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What If I Was in an Accident With an Uninsured Motorist in Texas?

Monday, January 20, 2020

You might assume every driver on the road is as responsible as you are when it comes to purchasing and maintaining automobile insurance. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Hundreds of drivers in Texas operate motor vehicles while uninsured. If one of these irresponsible drivers causes your car accident, it can be difficult to obtain fair compensation for your damages. You may need to file a first-party claim, bring a lawsuit or hire a car accident attorney for assistance.

Should I Report the Accident?

In Texas, you generally do not have to report a car accident unless it causes injuries, deaths or more than $1,000 in property damages. An exception exists, however, for accidents involving broken laws – including the failure to meet the state’s insurance requirements. If the other driver involved in your crash admits to not having insurance, call the police. Dial 911 from the scene and explain that you were in a wreck with an uninsured driver. Wait at the scene until the police arrive.

The police can ticket and fine the uninsured driver, as well as suspend his or her license to force the driver to get insurance before getting back on the road. The police can also write up a report on your car accident, cataloging the most important details for an insurance claim later. Your police report can include facts such as what direction each vehicle was traveling, where the impact occurred and who might have caused the crash. You can use the police report in the future as evidence for your insurance company.

reporting an accident with an uninsured driver

Should I Call an Insurance Company?

Collisions with uninsured motorists take different insurance processes than typical car accidents in Texas. With two insured drivers, the insurance company of the at-fault driver will pay for victims’ damages. If the at-fault driver does not have insurance, however, the other driver will have to file a first-party claim instead. The other driver will seek damage recovery from his or her own insurance provider.

If you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver, start the claims process by calling your own insurance company. Call the phone number on your insurance card and state that you have been in an accident with an uninsured motorist. Your insurance agent can inform you whether or not you have uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. This is an optional type of insurance in Texas that can cover your damages after a crash with someone who does not have insurance.

If you do have uninsured motorist insurance, your own company should front the costs of your medical bills and property repairs. Your company may also offer to pay part of your damages if the other driver has insurance, but not enough to cover the full costs of your losses. If you do not have uninsured motorist insurance, however, your only option for recovery may be a personal injury lawsuit.

Should I Get Legal Help?

Get legal help if you do not have uninsured motorist insurance, your insurance company has denied your claim, you suffered catastrophic injuries or you need to take your case to court. A car accident attorney in Dallas can help you through this complex type of case, pointing you in the right direction for financial compensation. Since the uninsured driver most likely does not have the funds to fulfill a judgment award, for instance, a lawyer can search for other parties who may be responsible for your losses, such as the at-fault driver’s employer.

At the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert, we can review your uninsured motorist accident for free at our local law firm. Then, we can use years of practice area experience to guide you to the right solution, whether that is a first-party claim, third-party claim or personal injury lawsuit. Partnering with an attorney can help you fight for fair compensation regardless of the circumstances of your accident.

Posted by admin at 7:03 pm

What are the Penalties for Jaywalking in Texas?

Thursday, June 20, 2019

When walking along certain roadways in Texas, pedestrians might not always find a crosswalk to use to safely cross the street. Logically, one might assume that an area with no crosswalks could imply that pedestrians possess right-of-way in crossing the street in any location. This is simply not true and is in fact extremely dangerous. Assuming that you possess right-of-way as a pedestrian not only leads to illegal jaywalking, but it can also cost you your life.

What is Jaywalking?

Jaywalking refers to entering a roadway in the absence of a crosswalk. It’s dangerous to jaywalk in undesignated areas because there’s no requirement for yield to pedestrians cars on continuous streets as they are at intersections. On in-town highways, for instance, cars typically remain at an accelerated speed. In this situation there are no stop signs, speed bumps, or other regulatory means to slow down a vehicle and prevent any potential pedestrian related accidents. Colliding with a car under these conditions can spell disaster for pedestrians, who are almost always lacking in bodily protection while crossing the street.

