truck law 123
 

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently announced that state and local law enforcement along with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted 2,782 surprise passenger carrier safety inspections, across the nation, over a nine-day period. Their efforts resulted in 289 unsafe drivers or buses being taken off our roadways.

Our Atlanta bus accident lawyers think its high time that bus companies be monitored more closely, knowing the consequences that can result from a Georgia bus accident or tractor-trailer accident caused by an unsafe coach or driver.

In its effort to strengthen passenger carrier safety, FMCSA conducted surprise inspections beginning March 28 through April 6, 2011. Out-of-service violation citations were issued to 156 drivers and 262 vehicles by the enforcement strike force.

During a 17-day time period from March 12 to March 28, roughly 3,000 passenger carrier safety inspections were done across the country, resulting in nearly 10 percent of those passenger carrier vehicles being taken off roadways with reported violations.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Secretary LaHood. “We will continue to use every resource at our disposal to shut down unsafe passenger bus companies that place motorists at risk and remove drivers from our roads who put passengers in harm’s way.”

Along with the inspections 95 commercial passenger bus companies got a full safety compliance review. This is the process used for determining a passenger carrier’s safety rating.

“Working side-by-side with our state and local law enforcement partners, we can ensure that every passenger bus company and driver operates as safely as possible,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “These strike force activities are one of the many effective tools we use year-round to raise the safety bar for commercial buses and drivers on our nation’s roadways.”

According to FMCSA, safety inspections and compliance reviews have increased significantly on the nation’s roughly 3,700 registered motor coach companies. Although, the recent enforcement blitz comes in the wake of several deadly bus accidents, including one in New York City that claimed the lives of more than a dozen passengers.

Roadside motor coach safety inspections have increased from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,703 in 2010. Motor coach company compliance reviews have gone from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010.

The Obama Administration in 2009 developed a new Motorcoach Safety Action Plan. This plan includes proposed rules requiring that buses have seat belts and electronic on-board recorders (EOBR). These recorders are needed to replace paper records that drivers keep on themselves for their hours of driving. Strengthening driver heath requirements is also an issue that needs addressing.

Last year, regulations were put in place banning commercial drivers from texting while driving and banning hand-held cell phone use is being considered.

If you are involved in a Georgia bus accident, contact the Atlanta bus accident lawyers at Finch McCranie LLP for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (800) 228-9159 or at (404) 658-9070 or contact us through this website.
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As we go through our daily lives, the concentration is usually on rushing to the next thing and not on getting there safely.

When you are driving too fast, the likelihood of an accident increases. To avoid a trucking accident in Atlanta, it is important to maintain reasonable speed on highways where trucks are present. And if you have been involved in a truck accident, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced Atlanta injury attorney to help get you the award necessary to help pay for medical bills, rehabilitation and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Fairchild v. South Carolina Department of Transportation is a recent trucking accident case out of South Carolina. In this case the court looked to the issues surrounding damage awards for negligence in trucking accidents.

There was a South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) driver who was driving a dump truck with an attached rear trailer. In an attempt to make a u-turn on a highway, the driver merged into the median of the highway. Because of the length of the dump truck and the attached trailer, the rear of the trailer stuck out into the left traffic lane on the highway. Fairchild (plaintiff) was driving in that left lane on the highway. Upon seeing the trailer in the road, the plaintiff slammed on her brakes to avoid an accident. In doing this, a truck that was behind the plaintiff driven by Palmer (Defendant), crashed into plaintiff. As this was also a truck with a rear trailer attached, the force of this crash caused the plaintiff’s minivan to flip over and roll onto the median of the highway. Plaintiff suffered serious injuries and property damage.

Plaintiff sued SCDOT and Palmer. Upon signing a covenant not to sue with the SCDOT, Plaintiff continued her negligence lawsuit against Palmer. She sought actual damages for her property damage and physical injuries, as well as punitive damages.

The court in this case heard the appeal by the plaintiff because of the lower courts failure to instruct a jury as to punitive damages.

There are several different types of damages awarded in personal injury cases. The main types of damages are compensatory damages, often referred to as actual damages. These damages are awarded to compensate a victim for injury, property damage and/or harm suffered. On the other hand, punitive damages are awarded in cases where the defendant’s actions were so egregious, malicious or reckless as to inspire the court to punish them. These types of damages were created to have a deterrent effect on the public at large.

The court in this case looks to statute and case precedent to guide its decision. Where punitive damages are sought, the jury is responsible for the decision of whether to award these damages. However, it is the responsibility of the judge to give the jury instructions as to the proof necessary and the way to quantify these damages. Because the lower court failed to instruct the jury regarding this type of damages, this South Carolina court reminds the state courts of procedural policy.

Additionally, this court analyzed the rules that are essential when determining the application of the damages. Every driver has a duty to drive as a reasonably prudent person in similar circumstance. Statute also indicates that in order to act reasonably as a driver, you are not to speed or follow another vehicle too closely. This is a duty of care imputed on all drivers.

Where a driver fails to drive at a reasonable speed or follows too closely behind another vehicle, reckless, willful or wonton conduct is inferred. Where this conduct is inferred, punitive damages are appropriate.

Thus, this court held that the jury is responsible for making this decision although the law surrounding standards must be set by the judge.
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Atlanta truck accident cases can seem very overwhelming because there is so much confusion over who is liable.

Is it the truck driver? The truck driver’s employer? Or some third party you are not even aware of?

Our experienced Atlanta injury attorneys can help you identify the responsible parties and prove your case.

Blood v. VH-1 Music First is a case arising from a car accident caused by a commercial truck. Dennis Hernandez (Hernandez) was a commercial truck driver for MTV Networks. While he was traveling northbound on I-57 in Illinois he approached traffic. In an attempt to avoid getting stuck in the traffic jam, Hernandez crossed the center median of the highway to get onto I-57 northbound. This u-turn on the highway caused a severe accident that left a four to five mile traffic jam starting where Hernandez made the u-turn causing the severe three car accident.

Four hours after the accident, traffic was still jammed because of the accident caused by the driver. Brothers Paul and David Blood (plaintiffs) were driving on I-57 in their vehicle when they approached the beginning of the traffic jam. Behind the blood car a T.E.A.M Logistics (Logistics) truck driven by Milinko Cukovic (Cukovic) came and smashed into the pack of the plaintiff’s car. This impact left David Blood seriously injured and Paul Blood deceased.

The Blood family filed personal injury lawsuits against Cukovic, and T.E.A.M Logistics. Logistics removed the case to federal court and entered a third-party complaint against Hernandez, MTV Networks and VH-1 Music First (Hernandez defendants). Logistics argued that because of the negligence of the Hernandez defendants which caused the first accident, the second accident occurred. The plaintiffs then added the Hernandez defendants in an amended complaint.

In order to prove a case for negligence, the plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence the four elements of negligence. The four elements of negligence are: the defendant had a specific duty of care; the defendant breached this duty of care; the defendant’s breach was the actual and proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries; and there are damages.

Upon hearing the case, the district court entered summary judgment for the Hernandez defendants. This district court found that the Hernandez defendants were not the proximate cause of the injuries the plaintiff’s sustained. The plaintiff’s appealed this case to the circuit court.

This court first analyzed the validity of the lower courts summary judgment. The only time summary judgment is appropriate is where the moving party shows the court that there is no dispute as to the material facts of the case. Therefore, where there is a factual dispute it is improper for the court to grant summary judgment. A factual dispute is where a reasonable jury hearing the case could decide for either party.

The court in this case acknowledged that it is undisputed that Hernandez had a duty and that this duty was breached by Hernandez. However, to prove a case for negligence the plaintiff must show causation. Therefore, to establish if there was a factual dispute in this case, the court must examine the requirements of proximate cause.

To prove proximate cause the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty was a substantial factor to the injuries the plaintiff suffered. Next, plaintiff must show that a reasonably prudent person would be able to foresee that as a result of their action, the plaintiff could sustain the type of injuries sustained.

Because plaintiffs could not show that Hernandez could have foreseen a car accident four hours after the time that he made the illegal u-turn, this court affirmed the summary judgment of the district court. Plaintiffs were therefore unable to collect damages from the Hernandez defendants.
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We pay insurance premiums in order to have a safeguard if we are ever involved in a car accident. But, how many times do we hear of insurance companies trying to get away with not releasing benefits?

If you are involved in an Atlanta truck accident, it is important to know what benefits you are entitled to. It is important to have an experienced Atlanta injury attorney advocating for you against the big insurance conglomerates. Our attorneys understand what it needs to get you the benefits you have paid for.

Vann v. Mercury is a recent truck accident case out of New Jersey. The case arose where the plaintiff, Richard Vann (plaintiff), was driving a truck for a company named Vann Trucking which was owned and operated by his father. Plaintiff was on his way to pick up a trailer to hitch to the truck. While the plaintiff was parked on a service road near Philadelphia, a train struck the truck. The plaintiff suffered injuries to his lower back, shoulders, neck and head.

At the time of this accident, plaintiff had an insurance policy with Mercury Indemnity Company (defendant) for his two personal vehicles. As part of plaintiff’s insurance policy with the defendant, he had coverage in the form of personal injury protection (PIP) and med-pay benefits. As the defendant points out, there were exclusions to the benefit payout.

Vann Trucking had a commercial insurance policy with National Independent Truckers Insurance Company (National). This commercial policy was for the truck being driven by the plaintiff. The problem arose because the commercial policy did not provide PIP or med-pay benefits.

In an attempt to seek additional benefits for medical care, plaintiff entered a claim with his personal insurer for med-pay benefits. This claim was rejected and the defendant cited that the “regular use” exclusion in the policy was applicable to the claim.

Most regular use clauses stipulate that the insurance company will pay medical expense benefits to an insured who suffers a bodily injury caused by an accident arising from the use, maintenance or ownership of an insured’s automobile. Additionally, the policy in this case adds that they will provide coverage for medical benefits for the insured where the insured is using a vehicle not owned by him, and not normally used by the insured. Essentially, if the insured regularly uses the vehicle not owned or insured by him, and is involved in an accident, the med-pay coverage benefits are excluded and the insured cannot collect.

Basically, insurance companies want to protect themselves from having to pay out benefits to the insured where the insured is regularly using a vehicle that is not under the policy. The purpose of this is to encourage people to insure each vehicle they have regular access to. Under this policy with the exclusion provision, the insurance company will only extend benefits where the insured is injured in a vehicle on the policy or where the accident occurred in a vehicle that the insured is infrequently driving.

Because the truck the plaintiff was in when he sustained the injuries was regularly and customarily used by the plaintiff, the insurance company would not extend med-pay benefits.

The court agreed with the insurance company because case precedent on this issue has found that exclusionary clauses like the one at issue here, apply to cases where the insured is using another vehicle for work.

Thus the plaintiff in this case could not collect med-pay benefits. Summary judgment was entered on behalf of the insurance company.
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The term HAZMAT refers to hazardous materials and items. There are a huge variety of items classified as Hazmat, from various chemical products to biological waste products. Hazmat products must be transported in many cases and they are often moved on trucks.

Our Atlanta truck accident lawyers know that a crash involving a truck carrying Hazmat material can be devastating. Not only could the truck accident cause injury to the parties involved but the release of hazardous materials could do widespread and lasting damage. To protect the public and to ensure that the transport of hazardous materials is as safe as possible, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict rules for Hazmat transportations.

FMCSA Hazmat Rules Aim to Ensure Safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration establishes regulations and requirements on truck drivers throughout the United States. They address Hazmat Transportations in sections 385-397 of their regulations.

These regulations address safety fitness procedures; rules of practice for companies and drivers transporting hazardous material; general regulations; and driving and parking rules for those engaged in the transportation of hazardous materials.

Some of the requirements and provisions found within these regulations include:

Methods of determining a safety rating. The FMCSA will conduct a compliance review of companies transporting hazardous goods and, within 30 days, will issue a safety rating following the Safety Fitness Rating Methodology. Motor carriers who receive an unsatisfactory safety rating will be prohibited from operating any type of commercial motor vehicle.

Rules mandating that commercial motor vehicles containing certain types of hazardous materials are prohibited from parking within five feet of the traveled portion of a public street or highway. They are also prohibited from parking on private property or within 300 feet of bridges, workplaces, tunnels or dwellings unless it is necessary to park there for a brief period to perform required operations.

A requirement that motor carriers carrying hazardous materials use a placard or have sufficient markings.

A requirement that motor carriers with certain hazardous materials arrange a route that avoids heavily populated areas, places with large crowds, alleys and narrow streets unless it is an emergency or unless there is no practical alternative.

A mandate that drivers of vehicles carrying hazardous materials must inspect the tires of the vehicle when beginning each trip and whenever the vehicle is parked. If the inspection reveals that there is a problem, then repair of the defect is required and should be performed at the nearest safe location.

These are just a few of the many requirements that FMCSA has proposed in order to ensure that drivers are as safe as possible in transporting hazardous goods. The regulations address maintenance of the trucks, driver behavior, and routes in oder to ensure that safety is the number one priority from the start to the end of the trip.

Call the Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Finch McCranie LLP at (800) 228-9159 or (404) 658-9070.

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Trucking companies have strict requirements and regulations that must be complied with in order to make the roads safer for everyone. As our Atlanta truck accident lawyers know, any violation of the rules could result in accidents and devastating consequences. In order to ensure that rule violations are caught before a crash occurs, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has a number of enforcement powers including the right to shut down a trucking company.

FMCSA has exercised its authority many times to stop unsafe trucking companies from operating. Just recently, for example, FMCSA shut down an Atlanta based trucking company: Southern Transportation, Inc.

FMCSA Shuts down Atlanta Bus Company

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced that it had shut down Southern Transportation after the bus company stopped cooperating with FMCSA investigators and after the bus company failed to provide its company safety records to the federal investigators.

A trucking company is required to keep records of many different things including hours that employees’ work and maintenance records on their fleet. These records ensure that employees do not violate the hours-of-service requirements intended to prevent drowsy driving. The records also ensure that the brakes and other fundamental systems of the trucks are maintained in order to avoid a crash caused by mechanical defects.

Unless FMCSA has access to safety records, it cannot know when a trucking company is following the rules and requirements. This is why it is such as serious issue when a company refuses to comply and turn over its safety records.

Until recently however, FMCSA’s power was limited in investigating and shutting down trucking companies over safety records violations. FMCSA’s power was expanded, however, as a result of recently passed legislation called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).

MAP-21 improved highway/driving safety laws in many ways, ranging from imposing new requirements on states to pass tough DUI laws in order to receive federal funding to the new requirements that impact the trucking industry.

Under MAP-21 provisions, FMCSA now has the authority to shut down a motor carrier by putting it out of service for failure to comply with a demand for company safety records. This authority is long overdue. FMCSA now can protect the traveling public more effectively since it has the authority to force trucking companies to provide records on safety.

FMCSA used this authority to shut down Southern Transportation, Inc. This decision came around a week after shutting down another trucking company that was operating on a similar business model and that was considered an imminent hazard to safety.

With the FMCSA’s new authority in MAP-21 already being put to good use to stop dangerous companies from making the roads unsafe, the hope is that the number of truck accidents will decrease. Catching safety violations early and shutting down the violators can reduce the number of dangerous trucks and buses on the road and everyone will be safer because of it.
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Under federal law, an interstate trucking company must have a minimum of $750,000.00 in liability insurance available to satisfy any judgment that might arise out of a accident in which innocent third parties are injured. This is a minimum amount set by law. Most companies have coverage greater than this amount to protect their assets. If someone were to be killed or seriously injured, given the seriousness of accidents involving large tractor-trailer rigs, it is not uncommon that the damages inflicted will be substantial. Accordingly, it is not uncommon that these minimum limits are exceeded. Many carriers have one, five, ten and 20 million dollars in coverage and others have even greater amounts dependent upon the size of the trucking operation and the amount of assets of that a particular trucking company may wish to protect in the event of a serious claim.

