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DELAWARE INJURY LAWYERS

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Category Archives: Wrongful Death


fatal four

“Fatal Four” Construction Injuries

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers discuss fatal accidents and construction injuries. Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that nearly one-quarter of all private sector worker deaths happened in construction.

More than 60 percent of these accidents were caused by the “fatal four” hazards. OSHA estimates that by eliminating these fatal four risks, we could save 631 lives every year.

OSHA’s “Fatal Four” construction accidents are:

Falls: Many construction workers find themselves high off the ground every day on roofs, scaffolds, ladders, and windows. Falls can leave victims with cuts, bruises, broken bones, head, neck and spine injuries, and even death. Personal arrest systems, guardrails, and safety nets are all effective in either preventing falls or protecting construction workers if they should fall.

Being Struck-by Objects: In 2016, 96 construction workers were killed after being struck-by an object. To address this common construction risk, OSHA established regulations to protect workers with canopies, guardrails, and screens designed to contain falling objects or protect workers from being struck-by moving parts and equipment.

Electrocutions: Electrocutions accounted for 8.3 percent of all fatal construction accidents in 2016. Employers are required per OSHA standards to prevent workers from coming in contact with hazards which are known to pose a risk of physical harm or death to workers, including electric shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions.

Caught In/between Accidents: Construction workers can find themselves caught in or between equipment, building materials, and trenches, resulting in broken bones, amputations, and even death. Loose clothing, hair and jewelry can potentially get caught in/between the moving parts of machinery, resulting in catastrophic injuries.

What to Do if You Get Hurt at Work

If you are the victim of an unfortunate work-related accident, you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits, regardless of who is at fault. The purpose of Workers’ Compensation benefits is to help injured workers replace lost income while they are unable to work, and to pay for medical bills incurred after a work accident.

After a work accident, it is important to seek medical help immediately. Even if you do not have apparent injuries, you may still be hurt. Internal injuries are not always obvious to the naked eye.

Notify your employer about your accident right away. Keep all documentation related to your accident and injuries, including photos of the accident scene, witness testimony, and medical reports. This information is useful for your Workers’ Compensation claim.

Wilmington Work Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Fight for Injured Workers in Delaware

The next step is to contact a Wilmington work injury lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow who has extensive experience managing complex Workers’ Compensation claims. We understand the claims process, what is needed to prove a claim, and how to appeal a denied claim if necessary. No one likes to think about getting hurt on the construction site, but the reality is accidents do happen.

Schedule a consultation by calling 302-427-9500 or contact us online to get started today. We have locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford to serve clients throughout Delaware.

wrongful death

Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers discuss wrongful death lawsuits. Losing a loved one is devastating, regardless of the circumstances. But it can be particularly painful when the death was caused by another person’s negligence or a wrongful act. Living with the knowledge that the death could have been prevented somehow makes the loss that much more difficult.

In addition to the emotional devastation, there is the economic loss to consider as well, particularly if the deceased was the primary breadwinner in the family. One way that the surviving family can seek justice and closure is to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In the state of Delaware, the deceased’s spouse, child, siblings, or other family members who are related by blood or marriage can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The financial settlement distributed to beneficiaries is proportionate to the resulting injury.

The family of the deceased may seek compensation for funeral costs, medical expenses, lost wages and future earning capacity, as well as pain and suffering.

The following provides an overview of laws that apply to wrongful death claims:

  • If the deceased was married, the surviving spouse usually files the lawsuit.
  • If the deceased was a minor, a surviving parent typically files the lawsuit.
  • If the deceased is an adult, immediate family members, as well as grandparents, aunts, and uncles can file the lawsuit.
  • If the deceased family member had a will, the executor of the will has the sole right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

It is not uncommon for disputes to arise among family members. When this happens, and more than one family member files a wrongful death lawsuit for the deceased, the court will likely consolidate the claims into a single lawsuit.

Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the Delaware civil court system is two years after the date of the family member’s death. If filed after this time, it is unlikely that the court will accept the claim.

If a government employee was responsible for the death, a surviving family member may need to file a “notice of claim” in as little as 90 days.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is recommended that you file the wrongful death lawsuit as soon as possible, so that you can secure the full benefits that you and your family deserve.

