Posts in: June


29Jun 2021

Trucking has played a major role in supporting American economic expansion and ensuring consistent supply chains for American businesses for decades. Unfortunately, as the number of large trucks on America’s roadways increases, so too do the risks from truck accidents that occur each year. Even when truck drivers make mistakes, act recklessly, or have negligent employers, there are truck accident prevention steps you can take to stay farther out of harm’s way. Knowing when the risks are greatest and how to avoid them can increase the chances of you and your family making it to where you want to be safely and reliably. People who want to stay safe on the road around trucks — even reckless ones — can use the following safety tips for truck accident prevention in light of a typical range of injuries that can be mitigated by crashworthiness tests yet are hedged by trucking insurance requirements that can be leveraged by expert advice from our experienced truck accident lawyers.

5. Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR): Centered on the need to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking altogether. The organization currently has a presence in all fifty states as well as the nation’s capital. Currently, the organization meets these aforementioned goals through educational resources, which are available on the site as well as through various social media platforms. In addition, the organization also offers countless research considerations and opens up a dialogue so that students and adults alike can be more responsible when it comes to drinking.

  1. Allow Enough Time
    • Due to a truck’s size, a driver’s reactions won’t translate as quickly as they would in a car. Lane changes, turns, and stops need to be performed with more than enough time with a truck driver to react accordingly. You should never merge in front or behind a truck suddenly or make a risky turn in front of an oncoming truck. If you do not give a truck driver ample time to react, you could be putting both your and their safety at risk.
  2. Avoid Blind Spots
    • Semi-trucks essentially have four blind spots, which are located in the front, the back, and on either side of the truck. There’s a reason why these spots are actually referred to as “no man’s land” — they’re very expansive and extremely dangerous. The blind spots on either side of a truck can actually extend across several highway lanes and further back than you’ll find with a regular car.
  3. Be Patient
    • It’s easy to become anxious when you’re driving near a truck, particularly when you’re on a busy highway. But you must remember to exercise patience and refrain from rash behavior. You may simply want to get out of the situation, but erratic driving behaviors will likely make things a lot worse. Pay attention and realize that the 10 seconds you might save by making a risky move won’t be worth the damage it could cause.
  4. Rest
    • A well-rested driver is a safer driver. Pull over to take naps if needed, and make sure to get a full night’s rest before driving. Knowing your limits is key, don’t push yourself past your driving capabilities, your life and the lives of other drivers is more important.
  5. Watch Your Speed
    • Always drive the speed limit, do not risk causing an accident just to get to your location faster. If an accident occurs because you’re speeding, you will end up being more behind than you would have been had you gone the speed limit to begin with.
  6. Pay Attention to the Weather
    • Don’t push your luck when it comes to the weather, accidents during poor road conditions can be that much more dangerous.
  7. Inspect Your Vehicle
    • Make sure that your commercial truck is properly maintained and well inspected before beginning your journey.
  8. Avoid Distractions
    • Keeping distractions to a minimum is key to not causing an accident. Don’t use your cell phone, wear ear buds, or eat while driving. These are all things that can be done during a break. If you need to listen to music, try to choose one channel until you are stopped.
  9. Use Turn Signals
    • Make sure that you’re using turn signals when changing lanes and give the vehicles behind you optimal time to move out of the way before switching lanes. Check mirrors thoroughly before making the lane switch along with blind spots.
  10. Beware of Problem Drivers
    • Just because you’re following the rules of the road doesn’t mean everyone else will be. Watch out for other drivers who appear to be drifting in between lanes or swerving. More than likely these drivers are not paying attention to the road and extra caution should be taken to make sure an accident doesn’t occur.

Types of Injuries from Truck Accidents

Because accidents involving large trucks can often be devastating to people traveling in passenger vehicles, trucking accidents cause a wide variety of traumatic injuries. Some of the injuries commonly caused by trucking accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head trauma
  • Concussions
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Internal injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Scars and disfigurement
  • Paralysis Nerve damage
  • Whiplash Neck injuries
  • Dislocated or amputated limbs
  • Cuts, bruises, and abrasions

Crashworthiness

As the number of motor vehicles on America’s roadways increases, a certain number of accidents will inevitably occur; accordingly, involvement in a crash is largely considered part of the normal and expected use of a vehicle, rather than an extraordinary event. Because of this, most states require vehicles to meet certain crashworthiness standards. The term crashworthiness refers to a vehicle’s ability to protect its passengers in the event of a collision; each vehicle is manufactured with certain crashworthiness features designed to help minimize the effects of vehicular accidents on the people within, even during an accident involving a large truck. When these safety features do not function properly or a vehicle is not up to crashworthiness standards, a wrongful death or traumatic injury can result from a trucking accident that otherwise might have been far less damaging.

