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Tampa Personal Injury Law Blog

What if you're partly at fault for your Florida crash?

You always do your best to be conscious of others on the road, and you're careful to avoid accidents. However, you're not a perfect driver. You occasionally get distracted and sometimes drive over the speed limit.

Just the same, you never would have been in an accident in the first place if the other driver involved in your crash hadn't run the light. Now, however, their insurance company is trying to lay the blame for your injuries on your shoulders. They say that your mistakes contributed to the severity of your wounds.

Hands-free driving is not risk-free driving

Most people associate distracted driving with cellphones. Using a phone is certainly distracting, and it often causes a driver to remove at least one hand from the wheel. Reading a text, typing or even scrolling social medial requires a driver to take eyes off the road, an action that is incredibly dangerous even for a few seconds. This is why many rely on hands-free devices in their vehicles. 

There are ways that phones can connect with a vehicle, allowing a driver to hear a text, talk on the phone and use other features without holding the phone. Hands-free capability allows a driver to keep his or her hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, but it is not necessarily risk-free. Hands-free devices can lead to cognitive distraction, which can also lead to an increased chance of an accident.

Can you claim compensation for a wreck if you were speeding?

You were heading home from work and you were -- admittedly -- speeding a little. The weather was great, the roads looked free of traffic and you were just anxious to be home. Then, a driver on a cross street shot through a red light and slammed into the side of your vehicle.

Now, you're injured and unable to work and you'd like to file a claim for compensation. But you're worried that the fact you were speeding when the wreck occurred disqualifies your claim. What should you do?

Who is responsible when a pizza delivery driver hits you?

Door-to-door delivery is all the rage, and a lot of weary folks resort to ordering a pizza at the end of the day when they're too tired to cook.

Accidents happen when a delivery driver is rushing or not paying enough attention to the road. If a delivery driver strikes you, who is responsible for your injuries and losses?

Could the 'Dutch Reach' save your life?

Sure, you know that moving cars are a hazard whenever you're on your motorcycle. Distracted driving is epidemic, drowsy drivers are everywhere on their daily commutes and some people are just plain terrible drivers.

Parked cars are also a hazard for motorcyclists because a driver or a passenger will sometimes fling open their car door right into the path of an oncoming biker. When the motorcyclist can't stop in time to avoid a collision, they're often catapulted off their bikes, over the car door and onto the pavement. This can easily lead to serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries or paralysis.

Walking in the dark: How to stay safe

We're already past the midpoint of the year, so the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Unfortunately, that means that more people will soon be doing their nightly walks, early-morning jogs and other pedestrian activities in the dark.

Pedestrians are up to seven times more likely to be killed at night than in the daytime, and your chance of being hit increases 1,100% after dark. With that in mind, let's brush up on some life-saving tips:

  1. Stick to the sidewalks. If a sidewalk isn't available, make sure that you keep the traffic in front of you, not at your back.
  2. Stay sober. Don't walk home from the bar. Inebriation can cause you to make a deadly mistake, so get a ride instead.
  3. Stay alert. Don't get lost in your smartphone. Don't tune out the world (and traffic) with your headphones.
  4. Aim for well-lit areas. If you can, confine your nightly excursions to areas that have plenty of streetlights.
  5. Wear reflective clothing. Bright colors, white clothing and reflective strips on your shoes, jacket or hat really can help drivers see you in time to stop.
  6. Use crosswalks. Try to plan your route so that you don't have to cross the street without a crosswalk. While it doesn't automatically protect you, it does help.
  7. Don't rely on signals. Just because the crosswalk is signaling that it's okay to step into the road doesn't mean you should do it. Look around and make sure that cars have stopped before you step out.
  8. Make eye contact. Whenever possible, make eye contact with the drivers in cars that you have to pass. That helps them consciously tune into your presence.

Types of back injuries you may experience in a wreck

An accident can change your life in many ways. It can leave you with injuries, lingering pain and other complications that can last for months or years. Even if your injuries were not life threatening or serious, they can still have a serious impact on your life. For example, back or neck injuries do not always result in paraplegia, but they can be debilitating and painful.

If you suffered a back injury in an accident, you may need extended medical care, rehabilitation, therapy and time away from work. Your recovery may be extensive and lengthy, and you may have physical limitations you did not have in the past. Those who suffered back or neck injuries because of the negligent or reckless actions of another driver could have the option to pursue damages through a civil claim.

Is there a link between caffeine and truck crashes?

Have you gotten jittery after drinking an entire Red Bull? Have you ever had too much caffeine and too little food and found yourself unfocused and irritable? Or, maybe you've made the mistake of having a cup of coffee too late in the evening and found yourself unable to sleep but unable to do anything productive.

Sound familiar? While most people don't think of caffeine as a drug, it actually does have a significant effect on the human central nervous system -- and that's why most people use it. As a stimulant, it can improve alertness and help you stay awake when you need to be or wake up in the morning.

Prescription drugs and driving: a dangerous combination

Driving while impaired is dangerous and irresponsible, whether it's because of alcohol, illegal drugs, phones or even prescription medication. While many people acknowledge the danger of driving while distracted or under the influence of alcohol, it is common to overlook the severity of the problem of drugged driving. Whether it's an illegal street drug or a medication prescribed by a doctor, anything that affects a driver's reaction and cognition has the potential to cause an accident.

Like those who drive under the influence of alcohol, drugged drivers may be less likely to see hazards and react in enough time to avoid a collision. Unlike alcohol, there isn't a readily available and fast way to test for drugs in a driver's system at the scene of an accident. If you are the victim of an accident and you believe drugs could be to blame, you may want to seek and understand the legal options available to you.

Despite vehicle safety features, pedestrians are still at risk

You and other Florida residents know that pedestrians and bicyclists have little chance to escape an accident involving a vehicle unscathed. When a vehicle comes barreling at a pedestrian or cyclist with a reckless or negligent driver behind the wheel, the chances of severe or even fatal injuries to the person outside the vehicle are high.

In general, people want the roadways to be safer, and these days, technology exists that can help drivers pay more attention to the road and avoid collisions. However, not all vehicles come with these features, and some automobile manufacturers do not offer them. Plus, some drivers do not want the features on their vehicles.

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