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Is it a car accident, car wreck, car crash or a collision?

Published on Nov 12, 2013 at 8:21 am in Auto Safety.

Dictionary.com lists the primary definition of an accident as “an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap.” When most individuals talk about motor vehicle wrecks, they refer to them as “car accidents.” Yet law enforcement officers generally use the terminology “car crash” or “collision” and many people use the term “car wreck.” Do you call it a car accident, car wreck, car crash or collision? Are they all the same? Absolutely not!

Traffic statistics from 2011 show the five most common causes of fatal wrecks to be driving too fast for conditions or in excess of the posted speed (20.8%); driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications (13.8%); failure to stay in the appropriate lane (9.2%); failure to yield the right of way (7.2%); and distracted driving (7.1%)1. If we look at these causes, all of them result from an unsafe or negligent action on behalf of the driver. Are they, then, truly accidents? If another party caused the wreck and you were injured, do you feel like it was an accident?

An “accident,” theoretically, is something that is unavoidable. If I am not paying attention and trip and fall in my home, it is an accident. If a tree falls on my car when I’m parked in the driveway, it is an accident. If another person is texting while driving and runs into my car, then the words crash or wreck are probably more accurate descriptions of what happened.

Regardless of what you call it, if you have been injured in a car accident (or wreck or crash or collision!) that was caused by another driver, you are likely more concerned with who is going to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and property damage than which word we use. If you have been injured by another driver in Columbia, or elsewhere in South Carolina, North Carolina or Georgia, please contact us to learn your rights. Do not wait. The longer you wait after the crash, the more likely it is that evidence and witnesses will no longer be available. Contact the car accident, car wreck, car crash, and/or car collision attorneys at Solomon Law Group now.

1https://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811755DS.pdf

 

What is Distracted Driving?

Published on Nov 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm in Auto Safety.

Columbia Auto Accident Lawyers Distracted driving is defined as engaging in any activity that takes your attention off the road when you are operating a motor vehicle. In short, if you are driving, your entire focus should be on this task. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers things like texting, reading, looking at a map, adjusting a radio or GPS tool, watching a video, eating, drinking, using a phone, putting on makeup, shaving, or talking to passengers to be distractions. This is only a partial list; there are many things can take your attention away from driving. As car accident attorneys in Columbia, we have seen and heard far too many stories of those injured or killed by distracted drivers.

Most people have seen the public service announcements with movie and television stars promising not to text while driving. And maybe you have wondered why it’s such a big deal – after all, most of us have been guilty at some point of driving while engaging in the activities listed above. Research shows that distracted driving accounts for numerous injury and fatal crashes each year. Here are some statistics from the NHTSA to make you think:

  1. In 2011 in the United States, 3,331 people were killed in crashes attributed to distracted driving; another 387,000 were injured.
  2. Distracted driving accounted for 10% of all injury crashes.
  3. Teens age 15-19 were the group with the highest fatality rate in distracted driving crashes (specifically the use of mobile devices) at 21%.
  4. Of the activities above, texting while driving is thought to be the highest risk because it requires the driver’s “visual, manual and cognitive” attention.

Distracted driving laws often differ by state, and can differ by county or city; these laws are updated on a regular basis. As of the time of the writing of this post, in South Carolina, Columbia bans texting while driving but there is no statewide ban. South Carolina does recognize distracted driving as a contributing factor in crashes. North Carolina prohibits all drivers from texting or emailing while driving; in addition, provisional drivers and bus drivers are not permitted to use cell phones while driving.

So what can you do to help prevent more injuries or deaths due to distracted driving? If you are driving, commit to focusing your full attention on the road and your surroundings. Get up earlier and eat breakfast before you leave so you aren’t distracted in the car. Call your friend when you get home instead of in the car on the drive home. Whatever tasks you think need to be done immediately can generally wait until you get to your destination. You should also assume that at least some others on the road around you are distracted and drive defensively.

