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Manassas Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

Fast food, fast drivers: How fast food causes distractions

When fast food restaurants first opened, you may remember that they had parking lots and places for people to stop. Instead of going inside a restaurant, waitresses and waiters would come to the vehicles, taking orders and delivering food directly to the car.

These quick restaurants became the basis for today's fast food, but with the way the fast-food chains are set up today, few, if any, people stop after going through the drive through. A shocking number of people grab a bite to eat and continue to eat as they travel on to their next destination not realizing that fast food could cause a crash.

Pedestrian safety is everyone's concern

In Virginia, it's crucial for motorists and pedestrians to coexist peacefully to prevent serious injuries from occurring. However, this often easier said than done, especially in areas with large amounts of foot traffic. In order to ensure the safety of all who share the road, State Farm offers the following tips to help drivers and pedestrians keep a focus on safety.

What Drivers Can Do

3 motorcycle safety tips for new riders

While riding a motorcycle can be a thrilling experience, keeping safety in account is crucial for new riders. This is because road hazards are far more dangerous for motorcyclists due to lack of protection and in many cases passenger vehicles fail to recognize the presence of motorcycles on the road (which can lead to catastrophe). NapaOnline.com recommends the following tips in this case, which will prepare you for the road ahead.

Always Wear a Helmet

Victims of crashes may be able to hold employers liable

One complication of car crashes occurs if the driver was using a company vehicle. While the driver may be to blame for the crash, there is a question as to who should pay for the injuries the other party suffered.

In many cases, victims of crashes will go after the driver and seek to use his or her insurance information to make a claim. However, the reality may be that you're able to seek compensation through the insurance of the employer, not just the driver.

Avoiding crashes on highways with semi-trucks

The speed limit is 70, there are only two lanes on the Virginia interstate, and the majority of vehicles on the road have 18 wheels. Driving alongside semi-trucks can be nerve-wracking, especially when the weather makes things hard to see. Esurance outlines the two keys to navigating around these large trucks safely: awareness and patience. 

Drivers in normal-sized cars have a responsibility to stay visible to truck drivers at all times in order to avoid negligence. Truckers have a massive blind spot. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, commercial drivers cannot see certain areas on all four sides of their truck. That includes 20 feet of the pavement in front of them, 30 feet behind them and about 20 feet on their sides as well. A good rule of thumb is this: If a car driver cannot see the truck driver, then the truck driver probably cannot see the car.

3 Common Causes of Car Accidents

As a driver in Virginia, you know how important safe driving is for both yourself as well as other motorists. However, accidents can and will happen, and in many cases there are common factors that contribute to collisions between vehicles. Slate.com offers the following information on these common causes, which can help drivers steer clear of any issues.

An alarming number of motorists admit to falling asleep while behind the wheel at least once. Unlike other dangerous behaviors (like drinking and driving) falling asleep can happen to even the most cautious drivers, particularly on long trips lasting a few hours or more. Always be aware of your level of fatigue when driving, especially when you were deprived sleep the previous night. If you feel tired, pull over and rest until you’re able to drive safely again.

Reviewing Virginia's helmet law

Many in Manassas may envy the freedom that motorcycles offer, yet few likely would want to be faced with the lack of personal protection bikers have in accidents. There is virtually nothing protecting a rider from the road should he or she be struck by (or collide with) another vehicle. That may be why many fail to understand why any motorcyclist would disagree with laws that would require him or her to wear a protective helmet. Per Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles, such equipment is 29 percent effective at preventing death and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries in motorcycle accidents. 

Virginia law does indeed require motorcyclists to wear helmets. Section 46.2-910 of the state's Motor Vehicle Code states that both riders and passengers must wear helmets at all times while riding on a bike. The only exceptions to this rule are when they are traveling less than 15 mph or when they are participating in a motorcycle parade organized by local municipalities or the state's Department of Transportation.

Pedestrian pitfalls: Why are there so many pedestrian accidents?

Pedestrians have a right to be on and around the roadways, just like drivers do, so long as they follow the laws designed to keep them safe. Unfortunately, between distracted drivers and pedestrians who don't know the laws, there are many crashes that happen ever day.

Around 5,000 pedestrians die each year as a result of motor-vehicle-related accidents, but these deaths don't have to happen. By being aware of the reasons for these crashes, it's possible to reduce and eliminate the risks.

Understanding Uber insurance coverage

Despite having been available in areas like Manassas since 2010, many local residents are still unfamiliar with the concept of ride-sharing. Those just becoming acquainted with companies like Uber will likely first want to know how safe they are before committing to using them. Unfortunately, ride-sharing accident statistics are still difficult to find. This is due to the both the practice being fairly new, as well as the fact that no official method exists for documenting ride-sharing accidents. Per information shared by The Chicago Tribune, law enforcement authorities may not even think to document whether a vehicle involved in a collision was driven by an Uber driver since such drivers use their own personal cars. 

Many may be willing to overlook the lack of safety data to use ride-sharing services provided that they know insurance coverage is available should they be in an accident. Uber maintains coverage for their drivers in certain scenarios, such as when they have the app on, or when they are driving to a location to pick up a fare. That coverage also extends to when they are transporting passengers. According to Uber's website, the company offers $1 million in third party liability insurance that will help cover a passenger's medical expenses when he or she is involved in an accident in which the Uber driver is at fault. If the driver that struck an Uber vehicle is at fault yet does not have auto insurance, Uber also offers $1 million in uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to assist passengers. 

Applying respondeat superior to your accident

If you have been involved in a collision with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer in Manassas, then you do not need to be told about the destructive potential such vehicles possess. Like many of those that we here at Locklin & Coleman PLLC have worked with in the past that have been in similar accidents, you now likely face a mountain of expenses due to injuries that you and/or your family sustained, as well as the damage done to your own vehicle. Who is going to help you cover those costs? 

The easy answer to that question may be the truck driver that caused the collision, yet what about the company that he or she works for? Should they be held liable as well? According to the Cornell University Law School, a legal principle exists known as "respondeat superior." Literally translated as "let the master answer," respondeat superior allows you to hold companies responsible for the actions of their employees. 

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