Missouri car accidents: The costs incurred by injury victims

DSC03619-B.jpgIn addition to being both physically and psychologically traumatic, a car accident that results in personal injury can also be financially devastating. Every year, families here in Columbia and throughout the U.S. have to deal with these costs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in a one-year time period, costs associated with medical care and productivity losses due to auto accident injuries were more than $80 billion.

If you're injured in a car accident, do you know who will cover the costs of your medical care? If you're recovering from injuries sustained in a serious car accident, the last thing you need resulting is a creditor calling your home, trying to collect payment for medical treatment that you required by no fault of your own.

In Missouri, drivers are required to carry insurance that covers them to a minimum amount of 25/50: that is, $25,000 per person for bodily injury, and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident (to be shared among all the parties injured in the car wreck). Unfortunately, all too many car accidents result in catastrophic injury and the need for extensive, long-term medical treatment - and this amount isn't nearly enough to cover those costs. Motor vehicle accident victims that suffer from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious personal injuries can require years of expensive treatment and rehabilitation, long after the policy belonging to the at-fault driver is exhausted.

If you have car insurance in Missouri, you are automatically covered by your own policy in the unfortunate event you are involved in a crash caused by an uninsured driver. Additionally, Missouri drivers have the option to purchase underinsured motorist coverage, which can provide some financial relief if you are in an accident resulting in expenses beyond what the policy of the at-fault driver can cover.

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Soft tissue injuries a common consequence of Missouri rear end collisions

February 26, 2015

STRETCHER.jpgSometimes, injuries sustained during car accidents are immediately apparent following a collision. However, under certain circumstances, victims may not recognize the extent of their injuries right away. Our Jefferson City auto accident attorneys frequently consult clients who have suffered soft tissue injuries, which involve damage to parts of the body that are non-bony - usually muscles, ligaments, or tendons. Their most common incarnations are sprains, strains, and tears.

In the seconds just before a collision occurs, it's common for a driver to slam on the brakes and brace for impact. These are both instinctive reactions, but the resulting jolting can cause trauma to the body's soft tissues. Then, the impact of the accident itself causes additional jolting. All of this jarring can stretch soft tissues, resulting in pain, soreness, redness, and swelling (among other possible symptoms).

One very common soft tissue injury resulting from car crashes is whiplash, an injury to the neck, which occurs when the victim's head suddenly jerks backward and then forward. These extreme motions force the neck muscles and ligaments beyond their normal range of motion: the weight of the head exerts extensive pressure on the neck. All whiplash injuries are different: some people can recover in a short time, but others can develop chronic conditions that are extremely painful and disabling, including joint dysfunction, herniated discs of the spine, and chronic pain. Whiplash frequently occurs when one car is rear-ended by another, causing the occupants of the front car to experience a sudden impact that jerks the head back and forth.

Typically, those who have suffered a soft issue injury experience inflammation and pain, but these symptoms might not appear for several hours. In fact, for some accident victims, it takes days before they know how badly they're hurt.

If you've been in a car accident and have experienced pain, soreness, or stiffness, it's possible that you sustained a soft tissue injury. Although soft tissue injuries may seem minor, they can take longer to recover from than broken bones. What's more, if those injuries aren't properly treated, recovery time can take longer still, and further problems can arise down the road. The bottom line: following a collision, if you believe you have suffered a soft tissue injury, you should seek treatment immediately.

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Overcorrection and Missouri car accidents: What Columbia drivers need to know

January 26, 2015

tennessee 226.JPGAs Columbia car accident lawyers, we know that one frequent cause of auto accidents is driver overcorrection. The term "overcorrection" refers to an instinctive, understandable (and also dangerous) driving behavior. Let's say you momentarily lose control of your vehicle and drift out of your lane - or off the road. When you realize what is happening, you jerk the wheel sharply, overcorrecting your initial mistake. Often, when drivers overcorrect, they totally lose control of their vehicles: overcorrecting is a common catalyst for run-off-the-road accidents, rollover accidents, and head-on collisions.

