Any kind of car crash affects more than your car; it can damage your family, career, and life. When the driver involved is a professional, it’s even harder to get the help you need in court.
Commercial accidents can involve anything from a collision with a semi-truck to being rear-ended by a courier service van. If you’ve been involved in a commercial accident, we know your emotions are running high. Follow the list of actions below to increase the likelihood of a positive end result.
Report the Accident Immediately
There are dangers to guard against after an accident. If you report the accident immediately and get the particulars of the incident in writing with law enforcement, you will have a solid basis for future claims.
Seek Medical Attention
Even the smallest injury should be checked out by medical professionals after an accident. It takes days for soft tissue injuries to present themselves. You may feel fine now, but if pain, dizziness, or numbness show up, you will need to have proof you sought medical attention. Proving the injuries resulted from the accident will be easier and your personal injury claim will be strengthened.
Find a Lawyer You Trust
The company or companies involved have teams of lawyers fighting to lower the amount of money the company is required to spend. You must hire a law firm with the experience and resources to fight for your case. If you don’t have a trustworthy lawyer, who will make sure you are able to take care of yourself, your medical bills, and your family?
After an incident, events take place rapidly. Insurance companies assign investigators almost immediately and law enforcement begins to secure evidence. Contacting a lawyer you trust as soon as you can after a collision ensures your best interests will be represented during the fast-moving process.
Send a Preservation of Evidence Letter
It doesn’t take much to damage evidence after a collision. Someone who drives for a living may want to quickly repair the damage to their vehicle in order to avoid loss of work. Without proper documentation though, that would damage the evidence for your case.
A Preservation of Evidence letter effectively proves you have done your best to remind your opponent to take care of the evidence in their possession. This letter serves as a starting point for any future claims of conscious disregard to the duties of preservation of evidence.
Hire Reconstruction Experts
When establishing liability after a collision reconstruction experts establish who is liable for the accident through scientific analysis. They use the all the evidence from the scene of the crash to recreate the incident and definitively decide who was at fault and why.
You can be sure a commercial driver’s company is going to have their people working to reduce their liability in the incident. You need an expert on your side to protect you as well.
Gathering the information from witnesses at the scene is essential to the success of your case. Since third-party witnesses have no personal or financial interest in your case they are taken seriously. Those witnesses saw your accident from varying angles and perspectives and could have seen or heard important evidence to support your claims.
It is important to secure quality contact information for each of the witnesses immediately. While at the scene of the incident, before witnesses scatter and you are unable to reach out to them. Write down everything they can remember and then contact them again to relive the incident, with time they may remember more.
At Laird Hammons Laird, we know you aren’t looking for a pay day. We can help get the justice your case deserves. If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, our expert team can guide you through the process and timeline of what’s next.
Texting and driving is one of the most common causes of vehicle accidents in the US. Don’t become a statistic — be safe on the roads!
If you have beeninjured in a car accident as a result of a distracted drive, call us today at (405) 703-4567. We’ll make sure you receive just compensation.
Distracted driving has made traffic safety a prominent national issue with those driving commercial trucks and buses. With new regulations focused on the largest and most dangerous vehicles on the road, the emphasis now shifts to protecting the most vulnerable drivers: motorcyclists. Last November, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) proposed a new regulation mandating that everyone riding a motorcycle in the United States wear a helmet.
Historically, helmet law proposals have always been controversial. Proponents commonly refer to accident statistics showing that riders are much more likely to survive an accident while wearing a helmet than those who do not. In its proposal, NTSB officials indicated that motorcycle deaths have increased in the past decade despite an overall drop in traffic accidents. While motorcycle fatalities dropped 16 percent overall in 2009, deadly motorcycle accidents increased in Oklahoma.
Those opposing helmet laws raise concerns about freedom and personal choice. They argue that they assume the risk of danger when riding without a helmet, and that the government oversteps its bounds in regulating their choices. They also believe that individual states should decide whether to enact helmet laws, not the federal government.
This debate is no different in Oklahoma. A universal helmet law applied from 1967 to 1969, when it was amended to cover riders under age 21. The universal law returned in 1975 as part of the Highway Safety Act (a Congressional act tying federal funds to helmet law compliance), but it was again changed in 1976 to only include riders under 18. Current law requires riders under the age of 18 to wear helmets.
