Have You Had a Run In With An Uninsured Motorist?

Anyone who owns or operates a vehicle knows how important insurance is, and is probably familiar with the requirements that mandate certain amounts of coverage in their particular state. These rules were put into effect to help protect innocent victims from experiencing devastating financial losses should they become affected by a person who does not have proper insurance coverage. While good in theory, insurance laws still have a number of loopholes that people are able to utilize, which results in serious consequences for many people on a yearly basis.

Today, even with strict insurance laws in place, it is estimated that more than sixty million people in the United States are still either underinsured or completely uninsured. While many people are blaming not having adequate coverage, and the minimum amount of coverage required by law on the economy and monetary reasons, the truth is, this issue is one that has been around for years. That being said, the down turn in the economy in recent years has only perpetuated this issue, and has led to higher numbers of motorists taking the gamble of not being caught by dropping their coverage.

An uninsured or underinsured motorist can make things quite difficult should you find yourself in an accident. Whether the accident involves a personal car, truck, or other type of motor vehicle, if you find yourself involved with a person without adequate coverage you are the one left holding the bag for all of your damages, including medical expenses. This is the case even when the accident is not your fault. The result can be extremely expensive and lead to big problems that can be devastating.

One way to help protect yourself is to purchase extra insurance yourself, which is commonly referred to as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The laws surrounding this type of coverage do vary a bit from state to state, but essentially it allows you to purchase a particular level of protection from your own insurance company for any damages or medical expenses that may be in excess of the amount that you can recover from the motorist who is uninsured or underinsured.

Should you find yourself in the position of needing to execute this line of coverage, a claim against your own insurance company is filed, using your own policy, for the precise type of damage you would needed to recover. This is done much the same way it would be done if you were to seek compensation from the other motorist’s insurance policy, and covers damages such as property damages, medical bills, and lost wages.

Because insurance companies are notorious for making processes difficult and drawn out, utilizing this coverage is not as easy as you may think. Even if a claim is eventually paid, insurance companies may choose to cancel your policy which can make getting insurance in the future quite difficult. This only adds insult to injury should the accident not be your fault in the first place. In any case that damage has been done because of an accident, especially one that involves an uninsured or underinsured motorist and will require the use of your own insurance policy; it is wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. He or she is quite skilled with dealing with insurance companies and can walk you through every step of the process.

If you decide to take the risk yourself and not purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage on your personal policy, you are taking a gamble that can be truly devastating should you have an accident. Many people believe they can waive this option as long as they drive in a very cautious manner. They believe that saving this small amount yearly on their personal policy is more important than the extra level of protection this coverage provides. Unfortunately, even if you drive more carefully and do everything right on your end, you still cannot control outside forces and you cannot protect yourself from reckless or negligent driving by others that are on the roads with you on a daily basis.

If you or someone you know has been injured in any type of accident that involves an underinsured or uninsured motorist, you should not delay in contacting a personal injury attorney. The laws surrounding these types of cases do vary somewhat from state to state, and some states do not allow these claims to be settled in a court of law. Instead, they are to be dealt with through mandatory arbitration and must be settled based upon policy provisions. Since there are also statutes of limitations that are enforced, as well as precise filing guidelines, it is never wise to try to handle these cases on your own.

A personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of uninsured and underinsured motorists can help you to find the best possible means of recovery, and can handle your claim on your behalf so that you will receive the best possible payout. These cases are often handled separately from the actual accident claim, and vary from standard accident cases. It is not uncommon for multiple petitions to be filed, one for insurance, one for injuries, and one for property damages. It may also require civil litigation and/or criminal litigation depending on the precise circumstances involved.

Personal injury attorneys often work on a contingency basis, which means that you do not have to pay anything upfront to get your claim started. This will allow you to focus on the details of your case, as well as your personal recovery without the added worry of how to pay your legal bills. This can go a long way toward making the process flow smoothly on all sides.

Insurance companies have teams of attorneys working hard on their side to protect their interests and to pay out as little as possible. Do not take the chance of becoming a victim twice. A personal injury attorney will work hard for you in order to protect your future, and get you the compensation you truly deserve.

When Applying For Lawsuit Loans, Clarify Whether You Are Wearing Your Seatbelt

We all regret the number of lives lost each and every year due to injuries sustained in car crashes. They are certainly tragic, irrespective of the reasons behind them. It is important to note that it is estimated that 83% of the deaths occurring annually may be prevented by the proper use of seat belts and airbags. If you’re considering obtaining either lawsuit loans or settlement loans, it is important to clearly identify whether you were utilizing such a restraint at the time of the crash.

Every time we get behind the wheel of an automobile, we risk injuring others, as well as ourselves. It is very important that we utilize due-diligence when we are on the road. With the increased number of vehicles occupying the roadway, as well as an increasing number of elderly individuals driving on those roadways, the need to be observant when we are driving has never been more crucial.