A driver's initial loss of vehicle control can happen for a wide variety of reasons:

Distracted driving. Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, eating, or fiddling with the radio are especially prone to over correction accidents. You only have to look away from the road for a second to allow your vehicle to drift out of its lane.

Drowsy driving. Falling asleep at the wheel - only to suddenly awaken and discover you're running off the road or veering out of your lane - is another common cause of over correction accidents.

Impaired driving. Whether due to alcohol consumption or drug use (including prescription drugs), impaired drivers are considerably more likely to cause accidents by overcorrecting.

But sober, responsible drivers can also make overcorrection errors. It's impossible to get rid of every single distraction: most Missouri drivers would probably admit that they've caught themselves drifting off the road after reaching for a soda, or scanning a playlist to find a specific song. In that single moment of realization, the decision you make can be a crucial one.

Missouri's Operation Stop offers the following advice to drivers in an effort to prevent accidents caused by overcorrection:

To survive, memorize this. EASY OFF EASY OFF... Stay calm and easy. Don't let the momentary feeling of panic take over your better judgement. Take your foot off the accelerator and ease the vehicle back onto the pavement. And keep your foot off the brake. The sudden sound of the tires going off the pavement can be terrifying to the best and most experienced driver. It is how the driver reacts, in what can only be described in a moment of panic, that will determine the outcome of this mistake.

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Missouri head-on collisions commonly result in serious injury

December 22, 2014

automobile-lights-at-night-1088978-m.jpgAs Columbia car accident lawyers, we know that all kinds of collisions carry the potential for injury to motor vehicle occupants. However, head-on collisions can be particularly dangerous: in fact, even though they represent a mere two percent of all U.S. motor vehicle crashes, head-on collisions account for as many as 10% of fatal auto accidents.

Head-on collisions generally occur when one driver inadvertently crosses the centerline, or attempts to pass another vehicle on a two lane road. According to statistics from the Fatal Analysis Reporting System:

• 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on rural roads,
• 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on undivided two-lane roads, and
• 83 percent of two-lane undivided road crashes occur on rural roads.
• Of 7,430 vehicles involved in head-on crashes on two-lane, undivided roadway segments, only 4.2 percent involved a vehicle attempting to pass or overtake another vehicle.
• 23 percent of fatal head on crashes on two-lane, divided roads are related to failing to properly negotiate a curve.

The FARS data indicates that most head-on collisions result from "unintentional maneuvers" (for example, distracted driving, falling asleep at the wheel, or traveling too fast in a curve). Other contributing factors include driving under the influence and speeding. All too often, these accidents prove to be deadly, commonly resulting in serious, life threatening injuries. Victims may sustain traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, concussion, internal organ injuries, and even the loss of a limb. (Interestingly, whiplash is usually the result of being rear-ended, not of head-on collisions.) If you have been injured in a head-on collision, getting the proper medical treatment should always be your first priority - even if you think you're not hurt. Symptoms of certain kinds of head injuries may not appear for hours - or even days - following a crash.

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Missouri Highway Patrol urges safe driving over 2014 Thanksgiving holiday

November 21, 2014

thanksgiving-table-423560-m.jpgThanksgiving is right around the corner! If your holiday plans include travel, our Columbia car accident lawyers want to remind you to make safety a priority when you're on the road. This year, the AAA Auto Club is predicting the highest volume of Thanksgiving traffic since 2007: nationwide, an estimated 46.3 million people will travel more than 50 miles from home during the holiday weekend. With so many vehicles on the road, travelers can expect to encounter congested highways, traffic jams, aggravated motorists, and - importantly - an increased risk of car accidents.

However, it's not just the higher volume of traffic that makes this weekend dangerous on our nation's roadways. Certain traditions associated with holiday celebrations can also make car accidents more likely - for example, you're more likely to encounter alcohol-impaired drivers during holiday weekends. And turkey, that famous Thanksgiving staple, contains high levels of tryptophan, which is known to make people sleepy. This chemical is so effective that it is actually a main ingredient in over the counter sleep medications. There's also another factor at work here - it's not exactly a "Thanksgiving tradition" but seems to occur regularly, and that is overeating. Combine the three - overeating, turkey and alcohol - and you have one potentially dangerous driver.