Milford Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Help Clients Secure Death Benefits

If you have lost a loved one as a result of another person’s negligence, the Milford wrongful death lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow understand how devastating this is for the surviving family members. We are fully committed to holding the negligent parties responsible for the pain and devastation they have caused. We also understand the financial burden associated with the loss of a family member. Our dedicated and compassionate legal team will seek the maximum financial compensation you and your family deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Wilmington, Delaware, where we represent clients in Bear, Milford, and both upstate and downstate Delaware.

guardrails

Guardrails Being Added to Delaware Highways

Bear Personal Injury Lawyers weigh in on needed gaurdrails to help decrease fatal highway accidents. Delaware state officials announced at an August forum that plans were finalized to add cable guardrails to parts of Delaware Route 1 and I-95. This announcement was made about a month after a tragic car accident on Route 1 South that killed five out of six family members riding in a truck.

The meeting was hosted by State Senator Stephanie Hansen and State Representative Ed Osienski, who head the House and Senate transportation committees. Two DelDOT engineers at the meeting stated that federal and state funds would both be used to pay for the four-million-dollar project.

The guardrails on Route 1 will be located from Odessa to Smyrna, and south of Smyrna to south of the Biddle’s Corner Toll Plaza. On I-95, they will be installed from Pennsylvania’s state line to Harvey Road.

Officials reported that DelDOT initiated the project last December, in response to the fatalities that had occurred in the areas. They stated that it was not just a response to this particular crash.

Family Loses Five Members in Crash

The horrific accident occurred over the July 4th holiday, when the family was driving back from an Ocean City, MD vacation. The 61-year old father and four daughters, ages 13-20, all lost their lives when a van swerved, crossed over the median, and hit their truck. The five victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

The wife and mother was the only survivor; she was hospitalized and went through six different surgeries after the crash.

High-Tension Cable

At the forum, the engineers stated that high-tension cable guardrails work better than steel barriers and concrete with certain types of medians. The cable is more flexible, and is therefore more forgiving when hit; vehicles can rebound or deflect off them easier. They are also much less costly than concrete guardrails.

These guardrails are used on roads across the United States, and the Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration reports that they absorb force better than metal or concrete. This reduces driver impact and crash severity.

They are not guaranteed to prevent fatal or severe accidents, however.

Highway Safety Standards

According to the Delaware Department of Transportation Director of Community Relations, back in the 1990s when Del. 1 was built, the safety standards at the time did not call for a barrier in the area where the fatal crash occurred.

At the forum, Senator Hansen explained that former senator James Vaughn had warned senators about the dangers when Route 1 was under construction. She stated that Vaughn thought it was a dangerous highway and was hazardous to drivers.

Now that the project has been finalized, it can go out for bidding. Completion time is set for the end of 2018, although a construction starting date has not been announced.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Can Assist if You Have Suffered Injuries in a Highway Accident

Highway accidents are some of the most devastating kinds of motor vehicle crashes and can cause serious injuries and death. If you are the victim of a motor vehicle accident, contact a Delaware car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-834-8484 today, or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. We serve clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Elsmere and Seaford, with offices conveniently located in Bear, Wilmington, and Milford.

death

Equipment Failure Causes Firefighter’s Death

Bear Wrongful Death Lawyers discuss a wrongful death cause by equipment failure. A firefighter and Delaware Air Rescue Team member suffered fatal injuries due to a fall during a helicopter rescue training drill. The cause of his fall was an aluminum connecter, also called a carabiner, used by the firefighters to connect their safety harness to the helicopter. Although the carabiner failed to remain secure, causing the firefighter to fall 1000 feet, it did not appear to malfunction nor was there a flaw in design.

The lawsuit, filed by the victim’s family, claims the carabiners were negligently marketed as secure, but were not approved by Federal Aviation Authorities for air rescues. According to Delaware product liability law, the sellers of this equipment could be responsible for the victim’s passing.

The above tragedy is one that no family should ever have to bear, and it brings up an important issue regarding product liability. The fact is that people are harmed by products that are used incorrectly every day. When this incorrect use is suggested by the manufacturer or seller, the state of Delaware considers this a breach of duty, and those that violate their responsibility to keep consumers safe are held responsible for accidents and injuries.

