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Category Archives: Auto Accidents


Autumn

How can Drivers Prepare for Autumn?

While some people dread the end of the summer, others simply love the fall. The change of season brings cooler weather and cherished traditions. A drive to see fall foliage is a ritual many people enjoy. A lot of autumn activities involve driving. You should be prepared for fall-related driving issues ahead of time in order to avoid a car accident in autumn.

Prepare for Reduced Visibility

Fall in the Northeastern United States involves shorter days. Trips that were previously in full daylight in the summer may now be in the dark. You may find your commute involves driving into the glare of a setting sun, which can greatly impair your vision. Consider wearing glasses with an anti-reflective (AR) coating on the lenses to reduce glare and improve vision.

The ability to drive at night changes with age. If you notice halo effects or increased glare from lights while driving at dusk or at night, you may need prescription eyeglasses. If so, be sure to have your eyes checked, and wear eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct vision.

Visibility can be very limited in conditions of heavy rain, fog, or water spray, which are all common during the fall. Be sure windshield wipers are not worn out, and the windshield washer fluid reservoir is full. Wiper blades that make a scratching sound when operated, appear cracked or distorted, or leave streaks need to be replaced. Replace blades regularly or as soon as they show signs of wear.

Fog can decrease visibility greatly, and slowing down and increasing following distance are both important precautions to take in foggy conditions. When driving in foggy conditions, it is best to use low beams since high beams reflect off the fog.

Avoid Piles of Fallen Leaves

Fallen leaves can pose some unique hazards. They are slippery, and driving on them makes it harder to stop quickly. They can also conceal potholes and other roadway deficiencies. Unfortunately, accidents have happened where children playing in piles of leaves have been injured or killed when drivers attempted to park on the leaves and were unable to see the children playing.

Be Mindful of Students and School Buses

Children have returned to school, and school buses will be dropping off and picking up students. Remember to stop in both directions when a school bus is loading or unloading students. Be careful to wait before proceeding as children may need to cross the street once they exit the bus.

Expect Poor Weather

Fall weather includes a lot of rain, which poses a series of difficult driving conditions. Rain can cause problems when it first starts because the water combines with oil on the road to create a very slippery film. This increases the risk of hydroplaning, which is when the tread fails to channel water away from the tire and the tires lose contact with the road. Poor tire tread increases the risk of hydroplaning.

Heavy rain can also cause flash floods. If you must drive during heavy rains, be sure to check local news reporting on roadway conditions. Heed local flash flood warnings and barriers. Do not drive into puddles when the depth cannot be determined. Driving in water deeper than about 6 inches will likely cause the vehicle to stall. Driving a vehicle in 12 inches or more of water will risk it floating away.

Be Careful of Deer

Fall is deer mating season, and they are most active during dawn and dusk. It is especially important to practice the “three-second plus rule” to allow enough time to maneuver safely around unexpected obstacles. Ordinarily, it is advised you maintain three seconds worth of distance from the vehicle in front of you.  Once the vehicle in front passes a stationary object, you should be able to count for three seconds before passing the object.

The “plus” part of the rule suggests adding one second of distance for each situation where conditions may require additional time to react. For example, when driving in the rain during deer mating season, allow five seconds worth of distance from the vehicle in front of you. The added distance provides more time to react and avoid a collision.

Vehicle Maintenance

Be sure your vehicle is up to the task before taking to the road to enjoy fall activities. Tires are important for safe operation of every vehicle. Both tire tread and tire pressure need to be kept within safe limits.

Adequate tire treads protect against losing traction. The rate of wear depends on driving conditions. Tire ratings are a poor measure of how long tires will last.  Check tire tread with a penny by inserting it into the tread and touching the tire with the top of Lincoln’s head pointed toward the tire. If it is possible to see the top of his head, then there is not enough tread. Be sure tires have enough tread in advance of the fall season.

Underinflated or overinflated tires increase wear and tear and can be more prone to blowouts. Fill tires when they are cold to the proper pressure as indicated in the tire and loading information label on the inside of the driver’s side door jam or in the owner’s manual. Many gas stations have air pumps with built in tire pressure gauges for this purpose.

The following are additional routine inspection and maintenance tasks to tackle before taking any long trips in the fall. Oil must be changed regularly for safe operation. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for changing oil.

Check the condition of brake pads and rotors regularly. It will save money in the long run to replace worn brake pads before damage to the rotors occurs.

Finally, check the engine coolant level and condition. The coolant keeps the engine cool, lubricates the moving parts, and protects the rubber seals from cracking. Change the coolant as per manufacturer’s instructions or the advice of a trusted mechanic.

Plan Out the Route

If you will be taking an excursion to see the fall foliage or visit relatives, be sure to first follow the above maintenance trips. Next, be sure to know where you are going. Cellphones now have apps that provide directions, including information on points of interest, such as lodging, gas stations, restaurants, and the like. Some apps provide warnings of traffic delays and offer alternate routes to avoid accidents.

Make sure the cellphone is charged, that there is a charger in the vehicle, and you position the cellphone so it can be used hands free. Additionally, have drinking water, snacks, warm clothes, and a first-aid kit for added comfort and security.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Drivers Injured in Severe Autumn-Related Accidents

Autumn presents unique driving hazards, and you should prepare for the weather change ahead of time. If you become injured in a fall-related accident, speak with one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

Mechanic

Can a Mechanic or Auto Repair Shop be Liable for a Car Accident?

