A hit-and-run accident is one of the most aggravating types you’ll ever encounter. You have damages to your car, possible injuries, and no one to hold responsible for the incident. If you’re lucky, you may have been able to grab the other vehicle’s license plate number. Usually, however, the other car speeds off before you can write it down. You may think an attorney can’t help you following these crashes, but the truth is that calling a lawyer after a hit-and-run will help you file claims against the driver or, if necessary, your own insurance policy’s uninsured motorist coverage.
What is a Hit-and-Run?
This term covers several types of incidents. The one that comes to mind frequently involves another driver who panics and leaves the scene, most likely due to prior legal issues, intoxication, or known insurance lapses.
Other examples may not be as clear-cut because the other driver might not even be aware that they have caused an accident. These include incidents when a vehicle cuts you off and causes you to crash into a stationary object or another vehicle, or when a vehicle’s actions cause you to become involved in a chain of events and secondary incidents of which they are unaware.
All of these result in damages, but without being able to identify the other driver, collecting these damages becomes very complex.
Steps to Take After a Hit-and-Run Incident
Like with any other accident, your initial steps will involve contacting law enforcement. If you don’t have the license number, try to give as much information about the car and a physical description of the driver as you can. If the incident has caused damage to your vehicle, chances are it will have caused damage to the other one as well. Law enforcement can keep an eye out for a vehicle matching your description with damages that are in line with those expected from the incident. You will need the accident report for insurance purposes. Once you’ve contacted law enforcement, make sure to:
- See if there are any witnesses. Since they weren’t involved, they may have seen the car drive off after hearing the crash. You may be surprised at what a bystander can recall about the other vehicle.
- Take detailed photographs of your vehicle, the road, and other details of the scene. You may contact your insurance company for notification purposes, but don’t provide any written or recorded statements or details until you speak with an attorney.
- Address any physical injuries immediately, regardless of not having the other driver’s insurance information. Documenting injuries will be important when it’s time to file a claim.
- Contact an experienced auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer After a Hit-and-Run?
You may think that a lawyer can’t help you if you don’t have the other vehicle’s information. The truth is that an attorney will help you streamline the insurance process, ensure you get reimbursed for injuries and damages, and litigate if necessary.
A lawyer will help you negotiate with your insurance company whether the other driver is found or not. Negotiating is an important strategy to make sure you receive the maximum compensation allowed to cover your expenses.
Did you know that in Maryland, an accident with an uninsured driver requires insurance companies to drop deductibles to $250, regardless of your policy’s required deductible? Your attorney will make sure the insurance company upholds all of its obligations.
If the other driver is found, your attorney will begin the process of recouping your losses from their insurance company.
Arthur Crum, PA has been providing attorney services for accident victims for more than two decades. If you’ve been involved in a hit-and-run incident, contact our offices today for your free consultation.
Motorcycles are a fun way to get around, giving riders a sense of freedom they won’t find in a car. Riding a motorcycle, however, can be dangerous. Motorcyclists need to be hyperaware of their surroundings, protecting themselves from their own mistakes as well as the mistakes of others.
Here are some of the most common motorcycle accidents, and ways to avoid them.
Lane Splitting and Sharing
Many motorcycle accidents involve lane splitting and lane sharing.
Lane sharing is a potentially dangerous practice that involves two motorcyclists riding side by side in the same lane. While it is legal in Maryland, it is a maneuver best left to experienced motorcyclists.
Lane splitting involves riding the bike between two vehicles in traffic in an attempt to pass them. It is a dangerous practice, and it is illegal in Maryland.
When lane sharing, always ensure there is enough room between you and your partner as well as between your bikes and other vehicles.
Part of the draw of motorcycles is the social aspect, with weekend warriors heading to favorite restaurants and bars. Unfortunately, this can lead to drunk driving. Motorcycles do not provide any physical protection for the rider, meaning that accidents are far more likely to be serious or even fatal.
Limit yourself to one drink per hour, and set a hard stop on alcohol after three drinks. To keep everyone safer, consider having a designated driver with a car available. If you suspect you may be impaired, call Uber or Lyft.
Some motorcyclists can’t resist the urge to drive fast, and lightweight sportbikes make it even harder to resist. Sports motorcycles are four times more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than their more traditional, heavier counterparts.