Unfortunately, many times we get behind the wheel of a car and take very little thought of the possibility of an injury occurring. Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, were able to to travel to and from our destination without incident. This may result in a lackadaisical approach to understanding the importance of utilizing your seatbelts and the importance of having an airbag that is functional in your vehicle.

Why would it be important to notify individuals whether you actually utilize your seatbelt in a car crash that occurred if you’re applying for either a lawsuit loan or a settlement loan? There are numerous reasons this would be important to take into consideration. However, one of the most important reasons will be the extent to which you exercised due-diligence when you’re on the roadway and the degree to which you attempted to mitigate damages sustained. This will also be an important factor with respect to other occupants of that vehicle involved in the crash. This is particularly true with all minors.

It is also important for you to notify your physician about whether you were wearing any type of a restraint at the time of the incident. There is a lot of information that a competent physician is able to glean from knowing whether such a restraint was used. For example, injuries sustained in a car crash by those who do not wear a seatbelt are often much more severe than those who do wear a seatbelt. Furthermore, individuals who wear a shoulder harness are much less likely to sustain some the shearing forces that will affect those individuals who merely employ a seat restraint. Although, airbags can be extremely helpful even in those instances in which only a seat restraint is used.

Always be truthful with those individuals who will be representing you in your lawsuit. This is true regarding your physician, your attorney, and those from whom you seek either a lawsuit loan or a settlement loan. Remember, lawsuit loans and settlement loans are non-recourse. Such funding will be reviewed very carefully. Any attempts to misrepresent the circumstances surrounding the car crash are likely to result in a denial of any request for litigation funding.

Practical Tips to Obtain Defendant Driver’s Cell Phone Records In Car Accident Injury Lawsuits

Background: using cell phones while driving is an inherently unsafe: Everyone knows now that it is unsafe to drink and drive, but the effects of cell phone use while driving are perhaps even more devastating, because the use of cell phones while driving is so wide-spread. According to the a National Safety Council fact sheet, drivers using cell phones account for nearly 25 percent of all motor vehicle crashes annually. In fact, research has shown that driving while using a cell phone is comparable to the devastating effects that alcohol causes to the motoring public. See, A Comparison of the Cell Phone Driver and the Drunk Driver, Human Factors, Vol. 48, No. 2, Summer 2006, pp. 381-391. Sadly, 81 percent of driver have admitted to using a cell phone while driving, according to the National Safety Council fact sheet.

In bringing your motions to compel cell phone records, it is important to bring the above-referenced documents to the attention of the judge hearing your motion. It is also crucial to let juries know of these dangers, because it will affect how the jury views the defendant’s conduct, even in cases where the defense admits to liability in a rear-end collision. It is not enough to stipulate to liability and let the defendant escape accountability to the jury for the despicable nature of using a cell phone while driving. If our firm finds out that the defendant was using a cell phone, we will attach a punitive damages cause of action to the complaint, alleging that doing so was despicable conduct within the meaning of Civil Code section 3294. If you have clear facts showing that there was cell phone usage, by all means, include a punitive damages allegation with the original complaint, so that you are not forced to make a motion to amend your complaint to allege punitive damages.

Don’t get timed out: It is important to recognize the key defense that the defendants possess and neutralize that defense immediately: timing. It can often take 6 months or more to get cell phone records from the time that you first notice the deposition duces tecum until you have the records in your hands. In most aspects of a personal injury case, the defense will try to stall and delay the case until it is time for trial, and discovery has closed, leaving the plaintiff with holes in her case. That is particularly true with cell phone records. The defendant will claim to have forgotten his cell phone number and the name of his cell phone carrier. He will claim to have lost his cell phone records. The cell phone carrier will throw up road blocks, too. In most cases, the judge won’t let you get the cell phone records from the carrier until you have demonstrated due diligence in getting the records from the defendant himself.

As you will see in this article and the associated subsequent articles, there is a long process for seeking these documents through written depositions, written discovery, meet-and-confer letters, amended responses by the defense, followed by more meet-and-confer letters, and ultimately, your motion to compel. If you don’t lay the foundation, or move too quickly, the discovery judge will deny your motion to compel. So be sure to build into your discovery plan ample time to go through the whole process. Compelling cell phone records is like baking a layer cake; you have to build it one layer at a time.

Also, keep in mind that if you want to amend your complaint to allege punitive damages, California Rules of Court, Rule 3.1324, will require you to demonstrate good cause why your motion was not brought earlier. Don’t hand the defense an easy escape due to lack of diligence in bringing the motion to amend the complaint to allege punitive damages pursuant to Civil Code section 3294.

Start your hunt right away: Look for indications of cell phone usage on the part of the defense very early on in the case. Start with the intake with your client. Include a question about cell phone usage on the part of both your client and the defense in your intake questionnaire.

