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Category Archives: Personal Injury


Autumn

How can Drivers Prepare for Autumn?

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

Prepare for Reduced Visibility

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

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

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

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

Avoid Piles of Fallen Leaves

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

Be Mindful of Students and School Buses

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

Expect Poor Weather

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

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

Be Careful of Deer

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

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

Vehicle Maintenance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plan Out the Route

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

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

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

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

School Bus

What are Essential Back-to-School Safety Tips?

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

Be Careful Around School Buses

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

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

Walkers and Bicyclists Need to be Aware of Surroundings

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

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

Avoid Distractions

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

Get Enough Sleep

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

Drive Safely in School Zones

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

Do Not Misuse Playground Equipment

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

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

After-School Safety is Just as Important

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

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

Make a Back-to-School Safety Checklist

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

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

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

Burn Injuries

What are Common Workplace Burn Injuries?

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

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

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

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

How are Burn Injuries Classified?

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

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

Who is at Risk of Severe Workplace Burn Injuries?

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021 Super Lawyers

Joe Rhoades Selected to 2021 Super Lawyers List

Joseph J. Rhoades, Esq., founder of Rhoades & Morrow, has been chosen to this year’s Delaware Super Lawyers list. Super Lawyers highlights lawyers throughout the country from over 70 practice areas. Those who are peer-nominated undergo a multi-phase process that assesses their professional work and firm standing, as well as awards, evaluations, and peer reviews. This is his first year being selected to Super Lawyers. Joseph Rhoades 2021 Super Lawyers

Joe earned his Juris Doctor from Widener University Delaware Law School and is admitted to practice in the State of Delaware, the U.S. Supreme Court, and other U.S. federal courts. He focuses on representing injured individuals in personal injury and worker injury claims. He is a member of the American and Delaware State Bar Associations, the American Association for Justice, the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association, the Workers’ Injury Law & Advocacy Group and the American Board of Trial Advocates.  He is a Past President of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association.  He is a former member of the State of Delaware Workers’ Compensation Health Care Advisory Panel, serving as the Panel’s Chair, as well the State of Delaware Workers’ Compensation Task Force.  He is the Injured Workers’ Representative on the State of Delaware Workers’ Compensation Oversight Panel and is currently serving as the Panel’s Chair.  He is also the Vice Chair of the Delaware Superior Court Civil Rules Committee.

Aside from being selected to Super Lawyers, Joseph has received prestigious awards, such as a 10 Year Volunteer Service award for the Office of the Child Advocate in Delaware, an Outstanding Service Award from the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association and a Delaware State Bar Association Workers’ Compensation Section Distinguished Service Award. He has also been previously named a Top Lawyer by Delaware Today Magazine.

For help with a legal matter, the legal team at Rhoades & Morrow can help. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, the firm serves clients throughout the state.

New Sussex County Office Location

Rhoades & Morrow LLC is pleased to announce the opening of its new Sussex County office located in Lewes, Delaware at 119 W. Third Street, Suite 11. Rhoades & Morrow opened its new office to better serve client needs throughout the entire state of Delaware. Presently, Rhoades & Morrow has two offices located in New Castle County (Wilmington and Bear) and one office in Kent County (Milford). Joe Rhoades and Steve Morrow are excited to open this office in Sussex County, which expands the firm’s footprint to better assist their clients.  With the addition of this new office location, Rhoades & Morrow looks forward to continuing to fight for the rights of those harmed by others’ negligence and protecting the rights of Delaware’s injured workers.

Car Accidents

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

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

Drunk Driving

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

Speeding

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

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

Reckless Driving

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

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

Distracted Driving

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

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

Fatigue

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

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

Poor Weather

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

What are Other Causes of Collisions?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

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

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

What is Distracted Driving?

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

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

What are Common Causes of Distracted Driving?

There are many causes of distracted driving, including:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Laws Apply to Distracted Driving?

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

Delaware’s distracted driving laws do not apply to:

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

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

What are Distracted Driving Penalties in Delaware?

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

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

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

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

What Should I Know About Motorcycle Accidents?