Car accidents happen every day and for many different reasons. However, what if a car accident resulted from a mechanic’s negligence? Could an injured driver hold the mechanic or auto repair shop liable for the accident? These questions may come up after someone is in a car accident because of a faulty tire, brake, or another auto part.

Although it is possible to file suit against a mechanic or repair shop, winning this type of lawsuit requires clear and strong documentation to prove that the mechanic’s actions directly caused the collision. For this reason, it is important to contact a lawyer after this type of accident.

Transactional Expectations Between a Mechanic and Car Owner

When a car owner brings their vehicle to an auto technician, repair shop, or car dealership, they enter into a transactional agreement. The car owner agrees to give up temporary physical control of their vehicle. The mechanic is expected to honor this transaction by doing work under the implicit or explicit agreement. The goal of this type of relationship is for both parties to get value from the arrangement. The car owner gets the value of knowing that the car has been fixed. In turn, the mechanic is paid for acting responsibly and professionally.

If the mechanic breaches this expected duty of care by acting negligently, they may be liable or the shop may be responsible. For instance, if a mechanic replaces a car’s tires with faulty, used patched tires without the driver knowing, the mechanic puts the driver at risk. If the driver subsequently gets into a serious crash linked to a tire blowout, full or partial fault could lie with the mechanic.

Some examples of a mechanic acting negligently include:

  • Incorrectly replacing hoses or belts during a routine maintenance visit.
  • Allowing an untrained technician to work on a vehicle.
  • Failing to ensure all parts are correctly put back after a repair.
  • Knowingly installing auto parts that are dangerous or faulty.
  • Not doing the job as hired or damaging the vehicle.

How Do I Know That a Mechanic’s Negligence Caused My Car Accident?

After an accident, a driver might believe that a mechanic is completely or partly at fault for the crash. Proving negligence can be tricky, however. It is not enough to merely think that a technician or auto shop is negligent. There must be proof that the mechanic or auto shop caused the car accident. Proving that connection can be difficult, especially without the help of a legal professional.

For example, a driver might take a car to a mechanic to have the brakes repaired. After paying the mechanic for replacement brakes and the cost of labor, the car owner could take the vehicle onto the highway for a test run. Once on the highway, the brakes could suddenly fail. The driver might then slam into the back of another car, causing serious injuries. In this scenario, it is critical that the car owner has paperwork that indicates the brakes had just been replaced and should not have failed. Ideally, the mechanic would give the car owner descriptive paperwork outlining their work.

After the crash, another technician might try to look at the damaged vehicle’s brakes to see if there is any indication that they are faulty or improperly installed. Even with documentation, a mechanic’s insurance provider might argue that the driver might not have braked quickly enough, leading to the crash. The burden of proof would be on the car owner. The car owner must clearly show the mechanic contributed to the accident and injuries.

How Does Comparative Negligence Play a Role?

In Delaware, comparative negligence is factored into car accident cases. If the plaintiff is found to be 50 percent or less at fault for an accident, they may be entitled to damages. Even if a mechanic proves that a driver is partially responsible for an accident, they can still be held liable to an extent.

When Should I Contact a Lawyer?

Expenses after a car accident can add up very quickly. Any claims exceeding several thousand dollars may warrant a visit to a lawyer who helps clients recover damages from insurance providers and third parties, like auto technicians, car dealerships, and vehicle repair shops.

Although it is possible for an individual to negotiate with an insurance adjuster or even file a claim in court against a third party, retaining legal counsel can make life less stressful. Statistically, plaintiffs tend to get a much higher settlement offer when they work with a lawyer. Additionally, trying to deal with rapidly approaching deadlines can be difficult for someone recovering from a significant or catastrophic accident. A lawyer can handle all the deadlines and paperwork.

Additionally, putting blame on a mechanic or auto repair shop can be complicated and require specialized assistance. Speaking to a lawyer is beneficial in this situation.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can Help You Determine if a Mechanic’s Negligence Caused Your Collision

Although it is difficult to prove, a mechanic or repair shop may be partially liable for a collision. If you suspect that an accident was caused by a mechanic or auto repair shop, speak with one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

School Bus

What are Essential Back-to-School Safety Tips?

Before children return to school, it is important for families to review back-to-school safety tips. All children, including teenagers, need to be reminded of how to stay safe at school. Children and teenagers can be impulsive, easily distracted, and they are more inclined to be thinking of fun rather than safety. Listed below are crucial back-to-school safety tips for all students and parents.

Be Careful Around School Buses

The hours before and after school are the most dangerous times for students. Whether a student is riding a bus, walking, biking, or driving themselves, safety precautions should always be followed.

Bus riders should wait for the bus at least 6 feet away from the edge of the road, and only enter the bus when it has completely stopped and the driver has indicated it is safe. When crossing the road in front of the bus, make sure to keep eye contact with the driver and stay 10 feet ahead of the bus where the driver can see all pedestrians. Parents of very young children should plan to stay at the bus stop. Once on the bus, students should listen to the bus driver’s instructions, and they always know the location of the safety exits.

Walkers and Bicyclists Need to be Aware of Surroundings

Walkers should always use the sidewalk when it is possible. On a street that has no sidewalks, pedestrians should walk facing traffic. When crossing, stop and look left, right, and left one more time to be sure the street is clear. Use crosswalks and make eye contact with drivers before stepping into the roadway. Walkers should stay alert and be aware of their surroundings. Cellphones and loud music can cause distractions and accidents.

