Category: Motor Vehicle Accient

They Are Not Your Friends

Dealing with the other guys insurance company.

Is there anyone out there that still believes that the insurance company for the person that caused you harm is really going to help you out?  The business model of insurance companies is simple, take in as much money as possible through premiums and pay out as little as they can through claims. It’s how they make a profit.

My video blog explains exactly how to handle this situation.

Large Truck Crashes in Virginia

Large trucks on the highway pose a significant threat to drivers of passenger cars. Although the trucks account for only four percent of registered vehicles nationwide, they account for nine percent of vehicles involved in fatal car crashes.

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In 2013, there were approximately 342,000 accidents involving large trucks, resulting in 3,964 fatalities. In those fatal wrecks, the person killed was an occupant of the other vehicle 71 percent of the time! The truck driver was killed only 17 percent of the time. Injuries from large truck wrecks are very similar. The injured parties are occupants of the other vehicle 72 percent of the time.

In Virginia, there were 1001 vehicles involved in fatal crashes in 2013, 100 of which were large trucks. Of the 89 people killed in these wrecks involving large trucks, 24 were occupants of the truck, while 61 were occupants of the other vehicle, and four were not occupants of either vehicle.

Nationwide, the majority of wrecks involving large trucks occur when the roads are most populated. Sixty-four percent of wrecks happen on weekdays, and 73 percent occur between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Alcohol is rarely an issue with truck drivers. In fatal large truck crashes in 2013, only two percent of the truck drivers had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher. Drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher 23 percent of the time.

Collisions with big trucks are obviously something to be avoided. To do so, it helps to recognize the types of truck driver errors that most often contribute to wrecks. According to Virginia’s 2014 crash statistics, truck drivers were cited for a moving violation in 5,151 of the 9,750 crashes. Sixteen percent of those violations were for improper lane changes, and another 16 percent were for following too closely. Nine percent were for failure to yield the right of way.

These types of actions by truck drivers indicate two defensive strategies for passenger car drivers: 1) assume the driver of a big truck cannot see you due to blind spots, and 2) get out of the way. In a passenger car, you can’t afford to come into contact with a big rig. You might have the right of way, but that is of little consequence when 4,000 pounds goes up against 80,000 pounds! And the trucker might be wrongfully tailgating, but moving over and letting him pass is always the best play.

If you’ve been injured in a car wreck with a large truck, you should consult with an experienced, compassionate personal injury attorney who understands Virginia law. To learn more, ASK ABOUT IT! Call Sandler Law Group – toll free 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial FREE consultation. You may also contact us online at www.sandlerlaw.net or by email at GSandler@Sandlerlaw.net.

What Happens in an Accident Reconstruction?

Auto accident involving two cars on a city street
Auto accident involving two cars on a city street

Accident reconstruction involves using investigative, engineering, and physics to attempt to determine the cause of an accident. The reconstructionist uses evidence to draw conclusions about what might have caused or contributed to an accident. Reconstruction is typically used for severe crashes or accidents involving fatalities. In Virginia, testimony of accident reconstruction experts is severely limited, and in most cases it will not be allowed, as the Court has been very reluctant to find that the circumstances upon which the experts base their opinions are EXACTLY like the real circumstances. Assumptions or reliance upon “averages” are not generally allowed, so the role of the reconstruction expert is limited.

Some evidence is physical — things you can see or touch — such as the cars themselves, skid marks, traffic signals, and medical records. Other evidence is testimonial, such as statements given by the drivers, passengers, and other witnesses.

In an accident reconstruction, all of the evidence is pieced together much like a puzzle. The reconstructionist uses principles of physics, engineering, and mathematics to determine issues like the following:

  • The speed of each vehicle at the time of impact;
  • Whether brakes were applied and, if so, the distance;
  • Whether the brakes of the vehicles had been properly maintained or might have failed;
  • The angle of impact;
  • Driver steering input;
  • Whether the roadway surface was slick, due to factors such as oil or ice;
  • Whether either driver was violating federal or state laws when the crash occurred.

The uses of accident reconstruction are not limited to lawsuits. Car manufacturers sometimes use reconstruction to identify potential vehicle safety issues and to improve car safety. State and federal highway agencies also use accident reconstruction to improve the safety of roadways and related devices, such as guardrails.

