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ARCHIVES: February 2019

What Causes Drowsy Driving?

Columbia, SC Car Accident Lawyers describe how drowsy driving occurs. There is no doubt in how dangerous falling asleep at the wheel can be. As many as 795 deaths were attributed to drowsy driving in 2017; and most experts agree that number is likely underestimated. Drowsy driving not only involves being sleep-deprived while operating an automobile, it also causes impaired judgment, slower reaction times, and it impairs your ability to focus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that in 2013, drowsy driving was the cause of 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries, and more than 800 deaths.

What Contributes to Drowsy Driving?

There are many factors that contribute to drowsy driving, including:

  • Late night or early morning shifts: Not obtaining enough sleep before your scheduled shift can lead to drowsy driving.
  • Driving for hours at a time: Taking that long drive home may cause drowsiness, especially if you decide not to take any breaks.
  • Being a frequent traveler: When you are a frequent traveler, your time zones tend to change, which can potentially have negative consequences on your ability to stay alert.
  • Drivers who take medication: Certain medications, including over-the-counter medicines, may cause drowsiness.
  • Drivers with sleep disorders: An undiagnosed sleep disorder may be fatal for those operating a vehicle.
  • A new baby: Newborns tend to wake several times throughout the night, leaving parents sleep-deprived and exhausted for their drive to work.

When and Where Drowsy Driving Accidents Take Place

There are three common factors associated with accidents involving drowsy driving:

  • Drowsy driving accidents typically happen to drivers who are alone. There are often no other passengers in the vehicle. There may also be no skid marks present on the road, and no evidence of braking.
  • Drowsy driving accidents frequently occur on highways or in rural areas.
  • They most often occur between midnight and 6 a.m., or late in the afternoon.

How to Prevent Drowsy Driving

The only sure way to prevent drowsy driving is to obtain an adequate amount of sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If that is not possible for the type of lifestyle you have, then a 30-minute nap before driving is recommended. Other ways to prevent falling asleep at the wheel include:

  • Carpooling to your destination
  • Driving with another passenger who is also a licensed driver
  • Scheduling frequent breaks during long trips
  • Pulling over on the side of the road when you feel tired

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Drowsy Driving Accidents

Drowsy driving accidents are an unfortunate reality for many people. If you or someone you love was the victim in an accident involving a drowsy driver, the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you obtain the compensation and peace of mind you deserve. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us today at 800-531-9780 or 803-929-3600.

We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

South Carolina Ranked Second for Drunk Driving

Columbia, SC Car Accident Lawyers discuss the severity of drunk driving in South Carolina. According to a report by the consumer review company, SafeWise, South Carolina is ranked second in the nation for drunk driving fatalities. In 2017, South Carolina reported over six deaths for each 100,000 residents in the state. Only Wyoming had a higher number with a little over seven deaths per 100,000 residents. New Jersey ranked lowest in the nation with only one death reported for every 100,000 residents.

In 2016, South Carolina was ranked sixth in the country for drunk driving deaths with a reported 336 fatalities from drunk driving wrecks. In just one year’s time, the state climbed from a ranking of sixth place to second place in the nation. New Jersey ranks the lowest in drunk driving deaths with a total of 1.38 deaths per 100,000 residents.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in South Carolina

Many question why South Carolina is having so much difficulty reducing the number of drunk driving deaths each year. One clear indication for the cause points to the penalties imposed for drunk driving in the state. Compared to other states with the lowest number of fatalities, South Carolina’s laws and penalties for DUI may not be enforced as stringently.

According to a study conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), South Carolina has the most lenient laws against drunk drivers in the country. A spokesperson for MADD claimed that South Carolina court systems are too lenient with handing out convictions for drunk driving. Arresting police officers are required to appear in court and battle with the defense attorney to validate their charges while supplying their own evidence.

The arresting officer can use dashcam video to support their charge, but many times this evidence is thrown out if there is any type of problem with the video footage, such as blurriness, which is common when the video is taken at night. Enforcement of Emma’s Law is also lax, according to the MADD study. Drivers convicted of a first offense DUI should be required to install an interlock device on their cars, but few are made to do so. The device would prevent a person from starting their car if alcohol is detected on an installed breathalyzer.