As the warm weather approaches, so does Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This annual event is hosted in May and serves as a reminder to always ride safely. Motorcycle riders are more vulnerable to catastrophic injuries because they are not sitting inside vehicles. For this reason, it is crucial to become familiar with motorcycle safety tips. Now is the perfect time to read up on this information to help prevent motorcycle accidents. Average motorcyclists start riding again when the weather is warmer. This means more of them will be out on the roads during spring and summer, and many riders may be out of practice.

What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?

Problems can happen when motorcycles are not properly maintained. Bike owners need to perform inspections before every ride, especially after a lot of time has passed. Neglecting to check the tire pressure, brakes, fluids, blinkers, and handlebars is a mistake.

Another contributing factor for motorcycle accidents is when riders are not experienced enough. It is a good idea to take a motorcycle safety course or a refresher course in preparation for riding. Also, motorcyclists should keep in mind that having a passenger on the back requires more skill. Choosing the right motorcycle is also important. It is wise to invest in a quality bike with anti-lock brakes and the right fit.

When on the motorcycle, riders should be alert for hazards, like oil slicks, gravel, railroad tracks, manhole covers, and potholes. The rules of the road need also to be followed at all times. This means never drinking and riding and avoiding risky moves, like riding in between lanes, weaving in and out of lanes, and riding on the shoulders of the road.

Special care also needs to be taken at intersections. Intersection accidents often happen because drivers do not see motorcyclists when turning. To prevent this, riders can decelerate when approaching intersections, even when they have the right-of-way. The rider’s hands should remain on the controls in case they have to change direction or stop. Motorcycle riders should always assume that they cannot be seen by drivers.

Wear the Proper Gear

Riding without a helmet is dangerous. A good pair of glasses, goggles, or a face mask also protects the eyes and helps with visibility. Wearing protective gear, like leather jackets and pants, gloves, and boots with non-skid soles, is also safer and can make injuries less severe.

The helmet qualifies as the most important safety equipment that riders can wear. Thousands lose their lives each year because they were not wearing helmets. Twisted Road emphasizes that motorcycle riders should always wear full-face helmets for added protection. Even when accidents happen at slow speeds, not wearing the right helmet increases one’s risk. Although open-face helmets might look better, they do not provide the same kind of coverage. It was pointed out that the most common spot for a motorcycle helmet to be impacted is at the chin.

When riding at night, riders are advised to wear reflective or bright clothing, which makes it easier for others to see them. Reflective tape can even be used and is also helpful. The headlights should stay on during the day and night as well.

Avoid Common Hazards

Distracted driving is a main cause of motorcycle crashes. Riders and drivers who are busy with their cellphones and other devices are at risk. It is also important to use the indicators for all turn signals and lane changes and to stay out of drivers’ blind spots.

Another good rule of thumb is to stay off the roads and highways when the weather is bad. It is much harder to see in the rain. High winds and wet roads can also be dangerous.

Since riding a motorcycle requires consistent energy and focus, it is also important to be well-rested before taking a ride. Long rides can be exhausting. Riders who start to get tired can take breaks to get hydrated, stretch out, or even take a nap. Riders need to constantly check their mirrors and be aware of their surroundings, so staying alert is the only way to truly drive defensively.

How can Drivers Avoid Motorcycle Accidents?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when motorcycles collide with other vehicles, the non-motorcycle driver is usually violating the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. This is because they may not see the motorcyclist, the driver is distracted, or the driver does not anticipate the rider’s movements. Checking the mirrors before turning and changing lanes is the safest course of action.

While it is true that some motorcycle riders weave in and out of traffic or speed, most do their best to ride safely. Whether they are following the rules of the road or not, they should be given a wide berth. Following motorcycles at a close distance is very hazardous, especially at high speeds. Since they are in much more vulnerable positions, giving motorcyclists extra room is important. If a motorcycle accident does occur, the victim should speak to a lawyer.

Delaware Personal Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Offer Sound Legal Guidance to Motorcycle Accident Victims

Even the most safety-conscious motorcycle riders and automobile drivers get into accidents, and the aftermath can be devastating. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident, a Delaware personal injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow can help you. Call us at 302-427-9500 or complete 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.

