June 2011

Double Hit and Run North Carolina Car Accident Almost Too Distributing to Write About

June 30, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

One of the most disturbing North Carolina car accidents in years occurred in Craven County, NC, last week on Highway 17. 25-year-old Jennifer Lynn Bond was banging on apartment doors early in the morning, trying to get someone to call the police to say that she had been raped.

No one answered her cries for help.

She wound up drunk and passed out on Highway 17. According to a Highway Patrol Trooper, shortly after she passed out, a dual axle commercial truck struck Bond and drove off – a lethal hit and run. Minutes later, a second car – this one a passenger vehicle – struck Bond a second time and AGAIN drove off without stopping.

So not only was this poor 25-year-old raped and then ignored by people when she sought help… but then two cars struck and killed her… and both drivers didn’t stop.

It’s North Carolina car accident stories like these that really challenge one’s faith in humanity and in the decency of people.

How could this have happened? How could so many people act so callously towards this young woman? And how can we as a society cope with this tragedy – not just to ensure that it doesn’t happen again but also to find justice and lessons here?

According to WNCT.com, investigators at this time do have a lead on the passenger vehicle that hit Bond the second time. But the driver of the truck that hit her has not been identified or found.

One would like to chalk this tragedy up to a single callous event… that it doesn’t actually speak to the quality and character of the people of North Carolina. But it’s difficult to put the accident into a humane context.

One potentially more “postive” way of looking at it (if one can even justify the use of that word in this context – doubtful) is that the people involved weren’t necessarily evil – they simply were ignorant or inattentive or scared or some combination thereof.

For instance, maybe the truck driver who hit her the first time didn’t see her because she was passed out on the road. Hard to believe, but it is at least theoretically possible.

Unfortunately, victims’ rights do get trampled and lost, which is why it’s so important that if you or someone you care about has been hurt or injured in a motor vehicle accident that you connect with a North Carolina car accident law firm to fight forcibly for your rights, hold wrongdoers to account, and get recovery for damages like your lost wages, time off of work, medical and surgical bills, and wrongful death damages.

More Web Resources:

Jennifer Lynn Bond accident

Hit & Run Victim and Driver Identified‎

North Carolina Car Accident Bloggers Weigh in on the Ryan Dunn Tragedy

June 28, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Bloggers, pundits, and commentators across the web who follow North Carolina car, truck, and motorcycle accident news last week turned their attention north to Pennsylvania, where Jackass co-star Ryan Dunn along with 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell died in a suburban Pennsylvania called West Chester when Dunn drove his 2007 Porsche off the road and into the woods, where it exploded in a fiery crash. Initial estimates suggest that the car had been travelling upwards of 130 miles per hour, and the photo taken shortly thereafter of the rubble reveal that the Porsche had been burned beyond recognition.

North Carolina car accident community sent out its condolences to the Jackass star, a daredevil known for stunts like diving into a tank of raw sewage, inserting a toy car into his rectum for a prank for 2002’s “Jackass: The Movie” and doing other crunch worthy stunts. The AP described the accident in a vivid detail: “The force of the impact shattered the vehicle into several twisted and blackened pieces, leaving the Porsche 911 GT3 unrecognizable except for a door that was thrown from the crash and not incinerated. A 100-foot-long tire skid marked where the car left the roadway.”

Movie Reviewer Robert Ebert got into the mix when he tweeted about the Jackass star “friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” The backlash against Ebert was immediate and severe. Blogger Perez Hilton, for one, said that “We understand what he’s trying to say, but still – this is extremely insensitive!” Bam Margera tweeted a close friend and colleague of Dunn’s, released an obscenity-laden series of tweets directed at Ebert, concluding “I’ve just lost my best friend. I have been crying hysterical for full day and…Robert Ebert has the gall to put in his two cents.”

A North Carolina car accident law firm can help you and your family assess and come to terms with the horrific consequences of a fatal crash or a significant injury crash. Getting good help can make a world of difference in terms of getting or obtaining a recovery for medical costs, wages lost, and potentially even punitive damages.

