North Carolina and South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Tractor-Trailer Accident

I handed the document to my client while the jury watched us. I asked my client, “Can you tell me what this document is?” He answered honestly, “It’s the property damage estimate… prepared by State Farm”.  I knew what was coming, and I slumped. Defense counsel stood up and asked the judge, “Can I take a matter up outside of the presence of the jury?” The jury was marched out of the courtroom so the lawyers could speak to the judge.

At that point, the lawyer hired by the insurance company to represent the person who rear-ended my client made a motion for mistrial.  Mistral means that the trial is so irretrievably broken that a whole new trial must be started. Bear in mind that only the truth had been spoken. The document had been prepared by State Farm, but it also had been carefully redacted by agreement of the parties to remove all reference to State Farm. There was no mention as to who State Farm Insurance Company insured in the case, and it was just as likely that State Farm insured my client and prepared the property damage estimate for him. Furthermore, state law requires that owners have car insurance. Nevertheless, the trial court granted the insurance company lawyer’s motion for mistrial. Days of preparation for that trial were wasted. We will re-try the case, but much will have to be redone.

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The loss of a loved one is one of the most traumatic and psychologically stressful events that a human being can endure. The stress and pain are only magnified when a loved one’s death is sudden, unexpected and caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person. This can leave the surviving family members devastated. Not only must they say goodbye to their loved one and process their feelings of grief and anger, they are also left worrying about the costs associated with the funeral and carrying on without their loved one’s contributions.

While a North Carolina or South Carolina wrongful death lawsuit cannot undo a tragic and untimely death, these lawsuits can provide surviving family members with much-needed financial compensation to address the expenses and losses they must endure because of someone else’s wrongdoing.

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When turning left:

Treat this, stoplight

Like this:yield sign


If you are turning left, the signal light on the left is really the same as the sign on the right. I know that seems like an obvious statement. Most people don’t need a lawyer’s advice for Driver’s Education 101, but I thought this was worth talking about. In my work as a motor vehicle injury lawyer, I see more injuries from this mistake than I do from running red lights or missing stop signs.

I often talk to people who are injured because a driver turning left on a green light did not yield the right of way to oncoming traffic. The injured driver will say, “They just turned right in front of me and there was nothing I could do.” Or sometimes the passenger will say, “There was a car coming but my driver just turned right in front of it, and it was too late.” If the turning driver has a passenger, that person is in an especially bad position because the oncoming car will hit their side in a T-bone type crash. The bad driver always says, “But I had a GREEEEEEEENNN light!” The problem is the oncoming car also had a GREEEEEEEENNN light and they were going straight.

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The Takata airbag recall has been highly publicized and is considered one of the most massive vehicle recalls in recent history. It involves 34 million vehicles across multiple manufacturers and brands, but it is just the tip of the iceberg on auto product recalls. Countless recalls have been issued on all types of auto products capable of causing serious or fatal car accidents and injuries.

According to Forbes and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), auto-related recalls went up to 22 million in 2013, a 25 percent increase from the previous year, making it the industry’s highest rate since 2004. CNN Money reports 2014 recall numbers hit a new record with more than 74.2 million vehicle recalls. In total, close to 100 million vehicles have been recalled in the past year and a half alone. What makes this statistic so frightening is the majority of the cars affected by these recalls have yet to be repaired. Continue Reading

I will never forget the first time I renewed my car insurance after I finished law school. Going to law school I was a typical poor student. My approach to car insurance was to get as little and spend as little money on insurance as possible. I did not want to pay for any extra bells and whistles; I just wanted to be legal. Many people take this approach. Underinsured coverage always felt like something I didn’t need because I did not understand it. Only at the end of law school at the beginning of my legal career handling car accident cases did I come to appreciate the importance of underinsured motorist coverage. I want to address how underinsured motorist coverage applies in car accident cases. Uninsured motorist coverage is a different type of coverage and will be discussed in another blog.

