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The trucking industry provides valuable service in this country, moving goods from shore to shore. Along the way, accidents occur. Because of the size and speed of a tractor trailer, collisions between a truck and a car often result in catastrophic injury or death.

In Ohio alone, there were 9,319 truck crashes in 2011. Of those, 5,514 were caused by truck drivers. While many factors contribute to driver error, fatigue directly impacts road awareness, physical agility, reaction time and decision making ability.

Recently the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) made rule changes to try and reduce mistakes made by tired truck drivers. While the effective date of those changes passed in 2012, the final compliance date is July 1 of this year.

Points about the new hours of service (HOS) rule change include the following:

Sharing a road with a semi-truck can make any driver nervous. Hopefully these rule changes will provide some confidence that the truck operator in the vehicle next to you is not asleep at the wheel.

If involved in a car, or truck accident, always seek experienced legal advice.

Summer is long gone and winter is on the way. Too soon rain and snow will turn dry pavement dangerous and lead to the possibility of fender benders — or worse — on slippery roads.

As temperatures cool, consider these tips for staying safe on Ohio roads this winter:

Our firm represents clients and their families injured in automobile and other accidents. The best way to handle an accident is to keep it from happening in the first place. Drive safe and, if you have been injured through the negligence of others, get good legal advice.

In a recent blog, we discussed changes to the numbers of hours a truck driver is allowed to operate a vehicle. Those changes, finalized in July of this year by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA), are intended to reduce truck accidents caused by fatigue.

Across the United States, the trucking industry is responsible for getting freight where it is needed, often on a short turnaround. Safety is essential for operating a big-rig or driving near one. While shortened hours may give truck drivers more rest, tightened regulations do not affect daytime drowsiness caused by sleep apnea.

What is sleep apnea?

While many people recognize snoring as a symptom of sleep apnea, the indications of the problem are not the same for each person. There are two prevalent types of sleep apnea:

Both types of apnea are sleep disorders that prevent restorative sleep. FMSCA estimates that approximately one-third of truck operators experience sleep apnea, partly due to disrupted sleep cycles and partly due to natural tendency toward the disorder.

Truck drivers or motorists with sleep apnea can suffer from reduced reaction time, poor memory, daytime drowsiness and diminished decision making capacity during waking hours.

If you are chronically sleepy during the day, talk to your physician about sleep apnea. If you have been injured by a drowsy truck driver, seek experienced legal advice.

Following an automobile accident, you or a loved one are typically taken or go to an emergency room.  The hospital is willing to treat you but wants to get paid as much as it can for the bill.  Even though someone else caused your accident and should be responsible for your bills, rest assured that the other guy’s insurance company won’t pay the hospital’s bills right away.  The hospital will ask you if you have health insurance or your own automobile insurance coverage and will ask you to provide your insurance information.  The hospital wants to bill your automobile insurance first because it pays 100% of their bill up to the coverage limit.  Your health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid will only pay a percentage of the bill (20-40%) depending on the contract your health insurance carrier has with the hospital or doctor.   If or when this happens to you, only give the hospital your health insurance information, NOT your automobile insurance information.  Save your automobile medical payments coverage for deductibles or co-pays.  This makes your health care dollar go further and helps you to pay all of your medical bills from an accident.  Remember, do not give your automobile insurance information to the hospital, only give your health insurance information and insist that the hospital submit your bills to YOUR health insurance.  Later in your case the at fault party will be required to pay your medical expenses (provided you effectively prove that the other driver was at fault and your treatment was reasonable and necessary to treat injuries caused by the at fault party).   At that point your health insurer will be reimbursed what it paid on your medical expenses from the proceeds of your case.  This is through the process of subrogation which subject will be dealt with in subsequent NRS Injury Law blogs.   You should also feel free to contact us at any time with any questions.   Please contact an NRS attorney toll free at 1-(855) Got-Hurt or 1-(855) 468-4878.  - See more at: https://nrsinjurylaw.com/blog/pitfalls-to-getting-your-hospital-bills-paid-after-an-automobile-accident/#sthash.oPodqD3R.dpuf

While the automobile insurance companies flood the airwaves with clever commercials and catchy jingles about their low rates, accessibility, and commitment to “being there” for their customers, the reality is a much less personal, more anonymous, and an entirely bottom-line profit-maximizing business model, when it comes to claims adjusting, that far too often boils claim evaluation down to, “Don’t like it? So sue me.”

One of the most common complaints amongst our clients who have suffered injuries as the result of auto accidents is that they end up being made to feel more like a wrongdoer than a victim. This is especially common in claims like the ones on which this CNN article focuses – i.e., those accidents involving relatively minor property damage to the vehicles, but still resulting in injuries (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/02/09/insurance.hardball/). The insurance companies know and love the popular misconception that only catastrophic or "serious" car crashes can cause real bodily harm, despite the countless cases where the impact of cars colliding (even at low rates of speed) causes damage to the people inside even when the bumpers do their job in protecting the cars (and insurers) from major damage (i.e., repair costs). For these lower impact accidents, insurance companies scoff at medical records and doctors’ opinions as to degree of injury, with insurance adjusters often relying instead upon their own “medical expertise” to determine that the resulting injuries couldn’t possibly be so severe as what the medical evidence says. In other words, the accident victim must be lying. Adjusters are trained to evaluate low impact accidents where treatment goes beyond 6-8 weeks as being medically unnecessary without any further consideration.

