Tag: personal injury

5 Tips for Safe Thanksgiving Travel

If you’re among the nearly 55 million Americans hitting the road this Thanksgiving holiday, you’re going to experience some crowded roadways. Taking a road trip of more than 50 miles always comes with challenges. Preserving your safety (and that of your passengers) is priority number one.

America’s roadways become more dangerous every year. Americans have a 1 in 63 chance of getting into a car accident.

There are things you can do to minimize the risk. Following these 5 tips for safe Thanksgiving travel can get you to your destination so you can enjoy the holiday with your family and friends.

Eating while behind the wheel can cause you to have a serious accident.

#1 – Avoid distracted driving

Distracted driving contributes to 9 percent of all fatal automobile accidents in the U.S. Another 15 percent of distracted driving crashes cause significant injuries. From eating while driving to talking or texting on your cell phone, turning your attention away from your driving for even a few seconds can have disastrous results.

The longer your travel time before arriving at your destination, the more tempted you can be to multitask behind the wheel. However, it’s not worth the risk to your safety and of others on the roadways.

If you must use your cell phone, pull off the road in a safe place. Never try to eat while driving, even if you think it can save you time on the roadway. Even if you order takeout, pull over and take the time to eat it before getting on your way again.

#2 – Don’t speed

Speeding is the number one factor in a third of all fatal accidents each year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). It can be tempting to drive above the recommended speed limit, especially if you are worried about being late for a family gathering or other holiday event.

It’s better to arrive late than not at all, so resist the temptation to go faster than is safe for the road conditions. At a speed of 60 miles per hour, it takes roughly 140 feet to come to a full stop after hitting the brake. Be sure to follow the speed limit and practice following a safe distance from the vehicle in front of yours.

“Drinksgiving” is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, which is a popular time to drink in the U.S.

#3 – Never drive under the influence

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become known as “Blackout Wednesday” – or “Drinksgiving” – because of its popularity for alcohol consumption. Traveling during this period can increase the likelihood of sharing the roadways with drunk drivers.

If you plan to celebrate Wednesday evening, drink responsibly by not getting behind the wheel of your car. Also, never get into a car with someone who is planning to drive after drinking. Make alternative arrangements like hailing a cab or using a ride share service.

Avoid impaired drivers when possible if you encounter them on the roadways. Note the make and model of their vehicle (and license plate if possible) and call 911 to report them so the police can get them off the roadways.

#4 – Practice some patience

No one likes to get stuck in traffic, especially when traveling for the holidays. The likelihood of experiencing heavy traffic and delays on your journey is high during the Thanksgiving holiday. Practicing some patience can help avoid incidents of road rage.

If you encounter another driver experiencing road rage, call 911 immediately. Never try to engage with the person, especially if their anger seems directed toward you.

Take frequent breaks when driving long distances to prevent drowsiness.

#5 – Take frequent breaks

Traveling long distances can make you tired mentally and physically. Taking frequent breaks can help prevent drowsiness behind the wheel, which leads to 100,000 crashes, 71,00 injuries, and 1,500 fatalities each year on U.S. roadways.

If you’re traveling with a passenger of legal driving age, take turns behind the wheel. Never rely on caffeinated beverages to give you the stamina to keep going if you’re becoming tired. Caffeine provides a temporary energy boost but is not a long-term replacement for proper rest.

Protecting your rights in a traffic accident

If you’re the victim of a careless driver during the Thanksgiving holiday, you have rights. It’s important not to make a mistake after an accident that can limit your ability to sue for fair compensation.

Contacting a personal injury lawyer in Albuquerque is one of the first steps you should take to protect your rights after a traffic accident. Never talk to the insurance company for the at-fault driver or agree to any kind of settlement without first speaking to a personal injury attorney.

5 Hidden Injuries from Car Accidents

Hidden injuries from car accidents can cause debilitating symptoms for crash victims. It’s one of the many reasons why you should get checked by a medical practitioner following an auto collision. Self-checks – including medical evaluations by emergency medical technicians at the scene – can miss these hidden injuries.

You may be lulled into a false sense of security, thinking you’re fine when you have concealed trauma. Those injuries might not become physically obvious for hours, days, or even weeks after an accident.

Even after a minor fender-bender, consider visiting a local emergency room or your primary care doctor for a thorough examination. It may seem like an overreaction, but a medical professional familiar with hidden injuries from car accidents is more likely to spot any of these serious conditions.

1 – Internal injuries

Airbags and seatbelts save lives during car accidents. However, they can cause some hidden injuries in the process. These safety devices accomplish the greater task of preserving your life by holding you in your seat. Depending on the force of impact during the collision, the restraint can cause extensive trauma to your internal organs.

The pressure from your seatbelt can cause internal bleeding, which is life-threatening. You may not have any immediate symptoms, so it can be easy to think you’re fine when you’re not.

Some of the warning signs of internal bleeding include:

  • Abdominal pain.
  • Chest pain.
  • Dizziness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Numbness in the extremities.
  • Severe headache.
  • Weakness on one side of your body.
  • Vision problems.