If a trucking company only has the minimum coverage and a judgment greater than $750,000.00 is obtained by the innocent victim or their family, then in that event, the family of the victim can attempt to collect the excess amount of the judgment directly from the motor carrier’s assets. Thus, in many ways, the minimum coverage required by law is irrelevant because most carriers have far greater coverage. The minimum coverage typically is relevant only when smaller carriers are involved with few business assets.

Many carriers are in the business of transporting hazardous substances in interstate commerce. With respect to such substances, because they can be deadly if spilled or involved in an accident, the minimum coverage for such substances is typically $5 million in liability coverage. This is because if a toxic chemical is spilled many people may be affected and thus higher limits of liability coverage are required by law. Again, the more responsible carriers provide even greater coverage because $5 million may be woefully inadequate if there is a spill of toxic substances on an interstate highway.

The good news about federal law is that the minimum limit of $750,000.00 is far greater than Georgia state law minimum limit of only $100,000.00 for intrastate operations. If a trucking company is operating in intrastate commerce only, that is in the State of Georgia by itself, as an example, then in that event, the minimum coverage required by state law is $100,000.00. Again, the more responsible companies which have assets that they need to protect for their own reasons against an excess judgment will have greater amounts of coverage. Fly-by-night or smaller companies may only have the minimum.

We have long advocated that the minimum amounts currently set forth under both state and federal law need to be increased because of the tremendous damage inflicted by these vehicles when involved in accidents. When serious injuries and/or death or involved, the minimum limits are insufficient to compensate the innocent victim. Thus, while the minimum limits, in our judgment, are inadequate, nonetheless, they do provide a minimum safety net for the motoring public.

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Many teens – and maybe even their parents – may feel that an Atlanta trucking accident isn’t something they need to concern themselves with. After all, you would be hard-pressed to find a teenager operating a big-rig.

However, because teens share the road with these large vehicles, it’s important for parents to discuss how to navigate safely around them. Teens need to be reminded of the dangers around these vehicles, which can sometimes weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds. Many teens driving are familiar with passenger cars and trucks, but their chances of survival decrease exponentially if they tangle with a large truck. It’s a topic many driver’s education courses may simply gloss over, so it’s crucial for parents to make sure their teen is educated about the dangers

Our Atlanta trucking accident attorneys believe this discussion is all the more important to have in light of a recent study that revealed the number of teens car accident fatalities is on an alarmingly upward incline.

According to a report released earlier this month by the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of drivers aged 17 and under who died in passenger vehicles increased during the first half of 2011, compared to the first six months of 2010. This was true for all 50 states and Washington D.C.

The statistics showed that 16 and 17-year-olds killed in car accidents increased by 11 percent during that time frame. Once figures are tabulated for the end of 2011, if that is a trend that continues, it will mean the end of eight consecutive years of a decline in teen driver fatalities.

While there is no breakdown in this report of exactly how many of those specifically involved large trucks, what we do know from previous research is that those involved in Atlanta trucking accidents suffer more severe injuries than those who crash into other passenger vehicles.

In a large-scale study conducted by the National Highway Safety Association, researchers looked at trucking accident data from 1975 to 2005. What they found was that more than 7 percent of those killed in trucking accidents were teens ages 17 and under. The next-highest age group, those ages 18 to 25, suffered 17 percent of the total trucking accident fatalities – the most of any other age group. This alone should be evidence enough for parents to have a discussion with their teens about driving around large trucks.

The Geico Educational Foundation in 2009 released a brochure with tips for teens to avoid trucking accidents. The first of those is to be aware of the trucker’s blind spots, also referred to as “no zones.” A good general rule is that if you can’t see the trucker’s mirror, he or she is not going to be able to see you. If you need to pass a truck, make sure you can see the front of the rig in your rear view mirror before you pull ahead. Never swerve in front of a truck or come to an abrupt stop just ahead of a truck, as these large vehicles can’t stop as quickly as the driver of a passenger vehicle. Lastly, avoid getting between a turning truck and the curb, as these vehicles often require a large amount of space to make their wide turns.

Continue reading “Atlanta Trucking Accidents Involve Teens Too” »
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According to Fleet Owner.com, Aegis Mobility has been conducting annual surveys on distracted driving among professional drivers for the past several years. This year, as they begin their third-annual survey on Workplace Distracted Driving, Aegis Mobility is targeting fleet operators and asking them to answer questions about distracted driving behaviors.

The aim of the study conducted by Aegis Mobility is to develop a better understanding about employer attitudes regarding cell phone use and driver distraction. The results of the study can serve as a guide to help policymakers in the commercial trucking industry to make smart, safe policies and as a guide to help shed light on the dangers of distracted driving within the commercial trucking industry.

Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys know that commercial drivers are not supposed to engage in dangerous behavior when they are driving. Unfortunately, driving while distracted is extremely dangerous and can significantly increase the chances of an accident happening.

Professional Drivers and Distracted Driving
There are a number of different behaviors that can be considered distracted driving, but perhaps the most dangerous behavior of all is texting and driving. This is why the Department of Transportation (DOT) has instituted a ban on texting for all commercial drivers including drivers of large trucks and drivers who transport passengers.

When the ban passed When the ban passed indicated that there were harsh penalties for any driver who failed to comply with the prohibition against texting behind the wheel. The civil and criminal penalties that a commercial driver could face if he was caught texting could total up to $2,750.

Such strict penalties are needed to create a strong deterrent against texting because a driver who texts puts himself and everyone else at a 23 times greater risk of becoming involved in a car accident. When the texting driver is a truck driver, this is a serious problem because trucks are so much larger than passenger cars and are thus much more likely to cause a fatal wreck.

Texting is not the only dangerous behavior, though, and laws don’t always get followed no matter how harsh the penalties are for non-compliance. Aegis Mobile’s new study aims to see whether commercial fleet operators, risk managers and safety professionals are really taking strong steps to make sure that their drivers are safe and not distracted by texting or any other distractions. This is why they are urging fleet operators to answer their 3-minute survey and even offering an incentive in the form of an entry to win a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.

Hopefully, many fleet operators will answer the survey in order to provide information on the actual practices related to distracted driving within the trucking industry. The results could encourage lawmakers to pass additional laws on distracted driving or to increase enforcement of the widespread ban that is in place on texting. The results could also show companies how important it is to take a strong stance on distracted driving so those that do not already have policies in place can make changes to better protect the public from the dangers of a distracted driver.

If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident, call the Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Finch McCranie LLP at (800) 228-9159 or (404) 658-9070.
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Initial statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are that traffic fatalities were on the rise in 2012.

Our Atlanta trucking accident attorneys understand early estimates indicate more than 34,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the U.S. last year. If this bears true when the final numbers are tallied, this would represent a 5.3 percent increase as compared to the approximately 32,300 traffic deaths reported in 2011.

This would be the first annual increase of traffic deaths we’ve had since 2005 in this country. In the last six years, the number of people killed in traffic crashes had been dropping steadily. It dropped about 26 percent from 2005 to 2011.

It appears that traffic deaths increased the most during the first quarter of the year (about 12.5 percent), tapering off each quarter thereafter. In fact, that was one of the highest quarterly increases ever reported since the mid-1970s, when the NHTSA first began keeping track. The only time it was higher was the first quarter of 1979, when the fatality rate rose by more than 15 percent.

In the past, the tanking economy was at least partially cited as a factor in the years-long decrease. This made sense, considering the price of oil was up and people weren’t getting raises or, worse, were getting laid off or couldn’t find a job at all. That meant fewer people were driving, fewer truck companies were hiring and overall, there were less miles being traveled.

This last year, researchers say there has been a 0.3 percent increase in the number of vehicle miles traveled. That still doesn’t line up with the 5.3 percent rise in traffic deaths.

When we compare the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, it’s jumped from 1.10 in 2011 to 1.16 in 2012.

The one bit of good news, at least for Georgia, is that regionally, we didn’t fare bad. There were many areas where the rate of fatalities soared as high as 9 and 10 percent. The region with the highest uptick was Region 6, which includes Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, where the rates rose by 10 percent. In region 3, which includes North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the District of Columbia, it rose by 4 percent. It rose by 5 percent in Region 7, which includes Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa.

In our area, Region 4, the fatality rate rose by 2 percent. The region includes Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee and Florida.

On the one hand, it’s good news that we’re not the worst in the country. Still, a 2 percent increase, when we’re talking about lives lost, is never something to become complacent about.

The NHTSA has thusfar declined to speculate on some of the possible reasons for this uptick until the final numbers are in.

We’ll be closely following any developments. In the meantime, we urge everyone to do their best to practice safer driving habits this summer.
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On the same day a tanker truck explosion in Mexico City killed at least 22 people and injured 36 others, families of U.S. truck crash victims spoke out to urge Congress to support legislation that would address truck weight and size limits.

While our Atlanta truck accident lawyers have yet to learn the cause of the massive tragedy in Mexico, we do know that the natural gas tanker exploded after the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed on the highway, which was lined with dozens of homes. Authorities there say the death toll could rise, as several of the victims remain in critical condition.

We also know that the heavier one of these large trucks is, the more difficult it can be to control and the more prone it may be to crashes.

Mexico doesn’t currently have the same kinds of weight and size regulations that the U.S. has implemented, but we need to ensure those regulations are protected from special interest groups who may work to pressure the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration. This proposed legislation is one way of doing it.

The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act was re-introduced by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) after two previous failed attempts, the latest in 2011.

The measure would apply the current tractor-trailer truck weight limit of 80,000 pounds and a size limit of 53 feet to the entire national highway system, which would include both interstates as well as smaller highways. Certain exemptions, such as those for firefighting equipment, would be maintained under the bill.

As it now stands, those standard size and weight restrictions are already applicable to the 44,000-mile interstate system. This bill would extend most of those same restrictions to the larger 220,000-mile national highway system.

Additionally, this measure would expand the current halt of triple tractor trailer runs on interstates to the broader national system. It would also seal any loopholes that allow overweight trucks to remain in operation. Additionally, an enforcement program would be established to ensure that violators would have a clear chain of accountability.

Trucks that are heavier and bigger have a disproportionately high share of motor vehicle deaths, when we’re looking at the statistics on a per-miles-traveled basis. These vehicles are known to be at increased risk for rollover, swaying and they also require longer distances to make a safe stop.

Lautenberg was quoted as saying that not only do these massive vehicles pose an immediate risk to motorists, they also take a toll on the integrity of our bridges and highways.

This measure is co-sponsored by other Democrats in New Jersey, California and Missouri. A companion bill in the House is also being sponsored by a Democrat from Massachusetts.

The Truck Safety Coalition reports that a new poll found overwhelming public support for truck weight limitations, with nearly 70 percent opposing heavier trucks and nearly 90 percent expressing a strong opposition to paying higher taxes for the infrastructure damage caused by heavier trucks.
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Criminal prosecutors have filed charges against both a semi truck driver and a commercial shuttle bus driver, for their roles in a crash last month near the Atlanta airport that resulted in 17 injuries.

Our Atlanta injury attorneys understand there were multiple factors to blame in this situation, a fact that highlights widespread problems within the entire shuttle bus industry – from the design of the vehicles to the fact that they are often poorly maintained to the fact that drivers often aren’t certified to operate them.

Any one of these factors has the potential for fatal consequences. This case had all of them, plus the involvement of a semi truck performing an illegal u-turn. Miraculously, no one was killed.

According to authorities, here’s what happened:

A shuttle bus driver was transporting 16 passengers, including at least two children, to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Meanwhile, the driver of a tractor trailer was making an illegal u-turn on Loop Road. The shuttle bus slammed into the tractor trailer, and everyone aboard the bus – including the driver – had to be transported to a nearby hospital, some with serious injuries.

Although the tractor-trailer driver was acting illegally, police investigators say that it was in fact the poor condition of the tires that were to blame. One even had the steel belts poking through the rubber.

But the shuttle bus problems didn’t stop there. The rear brakes of the bus were not functional. That meant when the bus driver attempted to make an abrupt stop, it had only the front brakes upon which to rely.

On top of all that, the driver of the bus did not have a proper commercial license for the type of vehicle she was driving or the number of passengers it carried.

The owner of the shuttle bus company admits mistakes were made, but said that the driver of each vehicle is supposed to conduct safety checks on a vehicle before transporting passengers. The firm is investigating whether that was done, as well as why the driver was operating a vehicle for which she had no proper authorization.

Meanwhile, the trucking company, while in good standing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, has been involved in at least 200 crashes in the last two years alone. Of those, six resulted in fatalities.

Many times, we find in these cases that shuttle buses failed to even meet the basic requirements as laid forth by the FMCSA. However, we would argue that those standards should be even stricter. For example, as it stands now, there is no requirement for the vehicles to be equipped with seat belts. Plus, particularly with airport transport vehicles, luggage is often not properly secured and there is a tendency to overload those vehicles in an effort to make fewer trips.

The sad reality is that too often, these firms do not have the safety of their customers or others on the road at the top of their priority list. We hope that if there is any good to come of situations like this, it is that this kind of thinking will change.
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Late last month, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration wrapped up intensive training of its new Quick Strike team, a group of 50 passenger carrier safety investigators whose goal is to target serious regulatory violators nationwide.

Our Georgia trucking accident attorneys understand that the teams have already begun to dive head-first into action, so far shuttering operations of three companies deemed to pose an immediate danger to public safety. One of those companies, Best Limo Service, is based in Tucker – just a half hour northeast of Atlanta.

The FMCSA’s team reported that the carrier’s operations were ordered to be halted immediately, due to the severity of the hazard posed to the public.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was quoted as saying that the traveling public has a right to expect safety standards will be met when they climb aboard a commercial bus, van or other vehicle. He further reiterated that carriers that flagrantly break the law and put people’s lives in jeopardy won’t be allowed to continue operations.

While Best Limo Service is headquartered in Georgia, it has branches throughout the southeastern U.S., providing charter services and tours to thousands of passengers annually.

But an investigation launched in mid-April found serious federal rule violations, which revealed a total disregard for the safety of passengers.

In one instance, a driver had tested positive for drugs and another who had a suspended commercial driver’s license. And yet, these individuals were allowed to continue to work for the company as drivers, transporting passengers.

The company was additionally found to be failing to monitor each driver’s compliance with federal hours-of-service mandates. This resulted in drivers who were overly-fatigued and allowed to transport passengers.

The violations didn’t even stop there. The vehicle maintenance program operated by the company was clearly not doing enough to ensure that passenger vehicles were in proper working order. An on-site inspection of three of the company’s buses ended with all three vehicles sidelined out-of-service for critical safety violations.

This is only the beginning of this effort, according to the FMCSA, which also plans to involve law enforcement personnel, advocates and industry insiders into the fold.

It’s encouraging that over the last half a dozen years, the number of motorcoach safety inspections has tripled, up to almost 34,000 in 2012. That year, there were 880 drivers and more than 1,830 vehicles placed out of service.

However, companies continue to flout safety rules and regulations. Companies cut corners to save money. Drivers put their own bottom line ahead of their passengers’ safety. Investigators learned the company failed to make sure drivers weren’t abusing drugs or alcohol or ignoring hours of service rules. Additionally, qualified mechanics were not employed by the company, as required in order to ensure proper maintenance of vehicles.

The limo service shut-down in Tucker was followed shortly thereafter by the shut down of a Niagara Falls passenger carrier, which operates a small number of tour buses in the area.

The FMCSA encourages riders to “Look Before You Book” by checking a motorcoach company’s credentials and safety history.
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Bus accidents cause numerous deaths and injuries every year in the Georgia and the United States. This firm recently represented a young man seriously injured when the driver of the bus in which he was riding mistakenly exited I-75 in Atlanta and fell from a bridge. Several young men and the driver were killed and many injured.

Last week U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced several new measures that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is taking to help ensure that passengers traveling by bus are as safe as possible.

The U.S. DOT will now require more rigorous commercial driver’s license testing standards, seek new rules to strengthen passenger carrier and driver compliance with federal safety regulations, and empower consumers to review safety records of bus companies before booking.