More Web Resources:

Ryan Dunn crash

Ebert’s “friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive” tweet

Chronic Injury from a North Carolina Car Accident?

June 23, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

The acute injuries from North Carolina car accidents scare us the most: broken bones, lacerations, burns, brain damage, serious whiplash, and death. But the indirect and subtle and long-term consequences of auto accidents may be even scarier and may exact an even greater toll on society than the acute, newsworthy, and nightmarish injuries mentioned above. What are some common, chronic North Carolina car accident related injuries? How do we measure their costs? And what can be done to staunch the damage and frustration they create?

Common chronic injuries include:

• Soft tissue damage (e.g. musculoskeletal trigger points caused by a whiplash accident)
• Slight concussions and brain damage that only really manifest weeks or months after the crash
• Loss of faith in one’s driving ability, other subtle psychological problems and crises sparked by the accident
• Reduced ability to engage in certain activities without pain – for instance, an injured driver may only be able to work 8 hours instead of 10 hours at her desk job without growing fatigued

These subtle problems may not seem at first to be that “that important.” But consider the context. Imagine you suffer a slight limp and shin splint pain for 10 to 15 years after a crash. If you totaled up the sheer “amount” of pain over that period of time, it would surely add up to far more than the pain of single acute injury, such as a broken bone that heals after a few weeks. Same thing is true with financial costs. Yes, if you break your forearm in a defective airbag case, and you have to take four weeks off of work to let the forearm heal, you will incur tangible costs. But if you are forced to work fewer hours a week for the next 20 years, the lost opportunity costs absolutely dwarf the costs associated with our broken forearm example.

Getting beyond subtle chronic injuries

A North Carolina car accident law firm can help you identify who might be liable for your long-term injuries and hold those parties accountable. Simply acknowledging that these problems exist and that they are causing you problems can be enormously helpful. Keep a journal to track your pain. Educate yourself, so that you can withstand what works and doesn’t work for you and for other people with similar afflictions. And strive to maintain a positive attitude, as your attitude and approach to your injury can profoundly influence your ability to overcome it.

More Web Resources:

Chronic injury costs

Journaling after a disaster

North Carolina Truck Accident Claims: Is True Total Compensation Possible?

June 21, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Discussions on the blogosphere about North Carolina truck accidents often focus on things like news events of the day, analyses of said events, and “how to avoid” type articles thrown in there as well. But very few of these reports – in the blogosphere and mainstream media alike – probe the deeper philosophical implications of accident and injury law. And this is a shame because we who write and follow blogs pertaining to North Carolina car, truck, and bus accident law are under-serving our readership by neglecting critical questions.

One of the big questions is: “can true compensation even be possible?” In other words… say a trucker rear-ended your Hyundai at a stop sign near your local Winn-Dixie. You suffered serious whiplash, property damage, and headaches for days. You endured therapy, chiropractic care, and maybe even psychotherapy to manage the post-traumatic stress symptoms generated by the sudden and scary crash. A sympathetic court might look at what happened to you and award you a monetary amount designed to compensate you not only for specific costs that you incurred (such as chiropractic bills and psychotherapy bills) but also for intangibles like “pain and suffering.”

But is money really enough? Is it adequate? Is there a different kind of compensation that might be more appropriate?

These are key philosophical questions, and many in the legal community either don’t acknowledge them or don’t address them to the satisfaction of potential plaintiffs.

Obviously, no one can go back in time and “undo” the accident. And even the best North Carolina truck accident law firm out there cannot tabulate and account for the counterfactual costs to you – for instance, the opportunities you’ve missed as a result of being injured. There simply is no way to quantify the loss of happiness, opportunity, or potential opportunity.

Likewise, as an advocate for defendants might argue, there is no way to quantify the positive aspects of the post-accident experience that victims enjoy. For instance, in our theoretical example, a person who gets good chiropractic care after the accident may enjoy a lifetime of improved awareness of her musculoskeletal problems. And this awareness might pay dividends in the form of helping her recognize and prevent osteoarthritis in her knee 30 years hence.