Get to an emergency room immediately if you have any of these symptoms in the hours or days after a car crash. You could be dealing with a hidden injury.

hidden injuries car accidents neck injury
Whiplash can be a common hidden injury in car accidents. It can take days to surface sometimes.

2 – Neck injuries

Whiplash can be common among car crash victims. During a collision, the force of impact creates a whipping action between your head and neck. Whiplash causes soft tissue damage that might not be immediately detected.

If in the days following a car crash you begin to experience these signs or symptoms, it’s a good idea to get checked by a medical practitioner:

  • Dizziness.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck pain and stiffness.
  • Tenderness in your arms, shoulders, or upper back.
  • Loss of range of motion in your neck.

Treatment can include physical therapy and pain management techniques to resolve whiplash sooner.

3 – Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

While not a physical injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can happen after a car accident. It’s a hidden psychological injury that can sometimes get overlooked.

Depending on the severity of the crash, victims can be left traumatized by what they’ve witnessed. PTSD can be more common in automobile accidents with fatalities.

It can take days or weeks for PTSD to surface. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms after a car crash, it’s time to see a mental health expert:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Phobias

4 – Soft tissue damage

You may not be thinking about your ankles, back, feet, or knees after a car accident, but they can be the location of soft tissue damage that cause pain or mobility issues later. Other places that can experience soft tissue injuries are your elbows, shoulders, and wrists.

It might take a few days for soft tissue damage from a car accident to surface, but when it does, you can experience any of the following symptoms:

  • You can’t bear weight on the injured area.
  • You experience joint instability.
  • You have knots or lumps at the injury site.
  • You have limited range of motion.
  • You have muscle cramps or spasms.
  • You have swelling at the injury site.

Call your doctor right away if any of these signs surface after a car accident. They may prescribe pain management strategies that include medications and physical therapy.

TBI hidden injuries car accidents
TBIs are among hidden injuries from car accidents. TBI can only be detected with a CT scan or MRI.

5 – Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Brain injuries can be scary. They also can be common after a serious car crash. Whiplash, which we mentioned earlier, can cause concussions and TBIs that go unnoticed at first. If you lose consciousness during a crash, you should automatically be evaluated for brain injuries.

However, it’s possible to get a concussion or a TBI without losing consciousness. Symptoms of concussion and TBI that signal it’s time to get a medical evaluation include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Nausea
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

It can be difficult to tell the difference between a concussion and TBI because they share some common symptoms. TBI has lasting cognitive effects that impact daily living. If you start to have any of these symptoms, it could be a warning that you’re suffering from a hidden TBI:

  • A decreased awareness of yourself and others.
  • A failure to follow multiple-step directions.
  • An inability to understand abstract concepts.
  • A shortened attention span.

CT scans and MRIs are the only way to determine if you have hidden brain injuries from a car accident.

How to handle hidden injuries from car accidents

Seeking medical attention right after a car accident can help identify hidden injuries. It also can provide valuable documentation needed if you decide to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

Car crash victims should consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in handling hidden injuries from car accidents to ensure their rights are protected.

Avoid These 5 Mistakes After an Accident

No one starts their day off expecting to get into an automobile accident. Most people go to great lengths to avoid it by practicing safe driving techniques behind the wheel. Despite your best laid plans, all it takes is one careless driver to turn an otherwise pleasant outing into a serious crash.

Albuquerque has a lot of busy roadways, including the infamous “Big I” intersection of I-25 and I-40. It’s one of the most dangerous intersections in the country because of the amount of traffic that travels through there each day.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be in an accident anywhere in New Mexico, it’s important not to make these 5 common mistakes as a car crash victim. If you do, it can affect the outcome of a future personal injury lawsuit should you suffer long-term effects from the accident.

mistakes after accident call police
Calling the police ensures you get an accident report that lists the at-fault party.

Mistake #1: Not calling the police

When an accident is serious enough to cause injuries and disrupt the normal flow of traffic, the police must be called to conduct an official report and direct traffic if necessary. Even if you aren’t seriously injured (or don’t think you are at the time), it’s important to still contact the police to come and provide a written report of the accident.

The police can conduct an official investigation and create an accident report that details who was at fault in the accident. Official police reports can be valuable supporting evidence if you later file a personal injury lawsuit in Albuquerque or anywhere else in New Mexico.

accident mistakes witness information
Failing to get witnesses’ contact information can hurt your personal injury claim.

Mistake #2: Not getting witness information

Getting the contact information for any witnesses to an accident is another reason to call the police to the scene. Police officers can talk to witnesses and make note of how to find them in the future should they need further information.

Your personal injury attorney can use crash witnesses to pursue a personal injury claim in Albuquerque. Witness statements and testimony can be particularly useful if there is a question about who was at fault. Without witnesses to back up your claims, the at-fault party’s insurance company can create a narrative that puts you fully or partially at fault for the accident.

Mistake #3: Failing to get a crash report

Remember when we said it was a good idea to call the police to the scene of an accident, even if you don’t think you’re seriously hurt?  It doesn’t do you much good to have the police investigate and file a report if you forget to get a copy of that report.

