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When someone is involved in an auto accident caused by another driver, they are typically able to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover damages for their injuries. However, what happens if they are in accident with an emergency vehicle?
Emergency vehicle car accidents, although rare, do occur. There are approximately 30,000 firetruck crashes each year, according to the United States Fire Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Injury claims for emergency vehicle car accidents can be complicated due to government liability; however, a personal injury plaintiff may be able to recover damages from an emergency vehicle car accident under certain circumstances.
While laws vary by state, those who provide emergency medical services generally have governmental, or sovereign, immunity. This means that firefighters, police officers, and ambulance drivers are generally exempt from liability and may not be held liable in civil actions. In Delaware, responsible public safety personnel who render emergency care or rescue assistance are not liable for any civil damages if they have the required training or certification, and if they did not cause the injuries or death willfully, wantonly, or recklessly by gross negligence.
Drivers of emergency vehicles are permitted to speed, run red lights, and break other traffic laws that the general population must follow. However, they are still required to exercise due care, such as using lights and sirens to alert other drivers to their presence. If an emergency vehicle driver is found to have willfully, wantonly, or recklessly caused an accident, they may be held liable in a personal injury lawsuit.
Those who are injured in emergency vehicle car accidents will typically face more obstacles when it comes to obtaining compensation than those who are injured in regular car accidents involving at-fault drivers. In Delaware, an injured party may file a claim against a government agency or its employee only if the claim refers to a lawful action performed in the scope of the government employee’s duties. If the injury resulted from an unlawful action, the claimant may only sue the individual who caused the accident personally, not the government agency that the person works for. If successful, claimants may be able to recover damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Drivers can avoid getting in a car accident with an emergency vehicle by taking certain precautions. When an emergency vehicle is approaching, slow down and observe the surrounding traffic before pulling over to the side of the road. Also, exercise caution even when the emergency vehicle is not moving; Delaware law requires drivers to reduce speed and move to a lane not adjacent to the vehicle when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle.
If you were injured in an emergency vehicle car accident due to the driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to collect compensation. There are special legal rules pertaining injury claims against the government, such as shorter statute of limitations and notice requirements. Our experienced Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will evaluate your case and help determine if you are eligible for compensation. Contact us online or call us at 302-834-8484 to schedule a free consultation. With offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we also represent clients in Elsmere and Seaford.
Storeowners in malls and shopping establishments throughout the country eagerly await the onslaught of shoppers that converge each holiday season. Shoppers buy thoughtful gifts and hunt for seasonal deals, but they do not always fully consider the safety of this activity. While stores are generally considered safe, shoppers can sometimes forget that danger may be lurking just outside the doors.
Shoppers are often warned to stay alert for danger in parking lots as they return to their cars with their newly purchased merchandise. The lure of expensive gifts can make you a target for thieves. With hands full of bags, fingers fumbling for keys, and eyes distracted from your surroundings, you could become the victim of a sinister attack. The advice to be alert and cautious is certainly warranted, however, thieves and attackers are not the only dangers to avoid in parking lots and garages.
Busy holiday-season parking lots, with their tight parking spaces, congested aisles, and abundance of pedestrians, can present a host of possible headaches. The following are some tips to avoid potential parking lot pitfalls:
Obey traffic rules: Just because you are not driving on the street does not mean you should flout traffic rules. Use your turn signal when turning and use your headlights to remain visible after dark. Also, do not drive across the lot, cutting through open parking spaces; use the aisles as intended so other drivers and pedestrians can predict traffic patterns.
Pick a good spot: Instead of aiming for the parking spot closest to the building, consider factors besides the shortest walk. A spot farther back might help you prevent shopping cart dings or give you more space to get in and out of the car, but no matter the proximity to the door, your chosen parking spot should be safe. The main objective of a parking spot search should be to ensure that when you return, you can easily find your car in a well-lit spot.
Back into your spot: If you back into your parking spot, you will have an easier time leaving when it is dark and the lot is more densely packed with people and cars.
Pedestrian dangers: While walking to and from your car, watch for other cars backing out of spots. Just as you should stick to the appropriate car path while driving, you should make sure to use crosswalks as a pedestrian, making your intentions predictable for those around you.
Slip and falls: Be conscious of your footing while walking on un-leveled ground or slick walkways. Walk in lighted areas and stay alert for objects in your path.
