Motor vehicle personal injury is an issue that almost anyone can relate to. Many people have either seen, been involved in, or know someone who has experienced an accident. With the wide variety of motor vehicles in the world, and therefore large number of accidents, legal claims come from all over. Each case is different, however, so legal practice has adjusted by branching into different specialty areas within the motor vehicle personal injury category. In Minnesota, the predominant areas of practice include car, boat, bus, motorcycle, plane, truck, and train accidents.
In the event of an automobile accident, the goal of an attorney is to ensure that you are fairly compensated for your losses. This compensation can include medical bills, loss of income or wages, and payment to others to do jobs you can no longer do, such as shoveling snow. If the crash was primarily or completely someone else’s fault, you can also seek compensation for pain and suffering. Cases can also be caused by intentional or reckless conduct. In these situations, the driver responsible for the conduct would be liable. If the accident occurred because of faulty products, such as an air bag malfunction or a tire blowing out, the case would fall under product liability law. Car accidents can result in serious personal injuries such as broken bones, neck and back injuries, brain and spinal cord injuries, and in severe cases, death.
Minnesota has more registered watercraft per person than other state. due to the presence of over 15,000 lakes. With this large number of watercraft and water traffic, however, the risk for serious boating injury is significant. Most boating accidents are caused by one of three factors. These include inexperienced boaters, intoxicated operators, or boat malfunctions. The most common boat accidents in Minnesota are collisions with other boats or watercraft, slipping and falling due to wet surfaces, boat fires and explosions, and sinking or tipping boats. These accidents can cause serious injuries, including death, broken bones, burns, head/neck injuries, and spine injuries.
With gas prices constantly on the rise, the use of public transportation has been increasing as well. Although this is good for people’s pocket books, the puts more buses on the road, leading to a higher number of bus-related injuries. There are numerous rules and regulations developed by the Federal Department of Transportation’s Motor Carrier Safety Administration that help to ensure the safety of bus passengers. These include logging a certain number of hours in a bus before being allowed to carry passengers, acquiring a special license, bus safety features, and performing preventive maintenance on the bus. Due to these rules and regulations, some buses, such as school buses, are considered to be one of the safest groups of vehicles on the road.
Motorcycle accidents can also be dangerous and deadly, due to no seatbelts and lack of a protective frame. These accidents most commonly occur because of negligence. Although it’s a frequent explanation for an accident, the excuse of “I didn’t see the motorcycle” is not valid. Some of the more common situations in which accidents occur include when an automobile is making a left turn in front of a motorcycle, when a motorcycle is in a car’s blind spot, when large vehicles are present and blocking the driver’s view, or when hazardous road and weather conditions are present. Helmets are one of the easiest and most effective forms of protection for motorcycle drivers, as it significantly lowers the risk of traumatic brain injury or fatalities.
In the event of an aviation accident, legal issues can be very complex and unique. Legal rules for crashes not involving airline companies or common carriers are similar to those for car accidents. In the event of a common carrier accident, however, strict standards and regulations are in place, and most carries have strong attorneys and insurance companies to protect themselves. In these cases, it is important to find an experienced attorney that can interpret the laws and obtain the best solution possible.
Common carries are required to demonstrate the greatest degree of safety for its passengers. Unique to this type of accident, plane crashes and governed by state, federal, and international negligence laws. In the event of an accident in Minnesota, a victim, or victim’s family, may file a legal claim if the cause included defective onboard computers, fuel tank explosions, poor equipment maintenance, improper loading, or pilot error.
When accidents involve large trucks (semi-trailer’s, big rigs, 18-wheelers, etc), claims are usually made against trucking companies or negligent drivers. These types of accidents are among the worst considering the size of the vehicle involved. Truck drivers cannot see as well as smaller cars, and do not have very quick maneuverability. Accidents are most often contributed to overloaded freight, driver fatigue, speeding, or substance abuse. Due to these factors, trucking companies and drivers have strict rules that must be followed, including logbooks, time sheets, and higher safety standards then those of other vehicles. Drivers are limited in the amount of time they can drive each day, and these records are crucial to claims against a driver’s alertness or fatigue level. These and a variety of other factors make truck accident litigation much different than a normal car accident.
Most accidents involving trains are somewhat minor, but anytime that a car or person is involved, the results can be quite severe. There is not much that can stand up to the size and power of these massive machines. Train accidents usually include one of the following: collision with another train, derailment, an accident with a car or other motor vehicle, or hitting a pedestrian. Many of these accidents can be caused by the train itself, due to mechanical failure or negligence (such as the brakes failing), heavier than normal cargo loads, or defective railroad tracks. When other motor vehicles are involved, however, most collisions are attributed to aggressive driving of the other vehicle. Railroad companies are required to maintain strict standards of safety, and are the ones responsible for their passengers. Lawsuits involving train accidents contain some of the most specific guidelines and time constraints, since most accidents involve a government owned company.
Although each of these areas are different, there are major themes throughout the broad motor vehicle personal injury category that should always be remembered. In the event of an accident, seek medical assistance immediately, even if you are not aware of serious injury. It is important to determine if any injuries were sustained, some of which can occur subtly at first. If another vehicle or person is involved, exchange your name and number and other pertinent information. If property damage exceeds $2,000, personal injury occurs, or a fatality occurs, it is required by law to promptly report the accident to authorities. When these steps have been completed, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
It is important to act fast after being injured in any type of accident. This will allow the attorney to preserve evidence easier, to obtain witnesses, and to address other important factors. Some cases have certain time limitations on them as well. An attorney that takes the case should have a desire to fight until the end to make sure you receive the amount of compensation you deserve for your losses. Some personal injury cases ultimately go to trial, and the attorney should not be afraid to take on major corporations or insurance companies either. In the eyes of a good attorney, your well-being comes first, and then your rights. Attorney’s are there so you can focus your attention on recovery from an accident. They will take care of the rest.
The information you obtain from this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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