Cell Phones and Distracted Driving

Distracted driving causes thousands of car crashes each year. While in-vehicle phone-sync systems assist with hands-free use, many people think these technological advancements are indicative of safety improvements as well. Unfortunately, hands-free technology is more about convenience than safety. Studies examining the distracted brain call into question how effectively drivers can actually multitask. Ultimately, when it comes to safe driving, avoiding all distractions and focusing on the road is the best way to ensure the safety of all people.

Pledge Programs

Since smartphones have become such an integral part in managing daily lives, drivers have been using them behind the wheel. Telecommunications companies and non-profits have invested in programs to raise awareness about the devastating consequences that texting while driving can have. In addition to providing practical information and victims’ accounts of the dangers, these programs often invite participants to pledge to abstain from texting while behind the wheel. Despite the popularity and engagement of these awareness campaigns, the problem persists.

Hands-Free Regulations

In attempts to curb texting while driving, many legislators have begun to implement hands-free laws. These laws, as the name suggests, requires drivers to use headphones, Bluetooth, or the audio system built into their car, to use phones while driving. Unfortunately, this solution is limited and misses the point of promoting truly focused driving.

According to a report by the National Safety Council, multitasking is more of a myth when it comes to the human brain. The study suggests that the brain really can’t perform two tasks at once. Though it can quickly switch from one task to another, it can’t process multiple activities concurrently. While hands-free cell phone use may be an improvement from dialing and texting, drivers who use their phones are still splitting mental energy between safe driving and communicating on their phone.

Solutions

Reaction time, focus, and general awareness suffer when drivers use their phones. While hands-free laws can be a deterrent, they are not the ultimate solution in safety. For many drivers the impulse to respond to text messages while driving is powerful. Despite knowing the dangers, many drivers can’t help it. An effective way to eliminate this impulse is to prevent drivers from seeing incoming texts and calls while behind the wheel.

Cell blocking technology prevents incoming calls and texts from pinging drivers while they are behind the wheel. Large telecommunications companies like Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T all have developed apps for this purpose. When downloaded, the applications detect when the car is in motion, and intercept incoming texts and calls. Through the app, users can customize automatic responses to incoming calls and texts that they receive while driving. While cell blocking apps have proven to be a useful way to prevent accidents, drivers still must make a concerted effort to dedicate themselves to focused driving.

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Liability in Car Accidents Involving Rental or Moving Trucks

One of the questions that often arises when it comes to car accidents involving moving vans and rental trucks is “who’s actually liable?”

When you think of truck accidents, your mind likely goes to collisions involving big rigs. While 18-wheeler accidents are unfortunately common in the US (with over 418,000 in 2016 alone), other types of commercial trucks can cause substantial amounts of damages as well.

In general, if a moving truck is being driven by the person who rented it, accident victims can only hold that person responsible for their injuries. However, there are circumstances where an injured person may have a claim against the auto manufacturer or rental company (e.g., U-Haul, Penske, Budget, Enterprise, Ryder) for their negligence.

If the driver of a moving truck causes an accident while they were on the job at the time (acting within the course and scope of their employment), the matter can be much more-complicated than simply filing a claim with his or her insurance company.

Liability When it Comes to Rental Truck Accidents

If the driver of a commercial truck caused an accident that left you injured, the first step in determining liability is figuring out who the driver is. If the driver happens to be an employee of the company that owns the vehicle, then the employer may very well be vicariously liable for your injuries under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

However, in many cases involving rental trucks, the driver would not be employed by the rental company. Instead, the driver would be someone with no experience driving a large truck at all. Generally, companies like U-Haul are not responsible for accidents caused by drivers who rent their vehicles. In most cases, you will probably only be able to bring a claim against the at-fault driver’s auto insurance policy — but there are exceptions to this.

If the rental company was clearly negligent in vetting potential drivers, you could potentially hold the company liable for their portion of negligence. For example, if U-Haul rented a truck to a driver who had a history of DUIs or who did not have a valid driver’s license, you may absolutely have a valid negligence claim against U-Haul. Same goes for accidents caused by trucks which were not properly maintained.

Alternatively, if the truck or van itself had a defect which led to an accident or resulted in more-serious injuries, then you could seek compensation directly from the manufacturer through a product liability claim. Consider a situation where the driver was acting responsibly — but the truck’s brakes hadn’t been replaced in years despite heavy use. If the accident was a result of the brakes failing rather than driver negligence, then your only option to recover compensation may be with the rental company. Each case is unique, which is why we recommend speaking to a car accident attorney before you make any decisions regarding your claim.

Which Insurance Company Should I Go Through?

If you’re in an accident involving any kind of large truck, your damages should likely be covered by one of three insurance policies:

  • Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) — First, you or your attorney will need to investigate to determine whether or not the driver purchased supplemental liability coverage from the rental company. This type of insurance is commonly offered by U-Haul and other large rental companies, and is designed to cover accidents with third parties.
  • The Driver’s Auto Insurance Policy — Most of the time, you should look to the driver’s personal automobile insurance to cover the damages from the accident. When you buy car insurance, it covers both your vehicle and you as a driver. That means that the driver who rented the truck will have coverage through his or her own car insurance for the accident, potentially on top of any supplemental liability coverage that they may have purchased.
  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) or Under-Insured Motorist (UIM) Coverage — If the driver does not have car insurance or their policy does not provide enough money to cover your damages, you or your attorney may be able to file a UM/UIM claim through your own personal auto insurance provider.

The Value of Having an Attorney on Your Side

It’s obvious that accident claims involving rental truck drivers can be quite complex. The burden of proof is unfortunately on you, and recovering the compensation you deserve not only requires that you have a full understanding of how liability applies, but so much more.