Unlike walkers, bikers should ride in the direction of traffic. They should use hand signals so others are aware of their intentions and come to a complete stop at stop signs. Use the crosswalk to walk bikes across the street. Never use a cellphone while riding a bike, and always wear a helmet that fits properly. Put reflectors on bikes, and always wear reflective gear at night.

Avoid Distractions

Teenagers who can drive are at high risk for fatal car accidents. It is best for new motorists to drive alone until they are more experienced because peers can be distracting. Other causes of distracted driving include personal grooming, eating and drinking, and texting. Students should be dressed and ready for school with the cellphone stowed away before they get behind the wheel.

Get Enough Sleep

Drowsy driving is another problem for teenage drivers who stay up late because of after-school activities and homework. Being well-rested is crucial for preventing drowsy driving accidents. Leave plenty of time to get to school instead of rushing out the door because leaving late encourages speeding.

Drive Safely in School Zones

All motorists must adjust to back-to-school traffic and be extra vigilant. Take a minute to walk around the back of the car before reversing out of a parking space or driveway. Drive slowly through residential areas, and approach intersections and crosswalks carefully while scanning the area for children. Additionally, never pass a bus that is stopped with flashing lights because there could be pedestrians on the other side.

Do Not Misuse Playground Equipment

Before school starts, parents should remind children about the safe way to use playground equipment. Some playground safety tips include:

  • Go down the slide feet first.
  • Do not stand on swings or railings.
  • Do not walk in front of moving equipment, such as swings or seesaws.
  • Wait in line without pushing or roughhousing.
  • Children should leave jewelry at home as it can get caught in equipment. Children should also avoid wearing clothing with drawstrings.

After-School Safety is Just as Important

Parents should talk to their children about what to do once they leave school grounds. If possible, they should always stay with a friend or in a group. Parents must warn students to never talk to strangers, and never accept a ride from an unfamiliar person. Parents should teach children that if a stranger does something inappropriate or tries to grab them, they should yell as loud as they can and run away.

For parents who work, new technology, such as smart home locks and smart video doorbells, can improve safety. Each family member has their own code to a smart lock, and an app notifies parents who has arrived at the home. Children with cellphones can also be tracked so that parents can be sure of their location. Security cameras can provide a view of what is going on inside and outside the home until parents or a caregiver arrives.

Make a Back-to-School Safety Checklist

Families should make a safety checklist that can be posted and easily accessible. The safety checklist should include everything the whole family needs once the school year begins. The family should refer to the checklist periodically throughout the year.

Wilmington Personal Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Injured Accident Victims During the School Season

Before school is in session, families should review back-to-school safety tips. If an accident does happen, families should explore their legal options. If you or your child becomes injured in an accident at school because of another person’s negligence, contact the Wilmington personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Complete an online form or call 302-427-9500 for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

Burn Injuries

What are Common Workplace Burn Injuries?

Some of the most serious workplace injuries involve employees being burned. The most common types of workplace burns are relatively minor, but others can cause extreme pain, skin and tissue damage, possible amputation, and even death.

Burns can occur in restaurants, factories, construction sites, or even commercial office buildings. Employers of all types have an obligation to protect their workers from being burned at work. When an employee is burned on the job, they should be covered under Workers’ Compensation.

Most people are familiar with burns that result from contact with a hot object, such as a stovetop or a household iron, but there are many different types of burns. In workplaces across many industries, there are a variety of dangerous substances, equipment, and situations that put workers in danger of being seriously hurt. Some common types of workplace burn injuries include:

  • Thermal Burns: Burns that are caused by contact with a burning fire or an extremely hot surface are considered thermal burns. Other sources of thermal burns include hot water, hot oil, or steam. Thermal burns can cause damage when a person touches a hot object, is splashed with hot liquid, or comes into contact with an open flame.
  • Electrical Burns: Electrical currents cause electrical burns. Contact with sources of electricity, such as outlets or electrical machinery, can result in electrical burns that cause damage to the contact site. In addition to these direct contact burns, electricity also presents a danger of being burned through indirect contact, such as arcing. An arc burn can happen when the current passes into a person’s body and causes damage to the tissues at the contact site.
  • Chemical Burns: Acids and other corrosive materials can cause chemical burns. Heavy-duty cleaners or solvents can be hazardous for workers who use these strong chemicals. Chemical burns cause harm to a person’s skin, but the fumes that often accompany these chemicals can also result in burns to the eyes or lungs.

How are Burn Injuries Classified?

Burn injuries are classified according to the severity of the damage to the skin:

  • First-Degree Burns: First-degree burns are surface-level injuries that damage the epidermis, which is the skin’s top layer. These burns do not usually require medical attention.
  • Second-Degree Burns: These burns go a layer deeper, causing damage to the dermis of the skin, which is just below the epidermis. These burns may call for a trip to the emergency room.
  • Third-Degree Burns: Third-degree burns are the most serious. Third-degree burns cause harm to every layer of the skin and reach the tissues beneath. The damage caused by third-degree burns must be treated in a hospital. These serious burn injuries can cause severe pain and lasting damage.

Who is at Risk of Severe Workplace Burn Injuries?

Firefighters, restaurant workers, construction crews, car mechanics, and factory personnel are at high risk of suffering from a burn injury at work. Even employees whose jobs do not involve working directly with heat sources or dangerous chemicals can still be burned if a fire breaks out in the office, a damaged outlet creates an electrocution hazard, or a staff coffee machine spews hot liquid.

What Actions Should be Taken in the Workplace to Prevent Burn Injuries?