While we love our clients, we would prefer to have everyone safe. If you have been injured in a car accident in South Carolina, North Carolina or Georgia caused by a distracted driver or due to any other factor, call us today and talk with a Columbia, SC car wreck attorney to schedule a free consultation so you may learn your rights.

 

Are Car vs. Pedestrian Accidents on the Rise?

Published on Oct 28, 2013 at 4:44 pm in Auto Safety.

With Halloween coming up, many parents worry about their children’s safety as they are out trick-or-treating. And they should. Statistics from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that car vs. pedestrian accidents had declined from 2003 to 2010, but rose again in 2011 (the latest statistics available). In our area, Charleston, South Carolina, has the unfortunate distinction of being number three on the list of cities with the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities.(1) Pedestrians accounted for 14% of fatalities in vehicle crashes in 2011, up 3% from 2010. By NHTSA estimates, a pedestrian is injured by a motor vehicle on average every 8 minutes and one dies every two hours.(2)

Pedestrian safety tips from Columbia injury law firm These same statistics reflect that 70% of pedestrian fatalities occur when it’s dark outside, and 2 in 3 fatalities involved pedestrians crossing at places other than an intersection or crosswalk. When the kids head out on Halloween (or just to walk to a friend’s house), it’s important to remind them of some common sense safety tips:

  1. Wear light or reflective clothing when walking or running outside. You can find reflective strips that are peel and stick to place strategically on Halloween costumes (check sporting goods stores); runners can buy reflective clothing and shoes. Carry a flashlight to make it easier for others to see you.
  2. Walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or facing traffic if there are no sidewalks. Watch for cars pulling into and out of driveways. Even though you are on the sidewalk, a driver still may not see you.
  3. Cross the street at intersections or marked crosswalks—but remember that while pedestrians have the right of way, many drivers don’t stop. Always look before crossing.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings. Do not wear ear buds that block your hearing and do not focus on your mobile device – pay attention to traffic and what is going on around you.

In many cases, the causes of car vs. pedestrian crashes are the same as with vehicle-only collisions. This includes drivers and/or pedestrians who are impaired with alcohol or drugs or are distracted. Drivers, especially those in urban areas, should watch for pedestrians who may not be aware there are cars nearby; and pedestrians should take steps to protect themselves while out walking or running, and watch for drivers who may not see them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the NHTSA have both compiled some great resources for pedestrians and parents wanting to teach their kids (and others) safety tips when walking.

As always, the Solomon Law Group wants you to be safe. Please take steps to protect yourself and your family as you are out and about. And if you are injured in a car vs. pedestrian crash in North Carolina, South Carolina or Georgia, call the injury lawyers at Solomon Law Group for a free consultation to learn your rights.

1) https://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/Safety1nNum3ers/august2013/theFactsAugust2013.html 

2) https://www.nhtsa.gov/nhtsa/Safety1nNum3ers/august2013/SafetyInNumbersAugust2013.html

 

 

Should an 18-Wheeler Crash Be Treated the Same as a Car Crash?

Published on Oct 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm in Auto Safety.

Absolutely not! While it might seem that all motor vehicle accidents would be handled the same way, when a large truck or tractor trailer is involved, the rules are different. The trucking industry is highly regulated by the federal government, as well as by each state, depending on whether the trucks in question travel interstate (through more than one state) or intrastate (within one state). Just to be considered a large truck, the gross volume weight must exceed 10,000 pounds. So when 18-wheelers and other types of large trucks are involved in accidents, the weight of the vehicle alone makes the chance of severe injury or death higher than in auto-only crashes.