If you were injured in a car accident or other incident in a parking lot, you should contact a Delaware personal injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.
Trucks cross Delaware roadways every hour of every day to get their freight where it needs to go. Even seasoned truckers with years under their belts may not always use the correct streets or thoroughfares to get from one point to another. Similarly, they may rely on an outdated GPS and end up driving their trucks in areas that cannot accommodate their full truck height.
To cut down on the incidents of truckers knowingly or unwittingly traversing roads not meant for vehicles their height, Delaware legislators have passed new regulations. The legislation ensures violators will be penalized financially.
Most motorists have seen warnings aimed at truckers, especially before underpasses and bridges. Usually, these warnings note the maximum truck height allowed on the road. They may also offer alternative routes for truckers to avoid problems such as bridge strikes. A bridge strike occurs when an excessively tall truck trailer hits the bottom of a bridge, potentially causing property damage or a truck-related accident or fatality.
Emerging technologies now allow municipalities to determine when a truck of an inappropriate height has passed along a roadway. Mounted sensors send information including truck license plate numbers to the municipality, ensuring law enforcement can issue fines to truckers who neglect to drive responsibly.
Other states have adopted similar truck vehicle height monitoring legislation, but only Delaware appears to allow any municipality to take advantage of the monitoring system. In other words, any city, township, or other applicable entity can use vehicle height monitoring to help reduce problems on their roadways. Other states typically focus their vehicle height monitoring legislation on or around large cities.
It should be noted that the legislation is not limited to commercial trucks. Individuals driving rental trucks, such as self-service moving vans, could also be fined for violation of height and road restrictions.
The goal of all vehicle height monitoring laws is to reduce any collisions with truck trailers or beds and bridges or underpasses. Additionally, vehicle height monitoring can be used to encourage trucks to use alternate routes. Currently, some municipalities have reported repeated problems with truckers ignoring warning signs and driving through residential neighborhoods.
How does the legislation impact offenders? It hits them in the wallet as opposed to taking away their ability to work or continue a chosen career.
Truckers caught violating posted vehicle height limits will receive a warning the first time they are caught. For second and subsequent violations, they will be fined $250 and $500, respectively. They will not, however, receive any points on their driver’s license as a result of violating vehicle height restrictions.
Everyone who drives or is a passenger deserves to arrive alive and unharmed to their destination. Still, sometimes accidents with trucks happen. If you have been hurt or a loved one was killed in a truck accident, call the Milford truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. To schedule a free, initial consultation, call us at 302-422-6705, or contact us online. Located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state including Seaford and Elsmere.
No one can deny that autumn in Delaware offers tremendous natural beauty as the leaves begin to change color. However, along with recognizing fall’s appeal comes specific driving responsibilities related to the time of year. Below are some tips drivers can use to make sure they stay out of harm’s way and avoid car accidents while navigating the roads.
Now that children have returned to the classroom, drivers need to be on the lookout for buses and walking school children. Often, children will dart in front of traffic without looking. Anyone behind the wheel who travels around known school bus stops should pay special attention to the needs of youngsters.
Sun glare happens throughout the year at different times of day. In the fall, the sun sets earlier in the evening. Drivers may want to alter their route or travel at different times to avoid sun glare. If sun glare is unavoidable, they should wear proper eyewear and drive cautiously during high-glare times.
Cooler morning temperatures, especially after a balmy evening the previous day, can quickly lead to heavy fog. Fog reduces sight lines and makes traveling hazardous and tricky. Therefore, foggy mornings call for an extra element of defensive driving. Remember that high beams will bounce off fog. Using regular headlights works best when driving through fog.
Use the changing of the calendar as a good excuse to visit a mechanic for a check-up. Have the windshield wipers checked and make sure everything is running smoothly. Winter weather can come suddenly and no driver wants to be caught unaware or without a reliable vehicle.
Deer tend to run onto highways and may not be visible until they are on the road. When driving through an area with a high deer population, drivers should always exercise extreme caution. That way, they have time to step on the brakes to avoid a collision.
Leaves fall everywhere in the autumn, including on the roads. Slippery leaves can cause the same effect as water, snow, or sleet. Drivers should slow down when they are on roads with leaves. Even leaves that appear crisp and dry could hide soggy leaves underneath.