Please stay alert on the roads this weekend. The Missouri Highway Patrol will be out in full force, attempting to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities. Officers will participate in Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) during the four-day weekend, and, on November 26 and November 30, they will conduct a 20-Mile Trooper operation, with troopers stationed at 20-mile intervals on Interstates 29, 44, 55 and 70 and U.S. Highways 60 and 61.

The Patrol considers the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday to be Wednesday, November 26, at 6:00 p.m. This is because most people who need to travel long distances will be leaving after work on Wednesday. Motorists are advised that rush hour traffic will be much heavier than usual, extending far into the evening and probably into rural areas that usually don't see traffic congestion at all. The weekend is officially considered over, for the Highway Patrol's initiatives, at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 30.

There are two simple, yet extremely important things you can do to help prevent Missouri auto accidents during Thanksgiving weekend: don't speed, and don't drink and drive. In addition, please remember to buckle up - and make sure all your passengers do, too. That way, if you are involved in an unavoidable accident, your chances of being injured or killed will be greatly minimized. Wearing a seat belt is the easiest, most effective way to protect yourself from accident-related injuries.

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Avoiding pedestrian accidents in Columbia: Safety tips & statistics

October 10, 2014

walk-i-498891-m.jpgAccording to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), a pedestrian is killed or injured every seven minutes in the United States. In this post, our Columbia car accident lawyers share some startling facts about U.S. pedestrian accidents, along with a few tips to help keep you safe as you walk Missouri roads.

Pedestrian accident statistics:

• The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 4,743 pedestrians died and an estimated 76,000 more suffered injury in U.S. auto accidents in 2012.

• Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that children and the elderly are have the highest risk of involvement in pedestrian accidents.

• Nearly three-quarters of pedestrian deaths occur in an urban setting, and almost 80% of fatal collisions involving pedestrians occurred at intersections versus non-intersections.

• Surprisingly, weather does not appear to be a contributing factor to pedestrian accidents. NHTSA officials report that 88% of pedestrian deaths occur in normal weather conditions, as opposed to rainy, snowy or foggy conditions.

• Time of day, however, seems to be a pertinent factor. Approximately 68% of 2010 fatal pedestrian accidents occur during the nighttime - most often, between twilight and the first hour of darkness.

• Alcohol use is a factor in 47% of auto accidents resulting in a pedestrian fatality, either for the driver or the pedestrian.

Safety tips for Missouri pedestrians:

Make yourself visible. Take steps to ensure you can be easily seen by motorists who may be driving near you. Wear brightly colored clothing - and if you're walking at night, use reflectors, carry a flashlight, and try to stick to well-lit areas. Before you cross a street, be sure to stand clear of any obstacles (parked vehicles, shrubs, etc.) that might keep a driver from seeing you.

Stay focused on what's happening around you. Watch for vehicles and be alert to what drivers are doing - avoid using a cell phone or wearing headphones. Never assume that a driver sees you, or that he or she will stop and allow you to cross. Additionally, keep your ears peeled for vehicle noises, like engines starting or backup alerts from larger vehicles.

Always cross with care. Look both ways (left, right, then right again) before you walk into the street. If possible, use marked crosswalks or cross at intersections, and be sure to obey traffic signals. You'll also want to watch for vehicles that might be turning onto your street.

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Reducing car accident injury risks: Tips for Columbia, Missouri drivers

September 10, 2014

night-traffic-1160501-m (1).jpgSometimes, Missouri car accidents can't be avoided, but there are some important steps you can take to reduce your chances of being injured in a serious crash. In this post, our Columbia personal injury lawyers discuss a few basic tips to help you and your loved ones arrive safely at your destination.

Roadway safety in Missouri: Tips to help you travel safe

• Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Keeping your car well-maintained and having it serviced regularly can help reduce your risk of being involved in a crash. Before you hit the road - especially if you're planning a long trip - fill up your gas tank and make sure you don't need to change your oil or rotate your tires.