Texas Pedestrian Laws 

Texas exercises strict laws that keep pedestrians safe when entering roadways.

  • Cars must yield right-of-way to pedestrians in marked and unmarked crosswalks. White painted lines designate marked crosswalks, like those you see at busy intersections with traffic signals. Not all intersections have painted lines, though. In unmarked areas, like those including T-intersections and stop sign intersections, pedestrians still retain the right of way.
  • Cars must yield right-of-way to pedestrians when they cross entrance gaps that cause lapses in sidewalk. For example, pedestrians retain the right-of-way when they are attempting to cross an alleyway, driveway, or building that divides the sidewalk.
  • Pedestrians must abide by traffic signals when crossing a controlled intersection. This includes traffic lights and pedestrian-specific traffic lights. Pedestrians must also obey all signage pertaining to pedestrian travel. When disobeying traffic signals, pedestrians forfeit their right-of-way privileges.
  • Pedestrians must yield the right-of-way when crossing a street in a location that does not contain an intersection. This includes situations in which the pedestrian’s location is directly across the street.
  • Pedestrians must use available, marked crosswalks when available. Neglecting to use available crosswalks forfeits the pedestrian’s right-of-way.
  • Pedestrians must not enter an intersection in which a car cannot safely slow down or stop in time to yield right-of-way.

Not adhering to these rules compromises your safety and increases your liability in car accidents. According to state law, all instances in which a pedestrian crosses a roadway without an intersection counts as jaywalking.

Penalties for Jaywalking 

Jaywalking penalties aren’t nearly as severe as car-related traffic violations, though they do exist. Texas law enforcement offers to provide education to those caught jaywalking. Those that listen generally do not receive a ticket. If an individual is not willing to educate themselves on road safety by talking to the officer, they then administer a citation. Citations usually amount to between $20 and $160.

Who is Liable When a Car Hits a Pedestrian? 

The answer to this liability question lies solely in context. A pedestrian that knowingly jaywalks, or otherwise acts in a reckless manner, do not receive protection under Texas law. This is because pedestrians only possess right-of-way privileges at intersections and marked crosswalks. However, if a car collides with a pedestrian while they are lawfully crossing an intersection, the driver will most likely possess liability.

Crossing the street as a pedestrian can be extremely dangerous in Texas. State-established crosswalk rules are meant to prevent accidents, especially because they can be fatal to unprotected pedestrians. When jaywalking means risking liability and safety when facing a car accident, the wisest decision remains to wait for a crosswalk before crossing the street.

Posted by admin at 9:55 pm

What If You Are the Passenger in a Rideshare Accident?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

With companies like Lyft and Uber giving taxicab companies a run for their money in the Dallas area, the options for catching an easily accessible, affordable ride are more numerous than ever. Rideshare drivers, however, are just as susceptible to accidents as the rest of us; some would even argue rideshare drivers are more prone to distracted driving due to their constant use of the rideshare app.

What happens if you are the passenger in a rideshare accident? What are your responsibilities, and next steps?

Some Common Causes of Rideshare Accidents

Just as with any other driver, rideshare drivers experience a few common causes of accidents.

  • Drunk driving, whether on the part of your driver or another driver
  • Weather-related incidents involving slippery roads or poor visibility
  • Damaged or defective street signs or traffic signals
  • Roadways in poor condition due to construction or wear
  • Reckless driving such as turning too quickly, tailgating, or rushing through intersections, either on the part of your driver or someone else
  • Road rage, whether your driver or another driver
  • Speeding on the part of your driver or someone else
  • Defective or malfunctioning vehicle
  • Drowsy driving by your driver or someone else
  • Distracted driving by your driver or someone else

Many rideshare experts are particularly concerned about distracted driving due to unruly passengers as well as the very nature of ridesharing. Drivers must access their company’s platform to accept requests and navigate to their stop. However, use of this platform should not occur while the vehicle is in motion. Notify the rideshare company if you notice this or any of the above behaviors.

