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Category Archives: Car accidents


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.

Car Accident

What are the Psychological Effects of a Car Accident?

While bodily injuries and property damage are generally highly visible and quantifiable, the lingering mental health injuries experienced by many car accident survivors could have lasting effects. A lawyer can help a car accident victim get just compensation for mental trauma after a collision as well as other injuries and damages.

Suffering from a severe injury is a strong indicator of the potential onset of mental trauma. A variety of mental health effects can make it harder for accident victims to recover from their injuries while continuing to carry the mental burden of surviving a potentially deadly incident. That can be especially true if a passenger died in the accident, and the surviving victim was especially close to them.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common form of mental trauma that could occur following a car accident. The condition most commonly is associated with military combat veterans, but it also applies to many people. A vehicular accident that causes injuries to one or more survivors and possibly death to one or more passengers can trigger PTSD for survivors.

What are the Signs of Mental Trauma?

Mental trauma generally refers to intense feelings of anxiety and depression that naturally follows traumatic events, like injury-causing motor vehicle accidents. Often, severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, whiplash, fractures, and lower back injuries, trigger mental trauma. Mental trauma often slows down the healing process, greatly reduces quality of life, and increases the costs of recovery.

For many people, physical recovery does not reflect the mental scars that accompany them and can last a lifetime. Common symptoms of PTSD and other post-accident mental injuries include:

  • Reliving the Event: This often includes feelings of sudden dread triggered by similar events that create memories of the accident. Someone who was hit while turning left at a traffic light might feel high anxiety while making left-hand turns at traffic lights.
  • Avoidance: Avoidance causes the victim to avoid people, places, or events that remind them of the traumatic event.
  • Hyperarousal: This makes the victim seem edgy and quick to become angry while also often making it more difficult to sleep and rest.
  • Emotional Numbness: This generally refers to a person’s apparent and sudden loss of interest in people, activities, and hobbies, such as spending time with family members and friends.

The side effects of PTSD and other mental trauma often lead to related behaviors, like excessive drinking and illegal drug use, in order to self-medicate. When that occurs, the potential impact on quality of life is especially great among an accident victim.

Which Injuries can Cause Mental Trauma?

A catastrophic injury is a serious injury that leaves the victim with permanent damage. Having a catastrophic injury means that a person will suffer severe side effects and life changes. A person may not be able to walk again or loss a limb due to a car accident. Those who suffer such catastrophic bodily injuries also are more likely to suffer from PTSD and other mental trauma arising from car accidents.

Some catastrophic injuries that can cause mental trauma include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Extensive and severe burn injuries
  • Amputations

It is important that car accident victims get the help and support they need to recover from mental injuries. A car accident victim should seek immediate medical attention after a collision. It is also advisable for a car accident victim to speak to a lawyer.

Does Mental Trauma Affect the Healing Process?

With catastrophic injuries posing a major issue for survivors of motor vehicle accidents, mental trauma is a natural extension of those bodily injuries. Mental trauma can even affect the body’s ability to recover from injuries and the victim’s quality of life. Accident victims suffering from traumatic brain injuries or spinal cord injuries generally experience much higher rates of anxiety and depression than people who were not in motor vehicle accidents. They also feel greater levels of pain, fatigue, and discomfort that greatly reduces their quality of life.

Since mental trauma and severe bodily injuries often accompany one another, the ability to recover from injuries is compromised. The elevated amounts of mental trauma and distress that some accident survivors experience can greatly slow the healing process.

Mental trauma can affect a car accident victim’s ability to recover and lead a relatively normal life. Quality of life often depreciates significantly due to anxiety, depression, and other mental health effects. A lawyer can help with the recovery process by protecting the victim’s rights and fighting for them to get the compensation that they are entitled to.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Those Suffering From Mental Trauma After Severe Collisions

A car accident can lead to severe mental injuries. If you need help after a collision, speak to an experienced Delaware car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Our legal team understands that car accidents cause mental trauma, and we are here to help you recover. Complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and 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.

Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

In 2019, distracted driving claimed more than 3,000 lives across the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These deaths could have been prevented. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and numerous car accidents and fatalities occur each year in Delaware due to distracted driving. A Delaware Office of Highway Safety report shows that drivers under 30 years old, particularly men, are the most prone to distracted driving.

A car accident lawyer can attest to how many people cause needless injuries or fatalities simply because they were not focused on driving. A lawyer can help a victim recover the compensation they are entitled to after an accident with a distracted driver.

What is Distracted Driving?

Anything that takes a driver’s focus off the task at hand is a distraction. Distracted driving behaviors can be broken down into three categories:

  • Visual: The driver’s eyes are off the road.
  • Manual: This is when the driver’s hands are off the steering wheel.
  • Cognitive: A cognitive distraction is when the motorist is not focused on driving.

What are Common Causes of Distracted Driving?

There are many causes of distracted driving, including:

Cellphones: Many traffic accidents involve cellphone use, such as answering, dialing, talking, sending and receiving texts, and following a navigation application. All of these activities are distracting, and every state has laws against cellphone use.

Navigation Systems: Looking down at the navigational device frequently or programming it while driving can quickly cause an accident. Program destinations beforehand or pull over to do so safely. A motorist can also position the navigation device where it is easy to see and use the voice setting to get directions.

Loud Noises: Loud noises can distract the driver from focusing on the road. Children and teenagers, especially, should be encouraged to keep it quiet on the road. Excessive volume on a radio or video can be distracting as well. In addition, emergency vehicle sirens are difficult to hear when it is noisy inside the car.

Reaching for Items: Anything that takes eyes and hands off the road should not be done until safely pulled over. Unwrapping food, reaching for drinks, and even spills can cause unsafe driving. Additionally, many modern cars feature interactive screens for both vehicle information and entertainment. Interacting with these screens while driving is not safe. Adjusting controls while driving can also lead to an accident. Set everything before leaving.

Day Dreaming: Daydreaming or otherwise getting lost in thought can happen quickly, especially on long stretches of highway or when a driver knows a particular route well.

Personal Hygiene: Insurance company and police reports show that some drivers apply makeup, brush their hair, or even shave while driving. All drivers should avoid doing these dangerous actions.

Pets: Drivers can be distracted when a pet runs loose in the car or gets caught in their feet or lap. Motorists should keep pets secured.

Roadside Attractions: Signs, emergency vehicles, car accidents, and many other roadside attractions can take a driver’s attention away from the road ahead.

Fatigue: When a driver is fighting to keep their eyes open, they are dangerously distracted and need to stop driving immediately.

A car accident victim should consult a lawyer to begin the process of collecting compensation for injuries and damages, including lost wages, after a distracted driving collision.

What Laws Apply to Distracted Driving?

Delaware laws prohibit many of the leading causes of distracted driving. In Delaware, drivers cannot read or send text messages or use handheld devices, including cellphones, pagers, games, and laptops. Hands-free cellphone use is permitted. A driver with a learner’s permit cannot use a cellphone of any type, even a hands-free device. School bus drivers cannot use a cellphone of any type, even hands-free, while driving.

Delaware’s distracted driving laws do not apply to:

  • Law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, and operators of authorized emergency vehicles when performing their official duties.
  • Drivers who use a device to report an accident, road hazard, a crime, or a medical or hazardous materials emergency.
  • Drivers who are operating an unregistered farm tractor, truck, or other equipment.

It is important to note that drivers can touch their cellphones to activate or deactivate hands-free equipment.

What are Distracted Driving Penalties in Delaware?

Delaware uses primary enforcement of distracted driving laws. This means that authorities can pull drivers over if they see them violating state distracted driving laws, including using cellphones. Currently, Delaware fines for distracted driving include $100 for the first offense, and $200 to $300 for the second and future offenses. At present, distracted driving offenses in Delaware do not add points to a person’s driver’s license or end up on their driving record.