Most police departments provide both parties with a summary of the accident report on the scene. At the very least, they’ll give you their card so you can contact them or their department later.

If you’ve forgotten to get a police report for your accident, let your personal injury attorney know right away. They can reach out to the police to review the report and ensure all information contained in it is correct.

Mistake #4: Failing to seek immediate medical attention

Even if you think you’re OK after an accident, it’s important to be checked out by a medical professional. You could have a hidden injury that takes a few days to surface. Among the most common include:

  • Concussions.
  • Herniated disks.
  • Internal bleeding or damage to internal organs.
  • Soft tissue injuries to ankles, elbows, feet, knees, and shoulders.
  • Whiplash.

If you have a serious hidden injury like a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or internal bleeding, those conditions can become life-threatening if misdiagnosed or ignored.

Getting a medical evaluation right after the accident also can help in a personal injury claim. It provides supporting evidence of your physical trauma that can be used by a personal injury attorney to seek fair compensation for your injuries.

car accident victim personal injury attorney call
Calling a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident can help crash victims protect their rights.

Mistake #5: Failing to call a personal injury attorney immediately

Accident victims can sometimes make the mistake of trusting the insurance companies – theirs and the at-fault party’s – of doing the right thing after an accident. Insurance companies sometimes lowball accident victims with settlement offers that require you to sign away your rights to pursue additional compensation later.

Never talk to an insurance company or agree to a settlement without first talking to an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney serves as your official negotiator and can determine if it’s in your best interest to accept a settlement or push for additional compensation.

How a personal injury attorney can help

Consulting with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque can help crash victims avoid these five common mistakes. Bill Russell has represented injured people and their families for years throughout the state of New Mexico. He goes the extra mile to stand up for automobile accident victims, ensuring they receive fair compensation for their injuries.

Book a free case evaluation with Bill and the team at Cameron & Russell Law today to get started.

Injured Playing Sports? You Can Sue.

Cross-country track. Football. Soccer. Tennis. All are among the most popular fall sports with athletes at all competition levels. Playing a fall sport can be a great way to engage in a physical activity for all ages. It’s also a common way to get injured.

Whether you’re playing a team sport in your high school athletics program, or you’re a star in the pro leagues, you can get injured at any time. All it takes is one wrong collision on the football field or a fall during a hurdle event at a track meet to leave you with serious injuries that can affect you for the rest of your life.

No one likes to think about getting hurt playing a sport they love. If the unthinkable happens, you have the right to seek fair compensation for your pain and suffering. Contacting a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque is an important first step.

fall sports injuries sue
Cheerleaders do some risky stunts. They easily can get hurt.

Where do sports-related injuries happen?

Some sports are more prone than others to provide the perfect atmosphere for sports injuries. Any sport that provides an opportunity for players to collide – football, lacrosse, soccer – are among the highest-risk activities.

Football players accept the risk of serious head and neck injuries every time they go out onto the field. In recent years, the list of former NFL players diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has grown. The degenerative brain disease can happen to football players who suffer repeated blows to the head.

Soccer players also are at an increased risk for the kinds of injuries that happen when players crash into one another at top speed on the field. Broken bones, concussions and wrist fractures are among the most common soccer injuries.

Cheerleading is an often-overlooked fall sport that can lead to some devastating injuries. The sport has evolved in recent years to include more than just rooting for the home team from the sidelines. Most cheer teams compete in skills competitions that require risky physical routines that can lead to concussions, broken bones, and other injuries.

What kinds of injuries happen in fall sports?

No matter what kind of fall sport you choose, most share a common list of possible injuries you can experience. Concussions top the list of fall sport injuries, especially for athletes who play football, soccer, and lacrosse. Even cheerleaders who fall while executing flips, lifts, and pyramid mounts can suffer a blow to the head.

Concussions can sometimes take a day or two to become apparent. Watch for these signs and symptoms if you’ve had a collision with another player or hit your head from a fall:

  • Confusion and disorientation.
  • Fatigue.
  • Head and eye pain from bright light.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Ringing in the ears.

Fractures also happen while playing fall sports. Maybe you got kicked in the face while covering the net in soccer. Or someone accidentally cracked you with their stick during a particularly physical game of field hockey. Fractures can cause severe and lasting pain and suffering.

Strains and sprains also are common in fall sports. If you twist your ankle during a landing on the way down from an epic catch on the football field, you’re going to end up with a sprain that requires medical attention. Even the most in-shape athletes can experience muscle strain from overuse.

fall sports injuries negligent coaching
Negligent coaching can lead to fall sports injuries that qualify for a personal injury lawsuit.

Does assumption of risk affect my lawsuit?  

When you choose to play a fall sport, you assume a certain risk of injury. Called assumption of risk, it can prevent you from suing for some injuries you experience during the normal course of a sporting event. However, there are some exceptions.

Intent to injure

Sometimes athletes get heated during play. Poor sports can engage in dirty plays with injury in mind. If another player intentionally injures you, a personal injury lawsuit can be filed to recover the costs of medical treatment and ongoing pain and suffering.

