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Category Archives: Personal Injury


The Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Experienced Representation of People Seriously Injured in Car Accidents.

Do Car Accidents Increase in Summer?

When anyone gets into a car and drives on the roads and highways, there is always a risk that they will be involved in a car accident. No matter how safe you think you drive, or how much of a defensive driver you try to be, there are always reckless, careless, and negligent drivers sharing the road with you.

Car crashes can happen in a blink of an eye, and for many reasons. The question that often arises is this: are there actually more accidents during the summer than in other seasons? The data shows that the answer is a resounding yes.

This can be somewhat surprising given the fact that in many areas of our country during winter time the roads can be quite hazardous. Given that snow and ice accumulations on roads is quite common, the weather can cause a significant number of car crashes.

There are many reasons why summertime is the most dangerous season when it comes to car and truck accidents. This article will discuss those reasons and what you could do to protect yourself and make your summer trips a little bit safer.

An Increase in Traffic

One of the main causes of an increase in car accidents during summer is the increase in traffic. While there is a proven increase in traffic with every major holiday regardless of the season, there is an overall increase in travel during the summer months. People travel for vacations, or to visit family, or to get away on a whim no matter the holiday or occasion over the summer, not necessarily planned around a particular holiday break. As always, with an increase in traffic there will be increased accidents.

Teenagers Are On Summer Break

It is understood that teenagers are an age group that causes more accidents than other age groups. One of the reasons for this is that teenagers are brand new drivers with undeveloped driving skills. They tend to take more risks and fail to understand or comprehend the dangers that can be associated with driving. Teenagers tend to speed and drive erratically, aggressively, and recklessly. All this contributes to an increase in teenage car accidents.

With the advent of summer vacation, most teenagers are on break from school or home from college. Those teens will be spending more time on the roads, leading to more accidents during the summer.

More Road Construction During the Summer

As the winter weather subsides and the warmer weather begins, there is always increased Road construction. On city streets as well as highways, you will always see significant road construction during summer months.

This construction usually includes changes in road designs, directions, detours, barriers, and speed reductions. In many instances, this could lead to car crashes because drivers are not used to seeing detours, construction signs, and construction workers. Sometimes the roadways are narrowed and limited. When drivers continue to drive over the speed limit in construction zones, there’s an increased risk for accidents, especially an increased risk for the health and safety of construction workers.

More Pedestrians and Bicyclist

With warmer weather, everyone wants to get outside to enjoy the sun and the fresh air. This increases the number of walkers, joggers and people riding bicycles. It is not surprising that there is a significant increase in pedestrian accidents during the warmer months as compared to the colder months. Drivers are just not used to seeing walkers and bicyclists out and about and fail to see them. Or, the drivers are distracted for a few seconds at the wrong time and hit a pedestrian.

Increase in Motorcycle Riders

Similar to the increase in pedestrian traffic, there is an increase in the number of motorcycles on the road during the summer months. Riding motorcycles has become a huge pastime in the United States over the last 30 years. What used to be considered a counterculture activity in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, is now commonplace. Now you can see all manner of people riding motorcycles, but with increased motorcycle traffic there will always be increased motorcycle accidents.

Motorcycles are generally more dangerous to drive than vehicles to begin with. There is less protection for motorcycle riders compared to all of the safety protections of cars and trucks. In addition to the inherent risks of motorcycle driving, many states throughout the United States do not require motorcyclists to wear helmets.

What Should You Do If You Are Injured in a Car Accident?

The most important immediate thing to do if you are involved in a car accident is to make sure you contact 911. Having a police officer come to the scene will allow someone to begin investigating the accident, collecting witness information, and determining who was at fault.

Another thing to do after a crash is to seek medical care as soon as possible. The sooner you see the doctor, the sooner you will know if your injuries are serious. Do not assume that you will get better on your own.

The Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Provide Experienced Representation of People Seriously Injured in Car Accidents

Being seriously injured in a car accident can be traumatic and frightening. Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow have the knowledge and skills to fight for your rights to receive full compensation for your injuries. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices conveniently located in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state.

The Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help Recover Compensation for Your Road Debris Car Accident Injuries.

Who is Responsible for My Accident If It Was Caused by Road Debris?

With so much traffic on our roads and highways, it is not surprising that we see so many accidents caused by road debris. When a car runs into something discarded in the middle of the road, it can cause the driver to lose control of their vehicle and crash, veering off the side of the road or crash into other vehicles. Usually, these accidents happen quickly and without warning, giving the driver almost no time to react. These accidents can cause serious damage and significant injuries to the occupants of the car and the car itself.