When the road gets cold enough, ice can develop rapidly. A tiny bit of ice can lead to problems and cause a car to veer off the roadway. The best way to avoid getting into a collision due to ice is to be aware of its potential presence and drive accordingly.
If you were injured in a car accident, contact the Bear accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow right away. We will review your case and obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Located in Milford, Wilmington, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford. For a free consultation, call us at 302-834-8484 or fill out an online form.
Every year, more than 100 people suffer fatal injuries from car accidents on Delaware roads. Thousands more are injured as a result of crashes. Though drivers endure pain from an accident, passengers receive the most severe injuries, especially backseat passengers. Research has revealed that contrary to common thought, riding in the back of a car is not safer than riding in the front. In fact, the backseat can be a surprisingly dangerous place for passengers.
When a car stops suddenly, its occupants keep moving forward. Thus, someone who is sitting in the backseat in the middle may fly into the front part of the car, and perhaps through the windshield. Those sitting behind the driver and passenger seats will slam into the seats, potentially forcing the driver and passenger forward at a faster rate of speed.
However, danger of being in the backseat can be mitigated for those who use their seat belts. The backseat is the safest point in the car for children. Delaware parents are routinely told by pediatricians, the public, and law enforcement to buckle up their children and use the highest-quality approved car seats and boosters. As people age, they can tend to get lax about wearing their seat belts when in the back of a vehicle. As a result, injury rates skyrocket among older adults who were in the backseat during car accidents.
Everyone should wear a seat belt when riding in a vehicle. Still, most people who sit in the backseat either forget to buckle up or think it is unnecessary. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety discovered that although 91 percent of people religiously buckle up when they are in the front seat, only 72 percent wear seat belts when sitting in the backseat. Among certain age groups in the study, the younger generation was more likely to buckle up; only 66 percent of adults aged 35 to 54 wore their seat belt compared to 73 percent of adults aged 18 to 34. When taking a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle, such as Lyft or Uber, only 57 percent reported seat belt usage. Wearing a seat belt in the car, regardless of where you sit, is vital and can decrease car accident injuries and fatalities.
If you were involved in a car accident, the Bear DE car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. We will hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries and fight for the justice you deserve. For a free consultation, call us at 302-834-8484 or contact us online today. Located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including Elsmere and Seaford.
Anyone who has experienced a motor vehicle accident probably remembers feeling “out of it” immediately afterwards. This lightheadedness is partly due to the human body’s physiological response to the shock and strain; it produces more adrenaline, which can temporarily lessen the physical pain.
The trauma of a car crash can make it hard for victims to grasp what actually happened. Later on, the body stabilizes and the adrenaline levels decrease. This is when people can better understand the extent of any injuries they may not have immediately noticed.
For some it can take hours; in other cases, it could be days or weeks. These issues can range from mild to life-threatening.
Common injuries that tend to go unnoticed include:
A nagging headache that presents itself the day after a car crash may not be immediately associated with the accident. However, it could be a sign of a concussion, back and neck injuries, or other bodily damage. Concussion symptoms include difficulties keeping awake or sleeping, trouble concentrating, blurred vision, nausea, and dizziness.
Whiplash may occur when a person’s neck and head are moved suddenly; this is commonly seen in rear-end collisions. This trauma may lead to neck pain, swelling, and vocal cord, ligament, and muscle damage.
Whenever the spinal cord is affected in a car accident, there is a risk for nerve damage. A car wreck can affect a person’s joints and also cause herniated discs. These can definitely worsen with the passage of time, especially if not treated.
Symptoms can include numbness, tingling, and ongoing back pain that can extend to the legs, arms, and other extremities.
Soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons, and muscles can also take a long time to show up. Diagnosing them can be complicated since they do not show up on X-rays. These injuries can cause decreased mobility, consistent pain, and swelling.
Car accident victims may also experience latent injuries to other body parts, including arms, legs, and their extremities.
Even if there are no physical injuries, psychological scars can destroy the lives of accident victims and those who have witnessed shocking motor vehicle crashes. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other forms of emotional trauma can be difficult to diagnose and can also worsen with time.
Although it may be hard to think clearly after a crash, it is essential to seek medical care. Even if a car accident victim is not experiencing symptoms, a physician may be able to diagnose underlying injuries. Further, a doctor can alert a patient as to what signs to look for in the coming days that could be indicative of an injury.
