Many motorcyclists have experienced the feeling of being “invisible” to other drivers on the road, and unfortunately some have suffered the results of major impacts as well. Theories abound as to why other drivers seem to have difficult seeing motorcylists — some studies indicate that motorcycles tend to “blend in” to backgrounds more easily than cars and trucks; other studies conclude that motorcyles are less conspicuous simply because a driver’s attention is more readily drawn to and held by larger vehicles.

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Whatever the reason for this “invisibility,” one situation in which it is most apparent is in left turn accidents in which drivers heading in the opposite direction of a motorcyclist suddenly execute a left-hand turn directly in front of them, leaving the motorcyclist little or no time to react.  Interviewed after the resulting collision, many of these drivers will simply say, “I never saw the motorcyclist.”

Statistics indicate that between 30 and 40 percent of motorcyclist fatalities result from this type of collision. Given that the motorcyclist may be at or near full cruising speed when this type of sudden collision occurs, even those impacts that aren’t fatal may result in very severe injuries.

Obvious ways to help be more visible to other drivers include always driving with your head light on, wearing bright clothing and helmet with stand-out colors. It’s also very important to be aware of this particular type of motorcycle versus car or truck collision, and approach with caution any vehicle headed toward you that appears to be preparing to make a left-hand turn. Moving to a lane farther from the center of the roadway (to give yourself a little extra maneuveruing room), having you hand near your brake controls, and planning escape routes in case they’re needed can all provide a little extra edge that may mean the difference between a close call and a serious impact.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle collision, however, it’s important to consult an experienced attorney, such as Sacramento motorcycle accident attorney Edward A. Smith.

The number of trucking accidents has increased significantly over the last two decades. Federal laws and regulations govern the trucking industry. These laws establish standards that trucking companies, owners, and drivers must meet, and often determine who is responsible for a trucking accident. More info can be found here.

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When it comes to trucking accidents there are a host of players who may be responsible for a victims injuries and damages including the following:

1. The driver of the truck – sometimes the driver is not an employee of the company who owns the truck or leases the truck but rather is an independent contractor. It is important to identify who the driver is working for as soon as possible.

2. The owner of the truck.

3. The individual or company that may have leased the truck from the owner.

4. The manufacturer of the truck’s brakes or any other defective part that may have caused or contributed to the collision.

5. The shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo in collisions involving improper loading.

In order to avoid liability trucking companies typically create distance between themselves and the driver, the truck and the equipment. The trucking company might argue that the driver was not the trucking company’s employee, so the trucking company is not liable for the driver’s negligence.

The trucking, hauling, and leasing companies often argue amongst themselves over whose insurance will compensate the victim. For instance, the trucking company might claim that the accident was caused by defective tires or brakes. In turn, the tire or brake company might claim that the leasing company failed to maintain the tires or brakes in good working order.

Trucking cases are extremely complex and it is best to hire an experienced trucking accident lawyer to handle your case. My office has litigated numerous trucking accident cases and I would like to help you. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a trucking accident, contact the Sacramento Trucking Accident Attorneys at the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith for a free consultation at 916-921-6400, www.autoaccident.com. You can also find us on Yelp.

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You may see it every day during morning and afternoon commutes.  Given our pleasant weather in the Sacramento area, motorcycles are frequently used as commuter vehicles.  When the automobile traffic is at a stand-still, the motorcyclist will often travel between the lanes, bypassing the bottleneck.

As an automobile driver and traffic observer, when witnessing this maneuver known as “lane-splitting” you may have thought the following:

1.     I wish I could do that.
2.    Is that legal?
3.    Is that safe?

It may surprise you to learn that the answer to #2, whether the maneuver is legal, is yes.  In California, motorcyclists are legally allowed to travel between lanes.  The answer to #3 was recently tackled by researchers in a year-long study at the University of California, Berkeley.  The study, which was commissioned by the Office of Traffic Safety and the CHP,  found that the practice of lane-splitting is not any more dangerous than riding a motorcycle generally – IF the rider maintains close to the speed of traffic.  If the rider increases his or her speed by more than 10 mph than the surrounding traffic, the danger increases.