Insurance companies will frequently make a play to offer nominal settlement amounts to victims of their customers’ driving mistakes as soon as possible to avoid having to pay more if/when the injuries turn out to be more serious than just a bump or a scratch, which is especially common with the types of spinal injuries that often result from car accidents. And if you think that initial offer was unreasonable? Tough. An insurance company gets no benefit out of paying more or paying earlier. So the mantra becomes, "deny, delay and defend." (http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2007/02/insurance-companies-fight-paying.html); (http://www.cnbc.com/id/36178055).

While popular opinion seems to be unkind to those individuals who hire lawyers to pursue insurance claims and take these insurance companies to court, what other options do the insurance companies give victims in these kinds of claims? As the CNN article poses it, the position has increasingly become, “Take it or leave it...” or, perhaps more accurately, “Take it or spend time, money, and energy fighting for more.” That uphill battle for fair compensation is a tough pill to swallow for anyone who’s already suffered due to a car accident. It’s unlikely to change anytime soon, but articles like this CNN report help raise public awareness regarding what those “good hands” and “good neighbors” are really up to, aside from collecting premiums.

If you or a loved one are injured in an automobile collision and are getting this kind of run around from an insurance adjuster, call the attorneys at NRS Injury Law.

The process for determining fault in crashes involving a commercial truck can be complex. Crashes involving commercial trucks often have a number of contributing factors such as driver error, weather, roadway conditions, and vehicle malfunctions which may complicate the liability determination. A thorough investigation that takes into account all these factors, as well as statements of witnesses and reports made by the highway patrol or local police must be conducted to determine which driver was at fault. Ultimately, the driver or drivers who are determined to be at fault for causing the accident will be responsible for compensating any person who was injured or killed in the accident.

Trucking companies and drivers must adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These rules govern licensing of truck drivers, weight limits for cargo, and the number of hours drivers may be on the road. Under these regulations, truck drivers are only permitted to drive for 11 hours in a 14 hour work day, following a minimum of 10 hours of rest. These regulations were modified in July of 2013 to combat the problem of truck driver fatigue and increase safety on the road.

Stay safe on the roads by avoiding the “no-zones” of trucks. No zones are the areas around trucks where crashes are most likely to occur. Due to their size, trucks have large blind spots on the sides and directly behind them. Keep in mind that if you cannot see a truck driver’s mirrors, they cannot see you.

In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, call a Cleveland truck accident attorney at Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg to discuss your rights at 855-GOT-HURT, or fill out our contact form.

When Injuries Happen, Know Your Rights 

Big trucks cause big accidents for motorists—and even pedestrians. Official statistics show that one out of every eight automobile accident fatalities involve large trucks, and every 16 minutes, a crash or collision involving a big truck occurs. These trucks, which include tractor trailers, big rigs and other commercial vehicles, dominate the space they occupy on streets and highways. Too often, automobiles and motorcycles come into contact with them, and the results can be devastating.

In fact, when a commercial truck is involved in an accident, 86 percent of fatalities, and 77 percent of those injured, end up being the drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicles involved in the crash. Given the large size of the trucks, the long hours that many drivers spend behind the wheel and the failure of some big truck drivers to abide by the posted speed limits, such a high rate of big truck accidents is not at all surprising.

Many big truck accidents are caused by human error. Others are traceable to mechanical failure, intoxication or even a trucking company’s failure to adequately maintain current inspection standards for the truck that was involved. In the aftermath of an accident, victims who survive can be severely injured and/or traumatized. Additionally, big truck accidents can result in substantial damage to the victim’s vehicle and other personal property that was impacted by the accident.

In most big truck accidents, liable parties that can be sued may include the driver of the truck, the commercial vehicle owner, the owner of the freight, the employer of the driver, the manufacturer of the truck cab, trailer or other truck equipment, and even third-party maintenance companies.

Crash Evidence is Key to Determining Fault in Big Truck Accidents

It is not unusual in big truck accidents for the trucking company involved to actively work to deny that the truck driver they employed was at fault. Federal law requires that trucking companies keep evidence; but the law stipulates that this applies only for a certain time period. If you or a loved one have been involved in a big truck accident, it is essential to protect your rights, so you should immediately contact an experienced big truck attorney.

Based on the circumstances surrounding the accident, a qualified and experienced big truck attorney will likely send the trucking company a spoliation letter. Without this letter, the trucking company may be able to legally destroy the trail of guilt. Beyond this, an experienced attorney will represent your interests throughout your case. He/she will determine who the responsible parties are in the accident that occurred, and work to obtain other important evidence such as official accident reports and truck logs. That attorney will also pursue just compensation for injuries, lost wages and loss of financial stability, costs associated with ongoing care and medical treatment, and emotional distress.

No Cost Evaluation

If you or a loved one have been injured in a big truck accident, your rights are at stake—you need to seek immediate legal advice. At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., our big truck accident attorneys may be able to help you pursue compensation for the pain and suffering that you have been forced to endure. The experienced personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at NRS are highly knowledgeable in big truck litigation. We fight side by side with injured victims to make sure they and their families receive compensation for negligence that caused them to be hurt. We will aggressively pursue your case and work to help you obtain the medical care and compensation you need to rebuild your life.

In the event you or a loved one has suffered a big truck accident-related injury, contact the personal injury attorneys at NRS Injury Law by filling out our No-Risk Consultation form, or call (855) GOT-HURT and speak with one of our trained staff members.

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