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Category Archives: Car Accidents


Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Legal Assistance to Those Injured in Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Accidents.

What Are the Primary Causes of Road Rage?

Roadways can be crowded and congested, which can lead to many frustrated drivers. In some cases, aggressive driving and road rage incidents can occur. However, road rage is more than just aggressive driving, it is a violent and intentional act to cause physical harm.

Drivers that tend to exhibit aggressive driving behaviors escalate their actions to the level of road rage for a number of reasons. Often, drivers who have road rage have not learned alternative ways of dealing with their emotions.

Common causes of road rage car accidents include:

  • Heavy traffic: Traffic tests all drivers’ patience.
  • Distracted drivers: It is likely that you have seen a driver on their phone or otherwise distracted. Besides being illegal, distracted driving threatens the safety of everyone on the road, and this is enough to cause a road rage incident.
  • Running behind schedule: The desperate feeling of being late to a meeting or appointment can cause road rage.
  • General disregard for the law: Drivers who think the rules do not apply to them and routinely practice aggressive driving tactics can easily become enraged.

Some drivers feel protected by the anonymity of being in a car sealed off from others around them. A driver can threaten others with their aggressive behavior and feel confident that they will not be confronted or held accountable for their actions.

What Are the Signs of Road Rage?

A driver that is experiencing road rage may exhibit these aggressive driving behaviors:

  • Tailgating or following a driver that offended them.
  • Honking, yelling, and gesturing.
  • Flashing headlights.
  • Blocking traffic lanes or purposely cutting other drivers off.
  • Speeding through traffic.
  • Weaving in and out of lanes without signaling.
  • Driving over shoulders, sidewalks, or medians.
  • Intentionally ramming another car.
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver.

Road rage can be triggered by the irresponsible behavior of other drivers and other factors out of their control. Usually, someone who is prone to road rage is already very impatient, stressed, or aggravated and may exhibit violent behaviors in other areas of their life.

How Can Road Rage Be Prevented?

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent road rage:

  • Get a lot of rest. Insufficient sleep contributes to stress and makes it harder to stay in control. Everyone should make sure they are getting enough rest each night.
  • Allow extra travel time. Leaving early means a little extra traffic will not derail the day. All drivers should make it a routine to leave earlier than usual, especially in the morning.
  • Take a deep breath and count to 10. In heavy traffic, drivers can use this method to give themselves more time to calm down. They should focus on their breathing and not whatever is aggravating them.
  • Play calming music. Music can be calm and uplifting. Music may help drivers stay positive, despite traffic.
  • Start with the right attitude. Driving is not a game where someone wins. Driving safely is a top priority.
  • Be a courteous driver. Drivers should always use their turn signals, merge with plenty of room, move out of the left lane to let other drivers pass, and they should not tailgate.
  • Do not make rude gestures. All drivers should refrain from gesturing and honking, as this could escalate a situation and lead to a road rage incident.

What Should I Do if an Angry Driver Confronts Me?

A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that aggressive driving behaviors are involved in 56 percent of all fatal crashes. Over a seven-year period, road rage incidents caused 12,610 injuries and at least 218 deaths. Being the target of an angry aggressive driver can be traumatic and even life threatening, so it is important to know what to do if it happens to you:

  • Do not engage with the other driver. Do not engage with them, stay cool, and resist the urge to retaliate with gestures, yelling, flashing headlights, or honking. Do not stare them down as well, in fact, it may be best to avoid eye contact altogether.
  • Stay away from the angry driver. Stay clear of an angry driver by giving them plenty of room. If you can, let them pass so that they are in front of you where they can do less damage. Then, put as much distance as possible between your car and theirs. Under no circumstances should you pull over and get out of the car to confront them.
  • Call for help. If the other driver escalates the situation by trying to follow or confront you, call for help. If you have a cellphone, call the police, and if you do not, then drive to a busy place where you can get help, such as a shopping center, police station, or hospital. Honk your horn to get someone’s attention for help, but do not leave your car. Never drive to your house.
  • Remember their information. Try to remember as much information about their vehicle as possible, such as the make and model and license plate number. Identifying marks such as dents or scratches from previous accidents can also be helpful.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Legal Assistance to Those Injured in Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Accidents

If you have been injured in an aggressive driving or road rage incident, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you explore your options. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Those Injured in Nighttime Collisions.

Can Smart Headlights Prevent Car Accidents?

Smart headlights have been available for years in other countries and are finally on their way to the United States. The technology is much more sophisticated than the standard headlights currently in use, and they should improve safety and reduce car accidents.

Smart headlights are also known as adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlights. The technology is a huge improvement over the standard systems in most American cars. ADB systems essentially employ full illumination that is modified via cameras and sensors that adapt the shape, brightness, and direction of the light depending on the driving conditions. There are different types of ADB headlights. Some work by shuttering parts of the headlight similar to using an umbrella to block sunlight. Others employ a matrix of many LEDs that turn on and off when needed.

Currently drivers only have a choice between high-beams, which can blind other drivers if left on errantly, or low-beams, which may not be enough to handle inclement weather and fog. The most advanced system available in the U.S. is automatic high-beams, and they are not always reliable. In contrast, adaptive headlights are able to read the road and provide light where it is needed most. ADB headlights also keep extra glare from shining into the eyes of drivers in the opposite lane.