Express and Implied Warranties

According to the law, a warranty is a guarantee that a product will meet a certain level of quality or perform a certain job. Warranties are not always traditional in nature and the words, warranty or guarantee, do not have to be written or spoken for it to be considered a binding promise.

There are three types of warrantees that hold a manufacturer or seller responsible when a consumer is harmed by a product:

  • Written Warranties: A manufacturer prints a promise on the product’s packaging.
  • Verbal Warranties: A seller verbally promises something about a product.
  • Implied Warranties: The product performs the job it was sold to do, whether the manufacturer had intended it for that use.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Delaware Code Title 10, Chapter 37 states that a lawsuit may be filed when a party’s wrongful act results in another’s death. Those that can file a wrongful death claim include immediate family members such as spouses, children, and parents. In some cases, if no immediate family member is available, other people may have a right to file a claim on behalf of the deceased.

A judge or jury will decide the amount of compensation to be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit, and compensation is based on the following:

  • Lost wages and benefits that the deceased person would have earned if he or she had lived
  • Loss of child support
  • Loss of consortium
  • Medical bills incurred prior to the death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Mental anguish experienced by loved ones of the deceased

Bear Wrongful Death Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Assist Families with Wrongful Death Lawsuits

If you have lost a child, spouse, or another loved one due to an accident caused by the negligence of another, call the Bear wrongful death lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow immediately. Our team will work to obtain you the justice and the compensation your family needs to move forward. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 302-834-8484 or contact us online. We have three convenient locations in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we proudly serve clients throughout the state, including the areas of Elsmere and Seaford.

head on collision

Fatal Crash on Route 1 in Townsend

Fatal crash on Route 1 in Townsend, DelawareOne adult and four children have lost their lives in a horrific crash that closed Route 1 in Townsend, Delaware on Friday afternoon. The accident happened just before 4 p.m. on Route 1 near Pine Tree Road in Townsend, New Castle County. A pickup truck was traveling southbound when it crossed a grassy median and hit a car before plowing into a minivan heading in the opposite direction. The minivan was carrying two adults and four children from New Jersey. One adult in the minivan was brought to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Tragically, one other adult and four children, who have not yet been identified, lost their lives in the wreck. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Head-on collisions are some of the most serious types of accidents and frequently result in catastrophic injuries and fatalities. If you have been seriously injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one, contact the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. From our offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, we represent clients across the state of Delaware. Call 302-427-9500 today or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.

swimming pool accident

Swimming Pool Accident in New Castle County Causes Fatality

Swimming Pool Accident in New Castle County Causes FatalityA swimming pool accident in Claymont, Delaware fatally injured a four-year-old child. The fatal accident occurred on Wednesday evening after the child went missing and was found in a family’s swimming pool in the Claymont Terraces neighborhood around 7:30pm. After the child was found, he received medical treatment at a local hospital but unfortunately succumbed to fatal injuries on Thursday morning.

Earlier in the day, around 5:50pm, a 15-year-old boy sustained critical injuries after nearly drowning at an apartment complex pool in New Castle, Delaware. He was transported to the Christiana Hospital after the swimming pool accident.

Although swimming pools attract a crowd when the summer arrives, dangers may exist if the property owner fails to maintain the pool and surrounding areas and ensure that safeguards such as fences are in place to protect swimmers and other visitors. In some cases, the property owner may be liable if a serious accident occurs that leaves an individual with injuries or even fatalities due to negligence.

If you or someone you love has been injured on someone else’s property, contact our Wilmington premises liability lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online to see how we can assist you. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford as well as those in the communities of New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

memorial day weekend

Memorial Day Weekend Driving Safety

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers provide safe travel tips to help families avoid Memorial Day car accidents. Memorial Day weekend is the most dangerous holiday for American drivers. Everyone is rushing to get away for the first long weekend of the summer, and the volume of traffic can compound problems. Congestion, road rage, excitement, and frustration could prove to be a recipe for disaster. Studies have shown that drivers are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal auto accident over the Memorial Day weekend than on a regular non-holiday weekend.

One of the issues is that there are a larger number of drivers running red lights over Memorial Day weekend. Approximately 2.3 million drivers run red lights over Memorial Day weekend, which works out to approximately 1.2 red lights run per second in the United States. This is nearly thirty percent higher than the average holiday weekend.