While you may be concerned about the cost of hiring a lawyer, understand that these types of cases are always handled on a now-in no-fee basis. The only way your attorney gets paid is if (and when) he or she puts money in your pocket.

Not only will your attorney look out for your best interests, they will handle all communication with the insurance companies while you focus on getting back to your life. Insurance companies have teams of on-staff attorneys working against you. Without legal representation of your own, they simply have no reason to play fair when it comes to your claim.

Sadat Montgomery is a Dallas personal injury attorney who takes pride in getting his clients the compensation they deserve and the medical care they require following a serious injury.

What to Do if You’re in an Uber Car Accident: A Checklist

Any time you’re in a moving vehicle, there’s a chance you could be in an accident. This is true even when you’re riding in an Uber or a Lyft. Should you ever become injured through a rideshare accident, it’s important that you take a few essential steps to keep yourself safe—and to maintain a strong insurance claim.

Here’s a quick Uber car accident checklist, as compiled by a Uber accident lawyer.

Uber Car Accident Checklist

  • Make sure everyone is safe. First things first: Stop to see if you or anyone else in the car is visibly injured. (For instance, look for major blood loss, visibly broken bones, or anyone who’s unable to be ambulatory.) If you need medical attention, call 911 and have them send an EMT.
  • File a police report. Whether or not anyone is injured, you’ll always want to make sure there is a police officer on the scene. Offer your testimony, as the official police report will provide a good baseline of fact should you ever end up litigating.
  • Report the accident to Uber. You can go into your Uber app and report that the ride ended in an accident—and you’ll likely get a quick reimbursement for your rideshare fees.
  • Seek medical attention. Regardless of whether you think you “need” medical attention, it’s best to head to the doctor or to a nearby urgent care. This ensures that a medical professional has a chance to check you out for hidden injuries. It also strengthens your insurance claim.
  • Follow the doctor’s orders. Do whatever the clinical professional recommends—whether that means follow-up appointments, medication, or physical therapy. This is an important way for you to make sure you recover properly—and again, it strengthens your insurance claim.
  • File an insurance claim. Who you file with depends on who the at-fault driver is; it may be with Uber or with the motorist who caused the accident. Your Uber accident attorney can advise on this. Speaking of which…
  • Work with a seasoned lawyer. Insurance adjustors will try to trip you up or to avoid paying their fair share—and frankly, dealing with them can be a hassle. One way you can eliminate the headaches is to enlist the expertise of an Uber accident lawyer.
  • Don’t talk to the insurance company without your lawyer present.Avoid making any statements to the insurance adjustor—or accepting any payments—without having your Uber accident attorney present.
  • Focus on getting well. Once you have a lawyer working for you, you can put all your attention on what matters most—making a full and speedy recovery.

Been in an Uber Accident? Here’s what you need to know By following these Uber car accident checklist and tips, you can promote a fast recovery following an Uber accident—and you can also maximize your odds of getting just compensation. Keep these tips in mind, because you never know when a rideshare experience could take an unexpected turn.

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When a Car Accident Case Goes to Trial

According to statistics, the majority of car accident insurance claims are resolved before any lawsuits are filed from either party. And even when a lawsuit is filed, an agreement is reached before a trial takes place.

However, there are cases where an agreement cannot be reached, and when that happens, the trial is necessary. Now you may be wondering what happens if your car accident case goes to trial. There are many rules and regulations that vary from state to state; however, there are also procedures for trials that are common to most states. Read more

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The Auto Accident Glove Compartment Checklist

No one wants to think about getting injured in a car crash, but those who are prepared will be better off in an emergency situation if it comes up. From the first few minutes after an accident to weeks and months afterwards, there are certain steps you should take to protect your own physical and financial well-being. Keep this auto accident glove compartment checklist handy in case of an auto accident. Read more

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Been in an Uber Accident? Here’s what you need to know

Whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not, the collaborative consumption that makes up the sharing economy is here to stay. Now you can rent a spare room in your house to weary travelers, rent one of several shared bikes at terminals throughout large cities, or make a little extra cash driving people to and from their destinations. However, this new economic sector raises a whole new set of legal questions about responsibility and liability. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise you can’t seem to turn the corner without seeing an ad for an “Uber Accident Attorney” So, what do you do as a passenger when your rideshare driver finds themselves in a crash? Read more

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An Accident Attorney in Daytona Beach Explains What You Need to Know about Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury claims can rise out of any number of situations where someone is negligent, deliberately careless, or acts intentionally, and this action – orin some cases, inaction – results in someone being hurt. Read more

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Car Accident Attorney Port St. Lucie Shares 8 Things You Can Do to Prevent an Accident

According to the Florida Department of Highways Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 400,000 car crashes in Florida last year.  This number has been steadily increasing year-over-year since at least 2011.  Car accident attorney Port. St. Lucie handles innumerable cases each year involving totally preventable accidents.  Although you cannot account for the behavior of other drivers, you can take steps to protect yourself against their possible negligence. Read more

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What Is the Law for Reckless Operation in Ohio?

Ohio has three basic reckless operation laws on the books. The one that is enforced most often applies to driving vehicles on public roads and highways. Another addresses reckless driving on private property, and the third deals with the reckless operation of boats and personal watercraft. Read more

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The Most Common Traffic Tickets

During 2015, the Ohio State Highway Patrol recorded a little more than 1.5 million traffic stops. Troopers issued the highest number of citations for speeding, amounting to 379,000 tickets. The second most-frequently issued traffic tickets, totaling some 116,000, were for failing to use seat belts and child restraints. License violations ranked third. Arrests for operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) also constituted a significant proportion of encounters between Highway Patrol officers and drivers, representing nearly 25,000 of the recorded incidents. Read more

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