Articles Posted in Trucking Accidents

child_safety_seat_check.jpgAs of July 1, 2011 any child who has not reached the age of 8 must be restrained in a car or booster seat while riding in any vehicle. In addition, the car seats must be in the back seat, and the seats must be designed for the proper age, weight, and height of the child, as well as meet all U.S. Federal Guidelines.

Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death from children 3 to 14 years old, but when they are properly restrained it greatly reduces the risk of injury against everything from sudden stops to head-on collisions. Children who do not use child passenger seats are three times more likely to be injured than those who are using them. It is also very important to use child seats properly per the manufacturing guidelines as research shows that nearly 75 percent of child safety seats are not properly installed.

The Georgia Office for Highway Safety director Harris Blackwood, calls this new law, “a landmark in child safety.” Blackwood feels that the new law greatly improves the overall safety of 6 and 7 year olds riding in cars in Georgia.

The new law will apply to passenger vehicles, vans, and pickup trucks. It will be a few months before law enforcement will fully enact the law, but the first violation of the car seat law will result in a $50.00 fine, while second and subsequent convictions will result in $100 fines. The first conviction will add one point to a driver’s license, and the second and subsequent violations will add two points. Repeat offenders may also face losing their license all together.

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Interstate 75 was the scene of another fatal tractor-trailer crash this past Saturday night. WSBTV reported traffic was stopped on I-75 because of construction, when a tractor-trailer driven by Henry Lipps crashed into multiple cars. At least four adults were seriously injured and a 6 month old baby was killed. Mr. Lipps was charged with second degree vehicular homicide (a misdemeanor) and following too closely.

According to Cobb County Police, the 18-wheeler never hit his brakes before impact. At this point it is obviously too early to tell why Mr. Lipps did not brake. Even professional drivers can get distracted and make mistakes. However, often in collisions like this, driver fatigue is a factor. Experienced Georgia trucking lawyers will tell you the unfortunate truth is some trucking companies pressure their drivers into violating The Federal Motor Carriers Requirements limiting hours of service. Law enforcement in Cobb County takes all trucking fatalities very seriously and there will certainly be a thorough investigation. If it is determined that Federal Regulations were being violated by the driver and/or the trucking company, for the sake of the impacted families, I hope the driver and trucking company will be held accountable.

NAIC.jpgThe National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ eighteen month investigation of Allstate’s claims handling practices ended this month with Allstate agreeing to pay a $10 million dollar settlement. The primary focus of the investigation and settlement relates to Allstate’s use of a claims handling software called Colossus. Allstate has agreed to make several changes to it’s claims handling policies. However as a injury claim lawyer, I still advise caution when dealing with giant insurance companies like Allstate.

Their are many types of insurance claims where hiring a lawyer is typically not necessary, such as clear liability property damage claims. When dealing with a company like Allstate, whether you hire a lawyer or not, it’s always a good idea to at least consult with a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers provide free consultations and information gathered from a lawyer consultation can be an invaluable resource for determining whether you are being treated fairly by an insurance company.

moveover.jpgOn Wednesday, October 13, 2010, Coweta County Deputy Jeff Bugg experienced an extremely close call when he was nearly run over during a routine traffic stop. Deputy Bugg pulled over a vehicle headed northbound on I 85 and was standing next to the vehicle when a tractor trailer crashed into both cars and kept going. Deputy Bugg was thrown to the ground by the impact, but miraculously escaped serious injury.

The hit and run tractor trailer was later found, parked behind a truck stop, and was charged with DUI drugs, possession of prescription drugs not in original container, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury or death, failure to maintain lane, and failure to pull over when approaching an emergency vehicle. That may seem like a lot, and it is, but this driver is lucky he didn’t end up with a vehicular homicide charge. Thankfully Deputy Bugg was not seriously hurt and perhaps this near tragic incident will raise awareness of Georgia’s move over law.

As a Georgia injury lawyer, I’m often surprised by the number of people that have never heard of Georgia’s move over law, O.C.G.A. 40-6-16. Georgia law requires that you move over one lane if possible when approaching stopped emergency vehicles. If you cannot move over you must slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop. Please protect our officers and move over.

I just finished up a case where a violent head on collision was caused by a texting teen. In my case, luckily no one was killed, but texting and driving is a huge problem that is killing American teens. Do’s Thumb Wars is a national campaign to help educate drivers on the dangers of texting and driving. Check out the site, they have free thumb socks! What are thumb socks you ask? Watch the video.

In the video above Ken Jeong (Community, The Hangover) and Joel McHale (Community, The Soup) share the sobering fact that car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the U.S., while demonstrating how difficult it is to text when your thumbs are wearing socks.

In an attempt to fix this huge problem, the State of Georgia recently passed a law banning texting while driving. So who knows, if fear of a big traffic ticket doesn’t stop the problem, maybe thumb socks will.

carcrash.jpgMost people know how collision and liability property damage claims work following a car accident. However, from my experience as a Car Accident Lawyer, most people are confused when it comes to diminished value claims. Over the years, I’ve been asked so many questions about diminished value, I thought it would be helpful to put together this brief guide.

1. What is diminished value?

Simply put, it is the value a vehicle loses as a result of being in a collision. No matter how good the repairs, a wrecked car is never going to be worth as much as a similar car that has never been in an accident. Think about it this way, you are looking for a used car, and the dealership shows you two gorgeous identical cars listed at the same price. The only difference, the Carfax reports show one of the two cars was once involved in a car accident at some point. Which car would you buy?

