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What are the Top 5 Causes of Car Accidents?

11-28-21    

rear-end-car-wreck

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s estimates, around 36,680 people died in 2020 due to motor vehicle traffic crashes—the largest number of deaths since 2007. This rise is despite the smaller number of cars on the road last year, while we socially-distanced, stayed and worked from home, and generally got out less during the pandemic.

What’s caused this spike in fatal car accidents in the last year? And why is 2021 projected to be even worse? There are five main reasons that people get into car crashes. If you can, avoid the following so you don’t become a statistic!

1. Distracted Drivingwoman-driving-while-texting

Research from the American Automobile Association’s Traffic Safety Division has found that between a quarter and a half of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving. But what is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that moves your attention from traffic on the road ahead to something else. These activities include the following:

  • Talking—and especially texting—on cell phones
  • Rubbernecking
  • Driver fatigue
  • Looking at scenery on the side of the road
  • Engaging with passengers or children
  • Adjusting the radio, CD player, or other aspect of the car’s infotainment system
  • Reading books, maps newspapers or other documents
  • Eating
  • Self-grooming

2. Drunk Driving

The NHTSA reports that about 32% of all traffic fatalities in America are caused by drunk drivers. Remember—though the legal limit for blood-alcohol level in Ohio is 0.08, it’s safer to establish a sober, designated driver for the night. The only way to prevent being at-fault for a drunk driver accident is to not drink and drive.

3. Speeding

Speed is one of the deadliest factors in any car accident: as you increase your speed, you decrease the time you have to react and avoid a crash, you increase your risk of crashing, and you increase the severity of any crash you’re in. In fact, drivers’ increased speed due to emptier roads was the main driver of the jump in fatal crashes in 2020. Common scenarios that can lead to a speeding accident include:

  • Sharp turns on curves
  • Ignoring speed limit signs
  • Drivers losing control of their vehicle based on the speed at which they were driving, which can result in collision with another vehicle
  • Speeding on major roadways and rear-ending another vehicle as a result

When driving, make sure to follow the posted speed limits and observe common sense regarding your speed. Never drive faster than is safe for current weather conditions—slow down for rain, snow, and fog. Reducing your speed is the easiest, and one of the most effective, things you can do to make the road safer for everyone.

4. Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is defined as “driving in a manner that presents a threat to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and/or bicyclists.” Aggressive driving includes a number of behaviors that you’ve likely seen while driving, and possibly have done yourself:

  • Aggressive tailgating
  • Driving without a seatbelt, or improperly securing a child
  • Failure to follow traffic signals
  • Failure to yield
  • Following at an unsafe distance
  • Inattentive driving
  • Texting while driving
  • Unlawful or unsafe speeds
  • Unsafe or illegal lane changes (weaving in and out of traffic)

If you’re in traffic with an aggressive driver, your best course of action is to keep your distance. Don’t attempt to pass or interact with them—this can escalate the situation and possibly lead to a car wreck. If you are concerned for the safety of yourself and others (including the aggressive driver), call 911 and report the aggressive driver as soon as it’s safe to do so.

5. Inclement Weather

car-accident-rain-ambulance

Fog, snow, ice, hail, heavy rain, and even high winds can make driving much more difficult. Poor visibility, poor tire tread or brakes, or a poorly functioning engine and exhaust are just a few things that can become extremely unsafe due to inclement weather, increasing the likelihood of an accident. However, there are some actions you can take to decrease the likelihood of a car wreck in bad weather.

Make sure to adhere to the speed limit at all times, and lower your speed if conditions worsen. By slowing down, you provide yourself more time to react to conditions, which is needed in heavy weather. There’s also no shame in pulling over or stopping at a rest stop if conditions get extremely bad. It’s better to be late to your destination than to be in a deadly accident.

What to Do After a Car Accident in Ohio

Though some accidents aren’t completely avoidable, by following the 5 above tips you can make them more rare. If you are involved in an Ohio car accident, however, you’ll need one of our reliable and experienced Columbus car accident lawyers to argue your case in court. The attorneys at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys have years of experience litigating complex injury cases in our state, and are here to help.

If you’re the victim of a car crash, don’t hesitate to contact our car accident attorneys. Call the law offices of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys today.


Drunk Driving Accidents on Thanksgiving & How to Avoid Them

10-12-21    

drunk driving on thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and that means weekend road trips to visit family or friends, cooking and eating lots of tasty food, and for those of us who are of age, indulging in a tipple or two. However, with the promise of merriment comes a darker threat: the day before Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Holiday DUI Season, as well.

In fact, over the past five years, more than 800 people have died during drunk driving accidents over the Thanksgiving weekend alone. This disturbing trend is due to a number of factors.

