Sender of Text to Distracted Driver Being Sued

A pending court case in New Jersey may determine whether there are legal consequences for texting someone when they’re behind the wheel.

In 2009, Kyle Best hit a couple on their motorcycle while responding to a text sent by Shannon Colonna. The couple both lost their left legs and have not only brought a suit against Best, but have also included Colonna in the complaint for her role in the injury.

Texting while driving is already illegal in 38 states. Now, this precedent-setting case could determine if the person on the other side of the text message is just as responsible as the distracted driver.

The couple’s lawyer, Stephen Weinstein, told ABC News that while Colonna may have not been physically present, she was still electronically present.

However, Colonna’s lawyer argues that she had no control over when Best decided to read the text message and did not even know he was driving.

According to a deposition, Best said that at the time of the crash he glanced down at his cell to see who texted him, but a time sequence of the exchanged texts read in court show he was the last to text before the crash, meaning there was no intervening text from Colonna between Best’s last text to her and his 911 call.

Colonna’s attorney argues that, unlike a passenger who encourages a young driver to speed or ignore traffic signals, Colonna had no control over Best’s actions since she wasn’t in the car.

 

Marijuana Use May Increase Your Risk of Having an Accident

South Carolina Accident Attorneys

A new study at Columbia University found that driving while under the influence of marijuana may double the risk of an individual getting into a car accident, when compared to other drivers.

Researchers reviewed nine epidemiological studies and found that drivers who drive under the influence of marijuana are significantly more likely to be involved in vehicle crashes compared to drivers who are not under the influence of the drug.

The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that more than 10 million people age 12 and older have driven a vehicle under the influence of illicit drugs in the prior year.

Marijuana is the most commonly-detected non-alcoholic drug used by drivers.

Until recently, experts were not certain about its role in causing car accidents. A full report on the research is published online in the journal Epidemiological Reviews.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), approximately 5,811,000 automobile accidents occurred in 2008. Of these automobile accidents, there were 37,261 fatalities and 2,346,000 injuries.  In a single moment, millions of families were disrupted and forced to face costly medical bills and suffer lost wages, as well as physical and emotional pain and suffering.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol reported 270 fatalities in 2011 on South Carolina highways alone, and reported 1,000  deaths total in South Carolina due to motor vehicle collisions.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, in 2008 one person was killed in a DUI accident every 21 hours, and one teen driver was involved in a fatal car accident every hour. One pedestrian was killed by an automobile every 3 days.

Contrary to what television lawyers may tell you, motor vehicle accidents can be expensive and complicated. In all likelihood, “getting the cash you need now” really means is that you won’t have the cash you’ll need down the road.

Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Car Accident Victims
Automobile accidents, commonly called car wrecks, happen every day in South Carolina and nationwide. Even minor car accidents can lead to severe injuries and high repair costs. As a result, automobile accident cases are often complicated. Many people, including attorneys, regard car accident cases as run-of-the-mill, which is rarely the case.  The attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC, understand what it takes to protect the rights of victims injured in car accidents.

By: South Carolina Accident Attorney Pete Strom

 

When to File a South Carolina Accident Report

South Carolina Accident Attorneys

If any automobile accident results in death or injury to any person, or damage to personal property, an accident report should be filed immediately.

A South Carolina accident report must be filed within ten days after an accident occurs to avoid the risk of the driver losing their license. South Carolina accident report forms are at any police station or sheriff’s office. After completing the form, file it at the location listed.

The experienced South Carolina Automobile Accident Attorneys at The Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. can help you understand the legal process and will fight for fair compensation for your injuries.

Do not let an insurance adjuster take advantage of the situation by settling your claim for as little as possible. Insurance adjusters make money by pushing you through a quick settlement. If you have been in a South Carolina car accident, it is important that you understand your legal rights. The South Carolina car accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. will review your case free of charge.

Our South Carolina wreck attorneys and support staff have experience dealing with automobile accidents and insurance companies, and can help ensure you receive fair compensation for all your injuries, current and future. Even if you are the victim, and your case does not involve life-altering injuries or complex legal questions, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will aggressively defend their case. The insurance companies who most often defend at-fault drivers spend millions of dollars teaching their adjusters how to successfully deny claims.

Have questions? The Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. offers a  free consultation with our personal injury attorneys.  Call us today to see how we can help. 803.252.4800

Contact the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and how we can help.

