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What Not to Say After a Crash

When someone is involved in a car accident, there are certain things that should not be said. Saying the wrong thing can result in a denied injury claim and loss of compensation for damages. Until the accident scene is investigated and fault is determined, it’s best to remain silent. Insurance companies look for evidence that may sway an accident claim for injuries and property damages in their favor.

Don’t Admit Fault

Determining fault for a car accident is a major factor in calculating compensation for injuries and property damages. Admitting fault at the accident scene can result in losing damage awards for medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and car repairs. To protect legal rights, do not admit fault to law enforcement, other drivers, or insurance companies.

Don’t Apologize

While apologizing to accident victims may simply be a gesture of compassion, doing so may be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Kind words like “I’m sorry” may be taken to mean “I’m sorry that I caused the accident” or “I’m sorry for what I did.” If recorded statements from the accident reveal an apology was made, those words may cause an insurer to deny the claim.

Don’t Discuss Injuries

Following a car crash, some injuries like cuts and bruises may be apparent right away, while internal injuries may take hours, days, or even weeks to surface. If injured in a car crash, victims should avoid discussing their injuries. They should seek immediate medical attention and avoid signing a medical release form from an insurer until talking to their car accident lawyer.

Don’t Give Out Information

When filing a claim with an insurance company, victims should not provide the names or contact information for family members, friends, or doctors. To minimize losses, insurers often hire investigators to gather incriminating evidence against a claimant. Investigators often contact a claimant’s relatives, friends, neighbors, and business associates looking for evidence.

At the scene of an accident, it is safe to check other people for injuries and call 911 for help. If another driver caused the accident, victims should remain calm and avoid angry conversations. Staying silent, taking accident scene photos, and seeking medical attention can help ensure a victim’s right to recover compensation is protected.

Motorcycle Crash Statistics that Might Surprise You

More than 89,000 motorcyclists were injured in motorcycle crashes and another 5,172 bikers lost their lives in 2017. Learning more about motorcycle crash statistics, the challenges riders face, and the factors that contribute to these accidents may help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities.

Motorcycle Injury and Death Rates

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable in crashes than the occupants of passenger vehicles. In fact, motorcycle riders are five times more likely to suffer severe injuries, and 28 times more likely to be killed in crashes than people in passenger cars. Without any structural protection, motorcyclists often sustain crushed or amputated limbs, severe burns, permanent disfigurement, and fatal head injuries.

Contributing Factors

Speed and alcohol are major factors in motorcycle accidents. The NHTSA reports that 32% of motorcyclists who were killed in fatality crashes in 2017 were speeding. About 28% were alcohol-impaired with BAC levels above 0.08%. Another 7% of those who died had lower levels of alcohol in their systems.

Factors that Play a Role in Injuries and Deaths

A number of factors impact the risk of motorcyclist injuries and deaths.

Type of Motorcycle

The size and type of motorcycle play a role in motorcycle crash injury and death rates. According to the Insurance Information Institute, supersport riders have death rates four times higher than other riders. Supersport motorcycles, popular with young riders, are built for racing and often modified for street use.

Head Trauma and Brain Damage

Since there are no seat belts or airbags on motorcycles, riders are frequently thrown off their bikes in a crash. They are propelled into oncoming traffic, parked cars, guardrails, buildings, and outdoor obstacles. Only about 50% of motorcyclists wear helmets, and 40% of deaths happen to riders without helmets. Those who survive often suffer head trauma or traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Fatalities for Older Riders

Older riders are more likely to be in fatal motorcycle collisions than young riders due to vision and hearing problems and slower reaction times. Older riders also tend to buy larger bikes for stability, but larger. heavier bikes are more likely to roll over in a crash, crushing the rider under the bike.

Fault for Accidents

Approximately 75% of motorcycle accidents involve a collision between a motorcycle and at least one passenger vehicle. The majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers who fail to see motorcycles in traffic when they make turns, merge into traffic, change lanes, or stop at traffic signals.

Nevada Among the Worst States for Pedestrian Deaths

Nevada is among the worst states for pedestrian fatalities according to a recent report. The state ranks sixth in the nation with 2.5 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents.

Nevada Pedestrian Deaths

The report, “Pedestrian Safety Special Investigative Report”, was released by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) showing pedestrian deaths between 2007 and 2016. According to the report, 5,987 pedestrians were killed on American roadways in 2016, averaging 16 pedestrian deaths each day of the year. In Nevada, 80 pedestrians were killed that year. Clark County alone saw 57 of those deaths.