Although a car accident can happen anywhere at any time, some areas are more dangerous than others due to a high volume of traffic and other factors. Some of the more dangerous areas in the United States for driving on Memorial Day include the stretch of roads between Washington D.C. and New York (which puts Delaware roads right in the middle), and also on roads in Texas and California. Houston and Los Angeles are particularly dangerous cities for drivers during the summer holidays.

Safe Driving Tips

If you will be driving over the holiday weekend, there are some things that you can do to stay safe:

  • Do not speed
  • Observe all traffic lights
  • Do not use your cell phone while driving, even for GPS
  • Ride with another passenger if you are taking a long trip, and take turns driving
  • Get a full 8 hours of rest the night before your trip. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as intoxicated driving
  • Never drink and drive. Remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving
  • Allow for extra travel time to avoid frustration
  • Take frequent rest breaks to stretch and hydrate
  • Know that Friday after work is the most dangerous time to travel during Memorial Day Weekend, particularly at dusk
  • Pack your trunk with an emergency first aid kit and other roadside necessities, such as bottled water and energy bars
  • Inflate your tires to the appropriate tire pressure before your trip
  • Fit your car with new wiper blades
  • Make sure your oil is changed
  • Bring a fully charged cell phone in case of emergency (but again, do not use it while driving)
  • Clean your backup camera

AAA has predicted that nearly forty million Americans will be on the road over the Memorial Day weekend this year. Many of them will be traveling fifty miles or more. All this traffic means more potential for all types of motor vehicle accidents, so take every opportunity to get to your destination safely.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Those Harmed by Negligent Drivers

If you have been involved in a car accident, we can help you get your life back on track. You may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow offer flexible appointment times, including evenings and weekends. Our offices are conveniently located in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, where we serve clients in personal injury cases throughout Delaware. Call us today at 302-427-9500 or contact us online.

tractor trailer smyrna

Tractor-Trailer Crash in Smyrna Claims Woman’s Life

Tractor-Trailer Crash in Smyrna Claims Woman’s Life

In Smyrna, Delaware, a tractor-trailer crash occurred which claimed the life of a woman. Around 6 am, on Monday morning, the fatal truck accident took place when a tractor-trailer, which was trying to make a right turn from US 13 onto Brentford Road, struck a sedan on the left side. Upon impact from the tractor-trailer crash, the sedan, which was driven by a woman from Clayton, Delaware, slammed into a pole and then overturned. The woman succumbed to her fatal injuries at the scene of the accident while the 73-year-old tractor-trailer driver from Maryland incurred no personal injuries during the crash.

Accidents involving tractor-trailers usually bring about injuries or potential fatalities for passengers and drivers. Due to the size and girth of the truck, even experienced operators may find it challenging to maneuver the vehicle safely when turning or traveling down a road. Unfortunately, serious accidents may result from driver fatigue or truck drivers who may not be given enough training.

If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a truck accident, contact our Bear truck accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow. Call 302-834-8484 or contact us online to see how we can assist you. With offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Hockessin, Newark, Glasgow, Middletown, Smyrna, Dover, Lewes, Georgetown, and Seaford as well as those in the communities of New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.

stephen morrow attorney

Self-Driving Cars Being Built for Profit, Not Safety

Delaware car accident lawyer, Stephen T. Morrow, discusses the safety of self-driving carsA Message From the President of the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association, Stephen T. Morrow, Esq

Recently, both locally and throughout the nation, there has been much discussion about self-driving cars (also known as autonomous vehicles). On March 11, 2018, The News Journal published an article titled “Delaware works to be on cutting edge of self-driving cars; shuttles at UD are next” and more recently, on April 11, 2018, it published an article titled “AAA survey: Delaware drivers still concerned about the safety of self-driving vehicles.” Proponents of this technology emphasize that self-driving cars are safer than human-driven cars because, by taking human error out of the driving equation, fewer accidents and deaths will occur on our roads.

Unfortunately, on March 18, 2018, Elaine Herzberg, was walking her bicycle across a street outside of a crosswalk on a four-lane road in Tempe, Arizona when she was struck by an Uber-operated Volvo XC90 SUV engaged in automated driving. Video of the crash, released by the Tempe Police Department, shows Ms. Herzberg in the middle of the street when she was struck, not jumping from the bushes as some initially claimed. At the time Ms. Herzberg was struck, there was a safety driver in the vehicle, but initial reports suggest that neither the vehicle nor the safety driver braked before striking and killing her.