Crashworthiness Testing

Several types of tests are performed to assess a vehicle’s crashworthiness. These tests typically involve placing crash test dummies in a vehicle and replicating representative crash situations to evaluate the vehicle’s ability to protect passengers from damage. Crashworthiness tests frequently performed include:

  1. Frontal Impact
    • Involves driving a vehicle into a solid wall or stationary vehicle to evaluate the effects of a head-on collision.
  2. Offset
    • Similar to frontal impact crashworthiness tests; however, the area of impact is offset so that only a portion of the front of the car impacts another vehicle.
  3. Side Impact
    • Evaluates the ability of a vehicle to protect passengers from side impact collisions, such as often occur at intersections.
  4. Rollover
    • Measures a vehicle’s ability to support itself and protect passengers when turned upside-down or on its side, and is frequently performed on sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

Defective Crashworthiness Features

Vehicles manufactured for sale in the United States are required to have a number of standard crashworthiness features to protect passengers’ safety. However, these safety features can be vulnerable to manufacturing and design defects which reduce crashworthiness. Among the automotive defects which may be found to be detrimental to a vehicle’s crashworthiness are the following:

  • Malfunctioning airbags
  • Insufficiently supported roof
  • Improperly placed or poorly welded fuel tanks
  • Ripped or otherwise damaged seat belts
  • Malfunctioning seat belt latches or retractors
  • Seat backs that crumple upon impact
  • Doors that spring open upon impact

Trucking Insurance Requirements

Because most large trucks are operated as commercial vehicles, they are subject to a different set of insurance requirements than typical automobiles. Federal regulations currently require that all commercial freight vehicles carry liability coverage to compensate for the heightened risk of injury in collisions involving this type of vehicle. Additionally, vehicles which carry certain types of hazardous materials are required to carry liability insurance or a bond for public liability or property damage. Furthermore, each state has its own set of additional insurance rules and regulations that may surpass the federally-mandated minimums.

The Need for Expert Advice

Many lawyers incorrectly believe that handling a case involving a tractor trailer accident is the same as handling a case involving an automobile accident, but nothing could be further from the truth. Trucking accidents are very different in many ways from accidents which involve automobiles alone: hundreds of state and federal regulations govern the ownership and leasing, insurance, operation, repair, maintenance, loading, and use of commercial vehicles.

In addition, there are regulations to address recurring problems such as hours of service violations, driver training and supervision, drug and alcohol testing, improper loading, and hundreds of other issues. Defense lawyers and insurance companies fiercely litigate tractor trailer accident cases, and they know the laws inside and out. It is imperative that your attorney have exceptional experience and training to protect your rights.

Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer

After a truck crash, seek any necessary medical treatment first and foremost. Then, it is important that you contact a truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Once hired, our experienced truck crash attorneys at The Hadi Law Firm will preserve vital pieces of evidence, secure the scene of a tractor trailer crash, and take necessary photographs and witness statements. This is critical because evidence can be lost, misplaced or purposely destroyed by the trucking companies. The preservation of that evidence is crucial to proving liability in the collision.

If you or a close family member has been hurt, you have the legal right to pursue a personal injury claim against all at-fault parties. “At-fault parties” can include a truck driver, their employer, a negligent maintenance company, or someone else on the road who caused a wreck. The Hadi Law Firm can represent your case and help you file a strong claim for all of your accident damages. We gather evidence for you and investigate fault to identify all potentially liable parties. We negotiate with insurers on your behalf. If we cannot reach a fair settlement agreement, we have the ability to help you recover your damages in court. Find out about your legal options and the next best steps you can take to pursue compensation when you contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation case review now.

27Jun 2021

Anti-Drunk Driving Awareness

Driving under the influence of alcohol (also termed driving while intoxicated, drunk driving, drinking and driving, drink-driving), is the act of operating a motor vehicle after having consumed alcohol, medication, drug or other substance, to the extent that mental and motor skills are impaired to the degree that the driver is unable to drive a motor vehicle with the caution and care of a sober person. The specific criminal offense may be called driving while intoxicated (DWI), driving while impaired (also DWI), operating while intoxicated (OWI), operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMWI), driving under the influence of alcohol, medication or other drugs (DUI), driving under the combined influence of alcohol and/or other drugs (DUID), or driving under the influence per se (DUI). The following organizations represent some of the strongest platforms in the fight against drunk driving which shed light on the root causes of drunk driving as well as the need for proper representation in DUI cases:

1. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD): The organization has three goals: to stop drunk driving, to support the victims of drunk driving, and to prevent underage drinking. With the help of MADD volunteers, changes have been made to the legal drinking limit and the legal drinking age. MADD has saved at least 300,000 lives over the last 30+ years. The organization meets this goal head-on through its core educational efforts, victim assistance, advocacy for specific legislative policies, and helping victims of drunk driving, including families of victims.