Common Road Debris That Causes Accidents

If you drive a decent amount throughout Delaware, you will periodically see debris in the roadway. With the amount of truck traffic and commercial traffic on the roads, things fall off trucks all the time. The following things are the type of debris that we see that causes crashes:

  • Bags full of trash, merchandise, or personal items
  • Barrels
  • Buckets
  • Falling debris from cliff and overhangs
  • Furniture
  • Ladders
  • Moving boxes
  • Parts of cars and trucks
  • Road carrion
  • Tires
  • Tools
  • Traffic cones
  • Traffic control devices
  • Wood and construction materials

This debris can come off many different types of vehicles. That is why it is hard to pinpoint the responsible parties who left debris in the road.

Different Parties That Could Be Responsible for Debris in the Road

There are many different types of entities that can be responsible for leaving debris in the road that runs the risk of causing an accident. Whenever you see something laying in the road, most likely it got there due to someone’s negligence. Whether it be improper securing of things in the back of a truck, failure to inspect the loads being carried by vehicles, improper loading of commercial products, or failure to properly secure road signs or construction material. The types of vehicles and drivers that leave behind the most road debris include:

  • Delivery companies
  • Road construction companies
  • Small construction trucks
  • State construction crews
  • Truck drivers
  • Trucking companies

The hardest part of these cases is to pinpoint who is responsible for leaving the debris, locating the responsible party, and determine what they did or did not do to cause the debris to fall into the roadway.

Once you track down who is at fault, then you can begin the case against them and their insurance company. Your attorney will put them on notice of the claim. If necessary, your attorney can file a lawsuit which will force the defendant to respond.

Sometimes the Debris Is Not on the Road at All

In some cases, the debris that causes the crash is not on the road at all, but is flying through the air. There have been many cases where people were injured in car crashes caused by stuff coming off a truck, flying through the air, and striking another vehicle. Sometimes, tires come flying off vehicles because they were not properly secured. These tires come zipping off a vehicle and rolling and bouncing down the road at high speed. When a tire hits your car, it can cause significant damage and injuries.

What To Do If Your Car Was Hit by Road Debris?

There are certain things that you can do that can potentially help you and your Delaware car accident lawyer prove who was at fault in your road debris accident. But only do these things if it is possible without putting yourself into extra harm’s way. For example, do not try to pick up the debris if it means you have to dodge into oncoming traffic and put yourself at risk for being hit by a car. But, if you can possibly do the following, it will help with submitting evidence to prove who was at fault in putting debris in the road:

  • If you were involved in a car accident caused by road debris, contact 911 and get the police to the scene of the accident. You should do this whether you are seriously injured or just suffered minor injuries. Having police there will be able to control the scene and prevent secondary collisions and other people being hurt. Also, the officer will investigate the accident, take your statement and witness statements, and potentially help identify who left the debris in the road.
  • If possible, take the debris out of the road and keep it to give to your lawyer. Make sure to get all of the debris if it is in pieces. You never know what information you can pull off a piece of debris. It could have names of companies, piece numbers, or some other kind of ID on it.
  • Take photographs of the debris as well as the general area of the accident. The photos may show evidence of who left the debris in the road. At the very least, the photos may show security cameras that show the scene and can pinpoint who left the debris in the road.
  • Seek medical care as soon as possible. This will help you get a diagnosis but also support the fact that you have been injured.
  • Contact a skilled and experienced Delaware car accident lawyer to help you investigate the case and begin to fight for your right to receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.

By doing these things, you can significantly increase your chances to receive fair compensation for your injuries

The Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Help Recover Compensation for Your Road Debris Car Accident Injuries

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a car accident caused by road debris, we can help. Our experience Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow focus their practice on helping people seriously injured in car and truck accidents. Call us today at 302-834-8484 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we service clients throughout the state.

The Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Car Accident Victims Recover Compensation.

What Happens When a Car Accident Goes to Court?

Despite all the major strides made in recent years with road and vehicle safety, car accidents are still common. Delaware certainly sees its share of accidents, with an estimated 26,000 crashes per year with more than 8,500 people injured in those crashes.