Underinsured coverage only comes into play when the driver who caused the accident does not have enough insurance. For example, you could easily be involved in an accident with a driver that does not have enough insurance. In North Carolina, the mandatory minimum amount of liability insurance is $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident. This means that in minimum coverage insurance situations, an at-fault driver has $30,000 payable to any one person, and $60,000 in coverage payable on any one accident, regardless of the number of injured claimants. In South Carolina, it’s even less: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. If another driver with minimum limits fails to slow down and hits you hard in the rear, you will likely have EMS expenses, emergency room bills, doctors’ bills and physical therapy. If you have an MRI or CT scan, and then consider your pain and suffering, your claim is very likely to exceed the minimum coverage available. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough car insurance to cover your claim, the next place you have to look is your own underinsured coverage.

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legalA frequent question from our clients is how do contingency fees work? We do almost all of our personal injury work on a contingency fee basis. That means the fee is a percentage of the amount we recover for the client. Depending on the kind of case, contingency fees can range from 25% to 40%. Also depending on the kind of case, certain amounts recovered are not subject to the contingency fee. There is an infinite variety of ways to structure a contingency fee.

Contingency fees have significant advantage over hourly fees. If you hire a lawyer on an hourly basis, typically they are going to require an upfront payment and then bill monthly. The attorney will expect to get paid monthly. If the client stops paying, then the attorney will stop working and move to terminate the relationship. Most insurance companies pay their lawyers either on an hourly basis or sometimes on a flat fee basis. In a contingency fee case, the lawyer gets a part of the recovery. Said another way, the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless the client gets paid. Often times our cases run on for years, and most clients can’t afford to pay attorneys on an hourly basis for years. Our clients prefer contingency fees because it is financially the best way for them to hire a lawyer to protect their interest.

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first aidOne of my clients’ favorite questions is what is my case worth? We do lots of car wreck cases. During our 25 years of handling these kinds of cases, I have come up with some guidelines on how to evaluate a wreck case. First,let me say that you are welcome to a free consultation at our office to discuss case value. We are looking for cases where we can improve your case value.

It’s important to know that the evaluation is half art and half science. There is no formula that will tell you what the case is worth. It is never as easy as multiply your bills by three to arrive at a value. The real test of the value of the case is what your local jury would do with the case. However, I think people look for the same kinds of information when they’re evaluating what cases are worth. Even when I am discussing settlement with an insurance adjuster, the touchstone for value is what a jury would think. You need an experienced trial lawyer to help you with your evaluation. Continue Reading

Broken carYear-end federal statistics show a decline in motor vehicle accident fatalities from 2012 to 2013, including an 11 percent drop in South Carolina. Even so, more than 1,000 S.C. drivers were involved in fatal accidents in 2013 and more than 600 drivers, passengers, pedestrians, or cyclists died in those accidents.

In its latest safety report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that fatalities on U.S. roadways were lower in 2013 than in 2012. The nation lost 32,719 people in crashes on roadways during 2013, down 3 percent from 33,782 in 2012. Traffic fatalities have been trending downward since 2006, except for a slight rise in 2012.

According to the NHTSA report, South Carolina had 767 fatal crashes in 2013. Those crashes resulted in the deaths of 488 people in passenger cars, 100 pedestrians, and 15 bicyclists or other cyclists. Those wrecks included 335 that involved alcohol impaired driving, down 3.8 percent from 2012 and 306 speeding related fatalities, down 4.9 percent from 2012.

The 2013 report showed a small increase in motorcycle accident fatalities in South Carolina in 2013, rising from 146 in 2012 to 149. The report also recorded a similar increase in motorcyclists dying while not wearing helmets, with those numbers rising from 102 to 106. Fourteen of those motorcycle accident deaths (seven each) were in Anderson and Spartanburg counties.

Sixty-five traffic fatalities in S.C. in 2013 involved large commercial trucks, the NHTSA says.