The Dangers of Holiday Travel

Since millions of Americans return to their hometowns for Thanksgiving, the day before – Thanksgiving Eve – is better known to law enforcement and first responders as “Blackout Wednesday,” because it’s one of the biggest drinking nights of the year. People meet up with friends and family, and since they’re home for the weekend, tend to let loose. Many areas experience a significant uptick in drunk driving cases the night before Thanksgiving.

The sheer number of people on the road is a huge factor in the weekend’s driving dangers: the American Automobile Association estimates that more than 45 million Americans will drive a long distance for Thanksgiving. More cars on the road means more traffic, more congestion, and more opportunities for wrecks, even without factoring in the increase in DUIs.

Compounding both of these factors is the poor weather of the holiday season. For much of America, Ohio included, the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is dark, wet, cold, and icy – all hard driving conditions. And if a driver is buzzed or intoxicated, navigating increased congestion, or both, it’s obvious that their chance for a collision goes way up.

Staying Safe While Visiting Loved Ones

There are a number of ways you can stay safe this holiday season. For starters, practice safe and defensive driving by buckling your seatbelt, driving defensively, and obeying all the rules of the road. If you plan to drink at a party or other get-together, be sure to decide on a designated driver before you go, and hand your keys to your host before you have your first drink.

In addition, you can learn the basics of recognizing a drunk driver, to more easily avoid them. Drunk and impaired drivers tend to do one or more of the following:

  • Make very wide, abrupt, or illegal turns
  • Fail to stay within their lane, either by weaving, swerving, drifting, or straddling
  • Nearly running into the side of the highway or other obstacles
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Responding slowly to signals or other changes in traffic flow
  • Braking erratically, or for no reason
  • Driving without headlights in the dark

If you see a driver exhibiting one of these behaviors, stay away from them as well as you can. If you or a passenger can safely and legally call the police, report the drunk or impaired driver so they will stop endangering themselves and others.

What to Do if You’re in a Drunk Driving Accident This Thanksgiving

If the worst does happen, and you find yourself in an accident with a drunk driver this holiday season, you’ll need a personal injury attorney who can represent your interests against the other person’s insurance. Especially if you or a loved one were injured in the crash, you deserve compensation for your injuries, pain, and suffering. After dealing with a car accident case, you shouldn’t have to worry about your family or medical bills, and we know that here at Rinehardt.

Consult with an Expert Drunk Driving Attorney in Ohio

The team of expert car accident lawyers at the law offices of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys has years of experience litigating accidents involving drunk and impaired drivers, and we’re dedicated to fighting for you in court! Give us a call today for a free consultation with one of our experienced car accident attorneys to see what our individual attention can do for you. As the premier personal injury lawyers of Ohio, we can promise that our Columbus car accident attorneys will fight for you! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, truck accident, or a car crash, the Columbus car accident lawyers here at our law firm will get you the compensation you deserve! You can contact us online for a free legal consultation or you can swing by our Mansfield or Columbus office. Either way, we will help all injury victims get what they deserve to recover from their motor vehicle accident. And remember, don’t drink and drive!


The Impact of a Car Accident vs Truck Accident

09-02-21    

No one wants to be in an automobile accident, whether it be with another passenger car or with a large truck. Both accidents can involve working with law enforcement, dealing with insurance companies, and potential injuries; however, car accidents and large truck accidents are not the same. There are additional factors when there is a collision between a passenger car and a large truck. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced truck accident attorney to help you navigate the difficulties an accident can bring.

flipped red car crash

Severity of the Accident

Truck accidents tend to be more severe than accidents involving multiple passenger cars. Accidents can involve all types of motorists, but when a motorcycle or car is involved in a large truck accident, the results are often catastrophic. Trucks, 18-wheelers, big rigs, tractor-trailers, and semi-trucks are tall, bulky, and significantly heavier than cars. The impact from these types of vehicles is often brutal, resulting in significant damage to the vehicles involved and major, sometimes life-altering, injuries. These injuries often result in high medical bills and ongoing therapy. It is important to have a truck accident attorney represent you to ensure that any offer you receive is the correct amount for the damages and injuries you’ve experienced. 

Understanding the Cause

Car accidents are usually a result of human error; the driver could be speeding or distracted. Truck accidents tend to be caused by other factors, including: 

Driver Fatigue

While there are federal regulations that mandate driver rest breaks and limit driving time, many drivers violate these regulations to meet strict delivery deadlines. This results in driver fatigue, which can cause a truck driver to fall asleep at the wheel, or have slow reaction times causing an accident.

