No matter where you live in the country no doubt at one time or another you’ve felt like the area had the worst drivers in America. A new study by USA today has the cold hard numbers to back up the claim of states with the worst drivers. Residents of North Carolina scored in the top ten for the worst states to drive in, coming in at seventh place. The study came to this conclusion by compiling data on fatality rates per 100 million miles traveled, citations for failure to obey traffic signals and seat belt laws, DUI infractions, and tickets for speeding and careless driving.
What this tells our North Carolina car accident attorneys is that the potential to be injured or even killed in a traffic accident has increased expedientially. Of course following traffic laws yourself and driving defensively can reduce your chance of being in an accident. But often the worst accidents are the ones you never see coming. An example of such an accident happened to one of our clients. He had the right of way and was driving to work when he was hit by a car who turned left into him. The impact was so severe that our client had to be cut out and removed from his vehicle by emergency personnel.
So what type of financial damages can be recovered if you are injured by one of these terrible drivers? There are two types of potentially recoverable damages, compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are compensation for the person’s injuries and losses. These injuries and losses include the bodily injuries; the impact of these injuries on the person’s health and function; physical pain; mental anguish; inconvenience; medical expenses incurred in the past and likely to be incurred in the future; loss of earnings and lost capacity to earn; and property damage.
Punitive damages are recoverable in very limited circumstances, in other words they are punishment damages to make an example of the defendant that is intentional or so reckless as to demonstrate a willful disregard for the rights of others.