Tacoma Personal Attorneys Sadler Ladenburg help car accident victims file insurance claims

Traffic Fatalities on are the Rise

Cars are safer now than ever before. In general our roads are safer now than ever before. Yet, a jump in traffic fatalities last year pushed deaths on U.S. roads to their highest level in nearly a decade. According to the National Safety Council, fatalities rose 6 percent in 2016, reaching an estimated 40,200 deaths compared to 37,757 deaths the previous year, according the National Safety Council. The group gets its data from states. The last time there were more than 40,000 fatalities in a single year was in 2007 which had 41,000 deaths.

The deaths in 2015 were significantly higher than 2014 as well. In fact, the two-year increase in traffic death was the sharpest rise the U.S. has seen in 53 years.

It is difficult to know for sure the cause of this increase. One possible cause could simply be because Americans drove more miles last year. Compared to 2015, Americans logged in 3 percent more miles. This is likely due to continued lower gasoline prices and an improving economy.
Another key factor in the increase in traffic fatalities is distracted driving. Traffic deaths had been decreasing steading until reaching their low point in 2011. About that same time, the use of smart phones rose dramatically and the death rate also began to rise. The combination of more miles being driven and more phones in the hands of drivers is recipe for disaster.

There are things you can do to lower your chances of being in a collision. Put your phone out of your reach when you are driving. Slow down. Speed kills so follow the speed limits. Be aware of your surroundings and other drivers. If you see someone driving while distracted, create distance between you and that driver.

Not every collision is avoidable. If you find yourself a victim of a collision, please do not hesitate to contact Sadler Ladenburg for free advice. Our personal injury attorneys represent car accident victims throughout Washington.

Our Wrongful Death Law Is All Wrong

What is a life worth? It seems like an impossible task to place a monetary value on a person’s life. In our civil justice system, juries are asked to do just that when someone is killed by the negligence of another person, business, or government. Although it is difficult to think what number might be fair, most people believe that some amount of compensation is owed to the family of the victim.

Take a moment and think about which of these four scenarios are reasonable. Assume for each case the person died in a car crash that was not their fault:

Case 1.  A jury awards $2,000,000 to the parents of a 17 year-old who died the day before she turned 18.

Case 2.  A jury awards $0.00 to the parents of an 18 year-old who died the day after she turned 18.

Case 3.  A jury awards $2,000,000 to the retired parents of a 35 year who hadn’t seen his parents in 5 years but had been helping them pay their rent

Case 4.  A jury awards $0.00 to the retired parents of a 35 year old who had been living with them, providing emotional and domestic support but not financial support.

 

What if I told you that the law in Washington does not even allow juries in scenario 2 and 4 to make a decision? In those cases, the parents are not even allowed to bring their case to a jury. The law in Washington does not allow the parents or siblings of an adult to bring a claim for wrongful death unless they were financially dependent upon the decedent. The day your child turns 18 is the day their life has no value to you under Washington law.

Just a few days ago, a local judge dismissed a case against the defendants in the Ride the Duck tragedy that killed 5 people in Seattle. Do you think the legislature should change the law to allow parents to recover damages in cases like these?

Extra Precautions During Dark Winter Months

This time of year is filled with festivities and celebration, but as we all know it is also the darkest time of the year. Here are a few tips to help this season be a little brighter and safer.

Injury Attorney Tips in Dark Hours

  1. Check your car lights.

When was the last time you took a look at your car headlights, brake lights and fog lights? If you’re like most of us it has been a while. The next time you have a moment, turn those lights on and walk around your vehicle to be sure they are all shining their brightest. Having good illumination can make a big difference in your vision and can help others on the road see you better too. An added bonus: it’s preferable to find out before you’re told by someone else in the form of a moving violation ticket.

  1. Give yourself extra time.

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season in full swing, we are all crunched for time to get things done. Unfortunately, this can mean stressful and sometimes speedy driving. This combined with the later sunrises and early sunsets can be a dangerous combination. Try to give yourself an extra 5 or 10 minutes to get where you’re going and you will be less likely to take risks with speed.

  1. Check exterior home and office lights.

Exterior lights can sometimes be an afterthought because we only use them for the brief moments coming or going to our homes or workplaces, however having well lit walkways and porches can make these regular trips much more pleasant and safe.  How often have you arrived to your entryway to a dim or burned out bulb and an armful of packages or groceries while trying to find your keys? Fresh, bright bulbs will make these everyday trips easier.

  1. Wear reflective and bright clothing.

Keeping active in the winter months can be a great mood boost, but we also need to keep safety in mind while walking, running or riding our bikes. Ditch the dark colors for some bright white or yellow and you will be more visible to motorists. Adding a reflective strip or a flasher is another great way to help you been seen and staying safe.

These simple steps can go a long way toward making the season safer. If you are the unfortunate victim of a negligent driver, please do not hesitate to contact the personal injury attorneys at Sadler Ladenburg. We help victims of car accidents everyday.

“Hidden” Brain Injuries

When mild to moderate impact collisions happen on the road, some injuries are expected.  It is not uncommon for people to sustain injuries to the back and neck.  There is a also serious, often initially unnoticed injury that can occur from a seemingly “mild impact” collision.  A mild traumatic brain injury can often go undiagnosed after a collision because there is no outward sign of injury.  The victim’s life may change forever and he or she may never connect the changes to the auto collision.

     A victim of mild traumatic brain injury is one who has suffered any period of loss of consciousness, or loss of memory before or after the collision, or suffered an alter mental state, or experiences focal neurological deficits.  The injury can occur after being struck on the head or after the brain undergoing an acceleration/deceleration movement without direct external trauma to head.  Many mild traumatic brain injury victims do not realize they have a head injury because the damage was caused by the brain moving within the skull and not by the head being struck.

      Most victims of collision have other injuries that are perceived to be more acute or more serious.  They may be experience severe neck pain and spasms.  They may even have nerve pain radiating to their legs.  Those injuries will often over shadow a mild traumatic brain injury, at least initially.  When the victims acute injuries stabilize and the victims attempts to return to their normal daily routines, they symptoms of the mild traumatic brain injury become more apparent.

      The symptoms of mild traumatic brain injury can be very persistent and include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, sleep disturbance, quickness to fatigue, lethargy, concentration problems, memory loss, speech or language problems, irritability, quickness to anger, and other behavioral changes.

      It is important for victims of auto collision to explain all their symptoms to their health care providers even if they do not relate a particular symptom to the collision.  Many victims of mild traumatic brain injury will settle their injury claim with the insurance company before they even realize their memory loss or mood swings are a result of the collision.  As a result, they are compensated for a few thousand dollars of medical bills for treating a sore neck but they are stuck with a cognitive disability that will impact their employment and social life for years, maybe forever.

If you have suffered a brain injury due to negligence, please call Sadler Ladenburg today to learn about your rights and options.