If your client knows that the defendant was using their cell phone, your client will usually tell you, because by now most people are aware that using a cell phone while driving is despicable conduct, particularly if the defendant was not using the phone in a hands-free way. If you client does not mention cell phone usage, be sure to ask your client about cell phone usage in the same way that you would screen for drunk driving, because, as mentioned above, cell phones are the new drunk driving and can change the entire course of the litigation, as we will see. Insurers are willing to waive liability and settle early where their insureds were using their cell phones at the time of the collision in the same way that they do with drunk driving cases.

Sometimes clients will have seen the defendant on their cell phone a few minutes before the incident happened, for example, if they were passing the defendant and were later rear-ended by the defendant, so probe your client’s memory as to the first time that they saw the defendant, and think about if they saw any signs of the defendant using the cell phone.

After speaking with your client, think about other sources of information about the collision. Look at the police report, of course, to see if the reporting officer noted cell phone use. Contact all of the witnesses listed in the report to see if they noticed the defendant using a cell phone. Be sure to ask your clients and the witnesses if they saw the defendant appearing to speak to himself, because even hands-free driving is distracted driving, and the above-cited studies show that a driver’s response time is reduced even with hands-free usage. As if they saw the defendant gesturing while driving, because of course many people will gesture with their hands while on the phone.

Even if your client and the witnesses are unable to state that they saw direct evidence of cell phone usage, such as the defendant holding a cell phone to his ear or talking to no one while driving alone, it is possible to infer cell phone usage where the defendant has no logical story to explain their odd driving behavior. For example, if your client sees the vehicle coming up on them from behind and failing to slow down, your client might not have time to focus their gaze on the driver before impact, but the fact that the driver doesn’t slow down is a flag indicating that the driver was distracted. Weaving is of course another example of distracted driving, as is odd variations in speed. You will need all of these facts to persuade a discovery judge that there are some indicia of distracted driving before the judge will let you compel the defendant’s cell phone records.

File suit early: If you see flags indicated distracted driving, file suit immediately. You will need to begin the process of investigation through formal discovery immediately, because insurers are going to fight this discovery battle tooth and nail, as they are aware that the public is disgusted with distracted driving, and that distracted driving will open up their insured’s personal assets, creating a conflict. Of course, it is exactly this kind of conflict that you want to create for the purpose of leveraging a decent settlement for your client.

If you see flags indicating distracted driving, consider serving a deposition notice on the defendant 20 days after service is effected on them, pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.210(b) which provides in pertinent part as follows:

2025.210(b) The plaintiff may serve a deposition notice without leave of court on any date that is 20 days after the service of the summons on, or appearance by, any defendant. On motion with or without notice, the court, for good cause shown, may grant to a plaintiff leave to serve a deposition notice on an earlier date.

The prevailing wisdom is that you should serve form interrogatories by mail after receiving the defendant’s answer, but it is exactly that kind of supposed “common sense” that you want to avoid in these cases. You want to send the defense a signal that you are different, and they should not expect “the usual” from you in any aspect of this case. It also sends the defense a signal that you are not going to permit them to enjoy their primary defense tactic, that of stall and delay. This practice also gives you access to the defendant before the defense adjuster and defense attorney have had extra time to help the defendant formulate false testimony. In their haste to prepare an answer, the defense might not have time to screen the defendant for cell phone usage, and so the defendant might be unwary of the need to prevaricate about his cell phone usage.

After serving the complaint and summons, fax and mail the defense adjuster to let them know that service has been effected, and let them know that you expect a timely answer to the complaint. Then serve the deposition notice, and again fax and mail the defense with a letter saying that you expect the defendant to appear on the date noticed for the deposition. Make sure that you give yourself enough time to actually get the deposition notice served. Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.270(a) requires 10 days’ notice.

The defense attorney will likely phone you to say that there is a conflict in their schedule, but you should politely and persistently insist on an early deposition for the defendant. When the defense attorney asks what the rush is all about, tell them that it is the plaintiff’s job to move the ball, and that the defense should expect to see this pace continued all throughout the case. Do not, of course, talk about your interest in getting discovery of cell phone usage at this point. The defense will not understand why you are pushing the case so quickly, and it will make them start to question their assumptions about what is “normal” in a case, including their “usual” evaluation of the ultimate case value.

The purloined letter, hidden in plain view: You are going to want to include a duces tecum demand with your deposition notice. In that duces tecum demand, you are going to want to ask for cell phone records. Be sure to bury the request for the cell phone records in the middle of the demand somewhere, well after the usual request for photographs and statements of the plaintiff and witnesses, etc, unless you have alleged punitive damages in your complaint, in which case the cell phone usage will be front and center. Be sure to serve along with the deposition subpoena set of form interrogatories, a standard request for production of documents, a set of specially-prepared interrogatories, if that is needed in your case, and a request for admissions. All of these documents can be served any time that is 10 days after service of the summons on the defendant. See C.C.P. sections 2030.020, 2031.020, and 2033.020, respectively.

