5 Distracted Driving Myths that Simply Aren’t True

myths about distracted drivingThink you know everything there is to know about distracted driving? Check out these myths and we’ll see if that’s true:

Myth #1: It’s legal. Actually, in an attempt to cut down on accidents, more municipalities are making laws against doing anything other than driving while you’re, well, driving!

Myth #2: Everybody does it. Not so. Just because texting and driving accidents, for instance, are a prevalent problem doesn’t mean everyone engages in distracted driving behaviors. Be sure to take the proper precautions while on the road. This is not only to protect others, but you as well.

Myth #3: A couple of seconds won’t hurt. You don’t have to be distracted for several minutes to cause an accident. A fraction of a second is all it takes for terrible, avoidable crashes to cause severe injuries – or destroy lives.

Myth #4: You can safely multitask while driving. Despite the focus on multitasking in our present culture, many studies have shown that human beings are, in fact, very bad at it. Without your full concentration, you will likely perform simultaneous tasks poorly. And if there’s one task that demands and deserves your complete attention, it’s operating a 4,000-pound car.

Myth #5: You can’t be held liable in an accident. In many states, distracted driving is considered a form of reckless driving, which can be prosecuted. But another thing to bear in mind is that prosecution is just the criminal side of it. You can also have a civil lawsuit brought against you for any harm you cause. You may end up paying for damages, injuries, or even a wrongful death.

Make no mistake about it: distracted driving is a bad, bad idea. Don’t take the chance; put down your phone, makeup, or fast-food purchase and arrive at your destination safely.

Talk to an experienced Clearwater car accident lawyer

Were you injured because someone fell prey to these distracted driving myths? If so, our firm may be able to help.  Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-753-5203.  Call us today for a free evaluation.

 

7 Important Things to Do After a Car Accident

car accident what to doYou’ve been in a serious car accident, and you’re shaken. You’re grateful for having survived, but now your mind is a whirl of confusion, questions, and concerns.

What if you have sustained potentially serious injuries that they do not appear right away, like whiplash?

What if the other driver denies responsibility for the crash, and you’re worried they won’t pay for damages?

These concerns and fears are perfectly normal. If you take a look below, you’ll get a head start on orienting yourself by taking several key steps after a car accident.

Car accident must-do’s

  1. Attend to any injuries. Your first concern is your physical safety and well-being. If you are able, call an ambulance and ask to be taken to the emergency room if necessary.
  2. Call the police. It’s always a good idea to have the police at the scene immediately after a bad traffic accident.
  3. Get the other driver’s registration and insurance information. Make sure you carefully document the name, phone number, address, drivers’ license number, license plate numbers, and similar information from the other driver (or drivers) involved.
  4. Gather the names and contact information of any witnesses. Any bystanders who saw the accident firsthand may play an important part in insurance claims or litigation.
  5. Snap pictures of your car and the scene of the accident.  If you feel up to it, taking photos of your injuries – or having someone else do so for you – can serve as evidence in a lawsuit. They can also serve as a basis for what your insurance pays if you file a claim.
  6. Tell your insurance company about the accident. Be prompt in notifying your insurance company, as any delays can also mean delays in your compensation you might be able to receive.
  7. Call an experienced attorney. Talk to a lawyer who focuses only on personal injury cases. Your accident claim may be worth far more than you realize.

Talk to an experienced St. Petersburg accident lawyer

Would you like more information about what to do after a car accident? Our firm may be able to help. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.  

 

 

Why Dog Bites are So Common and How to Avoid Them. From a Lawyer for Dog Bites

lawyer for dog bitesAccording to insurers and medical facilities, dog bite claims and hospitalizations are on the rise across the country. Why are these preventable tragedies increasing, and what can you do to avoid becoming a victim? Read on to find out.

Top reasons for dog bites

  1. Strangers approaching the dog. In many situations, this is unavoidable, such as when a postal worker or delivery person must come onto private property in making their rounds. In other circumstances, guests are seriously injured in dog attacks by someone’s pet that is poorly trained or simply out of control.

 

If a protective dog isn’t used to seeing a person on a daily basis, they may interpret them as an intruder and a threat, plain and simple.

  1. Predatory instinct. Like all hunters, dogs naturally have a drive to chase prey. This instinct is often activated when they see a runner or cyclist going past. Many times, these individuals can’t move quickly enough to get away from the dog, either because the dog is faster, or because the terrain (such as hills or wet, slippery roads) makes it impossible.
  2. Because of irresponsible owners. This is very likely the number one reason for dog bites across the county. When dogs are untrained, unrestrained, and unsupervised, it’s a recipe for disaster – even if the dog has never bitten someone before. Leaving a dog alone and untethered in a yard – or worse, allowed to roam free – puts the general public at risk.

