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    Family Stress from Motor Vehicle Accidents

    Chances of Injury in Auto Accidents

    Auto accidents are an unfortunate risk that we all take when driving a vehicle. Whether it’s a distracted driver or a drunk driver behind the wheel, many people lose their lives on the road. In fact, according to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were an estimated 42,915 fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes in 2021.

    Fortunately, not all car crashes end in a fatality. The NHTSA reported over 5.25 million car crashes across the United States over the course of 2020. This translates to over 14,000 accidents per day in the United States alone. Keep in mind that this data was collected during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when more people were staying in their homes and off the roads. In this mostly post-pandemic world, the statistics will likely be even higher.

    But notice the wide disparity between the number of car accidents and fatalities. What about those who survive an accident but are injured in the process? What are your chances when it comes to injury in an auto accident? Out of the 5.25 million crashes in 2020, over 1.5 million sustained non-fatal injuries. The rest walked away unscathed with only property damages.

    So what can you do to lower your chances of becoming the victim of an auto accident in the first place? Let’s take a look at some practical driving tips and safety advice:

           Stay Alert. It pays to be on alert and at attention at all times while driving. You never know when someone might swerve into your lane or walk in front of your car. Be ready with your brakes, and have an escape route should something go wrong on the road in front of you.

           Keep a Safe Distance. Tailgating is dangerous and bothersome to the people who are driving. Keep a safe distance from the car on the road in front of you. That way, if they need to stop suddenly for any reason, you’ll have plenty of time to slow down before smashing into the back of their vehicle.

           Follow Driving Laws. You can’t always rely on other drivers to obey the law or even practice common safety measures, but you can control your own driving. Be sure to observe speed limits, eliminate distractions, and use signals when turning or changing lanes.

    If you are one of the millions of Americans who have been injured in a car crash, you should seek representation immediately. Contact us here at Wayne Hardee Law, and our team of skilled attorneys will review the details of your case. You may be entitled to compensation for any outstanding medical bills and loss of wages. We’re here to help!


     
    Family Stress from Motor Vehicle Accidents

    Family Stress from Motor Vehicle Accidents

    When you think about motor vehicle accidents, more likely than not, the first things that pop into your mind are physical injuries and insurance claims. These are very real and immediate problems facing those who have been in an automobile accident. It’s important to take care of yourself and your investments as soon as possible. But looking beyond the immediate harm, there’s something much deeper and potentially more damaging on the horizon.

    Car accidents are a form of trauma, no matter how minor or insignificant the accident may have been. The victim is psychologically affected, regardless of the severity of the injuries or the cost of the damage. The key in these situations is that the person has changed. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is very real and can influence the way a person functions. This filters down from the individual to those closest to him, including friends and family.

    Those suffering from PTSD have a wide range of negative emotions building inside them. Oftentimes, they don’t know how to handle them or how to make them go away. As the name implies, patients are subject to intense mental and emotional distress. This manifests in the form of depression, anxiety, crippling fear, and even insomnia. Patients may be unreasonably angry and irritable and lash out at friends or loved ones.

    This can be difficult to be around, much less to live with. PTSD left untreated and ignored can spiral and become uncontrollable. It can cause undue stress, both for the patient and his family. This ultimately leads to more tension and more stress when family members aren’t getting along and don’t want to be around one another.

    Maybe you’re feeling irrationally angry and irritable all the time. Maybe you’re having trouble sleeping at night because of recurring nightmares about the accident. Maybe you keep burning bridges left and right with people you care about, but you don’t know how to snap out of it. For those that have been in a car accident, it goes deeper than just the accident, and you should consult an attorney immediately.

    The ramifications of automobile accidents are much deeper than physical injuries, and they can be much more expensive. If you or a loved one has suffered a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Our team of expert attorneys here at Wayne Hardee Law would be glad to meet with you and discuss your case in greater detail. Contact us today if you've been in a car accident!


    Auto Accidents Can Affect Your Job

    Auto Accidents Can Affect Your Job

    When you’ve been in an automobile accident, the last thing on your mind is your job and your career. In the moment, your mind is probably a whirlwind of questions: Was anyone hurt? Will my insurance cover this? How am I going to pay my medical and mechanical bills? These are all natural responses, and most of them are taken care of with proper procedure.

