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ARCHIVES: June 2017

Fatal Florida Car Accident Involved Tennis Star Venus Williams

Fatal Florida Car Accident Involved Tennis Star Venus WilliamsVenus Williams was involved in a car accident that claimed the life of a 78-year-old man in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. The accident occurred on June 9 when Venus Williams allegedly ran a red light and struck the car occupied by the man and his wife who was driving. The man succumbed to his fatal injuries two weeks after the accident while his wife and Ms. Williams sustained no personal injuries. According to Ms. Williams’ lawyer, however, the tennis star, who will be playing in Wimbledon on Monday, was not cited or charged for the offense.

Statistics show that nine out of every ten car accidents in the US occurred due to driver errors. Unfortunately, many drivers engage in risky driving behaviors daily like distracted driving, speeding, reckless driving, and negligence, which increases the amount of personal injuries and even fatalities for victims of car accidents.

If you have been injured by a reckless driver, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for you. You may schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online. With offices located throughout South Carolina, we serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/29/sports/tennis/venus-williams-crash-fatality.html

Summer a Dangerous Time for Teen Drivers  

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers reveal that Summer is a Dangerous Time for Teen Drivers  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teen drivers aged 15 – 20 experience the most car accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day. More free time, less parental supervision, and limited experience behind the wheel are the main reasons teens are involved in more wrecks during the summer months.

Teen Car Accident Data in the Summertime

The American Automobile Association (AAA) calls the driving period beginning with Memorial Day the “100 deadliest days” of the year. A study using crash data provided by NHTSA found that over each of the past five years, an average of 1,022 people are fatally injured in car accidents involving teens during the 100 days following Memorial Day. That equates to more than ten fatalities per day. The fatality rate for crashes involving teens increases around 16 percent during the summer months.

A teenager’s brain is still developing, making them less emotionally mature and more likely to take risks. Talking or texting on cell phones are the most common driver distractions. Statistics show that teen drivers are also less likely to use seatbelts or sufficiently assess their environment for hazards, and are more likely to drive too fast for the road conditions, and transport multiple teen passengers – all increased risk factors for car accidents and injuries. Distracted driving is the most common risky behavior teen drivers engage in, causing more than half of teen car accidents during the summer months.

Summer Teen Driving Safety

Because teen drivers are more likely to make decisions that compromise their safety, it is important for parents and guardians to introduce and consistently reinforce safe driving techniques. Parents should set clear and consistent rules for teenage drivers. Teens need to experience real consequences for broken rules. When teens are physically or emotionally capable of making the best decisions for their own safety, parents need to make those decisions for them, by setting well-defined limits on their driving.

Young drivers should first and foremost be accountable to all local, state, and federal driving laws based upon their age and driving experience. Such laws define when teens can drive, how far they can drive, and how many passengers they can transport. Teens should check in with parents or guardians for every trip, letting them know where they are going, how long they will be there, and with whom they are traveling. Teens are expected to follow traffic signs and laws and should face real penalties for not doing so.

With good driving habits, a new teenage driver can earn their parents trust along with more time behind the wheel. Parents are not alone in their effort to keep their teen drivers safe. There are countless programs and resources available for support, including AAA’s Keys2Drive campaign, which offers families the latest research and tools on teen driver safety.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Those Injured in Car Accidents Involving Teen Drivers

If you have been injured by a distracted or reckless driver, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will fight for you. We will work tirelessly to obtain the compensation you deserve to pay for your medical expenses and pain and suffering caused by your car accident. Schedule a free consultation by calling 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located throughout South Carolina, where we proudly serve clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Avoid Fireworks Accidents this Holiday

Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers Avoid Fireworks Accidents this HolidayThe Fourth of July is a festive holiday commonly associated with barbeques, parades, and fireworks. It is also one of the most dangerous holiday weekends of the year. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 230 people injured by fireworks visit the emergency room every day around the Fourth of July holiday. To avoid injuries and hefty fines, it is imperative to engage in responsible use of consumer fireworks and to be aware of local fireworks laws.

Safety Tips for Fireworks Use

The National Council on Fireworks Safety provides some safety tips to promote safe and responsible use of fireworks.