Another feature of ADB technology is the ability of the light to move in the same direction that the car is traveling. If the car turns or rounds a curve, the headlights direct the light around the curve, whereas with a traditional headlight, the light would stay pointed straight ahead, illuminating the side of the road.

The technology incorporated into German carmaker Audi’s headlights creates a carpet of light on the highway that shows the way ahead and widens as the car changes lanes and then narrows when the car has completed the lane change. This can help drivers stay in their lane and anticipate bends in the road.

Another smart headlight system developed by the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University can track the motion of raindrops and snowflakes and then direct the light beams between them using a computer algorithm to predict their position over just a few milliseconds. This both improves visibility for the driver and prevents the glare created by the reflection of headlight beams by precipitation.

How Can Smart Headlights Help Prevent Accidents?

According to a study done by the American Automobile Association (AAA), smart headlights are safer for nighttime driving because they illuminate more of the road without blinding other drivers as driving with high-beams on would. The study found that ADB headlights are as much as 86 percent better at providing consistent illumination in the presence of oncoming traffic.

Nighttime driving is riskier than driving during the day. Research by the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that the rate of nighttime crashes is three times that of crashes that occur during daylight hours. In dim light, it is also hardest to avoid collisions with animals, pedestrians, bicyclists, and roadside objects. The AAA study predicted that ADB headlights could reduce crashes with wildlife by 18,000, at a savings of $500 million annually. Pedestrian accidents could be reduced by six percent. Consumer Reports says that the additional illumination of 250 feet provided by ADB headlights could be the difference between being able to react in time and hitting an obstacle.

Who Is Already Using Smart Headlight Technology?

First introduced by three major automakers in Germany, smart headlight technology has been available in Europe and Asia for over a decade and is also already in use in Canada. General Motors produces cars for China that are equipped with ADB technology capable of producing 34 different beam patterns.

Implementation of smart headlight technology in the United States was delayed for many years simply because of an antiquated rule from 1967 that stated all cars must have two kinds of headlight beams: high and low. Since ADB technology does not meet this specification, it has been banned until now.

Many foreign cars have ADB headlights, but they are deactivated when imported into the United States. After the new law goes into effect, the smart headlights can be easily reactivated through a software update. The change has been supported by many safety advocates and automakers, like Audi, Honda, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

When Americans finally do get the chance to buy a car with smart headlights, there will be a significant cost. Currently, ADB compatible headlights can cost between $3,400 and $6,600 more than regular headlights.

Improving Safety Is an Ongoing Effort

The provision in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act regarding smart headlights says that ADB headlights must be approved for use in the United States within two years. Experts say this is a chance for America to catch up with safety standards in the rest of the world. However, safety advocates such as Consumer Reports are hoping the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will require manufacturers to follow up with data on the new technology’s performance here and consumer experiences. Such data is extremely valuable in strengthening and fine-tuning safety standards to increase protection for everyone using the road, including pedestrians and cyclists.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Those Injured in Nighttime Collisions

Smart headlights are expected to increase safety and reduce nighttime accidents. At night, you should always be extra cautious while driving. If you have been involved in a nighttime accident, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you explore your legal options. 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.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Will Help You Figure Out Your Next Best Steps After a Collision on Private Property.

What Happens After a Car Accident Occurs on Private Property?

A car accident can happen anywhere, including on private property. After a car accident happens on private property, it can be tough to know how to proceed after that type of crash. Are the procedures the same? Typically, you should always check for injuries and call 911 after any type of crash. This includes one that happens on private property. However, you should know that there are a few distinctions between public and private roads.

A car accident that happens on private property could range from a minor fender bender to a serious collision. The driver may not be the only party at fault for the incident. In some cases, the property owner could be at fault as well. How could a property owner be held liable? They could be liable if the accident happened because of hard-to-read signage or a poorly maintained premises. There are many reasons why a property owner could be fully or partially held at fault for a car accident.

Another difference between a private and public property car accident is that the police may come to the scene but they are not required to write an official police report. You can still ask for them to document the accident with an incident report. Their write-up can help show when the crash happened, who was involved, and other pertinent details.

How Is Fault Proven in This Type of Accident?

You might suspect that the party who hit your car on private property was distracted or otherwise negligent. However, regardless of your suspicions, you need to prove that they caused the accident. Without evidence, you might be on the hook to pay for your property damage, medical bills, and other expenses. Even if you carry the state-required minimum amount of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance, your insurance carrier may balk at paying you what you think you deserve. For this reason, many people seek out assistance from a car accident lawyer.

To help your case, you should gather evidence that proves that the other party negligently caused your accident. Your proof could come in the form of photographs, videos, and even eyewitness accounts. You might be able to obtain security camera footage as well. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case.

Should You Wait to Get Medical Treatment?

It can be tempting to put off going to an urgent care facility or emergency room, especially if you can still get around after the car accident. However, the problem with waiting is that the longer you put off getting diagnosed and treated, the more likely that an insurance company will say that your injuries were not related to the accident.