    However, as the immediate panic fades, you may begin to notice that the accident has affected other parts of your life. You’re not sleeping well, your family is under a lot of strain, and you’re having trouble at work. That’s right, automobile accidents can actually impact your long-term career if not addressed. Let’s take a look at some ways in which this event may translate to disruption at your job.

           Recovery Period. After an accident, no matter how severe the injuries, it’s important to get yourself checked out and take some time to rest. This means that you’ll have to miss work during your recovery period. Fortunately, many companies offer paid time off. But this isn’t always the case, and you may miss significant opportunities for growth and advancement in your absence.

           Physical Limitations. For some, car accidents leave them with nothing more than minor scrapes and bruises. But others are severely injured to the point of being handicapped. Whether it’s the use of your arms, legs, or back, you may not have the strength or ability to perform your work duties anymore. You may be put on medical leave or, worst-case scenario, you may be fired from your job.

           Mental Health. Mental health struggles are fairly common in victims of automobile accidents. Many suffer from PTSD or other similar symptoms, including depression and anxiety. This can lead to lack of sleep and recurring nightmares, and your performance at work may suffer as a result.

           Priority Shifts. In the aftermath of an automobile accident, it’s not uncommon to see a shift in priorities. Work and further education fades into the background as bills, medical appointments, and lifestyle changes take over the foreground. Finding a balance between the different areas of your life is difficult enough without the added stress of the accident.

    To those who have been in an automobile accident, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as you get the chance. You may be entitled to compensation to cover the expenses incurred from medical bills, vehicle recovery, and time off work. Our team of skilled attorneys here at Wayne Hardee Law are ready to help. Contact us today, or stop by our law office to schedule an appointment!



    Winter Commutes and Car Accidents

    Winter Commutes and Car Accidents

    Commuting to and from the workplace is a daily necessity for millions of people. Unfortunately, as the temperature drops and the weather becomes more hostile, work does not stop. Although we don't get much snow here in eastern North Carolina, the wet season and colder temperatures could mean the presence of ice. Additionally, vehicles can run into mechanical issues due to frigid temperatures and corrosive materials. So, what can you do to promote safety and prevent issues as you commute to and from your workplace this winter? Let’s look at a few tips and tricks that will get you through until spring returns.

           Safe driving practices. If you must drive a vehicle, be sure to practice safe driving techniques. First and most importantly, be sure that your vehicle is up to the task. When driving, be sure to use the gas sparingly. The typical speed limit on your normal route is not advisable when conditions are more dangerous. To avoid skidding, use the brakes as little and as gently as possible.

           Regular maintenance. Be sure to perform regular maintenance check-ups on your vehicle. The last thing you need is for your car to break down in the middle of the snow on the way to work. Moreover, keep the vehicle clean to prevent a build-up of corrosive road salt.

           Emergency supplies. Always keep supplies in the back or trunk of your vehicle for emergency situations. Aside from the typical spare tire and jack, winter supplies include blankets, flashlights, water, a first-aid kit, and other essentials that you may need in the cold and the dark.

           Dress for the weather. Any time you leave the house, dress warmly. You never know when something might happen and you need to be out in the cold weather. Layer shirts, sweaters, jackets, coats, socks, and boots to create a winter-proof outfit.

    Winter weather can make commutes particularly tricky. With a little preparation and plenty of caution, you should be good to go. But accidents happen. If you find yourself the victim of a road accident, call Wayne Hardee Law. Our team of personal injury attorneys will be glad to meet with you and discuss the case. Schedule a consultation today!




    Intersection Accidents & Video Evidence Retrieval

    Intersection Accidents & Video Evidence Retrieval

    Apart from the damage to your vehicle and any injuries sustained in the crash, the most challenging part of an automobile accident is determining who’s at fault. It’s not uncommon to find that both parties will blame the other driver and claim that they had the right of way. So, how do the authorities (and the insurance companies) determine who is right?

    The good news is that the advent of the Digital Age has made it much easier and more convenient to capture and distribute information. Photos, livestreams, driver vehicle data, and even video surveillance footage can aid in the process of determining fault. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can retrieve these types of data and how you can use it to support your case after an automobile accident.