Car Accidents: Never Leave the Scene

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South Carolina Accident Attorneys

If you are involved in an automobile accident with another vehicle or pedestrian, it is important to remember to never leave the scene of the accident. If you leave the scene of the accident, you may subject yourself to criminal prosecution, even if the collision was not your fault.

If you are in a wreck, the most important thing to do is to make sure that everyone is safe, and determine whether there are any injuries.

You may want to warn oncoming traffic to avoid a second collision until law enforcement arrives.

What Should I Do Immediately After the Accident?

1. If  you or anyone else is injured, contact 911. If you are injured, you need to seek medical attention.  Once your injuries are examined, make sure that you follow your doctor’s advice. Continue reading “Car Accidents: Never Leave the Scene”

Car Accidents: Legal Rights and Insurance

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South Carolina Accident Attorneys

Although drivers must legally carry auto insurance, no one plans for a car accident.

Car accidents are stressful.  If your vehicle is damaged extensively, your transportation is gone.  If you were injured, you can incur substantial medical bills, and be out of work.  In the midst of dealing with the aftermath, you can expect that an insurance adjuster will contact you soon after the accident.

The insurance adjuster may be friendly, and might even seem to help you with your case. However, you should not give a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster before speaking to an attorney. Statements on record can damage your claim. The South Carolina Accident Attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC offer a free consultation to discuss your legal rights.

Dealing with Uninsured and Under-Insured Drivers

If you have been injured in a South Carolina auto accident with a driver who does not have insurance, or the driver’s insurance cannot cover the cost of your injuries, don’t give up hope. Depending upon the facts of your case, our South Carolina accident attorneys may be able to locate additional insurance coverage.  The Strom Law Firm, LLC will fight to obtain fair compensation for your injuries.

 

Contact the South Carolina accident attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. today for a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case and how we can help.

Car Accident Statistics

South Carolina Car Wreck Attorneys

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), there were approximately 5,811,000 automobile accidents in 2008. Of these automobile accidents, there were 37,261 fatalities and 2,346,000 injuries.  In a single moment, millions of families were disrupted and forced to face costly medical bills and suffer lost wages, pain and suffering.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol reported 270 fatalities in 2011 on South Carolina highways alone, and reported 1,000  deaths in South Carolina due to motor vehicle collisions. Continue reading “Car Accident Statistics”

YouTube Soccer Sensation Killed in Car Accident

The Lebanese Football Assoication reported that YouTube celebrity, Theyab Awana, was killed in a car accident on Sunday. Mr. Awana was a wide midfielder from the United Arab Emirates; he became a YouTube star after scoring a back-heel penalty in a match against Lebanon.

View the video here.

The 21-year-old passed away following an accident in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi.

The national team was preparing for a trip to Asia next month when news of Awana’s death broke.

According to reports, the UAE team administrator said the whole team went to the funeral today. Continue reading “YouTube Soccer Sensation Killed in Car Accident”

Accidents Caused by Faulty Tires

South Carolina  Defective Tire Attorneys

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), faulty tires cause approximately 8,000 accidents each year in the United States. After these accidents, drivers and passengers face medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. Some accidents can even result in death. Victims and their families face physical and emotional pain. These accidents can give rise to a South Carolina wrongful death claim.

Who is at Fault

Determining who is to blame when a tire malfunctions can depend on whether the malfunction occurred as the result of a faulty design, a mistake during the manufacturing process, problems during mounting and installation of the tires, or the tires being improperly maintained.

Types of Tire Defects

Tread Separation

Tread separation occurs when the treads of the tire actually begin to separate from the rim. Although steel rims provide a strong base for the tire, they are problematic because the rubber treading will not adhere to the steel. If the tire is not designed and manufactured using technology that will overcome that problem, the treading can separate from the rim. This design or manufacturing defect can cause the tire to suddenly fail.

Installing Tires That are not Proper for the Vehicle

When tires are installed, it is important to make sure that the new tires are the proper size to fit the car’s rims. Failure to do so may cause the tires to malfunction. Also, tires are rated by the maximum speed at which they can safely operate. When installing tires, it is best to make sure that their speed rating is higher than the maximum speed of the car. Oversized tires have become popular on SUVs. This can be dangerous, as it raises the vehicle’s center of gravity and makes it more prone to rollover accidents.