Make sure to pay attention to posted speed limits, and know your bike’s limitations. A lightweight bike may be more likely to slide at high speeds, for instance, but are easier to control than heavier models. Traffic, rain, and weather concerns should always be factored into your speed.
Head-on collisions are frequently fatal for the motorcyclist. Drivers can be catapulted from the bike onto a hard surface, dragged, or crushed by the other vehicle and vehicles passing by.
To avoid head-on collisions, make sure you are visible with reflective clothing, that your headlight is on day and night and that you are staying to the right of your lane. Situational awareness is key; be aware of oncoming vehicles making a turn across your lane and pay attention to vehicles that are being driven erratically.
Turning and Cornering
Motorcyclists turning corners may find themselves hitting patches of debris, gravel, or even puddles of standing water. Once the front wheel makes contact with these obstacles, you may lose control of the bike.
Stay in your lane, not the shoulder, when making turns or navigating curves on the road, and always maintain a safe speed.
Always Maintain Situational Awareness
When driving a car, we understand that situational awareness is the key to safety. This is even more relevant for bikers, who not only must be aware of their own safety practices but also be aware of the actions of every vehicle around them.
Dress appropriately in heavy, approved gear, and always wear your helmet. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that you check your bike thoroughly, especially if you don’t drive it every day.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, contact the law offices of Arthur Crum, PA, and let’s talk about your case.
Spring means warmer weather, increased traffic, and a few more things to consider when you get behind the wheel.
Here are six tips for staying safe on the road this spring.
1. Ice May Still be a Problem
Now that it’s getting warmer, ice should no longer be an issue…right? Not necessarily. Warm days do not always mean warm nights. When driving, be alert for wet patches of pavement that could mean black ice.
2. Spring Brings Flowers…and Potholes
Asphalt and concrete surfaces are no matches for snowplows, sand, and ice-melting chemicals. When these surfaces break down, they leave potholes in their wake. While avoiding potholes is always the best choice, sometimes you have no choice but to hit them. Drive over them slowly to minimize damage to your car’s suspension or tires.
3. Animals Abound
Wild animals along with their babies are common in the spring, so be aware that animals may unexpectedly dart in front of you. Additionally, you’ll find pedestrians walking their pets and even pets who have escaped their yards. Stay on alert for animals, and always expect the unexpected. Be especially careful at dusk and when driving in a rural area or near wooded areas.
4. Watch for Bicyclists and Pedestrians
Spring fever mixes with cabin fever, and this time of year everyone wants out. Some will walk or jog, some will ride bikes, and others will finally get to dust off their motorcycles. Prepare to share the road again, and be on the lookout for pedestrians, motorbike riders, and bicyclists.
5. Rookie Drivers Take to the Streets
New drivers may have gotten learner’s permits before it got cold, but they have most likely waited until the weather was more predictable before taking to the road. That means they are like tulips…popping up everywhere in the spring. Be alert for new driver bumper stickers, and if you see a young driver driving erratically, be patient and avoid tailgating or cutting them off.
6. Windshield Wipers Damaged From Winter Driving
Rushed drivers frequently use their windshield wipers to remove ice from their windshields. This can lead to torn or damaged windshield wipers that will not function properly in the rain. Windshield wipers should be replaced every twelve months, so get in the habit of changing them every spring so you face the warmer rainy seasons ahead with a fresh pair of wipers.
7. Keep Experienced Automobile Accident Attorney Arthur Crum in Your Contacts
Between slips and falls, weather-related auto accidents, and even illness, it’s no surprise that winter weather causes a significant increase in workman’s compensation claims.
Here are some of the most common workers’ comp claims in winter:
Cold Stress Injuries
Most common among employees working outside or in unheated spaces such as warehouses, cold stress injuries are caused by prolonged exposure to extreme cold. These include:
- Respiratory Disease Exacerbation (ie. asthma, COPD)
- Pernio (chilblains)
- Trench foot (immersion foot)
Employees who are required to work outside should be provided with and required to wear appropriate attire including waterproof boots, proper outerwear, gloves, knit caps, and other cold protection.
