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Category Archives: Personal Injury

Staying Safe in Dangerous Weather Conditions

Over the last month, the state has been bombarded by winter weather, including snow, sleet, ice, and freezing rain. This can leave the sidewalk, steps, and driveway in front of a home dangerously slippery. For that reason, it is best to clear any snow or ice accumulation as early as possible in the day. After all, the longer the dangerous conditions are permitted to exist, the more likely it is that someone could be injured. Some municipalities even have ordinances requiring snow removal only hours after the snow stops falling.

When shoveling snow and ice, be sure to place it somewhere where it will not block roads, drains, and sidewalks. Use rock salt to melt any remaining snow and ice by sprinkling it generously over affected areas. If salt is not available, sprinkle ash, sand, or even cat litter for traction over icy areas instead. For elderly or disabled neighbors, consider offering to clear their properties of snow and ice. If an individual is elderly or disabled, or they simply do not have time to clear their own property of snow and ice, enlist some neighbors.

If an individual is a renter or in a homeowner’s association, be clear about what one’s lease or homeowner’s association policy says about their responsibilities. Many landlords leave snow removal from the streets to the local authorities but might take care of snow removal on sidewalks in front of homes. However, their responsibility, if any, may kick in only if there is a significant amount of snow; lighter flurries of snow that nevertheless produce icy conditions might be left to the individual. In such cases, or in cases where the balance of responsibility for clearing snow and ice falls on the individual, salt or other de-icing material will need to be available on hand, as well as a good snow shovel to clear a driveway, personal parking space, and sidewalk. Consult one’s lease or homeowner’s association policy for clarity on particular responsibilities.

Owners of brick-and-mortar businesses should also have a snow shovel handy. If a business does not have an adjacent parking lot that they are responsible for, it is best to keep the storefront clear of snow and ice. However, if a business has a parking lot to keep safe and accessible, consider hiring a snow removal service to help keep it clear. At a minimum, these services typically offer de-icing, plowing, shoveling, reporting, and seasonal inspections. Many snow removal services allow custom contracts based on the size of the area to be cleared and the frequency with which the business wants the snow removal performed. Shop around to find a contractor who can provide the services needed.

During dangerous weather conditions, victims can be injured due to no fault of their own. In these cases, contact a knowledgeable Delaware personal injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow today. For a free consultation, call 302-427-9500 or fill out an online form to get started. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, the firm serves clients throughout Delaware.

What are Some Crucial Winter Driving Safety Tips?

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

Stay Home When it is Possible

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

Learn to Drive in the Slow Lane

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

Place Kitty Litter in the Trunk

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

Turn in the Direction of a Skid

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

Maintain a Safe Distance

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

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

Turn on the Low Beams

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

Avoid Driving with Snow on the Car

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

Limit Distractions

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

Fill Wiper Fluid

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

Remember to Tap the Brakes

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

Beware of Black Ice

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

Check the Tires

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

Stay Calm After an Accident

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

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

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

seatbelt use

What are Safety Tips Experienced Drivers Sometimes Forget?

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

Minimize Distractions

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

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

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

Wear a Seat Belt

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

Avoid Substance Abuse Before Driving

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

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

Specific drugs that may cause these effects include:

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

Do Not Drive Tired

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

Do Not Speed

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

Avoid Assumptions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Does Holiday Drunk Driving Happen?

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

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

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

How can I Avoid Drunk Driving Around the Holidays?

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

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

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

What Should I Do if I See a Drunk Driver?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

doctor writing

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

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

How Does Negligence Apply in Car Accident Cases?

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

Why is a Medical Condition Different?

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

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

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

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

What Medical Conditions can Cause Car Accidents?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can a Disabled Person Claim a Sudden Medical Emergency Defense?

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

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

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

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

car fire

What Should I Do After a Car Fire?

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

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

Some other common causes of car fires include the following:

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

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

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

What are the Different Types of Burn Injuries?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Car Fire Safety Protocols

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

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

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

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

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

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

Treatment and Aftercare

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

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

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

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

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

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

personal injury law

What Happens When a Pedestrian is Hit by a Car?

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

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

What Risk Factors Lead to Pedestrian Accidents?

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

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

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

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

What Happens After Pedestrian Accidents?

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

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

How are Pedestrians Compensated for Injuries?

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

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

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

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

What Else Should I Know About Pedestrian Accidents?

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

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

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

How Can I Prevent Pedestrian and Car Accidents?

