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Truck Accidents: Jackknifing Is A Major Concern As The Weather Turns And Roads Get Wetter

Thursday, December 29, 2016

With winter weather coming, you can expect the highways to get slicker and harder to navigate. You can also expect to see something else: more jackknifed 18-wheelers leaving injured people in their wake. Learn more about why this specific problem happens and what you should do if you become a victim of someone's carelessness.

What are the dangers of a jackknifed truck?

When an articulated vehicle has a cab attached to a trailer in the back by a jointed hitch, a driver that loses control of the truck can end up with the trailer folded up at a right angle from the cab, like a partially open jackknife. This can end up causing chain reaction accidents among vehicles anywhere in the truck's wake. The truck can even force smaller vehicles off the road or smash into other vehicles in its path.

What causes a truck to jackknife?

Most of the time, jackknifing is caused by nothing more than wet roads and driver error. A driver who isn't prepared to hit a slick spot on the road will put the brakes down on the drive axles too hard and too fast. The drive wheels will lock, stopping the cab, while the back end of the truck continues rolling forward.

A careful driver can prevent jackknifing by staying conscious of the weather as he or she moves through different areas and watching the road ahead. He or she can also prevent the problem through basic safety measures:

  • not tailgating and generally maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, especially in wet or snowy weather
  • breaking slowly and carefully to avoid locking the drive axles 
  • slowing down in advance of turns, bends, ramps, and curves in the road, all of which require careful deceleration of the vehicle 

In addition, an experienced driver who realizes that his or her vehicle is swinging out of control should know to aim for the burn of the road, away from other vehicles, in order to minimize the potential injuries to others.

Why should you consider talking to an attorney?

Inexperienced drivers and negligence are the primary causes of jackknifing, which means that the truck driver and trucking company failed to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of others on the road. Other causes can include mechanical failure, which may indicate that the trucking company hasn't been properly caring for its vehicles, and loads that are improperly packed, which shift suddenly or provide too little traction on the back half of the truck.

If you're injured due to a truck that jackknifed, you may be suffering from serious injuries that can take a long time to heal or alter your life forever. In order to receive fair compensation, talk to an attorney who is familiar with the complexities of truck accidents and their causes. You may have to press a lawsuit against more than one person or company in order to be fairly compensated in the end.

What Damages are Available to Burn Injury Sufferers?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

It has been some time since it happened, but the United States (if not, the world) will all still remember one of the most famous personal injury cases of all time - the McDonald's "hot coffee" incident. In this case, a woman sued the fast food company after she was severely burned from spilling their hot coffee on her lap. It was a media circus with much of it shaming the victim because, well, coffee is supposed to be hot, right?

What they failed to address is that McDonald's keeps their coffee at a temperature of up to 190 degrees, making it way too hot for human consumption and way hotter than it needs to be. Essentially, by creating coffee that was too hot to drink, this lady had herself a case.

Initially, the woman offered to settle for $20,000 to keep the case out of court. This would have been enough to cover her significant medical bills and some lost wages from a time where she couldn't work due to the injury. McDonald's counter it with an insult of $800. After her attorneys pushed forwards to court and made the case of McDonald's negligent and reckless behavior, she ended up with $3 million dollars in punitive damages.

In a burn injury case, the injured party can and should seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering they had to endure for such a horrific injury. When the other party has shown negligence and recklessness, that McDonald's case sets the precedence for punitive damage as well.

If you have been the victim of a severe burn injury and aren't sure what you are entitled to, contact us today.

Distracted Driving Becomes Even Deadlier When It Happens to a Trucker

Friday, December 16, 2016

Distracted driving has been widely publicized to warn drivers to put their phones down and keep their eyes on the road. However, while distracted driving can be deadly in the worst cases, when it happens to a trucker, there are no distracted driving accidents that aren't devastating.

A truck moving at a good clip while distracted driving doesn't just get into a simple fender bender when they fail to brake, their massive truck will devastate a vehicle. That is exactly what makes this potential crime so terrifying for other drivers.

Distracted driving is a real danger and regular drivers know to keep their devices in their pockets, but what are the rules for truckers? According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truckers are prohibited from not only using phones, but even reaching or holding them while driving. They cannot even use a text-base dispatch device unless they are safely pulled over and stopped. Penalties for distracted truck drivers include being fined up to $2,750, being put out-of-service for up to 120 days, and penalties for the driver’s employer.

