Should the government take action to prevent side underride collisions?

side underride collisionsSide underride accidents result in some of the most devastating injuries imaginable.

These accidents can essentially shave the roof off of a car. This can result in the decapitation of the driver and passenger(s). Those who survive often suffer incapacitating injuries to the head, brain, neck, and spinal cord.

Unfortunately, trucks are not required to have side guards that could prevent many of these injuries and deaths. Continue reading “Should the government take action to prevent side underride collisions?”

Preventing Debris-Related Crashes: How to Safely Secure Objects to Your Vehicle

Do you feel uneasy when you’re driving behind a minivan towing a trailer of garage sale finds or a pickup truck hauling a suspiciously shaky mattress?

You know, something like this:

You have good reason to be nervous.

A 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study determined more than 200,000 debris-related crashes were reported between 2011 and 2014. These incidents were responsible for nearly 40,000 injuries and over 500 deaths.  Continue reading “Preventing Debris-Related Crashes: How to Safely Secure Objects to Your Vehicle”

Death of social media celebrity raises concerns about chiropractic neck manipulation

By William J. Price

On Feb. 4, 2016, model and social media celebrity Katie May died at the age of 34 after suffering a stroke. Last month, a new Los Angeles Coroner’s Office report suggested her death was potentially caused by chiropractic neck manipulation to relieve a pinched nerve.

According to the American Chiropractic Association, this type of injury only occurs in one out of 5.85 million upper neck manipulations. These incidents are extremely rare, and it cannot be said with certainty that neck manipulation causes strokes, but the American Heart Association has outlined how a cervical arterial dissection, a type of arterial tear which can lead to stroke, could result from chiropractic neck manipulation.

Victims of rear-end collisions are often treated by chiropractors, who use cervical manipulation to help relieve pain caused by whiplash injuries. Follow these precautionary steps to find a qualified chiropractor who can safely perform this type of treatment and further reduce your risk of suffering a related stroke:

6 Steps for Choosing a Chiropractor:

  1. Ask your primary care physician or surgeon for their recommendations of board-certified chiropractors.
  1. Research the recommended chiropractors and their qualifications.
  1. Visit your state’s Board of Chiropractic Examiners website to investigate any disciplinary actions that may have been filed against the chiropractors.
  1. Interview the chiropractors you are considering to determine which type of therapy they would use to treat your injuries, and perform extensive research on those types of therapy.
  1. After selecting a chiropractor and beginning treatment, ask yourself if any of your pain has been relieved and if you feel the treatment has been effective. Different chiropractic colleges teach different techniques for relieving pain, and the method used by your doctor may not always be the best fit for you.
  1. Be cautious if your chiropractor pushes you to pursue a long-term treatment program. If chiropractic treatment does not relieve your pain within a few weeks, you may need to seek a more specialized course of treatment from an orthopedic or neurological surgeon.

Chiropractic treatment is a viable and worthwhile treatment for many accident victims, and is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies. Taking a proactive approach when selecting a chiropractor will help reduce the risk of any injuries related to treatment.

William J. Price focuses his practice on personal injury litigation for people who have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, negligence in construction sites and trucking and auto accidents. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell, AVVO and is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

5 to Drive: National Teen Driver Safety Week

October 20-26, 2013 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. To mark the occasion, Elk & Elk is issuing a special challenge this week to the parents of all teen drivers with a special “5 to Drive” campaign encouraging parents to always set the rules before their teens hit the road.

Motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in America. More than 2000 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes in 2011 – with almost half of those teen drivers being killed in those crashes.

Even more alarming, there was a 20-percent jump in teen driver fatalities in just the first six months of 2013.

Five ways to a safer teen.That’s why Elk & Elk is joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and other highway safety partners across the country to encourage parents to get the facts and to start the conversations—during National Teen Driver Safety Week and every week—to help keep their teens safe behind the wheel.

Parents have spent their entire lives trying to protect their kids, but then they hand their teens the keys to a 2-ton machine, and expect them to know what to do. We want to remind parents that they still have a lot to teach their teen drivers, and they should talk it out and always set the rules before their teens hit the road.

Each day during National Teen Driver Safety Week parents are encouraged to visit www.safercar.gov/parents for more information and key reminders about the “5 to Drive” – five specific rules designed to help save the lives of more teenage drivers and soon-to-be teen drivers.