What You Should Do After a Rideshare Accident

If an accident occurs while you are a passenger, follow this checklist to ensure your safety as well as any potential compensation for your injuries.

  • If he or she has not already done so, ask the driver to move the vehicle to the side of the road or away from the flow of traffic. This ensures that you and the driver will remain safe throughout the next steps.
  • Call the local authorities. Even if the accident seems minor, a police report will document the events of the accident and establish that you were a passenger in a rideshare vehicle at that time. Stay at the scene of the accident until authorities release you.
  • Obtain insurance information for all parties involved.
  • Report the accident to the rideshare company. Most companies allow you to do so within the app in which you requested the ride. Often, the company will contact you for more information.
  • Seek treatment for your injuries. Even if your injuries seem minor, it is important to have them documented as well as to screen for hidden injuries not apparent at the time of the crash. Retain all medical bills and doctor’s statements.
  • File an insurance claim.

Who Is Liable for My Injuries?

Depending on who is at fault for the accident, a number of insurance companies could be liable for your injuries. If a third-party driver with insurance caused your accident, that driver’s insurance company would compensate you for your injuries. However, if the third-party driver did not carry insurance the rideshare company’s uninsured motorist policy would likely provide coverage.

Rideshare drivers are responsible for providing their own, state-minimum liability and PIP insurance, meant to cover passengers and other parties involved in accidents. Rideshare companies maintain their own insurance, usually in effect while the rideshare driver has a passenger onboard. However, rideshare companies are notorious for maintaining that their drivers are not employees, merely contractors that use the platform. Still, most Dallas personal injury attorneys recommend filing a claim directly with the company first.

Consult with a Dallas rideshare accident attorney to determine your next steps. An attorney with experience in the area will be well versed in handling negotiations between the multiple insurance companies that often become involved in rideshare accidents.

Posted by admin at 8:49 pm

How Do Big Rig Accidents Happen in Winter?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Winter presents many challenges to drivers of all types of vehicles, but truck drivers who handle large tractor-trailers or big rigs need to be extra cautious on winter roads. Big rig accidents are some of the most damaging motor vehicle collisions possible and typically result in extensive damages for all parties involved. This winter, it’s vital for everyone to know how big rig accidents happen during the colder months. According to annual averages collected by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, about 21% of vehicle crashes logged over a 10-year period involved poor weather conditions.

Speeding

Speeding is generally dangerous for all drivers in any situation, but for big rigs the danger is exponentially greater. A tractor-trailer needs much more time and distance to come to a stop from high speed than a smaller passenger vehicle due to its heavy weight and large size. Speeding on roads with patches of ice or pools of water can be exceptionally dangerous. High winds also pose a risk to truck drivers driving tractor-trailers with empty trailers. These vehicles have high centers of gravity, and strong wind can be enough to cause a tip-over. Traveling at high speeds, especially around curves, compounds this danger.

Poor Visibility

It’s more difficult for all drivers to see in fog, rain, snow, or any other type of precipitation. Drivers should engage safety features such as lights and wipers as necessary and use extra caution during inclement weather. A study from AAA conducted over a five-year period concluded that rain contributed to more than 9% of crashes. Rain is dangerous, because it not only affects the quality of the road surface and vehicle tire traction but also impedes visibility.

During any type of limited visibility, all drivers should use extra caution and adjust their speeds as necessary. In some states, police have the power to conduct traffic stops if a driver is “traveling too fast for conditions.” For example, the posted speed limit on a stretch of road is 55 mph, and a driver is traveling at 52 mph during a severe storm. A police officer may conduct a traffic stop because it is too dangerous to travel at or near the posted speed limit.

Snow, Ice, and Sleet

One of the most prevalent dangers of driving in winter is icy or rain-slicked roads. Vehicles can lose traction with the road surface after hitting ice, snow, or water. Hydroplaning occurs when a vehicle’s tires skim across water on the road instead of the road itself, and snow and ice accumulation can make it difficult for a driver to stop or make necessary maneuvers. Winter precipitation can easily cause multi-vehicle collisions, resulting in significant damages, and determining fault for these incidents can be difficult.