While you would think truckers would be less susceptible to distraction when driving an 80 ton powerhouse at highway speed, but unfortunately, they are just as weak to their phones as everyone else. Trucking it a somewhat boring job and many truckers find themselves not thinking clearly after hours of the hypnotic influence of being on the road.

Have you are someone you loved been in a truck accident due to distracted driving or otherwise? Contact us today for a free consultation to see if you have legal action available to you.

A Horrific California Tour Bus Accident Results in Multiple Fatalities

Friday, December 09, 2016

The California tour bus that rear-ended a semitrailer on a highway near Indian Canyon in California's Desert Hot Springs is believed to have been traveling at highway speeds at the time of this horrific bus accident in late October. At least 13 people died and many more suffered critical injuries when the bus slammed into the slow-moving truck. Investigators from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration will be investigating this accident for several more weeks before they issue their final report.

At least one news report about this bus accident indicated that the company which owned the tour bus had previously been sued twice for other crashes, one of which resulted in three fatalities. The bus driver in this accident owned the company that operated the bus, but he was also one of the fatalities in the accident.

Bus accidents like this one that happened on an open highway with no readily apparent safety risks raise the question of which parties bear the liability for the injuries and casualties suffered by the bus passengers. Early reports indicate that the bus that was involved in this accident had passed all required safety inspections and had not known mechanical issues that would have led to the crash. Individuals who were injured in the accident and families of those who died as a result of their injuries will likely seek legal remedies based on bus company's or the driver's alleged negligence in operating the bus.

Bus accidents pose a unique challenge for an attorney who represents an injured victim because the number of victims in any serious bus accident is likely to be larger than in a typical automobile accident. Multiple personal injury lawsuits will likely be filed following a bus accident, each of which will seek different amounts of damages as a function of each party's separate injuries. Competing negligence theories can complicate the resolution of the individual cases, whereas the single defendant will likely have a better opportunity to establish a uniform defense against all of the cases.

If you have suffered injuries in a bus accident or in any other large-scale accident that involved a single party's negligence, your best option for legal representation is to work with attorneys who have the knowledge and experience to manage these complications. The attorneys at Freeman & Freeman in the greater Los Angeles area have represented negligence victims in bus accident cases and other similar situations for many years. Please contact us to schedule a consultation on how we can help you to recover the largest possible damages award to compensate you for injuries that you have suffered in an accident.

Bicycle Accidents on the Rise in Boston as Motorist Hog Bicycle Lanes

Thursday, December 01, 2016

In the wake of a series of near misses and serious bicycle accidents, Boston cycling advocates are now pushing back hard for city officials to prevent cars and particularly commercial truck drivers from veering into bicycle lanes. This has been a particular problem ever since university classes started up again and students are choosing to take bicycles back from classes or to part-time jobs. Now that more cyclists are on the road in the city, the flagrant abuse of bicycle lanes by motorists have become dangerous.

Boston is already a city that is known for its narrow streets and rampant double parking. As such, it is not uncommon for cyclists to have to veer into regular traffic and vice versa. It creates a perilous situation at best.

To prevent this deadly situation, cycling advocates are asking three things of city officials:

  • They want additional bike lanes with physical barriers in high traffic areas to protect them

  • Do more to better educate drivers

  • Bolster more enforcement of the cycling laws and have violators face more strict charges

While Boston already imposes $100 fines on driver that are caught breaking bicycle lane laws, law enforcement officials tend to be more lenient with bicycle law breakers as opposed to other motor laws. It is a frustrating situation for cyclists since Boston police often fine them for breaking laws while motorist go free.

Are you the victim of a cycling accident after a driver invaded your bicycle lane in the Los Angeles area? Then you might have some legal action available to you. Contact us today to find out what options are available.


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From our offices in Woodland Hills, California, Freeman & Freeman, LLP, provides legal advice and representation for clients in communities throughout the state, including those in Burbank, Glendale, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Tarzana, Santa Clarita, Agoura Hills, Reseda, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Granada Hills, Pacoima, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Lancaster, Palmdale and Alhambra.