So obviously human beings are going to be ultimately limited in terms of how they can calculate the costs and benefits of actions and inactions before, during, and after an accident. But would a God-like objective entity be able to identify “true compensation” more accurately?

If we could see not only all of the actual costs of an accident but also all of the “counterfactual” costs (what would might have happened to the person had the accident never occurred), could we then arrive at a figure for true compensation?

Perhaps not. As Physicist Steven Wolfram discusses in his book, A New Kind of Science, there are actually ultimate limitations to what can be known and can be predicted, even with the most sophisticated computational systems theoretically possible.

More Web Resources:

A New Kind of Science

Counterfactual Costs

Ninja Busted in Totally Insane North Carolina Car Accident

June 16, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Call it a “Black Swan” event – something totally unexpected and not anticipated. But a genuine ninja may have committed one of the most famous (or infamous, depending on your view) North Carolina car accidents of 2011.

According to MyFOX8 News: “Greensboro police received a call around 4:43 A.M. [last Friday] after a dark gray or blue Honda crashed into [The Apple Store]. According to police, the man crashed into the store in a burglary attempt. The suspect was dressed in what a witness told 107.5 KZL resembled a ninja suit, drove through the store’s plate glass windows early Friday and then ran away without taking anything. A security guard in the store was not hurt.”

What in tarnation could a ninja want from the Apple Store?

True, some of the fancier new gadgets, like the new iPads and iPods, are extremely thin and discrete and sleek. But don’t ninjas traditionally seek out weapons like throwing stars and blades? Perhaps the ninja was seeking to retro-engineer ninja technology from Apple components? And, also, what about the subtlety aspect? Smashing a car into a storefront does not exactly match the silent-but-deadly style we have come to expect from ninjas.

All joking aside, North Carolina car accidents are generally tragic, terrifying, and often preventable events. And while it’s fun to acknowledge truly bizarre news events, like stories about guys dressing up as ninjas and crashing into store fronts – we shouldn’t let the banality and weirdness of these stories prevent us from single-mindedly pursuing a world in which there are no more North Carolina car, truck, bus, motorcycle accidents.

Indeed, the casual nature with which the media (and the blogosphere) cover accident stories is itself disturbing. When we make a light of crazy, dangerous situations, we may inadvertently make accidents seem “normal” instead of bizarre and possibly preventable tragedies.

If someone you care about has been involved in a car, motorcycle, or truck crash, a North Carolina car accident law firm can help you identify a smart strategy to seek compensation. Even if no one in your accident got “that hurt” or suffered extensive property damage, a free consultation with a reputable law firm won’t hurt and might ultimately save you lot of money and heartache.

More Web Resources:

Black Swan

‘White Ninja’ Steals Car, Smashes Into Greensboro Apple Store

Deadly North Carolina Car Accident Claims Lives of Two Men

June 14, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

On Monday May 30th, a terrible North Carolina car accident left two men dead and one woman seriously injured in Spartanburg County. According to WSPA News: “The wreck happened next to the Raceway Gas Station on 1697 Boiling Springs Road at around 11:45 A.M. According to Lance Corporal Scot Edgeworth of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the driver of the 2000 Nissan sedan was driving south on the Interstate 85 off ramp when he entered the Highway 9 intersection and struck another Nissan sedan, driven by Don Davis, 50, of Cowpens, head on.”

The crash took the lives of 43-year old Jerry Glenn Norris Jr. and 44-year old Clarence Jr. Matthews – the driver and passenger in the 2000 Nissan.

According to reports, the ultimate causes of the accident have not yet been clarified. For instance, did the driver of the 2000 Nissan fail to look for traffic during the merger? Was the other driver speeding? Was one or both of the drivers talking on a cell phone or digital device or otherwise distracted? How was the intersection engineered? Was it designed for maximum safety? Or were signs, lights, fixtures or other aspects of the road poorly designed? Did one or either of the vehicles suffer a problem like a brake failure or a safety engineering failure?