In comparison, New Jersey has the lowest number of drunk driving deaths in the country and some of the strongest enforcement of DUI laws. Fines for first time offenders range between $250 to $400, require a minimum of 12 hours to three months in jail, loss of driving privilege for three months, an annual surcharge of $1,000 on car insurance for three years, and other fees that can exceed $525.

Second and third time offenders in New Jersey face even harsher penalties. A second DUI charge in New Jersey results in loss of license for two years, 30 days of community service, up to 90 days in prison, 48 hours of instruction at the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center, up to $1,500 fine, and $3,000 mandatory surcharge on car insurance. Third time offenders in New Jersey will serve 180 days in prison, 30 days of community service, ten-year loss of driving license, and a surcharge of $5,000 on their car insurance.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims Injured in Drunk Driving Wrecks

If you have been injured in a car accident with a drunk driver, call the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. at 803-929-3600, or 800-531-9780, or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our Columbia, South Carolina offices serve clients throughout the state.

We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Pain Management Options

Columbia, SC Workers’ Compensation Lawyers weigh in on pain management options for injured workers. Workers injured on the job can suffer devastating injuries leading to chronic pain. Without adequate pain management, injured workers are often unable to return to work or participate in daily life activities. Opioid medications such as Percocet or Vicodin are frequently prescribed to help deal with pain symptoms.

As awareness of the opioid addiction crisis continues to grow, many injured workers and their doctors are looking for alternative ways to treat their chronic pain.

Opioid Addiction

The use of prescription drugs can be an effective way to treat persistent pain in many circumstances. Over 25 percent of Workers’ Compensation drug claim costs are attributed to opioid pain medication. For many patients the addictive nature of opioids creates a significant health risk.

On average, 60 people each day overdose on opioid pain medication. Workers most at risk for overdose while taking prescription opioid medications include those who take the drug for extended periods, use more than one form of opioid medicine, mix the drugs with alcohol, or have other medical conditions such as sleep apnea, heart failure, obesity, or chronic respiratory symptoms. Other individuals develop tolerances or dependence on their opioid prescriptions, resulting in the need for alternative pain management options.

Non-pharmaceutical Treatments

In an effort to avoid the use of opioid prescriptions, injured workers may employ a wide variety of medical and holistic treatments to help with their chronic pain.

Other methods used to treat chronic pain include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Spinal cord stimulators or injections
  • Chiropractic techniques
  • Spinal cord manipulation
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Vitamin supplements

Many of these alternative pain handling methods are used in concert to create a broad pain management plan.

Psychological Treatments

Many experts believe addressing the emotional component of pain is an essential part of helping injured workers. Persistent pain can cause fear and stress, which can immobilize an injured person’s ability to function.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) frequently is used for treating chronic pain. CBT therapists focus on changing thinking and behavior patterns by using a practical problem-solving approach. Most CBT occurs over a short period of time and can be taught through classes or videos.

Mental health professionals can provide injured workers with stress reduction tools during therapy sessions. In addition to individual psychological treatment, workers often benefit from behavioral modification, relaxation, or mindfulness training programs. These educate injured workers on ways to handle the pain through their own actions.

Move Towards Alternative Treatments

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently released revised Chronic Pain Guidelines that recommend limited prescribing of opioids to treat chronic pain. Under the guidelines, providers are encouraged to avoid prescribing any drug with a morphine equivalent dose (MED) exceeding 90.

As medical providers move towards compliance with the CDC recommendations, the need for alternative pain management treatments will continue to grow.

The costs of pain management treatment can be overwhelming for injured workers. Many workers are entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation benefits for their work-related injuries. Workers’ Compensation can help pay for the costs of pain management, medical treatment, rehabilitation, prescription drugs, and lost wages.

Contact an experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for assistance in determining if you are eligible to receive Workers’ Compensation for your injuries.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Injured Workers

Individuals injured at work may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. our experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers assist injured workers throughout South Carolina. To arrange a free consultation today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or submit an online inquiry form.

From our six office locations we serve clients across the state, including Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Day Care Responsibility

Columbia, SC Daycare Injury Lawyers discuss daycare facilities and their responsibility to provide proper care. Both state and federal law require daycare providers to uphold certain standards in protecting children under their care, supervision, or guidance from harm. When a daycare fails to uphold that duty, children may become injured as a result. Parents or guardians of minors who are injured while at daycare may bring suit on behalf of their child to recover medical expenses and other costs related to their child’s injuries. The Columbia daycare injury lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. fight to hold daycare providers responsible for their negligence or intentional wrongdoing.