The NTSB report was the first in-depth study on pedestrian safety since the 1970s. The report was put together based on state infrastructure improvements, technological advances in automobiles, and needs for improving pedestrian safety. Based on the study, the investigative report concluded a need for better pedestrian safety, especially in busy areas with many pedestrians around moving vehicles. Safety improvement suggestions included:

  • Brighter street lighting
  • Traffic barriers
  • Street islands and landscaping areas
  • Crosswalks with flashing walk/stop signals
  • More traffic signals to slow traffic
  • Improved vehicle lighting systems

The report focused on issues common to all pedestrians without separating subgroups or specific safety measures for special events. Report recommendations were forwarded to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Over the past five years, Nevada has consistently ranked among the 10 worst states for pedestrian fatalities. Accident reports show that almost 90 percent of pedestrians and drivers involved in fatal crashes are local residents, not visitors. In busy pedestrian areas where tourists are present, attorneys in Henderson NV commonly see pedestrians who are hit by moving vehicles, with injuries that range from minor to severe.

Pedestrian Safety Barriers

According to the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), pedestrian fatalities in 2016 rose by 46 percent over fatalities in 2015. In 2017, Nevada saw the highest number of pedestrian deaths on record with 99 fatalities. If pedestrian deaths continue to rise at this rate, they will outpace deaths from prostate cancer, liver cancer, breast cancer, HIV, influenza, pneumonia, and homicides in Nevada.

With the consistent rise in Nevada pedestrian deaths, some cities are taking notice and making changes to improve safety. In January 2018, Las Vegas completed phase one of installing pedestrian barriers along the Vegas Strip. The project included the installation of 800 steel barrier posts along Las Vegas Boulevard between Tropicana Avenue and Spring Mountain Road. The posts are equally spaced and permanently mounted. They’re designed to withstand the impact of a vehicle weighing as much as 15,000 pounds, weight that’s equivalent to a 30-foot truck traveling at speeds in excess of 50 mph. Las Vegas approved a phase-two plan for an additional 7,500 steel posts scheduled for installation within the next year.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Car collisions with pedestrians cause serious, life-threatening injuries and deaths to pedestrians, as well as vehicle drivers and passengers. The most common accident sites include:

  • Crosswalks – Crosswalks are dangerous because drivers often don’t see them until they get right upon them. Pedestrians rely on crosswalk signals for a safe crossing, but many people step into the crosswalk too early or too late. Pedestrians who jaywalk in unmarked crosswalks face significant risks of injury and/or death.
  • Sidewalks – With thousands of visitors on sidewalks in busy city areas, pedestrians are often struck by cars that lose control and jump the curb. On sidewalks with no barrier protection, both adults and children are vulnerable to injuries and fatalities caused by distracted, drowsy, and intoxicated drivers.

Pedestrian Accident Prevention

Pedestrian injuries and deaths are preventable when caution is used. To maximize safety, pedestrians must use sidewalks and crosswalks whenever possible. If pedestrian bridges or tunnels are available, these are safer options. All pedestrians must obey traffic lights, stop signs, and traffic control devices with walk/stop signals. Pedestrians should stay on the right-hand side of the crosswalk whenever possible for maximum safety. If there is no crosswalk, pedestrians must check for oncoming traffic in all directions before stepping into the street. Fast-moving cars will not be able to stop in time without adequate warning.

If areas do not have sidewalks, pedestrians should always walk on the left side of the street or road, facing oncoming traffic. Walking in the same direction as moving vehicles poses increased risks of getting struck by a car from behind. Attorneys in Henderson NV often see hit-and-run accidents in areas without sidewalks.

Children do not have proper judgment skills to understand traffic dangers. They assume if they see the driver, the driver also sees them. Children can not judge vehicle speeds, so they are likely to misjudge the time they have to cross the street. For maximum safety, children should always cross the street with an adult.

5 Things You Should Know About Pile-Up Accidents

Multi-car pile-up accidents usually result in serious injuries for many people, as well as complex claims for injuries, property damages, and liability.

Multi-Vehicle Crashes

Since pile-up accidents involve numerous people and multiple vehicles, they typically lead to complicated injury claims, substantial property damages, and liability that is shared between various drivers and entities.

Multi-car crashes often cause a chain reaction that leads to severe or fatal injuries. The driver at the front of the crash may be hit numerous times from multiple directions as a chain reaction occurs. In many cases, it’s not always clear who causes a multi-car crash. Since various factors are involved, it’s important to understand five points about multivehicle accidents that can impact an injury claim.