It is important to remember that many acts of distracted driving end up also being moving violations. While a person may not be cited for distracted driving, that does not mean they cannot be charged with another driving-related offense. After a distracted driving accident, a victim should consult with a lawyer for recourse.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Victims of Distracted Driving

When you are injured or a loved one is killed due to a distracted driver’s negligence, you have the right to be compensated for damages. A Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help a victim of a distracted driving collision. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

What Should I Do After a Hit-and-Run Accident?

Car accidents are startling and traumatic ordeals. Most often, a driver is caught off guard when another motorist crashes into their vehicle, causing damages and injuries. In the chaotic scene, the at-fault driver may decide to flee; however, this is illegal. The drivers involved in a car accident have an obligation to ensure that any injuries and meaningful property damage are reported to the police.

If the injuries are significant, many states have laws that define legal obligation on the part of the uninjured driver to alert emergency responders. Several states even require the uninjured driver to take steps to ensure the health and safety of an injured accident victim. In Delaware, drivers who are involved in a car accident that entails any possible injuries or serious property damage are required under law to remain at the scene. Serious accidents should also be reported to the police; this is legally necessary if severe injuries are obvious.

Drivers should take steps to report any accidents that happen on public roads that may endanger other unexpecting motorists. This obligation to report threats to public safety also applies if it is clear that the other driver is intoxicated or otherwise impaired when they flee the scene.

After a hit-and-run accident, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind that may help the victim.

Call for Medical Help

The most important step after a hit-and-run collision is to calmly call 9-1-1. Those who are injured should prioritize seeking medical help. Even if no injuries are apparent, police should be notified right away. The involvement of the police can help create an official record of the incident, but in a hit-and-run accident, the other driver is considered a public danger as well.

Do Not Pursue the Other Driver

One important safety tip is to not follow the other driver. There are many reasons why this is a poor decision. Most importantly, the other driver may be dangerous. Their decision to leave the scene should be enough evidence that they are not thinking rationally. Pursuing them could be dangerous.

There are legal reasons for staying on the scene as well. For the reasons discussed above, leaving the scene of an accident is against the law. Leaving the scene of the accident makes it harder for the victim of the hit-and-run collision to prove that they were not the perpetrator.

Gather Evidence at the Scene

As tempting as it may be to chase the other driver, it is important for the deserted motorist to remain at the scene to protect their rights. The victim should give their account to the responding police officer and talk to bystanders who may be able to serve as witnesses to the accident. It can be helpful to take pictures and videos of the accident scene as well.

Drivers should take a few minutes to write down anything they can remember about what happened, such as information that may help identify the other motorist. Information to consider includes:

  • Physical appearance, clothing, and distinctive features about the driver.
  • Details about the other driver’s behavior.
  • License plate number of the other vehicle.
  • Color, make, and model of the other vehicle.
  • Details about the damage to the other vehicle.
  • Which direction the other driver was travelling.
  • Details of the crash, including the date, time, and location.

Does Insurance Cover Hit-and-Run Accidents?

Drivers who are involved in hit-and-run accidents should report the incident to their own insurance company. In many cases, they may be covered under their own uninsured motorist policy that may offer benefits for medical bills, property damage, among other possible reimbursements. Delaware mandates uninsured motorist insurance. This type of coverage may not be available in all states. Where it is available, it may not always cover hit-and-run collisions.

Sometimes, collision coverage will pay for property damage to the vehicle, but this is not a guarantee. Even then, there will likely be a deductible to pay.

Is a Hit-and-Run Accident a Civil or Criminal Matter?

A hit-and-run accident is both a civil matter and a crime. Law enforcement will attempt to track down the perpetrator to charge them with the criminal act of leaving the scene of the accident and other related offenses. Criminal penalties range from a misdemeanor to a felony. The punishment may include jail time if someone was seriously hurt or killed.

The victim of a hit-and-run accident has a right to go after the delinquent driver for damages associated with their injuries and property damage. If the other driver is identified, a criminal conviction may bode well in the civil case. The seriousness of the crime may influence a jury to award substantial punitive damages in the civil case. A car accident lawyer can help the victim acquire the right amount of damages.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Protect Hit-and-Run Victims

If you were injured in a hit-and-run collision, you should be able to collect damages from the negligent driver if they were found. You may be able to recover compensation to pay for medical bills and lost wages. A Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can protect your rights and help you secure damages. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

What Should I Do After a Rollover Car Accident?

