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Archive for the ‘Auto Accidents’ Category

Browsing Post with the Tag: Auto Accidents

DOT & Dangerous Roads Injuries

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is one of the state’s largest agencies and its responsibilities include building, repairing, and operating all kinds of transportation within the state of North Carolina – i.e. highways, railroads, aviation, ferries, public transit, bike paths, and pedestrian walkways.

The department is led by the secretary of transportation who is a member of the governor’s cabinet.

N.C.G.S. § 143B-346 defines the purpose and functions of the NC DOT as follows:

The general purpose of the Department of Transportation is to provide for the necessary planning, construction, maintenance, and operation of an integrated statewide transportation system for the economical and safe transportation of people and goods as provided for by law. The Department shall also provide and maintain an accurate register of transportation vehicles as provided by statutes, and the Department shall enforce the laws of this State relating to transportation safety assigned to the Department. The Department of Transportation shall be responsible for all of the transportation functions of the executive branch of the State as provided by law except those functions delegated to the Utilities Commission and the Commissioners of Navigation and Pilotage as provided for by Chapter 76. The major transportation functions include aeronautics, highways, mass transportation, motor vehicles, and transportation safety as provided for by State law. The Department of Transportation shall succeed to all functions vested in the Board of Transportation and the Department of Motor Vehicles on July 1, 1977.

While the state and local governments are generally protected from all kinds of lawsuits based on both sovereign and governmental immunity which derived from the English concept that the “king can do no wrong,” the state has waived its immunity against tort claims as provided by N.C.G.S. § 143-291, which reads as follows:

(a) The North Carolina Industrial Commission is hereby constituted a court for the purpose of hearing and passing upon tort claims against the State Board of Education, the Board of Transportation, and all other departments, institutions and agencies of the State. The Industrial Commission shall determine whether or not each individual claim arose as a result of the negligence of any officer, employee, involuntary servant or agent of the State while acting within the scope of his office, employment, service, agency or authority, under circumstances where the State of North Carolina, if a private person, would be liable to the claimant in accordance with the laws of North Carolina. If the Commission finds that there was negligence on the part of an officer, employee, involuntary servant or agent of the State while acting within the scope of his office, employment, service, agency or authority that was the proximate cause of the injury and that there was no contributory negligence on the part of the claimant or the person in whose behalf the claim is asserted, the Commission shall determine the amount of damages that the claimant is entitled to be paid, including medical and other expenses, and by appropriate order direct the payment of damages as provided in subsection (a1) of this section, but in no event shall the amount of damages awarded exceed the amounts authorized in G.S. 143-299.2 cumulatively to all claimants on account of injury and damage to any one person arising out of a single occurrence. Community colleges and technical colleges shall be deemed State agencies for purposes of this Article. The fact that a claim may be brought under more than one Article under this Chapter shall not increase the foregoing maximum liability of the State.

(a1) The unit of State government that employed the employee at the time the cause of action arose shall pay the first one hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) of liability, and the balance of any payment owed shall be paid in accordance with G.S. 143-299.4.

 (b) If a State agency, otherwise authorized to purchase insurance, purchases a policy of commercial liability insurance providing coverage in an amount at least equal to the limits of the State Tort Claims Act, such insurance coverage shall be in lieu of the State’s obligation for payment under this Article.

 (c) The North Carolina High School Athletic Association, Inc., is a State agency for purposes of this Article, and its liability in tort shall be only under this Article. This subsection does not extend to any independent contractor of the Association. The Association shall be obligated for payments under this Article, through the purchase of commercial insurance or otherwise, in lieu of any responsibility of the State or The University of North Carolina for this payment. The Association shall be similarly obligated to reimburse or have reimbursed the Department of Justice for any expenses in defending any claim against the Association under this Article.

 (d) Liability in tort of the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees for noncertifications as defined under G.S. 58-50-61 shall be only under this Article.

The Industrial Commission has exclusive, original jurisdiction over claims covered by the Tort Claims Act. Payments by the state under the Tort Claims Act are limited to one million dollars ($1,000,000.00) as provided by N.C.G.S. § 143-299.2:

(a) The maximum amount that the State may pay cumulatively to all claimants on account of injury and damage to any one person arising out of any one occurrence, whether the NC General Statutes – Chapter 143 Article 31 7 claim or claims are brought under this Article, or Article 31A or Article 31B of this Chapter, shall be one million dollars ($1,000,000), less any commercial liability insurance purchased by the State and applicable to the claim or claims under G.S. 143-291(b), 143-300.6(c), or 143-300.16(c).

(b) The fact that a claim or claims may be brought under more than one Article under this Chapter shall not increase the above maximum liability of the State.

Collins Law Firm along with H. Mitchell Baker, III, have experience in bringing action under the Tort Claims Act based on the NCDOT’s failure to have adequate signage or warnings in place to notify and warn motorists of upcoming intersections, or based on the NC DOT’s breach of its duty to keep the public streets open for travel and free from unnecessary obstructions.

If you or someone you know and care about has been injured due to negligence by NCDOT, please call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a free confidential consultation.

By Jana H. Collins

The American Flag at ILM

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

When you get to the Wilmington International Airport, you will notice a huge display of an American flag in the welcoming area.

Next to the flag is a plaque, which reads as follows:

**Operation Noble Eagle**
American Flag Flown At the
Pentagon Crash Site
Washington, DC
September 13-22, 2001
Donated By
The Wilmington Rotary Club
To Honor the Service of
The Salvation Army To The
Victims of The September 11 Tragedy
As Well As Its Continued Service To
The Citizens of New Hanover County.
May The Display of This Flag At ILM
Serve As A Constant Reminder of That
Tragic Day And The Effect It Has Had
And Will Continue To Have On
Each And Every American.

