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Wisconsin Personal Injury Law Blog

Holiday travel safety tips that most people don't think of

Most people know and understand that highway traffic before and after Labor Day weekend can be troublesome. It is essentially a tradition across Wisconsin for families to have one last summer get together before fall begins. This year is poised to be no different with gas prices dropping and more people having income (and time off) to drive to their favorite vacation spot.

But with more people on the road, drivers have to be extra cautious. Indeed, many drivers understand that they have to share the road, be mindful of speed limits and refrain from using alcohol, but it there are additional things that drivers should be mindful of as they embark on their holiday weekend journeys. 

Drivers must be aware of pedestrians during this time of year

If you are noticing a difference in the mornings these days, it is probably not the lack of humidity or chill in the air. It is probably not the fact that the sun is coming up later in the mornings. No, it is likely the increase in activity around the city in the mornings. This is because school is back in session, so you may be seeing more cars, buses and pedestrians during rush hour.

For drivers, it is a rite of late summer. (We can’t say fall for another few weeks). When children go back to school, drivers must be a little more vigilant so that they are aware of the greater number of pedestrians. Indeed, we need to pay attention to young children who are crossing the street, but the greater danger likely lies with older kids. 

The NTSB is helping new car buyers

Car buyers are waiting with baited breath for Labor Day weekend to come. What is known for the last summer holiday and road trips is also a great time for car buyers to get a great deal on a new car. This is because car dealers want to clear space for new 2016 models on their lots; which they can charge more for (and generate higher profits).

While this is not a surprise for buyers and dealers, it may be surprising how much support that federal regulators are showing in order to have early warning systems be a basic part of a new car’s offerings. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued a report earlier this summer suggesting that such systems should be standard on all new cars sold in the United States. 

Could first responders be held liable in truck accidents?

When a police car, fire truck or ambulance approaches you, it is natural for you to pull over. After all, yielding to an emergency vehicle is the law, and who wants to be the person standing in the way of a first responder and someone in need. So while a majority of drivers know to get out of the way, do the drivers of emergency vehicles know to do so as well?

It is reasonable to assume that they do, but like any other driver, sometimes drivers of emergency vehicles make mistakes and get into accidents. A prime example occurred in Miami, where an ambulance reportedly broadsided a fire truck. According to several media reports, the two emergency vehicles were responding to separate events and were crossing through a common intersection. 

A denied SSDI claim is not the end of the road

You may already know that many applications for Social Security disability benefits are denied. In fact, from 2003 through 2012, the Social Security Administration reported that the number of disability claims approved on the first try averaged only 24 percent.

When you account for appeals after an initial denial during that same period, almost 60 percent of claims were ultimately denied. The sad reality, though, is that many denials happen not because the claim isn't legitimate, but because the application contained mistakes or did not include enough medical evidence. 

Lessons to be learned from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota is arguably the premier event for riders in the upper Midwest; and perhaps the country. The 75th version of this annual event brought more than 1 million people to the rally. As the event ended on Sunday, 13 people had lost their lives in accidents. While the event is over, people will still be riding motorcycles until the winter begins. With that, it is a good time for a reminder of the tips that can keep riders safe.

This post will highlight a few. 

What factors tend to contribute to road rage?

In a number of our posts, we have noted how road rage can be a significant contributor in auto accidents. After all, a majority of accidents are caused by driver error, and road rage can be considered an example of such errors.

But knowing what contributes to road rage is just as important as knowing how to prevent accidents caused by them. With that, we highlight some of the factors that can influence road rage

Cargo forces truck to overturn, no one appears injured

To most people, a truck accident usually involves a negligent or sleepy driver at the wheel. While this isn't necessarily wrong in many truck accidents, there are plenty of other circumstances that could be involved in a wreck. Today's story is a perfect example of that, even though no other vehicle was involved in the wreck except for the semi-truck.

The truck in this case was carrying some heavy metal piping, and it was attempting to navigate a bend in the road. As it was going through the bend, witnesses say the cargo in the trailer "visibly shifted" and that it forced the vehicle to tumble over. The truck ended up on the shoulder of a freeway. Thankfully, it appears that no one was injured.

Could Fiat Chrysler be held liable for hacker caused accidents?

Last week, we reported on the fine assessed to Fiat Chrysler for its failed efforts in advising customers of recalls that would address functional and design defects that could put drivers in great danger. The assessment was a record for an automaker, and it was more less a statement of how serious an infraction it was for Fiat Chrysler to ignore warning signs about safety defects.

If you thought the company was having a bad week, an article from wired.com is going to make their week worse. The article highlighted the efforts of two hackers who gained control of a driver’s Jeep Cherokee and were able to control every function of the vehicle from their laptops.

Fiat Chrysler assessed record fine for Jeep failures

In a prior post, we noted how Fiat Chrysler could be facing additional scrutiny from federal regulators based on inquiries about problems relating to its adaptive cruise control on Jeep Grand Cherokee models. The embattled company recently faced a rare public hearing held by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and was recently assessed a fine for its failure to address safety hazards regarding the placement of its fuel tanks on Jeeps.

Essentially, older model Jeeps with gas tanks behind the rear axle are a safety hazard, as a rear end collision could cause the tanks to rupture and explode, which could lead to drivers and occupants being killed before they can escape. To correct this problem, trailer hitches were supposed to be installed that could act as a buffer to prevent the fuel tanks from being compromised.