Winter-Related Auto Accidents
While it’s advisable for your employees to stay off the roads in inclement weather, it’s not always possible. Truck drivers and delivery personnel, for instance, are required to drive regardless of road conditions. Winter weather complications such as slush, ice, and snow account for 24% of all weather-related automobile accidents.
Slips and Falls
Ice and snow account for many of these incidents, but don’t forget that wet floors create a slip hazard inside, too. In addition, some workers may be injured while entering or exiting vehicles in poorly maintained parking lots. Slips, trips, and falls account for up to 15% of all workman’s comp claims; this number will increase throughout the winter months.
Muscle Strains and Sprains
Whether it’s partially slipping on ice or shoveling the sidewalk, muscle strains and sprains can increase over the winter months. An employee doesn’t need to fall completely to place undue strain on joints and muscles; in fact, some of the worst injuries can come from attempting to “catch” oneself from a fall.
While the majority of winter illnesses, such as the flu, aren’t worker’s comp related on their own, employees may file a claim if they can prove the illness was contracted at work. Requiring employees to report to work sick, failing to provide appropriate PPE, or refusing to shut down for a few days after multiple employees have contracted the same illness are all instances that could lead to a claim.
It’s Not Always Simple to File Workers Comp Claims
If you’re injured on the job, always start by filling out an incident report and advising your supervisor that you have been injured. Never wait to see if it “just gets better on its own,” as these claims are time-sensitive. After you’ve filed and sought appropriate medical treatment, the next call should be to the Law Office of Arthur Crum, PA.
Mr. Crum’s record of successful litigation has led to his being recognized as the “Attorney’s Attorney,” and one of his specialties is settling workman’s compensation claims. If you’re injured at work this winter, call Arthur Crum, attorney at law, and discuss your case with a free, no-obligation consultation.
Every winter finds Maryland roads a skating rink full of hazards causing incidents, from minor fender benders and off-road skids to serious and life-altering accidents. Driving in winter weather can be hazardous.
Here are the top causes of serious auto accidents in winter:
1. Black Ice
Black ice refers to the transparent coating of ice on a road’s surface, usually resulting from refreezing of melted snow or ice. Black ice is dangerous because it looks like wet pavement. That’s seldom a concern for drivers, however, and they will hit a patch of black ice at normal speeds, causing the vehicle to slide. The seriousness of an incident involving black ice will depend on how much is on the road’s surface, how fast the car was traveling, and the driver’s ability to react quickly.
After roads have been treated and plowed, drivers think it’s safe to hit the highway at normal speeds. Even the best plowed roads can have patches of slushy snow and ice, and for an unprepared driver traveling the speed limit, the slush is as dangerous as ice on the road’s surface. Slush is dangerous for several reasons:
- It collects on your windshield, decreasing visibility
- It keeps your tires from grabbing the surface of the road
- It can hide ice underneath
- Slush can refreeze into ice
3. Failure of Drivers to Remove Snow from Vehicles
Driving with snow on your vehicle is a hazard to every other driver around you. The snow can blow off your car in a powder that reduces visibility for other cars around you, slide off the vehicle and cause slippery conditions for the vehicles near you, or break off in solid chunks of ice that can damage a vehicle’s windshield and startle the person driving it. In Maryland, there is not a specific law for driving in winter weather that snow is removed from your vehicle if it is not impeding your own ability to see clearly, but it is “recommended.” Drivers of snow-covered cars or trucks can be held responsible for any damages resulting from snow or ice falling from their vehicles.
4. Other Drivers
Winter accidents are frequently caused by drivers themselves, such as failure to yield a right-of-way, driving too fast for the conditions of the road, and driving at a speed that creates an inability to stop at traffic signals or signs. In slippery conditions, these accidents frequently compound due to road conditions, making the accident difficult to avoid by other drivers.
5. Poor Visibility
Whether it’s driving in white-out conditions or battling the salty spray from roads, winter weather creates extremely dangerous visibility issues. To make matters even worse, other drivers may insist on using high beams in bad weather conditions such as fog, snow, sleet, or rain. High beams are not intended for use in these conditions, and not only add to your own difficulty seeing, but blind drivers in oncoming traffic.
6. Stalled Drivers on the Side of the Road
If the roads are slick, drivers need to be alert for vehicles that have stalled or skidded off the main roadways. While they may “almost” be off the road, they may still be partially blocking a lane.
