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New Braunfels personal injury attorneyStatistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicate that over 5,000 trucks and buses are involved in fatal accidents each year. Some of these involve unsecured loads. Why are they so dangerous, what does the law say about unsecured loads, and what can you do if you or a family member is injured or killed in such an accident?

Examining the Catastrophic Nature of Unsecured Loads

Unsecured loads have always been a problem, but it was not until the catastrophic injury of a young Washington woman that it gained national attention almost a decade ago. While driving down Interstate 405 in Washington State, a piece of unsecured furniture fell from a U-Haul truck and hit the young woman’s windshield. The injury that resulted left her permanently blind. To date, she has undergone seven reconstructive surgeries and years of physical therapy.

Others have faced similar and even more frightening injuries. Victims have died from debris going through their windshields. Many have endured catastrophic and sometimes fatal auto accidents because an item has fallen from a truck and into their path. In short, unsecured loads present a serious threat to every road user, and it should never happen.

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New Braunfels personal injury lawyerAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive alcohol use in the U.S. cost the county almost a quarter trillion dollars in 2010—the last year for which statistics have been made widely available. This number included costs caused by a loss in workplace productivity, health care, criminal justice, and alcohol-related car accidents. Alcohol is often a factor in personal injury law cases, and many who are injured in alcohol-related accidents are eligible to receive compensation.

Alcohol-Related Injuries

Although many people use alcohol responsibly, alcohol is a very powerful drug. When a person consumes alcohol, their body is affected in several significant ways. Their reaction time is often decreased and reflexes may become slower, their vision may become distorted or blurry, their ability to concentrate may be diminished, and they may find it hard to coordinate their movements. These side effects of alcohol make a person much more susceptible to injury.

Sometimes alcohol-related injuries are caused by something as simple as slipping and falling. This often happens in dimly lit bars or other places where alcohol is served and could be spilled. When a person has been drinking, he or she is less likely to be able to react to a slip as quickly as he or she might have been able to while sober. This makes serious injury a higher risk than if the person had not been drinking.

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New Braunfels personal injury lawyerThe trucking industry transports goods across the country and brings in billions of dollars of revenue each year, yet it also causes a great deal of harm to other drivers. In fact, estimates from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) show that nearly half a million truck crashes occur each year. Over 4,000 of these crashes cause at least one death, while approximately 100,000 such wrecks cause injuries to at least one person. Why do so many large truck crashes happen, and what can victims do to ensure they are compensated for their losses?

Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

While there are many potential reasons why a truck accident may occur, many crashes could be prevented if truck drivers avoided certain behaviors. According to data from the FMCSA, the most common factors in tractor-trailer accidents include:

New Braunfels personal injury attorneyWe have all done it. You are driving along the highway when your phone rings. You know you should ignore the incessant ringing until you are not driving, but temptation wins, and you reach for your phone. Distractions such as cell phones contribute to nearly 80 percent of car crashes, according to some estimates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 3,000 lives are lost in accidents involving a distracted driver each year. If you have been in a car accident caused by a driver who was not paying attention or was distracted, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

Distractions Which Can Cause Traffic Accidents

For many, driving a motor vehicle becomes second nature. Although most people exhibit cautious behavior when they are first learning to drive, after a while, many people become careless regarding safe driving habits. About 2 percent of all distracted driver traffic fatalities are caused simply by drivers who take their hands off the wheel to adjust the radio or climate controls. Driving with other people in the vehicle can be a major source of distraction as well. About 5 percent of traffic fatalities in relation to distracted driving are attributed to the passengers in the car. This phenomenon is especially true of teenage drivers. Research shows that when a teen drives with two or more passengers, the likelihood that they will be involved in a fatal car accident increases by a factor of five.

Mental Distractions Are Just as Dangerous as Physical Distractions

Some may assume that if they wait until they are no longer driving to check their text messages or change the radio station that they avoid the dangers of distracted driving. However, experts say that distractions outside of the car can be dangerous too. About 7 percent of distracted driver fatalities are caused by people or other distractions outside of the vehicle. The leading cause of distracted driving car accidents is simply drivers who are lost in thought. Research shows that over half of distracted driving accidents—about 62 percent—are caused by daydreaming.

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New Braunfels personal injury lawyerWhen you file a personal injury lawsuit against another person or entity for injuries that you have sustained, the proceedings will take place in two parts. The first part involves determining liability for your injuries. Sometimes, doing so is relatively easy—such as in a car accident where one driver was 100 percent at fault—while in other cases, assigning liability can be a bit more complicated.

The second part of a personal injury claim involves calculating damages, which can also become extremely complex depending on the nature of your injuries and other considerations for which you are seeking compensation. During the second phase of your claim, documentation will be extremely important, and it is largely up to you to keep a comprehensive record of your losses so that you can be compensated appropriately.

Organizing Medical Records

Certain types of documentation can actually play a significant role in both phases of your injury claim—medical records are among the most crucial. Your medical records will contain the most complete information available regarding the treatment you have received and the nature of your injuries. Your providers can also include their opinions regarding what caused your injuries and your long-term prognosis for recovery. If your claim eventually finds its way into the courtroom, your medical records could be the key to winning your case.

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