A rollover accident can be a traumatic experience. Rollover accidents occur less often than all other types of crashes, but when they happen, they are far more likely to be fatal. Rollover car accidents are more complex than regular crashes. Read on to find out more about rollover accidents and what to do if one happens.

What Typically Causes Rollover Accidents?

Certain types of vehicles are more prone to turning over than others. Vehicles with a high center of gravity and narrow track width are more unstable in maneuvers involving sharp turns. This instability increases the risk of tipping over if the vehicle begins to skid. Sport-utility vehicles and four-wheel drive pickup trucks are designed with a higher ground clearance for off-road driving, making them susceptible to rollover accidents.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is another cause of rollover accidents. Nearly 75 percent of all fatal rollovers occur in zones with speed limits of 55 miles per hour or higher. Excessive speeding is involved in 40 percent of all fatal rollover crashes.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a factor in almost half of all fatal rollover accidents. Alcohol can cause both anxiety and drowsiness, and it impairs a driver’s reaction time and affects their judgement, often giving a false impression of capability.

Distracted driving is at the root of many motor vehicle accidents, including rollover collisions. Since nearly 85 percent of all rollover-related fatalities involved only one vehicle performing a routine maneuver. The NHTSA concludes that driver behavior is a significant factor in rollover accidents. In the majority of cases, the vehicle that rolled over did not make contact with any other car.

Can Environmental Factors Cause Rollover Collisions?

There are other factors that can cause a driver to lose control of a vehicle, such as the following:

  • Defective Tires: A tire blow out can easily destabilize a vehicle traveling at high speeds.
  • Hazardous Weather Conditions: Snow and ice can result in slippery conditions that lead to a rollover accident.
  • Poorly Maintained Roads: Potholes, inadequately marked construction, and uneven road surfaces can take drivers by surprise and cause rollovers.
  • Manufacturing Recalls: Companies are required to warn consumers about known defects that can cause accidents.

What Injuries Occur from Rollover Accidents?

A rollover accident that is not fatal can cause severe and devastating injuries. Occupants of the vehicle are tossed as it rolls upside down and over. If occupants are not wearing seat belts, they can also be ejected from the vehicle. Broken glass and unsecured cargo can cause more injuries as the rollover occurs.

Injuries to the head, neck, and back are extremely common in rollover accidents. These include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, skull fractures, whip lash, and slipped or herniated discs. These types of injuries can require multiple surgeries, long hospital stays for healing, and extensive rehabilitation therapy afterwards. They may also leave victims with long-term health issues, like chronic pain or paralysis.

What Should I Do After a Rollover Collision?

After a rollover accident, it is possible that a victim may either be unconscious or unable to move. However, if a victim is able to, they should turn off the engine immediately and assess the situation. Check oneself and the passengers for injuries. Although one may feel okay, shock and adrenaline after an accident prevents many people from realizing they are injured. Call 9-1-1 immediately for help.

Determine the safest exit from the vehicle, and keep in mind that this is how many accident victims are injured. If the doors are jammed, one may have to lower or break a window to escape. Check for and clear away broken glass and debris before proceeding. After one is out of the car, help the passengers to exit the vehicle, and then move as far away from it as possible in case it is leaking fuel. Be sure to stay on the shoulder and away from the road and oncoming traffic. Many accident victims have been injured or killed in traffic after leaving their cars.

When speaking with the police, give them an honest account of what happened while stating only the facts of the matter. Never give a statement to an insurance company representative at the scene of an accident.

If a victim has been seriously injured, they may want to consult with an experienced lawyer who can investigate the accident to determine who was at fault and the best course of legal action. If another driver caused the accident, the victim may seek compensation for their injuries. If the rollover accident was caused by a manufacturing defect, the company that made the dangerous product should be held accountable.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Victims After Severe Rollover Collisions

A rollover accident often causes severe injuries. If you need help with compensation, speak to a Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Call us at 302-834-8484 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

What are Some Crucial Winter Driving Safety Tips?