Determining Fault

Although pile-up accidents may be caused by a single driver’s mistake or carelessness, they may involve the negligence of multiple drivers. The initial determination of fault is usually stated in the police report, but pile-up crashes often require investigators and specialists who must reconstruct the accident scene to determine fault.

Multiple Driver Liability

In most car accidents, the front driver is assumed liable. In multi-car crashes, that may not be the case. If the front driver is stopped at a red light and is hit from behind, the second driver is likely at fault. If a third driver hits the second driver because he/she can’t stop in time, he/she may also be at fault for following too close.

Order of Impact

In a multi-car pile up, the order of impact matters. In a pile-up accident, police talk to each driver about what happened and how many impacts they felt. If the front driver was hit three times in the rear causing him to crash into a fourth vehicle, the front driver may not be liable for hitting the fourth vehicle.

Comparative Fault Laws

Nevada is a comparative fault state. An injured party can only recover compensation for damages if his/her fault for the accident is lower than 51%. Attorneys in Henderson NV are often involved in car accident claims with complex liability issues.

Uninsured Motorists

When a crash involves multiple drivers, it’s more likely that at least one driver may be uninsured making it difficult for personal injury lawsuits to recover compensation for injuries. Multiple drivers may mean multiple insurers who will take steps to protect their interests, reduce payments, or deny injury claims.

Recovering Damages in a Wide Turn Truck Accident

If a large commercial truck makes a wide turn that causes an accident with another vehicle, injured victims may be able to recover compensation from the trucker and the trucking company.

The Dangers of Wide Turns

Large trucks making wide turns put other drivers at significant risk of accidents by encroaching on adjacent lanes of traffic.

Due to their large size and length, commercial trucks require extra time and space to make turns. They have to swing out into adjacent lanes to successfully complete a wide turn. Large trucks often need a turning radius of 55 feet to complete a left or right turn. During the turn, adjacent drivers can get caught in the truck’s blind spot, especially if drivers are attempting to pass the truck.

Wide turn truck accidents can occur when a truck is turning left or right, but the truck driver’s visibility is most limited when turning right. The “right turn squeeze” is a common collision seen by Henderson truck accident lawyers. It occurs when a vehicle attempts to pass a truck on the right-hand side while the truck is turning right. These types of collisions can cause severe crushing injuries, amputated limbs, damage to internal organs, spinal cord injuries, head trauma, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

Recovery for Damages

Because wide truck turns can cause significant injuries, even death, to nearby passengers in other vehicles, motorcycle riders, and pedestrians, commercial truck drivers are required to have training in making wide turns. If a truck driver is not properly trained, the trucking company is likely to be held liable for accidents and injuries. If an injury victim files a lawsuit with a truck accident lawyer, direct liability is often found due to negligent training, negligent supervision, or negligent hiring. To avoid liability, trucking companies often blame injury victims for negligent driving behaviors.

Truckers and other drivers must exercise care behind the wheel. To make safe wide turns, truck drivers must use their turn signals, look for other vehicles in their blind spots, and wait for a clear opportunity to make turns. Drivers must be aware of a truck’s blind spots and avoid passing without enough space, especially on a truck’s right side. Even when truck drivers check for vehicles, they can’t always see them in their blind spots.

Get the Facts About Road Rage in the United States

Road rage incidents are on the rise in America. Gun violence and aggressive driving behaviors caused by road rage wound or kill hundreds of people every year.

The Alarming Facts about Road Rage

Since 2013, over 300 people in the United States have died from road rage. In the last five years, violent road rage incidents have jumped from 247 to 620. Most fatalities were caused by a person/persons in one vehicle firing a gun at a driver and/or passengers in another vehicle. Between 2014 and 2016, road rage incidents involving gun violence more than doubled on U.S. roads and highways. In 2006, there were only 80 fatal car crashes related to road rage in America. Between 2006 and 2015, fatal road rage injuries and deaths increased by 500 percent, an alarming statistic.

Between 2014 and 2017, The Trace, a national news organization, did a study on road rage and gun violence in the United States. Data was compiled from the Gun Violence Archive, a catalog of gun violence road rage incidents reported by law enforcement officers and national news reports. The study shows 1,319 road rage incidents involving firearms where 136 people were killed and another 354 people were wounded.

The Trace study became wide-spread news after Joe McKnight, a former N.F.L. player was shot and killed in a 2017 Louisiana road-rage incident. An investigation confirmed that  McKnight and another driver, Ronald Gasser, cut each other off a number of times on a local roadway. Gasser told police that he became outraged and confronted McKnight at a red light stop where a verbal confrontation escalated. Gasser then pulled a handgun from his car console and shot McKnight multiple times.

