Articles Posted in Seat belts and child seats

National Teen Driver Safety Week Is A Good Startimages.

Here’s a great idea that gives parents and schools the chance to focus on this critical safety issue.

The U.S. Department of Transportation devised this excellent awareness program to curtail the tragic loss of 2,333 teens and 221,313 teens severely injured after being in an auto accident in 2015.

Parents are not usually usually driving with their teens so they must teach and enforce these five crucial driving behaviors to prevent car and truck crashes:

  • No using a cell phone or texting
  • No piling passengers in the car
  • No speeding
  • No drinking alcohol
  • No driving without wearing a seat belt

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CPS-Postcard-Sneaker-thumbThe U.S. Department of Transportation has designated this week as the Child Passenger Safety Week. Parents, here is a good opportunity to learn more about how to prevent your children from being injured in a car or truck crash. And on Saturday you will be able to speak to a child seat expert if you still have  questions.

Even if you think you’re strapping your children in correctly, recommendations change, equipment changes, and it can’t hurt to double check that you are making your child as safe as possible.

Why is this so important? The numbers speak for themselves. 43 percent of children who were killed in auto accidents were not properly retrained.

Sadly, many well-meaning, devoted parents just didn’t know what they were supposed to do or had trouble correctly installing the sometimes complicated car seat apparatus.  Continue reading

Click-it-ticket-300x200I’ve seen far too many car wreck injuries caused by people not using seat belts. This angers me.

I was reminded of this today when I read that nine members of a North Texas family were injured after their minivan was rear ended and flipped over into a ditch on I-30. Seven children were hurt, with one in critical condition. Some weren’t restrained and were ejected from the car. That’s inexcusable.

I want to again call attention to this serious problem to try to stop these senseless injuries.

Everyone must know that it’s the law that front and back seat passengers have to buckle up. Texas has a tough primary enforcement law where a police officer can issue you a misdemeanor citation even if no other traffic law has been violated. The ticket can cost up to $250.00 plus court costs.

If that doesn’t get your attention, presumably everyone knows that seat belts reduce the likelihood of injuries and deaths.

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Bill Berenson Injury Law announces that it has successfully obtained the total available insurance limits of $305,000.00 for our client.USE THIS GIBBS

He was driving in Decatur last year when a van without its lights on crashed into his older Mercedes. Liability was disputed, as the van driver said that his lights were on and that the Mercedes driver failed to yield the right of way at the intersection.

The man had to be rushed by ambulance to a hospital where he spent four days recovering from his serious injuries, including fractures.

teens-speeding_0Why do 20% of new teenage drivers cause a car wreck within the first six months of driving?

Their rampant alcohol, drug, and cell phone use and other distractions added to their inexperience make the odds they crash into you rise dramatically.

The National Teen Driver Safety Week ends tomorrow. Its theme of Five to Drive addresses the five major causes of teens causing and getting hurt in accidents:

  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Being distracted by passengers
  • Not wearing seat belts

Sadly, automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers in the United States.A whopping 2,679 teens died and 123,000 were injured in car wrecks just in 2014.

Avoiding these five problems will reduce these tragic statistics dramatically. Continue reading

Shocking video shows dangers of tailgating 

I am sometimes told by insurance company attorneys and adjusters that unless my clients were in a high speed crash with major property damage to the vehicles, my clients could not have injured very seriously. I never allow them to continue arguing this when I am negotiating their cases to get them the compensation they deserve to receive for their damages.

This video from the dash board camera in the 18 wheeler shows you why.IMG_0373

The car was being driven by a young woman from Texas, Briana Disaia who was riding the tail of a pickup truck in Arizona.

As they both passed the tractor trailer, the pickup truck driver swerved to avoid hitting a mattress jutting out into traffic.

The car driver didn’t see the mattress until too late, jerked her wheel to the right, and spun her car out of control. It hit the 18 wheeler which sent her car flying into the side of a mountain at a high rate of speed.