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

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

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

personal injury law

Why is it Beneficial to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

After a car accident, a slip and fall accident, or another type of incident, a victim may suffer significant injuries, such as broken bones, slipped discs, and traumatic brain injuries. In order to ensure they are properly compensated by an insurance company or individual, a victim may wish to a pursue a personal injury suit. While it is possible for someone to attempt to recover damages and work with insurance providers alone, having representation from a well-respected personal injury attorney typically makes more sense for various reasons.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Knows the Nuances of the Law

In addition to their familiarity with regulations and the rights of accident victims, attorneys have access to case law. Case law can help a lawyer come up with the most appropriate way to organize and present a specific case based on worked that was previously completed for other plaintiffs. The knowledge of a lawyer cannot be underestimated, especially when battling against high-powered lawyers working on the behalf of insurance providers.

A Lawyer Can Assess the Strength of a Victim’s Case

Is a personal injury case worth pursuing? It is wise to set up a consultation with a personal injury lawyer to determine if a case has legit merit. Personal injury attorneys have seen many types of cases and situations. This gives a lawyer an incredible perspective when it comes to determining if it is worth a victim’s time to pursue higher damages than those being offered by insurance providers.

An insurance company’s legal team counts on a victim to be uninformed. That is why they usually offer settlements that sound good, but they are not large enough to cover long-term recovery costs. When a victim hires a lawyer, the insurance company’s legal team realizes that the victim will have proper legal guidance.

An Attorney Can Take the Stress Out of a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Many people think that as long as they have the right documentation and evidence, they will be able to manage all the aspects of a lawsuit. When an injured victim is already dealing with anxiety related to being hurt, they do not want to experience additional stressors. A lawyer and law firm personnel are well-trained to handle all the elements of a lawsuit.

Can a Lawyer Help with Expert Testimony?

Sometimes, the best way to prove a personal injury case, especially if it goes to trial, is to bring in experts. The average victim does not typically have any access to well-known experts, but lawyers do have many contacts. In fact, lawyers who have been practicing in the personal injury arena for a long time usually have numerous experts they can rely on. An expert’s testimony can mean the difference between winning or losing a personal injury case.

Can a Lawyer Help with Evidence?

Victims may have little to no evidence to support their case, or they may have a lot of disorganized paperwork. Either way, the paperwork, images, and videos may not be enough for a fair settlement. An attorney can tell quickly what evidence is important and what needs to be left out of a lawsuit. The lawyer will also make recommendations on what other types of documentation will be vital for the case.

Lawyers Push for Larger Settlements

Lawyers play many roles when working on the behalf of their personal injury clients. One role is to negotiate for the largest settlement possible. A lawyer working for the insurance provider frequently makes low-ball offers in hopes a victim will accept. The offer might seem reasonable at first, but they are not necessarily appropriate when considering everything. A personal injury lawyer will fight for the maximum amount of compensation that is possible.

A Lawyer Handles the Legal Work

Getting phone calls from insurance lawyers or investigators can be overwhelming for a victim. When a victim retains legal counsel, the lawyer can handle all texts, emails, phone calls, letters, and other forms of communication. The attorney will inform the client regularly, but the client will not have to deal with most of the stressful conversations.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Provides Help During a Trial

Occasionally, an injured person will start to handle a personal injury case alone. The majority of smaller personal injury cases settle out of court, but many others go to trial. Having to prepare for a trial date can be confusing. A lawyer will know how to litigate and understand what the court expects during the trial.

Can I Afford a Lawyer?

Personal injury lawyers rarely ask for a lot of money upfront. Instead, they work on a contingency fee arrangement. This means that they only get paid if the client receives a settlement. The exact percentage of the final settlement that the lawyer asks for varies from firm to firm and will be discussed with the client before representation begins. Not having to pay any out-of-pocket expenses to get legal representation can be an enormous relief for a victim.

Having Legal Representation Increases the Chances of Success

When an injured victim works with a lawyer, they increase their chances of winning a trial or receiving an attractive settlement. Though a win cannot be guaranteed, a victim who turns to a personal injury lawyer improves their odds of receiving an appealing settlement offer. For this reason, it is important to speak to an experienced lawyer right away after an accident happens.

Delaware Personal Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Victims Injured in Accidents

There are many benefits to hiring a personal injury lawyer. Legal representation is extremely important if you wish to recover damages after an accident. If you were recently hurt in an accident, contact our Delaware personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow today. We help victims get the compensation that they deserve. Contact us online or call us at 302-427-9500 for a free consultation today. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.

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

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

How can Bicyclists and Pedestrians Stay Safe?

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

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

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

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

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

What Safety Precautions Should be Exercised in School Zones?

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

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

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

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

What Accidents can Occur on School Grounds?

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

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

How can Students Prevent Sports Injuries?

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

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

How can Students Reduce Heat Exposure?

