Types of Car Accidents in North Carolina
Every day, car accidents of all kinds cause serious injury and death in North Carolina drivers and passengers, motorcyclists and pedestrians. If you have been seriously injured in a car crash caused by another driver in North Carolina, you may have unpaid medical bills and be unable to work.
Let our experienced personal injury lawyers review the details of the accident and discuss your options for pursuing compensation. You may be entitled to seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. Speak with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer at Hardison & Cochran who will review the specifics of your injury and explain your legal rights.
Hardison & Cochran has been serving clients for more than 30 years. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling car accident injury cases in North Carolina. Our law firm represents car accident victims on a contingency fee basis. You will not be expected to pay any legal fee unless we obtain compensation for you. Below is a list of some of the common types of auto accident cases we handle.
Aggressive Driving / Speeding
Excessive speed is a factor in nearly a third of all car crashes. In North Carolina, speeding is generally defined as:
- Exceeding authorized speed limits
- Exceeding a safe speed for driving conditions.
The faster a vehicle is traveling, the less time a driver has to avoid a crash and the more likely the impact of the collision is to cause serious injuries. North Carolina treats speeding as a form of aggressive driving, which involves driving carelessly in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of others.
If a driver was charged with exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions or other speeding offenses after a crash, the driver may be held liable for the injuries caused. Drivers who speed and their insurance companies should pay full compensation when their negligence causes harm to others. Our attorneys are experienced at negotiating with insurance companies and often obtain out-of-court settlements for clients. But we have trial experience and will be prepared to go to court to seek justice if necessary.
Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel or attention off the road may cause distracted driving. A driver who is distracted or not paying full attention reacts more slowly to changes in traffic conditions and is more likely to be involved in an accident.
The three forms of distraction are:
- Visual distractions, such as gazing at a phone screen or talking to passengers;
- Manual distractions, such as adjusting the radio, eating, reaching for something under the seat or in the backseat or typing a text message;
- Cognitive distractions, such as daydreaming or talking on the phone, which distracts your attention from the task at hand.
Texting while driving is an especially dangerous form of distraction. It involves all three types of distraction. It is illegal in North Carolina to send text messages while driving. If distraction is suspected as a contributing factor in an accident, our attorney can obtain the driver’s cell phone records to determine whether the driver was using the phone around the time of the crash.
Drowsy driving poses a serious safety hazard. Drowsiness slows reaction times, makes drivers less able to pay attention to traffic and impairs decision making—all of which can contribute to a car crash.
A 2018 study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) suggested that drowsy driving is a much more prevalent traffic safety issue than reflected in government traffic statistics. Shift workers who work the night shift, commercial truck drivers and drivers who use medications that make them sleepy are more likely to be involved in drowsy driving accidents.
Despite tough laws and punishments for those convicted of drunk driving, too many drivers still make irresponsible decisions to drink and drive and cause preventable accidents with injuries and fatalities. Under North Carolina law, a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher is considered legally impaired.
Intoxicated drivers may face criminal charges after a crash. But a criminal conviction will not provide any compensation for your medical bills or other expenses. If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you will need to file a separate civil lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries.
Head-on collisions typically occur when a car crosses a centerline or median and crashes into an oncoming car. Most head-on collisions in North Carolina occur on rural, two-lane roads. Head-on crashes typically result from a driver error such as falling asleep, driving drunk, driver distraction, trying to pass another vehicle or traveling too fast in a curve.
Wrong way crashes such as driving the wrong direction on an interstate account for a small percentage of head-on collisions. But they often result in serious or fatal injuries. Alcohol is a primary factor in wrong way crashes.
When a motorist is involved in a head-on collision, the result is likely to be a traumatic injury or death for the driver or passengers.
Vehicles converging at intersections and making turns present many chances for errors of judgment and collisions. Many intersection collisions are caused by drivers running red lights or disregarding traffic signals.
In a left-turn collision at an intersection, for example, the cause of the accident is often a driver’s misjudgment of another vehicle’s speed or the distance between vehicles. A motorist may fail to see an approaching vehicle and turn in front, leading to a collision. Many intersection crashes are caused by careless or distracted drivers making bad decisions.
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident. Many occur in work zones because a driver is following too closely and does not allow enough distance to stop. Rear-end crashes cause a substantial number of injuries and fatalities each year in North Carolina. They are the main type of work zone accident. Some rear-end accidents occur because the driver in the car following the lead vehicle is distracted.
A study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill determined that drivers talking on cell phones are nearly twice as likely as other drivers to be involved in rear-end collisions. According to the study, these drivers often cause accidents because they:
- Fail to reduce speed
- Follow too closely
- Fail to yield to other vehicles
- Violate traffic signals and stop signs.
Side impact accidents are dangerous because the sides of vehicles have relatively little space to absorb the energy of a crash and protect occupants from injuries. Drivers and passengers involved in a side-impact collision are likely to suffer injuries to the head, chest, abdomen, pelvis, arms and legs.
Side impact collisions are most likely to occur at intersections where cars approach at perpendicular angles.
Side impact accidents also referred to as right angle or “T-bone” crashes. Accidents at intersections are typically side-impact accidents.
Most rollover accidents occur when a vehicle starts to slide sideways and hits a curb, guardrail, or uneven ground that causes it to roll over on its side. Rollovers are more likely to occur in vehicles that are taller and have higher ground clearance. The vehicle design of certain SUVs, passenger vans and pickup trucks causes the vehicle to have a higher center of gravity.
When the design of a vehicles creates an unreasonable rollover risk or causes a serious injury in a rollover accident, the vehicle manufacturer should be held liable. Auto manufacturers have a legal obligation to ensure that the products they sell are safe when used properly. When they fail to meet this obligation, they may be legally liable for the harm that the product causes.
Multi-vehicle accidents include collisions involving two cars and pile-ups involving three or more vehicles. A multi-vehicle accident requires a thorough investigation by experienced attorneys to identify all the potentially liable drivers and the insurance policies available to provide compensation for injuries.
Rear-end collisions in which drivers slam into the car ahead are a common type of multi-vehicle accident. Many multi-vehicle accidents can be attributed to adverse weather and low visibility, particularly fog. Motorists who exceed safe speed for existing conditions may be unable to stop in time to avoid a crash.
If you have been involved in a wreck involving several vehicles, you may be eligible for compensation that will pay for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses.
Contact Our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a car accident that was caused by another person’s carelessness or disregard for safety, then you may have the right to seek compensation for your property damage, physical and emotional injuries and other losses. To learn more, contact the North Carolina car accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran toll free at (800) 433-8399 or fill out our online contact form. We provide free consultations and do not charge for our legal services until you secure a recovery.