 

If you don’t want to be a victim of a dog bite, try to avoid approaching dogs you don’t know. If a dog starts to chase you, stand still and face the dog, but do not make eye contact. If the dog knocks you over, curl up in a ball and cover your head with your hands. Finally, if you were bitten by a dog with an irresponsible owner, consider contacting an attorney and pursuing compensation for your injuries.

Talk to an experienced lawyer for dog bites

Would you like more information about Florida dog bite laws? Our firm may be able to help. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation.    

 

Safety Tips for Elderly Drivers: Senior Citizens vs. Teenagers – A Study in Senior Driving Safety

tips for senior driving safetyPeople are seniors at least twice in their life.

People are “seniors” after their final year of education, and again in their mature years of life.

Ironically, these two stages of life can represent very different stages of an individual’s driving career, with each respective stage involving very different concerns about driving capabilities.

Comparing the Seniors (Citizens) and the Seniors (Teenagers)

Unlike the cruising and hot-rodding teenager, senior citizen drivers bring a lifetime of driving experience and knowledge to the automobile table. Stability. Wisdom. Experience. Yet the other side of this coin involves physical and mental related changes that can also impact senior driving ability.

The good news? There are several things senior citizens can do to heighten competence, awareness, and safety behind the wheel – and, perhaps to no one’s great surprise, it’s generally the opposite of what the other type of seniors (hereinafter referred to as “teenagers”) are doing!

General Safe Senior Driving Tips

  • Seniors: Avoid high traffic times, particularly the morning, lunch and evening commute shifts. Teens have time restrictions when they first start driving, primarily to avoid the nighttime hours.
  • Seniors: Best to limit their trips to places closer to home. A great idea for seniors who typically travel to the same places, i.e., grocery store, church, pharmacy and friends’ homes. On the other hand, teenagers know no boundaries traveling everywhere on the search for, well, only they would know.
  • Guidelines state that the standard distance between your vehicle and the car ahead is one car length per every 10 mph you’re traveling. (Example: 40 mph = follow four car lengths.) Increase this distance to compensate for slower reaction times, allowing ample space to brake safely or stop when necessary.

Staying Alert Behind the Wheel

  • Distractions are the cause or contributing factor in 25 to 50 percent of all collisions. Limit distracting noise inside the senior’s vehicle including radio, passenger conversation, and cellphone use. There is, however, not much we can do about teens who blast music so loudly that it is shared with the world – even when everyone’s windows are rolled up.
  • Loss of hearing means a muting of all traffic sounds. Elderly drivers may experience this hearing decline due to physical aging; teenagers experience the loss with blaring music, cell phone talk and raucous passenger behavior. The latter group needs to compensate by turning everything down a notch or two. The elderly drivers can compensate with a hearing aid or through their vision – consciously watching in their rearview mirrors to check traffic flow while watching for the flashing lights of emergency vehicles.

Visibility Issues to Consider

  • Nighttime driving means more limited elderly driver safetyvisibility for all drivers. Rising age eventually impacts reaction times. With both these factors in play, it may be more prudent for seniors to avoid nighttime driving as much as possible. For teens, they’re typically getting ready to go out when the rest of us are coming in.
  • Some elderly drivers lose a little height with age. Be sure your driver’s seat is raised high enough for as clear a view of the road as possible. Sit on a small pillow if necessary. The same process should be followed by teens who would need additional assistance to have a clear view over their dashboard.
  • Fair weather or not, always having your headlights on can be a good move as it increases your visibility to others.
  • Drive on familiar streets. If traveling to an uncommon destination, use a GPS that verbally gives you directions as you drive. Reading directions or reading a map is another unneeded distraction that can contribute to car accidents and collisions.
  • Keeping your windshield, headlights and mirror clean are simple and easy ways to improve driver visibility – for all ages.
  • Keep windshield wiper blades in proper working condition. Nearly all car manufacturers recommend replacement every six months, but given Florida’s climate and precipitation, Trico, an online wiper blade store, maintains that replacement every nine to twelve months is sufficient. However, driving habits can also affect this timeframe.
  • Periodic vision and hearing screenings are always a good idea but become even more important the older we get. Changes in sight and hearing become more dramatic, so shorten the time in-between screenings to keep up with any necessary adjustments. Once a Florida senior reaches 80 years of age, licenses are renewed every 6 years with a mandatory vision test at the Department of Motor Vehicles office.

