Car Accidents in North Carolina: Common Causes

Driver using mobile phone while driving

Have you been injured in a car accident in Raleigh or elsewhere in the Triangle due to another driver’s fault? You may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost income from time off work and other accident-related expenses.

The first step in every car accident case is to investigate the cause of the crash and who should be held liable. That is where a knowledgeable Raleigh car accident attorney can make all the difference. Our experienced Raleigh auto accident attorneys can review the details of your crash and discuss your legal options. For more than 30 years, the attorneys at Hardison & Cochran have stood up for the rights of car accident victims and their families in Raleigh and across North Carolina.

How a North Carolina Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

Our personal injury attorneys at Hardison & Cochran are experienced at investigating car accidents and dealing with insurance companies. We have successfully resolved thousands of car accident claims for accident victims.

We can review the circumstances of your car wreck, answer your questions and discuss whether you have a valid car accident injury claim. If we believe you have a case, we will offer to represent you on a contingency fee basis. You will not have any upfront costs and will only pay a legal fee if we obtain money for you through a settlement or jury award.

We will gather your medical bills and calculate your other expenses including loss of income from missed work and estimate the total value of your damages related to the accident.

We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident and gather evidence to support your case.

We’ll identify the insurance policies available to provide compensation to you and submit a demand letter to the insurers, seeking a settlement that reflects the full extent of your losses. We’ll attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance companies.

If the insurers are unwilling to agree to a fair settlement, our attorneys will be prepared to file a personal injury lawsuit and pursue justice for you through the North Carolina court system.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of Car Accidents In North Carolina?

Many car accidents are caused by driver errors, excessive speed, distraction and poor decision making. The causes include:

  • Speeding – Speed contributes to nearly a third of all crashes in North Carolina and one out of five traffic deaths, N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles statistics show. Wrecks occur when people drive recklessly over the speed limit or go too fast in poor weather conditions such as snow, ice, fog or other conditions involving reduced visibility. More than 10,000 people sustained injuries in speed-related accidents in a recent year, according to DMV data. People who have been hurt because another driver was speeding or driving aggressively have a right to pursue personal injury lawsuits to obtain compensation for medical expenses, vehicle damage and lost wages. After a fatal accident, the immediate family of the deceased may have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver who was at fault.
  • Distracted driving – Any activity that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel or minds off the task of driving can cause distracted driving. The causes of distracted driving include: eating, drinking, using navigational devices, adjusting radios or electronic devices, grooming, dealing with pets, talking with other passengers, daydreaming, talking on a cell phone, and texting. When drivers text or talk on a cell phone while driving, they pose a significant risk. More than 20 percent of crashes in North Carolina involve a distracted driver, according to the most recent statistics. Since distraction generally requires a driver to admit that he or she was not paying attention to the road, accident statistics may undercount the prevalence of distraction as a factor in accidents. If you suspect that the driver who caused your accident was distracted, consult with a distracted driving accident lawyer at Hardison & Cochran.
  • Failure to yield – Many crashes are caused by drivers who disregard traffic signals and lights and proceed through an intersection or make improper lane changes when another driver has the right of way.
  • Aggressive driving – Any type of aggressive driving behavior such as speeding, illegally passing other cars, making abrupt lane changes, tailgating, or running red lights increases the chances of a crash. Aggressive driving puts everyone sharing the road at risk of injury. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines aggressive driving as committing a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property. Aggressive driving including road rage contributes to thousands of personal injury accidents across North Carolina. North Carolina has a special law defining types of dangerous driving behavior that constitute aggressive driving. Drivers who disregard the rules of the road and operate their vehicles in an unsafe manner should be held accountable when their aggressiveness results in accidents that harm others. To pursue compensation for your medical bills and other expenses, you will need to file a separate civil lawsuit against the aggressive driver who injured you.
  • Drunk driving – Drivers who make the bad decision to drink and drive cause many preventable accidents every year. A driver is considered legally intoxicated as a matter of law when his or her blood alcohol concentration is .08 percent or higher (.04 percent if a commercial driver). Even drivers with lower levels of alcohol may lack the ability to safely operate a vehicle. In North Carolina, more than 11,300 crashes involved alcohol in 2018, the most recent year of complete data. More than 7,600 of those drunk driving accidents involved injuries and 411 involved deaths. Drunk drivers may be held accountable through a civil lawsuit when their disregard for safety causes a serious or fatal crash.
  • Drowsy driving – Many drivers try to disregard their exhaustion and physical fatigue and stay on the road when it would be safer to stop and get some rest. Drivers who are fatigued have more trouble concentrating and are slower to react to changes in traffic conditions. A typical crash related to sleepiness involves a driver who nods off at the wheel and drifts off the road or across the center line into an oncoming lane of traffic. A driver who is asleep may not apply the brakes before a crash, increasing the severity of the impact. Drowsy driving is a danger to everyone and frequently causes collisions and fatal car accidents.
  • Inexperience – Experience matters. Young drivers who lack hands-on experience behind the wheel may not have developed an ability to recognize dangerous traffic situations. Many teenagers also have a sense of invincibility that may lead them to take risks such as driving recklessly, driving while intoxicated or sending text messages. Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers. North Carolina’s graduated driver’s license program is intended to allow 16- and 17-year-old drivers to attain driving privileges gradually as they gain experience behind the wheel and are more able to handle riskier situations.
  • Weather – Adverse weather conditions including rain, snow and ice can impair visibility and negatively affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle. Weather is less predictable and more likely to be a factor in a crash during the winter months. Freezing temperatures can cause rain to turn to snow or ice, reducing visibility and making roads slick. Bridges and overpasses typically freeze before roads. Drivers should drive at speeds that are safe for the existing driving conditions. During winter months, commuters are more likely to be driving to or from work in darkness or low light, making it more difficult to see road hazards such as black ice on the pavement. Low visibility increases the variance in speeds at which motorists are driving. When a motorist drives at a speed that is unsafe for the existing weather conditions, the driver may be unable to avoid a bad weather car accident. A careless driver who disregards weather and road conditions may be held liable if he or she causes a crash related to weather.
  • Vehicle defects – Motor vehicle design and manufacturing is regulated by a variety of governmental agencies. Still, many cars and car parts make it to the American market only to be recalled because of defects. Unfortunately, most recalls for vehicles with defects occur only after people have been injured or killed as a result of accidents caused by defective auto parts. A recent North Carolina Traffic Facts Report says that defective equipment was a contributing factor in more than 3,100 vehicle accidents in 2018, including 23 fatal crashes and more than 963 collisions causing injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a defective product, you may have a right to file a product liability lawsuit and hold the car manufacturer or auto part maker liable for your injuries.