Even though you will have to pay out of pocket for some or all of your medical costs, you should get a check-up after any type of accident. A thorough examination can rule out conditions that may seem small at first but can lead to bigger problems, such as a traumatic brain injury. Always put your health first.

You may assume that your insurance company will be able to win a fight against another insurance company or that you can talk a property owner’s insurance company into covering your bills. However, dealing with insurance providers, including your own, after any type of accident can be overwhelming and confusing.

Insurance companies want to pay as little as they can. They can take a long time to accept liability. They may offer you a sum that does not adequately meet your needs. However, assistance from a car accident lawyer can be beneficial, particularly if you are trying to heal from a catastrophic injury. It is much easier to let a legal professional handle the process on your behalf.

How Can You Avoid a Car Accident on Private Property?

Not all car accidents are avoidable, but you should still take steps to avoid one from happening. Some important driving tips include:

  • Drive at a speed appropriate for your location, time of day, number of other vehicles around you, and weather conditions.
  • Never allow yourself to be distracted while driving.
  • Never drive while intoxicated or under the influence of any legal or illegal drug.
  • Pay careful attention when driving in an unknown area.
  • Steer clear of any driver who seems to be driving erratically.

Taking precautionary measures can help you prevent a car accident.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Will Help You Figure Out Your Next Best Steps After a Collision on Private Property

Were you recently injured in a car accident that happened on private property? Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you after any type of collision. Call us 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Protect Your Rights After an Accident.

How Is a Car’s Safety Rating Determined?

When looking to purchase a car, a person has to consider several important factors, such as what they can afford. However, it is also important to consider the safety rating of the vehicle.

In many cases, the more expensive cars are safer. However, nowadays, new safety features are being invented and introduced to cars often, and safety testing is performed on new cars. Finding a car at your price point with a good safety rating should be your goal.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performs crash tests on the new auto models every year and determines the safety ratings of those vehicles. The IIHS uses a series of tests involving dummies, and they crash these vehicles from different angles.

Frontal Crash Tests

Head-on collisions are responsible for the most car accident fatalities. The IIHS conducts low- and moderate-speed tests to see how a crash impacts a vehicle and the space for occupants. The IIHS has three different types of frontal crash tests that they perform:

  • Moderate impact tests: The vehicle travels at 40 miles per hour toward a barrier, striking at 40 percent of the vehicle width on the driver’s side front.
  • Two small impact tests on the driver and passenger side: This test is designed to replicate what happens when the front left corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object, like a tree or utility pole. It challenges safety belt and airbag designs because the crash causes occupants to move both forward and to the side of the vehicle. The test is repeated on the passenger side.

The reason for the two tests is that the outer edges of a vehicle are not well protected and the force of the crash usually goes into the front wheel, suspension system, and firewall. Often, this means the wheel will be forcefully pushed backward into the footwell, which can result in serious foot and leg injuries.

Side-Impact Tests

Side-impact collisions account for about 25 percent of all motor vehicle accident fatalities in the United States, according to the IIHS. The sides of cars do not have much room between the window and door and the person seated inside. Occupants sitting near the doors do not have much to shield them from the force of an impact.

Some important factors engineers are looking for in these crash tests include:

  • Driver and passenger injury measures: Damage done to the dummies correlates injuries for people involved in a crash. Measures from sensors on the dummies, especially the ones from the head and upper body, are major components of each vehicle’s overall side safety rating.
  • Head protection: To determine how well the dummies heads are protected in the crash, the dummies heads are covered in grease paint before the test. If a vehicle has airbags that perform correctly, it will wind up with grease paint on the airbags.
  • Safety cage: Determining how well the safety cage performs during a collision is another test for the side of the car. It is expected that some intrusion into the seating area of the car will happen, but engineers are looking for a vehicle structure that is strong enough to keep that impact from seriously compromising the driver and passenger space.

Roof Strength

Every year, many people are killed in rollover car accidents. Fortunately, electronic stability control significantly reduces rollover collisions. Features such as side curtain airbags and strong seat belts help protect the people inside the vehicle. However, a strong roof also contributes to seat belt and airbag safety because a sturdy roof will not collapse. It also means that people inside the vehicle are less likely to wind up being ejected through the windshield or windows because of a severely damaged roof.

Head Restraints and Seat Tests

Neck injuries, such as whiplash, are common in car accidents, and a good head restraint can prevent these injuries from happening. Neck injuries can result from any type of collision, however, most often, they result from rear-end car accidents.

To perform these tests, a vehicle seat and dummy are placed on a sled that is then moved to simulate the impact of a crash.

Headlights

About half of vehicle crashes in the United States happen at night, which is why headlight safety is a critical component in crash prevention. Not all headlights perform equally when needed. The IIHS tests include checking headlights from straight ahead, curving to the right or left, or sharply curving to the right or left.

Front Crash Prevention Systems

Front crash prevention systems help drivers avoid car accidents with vehicles ahead of them. Since 2019, manufacturers have introduced a front crash prevention system that also recognizes pedestrians. The system and score are designed to help consumers choose a safe car.

Lower Anchors and Tethers

The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system is designed to protect small children who are in car safety seats from being ejected out of the vehicle or from the seat coming loose. These tests are for the bottom component, which anchors the car safety seat, and the top, which is designed to keep the seat from pitching forward in a crash.