The “5 to Drive” reminders that parents are encouraged to regularly share with their teens include:

  1. No Cell Phones While DrivingTeens texting or dialing while driving have proven to be recipes for disaster. In 2011, 270 people were killed in crashes involving distracted teen drivers. REMEMBER, One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
  2. No Extra PassengersResearch shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teens in the car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior when traveling with multiple passengers increased to three times. REMEMBER: No extra passengers in the car.
  3. No SpeedingIn 2011, speeding was a factor for 35 percent of the fatal crashes of teen drivers. REMEMBER, Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.
  4. No Alcohol – Although all States have zero-tolerance laws for drinking and driving under 21, 505 people died in crashes in which 14- to 18-year-old drivers had alcohol in their systems. Nationally in 2011, 27 percent of teen drivers killed had some level of alcohol in their systems. Parents should show zero tolerance for any sign of impaired driving. Teens need to hear it again and again: REMEMBER, No Drinking and Driving.
  5. No Driving or Riding Without a Seat BeltTeenage belt use is not what it should be. In 2011, over half of the teen occupants who died in passenger vehicles were unrestrained. Teens, and all adults for that matter, need to buckle up every trip, every time, day and night, no matter the distance. REMEMBER, Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time – Front-Seat and Back.

While some might say such rules are fairly obvious, a recent survey shows that only about 25 percent of parents have serious talks with their kids about the key components of safe driving. The “5 to Drive” are designed to address the major contributing factors in fatal crashes involving teens.

We hope more parents will use National Teen Driver Safety Week as a way to get started in having direct and regular conversations with their teens about safe driving. Too many teen lives are being needlessly and tragically lost, and the numbers are only going up. So it is time for parents to swing into action and use the ‘5 to Drive’ before their teens hit the road.

For more information about national Teen Driver Safety Week and the new “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.

Cell Phone Distractions Cause Countless Accidents

As a driver, you must be fully aware at all times in order to avoid accidents and stay out of harm’s way. Distracted driving can cause an accident anywhere — whether you are cruising on the highway or just driving around town.

Drivers can be distracted in a myriad of ways, such as fiddling with the radio, reading a map, eating, grooming and of course, texting on a cell phone. Cell phones have become an increasingly common distraction; with some estimates as high as a thousand deaths per year from cell phone related car accidents.

It is every driver’s responsibility to take steps to ensure the safety of not only themselves, but also passing motorists and pedestrians. Most accidents occur because of someone’s negligence or from a momentary lapse in judgment. In 2011 alone, over 3000 Americans were killed in distracted driving crashes and cell phone usage is a huge part of this issue.

There are three main types of distractions:

  1. Manual – taking your hands off of the wheel
  2. Visual – taking your eyes off the road
  3. Cognative – taking your mind off driving

All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety, but because text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most dangerous distraction.

Insurance companies are paying close attention to the link between cell phone use and car accidents and many auto insurance websites warn of the dangers of distracted driving. If you are at fault for a car accident caused by cell phone use, or are ticketed for talking while driving, you’re likely to see your insurance premium rise. The best way to avoid a higher premium is to avoid an accident — and potential driver distractions — altogether.

Although Ohio has implemented laws banning texting while driving, accidents due to distracted driving still occur. In cell phone lawsuits, records from cell phone carriers help us determine whether cell phone usage caused the accident. Was the person texting or making a phone call? Was the phone engaged in some other type of activity like using the internet or its GPS function? It takes an experienced Ohio accident attorney to answer these questions and help you recover if someone else’s negligence has caused you harm.

Driving while texting or talking on a cell phone is dangerous. There is nothing that can’t wait until you’re safely pulled over. Please do not allow a cell phone to be a distraction, possibly causing you or others serious pain and harm.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above, explore this blog and visit our educational website at elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Arthur M. Elk

Deadly Ohio Semi Crash

An Ohio woman died Wednesday in a horrific tractor-trailer accident in Circleville, Ohio. The truck driver is facing charges for allegedly tampering with evidence. According to the Columbus Dispatch, Amy Schneider of South Bloomfield was killed in the accident and the truck driver was listed as 41-year old Tracy Ferrell of Michigan.

Ferrell was driving north on Route 23 at about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning when he failed to brake at a red light. Ferrell’s semi-truck plowed into Schneider’s vehicle and two other cars that were sitting at the intersection.

Schneider’s vehicle was struck first, crushing her small car and pinning it under the semi. The truck and car combo then pushed into another vehicle, which crashed into an SUV, causing it to overturn. Police said Schneider was pronounced dead on the scene and that the other two drivers were injured and taken to local hospitals. They were identified as: Francis Shirley, 49, the driver of the SUV, and Karen Kindle, the driver of the second car.