Modern-day accident reconstructionists and their clients benefit from computer technology. There are many programs that help reconstructionist by performing computations, testing theories of the crash, and re-creating accidents.

At The Sandler Law Group, we believe in avoiding accidents whenever possible. However, if you or a family member were injured in an accident and you’re considering hiring a lawyer, ASK ABOUT IT! Call us toll free at 800-9-THE-LAW or (757) 627-8900 to schedule an initial FREE consultation. You may also contact us online atwww.sandlerlaw.net or email us at GSandler@Sandlerlaw.net to get started.

 

Your Car’s Black Box: How Event Data Recorders Can Help or Hurt Your Case

We’ve all heard of the black box recovered from airplane crashes; but what about the Your Car's Black Box: How Event Data Recorders Can Help or Hurt Your CaseBLACK BOX IN YOUR CAR? Did you even know it was there? It is not the same thing as in a plane, of course, but event data recorders installed in cars can provide your attorney with a wealth of information to help prove your claim that the other side was at fault. In Virginia, you should have one if you have purchased a 2008 or later model car. Continue reading “Your Car’s Black Box: How Event Data Recorders Can Help or Hurt Your Case”

Pure Contributory Negligence: How Virginia Law May Affect Your Accident Case

Pure Contributory Negligence: How Virginia Law May Affect Your Accident CaseNegligence is an essential element of personal injury cases, particularly those involving motor vehicle accidents. The definition of negligence is pretty standard, but there are different theories of negligence that are applied from state to state. The definition of negligence, according to the Cornell Law School, is “a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.” Continue reading “Pure Contributory Negligence: How Virginia Law May Affect Your Accident Case”

Supreme Court of Virginia Reiterates Punitive Damage Standard in Civil Drunk Driving Case

Supreme Court of Virginia Reiterates Punitive Damage Standard in Civil Drunk Driving CaseThe Supreme Court of Virginia recently struck a blow for justice when it remanded a personal injury case to the trial court for further consideration of punitive damages. The appeal involved a jury instruction that may have caused the jury in the case to not appropriately consider its award of punitive damages. Cain v. Lee, (2015). Continue reading “Supreme Court of Virginia Reiterates Punitive Damage Standard in Civil Drunk Driving Case”

Motor Vehicle Accidents Are the Leading Killer of Teens

Motor Vehicle Accidents Are the Leading Killer of TeensThere is a lurking threat around every corner out there: TEEN DRIVERS! Teenagers between the ages of 15 and 24 represent as much as 30% of the costs of motor vehicle injuries. In addition, on a per mile basis, drivers between 16 and 19 are three times as likely than older drivers to be in a crash resulting in death. Continue reading “Motor Vehicle Accidents Are the Leading Killer of Teens”

Accidents and Soft Tissue Injuries

Accidents and Soft Tissue Injuries

Accidents and Soft Tissue InjuriesWhile motor vehicle accidents often cause severe, noticeable injuries such as broken bones and lacerations, victims also suffer less obvious injuries to “soft tissues.” In my experience, no phrase has produced more unfair behavior from insurance companies, defense attorneys, and litigants than “SOFT TISSUE INJURY.” Because what is the implication? . . . that these injuries are minor, they don’t matter, they are faked, they can’t be proven, and a whole host of other misleading and mischaracterizing claims. Continue reading “Accidents and Soft Tissue Injuries”

Illegal Street Racing in Virginia

Illegal Street Racing in VirginiaAnyone out there remember Dead Man’s Curve, the 1964 song by Jan & Dean? A tragic story about teenagers drag racing. How many of you have seen Fast and Furious 1 through 7? People — ESPECIALLY YOUNG PEOPLE– (as well as Vin Diesel) don’t always appreciate the dangers associated with the operation of motor vehicles under even normal circumstances. That being said, it is more frightening to think about the possible outcomes of illegal drag racing. THINK ABOUT IT! Kids, who think they’re indestructible, racing cars at high rates of speed on public roads populated with unsuspecting drivers! Continue reading “Illegal Street Racing in Virginia”