Employers should implement safety protocols to keep their employees safe from the threat of burns in the workplace. Each industry and individual workplace will need to address its specific risks, but some recommendations include:

  • Safety Protocols: Employers should establish a set of safety protocols that directly address the specific dangers their workers face on the job. The safety practices that keep a restaurant worker from getting burned on a hot stove will not keep a firefighter safe from a room full of open flames. Employers should assess the burn hazards present on the jobsite and come up with plans for how workers can be protected.
  • Training: The most important factor that influences the success of a burn safety plan is its implementation. Among workers, this can only be achieved if the staff is fully trained and constantly aware of possible burn dangers. Training is necessary, and not just when a worker first starts the job, training should be ongoing.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employers should provide all necessary PPE to shield workers from dangerous burns. Gloves and other wearable protections from heat and dangerous substances offer a layer of defense against burns for workers handling hot equipment or liquids. Certain tools, such as lifts or dollies, can allow workers to avoid any manual contact, while splatter shields and other guards can prevent splash injuries.
  • Safety Assessments: It is vital for employers to maintain vigilance to prevent workplace burns. Safety inspections should be performed on a regular basis to identify burn hazards, including physical dangers and an assessment of safety protocols.

Milford Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Assist Employees Suffering From Occupational Burn Injuries

If you were severely burned at work, you might be able to collect benefits from your employer’s Workers’ Compensation program. If you have been denied benefits or you are experiencing other problems, the Milford work injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help protect your rights. Workplace burn injuries can be extremely severe and debilitating, and we can help you with your case. Call us at 302-422-6705 or complete our online form for a free consultation and more information. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

How can Motorists Stay Safe on Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a national holiday to honor fallen heroes. It is also a long holiday weekend that is looked upon as the kick-off to summer. Approximately 39.3 million Americans will travel over 50 miles during the Memorial Day weekend, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). With so many more vehicles on the roads, more car accidents occur on Memorial Day weekend than any other holiday weekend of the year.

Last year, the National Safety Council (NSC) predicated that 366 deaths would occur over Memorial Day weekend. It was also estimated that 41,800 injuries would require medical attention that same year. This year, it is projected that traffic will be even worse because many people are wanting to travel due to less strict Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

Part of why these accidents and injuries happen is because there is alcohol at holiday events. While driving under the influence is listed as a cause in nearly one-third of all deadly car accidents, the NSC estimates that drunk driving is responsible for 37 percent of fatal car crashes during Memorial Day weekend.

Since many collisions will likely happen over the holiday weekend, drivers should know the common causes of Memorial Day weekend car accidents and how to prevent them. Listed below are some helpful safety tips for motorists.

Maintain a Safe Distance from Other Vehicles

It is vital to remember that more drivers on the road means more mistakes are likely to happen, so this is a weekend where it has to be anticipated there will be more motorists doing unpredictable actions. Keeping plenty of distance from other cars is helpful.

According to the national car window repair service, Safelite AutoGlass, drivers need to keep about 16 car lengths from the car in front of them at highway speeds around 55 miles per hour to avoid collision if that car suddenly hits the brakes. Many drivers know that this distance is not commonly found between cars on any given day, much less highway traffic during Memorial Day weekend. However, this distance will provide enough time to brake and reduce speed to avoid a collision.

Avoid Drowsy Driving

Driver fatigue is a major cause of accidents and can be as dangerous as drunk driving. In the excitement of getting ready for a weekend adventure, travelers may return from work or school on Friday and spend the night packing and driving to get an early start on the holiday weekend. This can create a driver with the same focus and reaction times as a drunk driver, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).

After 20 hours of being awake, drowsy drivers are equitable to having a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) level, which is the current legal limit in most states. After 24 hours of being awake, impairment is equivalent to a BAC of 0.1 percent, which means even slower reaction times and focus. Travelers should plan to leave for their trip after a good night of rest.

Do Not Drink and Drive

Drinking impairs judgement, reaction times, and focus. Since it is common to have drinks at night, that is also the most likely time for drunk driving accidents. If a driver consumes a few alcoholic drinks, it is best for them to call a cab or a rideshare service and come back for the car in the morning. It can be helpful to have a plan in place before going out to an event where alcohol will be served.

Maintain Speed Limits

Like maintaining a safe distance from other cars, maintaining reasonable speed and observing the speed limits helps drivers avoid collisions. Motorists should remember that a speed-related collision leads to more severe injuries. Also, fatalities are more likely to happen in speed-related car accidents.

Do Not Overpack the Car

A holiday weekend vacation might mean that children are squeezed in with suitcases and camping gear. However, drivers need to maintain a clear line of sight so that they can see the side and rear-view mirrors. In addition, bicycles, canoes, luggage racks, and other cargo items need to be secure in case stop-and-go traffic or huge potholes cause the cargo to move around.

Plan the Route

Figuring out the most direct route to take is important, and drivers should have a plan ahead of time. If a driver waits until the last minute to figure out the route, they might rush to get to their destination. Motorists may speed to stay on track of time, so drivers should figure out their plans a couple days prior.

Prepare the Car

Making sure the gas tank is full is just one step on the list of car preparations for a road trip. Check tire air pressure, oil levels, and keep emergency essentials, such as a first aid kit, water bottles, flashlights, and a blanket in the trunk.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight on Behalf of Injured Victims After Holiday Car Accidents

Sometimes, drivers take all the recommended precautions during a holiday weekend and still find themselves victims of a car crash. The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can advise you on the best steps to take after a collision. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation and more information about your car accident case. Located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

Car Accidents

What are the Leading Causes of Car Accidents in the United States?