No single crash is the same as the other, including how accident victims are compensated for their injuries and property damage. Although the majority of accident cases end in settlements with the insurance company, there are those occasions when a car accident has to be settled in court:

  • Before filing a lawsuit: Before filing a lawsuit, you must first understand the pros and cons of taking your accident case to court. Because settlements are not as costly as going to court, which would include court and attorney costs, both parties will likely work to come to an agreement to avoid a lawsuit. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, or the insurance company does not respond to meet a customer’s needs, then filing a lawsuit is the only logical next step.
  • Hiring an attorney: Before officially filing a lawsuit, you need to hire an attorney to represent you. You do have the option to represent yourself, but doing so is not recommended, considering you are likely up against attorneys who have been trained in these types of cases. You will want to have an experienced attorney on your side; this can also help you get the best compensation possible.
  • Filing the lawsuit: Your attorney then files a formal legal complaint which identifies all the parties involved and legal claims. This is then served to the defendant, who will have a certain amount of time to answer according to your state.
  • Trial: A trial will then begin where you must present your case and your side of the accident, and the defendant will have a chance to present theirs. Generally, a jury will decide whether or not the defendant should be held legally responsible for damages you incurred.

Stages of the Trial

  • A jury is selected depending on their answers to questions offered by the judge as to avoid any prejudices.
  • Opening statements are then given, where the facts in the case as well as each side’s arguments are presented to the jury.
  • This is followed by witness testimonies and evidence is given to the jury. Attorneys can question each witness at this point.
  • Closing arguments are given by each side, hoping to convince the jury to side with them.
  • The judge will then give the jury instructions on how to reach their decision, who then will deliberate on that decision. There is no time limit for a jury to reach a decision. Once a decision is reached, the jury then notifies the judge. The verdict is then read to both parties in the court.

 Car Accidents in Delaware

If you should find yourself in a car accident, take the following steps to ensure your safety and gather evidence for insurance and any legal counsel you may need following the accident.

  • Stop and call 911: You are legally required to stop near the accident scene. After stopping, check on everyone involved and make sure everyone is okay. Then call 911 and report the accident, and let the dispatcher know your location and if there are any injuries.
  • Police: The police will likely come to the accident scene, especially if an injury occurred, and write a police report. Be sure to get a copy.
  • Injuries: If you suffered an injury, seek medical treatment right away. However, even if you do not feel injured, still seek medical treatment because many soft tissue symptoms, or brain injuries, can manifest hours if not days after the accident. Not getting medical help can hinder an insurance claim if not done sooner than later.
  • Get evidence: Be sure to get the other driver’s contact information including insurance, name, and address. If you are able, gather evidence of the accident; photos and videos of the scene are crucial to an insurance claim, as well as photos of the damage to the vehicles. If there are any witnesses, get their account and their contact information as well.
  • Notify insurance: You want to tell your insurance company as soon as you are able. Delaying can cause problems with your claim, as well as your coverage.

If you get into a car accident in Delaware, it is important to know how the accident laws work. Delaware is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that if you get into an accident, you use your own insurance company to cover your injuries, property damage, and expenses. You use your own insurance coverage regardless of who is liable for the accident. Only if you were seriously injured would you have to go to court, or your insurance settlement does not cover all your losses. In Delaware, you are required to carry no-fault insurance, as well as liability insurance with these minimums:

  • Bodily injury protection: $15,000 per person and per accident, as well as $30,000 per accident.
  • $10,000 per accident for property damage
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP), also known as no-fault insurance, $15,000 per person and per accident. Also, $30,000 per accident.

You are legally required to report any accident in Delaware, even if the only damage done was to your own car. Failing to do so will likely lead to a fine. However, you will be charged a misdemeanor if you fail to report a car accident that resulted in an injury to a person. It is a felony if you do not report an accident that led to someone’s death.

Before a lawsuit goes to trial in Delaware, it must first go through compulsory alternative dispute resolution (ADR). During mediation, if an agreement is made between the two parties, then the arbitrator must notify the court within five days. A settlement can always be reached as long as the jury has not returned with a verdict, and it can come in two forms: a lump sum, or a structured settlement which spans many years. Furthermore, the statute of limitations to file a lawsuit, either for property damage or personal injury, is two years from the date of the accident.

Delaware has a comparative fault negligence system. This means that a plaintiff can recover compensation for their damages as long as they do not bear more responsibility for the accident than the defendant. For instance, if the jury awards $100,000 in damages, but the plaintiff is found to be 25 percent at fault for the accident, then they may only collect $75,000. If the plaintiff is found to be over 50 percent responsible for the accident, then they may not collect any compensation.

The Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Car Accident Victims Recover Compensation

The more complex are car accident claim becomes, the more you will need legal guidance, especially if you need to file a lawsuit. Contact our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow today. Our knowledgeable team has years of experience with cases like this and can help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 302-834-8484 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we service clients throughout the state.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help First-Time Drivers Involved in Car Accidents.

What Are Some Tips for New Drivers on the Road?

The excitement and newfound freedom that comes with getting a driver’s license is something every new driver will experience, and a feeling no one forgets. While this is an exciting time, it is also time to move with extreme cautious. Car insurance for teenagers is higher, and for good reason: teenagers are involved in more car accidents.

While exciting, first-time driving can often be overwhelming too. Until now a parent, family member, or driving instructor has been seated next to you, instructing, helping to navigate traffic, keeping an eye out for potential problems, and able to take over if necessary. Though most teenagers cannot wait for their first solo adventure, there is also typically some trepidation at being alone in the car.

When it comes to driving, there is no such thing as being too safe. You have attended driving classes, taken behind-the-wheel instruction, followed your parents’ directions, and passed your driving exam. You are well-equipped with driving knowledge and full understanding of traffic rules, but it never hurts to familiarize yourself with driving safety tips again, and repeatedly, until they become second nature.

When you – and your freshly printed driver’s license – head out on your first trip, review and use these safety tips:

  • Follow traffic rules: Obey all of the traffic signals and safety rules every time you are on the road. Follow the speed limit and leave adequate space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Pay attention to traffic signs and road markers and maintain complete alertness in construction zones to ensure the safety of those in your vehicle and those around you.
  • Slow down: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teenage drivers are the age group most likely to speed and travel too closely to the car in front of them. The less distance and more speed equal less time to stop in order to avoid an accident and increases the risk of more serious injuries in an accident. At 45 miles per hour and higher, the necessary braking distance is higher and raises incrementally with speed.
  • Maintain the car: Making sure your car is in proper working order can help avoid breakdowns and accidents. Proper maintenance includes having plenty of gas in the tank, keeping proper tire pressure, regular oil changes, appropriate brake fluid and coolant levels, unworn brake pads, functional lights and wiper blades. Additionally, know your car. Read the manual, note where all the functions are and how to use them.
  • Wear your seatbelt: Never drive without your seatbelt on and properly secured. This applies to everyone in your car. Make it a practice that you will not start the engine until everyone in the vehicle is buckled in, and make sure everyone who rides with you understands and will obey the rule. Those who will not follow your rules do not ride with you.
  • Preadjust: Taking your hands off the wheel and your eyes off of the road to adjust mirrors, your seat, and the position of the steering wheel while driving is an accident waiting to happen. Adjust everything before leaving so you can keep your focus on the road while driving.
  • Avoid distractions: Do not eat, drink, text, email, make calls, adjust the radio and other technology, play with pets or children, interact with friends, apply makeup, or perform any other activity than driving. Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ mode, set the GPS and music, and wrap up important communications before starting the car and driving.
  • Do not tailgate: Responsibility for rear-end accidents is almost always placed on the rear driver, meaning you could receive a traffic ticket and higher insurance rates to cover the car you hit and injuries the occupants of either car suffers. Many states are adopting laws that the rear driver is always faulted, regardless of what may have led to the accident.
  • Use your indicators: Always use your turn signal to alert others where you intend to move, especially when making a lane change on an interstate or freeway.
  • Be prepared: Accidents, emergencies, and breakdowns can happen to anyone, even when you are following all safety rules and precautions. We cannot control the actions of others on the road. Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car in case you find yourself in an emergency situation or having to spend extended time in your vehicle. Include hazard cones, jumper cables, flashlights, water and non-perishable snacks, blankets, and possibly road flares.
  • Watch the weather: Weather conditions are a frequent cause of car accidents as rain, snow and ice alter the road’s surface and making it more challenging for your tires to connect with the road and harder for you to see. Braking takes longer than usual when the roads are wet, slushy, or iced over. If weather conditions are dangerous, avoid driving altogether if possible.
  • No impaired driving: Under no circumstances should you ever get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Thousands die every year in the United States due to drivers under the influence. If you have been consuming alcohol or other substances, have a sober designated driver, call a friend or family member or a rideshare or taxi to pick you up.
  • Relax: Yes, road rage is real. Do not be an aggressive and emotional driver. Sometimes we encounter drivers who make mistakes or do stupid things. Do not scream, gesture wildly or chase the other car.
  • Drive defensively: Know who is around you at all times and pay attention to the behavior of other drivers. Try to avoid cars who are speeding or weaving in and out of traffic, especially on an interstate, and put extra distance between you.
  • Practice parking: One part of driving that causes at least some level of anxiety for most new drivers is parking, especially parallel or rear end parking. To familiarize yourself and improve your skills, find a parking lot or side street with less cars and practice both maneuvers until you feel more comfortable and confident.