Anderson and Spartanburg counties each had 33 motor vehicle fatalities in 2013, which put them at No. 7 among the state’s top 10 counties for fatalities (Greenville County was No. 1 with 71 traffic deaths). The Anderson and Spartanburg figures for 2013 represent 31 and 34 percent declines, respectively, from 2012.

Over the five-year span from 2009 to 2013, Anderson County averaged 39.4 motor vehicle fatalities a year, and Spartanburg saw an average of 41 each year. That’s more than three highway deaths in each county every month.

Thirteen traffic accident deaths in Anderson County in 2013 and 11 in Spartanburg were alcohol related. Ten fatal crashes in each county involved a driver who was speeding.

The NHTSA reports only provide the type of hard numbers we’ve highlighted here. They don’t go into depth about the cause of fatal car accidents, other than noting alcohol and speeding involvement. But in our experience at Grimes Teich investigating accidents, we know that most car accidents are caused by driver error brought on by carelessness or recklessness.

The bottom line is that most car accidents can be prevented and when negligent drivers do not take care to avoid an accident, the injured parties, or surviving family members in a fatality, deserve compensation for their loss. That’s where the attorneys of Grimes Teich Anderson can stand up for the people of the Upstate of South Carolina.

It’s widely understood that a serious car accident can instantly change your life. But very few motorists understand the true financial costs of a car wreck. In a recent report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the costs at tens of thousands of dollars.Two cars crashed

On average, according to the CDC report, going to the emergency room after a car crash will cost the victim about $3,300. If a crash victim is hospitalized, the cost of the wreck rises to about $57,000 over his or her lifetime. More than 75 percent of those costs will be incurred within 18 months of the car accident.

More than 5.6 million car accidents were reported to police in 2012, according to the latest study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 33,500 people died in those crashes. Continue Reading

Thumbnail image for teendriver.jpgIf you want to do everything possible to keep your teen driver safe, perhaps it is time to put them in the seat of a BMW – or at least the company’s skills program for new drivers. The BMW Teen Driving School (BMW TDS) is a grassroots, community outreach initiative. Developed by BMW, it gives teenage drivers the important life-saving skills and experience they need behind the wheel. The program is based on the teen curriculum currently taught at the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg. It is available at no charge to all drivers between the age of 15 and 21, so long as they have a valid learner’s permit or driver’s license.

Students are taught in a controlled environment setting. They are given the opportunity to not only drive a BMW, but to take part in driving exercises that teach them how to respond in real-life, emergency situations, including:
• Recovering from a skid or slide • Maintaining control of the vehicle and regaining control when the circumstances warrant • Accident avoidance techniques • Handling an unexpected braking or panic stop • Learning how to focus on where their vehicle needs to be, rather than fixating on what they are attempting to avoid
Classes also include airbag deployment demonstrations, trucker blind spot demonstrations and driver awareness demonstrations to show teenager drivers firsthand the dangers of texting while driving. The school travels to a variety of locations nationwide so parents in South Carolina, as well as parents in other states, can get their teenagers a seat in a BMW TDS.

How One Father Is Using His Own Tragic Loss to Help Others
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 5,000 teenagers between the ages of 16 and 21 are killed in vehicle-related accidents each year. Another 300,000 young drivers sustain injuries in these types of accidents. As the majority of accidents are preventable, these are troublesome numbers.

While parents cannot be there to protect their children every moment, there are actions parents can take to help give their children the knowledge, skill and experience they will need to be able to make responsible and safe decisions when they get behind the wheel.

After one father lost two of his sons in a tragic car accident caused by reckless driving, he decided to help others by starting his own teen driving safety school, B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe). Since he began giving this free, four-hour safety class, more than 12,000 teenagers and their parents have come through his doors.

Schools like the BMW TDS, the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy and B.R.A.K.E.S. are striving to give teenager drivers the real-life experience they need to stay safe on today’s road. If you have a teenager who is getting ready to drive, check for a teenage driving school in your area.

• National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
• BMW:;jsessionid=4DAE27BA72CE917F842DDD2F5BF7B690?&id=298
• OC Register:

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