Driving a vehicle during hazardous winter conditions can be dangerous. When the weather turns colder, precipitation can quickly turn to sleet, snow, or freezing rain. It is critical to learn about winter travel tips in order to lessen the chances of a car accident. Below are some important winter safety tips for drivers.

Stay Home When it is Possible

The first tip is to limit driving during bad winter weather. Oftentimes, motorists will head out on unnecessary errands when it is wiser to stay indoors. It is not imperative to go to the gym or head to the movie theatre in hazardous road conditions.

Learn to Drive in the Slow Lane

Speeding in winter conditions is dangerous. A better choice when navigating through snow is to slow it down. Going under the speed limit is encouraged, particularly if a driver feels that the speed limit is too fast for current conditions. Often, accidents can be prevented when motorists take their time.

Place Kitty Litter in the Trunk

Purchasing a box or bag of basic kitty litter is wise in winter because it creates traction when it is placed behind and in front of the tires. The kitty litter also absorbs extra moisture in the process. Sand is a good alternative In lieu of kitty litter. Depending on the size of the container, drivers may want to put a small shovel in the trunk next to the litter or sand.

Turn in the Direction of a Skid

Any driver who has dealt with an unexpected skid knows that the first instinct is to turn the wheel away from the direction the car is moving. However, this is the exact opposite approach to what a motorist needs to do. Turning the wheel in the direction of a skid will help the car naturally stop turning and moving. Though it may seem counterintuitive, it is scientifically backed.

Maintain a Safe Distance

It is more important than ever for drivers traveling in bad weather to keep extra distance between their vehicles and the ones in front of them. This way, they have lots of braking room in case the person in front slides or comes to an abrupt, emergency stop.

It can be comforting to see snow ploughs and salt trucks on the highways before, during, and immediately after snow storms. Nevertheless, drivers should never tailgate these large vehicles. Motorists need to give these vehicles enough time to perform their work.

Turn on the Low Beams

Whether it is day or night, wintertime drivers will want to keep their headlights on. Not only does it get darker sooner during the winter, but changing weather conditions can cause a once-bright day to become gloomy. Additionally, having the headlights on makes sure the vehicle will be seen by oncoming traffic.

Avoid Driving with Snow on the Car

A vehicle that has ice and snow on the windshield limits the driver’s ability to navigate safely. Additionally, ice can break off the car and fly onto the windshield and hood of the car behind. Flying debris can potentially cause a serious car accident.

Limit Distractions

All year round, drivers should avoid distracted driving. During winter, motorists need to lessen their distractions even more. A driver should turn off a favorite radio station to concentrate more fully on the road, and unimportant conversations with passengers should be limited. Even seemingly insignificant distractions can be enough to cause a collision.

Fill Wiper Fluid

In addition to ensuring the wiper blades are in excellent condition, drivers need to make sure they have enough wiper fluid on hand. They might even want to carry an extra container of wiper fluid in the car, just in case. It is beneficial to also check and fill other necessary fluids.

Remember to Tap the Brakes

No matter what types of brakes are on their car, a driver will usually benefit from tapping the brakes on ice or snow rather than braking hard. Tapping encourages the vehicle to make a slower, more controlled stop.

Beware of Black Ice

Roads that look wet can be deceptive, they might be coated with black ice, which can be hard to detect until a vehicle is on it. Drivers should look for clues that black ice might be ahead, such as other motorists spinning out of control. Motorists who notice other cars spinning may have enough time to safely pull over.

Check the Tires

A driver should have properly inflated all-weather or winterized tires with proper tread. Any motorist who has not had their tires checked on a vehicle should head to a technician before making any trips during dangerous winter conditions.

Stay Calm After an Accident

Even with planning, the best driver in the world can end up getting involved in a small or serious crash. Keeping a level head will help make the incident less stressful. If a person was involved in a costly or catastrophic winter crash, they may want to get help from a car accident lawyer.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Work with Drivers and Passengers After Winter Auto Wrecks

When a winter car crash leaves you with costly medical expenses, speak to one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow right away. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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.