With these tests in mind, the IIHS hopes to offer consumers enough information about how their car could perform in a crash. Before buying a car, you should review its safety rating.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Protect Your Rights After an Accident

Before you purchase a car, you should review its safety rating. However, even if you have the safest car, you can still get into an accident. Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have decades of experience advocating for people involved in all types of auto collisions, and we can help if you have been severely injured in an accident. Call us at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form 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 injury

What Factors Determine the Severity of a Car Accident Injury?

A car accident can be a traumatic experience for anyone, both emotionally and physically. Even if you only suffered a minor injury, you should expect to be sore for at least a few days following the accident. However, there are times when some injuries could take longer to heal. With any injury, you want the recovery to happen as soon as possible. 

The extent of your injury plays a major role in how long your pain will last, but there are other factors as well. Your age, the type of injury, as well as what happened in the car accident all influence how long you will recover. 

If you are wearing a seat belt, the seat belt will restrain your body to help prevent a severe injury. If you are not wearing a seat belt, then something else must stop your body from moving when the car stops, such as the dashboard or the steering wheel, which can cause a catastrophic injury. When your body comes to a complete stop, the momentum of the accident can affect your internal organs, which can lead to internal organ damage.

What Are Common Car Accident Injuries?

Your age and overall health will also determine the severity of your injury. Younger people will generally heal quicker than the elderly. People with poor health cannot heal as quickly as well. For example, a person with a pre-existing condition like an autoimmune disease will take longer to heal, even if the accident is minor. 

Most mild injuries take a few days to a few weeks to heal. On average, a car accident injury takes about six weeks to heal, but each injury is different. You cannot predict the recovery time of your injury, so it is important to get medical help as soon as possible.

Although many factors can determine the severity of your injury, some injuries are more common than others. Common car accident injuries include:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash is common in rear-end accidents, where the head moves forward and back in a violent motion. This causes back and neck soreness, disc pain, and shoulder and arm pain. Whiplash is generally not felt immediately, rather, it takes hours or days after the accident to show up. If you have whiplash, your injury may take up to a few weeks or longer to heal.
  • Soft tissue injuries: There are many different types of soft tissue injuries, such as bruises, sprains, and strains. These injuries can take weeks or even months to heal. 
  • Back or neck injuries: The impact of a car accident can cause the discs in your spine to shift and go out of alignment. More serious accidents can cause major back injuries, such as ruptured discs. The recovery time of a back injury varies, but most take about six to 12 weeks to heal if surgery is not needed. 
  • Broken bones: In most cases, broken bones take six to eight weeks to heal. However, the severity of the injury can cause a longer recovery period.

It is imperative to seek medical attention after any type of car accident. Many injuries take days to appear. Additionally, insurance companies may deny a claim if you take too long to see a doctor after a car accident.

What Are Possible Treatments?

Every injury is unique as well as the treatment plan. Doctors may prescribe the following to treat your car accident injury:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Physical or occupational therapy.
  • Epidural injections.
  • Surgery.

What if My Pain Worsens?

A main reason to seek medical attention immediately after an accident is because a doctor can determine the severity of your injury. Minimal pain can be misleading, and you may be seriously injured without even realizing you are hurt. A doctor can examine you and create a treatment plan, and they can give you a timeframe of your recovery period.

You may find that your pain extends past your estimated healing time. If your pain worsens or does not subside, you should return to the doctor who diagnosed you, as they may have missed something during your initial appointment. You should schedule a follow-up appointment if you are experiencing the same symptoms. It is important to follow the doctor’s orders and go to all follow-up appointments. You should go to the doctor immediately if you have any new symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, or if you are having trouble sleeping.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

There are some steps to take following a car accident: 

  • Seek immediate medical attention. This is the only way you can determine the severity of your injury. 
  • Document your injury as well as your treatment plan. Keep all medical records.
  • You also should contact your insurance company right away. You should notify them of the accident.
  • Speak with a car accident lawyer. A lawyer will protect your rights and determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury suit.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Provide Legal Help While You Focus on Healing Your Car Accident Injury

Many factors determine the severity of a car accident injury. You should always go to the doctor after an accident, but it is also important to seek legal help if you have a catastrophic injury that was caused by a negligent driver. Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you explore your legal options after a collision. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

pregnant car accident

What Should I Do if I am in a Car Accident While Pregnant?

A car accident could cause harm to a mother-to-be and her unborn child. According to a University of Michigan study, about 200,000 pregnant women are involved in auto accidents every year. Even a minor accident could cause catastrophic injuries to the mother and endanger her baby. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that car accidents are the leading cause of injury and death in pregnant women. Car accidents are also linked to about 400 fetal deaths per year. These alarming statistics affirm that pregnant drivers and their unborn babies have significantly greater health risks when on the road. Understanding the unique risks faced by pregnant drivers can help prevent more injuries or even deaths. 

A trip to the emergency room for a full diagnostic medical exam is in order for any pregnant driver or passenger who is involved in an accident. If the initial examination shows the baby is healthy and the mother is not seriously injured, extended rest and other at-home care will be needed. The mother-to-be should rest in bed as much as possible for at least a couple of days. 

