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Manassas Virginia Motor Vehicle Accidents Law Blog

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. 

Tips on Sharing the Road With Cyclists

In Manassas and many other cities all over the nation, motorists find themselves frequently sharing the road with cyclists. This has much to do with many cities adding in bike lanes, which are intended to allow cyclists to safely traverse the roads along with vehicles. Accordingly, Bicyclist.com offers these tips to ensure motorists can safely share the road with cyclists.

Open Doors With Caution

3 things to do if you're hit by a texting driver

Car crashes often happen when least expected. You were traveling through a congested area, but you didn't expect the driver straight ahead of you to slam into your vehicle.

You saw that the driver wasn't looking up before the collision. He or she trying to say you crossed the center line when you know it's the other way around. What should you do?

Reviewing Virginia's pedestrian right-of-way laws

When cars collide with pedestrians in Manassas, it is not difficult to guess who gets the worst of it. Should such an accident occur on a sidewalk, it may also not be difficult to guess who is at fault. Yet when pedestrians enter the roadway, the question of liability becomes somewhat murkier. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that as recently as 2013, 4,735 pedestrians were killed and another 66,000 were injured after being struck by cars. Many of those accidents undoubtedly occurred on roads, where many may assume that cars have the right-of-way. Yet is that true? 

According to the Code of Virginia, the answer to that questions depends on the circumstances of the accident. Pedestrians should not attempt to enter the roadway at the middle of the road where there is not a clearly marked crosswalk. While common sense might tell a driver to stop to avoid hitting a pedestrian anywhere on the road, a pedestrian may not be able to blame a driver for not stopping for him or her if he or she is not in a crosswalk, as there are no visible signs to indicate pedestrians might be in the road at such locations. 

Identifying vehicle blind spots

You enjoy an excellent view of all that is around you when riding your motorcycle in Manassas. Sadly, the design of traditional vehicles prohibits drivers from seeing as much. This contributes directly to a common hazard: blind spots. Many of those that we here at The Law Offices of Locklin & Coleman, PLLC have worked with following motorcycle accidents have heard the same thing from the drivers that hit them: "I did not see you." Knowing where vehicle blind spots are may make you more aware of  the mistakes that may lead a driver to hit you. 

The most common blind spots on vehicles are the rear quarter blind spots, which are at rear of both sides of a vehicle. In this particular driving zone, you are past the view afforded to a driver by his or her rearview mirrors, so a simple check of them will not alert him or her of your presence. Only by turning his or her head will he or she see you. 

My neck hurts: Could this be from my car accident?

Vehicle accidents take a terrible toll in Virginia and the rest of the U.S., with several million crashes occurring each year. Along with more than 30,000 fatalities, nearly 2 million more people suffer injuries that range from concussions to whiplash and much worse. You should always seek a qualified doctor’s diagnosis for any pain that you may be experiencing as the result of an accident, but here are some common types of injuries that can occur during a crash.

Injuries to the head and back

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