7. Indistinct Pavement Markings
Snow-covered roads almost always equal obscured pavement markings such as lane indicators, pedestrian walkways, and “turn only” arrows. If you must be on roads before they are paved, make sure you are in the middle of your lane and use caution at intersections and traffic signals.
If you’ve been involved in a serious auto accident because of another driver’s actions in dangerous winter weather, call attorney Arthur Crum at 301-662-4088 to discuss your case, or contact us here for a free, no-obligation consultation.
A workplace accident is one of the most confusing and stressful events that can happen to you. How did this happen, how will this affect my job, and most importantly, how much financial compensation will I receive to cover my medical bills and lost wages? Here is a brief guide on what to expect when filing a workers’ compensation claim.
1. Determining Eligibility for Workman’s Compensation
First, a bit of good news: almost every business must have workman’s compensation coverage available to cover expenses for on-the-job injuries.
The bad news is that it may be harder to get your claim covered than you expect. The biggest issues usually revolve around proving that an accident was work-related, and that it was beyond your control. In other words, did your actions or negligence cause the accident, and can the injuries you are claiming be traced to a specific incident or reasonably be caused by a repetitive action?
Timing in filing a claim may also be a complication that you don’t expect. An injury may not be apparent immediately after an incident, so it’s imperative that you file a claim as soon as possible after an incident, whether you feel “injured” or not.
If your employer has workers’ compensation covered and you’re a covered employee who has sustained an injury on the job, you’re eligible to file a claim.
2. Will My Wages be Covered if I am Unable to Work?
An approved claim will cover some portion of your wages if you are unable to work. In Maryland, temporary total disability (TTD) will cover two-thirds of your weekly wages, with a maximum weekly benefit of $1080.
If you’re deemed temporarily partially disabled and cannot return to your full job function, you may be assigned part-time work or a light-duty job. This may result in a reduction of your wages. Partial disability wage coverage is generally 50% of the difference between the amount you are being paid at your temporary position and your average full-time wages.
In addition, depending on the extent of your disability following the injury, you may be eligible for permanent partial disability (PPD). This amount of this compensation depends on what body part was affected, and how much the body part is impaired. PPD awards are calculated based on the impairment, expressed as a percentage, times a set amount of time expressed in weeks.
3. Will My Medical Bills be Covered?
If your worker’s compensation claim is accepted, all of your medical bills will be covered 100% with no out-of-pocket expense to you. This includes doctor visits, rehabilitation, hospital costs, and prescriptions.
Workmans’ compensation also covers any medical equipment you will need during the recovery process, including things like wheelchairs, crutches, prosthetics, medical appliances and devices, and even ramps, bathroom safety accessories, and other modifications necessary for your home and vehicle.
4. What if I Can No Longer Work in My Industry?
If your injury prevents you from working in your industry, financial workplace compensation, you will be eligible for vocational training to train for a job in another industry. These services will include counseling and help in determining a new job interest and job placement services.
5. Pain and Suffering
Workman’s compensation insurance will not directly provide a pain and suffering settlement. You are, however, able to file a personal injury case in court to determine if your injuries warrant a pain and suffering award.
Don’t Leave it to Chance
If you’ve been injured on the job, it’s best to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to negotiate with the insurance carrier, and to help determine what additional compensation you are eligible for. Remember that insurance companies are not on your side and will frequently attempt to settle for far less financial compensation than you deserve.
The Law Office of Arthur Crum, PA, will review your case free of charge, and there is no payment for any attorney fee or expenses unless your case is awarded and approved by the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Contact us today.
Before we dig into finding out “who’s at fault” after a wreck, let’s go over some myths you may have heard when sidewalk lawyers (those who got their “law degree” by watching CSI) try to determine liability in a car accident.
Myth: Every time you are hit from behind, it’s the other car’s fault: Not so fast. This may be true over half the time, but if it can be proven that your turn signals or brake lights were not working, or that you were driving erratically, you may be held partly responsible for the accident.
Myth: If a police report doesn’t expressly state the other driver was at fault, you can’t file an insurance claim against them: While police reports can be very helpful, it doesn’t always matter if the other driver was ticketed or not. This is why you always need to hire an experienced auto accident attorney.