Car accidents are common, but some of their causes are preventable, such as drunk driving and distracted driving. While people cannot prevent what other drivers do on the road, they can prepare themselves and be aware of the different reasons why car accidents happen in order to try to avoid them. While many actions can cause car accidents, some common reasons stand out more than others. Listed below are the leading causes of car collisions and how to avoid them.

Drunk Driving

Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is not a good choice and is actually illegal in every state. It is important to choose a designated driver, take a taxi or rideshare service, or call a friend if too much drinking has occurred to drive safely. Sometimes, a person’s driving will indicate they are intoxicated, and they can be avoided on the roadway.

Speeding

Speeding is another leading cause of fatal car accidents. For every mile over the speed limit a person goes, their reaction time slows significantly. For safe driving, drivers need to be at their best and that includes their reaction time. Whether a person is late for work, missing an important event, or just not watching the speedometer, it is still important to follow the posted speed limits.

While most speeding tickets are minor, speeding can become a felony charge if it causes severe, debilitating injuries or death. The best way to avoid speeding is to pay attention to road signs, use cruise control when it is possible, and not be pressured by other drivers that are speeding.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is driving that occurs by people that do not appear to care about the consequences of their negligent and dangerous actions. It is the people that let their anger and actions go unchecked that are the most reckless drivers on the road. These motorists drive aggressively, carelessly, erratically, or are negligent drivers and put themselves, loved ones, and other motorists at risk.

Reckless driving can include speeding, tailgating, swerving, passing too closely, not using a blinker or changing lanes too frequently, trying to beat the red light, and harassing other drivers. All reckless actions should be avoided. If someone on the road is driving recklessly, a person should make a point to avoid them.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is any activity that takes away a motorist’s attention from the task at hand. Distracted driving includes texting, eating, passenger conversations, messing with dashboard controls, talking on the phone, tending to kids, and other activities that take away focus from the road.

A driver taking their eyes off the road for even a few seconds can lead to an accident. Even thinking about something stressful going on in their life can be a distraction. Out of all these distractions, texting while driving is one of the deadliest and most common. Each person can do their part by avoiding distractions, keeping their eyes on the road, and allowing passengers to assist with any needs.

Fatigue

A person does not have to fall asleep for fatigue to cause an accident. Driving while not fully awake or when feeling fatigued causes a person to lose focus and concentration. This reduces reaction time and can have similar results as drunk driving.

There are steps a person can do to decrease their drowsiness, such as blowing cold air conditioning, opening windows, or having music on, but these can also be distractions and may not always work. Additionally, these are only temporary solutions, the most effective is getting enough sleep. A motorist should avoid driving if they feel they are too tired to drive.

Poor Weather

When the weather turns dangerous, driving is greatly affected. Roads become slick, visibility poor, and tensions elevate. The best way to avoid these types of accidents is to adjust driving styles to each situation. For example, driving slower in the rain can help prevent hydroplaning. Remember, good weather can also cause issues, such as the glare from the sun that can obstruct the driver’s view.

What are Other Causes of Collisions?

While the main reasons are listed above, there are other less common causes of accidents. Other reasons for car accidents include:

  • Wrong-way driving
  • Veering into another lane
  • Overcorrecting or swerving
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Failure to obey traffic signs
  • Running yellow or red lights

Many of these reasons also relate to some of the main reasons above, such as a person overcorrecting due to taking their eyes off the road because they were distracted by something.

After a car accident, a victim should retain a lawyer to determine if they are eligible for compensation. A victim may be able to file a personal injury claim to collect damages for financial losses and injuries.

Milford Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Collision Victims Collect Damages

Knowing the causes of collisions can help drivers avoid them from happening. Sometimes, a collision is unpreventable. If you have an injury because you were hit by a negligent driver, a Milford car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation today.

seatbelt use

What are Safety Tips Experienced Drivers Sometimes Forget?

Driving may come as second nature to most people which, unfortunately, makes it easy to make simple mistakes while driving. Adults in their 30s and older who have been driving since they were teenagers may not pay as close attention to the rules of the road the way they used to. This is not an excuse to drive recklessly behind the wheel as this can lead to accidents and injuries. The following are safety tips for experienced drivers to follow:

Minimize Distractions

Phones have become a serious source of danger for drivers over the past decade. Drivers are not supposed to look at their phone while actively driving, as well as when they are at stoplights. Drivers still tend to look at their phones and text while driving. A quick look at the phone may mean life or death for someone else on the road. This action is risky and one split second of distraction could cause lasting problems.

Cell phones are not the only type of distraction that people engage in. The radio, music players, food, and children in the backseat can all take one’s attention away from the road. Distractions are everywhere but while driving, limiting distractions will ensure that motorists arrive to their destination safely.

To help minimize distractions, put the phone away while driving or use an application to put the phone on driving mode. There are specific apps designed to keep the phone locked until the driver is safe. If the phone must be checked or engaged in any other activity besides driving, pull over and take care of what is needed to be done. It is easier to hook up to Bluetooth so that motorists are not holding their phone while making the call.

Wear a Seat Belt

This may seem like common knowledge, but this law sometimes gets forgotten. Seat belts save lives and should always be buckled before starting the car. Wearing a seat belt is one of the most effective ways to reduce injury or death if a car accident were to occur. Seat belts should be worn when inside a limousine, bus, or taxi as well. If a seat belt is available, it should be securely buckled.