It is important to serve a standard set of requests for admissions, along with the deposition notice and the other documents. The requests for admissions should certainly ask the defendant to admit the facts of liability from your client’s perspective, and should ask them to admit the ultimate fact that the defendant is at fault for causing the collision. This is particularly true if the case is a rear-ender, because the defense attorney will oppose the motion to compel cell phone records on the basis of that the cell phones are not relevant in a rear-end collision. When the defendant denies liability in the request for admissions, as they inevitably will, you now have ammunition to show the discovery judge that liability is disputed, and therefore the cell phone records will go to the issue of fault.

Be thorough in deposing the defendant on how the collision happened: If you have spotted one of the flags of distracted driving, typically the defendant will not admit cell phone use. You will need to first lay the foundation for the erratic driving. Be sure to begin the deposition with a benign tone toward the deponent. Don’t clue them into the fact that you are going to press them later in the deposition, because they will become defensive, and they won’t give you the key facts that lay the foundation for the flags of distracted driving.

The defendant will typically admit that they rear-ended your client, if that is the case, but they will gloss over the facts leading up to the impact. You will definitely want to ask them when it was that they noticed that your client was stopped, and what they did to avoid the collision. You can ask them lead-in questions such as “it sounds like you were a bit distracted” or “it sounds like your attention drifted off of the road for a little bit.” Then, ask them if their windows in the car were rolled up or rolled down. Ask them if their radio was playing. Ask them if they had some trouble keeping their vehicle in their lane.

Then ask them if they were using their cell phone at the time of the collision. If they say no, ask them when the last time was that they used their cell phone before the collision. Ask them where they kept their cell phone. Was it attached to their belt? Was it in a purse or brief case? If there were other occupants in the defendants’ vehicle, be sure to set their depositions for a time immediately following the defendant’s deposition, so that the defendant will be clued into the fact that his fabrications might be contradicted by other sworn testimony.

Sample duces tecum demand in commercial driving cases: You can count on the defendant to be evasive in deposition. It is not uncommon for the defendant to say that they don’t remember their cell phone number or the name of their cell phone carrier! If that is the case, you will need to make sure that you have requested collision reports and bills of lading applicable to the shipment that the defendant was carrying, in case the driver’s cell phone number is there. Here is some language that would cover those items:

All written collision reports prepared by defendant Donald T. Driver pertaining to the subject collision.

All drivers’ time sheets, log books (regardless of form) involved in recording the subject tractor truck’s usage and mileage by all drivers in the 72 hours prior to the subject collision.

Don’t assume that the defense attorney will object to the collision report prepared by the driver. It might be that the defense attorney will need to use the collision report to refresh the recollection of the driver, and so might give up the collision report, rather than argue that it was an attorney-client communication prepared by the driver for the insurance adjuster to prepare for litigation.

Sample language for special interrogatories seeking the defendants’ cell phone info: If the defendant claims in deposition to have forgotten their cell phone number or the name of their carrier, you will need to serve specially-prepared interrogatories to elicit that information. Here are some sample questions:

State the name of all mobile telephone carriers used by defendant Donald T. Driver on the date of the subject incident which is the subject of this lawsuit.

State the name of any mobile telephone carrier with whom defendant Donald T. Driver had a contract for mobile telephone service on the date of the subject which is the subject of this lawsuit.

State the mobile telephone number(s) of any mobile telephone(s) for which defendant Donald T. Driver had active service on the date of the subject incident.

State the name of the mobile telephone carrier providing service for each of the mobile telephone numbers for which defendant Donald T. Driver had active service on the date of the subject incident.

State the mobile telephone number(s) of any active mobile telephone(s) provided to defendant Donald T. Driver by his employer on the date of the subject incident.

State the name of the mobile telephone carrier providing service for each of the mobile telephone numbers provided to defendant Donald T. Driver by his employer on the date of the subject incident.

Was defendant Donald T. Driver using a mobile telephone for driving directions at the time of the subject collision?

Was defendant Donald T. Driver using a mobile telephone for voice communications at the time of the subject collision?

Was defendant Donald T. Driver using a mobile telephone for text communications at the time of the subject collision?

Was defendant Donald T. Driver using a mobile telephone for any purpose at the time of the subject collision?

When was the last time before the subject collision that defendant Donald T. Driver used a mobile telephone for any purpose?

IDENTIFY the last person that defendant Donald T. Driver spoke with by mobile telephone preceding the subject collision?

As used in these interrogatories, “IDENTIFY” means to provide the name, address, and a telephone number of the person to be identified.