Myth: If the accident was your fault, you can’t file for compensation: Not entirely true. You may still be able to file a claim even if you were at fault, and you may be able to recover partial compensation if you were partially at fault. Certain insurance benefits, such as Personal Injury Protection (PIP), may let you file no matter who was deemed responsible for the accident.
Myth: You are always at fault if you hit a pedestrian: This is not always true. Pedestrians who are jay-walking, walking down the centerline, crossing against the light, or darting out from between parked cars do not have the legal “right of way.” Pedestrians in a crosswalk, however, do; even then, depending on the circumstances, you may not be held liable.
Myth: Drivers do not need to call police, exchange information, or notify their insurance if the accident was minor: The truth is that the person you just waved away may come back and file a claim later, claiming significant injuries and damages. In fact, you may be injured yourself and not realize it until hours after the accident. You don’t necessarily need to call the police after a minor accident, but you should always notify the insurance company, get the other driver’s insurance information, find a witness or two, and snap a few pictures of both cars before leaving the scene.
Read on to see how law enforcement and insurance companies determine liability in a car accident.
Pointing Fingers: Determining Liability After a Car Accident
There are certain criteria that both law enforcement and insurance companies look for to determine who’s at fault after an accident. These will all loosely fall under one of four categories:
- Strict liability
- Intentional Misconduct
- Recklessness conduct
Anything that causes you to react (or not react) as expected while driving can be considered neglecting your driver duties. This includes:
- Distractions such as texting or other cell phone use
- Anything that keeps you from scanning the road and paying attention to other drivers
- Driving your vehicle with faulty blinkers, tail lights, brake lights, or headlights
If it’s decided that you neglected your obligations behind the wheel, you will be found at fault.
Friendly Crum Tip: Put the phone down and keep your eyes on the road. Make sure you are driving in a safe, focused way every time you get behind the wheel.
2. Strict Liability
This is generally found in accidents involving things such as malfunctioning lights, missing or fallen stop signs, and other drivers whose actions may have caused your collision, whether they were involved or not.
3. Intentional Misconduct
Did that impact make you drop your beer? Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a type of intentional misconduct, and may adversely affect a decision regarding liability after an accident, even if it wasn’t technically “your” fault.
Friendly Crum Tip: You will not be exonerated from driving while impaired, even if an accident is proven to be the other driver’s fault.
4. Reckless Conduct
This is a blanket term for willful misbehavior behind the wheel such as aggressive driving, speeding, running red lights and stop signs, and other dangerous behaviors.
Friendly Crum Tip: Aggressive driving in Maryland is a punishable offense on its own; it will not be overlooked if it contributed to an accident.
Let a Professional Handle the Insurance Companies
You can see how quickly a “simple” car accident can get out of hand, and how you may be deemed responsible even if, technically, you weren’t. Make sure you have a knowledgeable personal injury attorney on your side to handle everything, from representing you in court to dealing with your insurance company. Got a question about an accident? Contact us now for a free, no risk, no-obligation consultation.
If you haven’t noticed all the “Rookie Driver” stickers on cars, you’ve certainly noticed all the young drivers with obviously stressed adults in the passenger seat. It’s that time of year again, when the newest flock of motorists are hitting the road. Here are 7 driving safety tips to offer to keep them, and those around them, safe as they learn the rules of the road.
1. Enroll Your Rookie in a Driver Safety Class
Driver safety classes are mandatory in the state of Maryland before licenses are issued to new drivers. Enroll them before they start driving so they can learn basic automobile safety, and as a bonus, they get hours behind the wheel with an instructor. This gives them the confidence they need to practice their skills with you.
2. Rookie Stickers Aren’t Just Cliche
When you’re getting your new driver a provisional license, make sure you get a “Rookie Driver” sticker from the DMV. These are also available at Amazon as magnets if you don’t want to deface your vehicle. These warnings work in several ways, from discouraging anxiety-inducing tailgaters to warning others to be alert for sudden, unexpected maneuvers from your student.
3. Start Small
Start in a school parking lot after hours and work up to a quiet neighborhood where your rookie driver can practice. Make sure they work on spatial issues like length of the hood of your car and the width of the vehicle. They can practice backing into spaces, parking, and smooth acceleration and braking techniques. Only after your new driver is confident in these controlled settings will it be safe to take them out on the road. Don’t forget to teach them etiquette at stop signs and roundabouts, as well as sharing the road with pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.
