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What to Do After an Accident with a Semi-Truck

Accidents with large commercial vehicles like semi-trucks can be especially dangerous for people in passenger vehicles. The weight and size disparity between a truck and an ordinary car can leave the car badly mangled and the people inside severely injured. For the driver of the truck such accidents not only threaten personal injury but can also put a career at risk. After being in an accident with a commercial vehicle there are a number of steps a driver should take:
  • Get medical attention. Anytime someone is injured in an accident the first step is always to ensure that injuries are stabilized. If possible, tell nurses and doctors about the accident. The information gathered by medical professionals about the nature of the injury can become vital evidence in future litigation.
  • Get the truck driver’s details. Like any car accident, the drivers involved in a wreck involving a commercial vehicle should exchange contact information and share insurance details.
  • Get the name and contact information of the driver’s employer. In addition to finding out the name of the truck driver, it’s important to also find out the name of the driver’s employer and get as much information as possible about the employer. Chances are good that the driver’s insurance is carried by the employer, not the driver personally, and any lawsuit that follows the accident will probably name the employer as a defendant.
  • Report the accident. Nevada law requires parties involved in an accident to report the incident to the Department of Motor Vehicles. In crashes where police were involved in the initial post-accident response this report may not be required, as the police prepare the necessary paperwork as part of their process. The insurance companies of both drivers should also be contacted.
  • Consult with an accident attorney. Even if a driver’s insurance carrier will be pursuing legal action on behalf of the driver, it’s often important to have independent legal counsel. Insurance companies have an inherent conflict of interest whenever a claim arises: their profits depend on denying claims and aggressively seeking reimbursement for any costs they incur. Even if the insurer’s interests are aligned with the injured driver’s, the driver should have independent advice to protect against unlawful or dishonest behavior by the insurer.
Accidents involving commercial drivers typically open questions about the legal relationship of the truck driver with the business for which he or she was driving at the time of the accident. Truck drivers may fall into one of several categories:
  • Sole proprietors who operate the truck as a business and are personally liable for damages caused in an accident.
  • Independent contractors who are working for another business. Independent contractors may be treated as sole proprietors from a legal liability standpoint, but their liability will be subject to the terms of their relationship with the “client” business.
  • Employees of a trucking company.
Regardless of the legal form of the relationship between the truck driver and the trucking business, the injured plaintiff’s attorneys will probably seek compensation from the business as well as, or instead of, the truck’s driver. The business may have good arguments for why it is not responsible for the driver’s negligence, but in a typical situation a business is responsible for the wrongdoing of its agents, regardless of whether the agents are independent contractors or employees.

GGRM is a Las Vegas accident law firm

The law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in auto accident cases for over 45 years. If you have been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, please give us a call today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.

Personal Breathalyzer Devices Can Save Lives

Personal breathalyzers have come down in price to the point where most drivers who can afford to go out drinking can also afford to carry one. Given the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol—from serious criminal penalties to the possibility of a crash with significant potential legal and health consequences—carrying and using a personal breathalyzer can be a meaningful safety precaution. Breathalyzers work by estimating the blood alcohol content (BAC) of a person’s blood from a breath sample. There are two common types of breathalyzer with varying degrees of accuracy. The type most commonly incorporated into consumer-grade devices uses semiconductor sensors to measure BAC. These devices are relatively cheap to produce but can result in false positives due to other chemicals in or on a person’s body. For example, someone on a low-fat diet can see a false positive due to natural chemicals produced by the body as it burns fat. Law enforcement uses breathalyzers that incorporate fuel cell sensors, which are more expensive than semiconductor sensors but also significantly more accurate. For law enforcement accuracy is crucial: breathalyzer test results can be essential evidence if a driver needs to be prosecuted for a DUI. A consumer may not need the professional level of accuracy for personal use, but some people may want the extra reliability that comes with devices based on fuel cell technology. Although breathalyzers can give a good picture of whether someone is over the legal BAC limit, they are not perfect. Only a blood test, taken in a clinical setting, can give the most direct and reliable reading. Breathalyzers can give false or skewed readings for a range of reasons:
  • Picking up chemicals other than alcohol from beverages (medicines, naturally occurring chemicals from body processes, etc.)
  • Glitches and electrical problems, which can be caused by issues like low batteries
  • Deterioration from being left in hot cars all the time
  • Mistakes made by users who don’t know how to get accurate readings
Nonetheless, a personal breathalyzer can be a great way for drivers to ensure that they are safely under the legal maximum and can drive. Too often drivers leave dinner parties or bars convinced that they are sober enough to drive when in reality they are well above the legal limit. Terrible consequences can result: high fines, suspended or revoked drivers’ licenses, and serious legal liability for causing an accident while under the influence of alcohol. For over 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has represented clients in personal injury and auto accident cases. We are here to answer your questions about auto accidents involving drunk drivers. For a free attorney consultation call us today at 702-388-4476 or ask us to reach out to you through our contact page.

Preventing Motorcycle Accidents and Injuries

Motorcycle accidents often result in serious personal injuries for riders. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, compiles nationwide statistics on motorcycle crashes, which tell an interesting story about the common causes of accidents and injuries. They can also tell us something about how riders can prevent and avoid serious accidents and reduce the risk of serious injury or death.
  1. Get properly licensed. The IIHS reports that in 2016, 27 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of their crash. A potential reason for the high rate of fatalities among unlicensed riders is that the riders simply lacked basic skills. One of the key reasons for licensing requirements is they ensure riders have the necessary knowledge to safely operate a motorcycle. Nevada requires operators of motorcycles to hold a Class M driver’s license. To qualify for a Class M license a driver must pass a written exam and demonstrate competency through a driving skills test. Instead of taking these exams a driver can instead complete a course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
  2. Wear a helmet and have one handy for passengers. Properly designed and fit helmets can go a long way toward reducing a rider’s risk of death or serious brain injury in an accident. Nevada requires motorcycle drivers and their passengers to wear helmets. Riders should also consider wearing other types of protective gear, such as boots, gloves, and leathers to reduce the risk of severe road rash.
  3. Ride defensively. Experienced riders know that the most dangerous thing on the road is other drivers. Even an attentive driver can be caught off guard by a motorcycle hiding in a blind spot. But drivers distracted by phones, radios, and passengers are a constant danger. The best practice for riders is to drive defensively, allowing plenty of space around the motorcycle to allow time to respond to sudden, unpredictable moves by other drivers. Driving defensively is an especially good idea around Las Vegas. Our roads can be dangerous for motorcyclists thanks to our city’s interesting (distracting) sights, high number of tourists, and alcohol-fueled entertainment industry.
  4. Don’t drink and ride. Despite decades of relentless public awareness campaigns people continue to drink and drive at dangerous levels. Motorcyclists are especially at risk of serious accidents when they drink and ride.
  5. Avoid riding while tired. Drowsy driving is dangerous for operators of every kind of vehicle. A motorcyclist who drifts off while riding may be especially at risk of serious injury.
  6. Obey traffic laws. Motorcyclists should be especially mindful of the rules of the road. Obeying traffic signals makes a driver more predictable for other drivers. Obeying posted speed limits, especially on rough surfaces or curvy roads, can be the difference between a controlled skid and a loss of control. Motorcyclists also need to understand and follow the rules for lane splitting and other driving options that are available to them in high-traffic circumstances.

GGRM is a Las Vegas personal injury law firm

For over 45 years the attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have represented clients in the Las Vegas area in personal injury and auto accident cases. We want motorcyclists in Las Vegas to stay safe. If you have questions about a motorcycle accident in the Las Vegas area, call today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or request a call through our website.