Negligent coaching

Athletic coaches are supposed to guide you during play, providing advice on the best way to play your position. Just like some poor sport players, sometimes coaches put players in dangerous situations because they want to win the game. If this happens, and you become injured, you may have a personal injury case.

Product liability

Fall sports come with all kinds of equipment designed to protect athletes while they play the game. Under New Mexico products liability law, designers and manufacturers of defective products can be held liable for injuries from using their product. For instance, some older football helmets manufacturers have been sued for failing to prevent brain injuries in football players.

Seeking help for fall sports injuries

If you’re unsure whether your fall sports injury falls under assumption of risk, the best way to clarify is to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in Albuquerque. An attorney well-versed in personal injury law in New Mexico knows what evidence you need to support your case.

For a free consultation with the team at Cameron & Russell, call 505-218-7844 or contact us online.

How to Spot Neglect in Senior Citizens

Elder abuse and neglect sadly are not uncommon in the United States. Roughly 1 in every 10 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced some form of elder abuse or neglect. Sometimes it’s an assisted living facility or nursing home responsible for the mistreatment. Other times, it might be a family member living with the senior citizen carrying out the cruelty.

Regardless of who is responsible for abusing or neglecting a senior citizen, the signs and symptoms that can alert you to a problem are the same. Learning how to spot them, and knowing where to report an issue, can save a senior citizen’s life.

What is elder abuse and neglect?

Elder abuse includes emotional, physical, and sexual harm inflicted on an older adult. It also can involve financial exploitation. Abuse happens where senior citizens live, whether that’s at home with a relative or in an aging care facility run by the state or a private entity.

Neglect happens when the individual charged with an elderly person’s care fails to carry it out. It includes not assisting with daily living tasks like bathing and meals. When a caregiver neglects a senior, it can impact the senior citizen’s health and well-being.

When elderly persons are neglected, they can become depressed and withdrawn.

What are signs of neglect in the elderly?

It can be difficult to spot the early warning signs of neglect in the elderly if you’re not close to the victim. However, neglect tends to manifest itself in the same ways in most older Americans. Once you know the signs, you can spot them in anyone.

If an elderly person’s appearance is unkempt – hair not combed, clothes looking disheveled or unclean – it can be a sign that they’re not receiving proper care in their living environment. Body odor can be another indication of neglect.

When the neglect includes failing to provide adequate nutrition, the elderly person may struggle with maintaining weight and become frail and uncoordinated.

What are signs of physical abuse in the elderly?

Most people think that physical abuse in the elderly is easy to spot, but that’s not always the case. Visible bruises and other injuries can be an indication that someone is physically assaulting an elderly person in their care. However, sometimes abusers go to great lengths to inflict damage in places not easily visible to others.

Other signs of physical abuse in the elderly can include:

  • Emotional changes (becomes more withdrawn).
  • Frequent trips to the emergency room or other healthcare facilities.
  • Hair or tooth loss.
  • Improperly-healing wounds.

If you suspect elder abuse – even in someone you don’t know that well – it’s important to report your suspicions immediately. You can learn more about how and where to report in the section below.

Seniors who are emotionally abused may become agitated or nervous around their abuser.

What are signs of emotional trauma in seniors?

Not all abuse reveals itself through physical scars and signs. Verbal abuse can include intentionally inflicting emotional anguish, distress, or pain on another person. Oftentimes, this kind of abuse includes harassment, humiliation, intimidation, and threats.

Sometimes when an older person is abused or neglected in this way, it causes deep emotional trauma that causes a specific set of behaviors in the abused person. Warning signs of emotional trauma include:

  • Agitation.
  • Avoiding eye contact with abuser.
  • Increasing depression.
  • Nervousness around abuser.
  • Reluctance to talk openly.
  • Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Withdrawal from others.

If you suspect a senior citizen has suffered emotional trauma, it’s important to report your suspicions immediately. You can learn more about how and where to report in the next section.

Who do you call to report suspected elder abuse?

The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services department handles reports of suspected elder abuse in the state. You can call the Adult Protective Services Statewide Intake toll-free number at 866-654-3219 to speak with a member of the team who can document your concerns and open an investigation.

Any time you believe an elderly person is in immediate, life-threatening danger from an abuser, call 911. A police officer can be dispatched to the scene and take appropriate action.

How do you help abused or neglected senior citizens?

If you have a personal relationship with an elderly person who you suspect is being abused or neglected, you can report the abuse to the correct authorities. Additionally, you can encourage the senior citizen to seek assistance from a New Mexico attorney skilled in elder abuse and neglect cases.

Working with a lawyer can ensure the abused or neglected person receives adequate compensation for their injuries and emotional trauma, especially if they were inflicted by an assisted living facility or nursing home.

5 Tips for Getting a Rental Car

When you’re involved in an automobile accident, getting treatment for your injuries can be your top priority. You may not be thinking about the damage to your personal vehicle (and whether it’s even drivable after the accident).

Even after you get medical attention, your focus may shift to pursuing a personal injury claim if your accident was caused by another driver’s carelessness.