4. Take a Deep Breath
Rookies prefer driving with an instructor far more than a parent or sibling because they feel less anxious. Find your inner zen and make sure you project a relaxed, confident attitude with your rookie, even if you’re slamming your foot on an imaginary brake on the passenger side. One tip for this is to consciously take a breath before correcting your new driver; this gives you a fraction of a second to regain control of your emotions and gives the appearance that you are calm. There is nothing to be gained from losing your patience with your new driver, and your fear will be contagious and detrimental to their confidence.
5. Make Sure the Car is Ready for Your Rookie
You may be used to your vehicle’s quirks, but others won’t be. Make sure all fluids are topped off, brake lights and turn signals are working properly, and your tires are full. Don’t let your new driver pull off without adjusting the mirrors, seat, and steering wheel to their own comfort levels, and of course, always wear your seatbelts. Turn off the radio and your cell phones before every lesson.
6. Don’t Forget Car Maintenance Lessons
Make sure your new driver knows how to check and add oil, use a gas pump, and fill the tires. It’s also very handy to teach them to jump start a battery and change a tire. It’s a good idea to get them a roadside service plan for emergencies so you know they will have help when they’re on their own.
Make sure they have all documentation in one spot within the car in case of an accident, and that they understand their responsibilities if they are involved in one.
7. Rainy Day Driving
Once your rookie has the basics down and feels confident behind the wheel, it’s time to let them experience driving in more challenging conditions such as dusk and nighttime, rainy weather, and even snow, if possible. Take them to rush hour traffic jams, roadwork scenes, and tunnels. As nail-biting as this will be for you, it’s important they know how to confidently handle a vehicle in adverse conditions.
Watch Out for Rookie Drivers
If you see a Student Driver sticker on a vehicle, give them space and be patient. You had to learn once, too! Never tailgate or improperly pass a rookie driver, and be alert for sudden stops, lane changes and other unpredictable behavior from the vehicle.
September is here, bringing cooler nights, football, changing leaves, and school buses on every corner. Did you know that Maryland falls in the top ten states for school bus fatalities for students between the ages of 12 and 19? Many times, these accidents occur because an estimated one out of every five teenagers cross streets while engaging in distractions such as phone conversations, texting, listening to music, or playing games on their devices. We want everyone to stay safe when sharing the road with buses and students. Here are five driving safety tips for the back-to-school season.
1. Obey the Signs
Whether it’s a school speed zone or a crossing guard, always obey the signs. Some driving safety tips about signs:
- Never try to “outrun” the crossing guard
- Stop when you spot the school bus flashing yellow or red lights
- School zones mean that you must stop for anyone in a pedestrian walkway
- Never block a crosswalk at a red light or when turning
- Only proceed when a crossing guard waves you through an intersection, even if you don’t see any other kids waiting at the corner.
2. Understand School Bus “Behavior”
A school bus is similar to a tractor trailer in the way it is driven, meaning it’s a large vehicle that needs extra time to stop. It makes wide turns, and has large blind spots.
Don’t “hang out” alongside a bus, and don’t assume the driver knows your vehicle is there. Be aware at intersections where the bus will pull wide for turns. Trying to squeeze past it is a dangerous gamble.
3. Do Not Pass
Remember, your inability to see around the bus makes passing it as dangerous as blindly passing a truck on the highway. Passing a stopped bus is also dangerous for the children who may be crossing the road.
4. Unpredictable Kids
As we discussed earlier, kids are easily distracted. Driving safely means understanding that just because you see them doesn’t mean they see you. Kids seldom understand the risks of their behaviors and will often ignore hazards. Don’t believe it? Think of a child chasing their ball into the street; they probably won’t stop and check for traffic first. In fact, most child fatalities in bus-related incidents are less than 8 years old, and they were crossing the street when struck.
Some of the unpredictable behavior involves distractions, such as using personal devices, while others involve clusters of kids. If you see one child crossing the street, be aware there are probably several others not far behind. Make sure all kids are safely across the street and the bus has turned off all alerts before proceeding.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Allow a safe distance between you and the bus, and expect the unexpected. School bus drivers must come to a complete stop at all railroad crossings, whether there is a train coming or not. Allowing a safe distance will give you more time to stop if the bus driver does something unexpected, and gives you plenty of time to stop when it turns on its flashers.