These and countless other variables are not easy to parse, sometimes even after extensive investigation. Truth be told, understanding the dynamics that cause fatal North Carolina car accidents is an incredibly complex and easy to screw up business. That’s why even the most reputable and experienced North Carolina car accident law firms utilize outside forensic specialists and redundant processes to establish facts and to build compelling arguments.

Can tragedies like this latest devastating news out of Spartanburg County ever be completely compensated? Almost certainly not. But what the rest of us can do is to learn from these events and to use them as a spring board to shape policy in a more compassionate, thoughtful, systematic, and process driven direction.

It is not enough simply to say “let this never happen again!” We need to go further and to think through how to change our safety structures, road engineering, and even the ways in which drivers communicate to fundamentally change the dynamics out there that contribute to injury car crashes.

More Web Resources:

NC Men Die In Spartanburg Car Crash

Two killed in two-car accident in Boiling Springs

North Carolina Truck Accidents: Getting Past the Anger

June 8, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

If you or a close friend or family member got hurt (or suffered property damage) in a North Carolina truck accident, chances are that you’re carrying around a lot of anger and other destructive emotions. Obviously, you want (and perhaps need) money to pay for your vehicle as well as to compensate you for surgical bills, ongoing medical therapies, long-term rehabilitation, and the pain, suffering, and trauma that you’ve experienced. But there is a big difference between acting effectively to get this kind of compensation – and to demand that “justice is done” – and getting sucked into the frivolous and destructive anger that often consumes victims of North Carolina truck accidents.

Truth is, what you and your family want most of all is a return to relaxed control. Basically, you want to “get back” to where you were before the accident overturned your car (or motorcycle) and your life. This is a lot easier said than done.

You might find you’re angry at a lot of different people and institutions for a lot of different reasons – and you have other emotions mixed in there, such as frustration, confusion, “sense of overwhelm,” panic and depression. Lots of good scientific research (along with thousands of years of anecdotal observations) suggests that mindfulness meditation/prayer can be quite useful in terms of recasting how you mentally frame events both in the past and in the future.

Champions of this general philosophy of forgiveness and mindfulness believe it may be possible to obliterate even the most seemingly totally entrenched feelings of anger, frustration, and depression. But retreating into a shell of “total forgiveness” may not be everyone’s cup of tea, nor may it be particularly resourceful. After all, if you’re a parent, for instance, you feel a tremendous sense of duty to care for your children. Thus, if you are too hurt from the accident to work, your children will suffer. Ergo, you need some kind of compensation.

So managing anger and frustration does NOT mean that you shouldn’t take active steps to get help and even to demand (nonviolent) justice. For instance, consider scheduling a free consultation with a North Carolina truck accident law firm to go over different possible mechanisms to get that due compensation.

Many different parties might be liable for what happened to you. You might think that the “runaway trucker” himself would be the only person who should be blamed. But perhaps the trucking company was liable for allowing him to drive on a suspended license. Or perhaps the truck he drove was improperly loaded, in which case, the company that did the loading job could also be liable. The moral here is: Strive to manage your anger or other difficult feelings, but don’t short change yourself and your family.

More Web Resources:

Moving Beyond Anger

non violent communication

After Your North Carolina Car Accident – the Importance of Writing Things Down

June 6, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

Whether some dingbat rear ended you in a Bank of America parking lot in Downtown Raleigh or a truck violently sideswiped your minivan on I-95, you are likely reeling and overwhelmed from your North Carolina car accident.

It’s all too easy for accident victims – in their daze, panic, and frustration – to act impulsively and emotionally. This can be problematic, not only because it can worsen your situation (is it really going to help matters if you scream at the police officer who has come to provide assistance?) but also because, in your rage, confusion, and frustration, you may neglect to record critical elements that could later be extremely useful when it comes time to trying to get compensated for your injuries, vehicle damage, and other fees and costs.

Write it down!