Secretary also announced that FMCSA will be teaming up with state law enforcement to conduct unannounced motorcoach inspections at popular travel destinations throughout the spring and summer peak travel season.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a new final rule requiring anyone applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to first obtain a commercial driver’s learner’s permit. The rule also requires all state licensing agencies to use a CDL testing system that meets the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators CDL knowledge and skill standards, and prohibits the use of foreign language interpreters to reduce the potential for testing fraud.

Prior to this new rule, CDL applicants were not required to first obtain a learner’s permit and CDL testing systems were not uniform nationwide.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued several new policy proposals designed to raise the bar for passenger carrier safety, including a provision that would give the U.S. DOT greater authority to pursue enforcement action against unsafe “reincarnated” passenger carriers by establishing a federal standard to help determine whether a new carrier is simply a reincarnation of an old, unsafe carrier.

The Department is also proposing to require new motorcoach companies to undergo a full safety audit before receiving U.S. DOT operating authority, revise current law to ensure a driver’s CDL can be suspended or revoked for drug- and alcohol-related offenses committed in non-commercial vehicles, and raise the penalty from $2,000 a day to $25,000 for passenger carriers that attempt to operate without USDOT authority.

The USDOT also unveiled a safety checklist that will help consumers review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating and USDOT operating authority before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel.

The checklist is now available online at FMCSA’s Passenger Bus Safety Web site. FMCSA is also encouraging consumers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238).

In addition, FMCSA and its state and local enforcement partners are supporting improved passenger bus safety with a growing number of unannounced bus safety inspections across the country. Starting this week and lasting throughout the summer travel season, the enforcement campaign will target popular destinations such as amusement parks, national parks, casinos, and sports event venues.

Over the past five years, FMCSA has doubled the number of unannounced bus safety inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies. Roadside safety inspections of motorcoaches jumped from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,703 in 2010, while compliance reviews rose from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010.

The Administration has taken a number of additional actions over the past several years to improve passenger safety:

• Last December, USDOT launched a new safety measurement system titled Compliance, Safety, Accountability that provides detailed safety data to identify bus companies for safety interventions.

• The Obama Administration is spearheading major improvements to passenger carrier safety through a wide-ranging Motorcoach Safety Action Plan. USDOT has proposed rules that will require buses to have seat belts and electronic on-board recorders to replace easily falsified paper records of driver hours.

• Last year, USDOT adopted a rule to combat distracted driving by banning commercial drivers from texting behind the wheel and proposed a new standard to prohibit hand-held mobile phone use.

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Bus accidents cause numerous deaths and injuries every year in the Georgia and the United States. This firm recently represented a young man seriously injured when the driver of the bus in which he was riding mistakenly exited I-75 in Atlanta and fell from a bridge. Several young men and the driver were killed and many injured.

Last week U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced several new measures that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is taking to help ensure that passengers traveling by bus are as safe as possible.

The U.S. DOT will now require more rigorous commercial driver’s license testing standards, seek new rules to strengthen passenger carrier and driver compliance with federal safety regulations, and empower consumers to review safety records of bus companies before booking.

Secretary also announced that FMCSA will be teaming up with state law enforcement to conduct unannounced motorcoach inspections at popular travel destinations throughout the spring and summer peak travel season.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a new final rule requiring anyone applying for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to first obtain a commercial driver’s learner’s permit. The rule also requires all state licensing agencies to use a CDL testing system that meets the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators CDL knowledge and skill standards, and prohibits the use of foreign language interpreters to reduce the potential for testing fraud.

Prior to this new rule, CDL applicants were not required to first obtain a learner’s permit and CDL testing systems were not uniform nationwide.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued several new policy proposals designed to raise the bar for passenger carrier safety, including a provision that would give the U.S. DOT greater authority to pursue enforcement action against unsafe “reincarnated” passenger carriers by establishing a federal standard to help determine whether a new carrier is simply a reincarnation of an old, unsafe carrier.

The Department is also proposing to require new motorcoach companies to undergo a full safety audit before receiving U.S. DOT operating authority, revise current law to ensure a driver’s CDL can be suspended or revoked for drug- and alcohol-related offenses committed in non-commercial vehicles, and raise the penalty from $2,000 a day to $25,000 for passenger carriers that attempt to operate without USDOT authority.

The USDOT also unveiled a safety checklist that will help consumers review a bus company’s safety record, safety rating and USDOT operating authority before buying a ticket or hiring a bus company for group travel.

The checklist is now available online at FMCSA’s Passenger Bus Safety Web site. FMCSA is also encouraging consumers to report any unsafe bus company, vehicle or driver to the agency through a toll free hotline 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238).

In addition, FMCSA and its state and local enforcement partners are supporting improved passenger bus safety with a growing number of unannounced bus safety inspections across the country. Starting this week and lasting throughout the summer travel season, the enforcement campaign will target popular destinations such as amusement parks, national parks, casinos, and sports event venues.

Over the past five years, FMCSA has doubled the number of unannounced bus safety inspections and comprehensive safety reviews of the nation’s estimated 4,000 passenger bus companies. Roadside safety inspections of motorcoaches jumped from 12,991 in 2005 to 25,703 in 2010, while compliance reviews rose from 457 in 2005 to 1,042 in 2010.

The Administration has taken a number of additional actions over the past several years to improve passenger safety:

• Last December, USDOT launched a new safety measurement system titled Compliance, Safety, Accountability that provides detailed safety data to identify bus companies for safety interventions.

• The Obama Administration is spearheading major improvements to passenger carrier safety through a wide-ranging Motorcoach Safety Action Plan. USDOT has proposed rules that will require buses to have seat belts and electronic on-board recorders to replace easily falsified paper records of driver hours.

• Last year, USDOT adopted a rule to combat distracted driving by banning commercial drivers from texting behind the wheel and proposed a new standard to prohibit hand-held mobile phone use.

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Atlanta Shuttle Bus Accident Results in Many Injuries, Criminal Charges

Criminal prosecutors have filed charges against both a semi truck driver and a commercial shuttle bus driver, for their roles in a crash last month near the Atlanta airport that resulted in 17 injuries.

Our Atlanta injury attorneys understand there were multiple factors to blame in this situation, a fact that highlights widespread problems within the entire shuttle bus industry – from the design of the vehicles to the fact that they are often poorly maintained to the fact that drivers often aren’t certified to operate them.
Any one of these factors has the potential for fatal consequences. This case had all of them, plus the involvement of a semi truck performing an illegal u-turn. Miraculously, no one was killed.
According to authorities, here’s what happened:
A shuttle bus driver was transporting 16 passengers, including at least two children, to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Meanwhile, the driver of a tractor trailer was making an illegal u-turn on Loop Road. The shuttle bus slammed into the tractor trailer, and everyone aboard the bus – including the driver – had to be transported to a nearby hospital, some with serious injuries.
Although the tractor-trailer driver was acting illegally, police investigators say that it was in fact the poor condition of the tires that were to blame. One even had the steel belts poking through the rubber.
But the shuttle bus problems didn’t stop there. The rear brakes of the bus were not functional. That meant when the bus driver attempted to make an abrupt stop, it had only the front brakes upon which to rely.
On top of all that, the driver of the bus did not have a proper commercial license for the type of vehicle she was driving or the number of passengers it carried.
The owner of the shuttle bus company admits mistakes were made, but said that the driver of each vehicle is supposed to conduct safety checks on a vehicle before transporting passengers. The firm is investigating whether that was done, as well as why the driver was operating a vehicle for which she had no proper authorization.
Meanwhile, the trucking company, while in good standing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, has been involved in at least 200 crashes in the last two years alone. Of those, six resulted in fatalities.
Many times, we find in these cases that shuttle buses failed to even meet the basic requirements as laid forth by the FMCSA. However, we would argue that those standards should be even stricter. For example, as it stands now, there is no requirement for the vehicles to be equipped with seat belts. Plus, particularly with airport transport vehicles, luggage is often not properly secured and there is a tendency to overload those vehicles in an effort to make fewer trips.
The sad reality is that too often, these firms do not have the safety of their customers or others on the road at the top of their priority list. We hope that if there is any good to come of situations like this, it is that this kind of thinking will change.

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CASTLE ROCK – Just after noon on Thursday (August 12), Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Maintenance Technician 2 Guy Copeland was busy mowing the grassy median on I-5 near Castle Rock in Cowlitz County when a passing motorist flicked a lit cigarette out of their window.

The cigarette butt landed directly in front of the mower and almost instantly the extremely dry grass went up in flames. Guy immediately backed the mower up, but the fire spread quickly and had soon had the machine surrounded. After radioing for help, Guy leapt out of the mower to safety. The Washington State Patrol and two more WSDOT employees soon arrived on the scene and closed one left lane on I-5 northbound to make room for the fire trucks and personnel from Castle Rock Fire and EMS, the Cowlitz County Fire District 3 and the state Department of Natural Resources. After about an hour and a half, the fire was out, and left lane was reopened just before 2:30 p.m.

“What we have here is a careless motorist who needlessly risked the life of a state employee and damaged state equipment,” said WSDOT Southwest Region Maintenance and Operations Manager Rick Sjolander. “All because they couldn’t be bothered to put their cigarette out properly.”

This summer has been extremely dry, which increases the risk for brush and grass fires across the state. As a result, WSDOT, the Washington State Patrol and a host of state agencies and local fire districts have teamed up to send drivers a simple message, “Keep your butt in the car.”

By throwing a lit cigarette out the window, you jeopardize the safety of others, cause potential traffic back-ups while emergency response teams battle the fire, and cost taxpayers up to $100,000 an acre. It’s not cheap for those caught throwing cigarettes out their window either. The Washington State Patrol will fine violators $1,025 if caught.

WSDOT would also like to emphasize the fact that summer is one of the busiest highway maintenance seasons in the state. All motorists are asked to please slow down, pay attention and use caution while driving past a highway work zone, whether it’s in a travel lane or on the shoulder or median.
Give ‘em a Brake!

Work Zone Safety Facts:

It is more likely that a motorist will be killed in a highway work zone accident than a construction or maintenance employee. In Washington, 12 motorists are killed for every WSDOT employee killed and 214 motorists are injured for every WSDOT employee injured.
The most common cause of work zone accidents is speeding and inattentive driving.
All traffic law violation fines are doubled inside a work zone when workers are present (RCW 46.61.527).
All motorists must obey the directions of all flaggers or pilot vehicle drivers within the work zone. If you ignore their directions or in any way endanger their lives with reckless driving, you will be charged with a misdemeanor (RCW 46.61.015).
State law dictates that all motorists must yield the right of way to any highway construction personnel, vehicles with flashing yellow lights or construction equipment inside a highway construction or maintenance work zone (RCW 46.61.215).
Contact our Nebraskatruck Accident Lawyers if you have ever experienced a personal injury and think others are at fault for the accident.
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legal – law 4.321 truck
 

Statistics show that airplanes are one of our safest kinds of transportation — but when airplanes crash, the effect is catastrophic, with passengers, crew and people on the ground instantly killed or seriously injured. Passengers on commercial flights often also face injury from other passengers, even though the carrier they have paid owes them a duty to keep them safe from irrational or dangerous strangers. If you or someone you care about has been injured in the air, you should contact Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen as soon as possible to protect your access to the courts.

In the past few years, everyone who flies has become more safety-conscious. However, there are still passengers who, due to stress or bad behavior, cause problems onboard and harm the others who are trapped next to them for the duration of the flight. Sometimes airline employees or equipment injure innocent passengers as well. In this situation, it’s important not to accept a monetary settlement from the airline or sign anything right away — you may be signing away your right to an attorney. Our firm can help you fully investigate the incident, find out what should have been done and get full compensation for your injuries.

Crashes, though rare, can be devastating for the loved ones left behind. Statistically, small private aircraft are the most likely to crash, but commercial carriers and government aircraft such as helicopters may also crash — and are governed by stricter laws than those applied to accidents on the ground. While pilot error is still the most common cause of an airplane crash, poor maintenance, defective parts or design and bad judgment from supervisors can all contribute to a crash.

Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis & Larsen has recovered thousands for clients hurt in aviation accidents. That money can help victims pay for medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death and other costs victims would never have incurred if everyone had done the right thing. For a free, no-obligation consultation with our Northern California aviation attorneys, call us today.
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As Georgia injury lawyers, it is not uncommon for us to review potential wrongful death claims involving truck driver fatigue. We often see this in the context of tractor-trailer accidents where the truck driver has fabricated his driver’s log and/or driven far in excess of his allowable hours. Many times there is demonstrated sleep loss involving the use of amphetamines, methamphetamines or other stimulants used by the driver to overcome the fatigue.

According to a newsletter we recently ran across published by a well respected truck safety organization, there is an interesting correlation between sleep loss, fatigue and the serious impairment caused by being legally drunk. Studies have shown that the impairment from sleep loss and long working hours are almost the same caused by alcohol consumption. The longer one is awake, the slower the reaction time. If one gets too little sleep (4 or less hours) this is equivalent to the effects of .05% blood alcohol for the long working hours. In one study, where people were kept awake for 24 straight hours, the slowed perception reaction time had approximately the same effect as .10% blood alcohol level which is above the level (.08%) now nationally recognized as being legally drunk. Thus, it can be clinically demonstrated that if one loses sleep for a long period of time one’s perception and reaction time is dangerously slowed.

In our personal injury practice we often see the evidence of serious impairment caused by fatigue and lack of sleep. The end result of such fatigue we see in our practice is a serious collision. Increasingly, we see this particularly in the context of truck drivers who are trying to increase their wages by driving longer and longer hours and greater and greater distances. Even though large trucks make up just 4% of all registered vehicles, and 7% of all vehicle miles traveled, the same trucks are involved in 11% of all crash fatalities. This year, as in years past, approximately 5,000 people will be killed in truck crashes and collisions throughout the country. We know from our experience that many of these crashes are preventable and would not occur if drivers kept shorter hours and were not seriously impaired by fatigue. While commercial airline pilots typically fly only about 30 hours a month, most truck drivers drive around 300 hours a month. For some reason, this has become acceptable in the workplace even though the number of people killed in truck crashes annually exceed the number of people that are killed in major airline crashes. Query why this is so?

With improvements in technology, before long, employers and trucking companies will be able to monitor precisely the hours being kept by their truck drivers. We can only hope that legislation will follow which mandates that employers not only monitor the number of hours driven but also the number of hours taken by the driver to rest. Too many hours driving means too much fatigue which also means possible impairment of perception and reaction times. Because we see the end result of this, which is serious injury, death and tragedy for our client’s families, and we can only hope that the speed of technology will continue to develop to the point where trucking companies will have no choice but to monitor and address the significance safety issues caused by driver fatigue.

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Georgia law with respect to the financial responsibility for common carriers needs to be changed and it needs to be changed quickly. Simply stated, the minimum limits of insurance protection that is now available to the public is grossly inadequate and far less than federal limits. It is high time that Georgia enacts legislation which is at least as effective as federal law in protecting innocent members of the motoring public when it comes to the type of carnage that can be inflicted by a negligent trucking company.

In order to operate as a motor carrier in Georgia, a company must first obtain a certificate of public convenience pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 46-7-3. Under rules adopted by the Georgia Public Service Commission, in order to obtain a certificate of public convenience, a carrier must provide the State with a surety bond of only $100,000.00 for bodily injury or death of one person and $300,000.00 for bodily injury or death of all persons involved in an accident. This standard was issued by the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) under its Rule 7-2.1. Alternatively, the Georgia PSC stated that a motor carrier could present the PSC with proof of insurance in the same amount and that the proof could be the actual policy itself or a certificate of coverage from the insurance company.

The Certificate of Insurance in Georgia is known as a Form E (Uniform Motor Carrier Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability Certificate of Insurance). The purpose of this insurance is to protect the innocent members of motoring public who may be damaged by the carrier’s operations. Unfortunately, in a case involving serious injury or death, $100,000.00 is clearly inadequate to address such a situation. Indeed, in any serious case where the injured victim remains in the hospital sometimes for days or weeks, the $100,000.00 minimum limits of insurance coverage is hardly sufficient to even compensate the victim for his or her medical expenses much less lost wages, pain and suffering and/or permanent disability caused by the injury. Unfortunately, the Georgia Legislature which is dominated by a business lobby mentality, does not seem very interested in calling for an amendment to this Rule. “Let them eat cake” seems to be the attitude which we have a hard time understanding. After all, we are talking about innocent victims.