Road surfaces may also sustain damage over time from typical wear and tear, but winter weather conditions can compound the dangers such damage presents. Damaged road surfaces may weaken further from expanding and contracting water as it freezes, thaws, and refreezes, and this may cause chunks of asphalt to separate from the road surface. Infrastructure damage is a common cause of truck accidents, and winter weather is one of the leading causes of infrastructure damage in the country.

Holiday Traffic Congestion

Winter coincides with the holiday season, and that means many more vehicles on the road than usual. Additional traffic congestion naturally leads to a higher risk of accidents, and there are generally more private and commercial drivers on the roads. Tractor-trailers help many companies restock their products for holiday shopping and several delivery services including UPS, FedEx, and the USPS handle the vast number of holiday gifts sent through the mail. This means not only are more private individuals driving passenger cars during the winter, vastly more large trucks and commercial vehicles are on the road as well.

It’s wise for all drivers to use extra caution during holiday season travel. Plan trips before leaving and take care in unfamiliar areas. Always drive defensively, and if you don’t feel comfortable driving in inclement winter weather, wait for conditions to improve before driving, if you can.

Posted by admin at 10:49 pm

What Should I Know About Commercial Truck Black Boxes?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

While many Americans are aware of black boxes in aircraft that can record flight data to help determine the cause of a crash, few may know that many commercial trucks feature black boxes as well. Most black boxes feature fireproof materials and multiple safeguards that allow them to survive even catastrophic crashes.

Black boxes record different types of vehicle data including speed, direction of travel, electrical interference, any disturbances to the vehicle’s systems, impacts, fuel consumption, and countless other variables that may contribute to crashes. Investigators often rely on black boxes to determine how catastrophic vehicle accidents happen when no one survives to offer a statement. They can also play a significant role in litigation for a commercial truck accident.

Black Boxes Help Prove Liability for Trucking Accidents

Modern tractor-trailers manufactured since the 1990s feature electronic control modules (ECMs) built into their engines. ECMs function very similarly to the black boxes found in commercial airliners and can help determine the cause of an accident. Commercial truck black boxes typically record and store data for a specified amount of time, usually 30 days. The black boxes can track a truck’s gas mileage, average RPMs, time spent traveling at high speeds, overall speed, idling time, airbag deployment, hard stops, GPS coordinates, and many other variables.

Truck manufacturers originally designed ECMs to discourage fraudulent warranty claims but ECMs have recently been more valuable as evidence in truck accident claims to help determine liability. Trucking companies can compare ECM data to driver logs to help with these investigations, and it’s important for injured claimants in truck accidents to secure legal representation as soon as possible. An attorney can help ensure a trucking company preserves potentially crucial black box data for use in a future lawsuit.

Most states generally uphold that the data contained in an ECM is the property of the vehicle’s owner. If a trucking company owns a truck involved in an accident, the trucking company technically has the right to destroy the ECM data. However, some states have enacted laws that prevent trucking companies from destroying ECM data when clear evidence that the data could be crucial to an official investigation exists. Trucking companies may also use tracking modules for their vehicles that record and store additional types of data. An attorney may request protection of these types of recording devices if they contain hours of service logs, pick up and unload times, or other data vital to an ongoing case.

How Can a Black Box Influence My Lawsuit?

A plaintiff’s attorney in a truck accident claim can file for a court order preventing the destruction of crucial data in a truck’s black box or ECM. If the truck driver or the trucking company is liable in any way for the plaintiff’s damages, the ECM data can help establish liability for all parties involved. For example, imagine a plaintiff suing a trucking company after claiming the truck driver made an illegal lane change and crashed into the claimant’s vehicle.

The ECM data may show that the truck’s computer logged a turn signal use right before the collision, countering the claim.