2. Fathers Against Drunk Driving (FADD): The organization hopes to reduce and eventually eliminate all deadly alcohol crashes on US highways, as well as stop underage drinking. With associate chapters, veterans, students, teachers, high schools and law enforcement agencies the organization implements educational awareness prevention campaigns, programs and events. Veterans Against Drunk Driving (VADD) is an affiliate organization that was established to bring awareness to those brave men who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America and their families about the dangers of drinking and driving.

3. Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD): The primary mission of SADD is to educate students using “the best prevention and intervention tools possible to deal with issues of underage drinking, other drug use, impaired driving, and other destructive decisions.” The organization currently comprises over 350,000 active student members across the nation and holds chapters in middle school, high schools, as well as colleges. The organization includes projects such as student-focused forums, leadership training, media outreach, fundraising, peer-led classes, and more. All of these are designed to help students get into the mindset of leadership excellence so that they can make the appropriate decisions in any given situation.

4. Recording Artists Against Drunk Driving (RADD): Non-profit organization that was started in 1986 as the entertainment industry’s answer to road safety. RADD’s target audiences are teens from ages 13-18 and young adults from ages 21-34. Because vehicle crashes are the number one killer of those age groups, RADD is dedicated to “solution-based, age appropriate messages” to promote safe and sober driving. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk”, you have been exposed to the brilliance of RADD.

5. Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR): Centered on the need to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking altogether. The organization currently has a presence in all fifty states as well as the nation’s capital. Currently, the organization meets these aforementioned goals through educational resources, which are available on the site as well as through various social media platforms. In addition, the organization also offers countless research considerations and opens up a dialogue so that students and adults alike can be more responsible when it comes to drinking.

Root Cause Analysis

All 50 states now have two statutory offenses for what is commonly called drunk driving. The first offense is the traditional common law offense, variously called driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) or operating while intoxicated/impaired (OWI). The second more recent offense is the so-called per se offense of driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or greater. While there is not a simple solution to preventing people from drunk driving, what is clear is there are some ways that actually get to the root of the problem that have shown to be effective. What we know is that getting through to people about the dangers of drunk driving takes more than awareness campaigns. The Center for Disease Control gives the following methods as proven ways to prevent drunk driving:

  • Enforcement of the minimum drinking age (21 in most states)
  • Sobriety checkpoints
  • Community-based programs for education and prevention
  • Enforcement of lower blood alcohol content level (currently in most states, 0.08 is the BAC level for drunk driving arrests. Some states are passing laws to lower this rate to .05)
  • Raising the price of alcohol
  • Requiring mandatory substance abuse treatment for DWI offen ders
Penalties for driving under the influence commonly include jail or community service, probation, fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation, and mandatory attendance at driving under the influence schools. In some cases, a person will be required to install an ignition interlock device in their car which will prevent the car from being started if the driver has any measurable amount of alcohol on their breath. It is also a criminal offense in all states to drive a vehicle while under the influence of medication or drugs (DUID), or under the combined influence of alcohol, medication, drugs or other substances. Notably, the drugs themselves need not be illegal, but can be prescribed medication or even over the counter medication such as cold or flu medication. Interventional programs range from drug treatment facilities to incarceration to alcohol and drug education classes, and include the following types of agencies:
  • DWI Service Providers
  • Alcohol and Drug Counseling
  • Residential Treatment Facilities
  • Drug Rehab Facilities
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Law Enforcement and Sobriety Checkpoints
  • DWI Attorneys

DUI Representation

The anti-drunk driving movement has been innovative, as advertising and lobbying campaigns have been directed at raising awareness of social and legal issues related to the dangers of driving while intoxicated. The various versions of “driving under the influence” laws generally constitute misdemeanor offenses punishable by up to one year in the county jail. However, a DUI offense may be elevated to a felony and punished by a longer term in state prison if the incident caused injury (felony DUI), death (vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide), or if the defendant has a designated number of prior DUI convictions within a given time period.

It is important to confirm that an attorney or law firm regularly takes driving under the influence cases to trial. Additionally, it is important to confirm that the attorney or attorneys at a DUI law firm are members of professional organizations and regularly attend seminars focusing on training lawyers in the latest developments in DUI defense and prosecution. Finally, it is wise for an individual considering hiring an attorney or law firm to represent them in a DUI case to actually visit the office and meet the attorneys, investigators and staff. The attorneys and staff of The Hadi Law Firm welcome you to call our office, speak with and meet members of our firm.