Sample language requesting cell phone records: Below is an example of language that you can use in requesting cell phone records. Be sure to include questions that are both narrowly directed to the time of the collision, as well as questions that are broader, so that the defense won’t say that they don’t have records which are precisely that exact. Bear in mind that the defendant will typically say that they are not in the possession, custody, and control of the requested records. Your primary purpose in requesting these records is to demonstrate to the discovery judge that it will be necessary to compel the defendant to sign a release of records, because the defendant will, by that time, have answered these questions saying that they don’t have possession of the records. In most cases, the only custodian of the records will be the carriers, but you have to set up the defendant by asking these questions first.

Produce all contracts for the delivery of mobile telephony service entered into between defendant Donald T. Driver and any mobile telephony carrier which was in effect at the time of the subject collision.

Produce all contracts for the delivery of mobile telephony service entered into between defendant Donald T. Driver’s employer and any mobile telephony carrier which provided service for defendant Donald T. Driver’s use in effect at the time of the subject collision.

Produce any and all billing statements in the possession, custody or control of the responding defendants for mobile telephony service used by defendant Donald T. Driver for mobile telephony service which was in effect for the billing period which covered the date of service for May 1, 2008 [insert the date of your subject collision].

Produce any and all billing statements covering the period of 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. on the day of the subject collision for mobile telephony service used by defendant Donald T. Driver.

You are going to have to customize the language above to fit your case. If the collision happened at 12:00 noon, for example, you will want to go back to 10:00 a.m. and forward to 2:00 p.m. to make sure that you get the data for the subject call, in case the parties or the reporting police officer got the time of the collision a bit off.

Conclusion: It may be a long haul to get cell phone records in car accident litigation, start now: You can count on both the defendant and the defense attorney to fight tooth and nail to prevent you from getting your hands on the requested cell phone records. Start your hunt early, or you will find that you are right up against the discovery cut-off without your records, or without adequate time to amend your complaint to allege punitive damages.

New York Speeding Ticket Costs

A New York Speeding Ticket Can Be Very Costly

You are running late to an appointment. You press on the gas pedal and try to steal a few minutes by speeding. After reviewing the fines and points for speeding tickets, you will agree that a New York speeding ticket is too costly and that it is wise to contact a New York traffic lawyer.

If you are ticketed for driving up to 10 mph over the speeding limit, the fine is up to $150. Speeding between 10 mph and 30 mph over the posted limit may bring you a fine of up to $300. If you are convicted for travelling more than 30 mph over the speed limit, the fine may cost you up to $600. A ticket for “speed not reasonable and prudent” carries a maximum fine of $150.

It is important to note that the above fines do not include the state surcharge which is either $80 or $85 depending on the court.

The amount of the fine varies depending on a number of factors:

· If you have more than one speeding conviction within 18 months, the amount of the fine increases.

· Three convictions for speeding (or two work zone speeding convictions) in 18 months result in your license being suspended.

· The location of the speeding ticket impacts the amount of the fine. For example, school zones, restricted highway or work zones can have higher fines.

Accumulate 6 points within 18 months and you will have to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment of $100 per year for 3 years and $25 per year for three years for each point over 6.

These fines and surcharges don’t even take into account the increase in insurance premiums that you can experience.

The amount of points that are tacked to your driving to your NY record driving for every NY speeding ticket is important. A motorist ticketed for driving 1- 10 mph over the limit is given 3 points. A violation of 11-20 mph over the limit results in 4 points on your driver record. A conviction for speeding 21 -30 mph over the limit lands 6 points on your DMV record. 11 points are tacked on your record for a ticket for more than 40 mph over the limit.

It is noteworthy that if you accumulate more than 11 points in 18 months, the DMV may suspend your driving privileges. In addition, points amassed from tickets in other jurisdictions will also apply in NY.

Tucson DUI Attorney – A Savior in Impaired Judgment Driving Offence

Driving under the influence precisely DUI is a traffic offence which is treated under different state laws in the United States of America. In the State of Arizona, DUI is categorized and penalized under the state law which defines different types of penalties under different categories of offenses which a person is charged with. There are three major categories, which, an offender is always charged against. There can be different penalties based on the severity of the charges filed against the offender. In any sort of charges, a Tucson DUI Attorney is the best survivor to get your due right.

Categories of Offences

There are three major classifications of DUI offences which are normally charged against the offender; the offender can be charged with one, two are all three categories under the impaired physical and judgment conditions of the offender at time of scrutiny and tests.

Category-A

It is unlawful to either drive or take control of motor car under the influence of intoxicating liquor, drugs, vapors or any combination of the three. Above mentioned factors impair your judgments and driving under influence of the same will be prosecuted.

Category-B

It is unlawful to drive or take control of motor car, if blood alcohol concentration ‘BAC’ is 0.8 percent or higher, the driver will be handcuffed under this category.