• Carry a few essential supplies with you at all times. Authorities recommend carrying an emergency kit in your vehicle, just in case. You may want to include items like a flashlight, blankets, bottled water, a first-aid kit and jumper cables. Click here to read more car emergency kit suggestions from Consumer Reports.

• Check weather and traffic conditions. Certain roadway conditions - like heavy traffic, construction zones and inclement weather - can have a significant impact on roadway travel. Columbia drivers can plan ahead by finding out about road closures, local weather, construction, and traffic by visiting the City of Columbia's website.

• Wear your seat belt. Buckling up is the simplest and most effective way to protect yourself from car accident injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), wearing a properly fitting seat belt reduces fatal injury risks by 45% in front seat vehicle occupants. Nationwide, seat belt use saves more than 13,000 lives every year.

• Don't get behind the wheel if you're impaired. Alcohol use and fatigue can have a dramatic effect on a driver's judgment, vision, reaction time and hand-eye coordination, making a serious accident even more likely. Don't get behind the wheel unless you're fit to drive.

• Keep your eyes on the road. It's no secret that distracted drivers are an ever-increasing threat to roadway safety. While cell phones are the most notorious sources of distraction, any activity that takes your attention away from driving (eating or drinking, fiddling with the radio, reaching for a dropped object, etc.) increases your chances of having a crash.

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Reduce Missouri car accident risks: Avoid these 5 bad driving habits

yield-sign-1340780-m.jpgEvery year, more than six million auto accidents happen throughout the United States. Sadly, a good number of these accidents are caused by driver error, which means they're 100% preventable. In this post, our Columbia personal injury lawyers discuss five bad driving habits that commonly contribute to Missouri car accidents.

1. Following too closely

Also known as "tailgating," this practice is a common contributing factor in rear-end collisions. When drivers follow too closely, they often don't have enough time and space to stop if traffic slows in front of them. To avoid tailgating, use the three-second rule to ensure you've left enough space between your vehicle and the one traveling in front of you. Choose a non-moving object on the road ahead of you, like an overpass or sign. Start counting to three slowly when the vehicle in front passes the object: if you reach the object before you get to three, you're following too closely.

2. Driving while distracted

A distracted driver is engaged in any non-driving related activity that takes his or her attention away from the road. Cell phones and other hand-held electronic devices are notoriously dangerous distractions, but there are several other activities that divide a driver's focus, making it more difficult to assess and react to roadway situations. These activities include eating and drinking, putting on makeup, fiddling with the radio or GPS system, talking to passengers, reading, and watching videos. Remember, to ensure safe travel, you need to devote all your attention to the task of driving.

3. Neglecting to use your turn signal

According to a study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers, an estimated 25% of drivers fail to use their turn signals when making turns, and 48% don't use their signals when changing lanes. Furthermore, the study found that over 2 million accidents happen annually as a direct result of this issue. "The turn signal can no longer be considered 'optional' and all drivers have an ongoing duty to use it, just as they have a duty to stop at a stop sign or red light," said Richard Ponziana, author of the study and president of RLP Engineering.

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Missouri personal injury cases: A glossary of terms

file000871975023.jpgThe aftermath of a serious car accident can be a stressful, confusing time for car accident victims and their loved ones - and the idea of a personal injury claim can seem overwhelming. In this post, our Columbia car accident lawyers discuss some of the terms that are commonly associated with Missouri personal injury claims.

Missouri personal injury cases: A glossary of terms

• Catastrophic injuries: Extensive injuries that necessitate long-term medical treatment and often result in temporary or permanent disability. Such injuries can permanently restrict a victim's ability to perform everyday tasks and to maintain employment.

• Contingent-fee basis: An arrangement between a personal injury lawyer and an injury victim which means that the fee for legal services is contingent on recovering compensation. There is no initial payment required for representation, and the fee is a percentage of the compensation recovered on the victim's behalf.

• Damages: The various, reasonably-related costs associated with a victim's injuries. Depending on the circumstances, these costs may affect victims (and their loved ones) financially, physically or mentally.