It may take days or even weeks before you realize that you’ve been left without reliable transportation to important appointments. You may qualify for a rental vehicle while the insurance companies sort what to do with your personal automobile. Before you congratulate yourself on a problem solved, keep in mind that finding a rental can be an exercise in frustration because of an ongoing rental car shortage.

What’s causing the rental car shortage?

Getting a rental car can be challenging these days for a variety of reasons. The most prominent cause of the shortage is that during the covid shutdowns, many rental car companies sold off their inventories. They did this for one of two reasons:

  1. No one was traveling and they were taking a loss on maintaining rental cars no one needed.
  2. They sold some of their vehicles to consumers desperate for used automobiles when car dealerships were running low on their own inventories.

Now that pandemic restrictions have eased and people are traveling more, the problem has worsened. Rental agencies haven’t managed to restock their inventories to pre-covid levels, even though demand for their products has soared.

You can increase your odds for rental car success by following the five tips below.

Increasing your odds for rental car success

Your automobile insurance company can provide coverage for a rental vehicle. They can even help you get reimbursement for the rental from the at-fault party. What they can’t do is find you an available rental if none are to be found.

So, what’s a person to do? Here are some tips you can follow to increase your odds for rental car success after an accident.

  1. Don’t wait to request a rental
    The longer you wait, the more likely you’ll have difficulty securing a rental vehicle. If you think your automobile is unsafe to drive after the accident, then start finding a replacement right away. You may need to have a friend or family member make the calls for you if you’re in the hospital recuperating from your injuries.
  2. Disclose the reason for your rental need
    Rental companies sometimes prioritize long-term rentals because they can be more lucrative. The first thing you should do when calling for a rental is to let the agent know your situation. Tell them you were involved in an automobile accident and need a long-term rental while the insurance company sorts what to do with your vehicle. It’s important to mention you were not the at-fault driver in the accident to ensure rental agencies aren’t leery about providing you with a car, truck, or SUV to drive.
  3. Be willing to take what’s available
    Some insurance companies pay for a rental vehicle that’s comparable to yours. However, that doesn’t mean the rental agencies have one available. You may have to agree to take what’s available if you need a rental right away. Otherwise, you could find yourself without reliable transportation. You can always ask the rental agency if it’s possible to upgrade (or downgrade) your rental if one more to your liking becomes available.
  4. Rent from a local
    There are alternatives to traditional vehicle rental agencies. Some car owners rent out their automobiles. Just like an Airbnb or Vrbo property rental, there is a version of this service for automobiles. One of the quickest ways to find people who lend out their vehicles is through a service called Turo. Just plug in the dates you need a car and your preferred model, and the platform generates a list of possibilities.
  5. Rent from a car dealership
    Here’s an option that many people don’t realize exists because it’s a well-kept industry secret. If you’re struggling to find a rental from one of the usual local agencies, you can consider this alternative. Some car dealerships rent out parts of their own fleets. Nissan and Toyota are among the automobile dealers that let you easily rent from them. There’s no guarantee they’ll have anything available, but it never hurts to ask.

Seeking help with car accident property damage New Mexico

Dealing with all the moving parts after an automobile accident can be stressful. Finding a rental car shouldn’t be one of the things added to your anxiety. Reach out to the car accident property damage lawyers in New Mexico who can help sort it all for you.

Contact Cameron & Russell at 505-218-7844 or request your free case evaluation online. We’ll make sure all your needs are covered.

Driverless Trucks Increase the Risk of Crashes

Driverless trucks are part of the push toward automation in the United States. With the truck driver shortage continuing, some companies have developed autonomous trucks that can handle the task without a human behind the wheel. While most people are familiar with other kinds of self-driving vehicles, many may be uncomfortable with the idea of an 80,000 pound fully loaded tractor trailer driving itself.

Yet, in the U.S., it’s estimated that 90 percent of all long-haul trucking may soon be done without drivers.  One company, TuSimple, already has an autonomous truck performing depot-to-depot runs in Arizona and Texas. The San Diego-based company said it plans to use driverless trucks to improve safety and efficiency in the trucking industry.

How safe are you on the roadways with self-driving trucks? Considering self-driving cars caused nearly 400 crashes in less than a year in the U.S., it’s understandable that you might be concerned about autonomous trucks.

Drivers who are injured because of autonomous trucking technology have rights. You can speak with a personal injury attorney in Albuquerque, who can help you receive fair compensation for your injuries and property damage.

Driverless trucks are on the nation’s highways, increasing the risk of truck crashes.

How safe are autonomous trucks?

The answer to this question is still relatively unknown, as most companies pursuing the technology are still testing their autonomous trucks. During the testing phase, a human driver is behind the wheel, ready to take over if there is an issue with the automated system.

Torq Robotics, an autonomous vehicle company in Albuquerque, said that its goal is to reduce trucking accidents by eliminating the human error component. The company has an advisory council that oversees working relationships with fleets and logistics suppliers.

At the moment, self-driving trucks and their testing are limited to the Sun Belt states because the technology doesn’t perform well in bad weather like snowstorms and fog.

What are the risks to other drivers?