Avoid Substance Abuse Before Driving

Drugs and alcohol impair driving and reduces one’s ability to think and reason accurately and efficiently. Alcohol decreases reaction time, as well as the ability to make safe choices while driving. Alcohol is not the only drug that impairs driving; marijuana impacts the brain in a similar way, as well as over the counter or prescription drugs. Drugs and alcohol impair decisions, coordination, and distorts perception. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can also cause severe side effects that impair driving. These effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Inability to focus or pay attention
  • Nausea
  • Slowed movement

Specific drugs that may cause these effects include:

  • Opioid pain relievers
  • Anxiety medication
  • Anti-seizure drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Drugs containing codeine
  • Over-the-counter allergy medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Diet pills
  • Stimulants

Do Not Drive Tired

Drowsy driving is dangerous and can cause many different safety concerns while on the road. Being sleep deprived can severely impair driving in the same way that alcohol does. Only drive when well rested and after a good night’s sleep. When a motorist gets behind the while tired, the ability to recognize traffic hazards and other cars is slowed, putting them in danger of a crash. Make sure to get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night.

Do Not Speed

Speeding is a very common cause of car accidents and deaths in the United States. Drivers who are in a hurry put the life of themselves and others in danger when they drive above the speed limit. If there is bad weather or construction, speeding can cause an extreme safety issue. Slow down and be courteous to other drivers on the road.

Avoid Assumptions

Never assume that another driver is going to drive safe. Always drive with caution and be alert to what other vehicles are doing. Do not drive close to other cars and never tailgate. This will only make it harder for a motorist to stop or swerve out of the way in an emergency. Other tips include:

  • Respect yellow lights
  • Come to a complete stop at stop signs
  • Adjust for weather
  • Exercise patience and never rush to get to a destination
  • Yield to the right of way
  • Plan the travel route ahead
  • Move out of the way for stopped vehicles
  • Use headlights when needed
  • Share the road with bikers

No matter how long a motorist has been driving for, treat every trip like it is the first. Pay attention to the road and drive as safely as possible. Car accidents are very serious situations that can cause either injury or death to occur. Practice caution while driving to help keep everyone safe on the road.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate on Behalf of Car Accident Victims

If you were injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow today for help. We understand how scary and detrimental a car accident can be, both physically and emotionally, and are prepared to handle your case in the most efficient way possible. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

car fire

What Should I Do After a Car Fire?

It is not unusual to be burned in a car accident. Collisions can expose victims to electricity, fire, high heat, and toxic chemicals. Burn injuries can range from mild to severe, or even deadly in some circumstances. They can also be life-changing for people who have to live with long-term medical care or disfigurement.

The impact of a car crash can set off a rapid chain of events, which can lead to an immediate or delayed fire. High temperatures can result from a crash, triggering a car fire. If engine fluids are leaking, they can burst into fire once they meet the high temperatures. Gasoline, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid are all very flammable.

Some other common causes of car fires include the following:

  • Damaged car batteries
  • Overheated engines
  • Overheated catalytic converters
  • Electrical systems in the car
  • Negligent vehicle owners

Drivers who neglect repairing leaky seals, faulty wiring, or broken car parks run a higher risk of starting car fires after collisions.

If one is burned in a car accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately, even if the injuries do not seem severe.

What are the Different Types of Burn Injuries?

After a car fire, a victim can become burned when hot oil, gas, or other liquids or chemicals make contact with the skin. It is also possible that someone trapped inside the vehicle could be seriously burned.

To understand burn injuries, it is important to learn about skin. The skin is the largest organ, and protects the human body from trauma, infections, and injuries. It also prevents dehydration and regulates body temperature.

The skin has three layers. The epidermis is the outermost layer. The dermis is the middle layer, which has blood vessels, nerve fibers, connective tissue, and hair follicles. The deepest layer is the subcutaneous, which mostly consists of fat.

Medical professionals categorize burns by the size and depth of the damage:

  • First-Degree Burn: Affects the epidermis and presents with pain and redness. Most of these heal on their own.
  • Second-Degree Burn: Affects the epidermis and dermis. Symptoms include pain, blisters, red and white splotches, and swelling.
  • Third-Degree Burn: These go down to the skin’s innermost layer and may look black or charred.
  • Fourth-Degree Burn: This can affect muscles and bones.

It is not always possible to determine how serious a burn is, especially at a car accident scene. This is why it is so important to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Car Fire Safety Protocols

After a crash happens, it is essential to be alert for any signs of a car fire. Anyone who smells burning rubber or plastic, or sees flames or smoke, should follow these recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • Turn on the hazard lights, and immediately pull over into a safe location. If this is not possible, put the vehicle in park with the hazard lights on.
  • Shut the engine off.
  • Help any other passengers who cannot get out on their own. Exit the vehicle, and get as far away as possible. The minimum distance should be 100 feet.
  • Call for emergency services.

Some victims may need assistance while waiting for help to arrive. If someone is on fire, they should be carefully rolled on the ground. Other than that, it is best to wait for professionals since moving a victim can worsen their injuries.

If the victim is nauseous or vomiting, has a faint pulse, is dizzy, cannot stand, is losing consciousness or alertness, or has shallow breathing, they may be in shock from their burns. In these cases, they may be able to take small sips of water, and they should be kept still and quiet until help arrives.

