None of us expects to be involved in a car accident on the way to work or while running errands, but car accidents happen unexpectedly every day. Being involved in a car accident can be traumatic, and you may wonder what to do immediately afterward. After you bring your car to a stop, it is wise to take the following steps. Preparing ahead of time for a car accident will help you remain calm, cool, and collected should it happen to you. Taking the time to consider what you will do after a car accident will also help you protect your right to sue for compensation in court. Read more
If you have been in an automobile accident with a child buckled into a car seat or booster seat, you may need to replace the child’s seat. Although there is no Federal or State law requiring replacement of a car or booster seat after a crash, the impact and force of a collision may cause unseen damage to the structural integrity of these seats. This hidden damage may prevent the car or booster seat from properly protecting your child in the event of a future crash. However, manufacturers are constantly working to improve the quality of these seats and the positive results are being noticed by many safety agencies.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) originally recommended that any car seat involved in an automobile accident be replaced. Obviously, this can be expensive for parents. With the results of recent studies showing that many of today’s child safety seats can withstand the impact of a minor accident without damage, the NHTSA has revised its recommendation. The NHTSA recommends that, after a minor crash, parents should use their own judgment in determining whether or not the car or booster seat is damaged and needs to be replaced. After a severe automobile accident, the car seat should always be replaced.
To determine whether the car crash qualifies as minor and determine whether the car seat is undamaged, use the following criteria:
- You were able to drive your vehicle away from the crash.
- The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged in any way.
- No one in your vehicle was injured.
- The airbags in your vehicle (if any) did not deploy.
- When you carefully inspect the car seat, including under its padding, you do not see any cracks or deformities of any kind that may have been caused by the crash.
If any of the above statements are not true or if you are unsure if the car or booster seat will properly protect your child in a future accident, you may take the car seat to an authorized inspection station for advice.
If you find that you need to replace the seat after an accident, contact your insurance company as some policies cover the cost of replacement.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident in or around Atlanta, you should contact James Rice Law as soon as possible to understand your rights; contact us or call 404-800-5940 to learn more.
Being involved in an automobile accident can be a traumatic experience.Immediately dial 911 and get emergency assistance on its way. Move to a safe location but do not leave the scene of the accident. Your focus should be on medical attention and gathering information to provide to your insurance company.
Once emergency personnel arrive on the scene, you should shift your thinking toward your accident claim:
Dealing with the aftermath: an Atlanta Automobile Accident
- Do not admit wrongdoing – not to your passengers, emergency personnel, police, witnesses, or later, your insurance representative. Do not admit wrongdoing to the other party. Do not talk with the other party outside of sharing your driver’s license number, insurance company’s name and telephone number. Do not disclose your insurance policy details. Obtain this same information from the other party. The fact is, even if you suspect that you might share in the blame for the accident, do not admit fault. Being involved in an accident, even a minor “fender bender”, affects your emotional state and as a result, you may not be thinking clearly. This is not the time to accept or place blame or discuss any potential settlement.
- Get checked by a medical professional at the scene or go to the doctor immediately. Even if you are unsure if you are hurt, go and let a doctor examine you. Although you may feel fine at the scene or think your injuries are minor, it could be days or even weeks before symptoms such as pain or discomfort appear. Rule of thumb – If the airbag in your vehicle deployed, seek medical attention immediately. (Powder from a deployed airbag may cause small burns.)
- Document your accident at the scene with pictures. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, damage to the vehicles, skid marks, road signs, etc. at the scene. As soon as possible, have a friend take pictures of your injuries. Cuts and bruises heal quickly so documenting any injuries as quickly as possible will provide photos that will be valuable evidence in the event you must hire an attorney to obtain a fair settlement.
- Document your accident at the scene with written notes. Writing down the details of the accident will assist you with your insurance claim. Include detailed notes on medical treatment administered at the scene or at the doctor’s office if you opted to seek medical attention after the accident. Include copies of prescriptions, etc. so that you can get full reimbursement for any medical expenditures.
- Request a copy of the Police Report from the Officer on the scene. He will instruct you on how to properly obtain the Report within a few days of the accident.
- Contact your insurance agency and file your claim.
- Contact your personal injury attorney. Throughout the settlement process: do not sign any paperwork without having it reviewed by your attorney. Having an attorney direct you through the claims and settlement process is the best way to be certain that your rights are protected. If you share in the blame for the accident, financial damages can be limited by your attorney.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an Atlanta automobile accident, you should contact James Rice Law as soon as possible to understand your rights; contact us or call 404-800-5940 to learn more.
Atlanta is a big city with a lot of hazards when it comes to driving. We went over some of the bigger ones in our last blog. But what about when you are out in a more rural area? There isn’t much traffic or high speeds. What could possibly cause accidents in the middle of nowhere? Well, let us tell you…
When you are on the open road, in the dark, it is hard to remember that you are not the only living being out there. There are all kinds of animals out there that don’t know when a car is coming. A deer crossing the road (or prancing across) or maybe even just a raccoon could cause more damage than you would expect. Most of us try to stop for an animal in the road but sometimes that requires us to swerve and that could mean ending up in a ditch.
Because rural roads aren’t as heavily populated as urban roads are, they tend to be the last to be repaired. So this means that the roads can have potholes, patches of gravel or even bumps in the pavement that can cause a car accident. Be careful to watch the road carefully especially if it is your first time on the road.
Similar to unmaintained roads, lack of road signs can cause confusion and accidents. If a stop sign is missing or in the wrong place, it can create chaos. If a street sign is missing and you are looking for the right street, you have to slow down to see causing the car behind you to potentially rear end you.
As always, the best thing you can do to avoid creating or being involved in an accident is to make sure that you are giving your full attention to the road. If the unthinkable happens, call the personal injury lawyers at James A. Rice today.
Unfortunately, every driver at some point has not given their full attention to the road and their surroundings. The sad fact is there are so many things out there that cause us to lose focus. But some of those things are out of our control and no matter how much we are focused on our driving, we can still be involved in an accident. Here, we will talk about some of the hazards that drivers come into contact with everyday. It is up to us to not cause car accidents.
We have all sat on a freeway, at a standstill, cursing whatever is causing the hold up. Sometimes distracted drivers don’t see that the cars in front of them are stopped and crash. This is potentially life threatening to everyone involved.
There is a period of time everyday where the sun is right in your eyes no matter what you do. Car visors can’t help, neither can sunglasses. When the sun is like this, you are lucky to get home in one piece.
Here in Atlanta, we aren’t known for getting much snow (2014 excluded) but we get our fair share of rain storms. At times the rain can come down in sheets, making visibility next to nothing. Be sure to slow down to an appropriate speed so that you have adequate time to stop.
There are many more hazards out there that can impair your driving skills. To make sure you are not involved in a car accident, make sure to use caution when your visibility is low and watch out for other drivers. If you are in a car accident, call the lawyers at James A. Rice to get the help you need.
In our last blog, we talked about some of the distractions that can be going on outside of your vehicle that may cause a car accident. There were so many of them we, thought that we would talk about more in this blog. Although these are not all of the things that can distract you, they are things to be aware of when you are driving so that you do not end up in an auto accident.
Have you ever been driving along, minding your own business, when a car comes out of nowhere and does something crazy? Maybe they are weaving in and out of traffic. Maybe they decide that it is ok for them to turn right from the left lane. Whatever the situation is, we are now focusing on that person and not what we are doing. Our attention is no longer on the car in front of us, slowing down. Our attention is focused on the crazy driver. We are thinking about how they are going to cause an accident and then it happens, except it’s you that causes it.
This one is not so obvious when you think of distractions. We look at our surroundings all of the time, right? When we are driving, especially on long drives or out sight seeing, we tend to get carried away in what we are looking at and forget about driving. Whether it is mountains, animals or a skyscraper, taking your eyes off the road for just a second can cause a car accident.
If someone isn’t paying attention to the road like they should be, a construction zone can sneak up on them. They could be going too fast and not see the break lights from the car in front of them. Even worse, they can end up hitting one of the workers or run into some of the machinery.
No matter how you got into your car accident, the lawyers at James A. Rice will do everything they can to help you get the money you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation.
Drunk driving is a huge problem in America today. We are constantly hearing about accidents caused by people who had been drinking before getting into the car. Famous actors and athletes are often found guilty of this, namely Lindsay Lohan, Warren Sapp, and Todd Helton. It seems as though, because these people have money, they are able to move on with their lives without any repercussions. But most people don’t hear about the behind the scenes, court proceedings.