In 2011, large trucks were involved in 287,000 crashes; 88,000 people were injured and 3,757 killed in these crashes. In South Carolina in 2011, there were 1,092 fatal crashes, 79 of which involved large trucks, while in North Carolina, those numbers were 1,682 and 118, respectively. While the total number of large truck-involved accidents is only 5.4% of all reported vehicle accidents, the percentage of people killed in crashes involving large trucks is double that of car wrecks.1

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration governs interstate trucking and has in place numerous safety and reporting requirements that trucking companies must follow. Each state Department of Transportation may have additional rules that must be met. Some of the requirements with which trucking companies must comply include hours of service rules that limit how long a driver may be behind the wheel and are intended to prevent driver fatigue; driver background checks, including accident history and drug and alcohol testing; load weight limits by type of truck that must be met; truck maintenance records that must be kept; and vehicle log books which must be stored for six months. In addition, federal law requires that any truck driver involved in a crash where there are fatalities, serious injuries or where the vehicle had to be towed must report for a drug and alcohol test following the crash. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.

When we take cases involving 18-wheelers, we begin an immediate investigation of the crash and the trucking company. There is a sense of urgency in that current laws only require trucking companies to maintain logbooks and other key data for a limited period of time. Maintenance and driving logs can become critical evidence in any large truck crash. If they are not preserved, that evidence may simply be gone. We look at such things as the trucking company’s record to see if there is a history of safety violations. We check to see whether or not the hours of service rules were met and the post-crash drug and alcohol testing completed. A trucking accident reconstruction expert may also be sent out to the crash site or to inspect the truck itself for possible equipment issues.

In short, if you have been seriously injured or a loved one has died in an accident involving a large truck in the Columbia area or elsewhere in South Carolina, North Carolina or Georgia, you need to be sure the lawyer you choose to represent you has experience handling 18-wheeler crashes. A large truck crash cannot be treated in the same fashion as an auto accident involving only cars. Make certain your rights are protected by hiring a tractor trailer accident lawyer!

1 https://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811752.pdf

 

Hurt In A Car Wreck? A Car Accident Lawyer In Columbia Can Help!

Published on Oct 10, 2013 at 3:01 pm in Auto Safety.

If you recently were hurt or injured in an auto accident in Columbia, you have a lot of important questions that need answers. Who will pay your hospital bills? What if your car was totaled and it was your only mode of transportation? Will you be compensated for lost wages at work?

You should take refuge in knowing that the right car accident lawyer can build a case in your favor, showing that the at-fault party is responsible for your injuries. The best way to know if you were injured is to seek immediate medical attention after your accident at a hospital or urgent care facility. Even if injuries are not apparent, you may be in shock from the trauma of your accident or suffering from internal bleeding. Very minor injuries, or simply “getting hurt” may not be considered an injury, but any time an at-fault party is responsible for a wreck, he or she is liable to compensate the other party for not only medical bills, but may also be held accountable for emotional trauma, as well as needed repairs to your vehicle.

Without the auto accident lawyers of The Solomon Law Group, you may find yourself having to deal with insurance companies that do not have your best interest in mind and often elongate the process of you recovering your due damages.

If you got hurt in a car accident in Columbia, you deserve fair legal treatment. Allow us to answer your questions with a question of our own, “How may we help you?”

Get in touch with The Solomon Law Group today and set up your free consultation.

 

Driven to Safety: How Litigation Spurred Auto Safety Innovations

Published on Feb 12, 2011 at 5:00 am in Auto Safety.

From the American Association for Justice:

In the wake of Toyota’s sudden acceleration scandal, automobile safety is once again a hot-button issue. After internal documents showed Toyota knew about potential defects, hid them from regulators, and even bragged about saving money from limiting its recalls, Toyota received the largest fine ever levied against an auto manufacturer. After 50 deaths and 8.5 million recalled cars, this saga is yet another example of regulation as an incomplete safeguard and manufacturers that put profits over safety. Unfortunately, this scenario has been repeating itself for decades.

In the 1960s, court cases began highlighting the dangers of car design and the willful negligence of manufacturers in designing cars that they knew to be unsafe. Since then the civil justice system has worked hand-in-hand with regulation to protect Americans, while spurring generations of safety innovations. Litigation will ultimately play a key role in identifying what went wrong with Toyota. These findings will aid regulators and legislators in protecting the American public in the future. By holding manufacturers accountable, the civil justice system will continue to spur safety innovations, as it has done for half a century

Download PDF Driven to Safety

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