Contacting law enforcement at the accident scene is also important, since documentation, photographs, and other evidence can show responsibility for previously unnoticed injuries.
Car accident victims should also know that settling a claim offered by the at-fault driver’s insurance company too soon could be a mistake. In many cases, injuries can appear after a release form is signed and settlement has been made. If the victim has already settled, they have waived their legal right to seek additional benefits from that insurance company.
If you were involved in an automobile crash and are experiencing post-accident injuries, we can help. Contact an experienced Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow by calling our Bear office at 302-834-8484, our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500, our Milford office at 302-422-6705, or fill out an online contact form. We serve clients in Elsmere, Seaford, and across Delaware.
More than three million people in the United States are injured in car accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). From January 1, 2018 until November 13, 2018, there were 92 car crash fatalities in Delaware alone.
Sadly, children may be in the car at the time of these accidents. Therefore, it is important to know how to handle car accidents involving children.
The first thing to do at the scene of the accident is check if your children are injured. Some injuries like lacerations and penetrating wounds are visible. Others may not be apparent, such as a concussion, a traumatic brain injury (TBI), or whiplash. Children who are strapped into car seats must be carefully inspected for wounds that may not be readily noticeable.
Call 911 to report any injuries and ask for emergency assistance. Keep in mind that certain injuries to you or your children may take time to show symptoms, or may initially present as a minor injury. Therefore, you should always seek medical attention for you and your children after a car accident.
If you are able to, pull over as close to the accident scene as possible, to avoid obstructing traffic or causing any further accidents. Stay calm and assess the scene of the accident and the damage caused. Take notes and pictures of details like the location, time of day, weather conditions, any property damage caused, any injuries you and your children sustained, and other circumstances surrounding the accident.
Exchange information with the other parties involved, including their:
It is important that your rendition of the events be documented, so if the police were not called to the scene of the accident, be sure to file a police report afterwards.
In Delaware, certain car accidents must also be reported to the Delaware Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), including if the car accident occurred on a public highway, resulted in at least $500 of property damage, or involved a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol and resulted in $1,000 of property damage or more.
It is advisable to speak with a Bear car accident lawyer before making any statements or agreeing to any settlements.
In Delaware, those who are injured in a car accident may file a personal injury claim against the driver who caused the accident. Children are generally entitled to collect the same compensation that adults can receive, including medical bills, pain and suffering, disability, and other forms of compensation.
Parents of children under the age of 18 may negotiate the claim on the child’s behalf and recover compensation for any medical bills paid on behalf of their minor child.
If you or your child was injured in a car accident, contact a Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow as soon as possible. In Delaware, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury claim. Our experienced lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at our Wilmington, Delaware office at 302-427-9500, our Bear, Delaware office at 302-824-8484 or our Milford, Delaware office at 302-422-6705. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford.
With Uber and Lyft providing us with transportation literally at our fingertips, many may not think twice about stepping into someone else’s car. However, a deadly limo crash in New York earlier this fall has many rethinking hiring a driving company to take them where they need to go.
An investigation revealed that the limousine had failed inspection the month before and was not supposed to be on the road. With twenty dead, officials are claiming this was the deadliest crash in the nation in the last decade.
Although buses and limos are generally considered to be a safe means of transportation, due to their high passenger occupancy and sheer size, any bus collision can be deadly and impact dozens of people.
Several weeks after the horrific New York accident, a Delaware motorcyclist lost his life due to a collision with a bus.
However, passengers do have a way to protect themselves from negligent business practices in the transportation industry. Before calling for a ride, visit the federal website to learn if the bus or limousine company is in violation of the laws put into place to keep passengers safe.
Customers can look up a transportation company’s safety record by visiting the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) online database. Finding the exact company in the database can be tricky, so have the formal name of the company or the US DOT number handy before searching.
Once the bus or limo company is found, the top of the screen will have the companies overall rating, such as “satisfactory”.
Below this, the database has the following safety categories ready for review:
The categories that have violations will have a yellow caution sign attached. Further information on those violations can be viewed as well.
For example, Greyhound lines has an overall satisfactory rating; however, they have 111 violations for HOS. What this means is that drivers were found behind the wheel working beyond the limit of hours that are considered safe 111 times.
However, the FMCSA warns that unless a company has an overall unsatisfactory rating, consumers should not draw conclusions about a carrier’s overall safety, solely based on the data displayed in this system.
