Icy Roads

As winter starts annually, the icy roads are always a factor.  It appears that despite frequent warnings and suggestions by meteorologists, drivers insist on attempting to drive at regular speed, lacking extra caution. Cars and ice don’t mix, but if you throw a hill into the mix, you can almost guarantee an accident, no matter how slight.  When two cars collide and an accident is the result, the driver that slides is likely to find out that they can blame it on the ice but they can’t escape financial responsibility. Because of the way the legal theory of negligence works, it is the most frequently used legal theory in lawsuits stemming from auto accidents.  When it comes to a car crash, negligence is one of those legal theories where liability can be difficult to avoid. To be found liable for negligence, it simply requires that a person owe a duty to another and that as a result of breaching that duty, the other person is injured or incurs financial damages. Basically, when driving, every driver owes every other driver on the road the duty to drive safe and not collide with other vehicles on the road.

Nearly every state’s traffic laws specifically require drivers to adapt to changing road and weather conditions. When there is bad weather, drivers are required to change their driving habits to adapt to the road and weather conditions. This means that if the roads are icy, drivers should drive slower, increase their following distance, and just generally drive more carefully and attentively in order to avoid accidents. If a driver hits a patch of ice and is unable to stop in time to avoid an accident, barring other mitigating circumstances (such as the driver getting hit also being negligent), they will be considered at fault, and thus liable for the damages and injuries they caused, because they failed in their duty to drive safely.

If you know someone who has been involved in an accident due to icy roads and poor driving by another, you should reach out to a legal professional to get an understanding of what is actually going on.  A trained professional can better assist you in determining if the accident was the fault of another or due to poor road maintenance.  By contacting and speaking with an attorney, like a car accident lawyer Dekalb County GA residents need, you get an opportunity to find out if you can be monetarily compensated for any loss wages, pain and suffering, or injury introduced by the accident.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.

Can I file a claim against more than one driver for my injuries?

If you’ve been injured in a multi-car accident that you did not cause, you may be able to file a claim against more than one party. Multiple car accident claims are usually complicated, and establishing who is at fault can be challenging. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you recover your damages from the party or parties responsible for harming you. The importance of working with a skilled car accident attorney in cases like these cannot be overemphasized. There are several reasons for this.

Determining Fault

Many car accidents are straightforward when it comes to determining who caused it and therefore whose insurance company should pay the victim. However, the more variables that are involved, the more difficult it becomes to prove who is at fault. Some of the most common variables include:

  • The number of vehicles involved in the accident. When an accident involves only one or two cars, it’s easier to determine how the accident happened. When three or more cars were in an accident, it takes more time and resources to prove who did what, when, where, and why. Also, the more vehicles there are, the more insurance companies, lawyers, and drivers may claim they are the victim and are not responsible for paying for your damages.
  • Road conditions played a part in the accident. Hazardous road conditions, whether a commercial truck dumped debris, or the municipality approved a badly designed or constructed roadway, your car accident attorney may advise naming a third-party as a plaintiff.
  • A mechanical issue contributed to the accident. When a critical auto part such as the brakes, a tire, or airbag fails, serious or fatal injuries can result if the driver loses control and results in an accident.

Proving Fault

Unfortunately, determining who is at fault for your injury is often not sufficient to recover your damages. It usually requires proof that the party or parties contributed to causing your accident. Establishing who is responsible can get more challenging if there are multiple parties as each one may point fingers at the others. A car accident lawyer Memphis TN residents often turn to can help you prove who should pay for your injury-related damages by doing any or all of the following on your behalf:

  • Accident forensic investigation. Experienced car accident lawyers often work with professional car accident investigators. These specialists will visit the scene of the accident and take measurements, photographs, and collect other evidence to determine what happened and who was likely responsible.
  • Interview witnesses. Car accident lawyers have the level of skills and experience necessary to gleam important information from people who witnessed a car accident. Your lawyer may uncover critical details that even the responding law enforcement officer missed. If your claim is rejected or the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer may recommend proceeding with a lawsuit. Witnesses can then be called to the stand to testify on your behalf.