ECM data from consumer vehicles may also come into play in these cases. Many auto manufacturers include systems to record travel and crash data for use in investigations. Following the previous example, the claimant’s vehicle’s ECM data may show the claimant was traveling 20 mph over the speed limit immediately before the crash, establishing the claimant is at least partially liable for the incident.

If you are unsure if or how a black box could come into play for a truck accident claim, your attorney is the best resource for additional information. Your attorney can also file subpoenas for crucial data that can improve your odds of succeeding with a truck accident injury claim and handle insurance issues. Truck accidents often result in significant damages, and a black box is likely to be one of the most crucial forms of material evidence that will come into play in a truck accident lawsuit.

Posted by admin at 10:45 pm

Common Questions After Truck Accidents

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Motor vehicle accidents involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks often cause significant damage. A person who sustains injuries or other losses from a truck accident will likely have several questions about his or her rights and legal options for recovery. Anyone injured in a truck accident should ask these questions to determine the best next steps.

Who Is at Fault?

One of the most important factors in a truck accident is fault. If one driver, several drivers, or multiple parties bear liability for a truck accident, they are responsible for the resulting damages. When a person suffers injuries in a truck accident, he or she may file an insurance claim to recover medical expenses and other losses. An injured claimant’s insurer will want to know if any other parties bear liability for the claimant’s damages, and the insurer may pursue legal action against the at-fault party to recover the amount paid toward the claimant’s compensation.

In some cases, it may be more beneficial for an injured party to file a personal injury lawsuit against an at-fault driver, especially in cases in which the injured party’s damages exceed the scope of any available insurance coverage. In other cases, a claimant’s fault for a claimed event may come into play. Many states follow comparative negligence laws that limit a plaintiff’s recovery if he or she bears liability for claimed damages. A plaintiff’s comparative negligence in a truck accident claim could diminish the claim’s value, resulting in less compensation for the plaintiff, in proportion to his or her percentage of fault for the incident.

How Much Is My Claim Worth?

If your truck accident claim falls within the scope of your insurance coverage or an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, you will need to supply evidence of the extent of your claims and their eligibility under the policy in question. If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit for your truck accident damages, you will need to provide clear evidence of not only the extent of your losses, but also proof that the defendant is directly responsible for those losses.

Insurance will generally cover a claimant’s medical expenses and property damage, and additional coverage types may also apply depending on the specifics of a claimed event. If a claimed truck accident escalates to a personal injury lawsuit, the claimant will need to offer evidence of his or her economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages can include medical expenses, lost income, and property damage. Non-economic damages generally include pain and suffering compensation, and different courts use different methods for calculating pain and suffering damages in civil claims.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

A truck accident may result from the actions of one negligent party or several. It’s also possible for a defective product or the negligence of a third party to lead to a truck accident. An injured driver may not know the best course of action for legal recovery, and a reliable truck accident attorney will be a great asset in this situation. An attorney can help with insurance issues and build a strong case for a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent defendant or group of defendants. In the case of multiple defendants, a plaintiff’s attorney can consult with experts to determine each defendant’s level of liability for the plaintiff’s damages.

An attorney in a truck accident case can help an injured client maximize his or her recovery. Trucks are some of the largest vehicles on the road, and truck accidents typically lead to serious injuries, expensive property damage, and sometimes loss of life. Victims of truck accidents should handle their immediate medical concerns after experiencing these incidents and then consult experienced attorneys about their legal options.

Posted by admin at 10:42 pm

Are Old Gas Lines Dangerous?

Monday, September 17, 2018

The infrastructure in your city or even your home could pose many hidden dangers. For example, we know that some old building materials, like lead and asbestos, can lead to detrimental effects like brain damage and cancer. However, what about materials like old gas lines? Can these pose a risk to you and your family?

