MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS
In my law firm and over my 42 years of practice in the field of motor vehicle negligence, operator distraction is contributing to a greater and greater number of accidents. We believe that the best way to end or reduce distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the dangers it poses. If you are looking at your cell phone, how can you see other drivers, traffic control devices or stop signs? The reality is that you can’t. The other reality is that this type of driving can lead to very serious accidents and injuries, even death.
If you have been involved in an accident and are seriously hurt, particularly by a distracted driver, see your attorney right away.
The U.S. trucking industry is vital to commerce in our nation. Each year, millions of tons of goods are delivered by trucks. Trucks come in all shapes and sizes, some with covered and attached compartments. Other trucks are made up of tractors [the cab and engine that provides power and steering] and the trailer [flat bed or box], attached to the tractor. Trucks not only provide goods, but also fuel and liquids, including chemicals, fertilizers and industrial fluids. Other trucks contain compressed gases, many of which are flammable.
While our trucking industry is very important to the sale and delivery of goods, good business practices in the operation of trucks and trailers include regular inspection, maintenance and repairs. Truck owners who are not responsible often take shortcuts to maintenance and repairs and push the limit to safe operation. As many trucks are so large, if they fail mechanically, they can cause very considerable damage and injuries. Trucks have to be properly loaded so that loads do not shift in route. If a large load shifts, trucks become difficult to steer. Other times, trucks can jackknife on or off the roadway. Other times, trucks are overloaded and this added weight can affect truck safety, not to mention damage to roadways and highways.
Many important truck parts require regular maintenance and inspection. These parts include truck tires and retreads. Obviously, brakes are essential to be in tip top shape making trucks able to stop even if they are carrying maximum loads. Regular inspection can also discover metal fatigue and this is very important relative to connecting pins attaching the tractor to the trailer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 3,964 people killed and an estimated 95,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks in 2013. In the United States, an estimated 342,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported traffic crashes during that same year. Surprisingly, 71% of people killed in large-truck crashes were occupants of other vehicles.
Truck drivers are required to keep and maintain their driving hours. This is a safety requirement so that drivers do not extend their driving time and so that they get the required sleep to remain awake and attentive to traffic conditions. These are referred to as hours of service rules promulgated by the US Department of Transportation. Further, many trucks are equipped with event data recorders [otherwise referred to as “black boxes’] which contain specific information on a trucks speed, direction, braking and other factors and the retrieval of this information can made the difference in the outcome of trucking claims.
The trucking industry is divided into owner-operators, company drivers and independent owner-operators, all of whom are required to keep their vehicles inspected and in good and safe operating order.
If you are involved in a trucking accident and have sustained serious personal injuries, early contact with an experienced attorney in truck accident cases is vital to the success of your claim.
Over my many years of practice, I have encountered many operators of motorcycles who were involved in accidents with cars and other vehicles. Contrary to the belief of many, motorcycle operators have a heightened sense of safety while driving. This is because the risk of injury for them is greater on average than the risk to motor vehicle drivers or occupants.
Injuries to motorcycle operators comes in large part to the failure of other drivers, particularly elderly operators or those with vision issues, to see and observe the actions of motorcycles prior to collision. This can be from drivers entering upon a roadway from a side street, alley way, driveway or parking lot. Not seeing the motorcycle, they oftentimes pull out unexpectedly resulting in very severe injuries. Other accidents are caused by vehicles not seeing motorcycles upon the highway, while travelling at greater speeds. This is why motorcycle safety is vital to an motorcycle operator.
Injury and death statistics are significant for motorcycle operators. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA], there were about 4,668 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic accidents in 2013. There were about 88,000 motorcyclists injured during the same year from accidents. Per vehicle mile travelled, motorcyclist fatalities occurred 26 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes. According to NHTSA, helmets saved the lives of about 1, 630 operators in year 2013.
If you are a motorcycle operator injured by the negligence of another motor vehicle, truck, bus or van, you should contact your attorney immediately. This way, you can begin the process of obtainment of investigative information vital to your claim.
Living in the Hudson Valley, passenger and commuter trains are essential in bringing workers to and from New York City. Most of these trips include travel for work. They are also essential for recreational travel to other areas of the state and country. As these trains carry passengers, the Courts have established rules pertaining to the duty of these railroad as “common carriers”.
The Courts have long recognized that a common carrier must keep and maintain the transportation vehicle safe. With trains, it means that the railroad company must keep train cars safe for all passengers. Further, the courts have established that the duty of common carriers to passengers also extends to means of safe ingress and egress or safety in getting on or off passenger cars. This means that “common carriers” have a further duty to see that passengers safely get on and off trains. Of course, the duty to passengers includes safe transportation and this means that trains must perform timely maintenance, inspection and repairs. These areas of train safety include operational signals, track safety, platform maintenance and inspection. Other areas of safety include operation of train at safe speeds and maintenance and inspection of all those components which would provide safety travel for all passengers.
If you are injured in a train accident or injured on or near a train platform or walkway, you should consult with an attorney early on. Timely investigation and follow up on the causes for injury are very important to the potential outcome.
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Note: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice. Only your lawyer can give you legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should consult with an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible
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