In car accidents when more than one party is responsible, it can be possible to recover your damages in full by pursuing multiple claims. However, an experienced car accident lawyer is probably your best bet to help you get justice.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into car accidents.

 

Trucking Accidents

Georgia is home to countless very busy interstates which opens the doors for large  trucks carrying goods from state to state.  Truck accidents are five times more likely to cause serious injuries and death than accidents involving two or more passenger vehicles. State and local regulations monitor the trucking industry. They ensure semi trucks and other commercial vehicles operate safely. Regulations regarding truck maintenance, driver eligibility, and cargo capacity are but a few meant to ensure public safety. Getting injured in a collision with an 18 wheeler is a traumatic experience. Injuries from semi truck accidents can be much more serious than those from passenger cars. If you’ve been injured it’s important to know how to prepare your personal injury insurance claim. By speaking with a trained professional, you will have an opportunity to have assistance gathering information to include medical records, insurance coverage information, and possible reductions in bill amounts.  Because the assistance of a trained professional will prove beneficial, you should be certain and take your time when researching.

The employee-employer relationship is of utmost importance in trucking cases. If the truck driver is independently employed, a private contractor, or otherwise not an employee of a business, the driver is the one who is legally liable. To take action against a trucking company the driver must be considered an employee of the company.

Personal Injury attorneys can aid in locating compensation for the following:

  •  Medical bills and treatment
  •  Lost wages due to being unable to work
  •  Damage to your vehicle or other property damage
  •  Emotional anguish
  •  Pain and suffering
  •  Loss of companionship or support
  •  Other related costs

A lot of people travel the roadways traveling from and to one place or another.  While trucking accidents cannot be anticipated, much is to be done when it comes to ensuring the safety of drivers.  No one desire to be in an accident, however, no matter the amount of caution implemented, an accident is just that, an accident.  In the event you or someone you know is a victim in a trucking accident, please contact an attorney.  By reaching out to an attorney, like a personal injury attorney Atlanta GA trusts,  you will have someone who can articulate your rights, clarify the negligent party, and confirm any possible financial compensation due to you.  Please reach contact an attorney in your area to find out what the next step is in being made whole following the accident.


Thanks to contributor Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into trucking accidents and personal injury practice.

The Five Things You Should Never do After a Truck Accident

Being involved in an automobile accident of any kind is one of the most stressful events for anyone.  After the adrenaline and initial shock wear off, participants are left trying to pick up the wreckage left behind, both physical and financial.  In a truck accident, the damage on both fronts may be even more extreme.  Large, commercial vehicles hitting a passenger sedan hurts one side much more than the other.

As it turns out, the legal and financial backing is also sorely lopsided.  This can lead to unfair results where the injured party wasn’t aware of the do’s and don’ts specific to these types of impacts.  To help remedy that scenario, we’ve compiled our list of the top five things you should never do if you’ve been in a truck accident.

Give a Statement in the Heat of the Moment

Anyone involved in a truck accident, driver or even the passengers, should never provide a recorded statement of the accident.  Insurance companies will want a recorded statement to help reconstruct the events leading up to the incident.  On the surface, it seems innocent enough, but recorded statements aren’t required under law in many states, including Georgia, and can hurt an injured person’s chance to recover damages.  Giving a statement before you’ve had time to gather your thoughts and reflect on what happened oftentimes aren’t completely accurate.  You may misremember what happened in the heat of the moment until you can sit down and recover.  Also, speaking with an insurance representative or for the truck company or driver’s lawyer can leave people flustered, making you give inaccurate answers on the record.

Forget to Collect Evidence Like Witness Information

Always remember to take photographs of the crash site and the vehicles at the scene.  Also remember to write down each witness’s information.  While police officers do their best to gather all information, they sometimes miss things like a witness.  Be sure to arm yourself with evidence.