Since accidents are so vivid when they happen, we mistakenly believe that we will “remember them forever.” But the science shows that this simply doesn’t happen. Our memories warp, change, and degrade over time – even minutes or hours after something happens, you may misremember how it occurred, where it occurred, how long it took to occur, and so forth – by surprisingly wide margins.

For instance, an emotionally vivid and disorientating experience may actually seem to take longer than it does in real time. The same thing goes for witness testimonies. For instance, a passenger in your car might have great witness testimony that would support your North Carolina car accident claim. But she is also subject to this “misremembering” bias.

Courts even tend to devalue testimony that’s remembered way after the fact because of the misremembering bias.

So what should you do in the wake of your crash?

First of all, take down all possible relevant information, including the vehicle VIN numbers, license numbers of any drivers involved, insurance information, phone numbers, pictures of the accident, pictures of your injury, police reports, et cetera, et cetera. If you are too hurt to get this information, ask someone at the scene or in your car to get the info for you. Write down witness statements. Take video of the post-crash scene on your cell phone. And continue to keep this written record as you do things like talk to attorneys and then discuss your situation with insurance companies.

The more meticulous you are about how you track the post accident, the easier it will be for your North Carolina car accident law firm to provide the kind of decisive, action oriented leadership you want to get money for your injury/damages and reclaim control over your life.

More Web Resources:

Write it down after an accident

Human memory is inaccurate

Uncommonsensical Ways to Reduce Your Risk of North Carolina Motor Cycle Accidents

June 2, 2011, by Michael A. DeMayo

North Carolina car, truck, motorcycle accident specialists often presume that motorists know how to comport themselves safely on the roads but simply “choose not to” for a variety of reasons.

For instance:

• A driver may consume drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel;
• Or a motorcycle rider may choose not to wear a helmet and thus increase her risk of serious head injury in a fall.
• Or a truck driver may pop speed pills or drink massive amounts of Mountain Dew to clock in extra hours on a long run.

And so the standard recommendation for increasing safety involves changing driver behavior. And there is definitely is something to this. Obviously, if drivers engaged more courteously with one another, employed best practices for safety (such as wearing helmets and seat belts) and paid more attention to keeping their vehicles shipshape, we definitely would see fewer accidents – and fewer injuries, fatalities, and resultant North Carolina motorcycle accident lawsuits.

On the other hand, it’s probably very simplistic to take this “blame the driver” mentality as far as we collectively have.

The social pressures that human beings feel are profound and difficult to fight against. Who hasn’t gotten mad and felt a little bit of “road rage” in the middle of a gridlock? Who hasn’t engaged, at least a few times, in a careless, frivolous, or just downright stupid activity behind the wheel or as a pedestrian?

As much as we like to think of ourselves as rugged individuals, we are highly attuned and responsive to social cues. When people drive fast, we feel compelled to “keep up with them.” When everyone else in the car doesn’t wear a seatbelt, we feel foolish for wearing ours. You can find countless examples of this kind of social influence in our driving behavior.

So why, then, do we focus essentially exclusively on changing the behavior of individuals? Why don’t we focus more on changing out collective behavior?

The typical counterargument is… we do. We post signs everywhere. We provide driver education. We publicize the results of accidents and engage in endless debates about punishments, regulations, and road engineering.

But perhaps what’s missing is a more systematic probing of the social influences on drivers. Better campaigns might focus, for instance, on making driving fast “less cool” among teenagers.

Sounds impossible? Perhaps. But what if every North Carolina high schooler was required, twice a semester, to watch scary filmstrips about the dangers of driving too fast? Would the repetition of the message create the conditions to change the culture among teenage drivers? Perhaps. But until we start to think about our safety engineering in terms of changing the consciousness of social structures instead of changing the consciousness of individual drivers, we are going to be stuck metaphorically spinning the wheels on the safety question.

Questions about your recent car, truck, motorcycle accident? Connect with a North Carolina motorcycle accident law firm today.

More Web Resources:

Power of Social Pressures