In the United States alone, someone dies from an alcohol related accident every 51 minutes. More than one million people are injured in drunk driving accidents every year and that number is on the rise. It is believed that a person will drive under the influence 80 times before they will ever be arrested. Because we can’t take away someone’s right to consume alcohol and get behind a wheel, all we can do is deal with the aftermath if, heaven forbid, anything were to happen.
It seems like no matter what laws are put in place to prevent drunk driving, we will always have an issue with it. If you are involved in an alcohol-related accident and have been injured, the first thing you should do is find a great personal injury lawyer so that you can get the help that you will need to pay for medical bills and any other bills you will have if you have to be out of work.
If you are in the Atlanta or Duluth area and are in need of a personal injury lawyer, call us at James A. Rice today.
In light of the new LATCH Guidelines, which take effect in February, and the recent NHTSA proposal, I thought it important to alert parents to the upcoming changes affecting their existing car seats or future car seat purchase. Child car seat safety is the goal of all parents and in an accident, it is nice to know that organizations like the NHTSA are continuously looking to improve car seat safety guidelines.
Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children or “LATCH” anchors, were mandated in the United States in 2002 to more easily and safely secure a child in a car seat without the use of a vehicle’s seat belt. These anchors, or loop shaped rings in the back seat of your vehicle where the seat back and seat bottom meet, are the universal way to safely install your child’s car seat. However, many parents don’t realize that the LATCH anchors are designed for a limited amount of weight – 65 pounds.
Currently, the maximum weight limit of your child for LATCH use is 40 pounds but the problem with this standard is that it fails to take into account the varying weights of car seats. Next month, new guidelines take effect changing the maximum rated weight limit of your child and car seat combined, from 40 pounds to 65 pounds. If the combined weight of your child and the car seat is in excess of 65 pounds, you should install your child’s car seat using your vehicle’s seat belt rather than LATCH anchors.
Additionally, new labeling requirements will help clarify the limits of LATCH use for each car seat.
NOTE that it is always acceptable to utilize the top tether for forward facing car seats whether you install the car seat with the LATCH anchors or seat belt as it will help limit the child in a car seat in the event of a sudden stop or crash.
On January 22, 2014, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) proposed new regulations on Child Car Seats to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard which, for the first time, would protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes.
The proposed regulations would include impact tests wherein a car seat designed for children weighing up to forty pounds would be placed in a specially designed sled to create a “T-bone” crash. The impact test is the first of its type; it will simulate both the acceleration of the vehicle being struck and the door of the offending vehicle crushing toward the car seat. The testing simulates the front of a vehicle traveling approximately 30 mph strikes the side of a small passenger vehicle carrying a car seat and traveling approximately 15 mph. Further, the test will use a 12 month-old child test dummy and a newly developed 3 year-old child test dummy developed specifically for the side-impact testing. The side impact testing will require that car seats demonstrate the safe restraint of a child by preventing head and chest contact with an intruding vehicle door.
The NHTSA proposal allows car seat manufacturers 3 years to make the changes necessary to meet the new regulations upon final publication.
If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident in or around Atlanta, you should contact James Rice Law as soon as possible to understand your rights; call us to learn more.
Data compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) shows that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in teenagers 14-18 years of age.
In an effort to keep our most inexperienced drivers safe, the NHTSA launched its “5 To Drive” in October. The campaign challenges the parents of teenage drivers to discuss the five critical driving practices that can have the greatest benefits in the event of a crash.
The “5 To Drive” Campaign topics for discussion with your teenage driver are:
- No cell phone use or texting while driving. Talking on a cell phone reduces your reaction time. Texting involves manual, visual and cognitive distraction.
- No extra passengers. Peer pressure encourages risky behavior in teen drivers.
- No speeding. Speeding, including showing off, racing, etc., is a major factor in teen crash fatalities.
- No alcohol. Although illegal to purchase alcohol as a teenager, drivers 15-20 years old are at greater risk of death in crashes involving alcohol.
- No driving or riding without a seatbelt. Wearing a seat belt is the best way for a teen driver to protect themselves and their passengers in the event of a crash.
In a recent NHTSA study, it was found that teens were over two times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer than driving alone and this was three times more likely when driving with multiple teenage peers.
A parent is the biggest influence on a teen driver. In self-reported surveys, teens typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer accidents if their parents impose driving restrictions upon them.