Admit Fault

Truck accidents often occur in the blink of an eye.  During this time, it’s difficult for people caught up in one to process what happened and caused the collision.  Emotional responses can cloud your memory, and physical road hazards or other drivers can block line of sight, making it nearly impossible for you to see what really happened.  In addition, in many states including Georgia and at the Federal level, truck operators have daily and ongoing requirements for maintaining a level of driving expertise that, if not met, can find them liable in the event of an accident.  For this reason, anyone in a collision with a truck should never admit fault. Instead, they should take the time needed to make a calm and collected assessment of the facts.

Speak to the Other Side’s Lawyer

This may be intuitive to many, but someone in a truck accident often doesn’t realize that there is no requirement to speak with a truck driver or truck company’s attorney.  This is especially true if you are unrepresented.  Lawyers are hired to protect the rights of their clients, including to minimize any potential liability.  It’s guaranteed then that a lawyer for a truck company or driver isn’t protecting anyone other than their well-funded clients.  You are entitled to someone who protects you too, so consider looking for a skilled attorney to protect your interests.  Having a lawyer, like an auto accident lawyer Atlanta GA relies on, on your side can help level the playing field with the trucking company and driver so you have some firepower as well.

Accept a Low Settlement Offer

A lot of people hit by trucks feel pressured into accepting settlement offers that don’t provide enough to cover all of their injuries.  The most common reason for giving into these low-ball offers is anxiety over the legal process.  If you’ve been injured in a truck accident, it’s important to remember that you have the right to discuss your case with a qualified legal professional.  A truck accident lawyer can review your case, tell you about your rights, and help decide if a settlement offer is fair.

Butler TobinThanks to our friends and contributors from Butler Tobin for their insight into trucking accident cases.

 

 

Concerns Increase Over Sleep Apnea Among Truckers

 

Recently, a plan was constructed by the government to place a requirement for prospective drivers of semi trucks to be screened for sleep apnea every so often to ensure they do not fall asleep at the wheel. This has sparked an uproar of negative reactions from truckers and many transportation corporations. It has been called “stupid” and “unnecessary” by truckers, and corporations that hire them are angry because they do not want to pay for sleep apnea screenings. Because individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are seven times more likely to crash a car due to fatigue, this plan would help save many lives. Individuals with sleep apnea do not breathe in a natural way at night, so they sleep a few minutes at a time instead of falling into REM sleep like much of the population. There are two different types of sleep apnea. CPA, or central sleep apnea, is when the brain cannot signal breath to the muscles. OSA, or obstructive sleep apnea, is when airways are partially blocked by the tissue near the back of the throat. Many truck drivers are men in their late 40s to early 50s, which is coincidentally the highest at risk demographic for sleep apnea.

 

Sleep Apnea and Truck Drivers

Many truckers are not screened for sleep apnea and when given a mandatory rest period so that they can regain their energy, do not sleep due to this condition. Worse, they could even become more tired due to not being able to sleep, and after the rest period is over they could get back on the road with even more fatigue. Laws restrict drivers to only driving 11 hour days and 70 hours overall each week, as a trucking accident lawyer New York, NY relies on. However, current laws do close to nothing to make sure that truck drivers are actually sleeping or resting during their mandatory rest periods. Even a case of mild sleep apnea can make a truck driver feel as if they only took a short nap, when in fact they slept 8 full hours. A doctor mandated physical is a part of the sleep apnea discovery process. Unfortunately, if the doctor is negligent and does not properly diagnose the sleep apnea or prescribe the proper medication for the specific individual, the company that employs the truck driver may become legally responsible for an accident if sleep apnea screening is discovered to be the cause.

 

laurence c tarowsky law office new york attorneysThanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Laurence C. Tarowsky for their insight into truck accident cases.

 

Who Is at Fault in a Truck Accident?