Why are Tire Blowout Truck Accidents so Dangerous?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), tire blowouts and flat tires cause nearly 78,000 accidents each year. An average commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which means that truck accidents are likely to involve catastrophic injuries or even fatalities. For this reason, truck drivers and their companies should always maintain their vehicles in order to prevent serious collisions.

Commercial trucks have tire problems more often than people might think. While the truck companies are legally obligated to make sure their trucks are operating as safely as possible, safety checks do not always happen like they should. With the power and weight behind a large truck and the sudden veering when a tire blows, any car in its path is a potential target. Trucks have a fragile weight balance, a high center of gravity, narrow distance between the left and right wheels, and heavy loads. Small changes in the components of the truck can lead to serious truck accidents.

What are the Most Common Causes of Tire Blowouts?

Many different factors can lead to a tire blowout truck accident. In some cases, tire blowouts are caused by external factors, such as potholes or obstacles in the road. If a driver was involved in an accident that was caused by an external factor, it can reduce their liability, depending on how they reacted after the blowout. Here are the most common reasons why tire blowouts occur:

  • Potholes: Potholes can pinch the tires, causing fraying or cuts to the interior.
  • Heat: Heat inflates tires, so if tires are already overinflated, the friction caused by the hot asphalt creates problems.
  • Underinflation: When tires are not kept at the proper pressure, the internal components flex more than they are meant to.
  • Overloading: When trucks go above their weight-carrying capacity, the tires bear the burden.
  • Misalignment: Sometimes, the alignment can cause the tires to weaken.
  • Insufficient Tread: Tire rot, tread separation, or cracks in the sidewall all lead to insufficient tread.
  • Tire Age: The longer a tire is used, the more chance it has for something to weaken.
  • Damaged Rims: Bent or poorly fitting rims can mean the tires are not secure.
  • Driver Error: This includes hitting curbs, failure to notice issues with the tire, driving in unsafe conditions, and other preventable issues.

These reasons do not always mean immediate tire blowouts will occur. Many times, it is repeated wear over time that eventually leads to a tire blowout. Michelin, a tire manufacturer, recommends replacing tires after a maximum of 10 years, and proper maintenance is important too.

How can Tire Blowout Truck Accidents be Prevented?

Tire blowouts are usually the result of negligent maintenance or defects in the tires. Anyone that operates a vehicle has a responsibility to maintain their tires as well as the rest of their vehicle. One way to do this is to make sure the vehicle is always current on inspections and properly maintained. It is also important to know how the vehicle functions and the auto safety features. While driving, a truck driver should do what they can to prevent overactive steering or panic driving and always pay attention to their surroundings.

Who is Responsible for Tire Blowouts?

Liability will depend on the cause of the tire blowout truck accident. Many parties can be responsible, such as the truck driver, trucking company, maintenance company, or the tire manufacturer. Drivers are expected to inspect their tires daily since they are the ones operating the trucks. They should replace them as needed; failing to do so puts other motorists in danger.

Trucking companies also have a responsibility. They must maintain their fleet and meet safety standards regularly, keeping documentation of all work done. Infrequent inspection or failing to fix any known issues can create liability for any potential tire blowout accident. Maintenance companies that are contracted out to do this work can also be held liable if they fail to uphold their duties.

Sometimes, there are defects in a tire that no amount of maintenance can catch. Fundamental design flaws or manufacturing defects may mean that the tire designer or manufacturer can be held liable. If a defect is not noticed or the installation is not done properly, even the mechanic can be held responsible.

Determining who is responsible is important in any potential case. Having an experienced truck accident lawyer can help a victim navigate their case so that they can recover necessary damages.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Clients Injured During Tire Blowout Truck Accidents

When a tire blowout causes a truck accident, it can create a traumatic situation for all drivers on the road. Whether the tire blowout was caused by the negligence of the driver or company, a Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow will help you with your case. Our legal team understands how truck accidents can be devastating, and we will help you receive your entitled compensation for your recovery. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation and more information about your case. We have offices located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we proudly serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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

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

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

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

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

Call for Medical Help

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

Do Not Pursue the Other Driver

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

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

Gather Evidence at the Scene

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

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

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

Does Insurance Cover Hit-and-Run Accidents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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