While at home, the pregnant mother should monitor her condition. A fever could indicate infection. If any bleeding occurs, it is critical to notify the doctor as soon as possible. Any pain, discomfort, or other concerning symptoms after a car accident should be immediately reported. It is also critical to go to all follow-up care appointments.

Any appearance of amniotic fluid following a car accident is cause for alarm. An immediate trip to the doctor is needed to help provide the best possible outcome for the mother and child. Other symptoms pregnancy-related issues that could arise after a car accident include dizziness and fainting. These symptoms could mean dangerous changes in blood pressure. Fluctuating blood pressure might be dangerous for the baby. 

Unusual Risks That Pregnant Drivers Face

A pregnant driver does not have as much room in the seat, which makes using a seat belt much more difficult and uncomfortable. The bottom of the steering wheel is just inches away from a pregnant woman’s belly. If even a minor accident occurs, a pregnant woman might suffer a serious injury, such as a hemorrhage or sudden or early delivery. A hemorrhage might cause light bleeding, but heavy bleeding could be a sign of something much more serious. 

Any pregnant driver who is in an accident should immediately undergo medical diagnosis and treatment. That is the best way to prevent possible injury to the mother and/or baby.

What Are the Risks for Unborn Babies?

Death is not the only risk that an unborn baby faces in a car accident. A premature birth could occur and make the infant vulnerable to a variety of potential life-threatening injuries. An infant might also suffer neurological issues due to injuries from a car accident. 

If the mother is injured and begins to bleed heavily, the unborn baby could be affected as well. If a premature birth occurs and the mother bleeds heavily during the delivery, it could be life-threatening for the baby.

There are many possible treatments for injured pregnant drivers, which is why it is critical to go to the doctor after a collision. Even if a pregnant mother-to-be feels okay after an accident, they should still go to the doctor as soon as possible. You should get medically evaluated after any type of accident because you may have a hidden injury. Some injuries do not show up until days or even weeks later.

What Are Important Safety Tips for Pregnant Drivers?

Speed and deployment of air bags are the two biggest factors in causing pregnancy-related medical issues due to a car accident. Research shows an accident that occurs at 50 miles per hour or higher is much more dangerous for a pregnant driver. The deployment of airbags, which would injure the fetus, is also a risk for a pregnant driver. A pregnant driver needs to do her best to abide the posted speed limits and follow at a safe distance, just like all other motorists. 

You also can wear a seat belt that is situated below the belly with a lap restraint. The shoulder restraint should go around instead of across the belly to help prevent extreme pressure during an accident. 

Some mothers feel that they should not wear a seat belt during pregnancy because of the potential risks. However, doctors recommend to still wear a seat belt. You should also avoid turning off the airbags.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Protect the Rights of Injured Pregnant Drivers

Pregnant drivers and their babies are vulnerable in car accidents. If you have been involved in a car accident that caused an injury to you or your unborn baby, our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. You can contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 to schedule a free consultation today. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

Self Driving Car

How Can Electric Cars Be Made Safer?

To reduce emissions and preserve natural resources, automakers around the world are moving to all-electric vehicles.  In 1997, Toyota brought electric technology to the masses with the production of the Prius, which is a hybrid, electric and gasoline type vehicle.  The consumer has responded in droves; since 2016, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have grown over 40 percent, perhaps even more in city-wide areas.  

The increasing popularity of EVs present several benefits for both drivers and the environment.  However, they do have a negative impact, particularly for pedestrians and bicyclists.  Gasoline engines make a sound, and pedestrians and those outside of a vehicle use the combustion sounds of an engine to be alerted of the vehicle’s presence.  With EVs and hybrids, there is essentially no sound, and if there is, it is drowned out by any ambient noise.    

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both hybrid and EVs are 37 percent more likely to cause a car accident with a pedestrian; with cyclists, it is 57 percent.  Governments are now mandating automakers to help solve this increasing problem: to have EVs and hybrid cars produce an alarm tone or sound to warn pedestrians.

Of course, this is easier said than done.  The noises heard in any city warning pedestrians a vehicle is traveling near them are primarily combustion engines and tire or brake noise.  At low speeds, however, it is very difficult to hear any tire noise, which is heard more often when the vehicle is traveling faster than 30 mph.  Finally, a gasoline vehicle will produce a wind noise at over 19 mph, but this noise is generally silent with an EV.  

Furthermore, many pedestrians rely on their sense of vision and hearing to travel safely in an urban environment.  However, studies have shown that it is more difficult for younger pedestrians to understand what is going on around them.  Combine that with cellphone or headphone use, or if the pedestrian has a visual impairment, traveling in a city by foot becomes even more dangerous.  

Other Electric Car Dangers

Electric cars can be dangerous for the drivers themselves.  Many drivers use the sound of an engine to determine their speed.  Without it, a driver will lack the sense of speed, making them speed up too quickly and lose control of the vehicle.  Furthermore, even though EVs and hybrid vehicles are safer for the environment than gasoline cars, their production of electricity and battery usage is still harmful to the planet.   