According to reports, Ferrell had removed a page from the driver’s log book and attempted to hide it from authorities. Police arrested him for allegedly tampering with evidence and believe he fell asleep at the wheel, however the investigation is ongoing.

Driver fatigue remains problematic

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) studies detailing the relationship between sleep deprivation and the prevalence of trucking accidents have shown the longer a driver is on the road without rest and sleep, the greater the likelihood he or she will be involved in an accident.

In an effort to combat this problem, the FMCSA recently issued new rules to address safety concerns. The rules reduce the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week to 70 hours. Under the old hours of service rule, drivers could work up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The rule also prohibits drivers from driving more than eight hours at a time without taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Additionally, drivers may not drive more than 11 hours each day.

Drivers must also keep detailed logs regarding their time behind the wheel. Federal regulations require all drivers to record their hours, either manually or using an electronic device. Even though rules require drivers to keep accurate driving accounts, some trucking companies break the law by encouraging their employees to maintain false (or misleading) log books in order to meet deadlines and boost profits.

 

Source:

Semi crushes car on Rt. 23, killing woman near Circleville” by Randy Ludlow, The Columbus Dispatch, September 1, 2013.

Is Mediation the Best Choice for My Case?

 

 

If you’ve been involved in an accident, you may want to know what options you have to seek compensation for the harm someone else has caused you.

In each personal injury case, a client will have options. It takes an experienced attorney to properly assess the situation and help the client understand which method of resolution will suit their case the best.

Personal injury cases can take a very long time to settle or go through trial. The entire process can take several years. While you’re waiting for that, you may be asked (or court ordered) to go through an alternative dispute resolution procedure called ‘mediation.’ In mediation,  both parties sit down with an independent third party called a mediator, who helps them come to an agreement.

There are some great things about mediation that you should consider when dealing with your own personal injury matter.

Mediations are not held in a courtroom and are therefore a bit more informal. For many clients, this environment is less stressful and makes them feel more comfortable. Mediations also are a time-saver. Mediations may take a couple hours or even a couple days, but trial cases can go on for years. Another consideration for mediation is the cost element. Going to trial is expensive. You need to pay for research data, reviewing of medical reports, expert witnesses, travel, accommodations, videographers and much more. There is a cost of mediation but is much smaller in comparison to all these other costs, plus the fee is split between the two parties.

Whether you’re looking to settle your case, go through mediation or take it to trial, our experienced attorneys are here to help guide you through the process. We’re here to help make the best decision for you and your family.

To learn more about mediation, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at http://www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

Gary Cowan

Use of Expert Witnesses in Your Personal Injury Case

 

Being in an automobile accident can be a traumatic and life changing event if your injuries are serious enough. You will have a lot of decisions to make and this can be very daunting.

After every accident, you will need to seek medical help and that can be very expensive. You need to get your car fixed, deal with your insurance company and handle a number of other details.

What you don’t need is to have to fight with someone to recover for your damages and loss. You shouldn’t have to deal with people who lie about who caused the accident and aren’t willing to take responsibility. But sometimes that’s the world we live in.

As your personal injury attorneys, our job is to prove to the other side that they were at fault and should be held liable for your damages. You deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering they’ve inflicted on you. We prove your case in a variety of ways.

After we’ve researched your case and came to the conclusion that someone else was liable for your injuries, we talk to the other side. We try to explain that they are responsible and sometimes they don’t want to cooperate. So we go to court.

Now in a court room, we’re either going to have to prove your case to a judge or a jury. And we do that by producing and showing evidence on your behalf. This evidence is brought to the jury in several types of ways. It could be photographs, charts, video footage and more commonly, witnesses. Each witness will be there to prove your case by either sharing what they saw or what they know of the accident. This is where an expert witness can be utilized.

An expert witness can be anyone from a doctor who specializes in an area or an accident reconstructionist. An accident reconstructionist will basically rebuild the entire accident scene through research data and models to help determine who was at fault for the accident. We may also bring in an economist. Their job is calculating all of your damages. Your damages include all of the monetary losses you suffered from medical expenses and bills. The economist will determine that loss as well as any future losses you may sustain due to a long-term or permanent injury.

To learn more about personal injury law, I encourage you to watch the video above and to explore our educational website at http://www.elkandelk.com. If you have legal questions, please call us at 1-800-ELK-OHIO. I welcome your call.