Although commercial bus and limousine company information can be found on the federal website, consumers should also be wary of the fact that vehicles with unfixed recalls put passengers and others on the road at risk.
Uber and Lyft require a vehicle inspection, but they do not require drivers to fix recall issues.
Customers that have the free MYCARFAX app can type in the rideshare vehicle’s license plate number to check if the car has any open recalls, and what the issues, if any, there may be.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a bus accident, limo accident, or a rideshare accident, contact an experienced Wilmington bus accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Call our Wilmington office at 302-427-9500 or Bear office at 302-834-8484 or complete an online form to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford, with offices conveniently located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford.
A head-on collision with a DART bus injured six victims and fatally injured a driver. On Wednesday morning, around 7am, in Newark, Delaware the DART bus and a car collided at the intersection of South College Avenue and West Chestnut Hill Road. The driver of the car succumbed to his fatal injuries at the Christiana Hospital while the bus driver sustained no injuries. Six individuals went to the hospital for medical treatment of their injuries.
Head-on collisions oftentimes result in serious injuries or fatalities for any parties involved. These types of accidents may occur due to distracted driving, speeding, intoxicated driving, or drivers who become lost and drive the wrong way. When one of the vehicles is a large bus, the weight and size of the bus contribute to the severity of the accident.
If you or your loved ones became injured in a bus accident, contact our Bear bus accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or contact us online. With offices located in Wilmington, Milford, and Bear, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Delaware including Wilmington, Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Bear, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Georgetown, Elsmere, and Seaford, as well communities in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.
Delaware state officials announced at an August forum that plans were finalized to add cable guardrails to parts of Delaware Route 1 and I-95. This announcement was made about a month after a tragic car accident on Route 1 South that killed five out of six family members riding in a truck.
The meeting was hosted by State Senator Stephanie Hansen and State Representative Ed Osienski, who head the House and Senate transportation committees. Two DelDOT engineers at the meeting stated that federal and state funds would both be used to pay for the four-million-dollar project.
The guardrails on Route 1 will be located from Odessa to Smyrna, and south of Smyrna to south of the Biddle’s Corner Toll Plaza. On I-95, they will be installed from Pennsylvania’s state line to Harvey Road.
Officials reported that DelDOT initiated the project last December, in response to the fatalities that had occurred in the areas. They stated that it was not just a response to this particular crash.
The horrific accident occurred over the July 4th holiday, when the family was driving back from an Ocean City, MD vacation. The 61-year old father and four daughters, ages 13-20, all lost their lives when a van swerved, crossed over the median, and hit their truck. The five victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
The wife and mother was the only survivor; she was hospitalized and went through six different surgeries after the crash.
At the forum, the engineers stated that high-tension cable guardrails work better than steel barriers and concrete with certain types of medians. The cable is more flexible, and is therefore more forgiving when hit; vehicles can rebound or deflect off them easier. They are also much less costly than concrete guardrails.
These guardrails are used on roads across the United States, and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reports that they absorb force better than metal or concrete. This reduces driver impact and crash severity.
They are not guaranteed to prevent fatal or severe accidents, however.
According to the Delaware Department of Transportation Director of Community Relations, back in the 1990s when Del. 1 was built, the safety standards at the time did not call for a barrier in the area where the fatal crash occurred.
At the forum, Senator Hansen explained that former senator James Vaughn had warned senators about the dangers when Route 1 was under construction. She stated that Vaughn thought it was a dangerous highway and was hazardous to drivers.
Now that the project has been finalized, it can go out for bidding. Completion time is set for the end of 2018, although a construction starting date has not been announced.
Highway accidents are some of the most devastating kinds of motor vehicle crashes and can cause serious injuries and death. If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, contact a Bear car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-834-8484 today, or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford, with offices conveniently located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford.
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The situation regarding the COVID-19 virus changes daily. During this uncertain time, we can assure you that the team at Rhoades & Morrow continues to focus on helping our current clients as well as assisting new clients.
We know that legal questions still arise, and we are here to answer your questions and provide the trusted guidance that you have come to expect from us over the years. To ensure the health and safety of our staff and our clients, we are conducting virtual consultations via Zoom and by telephone. We also have the ability to exchange documents via secure e-mail.
We look forward to hearing from you. Stay safe and healthy.