Automakers and Sound Production

Not only must automakers decide how or when to produce the alarm, but also they must decide what the warning should actually sound like.  The U.S. government is requiring automakers to make the noise discernible from various distances at different speeds, giving the pedestrian enough time to react.  

A study performed by researchers at Penn State University and Virginia Tech tested how well people can understand the EV sound.  They were asked to press a button when they were able to determine an electric vehicle was traveling nearby.  Although the artificial sound drastically improved the test subject’s ability to detect over no sound, regardless of distance, their detection never reached 100 percent.  This means that sound alone is not the answer.  

Furthermore, additional research has been made by third-party companies to help solve this issue.  Through their research, one such company found that:

  • The three most important aspects of an electric car sound would be to increase pedestrian safety, reduce noise pollution, and design the sound so that it is easily discernable for an electric car or even brand recognition.  
  • A sudden change in sound can communicate a warning, not just loud volumes.  
  • People interpret sounds differently from one another, and, internally, assess a dangerous situation differently as well.  This means that people will need to be educated about what the sound means and how to react appropriately and safely.  
  • The best audio solution for automakers to implement are ones based on the senses, similar to parking aid sensors.  This suggests outer sensors installed on a vehicle to consider a vehicle’s speed, direction, outer conditions, and how many pedestrians are in the area.  With this information, the sound can adjust to provide the appropriate warning.  

 

Many manufacturers have hired sound design technicians to help determine not only what an electric car should sound like, but also how to make it the alarm they need to advertise safety.  These carmakers also discovered that the consumer may want to have their vehicle sound their own way.  Additionally, for carmakers who span the globe, one warning sound in the United States may be different than other countries.  Finally, manufacturers must be sure the sound they approve is highly detectable but also does not cause any noise pollution.  Still, it is agreed that some type of sound should be implemented.    

There are a few disadvantages to an acoustic alarm system.  Experts believe that, if their EV is producing an audible warning for pedestrians, motorists will drive without acknowledging the pedestrians, transferring the responsibility to the pedestrian to stay safe.  However, other experts believe that both the driver and pedestrian will adapt to the acoustic warning system the more it is implemented into our daily lives.  

Another issue is electric cars in rural areas, and how to warn bicyclists or pedestrians if they rarely, if ever, see an electric car.  Although they are popular, they are mostly not seen in rural or low-income areas.  Carmakers must also consider how to educate these areas what the alarm is and make the sound more widespread and available.   

Additionally, older hybrid and EVs, made before the federal mandates, do not have any type of acoustic warning system.  Carmakers will also need to decide how to retrofit such a system to comply with federal regulations.  

Finally, there have been other non-acoustic ideas that carmakers have considered to help reduce pedestrian accidents, but there has not been any research supporting their production as compared with acoustic warning systems.  

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Drivers and Pedestrians Injured by Electric Cars 

If you have been involved in an accident with an electric car, whether you were a driver or a pedestrian, reach out to the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow.  Our skilled and experienced team have decades of car accident experience and will fight to get the compensation for which you are entitled.  Contact us online or call any of our three numbers: 302-427-9500, 302-834-8484, or 302-422-6705 today to schedule your free evaluation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients in Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford, Delaware.

 

nerve damage

What Should I Do if a Car Accident Caused Nerve Damage?

When someone thinks about a car accident injury, they might visualize a broken bone or head injury. However, there are many car accident injuries that are not visible. Internal injuries can have grave consequences and should be taken very seriously. One such injury is nerve damage. 

Every sensation and voluntary and involuntary movement the body makes involves the nerves. For instance, without nerves, your body would not be able to tell if something is hot or cold, a vital sensation that protects you from harm. 

Nerve damage can be painful and is sometimes felt immediately, but the pain is often masked initially and not felt until days later. Following a car accident, it is crucial to seek medical attention, even if your injury seems minor, to be evaluated for nerve damage, as well as other internal injuries.

What Is the Peripheral Nervous System?

Car accidents commonly affect the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, two of the most vulnerable parts of the body. The PNS consists of three types of nerves that play a significant role in the body’s ability to function properly:

  • Sensory nerves: These nerves are responsible for transmitting the five senses, hearing, smell, sight, taste, and touch, from the spinal cord to the brain. When sensory nerves are damaged, the messages transmitted by these nerves become partially or completely compromised, ranging from sending incorrect signals to a complete loss of sense.
  • Motor nerves: Motor nerves transmit information from the brain to the muscles, instructing them to produce movement. Motor and sensory nerves work in tandem with one another. For instance, sensory nerves detect if something is hot, and motor nerves direct the hand to move away from the heat.
  • Autonomic nerves: A critical nerve group, autonomic nerves control breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, bladder control, digestion, and more. Autonomic nerves monitor and respond to bodily needs and external stress. Damage to this nerve group in a car accident can result in a life-altering disability.

What Injuries Cause Nerve Damage?

