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Avoid or Minimize Child Injuries during a Car Accident: Install the Right Car Seat

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns that automobile accidents are the leading causes of death for children between the ages of one year and 13 years. It is sobering to note that installation errors are sometimes to blame for injuries or fatalities. Then again, while it is true that statistical evidence points to the incorrect use of three out of every four installed car seats, these devices nevertheless have shown to save lives over the course of the decades.

Officials estimate that properly installed age-appropriate car seats may be credited with saving about 9,600 children’s lives between 1975 and 2010. These children were all under the age of four. Avoiding or at least minimizing child injuries during a car accident is therefore related to the proper choice of safety seat as well as the proper installation of the device.

Rear-facing Car Seat

Traditionally, newborns and infants were required to be transported in a rear-facing car seat. Manufacturers frequently include side padding to keep smaller infants from sliding too much in the seat. Yet in 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued a new recommendation that – although it has not been translated into law – nevertheless urges parents to keep children in rear-facing seats until the age of two. The experts cited a study that children under the age of two “are 75 percent less likely to die or be severely injured in a crash if they are riding rear-facing.” Parents who wish to follow this recommendation are urged to check the seat manufacturer’s height and weight limits for individual models.

Forward-facing Car Seat

When the child has reached the height or weight limit of the rear-facing seat, the youngster should be ready to transition into a forward-facing child safety seat. These seats feature harnesses that safely restrain the child during a collision. Some models can be converted into a booster seat. Injuries can still occur if the seat is not tethered properly and the youngster’s head moves forward too much. If you drive a vehicle that has been manufactured after 2002, it should feature a lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH) restraint system. When you shop for a car seat, pick one that accommodates a latch hook-up.

Booster Seat

The booster is another forward facing seat. It works in conjunction with the vehicle’s over-the-shoulder seat belt. Some boosters have backs. They accommodate shorter children who nevertheless outgrew the forward-facing seats. Back-less boosters are good options for taller children riding in cars with headrests. The booster seat helps to position the seat belt so that it fits across the child’s body for maximum safety.

Choosing the right car seat not only calls for the selection of height and weight appropriate models, but there are also differences in the ratings. For example, did you know that the NHTSA has a seat rating that evaluates the clarity of instructions, installation features, proper labeling and adequate child restraints? Purchasing a seat with these labels in mind further helps to prevent – or at least minimize – a child’s injuries during a crash.

Three Reasons Not to Ignore Your Legal Rights When You're Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

If you're hurt in a motor vehicle accident and your injuries aren't very serious, you might be tempted to ignore your legal right to recover damages? You may have valid reasons why you feel this way. Perhaps your injury is minor, and it doesn't feel worthy of making a fuss. Maybe your own insurance company paid your bills and your employer paid your lost wages. When you have no out of pocket costs, it can be easy to ignore your legal rights, but should you?

The process of filing an injury claim can seem like a lot of trouble, especially if you feel there's little to be gained. Dealing with someone else's insurance company can also be a pain. You might have plenty of reasons why you shouldn't make an injury claim, but there are just as many reasons why you should. Here are a few.

  1. Your injuries could be more serious than you think
  2. Whether your auto accident-related injuries are soft tissue or they involve broken bones, they won't necessarily clear up the way doctors predict they will. You may terminate your treatment but have problems down the road. Months may pass before you realize your injuries were worse than you thought. If the statute of limitations has passed, it might be too late to do anything about it.

    Of course, even if you wait until months after your accident, you might still have the right to pursue a settlement and receive compensation for your injuries. It's just best to get a legal representative involved early in the life of the claim. Early involvement will allow him to conduct an investigation, clear up any liability issues, and develop information about your injuries.

  3. You'll have to deal with insurance companies anyway
  4. If you choose not to file an injury claim because you'd prefer not to give statements, medical bills, and other documentation to the other guy's insurance company, things might not go the way you want them to go. If the other guy's insurance adjuster realizes that you were injured, he is bound to come knocking on your door anyway.

    The other liability carrier has a duty to protect their insured from potential future law suits. To do that they must contact you, get your version of the accident, find out if you're injured, and figure out what they owe you, if anything. They will ultimately try to get you to sign a release.

    If your insurance company paid your medical bills, they'll want to subrogate--file a claim against the other guy to get the money back. Under the terms of your policy, you have a duty to cooperate and help them protect their rights of recovery. They may insist on recording your statement and whatever else they need to present a claim to the other guy's insurance company. You can't avoid the insurance companies no matter what you choose to do.

  5. If you're hurt you're entitled to a settlement
  6. State statutes give you the right to recover damages from a driver who causes your injuries in an auto accident. The claims you are entitled to pursue go beyond medical bills, lost wages, medications, and other out of pocket expenses.

    You may be entitled to recover money for pain, suffering, replacement services, disabilities, scarring, and other damages. Even a small settlement could come in handy in the future. You could set it aside as an emergency fund for unexpected living expenses, a college fund for your children, or a retirement nest egg that will grow if you stash it away. It's money you deserve.

Before you decide

If you're hurt in a motor vehicle accident, and you choose not to file an injury claim, that's up to you. But before you walk away, you should consult with a personal injury attorney. He can work with you, investigate your accident, give you a legal opinion on your options, and that will allow you make an informed decision.