• Loss of consortium: Refers to a loss of companionship, care and affection between an injury victim and his or her spouse. An uninjured spouse may be entitled to damages for loss of consortium when a car accident victim is fatally injured or disabled following a crash.

• Negligence: Careless or reckless conduct that causes injury to another person. Missouri law requires drivers to use reasonable care to avoid harming other people or property. A person or party can be intentionally or accidentally negligent.

• Settlement: A final compromise between both parties involved in a lawsuit, wherein plaintiff and defendant agree to end the lawsuit for a set amount of compensation.

• Soft tissue injuries: Damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and other connective tissues in the body. Soft tissue injuries are extremely common in car accident victims. They often don't appear on X-rays and symptoms can take days to appear, so these injuries can be trickier to diagnose and treat. Depending on the severity of the damage, soft tissue injuries can cause chronic pain and long-term disability.

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Car accident risks & Columbia, Missouri teen drivers: Tips & info for parents

703781_car.jpgIn the last several years, the number of teen drivers on the road in Missouri has dramatically increased: although these drivers represent only 9.3% of all drivers on the road, they account for approximately 26% of all auto accidents and 15.1% of fatal wrecks.

Given the increased traffic on Missouri roads during the summer months, young drivers in Jefferson City, Ashland, and Fulton must take extra precautions to avoid dangerous road conditions, such as negligent truckers, drunk drivers, and road construction, among other risks. These precautions include limiting speed, minimizing distractions, buckling up, and avoiding alcohol before driving. Each of these steps can help reduce teen car accidents and prevent the terrible injuries that often accompany them.

What Can Parents Do?

According to the AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety, it's crucial for parents to familiarize themselves with the issues that will likely impact your teen, and to set a strong example by modeling safe practices. Here are some of the key issues:

Safety belt use. Teens are much less likely to wear seatbelts than other age groups - but research has shown that teens are much more likely to buckle up if their parents do.

Driving conditions. Inclement weather, heavy traffic, and nighttime driving may present teens with circumstances that they don't know how to handle.

Distracted driving. Despite the proven dangers, many teens still believe it's safe to text and drive. Be sure to establish a "no texting" rule, and enforce it.

Speeding. Excessive speed is a major cause of car crashes involving teens. Here again, teens are more likely to speed if their parents do.

Driving with passengers. Research has demonstrated that teen accident risks increase dramatically with each additional passenger in the vehicle. Establish a rule to dictate how many passengers are acceptable when your teen is driving.

Alcohol use. AAA recommends setting a zero-tolerance rule for drinking and driving. Make sure your teen knows it's safe to call you if he or she needs a sober ride home.

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"Drowsy driving" a contributing factor in many Columbia car accidents

825580_freeway.jpgMost people are aware that distracted driving and driving under the influence are common causes of Missouri car accidents. However, there's another form of impairment that can prove to be just as lethal: drowsiness. In this post, our Columbia personal injury lawyers discuss some important facts about drowsy driving and share a few key warning signs and safety tips.

Drowsy driving and car accident risks: Facts and statistics

• According to a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), approximately 60% of adult drivers (or about 168 million Americans) admitted to driving a motor vehicle while drowsy within the previous year. In addition, 37% of drivers (or about 103 million Americans) say they have actually fallen asleep while driving.

• Estimates from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that driver fatigue is a contributing factor in about 100,000 police-reported crashes every year. These accidents cause an estimated 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries.

• The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that drivers who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to cause an accident, compared to drivers who sleep eight hours or more. Drivers who sleep five hours or less each night are four to five times more likely to cause a sleep-related crash.

• Sleep loss affects the brain in a way that's similar to alcohol use. One study found that being awake for 18 hours is equivalent to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%. Being awake for a full 24 hours is akin to having a BAC of 0.10%.

