Southeast Oklahoma Personal Injury Law Blog

Seat belt use found to reduce the severity of liver injuries

Road safety advocates in Oklahoma and around the country have long called for stricter seat belt laws, and the results of a study published recently in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health could add weight to their arguments. A team of researchers studied traffic accident figures from the National Trauma Data Bank gathered between 2010 and 2015, and they discovered that passenger vehicle occupants who fastened their seat belts were far less likely to suffer fatal liver injuries in a crash.

This is an important discovery because the liver and spleen are the organs most often injured in car accidents. While a ruptured spleen can be removed, the liver performs vital life functions and must be left in place. The researchers found that using seat belts did not prevent liver injuries, but it did make them less severe. Car accident victims with severe liver injuries died 15 percent of the time according to the study, but this figure fell to just 8 percent among vehicle occupants who suffered less severe liver injuries.

What to expect from a trucking accident settlement

Oklahoma drivers that have been injured in an accident caused by a commercial truck may have a case for monetary damages. In some instances, a trucker's insurance company will acknowledge the truck driver was at fault and negotiate a settlement with the injured driver. The settlement process may not be intuitive for the injured driver, however.

A settlement is an agreement between the two parties to forgo a trial. Typically, the responsible trucking company will agree to make a monetary payment to the driver in exchange for dismissing the lawsuit. These settlements can be negotiated directly between the parties or through other avenues such as mediation.

Ford recalls trucks due to rollaway fears

Ford has announced that it will be sending recall notices to 292,909 pickup truck and SUV owners around the country to fix a transmission problem that has raised fears about rollaway accidents. The car maker is also recalling 54,516 vehicles in Mexico and Canada. The problem affects 2018 model year F-150 pickup trucks and Expedition SUVs equipped with 10-speed automatic transmissions and F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks equipped with six-speed automatics. Many of these vehicles are owned by Oklahoma residents and businesses.

Ford says that a clip fastening the shift cable to the transmission unit may not be properly seated in some of the trucks covered by the recall. If this clip becomes loose or breaks, drivers may no longer be able to tell which gear they are in by looking at the shifter. Ford is concerned that drivers could exit vehicles that are still in gear after believing that they have shifted into park. The car maker says that the problem has caused at least one accident and injury. Dealers will inspect and replace the clip if necessary at no charge to Ford owners.

Survey suggests a sharp increase in cell phone use while driving

According to a new survey, the number of drivers who report frequent cell phone use while driving has risen sharply in the last few years. Ironically, these same drivers recognized distracted driving as a significant roadway hazard. This alarming trend could affect traffic safety in Oklahoma.

Authored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the survey identified driving behavior and beliefs among 2,613 drivers. The study only interviewed drivers at least 16 years of age who had driven a car within the last 30 days. According to the survey, the number of drivers who reported using a cell phone frequently while driving increased 46 percent since the issue was studied in 2013. The drivers surveyed reported that nearly half of them had talked on the phone or read a text message while driving. Over one-third reported writing a text message or e-mail while behind the wheel.

Many mistakes can lead to a truck accident

You may have less stress when your vehicle is the one of only a few on the road -- like quite late at night -- but you know that this doesn't happen often.

Instead, you need to get used to sharing the road with all types of vehicles, including commercial trucks.

FMCSA's soft enforcement of ELD mandate

Since December 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has required commercial truck drivers to record their duty status through electronic logging devices. According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, FMCSA is allowing for a period of "soft enforcement" of the mandate until April 1. This is important for those truckers in Oklahoma who might still be operating with paper logs.

FMCSA has stated that it will not issue out-of-service orders before April 1. Furthermore, the administration will not lower drivers' Compliance, Safety, Accountability scores because of ELD violations until the period is up. Livestock and agricultural haulers have until June 18 to comply. FMCSA inspectors continue to note violations, but out of all inspected drivers, only 4 percent have been cited for non-compliance so far.

Teen accused in fatal distracted driving crash to be tried as adult

If you drive north of Durant for about 150 miles, you will come to Wellston, Oklahoma. The small Lincoln County town has a population of less than 900, but it is a part of American folklore as a stop on historic Route 66.

The town is also the site of a fatal distracted driving crash a year ago on Turner Turnpike. A 54-year-old grandmother was killed in the wreck, along with two grandchildren just 5 and 9 years old. A judge recently ruled that the teen driver who has been accused of causing the the wreck will be tried as an adult.

3 things that will help you with a car accident claim

Imagine you are driving through Durant on your usual commute to work. Traffic isn't too heavy and you are making good time, until suddenly, from out of nowhere another car slams into you. Now, not only will you have to miss work for several days because of your injuries, you have to deal with repairing your car and paying for the medical bills. While you probably expect the other driver's insurance company to handle all of the expenses since the accident was clearly his fault, sometimes it is not so easy.

Filing an auto accident insurance claim can be a complicated process. In general, insurance companies make the process complicated and do things to try to avoid paying a claim. Due to this reason, it is vital that you know how to handle the insurance company.

The importance of uninsured motorist coverage to Oklahoma drivers

Normally, when an Oklahoman is injured in a motor vehicle accident in which the driver of the other car was at fault, the other driver's policy would cover the victim's personal injury costs like medical bills. What happens when the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover these injury costs or does not carry required car insurance at all? What happens if an at-fault driver cannot be identified in a hit-and-run accident? 

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