Bear Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help First-Time Drivers Involved in Car Accidents

One pinnacle of the teenage years is earning your driver’s license. It is an exciting time for new drivers – and a terrifying time for parents. Teenagers are far more likely to have car accidents than any other age group. If you are a new driver who has been involved in a car accident, whether your fault or someone else’s, the experienced Bear car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call us at 302-834-8484 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Bear, Delaware, we serve clients in Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

 

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Fight for Your Rights After a Construction Accident.

Who Could Be Responsible for My Construction Injury?

One of the most dangerous jobs to have when it comes to workplace accidents is a construction job. The construction industry has one of the highest workplace injury rates in the country year after year.  It makes sense, too, given the vast number of ways a construction worker can get injured on the job, from minor cuts to serious injuries. Every year, there are many construction worker injuries and deaths that occur on jobsites.

Most construction workers know that when they are hurt on the job, they will get Workers’ Compensation benefits via the mandated Workers’ Compensation Insurance employers carry for such accidents.

This form of insurance, which the state of Delaware requires of almost all employers, provides wage loss benefits and coverage for medical expenses. In some cases, injured construction workers can seek more compensation for their injuries above and beyond Workers’ Compensation benefits.

Construction Industry Work-Related Injury Statistics

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) indicates that there are on average, about 5,000 work-related deaths each year in the United States. Out of those 5,000, 20 percent are in the construction industry.

That 20 percent further proves that jobs in the construction industry are some of the most dangerous. Hazards are everywhere at a construction jobsite. Nearly 60 percent of the construction industry deaths are caused by:

  • Falls.
  • Electrocution.
  • Falling objects.
  • Crane accidents.
  • Caught in-between  pieces of equipment.

Most of these claims will be covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, some of these incidents will involve negligence from a third party, and the injured worker can file a lawsuit against them as well.

Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Third-Party Lawsuits

A Workers’ Compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit are two very different things. As previously said, all you get in a Workers’ Compensation claim is your medical expenses reimbursed and your wage loss compensated. The wage loss would be set at two-thirds of your average weekly gross wages when you resume work. You only receive that much until you return back to work. However, with a third-party liability lawsuit, you can seek much more compensation for your injuries.

With a third-party liability lawsuit, you can recoup any unpaid medical bills and wage loss that was not covered, but you also get to claim damages pain and suffering. The addition of these damages can add a significant amount of money that the injured worker might receive, above and beyond what they got from the Workers’ Compensation insurance claim.

Other Damages  Available in Third-Party Liability Claims

There are other types of compensation that plaintiffs in third-party liability claims may pursue. A loss of consortium claim can be filed by the spouse of the injured employee as part of the lawsuit. This sort of claim reimburses the spouse for the loss of services and comfort and care that would have been provided by the injured worker owing to the work injury.

In rare cases, an injured plaintiff can seek punitive damages from the at-fault party when their actions are outrageous, intentional, or grossly negligent. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant, as opposed to compensate the injured plaintiff.

Examples of Negligent Conduct by Third Parties on Construction Sites

After a construction accident, an option is to pursue Workers’ Compensation benefits. If an incident is caused by the negligence of a third-party, injured construction worker may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.

On most large construction sites, a general contractor is in control of everything. Then there are various subcontractors on the job site doing specific tasks, such as electrical, plumbing, roofing, masonry work, scaffolding, architectural, and engineering. If any of these subcontractors did something that was negligent and caused another worker to be injured, they would be responsible for the damages to that worker.

Examples of cases where third parties were held liable to injured construction workers include:

  • Malfunctioning equipment that caused injuries.
  • Improper set up of scaffolding or using substandard materials in scaffolding causing a collapse.
  • Lack of safety devices such as fall protection devices and systems.
  • Faulty blueprints and designs by the architects, or engineers that cause walls and portions of the building to collapse.
  • Lack of proper safety rules, procedures, and controls that the general contractor should have put in place.
  • Collapsed wall or ditch constructed or fabricated by another subcontractor.
  • Lack of warning or protection against falling in unguarded holes or pits.
  • Work-related motor vehicle accidents caused by third parties.
  • One contractor being struck by heavy construction machinery that is negligence driven by another contractor.
  • Faulty wiring by the electrical contractor, causing electrocution risk.
  • Subcontractor is negligent and drops something heavy from up high.
  • Negligent exposure to toxic chemicals and substances.

