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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.

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.

Auto Accidents: When a car owner negligently entrusts his or her car to a bad driver

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When a vehicle owner allows another person to use the owner's car, the owner may be held to be civilly liable if the person causes an accident if certain circumstances apply. California recognizes the doctrine of negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle. In cases in which the circumstances fit the law, the vehicle's owner may be named as a co-defendant with the driver to whom the owner loaned the car. This can help to maximize the potential recovery by having additional sources.

Negligent entrustment

California case law indicates that a person is not allowed to let another person drive his or her vehicle if the owner knows or should know that the borrower is likely to place others at an unreasonable risk of danger because the driver is incompetent or unfit to drive. An example could include loaning a vehicle to a friend who has had multiple drunk driving convictions, numerous speeding tickets or who has no valid license. Several specific prohibitions are outlined in the California Vehicle Code at sections 14606 - 14608.

What the plaintiff must show

In order to prove negligent entrustment in an auto accident case, the plaintiff must be able to show that the owner gave permission to the driver to use the vehicle. He or she must also show that the owner either knew or should have known that the driver was incompetent or unfit to drive. The plaintiff must then prove that the driver's incompetence resulted in an accident and that the plaintiff's injuries directly resulted from it.

How negligent entrustment can help

If a driver is uninsured or underinsured, the ability to name a vehicle's owner as a defendant in the lawsuit may help an injured plaintiff to recover damages for his or her losses. Even if the negligent driver is insured, having additional sources of coverage may help when the policy limits are not sufficient to cover all of the losses caused by the accident. This may help an injured victim to secure fair compensation for his or her losses.

Why Bus Accidents are So Common?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, bus accidents are responsible for up to 15,000 injuries per year, with an average of 300 fatalities out of that number. Considering how many communities rely on buses as a primary mode of transportation, not to mention school children, the number of bus accidents is far higher than it should be.

So with so many people relying on buses, why are bus accidents and bus injuries so common. Bus accidents are just that, accidents. Sometimes they are caused by other drivers or common bus driver fatigue, but the injuries that happen can be prevented. However, for anyone who has ever taken the bus, they will know why injuries are common. It is because buses don't require any kind of safety equipment.

There are no seat belts, no roll protection, and buses are some of the most top heavy vehicles on the road. Recently there have been a number of reports of "party" bus crashes that could have had many preventable fatalities if the bus had been inspected properly to find fatal safety flaws responsible for a number of deaths.

Many commuters feel safer on a bus than in a car, but the truth is that riding a bus is actually much more likely to be fatal in a bad crash. If you have been in a bus accident in the Los Angeles area, you may have some legal action available to you. Contact Freeman & Freeman today to see if you have a case against the bus company or bus driver responsible for you accident.

Building Your Personal Injury Claim for Whiplash After an Auto Accident

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Sometimes it is hard to recognize at first, but whiplash isn't just for milking money out of a simple accident. If you experience any kind of neck pain after an auto accident, you may have a serious medical problem on your hands. While no one really likes to file a personal injury claim, when a driver's negligence puts you are risk for lofty medical bills, you need to file or suffer the bill yourself.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately

If you auto accident isn't severe enough to warrant paramedics, you still need to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the crash. Whiplash can set in later and the biggest mistake that victims make is to delay medical attention.

The longer you wait after an auto accident to get medical attention, the more difficult it will be to build your case. So just go in for a quick check up.

Keep Track of Medical Documentation

If you want to file a successful claim, you want to establish a paper trail through reputable doctors. The more injuries that can be backed up by medical documentation, the more can be paid out. However, do not try to pad your medical bills, it is never worth the potential trouble.

Be sure to have emergency room (or urgent care) admission forms and medical charts, x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, blood tests, doctors' notes, and documentation of any follow up treatment so that you can get proper payment.

Have you been in an auto accident in the Los Angeles areas where you suffered whiplash or other injuries? You may have some legal action available to you in order to cover your medical bills. Contact us today to see if Freeman & Freeman can help you.



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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.