At the time of an accident, especially one that was caused by an irresponsible trucker, you may be blamed by their insurance company for the damages. It is wise to keep this phrase internalized as a driver: “do not accept liability”. It is easy to imagine that blame may get shifted to the person in the smaller vehicle because the trucker may lose their job by admitting they caused the accident. Around 60% of truck accidents occur between a small car and a truck and often the truck is to blame.

 

Most Common Causes of a Truck Accident:

 

Phone usage while driving

 

Although this is one of the most common reasons that driving accidents occur, it is difficult to prove because evidence can be easily disposed of. Phone usage is highly penalized so most drivers deny it happens. It becomes difficult to determine liability in these cases.

 

Changing lanes haphazardly

 

This means when a driver prevents another driver from merging into their lane or changing lanes in a hazardous manner, particularly when there are no traffic signals, law enforcement, or cameras around.

 

Turning unsafely or following someone too closely

 

There is a high likelihood of an accident if a trucker makes a wide turn and the lane or intersection they are entering is not clear. Similarly, rear end collisions are likely if a trucker can not appropriately judge the distance needed to maintain a safe breadth between the truck and another vehicle.

 

Stopping abruptly and/or Speeding

 

Rarely do small cars survive truck accidents with little damage. Trucks can even be lethal in certain circumstances. They carry tremendous loads and can accelerate to high speeds so it may not be possible for them to slow down quickly or stop immediately. It is even possible that cars and other obstacles will be crushed as a result. 

 

Failure to obey road signals or slow down when necessary

 

Everyone is at risk when someone drives recklessly. If a trucker ignores road signs, signals and other environmental factors such as pedestrians, the road can become a deadly place. Other vehicles and their passengers are also endangered when sharing the road with reckless driver.

 

Inebriation

 

If a driver is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, their judgment becomes impaired. Being inebriated decreases your chances of making split-second decisions, especially when driving a truck. One could lose concentration and be unable to judge situations correctly, resulting in an accident.

 

Fatigue

Most truck drivers have the incentive to overwork, sometimes past the legal limits, because they are paid by mileage. Fatigued driving’s commonality is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. The lack of sleep leads to the inability to make quick responses and correct decisions which.

 

If you have been in a truck accident and are not at fault, call an attorney, like a truck accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts. Truck accident lawyers can review your case to determine liability and following legal options. Then you may be able to seek damages from the liable party.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead for their insight into fault in personal injury cases.

 

Truck Accident Statistics and Common Causes

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were a total of 3,852 fatalities arising from truck accidents in 2015. Sixteen percent of the deaths reported were truck occupants, while 69 percent involved other car occupants. Truck accident fatalities involving motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists totaled 15 percent.

The sheer weight and size of trucks contribute greatly to the high fatality rate. If you have suffered injuries or a loved one died as a result of a truck accident, a truck accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts may be able to help you get compensation that is commensurate with your losses.

Truck Accident Injury Statistics

Statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal that about 130,000 people suffer injuries every year in truck accidents. Twenty-two percent of these accidents result in some form of injury. Seventy percent of truck collisions result in property damage. Further reports indicate that nearly 90 percent of all commercial truck collisions are made worse by human error. These errors can be made by truck drivers, pedestrians, passengers, cyclists or other drivers.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