Suing a Daycare Facility

Parents or guardians may bring a personal injury case against the daycare providers responsible for their child’s injuries. The basis of the claim may be negligence or intentional tort – the daycare provider must have either negligently or intentionally caused injury to the child.

To prove that the daycare was negligent, it must be shown that the daycare facility breached its duty of care to the child. If a child was under the care, supervision, or guidance of the daycare facility, then the daycare facility owed the child a duty of due care to take reasonable steps to protect him or her from foreseeable harm. A breach of this duty can happen in several ways, including:

  • Failing to provide a child with basic necessities, such as food, water, or medication
  • Improper supervision or caregiver-to-child ratio
  • Inadequate screening or training of employees
  • Unsafe premises

Once it has been established that the daycare facility breached its duty of care, claimants must then show that the breach of that duty caused the child’s injury. Such causation may be established by showing that but for the daycare facility’s negligence, the child’s injury would not have occurred.

The daycare facility will only be liable if it was the proximate cause of the child’s injuries, meaning that there were no unforeseeable intervening events that contributed to the injuries. Finally, evidence of physical or emotional harm must be presented in order to receive damages for the child’s injuries.

Intentional Tort Cases Against Daycare Providers

Sometimes, children are intentionally harmed by daycare providers. In those cases, parents or guardians may file an intentional tort case against the provider. Some examples of intentional torts include:

  • Assault
  • Battery
  • Child abuse
  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Wrongful death

Parents should be cautious if they are presented with an offer from the daycare facility’s insurance carrier. It is advisable to seek the counsel of a qualified local attorney before signing or agreeing to anything to ensure that the child’s rights are protected and that you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled.

Columbia Daycare Injury Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Parents and Guardians Obtain Compensation for Their Child’s Injuries

If your child was injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of a daycare provider, contact a Columbia daycare injury lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Our skilled attorneys are dedicated to obtaining the justice and compensation our clients deserve. For a free consultation, complete our online contact form or call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780.

We represent injured individuals and families across South Carolina, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Distractions in Cars Lead to Accidents

Columbia, SC Car Accident Lawyers discuss how distracted driving leads to car accidents. Drivers face many distractions behind the wheel. The baby crying in the back seat. An animal dashing across the road. The tractor trailer losing a tire. Obviously, these sort of happenings cannot be predicted. Yet they can have less effect on a driver’s ability to remain in control if preventable distractions are not at play.

Unfortunately, modern drivers indulge in plenty of distractions while driving. From using cell phones to fiddling with in-vehicle infotainment systems, drivers routinely lower their response times. And that is not good for anyone on the roads because it leads to higher car crash rates.

Car Accident Prevention Through Deliberate Planning

When a driver takes their eyes away from the road for longer than two seconds, they are putting themselves, their passengers, and fellow drivers at risk. In fact, just turning attention from the highway to something else for three seconds doubles the chances of getting into a car accident. Knowing this fact, drivers would be wise to plan for a focused drive by eliminating any predictable distractions before getting behind the wheel.

Turn off any cell phone notifications for incoming texts, phone calls, or application alerts. A cell phone can still be used as a GPS source through voice-activated control, but will not remind the driver of other notifications. Without the temptation to pick up the phone to check a text, the driver will be in a better position to react and respond to unexpected events.

Another way to remove driving distractions is to plan for any physical needs. Remove all clutter from the console and floor beneath the driver and passenger. Secure any objects that might roll off the passenger’s seat onto the floor. These simple measures can reduce the desire to concentrate on something other than what is happening outside the car.

Infotainment Built-Ins

Some car, truck, and SUV manufacturers have made built-in infotainment systems standard, such as the popular Apple CarPlay. While no driver should push buttons on infotainment systems while simultaneously operating a vehicle, AAA has deemed that lightning-fast infotainment may help drivers stay focused in certain circumstances.

Of course, drivers still need to keep their eyes squarely on the road. However, a pre-programmed infotainment system could allow them to change Sirius XM stations, call up navigation systems, and check the weather hands-free and distraction-free. Consequently, some infotainment systems may have a positive impact on safety if used properly.