    Intersections are among the most common sites for collision. This is usually due to an error on the part of one driver. Perhaps they ran a red light, or maybe they missed a stop sign. In either case, that driver is at fault and should be held responsible for any consequences. But these types of accidents are also notoriously difficult to sort out.

     

    Luckily, many intersections are now equipped with traffic cams. These cameras are aimed at the road intersection, primarily for the purpose of monitoring traffic flow and weather conditions. Unfortunately, these cameras typically livestream rather than record video footage. So where can you find video footage near the scene of an accident? Look no further than nearby businesses or residences.




    Auto Accident Fatality Statistics

    Auto Accident Fatality Statistics

    Unless you live in an area where you always walk or take the train, it’s fairly likely that you have an automobile for transportation purposes. Cars, trucks, and motorcycles fill the roads and highways, getting people from here to there. Fortunately, by obeying written traffic laws and practicing safe driving habits, most people can get around without any trouble. But accidents happen. Unfortunately, drivers and their passengers are never entirely immune to the inherent risks that come with operating an automobile, and people lose their lives on the road every day.

    This article will take a look at some of the statistics when it comes to auto accident fatalities. We’ll then analyze the data and interpret its meaning by comparing these statistics to those of previous years. It’s important to recognize dangerous trends and determine what we can do to keep the overall number of fatalities down.

    Earlier this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an estimated number of fatalities in the first quarter of 2022. Unfortunately, it’s still too early to get any more recent data, but the first quarter alone reveals an alarming trend. The numbers are up almost 7% from the first quarter of the previous year. That’s 1.27 fatalities per 100 million miles, which is reported to be the highest number since 2002.

    Why the sudden jump in auto accidents and fatalities? As we’ve said on this blog in the past, the post-COVID-19 world is full of people who are eager to get back to traveling and entertaining and socializing. Paired with the fact that businesses and restaurants are finally easing restrictions and returning to normal, this widespread case of cabin fever has led to a swell in automobile traffic. With more people on the roads, there’s more likely to be an accident. Not every auto accident is fatal, but the odds are ever-increasing with the numbers.

    So what can be done about it? The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has implemented a National Roadway Safety Strategy to spread awareness and educate the general public on the dangers of speeding and driving while impaired. Dr. Steven Cliff, the administrator of the NHTSA, maintains that it’s time “for all states to double down on traffic safety.” We can all do our part by observing local traffic laws and making wise decisions when it comes to operating a vehicle. Let’s do what we can to ensure that the fatality statistics of 2023 are on the decline. Stay safe out there!



    Car Accident Types

    Car Accident Types & How They Affect Claims

    Car accidents are an unfortunate side effect of the automobile-driven world we live in. Insurance coverage is a must for anyone who owns a vehicle and goes out on the road. Naturally, the circumstances leading up to the accident play a big role in how much compensation you are entitled to, if you are entitled to any at all. Did you know that different types of accidents can have a different effect on your insurance claim? It’s important to know the difference when filing for compensation. Let’s take a look at some examples and analyze them from the perspective of liability and fault.

    Operator Error. This is the most common type of accident observed on the roads: one party broke the speed limit, ran a red light, or took their eyes off the road, and their carelessness led to a collision. No matter who was at fault in the situation, your geographic location determines the liability. Some states are no-fault states (in which every driver must have a personal insurance plan to cover their own damages), but the vast majority are fault states (in which the negligent driver is liable).

    Driving Under the Influence. When alcohol impairment is involved, dram shop law comes into play. Depending on the state in which the accident occurred, the local liquor establishment may be held liable for the victim’s intoxication and subsequent automobile accident.

    Equipment Defects. In rare cases, the fault lies not with the operator but with the manufacturer. If your vehicle begins behaving in an unexpected way or one of the main systems (steering, brakes, engine, etc.) fails, then you may have a faulty vehicle. Under these circumstances, a case can be made against the manufacturer, who likely made an error in production.

    Road Conditions. While inclement weather and slippery roads typically fall under “operator error,” there are cases in which the local or federal government may be held responsible for unsafe driving conditions. For example, roads need to be well maintained to promote proper drainage and remove cracks and instabilities. If a road has been neglected and causes an accident, then the government may be held liable.