Examples of Common Safety-Related Vehicle Design and Manufacturing Defects Include

  • Steering components that break suddenly, causing partial or complete loss of steering control
  • Accelerator controls that break or stick
  • Wiring system problems that result in loss of headlights or fires
  • Seat backs that fail abruptly under normal use
  • Child safety seats that contain defective safety belts, buckles or components that create a risk of injury
  • Car tires that have defects such as tread separation that cause a driver to lose control and crash
  • Wheels that crack or break, causing loss of vehicle control
  • Airbags that deploy under conditions in which they should not inflate or explode violently because of a defective propellant
  • Fuel system component problems
  • Windshield wiper assemblies that fail
  • Car ramps or jacks that may collapse and cause injury to someone working on a car

Manufacturers and distributors of consumer goods including vehicles and their component parts have a legal obligation to ensure that the products they sell are safe and to warn adequately of any known defects. When manufacturers fail to meet this obligation, they should be held accountable for the harm their defective products cause. Finding where the fault lies can be a complex task in a product liability case. But an experienced vehicle defect attorney will have the resources necessary to investigate the accident thoroughly and uncover the at-fault parties.

Call a Raleigh Car Crash Attorney For A Free Consultation

If you have been hurt or a loved one has been killed in a car accident attributed to another driver’s error, you need the help of attorneys who have the experience and resources to protect your rights. Don’t delay in calling.

Contact the experienced North Carolina driving accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran by calling us at (919) 444 – 4444 or fill out our online contact form to find out if you have a case. You’ll receive a response within 24 hours, and the initial consultation is always free. We represent victims of car accidents in Raleigh, Cary, Wake County, Durham, and elsewhere in the Triangle, as well as in Fayetteville, Dunn, Southern Pines, Wilmington, Greenville City, and throughout North Carolina.