  Always:

  • Read the instructions and warnings prior to igniting
  • Use fireworks outdoors, away from homes, cars, trees, and plants
  • Wear safety goggles when using fireworks
  • Have a hose ready in case of fire
  • Soak spent or “dud” fireworks in a bucket of water and discard in a metal trash can
  • Make sure your pet has an identification tag

  Never:

  • Let children handle fireworks
  • Light more than one firework at a time or relight a firework that did not go off the first time
  • Carry fireworks in your pocket
  • Make your own fireworks or alter purchased fireworks
  • Shoot fireworks off in metal or glass containers
  • Bring your pets to a fireworks event or shoot fireworks near pets

South Carolina Fireworks Laws

Certain types of fireworks are illegal and anyone found manufacturing, storing, transporting or possessing impermissible fireworks may be subject to hefty fines of $200 to $10,000 and imprisonment for 30 days to two years. Also, one must be at least 16 years old to purchase fireworks in South Carolina.

  Illegal fireworks:

  • Ground salutes or cherry bombs
  • T-N-T or bulldog salutes
  • M-80’s

The South Carolina Legislature cautions that this list is non-exhaustive and that any fireworks designed to produce a loud and piercing effect with a pyrotechnic composition of more than two grains is unlawful.

  Legal fireworks:

  • Bottle rockets
  • Spinners
  • Cakes
  • Fountains
  • Sparklers
  • Aerial fireworks

Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Those Injured in Fireworks Accidents

If someone has handled fireworks improperly and you or a loved one was injured as a result, contact a Columbia personal injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. to discuss your legal options and possible recovery. Our firm is known for its experienced, dedicated and responsive lawyers who fight for the best possible outcome while keeping clients informed about the ongoing status of their cases. With offices in Columbia, Charleston, Rock Hill, Aiken, Florence and Sumter, we proudly represent clients throughout South Carolina including in Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County and Kershaw County. Contact us online, or call us at 803-929-3600 or toll-free at 800-531-9780 to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

 

Work Zone Accidents in Summer

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers: Work Zone Accidents in SummerSummer is the busiest time of year for road construction and repairs across the country. Projects that cannot be completed in cold, wet weather are typically done during the summer months. With road repairs popping up across local highways, drivers, pedestrians, and construction workers are at increased risk for dangerous work zone accidents. According to the National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, there were 700 work zone fatalities in 2015 alone. With a bit of caution and common sense, drivers can protect themselves and roadside workers this summer.

The Data on Work Zone Crashes

After a steady decline every year since 2002, the number of work zone accident fatalities rose 13 percent from 2013 to 2014. In 2014, 116 of those fatalities were highway workers. Nearly half of those wrecks involved multiple fatalities. One-third of fatal work zone crashes in 2014 involved larger commercial vehicles including trucks and busses. There is some good news however. Since 2009, work zone fatalities are down 23 percent overall.

Leading Causes of Work Zone Car Accidents

Work zone crashes are caused by the same behaviors that cause most other car accidents. Distracted driving is currently the leading cause of car accidents in the U.S. Most of those distracted drivers are on the phone. However, a distraction can be anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road for as little as a few seconds. That includes eating, drinking, changing the radio station, or turning to talk to a passenger. Distracted driving claimed 3,477 lives in 2015.

Excessive speed is to blame in nearly one-third of work zone accident deaths. Roadside work zones usually have decreased speed limits posted, allowing drivers and pedestrians to safely navigate around construction equipment, vehicles, and workers. Drivers that disregard work zone speed limits face steep traffic fines. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol also cause a significant number of work zone crashes every year.

Preventing Work Zone Fatalities

Safe summer traveling starts before the trip even begins. Drivers should allow plenty of time to reach their destination, accounting for summer traffic patterns, detours, and road repair projects. A relaxed driver is less inclined to drive recklessly.