Common symptoms of drowsy driving

If you experience any of these symptoms when you're behind the wheel, it may be time to pull over and rest:

• Frequent yawning, blinking or rubbing your eyes
• Wandering thoughts, confusion or persistent daydreaming
• Drifting or weaving in and out of your lane; veering onto a rumble strip
• Difficulty remembering the last few miles you've driven
• Missing exits, turns, traffic signs or signals
• Heavy eyelids; trouble keeping your head up

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Avoiding car accidents: 10 defensive driving tips for Columbia, Missouri motorists

broken_ice.jpgMost drivers don't get behind the wheel expecting to be involved in a crash. And yet, as our Columbia personal injury lawyers know, thousands of car accidents happen every single day in the U.S. In this post, our attorneys share some defensive driving tips to help reduce your accident risks.

Defensive Driving: Ten Tips for Missouri Motorists

1. Make defensive driving your top priority. The most basic step you can take toward becoming a defensive driver is to keep all your attention on the road in front of you. Stay aware of what other vehicles are doing, and remember to be prepared for the unexpected.

2. Put your cell phone away. As most people know, distracted driving has become a problem of epidemic proportions. Federal data indicates that drivers who use hand-held electronic devices are four times more likely to be involved in collisions resulting in injury. If you're talking or texting while you drive, you're automatically less able to identify potential issues and react to them safely.

3. Practice "high eyes" driving. When driving, it's easy to limit your attention to the vehicle traveling in front of you. However, doing so can prove problematic - especially if that vehicle's driver isn't paying attention. By keeping your eyes high, you can monitor the traffic ahead, which gives you extra time to decide how to react to an upcoming obstacle.

4. Be cautious when you change lanes. Lots of auto accidents happen as drivers move from one lane to another - one driver might cut another driver off; two drivers might try to merge into the same lane at the same time; etc. If you pick a lane and stay with it, you're automatically doing away with several factors that often contribute to crashes.

5. Watch for "fast lane changers" and "blind lane changers." Be on the lookout for drivers who continually dart in and out of different lanes, as well as those who change lanes without looking.

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Adults age 25-39 most likely to admit to texting and driving

iphones.jpgAs Columbia car accident lawyers, we know that distracted driving is a major issue facing teen drivers - but recent research shows many older drivers may be just as vulnerable to accidents caused by texting and driving. According to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, adult drivers between age 25 and 39 were the most likely to admit to texting and driving. In fact, while only 20 percent of teens admitted to texting while behind the wheel, over 40 percent of drivers in the older age group said they used a cell phone "fairly often" or "regularly."

Furthermore, the survey also revealed that "88 percent of motorists believe distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it was three years ago. About 89 percent believe that other drivers talking on a cellphone while driving is a serious threat to their personal safety, while nearly all (96 percent) believe that others texting or emailing behind the wheel is a serious threat." Indeed, federal data reveals that distraction is a contributing factor in 1/10th of all fatal accidents in the U.S. each year - that's more than 3,000 deaths tied to distracted driving.

The AAA's survey indicates that older drivers can be just as prone to distracted driving behaviors as younger drivers. However, given the prevalence of mobile device usage among teens, distracted driving remains a serious problem for the younger set. What can parents do to discourage cell phone use in their teen drivers? Below, we offer a few tips.

Keeping your teen driver safe: What parents can do to curb distracted driving

• Always set a good example. When you're behind the wheel, put your phone away and avoid other distracting activities, like eating, drinking, and fiddling with the radio or GPS. Remember, as a parent, you're your child's first driving teacher - and research shows you can have a significant impact on your teen's driving education. Model the behaviors you expect from your teen.

• Establish clear ground rules about safe driving. Make sure your teen knows what you expect so there's no confusion about what kind of behavior is acceptable when driving. Many parents find it useful to develop a parent/teen driving contract that lays out rules, expectations and consequences.

• Consider using a monitoring device. These devices can track your teen's driving behaviors - some insurers even offer these at a reduced cost. There are also several useful apps that can be downloaded onto Apple or Android devices which work to prevent texting and driving.

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Alcohol use and Columbia car accidents: How drinking impacts your ability to drive safely

February 17, 2014

the-last-drop-1083566-m.jpgAs Columbia car accident lawyers, we know that alcohol-impaired drivers increase accident risks for everyone on the road, including the innocent motorists who are simply unlucky to be traveling near them. Any amount of drinking can impair your ability to drive safely: even if you think you're just "buzzed," you're jeopardizing your safety and the safety of others by choosing to get behind the wheel.