Internal injuries and the body’s reaction to trauma and stress can cause serious nerve damage, often due to compression or inflammation that press against the nerves. Some common injuries that cause nerve damage include:

  • Whiplash: The most common injury is whiplash. Although the body is well-restrained by a seat belt and protected by air bags in a collision, the head and neck are not, making them more susceptible to the force of the accident. Whiplash causes the muscles in the neck to stretch and strain beyond typical range of motion, and spinal damage in the neck or inflammation from the torn muscles puts pressure on the nerves. When this happens, nerves become compressed and pinched, damaging their ability to function properly.
  • Herniated discs: Sometimes referred to as a slipped disc, herniation is the result of the discs between the spine’s vertebrae being forced out of place. These discs absorb the shock from movements. When herniated, the discs press against the nerves causing damage, sometimes resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness in the limbs.
  • Pinched nerves: Pinched nerves are common car accident injuries. As muscles and tissues respond to the trauma and swell from inflammation, they press against the nerves and essentially pinch them, which can lead to nerve damage. Broken bones, tendons, and cartilage can also create pinched nerves following an accident.

What Are the Symptoms of Nerve Damage?

Symptoms of nerve damage tend to be worse at the site of injury. Signs of nerve damage include:

  • Shooting or radiating pain in the legs, arms, hands, or feet.
  • Numbness, prickling, tinging, or burning sensation in extremities, such as the hands and feet.
  • Full or partial paralysis to legs, arms, fingers, or toes.
  • Muscle weakness, particularly in the arms and legs.
  • Buzzing sensations akin to mild electric shock.
  • Uncontrolled muscle movements or twitching.
  • Inability to hold objects without dropping them.
  • Heightened skin sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. 

Nerve damage is most common in or near the spine but can be in any part of the body. If you are experiencing any symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Is Nerve Damage Treatable?

Not all nerve damage is permanent. Depending on the extent of your injury, medical treatment for nerve damage is possible. Diagnosis begins with a physical exam to test your sensations, reflexes, coordination, and strength to help determine whether your sensory or motor nerves are damaged. 

Additional neurological tests follow the physical exam to test the electrical activity and nerve function in your muscles and their ability to respond. These tests usually involve imaging scans. Additionally, to determine how quickly electrical impulses move through the muscles, the physician may utilize a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test, which stimulates muscles through an electrode patch attached to the skin.

Treatment will depend on the severity of the nerve damage. In less severe cases, treatment may include medication for chronic pain, physical therapy, assistive devices, and more. Critically damaged nerve injuries may be treated through surgery, provided the nerve has not died.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You if You Have a Debilitating Injury From a Collision

Suffering nerve damage from a car accident can lead to financial hardship. Our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you if your injury was caused by a negligent driver. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

amputation injury

What Should I Do if I Have a Car Accident-Related Amputation Injury?

Losing a body part in a car accident is devastating. However, with a caring support team and rehabilitation, the injured person can begin to heal. According to the National Limb Loss Information Center, there are about 1.7 million people who are living with limb amputations in the United States. There are several reasons why someone has a limb amputated, such as cancer, diabetes, or vascular disease. However, according to the National Limb Loss Information Center, car accidents cause almost 45 percent of all amputation injuries.

If you have an amputation injury that was caused from a car accident, you may have legal options. It is important to consult a lawyer if a negligent driver caused your catastrophic injury.

Why Is Amputation Sometimes Necessary?

Although the loss of a limb may happen in a car accident, there are other reasons that can lead to an amputation following a collision. It is important to remember that amputations are generally rare. A doctor may decide it is necessary to amputate a body part because of the following:

  • Risk of infection: With an amputation, there is a risk of infection. There is dirt, debris, and chemicals that could get into the injured area. In order to prevent the infection from spreading, the doctor may recommend amputating the part that is infected.
  • Lacerations: In a car accident, a person may suffer a laceration so deep that it mangled bones or nerves to the point that the body part is irreparable.
  • Crush injuries: These injuries happen when sheer force from either impact or the weight of an object crushes muscles and bones. To prevent more harm, a doctor could recommend amputating the affected part.

What Complications Could Happen?

Not only can an amputee suffer from long-term psychological issues and mounting medical bills, but there are health complications that could occur, such as:

  • Phantom limb: This is a common complication after an amputation. Some patients suffer phantom limb pain. The person may feel pain or sensations in the area where the leg or arm was amputated.
  • Necrosis: This occurs when surrounding tissues die and become gangrenous.
  • Muscle weakness: When a limb is gone, the surrounding muscles have to make up for the lost muscle, leading to muscle weakness or stiffness.
  • Deep vein thrombosis: This is when an amputee is immobilized for an extended period of time, where there is now a risk for a blood clot.

One of the major complications is the psychological damage that will likely occur, which can be life-long. Reliving the moment might happen because losing a limb is traumatic, which could lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The sudden adjustment to a life without a limb can be distressing for anyone. Amputees also require expensive prosthetic equipment, medications, physical therapy, and may need additional surgery, all of which could cause more depression and anxiety.

What Are Possible Therapies?

The road to healing after an amputation will be long and arduous, but you will not go through it alone. After the initial surgery, amputees might need time to recover in the hospital for a few weeks, with the amputated area likely elevated to reduce swelling. The healing will continue when the patient returns home, as it could take four to eight weeks for the surgical wound to completely heal. A properly healed wound will help when fitting for a prosthetic.

An amputee patient will likely receive treatment in the form of the following:

  • Physical therapy.
  • Occupational therapy.
  • Counseling or psychological treatment.
  • Rehabilitation services.