Category-C

Offender can be charged with this category of offences, if driver or person who controls the motor is found with BAC level of 0.15 percent or more within 2 hours of driving.

All of above mentioned categories are charged on certain tests made by the officer who suspects the driver of being under influence; in such conditions it is very difficult for a common person to defend his/her position. Tucson DUI attorneys are the best and well qualified person to contact to. Attorney should always be approachable to cope with such situations to avert any prolonged stay in jails and weakening the position of defense against the charges filed by the prosecution. There are certain good reasons to hire a better attorney, few of them are; he always keeps himself/herself well aware of the rules and changes of the same, he/she is well acquainted with State laws and rights of a person, a better bargaining of bail out amount in the court and many more.

A good Tucson DUI attorney always knows the better way outs for any sort of offenses charged against his or her client in the court. He/she would be in very good position to advise the client about the possibilities of the cases and work out in proper direction to materialize the case winning chances. Above all, Tucson DUI attorney knows all weak and strong points of the cases to reach at desirable results.

Truckers Offer Safety Tips for Holiday Season

The Thanksgiving holiday is the busiest travel time of the year, with people moving all around the country returning home to visit friends and family. With so many people taking to the road at once, the number of accidents is bound to increase. With this in mind, the American Trucking Association has released guidelines to help keep drivers safe. Called the “Share the Road” campaign, it’s an effort to give drivers an understanding of how to keep safe when driving around tractor trailers, and how to keep your family safe this holiday season.

The truck drivers who speak during Share the Road events are truckers who are million-mile accident free truckers, meaning they have driven over one million miles in their careers without an accident. They are recognized as some of the safest drivers in their field. During the year, these truckers travel to schools and communities, speaking about their experience driving a truck and giving people a first-hand account of what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a big rig.

In fact, one of the activities they allow the students to do is to literally sit behind the wheel of a big rig, checking out the mirrors and seeing exactly how far blind spots extend. Drivers can take for granted that trucks can see them, without having an idea just how little visibility those truckers have in the cab. This exercise gives the person a real-life look at just what the driver can (and can’t) see.

Even without this first-hand knowledge of sitting behind the wheel, there are certain things that drivers can do to make sure truckers can see them. Share the Road offers an instructional video to educate the public. Some tips they offer:

  • Make sure you can see the truck driver’s face in the mirror. If you can see the trucker’s eyes, that means the trucker can see you. If the trucker’s face is not visible, however, you should move out of that blind spot into a safe zone where you are visible to the trucker.
  • Never pass on the right-hand side. The blind spot for a tractor trailer is much larger on the passenger side of the truck. The passenger side blind spot can extend three lanes wide and the length of the truck. If it is unavoidable and you must pass on the right side of the truck, do not linger in the blind spot.
  • Make sure you can see both truck headlights in the rear view mirror before pulling in front of the truck. A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is equivalent to 25 cars. Because of this increased weight, it can take trucks 300 feet, the length of a football field, to come to a complete stop. If a driver pulls in front of the truck too closely and then has to stop suddenly, the trucker may not be able to stop in time, causing serious injury driver of the car it has just rear-ended.

By following these tips, families can have safe, happy holiday seasons.

The Advantages Of Hiring a DUI Lawyer Versus Defending Yourself

Getting DUI or a DWI can be a very costly thing, and can become more burdensome if you do not hire a competent attorney that is skilled in these matters.

It is important to hire an attorney who knows his or her way around the DUI courtroom because this person is most likely already familiar with the courtroom which you are about to spend a lot of time in, and possibly the police officers and judge as well. Having this upper hand can help for the process to flow smoothly and with the least amount of bumps as possible. Even if you do not want to end up going to a trial, a knowledgeable attorney is needed in making things go as quickly as possible with the least amount of jail time and fees added onto your sentence.

Having an experienced DUI lawyer is also beneficial because they know the ins and outs of DUI law. These attorneys know the best way to present the evidence in court that makes your case look as minimal as possible. Field sobriety tests are not fail safe and once a lawyer knows how to present it to the court, they can put question into the mind of the judge as to whether the field sobriety tests, or even the breathalyzer, were accurate.

Trying to refute a DUI charge on your own can be very difficult because a layperson does not have the vast resources that a skilled attorney has. A competent DUI attorney will have a list of possible expert witnesses that have been used to show or refute the accuracy of blood or urine test results. This is something that an everyday man would not be able to find on his own with ease. If there is an accident that is also involved with the case, the lawyer will also have other expert witnesses that will be able to recreate crash areas and identify things such as skid marks and impacts. Many times a DUI can come with additional worrisome bothers, and having a competent and prepared lawyer can be key.