Consider Using Public Transportation

  • Public transportation is a wonderful thing. It’s there when seniors become unsure of their driving abilities; it’s there when teens don’t yet have a car. Regardless, there are options for folks to get around town and good circumstances to exercise these options.

Utilize Car Safety Features

  • Florida redefines what it means to be hot, tempting car owners to tint windows for deflection of the sun’s intense rays. It is suggested that elderly drivers who have vision problems should keep window tinting to a lighter shade or not tint at all. Teenagers darken the windows in their cars to follow the latest trend.
  • Seniors: Drive a car with an automatic transmission, if possible. With automatic transmissions, fewer things to attend to equals greater focus and alertness on other aspects of senior driving. In most cases, many teens won’t know how to use a manual transmission.
  • Always wear a seat belt. It’s, the law. In Florida, all passengers in the front seat must wear a seat belt. Passengers in the back seat 18 and younger must wear a seat belt or otherwise be restraint by a child car seat.

Drive Carefully in Inclement Weather

  • The number of collisions goes up in inclement weather, which can be particularly treacherous for both seniors and teens. Whether rain, hail, snowstorms, ice or fog, poorer weather can greatly impair driver vision and hinder car performance. Throw in slower reaction times and driver inexperience, and it becomes safe to say that sometimes it’s just better to stay home to avoid hazardous conditions and courting disaster.

Stay Alert Behind the Wheel

  • senior car tipsApproximately 100,000 accidents are caused by fatigued or sleepy drivers. No one should drive if feeling tired, lightheaded or stressed.
  • Some medications impair driving skills. Since seniors usually take more than one prescription medication, impairment can be multiplied. Polypharmacy (prescription of multiple prescription drugs) is becoming a growing issue among seniors. Between 1993 and 2010, the number of drivers with three or more drugs in their system has nearly doubled from 11.5 to 21.5 percent. Fortunately, pharmacists put warning labels on prescription bottles to warn of possible impaired driving. And teenagers? It’s usually drugs, not prescribed by a health physician, (and alcohol) that typically causes problems.

Keep Your Skills Sharp

  • The driving test: For teenagers, it’s a necessary obstacle to overcome for that sweet ticket to wheels and freedom. For seniors, driving tests can mean savings on car insurance.
  • Many organizations like AARP and the American Automobile Association offer online defensive driving courses where seniors don’t have to leave the comfort of their computer chair. This can be an easy way to refresh your safe driving habits and techniques.
  • Driving is a decades-long avocation, necessity, sport. As in so many other areas of life, our driving style changes as we get older. Florida recognizes this perhaps more than other states because of their large senior driver population. The state thus offers a variety of programs targeting both seniors and teens to keep Florida roads safer for everyone.

Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk to Put Our Experienced Tampa Car Accident Lawyers to Work for You!

At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, our Tampa car accident lawyers have over 100 years of combined experience serving injury victims throughout Florida.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call us today at 1-800-753-5203 to put our injury law team to work for you.

The Most Innocent of All: Why Children are More Likely to Be Florida Dog Bite Victims

child dog biteIf you think being bitten by a dog is terrifying and painful as an adult, just imagine what it’s like to a small child. The fear, confusion, and physical agony cannot be imagined unless you’ve been a victim of such trauma yourself.

Unfortunately, children are actually more likely to be bitten by dogs than adults. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why.

Common Causes of Child Dog Bites

1. Children are at a physical disadvantage. Due to their small size, younger children can easily be knocked down by even a medium-sized dog. Their shorter legs don’t enable them to run away as quickly either, leaving them at the mercy of these unrestrained, poorly trained animals.

2. They don’t understand that not all dogs are friendly. If children haven’t been taught how to deal with an unfamiliar dog, they are at risk for being bitten or attacked. A good rule of thumb is to first ask the owner if dog is friendly and if you can pet it. This is assuming the owner is around, which they should be. Then make a fist and hold it nose-level at the dog so they can sniff it. If the dog snaps, growls, or backs away, do not proceed with further interactions.

3. They can’t yet read a dog’s signals. Even if they’re not experts on dogs, most adults can recognized the signs a dog gives to say “stay away.” Growling, raised hackles, and keeping its body low to the ground indicates a dog feels threatened or defensive. But children’s limited experience with dogs may mean they don’t know how to interpret these signals and may continue approaching the dog – an act that can end in a child dog bite.