Our society values the freedom to move from place to place. To ensure that we continue to be able to reach our destinations, we need to actively remove any expected barriers to the safest possible travel experiences. It all starts with just a few moments of planning to save those few seconds between avoiding a crash or becoming a statistic.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Victims of Distracted Driving Car Accidents

If you were involved in a car accident in South Carolina and are suffering injuries as a result, please contact the Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Call us today at 800-531-9780 or 803-929-3600, or submit an online form to talk with our knowledgeable personal injury attorneys about recouping lost wages, paying for medical bills, and recovering other damages.

From our six office locations we serve injured accident victims across the state, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Overexertion Injuries at Work

Columbia, SC Workers' Compensation Lawyers weigh in on overexertion injuries at work. People suffer many kids of work-related injuries on the job. Accidents involving equipment failures, slip-and-falls, and repetitive strain injuries are common. Surprisingly, however, a leading cause of workplace injury is overexertion. Overexertion happens when a person attempts to exceed their body’s physical abilities, whether by working to the point of fatigue or by overestimating their own limits. A common example is a back injury that results from lifting, pushing, pulling or carrying a too-heavy load.

When a person pushes themselves to the point of overexertion the immediate symptoms can include headache, nausea, irregular heartbeat, or overheating, as well as pain in the abdomen, chest, or muscles. A muscle injury may cause muscle aches, spasms, or burning sensations that linger. Pain may even spread to other areas of the body. Fatigue and trouble sleeping are also associated with overexertion.

Recognizing and Reporting Overexertion

Often managers, and even the employees themselves, have trouble recognizing the symptoms of an injury as being a result of overexertion. Managers should make the issue part of their job training efforts and continue to monitor their hard-working team for signs of trouble. If such an injury is suspected, the incident should be documented, and the injury should be evaluated by a healthcare professional. Resulting feedback should be considered when reassessing job duties for the future.

Individual abilities differ among workers doing the same job. It is difficult for managers to estimate the effort limits to put on their employees. Yet, such calculations are essential to prevent overexertion.

Prevention Tactics

Companies should design jobs with workers’ limitations, such as lift capacity and ergonomics, in mind. They should also provide proper job training to instruct workers on safe practices. When injuries do happen, jobsite managers need to re-evaluate and possibly redesign the job to accommodate workers’ needs. In some instances, companies should look into providing alternative solutions, like lifts, hoists, or other jobsite machines to assist workers and prevent injury.

Treatment Options

The best treatment for overexertion is rest. Doctors also prescribe anti-inflammatories to bring down swelling. Heat or ice may help as well. Physical therapy may be recommended to help with range of motion and to maintain muscle strength. Muscle relaxers, cortisone shots, and in the most severe cases, surgery may be required.

Workers’ Compensation Helps Workers Who Experience Overexertion Injury

Workers injured on the job as a result of overexertion may be eligible to collect compensation to help with injury-related costs, even if they have medical insurance. Workers’ Compensation benefits may cover medical appointments, physical therapy, as well as medication and equipment such as crutches or splints. The benefits may also extend to cover lost wages, if the injury prevents a timely return to work. In cases where an injury prevents an individual from returning at all, Workers’ Compensation may provide new-job training to allow for the injured person to return to the workforce in a different capacity.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Clients Dealing With Overexertion Injuries

If you have sustained an injury that may be the result of overexertion on the job, you should talk with a lawyer to determine if you are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. A Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. can help you navigate laws that may apply in your situation. Call 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 today or contact us online.

From our six office locations we serve clients across the state, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

South Carolina School Bus Crash

Columbia, SC Car Accident Lawyers discuss a fiery rear-end crash involving a school bus.Every day, parents across the U.S. trust that their children are in good hands on buses going back and forth to school. In one South Carolina incident, it was only the quick thinking of a novice school bus driver that saved 40 children from a potentially fatal result. A Darlington County school bus was hit in a rear-end collision.  Social media quickly filled with dramatic images of the bus engulfed in flames. The school bus driver was only in her second month on the job at the time of the accident. However, due to her calm response under pressure, no children were injured.