Interestingly, the study found that riders that engaged in lane-splitting generally wore better (safer) helmets than riders in general and were less likely to be rear-ended by other vehicles.  It also concluded that during  “rush hours” – morning and afternoon commute times – lane-splitters were more likely than riders that did not utilize the practice to be involved in a crash.

The information in the study was obtained via a supplemental form filled out by 80 law enforcement agencies when writing their reports for over 8,000 collisions involving motorcyclists.  The study did not break down the riders into categories such as age or gender, nor did it look at the characteristics of the involved roadways or motorcycles.  More in-depth analysis will likely be released in the future.

If you or someone you know has been injured while riding, please contact experienced Sacramento motorcycle lawyer, Edward A. Smith.

Check our reviews on Yelp and on Avvo.

 

On October 21st, I wrote here a bit about grief counseling, a process many of my clients whose family members or friends who lost someone in a wrongful death accident have undergone.

As a followup to that article, I interviewed a noted grief counselor, Carol Lee of Auburn, California  who shared with me some of her insights from decades working in hospitals and in her private practice helping people with grief and bereavement.

Carol said the first task for people is to accept the reality of the loss. Many times people are in a daze and its difficult to accept that that person who meant so much to you is now gone.

A counselor may ask the client what happened and will try to understand he background and content of what the client is experiencing and feeling.

 

Secondly, a good counselor will listen and encourage the client to work thru the pain of grief. Sometimes people start opening up immediately but often it takes much time before people

can open up and talk about their losses. A counselor will validate the points that the patient emphasizes.

 

After the client has went some ways in exploring their grief, they next need to be encouraged to adjust to a world where the deceased is missing from their lives. Often, we depend so much on our lovcrs, loved ones and friends for support, practical advice, home repairs and much else. When confronted with a death, it takes time and a plan to make adjustment.

Ask the client, “What do you think is the best way to deal with this?”

Finally, the client must find a way to remember and have an enduring connection with the deceased while still embarking upon a new life without them.

The client should be affirmed for whatever they feel about the type of person they are and encouraged to find the strength to find some meaning in order to go on.

Grief is not linear and people may revisit these stages or tasks at different time and deal with them in a a different order.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Wrongful Death attorney for over 30 years. If I can help you in this difficult time, please call me at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 elsewhere.

You can also  read more about is in Yelp or on Nolo.com

 

 

 

As a Sacramento Truck Accident lawyer with over 30 years of experience, I have handled hundreds of trucking negligence cases, many of which involve driver fatigue or truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel. According to the National Highway Safety Administration,  there are 100,000 crashes , 71,000 injuries and 1550 deaths a year caused by fatigued drivers or by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel.

12 AM-6AM and 2PM-4PM are the time periods when most of these accidents happen. Most of these accidents happen because of trucker’s irregular and shorter sleep patterns. It is estimated that Trucker’s sleep 2 hours less per day than the population at large. A trucker awake for more than 18 hours has the same driving capacity as someone with a blood alcohol factor of .08. (Legally drunk in most states).

 

New technology may help especially as Google Glasses become more prevalent. A new app called  “Glass Fatigue Detector”  looks at  a person’s blinking patterns and head rotation and thereby  monitors drowsiness. There is also research being done on “Smart Steering Wheels” which monitor how the driver is handling the steering wheel and triggering an alarm if it notices unusual patterns.

Hopefully, trucking fleets will adopt some of the technology available to avoid the carnage heavy truck accidents cause.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer for over 30 years. If you or a family member has been in a serious accident with a heavy trucker, I can help. Call me at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 Elsewhere.

You can find out more about my firm at Yelp or at Nolo.com.

 

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The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1.4 Million people yearly suffer a traumatic brain injury.  When troops returned from the First World War suffering what was then called “Shell shock”, the first associations were made between chronic pain and brain injuries. As a Sacramento Brain Injury Lawyer, I have been well aware of how many of my clients suffering concussions or brain injuries also suffered from chronic headaches.