Wilmington Construction Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Fight for Your Rights After a Construction Accident

If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may have other options besides collecting Workers’ Compensation. It is possible that you may have a third-party liability claim, which may offer additional funds for pain and suffering and other damages. Our Wilmington construction accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow can help. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, Milford, and Lewes, Delaware. With offices in all three counties of Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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.

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.

driver fatigue

How Does Driver Fatigue Increase the Risk of a Car Accident?

Some of the most serious car accidents are entirely preventable. While drunk driving and distracted driving are among the most common examples of unsafe driving behaviors that are known to cause car accidents, drowsy driving is just as dangerous. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, motorists who only get between five and six hours of sleep in a 24-hour period are twice as likely to get into a car accident. The risk increases substantially with each hour of lost sleep.

Extreme drowsiness can cause motorists to fall asleep at the wheel. However, drowsy driving is dangerous under any circumstance, even if you do not actually fall asleep while driving. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), drowsy driving actually has a similar impact on the body as alcohol. For example, drowsy motorists have a slower reaction time, they are less aware of hazards, and they are less able to keep their attention focused on the road. In addition, when a motorist drives after being awake for 18 consecutive hours or more, it has the same impact on the body as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.05 percent. Being awake for 24 hours or more is comparable to having a BAC of 0.10 percent.

What Are the Main Causes of Drowsy Driving?

There are a number of factors that cause drowsiness. The following are some of the most common causes of drowsy driving:

  • Lack of sleep: This is the leading cause of drowsiness during the daytime hours. It is recommended that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. However, a large percentage of adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis.
  • Sleep disorders: One of the most common sleep disorders that can cause drowsy driving is obstructive sleep apnea. Conditions like this cause the person’s sleep to be restricted, interrupted, and less restorative. When undiagnosed or untreated, sleep disorders can cause extreme daytime drowsiness.
  • Medications: There are a wide range of medications that can cause drowsiness, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, sleep aids, and dietary supplements. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist when taking any medication to confirm whether it is known to cause drowsiness.
  • Alcohol: In addition to causing impaired coordination, a slower reaction time, and impacting your ability to make smart decisions, alcohol also causes drowsiness.
  • Shift work: If you work irregular hours, it can be difficult to get the recommended hours of sleep, particularly if you work night shifts. This can disrupt the body’s natural circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. When the sleep cycle is disrupted on a regular basis, it can lead to extreme fatigue.

What Are the Signs of Fatigue?

One of the reasons that drowsy driving is so dangerous is that the signs of fatigue often appear gradually. However, just because you are not falling asleep at the wheel does not mean that you are not suffering from fatigue. Even mild signs of drowsiness can increase the risk of a serious drowsy driving accident. Common signs of driver fatigue include:

  • Frequent yawning.
  • Tired, droopy eyes.
  • Difficulty maintaining a proper speed.
  • Drifting into other lanes or hitting the rumble strips on the road.
  • Dozing off.
  • Following other vehicles too closely.
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles that you drove.
  • Missing your exit.

Who Is Most Likely to Drive While Drowsy?

Drowsy driving is common because it is not generally considered as serious as drunk driving, distracted driving, speeding, and other unsafe driving behaviors. The following motorists are more likely to drive while drowsy:

  • Motorists who do not get the recommended hours of sleep per night.
  • Commercial truck drivers.
  • Shift workers.
  • Motorists who have untreated sleep disorders.
  • Driver who take medication that causes drowsiness.
  • Male drivers.
  • Drivers between 16 and 24 years old.

How Can I Avoid a Drowsy Driving Accident?