According to The Trace report, relaxed gun laws have contributed to a rise in road rage car accidents. States with large numbers of concealed-carry permit holders like Florida, Texas, and Tennessee have higher numbers of gun violence road rage incidents. Reports suggest that aggressive drivers who carry guns in their cars are more likely to engage in gun violence when encountering problems on the road.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that road rage and aggressive driving are not the same things. Road rage is charged as a criminal offense because it involves violent intent to harm another driver, while aggressive driving is usually charged as a traffic offense. In addition to gun violence, road rage often involves cases of drivers intentionally hitting another vehicle, tailgating behind another vehicle for long distances, and braking suddenly in front of a vehicle to cause injuries.

What Is the Number One Cause of Injury?

In the United States, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of nonfatal injuries, accounting for more than 10 million injuries every year.

Slip and Fall Accidents

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), slip and fall accidents are the number one cause of injuries for all age groups. In 2015, slip and falls sent 9.3 million Americans to hospital emergency rooms, and in 2018 that number jumped to over 10 million.

Approximately 70 percent of slip and fall accidents happen to people under 65 and result in nonfatal injuries. However, seniors over the age of 65 are more likely to suffer more serious injuries, even fatal injuries, from a fall. While people over 65 represent only 30 percent of fall injury victims, they represent 69 percent of hospitalizations and 82 percent of fatalities caused by falls. Elderly adults suffer more serious injuries because of low bone mass, brittle bones, and thinner skin, so injuries usually take longer to heal and often require long-term medical treatment, physical therapy, and the use of walking aids like crutches, canes, walkers, and wheelchairs.

According to CDC reports, one in four adults over the age of 65 will suffer a fall, but only half of them will be reported. Each year, over three million senior citizens are treated for falls in emergency rooms across the country. Data shows that 95 percent of hip fractures in elderly adults are caused by slip and falls. Reports from the National Safety Council show that slip and falls are one of the main causes of injury-related deaths for people over 65, and the leading cause of injury-related deaths for people over 85.

Common Symptoms and Injuries

Slip and fall accidents are very common, but symptoms and injuries vary greatly from one person to another depending on health, age, and severity of injuries. Bones, muscles, ligaments, and soft tissues can be injured in slip and falls. People with osteoporosis commonly suffer fractures to the hip, spine, wrists, and hands. Common locations for osteoporosis-related fractures are the spine, hip, and wrists. These fractures, known as “fragility fractures,” affect more than 400,000 people each year. Other common symptoms and injuries include:

Cuts and Bruises

Cuts and bruises are minor injury symptoms, but they can hide more serious injuries under the skin that don’t show up for several weeks.

Torn Ligaments and Pulled Muscles

Slip and falls commonly result in stretched tendons, torn ligaments, and pulled muscles due to twisting the body during a fall. While these injuries may seem minor without pain at first, they can turn into painful, debilitating injuries that heal slowly and often require long recovery periods with rest and rehabilitation.

Sprained or Broken Hands, Wrists and Knees

Many slip and falls happen suddenly, so people aren’t prepared for the fall. When people fall forward, they try to brace for impact and prevent injuries to their head and face by letting their hands absorb the fall. This often causes broken fingers, hands, and wrists. Forward falls can often cause fractures and dislocation of the patella, since the knees often hit the ground first.

Fractured Elbows and Broken Arms and Legs

Fractured elbows and broken arms and legs are common emergency room injuries seen by slip and fall attorneys in Henderson. These injuries may also include soft tissue damage to surrounding areas which can result in chronic pain and dysfunctions with the neuromuscular system.

Dislocated Shoulders and Fractured Collarbone

Falling forward can result in a dislocated shoulder or broken collarbone if the shoulder hits the ground first. While a dislocated shoulder is easier to treat than a broken collarbone, they both often cause excruciating pain and require weeks, even months, of rest and rehabilitation.

Bruised or Fractured Tailbone

Falling backward in a slip and fall accident can cause a bruised or fractured tailbone, a very painful injury. Buttock and tailbone injuries make it difficult to sit, stand, walk, and sleep without pain. These injuries commonly require sitting on orthopedic cushions, using walking aids, lots of rest, and long recovery periods.

Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury is one of the most serious types of injuries that slip and fall attorneys encounter. Falling directly on the back can cause a slipped disc, a chipped vertebra, and nerve damage. If the damage is severe, injuries may result in partial or total paralysis, either temporarily or permanently. Spinal cord injuries always warrant immediate medical attention.

