Personal Injury Blog

car safety

While we live in an era of intense concern over the dangers of distracted driving, the overall picture of traffic safety is looking bright.

Traffic fatalities in the United States have been on a long and steady decline since the early ‘70s. At its peak in 1969, deaths on the road reached 55,043. Fast forward to 2012, and that total is down dramatically to 33,561.

The reasons for the declining fatalities are many, from public health initiatives to improved driver behavior. Here's a deeper look into how things have improved.

Improved Car Safety Options

The Existence of Seat Belts. It may be difficult to imagine these days, but once upon a time cars were made without seat belts. While lap belts (or two-point belts) existed as an option prior to 1959, we have the Swedes to thank for making them standard.

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subpoenasNo matter what kind of personal injury case you have, when you hire an attorney it’s their duty to gather evidence that will support your claim during what is called the "discovery" phase of a lawsuit. There are a few different tools that we use to help clients prove that there was negligence or some other damage, and the defendant owes compensation—here are some of the most common.

Discovery Tactics

The most common discovery tactics used by attorneys include:

Interrogatories – These are basic questions posed to parties involved in a lawsuit that usually pertain to gathering background information or figuring out who could be a potential witness in the case.

Personal Injury Deposition – These generally take place outside of a courtroom, when attorneys ask questions of a variety of people that may be involved in a case, including witnesses, parties involved in the lawsuit, and expert witnesses.

The personal injury deposition takes place under oath and is recorded for potential use later during pre-trial and trial activities.

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bad faith insurance claim

When you are involved in a personal injury case, the insurance company has an obligation to settle your case in a prompt and fair manner. If they fail to do so, it can be referred to as acting in “bad faith,” and could have legal implications for punitive damages.

Suing Insurance Companies for Bad Faith

U.S. laws state that an insurance company has an obligation to deal fairly with individuals they insure, and the people they must pay claims to under insurance policies.

This obligation automatically exists in every insurance contract, and in cases where you believe the insurance company has not fulfilled this obligation, you have the right to sue them. In many states you also have the right to recover punitive damages in addition to attorney’s fees and other damages.

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car insurance coverage

An automobile accident can be a traumatic and devastating event, even if all the expenses are covered. While mandatory auto insurance laws vary, the state of Washington requires a minimum liability coverage, which protects you in case there are injuries and damages caused by your car.

It’s much safer to choose an insurance policy that protects the car and everyone in it, regardless of who may be at fault. A good policy, such as one that offers personal injury coverage as well as comprehensive and collision coverage, can protect you and your loved ones from a financial crisis in the event of an auto-related incident.

Deductibles

On an insurance policy, you must agree to pay a certain amount on any claim filed before the insurance company will pay the balance of the claim. This is what we all know as the deductible. Policies vary on the amount of the deductible, with lower deductibles usually coming with higher premiums.

Damages

Damages can occur to a vehicle in a number of different ways. The first thing that generally comes to mind is an auto accident. This type of damage is often expensive and may require replacement of the vehicle.

If the damage in question is to another person’s property and you or a family member is responsible, property damage liability covers the costs. This is usually one of the minimum requirements included in mandatory auto insurance laws by most states.

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truck accidents by state

Last summer, the American Association for Justice issued a report that asserted there are unsound practices in the trucking industry that are making trucking accidents more likely. It states that "Truck drivers – compensated by miles driven, not hours worked – are pushed to ignore safety measures, delay repairs and drive in a fatigued state."

On a related note, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a report that revealed the top 10 states for fatal large truck accidents. In some states, truck accidents made up a significantly higher proportion of fatal vehicle collisions than the national average. In 2012, there were 45,637 vehicles involved in fatal crashes, 3,802 (8.3 percent) were large trucks.

Here's how the states ranked in total number of trucks involved in fatal accidents:

1. Texas - 543 (that makes up 14.3 percent of the nationwide total)
2. California - 244
3. Florida - 194
4. Pennsylvania - 175
5. Georgia - 149
6. Ohio - 146
7. North Carolina - 132
8. Oklahoma - 124
9 and 10. Illinois and Indiana each had 115 large trucks involved in fatal crashes

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