Tech companies working to develop and market autonomous trucks claim they have many benefits. What are the risks to other drivers?  One of the biggest downfalls is software failure. Driverless trucks are controlled by complicated software programs designed to replace a human behind the wheel. If that software fails, the truck can malfunction, losing the ability to brake or steer.

Another potential risk is autonomous vehicles can be susceptible to hacking. Cyberattacks could focus on the truck’s software, which controls the navigation system. If an unauthorized person gained control of the program running the truck, they could disable it or cause disruptions that compromise the safety of everyone and everything in the truck’s path.

Lastly, another danger of autonomous trucks is the artificial intelligence that runs them lacks the ability to predict human error on the roadways. So, while a human truck driver might anticipate the car in front of him not using a turn signal correctly, a driverless truck might misinterpret the signs, causing a rear-end collision.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most serious kinds of injuries autonomous trucks can cause if you’re involved in a crash with one.

What kinds of injuries can autonomous trucks cause?

Driverless trucks can cause the same kinds of injuries to other drivers as those experienced when a truck crash happens when a human is in the truck’s cab. Due to the size and weight of most tractor trailers, they can cause significant bodily harm and damage to your property.

The most serious physical injuries you can suffer include brain and head injuries which can leave you permanently disabled or, in a worst-case scenario, dead. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) physically damage the brain. You can suffer from headaches, memory and mood problems, and sleep disturbances after suffering a brain injury.

Some other devastating physical injuries from truck accidents include:

  • Back and neck trauma that can lead to whiplash, bulging discs, and other painful injuries.
  • Broken bones that can cause lifelong pain and suffering.
  • Burns that can be challenging to treat or require plastic surgery.
  • Lacerations and puncture wounds to the face or body that can cause disfigurement.
  • Spinal cord injuries that can leave you with paraplegia or quadriplegia.

It’s not uncommon for wrongful death lawsuits to happen after accidents with trucks. If you or someone you love dies because of a malfunctioning autonomous truck, there is legal recourse.

Can you sue a driverless trucking company?

As with any kind of personal injury because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you can sue a driverless trucking company if you’re involved in a serious crash with one of their trucks. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Cameron & Russell understand the devastation that trucking accidents can cause. They’re here to help you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

You can request a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 505-218-7844 or requesting a free consultation online.

I Can’t Drive My Car. Now What?

Getting into an automobile accident can leave you with debilitating injuries. It’s easy to focus on receiving compensation for lost wages and your pain and suffering since they are immediate needs. Don’t forget about recouping the loss of your vehicle.

It may be weeks or even months before you can drive again, so the condition of your vehicle (and whether it’s a complete loss or can be repaired) may be the furthest thing from your mind. Waiting to act can leave you stranded without transportation.

Property damage liability for car accidents

Automobile insurance providers require property damage liability coverage. It pays for any damages to another person’s property when you’re involved in an accident. Other vehicles, homes, fences, and any personal property inside the vehicle at the time of the accident are included under property damage liability insurance.

Sometimes the insurance payout doesn’t adequately cover all damage costs. When that happens, you can sue for the balance.

rear-end car crash with two cars on the highway
When the at-fault party’s property damage liability coverage falls short of covering your damages, a property damage liability claim can help recoup the balance.

Property damage liability vs. collision coverage

There’s a difference between property damage liability and collision coverage for automobiles. Property damage liability pays for repairs when you destroy someone else’s property. Collison coverage pays to repair your vehicle (after the deductible) if you’re the at-fault party or the other driver doesn’t have insurance coverage.

Auto insurance requirements in New Mexico dictate that all drivers must carry insurance coverage while behind the wheel. New Mexico has minimum auto liability insurance amounts:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person. 
  • $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of two or more persons. 
  • $10,000 for property damage in any one accident. 

Additional coverage for physical damage is available and advisable if you have a newer vehicle. Insurance agents can best advise on how much coverage is needed. Keep in mind that just because you’re well-insured doesn’t mean the at-fault driver in the crash carries the same coverage. That’s when it’s time to consult an attorney skilled in property damage liability cases.

Property damage claims vs. personal injury claims

Some accident victims mistakenly assume that a personal injury claim covers the loss of their vehicle. Not true. The only commonality between personal injury and property damage claims is that they often come from the same incident. However, they require very different courses of legal action to recoup your losses.

Personal injury claims address things like medical treatment for your injuries and any ongoing care required to fully recover. They also can seek reimbursement for lost wages and fair compensation for your pain and suffering.

Property damage claims strictly cover damage to your property, including your vehicle and any personal effects inside that were destroyed during the accident.

Not all attorneys handle property damage claims. At Cameron & Russell, our attorneys are skilled in both personal injury and property damage lawsuits. We can ensure you’re fully covered on both fronts if a lawsuit becomes necessary.

Finding a replacement vehicle can be a nightmare in today’s market. Used cars are going for 40% more than just two years ago.

Property damage claims: four factors

If you’ve decided to consult with an attorney about recouping the difference between the damage amount and what the insurance pays, there are four factors your attorney considers when preparing your car accident property damage claim.