Head Trauma and Brain Injuries

Slip and falls often result in head trauma and traumatic brain injury (TBI), if fall victims hit their head, especially on a hard surface. These injuries often begin with a headache and progress with other symptoms including lethargy, dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, vision problems, and more severe headaches.

Are Aging Truckers Putting Your Life at Risk?

Aging truckers sometimes create dangerous driving conditions and increased accident risks due to physical impairments, cognitive dysfunctions, and fatigue.

Aging Truckers Pose Driving Dangers

Older truck drivers face physical and mental challenges that often create dangerous driving conditions for other motorists. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), aging commercial truckers over age 65 contribute to a large percentage of trucking accidents that result in injuries and fatalities. Between 2013 and 2015, there were more than 6,600 reported trucking accidents involving older truck drivers in the U.S. In the last three years, crash data from CBS News shows a 19 percent rise in accidents involving commercial truck drivers in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s.

America’s trucking industry is facing a severe driver shortage, so trucking companies are aggressively recruiting retired truckers. Currently, truckers over 65 years of age make up at least 10 percent of commercial truck drivers in the United States. This recruitment trend is creating dangers on the road and increasing risks for trucking accidents and injuries.

Physical Impairments

Driving requires physical agility and good coordination to safely operate a vehicle. Without it, even simple tasks like pressing the gas pedal or brake pedal, turning the steering wheel, operating lights and turn signals, and driving speed can be impacted. Older truck drivers who suffer from muscle weakness, joint problems, and chronic pain are at higher risks for loss of control. Hearing and vision loss may also impact safe driving.

Cognitive Disorders

Driving requires attention to the road and performing numerous tasks at one time. Older drivers who have cognitive disorders may face struggles with safe driving skills that are essential for traffic signals, lane changes, yielding and passing, traffic flow, driving speed, and judging distance. Elderly truck drivers may also experience cognitive disorders that impact information and memory retention.

Fatigue

Commercial truckers drive long distances and spend many hours on the road. Even young drivers run the risk of fatigue and sleep deprivation. Drivers over the age of 65 may suffer excessive fatigue and/or drowsiness due to age-related illnesses, diseases, and prescription medications. While some older truck drivers may recognize their limits and get appropriate sleep, others may ignore the warning signs of sleep deprivation to meet delivery schedule deadlines and paycheck requirements. Drowsiness and fatigue is a common cause of trucking accidents seen by truck accident lawyers in Henderson.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations for Nevada Personal Injury Lawsuits

When filing a personal injury lawsuit in Nevada, claims must be filed according to the Statute of Limitations for each type of injury claim.

Nevada Personal Injury Lawsuits

Nevada personal injury lawsuits must adhere to the Statutes of Limitations, laws that limit the time allowed to file a lawsuit. If lawsuits are not filed in a timely manner, the court will likely dismiss the lawsuit.

Legal causes of action that comprise Nevada personal injury cases include vehicle and motorcycle accidents; commercial transit accidents; slip and fall accidents; product liability; premises liability; medical malpractice; and wrongful death. The Statute of Limitations for personal injuries includes:

  • Personal Injuries (other than those listed below) – Two Years from the date of the injury
  • Product Liability – Three Years from the date of the injury
  • Medical Malpractice – Three years from the date the negligent act or omission causing injury occurred, or one year from the date the injury was discovered or should have reasonably been discovered
  • Wrongful Death – Two Years from the date of death

Although the Statute of Limitations for personal injury cases is specific, filing time limits may be altered under certain conditions.

Discovery Rule

If an injury victim does not know that he/she has suffered an injury, the discovery rule may apply to the case. This happens when the injury manifest after the actual injury date. In these situations, the discovery rule may be used to extend the Statute of Limitations, so the time limit begins on the date the injury was discovered, rather than the actual injury date. A Henderson personal injury lawyer can explain the specifics of the discovery rule.

Tolling the Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations is usually tolled when the injury victim is a minor (under the age of 18) or is found by the court to be mentally incompetent. Under Nevada laws, if the injury victim is a minor, the Statute of Limitations does not begin until the person reaches age 18. If the injury victim is found mentally incompetent, the Statute of limitations is tolled until the date the victim is deemed competent.

In medical malpractice cases that involve minors, parents are responsible for filing a lawsuit within the three-year Statute of Limitations. If cases involve birth defects or brain damage, a lawsuit may be filed with a personal injury lawyer any time before the victim’s 10th birthday.

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