South Carolina Highway Patrol reported that a Buick hit the bus from behind and the car driver was later cited for speeding. As the bus driver described it afterwards, the bus was stopped at a train crossing when it was hit from behind. The bus driver, a former educator, stayed calm and quickly got all 40 children off the bus just as one child noted that the bus was starting to smoke. None of the children were injured and they were able to get a safe distance away in a nearby field as the bus burned. The school superintendent commended the driver for her heroic actions and commented that their district runs through mandatory bus evacuation drills twice yearly. The bus driver also noted that the evacuation of children went smoothly because they listened well and followed her instructions.

Bus Safety

Evacuation drills and school bus safety are two important factors for protecting children who ride buses to school. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tracks auto accidents that include bus accidents. While they state that fewer than one percent of all traffic fatalities a year occur on school buses, accidents still happen. NHTSA officials work to regulate school bus safety, holding school buses to higher standards than regular passenger buses.

Bus accidents are more likely to occur when children are entering or leaving the bus in traffic, which is why emphasis is placed on school zones, visible flashing bus lights, and barrier arm systems to ensure children are as safe as possible in traffic. In addition, buses are designed to be crash-safe with features such as protective seat backs and rollover protection.

However, as every experienced driver knows, no crash protection system is foolproof. Driver error, road conditions, and distractions can still result in serious accidents and catastrophic injuries to those traveling on school buses. Auto accidents can have significant and long-lasting consequences and all victims deserve compensation for their medical treatment and financial needs. The assistance of an experienced car accident attorney committed to protecting victims’ rights can make a key difference in obtaining the full financial compensation to assist in your recovery.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Fight for Bus Accident Victims

If you or someone you know was injured in a car, truck, or bus accident, help is available. The Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. represent victims with care and skill in personal injury cases. For a free consultation, please contact us through our online form or call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780.

We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Involved in a Car Wreck South Carolina? Here is What You Need to Know – Infographic

We all know car wrecks happen, but you may be surprised at how often they occur. According to the 2017 data from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, a traffic collision occurred every 3.7 minutes – and every 8.7 minutes a person was injured.

What are the Common Causes of Car Accidents?

Most wrecks are a result of careless and illegal driving habits such as ignoring traffic signs and signals, distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding, making unsafe lane changes, and improper turning. These driving behaviors can result in collisions, injuries, and fatalities. Although there is no surefire way to avoid a car accident, obeying traffic laws and practicing good driving habits can certainly help.

Filing a Car Accident Claim

A car accident, especially a severe one, can have a significant impact on your life, leaving you physically injured and in emotional distress. The financial impact of a car accident can be immense. You may be left with substantial medical bills, prescription costs, and you may be unable to work. If you were injured in a car wreck due to the negligence of another driver, you should file a claim to recover compensation for your damages. However, because every state has different laws pertaining to recovering damages after an accident, it is important to speak with a personal injury lawyer with experience handling car accident claims in South Carolina.

The Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. offer this infographic that provides important things to know when seeking compensation after a South Carolina car accident.

Columbia car accident lawyers review important things you should know about South Carolina car accidents.

The aftermath of being in a car accident can be stressful and the process of seeking compensation for your injuries can be confusing. The Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. are focused on protecting you and your legal rights. We will review the South Carolina laws that are relevant to your car accident claim and work hard to ensure you receive fair compensation. Call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation and discuss your case.

Back Seat Passenger Injuries

Columbia car accident lawyers discuss back seat passenger injuriesAs automobile technology advances, newer safety equipment has targeted front seat drivers. Features such as air bags for drivers and passengers and cars that will not start unless front seat belts are engaged can protect the front seat passengers. However, passengers in the back seat may have little else than their seat belts to keep them safe in the event of a wreck.

For children under the age of 12, the back seat is still safer, according to a report by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Their data showed that this age group experienced 24 percent of fatalities caused by auto wrecks, even though they represent 56 percent of back seat passengers. Adults ages 55 and up had a greater chance of suffering fatal injuries in car accidents when seated in the back.

Back Seat Passengers Avoid Safety Belts

Many passengers believe that the back seat is safer and therefore, do not buckle up. When people are squeezed into the back, they can buckle two people under one belt, or not bother using them at all. Statistics showed that only 70 percent of rear seat occupants between the ages of 20 to 54 were using their seat belts.