Improper Maintenance

Equipment failure is another common factor in truck accidents. Truck companies and drivers are responsible for maintaining the trucks on the road. Tire blowouts, faulty brakes, and other mechanical failures could mean that the truck company is responsible for the accident. 

Unbalanced Loads

Considering large trucks by definition carry significant loads, the cargo in these trucks must be properly balanced. If a dock worker or logistics company does not load the truck correctly, it can result in an accident. Trucking companies and drivers have a responsibility to inspect their vehicles to ensure appropriate balance at the beginning of a route.

Navigating the Aftermath of a Wreck

car accident doctor

When you get into an accident with a passenger car, you generally only have to deal with the owner of the car and their insurance company. When you are involved in a large truck accident, the truck company gets involved. You won’t just have to navigate the insurance company, you will also be dealing with their lawyers. That’s why it’s important to have a truck accident attorney representing you. We can help by leveling the playing field, so you don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of by an insurance company or any other party.

Available When You Need Us

rinehardt car accident attorneys

Rinehardt Injury Attorneys is the answer to your truck accident. Our team of attorneys and case managers represents clients in Columbus and throughout central and north Ohio. You can contact us online 24/7 or call our office anytime. We offer free initial consultations, and our personal injury clients owe no attorney fees until we secure compensation for their losses. If you have been in a truck accident and need a truck accident attorney, reach out to Rinehardt Injury Attorneys, and let us help you.


4 Common Types of Wrongful Death with Famous Examples

05-04-21    

While any death in the family is extremely hard for families and friends involved, they can be even more complicated when caused by someone else’s ineptitude or carelessness. Wrongful death is a term defined as when an individual’s death is directly caused by the wrongful actions or negligence of a person or business entity.

Wrongful deaths can be determined through numerous factors and situations. The following outlined are the most often committed wrongful death scenarios. Plus, a sneak peek into famous cases where a wrongful death attorney was needed. Wrongful death settlements, are normally in the millions of dollars, regardless of who you are, so, any celebrity wrongful death cases don’t receive special treatment. But we will highlight some cases surrounding them that went down in the history books.

Medical Malpractice

The overwhelming majority of doctors and nurses are highly skilled, however, they’re still human and mistakes do happen. These mistakes can occur when a medical personnel cuts corners, neglects to follow correct procedures, or simply overlooks something completely.

In medical malpractice, the most common wrongful death causes are either a misdiagnosis of a condition or a failure to diagnose a particular condition. Surgical errors or mishaps when treating conditions are also common causes of wrongful death in medicine.

Famous Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases:

  • Hulk Hogan: Sued for malpractice involving unnecessary spine surgery
  • John Ritter: Family sued the hospital for wrongful death
  • Andy Warhol: Doctors overloaded him with fluids
  • Michael Jackson: The doctor helped him overdose on a cocktail of drugs including propofol

Car Accidents

Car accidents are actually the most common cause of wrongful death because of the sheer number of drivers, how often people drive, and the risks involved. 

The grand majority of car accident fatalities are the result of driver’s negligence, whether it be speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or not paying attention to the road. If any of these negligent conditions apply, the driver can be liable for the deaths of anyone else involved in the accident.

If the accident occurred due to issues with the road, then the city or county could be liable. There are even such situations in which an accident occurred and neither driver was negligent, although these are rare wrongful death cases.

Famous Wrongful Death lawsuits from Car Accidents

  • Venus Williams – In 2018, Venus Williams was in a car crash at a Palm Beach Gardens intersection where the passenger in the car that hit her passed away. His wife had been driving the car that hit Williams. Jerome Barson died two weeks later. Barson’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Williams. However, the surveillance footage of the intersection was reviewed, and Williams wasn’t in violation of any laws. The case was dismissed.

  • Actor Paul Walker’s Daughter Settles With Porsche – In October 2017, the daughter of late Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker settled her wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche. Walker was driving a Porsche Carrera GT when he collided with a tree in Santa Clarita on the night of November 30, 2013. The car caught fire and both Walker and Roger Rodas, the car’s driver, died at the scene.

Meadow Walker’s wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche alleged that the car’s engine and lack of safety features prevented her father from getting out of the crash alive. The lawsuit said the actor was trapped because of the vehicle’s seat belt design and was alive for a minute and 20 seconds after the collision before the car caught fire. Meadow Walker and Porsche decided to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.

Defective Products aka Product Liability Cases

If a person dies because of using a defective product, the manufacturer of the product is then held liable. Product liability is one of the reasons why manufacturers spend so much time testing products to make sure they’re safe. Some common examples of this type of wrongful death include defective pharmaceutical products, toxic food products, unsafe children’s products, and defective automobiles.