Further clouding the debate is the question of whether helmet laws actually reduce fatalities. According to the Oklahoman, motorcycle enthusiast and advocate John Pierce, states with mandatory helmet laws have “no better or worse fatality records” compared to states that do not. Pierce, who was not wearing a helmet when he was involved in an accident in August 2010, refers to a 2002 report by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. The report indicated that Colorado (a state with no helmet law at the time) had 4.31 fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles, compared to Nebraska (a state with a helmet law) which had 5.2 fatalities per registered motorcycles.
If another universal helmet law is enacted, it is likely that motorcycle insurance rates would drop. While insurance rates are primarily based on the rider’s traffic record and the type of motorcycle to be insured, fewer potential claims could have a positive effect on costs. It is unknown whether Congress will act on the NTSB’s proposal this year. If it does, a strong lobby from motorcycle advocacy groups can be expected.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new rule aimed at keeping passengers from being thrown from motor vehicles during a rollover accident. The new requirements will affect all new passenger vehicles and entail safety systems that ensure passengers will not eject out of a vehicle’s side windows in the event of a crash.
Motor vehicle manufacturers will have to develop their own systems that meet the new safety standards. The NTHSA offered some compliance suggestions to carmakers in their report, such as installing side airbags in vehicles that have rollover sensors. Another option would be to replace side windows with advanced safety glass.
Vehicle manufacturers have some time to develop their new safety systems. Stage one of the new safety requirements will began in 2013, and all new vehicles must comply with the passenger safety standards by September 1, 2018.
These changes will not be cheap. In fact, the agency estimation is that these additional safety features will cost about $507 million – around $1.2 to $1.7 million per life saved. The price of implementing these changes appears insignificant when faced with the number of lives lost each year due to being thrown from the vehicle in a car collision. These lives could have been saved with the right safety technology in place; a cost of $30 to $35 per vehicle for car manufacturers seems trivial when increasing safety and reducing injuries.
What are the Ejection Mitigation Requirements?The NHTSA’s ejection mitigation safety standards (49 CFR Parts 571 and 585) include some of the following requirements:
What Led to the Ejection Mitigation Rule?Rollover accidents may be more rare, but according to the NHTSA, these types of crashes cause the highest rate of accident fatalities each year. In fact, 10,000 people lost their lives per year due to rollover accidents in the past decade. The new safety standards are an important step in reducing the number serious injuries and deaths due to motor vehicle accidents. David Strickland, NHTSA administrator, announced, “When fully implemented, we believe this standard will prevent on average 373 fatalities and 476 serious injuries every year.”
Without these safety requirements, the NHTSA stated that passengers are 14 times more likely to die in a rollover accident, as compared to passengers involved in a head-on collision. The risk of death increases for passengers who are ejected from the car during an accident.
The agency’s new rule is an advancement in improving vehicle safety and protection passengers in the event of a rollover crash. The NHTSA has also recently issued other safety regulations, including an upgraded roof crush standard and back-up sensor requirements. Though accidents and injuries will still occur, these improvements are a step in the right direction.
Teen driving is dangerous. It’s as simple as that. For a teen to become a proficient adult driver, however, a teen must learn to drive and learn to drive safely.According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 3,000 teens (aged 15-19) were killed in vehicle accidents, and another 350,000 teens were sent to the emergency room in 2009.
Parent-Teen Driving ContractsThere are a number of ways that parents can help a teen stay safe as the young driver works toward becoming an experienced driver, including signing a driving contract.
Parent-teen driving contracts set out the rules of the road for the teen – including hours when the teen can drive, the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle, acceptable and not acceptable behavior behind the wheel and other provisions parents see fit. So there is no confusion later, the contracts should also state what the penalties are for violating the provisions of the contract. The contract can also indicate ways in which the teen can gain further driving privileges and responsibility.
Parent-teen driving contracts are becoming widely accepted as a way to keep teens safe – so much so that a few insurance companies offer discounts on insurance for signing a driving contract. Contracts are available from CDC, some insurance companies and American Automobile Association (AAA).
Teen Driving Safety TipsParents are the “key-holders” and they have the ability to set the rules in order to keep their teen son or daughter safe on the roads. While many “safe driving tips” are set out as law by states that use a Graduated Driver’s License (GDL), parents should be aware of and emphasize the following: