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HMN Law Blog

Do OSHA standards support your FELA claim?

When you first began working as a railroad employee, you may have learned two lessons very quickly. First, you are not covered by workers' compensation law for injuries suffered while on duty. Second, your job is very dangerous. While it may seem to make no sense that a risky job would not include workers' compensation benefits, you do have options for seeking compensation if you suffer a work-related injury resulting from your employer's failure to comply with federal safety regulations.

The Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) provides a process for seeking compensation for your medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses following a railroad accident. However, you must prove your employer's liability. One important element in your case may be the safety standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Identifying the increased dangers of driving at night

Cars and trucks fill the roadways of California, even after the sun sets and darkness rolls in. People are rushing home from work, running their last errands or headed out for dinner with friends and family. What many people may not know is that they are three times more likely to be killed in a car accident while driving at night than they are during daylight hours. What is the cause of this increased danger and what can be done to minimize the risk of becoming involved in a deadly motor vehicle accident?

A lack of sunlight can reduce the ability to see certain hazards that lurk on the roadways. This includes objects in the road, other vehicles, bad weather conditions, bicyclists, animals and pedestrians. Furthermore, depth perception and peripheral vision are compromised at night. It can be difficult to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming car when pulling out into traffic. This is especially true for older drivers, who do not see as well in small amounts of light. Headlight blindness can also be a problem. When drivers look directly into the bright lights of an oncoming car, they may experience temporary blindness that can make it hard to navigate alongside other vehicles for a period of time.

Safety precautions while driving among large trucks

Many drivers in California face heavy traffic on a regular basis, and the presence of large trucks on the road increases the chances of a major accident. Trucks are much larger and heavier than cars, so accidents that involve them often include serious injuries and even death. Driving around commercial trucks requires different rules than driving among cars, and motorists can reduce the risk of accidents by following certain safety tips.  

According to FindLaw, accidents involving large trucks are, of course, often caused by the truck drivers themselves. This may be due to:

  • Increased speeds 
  • Fatigue 
  • Distraction
  • Inadequate training

Identifying the hazards of driving at night

California drivers still fill the roadways, even after the sun goes down and nighttime sets in. People are rushing home from work, traveling to work or headed out for a night of fun with friends. Yet, many motorists are unaware of the increased dangers of driving at night as opposed to driving during the daytime. AAA reports that people are three times more likely to get killed in a car accident while driving at night than they are during daylight hours. What accounts for this increased risk and what can people do to minimize the dangers of nighttime driving?

The lack of natural light is the biggest contributor to this danger. People are unable to see as clearly at night and may fail to adjust for these changes by slowing down and removing other distractions. A lack of light reduces drivers' ability to accurately judge the distance and speed of oncoming vehicles. It also interferes with peripheral vision and the eye's ability to focus on smaller details. 

Can low speed crashes still hurt you?

As a driver in California, the roads you traverse every day can be filled with unexpected dangers. While most people are worried about crashes that occur on the highway or at high speeds, what about crashes in residential areas? Do low speed crashes still have the ability to cause you harm?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. FindLaw examines some of the most common injuries associated with car crashes. Many of them can happen regardless of how fast your car is going at the time of impact. For example, some of the areas that see the highest rate of injury are the chest and back. You can hurt these areas quite easily. For example, the strain of your seatbelt can cause intense bruising or sprains even at low speeds. 

Not the same person: Dealing with frontal lobe injuries

Any injury to the head can be devastating. Medical science is still learning how even a simple concussion can have a lifelong impact on the health of a person's brain. The world of sports is learning some difficult lessons about the long-term effects of repeated blows to the head, and the damage such injuries cause can be tragic and irreparable.

Because the brain is such a delicate and complex organ, scientists do not fully understand how it works. What they believe is that the frontal lobe, the part of the brain just behind your eyebrows to the top of your head, may control many factors that make people who they are. In other words, the frontal lobe controls behavior and personality. If your loved oneĀ recently suffered a frontal lobe injury, you may wish to prepare for the possibility of a radical change in your life.

Distracted truckers: How big is the problem?

Given the amount of California traffic, the last thing you need to deal with as you drive our roads, highways and freeways is a distracted truck driver. Unfortunately, however, the problem of distracted truckers just keeps growing. For instance, a Minnesota truck driver allegedly watching a porn video in the cab of his truck crashed into, and killed, a highway worker just last month.

Per TCI Capital, truck drivers routinely exhibit the following three types of distraction:

  1. Manual distraction: the type that occurs when a driver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel, to do something else
  2. Visual distraction: the type that occurs when a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, to look at something else
  3. Cognitive distraction: the type that occurs when a driver takes his or her mind off driving, to concentrate on something else

The legality of triple-trailer trucks in California

If you are someone who has made frequent trips out of the State of California, you may have passed a truck that towed three trailers behind it. While triple trailer trucks may not be common sights on the road, being near one of them for any length of time can be unnerving. If you have not seen them drive within California, that is because they are currently barred by from operating in the Golden State.

According to California's Department of Motor Vehicles, triple trailers are permitted in many states. However, while California does allow for trucks to pull two trailers, the state draws the line at towing three of them. Part of the challenge of driving with multiple trailers is keeping the trailers from rolling over during turns, since a turn that is too quick can cause them to roll over. More triple trailers on the road means more trailers that can be spun over.

Intersection safety: If a nearby driver disregards the rules

Did you have a particular issue that caused you great stress when you were learning to drive? For some people, merging onto a highway is one of the biggest challenges. Others get nervous when sharing the road with tractor-trailers. You might be one of many California drivers whose blood pressure soars when approaching an intersection.

That's understandable because intersections are some of the most dangerous road locations. If you clearly understand the rules of the road and always adhere to traffic laws, your chances are good for successfully navigating intersections. The problem is that not everyone is as good of a driver as you. In fact, some drivers are downright reckless. That's why it's so important not only to practice safe driving habits but to also know where to seek support if another driver hits you.

Are hands-free cell phones safe for drivers?

In California and in many other states in the country, drivers are prohibited from using hand-held cell phones while behind the wheel. The dangers of distracted driving are well-known, as researchers have proven the disastrous effects of texting and driving.

In 2017 alone, more than 3,100 people were killed in distracted driving car accidents while hundreds of thousands more were injured. As a result of the hand-held cellphone ban, many drivers have turned to using hands-free devices in an attempt to stay safe while driving. The problem lies in the fact that hands-free cellphones may not be as safe as some think.

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Call us toll free at 800-689-7066 or use the email contact form to tell us about the circumstances of your injury or wrongful death case. We offer a free consultation and handle all FELA, FRSA and personal injury litigation matters on a contingency-fee basis. No fees unless we help you recover financial damages in a settlement or trial verdict.

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