America’s Aging Natural Gas System

Unfortunately, tales regarding the dangerous nature of America’s natural gas system abound. In 2014, news of a gas explosion in Harlem rocked the nation, after an aging infrastructure was responsible for the death of 8 and injuring dozens more. A crack in an old gas pipeline was reportedly responsible for the leak – piping that was more than 100 years old. Just how much of America’s gas infrastructure is like this? What danger does it pose to the average city dweller?

The nation’s natural gas pipeline is a large network of pipes that carry from underground wells to your appliances every day. This labyrinth of pipes comprises more than 2.4 million miles and distributes natural gas all over the country. Most of this network is smaller pipes that go directly to your stove, or water heater, or whatever other appliances in your home run on gas. The rest – about 20% — are larger pipes that gather gas from refineries and transport it long distances throughout the country.

Domestic gas production has increased exponentially in recent years thanks to practices like fracking. This means that higher volume may overburden the already aging natural gas system. To address this, municipal and energy authorities are announcing new gas projects, complete with plenty of new pipelines. Though new pipelines are in the works, municipalities have done little to address the current aging pipelines that run under community homes.

What Causes Gas Leaks?

Over time, gas lines can corrode and eventually rupture, leading to leaks underground. In other cases, gas leaks may arise from extreme weather like hurricanes and the high winds they bring.

Cast iron pipes are more likely to corrode and lead to catastrophic leaks. The U.S. Department of Transportation notes that the majority of cast iron piping is isolated to five states:  New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Unfortunately, one of the main problems with America’s aging natural gas infrastructure is that gas companies lack the proper incentive to replace them with new ones. Under current law, gas companies can pass the cost of replacing pipelines on to consumers. While newer plastic models are much safer and more durable, it could be decades until gas companies replace them to protect the health of the consumers they serve.

What Can You Do About Gas Leaks?

Natural gas is naturally odorless, but most gas companies add scent to it so it resembles the smell of rotten eggs. If you smell leaking gas on your property, alert the gas company right away. It’s possible that you have a gas leak that needs immediate attention.

Similarly, be vigilant about any construction going on in your neighborhood. You may notice the utility company come out to mark the location of gas lines with flags – it’s important to leave these flags where they are and discourage children from playing with them.

Aging gas lines can present a serious problem to American families. Left unchecked, these pipes that run underground can cause serious harm from leaks and explosions. Gas companies have a responsibility to replace piping with more effective and durable plastic, and the government has a duty to protect the consumer from absorbing the cost associated with replacement. By addressing these points, we can protect everyone from the dangers associated with aging gas lines.

Posted by admin at 6:21 pm

Why Do Lithium-Ion Batteries Explode?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Lithium ion batteries have been the subject of controversy in recent news. It started with the Galaxy Note phone, with reports of spontaneously combusting units on planes, and some even causing house fires. Now, reports of exploding e-cigarettes and vaping pens make big headlines.

An exploding lithium ion battery can lead to burns and other devastating injuries and property damage. It can occur in any item that contains one, from vaping pens to hover boards. Why do lithium ion batteries explode, and what can you do to reduce your risk of injury?

What Is A Lithium Ion Battery?

We consider Lithium ion batteries an important technological advancement in the 21st century, and for the most part this is true. These units boast a long battery life, they’re portable and lightweight, and can accommodate the shape and size of many different types of electronics. Chances are, if you have a newer cell phone, laptop, or electronic device, you have a lithium ion batter in your house right now.

Lithium ion batteries serve a great purpose. However, they’re not without their downsides. These units store a lot of power, and when they malfunction, the devastation can be great – for example, an explosion or other form of spontaneous combustion may occur. Overheated lithium ion batteries have been responsible for house fires, burns on the hands and face, and other devastating injuries.

Lithium ion batteries are particularly sensitive to high temperatures. When exposed, they can quickly overheat and the consequences can be dire. However, the nature of the battery’s construction can be just as dangerous as the battery itself.

Negligent Construction of Lithium Ion Batteries

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall of lithium ion batteries is perhaps the best-known debacle regarding the subject to date. Samsung traced the problem to a manufacturer of the battery in China, which has less stringent regulatory processes than other countries like the United States. By switching manufacturers, they assured the public the phones would be safe once again.