The idea that an attorney will be incredibly more costly than the outcome is usually a big mistake made by many people who are not familiar with the courtroom. It is really best to hire a skilled attorney so in the end of everything you do not have any regrets as to what happened in your case. A lawyer may cost what seems like a lot up front, but their knowledge and experience in the DUI courtroom can save you a lot of headache and money in the long run. Many people who choose to represent themselves on DUI cases leave the courthouse saying that they should have hired a lawyer to protect their rights in the first place.

How To Handle a Memphis Traffic Ticket

If you’ve gotten a speeding ticket in the Memphis, Tennessee area, you may be wondering how to go about handling it. Do I just send in the payment? What happens if it goes on my record? Should I go to court and fight it? How many hours out of my day is that going to take? Can a lawyer help me? This article will answer those questions.

Traffic violations in Memphis are governed by the laws of the Tennessee Code Annotated. Traffic violations are found in Title 55 of the Code, which regulates motor and other vehicles. Most traffic laws are in chapters 9, 10, and 11, which cover rules of the road, vehicle equipment, and accidents, crimes, and penalties.

Memphis traffic tickets are handled at the criminal courthouse, located at 201 Poplar Avenue in downtown Memphis. City traffic tickets are assigned to Divisions 1, 2, and 3, while Shelby County tickets are assigned to Division 14 on the second floor. City tickets simply mean tickets that are issued within the city limits by Memphis police, while county tickets are issued outside city limits but within Shelby County, usually by Sheriff’s deputies.

Will your traffic ticket go on your record, causing you to pay more in car insurance? It depends, but if handled properly there is a chance that it won’t. If it’s a city of Memphis ticket, and the infraction is a minor one such as speeding 10 miles an hour over, improper passing, seatbelt violation, or an accident with no injuries, the ticket will generally be dismissed with payment of court costs. Court costs for Memphis traffic court are $130. More serious offenses may have to be tried. If the traffic violation goes on your record it could result in higher insurance premiums, though it depends on how many points are on your record. If you have too many points on your record over a 12-month period, you could lose your license.

Shelby County tickets also require payment of court costs, but to be dismissed you will have to attend defensive driving school (usually a four-hour course that can be taken online). The case will be reset six months for you to take the course and get a certificate, and you will also be placed on driving probation during that time. That means no more traffic tickets. If you get another ticket during the probationary period, the deal goes away and you must either plead guilty or go to trial.

Germantown traffic tickets are handled similarly. Tickets in Germantown are heard at the Germantown city court, located on 1930 Germantown Road South in Germantown, Tennessee. Tickets may be set off for six months and, with no more tickets in that time, dismissed with payment of court costs.

You may be wondering if you have to go to court to get your ticket dismissed. You do not if you hire an experienced Memphis traffic ticket lawyer to handle the case. Hiring an attorney for your speeding ticket or other violation can take out all of the stress and waiting. If you choose to handle it yourself, you’ll have to go downtown, park, wait in line to just get in the courthouse, then wait in line to go into the courtroom to see the judge. This will take hours. You may be anxious about going to court. You may be worried about saying the wrong thing, or the judge simply finding you guilty. With an attorney on your side, this will not happen. You do not have to take off work or set aside half a day to wait at court. Your lawyer will go to court for you and insure you get the best outcome possible, which in many cases will be a dismissal.

Surviving a Traffic Stop

Being pulled over by a police officer can be a stressful experience. Although life is full of such experiences, unlike many other stressful experiences, a traffic stop has the potential to end in a loss of money, liberty or even life. No two traffic stops are entirely identical. Therefore, the advisable course of conduct will vary depending on the situation. However, there are some general rules which can be helpful in many situations.

The best piece of advice one can offer is to avoid being pulled over in the first place. A traffic stop offers nothing to be gained. The best case scenario for the driver is to leave as if the stop never occurred losing only some time.

On the other hand, the downside can be disastrous. Vehicle equipment violations such as expired tags or an unlit taillight equate to a neon sign on your car inviting an officer to pull you over. Remember, the police can legally justify a traffic stop based on an equipment violation even if the police officer subjectively intended to investigate some unrelated issue. Moving violations such as speeding or failing to use turn signals also serve to legally justify a traffic stop. Avoid giving the police a free pass to pull you over.

Notwithstanding your best efforts, you may nonetheless find yourself being pulled over by the police. Needless to say, do not attempt to flee as this will earn you a felony charge as well as a very excited and unfriendly police officer at the end of the chase. Your main goal should be to survive the traffic stop with your life and liberty intact.

A traffic stop is a terrible time to be testing out new legal theories or arguing about constitutional law. You can resolve any disputes with the police officer in court at a later date.

The law is well settled that a police officer can order both the driver and any passengers out of the vehicle at a traffic stop. However, do not exit the vehicle until the police officer orders you to do so. If you are fortunate enough to have a passenger at your traffic stop, you should ask the passenger to carefully observe all events. Your passenger may be an important witness if events during the traffic stop deteriorate.