Defects Arising During Mounting and Inflation

  • Debeading or Tire Bead Failure:  The beads of a tire are a bundle of wires that are key to maintaining inflation. If a tire is improperly designed or manufactured, or is installed on a mismatched rim, tire bead failure can occur. This leads to an immediate loss of pressure which can often cause a violent explosion that can result in serious bodily harm.
  • Multi-Piece Rims and Wheels:  Some configurations of wheels and rims are multi-piece and can explode, causing injury or death to tire mounters. The danger is so grave that OSHA requires repair shops that work on multi-piece rims and wheels to provide special safety cages for their employees.
  • Zipper Failures:  These failures occur when the sidewall of the tire bursts during inflation, which can injure a technician working on the tire.

Proper Tire Safety

By safely maintaining your tires, not only can you avoid car breakdowns and accidents, you can improve your car’s handling and get better fuel economy. According to the NHTSA, drivers should inspect their tires once a month and:

  • Check tire pressure and make sure it matches the tire pressure in your car’s owner’s manual
  • Check while driving to see if there is evidence of tire vibration or misalignment
  • Inspect the tires for cracked or bulging sidewalls, uneven or excess tread wear, or other signs of trouble
  • Check the treads for foreign objects and remove anything you find
  • Make sure all the valves have caps

It is also important to make sure that you do not overload tires. Your owner’s manual should tell you how much weight your car can safely bear. Keep in mind that when pulling a trailer, part of the weight of the load is carried by the car. While driving, it is important to slow down at pot holes, speed bumps and railroad tracks. Avoid running over curbs or hitting against them while parking.

The Transportation Reporting Enhancement Accountability and Documentation Act of 2000 (TREAD) requires tire manufacturers to notify the NHTSA about reported defects. You can check if a recall has been issued on your tires by visiting safercar.org.

What if you are Injured as a Result of a Tire Defect

All tire manufacturers are required to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard, which means that they must manufacture tires to meet reasonable safety standards. However, tire companies often fail to do so.

In 2000 and 2001, Bridgestone/Firestone recalled millions of tires after it was discovered that hundreds of accidents that occurred due to defects in tires the company manufactured. These accidents frequently resulted in injury and death. The next year, a similar recall was issued by Continental Tires. Tire companies often try to blame accident victims by claiming that these victims improperly maintained the tires or did not properly respond when the tire failed. An attorney who has experienced in lawsuits involving car accidents can help victims get compensation for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured as the result of a tire failure, call the South Carolina car accident attorneys at Strom Law Firm, LLC, at 803-252-4800.

 

 

 

By: South Carolina Accident and Personal Injury Attorney Pete Strom

 

Bus Accidents and Fatalities Underreported

In 2003, a widely-publicized bus accident in Tallulah, LA resulted in the death of eight people.

Curiously, the accident was not included in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) statistics of fatalities. The NHTSA is the government agency responsible for tracking accidents. Dozens of similar accidents from the last few decades were also not included.

According to a report by USA TODAY, the NHTSA has undercounted many highway bus accidents and deaths since 1995. The report also claims that the overall number of fatal bus accidents is much higher than the government has been reporting.

NHTSA’s failure to report an accurate number of bus accidents and deaths has given Congress and the public a false impression that busses are safer than they actually are, and has hindered efforts to improve bus safety.

Jacqueline Gillan told USA TODAY that “by underreporting crashes and fatalities, it has given the industry the political cover they want to go to (Capitol) Hill and say, ‘We are really safe.’” Gillan is the vice president of the non-profit Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

The addition of unreported data drastically changes bus safety statistics.  Since 2003, 23 fatalities were not included in NHTSA reports, which makes a 25 percent increase from the 133 deaths the agency counted.

Forty-two deaths occurred on midsize buses from 2000-2009, none of which were counted by NHTSA’s bus accident fatalities. NHTSA statistics indicate that highway bus crashes and deaths have greatly increased, even while highway deaths as a whole have fallen 25 percent since 2005, USA TODAY reports.

The Obama administration has made efforts to improve bus safety, as the government doubled the number of surprise inspections, and proposed the idea of a seat belt requirement, while also working with NHTSA to ensure accident data is properly recorded.

 

By: South Carolina Accident Lawyer Pete Strom