In the holiday season of 2016, hover boards were extremely popular. Unfortunately, similar stories of hazards began to come out. Stories of units exploding while they were charging had parents worried for their children’s safety. Retailers, faced with massive returns, encouraged parents to buy units with high quality lithium ion batteries to avoid the possibility of overheating and subsequent injuries and property damage.

Duty of Care to the Consumer

All manufacturers, distributors, and retailers of products have a duty of care to their consumers. When a dangerous or defective product leads to injury, anyone in this chain might be responsible for damages. Any person injured by an exploding lithium ion battery may be able to collect damages from a liable party if the following apply:

  • The product was defective or inherently dangerous; in other words, it did not work in its intended way with normal use.
  • The defective product was the proximal cause of the victim’s injuries.
  • The consumer was using the product as intended.

Most product liability claims fall under the category of strict liability, which means victims will not have to prove that a manufacturer was negligent to collect damages. It does not matter if the party committed negligence or not; since a duty of care to a consumer is higher, the injured party only needs to prove that a defective product directly led to injury.

Lithium ion batteries pose a danger to the average consumer. Anyone who owns a product containing a lithium ion battery should keep it in a temperature-controlled environment and avoid charging it for long periods. Doing so could reduce the risk of serious injury.

Posted by admin at 6:18 pm

What Are The Leading Causes of Pedestrian Injury?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Pedestrian injuries are still unfortunately common occurrences. In recent years, public health authorities have attempted to control the amount of pedestrian death and injury by creating more walkable urban centers, installing more crosswalks in busy areas, and doing other things to reduce the risk of accidents. However, pedestrian accidents still can and do occur daily. In fact, a recent Governor’s Highway Safety Association found that pedestrian deaths increased by 11% between 2015 and 2016. What causes these devastating occurrences? Here’s what you need to know.

Unmarked Crosswalks

Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections. Crosswalks can help reduce the risk of being in a pedestrian accident, but unfortunately not all crosswalks have markings. Pedestrians have the right of way when crossing at an intersection, but many people fail to recognize this. Statistically, pedestrian accidents at crosswalks are more likely to occur in the summer months when people are out and about. Designating lines at crosswalks and installing appropriate traffic signals is a simple and effective way to control this type of accident.

Use of Drugs of Alcohol

DUIs are serious offenses, and ones for which the state does not have much tolerance. Conviction of a DUI can lead to license revocation and suspension, fines, court costs, community service, and more. Unfortunately, not everyone pays attention to the rules. Drivers who operate under the influence of drugs and alcohol pose a danger to themselves and others on the road, and to pedestrians. Because of delayed reaction times and sloppy judgement, pedestrian accidents involving drunk drivers are often fatal.

Distracted Driving

Texting and cell phone use while driving are nearly as dangerous as drunk driving. Motorists can plow into pedestrians because they’re too busy operating a navigation system, sending a text, or perusing Facebook to pay attention to their surroundings. Accidents due to driver inattention lead to pedestrian injuries and deaths each year.

Accidents Involving Left Hand Turns

Most pedestrian accidents occur at intersections, but they’re slightly more likely to occur when a driver is making a left hand turn at a crosswalk. The reasoning behind this is that a driver and a pedestrian are more likely to be looking in opposite directions while making their commute.

Inclement Weather Conditions

Certain conditions like rain can decrease visibility and make it more difficult for drivers to see clearly. As a result, they may not be able to see a pedestrian before it’s too late. Though inclement weather may play a role in pedestrian accidents, drivers must also know how to drive in ambient weather conditions and make adjustments as necessary. As such, a driver who hits a pedestrian in an accident will likely still be liable for his or her injuries.