What exactly makes alcohol and driving such a dangerous combination? Studies reveal that alcohol use impacts driving performance in several dangerous ways:

• Alcohol slows a driver's reaction time. Since accidents happen unexpectedly - often within a matter of seconds - having a quick reaction time is an essential part of avoiding a collision. Even with a blood alcohol content as low as 0.02%, a driver's mental capabilities (including reason and caution) are already impaired. When your reflexes are slowed, you're simply unable to react to changing roadway conditions as quickly - which means you're much more likely to cause a crash.

• Alcohol impairs a driver's ability to concentrate on the task of driving. Safe drivers have to be attentive to a number of different factors while behind the wheel, including vehicle speed, lane position, traffic signs and signals, and the actions of other drivers traveling near them. Research shows that alcohol-impaired drivers are more likely to concentrate on a single action, meaning others are neglected.

• Alcohol limits a driver's comprehension skills. Alcohol-impaired drivers are less able to recognize potential threats to roadway safety and to respond to those threats appropriately in order to prevent a crash. Drinking before you drive can hinder your decision-making ability, leaving you confused about how to process and react to a roadway emergency. In other words, alcohol makes it harder to identify a dangerous situation.

• Alcohol has a negative effect on a driver's motor skills. Motor skills are functions that "involve the precise movement of muscles with the intent to perform a specific act." As a driver's blood alcohol content rises, his motor skills deteriorate accordingly, beginning with what are known as "fine motor skills" (i.e. putting your key in the ignition) and continuing on to "gross motor skills" (i.e. standing, walking, etc.).

• Alcohol is detrimental to a driver's vision and hearing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol use reduces visual acuity, peripheral vision, depth perception, and the ability to judge distances. In addition, alcohol use "reduces the ear's ability to hear, muffling sounds, and interfering with the ability to determine the direction of sounds."

Don't take the risk! If you choose to drink, please call a cab, catch a ride with a sober driver, or simply stay put. Doing so just might be lifesaving.

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"T-Bone" collisions pose dangerous threat to Columbia drivers

February 7, 2014

yellow-traffic-light-669004-m.jpgCar crashes happen unexpectedly in a split second. Even the most routine driving maneuvers can cause them, and no amount of vigilance seems to be able to prevent them. Columbia car crash lawyers encourage Missouri drivers to wear their seat belts every single time they're behind the wheel - not just because it is Missouri law, but because they can and do save lives and decrease the severity of injuries.

One particularly common kind of auto accident occurs when a driver attempts to make a left turn and pulls into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Many times, the result is a side impact accident, also known as "T-Bone" collision or broadside accident. These crashes aren't just common - they're extremely dangerous. In fact, they're the second most deadly kind of accident, often causing serious injuries and fatalities to the motorists involved. Common consequences of side impact accidents include broken bones, head injuries, organ damage, whiplash and spinal injuries.

So, where does liability fall in this kind of collision? In most cases, the left-turning driver is liable: often, the turning driver is trying to "beat" another vehicle through a light, making an illegal turn, or failing to pay attention to oncoming traffic - due to drowsiness, distraction, or driving while impaired. However, there are exceptions - if the car going straight ran a red light, for example, or some kind of vehicle or road issue prevented the driver from fully executing the turn,

As you can see, even the simplest auto accident might require a thorough investigation to make a successful claim. If you have been injured in an auto accident or truck accident in Columbia or Jefferson City, you may require legal assistance to receive the proper compensation for your injuries. Do you need an auto accident lawyer to handle your claim, or is it more appropriate to let your insurance company and the other party's insurance company handle it? The fact is, most accident victims have no realistic idea of what their claim might be worth, and it is unlikely that the negligent party's insurance company will tell them.

Speak with the Columbia car accident attorneys at Aaron Sachs before signing any insurance papers, accepting a settlement offer, or giving a recorded statement about the accident. Call us today for a free initial consultation about your case.

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