Under federal law, the minimum limits of insurance coverage for the protection of the public is $750,000.00. Most responsible trucking companies carry much more by way of liability insurance coverage then the minimum limits because their assets are at risk in a serous case. Many responsible trucking companies carry 5 – 10 million dollars in coverage, and sometimes more. In a serious case where amputations are involved, paralysis, death or other truly severe injuries, such coverage is necessary to compensate the innocent third party victim who may be involved in an accident with a large truck. If a driver loses control, is speeding, crosses the centerline or otherwise strikes the innocent third party who has done absolutely nothing wrong, one can be assured that with the size of some of these rigs, the innocent third party will be severely damaged. If the person survives the injury, that person may undergo months, if not years, of pain and suffering not to mention a loss of their lifestyle, their job and the emotional stress attendant to such a situation which literally always affects the entire family. In such circumstances, it is ludicrous for the State of Georgia to have coverage limits of $100,000.00 to cover a serious injury or death. Indeed, $100,000.00 is the most any single person can collect from such an accident in Georgia and even if ten people were killed in a van, let’s say, coming back from a church, the most the family members could receive would be a total of $300,000.00 to be divided ten ways from a minimum limits carrier. In short, if a trucking company is irresponsible enough to carry minimum limits, they are still within the law and can operate legally in Georgia. If they have no assets at risk because they are a “fly by night carrier,” they are not likely to carry more coverage.

Continue reading ” Tractor-Trailer Insurance in Georgia is Inadequate ” »

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As attorneys who represent the young man who is the most seriously injured surviving passenger in the Bluffton University Baseball Team’s bus crash in Atlanta in 2007, we listened with great interest today to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) members explaining their findings about what caused the crash that took so many lives, and left so many injured.

Disastrous events such as this one can provide important “lessons” on how needless injuries and deaths can be prevented. Most disturbing about today’s hearing was the sense that past lessons from other horrific wrecks have been ignored. Here is just some of what the NTSB discussed today (an official transcript will be available later):

The NTSB placed primary responsibility for the crash on the bus driver, who among other things veered onto an exit ramp at high speed (in excess of the speed limit), and failed to react by slowing the bus, apparently because he believed he was still in the HOV lane of I-75. As is well-documented, the bus then struck a railing on the overpass, and toppled from the overpass onto the interstate below, which caused many passengers to be ejected.

The NTSB discussed evidence that the driver had driven 10 1/2 hours the day before to meet this bus, and then started driving this bus at 4:30 a.m. with at most 6 1/2 hours of sleep. One NTSB member referred to the driver as an an “unqualified driver” because his medical certificate had expired, and noted that the bus company failed to monitor and instruct drivers as to their medical qualifications to drive. The NTSB had other criticisms as well.

What is also disturbing is the lessons not taken from the history of earlier fatal wrecks on this same exit ramp. The NTSB noted that this ramp had been the site of nine wrecks–three of them fatal–in the past, six of which had been single-vehicle wrecks. The drivers involved were not from the Atlanta area, the NTSB observed.

As one NTSB member stated, GDOT (the Georgia Department of Transportation) “missed the boat” in failing to identify the exit properly with adequate signage, and failing to install adequate traffic control devices, among other things, for the “unexpected” arrangement that drivers found at this exit. NTSB thus identified these failures as a contributing cause of the horrendous wreck.

The NTSB also discussed GDOT’s failure to respond appropriately to the documented history of wrecks and fatalities at this same location.

The NTSB discussed the need for greater protection of occupants of buses. Prior bus crashes show that occupants are killed or injured because of the absence of simple protections such as seat belts–there were none on this bus. Here is one excerpt:

“The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the motorcoach driver’s mistaking the HOV-only left exit ramp to Northside Drive for the southbound Interstate 75 HOV through lane. Contributing to the accident driver’s route mistake was the failure of the Georgia Department of Transportation to install adequate traffic control devices to identify the separation and divergence of the Northside Drive HOV-only left exit ramp from the southbound Interstate 75 HOV through lane. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the motorcoach’s lack of an adequate occupant protection system.”

We can only hope and pray that the lessons of the Bluffton crash–which should have been learned previously–will not be ignored this time.

The NTSB’s own “synopsis” of its report appears below, and can be found at http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2008/HAR0801.htm:

Continue reading ” NTSB Report on Bluffton University Bus Accident Illustrates Preventable Dangers Causing Personal Injury and Wrongful Death–Again and Again ” »
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Regrettably, something we have seen recently, which is very troubling, are cases where fly-by-night trucking companies which have failed to register with either state or federal authorities operate nonetheless with minimum insurance coverage insufficient to protect the rights of the innocent motoring public. The state and federal regulatory scheme is such that all commercial motor carriers for hire are required to register with state and federal authorities. The reasons for this are obvious. By registering with the state, the state can make sure that all commercial motor carriers are financially responsible should they cause damage to the public. Also, by registering with the state, the state can collect taxes and other fees and also regulate the safety of the motor carrier’s operations. The same is true on a federal level. The problem emerges, however, when the commercial motor carrier fails to register at all. In this context, in order to get business, such a carrier typically will still have to have an insurance certificate from an insurance company certifying to their client/customer that they have insurance coverage. The problem is such insurance coverage is typically inadequate to protect the needs of the public and also creates legal problems in the event of a subsequent claim.

If a motor carrier fails to register with either the state or federal government, then typically the insurance company also fails to file required certificates of coverage also required by such authorities. On a state level, motor carriers are required to file a Uniform Bodily Injury Certificate of Insurance (usually in the form of a Form E filing) which indicates that the insurance company for the commercial motor carrier has issued a liability insurance policy to the motor carrier. Unless a Form E is filed, however, in many states, there is no automatic liability of the insurance carrier for the negligent acts of the commercial motor carrier. Thus, we have the anomalous situation where those who comply with the law, that is those who register with the state and file certificates of insurance are in a position to protect the public whereas those who disobey the law are benefitted thereby because the insurance companies can then claim that having filed no Form E with the state, they have no liability to the public. This unjust result obviously needs to be addressed by legislatures nationwide and yet the problem continues to exist.

Not only is this a problem on a state level, this is also a problem on the federal level. Commercial motor carriers for hire who operate in interstate commerce are required to file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration a Form MCS-90 which again certifies that they have adequate insurance coverage to protect the public in the event of a accident involving personal injuries. For those carriers that fail to register with the federal government but nonetheless operate in interstate commerce, the same problem emerges. The insurance company does not file the MCS-90 because they have not been requested to do so. The insurance company nonetheless has information to believe that the insured for which it has provided coverage is operating commercially in interstate commerce. Nonetheless, by virtue of not filing a MCS-90 form with the federal government, the insurance company can make the argument that it has no duty to the public in the event of a subsequent claim for personal injuries. Again, those who violate the law benefit from their violation whereas those who comply with the law are required to provide insurance coverage for the public in the event of a motor vehicle accident. Again, this anomalous result which still exists today, needs to be addressed by Congress.

It has been our unfortunate experience that when fly-by-night carriers cause great damage to our clients, regrettably, collecting under their insurance policies has proven to be exceedingly difficult. While we will continue to do everything we can to represent our innocent clients most of the legal problems encountered in such cases could be easily addressed by state and federal authorities. We can only hope that this loophole in the law will be corrected before other innocent people needless suffer from the acts of fly-by-night motor carriers operating in intrastate and interstate commerce.

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With the ever increasing presence of the number of trucks and tractor-trailers on Georgia’s highways and roadways, our attorneys have regrettably but consistently seen a corresponding increase in wrongful death and serious injury claims arising from accidents between automobiles and trucks. Indeed, over the last several years, national statistics indicate that there are approximately 500,000 truck collisions per year. Out of these one half million collisions approximately 5,000 people are killed each year. Georgia is no stranger to these wrongful death claims and as of the writing of this entry, our firm is handling several wrongful death claims on behalf of the families of innocent victims involved in such collisions.

It goes without saying that most any accident involving a tractor-trailer and an automobile has the potential to be extremely serious. Most large trucks weigh far in excess of 10,000 pounds and many as much as 80,000 pounds. Collisions involving large trucks are, by definition, therefore, more likely to cause serious injury or wrongful death because of the size and weight of the vehicles typically involved in tractor-trailer collisions. Some experts have estimated that in approximately 10% of all cases involving tractor-trailer collisions someone will be killed.

Given these sobering statistics, obviously, safety is paramount with respect to the trucking industry. While there are many safety rules contained within the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Regulations, which govern all trucks engaged in interstate transportation, the fact remains that in many of these cases we are handling and have handled over the years these safety rules and regulations are ignored and sometimes deliberately disregarded.

In our practice, we have constantly seen evidence that unsafe trucks and unfit or poorly trained drivers lead to preventable serious injury and wrongful death claims. In our investigation of any truck accident, we typically review the log books, pre-trip inspection records and other maintenance and safety records required by federal law to be maintained by trucking companies. It is astounding how many cases we find where the trucking companies involved keep incomplete records or have no records at all relative to the federally mandated safety obligations.

As in any other case, it is important for the victim of a incident involving a tractor-trailer case that they confer with legal counsel as soon as possible in order to protect their legal rights. Trucking companies and their insurance carriers typically send out investigators immediately following any serious incident. Safety records and other records which might demonstrate compliance issues have a tendency to be lost in these cases by trucking companies and/or sometimes are deliberately discarded. Accordingly, a prompt and thorough investigation of the companies involved in these cases is imperative if there is to be protection of the victim’s rights in these cases. Thus, based on our experience of handling many wrongful death and serious injury cases involving truck accidents, we strongly recommend that the innocent victims involved in these cases confer with counsel as soon as is practicable.
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Regrettably, here in our office, we have handled many serious personal injury cases involving traumatic amputations, usually arising in the context of a bad car accident or tractor-trailer collision. Just this past week, we settled a case involving a young man who lost his foot. Not long ago we settled a automobile accident case involving a gentleman who lost his leg. In both cases, we were reminded just how traumatic these cases can be for the innocent victims of the negligence of third parties. Suffice it to say, such injuries have life altering consequences that are permanent in nature, both physically and psychologically. The good news is that many of these clients can through modern medical treatment go on to live full and happy lives. For some, however, the road to recovery is a very long one.

One of the issues one must deal with in these cases is the need for a prosthetic device which will have to be replaced many times over time. Most prosthetic devices only last for a few years and have to be refitted or replaced. These devices many times are hand made and custom fitted and are very expensive. Thus, when analyzing the needs of such a client over the course of his or her life, one has to take into consideration how many different prostheses will be needed to address the client’s needs into the future. Of course, any time any one loses a limb, particularly a leg, there can be collateral consequences to the rest of the body. If one loses a right leg then the left leg has much more strain on it as does the back and the entire body. This can result in other problems for the client in addition to the amputation. Moreover, as discussed above, there is also the problem of psychological adjustment to these very serious injuries. One’s self image obviously can be greatly affected and depending on the makeup of the individual, either the adjustment is a good one, that is the client does adjust, or a bad one, that is that they simply cannot adjust to the lifestyle change and the overall change in their life.

A traumatic amputation case not only effects one physically and mentally but can result in profound consequences for one’s career. If one’s occupation involves a great deal of manual labor, obviously, the consequences of such an injury can be devastating. Climbing ladders, stooping, bending, lifting, all of these activities which so many of us take for granted can be greatly affected by a traumatic limb amputation.

Our experience handling these cases has indicated that one must be extremely cautious in trying to assess the needs of such clients. Professionals have to be consulted with respect to the future costs of prosthetic devices, the future costs of medical care, the likely consequences of the injury on other parts of the body and an assessment of the economic impact of the injury as it pertains to the client’s occupation. Great care and attention to all of these matters must be observed if the client’s interests are to be effectively represented.
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Our Georgia truck accident lawyers see many instances in which truck drivers and trucking companies destroy evidence after the collision. The law has fashioned a remedy for this type of conduct – spoliation.

Spoliation refers to the destruction or failure to preserve evidence that is necessary to contemplated or pending litigation. Bouve and Mohr, LLC v. Banks, 274 Ga. App. 758, 618 S.E. 2d 650 (2005). Spoliation creates the presumption that the evidence would have been harmful to the spoliator. See, Baxley v. Hakiel Industries, Inc., 282 Ga. 312, 647 S.E. 2d 29 (2007); American Multi–Cinema, Inc. v. Walker, 270 Ga. App. 314, 605 S.E. 2d 850 (2004).

Proof of spoliation raises a rebuttable presumption against the spoliator that the evidence favored the opposing party. This fact alone renders summary judgment inappropriate. Baxley v. Hakiel Industries, Inc., Id; Lane v. Montgomery Elevator Co., 225 Ga. App. 523, 484 S.E. 2d 249 (1997).

Thus, one who destroys or fails to preserve relevant evidence will be subject to a charge that had the evidence not been destroyed or preserved it would have favored the opposing party.

In Langlois v. Wolford, 246 Ga. App. 209, 539 S.E.2d 565 (2000), the Defendant driver left the scene of the collision before the police arrived so that a drug/alcohol screen could not be conducted. He later denied being impaired. The Court held that by avoiding the drug/alcohol screen, he had committed spoliation of evidence of his impairment at the time of the collision.

In J.B. Hunt v. Bentley, 207 Ga. App. 250, 427 S.E.2d 499 (1993), the Court had occasion to consider spoliation in the context of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. In J.B. Hunt, the Defendants destroyed a driver’s log book which is required to be maintained under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The Court held that this destruction entitled the Plaintiffs to a presumption that the logs would have shown that the driver violated hour of service limitations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, and supported an award of punitive damages.

Additionally, in J.B. Hunt, the Court held that the destruction of vehicle inspection reports, which are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, raised a presumption that the truck was not in a safe operating condition, and also supported the award of punitive damages.

The case of Wanke v. Lynn’s Transportation Company, 836 F. Supp. 587 (Ind. 1993), presented the issue of spoliation involving the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation §382.303 which requires a post accident drug/alcohol screen. In Wanke, the truck driver involved in a collision failed to submit to the required test.

The Court found that the driver had committed spoliation of evidence, reasoning that “the jury could find, however, that the Defendant’s conduct amounted to a passive spoiliation(sic) allowing any suspected evidence of drug or alcohol to pass through Mr. Marsh’s system.” The Court further held that the failure to take the drug test “makes the fact of consequence to the action – Mr. Marsh’s intoxication at the time of the collision – more probable than it would be without the evidence.”

Continue reading ” Truck Accident Cases and Destruction of Evidence In Georgia ” »
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Our Georgia truck accident lawyersThere are many causes of truck accidents. Even though large trucks and drivers are governed by state and federal laws and regulations designed to make them safer, the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes continues to increase. Our Atlanta based lawyers continue to handle cases in which either the driver, the company, or both simply choose to ignore these regulations and laws and endanger the motoring public. Tragically, many times these violations result in serious injury or death.

Violations which we frequently see causing or contributing to large truck accidents include:

1. Hours of Service. Driver fatigue often results in dangerous driving practices such as failure to keep in the proper lane and running off the road. The hours that a driver can drive in a certain time period is restricted by federal regulations. Drivers are required to keep a log of the hours driven to ensure compliance. In many cases we have discovered that the driver logs are falsified. Fatigue is such a major problem that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board attributes it as playing a role in 20-40% of truck crashes.

2. Intoxicated Drivers. Drivers are prohibited from driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. We have been involved in many trucking cases where it was discovered the driver was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In one case it was found that the driver had a combination of methamphetamine and cocaine in his blood at the time his driving behavior caused the death of our client. According to a study conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), one out of every three truck drivers examined after they died in truck accidents had traces of recent drug or alcohol use in their system. he NTSB and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) investigated fatal-to-the-driver trucking accidents and performed comprehensive drug screening the bodies of the drivers. The study found that out of 168 cases, 67% percent of the drivers had detectable traces of one or more drugs, 33% had detectable blood concentrations of psychoactive drugs or alcohol, 13% had traces of cannabinoids or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 13% had traces of ethanol or alcohol, 8% had traces of Cocaine, and 7% had traces of amphetamine or methamphetamine.