Getting enough sleep on a daily basis is important, not only for your overall health, but to ensure that you are able to maintain control of your car and avoid getting into a serious accident. The following are proactive steps you can take to get enough sleep and reduce the risk of a drowsy driving car accident:

  • Get enough sleep. Adults generally need at least seven hours of sleep per day, and adolescents require eight or more hours of sleep.
  • Develop good sleeping habits. Go to bed at roughly the same time each night.
  • Recognize the signs of drowsiness and avoid driving.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take medications that cause drowsiness. Mixing alcohol with medications can intensify feelings of drowsiness.
  • Talk to your doctor if you think you might have a sleep disorder. Symptoms of sleep apnea may include feeling sleepy during the day and snoring at night.
  • Avoid driving at night if at all possible.
  • If you start to feel fatigued while driving, pull over to a safe spot and rest or get some fresh air.
  • If you are driving a long distance, share the driving responsibilities if there is another licensed driver in the car. Take turns driving every couple of hours.
  • Coffee, soda, or other caffeinated beverages are a quick fix, but keep in mind that it takes approximately 30 minutes for the caffeine to enter the bloodstream.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Clients Injured in Drowsy Driving Car Accidents

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident involving a drowsy driver, it is in your best interest to contact a lawyer. Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will investigate the details of your case. 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

car headlights

Do Higher Quality Headlights Prevent Car Accidents?

Nighttime driving is challenging for many reasons, including low visibility. If a driver cannot see well, the chance of a car accident is much higher. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of all car accident fatalities in the United States take place at night. The percentage of fatalities among cyclists and pedestrians is even higher.

Headlights are a vital part of all vehicles, brightening the road so that drivers can see more safely at night. Without them, driving would be almost impossible, especially in rural areas. However, does the quality of a car’s headlights make a difference?

In 2016, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) added headlights to its safety ratings. They test how well headlights illuminate certain distances of the road in a car traveling 40 to 50 miles per hour, and they give them a rating of good, acceptable, marginal, or poor. Out of 80 headlight systems tested that year, only one received a good rating.

The IIHS then looked at police reports for 44,000 single-car nighttime accidents and found that cars equipped with the headlights they rated as good had 19 percent less crashes per mile than the poor group; the acceptable headlights had 15 percent less, and marginal 10 percent less.

The study and subsequent ratings have brought about good results in the auto industry. As of 2021, 29 percent of this year’s models received the top rating. Additionally, the IIHS reports that many automakers stopped offering better headlights as an upgrade customers could add, instead, they started outfitting vehicles with IIHS-rated good or acceptable headlights as standard.

Should I Improve My Headlights?

In vehicle maintenance, the headlights are often overlooked. The condition of your vehicle’s headlights may make the difference between safe driving and causing an accident. Since half of all car crashes happen at night, driving with dim, hazy, broken, and burnt-out headlights dramatically increase your risk of causing an accident. Over time, the plastic headlight casings can become scratched, cloudy, and dirty due to wear and tear and weather, and this can reduce the distance your headlights reach. In this condition, the lights are only functioning at 20 percent, and the darker the road and the higher your speed, the more deadly the accident.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests regular maintenance checks of your headlights and replace bulbs as needed to keep your headlights functioning at 100 percent. Some headlight and bulb options to consider include:

  • Upgrade the headlights. Light-emitting diode (LED) lights are the brightest bulbs on the market, 500 percent over halogen, and last many years longer. LED bulbs offer a true white light versus the yellow tint of halogens, which most cars were fitted with over the last couple of decades. There are available conversion kits on the market that allow you to replace your stock halogen bulbs with LED bulbs. Another alternative to halogen are high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs, which are more than three times brighter. Conversion kits are available for these bulbs as well.
  • Replace headlights and fog lights. If you prefer, depending on the model of your vehicle, you can retrofit the headlights and fog lights with LED or HID headlight assembly, which can improve the lighting by up to 500 percent. For this type of fix, you will want your mechanic to install the new assembly.
  • Clean the headlights. Using a headlight restoration kit can improve visibility dramatically. Over time, wear and tear, scratches, and moisture on headlight coverings can make the lights appear hazy, which limits your visibility. Restoring your vehicle’s lights will noticeably improve your night vision, and upgrading to LED or HID bulbs at the same time will provide even more.
  • Purchase premium halogen bulbs. If you prefer not to convert your headlights or replace the assembly entirely, you can still improve your lights by upgrading the halogen bulbs. Premium halogen lightbulbs are inexpensive and simple to install and will improve your nighttime visibility by up to 50 percent.

Keep in mind that car manufacturers must meet federal regulations on headlights, but those that meet the regulations may perform differently. In order to meet the federal regulations, the light intensity of headlights is measured at different angles from the center. Visibility and glare are measured, but federal standards allow a wide range of intensities and angles.

Headlights also differ from one vehicle model to another. Regulations permit a wide range of height and width and do not specify where they should be aimed, so different cars with the same headlights may have a significant difference in the distance their lights reach.