Researchers for the IIHS also studied back seat passenger injuries and reported that if not buckled in, rear seat riders can crash into the back of the front seats. This could cause drivers to smash into steering wheels and airbags. Additional data showed that Uber and Lyft back seat passengers were less likely to use their seat belts. In 2015, over 1,000 rear seat passengers that were not wearing seat belts suffered fatal injuries in car wrecks.

Calling Out Auto Manufacturers

Auto companies have invested much effort and funds into advancing front passenger safety, and some feel that the time has arrived to move on to the back seat. An analyst with the business analytics company, IHS Markit, feels that the auto industry is focused on technology that will avoid accidents. Although this is a worthy area for research and development, back seat safety measures are also very important. In the meantime, back seat passengers should not think that they are in a safe zone. Buckling up is still the safer bet.

Back Seat Passenger Injury Claims

In other types of personal injury cases, plaintiffs need to show that a driver was liable and what the damages are. When two cars are involved, there may be clear evidence that one driver was at fault. Every claim is different though, since there may be extenuating circumstances. It is also possible that more than one driver caused the accident.

Medical needs should be attended to first and once these are taken care of, the passenger can obtain insurance information, police reports, and gather evidence by taking photos and speaking with witnesses. From here, steps toward pursuing a personal injury claim can be undertaken.

Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Advocate for Passengers Injured in Wrecks

Car accidents can be traumatic, but help is available. If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident, contact our Columbia car accident lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. for legal guidance today. Call 803-929-3600, 800-531-9780, or complete an online form for a free case evaluation.

We represent clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

Forklift Accidents

Columbia Workers' Compensation Lawyers discuss forklift accidents and injuries. Nearly 100,000 people in the U.S. are injured or killed in forklift accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Forklifts are frequently used in construction and warehousing. Workers in those industries are at risk of being injured due to inadequate safety standards, poor equipment maintenance, insufficient employee training, and other possible causes.

Causes of Forklift Accidents and Injuries

Forklifts are powered industrial vehicles that help workers by lifting and moving heavy loads. However, these useful trucks also pose several hazards. Some common causes of forklift accidents include:

  • Excessive loads: Forklifts can tip over if they are overloaded. Nearby employees may become crushed and killed either by the forklift (which can weigh anywhere from five to ten thousand pounds), or by the falling load, especially if there is no rollover protection system/structure in place.
  • Struck-by falling object: Objects and materials that are not properly secured may fall onto workers, causing serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries (TBI), broken bones, and internal injuries. Being struck-by an object is one of the four most common causes of construction worker fatalities, according to OSHA.
  • Inadequate maintenance: Forklifts, like other vehicles and equipment, must be maintained and serviced regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. If inadequately maintained, forklifts may malfunction and cause injury to workers.
  • Unsafe operation: Workers must be trained and certified to operate a forklift. If workers who have not been adequately trained are allowed to operate a forklift, they may inadvertently injure themselves as well as others in the vicinity.
  • Manufacturing Defects: Sometimes, a design or manufacturing flaw causes a forklift to be extremely dangerous. Workers who are injured due to defective forklift parts may be able to sue the manufacturer in a third-party liability claim.

Forklift Accident Prevention

OSHA encourages employers to help prevent forklift accidents by following safety guidelines and procedures pertaining to their operation and maintenance.

Some ways to prevent forklift accidents include:

  • Chocking the wheels
  • Equipping forklifts with overhead masts
  • Regularly checking the engine, brakes, and hydraulics
  • Ensuring that controls and displays are visible
  • Examining forklift prior to use
  • Designating safe areas for pedestrians
  • Providing adequate lighting for work areas

Workers’ Compensation for Forklift Injuries

South Carolina workers must report their workplace injuries to their employers within 90 days to remain eligible for Workers’ Compensation. Benefits include compensation for medical expenses, disability, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits.

Workers may collect Workers’ Compensation regardless of fault. However, if someone other than the employer caused the accident (such as a forklift part manufacturer), they may also be able to collect additional damages for pain and suffering via a third-party liability claim.

Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Help Workers Get Benefits for Forklift Injuries

If you were injured in a forklift accident, contact a Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Our experienced lawyers know what it takes to file a successful claim and can help you get maximum compensation for your injuries. Submit an online inquiry form or call us at 803-929-3600 or 800-531-9780 to arrange a consultation today.

From our six office locations in South Carolina we serve clients throughout the state, including Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.

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