3. Substandard inspection. Drivers and carriers are required to conduct specific inspections of their trucks under the federal regulations. These inspections are designed to reveal unsafe conditions which may endanger the driver and the motoring public. In many cases we find that the drivers and carriers ignore these requirements and allow trucks to travel the highways in an unsafe condition. One survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that in one year over 2 million roadside inspections of trucks disclosed that 23.2% of the vehicles were found to have serious violations. Unsafe trucks are a leading cause of accidents on the highways.

When a truck accident occurs, the trucking companies generally have investigators on-call to respond to the scene. Their purpose is to do everything possible to limit the liability of the trucking company. Unfortunately, many times the police and highway patrol officers do not do a thorough job of investigating the accident and identifying witnesses. This is why it is crucial to hire an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

We have trained investigators and engineers ready to visit the scene of the accident, inspect the vehicles involved, locate witnesses, and gather information necessary to successfully seek a recovery. By retaining an experienced attorney immediately, victims and loved ones can ensure that their rights and interests are protected
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Under federal law, an interstate trucking company must have a minimum of $750,000.00 in liability insurance available to satisfy any judgment that might arise out of a accident in which innocent third parties are injured. This is a minimum amount set by law. Most companies have coverage greater than this amount to protect their assets. If someone were to be killed or seriously injured, given the seriousness of accidents involving large tractor-trailer rigs, it is not uncommon that the damages inflicted will be substantial. Accordingly, it is not uncommon that these minimum limits are exceeded. Many carriers have one, five, ten and 20 million dollars in coverage and others have even greater amounts dependent upon the size of the trucking operation and the amount of assets of that a particular trucking company may wish to protect in the event of a serious claim.

If a trucking company only has the minimum coverage and a judgment greater than $750,000.00 is obtained by the innocent victim or their family, then in that event, the family of the victim can attempt to collect the excess amount of the judgment directly from the motor carrier’s assets. Thus, in many ways, the minimum coverage required by law is irrelevant because most carriers have far greater coverage. The minimum coverage typically is relevant only when smaller carriers are involved with few business assets.

Many carriers are in the business of transporting hazardous substances in interstate commerce. With respect to such substances, because they can be deadly if spilled or involved in an accident, the minimum coverage for such substances is typically $5 million in liability coverage. This is because if a toxic chemical is spilled many people may be affected and thus higher limits of liability coverage are required by law. Again, the more responsible carriers provide even greater coverage because $5 million may be woefully inadequate if there is a spill of toxic substances on an interstate highway.

The good news about federal law is that the minimum limit of $750,000.00 is far greater than Georgia state law minimum limit of only $100,000.00 for intrastate operations. If a trucking company is operating in intrastate commerce only, that is in the State of Georgia by itself, as an example, then in that event, the minimum coverage required by state law is $100,000.00. Again, the more responsible companies which have assets that they need to protect for their own reasons against an excess judgment will have greater amounts of coverage. Fly-by-night or smaller companies may only have the minimum.

We have long advocated that the minimum amounts currently set forth under both state and federal law need to be increased because of the tremendous damage inflicted by these vehicles when involved in accidents. When serious injuries and/or death or involved, the minimum limits are insufficient to compensate the innocent victim. Thus, while the minimum limits, in our judgment, are inadequate, nonetheless, they do provide a minimum safety net for the motoring public.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) requires diligence on the part of a trucking company, not only when it employs a driver, but also after he/she begins operating one of its vehicles. In previous entries, we have discussed mandatory pre-employment background checks which must be conducted by trucking companies.

Section 391.25 of the FMCSR requires as well that a trucking company conduct a review of each of its driver’s driving records for the preceding 12 months. A motor carrier must also obtain reports from each of its drivers with a list of all violations of motor vehicle traffic law and citations of which the driver had been convicted and/or forfeited a bond or collateral during the preceding 12 months.

A trucking company must not only obtain such reports of employee/driver accidents or violations, but must also analyze these reports to determine whether any of the violations are such that the driver must be disqualified from driving for a period of up to one year. As in example, a disqualifying offense would be driving a trucking rig while under the influence of alcohol.

In addition, a trucking company’s supervision obligations include the duty to monitor the actual hours being logged by its drivers to make sure that they are not operating their rigs more than is allowed by law. The failure to monitor driver logs can be a grounds of liability against a trucking company, particularly in situations where a fatigued driver causes a collision.

Thus, among the many duties imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a trucking company must diligently supervise all of the drivers in its employ, not only checking out their background thoroughly before employing them, but also during the period of their employ, constantly monitoring their activities to make sure they are in compliance with all applicable safety regulations.

Failure to properly supervise a driver can be an independent basis for liability against a trucking company – as it should be.

The applicable regulation is reprinted below:

Background and character

§391.25 Annual inquiry and review of driving record. (a) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, each motor carrier shall, at least once every 12 months, make an inquiry to obtain the motor vehicle record of each driver it employs, covering at least the preceding 12 months, to the appropriate agency of every State in which the driver held a commercial motor vehicle operator’s license or permit during the time period.

(b) Except as provided in subpart G of this part, each motor carrier shall, at least once every 12 months, review the motor vehicle record of each driver it employs to determine whether that driver meets minimum requirements for safe driving or is disqualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle pursuant to §391.15.

(b)(1) The motor carrier must consider any evidence that the driver has violated any applicable Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations in this subchapter or Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR chapter I, subchapter C).

(b)(2) The motor carrier must consider the driver’s accident record and any evidence that the driver has violated laws governing the operation of motor vehicles, and must give great weight to violations, such as speeding, reckless driving, and operating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that indicate that the driver has exhibited a disregard for the safety of the public.

(c) Recordkeeping. (1) A copy of the motor vehicle record required by paragraph (a) of this section shall be maintained in the driver’s qualification file.

(c)(2) A note, including the name of the person who performed the review of the driving record required by paragraph (b) of this section and the date of such review, shall be maintained in the driver’s qualification file.

[35 FR 6460, Apr. 22, 1970, as amended at 35 FR 17420, Nov. 13, 1970; 60 FR 38744, July 28, 1995; 63 FR 33277, June 18, 1998; 73 FR 73127, Dec. 1, 2008]

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Tractor-trailers are huge machines. Some can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and, when travelling at highway speeds they can create carnage in a collision, leading to serious injuries and death.

Unfortunately, few people injured in tractor-trailer collisions hire competent legal counsel immediately after the collision. Most trucking companies and their insurers have accident investigation teams which are dispatched immediately after a crash to the scene. These accident investigation teams immediately begin to collect and preserve evidence, identify and take statements from witnesses, and reconstruct the accident. Their entire focus, while ostensibly to determine the cause of the accident, is to protect the trucking company and the insurer.

Our experience has been, that despite the immediate collection of evidence, and accident scene investigation by insurance company and trucking company investigation teams, many instances of undiscovered, undocumented, and destroyed evidence can be found by competent counsel working for injured parties.

Trucking cases are not run-of-the-mill automobile cases. They require attorneys who are skilled and knowledgeable in the mechanics and technology of large trucks, have a working understanding of the trucking industry, and are versed in the federal and state regulations governing large trucks.

Trucking technology, if understood and applied properly, can not only assist plaintiff’s counsel in determining the actual cause of a collision, but in many cases can prevent these deadly collisions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 93% of all accidents involve driver error, with the majority related to driver inattention. NHTSA research also shows that one extra second of warning could prevent up to 99% of rear end collisions.

Advanced accident avoidance systems are available and, and though not presently required by law or regulation, failure to implement the technology could be admissible in the right case as evidence of negligence on the part of the trucking company.

There are several types of warning systems which can provide data as to what warnings were given and what conditions were detected. Unfortunately, these systems can be ignored or rendered inoperable.

In many of our cases, the tractors are equipped with onboard computers, which can tell the speed of the tractor trailer at the time of the collision, which have been rendered inoperable or never activated. If operable at the time of a collision these computers can be downloaded to give critical data about the cause of the collision. Especially important is the speed readings of the vehicle which can be recorded just prior o a hard braking incident or collision.

Forward, side, and rear object detection systems monitor the roadway and potential hazards around the tractor-trailer. These systems sweep the roadway in front, on the side, and to the rear of the tractor trailer. By monitoring these conditions, a truck driver can establish safe intervals ahead of the vehicle. With the many distractions faced by drivers, a warning of an approaching object can save many lives. Also, these systems work in inclement weather, giving the driver a greater ability to see through fog, rain, snow or sleet.

Rear object detection systems monitor a specific area behind a tractor trailer. They detect objects and provide warnings to drivers when they approaching an object behind a vehicle while in reverse. These systems assist the driver in avoiding collisions during backing or parking maneuvers. Loadings and crush injuries can be avoided by monitoring these devices. Most are functional for 20-30 feet behind a tractor trailer.

Lane departure warning systems are in-vehicle electronic systems that monitor the position of the vehicle within a roadway lane and warn a driver if the vehicle deviates or is about to deviate outside the lane. With the increasing dangers presented by fatigued driving, these lane departure warning systems can prevent many deaths on the highways of the United States.

The currently available lane departure warning systems are forward looking, vision based systems that use algorithms to interpret video images, to estimate vehicle position, and roadway alignment. These systems warn the driver of a lane departure when the vehicle is travelling above a certain speed and the vehicle’s turn signal is not in use. In addition, these systems notify the driver when lane markings are inadequate for detection or if the system malfunctions. The systems do not take any automatic action to avoid a lane departure or to control the vehicle. The driver remains responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle. When the vehicle is travelling in close proximity to the center of the lane, it is with the system’s “no warning zone.” In this zone, the system does not issue any position warnings.

Tracking communications systems permit GPS tracking, reconstruction of routes, times, hours of service issues, and they also provide data provided to drivers on the weather and other road conditions. Matching a driver’s log books to satellite positioning data can test the accuracy of the records and perhaps prove that the logs were falsely maintained. This data can include texting data between dispatch and the drivers and can provide documentation of speeding, hard braking, or other safety related issues. These tracking systems also provide safety managers the ability to remotely monitor drivers in the field, and determine their safety habits. Of course, this information is crucial in any tractor-trailer lawsuit.

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Truck drivers are often operating their vehicles while drowsy as their work shift call for long hours on the open road. As we recently reported on our Georgia Truck Accident Lawyers Blog, the driver of a Georgia fuel tanker was killed in an accident with a tractor-trailer on I-95. Police are investigating the accident and questioning whether or not the driver was asleep at the wheel.

Our Atlanta truck accident attorneys understand the risks that drowsy drivers pose to the safety of all motorists on our roadways. Drivers of passenger vehicles are more at risk in these types of accidents as they’re the ones who are more commonly seriously injured or killed in the event of an accident with a large truck.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports more than 3,000 motorists were killed, and 64,000 were injured, in accidents involving these large commercial trucks in 2008. Less than one-fourth of the injury or fatality victims were in the tractor-trailers at the time of the accident.

The NHTSA found that more than 100 large trucks were involved in fatal accidents in Georgia in 2009.

In an effort to reduce the risk of an accident with a drowsy truck driver, the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) requests that the American Trucking Associations advise companies to equip their commercial vehicles with automated and tamperproof on-board recording devices, which track driving hours and compliance with hours-of-service rules. The government is also moving to make such recorders mandatory for most over-the-road trucks.

According to an article in Automotive Discovery, a driver alertness warning and lane departure warning system is now be available to truck drivers through the SafeTraK3. This device can help to warn truck drivers about unintentional departure from their lane. It also has the ability to detect erratic driving in any one lane. Experts agree that fatigue and drowsiness are two of the biggest risk factors for commercial trucking accidents. Systems like the SafeTraK3 could be installed in all large trucks, and eventually in passenger cars, to help reduce the risks of a drowsy driving accident.

The AAA Foundation offers these safety tips to help drivers stay awake at the wheel to “Drive Alert…Arrive Alive”:

-Make sure you get enough sleep the night before. If you’ve got a trip planned that involves a significant amount of driving, be sure to prepare yourself for the trip by getting enough sleep in the days leading up to the trip.

-Avoid driving when you’re sleepy. If you feel the effects of drowsiness at the wheel, you should pull over, take a break or get a hotel room to catch up on your rest.

-Schedule a break. It is recommended that you drive no longer than 2 hours, or every 100 miles, before stopping and taking a break.

-Travel with a passenger. When you’re traveling with another passenger, be sure to take turns driving as the other passenger catches up on rest. This will cut your personal driving time in half.

Make sure you listen to your biological clock while operating a motor vehicle. Night time is a very risky time for drivers as sleep can be seemingly irresistible. This urge most commonly occurs between midnight and 6 a.m. This is the time when drivers are most likely to be involved in a sleep-related accident. The second most common time for the occurrence of a drowsy driving accident is during the “afternoon lull” or between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

If you are involved in a Georgia trucking accident, contact the Atlanta bus accident lawyers at Finch McCranie LLP for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (800) 228-9159 or at (404) 658-9070 or contact us through this website.
=================As National Distracted Driving Awareness Month comes to an end, the National Safety Council would like for motorists to respect the dangers of distracted driving all year long. We recently reported on our Georgia Truck Accident Lawyers Blog about an unfortunate fatal trucking accident that took the life of a driver. Police are still investigating to see if the driver was operating his vehicle while distracted. They’re also investigating to see if he could have been asleep at the wheel.

Our Atlanta truck accident lawyers would like to stress the importance of putting away all distractions while operating a motor vehicle. This advice is particularly critical for truck drivers.

The National Safety Council (NSC) was behind the events of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, as were the safety advocates at FocusDriven. Both organizations used the entire month to promote safe driving habits by discouraging the use of cell phones and other distracting behavior while driving. The NSC reported that there are nearly 12 times as many accidents that involve cell phone use as text messaging.

The safe driving advocates believe that National Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a perfect opportunity for employers to implement no cell phone policies. Rules regarding cell phone use and other distractions while driving would make a great impact on the risk of a trucking accident. The NSC has provided employers with a Cell Phone Policy Kit to help your company get started.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were more than 3,300 fatalities, and more than 74,000 injured, in accidents involving trucks in the United States in 2009. They report that nearly 300,000 large trucks, with a gross weight rating of more than 10,000 pounds, that were involved in traffic accidents in that same year.

The U.S. government recently announced a ban on texting by drivers of large commercial vehicles in an attempt to avoid the dangers of distracted driving. The new ban comes with fines of up to $2,750. A ban on hand-held cell phones is in the works.

“We want the drivers of big rigs and buses and those who share the roads with them to be safe,” LaHood said. “This is an important safety step and we will be taking more to eliminate the threat of distracted driving.”

Last year, President Obama banned all federal employees from texting while driving a government vehicle. He also banned them from texting in their own cars if they use government-issued phones or are on official business.

As officials continue to throw bans on drivers of various vehicles, there is no doubt that distracted driving includes other activities. Distracted driving can include messing with the radio, talking to passengers, or using GPS devices or maps. It is not until all drivers make a conscious effort to practice alert and focus driving habits that we will all see a significant decrease in serious and fatal accidents on our roadways.

If you are involved in a Georgia trucking accident, contact the Atlanta truck accident lawyers at Finch McCranie LLP for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (800) 228-9159 or at (404) 658-9070 or contact us through this website.

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It is said that mesothelioma is linked to lung cancer and it is a good idea to get the help that is deserved when someone feels like they have been diagnosed because of the work that they did for a living. There are many mesothelioma attorneys that are waiting to help you with your situation and will get you the settlement that you deserve. There are many people that this disease affects. It will take its toll on the entire family.

These lung cancer patients deserve to have the respect and the care that they deserve for all their duties while in the work force. It is important that these patients and their families have the necessary information that they deserve to be well informed about the entire process. Mesothelioma asbestos lung cancer is a rare form of lung cancer that is brought on by asbestos.

Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. This comes from working in an environment that is affected by this deadly material or by someone that is contracted to remove it. Most of the time, the workers are made clear of the dangers that can be caused by working with this type of material. However, some employers will allow little or no protection from the material when the employees are handling it. These workers are entitled to compensation for their work.

For most people, they will not get any better and will have to live with this type of problem for the rest of their life. When someone has to go through that much pain and suffering in their life because their company did not tell them that they were in danger, they will deserve a settlement for their time and their pain. Mesothelioma attorneys will fight for their patients to have all of their medical bills paid and to have a little extra money to help them with the rest of their life. This is an important procedure that will determine how well you settle out.

It is a good idea to find out if the mesothelioma attorney that you are looking into has won any of their cases or not. These elements can make all the difference when it comes to trying to find the right lawyer to help you with your situation. It is a good idea to do as much research as you can on the entire situation. You may be able to determine your future when you choose their right mesothelioma lawyer for you and your case.

When it comes to being sick with a disease that could have been prevented, it is hard to deal with. Finding the right mesothelioma attorneys to help you in your fight against these companies is a good start. You will be fighting for something that means so much to a lot of people and it will be worth it in the end.

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Why A Personal Injury Attorney Is A Requirement
Written by MichaelAllen on April 8, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Accidents, injuries, slip and fall accidents, dog bites and a host of other personal injury issues come into play at some time or another in the life of just about everyone. This is because today’s world is mobile and constantly on the move. This means that many are faced with injuries that can and do happen in all aspects of life.
From workplace injuries in car accidents to being hurt while walking in your own neighborhood; accidents and injuries are an issue that needs to be handled in the proper manner. This is why the need for a well trained and highly qualified personal injury attorney is a requirement for anyone who has been hurt and needs to find a resolution to their medical, emotional and physical issues.
The after effects of a personal injury are far reaching and for many impact all areas of life. This means that a personal injury attorney will be able to help victims seek a solution to their needs as they are most likely faces with mounting medical bills, undue emotional stress and strain and even lost wages from missed work.
The list of negative effects of an injury is vast and are based on the injury and the scenario itself. This is why the most prudent solution is to retain the services of a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following any type of accident or injury. The issue becomes even more crucial when the injury is one that is life altering, involves losing limbs or even results in death.
A well trained personal injury attorney will be able to work with you, in a one on one manner, to get all of the facts as they pertain to your case. It is then that the personal injury attorney will talk through options with you so that the two of you can best determine the right course of action based on the parameters and mitigating factors of your situation. It is this high level of detail and personal attention that is only found when the right personal injury attorney is used for the case.
The end result is one that is worked on by your attorney so that you can be comfortable with the process, get the medical bills you have accrued paid for by the party at fault, recoup lost wages and salary and find the closure you need to get past the injury and on with the rest of your life in the most beneficial manner.
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An Auto Accident Attorney Can Help
Written by MichaelAllen on March 31, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Injuries happen every day. People get injured due to not fault of their own. A person has a one in an eight chances of being seriously injured in an auto accident. There is one car accident every ten seconds in the United States. Thinking about all the people on the road this statistic can be scary. If a person is injured in a car accident or other type of personal injury suit they should contact an auto accident attorney in Dallas. Dallas Attorney Dorothy Hyde has years of experience in this field, and will help a person get the compensation they need and deserve.
An auto accident attorney in Dallas will give a person advice on how to go about proceeding with a court case.
Every situation is different and the attorney at this firm will speak to the person to make sure they have a chance and review the facts of the accident. They will work with the person to get their compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and emotional distress. The auto accident attorney in Dallas will also represent family member in wrongful death suits if the person died due to the actions of another. The attorney will for their client to prove their injuries were due to the neglect and wrongdoing of another person.
When in need of legal advice due do not hesitate to call an auto accident attorney in Dallas.
They have over twenty years of representing people that have been hurt in not only auto accidents but motorcycle accidents as well. They also represent pedestrian that have been hit or injured by a car when walking and following all the traffic laws. They will represent those injured due to drunk drivers and uninsured drivers. In addition to bodily harm the lawyers will help a person receive compensation in order to fix their vehicles and other property that was damaged due to the negligent actions of another.
Attorney Dorothy Hyde has been happy to represent those living in the Dallas, Garland, Lancaster, and other close by areas. She has a proven track record in the courtroom and has gotten her clients the compensation they need. She and the other attorneys at this firm can be contact by phone or by email. They will review the case and collect the facts to present in the courtroom. They are not afraid to stand up to the insurance companies to get the compensation needed for their clients.
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Categories: Auto Accident Attorney, Auto Accident Lawyer, Blog – Tags: auto accident attorney, auto accident lawyer, Blog
Personal Injury Lawyer Guide
Written by MichaelAllen on January 15, 2013 · Leave a Comment
A lot of individuals ask their animal attack attorney why their insurance provider should pay for their hospital bills and not the insurance company of the individual who was the reason behind the incident. This has often been a cause of misconception and misunderstanding between people and that is why it is worth discussing on this section.
Subjugation is the main concept. Not too many people have known about this but it’s a principle which indicates that the person responsible doesn’t need to cover the finances and expenses of the injured person with his insurance company unless a final discharge of your claims can be signed. There is also a point in this because individuals are getting a hard time trying to persuade their insurance company that they have been injured and it should spare the problem of having the person accountable for the incident handle the task instead.
San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer
We’ve heard over time about how people tell lawyers what the insurance agent promise to cover such expenses. However, should you give them a call to send the bills, they won’t pay you. This can be partly since within the law they’re not required to unless you are ready to approve a full and last discharge of your claims. This is just how matters go and you will have to find out how to deal with it.
So what becomes of your hospital bills? The physicians are not going to wait until you pay them and this is where an automobile or health insurance coverage can be most useful. Once again, you can sit together with your lawyer inside his office and talk about your situation. You can talk about how the entire process works and some details on why the law and its processes work in such a way. There could be a lot of certain shifts when submitting your case or aiming for just compensation but a seasoned lawyer will take you through the processes.
It’s a crucial method and you should contact a personal injury lawyer on the concept of subjugation, what it is all about and how you can utilize such principle for your own advantage. You do not want to waste time because you need to recover from your injuries and go back to the outside world when you are able to.
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Categories: Blog – Tags: accident attorney, accident law firm, accident lawyer, Blog
Separation: Supposed Challenges
Written by MichaelAllen on January 14, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Most people look ahead to the end of the divorces wishing they might get on with their particular life, however in many situations, this isn’t the result. In some circumstances that’s real, however in quite a few divorce there can be issues that stay long after the judge’s signature on the separation decree is dry. Certain former husbands and wives learn that the last court hearing is only the start point.
Whenever there can be problems regarding property or home, financial resources or young people, all too often there can be arguments available once the divorce proceeding is finished. Once one party believes it’s a necessity to change an item regarding the separation deal, or call their ex-spouse for a violation on the agreement, the people usually get back in separation courts to have a fight.
Whenever a part of the divorce proceeding agreement develops into unacceptable caused by a material alteration of conditions, an ex wife or husband may possibly request the legal court for a divorce agreement modification from the court ruling that incorporated the arrangement.
Parents or guardians frequently get back in divorce court. Issues with custodianship and also visitation can develop into volatile trial battles that may last for many years. Sometimes, the differences continue until the child is already an adult then there is no longer something for the former partners to handle about.
Child support is an additional issue that can bring former spouses back to legal court over and over. Throughout a child’s life, a parent’s profit as well as scenarios may substantially modify. Once analyzing the sum of maintenance support, your personal child custody attorney Georgia could assess maintenance support with different number of causes, with each and every region having its own specific system. Whenever a parent or guardian accountable for the cost of maintenance support features a vital increase or decrease in profits that’s gonna be long-term or enduring, a request to update maintenance support may be submitted together with the divorce court. In most cases, any maintenance support order definitely won’t be revised in the event the alteration of revenue or scenarios does not affect the actual maintenance support agreements significantly.
Anytime a father or mother is ordered to compensate maintenance support and then fails to have the expected obligations, he or she could very well be held in disregard of trial. The parent who might be payable the help support needs to have their particular divorce attorney Georgia register motion for disregard along with the divorce court to get the process started. Oftentimes all of these methods for non-payment of maintenance support will keep ex-spouses in the courtroom for some time right after a separation is final.
No matter what the particular purpose, be it a concern related to small children, possessions or perhaps finances, a few ex-spouses engage in never ending separation challenges. While it is always better for former husband and wife either to acknowledge or perhaps accept to not agree, not all the divorces are manageable.
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Categories: Blog – Tags: Blog, Family, legal, Relationships
Searching For That Experienced Injury Attorney
Written by MichaelAllen on January 14, 2013 · Leave a Comment
An accident will frequently bring your life at a standstill. In an instant, your life can change dramatically. An accident can simply leave one seriously damaged, incapacitated and even impaired for a time. There are numerous complications, actual, mental and emotional which might come with the damage. If the damage leaves some kind of problem, it will have a harmful impact on a few other areas of your life like your confidence and self-esteem. If ever you bump into one of these unfortunate events, take the initiative to contact the injury lawyer immediately.
If you’re injured due to some auto accident and one cannot go and perform one’s duty, then such accident can affect one’s quality of life. Exactly what can one accomplish in that circumstance? Something that may be accomplished without a doubt is to file for a claim or settlement. One should find a good and very respected injury attorney who is able to take legal action against the irresponsible individual and other reasons for your problems.
Personal Injury Lawyer San Antonio
Occasionally a hospital and other health-related expenses for the accident alone may cost a good deal. Individuals who have obtained injury due to an accident can easily opt for a claim or settlement for their health-related expenses and for this; they will require the solutions of the successful injury lawyer. Nowadays, injury regulation is a very common way of providing order in any case and you can just find a professional in most law offices.
All the huge and well-known law offices could have a minimum of several experts on board as the working together of more than one professional can offer much better results than simply one professional doing things by himself. One will discover any well-known expert nowadays and all you have to do is search the internet. An accident lawyer is a person who gives specialized legal counsel to his clients.
A competent professional should be an experienced person and one who is good to his client. Many people produce a lot of problems once they suffer a severe injury and thereby require additional time to speak about their auto accident and the way the entire thing happened.
A most respected and knowledgeable personal injury attorney ought to learn how to handle such clients within the most caring manner. Many individuals who have experienced injuries are usually thankful with their lawyers for supporting them in getting compensation for accidents and injuries.
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Categories: Blog – Tags: accident attorney, accident law firm, accident lawyer, Blog
How Much Time Do You Have To File a Wrongful Death Case?
Written by MichaelAllen on January 13, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Medical Malpractice cases happen when someone dies because of the negligence of the medical expert. A number of these cases could be fatal and they include acts like exceeding the dosage limit or a certain medication or making the wrong diagnosis. Included in this category are certain acts of negligence like a company’s bad warning about possible perils associated with an item; or perhaps deliberate, including murder. Loved ones may file a significant case for certain damages to keep up with emotional and financial damages they are experiencing because of the death of a relative. A car accident attorney should know everything there is to know about how long these cases take..
If you feel a person has wrongfully triggered family member’s death, you will need to get aid immediately and use a limited time in which to file for a lawsuit.
Personal Injury Lawyers San Antonio
Medical negligence Statutes regarding Limitations
Each state have their own statutes and limitations and bring in various kinds of lawsuits. Sufficient time should also be spent for one to file any medical negligence lawsuit and this usually takes one and 3 years. In many states, it really takes two years right after death occurs.
Unless you file a lawsuit in the allowed period, you won’t be capable of getting over your problems. But the time doesn’t always commence right after death. Sometimes time could be reset right from the beginning for the reasons of finding new details like:
Death can be declared from natural causes but proof for medical malpractice cases can take years to process.
Someone deliberately undetectable and important information regarding the cause of fatality can also be sorted out.
Uses of merchandise that have been later seen to be defective can also be important.
In these cases, the hands of time may turn at the opportunity when new discoveries are found although not everyone would agree with it. Several states exclude hazardous or malfunctioning products originating from the resetting of the clock.
The limitations may also rely on which team you are labeling as the offender.
Any time Death Takes place After Damage
Whenever a particular person survives a car accident, only to find problems linked to the accident in which the injury has taken place after a number of years later, you could be hopeless about filing any medical negligence case. Because that one person initially survived, the occurrence falls beneath personal injury regulations of constraint. At that moment, it usually takes anyone six long months according to the state where it has been approved. For better assistance, contact an experienced auto accident attorney until your case is done.
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Categories: Blog – Tags: accident attorney, accident law firm, accident lawyer, Blog
Personal Injury Attorneys And Doctors Form Teams
Written by MichaelAllen on January 13, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Have you or possibly a family member been recently injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of unscrupulous people? Are you suffering from physical or emotional injuries as a result of another person’s negligence? Frequently, you may not realize just where to depend on, aren’t sure how to proceed initially, and not sure on how to begin protecting your privileges. If you are one of these people, then you can opt for the injury law firm for advice.
Doctors and lawyers are professionals. Health professionals are often responsible for identifying and diagnosing just what the affected individual is experiencing and spend a great amount of time helping such person recover. Checking various specialist terms, personal relationships and actions, as well as timelines can be quite a challenge to skilled specialists.
Personal Injury Lawyers San Antonio
Dependence on Lawyer
The presence of on-site authorized services not only removes standard barriers which inhibit you from obtaining authorized assistance but also enhances the potential for members of the family from finding the knowledge and support they need to acquire compensation from serious cases such as abuse, assault, and others.
Lawyers can easily partner with pediatricians, nurse practitioners, or other medical scientists in helping families with their social difficulties by giving walk-in consultations and integrating interpersonal work or help.
Until regulations to market safe work are persistently applied or enforced, physicians will be needing attorneys to efficiently look after low-income sufferers. Also the reliance on lawyers is usually rooted from the necessity to provide ultimate healthcare. There are a lot of things going on in the health care setting and some of these happenings are considered unethical and it would really be great for health care professionals and legal professionals to team up in solving these problems.
More frequently, patients admit themselves in the hospital after having a medical problem, and many doctors want to oblige, even when they or their lawyers refrain from this out of concern for any liability. The absence of physicians in intercession also restricts the capability of the doctors as well as the hospitals to determine health-related errors and enhance the quality of attention.
Addressing the social factors of the individual’s health is usually as significant as offering an immunization or prescription. It adds the lawyer to multidisciplinary clubs to advertise health and protection against certain disease conditions. In fact, intervening in the early stages and collaboratively along with clinicians, attorneys not only boost health but oftentimes can avoid lawsuits, by mentioning existing regulations and following the rules.
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Categories: Blog – Tags: auto accident attorney, auto accident law firm, auto accident lawyer, Blog
Hiring The Best Personal Injury Attorney
Written by MichaelAllen on January 12, 2013 · Leave a Comment
A great car wreck attorney is difficult to locate. The majority of men and women opt for tips to help them in their research. Other people can surf on-line or maybe look for paper adverts of fantastic lawyers. You want to ensure that you are looking for a lot more than money and focus on your circumstance instead of merely being enthusiastic about their price.
Everyone has a unique reason for working together with legal counselors. Some of the causes are automobile mishaps, clinical equipment problems, medical syndication faults, relative disputes, negligence and incorrect utility, electrical difficulties at home or work place, identity fraud, check fraudulence, work conflict, manslaughter, treatment problems and more. If you have bumped over a vehicle accident, an injury lawyer will really be thrilled to speak with a person of what happened.
Personal Injury Lawyers San Antonio
This is something you need to work on. It truly is difficult to obtain legal services because they will simply make no cash unless the lawyer can do his or her best to meet your requirements. When it is not your fault and you wish to record a case opposed to the other automobile driver, it will be easier for you to produce an insurance claim. They’re going to usually begin with someone that saunters in and look at all your injuries to make that sure you will always be alright and that you feel sufficiently good to make such claim.
They’re going to certainly inquire about what happened through the accident, just how it happened and lots of other kinds of information. They’ll likely make you continue with the medical remedies and notify you in providing them with your charges so they can apply it in the claim. This may take a while in a lot of circumstances and they’ll undoubtedly take your circumstance to some better position. They’re going to have you speaking about your injury, suffering, health-related concerns and mental concerns.
If you’re planning on taking some legal action against unscrupulous individuals, it’ll most likely occur in in this manner. The personal injury attorney must value their customers and ensure they’re doing every little thing they can to hold a person based on their worth. They should be friendly and link to you as an individual while maintaining an expert stature to ensure that you are going to be taken care of together with your claims.
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Categories: Blog – Tags: Blog, car accident attorney, car accident lawyer, car wreck attorney
Work Threats Drunk Driving
Written by MichaelAllen on January 11, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Even though you will not likely view loss of work mentioned in your personal region’s DUI laws and regulations, a driving while intoxicated case may have a devastating impact upon your personal ongoing work. If you have to drive your car to arrive at work, or maybe you need to drive your car to do your job, the Drunk driving police arrest in your state typically takes in action methods for you to experience as a result of loss of your individual driver’s license such as by offense of the DUI offense.
If a breath evaluation was made and so the result was.08 or even more, the Department of Licensing will probably seek to administratively hold your own driver’s license even if you are absolutely not convicted of the crime of DWI. Generally you’ll certainly be qualified to make an application for an ignition interlock driving license, however this calls for you to definitely travel with couple of exceptions on condition that the motor vehicle you actually drive comes with an ignition interlock unit installed.
There is certainly an exclusion to the ignition interlock legislation that permits you to drive an employer’s motor vehicle, if necessary of the career, with no ignition interlock. The process for this might be discovered along with your Las Vegas defense attorneys who can aid you by letting you to definitely run a firm car when a career demands it with no ignition locking process.
Apart from this, people that need to take a flight for business and then who will need to rent cars at final destination sales places shall be incapable to lease cars at the moment an ignition interlock is required, thus influencing the opportunity to travel for organization. At present, no auto rental services are known to include ignition interlock fitted autos with their fleets.
In spite of no earlier track record, as much as a year in jail can certainly be levied and when the breath test was rejected, a two-year license revocation is included. This is the reason it’s really important you work with your own criminal defense lawyer to be certain you are familiar with almost any probable rights, needing to invest some time in jail is usually disastrous on your lifestyle. The actual ignition sealing qualification also will exists for at least one calendar year once the revocation have been served.
Whenever a prior DWI crime within seven years of the particular date from the public arrest for that present situation, details end up getting considerably worst in case the occupation needs interstate trip. Completely new DWI legal procedure needs such a particular person to find permission prior to driving a car over state ranges. The practical application operation will take time and often will significantly obstruct or even hinder interstate business enterprise tour.
There are numerous professions that’ll be compromised by a DWI public arrest or conviction for purposes other than losing the chance to drive. Politicians, athletes or staff with protection clearances or simply those who work in vulnerable positions can find, if ever the situation goes to the interest of the mass media, which the influence in the resultant unfavorable advertising might be more damaging for the career compared to the precise lawful implications of the DWI.
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Categories: Blog – Tags: Auto, Blog, insurance, legal
Garland Injury Attorneys – Why You Need Them
Written by hgtadmin on January 7, 2013 · Leave a Comment
Need the service of Garland injury attorneys? Read on.
Four things you should know if you’re involved in a personal injury accident in Texas are: don’t admit anything, check for injuries, don’t leave the scene, and use your cell phone to contact the Garland injury attorneys law office, pronto. Personal injury accidents come in many forms.
Negligence in the workplace
Motorcycle and bike accidents
Winter car accidents on wet roads
18 wheeler and large truck accidents
Even accidents in a home or in an office can make the list. Some accidents may result in serious bodily injuries through no fault of your own that can produce one word that will many times, work in your favor: Negligence! Which is even more reasonable to know the Garland injury attorneys law office in Dallas, Texas.
The successful, knowledgeable, and experienced Garland injury attorneys specialize in various kinds of personal injury cases. They don’t handle taxes, immigration law, or real estate law. Their safety net for you, the injured party, is available not only for vehicle accidents, but medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, and even animal bites from your neighbor’s dog down the street.
If you’re wondering what’s actually involved in that legal word: Negligence; in simple terms, it means failure to use reasonable care. An example would be those who operate vehicles of any kind must, at all times, exercise “reasonable care” under certain driving situations.
The benefits of hiring a winning team like Garland injury attorneys in the early stages of your accident can be summed up in another word: Protection. Auto accidents of any kind attract police, bystanders, and lookie-loos, as well as insurance companies; all with plenty of questions.
What you say under a mountain of pressure, could have a bearing on any future legal action by your Garland injury attorneys. It is critical that you have a consultation with your experienced law team prior to contacting your insurance company. It’s a known fact for some insurance companies, upon receiving an insurance claim, may attempt to hustle the injured party into a “quick settlement” to avoid possible legal litigation.
The law offices of Dorothy M. Hyde located in Dallas, Texas, are fully aware how the personal injury game is played. She carries a hefty stick and will be personally involved in your case. That’s why they’ve been successful in collecting large settlements for clients in both state and federal court.
These Garland injury attorneys have over two decades bottled up in treating their clients with respect. If they don’t win; you don’t pay. Call 214-491-5280.
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WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER AN ACCIDENTDepending upon the nature of the accident and the extent of the damages and injuries involved, a series of auto accident reports must be filed. Sometimes the reporting of an auto accident is mandatory, sometimes it is voluntary. Reports typically must be filed with three sets of organizations:
(1) Police (law enforcement agencies) – The law of the state where the accident occurs may require a police report to be filed. However, as there are many variations in state and local laws — and even local practices — we can not address them all. Generally if any personal injury occurs in an auto accident, a police report must be filed. A police report generally also is required when property damage exceeds a certain dollar amount (often $200 to $500). The manner of making the report also varies. Some local police only take certain auto accident reports over the telephone, some require a trip to the station house. To be safe, at least a telephone call to local police should be made shortly after an auto accident to determine local practice and the information you are required to provide.