    Collisions and other accidents are not uncommon on the road, but the circumstances make all the difference when it comes to insurance claims. Our team of skilled personal injury lawyers here at Wayne Hardee Law is here to guide you through the process and make sure that you receive fair compensation for your damages. Drop by our Greenville offices to speak with an attorney, or contact us today via the information on our website!


    Accident Report

    What to Look For in Your Accident Report

    If you are in a motor vehicle accident in the state of North Carolina, the law does not require you to automatically call the police to the scene. If there is no bodily injury to either party and no significant damage to either vehicle, such as may be the case in a “fender bender”, you do not have to make a call to the authorities. However, when injury or death or at least $1,000 worth of property damage, the police must be called. If the accident is on private property, a call to the authorities may not be required. When in doubt, call the police department or state highway patrol to discuss what is needed.

     

    The officer who comes to the scene will take statements and photos and fill out an accident report. In every single instance of a vehicular accident, both parties must contact their insurance companies. Insurance companies will typically utilize the crash report as a main tool in their investigation to determine liability.  

     

    What Information Is Collected?

     

    The police officer investigating at the scene must file a report within 24 hours of the accident, according to North Carolina law. Things that will be included are:

     

    • The date and time of the accident
    • Make, model, license plate number of all vehicles involved
    • Weather and road conditions at the time of the accident
    • The city and county, as well as the nearest intersection
    • Contact information of the parties involved in the accident including passengers
    • The drivers’ insurance information
    • An estimate of property damage
    • Any citations issued as a result of the accident
    • Statements from any witnesses

     

    Who Was At Fault?

     

    There is an entire section of the crash report for the officer to give a professional opinion as to how the accident occurred. Observations and conclusions are made. Was one party speeding? Was a traffic signal or law missed? There will be space on the report form to draw a diagram of the scene. The officer is a neutral party and will collect all evidence from the scene and witnesses to come to a conclusion of fault. 

     

    How Can I See My Report?  

     

    Drivers who have an accident in North Carolina can request a copy of the report. All crash reports must be filed with the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, and you can obtain a request form either online or in person. Simply follow the steps at the DMV’s website listed under Records and Reports. Once you have obtained a copy of the report, carefully check all the details. The details of this report may be vital to your insurance claim. If you see anything that you believe is an error, contact the Wayne Hardee Law office. We would be happy to discuss your concerns with you.


    Attorney Will Reaves

    Auto Accident Statistics in Eastern North Carolina

    In recent months, we’ve discussed automobile accident statistics and the importance of these numbers on a national level. This can be very informative of nationwide trends, but perhaps it’s time we analyze the local statistics. What do these same numbers look like when you concentrate the scope of the analysis to a state level? How are we doing here in North Carolina? Are the findings here in NC representative of the national statistics? Are they higher, lower? We’ll address all these questions and more below.

    First, let’s do a brief recap of the national statistics regarding automobile accidents. According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the numbers for 2021 were rather concerning as a whole. Reports show that the first six months alone were some of the worst in recorded history. Nationally, over 20,000 people were killed due to automobile accidents, and over 31,000 were killed over the entire course of 2021.

    Now let’s examine that same period of time in North Carolina exclusively. North Carolina saw over a staggering 1,700 road-related deaths over the course of 2021, accounting for more than 5% of the national number. This number represents a 5% increase from the year before. Even more concerning is the fact that this number is now a North Carolina state record. We covered some of the potential reasons for the increase, including texts, phone calls, drunk driving, driving without a seatbelt, and even the relaxing of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

    Fortunately, local and national law enforcement are looking to improve statistics and make the roads of the United States safer and more efficient for everyone. 2021 saw law enforcement being awarded grants for the purpose of launching and maintaining initiatives that will aid in road safety. It’s unclear exactly what the focus will be and what to expect from these new regulations, but it’s certain to encourage safe driving through more frequent monitoring and enforcement. As a state that is responsible for 5% of traffic-related deaths over the past year, it is time we take responsibility for our actions and start taking the necessary steps to protect our drivers, our passengers, and our pedestrians.

    If you were in an automobile accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Visit our offices here at Wayne Hardee Law, or contact us via website or phone to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys. Don’t let yourself become a statistic!


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