Driving a motor vehicle comes with a legal responsibility, or a duty of care, to drive in a way that will not hurt other motorists or pedestrians. The ‘duty’ of all drivers is to follow the rules of the road and to exercise common sense. Breaching this duty of care will sometimes result in a finding of negligence.
The rules of the road are clear-cut. If a driver violates the speed limit, for example, they are disregarding their duty of care. If road conditions deteriorate because of inclement weather and a driver does not adjust for conditions by slowing down or taking actions a reasonable person would under the same circumstances, they are not exercising common sense and could be found negligent if an accident occurs.
Sometimes an accident is a result of the combined negligence of two or more drivers. Causation provides a measure of how each person’s negligence contributed to an accident, and therefore how much each person should be responsible for resulting injuries or damages. The term ‘damages’ refers to the physical and emotional injuries, property damage, and lost income someone suffers as the result of an accident and is expressed as a monetary figure used to compensate an injured party based on the findings of causation.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, contact the Iowa Law Offices of John P. Hemminger for help today. John has handled personal injury and wrongful death claims for more than 30 years and provides personalized, attentive and focused representation to his clients in Des Moines and the surrounding communities. Contact us today for help.
Iowa is at the crossroads of the trucking industry. Trucks traveling north and south, east and west carrying loads across the country crowd Iowa highways. Because trucks outweigh most vehicles on the road, they often cause the most damage and fatalities in an accident. Although, most drivers are well-trained and experienced, accidents still occur frequently. Truck drivers spend long hours on the road and have the potential to become drowsy. They have to operate in both large and close settings with visual limitations, which may potentially lead to an accident.
In 2012, the National Highway Safety Administration reported that over 100,000 people suffered injuries from large truck accidents – which included nearly four thousand fatalities. The NHSA also noted that 73 percent of those killed in the fatal accidents were passengers or drivers of other vehicles. Cars are simply no match for 18-wheelers.
All truck accidents are not the fault of the truck drivers of course, however, in many cases truck drivers are to blame. Despite all the federal safety rules that have been adopted into law for truck drivers, many still become drowsy, distracted or even impaired while driving.
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident, an attorney can help you investigate the specifics of the accident to determine who is responsible. They may request truck logs and other important documentation from the trucking company that will prove who is at fault. They have the knowledge of the law to get the compensation you may be entitled to for your suffering and loss.
Zero Fatalities, an Iowa Department of Transportation safety campaign aimed at raising driver awareness is responsible for the flashing messages you see as you travel along Iowa highways. This week’s signs warn drivers, ‘Drowsy is Lousy – Rest is Best,’ a reference to the high number of motor vehicle accidents resulting from driver fatigue. Annual crashes attributed to driving drowsy are a staggering 100,000, with 71,000 injuries reported.
Over the past year, other one-liners addressing the issue of distracted driving have graced the 70 plus digital signs across Iowa. A major source of distracted driving is smart phone or cell phone use of course, so the messages speak to many. A Yoda-of-Star-Wars inspired message greeted drivers on a specific day last May with, ‘May the 4th Be With You, Text I Will Not’. Other sage, and oftentimes, humorous advice directed at technology-addicted drivers have included ‘Exit to Text It’ and ‘Get Your Head Out of Your Apps and Drive Safely’.
Traffic engineer Willy Sorenson and his colleague Tracey Bramble make each other howl with laughter as they brainstorm comical messages, all the while hoping their efforts will get motorists to take note and drive more safely to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries. They, and fellow DOT employees who chime in with ideas from time to time, focus on five areas that represent the most common contributors to traffic deaths: not wearing seat belts, speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving, and drowsy driving. If they can get the message across, Iowans will be safer out on the roads.
Source: The Des Moines Register, “Munson: Life-saving messages spark Iowa’s roadside quips” , by Kyle Munson , accessed January 12, 2016.
In yet another consequence of lengthening life spans, the adult children trying to care for people in their late 80s and 90s are likely to be approaching 70 themselves, or beyond it. On average, caregivers over the age of 75 provide 34 hours a week assisting their elderly parents – just about the time when they, too, are burning out on housekeeping and home maintenance.
In a novel twist, some 70 somethings are opting to live down the hallway from their 90 something parents in retirement communities, allowing them get the assistance they need while continuing to look after their parents with the added benefit of more hands on deck.
While it is hardly a widespread phenomena to date, some believe that where costs are reasonable, it might well catch-on. “It is remarkably common for children to make big adjustments to take care of an aging parent” says the co-director of the program on aging, disability and long-term care of Chapel Hill. Although few baby boomers welcome the prospect of living in facilities earmarked for ‘old people’, the closer proximity to aging parents combined with amenities such as shoveled walkways, prepared meals and housekeeping definitely holds appeal for many.
Source: New York Times, “A Move Into Mom’s Building”, by Paula Span, January 5, 2016.
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