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Personal Injury Blog

Auto Accidents on The Rise as Lockdown Restrictions Lift

Saturday, October 03, 2020

While we are still very much in the thick of this pandemic, COVID-19 quarantine restrictions are lifting all over the United States. While there was a marked decrease in auto accident during this time as those who could work from home were instructed to stay home, that is changing. Now, as more and more people return to work and their more typical schedules, auto accidents are sharply on the rise.

Why Driving is More Dangerous Now Than Ever

Unfortunately, during the lockdown, two equally dangerous things happened. Those who had to commute to work were able to drive faster due to the decrease in traffic and those who stayed home rather literally forgot how to drive. That is putting it in an extreme way, but driving can be a muscle memory affair for many people. If you stop doing it regularly for several months, you will still know how to drive when you get behind the wheel, but it will feel a little more foreign to you. This causes drivers to be a little slower with usual traffic decisions and more cautious. While defensive driving isn't necessarily a bad thing, too much caution can indeed cause accidents.

This increase in more cautious and unsure drivers definitely does not mesh well with the drivers that took up speeding when they were the only ones on the road during quarantine. The old adage "speed kills" has never been more true. As the road clogs up again, accidents are happening more and at higher speeds, making them more fatal.

What to Do If You Are In An Auto Accident

While the only thing you can do is try to stay safe as everyone re-acclimates themselves to the rules of the road, you do want to know what to do in the event of an accident just in case. If you are in an accident, follow these simple rules:

  • Stop – Even minor fender-benders require you to stop. Never drive away from an accident.

  • Call the Police – This is obvious if someone is hurt. However, if you will need to file an insurance claim, you will want to call the police to file a police report.

  • Document – As soon as you can, write down the series of events as clearly and as factually as you can. You will also want to take pictures of the crash scene, the damage to your vehicle, and any injuries that occurred.

  • Visit a Doctor – Even if you are not injured at the scene, injuries like whiplash may only manifest the next day after the adrenaline has worn off. You will want to make sure everything is alright after an accident with a doctor and have it documented as soon as possible so you can get it covered.

  • Contact Your Insurance – Many accidents are handled by just filing a claim with your insurance or the insurance holder of the other party. You will want to make initial contact before moving onto the final step.

  • Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer – In cases of just vehicle damage, usually just accepting insurance coverage is all you need to do. However, if anyone was injured or you just want to make sure you are getting everything you are entitle to from the accident, you will want to contact a personal injury lawyer. They can help look over the offers to make sure everything is fair and aboveboard.

While auto accidents can be complicated, following the above can take a lot of the guesswork out of it. If you have been in a car accident on the post-COVID lockdown roads and need help figuring everything out, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you get the accident settlement you need to heal.

The Tops Signs That You Should Consult an Attorney After Being Injured in an Auto Accident

Sunday, July 19, 2020

After being injured in a car accident as the result of another driver's negligence, you may find yourself wondering how you will pay for mounting medical bills, and how you will get by if you are temporarily unable to work. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate this difficult time alone. A personal injury attorney can walk you through your options for filing a personal injury claim, and they can work to make sure that you are properly compensated for your injuries. Yet, many people hesitate to contact an attorney after being injured in a car accident if they are unsure whether their case warrants legal action. If you have recently been injured in a car accident and are unsure what your next steps should be, here is a look at a few of the signs indicating that you should consider consulting an attorney. 

You Are Unable to Work

If you were hurt so badly in your accident that you cannot return to work, either temporarily or permanently, it is critical that you consult an attorney to help maximize your compensation. Not only will you need to be compensated for your medical bills and damages to your personal property, but if you are unable to work you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages as well as pain and suffering. An experienced attorney will be able to assess your situation based on the extent of your injuries, and they can calculate how much you may be entitled to. If the accident has left you permanently disabled, you will need a lawyer to help you determine the proper compensation you are entitled to based on future lost wages, as your family may be left without a significant source of income.   

You Need Help Determining Fault

Of course, just because you believe that the other driver was at fault and should be responsible for your injuries, this does not mean that the other driver or their insurance company will view things the same way. In fact, the other driver's insurance company will ultimately be looking out for their bottom line, and they may try to claim that you are at least partially at fault in order to reduce their liability. If your fault in the accident is being called into question, it is important that you consult an attorney as soon as possible. You will need a lawyer by your side who can help to collect and analyze evidence pertaining to the accident and present your case for why the other driver should bear full responsibility for the accident and your resulting injuries.  