Your vehicle’s diminished value

When you’re involved in an accident – even when someone else is at fault – your vehicle loses value. All accidents reported to insurance companies and police departments are added to your CARFAX history report. Your vehicle is worth less at resale or trade-in time thanks to someone else’s carelessness. You can recoup those costs as part of a property damage claim.  

Your loss of use costs

Losing the use of your vehicle might be the furthest thing from your mind after an accident, especially if you have serious injuries. You’re unlikely to think about it until you need reliable transportation and don’t have it. Some families only have one vehicle, so loss of use can be devastating.

A competent property damage attorney can include loss of use costs into a claim against the at-fault driver. The sooner action is taken, the better the outcome.

Your total repair costs

If the insurance company doesn’t deem your vehicle a total loss, it may offer a settlement amount for making repairs. Oftentimes, the sum they suggest doesn’t cover the cost of all repairs. The last thing you need is to pay the balance when someone else was at fault for the damages.

Never pay out of pocket when this happens. Experienced property damage liability attorneys know how to go after the responsible party for the difference.

Your total loss value

One of the worst things that can happen is to have a vehicle end up a total loss after an accident. Then, you’re stuck trying to find a replacement. Insurance companies may not pay for the full value of your car. Even if they do, it still may not be enough to find a suitable replacement in today’s marketplace,  where the value of used cars has jumped more than 40 percent.

Filing a car accident property damage claim is your best recourse. Your attorney can negotiate a higher settlement to ensure you don’t have to pay out of pocket to replace your damaged property.

Rely on the personal injury experts

Not many personal injury law attorneys bother with advising their clients about the importance of addressing the damage to their vehicles during case consultations. Some don’t see it as worth their effort because it’s not a money-making service.

Bill Russell cares about his clients and wants to ensure they have all the help they need following a car accident.

Picnic fun without the lawsuits

June 11 is national corn on the cob day. It’s not the only food-themed national holiday this month. There are days for German chocolate cake, peanut butter cookies, and even strawberry shortcake. All of these are perfect picnic foods.

Picnics are part of summertime fun for many people. Avoiding the personal injury and premises liability lawsuits that can come with them isn’t difficult when you practice some basic safety guidelines.

Backyard parties and premises liability

Premises liability is the legal term for a property owner’s responsibility to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of guests and other visitors. If you ignore an issue, hazard, or danger that leads to the serious injury or death of someone on your property, you’ll be accountable under premises liability laws in New Mexico.

While it may make you feel like a Debbie Downer, it’s important to establish rules and make sure you guests follow them to ensure everyone’s safety. Here are some other things you can do to reduce your liability risk.

Choose physical activities wisely

Outdoor picnics lend themselves to games and other physical activities. Some are more dangerous than others and should be avoided if you want to avoid the possibility of accidents and injuries. Watersports and other swimming pool games can be fun, but they also increase the risk of someone getting hurt. It’s best to avoid these types of activities, especially if alcohol is involved.

Establish a safety perimeter around grills, bonfires, and other outdoor fires when having a backyard party or picnic to protect your guests from accidental burn injuries.

Establish a safety perimeter

Most outdoor parties involve grilling food or having some kind of bonfire for roasting hotdogs and marshmallows. Establishing a safety perimeter around your grill can keep your guests safe and you free from lawsuits. Outdoor grilling accidents send thousands of Americans to the emergency room each summer. The numbers increase when those in charge of grilling indulge in alcoholic beverages until they’re drunk.

Whether your party guests are adults, children, or a mix of both, make sure you keep people away from the grill – or a bonfire – when it’s in operation. Make the grill or bonfire a “no-kid zone” and don’t make any exceptions. Lastly, keep people from horsing around near the grill or bonfire.

Install extra lighting

If your party extends into the evening hours, installing extra lighting can help prevent slip-and-fall accidents that lead to serious injuries. This precaution is especially important if you have a swimming pool on your property that guests can use during the festivities.

Lighting along areas that can be tripping hazards – patio pavers, sidewalks, stairways – should be a priority.

Limit guests to no more than 2 alcoholic beverages an hour and cut off anyone who appears visibly drunk.

Limit alcoholic beverages

Any time you introduce alcohol at a party, you open yourself up to liability issues. Guests who don’t know when to stop drinking can become belligerent and injure themselves or others. If you own a swimming pool, drinking at picnics and other gatherings can increase the risks of one of your guests drowning, or slipping and falling poolside.

Limiting or completely excluding alcoholic beverages from your party can reduce your liability risks. If you just can’t go without alcohol, be willing to cut off your guests if they run the risk of becoming so drunk it affects their judgment and everyone’s safety.

Practice food safety guidelines

Swimming pools and other outdoor hazards aren’t the only things you must monitor closely when hosting a summer picnic or outdoor party. If you plan to serve food, you’ll want to make sure you follow food safety guidelines to avoid giving any of your guests food poisoning. As a rule, you should:

  • Avoid cross-contamination when preparing foods, especially foods on the grill. Never use the same utensils for cutting or priming meats and other food products.
  • Keep cold foods cold by placing them in a cooler with ice. Store it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent bacteria growth. Make sure cooler lids stay closed to maintain ideal temperatures.
  • Keep hot foods hot by wrapping them well and placing them in an insulated container. Hot food must be kept at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Never let it sit out for more than 2 hours (1 hour if the temperature is 90 degrees or higher) without refrigerating.
  • Use a food thermometer to ensure you’re cooking meats and other raw foods to a safe temperature for consumption.