Some of the Biggest Recent Product Liability Cases

Since 2018, there have been product liability cases that have paid out billions of dollars to claimants. These include cases against:

  • Bayer and Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, which contains cancer-causing glyphosate
  • Johnson & Johnson’s talc products, which contain traces of toxic asbestos
  • Hoffmann-LaRoche’s acne drug Accutane, which failed to warn of possible gastrointestinal side-effects
  • Pacific Gas & Electric’s utility equipment, which caused fires that killed dozens of people.

Accidents at Work

Higher-risk occupations such as dangerous manual labor and construction jobs have higher instances of workplace fatalities, but a wrongful death can occur at the office or outside work if the employer has put an employee in a dangerous situation. One example of an accident happening outside of work is a nurse who was forced to work multiple 12-hour shifts and then ended up in a fatal car accident on the way home due to exhaustion.

5 of the worst workplace disasters in History
  • The Halifax Explosion – 2,000 dead, 9,000 injured

On the morning of the 6th December 1917, in Halifax, Canada, the world bore witness to the largest man-made pre-atomic explosion in history.

  • The Bhopal Gas Leak – Up to 16,000 dead

The Bhopal disaster took place on the night of the 2nd of December 1984 at Union Carbide India Limited. Union Carbide India was a pesticide plant located in Bhopal and this disaster is considered to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.

  • The Sinking of the Titanic – 1,503 dead

On the night of the 14th of April, 1912 the RMS Titanic, otherwise known as the unsinkable ship, hit an iceberg and sunk on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic ocean. In total 1,503 people died in the incident out of the 2,208 passengers and crew.

  • Honkeiko Colliery Mining Disaster – 1,549 dead

This disaster took place on April 26, 1942, during the height of WW2, in the Japanese captured Honkeiko Colliery Coal Mine in the eastern Liaoning province in China. On that day there was a gas explosion in one of the shafts beginning what would be known as the worst mining disaster of all time.

 


Common Causes of Car Crashes in Ohio

12-29-20    

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there have been, year to date, 218,981 crashes in the state of Ohio. Of those accidents, 35,885, unfortunately, resulted in injuries or death. When compared to 2019, it appears there has been a significant drop in crashes and injuries this year, but do not be fooled, this decrease is largely due to stay-at-home orders and businesses working from home, not because people have become safer drivers. 

During the height of nationwide lockdowns, March-May on average saw two-hundred fewer accidents a month. Having said that, two-hundred thousand accidents to date is still substantial. Additionally, even with the lockdown orders, there have been 1,161 who have died in a car accident this year, or 67 more than 2019, with the majority taking place in Franklin and Cuyahoga county, the two most populous counties in the state.

Unsurprisingly, alcohol was the single largest contributing factor to fatal accidents year over year. 28% of all fatalities and 4.2% of all crashes involved alcohol-impaired drivers. While alcohol was one of the largest contributors to fatalities, speeding was one of the largest contributors to wrecks across the state, with 26,300 incidents related. Below are the next top four causes of car crashes in Ohio:

Failure to Yield – The failure to yield is defined as a driver not yielding or stopping for a vehicle or pedestrian that has the right of way. These accidents can often be deadly and are normally the reason for a car being “t-boned”. 28,800 accidents have been caused by people failing to give the right of way.

Commercial Related – A commercial related accident describes an accident that involves someone carrying goods or a fare-paying persons. These accidents commonly involve 18 wheelers and can often be deadly. Over 12,500 accidents this year can be categorized as commercially related. 

Operating a Vehicle while Impaired (OVI) – When people think of impaired driving they may immediately think of drunk drivers. Few people remember that driving on certain over-the-counter medications, such as Benadryl, can actually cause you to become impaired, in addition to other drugs like marijuana. With around 11,500 accidents attributed to impairment, as the legalization of mentally impairing drugs continue, we can expect to see this number rise.

Deer-Related – 15,375 accidents this year are directly related to deer. Did you know that annually deer cause over one billion dollars in vehicle damage? While not all accidents with deer can be avoided, drowsiness, or distracted driving sometimes leads to slow response time and contribute to these accidents.

Contact the Experienced Car Wreck Lawyers at Rinehardt Injury Attorneys 

One person is injured every six minutes in Ohio due to a car accident. If you or a loved one were involved in an accident and are unsure what to do next, we recently wrote a blog answering questions related to what you should do after being involved in an accident. While our offices are located in Mansfield and Columbus, we proudly represent all of Ohio, so if you’re in need of representation or have any questions please contact us today.

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We’re here to help you and your family get back on track after an accident. Reach out to us today for a free case evaluation.