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Category Archive: Uncategorized

Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. What Are the Five Kinds of Driving Impairment?

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    Human error plays into over ninety percent of all vehicle collisions. Driving impairment factors heavily in human error. Twenty-nine people die every day across the country in alcohol impaired vehicle crashes alone. That means a person dies about every fifty minutes. In fact, alcohol related car crashes cost over $44 billion annually.

    The Scope of the Problem (as of 2016)

    • Almost 30% of all traffic related deaths in the US involved alcohol impaired drivers.
    • 17% of children under 14 years who were in a crash involved an alcohol impaired driver.
    • Over a million drivers faced arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Only one percent of self-reported incidents of alcohol impaired drivers face arrest.
    • Legal and illegal drugs factor in about 16% of crashes.
    • Marijuana appears in the system of 13% of night and weekend drivers.
    • Although marijuana users crash 25% more often than drivers with no marijuana in their systems, factors like age and gender explain the increased risks.

    Not all driving impairment is as a result of alcohol or drugs. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identified five distinct kinds of driving impairment.

    • Medical Conditions
    • Distractions
    • Alcohol
    • Drugs
    • Fatigue

    Medical Conditions

    Chronic medical conditions can cause sudden, unexpected changes in consciousness.

    • Mini Strokes or Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs)
    • Epilepsy
    • Diabetes
    • Heart Disease

    Some individuals with these chronic conditions do not drive. Their medical ineligibility for a drivers’ license reduces risks for everyone on the road. If they do drive, their liability for damages increases if they experience a medical episode based on a previous diagnosis and a crash occurs. When a doctor advises against driving, getting behind the wheel anyway – even with a valid license – demonstrates the lack of ordinary care.


    Cell phones contribute to the distracted driving crisis as they demand the driver’s attention. A cell phone combines every one of the three types of distracted driving.

    • Cognitive distraction occurs when something takes the driver’s mind off driving.
    • Visual distraction happens when drivers take their eyes off the road.
    • Manual distraction ensues when the driver takes at least one hand off the steering wheel.

    Distracted driving also includes using hands free phones as cognitive and visual distractions. Eating, talking to the passengers in the car, and applying make-up while looking in the rear-view mirror reflect common, dangerous, distracted driving examples.


    Alcohol clouds driver judgment and impairs critical motor skills. Legal intoxication levels require blood alcohol levels of .08, but driving impairment occurs at lower levels. Just one drink affects some motor skills and reaction times.

    A driver convicted of driving intoxicated shows negligence. Circumstantial evidence like erratic driving or bloodshot eyes also prove negligence. This all supports the victim’s case.


    Many types of drugged drivers are on the road. In some areas, the drugged drivers are more common than drunk drivers.

    • Some over-the-counter drugs like Sominex or NyQuil impair a driver’s ability. Many individuals push themselves through to perform daily tasks, even when they are under the influence of these medications.
    • Street drugs like heroin and cocaine impair the judgment and reflexes of the driver. Some individuals try to operate their lives in a normal way while using these illegal drugs.
    • Prescription drugs such as Oxycontin and Xanax help many people, but they still impair driving. Warnings on the prescription bottles caution patients not to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking the medicine.


    Fatigue affects the brain much the same way as alcohol. After eighteen hours awake, the fatigue changes the brains reactions to the same level as driving with a .05 blood alcohol level.

    Fatigue has no test, so plaintiffs use circumstantial evidence to prove liability. Erratic driving provides excellent evidence, plus any statements from the driver about feeling tired.

    As a plaintiff, the details behind the different types of the driver’s impairment remain important for your case.

  2. Where Do Slip & Fall Accidents Commonly Happen?

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    Slip and fall accidents may not sound serious at first, but in reality these incidents often lead to severe injuries. If you own private or commercial property, you must understand your responsibilities when it comes to furnishing lawful visitors with a safe environment. Similarly, it is wise to know the most common places slip and fall accidents occur to limit your risk of serious damages.

    Workplace Slip and Fall Accidents

    The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) reports that slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and missed days from work. Slip and fall accidents are especially dangerous for older adults, and they are the leading cause of occupational injuries for people over the age of 55.

    If you or a loved one suffered an injury at work from a slip and fall accident, you may have the option to pursue a workers’ compensation claim for medical expense coverage and weekly benefits until you recover enough to return to work. However, workers’ compensation may not be an option through some employers, and even if you secure workers’ compensation benefits, they may not be enough to cover the cost of your damages.

    When a workers’ compensation claim does not offer enough to fully cover your injuries, or if an employer’s egregious negligence or intentional tort caused a slip and fall at work, the employer could face liability if the victim pursues a personal injury claim. Employers may also face fines and other legal penalties from oversight bodies if they fail to prevent foreseeable injury risks or fix known safety issues.

    Commercial Property Slip and Fall Accidents

    Another common place for slip and fall accidents to occur is commercial property. Business owners must ensure they prevent slip and fall injuries whenever there is a foreseeable risk of such injuries. For example, if a heavy snowstorm hits, a business owner must refer to state and local laws to determine how and when to clear away the ice and snow. The owner should also place wet floor signs inside the entryway to warn customers of slippery floors due to people tracking in snow and ice.