(2) Insurance company – Most auto insurance companies require their policyholders to promptly report every auto accident. The insurance company will want to gather all of the basic information concerning the accident for its records. Sometimes the insurance company will want your authorization to make a recorded statement concerning the accident. We suggest that if you or your passengers were injured in the accident, or believe the insurance company will try to claim “you’re not covered” or you have any concerns about the adequacy of your coverage, you should contact an attorney before you go much further, and certainly before you give the insurance company permission to record your conversation. However, bear in mind that failure to provide information to your insurance company on a timely basis — your policy will set out how quickly you must notify the company (and it can be a VERY short time frame). Failure to comply could result in loss of coverage for the accident, without it constituting bad faith by the insurer. Click for a helpful article on how insurance adjusters work and how they think.

(3) Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) – Some state DMVs maintain auto accident reports. The requirement for these reports differ between the various states (for example, California requires every operator of a vehicle involved in an accident to file a “SR-1” whenever there is an accident with personal injury or property damage in excess of $500). Typically this report must be filed within 5 or 10 days of the accident. Failure to file such a required report could lead to suspension of your driving privilege. In other words, your driver’s license could be taken away from you, regardless of fault, if you do not promptly file a report with your state’s DMV. If you or someone was injured, it may make sense to speak to a lawyer BEFORE filing that report!
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Copyright 2012, The Law Office of Scott D. DeSalvo, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

If have ever known anyone who has had to go through a personal injury lawsuit, you have probably heard that it took a really long time. Court cases can last a few months or stretch into a few years. Did you ever wonder why it takes so long? One of the reasons is that each side will have a lawyer in Illinois working on behalf of their respective clients. A good lawyer in Illinois will keep you informed at all stages of the process during your case. You should never feel that you are bothering your lawyer for an update, nor should you be left out of important information and developments.

Immediately following a car accident, you will be asked to meet with your lawyer in Illinois and make a statement as to your side of the story. You will also probably have to give a deposition to the opposing side and answer the same questions. Your lawyer in Illinois is a skilled professional in these types of meetings, he has probably done hundreds of them. Your lawyer in Illinois will be there every step of the way and will not allow you to answer any questions that may damage your case. A deposition also gives an indication as to the direction in which the future case will go. If you go alone, you could miss these vital clues which could be devastating to your case.

You may think that this is a simple meeting; the two sides get together and compare damages and liability. One of the procedures that your lawyer in Illinois will perform after any car accident is to thoroughly investigate the other driver. This is where the other party’s previous driving record, health, age, and any other pertinent information must be researched. The other side will be doing the same thing to you. Their lawyer in Illinois will talk to your attorney and they can both get a feel for where the case is going. If only you are talking to the other driver’s lawyer, the conversation will be decidedly one-sided and more than likely not in your favor.

Lawyer in Illinois
Some of the other things that happen between meetings with your lawyer in Illinois are the investigation of the accident site and research into accident statistics in your area and at the scene. Without having these important details, you might miss vital information for your case. It has been found in many cities that street lighting, stop signs and traffic signals have not been properly maintained or have even been allowed to become non-functional. Suppose your lawyer in Illinois discovered that several accidents similar to yours have occurred at the same intersection and city officials have known and done nothing about it? What if next time someone is killed at the same intersection?

If there are serious injuries in a car accident there will be a lot of time spent behind the scenes by your lawyer in Illinois to obtain doctor’s statements, toxicology reports and the impressions of the responding police and emergency personnel. In some cases, a policeman may suspect a driver is under the influence, but tests are not taken due to injuries or other circumstances at the scene. A skilled lawyer in Illinois will investigate these statements and find that possibly, the other driver was drunk.

Particularly if there are conflicting stories as to the cause and the details of an accident, your lawyer in Illinois may employ a private investigator to uncover anything that may be helpful to you and bolster your case. Many times exaggerated claims of injuries are debunked in this way. In one case, a man was claiming that he was permanently disabled and couldn’t work. The investigator followed him around and videotaped him bowling every week! You could never have discovered this on your own. This is why the services of a reputable lawyer in Illinois are invaluable.

Lawyer in Illinois

If you are looking for a skilled lawyer in Illinois please call the Law Offices of Scott D. DeSalvo at 312-895-0545 or 866-861-1296 or visit our website http://www.auto-accident-lawyer-chicago.com for more information that will assist you in your search for a personal injury lawyer. We will be happy to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with you to discuss all the details of your case and get it off to a good start.
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=============Copyright 2012, The Law Office of Scott D. DeSalvo, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

If you have been in a car accident you may be wondering how to go about choosing a good attorney to represent you. If you pick up any phone book to look for a motor vehicle accident lawyer you will see multiple ads for personal injury lawyers. You might also search on Yahoo and you will find hundreds of listings. Do you know what to look for in a motor vehicle accident lawyer? Would you even know where to start?

Here are a few items to look for:

 Does this motor vehicle accident lawyer offer a free consultation?

 Is the firm upfront and honest about any fees you may have to pay in advance?

 What is their record with cases of your type?

 Do they specialize in your type of injury?

 Are they licensed to practice in your state? If you have a car accident in Illinois, you need a motor vehicle accident lawyer in Illinois.

While most legal firms that specialize in personal injury are very reputable, there are some that are unscrupulous and will take advantage of you. You need to watch out for your rights and the rights of your family by making sure that you choose a trustworthy motor vehicle accident lawyer.

Be wary of any motor vehicle accident lawyer that promises you winning outcomes without looking into the specifics of your case. No one can predict the outcome of these types of cases, particularly if they go to court. Be suspicious of any firm if they tell you that they can secure you a large monetary settlement, as this also cannot be predicted. Be careful if a motor vehicle accident lawyer tells you that you will not have to pay any fees after being asked to visit multiple doctors or specialists. Usually, these fees will be added to your compensation if you win. You should ask what will happen to these charges if they lose your case. If they are evasive about the answers, keep looking. Don’t believe that they will handle your case for “free.” Again, ask what will happen to their legal fees if you lose.

What is a Good Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer?

The fact is that any good motor vehicle accident lawyer will tell you that you won’t have to pay up front. You should only have to pay if you win your case. This is called the no-win, no-fee system. Any expenses and legal fees will be added to your compensation as losses. A skilled lawyer can make sure that if you have had a car accident, you will be compensated for all losses incurred. These can include damages to your vehicle, personal property, injuries, loss of current and future income, hospital and doctors’ fees, as well as these same things for any passengers in your vehicle who may have suffered losses.

A good motor vehicle accident lawyer will ask you all the details of your case such as whether there were any witnesses, were their police reports filed, and were photos taken. They should also ask you to list all hospital stays and subsequent doctor appointments, prescriptions, and physical therapy appointments. Hopefully, you have kept detailed records as to your health and medical records during this time.

They will ask you about statements you have made to police, witnesses and the other driver. A good motor vehicle accident lawyer should caution you not to discuss details with the other driver’s insurance company. They will approach you and seem very sympathetic. However, they other have priorities that are not in your best interest. They will want to settle with you for the smallest amount of money and as quickly as possible. Even if you feel that the accident was your fault, it is in your best interest to only discuss the details with your motor vehicle accident lawyer. Many times what you think to be your fault may have extenuating circumstances such as mechanical failure, obstructions in the roadway, poorly lit intersections, etc.

Make sure that your motor vehicle accident lawyer is aware of any passengers in your vehicle that attest to the accident as well. They may also have suffered injuries and be seeking compensation. This is especially important where injuries are involved as they may seek compensation from you as the driver. Your attorney needs to be aware of this.

In addition, after you have met with your motor vehicle accident lawyer and discussed you case ask yourself these questions:

 Do you feel the motor vehicle accident lawyer listened to all of your concerns?

 Were the lawyers empathetic to your situation?

 Were you given the chance to list or explain all of your losses?

 Did they suggest others areas in which you may be rightfully compensated?

Ultimately, you have to feel comfortable discussing all the details of your case with your attorney.

