand in a truck collision when it comes to staying safe. They have a duty to drive safely so that others do not get hurt.

11 students, 1 adult injured in school bus accident, WCNC, February 10, 2010

Students Injured In West Charlotte School Bus Crash, WSOCTV, February 10, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Transportation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

North Carolina Department of Transportation

Fatal Catawba, North Carolina County Car Accident Caused by Allegedly Drunk Driver

February 9, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Sandra Campbell, 50, died on Tuesday in a Catawba County car accident involving her vehicle and a pickup truck accident on Slanting Bridge Road. The impact of the crash was so severe that pieces of the vehicle littered the road. The driver of the pickup truck, Brian Hieb, is charged with DWI. This is the 43-year-old’s second DWI charge in six months.

It goes without saying that driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is reckless and dangerous and dramatically increases the chances of lives being lost. Our Catawba County car crash law firm has worked with many families who have lost loved ones because a motorist was drunk or drugged. The outcome is never pretty for anyone involved—including the responsible driver. Regardless of whether not the allegedly drunk driver is charged in criminal court, you may have grounds for a North Carolina wrongful death case.

In addition to the negligent driver, there may be other liable parties—depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. For example, North Carolina is one of the US states with dram shop laws, which allows bars or clubs to be held liable for serving alcohol to someone who was intoxicated that then ended up causing injury or death in a car crash or another accident. There have also been personal injury cases in this country involving government entities that were sued for allowing someone with a history of drunk driving offenses to operating a vehicle again.

Our Charlotte, North Carolina car crash lawyers know that we cannot bring your loved one back, but we can help you hold the responsible party or parties responsible.

Meantime, one mother whose daughter died in a Gaston County car accident because of a drunk driver last summer is trying to change North Carolina law. Howard Pasour was charged with second-degree murder in Laura Fortenberry’s death. Prior to the deadly traffic crash, Pasour had three prior DWI convictions. Now, Michelle Armstrong wants the state to institute “Laura’s Law,” which would enhance the punishments for DWI convictions.

Man Charged With DWI In Fatal Crash, WSOCTV, February 9, 2011

Mother Fights To Change NC DWI Law After Losing Daughter To Drunk Driver, NBC17, February 8, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Drivers Over .08 BAC Pose a Serious Traffic Safety Problem, NHTSA (PDF)

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Related Blog Posts:
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, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, January 13, 2011

North Carolina Car Crash Involving Alleged Drunk Driver Kills 24-year-Old Chester Woman, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 28, 2010

Fatal Concord, North Carolina Car Accident Was Caused by Speeding Drunken Driver, Says Highway Patrol, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 7, 2010

North Carolina Tractor-Trailer Crash Kills Sparta Man

February 4, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

A Sparta man was killed in a recent North Carolina truck crash on NC 88. Police say that the truck driver, Richard Stroud struck a 2003 Chevrolet pickup in a head-on collision after losing control of his 2005 Kenworth tractor-trailer. Richard Dean Fender, who was driving the pickup, ended up pinned to his auto. It took several hours to move the semi-truck. Trucker Richard Stroud is charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle.

North Carolina Truck Accident Cases
Even if the trucker that caused your North Carolina truck crash is charged over the collision, you will still need an experienced personal injury law firm that handles truck accident cases to prove negligence should you decide to sue the truck driver and his/her company for damages.

Because there may be more than one responsible party involved, the sooner an investigation is conducted on your behalf, the better. There is likely physical evidence at the crash site that can help your case and should be collected immediately. Police reports will have to be studied, forensic tests may be required, and witness accounts must be gathered while they are still fresh.

Truck crash cases are more complex than North Carolina car accident lawsuits. You may think that you are saving money by choosing not to hire a North Carolina injury law firm. In reality, your chances of recovering the maximum compensation goes up when you are represented by experienced legal professionals. Also, you will only have to pay your North Carolina tractor-trailer accident attorneys if you recover and the money will come from your financial compensation.

Truck driver charged in fatal wreck, Jefferson Post, January 31, 2011

Related Web Resources:
Hours of Service Regulations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

North Carolina Department of Transportation