    A business owner could easily face liability for a slip and fall accident if the owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent such injuries. Even if snow and ice is not a factor, the owner should ensure employees mark wet floors after mopping or cleaning up spills.

    Private Premises Liability Lawsuits

    Slip and fall injuries often occur on private property. The NFSI report that about half of all accidental deaths that occur in the home are falls, and many of these incidents may occur due to personal negligence. Every individual must use appropriate caution when performing household chores or anything else that may entail a slip and fall risk. Private property owners also owe a duty of care to lawful visitors on their properties and must take reasonable precautions against injuries.

    One important thing to remember about commercial and private premises liability claims is that property owners do not owe any duty of care to trespassers. Anyone who illegally enters a property cannot sue the owner for damages if he or she suffers a slip and fall injury.

    Slip and Fall on Public Property

    If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a slip and fall on a publicly-owned property or in a government facility, the government entity responsible for the location would likely absorb liability for the resulting damages. However, filing a civil claim against a government body is difficult and entails some special considerations such as limited time to file a claim and restrictions on certain types of damages. Some government entities have immunity from civil claims, so navigating these issues is especially difficult.

  3. Who Pays If the Smoke Detectors Don’t Work?

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    Smoke detectors are an essential security feature of any residential building. Homeowners must check their smoke detectors regularly and replace them about once every ten years. This helps ensure they remain in proper working condition, but tenants in rental properties may need to rely on their landlords to ensure their smoke detectors stay operational. If a smoke detector fails and anyone suffers injuries and/or economic damages from a preventable fire, the party responsible for the smoke detector is liable.

    Landlord Premises Liability

    Most rental agreements cover liability for smoke detectors. Generally, a landlord will arrange for regular inspections of tenant residences and require tenants to test their smoke detectors monthly and replace batteries as needed. It is usually the landlord’s responsibility to handle smoke detector replacement if a device has reached the end of its lifespan. The landlord will check each smoke detector during routine inspections and replace them as needed. If a smoke detector fails to alert a resident to a fire and the resident suffers injuries and other damages, the landlord will likely face liability for the resulting damages. However, in some situations tenants could be liable as well.

    If a tenant tampered with a smoke detector or failed to replace the batteries as required, the tenant may face liability for his or her damages. It is essential for all rental tenants to carefully review their rental agreements so they know their exact responsibilities and potential liabilities for any incidents involving a broken smoke detector.

    Potential for Product Liability Claims

    It is also possible for a smoke detector to have a defect. If a manufacturer released a defective smoke detector, the manufacturer would bear liability for any damages resulting from these devices’ failure.

    A plaintiff with a product liability claim does not necessarily need to prove the manufacturer was negligent, only that the product in question is defective and the sole cause of the plaintiff’s damages. Products can be defective in three main ways.

    • A product is defective by design if a flaw is inherent in the design of the product.
    • Products are defective by production if an error in the manufacturing or assembly resulted in a defect.
    • Defective marketing applies when a company fails to accurately represent a product or fails to include necessary instructions and/or safety warnings.

    Success with a product liability claim hinges on the plaintiff’s attorney’s ability to prove the device in question is defective in at least one of these three possible ways, and the plaintiff’s attorney must also prove the full extent of the plaintiff’s damages.

    Navigating Your Smoke Detector Lawsuit

    If you or a loved one suffered injuries and/or economic damages due to a faulty smoke detector, the first step is to identify the cause of the defect and the party responsible for maintaining the device. If you own your own home and you failed to check your smoke detectors as required, you will likely absorb liability for the resulting damages. If you rent and your landlord failed to check smoke detectors as required or failed to replace outdated smoke detectors, the landlord will likely be liable.

    A personal injury attorney is a fantastic resource for anyone thinking about a lawsuit for a broken smoke detector. Find an attorney with experience in personal injury, premises liability, and product liability law so you know he or she can handle the potential variables in your claim. If another party is liable for your damages, you could secure compensation for medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering, and more.

  4. Who Is at Fault in a Jaywalking Pedestrian Accident?

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    In any accident involving a pedestrian and a motor vehicle, the pedestrian will likely suffer the worst damages. Drivers have a duty of care to always yield the right-of-way to pedestrians, even if they cross the street illegally, due to the high chance of a pedestrian suffering injuries from a car striking him or her. This technically applies to jaywalking, or a pedestrian crossing the street outside of a crosswalk. However, the jaywalking pedestrian will likely bear some fault for the accident, potentially jeopardizing his or her ability to seek legal recovery.

    Comparative Negligence in Jaywalking Accident Cases

    Most states in the U.S. uphold comparative negligence laws, meaning a plaintiff could potentially bear partial liability for his or her injuries if he or she was in any way negligent and contributed to those injuries. In most states that follow modified comparative negligence laws like Texas, a plaintiff can still seek recovery through a personal injury lawsuit if his or her fault does not exceed that of the defendant. In states like California that follow pure comparative negligence laws, a plaintiff’s fault does not bar recovery at all, but the plaintiff loses a portion of the case award equal to his or her fault percentage.