When the patient returns home, rehabilitation will likely start after a few days. An occupational therapist may even come to the home and suggest handicap equipment to be installed to help with the adjustment, such as a wheelchair ramp or wider doorways. The doctor will likely prescribe medications as well, some for pain management and others to prevent infection. The patient will likely be assigned a medical team to monitor them, and they will adjust treatments, rehabilitation, or medications to ease the adjustment process.

Physical therapy is focused on the patient strengthening muscles around the amputated area. If a prosthetic is prescribed, rehabilitation services combined with physical therapy will help the patient adjust. Daily exercises will likely be prescribed as well to help the patient adapt to a new routine.

Psychological therapy will be just as important because losing a limb is traumatic. The amputee must be upfront and open with their rehabilitation team.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Clients Who Have Accident-Related Amputation Injuries

Although amputation injuries are common, they are devastating. If you have an amputation injury that was caused from a car accident, you may need a legal advocate on your side. Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you explore your legal options. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. We are located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

preparing car

How Can I Prepare My Car for Snow?

When winter weather hits, driving may be unavoidable. While it is advisable to stay off the roads when there is an approaching winter storm, there are some ways drivers can reduce their risk of a car accident.

Additionally, preparing for winter driving should start long before the snow begins. Drivers should get ready for the cold weather well in advance by having their car checked, stocking it with emergency essentials, and reviewing some driving tips to stay safe.

Vehicle Maintenance

Drivers should make sure to have their cars checked out in anticipation of the cold temperatures and slipper weather conditions. The combination of wet conditions and the temperature dips causes dangerously slippery roads.

Among other basic safety checks, your pre-winter vehicle assessment should include examining the following:

  • Tire tread: Tires that are worn or damaged do not offer good traction, leaving drivers and other road users at risk. The presence of ice or snow on the roads significantly increases the risk. Have a professional take a look at your tires before the winter begins. Worn tires should be replaced.
  • Tire pressure: As the temperature gets colder, tire pressure is affected. The cold causes the air to contract, leading to the need for car owners to add air to their tires to maintain adequate tire pressure. Without enough air pressure in your tires, you may experience issues with road grip and driver control.
  • Battery: A drained or corroded battery can cause trouble for you during the winter. The cold can cause stress to the battery. If it gives out and leaves you stranded, that could be a big problem in dangerously low temperatures. It is best to get your battery checked to ensure it has the power it needs to get through the season.
  • Fluids: Your car’s fluids should be checked throughout the year, but winter is an especially important time to ensure that fluids are topped off or replaced. Antifreeze keeps your car’s engine from freezing, but it is also important to make sure your oil is changed and your windshield wiper fluid is full.

Emergency Kit

Every driver should have a few items in their car at all times, including a flashlight, road flares, and a small collection of basic tools. You should also bring drinking water, snacks, and a charged cellphone on every trip in case you breakdown or become involved in an accident that leaves you stranded.

In winter, however, there are a few specific items that you should consider adding to your emergency supplies. Having a blanket might come in handy if you are stuck on the side of the road in winter. An ice scraper and a snow shovel should also be kept in your trunk to help deal with the elements. Finally, a pair of warm gloves and a hat are nice to have in a cold-weather emergency.

Safe Winter Driving Tips

Some important winter driving tips include:

  • Allow extra travel time. Dangerous winter road conditions may involve slippery surfaces or poor visibility that call for drivers to inch along in order to maintain safety. Drivers delayed by weather must not lose sight of safety.
  • Remove all snow and ice. Use an ice scraper to clear all windows and mirrors to establish safe visibility from the driver’s seat. Be sure to remove accumulated snow from the car to keep it from sliding off as you drive and becoming a threat to other road users.
  • Be careful accelerating and decelerating. On wet or icy winter roads, increasing speed too suddenly can cause you to lose control of your car, and slamming your brakes can cause spinouts. Instead, ease into your stops and starts if possible, and avoid abrupt use of either the gas pedal or the brake.
  • Beware of black ice. Black ice is ice that is barely detectible because it blends in with the asphalt. Drivers must be aware of the possibility of black ice at all times.

What if I Get Stuck in a Snowstorm?

If you find yourself stuck in a snowstorm, it is best to pull over and wait it out. Trying to drive through a storm puts you and others in danger. If you must drive in order to deal with an emergency or to get somewhere safe, drive slowly, and use your headlights and emergency blinkers to make yourself visible to others.

When it comes to icy roads, you should drive slowly, and if you encounter a patch of ice, do not slam on your brakes. Instead, turn your wheel in the direction your car is sliding until you regain control.

If your car becomes stuck in the snow, you may be able to dig your car out with a shovel, but you should take breaks so you do not exhaust yourself. Using road salt may help melt any ice or provide traction for your tires. Spinning your wheels may work against you if it causes the car to dig itself deeper. If you must rest or take refuge in the running car, make sure the tail pipe is free of obstruction to avoid carbon monoxide exhaust from backing up into the car.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help You After a Winter Collision

It is important to prepare your car for cold weather ahead of time, but some motorists will not take necessary precautions. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help you pursue legal action. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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