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Cincinnati Car Accident Law Blog

Understanding the cause of truck accidents and relief for victims

Because of the unquestionably serious nature of truck accidents, it is important to understand both the liability and remedies for truck accidents. It is necessary to prove negligence in a personal injury or wrongful death claim for damages in order to recover compensation for those damages which is why it is important to understand the possible causes of truck accidents and what the cause of the victim's truck accident was.

Parties that may be liable for the damages the victim has suffered, depending on the circumstances and the cause of the accident, may include a negligent truck driver, negligent trucking company or manufacturer of a defective vehicle. Under Ohio's comparative negligence law, damages are allocated according to fault and only victims less than 50 percent liable for the accident can recover compensation for damages in the accident which also makes understanding the causes of accidents important.

Ohio's motorcycle helmet law

A previous blog post discussed how motorcyclists in Ohio and throughout the country face an increased risk of becoming involved in an accident and sustaining serious injuries. Because motorcyclists do not have the same protection as people riding in cars, they are more likely to suffer catastrophic, even fatal, injuries from accidents that are often caused by distracted or otherwise negligent drivers.

Motorcyclists are approximately 26 times more likely to die in a crash and five times more likely to be injured in a crash than someone in a passenger vehicle. Motorcyclists who do not wear helmets are three times more likely to suffer a brain injury than motorcyclists who do wear helmets. Traumatic brain injuries can cause permanent impairment of higher level cognitive functions and can even leave the victim in a comatose state. Helmet laws are designed to reduce the extent of head injuries sustained in the event of a crash.

Types of traumatic brain injuries caused by car accidents

Many people are injured or killed on Ohio's busy roads each year. Car accidents, motorcycle accidents and trucking accidents can all lead to catastrophic injuries. Traumatic brain injuries are among the most dangerous types of injuries, accounting for 1.7 million related deaths in America each year. Although brain injuries may be caused by other occurrences, such as sports-related injuries, falls, violence, explosions, medical malpractice and workplace accidents, car accidents remain the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.

TBIs are caused by an impact to the brain that causes trauma. Generally, there are four types of TBIs: concussions, contusions, diffuse axonal injuries and penetration injuries. Concussions are the most common type of TBI. They are caused by direct impact trauma to the head, such as whiplash in a car accident. Those suffering from concussions may lose consciousness or may simply experience symptoms like confusion and dizziness.

Car accident victims may recover even if they are at fault

Ohio is an at-fault insurance state, meaning that the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying the costs of losses and damages to the other driver. Those injured in a car accident may choose to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party to recover their medical expenses and other damages. In Ohio, they may do so even if they were partially at fault.

Traditionally, plaintiffs who contributed to the accident were barred from recovery. However, because outcomes were often unfair and unduly harsh, many states adopted the comparative negligence approach, which allows parties to recover damages even if they were contributorily negligent. Only a few states still follow the pure contributory negligence rule, under which parties may not be able to collect damages if they were at all to blame for the accident.

Steps to take following a car accident

Car accidents can be traumatizing. Victims should be prepared to handle the situation appropriately to ensure that they have a strong personal injury case moving forward. First, an ambulance should be called for anyone who is injured, and the injured party should remain on the scene unless emergency medical care is necessary. The vehicle should be moved out of oncoming traffic and the police should be contacted so that an official police report may be filed in cases where there is significant property damage, serious bodily injury or death.

Once all serious and immediate medical injuries are tended to, the focus should be on gathering evidence. The parties should exchange information, such as names, contact information and insurance information. Statements may also be gathered from any witnesses and photos should be taken of any vehicle damage, physical injuries and other evidence depicting road and weather conditions. This evidence is particularly helpful for crash reconstruction, which attorneys may present at trial to prove how the accident happened.

Government report suggests reducing legal blood-alcohol limit

About one-third of all traffic fatalities since 1982 are attributable to alcohol-impaired driving, according to a new report released by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report suggests that the number of traffic fatalities may be reduced by changing the legal blood alcohol concentration percentage from .08 percent to .05 percent. Some Ohioans agree with the report's suggestion, while others express concerns.

Over 600 impairment citations were issued in the Marietta Municipal Court in 2017 alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,637 Ohioans were killed in drunk driving accidents between 2003 and 2012. The agency further reports that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for Americans during the first three decades of their lives. The CDC cites several strategies that are effective for reducing or preventing drunk driving, including drunk driving laws, sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlocks, mass media campaigns and school-based instructional programs.

Who is liable in a commercial vehicle accident?

Many commercial vehicles travel Ohio's busy roads every day. When the driver of a commercial vehicle causes an accident, there may be other potential defendants, such as the driver's employer. The victim must show that the driver's employer is responsible for their injuries under the legal theory of respondeat superior, which is a Latin phrase meaning, "let the master answer."

An employer is liable only if the acts of its employees were unintentional and were committed within the scope of employment. It must first be shown that the employer exercised sufficient control over the employee to establish an employment relationship. If the employee was an independent contractor for a large company, it can be more difficult to establish liability.

Helping car accident victims collect compensation

Each year, thousands of motor vehicle accidents occur in Cincinnati. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that driver error is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States. Some of the most common causes of driver error are distracted driving, drunk driving, reckless driving and drowsy driving.

All drivers have a duty to drive carefully so as not to cause injury to other people, including people in other cars, pedestrians and so on. When they breach this duty and cause injury to someone else in an accident, they are considered to have acted negligently.

Motorcyclists face increased risk of injury

Motorcyclists in Ohio and throughout the country face increased risks of being involved in an accident and suffering injuries. Motorcycle accident victims are more likely to sustain injuries to their legs and feet, followed by their head and neck, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC conducted a study of 1,222,000 people who sustained motorcycle accident-related injuries and were treated in an emergency room between 2001 and 2008. It reported that the most common type of injuries were leg and feet injuries, comprising 30 percent of all non-fatal injuries. Head and neck injuries were the next most common, accounting for 22 percent.

Truckers to install electronic logging devices

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is requiring all truckers to install electronic logging devices in their trucks. The FMCSA reports that illegal logbooks are common and often lead to truck inspection citations. Prior to ELDs, truckers could easily misrepresent the number of hours and miles they had driven in the paper trucking logs. Now, ELDs will monitor truckers' hours and miles, thereby ensuring increased compliance with the Hours of Service regulations.

The Hours of Service regulations require drivers of commercial trucks to drive a maximum of 11 hours a day, followed by at least ten hours of rest. Many truckers who are paid by the mile, not by the hour, are tempted to falsify records so they can continue to drive beyond the 11 hours because their 11-hour days often consist of activities that do not accrue income, such as waiting in traffic or at loading docks. They also may be offered bonuses for getting deliveries done by a certain time.

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Meet Our Attorneys

At Gregory S. Young Co., LPA, our lawyers have one goal: to help you rebuild your life after an accident. We are committed to getting you and your family the resources your need to treat your injuries, pay your bills and move forward to a brighter future.

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Gregory S. Young Craig Michael Belliston Christopher D. Byers Michelle L. Mendelsberg Teran T. Tod Mollaun J. Clark Norris Douglas Kilgore Dalton Brian M. Cable Alexis Toledo Andrew Trice Michele L. Young
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