  1. Driver Fatigue. Truck drivers, especially those driving commercial trucks, work for long hours without taking a break. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 30 percent of truck accidents are caused by fatigued drivers.
  2. In most cases, these drivers ignore the stipulated maximum hours of service and drive for longer than they should. Their main goal is to get to their destinations and make more money by handling more shifts.
  3. Based on the statistics, sleepy drivers are dangerous. In fact, most experts agree that a sleepy driver poses a hazard similar to that of a drunk driver. Driver fatigue is avoidable by following the set rules and guidelines.
  4. If you have suffered injuries due to a drowsy driver behind the wheel, this is considered negligent, and you are entitled to compensation. Our lawyers have helped many people secure compensation based on the merits of their case.
  5. Improper Truck Maintenance. Trucking companies bear the responsibility of maintaining their trucks. This should be done regularly and before any long trips. Maintenance schedules need to be well documented.
  6. Faulty equipment or equipment malfunction can lead to liability suits against the trucking companies.
  7. Trucks are particularly vulnerable to harsh weather such as snow or ice.
  8. Proper maintenance especially of the brakes can go a long way in preventing accidents.
  9. Trucks are also exposed to poorly constructed roads, and this is another major cause of trucking accidents.
  10. If it is established that a trucking company was responsible for an accident, then victims need to be reimbursed for their injuries.
  11. Speeding Truck Drivers. In an effort to beat strict deadlines, truck drivers tend to speed, especially at night. This is particularly dangerous because trucks weigh nearly 10 times more than most cars. When loaded, they can weigh 20 times more than passenger vehicles. The monotony of long driving hours is another reason why truck drivers speed.

Truck Accident Personal Injury Lawyers

Truck injuries can result in permanent disabilities and head injuries. The long term medical costs implications are huge. This is why you should consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer. He or she can review your case and advise you on your options for moving forward.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into truck accident case.

Semi-Truck Accident Settlement: What Is The Average?

In comparison to accidents that involve passenger vehicles, claim settlements from accidents that involve big-rig trucks are usually much higher. Due to the variety of factors involved, there is usually not a quick, average settlement amount for such cases.

Accident Factors

The factors of an accident significantly affect a truck accident settlement value. If you seek advice from a lawyer, like a trucking accident lawyer New York NY relies on, they may be able to provide you an estimate after evaluating your case. The estimate is usually based on your unique case and the details it comprises. Below are some common accident factors that are usually considered:

  • Insurance coverage restrictions and maximums
  • Number of victims involved and how many parties will share the settlement
  • Comparative negligence laws and how they apply to the circumstances
  • Who shares the liability and/or damage responsibility if multiple parties are involved

Settlements for Compensatory Damages

If a trucker or their commercial vehicle that proves to be faulty cause an accident, victims may be eligible to seek and recoup compensatory damages. In this case, the truck accident attorney that is representing the victim will usually attempt to settle with the truck driver’s company’s insurance company. If a settlement agreement is not reached, the case may advance to court.

Common damages in these cases can include some or all of the following:

  • Medical costs
  • Lost wages due to the accident and injury
  • Personal property replacement or repair
  • Non-economic damages due to pain and suffering (these are often allowed based on how severe the injury is, and the associated difficulties and prognosis of the injury)

Injuries that cause permanent disability may be much more valuable than temporary injuries.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages apply in situations where the settlements are for high-value accidents due to gross negligence on behalf of the truck driver, or another associated party. When a party is proved guilty of having malicious intent and/or behavior that is outrageous that also harmed the victim.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence laws can apply if the victim is proved to be responsible for the accident in some way. In a case such as this, the settlement amount will decrease by a certain percentage, whatever they are found liable for. For example, if a judge decides that the victim was 40% responsible for the accident, then they are eligible to recover only 60% of the awarded damages.

In a lot of cases, it may not be advisable to go through a truck accident case without having an attorney advocating for you. A seasoned truck accident attorney will have your best interest in mind and can take your case to court, if necessary, after negotiations on your behalf. It is highly recommended to contact an attorney as soon as possible as they can be the deciding factor in determining if you receive a settlement.

Laurence C. Tarowsky Attorney at Law

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Offices of Laurence C. Tarowsky for their insight into semi truck accidents.

Can Anyone Participate in a Class Action Lawsuit? | Truck Accident Lawyer DC

Class action lawsuits allow a group of people who have been hurt by a common party to file a lawsuit against that party with the goal of gaining compensation for their damages. Commonly, a class action lawsuit will allege fraud or a product defect. Very often, the lawyers for both sides will agree to a settlement before the case reaches a courtroom.

It is also common that the defendant is a large corporation. As an example, AT&T recently paid $45 million in damages after a group of customers complained that they had received automated phone calls for which they had not authorized.