Burn victims should never have any lotions or ointments placed on the burns. Spray-on pain relief products and water should not be used on the affected areas. Removing stuck clothing can also cause further damage to the skin.

Once the injuries are attended to, those involved can take photographs of all the vehicles, the surrounding areas, and any skid marks. It is also helpful to get a copy of the police report, seek out any witnesses, and keep accurate records of all medical expenses.

Treatment and Aftercare

Minor burns do not take long to heal, and they are treated with topical creams and sterile bandages. More serious ones can involve pain medications, IV fluids, and surgeries.

When burns affect major joints, hands, feet, other body parts, or cover over 10 percent of the body, specialized treatment may be needed. Treatment can include skin grafts and long-term physical therapy.

Burns often lead to complications as well, like permanent scars, pain, respiratory problems, dehydration, and even amputations. Bacterial infections are not uncommon and can cause a host of other medical issues, including sepsis. Survivors can also be impacted by permanent disfigurement and psychological distress, like anxiety, depression, anger, and sleep problems.

Since burn victims often have severe injuries, it is important to seek legal counsel after medical attention is sought. A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to help the victim collect compensation.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Car Accident Victims with Severe Burn Injuries

If another person’s negligence caused your car accident, one of our knowledgeable Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. We assist clients with recovering the costs of medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

personal injury law

What Happens When a Pedestrian is Hit by a Car?

A pedestrian who is hit by a car is especially vulnerable to serious injuries. Unlike motorists, pedestrians do not have the protection of vehicles around them. Cars are extremely heavy, and the force that occurs when an unprotected person is hit by a vehicle is enormous. According to some estimates, approximately 80,000 of walking pedestrians get hit by vehicles each year.

In 2018, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported 6,227 pedestrian fatalities and projected a five percent increase in the coming years. Their 2019 estimate was the highest in more than 30 years, and the final numbers have not been released yet. These accidents can lead to traumatic injuries, plus long-lasting and detrimental physical, emotional, and financial problems.

What Risk Factors Lead to Pedestrian Accidents?

Unsafe driving behaviors, like distracted driving, fatigued driving, speeding, and running red lights, increases the risk of accidents. Drunk driving is another factor that influences pedestrian accidents. In 2018, pedestrian and driver alcohol impairment was reported in close to 50 percent of traffic accidents that caused pedestrian fatalities.

Large vehicles, like SUVs, increase the risk of more serious pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The number of fatalities during the past 10 years that involved SUVs increased by 81 percent. The majority of these accidents involved passenger cars, and these increased at a rate of 53 percent during that same time period.

The GHSA also claimed that most pedestrian fatalities occurred at night, away from intersections, and on local roads. Nighttime pedestrian fatalities rose by 67 percent during the past decade, and daytime pedestrian fatalities increased by 16 percent. With Halloween coming, children and their caregivers need to be especially careful. Other reasons why vehicles hit pedestrians include not checking before backing up out of parking spaces, not signaling, disregarding traffic signs or signals, and failing to yield.

Pedestrians under 15 years old and over 65 years old are also more likely to be struck by cars. This is because younger kids are more impulsive and may be prone to jumping in front of cars and running into streets. Those over 65 years old may not see or hear well and have slower reflexes.

What Happens After Pedestrian Accidents?

Depending on the severity of the accident, the pedestrian can end up with soft tissue injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, bruises, fractures, and other catastrophic injuries. Emergency medical care may be needed, so 911 should be called right away. If possible, it is best to get any witnesses’ contact information, and take pictures of the vehicles involved and the accident scene. The insurance companies should also be contacted as soon as possible.

Pedestrians who are hit by cars should seek medical attention, even if the pain is not severe. Waiting could lead to problems if there is an injury that is not treated in a timely manner. It could also be problematic if the insurance provider feels that the injury is not significant. They may assume that the injury was not severe enough to seek prompt medical attention. It is also important to keep accurate records of the diagnosis, treatment, and medical expenses.

How are Pedestrians Compensated for Injuries?

The answer to this questions depends on which state the pedestrian lives in. If it is a no-fault state, the drivers’ insurance provider may be responsible for paying the medical bills. If it is a fault state, there are other rules that apply to financial responsibilities for losses stemming from car accidents, including medical expenses.

If the accident occurred in a no-fault insurance state, the pedestrian has to use their own car insurance provider to pay their medical expenses and related out-of-pocket losses, no matter who was at fault. However, if the claim goes over certain limits, the victim may be able to make a claim against the at-fault driver.

Delaware is a fault state, so the person at fault for causing a pedestrian accident is held responsible for compensating the person who was injured. This means that the liable driver’s insurance company would cover the losses up to the limits of the policy.

After a pedestrian accident in Delaware, the victim can file a claim with their own insurance company, who will in turn usually file a subrogation claim at the driver’s insurance company. The victim can also file a third-party claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company or choose to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver.

What Else Should I Know About Pedestrian Accidents?

In most states, pedestrians are supposed to have the right-of-way when walking. This includes walking on the roads while facing traffic and on crosswalks. Therefore, drivers are generally responsible for fault when accidents occur. Pedestrians can also be found at fault in certain situations.

In some states, injured pedestrians who have automotive insurance may be able to collect from their insurance companies up to a certain limit. In others, the driver’s insurance provider will offer compensation. However, not all drivers are properly insured; the pedestrian’s no-fault coverage or uninsured motorist coverage may be used. Injured pedestrians who do not have health insurance may end up paying some or all out-of-pocket expenses.