Her car rolled several times before coming to rest on its roof.

Somehow the Texan walked away without any injuries. Her seat belt saved her life.
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Lack of seat belt use a serious problem

I just settled a major wrongful death lawsuit against a construction company where the insurance company’s lawyer in Dallas tried to prove that the decedent was not wearing his seat belt. I won the dispute. But why was this even at issue?

Because the Texas Supreme Court ruled last year that seat belt non use is now admissible as evidence at trial. So defendants can now blame the injured driver/his family for not wearing a seat belt and reduce, even zero out their damages award — when the other driver is 100% at fault.

Why do I occasionally see new clients who have been injured in car wrecks but who refused to buckle up? God only knows.

The seat belt holds your body in place and prevents you from hitting the steering wheel, flying through the windshield or being crushed in a rollover crash. This important device is one of the greatest safety innovations of the 20th century.

Seat belts can help divert tragedy, like the one Friday in Fort Worth on West Loop 820. A woman was ejected from her vehicle when it collided with another car. Fort Worth police pronounced her dead at the scene. Had she just taken those two seconds to strap on her seat belt, she might be alive today.

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seat belt -- full photo of woman buckling up

Countless Lives Saved in 2015 

Every day, the news reports another story about a tragic car wreck caused by texting while driving, drunk driving, running a light, speeding or other dangerous conduct. 

Driving home last night, police were directing traffic and two drivers were standing next to their smashed up vehicles. We take it for granted and just hope it doesn’t happen to us.

So the fact that more vehicle occupants are buckling up is encouraging to a personal injury lawyer – or to any one.

The National Highway Safety Transportation Administration’s new report detailing seat belt use is good news.

Use of seat belts increased from 88 percent in 2014 to 90 percent in 2015. For some reason, seat belt use by occupants of pick-up trucks has lagged behind, but is headed in the right direction, increasing from 77 percent in 2014 to 80 percent in 2015.

You have to wonder why aren’t these numbers 100%, right? Why wouldn’t you take a second or two to protect your life?

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Seat belt -- woman buckling up

The Texas Supreme Court ruled last year that a defendant could use the plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt as evidence against him if this conduct caused or was a cause of his injuries. Nabors v. Romero overruled the court’s prior decision set 40 years ago.

On Monday, the Texas Eighth District Court of Appeals in El Paso issued a complicated opinion in this significant case that affects the outcome of automobile and truck collision lawsuits.
On remand, the justices concluded that the trial court had abused its discretion when it excluded the defendant’s expert’s opinion that seat belts reduce the risk of ejections in serious rollovers. However the court affirmed the trial court’s exclusion of the defendant’s expert who blamed injuries to four of the minor plaintiffs on the adult occupants on other grounds.

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Police officer and toddler at CO car wreck

Toddler Spared in Car Wreck Despite Not Being Properly Restrained

Yesterday a passerby witnessed a horrific crash in Colorado where the car blew a tire and rolled over. Four children and their parents were not restrained and were ejected from the vehicle. Sadly, the father died in the wreck. After calling 911, the witness snapped the above photo of a police officer distracting a toddler, who miraculously was spared from serious injuries, despite not being correctly restrained in a child’s car seat. As a personal injury lawyer, not to mention father, I find her parents failing to put her in her car seat shocking.  Sadly, this story ended tragically, but of course it is wonderful that this little girl is lucky to be alive and uninjured. 

Almost All Cars Make Fastening Seat Belts Difficult; New Rating System for Ease-of-Use of Restraint Seat Hardware

All states require that children be restrained in a child’s car seat appropriate to their age and size. Yet, a new study shows that some vehicles’ hardware makes this difficult, putting countless children at risk during accidents. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has just launched an ease-of-use rating system of vehicular latches for child restraint seats. What the agency found is astounding. Only three out of 100 cars had child restraint hardware that was considered easy to use. More than half of all cars had hardware rated as poor or marginal. How can we allow this to happen?

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