Traveling during the summer or holidays you may be taking a road trip to or renting a car in another state. One of the fastest ways to put a dent in your vacation plans is to be involved in an out-of-state car accident. Experiencing a crash in an area that you are unfamiliar with is stressful enough, not knowing what to do after an accident can be even scarier. So it is important to be aware of driving risks before you take your trip and who to call should you have the misfortune to be in an accident.
Driving at any time of year is more dangerous than ever before, as a 2017 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows for the second straight year, there will be the largest increase in motor vehicle fatalities in the past 50 years in the United States. CNN reports two of the most speculated reasons for the increase are distracted driving and warmer weather. With school out for teenagers, expect more teen drivers on the road during summer, and more drivers on the road using smartphones or other technology while driving.
Higher congestion because of travelers also contributes to dangerous driving conditions in summer, as well as drivers who are under the influence and take to the road after holidays or parties. Before you head out on the road, here’s what to consider regarding the possibility of an out-of-state accident.
Know Your Insurance Policy and the Rules of the Areas You’re Traveling In
Every state has different stipulations regarding compensation for people involved in auto accidents. Some states are “no-fault” states, which means the resident of the no-fault state is entitled to injury compensations from their own insurance provider — not the other person involved in the accident. If you don’t live in a state with this policy, in an “at-fault” state, obtaining benefits from the at-fault driver will need to be pursued. At-fault states may be divided into categories including:
- Pure comparative fault, which means the amount of damages awarded relates to the percentage of fault of each party.
- Contributory negligence, which means if an injured party is at fault in any way, they will not be able to collect any damages from the other party.
- Modified comparative fault, which means if one party is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, they will not be able to collect any damages from the other party at fault.
Most car insurance providers in the United States provide coverage in every state, which may even extend throughout Canada. Some providers, like Esurance, will compare coverage limits with the minimum requirements in the state you have an accident, then cover you for the higher limit.
It’s still important to be aware of any minimum requirements you may have to meet when driving in another state. Of course, if you are heading to a foreign country and plan on driving, you should thoroughly check all the coverage you’ll need before your trip.
Prepare Before Your Trip
Besides communicating with your insurance provider before you leave, you can also consult with your car accident lawyer to walk you through what to be aware of. It’s also always a good idea to have a camera, notepad and contact information of your insurance provider and lawyer with you whenever you’re driving out of state. This way, you can document any accidents and quickly get in touch with who you need to.
Also, get your car checked out by an expert before taking long road trips. Popular Mechanics magazine reports tires are most likely to blow out between the months of mid-May through early October. Heavy vehicles, hot weather and fast driving all combine to increase the likelihood of a blowout. Make sure your tires are properly inflated before embarking on a road trip.
After a Car Accident
When you have a car crash in another state, stay calm, take a deep breath, and proceed as if you were in an accident in your home state. Call the police, document the scene, get the other driver’s contact information and obtain medical services if needed.
Be cautious of your language, and never admit fault. Contacting a reputable car accident attorney in the state the accident occurred in is your best course of action. An attorney that is licensed in the state of the accident will be better equipped to prepare a case because they’ll know the accident laws of their state. They can also recommend if you should hire an attorney in your home state.
It’s true that getting into an accident away from your home state will be a little more complicated than if it happens in your state. Being prepared and getting professional legal advice when an accident happens ensures you have the best protection possible.
You’re probably at more risk to be in an accident with a large truck than you may think. According to the 2016 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics released by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the registered number of large trucks in America increased 3 percent year-over-year in 2014, to nearly 11 million large trucks. They’re also involved in more accidents, as the report found 476,000 vehicle crashes in 2014 involved large trucks or buses, a 22 percent year-over-year increase.
In any type of motor vehicle accident, you’re in, factors such as injuries and damage warrant getting in touch with a lawyer so you can secure the compensation and justice you deserve. When you’re dealing with a large truck or 18-wheeler it is much larger, and far more dangerous, than a small car or even SUV, hiring a trucking accident attorney is essential in any type of accident. Not only is there another driver to deal with, but handling the case against the trucking company, or truck manufacturer, or even the company that hired the truck driver involves complicated legal actions that only an experienced lawyer will be able to navigate.
With factors such as the exponential rise of e-commerce increasing the demand for delivered goods, expect shipping truck presence on the road to also increase. Business Insider reports freight revenue is expected to grow 75 percent by 2026. Be aware of what to do if you’re in an accident with a large truck now, so you can be better prepared in the unfortunate circumstance that it happens to you or a loved one.
Causes of Large Truck Accidents
One of the reasons why seeking help from an attorney in a large truck accident is so vital is because there are detailed nuances related to causation that may affect your case. While the National Center for Statistics and Analysis 2017 Traffic Safety Facts report found 2 percent of large-truck drivers in fatal accidents had high blood alcohol concentrations, often the size of the vehicle contributes to a crash, as well as factors like improper sleep or poor driving.
Large truck accident factors include:
- Poor braking or maneuverability: The size of the truck requires more distance in-between it and another vehicle in order to properly brake or turn to avoid hazards or collisions. Driving too close to another car or not paying attention to road conditions can lead to an accident.
- Driver fatigue and distracted driving: Truck drivers who are not fully alert of road conditions at all times put themselves and other drivers in danger. Federal driver regulations set a standard for how much sleep a driver needs before getting back on the road. Like distracted driving in other vehicles, use of a smartphone while driving poses a threat to reaction time.
- Equipment failure: Large trucks require regular documented maintenance for optimal driving. The truck should be able to perform perfectly in a variety of conditions to protect other motor vehicle operators as well as the truck’s driver.