Your Insurance Company isn't Treating You Properly

It is also important that you consult an attorney if you feel that you are not being treated properly by your insurance company. While your insurance company should be looking out for your best interest in theory, the reality is that you are likely just a case number to them, and they may be trying to close your case as quickly as possible. If you feel as if your insurance company isn't listening to/addressing your needs, is treating you unfairly, or is not doing anything to progress your case, then it may be time to consult an attorney. An attorney will work for you and will work tirelessly to make sure that your needs are met. 

You Are Being Asked to Settle

If things are progressing between your insurance company and that of the other driver and you have been asked to settle your case, it is critical that you consult an attorney. The fact is that you should never discuss offers, or accept a claim settlement, without talking to an attorney, as you may not get the compensation you deserve. Insurance companies will often try to offer a lowball settlement in the hopes that you will not know what your case is truly worth. Having an attorney by your side will ensure that you have someone who is looking out for your best interests and who will negotiate on your behalf to get a settlement that is in line with your injuries. 

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident, contact us to find out more about the signs that you may want to consider consulting a personal injury attorney. 





Sovereign Immunity in School Bus Accident Cases

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Like many parents, you put your child on the school bus each day and trust the driver to get them there safely. In most cases, your children will get to school just fine day after day. However, a child injured in a school bus accident can be just as jarring as it is unexpected. However, while a school bus may look like your usual auto accident, it is actually much more complex due to the potential for sovereign immunity that can bar you from recovering compensation for your child's injuries.

What is Sovereign Immunity?

The reason that a school bus accident is more complex than your standard auto accident is not because of the potential number of young victims, but rather because the school district is protected by sovereign immunity. Sovereign, or governmental immunity is what protects governmental entities from liability in civil issues. If your school district owns its buses, then as a school-owned entity, those buses are considered protected by this immunity in the case of accidents.

The good news is that sovereign immunity is often waived in school bus cases where the government employee – the bus driver – was responsible for the accident. Unfortunately, this is what makes the actual legal action more complex. If your child was hurt in a school bus accident, you must first notify the attorney general of your intent to sue. They will examine the accident and determine if they will waive sovereign immunity for it. If it is decided that the case can proceed, you are limited to filing an accident lawsuit against the school district within the next two years. The part that often limits the families of victims of a school bus accident is that you have only 72 hours after the accident to notify the government entity – the school district – of your intent to contact the attorney general.

Do All School Bus Actions Need Sovereign Immunity Waived?

If your child has been injured in a school bus accident, you might not need to worry about sovereign immunity. If you examine the accident report or talk to police officers that handled the accident, you will get a good idea of what caused it. If it was school bus driver negligence, then that is covered by sovereign immunity.

However, if a bus accident was caused by another auto driver, a malfunction of the bus that was due to the lack of maintenance or from the manufacturer, or unanticipated issues like icy roads – these are not covered by sovereign immunity. In these circumstances, you can pursue the case as you would any other personal injury case. If the accident was caused by another auto driver's negligence, they are liable. If the bus malfunctioned from faulty parts, you can pursue legal action against the manufacturer of the bus, the manufacturer of a specific failed part, or those responsible for maintenance. Unfortunately, if unexpected weather caused the accident, there isn't much you can do unless you discover negligence in preventing it.

Need Help?

Has your child been in a school bus accident? You will likely be highly focused on making sure they are okay after such a traumatic and serious event, but you will also want to make sure you are taken care of financially. While school buses are designed to be safe, if a child has been seriously hurt, their recovery can cost quite a bit – and you shouldn't be left paying for it. Contact us today to see what we can do to help you. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman can help you examine your case to determine liability in order to get you the compensation that your accident deserves.

Can You Seek Punitive Damages After a Trucking Accident?

Friday, May 08, 2020

If you have been in an accident with a truck, it was likely a major accident. As trucks are often of a significant size and with a lot of power behind them, few regular drivers come out unscathed from such an accident. If you have had to endure this accident, you will be entitled to compensatory damages. This monetary amount is meant to make you whole, as if the accident has never happened. This means your medical bills and auto damages will be covered so you aren't left paying any bills. However, in certain circumstances, you may have another form of compensation available to you – punitive damages.

Punitive damages are much like how they sound – they are compensation meant to punish the wrongdoing party for their negligence. However, your entitlement to punitive damages is not guaranteed after a trucking accident. As the saying goes, accidents happen. When it is indeed a true accident, the courts find no reason to punish either party. However, if the accident was caused maliciously, intentionally, fraudulently, or recklessly through the actions of the truck driver or company, this opens up the option for punitive compensation.

When Can You Receive Punitive Damages From a Truck Accident?