Things Drivers Do that Often Lead to Motor Vehicle Accidents

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

When you are out on the road, there are a lot of hazard that you have to watch out for. But there are also things that drivers do that can lead to motor vehicle accidents. Here are some of the crazy things drivers do that put themselves and everyone else on the road in danger.

Backing up to get back to an exit

This is a huge mistake even for expert drivers. If you've missed your exit, backing up while you're on the highway is a huge mistake. Even though you may be good enough to do it, the people who are coming towards you on the freeway may not be able to get out of your way in time. Some of them might panic when they see you coming towards you and they may go into other cars' paths.

You also may be preventing the other motorists who are trying to pull off of the freeway from being able to do that. When you miss the exit, get off at the next exit and get turned around. This is a much safer idea in trying to back up.

Driving over 80 mph

Unless you are in Germany on the autobahn, it's never a good idea to drive at more than 80 mph. Unless you are on a road that is specifically made to be driven that fast, even though you are wearing your seatbelt, it's unlikely that you're going to survive if you crash.

Cutting off big rigs

People often cut off the bigger rigs because they become impatient and they don't want to be stuck behind them. But what people don't remember is that these big trucks can often weigh up to 10 times as much as their car. You cut off a big rig, and chances are you're going to have your life cut off. The big rigs need a lot more time to stop and when you cut one of them off they may not be stop in time. There will be no contest between your car and their big truck. So give a big truck enough room and don't take any chances.

Not paying attention to where you're going

In order to drive safely, you have to pay attention to what you're doing. There has been a lot of talk about people texting while they're driving and talking on the phone, and these are serious, but it's also not a good idea to put on makeup, look for papers, or do other things while you're driving. Taking your eyes off of the road just for a split second can cause an accident. Imagine what is going to happen if you take your eyes off the road longer than a second or two.

These are just four things that drivers often do that can cause an accident. When you are out on the road, avoid doing these things and you will reduce your chances of causing an accident. Otherwise you may find that you have hurt or killed someone with your bad judgement.

Smart Motorcycle Helmet Promises to Help Reduce Risk of Accidents

Monday, August 11, 2014

A motorcycle helmet is the most effective and potent tool that a motorcyclist has in helping reduce the risk of accident. After all, Thousand Oaks motorcycle accident lawyers believe that it's very important that motorcyclists reduce the risk of accidents, because they are at a much higher risk of being injured, compared to the occupants of the other vehicle involved in the crash.

A new motorcycle helmet, however, doesn't only help reduce the risk of a fatality in an accident by helping protect the skull during impact, but also provides additional tools to help the motorcyclist prevent a crash in the first place.

The smart motorcycle helmet is called the Skully AR-1 helmet, and according to the founder, the idea for the helmet was literally his dream. One night, he dreamt of a helmet that would have GPS functionality, would provide him with HUD directions, and would even let him know exactly what was behind his motorcycle. He woke up in the middle of the dream, spent an hour looking for a prototype of this helmet, certain that something like this probably existed somewhere in the world.

Now, his dream is becoming reality. The Scully AR-1 is not just any motorcycle helmet. This helmet includes an elaborate and sophisticated network of microprocessors, sensor systems, and is equipped with a Heads-Up Display. The helmet includes GPS navigation facilities to aid motorcyclists, and the Heads-Up Display helps motorists get directions, without having to look away from the road.

The whole point of the helmet is to make sure that the motorcyclist is paying 100% attention to the road, and does not have to take his hands off the handle bar or his eyes off the road at any point in time. The system also includes a rearview camera system that gives the motorcyclist a complete 180° view of the scene behind the rider, functioning similarly to a rearview camera system on a car.

Fact: Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

In California, the number of people being killed in motorcycle accidents dropped substantially in the years after mandatory motorcycle helmet laws were introduced in the State. The decline was as substantial as 40%. Unfortunately, in spite of the fact that motorcycle helmet laws save lives, many states around the country are actually considering repealing their helmet laws.

According to an infographic that was published recently in the New York Times, motorcycle fatalities seem to increase substantially in the months after the repeal of motorcycle helmet laws without any exception. The infographic specifically focused on Texas and Arkansas, which decided to repeal their motorcycle helmet laws in 1997. As soon as those laws were repealed, the state saw a substantial increase in the numbers of people being killed in motorcycle accidents. The laws were repealed as a result of pressure from motorcycle advocacy groups.

Several other states have also followed suit. For instance, Florida recently changed its laws to require that only riders below 21 wear helmets while riding. The number of fatalities in that state has increased since that change. Many of those new fatalities involved motorcyclists who were not wearing helmets at the time of the accident.

Similar changes occurred in Pennsylvania in 2003 and Michigan in 2012. Currently, there are 19 states in the United States that have universal helmet laws, and of these, at least eight are considering laws that will change the requirement that all motorcyclists wear helmets.

According to a study conducted by the University California-Los Angeles, motorcycle fatalities in the state of California actually dropped by 40.3% from 1991 to 1993. The state transited from the lack of a motorcycle helmet law to implementation of helmet laws for all riders during this time. It was estimated that 239 deaths were prevented as a result of the law.

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