Will Holiday Drunk Driving Rates Continue to Rise During the Pandemic?

Many federal and state government officials are requesting that people travel less often during this holiday season since Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases are continuing to rise. To slow the spread of the virus, individuals and families are being asked to limit gatherings and spend more time at home with members of their households. However, research shows that people are continuing to go out and shop or congregate, even in states where such activities are banned. This means that many adults are going to be on the roads during the holiday season, including drunk drivers.

Since the start of the pandemic, adults of legal drinking age have been consuming more alcohol than they were before COVID-19. Though consumption levels have only increased by 14 percent over the past calendar year, the uptick is enough to cause concern. Each year, drunk driving causes 300 deaths between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Even with COVID-19 concerns and safety recommendations, the winter season is still a dangerous time for drivers.

Why Does Holiday Drunk Driving Happen?

Drinking and driving around the holidays can occur for several reasons. The first may be that a driver has gone alone to an event, such as a private party or gathering at a bar. After the event, the driver returns to their vehicle to go home. The driver has not assigned someone else as a designated driver, so the motorist assumes driving alone is the only option.

Another situation that can lead to drinking and driving is that the driver does not realize the extent of their intoxication. A motorist often underestimates their level of intoxication, assuming that their blood alcohol content (BAC) is well within the state’s acceptable limits.

Holiday drunk driving may happen during the COVID-19 pandemic because some people are hesitant to use third-party ridesharing services. Some drivers assume that is safer to drive themselves rather than be exposed to the virus. Additionally, a motorist may feel that they are unlikely to get into a car accident because they are close to their home. This is a false premise since most crashes happen within 25 miles of a victim’s house.

How can I Avoid Drunk Driving Around the Holidays?

Before going anywhere, a driver should decide if they are going to drink while they are away from home. If they are going to a place where alcohol will be served and they know they will indulge, a motorist should bring along someone to act as a designated driver. The designated driver’s responsibility will be to remain sober the entire evening and do all the driving.

What if a driver cannot find a sober traveling companion? Rather than taking their own vehicle, the driver may want to arrange for a rideshare service. Alternatively, the driver may ask someone going to the same destination for a pick-up. This alleviates the need for the driver to abstain from drinking alcohol because the driver will never have to get behind the wheel.

A driver who realizes they have consumed too much alcohol after getting to their destination should never drive themselves home. Instead, they should seek out a safe way to get back to their house. If they are at a friend’s or relative’s residence, they may be able to spend the night and drive home in the morning when they are sober again.

What Should I Do if I See a Drunk Driver?

Spotting a presumed drunk driver on the highway can be a harrowing experience. What are some tell-tale signs that someone might be drunk? Some common signs of drunk driving include:

  • Swerving
  • Driving too fast or slow for conditions
  • Honking excessively
  • Improperly using high beams
  • Not using turn signals
  • Suddenly stopping

To protect themselves and their passengers, a driver should get as far away as possible from the drunk driver. Their passengers may be able to write down the license number of the assumed drunk driver so they can call 9-1-1 and alert emergency personnel about the motorist’s erratic behavior. A motorist should never try to get a drunk driver to pull over or try to force them off the highway.

What Should I Do After a Holiday Car Accident with a Drunk Driver?

Getting into any accident can be a terrifying and stressful ordeal. Even if no one seems to be hurt, everyone may be shaken up by the experience. A drunk driver may become belligerent or hostile, so it is important for a victim to stay away from the drunk motorist.

After getting into a wreck with a drunk driver, a victim should contact the authorities and wait for police and emergency responders to arrive. Police have the expertise to deal with people who have been drinking excessively and can facilitate gathering important information, including the at-fault driver’s name, information, and insurance documentation.