A recent consumer survey indicated 55% of potential buyers would never buy a vehicle with a prior accident history. Additionally, those surveyed that indicated they would buy a wrecked vehicle said they would have to be given a large discount to make the purchase. In many instances, not only should the insurance company pay to repair your vehicle but they should also pay you for your vehicle’s diminished value. Valid claims should always be pursued. In many cases, I’ve seen diminished value claims worth several thousand dollars.

2. Has my vehicle suffered diminished value?

The short answer is that depends. If before the accident your vehicle was relatively new, in good condition, with no significant prior accident history, with significant current property damage then you certainly have a diminished value claim. The value of the claim will vary based on numerous factors. For example, $5,000 in repairs for collision damage will have a larger impact on the value of your car than $5,000 in repairs to paint over cosmetic damage. Along those same lines, if your vehicle already had a significant accident history, suffered minimal accident damage, then your claim will probably have little or no value. Most lawyers offer free consultations. If the insurance company is making you a diminished value offer that seems too low, it might be a good idea to contact a lawyer for a free consultation.

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teendriver3.jpgSchool is out for the summer and teen drivers are spending more time behind the wheel. Recent studies indicate teen drivers engage in more risky in-vehicle behavior during the summer months, which likely accounts for the increased number of fatal car wrecks during the summer. According to the NHTSA, car crashes are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. It is important for parents to set safe driving rules and pay attention to their teenager’s activities. As a Georgia personal injury lawyer that has seen too many tragic collisions, here are seven basic rules:

1. Never send text messages or talk on a cell phone while driving. Talking on a cell phone while driving distracts the brain and reduces your reaction time. Using a cell phone while driving increases the risk of a crash twice as much as driving drunk.

2. Always buckle up. Approximately two thirds of teen drivers killed in automobile collisions were not wearing seatbelts.

Thumbnail image for messageboard3.jpgSince the beginning of the year I’ve noticed an increased number of police catching speeders on the interstate and I think I know why. On January 1, Georgia’s Super Speeder law, and it’s new hefty fines, went into effect. A couple of people have asked me about the Super Speeder law this week so I thought I would explain it.

It is pretty simple really. If you are caught speeding 75 mph or more on any two lane road or 85 mph or more on the interstate you will have to pay an additional $200 fine to the State. This $200 fine will be added on top of the local fines and penalties. Getting a super speeder ticket is going to be a very expensive mistake.

According to the official press release of the Governor’s office, sixty percent of all trauma patients in Georgia are crash related and on average there is a speed related death a day in Georgia. The Governor’s office goes on to say, Super Speeder will save lives and change the behavior of speeders in Georgia. As a Marietta Injury Lawyer that has seen too many lives ruined by truck and car collisions, I hope this new law will have the desired effect. Please slow down, you will be safer, and your bank account will thank you.

From my experience as a Marietta Injury Lawyer, collisions on the Interstates are typically the most likely to cause death and serious injury. There are a number of reasons for this including the increased speed limits and the large number of tractor trailers that use the freeways. It is extremely dangerous to stop your vehicle on the interstate, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. There are some steps you can take to reduce this danger.

Except for emergencies, never voluntarily stop your vehicle on the interstate. However, if your car breaks down on the Interstate, get your vehicle to the right shoulder as quickly and safely as possible. If you stay in your vehicle keep your seatbelt on. If you are going to get out of the vehicle use the passenger’s door to exit the vehicle. Once out of the vehicle, do not stand near your vehicle or any travel or emergency lanes. Put some safe distance between yourself and the roadway and call 511 (HERO vehicles) and 911. However, sometimes car trouble is immediate and it is not always possible to get over to the right shoulder.

Personal injury lawyers in Atlanta and Marietta sometimes see the more difficult situation when cars break down in interstate travel lanes. This is a terrible situation. Even with the use of hazard lights, it is often difficult for drivers to appreciate a vehicle is stopped on the interstate. When cars are rear-ended at highway speeds the results are often fatal. The Georgia State Patrol and DOT officials recommend you stay in your vehicle, call 911 and 511, and wait for help to arrive. However, State Patrol officers I have talked to say they probably would not sit in a car stopped in a travel lane for fear of getting blasted by a fast moving vehicle. One must use their best judgment when confronted with this situation because leaving your vehicle to walk or run to a safe location can also be extremely dangerous.

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I285.jpgAs a Marietta Personal Injury Lawyer that travels out of State every thanksgiving holiday, I was sadened to see Atlanta suffer several deadly collisions over this past holiday weekend. One of the first tragic stories occurred early Wednesday morning on I285. A woman’s car had broken down and stopped on the left shoulder of the interstate. She was hit by a tractor-trailer when she left her vehicle to go get help. The woman’s name was not released. However, 11alive reported she died at the scene.

Drivers are extremely vulnerable when their vehicles are stopped on the interstate. Depending on the situation, both staying in and getting out of your vehicle can be very hazardous choices. Atlanta is a dangerous city and we have more than our share of terrible accidents. If you break down, always try to stop your car on the right shoulder of the interstate. Get as far off the road as possible and put on your hazard lights. Call 511 and 911 and a HERO unit will be sent to your location.

In response to tragic incidents such as Wednesday’s fatal crash, 11alive wrote the article To Sit or Make a Run for It. Clearly, neither is a safe choice. Hopefully we can find new ways to make the interstate safer for stranded motorist.

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