There are several hands-free phone apps that record and report construction work, accidents, and weather hazards in real time, offering drivers alternate routes when available. Finally, to eliminate the major causes of work zone fatalities, drivers simply need to stay alert, obey the speed limit, and drive sober. A distracted, speeding, or intoxicated driver is incapable of avoiding hazards or people in their path.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Recover Compensation for Victims of Work Zone Accidents

Work zones are extremely dangerous, especially during the heavily-traveled summer months. If you have been injured in a work zone car accident, Columbia car accident lawyers at the law firm Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help. Contact us at 800-531-9780 or 803-929-3600 to help obtain the benefits you deserve and need to cover medical expenses and lost income. You can also contact us online to arrange a free consultation at one of our South Carolina offices.

We represent injured workers and their families in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg. 

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers: Truck Drivers’ Health

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers: Truck Drivers' HealthA sensible diet and regular exercise can prolong life by thwarting the development of cancer and other serious health problems. However, studies show another surprising benefit for commercial truck drivers who maintain a healthy lifestyle. According to the University of Utah’s School of Medicine, a direct correlation exists between poor health and truck accidents. Truck drivers are four times more likely to crash when they suffer from three or more medical conditions simultaneously, researchers at the school maintain.

Unfortunately, the sedentary nature of a commercial truck driver’s job often exacerbates certain health problems that would be improved with exercise. Commercial truck drivers are commonly diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease and lower back pain. Although conditions such as these can be controlled with medication, sitting still for long periods of time will worsen symptoms. Additionally, commercial truck drivers are often far from home and settle for fast food meals, multiple times each day. As a result, these drivers routinely suffer from high cholesterol and obesity, further compromising their health.

These factors combine to increase the odds of a truck accident occurring. The University of Utah study, unveiled in January 2017, involved an analysis of nearly 50,000 medical records belonging to commercial truck drivers. Of those, 34 percent of study participants were diagnosed with at least one medical condition.

More Health Problems Lead to More Problems on the Road

Participants with the most checkered health history – 82 commercial truck drivers with three or more medical conditions – were deemed most at risk of being involved in a truck accident. These drivers are also most likely to be involved in a wreck that causes injuries, or an accident which could have been avoided. Researchers posit that the rate of crashes resulting in injuries among all study participants was 29 truck accidents for every 100 million miles traveled. However, the study maintains that the drivers considered most at-risk suffered 93 injury-related trucking accidents for every 100 million miles traveled.

The results were deemed valid even when researchers accounted for other potential causes of truck accidents involving injuries, including the truck driver’s age and level of experience. The research stressed that commercial trucking companies must take a careful look at an applicant’s health history before extending an offer of employment. Health conditions should not be examined in isolation, but should instead be viewed in combination with one another. Additionally, employers must consider the likelihood that a relatively minor condition could blossom over time into a serious illness.

Columbia Truck Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Those Injured in Truck Accidents

If you or a loved one has been injured in a large truck accident, the truck accident lawyers in Columbia at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. will investigate your claim and pursue damages on your behalf, if warranted. Contact us online or call 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 today to schedule a consultation at one of our offices throughout South Carolina.

We represent clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers: What to do Following a Car Accident

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers: What to do Following a Car AccidentThe shock of a car accident can leave drivers and passengers stunned and confused. Injuries may have been incurred, and at times, these injuries can be catastrophic or even fatal. Knowing what steps to take following a car accident can help you recover the compensation for injuries and damages you may be entitled to receive.

The most important thing to do after a car accident is to assess injuries and call for police assistance and immediate medical help, if necessary. It is best to refrain from moving an injured person until an ambulance or qualified medical person is on the scene. Moving a person with neck or back pain can cause serious and often permanent injury or disability. Once injuries have been stabilized, it is vital to work with law enforcement officers at the scene to gather pertinent information from all drivers involved in the wreck.

Evidence Needed to Support Your Claim

Driver license numbers, vehicle license plate numbers, insurance policy information and the names and addresses of all drivers should be recorded. An official police report should be filed with the local police department and be made available to you and your insurance company. The names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene can also help support your car accident claim. It is also advisable to record the name and badge number of the police officers assisting at the scene.

If it is safe and possible to do so, pictures taken with a camera or cell phone can provide detailed information that can be used to substantiate claims for personal injury and damage to property. The location and positions of the vehicles involved, injuries and locations of the drivers and passengers, and photos of the surrounding area that include skid marks left on the road, traffic signs or signals, debris, or other hazards can be very helpful.