I saw confirmation of this correlation in a recent medical  review of some 1100 Medline articles over the past 50 plus years.  The study showed a prevalence of chronic headache pain in 56 percent of individuals suffering a brain injury, even a “mild” brain injury.  The full article can be found here.

I’m Ed Smith a Sacramento personal injury lawyer for over 30 years. If I can help you or a member of your family who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, please call me at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 elsewhere for caring advice on the best steps to take.

Find out more about our office on Yelp or on

Nolo.com.

Photo Attribution: Hard Thinking © Miroslav Vajdić / Attribution-NoDerivs / 2012-02-09 14:41:02

 

 

 

 

As a longtime Sacramento Trucking Accident Lawyer:

 

I am shocked by the continued and sheer crazy proposals put forth by the trucking fleet industry:

The latest push in Congress is to lower the minimal driving age for big rigs down to 18 years old. In every type of accident, drivers 17-25 have the highest rate of negligence. It’s why premiums for young drivers are so high. It’s one thing for an 18 year old to be driving a small car, but a 53 foot big rig on a crowded freeway?

The average cost of a crash involving a Class 8 Tractor pulling a 53 foot trailer is over $172,000. If only one person is injured in a crash, the average cost balloons to $334, 892 according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Can you imagine the serious carnage that results when a teenagers start driving big rigs!

 

The trucking Industry causes more deaths per vehicle than anything else on our highways. They continually fight against safety regulations that would make us all safer. See Why is the Trucking Industry So Resistant to New  Safety Regulations and Technology 

Unlike the Airline Industry which was out front in embracing most safety proposals, the trucking industry fights safety regulation every step of the way.

 

If you’ve been in a serious Truck Accident, please call me today. I’m Ed Smith and I’ve been handling serious Sacramento Trucking Accidents for over 30 years. Call me at 916-921-6400 in Sacramento or 800-404-5400 Elsewhere.

As a Sacramento personal injury lawyer, I have had occasion to represent many minority members in auto and trucking accidents since 1982.  Over the years, I’ve noticed that, in general, different people and different cultures experience pain differently. I recently came across an article entitled Hispanic Inpatient Pain intensity.

The gist of that article summarized is that non English speaking Hispanic  patients in hospitals tend to underreport pain by some 30 percent compared to  English speaking Hispanic patients.

May times, in personal injury lawsuits, the insurance companies focus on complaints of pain showing up in the medical records. They imply that if there was no pain indicated in the medical records, the patient must not have been in pain. Its important to the serious personal injury lawyer to be familiar with the medical literature to explain why those complaints may not have been voiced. And that not being voiced, is not the same as not being experienced.

Another recent study entitled, Pain and Psychological symptom differences in African Americans and European Americans experiencing motor vehicle collisions,  showed that African americans suffered greater neck  pain and incidences of PTSD  than European Americans months after an auto accident.  Whether the increased physical and psychological pain after motor vehicle accidents  is due to greater life stress, challenges associated with discrimination or perceived racism or is due to a lower socioeconomic status is currently unknown.

 

Yet another medical journal article recently read entitled A Longitudinal examination of neighborhood socioeconomic status and cancer pain  showed that  neighborhoods characterized  by poverty, lack of education and lack of employment, increased  risk for more cancer pain and pain interference.

The important point to note is that pain can vary by ethnic group or by culture whether that pain is organic in nature or via trauma.

 

It’s important that personal injury attorneys handling trauma understand and can explain via their expert medical doctors, that people are unique. That just as every person grieves differently, every person experiences pain differently.

 

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I’ve been a Sacramento Wrongful Death attorney  since 1982. Since I handle only personal injury cases, I’ve had occasion to see many families who have been suddenly confronted with the sudden death of a parent, a spouse, a child, a partner, a friend.

I  see the deep pain and grief of my clients, but there’s no way that I, an outsider, can really experience it,

I do what I can. I feel bad for the families, the spouses, the parents of those who have died. Sometimes, I suggest books that can help. Some of these are: Some books that people have found useful are: How to Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies; Transforming Traumatic Grief; The Death of a Child; Grieving the Death of a Mother; and Lifetimes. Occasionally, I’ll hear of a modality such as Guided Imagery that people report to me are useful. ( A Meditation to Ease Grief and A Meditation to Help you Relieve Depression)

I’ve had many clients find solace in support groups and I’ve listed many of the ones I know of in another post.