Arterial Roadways

Finally, so-called ‘arterial roadways’ can make a pedestrian accident more likely. These roads help improve traffic flow on and off freeways, but they serve particular dangers to pedestrians. Many pedestrian accidents occur on these roadways, especially since bus stops are often nearby. When drivers are still driving in “highway mode,” they’re less likely to notice pedestrians, which can lead to high-speed accidents. Unfortunately, arterial roadway accidents often prove fatal to the pedestrian.

Pedestrian injuries may occur in any number of scenarios, but some urban setups and driver behaviors make them more likely. Unmarked crosswalks and arterial roadways pose a particular danger to pedestrians, as do dangerous behaviors like electronic device use, driving under the influence, and general inattention. By avoiding some of the most common scenarios leading to pedestrian accidents, walkers can reduce their risk of injury. By understanding the risks involved with driver inattention and negligence, motorists can similarly take steps to reduce the risk their behavior has on others.

Posted by admin at 6:11 pm

What Is the Difference Between a Concussion and a TBI?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have numerous detrimental effects. Though each injury is unique, a person with a TBI may experience emotional disturbances, changes in cognition, memory loss, insomnia, and other symptoms. It can be difficult to understand the differences in the types of TBI, which may go by different names. Learn the varying degrees of TBI and what to expect from each condition.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is one of the mildest types of TBI. It results from an external force, such as blow or bump to the head. Concussions may also arise from falls or other outside trauma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the most common causes of concussions are falls, motor vehicle accidents, playing recreational sports, and violent crime.

A concussion usually results from the brain making contact with your skull. A doctor may describe a concussion as a mild TBI, because it’s usually not life-threatening. Still, concussions vary widely in severity and may lead to long-term complications, especially if the victim suffers multiple concussions or does not receive appropriate treatment.

Concussions can present a variety of symptoms and warning signs, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Disorientation or mental confusion
  • Headache
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Inability to concentrate

Treatment for a concussion generally involves resting the brain. This means no driving, reading, playing sports, or even watching TV. With appropriate treatment, a concussion will typically resolve within a few days and the victim can resume normal activity with a doctor’s approval.

What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Other types of brain injuries fall under the realm of TBI, with classifications of mild, moderate, or severe. In general, a TBI is any injury to the brain caused by an external force, such as a blow to the head or a violent shaking motion. A TBI can greatly affect a victim’s capacity to learn, think, and control his or her emotions.

A TBI is an acquired injury (meaning not present at birth) that creates a partial or complete impairment or functional disability. The effects may be physical, cognitive, or social. A person who suffers a TBI may have trouble with:

  • Emotional regulation
  • Thinking
  • Judgment
  • Language
  • Memory
  • Attention
  • Problem solving
  • Information processing
  • Speech
  • Sensory perception

TBIs may arise from car accidents, falls, or other forms of trauma. In children, TBIs may occur from abuse, such as shaken baby syndrome.

Symptoms of TBI

The symptoms of a TBI may vary significantly depending on the nature of the injury and the area of the brain involved. A person with a diagnosed TBI may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Cognitive symptoms such as difficulty speaking, mental confusion, an inability to concentrate, difficulty recognizing everyday items, or amnesia
  • Whole body symptoms such as loss of balance, dizziness, fatigue, or fainting
  • Behavioral symptoms such as inappropriate reactions to stimuli, aggression, lack of emotional regulation, repetition of words without purpose
  • Mood changes such as anxiety, apathy, or anger
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Sensory issues such as sensitivity to sound or light
  • Eye changes such as dilated pupils, uneven pupils, or dark circles under the eyes
  • Miscellaneous symptoms such as headache, bleeding, blurred vision, depression, seizures, or ringing in the ears

A concussion and a TBI may be terms people use interchangeably, but they have notable differences. A concussion is a form of TBI, and a mild one at that. Moderate or severe TBI can greatly affect a victim’s quality of life, often permanently. The effects of a concussion, on the other hand, are generally temporary. Concussions and TBI are similar in that they represent serious medical conditions that require appropriate care and follow-up treatment.

Posted by admin at 9:59 pm