- Improper responses to other drivers: Truck drivers are supposed to be professional drivers. For this reason, they should be among the most experienced drivers on the road. However, for a variety of reasons (impairments, distractions, lack of proper training), large truck drivers do not always appropriately respond to the routine actions of other drivers.
In addition to these causes, a truck that is carrying or pulling along heavy cargo also poses a threat to other drivers who may be impacted by it. Combustible cargo may cause an explosion in an accident. Cargo that is hazardous in other ways (such as chemical cargo) may also pose a threat, while a trailer that is being pulled may be the force that impacts the driver.
As you can see, many factors may be present at the same time in an accident. For someone who is a victim, hiring an experienced lawyer to help deal with a traumatic situation like this will give peace of mind that all factors are examined thoroughly and taken into account.
Actions to Take Immediately After an Accident with an 18 Wheeler.
Because of the magnitude of the impact, a large truck has in an accident, calling emergency services immediately is the crucial first step. You will also want to make sure the accident scene is documented with photographs of the scene, yourself, other passengers, the vehicles in the accident and the driver’s license and license plate of the truck driver. Also, be sure to notate anything that sticks out or could pertain to the accident including what the truck driver says to you (and a license plate number in case the driver abandons the scene), as well as obtain contact information from all witnesses. If you cannot take photographs, ask someone to do so for you.
Secure medical assistance from emergency services. Getting thoroughly evaluated at the emergency room by a medical professional is wise in any accident, because you may experience injuries that may not be immediately apparent, but that require treatment. Usually, radiographs, such as CT-scans, x-rays and MRIs, are vital to diagnose any head, brain, neck, or back trauma. Additionally, proper diagnosis of injuries provides for the proper treatment which helps determine whether these injuries are permanent or lasting in nature, or may require surgical intervention.
You’ll want to contact your insurance company immediately. We recommend you contact an attorney, who can obtain appropriate evidence and who will be instrumental in securing information to determine possible negligence and cause, including violations of driving and log regulations.
Being in an accident with a large truck is stressful and scary. A professional with expertise in this area will alleviate the burden of building a strong case for you and will help you to get the compensation you deserve.
The 2017 National Safety Council annual Injury Facts report shows accidental deaths caused by unintentional injuries now rank as the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. More than 146,500 people died from unintentional injuries, increasing by nearly 8 percent, in 2015. Forbes magazine reports that overall death rates have decreased 19 percent since 1992 but unintentional deaths have increased 27 percent.
Personal injury cases cost the American population $886.4 billion in 2015, through out-of-pocket costs, higher taxes and more costly goods and services. Personal injury lawsuits are common for incidents ranging from medical malpractice to motor vehicle accidents. A personal injury may also be sustained from incidents such as:
- Defective prescription medications
- Faulty products
- Job-related injuries
- Premises threats
- Nursing home abuse
Even people who use safe practices in their daily lives may be victims of a personal injury
Reasons for Personal Injury Increases
While incidents such as drug overdoses are included as factors in the increase in the new report, reasons ranging from lack of sleep to more drivers on the road are also contributors. For the first time, the report has included a category highlighting fatigue as a cause of injuries and preventable deaths in the United States. According to the 2017 edition, a short sleep duration is more prevalent than ever.
Workers in healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing are most likely to get inadequate sleep every night. Sleep-deprived workers are 1.62 times more likely to be injured, and 13 percent of work injuries are attributed to sleep deprivation, according to Forbes magazine.
Safety and Health magazine reports that workers who get seven hours of sleep a night or less are more likely to be involved in a work-related injury.
Consider these statistics:
- Of workers getting between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, there are on average 2.95 injury incidences per 100 workers
- Of workers getting between six to seven hours of sleep per night, there are on average 3.62 injury incidences per 100 workers
- Of workers getting between five to six hours of sleep per night, there are on average 5.21 injury incidences per 100 workers
- Of workers getting less than five hours of sleep per night, there are on average 7.89 injury incidences per 100 workers
The professionals most at risk from sleep deprivation are often also operating heavy machinery or are administering medical attention to patients.
Sleep deprivation has negative effects on cognition, according to a sleep deprivation study published by the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, including impaired visuomotor performance. It’s important for drivers to be especially aware of other drivers at night-time to avoid an accident caused by sleep deprivation. If you are receiving services from someone who appears sleep-deprived, such as a doctor, voice your concerns.
In addition to increased pervasiveness of sleep-deprived workers, distracted driving on the road is more common. An increase in drivers and vehicles on the road, as well as an increase in miles driven, has led to 4.3 million medically consulted driver-related injuries in 2015. More than 37,700 vehicle-related fatalities occurred, a 7 percent increase, Forbes reports. Fatal crash increases occurred in categories involving young drivers, drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, motorcycle riding and pedestrian accidents.
Technology in cars is contributing to unsafe driving habits. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports distracted driving claimed nearly 3,500 lives in 2015, and the number is expected to continue to increase as more drivers use smartphones and navigation technology in cars. Reading a text message is enough to take a driver’s eyes off the road for at least five seconds, which can mean running into a pedestrian or another car.
What to Do If You’re a Personal Injury Victim
If you experience the unfortunate circumstances of sustaining a personal injury because of a professional, good or service that is negligent, it is vital to consult with an attorney. There are many laws in place to prevent risky behaviors, such as distracted driving while texting behind the wheel or using machinery while fatigued. Not only may there be an individual at fault, but an employer may be guilty in allowing unsafe behaviors that could harm you or a loved one.
A personal injury lawyer will be able to evaluate your case to determine reckless behavior and help you to attain compensation for your physical injuries, as well as emotional distress and other consequences that may affect your professional or personal life. Many incidents that may seem “accidental” are quite the opposite, and you are entitled to remuneration for what you experience.