Although there are many different varieties of police officers, you should expect a police officer who is nervous and possibly excited. Do not give the police officer reasons to be suspicious. Do not engage in any quick or covert movements. You should place both of your hands in plain view on the steering wheel.

If there ever exists a good time to socialize with a police officer, a traffic stop is not one of them. You should attempt to end the traffic stop as quickly as possible. You have no constitutional right to a friendly or courteous police officer. Do not demand to know the reason for the traffic stop. Remain calm, polite and respectful at all times even if you have to fake it. You should immediately produce your license, vehicle registration and auto insurance upon request. Plan ahead by storing these items in an easily accessible place so you are not fumbling around trying to find them in front of the police officer. Such conduct is often interpreted as alcohol or drug impairment.

Use your common sense. You should quickly assess the police officer. There are some excellent public servant type police officers who I often refer to as “peace officers”. On the other hand, there are those who revel in the overwhelming amount of power afforded to police officers who I refer to as “law enforcement officers.” You must use extraordinary caution when dealing with the law enforcement officer as things can escalate very quickly.

Most police officers are honest; some are not. Unless you personally know the police officer, you should not assume you are interacting with an honest person. Because we live in a time when mere possession can be a serious crime, a dishonest police officer can rather easily cause an innocent person to be charged with serious felony offenses.

Constitutional rights exist, at least in theory, to protect the innocent. Do not give your rights away. If this is not obvious to you by now, please see my article entitled, “Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy”. I always advise against consenting to any search or talking to a police officer. During a traffic stop, you should communicate your refusals especially politely. Always keep your main goal in mind at a traffic stop.

If you simply cannot resist the urge to talk to a police officer, I suggest you read the back of my business card. This is a good way to document exactly what you said to the police officer. Do not simply hand the card to the officer. Remember, nobody can invoke your rights but you.

As a general rule, you should not volunteer information or answer any questions about having a weapon. Said another way, do not open a potential can of worms. However, if the police officer is about to discover the presence of a weapon, you should inform the police officer about all details of the weapon so as to avoid an accident. Also, if you have a concealed weapons permit, you must produce the permit upon the officer’s request.

If you are asked to sign an affidavit of service, sign it. Failure to sign an affidavit of service will likely result in an unnecessary arrest. In such a case, the officer had discretion to arrest you, but decided against it. You cannot waive your right to trial at a traffic stop. Even if you disagree with the charge, being arrested for failure to sign an affidavit of service will not strengthen your case.

If you are arrested, do not resist. Resisting even an unlawful arrest can earn you a felony charge. Expect a search of your vehicle and your person upon arrest. You should request to call an attorney immediately. If you are given a choice, do not opt to have your vehicle towed. You should expect to see a judge within twenty four hours, and you should try to arrange for an attorney at that hearing.

Traffic stops are not pleasant. However, handled with the right amount of tact, many traffic stops will result in nothing more than a waste of your time. Even for the more significant traffic stops, fighting it out in court is always a better choice than haggling with a police officer who has the power, and maybe the inclination, to arrest you.

Why Are There So Many Car Accidents Happening on Today’s Roads?

The country has been experiencing a wave of vehicle accidents on its busy roadways. Car accident are not something anyone wants to have happen. Besides potential injuries, there are serious accident costs to repair your vehicle and then there will be the issue of driving in the future. Your insurance rates are surely to go up if you are found to be at fault. Why are so many car accidents happening? There are many reasons and some suggestions to avoid them:

1. There are more drivers on the roads than ever before. The country is a growing and the freeways and roads have never been busier.

2. More people are spending more time on the roads. There are just simply more drivers, driving for longer periods of time.

3. To avoid traffic drivers could check with Sigalert but very few do.

4. Busy area drivers are distracted while on the road. Police report that the main cause of accidents is drivers being distracted while on the roads. In interviewing several experienced Highway Patrol officers they said in 2011 there were increased incidents of car accidents from cell phone usage, texting, and eating food or consuming a beverage instead of focusing on the road.

5. One car crash happened when two drivers, neither of which was paying attention, were both distracted. One was looking at the ocean and the other was texting.

6. This country seems to be home to fast drivers. There were many that have been hurt in car accidents as a result of speeding. On a good day, the average speeds on freeway around the country can exceed 85-90 MPH. That’s more than 20% above the legal speed limit for driving. We know from speaking with motorcycle accident lawyers that many of the motorcycle accidents involve speeding. The chances for a fatality increase significantly if there is speeding involved in an accident.

7. The country has many distractions. One of the worst for drivers can be weather. The chances that you will have more blind spots from the brightness of the sun’s rays or from too much rain or snow has the potential to contribute to a car crash.

The best suggestions for drivers throughout the beautiful country is take great care while on the highways and roads. Don’t be distracted, don’t speed, and prepare for traffic and lots of other drivers being out there while on the roadways.