If someone is critically or catastrophically hurt after getting into a holiday season accident with a drunk driver, the victim may want to contact a knowledgeable lawyer. A lawyer can help a victim and their family recover adequate damages to cover medical expenses and pain and suffering. A legal professional can also take a case to trial if an insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Trusted Legal Advice to Drunk Driving Victims

During the holiday season, it is important to be extra vigilant. If you were recently involved in a car accident, one of our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

doctor writing

How Liability is Determined When a Medical Condition Caused an Accident?

Laws about liability exist to protect defendants from being held legally responsible for events beyond their control. In order for a person to be held liable for a car accident, they must have acted negligently in some way. However, what happens if a person was not physically able to prevent an accident, such as a medical condition? This happens in many car accident cases, and it is important to review what could occur.

How Does Negligence Apply in Car Accident Cases?

Every driver owes a duty of care to other motorists. All drivers must operate their vehicles safely in order to prevent accidents and injuries. If a driver’s careless actions caused an accident, they could be held liable. For example, if a drunk driver caused a collision, they are responsible for the accident, injuries, and property damage. The decision to drive while intoxicated disregards the duty of care. A drunk driver would be negligent because they failed to fulfil their obligation to drive safely.

Why is a Medical Condition Different?

If a driver passed out while driving and caused an accident, it would seem logical that this person caused the collision. However, the driver might not be liable for an accident because they had an unknown medical condition.

In such cases, a sudden medical emergency defense may be employed to shield the driver from liability in the accident. This defense holds that a person who loses control of their vehicle due to an unforeseen medical issue cannot be held responsible for a resulting accident. This is because the driver was not negligent. For example, a driver who had a heart attack and caused an accident would not be responsible for the collision.

Can Liability Still Apply in Spite of a Sudden Medical Emergency?

A driver who had a sudden medical emergency would not be responsible for an accident; however, it can be argued that the driver was aware of or unaware of a medical condition. For example, a driver who knows they suffer from a malady that has the potential to flare up spontaneously may be liable for a collision, especially if they were warned by a doctor that it is unsafe to drive.

What Medical Conditions can Cause Car Accidents?

Many medical conditions can cause collisions. Some common health factors that impair drivers include:

  • Epilepsy or seizure disorders
  • Heart disease
  • Low blood sugar or diabetes
  • Poor eyesight

Many states restrict driving privileges on the basis of certain medical conditions. Often, serious conditions, like extremely poor eyesight, must be listed on a driver’s license.

What Must be Proven to Use a Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

If a driver claims the sudden medical emergency defense, the burden of proof is on them to show that they were not negligent in causing the accident. In order to achieve this, they must prove the following:

  • They lost consciousness before the accident.
  • The loss of consciousness is the reason they lost control of their vehicle.
  • The loss of consciousness was caused by an unforeseeable medical event.

Proving that loss of consciousness occurred as a result of a sudden and unforeseeable medical emergency is not an easy task. It must be proven that the medical event was sudden. If a driver felt uneasy before an accident, it could be proven that they had enough time to safely pull over and stop driving.

Additionally, an unforeseeable emergency implies that the driver had no previous knowledge of the condition they claim caused the accident and no warning about the dangers. If the driver was aware of these factors or if they have a history of incapacitating episodes, the sudden medical emergency defense will not hold up in court.

Can a Disabled Person Claim a Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

A person with a known disability, such as a prosthetic limb, may not claim this defense because their condition is not an unknown. If a malfunction of a prosthetic or an assistive device caused an accident, the driver may or may not be held accountable. It is possible that the liability for the accident may lie with the manufacturer of the device, freeing the driver from liability. The medical emergency defense is not applicable in this instance. However, if the driver was given doctor’s orders to install a device to help with driving but failed to do so, they might be held liable.

Negligence is hard to determine in these cases, so it is crucial that a car accident victim contacts a lawyer right away. A lawyer will review the facts of the case and help the victim file a personal injury claim if they are eligible for compensation.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Crash Victims Prove Liability in Order to Obtain Compensation

Determining liability in car accident cases is difficult, especially if medical conditions are involved. If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by a negligent driver, you may be able to collect damages. Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow protect car accident victims. We can help you collect compensation. Contact us online or call us at 302-422-6705 for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.