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HMN Law Blog

Holding big railroad businesses responsible

Both the implementation of the railways in California and the maintenance of their daily operations rank among the greatest feats of human engineering and ingenuity. If you have ever worked in the railroad industry, then you probably know that the immense forces involved do not always succumb to the systems designed to control them. In short: Accidents happen.

At Hildebrand McLeod and Nelson LLP, we believe that the safety responsibilities of large carrier companies become greater as the dangers of the industry increase. With the progression of technology and the shifts in professional duties comes a renewed need for railroad worker representation and protection.

These steps can help you avoid colliding with a big rig

Accidents involving commercial trucks often result in the most serious damages we see on the road. The sheer size of these vehicles requires them to be driven with caution and for other drivers to pay close attention. 

In many instances, distracted or fatigued driving on the part of the truck driver causes these accidents. But, the tips below can help drivers of passenger vehicles be a little safer when driving near a large truck. 

Is the road more dangerous during the holidays?

Many people in California take to the roads to visit their families during the Holiday season. Some drivers might have more distractions than normal, while others might  drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel. There are a number of hazards you could face from other cars, but there is also an even deadlier threat. 

Other traffic comes from a different source: commercial trade. It is not just your imagination -- there are more trucks than usual on the road during these times. In fact, as you might expect, the Holidays are the busiest periods of the year for most shipping companies in the state.

Anticipating a change in your insurance after a car accident

When you have been involved in a car accident in California, investigators will spend considerable time surveying the scene of the accident to determine whether or not you were at fault. If you were the driver who was responsible for causing the accident, you may be subject to a variety of consequences that may take time to correct. At Hildebrand, McLeod & Nelson, we have helped many people who have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. 

Once you have been notified that the accident you were involved in was your fault, one of your first concerns may be how this will affect your insurance rates going forward. Contrary to what many believe, being at fault in a car accident does not immediately cause your insurance to skyrocket. According to Esurance, insurance companies weigh several factors before they determine whether to increase your rates. They will look at reports of the accident to analyze the conditions and the behaviors that led to the accident. They will also look at your driving record and your involvement in any past accidents. 

Collision with loaded dump truck kills California bicyclist

It is not only 18-wheel big rigs that can cause havoc on our roadways when improperly operated. A woman in Santa Rosa was killed  by the driver of a loaded dump truck, who was unable to avoid colliding with her as she was riding her bicycle. 

The accident occurred early Tuesday afternoon when the driver of the vehicle was allegedly unable to see the woman on her bicycle in or near the crosswalk and collided with her in his 10-wheel dump truck. When authorities arrived at the scene of the accident, in the vicinity of the intersection between Highway 12 and Stony Point Road, they pronounced the woman dead. Tragically, she had become pinned under the right rear tires of the dump truck.

What makes truck accidents different from others?

"Monster" is a term that applies not just to those customized, souped up, big-wheeled trucks people pay good money to see in arena settings. Because of their sizes and speeds, nearly every truck on the freeways and roads of California is worthy of the title. And when they are involved in collisions, you can be quite certain that the victims who suffer the most are going to be those in other vehicles.

Attorneys with deep experience in handling truck crash cases that cause serious and/or fatal injuries know that such actions are complicated. Very often, multiple vehicles are involved in these collisions. That creates challenges in trying to sort out who is responsible for what percentage of the damage, pain and suffering. When commercial trucks are factors, especially semi-tractor trailer rigs, the complications can increase exponentially. Optimal protection of victims' legal rights demands consulting with a skilled attorney.

What are some life changes after paralysis?

After an accident in California that has left you paralyzed, there are many things in your life that will change. They go beyond the obvious change that you can no longer walk. While many people may think that is the main change in your life, you will discover that the related health issues of your paralysis are much more evasive.

According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, paralysis also often affects your body systems. You may have problems regulating your body temperature. This could lead to various issues, including infections. Your muscles are likely to deteriorate due to lack of use. However, you may do daily physical therapy to prevent this. Some muscle loss is still to be expected.

What to do if you are involved in a rollover accident

Rollover accidents can be terrifying. One minute you are driving along normally; the next minute the vehicle flips onto its roof and you find yourself upside down.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are over 280,000 rollover accidents in the United States each year. On average, more than 10,000 people die as a result, and thousands more suffer life-threatening injuries. Recent analysis in the news suggests the importance of knowing how to prevent your car from a rollover and what to do if a rollover occurs.

Why dashboard cameras are so popular with drivers

Drivers in California see all kinds of behavior behind the wheel. Distracted commuters making business calls, careless truck drivers, tailgaters and road rage are par for the course. California has a poor traffic reputation, and with good reason. One of the biggest challenges on the road is other drivers.

Distracted drivers and poor driving habits contribute to thousands of accidents each year. But new technology is making it easier to prove who is at fault. Here's why so many people are installing dashboard cameras onto their cars:

Statistics on large truck accidents

Trucks and Commercial vehicles on California roadways can cause some of the most devastating accidents because they are so much bigger than passenger vehicles. Drivers of both passenger vehicles and large trucks must share the roadways safely. Unfortunately, each year, there are numerous accidents involving large trucks, tractor-trailers and commercial vehicles. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in California, in 2016, there were a total of 3,357 accidents that resulted in fatalities with 3,623 deaths. The majority of the accidents were single vehicle. That would be 57 percent, or 2,063 accidents. Although, 43 percent were multiple vehicle accidents.

Nationwide, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") reported that there were 37,133 people killed in car crashes in 2017. They also noted that, unfortunately, total deaths were up 6.5 percent in 2016 and 8.4 percent in 2015. However, in 2017 the number of people who died in car crashes finally began to decrease (by 1.8 percent). The number is still too high but experts are hopeful that this is the beginning of a new trend toward fewer truck and commercial vehicle crashes. 

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