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California Accident Injury Trial Lawyers

Staying Safe after a Car Accident on a Highway

You are much safer after a car accident on a city street than you are if you get into an accident on a highway. Given the much higher speed limits on California highways, after an accident, your safety is in the hands of people approaching your vehicle at upwards of 60 miles per hour. At those speeds, getting hit by a vehicle is almost an assured death sentence. For that reason, you should be extraordinarily cautious after an accident on the highway. It is safest to stay in your vehicle with your hazard flashers on until emergency responders arrive. Here are some other tips to ensure your safety after a highway accident.

  1. Look before you leap. Before you get out of your car, make sure your path is clear. Don’t let your confusion or panic following an accident provoke you into exiting your vehicle without knowing whether cars are approaching. This advice is best if you are able to get your car to the side of the road. If you are stranded with open lanes on both sides, stay inside and call 911.
  2. Make your presence known. Especially at night, it is important to signal to oncoming drivers that you are crashed. Bright clothing, reflective cones, hazard lights and road flares – which you should keep in your vehicle at all times – are good ways to signal other drivers.
  3. Shield yourself and your vehicle. You may run across a good Samaritan willing to park behind your vehicle to provide you and the other driver with some protection from oncoming cars. You’d be surprised how many helpful people you might find on the road after you are involved in an accident, and every little bit of help counts.

If you are involved in an accident in San Luis Obispo, our law firm can help.

What Are Early Signs of a Possible Concussion?

 

Concussions are often referred to as “mild” traumatic brain injuries, but don’t let the word mild fool you – a concussion is no laughing matter. Concussions affect brain function and, while usually temporary, the problems that they cause can make it difficult for a person to engage in everyday activities like work, hobbies and spending time with family and friends.

The typical cause of concussions is a blow to the head, but concussions can also result from violent shaking of the head or upper body. Generally speaking, when you suffer a concussion, you will not lose consciousness. As a matter of fact, it is very possible to have a concussion without even realizing it.

How Do I Identify a Concussion?

Concussions can be sneaky. You may not notice the signs and symptoms of a concussion immediately, but the symptoms can last for days, weeks or longer.

The most common symptoms of concussion are headache, loss of memory and confusion. When it comes to loss of memory, you may even forget the event that caused the concussion, adding to further confusion. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • A feeling of pressure in the head
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Feeling as if in a fog
  • Dizziness or seeing stars
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Delayed response to stimuli
  • Fatigue/malaise

Over time, you may develop problems with concentration, personality changes, sleep disturbances, sensitivity to stimuli or even disorders of taste and smell.

If you ever suffer a blow to the head or otherwise traumatic event, such as a car accident, a slip-and-fall or even a serious blow during a contact sport, you should have a doctor examine you for traumatic brain injury. While many concussions are minor, they can cause a serious disruption in your daily life.

Could Positive Train Control Have Stopped the Washington Train Crash?

You’ve probably heard of the massive Amtrak accident that occurred toward the end of last month in DuPont, Washington. The accident occurred when Amtrak Cascades 501 entered a curved overpass at 80mph, nearly triple the curve’s speed limit of 30mph. The train derailed as it went around the curve, sending several passenger vehicles into the air and into the rush hour traffic passing underneath. Over 100 people suffered injuries in the accident and at least three died.

At first glance, the primary cause of the accident was the train’s speed. But could something have been done to slow the train down before the accident? Could positive train control (PTC) have stopped Amtrak Cascades 501?

What is Positive Train Control and How Could It Have Saved Amtrak Cascades 501?

PTC is a system that uses GPS, wireless radio and computers to monitor a train’s movements and speed. If a train shows signs that it is moving too quickly or may cause an accident, PTC can automatically slow down or stop the locomotive. The Federal Railroad Association has said in the past that PTC is the single most important advancement in rail safety in over a century.

Around 40 percent of train crashes are caused by human error. If all rails and trains were to be equipped with PTC, the designers believe that most or all of these accidents could be eliminated. For these reasons, the federal government has mandated that all trains be equipped with PTC by the end of 2018.

Amtrak has since equipped 49 percent of its trains and 67 percent of its rails with PTC. The rail where the derailment occurred was actually equipped with PTC; however, it is not due to become operational until the second quarter of 2018.

If you have been injured in a West Coast train crash, our law firm can help.

Ways That Social Media Can Affect Your Injury Claim

car accidentDo you use social media websites, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Chances are, if you are reading this article, the answer is yes. According to Pew Research Center in 2014, nearly 75 percent of Internet users were active on some form of social media, and that number has likely gone up since then. Social media is an excellent tool for people to keep up with their friends and families, reconnect with old acquaintances and even for seeking new meaningful employment. But social media can have a dark side, and this is especially true if you are pursuing a personal injury claim.

How is it that your social media posts can come back to bite you when you’re trying to seek damages for an injury? When you make a claim against another party, that party is going to do everything in its power to limit the amount of damages it is liable for. So, you can bet that the opposition’s attorneys are going to pore over every aspect of your life that they have access to. That includes social media, information that is public domain.

Here’s an example of how your injury claim can be challenged based on social media. Christine is involved in a slip-and-fall accident at a local hotel. She is walking down a set of stairs when a loose guardrail slips, sending her tumbling to the landing below. Christine hurts her hip and sues the hotel for damages, claiming that her hip injury has left her unable to drive to work.

A few weeks later, Christine’s daughter has a birthday. On social media, Christine posts a selfie of herself driving her daughter to the local theme park for a day of fun. The hotel’s attorneys find the picture and use it as evidence that Christine lied about her inability to drive.

Christine also claims emotional distress following her accident that left her depressed and unable to see her friends – two points both contradicted by a gushing Tumblr post describing her amazing girl’s night out with friends.

Do yourself a favor – if you are in the middle of pursuing an injury claim, stay off social media.

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