In many circumstances, a truck accident is just a more dramatic auto accident. However, if you discovered there was various other factors at play in the accident, you could seek punitive compensation. Solid examples of truck accidents open to punitive damages include:

  • Drunk Driving – If the truck driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they were not only acting illegally, but recklessly. As the acceptable BAC level for CDL drivers is even lower than the standard .08 percent, any drinking is likely to build a strong case for reckless driving.
  • Destroying Evidence – The issue with seeking punitive damages is that you will need to provide evidence that there was malicious, fraudulent, intentional, or reckless action. This can be difficult when a trucking company is circling the wagons to protect themselves. If the truck in the accident just happened to be missing its black box or various maintenance records are missing, there is some fraud going on.
  • Regulation Violations – This can be the most difficult circumstance for punitive damages to prove. In this situation, you would need to prove that a company forewent various regulations on purpose and not just on accident. If there is a long record of non-regular maintenance, for example, this can help. However, one missed maintenance appointment can be a weak case.
  • Employment of Unsafe Drivers – It is a company's responsibility to do background checks on their drivers to ensure proper driving history and one without any red flags for substance abuse. If a trucking company employed a driver with a long history of DUIs, this was just asking for an accident to happen. They failed to do their due diligence when hiring a driver when, if they had, the accident may have been prevented.

If your accident with a truck falls into these circumstances or others that are equally as fishy, your compensation options are not only limited to medical bills and auto damages, but can include damages that serve to punish the company as well. However, it will require gathering the proper evidence of wrongdoing first, something that can be quite difficult to do if you are trying to navigate these legal waters on your own.

 If you have been in a truck accident and want to see what your options for compensation are, contact us today. The Law Office of Freeman & Freeman is dedicated to helping you become whole after serious and traumatic accidents.


Who is Responsible for Tire Malfunctions in a Truck Accident?

Friday, February 14, 2020

The multiple tires on a semi-truck play an important role in increasing the stability of the ride for precious cargo. However, those multiple tires also spread out the weight of that cargo so that no one tire is under a high amount of pressure. Yet, more tires lead to the potential for more problems. If a tire on a truck blows out, it can have devastating consequences not just for the truck driver, but anyone that happens to be nearby.

Causes of Truck Tire Blowouts

When a tire on any vehicle blows out, it causes the vehicle to suddenly jerk to the side of the blowout. This often leads to loss of control of the vehicle as the driver tries to compensate. With maneuvering severely impeded, getting control of the vehicle at a high speed can be near impossible.

Tire blowout on a truck can be caused by a number of instances, including:

  • Road hazards
  • Overweight vehicles
  • Low-pressure tires
  • Tire defects

In cases of overweight vehicles and low-pressure tires, the fault of a tire blowout likely sits with the trucker or trucking company – whoever was responsible for maintenance of that truck. Once you ascertain who was at fault for not engaging in proper truck maintenance, then you can pursue a personal injury case against them. However, when it comes to tire defects, the fault can be a little more unclear and may come from places you don't suspect at first.

Who is at Fault for Defective Tires?

When a tire is defective and causes a serious accident due to a blowout or any other problem, you might first look to the truck driver or the truck company. While it is true that a trucker or their employer could hold the blame for willfully ignoring a defect, there might be others responsible that you can pursue legal action against.

Tire Manufacturer

If a tire is defective from the moment it left the factory, then the tire manufacturer may bear the responsibility for damages from defective tire accidents. However, if it is discovered that the manufacturer already issued a recall before the accident, and it was not followed, this can waive them of responsibility.

Tire Distributor

Even truck companies don't typically buy tires from a manufacturer. Instead, there is a middle man, a distributor, who handles the sale. However, this distributor can also have an effect on the tires. If they were not stored properly, checked regularly, or the tires they provided were not right for the customer, then they can be held responsible.

The Mechanic That Installed the Tires

Often covered by the trucking company, the last unexpected person you can hold responsible is the mechanic that installed the tires. They are the last line of defense for catching any defects in the tires before that truck heads out on the road.

If it can be proven that the tires had blisters, bulges, uneven tread, cracking in the sidewall, or were not properly inflated when installed, then the mechanic can be held responsible if not under the protection of the trucking company. This can often be the case for truckers that own their own rigs and use their own mechanics. However, even if a mechanic is responsible, usually they will have the protection of their employer unless they own their own business.

Need Help?

If you have been in an accident due to a truck tire blowout or some other defect, we can help. Contact us today to see how Freeman & Freeman can help you begin your personal injury case to help you get the compensation that your injuries and trauma from the accident deserve.



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