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Fighting an insurance company may be necessary after a crash

The horrors of car accidents are all around. You may have witnessed various accidents throughout your life, whether minor fender benders or major collisions, or you may have even had friends or family members suffer serious injuries after a crash. Because you understand just how life changing a car accident can be, you always do your best to remain a safe driver.

Unfortunately, not all drivers choose to remain conscientious behind the wheel. As a result, you could easily find yourself involved in a collision due to the reckless or negligent actions of another person. If this happens, you want to be prepared for possible outcomes, including those that involve fighting the other driver's insurance company.

Rushing decreases skill, even behind the wheel

In almost anything that you do, rushing is going to decrease the amount of skill that you put into that task.

Take painting a room in your house. You can go slowly, tape all of the trim, switch brushes to have the right one for each step in the job, and get a great result. Or you can skip the taping, rush through the job with a roller and an oversized brush, and get done faster -- but with sloppy edges and paint on your trim.

Striking your head in a fall

People often think of falls from heights, such as falling off of a ladder, as the real danger. While these falls are dangerous, it's important to remember that even a simple slip-and-fall incident on the same level can lead to serious injuries. You do not have to be at any substantial height. Even slipping on a wet tile floor in a local store can be enough to cause a significant head injury.

The most common TBI, or traumatic brain injury, is a concussion. For instance, if you slip and fall backward, striking your head on the tile floor as you go down, your skull's job is to protect your brain. It may do so, preventing an open injury, but the brain can still get jarred against the inside of the skull. This is what leads to a concussion, and you could lose consciousness, have no memory of the incident or need extensive medical care.

What is a typical reaction time when braking?

Reaction times have a lot to do with accident odds in the car. Part of the reason that things like distracted driving, drunk driving and drowsy driving are so risky is that they all reduce your reaction times. In terms of braking, this time includes the following:

  • Recognizing the need to stop, such as a red light or a crash up ahead.
  • Removing one's foot from the gas pedal.
  • Putting that foot on the brake.
  • Applying enough pressure to slow and eventually stop the car.

How long does that take? It depends on many factors. Typically, police units that are reconstructing accidents assume that it takes a second and a half. In one study, the average was actually closer to 2.3 seconds. Researchers note that the real time could be as low as 0.7 seconds or as high as 3 seconds.

Is the truck driver or the company liable for your crash?

In many car accident cases, the assumption is that the driver who caused the crash is liable. There are minor exceptions to this, such as when a manufacturer defect causes an accident, but that's rare. Usually, the driver just makes a mistake.

With truck accidents, though, there are a lot of different questions to ask. Since that truck driver was employed by a trucking company and working at the time of the crash, is the company also liable?

Distracted driving doesn't always involve cellphones

If it seems like the drivers around you are not paying attention, you just might be right. Distracted driving is a widespread problem in every state, and West Virginia is certainly no exception. The scary thing is that you cannot control whether you share the road with the distracted drivers who are putting you at risk for serious injuries.

Although you probably associate distracted driving with texting or using a smartphone, there is much more to it than that. The term actually refers to many different behaviors that take a driver's attention off the road.

The edges of flooring changes are a hazard

Move from one room to another in any home or building and you may see a lot of changes in the flooring materials being used. It could be from a carpeted hallway to a tiled bathroom in a hotel, for instance, or just from one type of tile to another. Flooring around fireplaces is often made of stone and sits higher than the floor around it. Wood floors often switch over to tile or laminate -- or a composite material -- in the kitchen.

We often think of these things as mere cosmetic changes. However, when you look at common examples, you can quickly see a theme: The flooring changes can create a trip-and-fall hazard.

Some automatic driving systems are already helping

The topic of self-driving cars is sometimes controversial in the United States. While there is evidence that they could massively reduce accidents by taking human error out of the mix, others worry that computer glitches and similar issues may simply cause new types of crashes.

However, these reservations have not prevented some automated technology from making its way into modern cars. It is generally aimed at safety innovations. While not all cars have a full driving-assist mode like some vehicles, many new models from all brands have things like:

  • Automatic braking systems for when something unexpected happens in front of the car
  • Automatic braking systems for backing up if a driver doesn't see an obstacle
  • Lane-departure warning systems
  • Automatic headlights, which can increase visibility and decrease accidents even during the day
  • Blind-spot monitoring systems that tell a driver if another car is in their blind spot before a merge

What if the Train Horn Rule doesn't protect you?

Railroad crossings are pretty dangerous places. It's commonplace for there to be lights that illuminate and bars that come down at significant intersections and bigger cities here in West Virginia. These alert or safety systems aren't as abundant in smaller towns like Nitro, though. It's in areas like these that it's good that the Train Horn Rule, or 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 222, exists. Federal regulators enacted this bill to protect innocent individuals from being struck by trains.

This legislation requires conductors to sound their train horns between 15 and 20 seconds before crossing through public crossings. The "good faith" rule applies in instances where a conductor can't determine how far away they are from the railroad crossing. In cases like this, the conductor can give up to 25 seconds of notice before arriving at the crossing.

Mining risks go beyond cave-ins and collapses

Cave-ins and collapses are the first things that most people think of when considering the dangers of working in the mining industry. There is an inherent fear of venturing underground and then finding the way back to the surface cut off by a collapse.

Historically, this has been a significant issue, and it continues to plague the industry to this day. That said, workers have far more protection now than they used to, from structural devices to protect against a collapse to communication devices that can help save lives and keep crews in contact.

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Peyton Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
2801 First Avenue
P.O. Box 216
Nitro, WV 25143-1602

Toll Free: 800-681-9555
Phone: 304-755-5556
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