Call Today for the Best Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

If you are looking for a good motor vehicle accident lawyer please call the Law Offices of Scott D. DeSalvo at 312-895-0545 or 866-861-1296 or visit our website http://www.auto-accident-lawyers-chicago.com for more helpful information in your search for a personal injury lawyer. We will be happy to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with you to discuss all the details of your case and set your mind at ease.
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Auto Accident Lawyer Michigan Attorneys Glossary Terms

HOME INFORMATION LAW GLOSSARY CASES ATTORNEYS CONTACT US ADVERTISE

Law Glossary:
Action – Proceeding taken in a court of law. Synonymous with case, suit lawsuit.
Adjudication – A judgment or decree
Adversary system – Basic U.S. trial system in which each of the opposing parties has opportunity to state his viewpoints before the court. Plaintiff argues for defendant’s guilt (criminal) or liability (civil). Defense argues for defendant’s innocence (criminal) or against liability civil)
Affidavit – A written or printed declaration or statement under oath
Affirm – The assertion of an appellate court that the judgment of the lower court is correct and should stand.
Allegation – An assertion, declaration or statement of a party to an action made in a pleading, stating what he expects to prove.
Alleged – (allegation) Stated; recited; claimed; asserted; charged.
Answer – A formal response to a claim, admitting or denying the allegations in the claim.
Appeal – Review of a case by a higher court.
Appearance – 1. The formal proceeding by which a defendant submits to the jurisdiction of the court. 2. A written notification to the plaintiff by an attorney stating the he is representing the defendant.
Arbitration – the hearing and settlement of a dispute between opposing parties by a third party whose decision the parties have agreed to accept.
At issue – The time in a lawsuit when the complaining party has stated his claim and the other side has responded with denial and the matter is ready to be tried,
Attorney at law – A lawyer; one who is licensed to act as a representative for another in a legal matter or proceeding.
Attorney of record – An attorney , named in the records of a case, who is responsible for handling the cause on behalf of the party he represents.
Bankruptcy – A legal proceeding where a person or business is relieved of paying certain debts.
Best evidence – Primary evidence; the best evidence which is available; any evidence falling short of this standard is secondary.
Brief – A legal document, prepared by an attorney which presents the law and facts supporting his client’s case
Burden of proof – Measure of proof required to prove a fact. Obligation of a party to probe facts at issue in the trial of a case.
Calendar – List of cases arranged for hearing in court.
Caption – The caption of a pleading, or other papers connected with a case in court, is the heading or introductory clause which shows the names of the parties, name of the court, number of the case, etc.
Case – Any proceeding, action, cause, lawsuit or controversy initiated through the court system by filing a complaint, petition, indictment or information.
Caseload – The number of cases a judge handles in a specific time period.
Cause of action – A legal claim.
Certificate under penalty of perjury – A written statement, certified by the maker as being under penalty of perjury. In many circumstances, it may be used in lieu of an affidavit.
Certiorari – Procedure for removing a case from a lower court or administrative agency to a higher court for review.
Challenge for cause – A request by a party that the court excuse a specific juror on the basis that the juror is biased.
Citation – Summons to appear in court. 2. Reference to authorities in support of a legal argument.
Civil law – All law that is not criminal law. Usually pertains to the settlement of disputes between individuals, organizations or groups and having to do with the establishment, recovery or redress of private and civil rights.
Claim – The assertion of a right to money or property.
Clerk of the court – An officer of a court whose principal duty is to maintain court records and preserve evidence presented during a trial.
Closing argument – The closing statement, by counsel, to the trier of facts after all parties have concluded their presentation of evidence.
Code – A collection, compendium or revision of laws systematically arranged into chapters, table of contents and index and promulgated by legislative authority.
Commit – To lawfully send a person to prison, a reformatory or an asylum
Common law – Law which derives its authority solely from usage and customs of immemorial antiquity or from the judgments and decrees of courts. also called “case law.”
Comparative negligence – Negligence of a plaintiff in a civil suit which decreases his recovery by his percentage of negligence compared to a defendant’s negligence.
Competency – In the law of evidence, the presence of those characteristics which render a witness legally fit and qualified to give testimony.
Complaint – 1. (criminal) Formal written charge that a person has committed a criminal offense. 2. (civil) Initial document entered by the plaintiff which states the claims against the defendant.
Contempt of court – Any act that is meant to embarrass, hinder or obstruct a court in the administration of justice. Direct contempt is committed in the presence of the court; indirect contempt is when a lawful order is not carried out or refused.
Continuance – Adjournment of the proceedings in a case from one day to another.
Corroborating evidence – Evidence supplementary to that already given and tending to strengthen or confirm it.
Costs – An allowance for expenses in prosecuting or defending a suit. Ordinarily does not include attorney’s fees.
Counter claim – Claim presented by a defendant in opposition to, or deduction from, the claim of the plaintiff.
Court – 1. Place where justice is administered. 2. Judge or judges sitting on the court administering justice.
Court administrator – Manager of administrative, non judicial affairs of the court.
Court commissioner – A judicial officer at both trial and appellate court levels who performs many of the same duties as judges and justices.
Court of appeals – Intermediate appellate court to which most appeals are taken from superior court.
Court superior – State trial court of general jurisdiction.
Court supreme – “Court of last resort.” Highest court in the state and final appellate court.
Courts of limited jurisdiction – Includes district, municipal and police courts.
Crime – Conduct declared unlawful by a legislative body and for which there is a punishment of a jail or prison term, a fine or both.
Criminal law – Body of law pertaining to crimes against the state or conduct detrimental to society as a whole. Violation of criminal statues are punishable by law.
Cross examination – The questioning of a witness by the party opposed to the one who produced the witness.
Damages – Compensation recovered in the courts by a person who has suffered loss, detriment or injury to his/her person, property or rights, through the unlawful act or negligence of another.
De novo – “Anew.” A trial de novo is a completely new trial held in a higher or appellate court as if the original trial had never taken place.
Declamatory judgment – A judgment that declares the rights of the parties on a question of law.
Decree – Decision or order of the court. A final decree completes the suit; an interlocutory decree is a provisional or preliminary decree which is not final.
Default – A failure of a party to respond in a timely manner to a pleading; a failure to appear for trial.
Defendant – 1 (criminal) Person charged with a crime. 2. (civil) Person against whom a civil action is brought.
Defense attorney – The attorney who represents the defendant.
Deposition – Sworn testimony taken and recorded in an authorized place outside of the courtroom, according to the rules of the court.
Direct examination – The questioning of a witness by the party who produced the witness.
Discovery – A pretrial proceeding where a party to an action may be informed about (or “discover”) the facts known by other parties or witnesses.
Dismissal with prejudice – Dismissal of a case by a judge which bars the losing losing party from raising the issue again in another lawsuit.
Dismissal without prejudice – The losing party is permitted to sue again with the same cause of action.
Disposition – 1. Determination of a charge; termination of any legal action; 2. A sentence of a juvenile offender.
Dissent – The disagreement of one or more judges of a court with the decision of the majority.
Docket – Book containing entries of all proceedings in a court.
Due process – Constitutional guarantee that an accused person receive a fair and impartial trial.
En banc “On the bench.” All judges of a court sitting together to hear a case.
Enjoin – To require a person to perform, or abstain or desist from some act.
Evidence – Any form of proof legally presented at a trial through witnesses, records, documents, etc.
Exception – A formal objection of an action of the court, during the trial of a case, in refusing a request or overruling an objection; implying that the party excepting does not acquiesce in the decision of the court and will seek to obtain its reversal.
Exhibit – Paper, document or other object received by the court as evidence during a trial or hearing.
Expert evidence – Testimony given by those qualified to speak with authority regarding scientific, technical or professional matters.
Fact-findinq hearing – A proceeding where facts relevant to deciding a controversy are determined.
Fair Preponderance– Evidence sufficient to create in the minds of the triers of fact the belief that the party which bears the burden of proof has established its case.
Felony – A crime of grave nature than a misdemeanor.
Fine – A sum of money imposed upon a convicted person as punishment for a criminal offense.
File – 1. The complete court record of a case. 2. “To file” a paper is to give it to the court clerk for inclusion in the case record. 3. A folder in a law office (of a case, a client, business records, etc.)
Fraud – An intentional perversion of truth; deceitful practice or device resorted to with intent to deprive another of property or other right or in some manner do him/her injury.
General jurisdiction – Refers to courts that have no limit on the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. Superior courts are courts of general jurisdiction.
Grand Jury – A body of persons sworn to inquire into crime and, if appropriate, bring accusations (indictments) against the suspected criminals.
Guardian ad litem – A person appointed by a court to manage the interests of a minor or incompetent person whose property is involved in litigation.
Hearing – An in-court proceeding before a judge, generally open to the public.
Hearsay – Evidence based on what the witness has heard someone else say, rather than what the witness has personally experienced or observed.
Hung Jury – A jury whose members cannot agree on a verdict.
Hypothetical question – A combination of facts and circumstances, assumed or proved, stated in such a form as to constitute a coherent state of facts upon which the opinion of an expert can be asked by way of evidence in a trial.
Immunity – Freedom from duty or penalty.
Impeachment of a witness – An attack on the credibility of a witness by the testimony of other witnesses.
Inadmissible – That which, under the established rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received.
Induction – Writ or order by a court prohibiting a specific action from being carried out by a person or group.
Informed consent – A person’s agreement to allow something to happen (such as surgery) that is based on a full disclosure of facts needed to make the decision intelligently.
Injure – 1. Hurt or harm 2. Violate the legal rights of another person.
Instruction – Direction given by a judge regarding the applicable law in a given case.
Interrogatories – Written questions developed by one party’s attorney for the opposing party. Interrogatories must be answered under oath within a specific period of time.
Intervention – Proceeding in a suit where a third person is allowed, with the court’s permission, to join the suit as a party.
Judge – An elected or appointed public official with authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law.
Judgment – Final determination by a court of the rights and claims of the parties in an action.
Judge pro tem – Temporary judge.
Jurisdiction– Authority of a court to exercise judicial power.
Jurisprudence – The science of law.
Juror – Member of a jury.
Jury – Specific number of people (usually 6 or 12), selected as prescribed by law to render a decision (verdict) in a trial.
Law – The combination of those rules and principles of conduct promulgated by legislative authority, derived from court decisions and established by local custom.
Law clerks – Persons trained in the law who assist the judges in researching legal opinions.
Lawsuit – A civil action; a court proceeding to enforce a right (rather than to convict a criminal).
Lawyer – A person licensed to practice law; other words for “lawyer” include: attorney, counsel, solicitor and barrister
Lay – non-professional; for example: a lawyer would call a non-lawyer a lay person and a doctor would call a non-doctor a lay person.
Lay advocate – a paralegal who specializes in representing persons in administrative hearings
Leading question – One which suggests to a witness the answer desired. Prohibited on direct examination.
Limited jurisdiction – Refers to courts that are limited in the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. District, municipal and police courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
Litigant – One who is engaged in a lawsuit.
Litigation – Contest in court; a law suit.
Magistrate – Court official with limited authority.
Malpractice. Professional misconduct or unreasonable lack of skill. A claim of malpractice must prove two things. One, you must prove that you could have won your case were it not for your lawyer’s negligence. And, secondly, you must prove that your lawyer’s actions were negligent.
Mandate – Command from a court directing the enforcement of a judgment, sentence or decree.
Misdemeanor – Criminal offenses less than felonies; generally those punishable by fine or imprisonment of less than 90 days in a local facility. A gross misdemeanor is a criminal offense for which an adult could be sent to jail for up to one year, pay a fine up to $5,000 or both.
Mistrial – Erroneous or invalid trial. Usually declared because of prejudicial error in the proceedings or when there was a hung jury.
Mitigating circumstances – Those which do not constitute a justification or excuse for an offense but which may be considered as reasons for reducing the degree of blame.
Motion – Oral or written request made by a party to an action before, during or after a trial upon which a court issues a ruling or order.
Moot – Unsettled; undecided. A moot point is one not settled by judicial decisions.
Negligence – The absence of ordinary care.
Oath – Written or oral pledge by a person to keep a promise or speak the truth.
Objection – Statement by an attorney taking exception to testimony or the attempted admission of evidence and opposing its consideration as evidence.
Of counsel – Phrase used to identify attorneys that are employed by a party to assist in the preparation and management of a case but who are not the principal attorneys of record in the case.
Offender – 1. A person who has committed a felony, as established by state law and is eighteen years of age or older. 2. A person who is less than eighteen but whose felony case has been transferred by the juvenile court to a criminal court.
Offer – 1. To make a proposal ; to present for acceptance or rejection. 2. To attempt to have something admitted into evidence in a trial; to introduce evidence 3. An “offer” in contract law is a proposal to make a deal. It must be communicated successfully from the person making it to the person to whom it is made and it must be the person to whom it is made and it must be definite and reasonably certain in its terms.
Omnibus hearing – A pretrial hearing normally scheduled at the same time the trial date is established. Purpose of the hearing is to ensure each party receives (or “discovers”) vital information concerning the case held by the other. In addition, the judge may rule on the scope of discovery or on the admissibility of challenged evidence.
Opening statement – The initial statement made by attorneys for each side, outlining the facts each intends to establish during the trial.
Opinion – statement of decision by a judge or court regarding a case tried before it. Published opinions are printed because they contain new legal interpretations. Unpublished opinions, based on legal precedent, are not printed.
Opinion, per curiam – Phrase used to distinguish an opinion of the whole court from an opinion written by only one judge.
Overrule – 1. Court’s denial of any motion or point raised to the court. 2. To overturn or void a decision made in a prior case.
Parties – Persons, corporations, or associations, who have commenced a law suit or who are defendants.
Peremptory challenge – Procedure which parties in an action may use to reject prospective jurors without giving reason. Each side is allowed a limited number of such challenges.
Petition – Written application to a court requesting a remedy available under law.
Petition for review – A document filed in the state Supreme Court asking for a review of a decision made by the Court of Appeals.
Perjury – Making intentionally false statements under oath. Perjury is a criminal offense.
Plaintiff – The party who begins an action; the party who complains or sues in an action and is named as such in the court’s records. Also called a petitioner.
Plea – A defendant’s official statement of “guilty” or “not guilty” to the charge(s) made against him.
Pleadings – Formal, written allegations by the parties of their respective claims.
Polling the jury – A practice whereby the jurors are asked individually whether they agreed, and still agree, with the verdict.
Power of attorney – Document authorizing another to act as one’s agent or attorney in fact (not an attorney at law).
Precedent – Previously decided case which is recognized as an authority for determining future cases.
Preponderance of evidence – The general standard of proof in civil cases. The weight of evidence presented by one side is more convincing to the trier of facts than the evidence presented by the opposing side.
Presiding judge – Chief or administrative judge of a court.
Probate – The legal process of establishing the validity of a will and settling an estate.
Proceeding – Any hearing or court appearance related to the adjudication of a case.
Record – 1. To preserve in writing, print or by film, tape, etc. 2. History or a case. 3. The word-for-word (verbatim) written or tape recorded account of all proceedings of a trial.
Record on appeal – The portion of the record of a court of limited jurisdiction necessary to allow a superior court to review the case.
Reasonable doubt – An accused person is entitled to acquittal if, in the minds of the jury, his guilt has not been proved beyond a “reasonable doubt”. That state of mind of jurors in which they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction as to the truth of the charge.
Rebuttal – The introduction of contradicting or opposing evidence showing that what witnesses said occurred is not true, the stage of a trial at which such evidence may be introduced.
Redirect examination – Follows cross examination and is carried out by the party who, first examined the witness.
Remand – To send back. A disposition by an appellate court that results in sending the case back to the original court from which it came for further proceedings.
Reply – Pleading by the plaintiff in response to the defendant’s written answer.
Respondent – 1. Party against whom an appeal is brought in an appellate court. the prevailing party in the trial court case. 2. A juvenile offender.
Restitution – Act of giving the equivalent for any loss, damage of injury.
Rests the case – When a party concludes his presentation or evidence.
Reversal – Setting aside, annulling, vacating or changing to the contrary the decision of a lower court or other body.
Service – Delivery of a legal document to the opposite party.
Set aside – Annul or void as in “setting aside” a judgment.
Settlement – 1. Conclusion of a legal matter. 2. Compromise agreement by opposing parties in a civil suit before judgment is made, eliminating the need for the judge to resolve the controversy.
Settlement conference – A meeting between parties of a lawsuit, their counsel and a judge to attempt a resolution of the dispute without trial.
Statute – A law created by the Legislature.
Statute of limitations – Law which specifies the time within which parties must take judicial action to enforce their rights.
Stay – Halting of a judicial proceeding by order of the court.
Stipulation – Agreement by the attorneys or parties on opposite sides of a case regarding any matter in the trial proceedings.
Subpoena – Document issued by the authority of the court to compel a witness to appear and give testimony or produce documentary evidence in a proceeding. Failure to appear or produce is punishable by contempt of court.
Subpoena duces tecum – “Under penalty you shall take it with you.” A process by which the court commands a witness to produce specific documents or records in a trial.
Suit – Any court proceeding in which an individual seeks a decision.
Summons – Document or writ directing the sheriff or other officer to notify a person that an action has been commenced against him in court and that he is required to appear, on a certain day, and answer the complaint in such action.
Testimony – Any statement made by a witness under oath in a legal proceeding.
Tort – An injury or wrong committed, with or without force, to the person or property of another, which gives rise to a claim for damages.
Transcript – The official record or proceedings in a trial or hearing, which is kept by the clerk.
Trial – The presentation of evidence in court to a trier of facts who applies the applicable law to those facts and then decides the case
Trier of facts – The jury or, in a non-jury trial, the judge, or an administrative body.
Venue – The specific county, city or geographical area in which a court has jurisdiction.
Verdict – Formal decision made by a judge or jury (trier of facts).
Voir dire – (pronounced “vwar-deer”) – “To speak the truth.” The process of preliminary examination of prospective jurors, by the court or attorneys, regarding their qualifications.
Willful act – An intentional act carried out without justifiable cause.
Witness – Person who testifies under oath before a court, regarding what he/she has seen, heard or otherwise observed.
Writ – A special, written court order directing a person to perform, or refrain from performing, a specific act.

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