Julie A. Wilsey, AAE, Deputy Director, Wilmington International Airport, shared the following information:

The Salvation Army leader, Major Robert Vincent, and several from the local organization in Wilmington went to Washington, DC to assist with recovery operations at the Pentagon.  While they were there, they flew several flags over the site.  The lead volunteer brought the flag back to Wilmington as gift to the residents and volunteers who helped with post 9/11 recovery.

The Salvation Army Leader was a member of the Downtown Rotary Club.  In discussion with several Rotarians, they tried to think of a place in Wilmington where the flag could be displayed and have a symbolic message. One Rotarian, Ron Gumm, suggested the airport near the security check point.  Ron was also a part-time employee at ILM for coordinating Air Shows and other Special Events.

I was the Facility Director at ILM, and in 2001-2002 we were planning a renovation of the airport terminal.  We decided to have a case designed in the project to hold the flag for all to see as they go through security.  It is a perfect backdrop to the process, and it has significant meaning because the events of 9/11 changed airport security and created the TSA.  Our renovation finished in May 2004 and the flag was part of the Grand Opening ceremony.  Also, the Downtown Rotary Club presented the plaque for the flag.

WRAL posted on September 13, 2001, that the Salvation Army’s North and South Carolina Division assigned counseling team four mobile kitchen units and related personnel to Washington, DC.

Major Richard Watts, Commanding Officer for the Salvation Army of Wilmington, NC, provided more insight about the role of the Salvation Army during the 9/11 after mess. Major Watts himself was the Commanding Officer of the Salvation Army of Columbia, SC at that time and was assigned to serve the Pentagon crash site where he arrived in the evening of September 12, 2001. However, because this site was not just a disaster, but a crime scene, and because the Pentagon is our federal defense headquarters, Major Watts had to undergo a FBI clearance which lasted for five hours. Further, the site was secured by two fences and before entering the secured area, at first one had to undergo two searches, later on four searches including one by canines. While the Salvation Army mainly provides food and emotional and spiritual support for families and friends of disaster victims, they also provided America flags to cover the coffins of the victims. Major Watts also reported that American flag were flown throughout the Pentagon, along the fences and hallways. However, due to the site being a crime scene, no one was allowed to take pictures. Major Watts witnessed and incident where a FBI agent confronted a man who took pictures regardless, through him to the ground and confiscated the footage.

The display of the flag has a great meaning especially to everyone who served during the 9/11 after mess as well as our service men and women who come through Wilmington International Airport.

Anthony D’Erasmo, Public Safety Officer at Wilmington International Airport, is a retired New York City Police Officer and he was one of the first responders to the World Trade Center, said that having the flag displayed in the welcoming area of the airport is a reminder of the event of 9/11 and a sign of appreciation of those who served and those who serve our country.

By Sarah Morgan Collins (4th Grade AIG Local History Project)

What to Do when Involved in an Automobile Accident Through no Fault of Your Own

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Car Accident | Photo by cygnus921If you are involved in a car crash or automobile accident through no fault of your own, and you are injured, it is critical that you seek medical attention immediately. If emergency medical services are called to the scene, they can help you determine whether or not you need to be transported by an ambulance or if it would be safe for you to seek alternative transportation to the hospital. Many times, people can sustain injuries which are not immediately apparent and for which the symptoms may not occur until a later time. All reasonably necessary medical expenses for injuries caused by the accident should be covered by the insurance carrier for the person who caused the accident. In addition to paying for medical expenses, they can pay for any other expenses caused by the accident and for pain and suffering for injuries caused by the accident.

If it does not compromise your medical condition or your ability to seek medical attention for your injuries, taking pictures of the property damage at the scene and/or any injuries can help document the facts to help support your claim for monetary or money compensation. Anyone injured in an automobile accident which is not caused by their fault should consult with an attorney experienced in personal injury matters as soon as possible, as long as it does not delay seeking and obtaining reasonable medical attention.

Collins Law Firm regularly represents victims of car wrecks and helps maximize monetary or money damage recoveries for our clients. If you or someone you know and care about has been injured in a car wreck, please call Collins Law Firm at 910-793-9000 for a free consultation.

Labor Day Weekend

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Wilmington Traffic | Source: WWAYTV3.com

Hurricane Earl has passed our area, and thankfully without inflicting much serious damage to our area.

Now we are heading into a busy Labor Day weekend. The American Automobile Association (AAA) is predicting a 10% increase in travelers on the road this year over last year. They predict that about 34.4 million people are likely to take trips of at least 50 miles.

That means that everyone needs to take greater precautions and plan for heavier traffic and slower travel paces. Law enforcement is likely to be stepped up this weekend and many people will likely receive speeding tickets or other traffic citations, and there are likely to be more accidents on the road than on non-holiday weekends. There are also likely to be impaired drivers and boaters who will receive DWI/DUI’s and BWI/BUI’s (boating while impaired/under the influence).

Anyone who receives a ticket or other criminal charges, or who is involved in an accident can call Collins Law Firm for a consultation about what we can do to help. We have been serving Southeastern North Carolina around the Wilmington, NC area for over ten years, representing people charged with traffic tickets or other criminal charges and people injured in traffic accidents or crashes.

Please be safe and have a wonderful weekend!

Collins Law Firm