    For example, a personal injury claim in Texas for $100,000 in total damages leads to a trial, and the jury finds the plaintiff 10% at fault. This is below the defendant’s fault percentage, so the plaintiff can still claim compensation, but the plaintiff loses 10% of the case award to reflect his or her fault. This results in a net of $90,000 in damages instead.

    In another example, a personal injury claim in California for $100,000 in total damages leads to a trial, but this plaintiff is 80% at fault for the accident. The plaintiff can still technically claim the remaining $20,000 in damages under the state’s pure comparative negligence statute, but this high fault percentage could leave the plaintiff open to a counter-claim from the defendant.

    In a jaywalking accident, it is very likely the jaywalking pedestrian will bear some fault in the subsequent lawsuit. Depending on state law and the severity of the comparative negligence, the jaywalking pedestrian may not qualify for as much compensation as he or she originally expected.

    Determining Fault and Collecting Compensation

    Any ambiguity when it comes to fault for a jaywalking accident will lead to an investigation. Both sides of the lawsuit will investigate, look for available evidence like traffic camera or dash cam data, and consult with relevant experts if necessary. For example, a plaintiff may require expert witness testimony to accurately convey the full extent of his or her pain and suffering to the jury in a case, ensuring he or she receives appropriate compensation.

    Traffic camera data or data from the vehicle’s computer could reveal the driver was speeding at the time, further diminishing the jaywalker’s level of fault for the accident. It is also possible for the investigation to reveal other evidence, such as the pedestrian entering the road between parked vehicles, making it impossible for the driver to stop in time to avoid hitting the pedestrian.

    Ultimately, a driver has the higher duty of care on the road when it comes to avoiding accidents, but pedestrians must also exercise care and refrain from crossing the street illegally. Although jaywalking may at first seem to be a minor or even silly offense, the reality is that jaywalking laws exist to protect pedestrians. Ensuring a proper flow of both vehicle traffic and foot traffic helps prevent injuries, so anyone who jaywalks does so at his or her own risk.

  5. When Is an Injury Serious Enough to Hire a Lawyer?

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    If another party causes a personal injury to you or a loved one, you may wonder whether you have grounds for a lawsuit against them. When you sustain injuries and economic damages due to the actions of another party, there is no reason you should have to bear the resulting costs. A personal injury claim is generally the best option for financial recovery in these situations, but some injured people may wonder whether it is worth the trouble to take legal action if they only sustained minor injuries.

    Fully Assess Your Damages

    Some injuries seem mild at first only for them to lead to secondary medical complications or worsen over time. It is also possible for a person to suffer injuries in an accident that do not cause immediate pain or noticeable symptoms. In these situations, it can take several days or even weeks before the victim realizes something is wrong.

    It is crucial to seek medical treatment immediately after any accident. Your physician can assess your injuries and check for signs of underlying issues that may not be immediately noticeable. If you are considering taking legal action in any way after a personal injury, the medical report from your physician will be essential in your lawsuit for recovery.

    Weigh the Cost of Your Lawsuit Against the Potential Recovery

    Your injuries may only be mild, but the other damages resulting from a personal injury could be substantially more, leading to significant economic losses. Some people assume that the cost of legal representation is too high to warrant legal action for relatively small claims. Many personal injury attorneys offer contingency fee billing to provide legal representation to those who need it regardless of their ability to pay. With a contingency fee, the attorney only collects legal fees if he or she wins the case for the client, and those fees are a percentage of the client’s settlement or case award.

    Consider taking advantage of a free consultation offer with a local personal injury attorney if you are unsure whether you should bother pursuing a lawsuit. The attorney will review the details of your claim and assess your damages, potentially revealing other avenues of compensation you may not have yet considered. Once the attorney has a firm understanding of your situation, he or she will advise you as to whether it would be in your best interests to take legal action. If the cost of pursuing your lawsuit would be too high or your damages are minimal, the attorney may recommend an alternative route to recovery.

    Damages and Compensation for Personal Injury Claims

    If your attorney recommends a lawsuit, he or she may know of types of compensation you had not considered. Several types of damages are available in a typical personal injury claim.

    • Medical expenses for the victim’s immediate and future treatment costs.
    • Lost income for time spent out of work following an injury.
    • Property damages for repair and replacement of the victim’s personal property involved in the claim.
    • Pain and suffering compensation for physical pain, emotional anguish, and mental suffering.
    • Punitive damages in rare cases when a defendant’s behavior exceeded the scope of typical negligence.

    Ultimately, the total cost of your damages and the potential value of your lawsuit are the most important factors in deciding whether to take legal action for a personal injury. It is essential to seek medical care after any personal injury caused by another party’s negligence, even if it only seems mild at first. Your physician can help you understand the full extent of your injuries, and you may qualify for more compensation than you initially expected.