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Tampa Personal Injury Law Blog

Legal protections are available to victims of head injuries

Head injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents or car accidents can be serious for victims and their families. The repercussions of a head injury suffered in an unexpected motor vehicle accident can have a long-lasting impact on the health and earning capacity of a victim. Head injuries can be both internal and external. Internal head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, can be challenging to treat and can have a lifelong impact on victims.

Victims of traumatic brain injuries can experience a loss of brain function. As a result, they may require extensive medical treatment and care immediately following a motorcycle accident or other type of motor vehicle accident, as well as into the future. Victims and their families may suffer damages including immediate medical expenses, future medical care costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity and pain and suffering associated with the physical, emotional and cognitive losses that oftentimes come with head injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

The most common types of car accident injuries

One of the leading causes of injuries in the United States is car accidents. During 2012, greater than 5.6 million car accidents were reported in the U.S. Of the car accidents reported in 2012, 1.6 million injuries resulted. The annual economic impact of car accidents is estimated to be $277 billion. These incidents can cause a variety of serious damage, including catastrophic injuries, which can have a disabling impact on car accident victims and their futures.

Head injuries are the most common type of car accident injuries. Head injuries are unquestionably serious, and can occur when car accident victims strike their heads during a car accident, such as on the dash, steering wheel or windows. Head injuries can result in skull fractures and hearing and vision loss. Car accident-related head injuries can result in concussion, traumatic brain injuries and cognitive challenges. They can be costly and challenging to treat, which can create the need for extensive medical care. Back injuries, spinal cord injuries and paralysis can also be caused by car accidents.

Fatal car accidents increase and 2.2 million injured in 2016

Car accident victims and their families share protections through the legal process when harmed by a car accident. The National Safety Council recently reported that preliminary numbers reveal that the number of fatal traffic accidents has increased by 9 percent for the first 6 months of 2016 when compared to the same period of time last year. The number of car accident fatalities in increasing despite improved car safety. The rate of car accident fatalities has been on the rise since 2014. Florida has seen the largest increase in car accident fatalities which have increased 43 percent since 2014.

In addition to the increase in car accident deaths, there were 2.2 million car accident injuries during the first 6 months of 2016. While car safety has increased, more miles are also being driven, and experts note that no amount of car safety matters when drivers are failing to pay attention. It is also observed that increased distracted driving, including the use of information systems, and increased use of cell phones is likely a significant factor in the increases and responsible for keeping the numbers up.

What is a 'common carrier' under the law?

This blog recently discussed the dangers of truck accidents for victims and families. Victims of some types of accidents involving commercial vehicles such as busses or taxis may have heard the term 'common carrier' and wondered what it refers to and what the significance of a common carrier is. At their most basic level, common carriers transport people or goods from one place to another for a fee and have certain duties of care for their passengers.

A significant amount of trust is placed in common carriers. If a common carrier has been negligent, it may be liable to compensate the victims for their damages. Many common carriers are regulated by the government, and are always required to exercise the highest level of care for the safety of passengers they are transporting. Common carriers also have a duty to warn passengers of potential dangers when a reasonable operator would have known, or should have known, that a dangerous condition was present.

Trucker in accident that injured seven kids sentenced

In a Florida community a couple of hours north of the Tampa Bay area, the driver of a semitrailer that crashed into a parked school bus full of children was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison. The accident took place in 2014 and injured seven children and the driver of the bus. The 37-year old truck driver recently pleaded guilty to four counts of reckless driving with serious bodily injury but blamed the trucking company for failing to properly maintain the truck.

According to authorities, the semitrailer struck the school bus as it was slowing to drop off students. Police reported that the school bus had yellow lights flashing and the stop arm was extended when the semi truck struck it from behind. A police trooper testified that eight of the 10 brakes on the truck were defective, making it dangerous to be on the roadway. Records show that the truck driver's license had been suspended twice and that the truck driver had received five driving violations since 2007.

The impact of catastrophic car accident injuries on victims

Catastrophic injuries can result in physical and mental disability, as well as pain, disfigurement or disability. The impact of a catastrophic injury can be lifelong. These injuries can negatively influence a Florida victim's quality of life and earning capacity for years to come. Catastrophic injuries can result following car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and other types of accidents.

Driving while drowsy: The other type of impaired driving

Every year, thousands of motorists are killed in accidents across the country. Many of these accidents are caused by impaired or distracted driving. Most people recognize the dangers of drinking and driving due to government enforcement programs, as well as public awareness campaigns. More recently, awareness of the dangers of texting and using smart phones while driving has been on the rise. However, there is one type of impaired driving that many people have probably participated in that they may not even be aware of, and that is driving while sleep deprived. 

A look at the real problem of drunk driving on Florida streets

Unfortunately, impaired driving is a costly problem. Each year, it leads to injuries, deaths, property damage and arrests. During 2010, an estimated 4 million adults reported driving while impaired, which led to millions of drunk driving-related incidents. Drunk driving-related accidents resulted in nearly 14,000 deaths annually, at an estimated cost to Americans of greater than $37 billion each year.

During 2010, alcohol was involved in nearly 50 percent of pedestrian accidents resulting in fatalities. Alcohol was involved in nearly 40 percent of car accidents that resulted in occupants being killed, and alcohol was involved in nearly 34 percent of bicycle accidents that resulted in death. Many efforts have been made by the states to reduce drunk driving and the impact of drunk driving. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) also makes efforts to ensure public safety on the roadways with impairment screening measures for government employees.

How can auto-pedestrian accident be avoided?

Florida pedestrian safety, unfortunately, can sometimes be a polarizing topic between pro and anti-car groups. It is, however, a legitimate public safety concern that has implications for quality of life as we are all pedestrians at one point or another. A variety of sensible traffic reforms have been suggested throughout the country to help keep pedestrians safe. One way to improve pedestrian safety is by removing the last parking space before an intersection. The practice, referred to as "daylighting," increases visibility for and of pedestrians.

Another suggestion to improve pedestrian safety are curb extensions, which also improve visibility and shorten the amount of road the pedestrian has to cross. The use of medians, to provide a half-way stopping point for pedestrians, can also increase pedestrian safety.

Fiery Florida bus accident injures 25

This blog recently discussed the serious nature of bus accidents and a recent fiery bus accident in north Florida sadly illustrates the dangers of such accidents. The bus accident occurred after the bus failed to yield at a flashing red light controlling the intersection where the accident took place. As a result, the bus collided with a semi-truck and both the bus and semi-truck burst into flames.

In addition to fatalities, 25 victims were injured in the bus accident. Most of the 25 victims are listed in serious or critical condition following the accident. The bus had 34 individuals on board and the semi truck was transporting the driver, who was killed in the accident, and a passenger. Because of their size, accidents involving buses and tractor trailers can be devastating for victims and their families.

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