This unfortunate and unnecessary death only highlights what we all must remember: automated driving is a for-profit service, not a safety technology. Companies are racing to put a product onto our roads to provide mobility services for the lowest possible cost. Citizens should not be deceived into believing that this self-driving vehicle technology will operate flawlessly, as this crash proves otherwise.

Lawmakers should remain skeptical that this self-driving technology will deliver the safety and efficiency benefits that are being promised by Uber, Waymo (Google’s self-driving car project) and other companies developing self-driving vehicles. While it is still true that this technology could provide significant safety benefits in the long term, such gains may never be achieved if a lax regulatory environment and tools like forced arbitration permit the most dangerous technologies to succeed.

In the race to make autonomous vehicles a reality, victims, like Ms. Herzberg, should not be forgotten. The Delaware Trial Lawyers Association will continue to work with interested parties to ensure that the citizens of Delaware have a voice when discussing the impact of this self-driving technology.

Wilmington Personal Injury Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Advocate for Those Injured in Car Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by negligence, the Wilmington car accident lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow will help you find the answers you need to hold the responsible party accountable. To schedule a free consultation, call our Wilmington office at 302-427-0099, our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705, or you can contact us online.

pedestrian accident

Fatal Uber Pedestrian Accident

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers discuss a fatal Uber pedestrian accident. A fatal Uber crash has raised questions regarding liability in the unsettled area of law regarding self-driving vehicles. Although there have been several other accidents involving Tesla cars in autopilot mode, this may be the first fatal pedestrian accident involving self-driving vehicle. Some experts are pointing to an inadequate light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system that failed to detect the woman.

Fatal Pedestrian Accident Likely Attributable to Self-Driving Software Failure

A 49-year old woman was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving SUV in Tempe, Arizona as she tried to cross the street with her bicycle at night. The Tempe Police Department released the dashboard video from the crash which shows footage of both the outside and inside of the vehicle. The street was dark, and it appears that the woman became visible only after it was too late for the emergency driver to stop the vehicle. Footage from inside the SUV shows the driver looking down before the crash and then becoming startled when she notices the pedestrian.

Reports indicate that the self-driving system did not “see” the pedestrian either, as it too failed to brake and avoid the collision. An engineering professor at the University of Michigan who works on Ford Motor Co. autonomous vehicles believes the algorithm may have failed to distinguish the woman from vehicles or objects on the road. Because autonomous vehicles rely on radar (which functions optimally in dark conditions), the darkness was unlikely to have played a role in the crash. Rather, the accident is more likely attributable to classification software that did not recognize it was a pedestrian in the road or an inadequate number of LIDAR sensors that caused there to be a blind spot.

Who Is at Fault?

Self-driving technology is a fairly new development in the automotive industry. As such, the law pertaining to it is sparse and unclear, making it difficult to predict who will be held responsible. Municipal, state and national governments may now be faced with establishing clearer laws and policies regarding self-driving cars and liability.

Other countries are taking steps to establish such laws and policies. The government in Germany rolled out ethics guidelines for autonomous cars and the U.K. is conducting a three-year review of self-driving technology before allowing it on the roads. Part of the U.K. study involves an examination of cyber security and the potential for technological terrorism. According to a recent survey of 1,000 licensed drivers, 45 percent of U.S. drivers view protection against unauthorized access as a main concern regarding self-driving technology, second only to having a permanent option for drivers to assume control of the vehicle.

For now, Uber has halted testing of its self-driving vehicles and other car companies such as Toyota have followed suit. The city of Boston has also requested that self-driving technology companies, nuTonomy and Optimus Ride, temporarily stop testing in the city. It is likely that lawsuits will be filed in the Uber pedestrian accident case, but it remains to be seen who would ultimately be held liable.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Rhoades & Morrow Represent Pedestrians Injured in Car Accidents

If you were injured in a car accident, contact an experienced Wilmington car accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. We represent clients throughout Delaware from our offices in Wilmington, Bear and Milford. Call us at 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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