What if I Have Been Involved in a Nighttime Accident?

Low visibility and darkness at night can impact your ability to take evasive measures to avoid a crash. You may not realize a potential crash incident as easily at night as you would during the day.

If the at-fault driver was operating a vehicle with poor headlights, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim to compensate for the damage to your car and medical expenses for your injuries. You will want to work with an experienced car accident lawyer who can work on your behalf to investigate the collision and prove your case.

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

If you were injured in a nighttime car crash by a negligent motorist, our experienced Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow are here to advocate for you. 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.

child concussion

What if My Child Suffered a Concussion in a Car Accident?

The trauma of experiencing a car accident can be compounded by injuries. For children, this often means concussions. When your child is hurt, trauma is amplified due to seeing the pain of your child as well as the financial strain of missing work to care for your child. If your child suffered a concussion as the result of a car accident, they need to see a medical professional immediately for treatment. You should also contact an experienced lawyer to understand you and your child’s rights.

Concussion Is a Form of a Traumatic Brain Injury

A direct hard blow or bump to the head can jolt the brain, causing damage to the blood vessels, nerves, or bruising. This jolt affects the brain’s ability to function temporarily. Concussions often happen in children because their heads are large in comparison to the rest of their body, and because in very young children, the skull is not yet fully developed into a hard protective shell.

What Are the Causes of Accident-Related Concussions?

Every year, thousands of children are seen in emergency rooms for concussions, many of which are related to car accidents. The impact of a front-end or rear-end collision can be powerful enough to cause real damage to the undeveloped body of a child. Common causes of accident-related concussions in children include:

  • Defective child seats. Small children should always ride in the back of the vehicle in an appropriate child seat. An ill-fitting or defective car seat could result in the child’s head being left unprotected in the event of a crash.
  • Faulty seat belts. Child seats are restrained with the car’s existing seat belt system. If it is defective, it could release the child seat on impact.
  • Striking the head on a hard surface in the car. In a car accident, the impact can cause the occupants to be flung forward or backwards. A child’s head could hit something hard, or a loose flying object can strike the head.
  • Violent shaking of the head. In this case, the head does not strike a hard surface, but the impact of the accident causes the child’s brain to strike the skull inside, causing a concussion.
  • Air bags. Air bags are meant to provide additional protection to passengers, but they can also cause injuries, including concussions.

How Do I Know if My Child Got a Concussion From a Car Accident?

There are many symptoms of a concussion, and every child will respond differently to a head injury. However, the most common symptoms of concussions include the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Tiredness or drowsiness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating

It is important to know that symptoms often appear between 24 and 72 hours after an accident. Symptoms of a concussion can easily be mistaken for other illnesses or not identified as the result of a head injury. This is why it is crucial to see a doctor after a car accident, even if you feel that your child is okay.

A professional may recognize the signs of concussion that may not be readily apparent to a lay person. With small children, there is the added problem that they may have trouble describing any physical and cognitive symptoms they are experiencing.

Symptoms of a severe concussion include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Slurred speech
  • Continued vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness or unresponsiveness
  • Severe headache
  • Confusion and talking nonsense
  • Memory loss

A child with any of these symptoms should be taken immediately to the emergency room.

How Are Concussions Treated?

A child who has suffered a concussion must rest to give the brain a chance to recover from the impact. While basic activities are fine, more physical activities, like sports, should be restricted until the symptoms subside and the concussion is healed. The child should also avoid mental activities that stress the brain, including reading, doing homework, watching television, playing video games, using a computer, tablet, or other devices. Bright lights and loud noises can also aggravate symptoms.

Activities can be resumed as the child’s condition improves. Recovery should be monitored by a pediatrician to check on brain function, memory, and behavior. You can also ask your child’s teachers or caregivers to give feedback on any changes they observe.

When someone is injured in a car accident that happened because of the negligence of another party, they have a right to pursue compensation for their injuries. Since a child is a minor, the parents are allowed to file a personal injury claim and negotiate a settlement on behalf of the child.

Compensation can include damages for injuries, pain and suffering, and for the expenses incurred by the parents, such as medical bills and wages lost related to caring for the child’s injuries. For injuries that require long-term care, damages for future medical bills should also be taken into account.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Children Injured by Negligent Drivers

Our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow know there is nothing more stressful for a parent than seeing your child injured because of someone else’s negligence. If your child has a severe injury because of a car accident, we can help. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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