During slippery conditions, allow even more stopping distance between your vehicle and the bus. Remember that it’s not just ice or snow that creates a slippery surface; wet leaves and rain also make for unpredictable and hazardous road conditions.
Kids Aren’t the Only Ones in Danger
Don’t assume that just because a school bus is driven by a professional, they will always make wise choices. If you’ve been injured in a school bus incident, don’t wait; contact Arthur Crum, PA, and let us evaluate your case.
Here’s a sobering fact: tractor-trailer accidents result in nearly 500,000 non-fatal accidents and 4000 fatalities every year. It’s really not surprising that tractor-trailers, which are between 20 and 30 times heavier than average cars, are involved in so many accidents. After all, it’s estimated there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the US alone.
Why Are There So Many Tractor-Trailer Accidents?
Truck drivers must complete a training program and pass knowledge tests to get a CDL, and many employers require even more training before allowing drivers to hit the highway. With so much required training, why are there so many tractor-trailer accidents?
Many truck drivers are fighting fatigue, using caffeine or other stimulants to get them to the next stop. Still, the scheduling is tight and many tractor-trailer drivers are fighting fatigue that makes them drowsy. Truck drivers often operate regardless of their health status, and some may even be operating their rigs under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Distracted driving is always dangerous, and even more so for truck drivers. A fraction of a second’s distraction at the speeds and weights of tractor-trailers can have devastating consequences.
Not Following the Rules of the Road
Speeding, veering over highway lines, driving unsafely in hazardous conditions, and aggressive driving are all major factors in the numbers of tractor-trailer accidents. In addition, the “blind spot” plays a huge part in accidents as truck drivers attempt to change lanes.
Improperly Maintained Vehicles
Improperly maintained vehicles and other faults with the trucks play a part in accidents. In addition, an improperly balanced load, or one that is too heavy, can cause a tractor-trailer to perform poorly even with the most skilled driver behind the wheel.
What to do if You Are Involved in a Tractor-Trailer Accident
While the stakes are higher in an accident, the steps to take following one are the same as with any other vehicle accident.
Safely Move Your Vehicle Out of Traffic if You Can
The first step is to get your vehicle out of the way, if it’s still drivable. A tractor-trailer accident takes up more space on the roadway, and many drivers will try to go around the incident if possible, and their ability to see your car may be hindered by the truck. Safely pull off to the side of the road if possible.
Notify the Authorities
Call the police immediately, and don’t be afraid to call for medical services even if you don’t think you are injured. Many injuries aren’t apparent at the scene of an accident, and emergency services should evaluate you even if you think you are unharmed.
Exchange driver’s information such as license and insurance. Take a picture of the tags of the truck as well.
Find Witnesses if Possible
With a tractor-trailer accident, you are seldom on the road alone. These accidents tend to happen on highly traveled, busy roadways with lots of other drivers. Finding a credible witness or two can help you prove your case.
While this isn’t the time for finger-pointing, you should gather as much evidence as you can. Witness statements, as mentioned above, are important, but so are photos from the scene. Take numerous photographs of the scene, the truck, and your vehicle’s damages.
Call an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
Never try to file an insurance claim on your own. These companies exist to find ways to deny claims, and it’s best to leave them to the professionals. A personal injury attorney who specializes in vehicle accident claims is the best way to ensure you get all the post-accident benefits you deserve, such as lost wages, medical bills, and physical or emotional impairments (pain and suffering).
Why Call the Law Offices of Arthur Crum, PA?
Arthur Crum is a leading attorney throughout Western and Central Maryland, and has been recognized for many years as the “attorney’s attorney” for accepting referrals from other law offices for legal counsel following vehicle accidents.
Our objective is to represent all stages of the victim’s case, from the initial consultation to the resolution. We believe in clear and informed representation, keeping in touch with clients every step of the way.
If you’ve been involved in a tractor-trailer accident, it’s not too late to call the Law Offices of Arthur Crum for a free consultation. Contact us now to make sure you make informed choices about your options following the incident.