The insurance company should be notified of the car accident as soon as possible. However, when an accident results in one or more serious injuries, it is often advisable to consult a qualified car accident lawyer before giving any statements to an insurance adjuster. Misleading or false information given to insurance companies can carry serious penalties or even result in the denial of insurance coverage. Moreover, it is important to remember that the insurance representative’s job is to save the company money by limiting your compensation. An experienced personal injury lawyer will help to ensure that no mistakes are made that could jeopardize your right to fair compensation.

Compensation for injuries and damages can be substantial in car accident claims, so it is vital to keep records of all medical procedures and treatments. The costs of hospital emergency room visits, in-patient hospital charges, prescription medications, physical and cognitive therapy, chiropractor treatments, and ongoing doctor visits can quickly add up and severely impact a family’s financial health. Claims for these costs as well as lost wages and damages can help victims recover physically and protect their property.

Anytime you are injured in a car accident, or you are involved in a car accident whereby other people have sustained injuries or have died, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced car accident lawyer. A qualified lawyer will ensure that you have the evidence needed to support your claims, and will fight to recover the maximum amount of compensation available.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Those Who Have Been Injured in a Car Accident

If you have been seriously injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident, the experienced Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to under the law. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.

We represent clients throughout South Carolina including in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

May 2017 Newsletter

At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., we provide regular updates on timely topics and firm news via our newsletter. View the May 2017 newsletter here.

Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers: Swimming Pool Accidents

Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers: Swimming Pool AccidentsWhen school lets out and summer temperatures rise, many people flock to swimming pools, private and municipal, to beat the summer heat. Caution must be exercised when children are involved in pool activities. Nearly 300 children age five and under drown in pools and spas every year, according to a 2015 report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In order to prevent such fatalities, pools are regulated in the state of South Carolina. Public pools have stricter regulations than private pools, but any pool owner shown to be negligent in the care and operation of a pool facility can be held liable for swimming pool accidents that occur on their premises. In South Carolina, regulations control pool construction materials, drainage systems, water quality and depth, electrical and lighting requirements, signage, fences and gates, and many other aspects of pool operation. Despite these requirements, accidents still happen due to these common causes:

  • Dangerous bacteria – Infections can lurk in swimming pool water that has not been properly treated. The parasite Cryptosporidium is extremely resistant to chlorine and can live for days in water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2011-2012 there were 90 outbreaks affecting 1,788 people. Ninety-five of those victims had to be hospitalized. Cryptosporidium is spread through hot tubs, spas and pools.
  • Drainage and filtration systems– Pool drainage creates a powerful suction that can be deadly for small children. A federal law mandates that drains be retrofitted or changed to prevent this from happening.
  • Inadequate supervision – Some pools have no supervision at all, while others employ lifeguards who are inattentive or inadequately trained.
  • Lack of barriers – Children are often not yet able to swim and they are both attracted to water and too young to recognize its inherent dangers. Pools are required to have fences and gates to prevent small children from wandering in and drowning.
  • Lack of signage – Warnings should be posted to inform pool users of any unsafe conditions that exist on the premises.

Premises Liability and Public Pools

Public pool operators have a high legal duty of care toward their patrons. This means they are obligated to maintain a safe environment for those using the pool so that no harm comes to them. In the case of a swimming pool accident, if it is found that the pool owner was not in compliance with all applicable regulations, he or she may be found negligent. This liability may be limited in cases where the owner is the municipality or other government entity. The statute of limitations for filing a claim is also different if the public pool is owned by a government entity. It is highly advisable to seek the counsel of a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer who can ensure your claim is not denied due to legal technicalities.

Columbia Personal Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Recover Compensation for Victims of Pool Accidents

If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a swimming pool accident, you may be entitled to compensation. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A., we can help you determine your legal options and handle your claim so that you can focus on getting better. Call us at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Columbia personal injury lawyer.

From our offices conveniently located throughout, South Carolina, we represent clients in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, Newberry County including those in the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg.

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