North Carolina Personal Injury and Disability Lawyers


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Car Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, it's important to contact an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney to figure out your next steps.

Common Causes of Car Accidents in North Carolina

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 personal injury case is to make a determination of the cause of the accident and who should be held liable. That is where a consultation with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can make all the difference. Our experienced attorneys can review the details of your auto accident 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. This can be done by conducting a thorough investigation.



Contributing Factors in Car Crashes

As we have observed in our experience handling many car accident injury claims, car accidents have certain common causes. Many of the causes involve driver error or poor decision making. The causes include:

  • Speeding—Speed contributes to nearly a third of all crashes in North Carolina, N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles data 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. 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.
  • 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 11,200 crashes involved alcohol in 2016, the most recent year of complete data. More than 8,100 of those drunk driving accidents involved injuries and 402 involved deaths. Drunk drivers may be held accountable through a civil lawsuit when their disregard for safety causes a serious or fatal crash.
  • Distracted driving— Any activity that takes a driver’s focus off the road and the task of driving can cause distracted driving. Eating, drinking, using navigational devices, tuning radios or electronic devices, grooming, dealing with pets and even talking with other passengers can cause distraction. When drivers text or talk on a cell phone while driving, they pose a significant risk. In 2016, more than 20 percent of crashes in North Carolina involved a driver who was distracted. Since distraction requires a driver to admit that he or she was distracted, the statistics may undercount the prevalence of distraction as a factor in accidents.
  • 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. 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 to U.S. teenagers. North Carolina’s graduated driver’s license program is intended to allow 16- and 17-year-old drivers attain driving privileges gradually as they gain experience behind the wheel and are more able to handle riskier situations.
  • Vehicle defects—Motor vehicle design and manufacturing are 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 2016, including 30 fatal crashes and more than 1,000 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
  • Air bags 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 Lawyer 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.

Contact the experienced North Carolina driving accident lawyers at Hardison & Cochran or fill out our online contact form. You’ll get 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 and throughout North Carolina.

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