4. They may accidentally trespass. When you’re a child, there’s little difference between a neighbor’s yard and yours. In their natural curiosity and love of fun, children may not realize they’re wandering into dangerous, unknown territory – possibly with a dangerous dog just around the corner.

Talk to experienced dog bite injury lawyers

Would you like more information about what to do after Florida dog bite? Our firm may be able to help. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation.

The Real Reasons Commercial Truck Accidents are So Dangerous

commercial truck accidentIf you’ve been in a car accident, you know how terrifying and devastating they can be. Often, victims are badly injured, and their vehicles are severely damaged or totaled beyond repair.

The repercussions can go on for weeks, months, or even years and injury victims may never be the same.

However, this often pales in comparison to what the victims of commercial truck accidents face. These types of crashes are often far more destructive than ones that involve cars. Here’s a brief overview of why.

Why commercial truck accidents have serious consequences

They weigh more than cars. The average four-door car weighs about 4,000 pounds – and that’s with a driver and other passengers in it. On the other hand, the average tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, depending on the type of cargo it’s carrying. It doesn’t take an expert in physics to predict what will happen if a truck of that size strikes a smaller car – especially if they’re traveling in opposite directions.

They carry dangerous cargo. Unlike passenger cars, which are made to carry people and easily-portable objects, trucks are made for transporting huge amounts of cargo, some of which are dangerous. At any given time, a truck could be hauling hazardous, flammable, and even explosive material.

The Real Reasons Commercial Truck Accidents are So Dangerous   Finally, truck accidents are dangerous because they occur so often, and in ways that can often be prevented. Trucking companies may pressure drivers into shortening or skipping mandated rest periods, or driving over the speed limit to make good time on deliveries. Fleets may also fail to make timely repairs on their vehicles or avoid maintenance altogether. If you think such a driver or their company is at fault for your crash, contact a semi-truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Talk to an experienced Clearwater truck accident lawyer

Would you like information about what to do after a commercial truck accident? Our firm may be able to help. Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk 24 hours a day / 7 days a week at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.

When Is a Pedestrian at Fault In a Tampa Pedestrian Accident?

jaywalking injury attorneyThe facts on pedestrian accidents are pretty shocking. According to a study done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), almost 70,000 pedestrians were injured in such accidents in 2008, and over 4,000 died in them.

Many people are under the impression that pedestrians always have the right of way. However, that is often not the case. Let’s take a look at some scenarios where pedestrian accident fault comes into play.

Pedestrian responsibility in auto accidents

The law typically holds that both drivers and pedestrians are responsible for exercising caution when traversing the nation’s roads. If either party fails to do so, they can be held liable if something they do (or neglect to do) results in an accident.

Examples of pedestrian negligence include:

  • Not obeying traffic signals when crossing the street
  • Attempting to cross major highways that do not have traffic signals
  • Jaywalking (going outside a crosswalk while attempting to cross the street)
  • Walking in places where pedestrians are prohibited (except during emergencies), such as major highways

What happens if both parties are at fault?

Sometimes, car accidents are a clear-cut case of fault: either the pedestrian or the driver is to blame. But often, things are more complicated, and both parties may share the blame for an accident.

Each state has different laws that determine fault, as well as the effect this has on what compensation (if any) the parties may be entitled to. It is best to contact an attorney to get more information.

Talk to a Tampa pedestrian accident attorney today!

Do you or someone you know have further questions for our jaywalking injury attorneys? The staff of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, and can be reached at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.

Understanding Truck Owner Liability: Who is at Fault in a Truck Accident?

truck maintenance blameTruck crashes can be some of the most devastating and catastrophic accidents a person can endure.

Whether you were hit by a relatively small pickup truck, or monstrous eighteen-wheeler, you were completely outmatched if you were in a passenger car at the time. And if you were a pedestrian, the odds are you suffered even greater harm.

You may have serious, long-term injuries, a damaged or unusable vehicle, time and money lost from work, and physical and emotional suffering. The question is who is at fault in a truck accident? And, just as importantly, who will pay the damages for what you went through?

Truck accidents: the liability may be broad

There is no clear cut answer when it comes to truck accident liability (a.k.a. legal responsibility). The truth is, the blame may be shared across several different parties or organizations. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

The driver. One of the chief culprits to look at in trucking accidents is the driver. It’s possible the person who hit you was drunk, on illegal or prescription medication, tired, distracted, unlicensed, or had numerous citations but was still on the road.