William J. Price

Black Boxes: Not Just for Planes

The recent tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214 in California that caused two deaths and injured hundreds of people is currently under investigation. The National Traffic Safety Board says that data recovered from the plane’s “black boxes” has revealed that the flight crew discussed aborting the landing as late as 1.5 seconds before impact. These types of devices are expected on aircraft, but did you know that cars have “black boxes” too?

Automotive “Black Boxes”

According to the New York Times, around 96 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States have “black boxes.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Board wants them to be mandatory in all new vehicles because they can make a major impact on highway safety, help to define auto safety problems, assist law enforcement, and provide information regarding specific aspects of a crash.

Event Data Recorder (EDR)

When trying to piece the details of a traffic accident together, these devices can be invaluable. In the automotive industry, they are known as an event data recorder (EDR), which provides information about the impact and airbag deployment during the crucial moments of an accident.

According to the NHTSA, an EDR is “a device installed in a motor vehicle to record technical vehicle and occupant information for a brief period of time (seconds, not minutes) before, during and after a crash.”

EDRs may record:

  • Pre-crash vehicle dynamics and system status
  • Driver inputs
  • Vehicle crash signature
  • Restraint usage/deployment status
  • Post-crash data such as the activation of an automatic collision notification system (like OnStar.)

Using an EDR is just one of the many ways our car accident attorneys can prove your case. We know how to gather information from audio or video recordings, GPS navigation systems and data logs (such as hours of service for truck operators), as well as witness testimony and assemble the data in order get you the compensation you deserve.

 

Download and print out our Accident Checklist and keep it in your glove compartment so you have it handy if you are ever in an accident. It includes 11 tips to follow and also provides space to take notes at the scene of the accident. There is no registration required to receive this valuable free resource.

 

Sources:

A Black Box for Car Crashes” by Jaclyn Trop, New York Times, July 21, 2013.

“Event Data Recorder Research Web site” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accessed July 26, 2013.

New Rules for Truck Drivers Spur Debate

Semi-truckThe new hours-of-service rules reflect the administration’s concerns that truck drivers who do not get enough rest put other motorists at risk. Studies conducted by the FMCSA concluded that working long hours on a continuing basis can lead to chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers. The agency estimates the new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 truck accidents and 560 injuries each year.

FMCSA’s new hours-of-service final rule:

  • Limits the maximum average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, a decrease from the current maximum of 82 hours
  • Allows truck drivers who reach the maximum 70 hours of driving within a week to resume driving if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights when their body clock demands sleep the most – from 1-5 a.m.
  • Requires truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift
  • The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.

Companies and drivers that commit flagrant violations could face stiff penalties. Trucking companies and passenger carriers that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

Legal battle underway

Some members of the trucking industry are challenging the changes, which they see as too restrictive. The American Trucking Associations have filed a law suit against the FMCSA to prevent the new rules. The suit alleges the rules contain “arbitrary and capricious” provisions that force “unwanted and unnecessary” changes on drivers.

However, according to the FMCSA, “Only the most extreme schedules will be impacted, and more than 85 percent of the truck driving workforce will see no changes.” The agency also contends that the new regulations will provide a broader economic benefit. They estimate there will be $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. “Most importantly, it will save lives,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.

Dangers of drowsy driving

Commercial truck drivers are especially susceptible to drowsy driving. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reported that drowsy driving was probably the cause of more than half of crashes leading to a truck driver’s death and for each truck driver fatality; another three to four people are killed. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2011 there were 329,000 motor vehicle crashes involving large trucks and buses that resulted in 73,000 injuries, and 3,568 deaths.

Whether or not the lawsuit is successful, accidents with large trucks and commercial busses will undoubtedly continue to occur. Distracted driving, improper training, neglected equipment, and even the erratic driving of a motorist near a large truck can all contribute to a crash.

At Elk & Elk, our attorneys have the resources and the knowledge required to tackle even the most complicated commercial vehicle accidents. If you have been hurt in an accident, Call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with our experienced lawyers. We are available 24/7/365 to make sure we are there when you need help the most, and we never charge any fees upfront.

Sources:

Federal limits on truck drivers’ hours fuel controversy” by Emily West and Chas Sisk, USA Today, July 9, 2013.

Initial Brief for Petitioner and Intervenors in Support of PetitionerAmerican Trucking Associations, et al. v. FMCSA (D.C. Circuit, Case No. 12-1092) Oral arguments took place on March 15, 2013 before Circuit Judges Brown and Griffith, and Senior Circuit Judge Randolph.

“Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts” Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, March 2013.