On the other hand, some pedestrians who are injured in accidents are able to bring claims against the town where the crash happened. For example, if a traffic sign was missing or a traffic signal was broken, this could contribute to an accident.

How Can I Prevent Pedestrian and Car Accidents?

Pedestrians can keep certain safety tips in mind when walking outside. If it is dusk or dark out, it is a good idea to wear bright or reflective clothing and carry a flashlight. Choosing the side of the road that is facing traffic, staying on sidewalks, and only crossing at designated crosswalks are also recommended. Wearing earbuds is hazardous since it makes it hard to hear approaching vehicles. If an accident does occur, a victim should speak to a lawyer about their options.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow are Experienced with Pedestrian and Car Accidents

If you were injured in an accident, our trusted Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

How Can I Avoid a Back-to-School Accident?

As summer comes to a close, it is time for kids to go back to school. It is important to practice safety and health practices when students return to school. Being thoughtful and prepared can help avoid accidents, injuries, and illnesses.

How can Bicyclists and Pedestrians Stay Safe?

In September, traffic conditions change, so it is important to always focus on the road in order to prevent a car accident or a pedestrian accident. Drivers need to get used to sharing the road with pedestrians and bicyclists. Make sure to give bicyclists and pedestrians plenty of room. When opening a car door into a traffic lane, look behind to see whether a cyclist is approaching, and wait for them to pass before opening the door.

Other safety precautions include yielding to pedestrians and avoid passing vehicles that are stopped for crossing pedestrians. Do not block crosswalks or double-park.

Safety while walking to school requires students to know basic traffic rules. Kids should always use sidewalks, and if one is not available, a student should walk facing traffic. Students must remember to look both ways before crossing streets, too. It is also very important for kids to avoid distractions. Using cellphones or headphones while walking is dangerous.

Safely riding a bike to school requires knowledge of bike safety requirements, including always wearing a helmet, riding in the direction of traffic, and using proper hand signals when turning. Multiple riders must ride in a single file.

All students should know their phone number, address, how to get in touch with their parents at work, and when to call 911 in case an accident does occur.

What Safety Precautions Should be Exercised in School Zones?

Those driving kids to school need to get used to the new traffic flow and get familiar with the school pick-up and drop-off procedures. School zones can be particularly difficult to maneuver.

When everyone is trying to get in and out as quickly as possible, the school zone can get crowded and chaotic. A specific well-marked drop-off and pick-up area located away from the primary entrance is best. Requiring a low speed limit, such as 20 mph or less, and having school attendants directing traffic is very helpful.

Even if optimal school zone conditions are not met, drivers can do their part by being familiar with the school zone and try to arrive early. Do not double-park or drop kids off where they have to cross congested streets.

One of the most important things to do is to avoid distracted driving. Cellphones and headphones are responsible for many traffic accidents. Distracted driving in school zones where pedestrian traffic is heavy endangers drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. Demonstrating distracted driving behaviors to children is also likely to make them believe that the behavior is acceptable. Parents should always set a good example.

What Accidents can Occur on School Grounds?

Slip and fall accidents are common on school grounds. Kids running up and down steps and playing in the playground provide ample opportunities for tripping.

Sports activities also injure many students. Many schools teach team sports and interscholastic sports activities.

How can Students Prevent Sports Injuries?

All sports have a level of risk. To minimize the risk, be sure that kids are outfitted with the proper attire. They should use only unbroken, well fitted, and properly maintained gear. Some equipment, such as football helmets, must meet minimum safety criteria. Be sure the equipment meets all necessary standards.  The school-provided equipment should be well maintained and properly set up.

In all sports, it is important that the pace of progress is moderated properly by coaches. For kids who have not been actively performing sports, it is important to start off slowly and build conditioning. Make sure kids are not pressed too hard by overzealous coaching. Let them know that they must listen to their bodies and not play if injured. It is also important for them to remain hydrated.

How can Students Reduce Heat Exposure?

Playing outside during recess, gym, or organized sports carries the risk of heat exposure. Kids should know to keep hydrated when exerting themselves in these conditions. If the temperature is high, especially when paired with humidity, it is possible for kids exercising outside to get overheated. They should be aware of symptoms of heat exhaustion, including faintness, dizziness, nausea, headaches, and a rapid pulse. The immediate response should be to discontinue the activity, move to a cooler area, and drink water. If the symptoms do not subside quickly, the child should get medical attention immediately.

Another danger is heat stroke. In this condition, the body loses its ability to regulate temperature. Core body temperature can get as high as 104 degrees or higher. This condition can cause brain damage and can also be fatal if not addressed immediately.

Precautions to take includes avoiding sports and outdoor activities when it is very hot outside. Getting cooled off in the shade and placing a cool damp cloth on the neck or wrist can help cool down body temperature. It is very important to keep hydrated when outside in hot weather. Another precaution is to wear loose fitting and light-colored clothing.

Safety Precautions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This school session will be like no other. It is extremely important that students and administrators follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to ensure that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) does not spread. These guidelines include frequent handwashing, wearing masks, and social distancing. If a student is participating in remote learning, parents should review cyber safety and also follow CDC guidelines.

If a school does not follow proper safety procedures or address hazards, it is advisable to talk to a lawyer about filing a personal injury suit.

Delaware Personal Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Effective Legal Representation to Injured Students

If you or your child incurred injuries on school grounds, it is beneficial to speak to a lawyer. Contact one of our experienced Delaware personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow for legal counsel. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.