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

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

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

Safety Precautions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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

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

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

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

Will a Delayed Diagnosis Impact My Car Accident Case?

Victims who have been hurt in car accidents regularly try to recover compensation from insurance carriers and at-fault parties. However, if a victim does not seek immediate medical attention after the incident, they may wind up making their case difficult to prove.

For this reason, most legal professionals suggest that car accident victims at least visit their primary care physicians for check-ups as soon as they can, even if they do not think they have suffered injuries. Yet, many people insist on waiting to call up doctors.

Why Do People Wait to Seek Treatment?

Not everyone who has experienced a car accident feels physical pain or notices a difference in mental health right away. Often, the shock of the accident masks pain. Even victims with serious injuries may try to walk away from the scene without allowing emergency personnel to treat them.

Even people who know they are not feeling well after a collision may want to get away from the area rather than be examined by medical personnel; therefore, they may opt out of help from medics. Although the desire to get back to normal and perhaps pretend the accident never happened is understandable, it can lead to a delayed diagnosis.

A final reason that people sometimes wait to get help is that they do not feel hurt. Nevertheless, even a slow speed accident can lead to long-term issues, including neck injuries and broken bones.

Why Do Insurance Carriers Prefer to See Immediate Treatment After Crashes?

The longer the period between the crash and a physician’s diagnosis, the greater the likelihood that an insurance provider will deny a claim or that a court may be wary to award damages in a personal injury lawsuit. It is tough to prove causality when an event happens weeks before a clinical diagnosis is made.

A defense team on the side of the insured at-fault party may argue that the injury happened sometime between the accident and the time the injury was diagnosed. They might be upheld by a court because their defense could seem reasonable.

Some accident injuries are known to show up after crashes. In other words, those injuries might be missed by medical personnel, even if the person received treatment right after the crash. Personal injury attorneys often use that fact to help their clients establish a link between their medical issues and the collision.

What are Common Car Accident Injuries That Do Not Show Up Immediately?

Sometimes, it can take several days or longer for an injury to show up after a car crash. Neck, shoulder, and back pain are among the more frequently seen complaints among those who have been in car accidents. For instance, whiplash may not present symptoms for a few days, even if the neck has been seriously injured. Whiplash is especially commonplace in crashes where the victim has been rear-ended, sending the head jolting forward without warning.

Sudden chronic headaches can also appear many days after a car crash. Since headaches are not unusual occurrences, a doctor may need to conduct tests to see if the headaches are related to damage suffered during the accident. Similarly, traumatic brain injuries, such as milder forms of concussion, can take a few days to appear.

Other types of late-presenting car collision injuries can be emotional or psychological, such as personality and mood changes due to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or another psychological response to the traumatic event. It is essential that a physician show the connection between the accident and the injury.

What Symptoms Should Accident Victims Take Seriously?

After being in a car crash, victims ideally should monitor their physical and mental well-being for a few weeks. Any potential symptoms of hidden injuries should be noted, tracked, and examined by a professional.

Side effects related to delayed car accident injuries could include the following:

  • Sudden migraines
  • Inability to fall or stay asleep
  • Panic attacks
  • Swelling or pain anywhere on the body
  • Stabbing pains in the abdomen
  • Memory problems
  • Inability to return to the crash site
  • Inability to return to normal functioning

Even the smallest possible symptoms need to be monitored because they could be indicators of a much bigger problem. Usually, a doctor will order tests, which could include blood work, X-rays, or an MRI. Though these types of tests can be expensive if they are not 100 percent covered by the victim’s medical insurance, they present critical steps to reveal injuries..

How Can Victims with Late-Presenting Symptoms Recover Damages?

If a victim does not get treatment at the accident scene or soon after, the victim can still get help at the earliest sign of a potential injury. The key is to avoid unnecessary delays whenever possible, as delays can lead to a denied claim. Delays can also pose health risks, such as if the victim requires surgery, physical therapy, or emotional counseling to mitigate the damages caused by the injury.

What if My Claim is Rejected?

Hearing that an insurance claim has been rejected by the at-fault driver’s insurance team can make a victim feel like there is no recourse. However, this does not mean an injured car crash victim should stop trying to recover compensation or damages.

Consulting a personal injury lawyer is important, particularly in the case of a significant injury that took time to present itself. Many car accident victims with delayed diagnoses eventually get their claims accepted after hiring a legal team to help fight for their rights.

Delaware Personal Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Counsel Crash Victims with Delayed-Onset Injury Symptoms

Car accidents often cause hidden injuries. If you were in a car accident, contact one of our Delaware personal injury lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow right away. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-427-9500. Located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Hillsborough, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.