Recently, I’ve heard reports of people skilled in helping people transverse the halls of grief.  These people are called grief counselors.  Many are LCSW’s  (Licensed Clinical Social Workers) and a few are psychologists. All have in common long experience in helping people get thru these intense feelings that seem to overwhelm their lives.

I know a bit about grief. I’ve lost people and relationships important to me. I’ve wished I had another chance at a redo….to say goodbye to or to  press the reset button.

I know that there are stages of grief, (I’ve read my Kubler-Ross) and I understand people grieve differently. I know certain dates such as Christmas, Mothers Day, Birthdays and anniversaries can bring grief to the fore.

Nonetheless, I’m an outsider. I meet with clients over minutes and hours not days and weeks.

I realize that there’s much I don’t know and much you who are experiencing grief should.

I will be contacting an experienced Grief Counselor for an interview in the near future. I’ll show him or her this blog, the limits of my knowledge and then interview him or her on what I don’t know and what I hope to soon share.

If you are in the midst of a deep loss, please breathe deeply. I know no-one can really take the pain away. But maybe at some level, there’s meaning to the tragedy that has befallen you.

I’m Ed Smith, founder of AutoAccident.com, A Sacramento Personal Injury Lawyer since 1982.

Photo Attribution for above photo: Hard Thinking © Miroslav Vajdić / Attribution-NoDerivs / 2012-02-09 14:41:02

Statistics indicate that nearly one-third of motorcycle crashes occur at intersections. Of the collisions that occur at intersections, most involved a vehicle making a left hand turn at the intersection into the motorcyclist. While you, the motorcyclist, have the right to go through the intersection on a green light, sadly this does not mean that the drivers of the vehicles around you will see you.

While intersections are inherently dangerous for all vehicles on the road, motorcycles and pedestrians suffer greater injury when a collision occurs due to the lack of protection they have. Complicating matters is that many drivers, of cars and motorcycles alike, have a bad habit of accelerating through stoplights and/or jumping the light which increases risks of accidents.

Below is a list of idea to protect the motorcyclist while traveling through intersections.

  1. Ride assertively through the intersection.
  2. Maintain the same rate of speed throughout the crossing of the intersection.
  3. Avoid accelerating through intersections. Surrounding drivers become confused with acceleration and falsely perceive – based on the speed before the motorcyclist accelerated – that they have more time and/or space to clear the intersection.
  4. Avoid eye contact with drivers while going through the intersection. At times, establishing eye contact, gives the impression the motorcyclist is giving permission for the other driver to go.
  5. While making turns, move away from the nearby cars, especially if they are turning left in front of you. Some motorcyclists make movements with their bike to attract the eye of the drivers around.
  6. Ideally, keep distance between yourself and the car turning left in front of you. The greater distance between both parties gives extra seconds to correct course and avoid a collision.
  7. Avoid braking or slowing down unnecessarily near the intersection which make confuse the driver of nearby cars. It may encourage the driver to believe that you are yielding the right of way and encouraging him to proceed on the left turn which could result in an accident.
  8. Motorcyclists who keep front headlights on at all times can help other drivers recognize the presence of the motorcycle and its rider.
  9. Auxiliary lamps that are on the handlebars or at a width of approximately the handlebars can aid in helping drivers ‘perceive’ the motorcycle at night.
  10. Use both hand and foot brakes in cases of emergency.

 Despite using safety precautions while traveling through an intersection a collision may still occur. If you find yourself injured after a collision and need advice on how to handle your motorcycle injury claim, the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith would be more than happy to provide a free consultation to discuss your options. Their office has been handling injury claims, including motorcycle claims, since 1982. Many of their employees are avid motorcyclists themselves. Please contact us at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400. You can also look at their website to evaluate their successful verdicts and settlements and see what their clients are saying.