How to handle negligent party hosts

If you attend a backyard party or picnic and the hosts fail in their duty to provide a reasonably secure environment, you can discuss your legal options with one of our experienced premises liability lawyers. Give us a call at 505-218-7844 or request your free case evaluation online.

How to Share the Road with Motorcyclists

Knowing how to share the road with motorcyclists can mean the difference between a devastating accident and arriving safely at your destination. Late spring and summer months bring more favorable weather for motorcycle rides in New Mexico. Drivers must be diligent in keeping an eye out for motorcycles and exercise some caution when they encounter them.

Everyone has an equal right to the roadways. Being cautious and courteous of other drivers – including those operating motorcycles – is the best way to prevent accidents.

Motorcycle riders use hand signals to alert other drivers and other bikers to their intentions and any roadway hazards.

Brush up on your hand signals

While motorcycles have brake lights and turn signals, some cyclists use hand signals to alert other drivers to their intentions. Some of the most common hand signals include those for left and right turns, slowing down, or stopping. The hand signals are easy to learn and remember and can mean the difference between you colliding with a motorcyclist and avoiding an accident.

  • A left-turn hand signal is made by extending the left arm straight out to the side with your hand open and your thumb pointing upward. The same signal indicates a motorcyclist plans to change lanes to the left.
  • A right-turn hand signal is made by extending the right arm straight out to the side with your hand open and your thumb pointing upward. The same signal indicates changing lanes to the right.
  • A slow down hand signal is made by putting the palm of the hand parallel to the ground. Moving it up and down in this position indicates to other drivers you plan to gradually decrease your speed.
  • A stopping hand signal is made by putting the hand straight down, with your fingers pointing toward the ground and the palm of the hand facing the driver behind you.

Sometimes motorcyclists will use their pointer fingers to alert other riders to road hazards and other dangers so they can avoid them.

Check your blind spots frequently and proceed with caution to avoid colliding with motorcyclists.

Check your blind spots

Checking your blind spots is good defensive driving advice. The main blind spots on most vehicles are in the front, at the rear, and on both sides behind the windshield pillars. Some newer vehicles have safety systems designed to help drivers monitor these areas. Never rely solely on automatic alert systems to notify you about the proximity of motorcyclists because they can fail to work properly.

Being aware of the space around your vehicle is important when sharing the road with motorcyclists. Motorcycles are smaller and more difficult to see than full-size vehicles. Bikers can change lanes quickly, so it’s important to know their location. Check your mirrors frequently and ensure you have them adjusted for the best views.

Using your cell phone while driving is one way you can become distracted behind the wheel, increasing your chances of colliding with a motorcycle.

Eliminate driving distractions

One of the best tips for avoiding accidents with motorcyclists is to eliminate distractions when behind the wheel. Talking and texting on a mobile phone causes the bulk of distracted driving accidents in New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

Cell phones aren’t the only things distracting drivers. Eating or drinking while driving, adjusting the stereo, and other passengers all create the opportunity to take your eyes off the road. You can’t be aware of your surroundings if your focus is elsewhere.

Leave plenty of room

Motorcyclists wear safety gear when riding, but it’s no match for the impact they’ll experience if a 4,000-plus pound car crashes into them at 70 mph. When you approach a motorcycle on the roadway, leave extra space to help the bike operator feel safer.  Following the 3-second rule gives adequate space to stop quickly without colliding with a motorcyclist.

Bikers are exposed to a lot of road noise while riding. They may not hear your vehicle approach.  Slow down to give them time to notice your approach. Rear-ending a motorcycle can be fatal for the biker. You can lessen the risk of that happening by leaving plenty of room between your vehicle and their bike.

Pass with caution

Part of leaving plenty of room for motorcyclists on the roadways is passing with caution. Sometimes you may want to pass a motorbike. Slowing down when you pass may seem counterproductive, but it can help the driver feel more secure while you do so.

Always wait for confirmation the biker sees you before passing. Some riders may wave their hands at you to indicate they’re aware of your presence. If you’re not sure they know you’re there before you pass, slow down and keep your eyes on them until you safely get around them on the roadway.

Share the road to keep motorcyclists safe

Motorcyclists who are injured because of careless drivers can seek fair compensation for their injuries. Schedule your free case evaluation with the experienced personal injury attorneys at Cameron & Russell. We’ll review your case and make recommendations for the best path forward.  

Call Cameron & Russell for a Free Case Evaluation

Bill Russell and Marcus Cameron are the faces behind Cameron & Russell. We go the extra mile for our clients to pursue personal injury claims and provide criminal defense. We approach every case with a fresh eye to detail and the determination to represent our clients to the fullest extent the law allows. We passionately defend clients facing criminal charges, and relentlessly seek out fair compensation for personal injury claims. No matter your situation, we promise to tirelessly represent your legal needs. 

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