The trucking company (if one was involved). There are numerous laws trucking companies are supposed to follow involving the care of their vehicles, the types of drivers they hire, and the rules those drivers must follow.

For instance, drivers are legally mandated to take regular rest breaks so that they don’t become overtired and get drowsy or fall asleep at the wheel. However, in their never-ending quest to make more money in less time, trucking companies often have drivers skip these crucial breaks in order to speed up their delivery rates or to avoid hiring more drivers.

The maintenance crew. Whether it’s a single mechanic or group of them, shoddy or incomplete truck maintenance is often to blame for accidents. If trucks don’t undergo regular maintenance or repairs and they go undone, it is only a matter of time before a serious accident results.

Talk to our Clearwater truck accident lawyers as soon as possible

If you have a case surrounding truck owner liability, our Clearwater truck accident lawyers may be able to help. The staff of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, and can be reached at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.

Understanding Head Injury Recovery: Why Brain Injuries Are So Complicated

head injury attorneyIf you were in an accident and had a serious head injury, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind. How long will my head injury recovery take? Will I ever be the same again? And why are different types of damage to the brain so complicated?

While the first two questions will likely depend on your individual circumstances, the last one we can at least try to answer. The long and short of it is, it’s hard to know how to predict and treat brain injuries because the brain is possibly the most intricate and complex part of your body.

How accidents affect your brain

One of the reasons brain injuries are so complicated is because they are so varied. Generally, there are two types of head injuries:

  • Open head injury: This is when an object or projectile (such as parts of a car or debris from a crash) penetrates the skull. In these instances, brain damage tends to be specific and localized. Doctors can see exactly what part of the brain was affected, whether it’s a section affecting motor skills, cognition, or even personality.
  • Closed head injury: Unlike an open head injury, a closed one is when the skull is struck by an object, but nothing penetrates the skull. While you may think this would make the damage less severe, unfortunately this is not the case. Closed head injuries can impact not only the specific section of the brain that was struck, but these injuries can also be diffuse. This means the injury can affect parts of the brain that were nowhere near the original injury.

In addition to the different types of harm the brain can suffer, things are further complicated by the fact that symptoms may not become apparent right away. Symptoms can also vary greatly from one injury victim to another.

For instance, some individuals seem fine right after a crash. However, over time, they may begin to develop long or short-term memory problems, or suffer intermittent headaches. At times, it can take a while before they attribute these problems to their accident, and begin seeking treatment accordingly.

Contact a St. Petersburg personal injury lawyer today!

Do you or someone you know need a head injury attorney? Our firm wants to help. The staff of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, and can be reached at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore a Headache After a Car Accident Head Injury

head injury car accidentIf you’ve survived the trauma of a car accident, you know there’s a lot of aftermath besides recovering from your initial injuries. Even if it was only a “fender bender,” a crash can leave you shaken.

In addition to notifying the police, exchanging insurance information, and visiting a doctor or hospital, there’s a lot to be done before you can get your life back to normal. If you suffer a seemingly-minor ailment following the accident, such as a headache, you may be tempted to ignore it.

However, that can turn out to be a serious mistake.

Seek immediate treatment for car accident injuries

The biggest reason you should never ignore a crash-related headache is because many injuries – including suffering a concussion in a car accident – may not appear right away.

Don’t think that if nothing was bleeding or broken after the injury it means you’re home free. It’s very possible you may still suffer brain damage from a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) – and a lingering or intermittent headache can be one of the main symptoms.

In addition, any injury involving the head is one you’ll want to have looked at as soon as possible. Different types of injuries affect different parts of the brain, it is crucial to get immediate treatment. If you don’t, you risk losing mental faculties that you might never regain.

Don’t overlook concussions in a car accident

The most common type of head injury in car accidents is a concussion, often thought of as something that’s easily dismissed. But if left untreated, serious concussions can lead to long-term memory loss, cognitive problems, coma, and even death.

The majority of people with concussions go on to make a full recovery and lead normal lives. However, this may be because their concussions were not severe, or they received the medical attention they needed right away. In either case, it doesn’t pay to take chances by ignoring a headache after a car accident – even if the rest of your body “feels fine.”

Talk to an experienced car accident law team

Did you suffer a car accident head injury? Our Tampa car accident attorneys may be able to help. The staff of Abrahamson & Uiterwyk is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week, and can be reached at 1-800-753-5203. Call us today for a free evaluation of your case.