Below are facts about class action lawsuits that you should know before you take part in one.

1. Who can participate in a class action lawsuit?

The law firm for the plaintiffs may announce that they are seeking additional affected people to join the lawsuit against the defendant, an individual can participate in a class action lawsuit without the request of a law firm if they meet the criteria. For instance, if you bought a car that has a hazardous manufacturing defect common for that particular make and model, you can join other owners and sue the manufacturer for their faulty product.

2. How much compensation can you expect from a class action lawsuit?

When a company is faced with numerous complaints about the same problem, they are likely to take the matter seriously, sit down with the complainants and agree to settle.

  1. The company may negotiate with the plaintiffs’ attorneys and agree to a settlement amount.
  2. The first thing that will be deducted are the legal fees of the law firm that was representing the class of plaintiffs.
  3. The remaining monies will be divided among all the individuals who were part of the suit. The more plaintiffs there are, the smaller the individual payouts.

The greatest satisfaction you might receive is the knowledge that you attained some degree of justice by holding the defendants responsible for their negligence.

3. How do you find out if you are eligible to participate in a class action lawsuit?

If you signed up to participate in a class action suit but have not been contacted, there are certain websites where you can check the details of the case. You can perform an online search using keywords that include the nature of the class action lawsuit and the name of the defendant. In this way you will often be able to find out how to join as a participant in the lawsuit or if the deadline has passed. You may also be able to opt out of the class action lawsuit if you were automatically included. However, if you opt out, you will not be eligible for compensation if the case is settled or the court issues an award to the plaintiffs.

If you would like to participate in a particular class action lawsuit, contact the plaintiffs’ attorney’s law office and request more information. If you would like to initiate a class action lawsuit that has not been started, contact an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts, who is licensed to practice law in the state where the defendant is based.

Lorona Mead LawThanks to our friends and contributors from Lorona Mead for their insight into personal injury and class action suites.

Why it is important to see a doctor after an accident

Being in an accident is stressful. The amount of confusion that the average car crash causes is no secret, and we have all heard lots of advice from different people on what to do. One thing that is not stressed nearly enough however is the importance of seeking medical attention immediately. Delaying seeing a medical professional after being in an auto accident can only hurt you, both physically and financially. Here are two huge reasons why:

  1.      Not all injuries are obvious

Many common injuries from accidents, such as spine head injuries, do not show obvious signs until days or weeks after the incident. Though you may have walked away from the accident with little more than a headache, you could find yourself bedridden before you know it. These types of injuries can grow severe and even life threatening, so it is far better to get ahead of them by getting to a doctor and making sure you are okay. Failure to do so is a gamble, and not a worthy one.

  1.      Delaying could hurt your ability to seek damages

The longer you put off getting your injuries diagnosed, the less likely you become of reaching a favorable settlement with the insurance company. Insurance companies are not on your side. They are in the interest of paying as little in a settlement as they can get away with. If you waited weeks to see a doctor, then they will use that to try and downplay the severity of your injuries. In some cases, they may even use the time to create doubt that your injuries were a result of the accident.

The worst part is that juries are likely to believe them if the case goes to court. There is a common narrative in our country that plaintiffs in personal injury cases are only interested in a big payday, and are always exaggerating their injuries. Waiting feeds the insurance companies’ ability to use this narrative against you in court.

Of course, there are many reasons to avoid going to the doctor as well. Medical checkups are not cheap, especially if you don’t have health insurance. I can also be difficult to find the time to see the doctor. It cannot be stressed enough though that these burdens must be overcome. The risks are simply to high.

If you do find yourself in settlement negotiations with an insurance company after waiting to seek medical attention, contact an experienced attorney, like a car accident attorney Dekalb County GA trusts, in your area. Your attorney will be able to walk you through your rights, and ensure that you receive the best settlement possible.

Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. Thanks to our friends and contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into car accident cases.