Tractor Trailer Accidents from Dangerous Loads
Here in Charlotte, we have two (2) Interstate highways pass through and around our city. I-77 and I-85 are both major road corridors which have thousands of cars and trucks traveling at highway speeds every hour of every day. And with all of that highway traffic and speed brings real danger of semi-truck or tractor trailer accidents. Charlotte semi-truck accidents are on the rise given the growth of our area. Unfortunately, that progress comes at a price. The picture to the right is a perfect example of one of the major causes of tractor trailer accidents here in Charlotte – dangerous, unstable loads. This particular truck was seen and photographed on I-77 near Rock Hill / Fort Mill on its way into Charlotte. Despite the trucking company’s best efforts, there is simply no way to make this load totally safe and secure. No doubt they are trying to make every run count, but that last trailer on the top of the pile is just too unstable to be safe. By the way, this truck was clearly traveling at 60+ mph at the time.
Unforeseen or clearly forseeable
When this semi-truck begins its journey with this type of difficult load, it may be properly loaded and secured. However, unless the destination is just a few miles away, any experienced truck driver will tell you that ALL loads shift during transit. The longer the trip; the more loads shift. And, as we all know from driving on any road, people do crazy things and we have to take evasive action to avoid accidents. The same scenario is true for interstate truckers. Trucks with heavy loads have to brake hard, turn abruptly, and may even have to temporarily leave the roadway to avoid bad drivers. When you and I do it, we may spill our coffee or have items thrust into the floorboard. When big trucks take aggressive, evasive action, loads shift and may even break loose sending thousands of pounds of equipment into innocent cars and people. This is how serious truck accidents occur, and people and families get killed. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Trucking companies like the one pictured above should not try to squeeze every dime out of a run at the driving public’s expense. When they do, they should be held accountable. That’s what our firm does.
We are experienced Charlotte Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys and would be honored to speak with you if you or your family have been the victim of a dangerous or unstable load accident. Call us today for answers and options. You can reach attorney Robert J Reeves directly at 704-351-7979 or email Robert@RJRlaw.com.
Be Safe. Get Home.
How Workers Compensation Commissioners Become Commissioners
In South Carolina, workers compensation Commissioners are appointed by the Governor for six (6) year terms. Usually, they are lawyers who have practiced workers compensation law but not always. Recently, Governor Nikki Haley appointed Mike Campbell as an Interim Commissioner until a permanent replacement can be made for outgoing Commissioner Andrea Roche who has resigned, effective July 31, 2014. Mr. Campbell is a business development consultant and former member of the board of directors for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Small Business Committee. He is described by the Governor as having insights that will make him both “business friendly and fair.” Commissioner Campbell has similarly pledged a “better and fairer climate for employers and workers in our State.” Here in Rock Hill, we hope and trust that the new Commissioner will be both diligent and fair to both parties. Of course, as a Rock Hill workers compensation claimant’s attorney, I am reminded that South Carolina workers compensation laws were specifically enacted to protect our injured workers. Businesses will be fine if they take proper safeguards to protect their employees. If somone get hurt or injured, that is why we have workers compensation insurance.
As a Rock Hill workers compensation lawyer, I have worked with many different Commissioners over my 25 year career. While many lawyers profess a law degree is necessary, I found some of the Commission’s best former Commissioners were non-lawyers. Commissioners Thomas Marchant and David Huffstetler are great examples. Back when hearings were held in Rock Hill at the York County Complex, these former Commissioners were often instrumental in helping to resolve cases before an actual hearing by working with the parties to achieve a fair result for both sides. In more complex denied cases, lawyers were given ample opportunity to present their positions, and decisions, even if against a client’s interest, were well reasoned and factually based. Today, Rock Hill hearings are now scheduled at Rock Hill City Hall. Those few lawyers who regularly practice workers compensation law here in York County welcome the new Commissioner to Rock Hill and look forward to trying our cases before him. Cases heard in York County include on-the-job injury and work accidents which occur in Rock Hill, Fort Mill, and Indian Land. Injury cases from other counties are heard in those counties, and the seven (7) workers comp Commissioners rotate their venues throughout the year. It helps to learn the different Commissioners and their individual preferences on how they want written medical reports and other evidence presented as well as what areas of focus in testimony they need to be able to make rulings and decisions. Good luck Commissioner Campbell.
Child Injury from School Bus Accidents
A recent survey found that there are approximately 23 million children who travel in school buses during the school year. Of those 23 million children, nearly 17,000 are injured every day in school bus accidents. Although they transport our children and travel on all types of roads, from rural country roads to interstate highways, school buses are not required to have seatbelts, airbags, or other safety systems that are now routinely found in automobiles. While the overall sdesign has improved over the years, children still remain very vulnerable in a school bus accident. The theory is that buses are large trucks, and passengers are placed high above the road. In the event of an impact, the offending car will strike at a lower level than the children. Also, by painting them bright yellow and installing lots of flashing red lights and even strobes on the back, the hope is other drivers on the road will see the school bus and take heed. Of course, the best plans can always be defeated by an inattentive car driver or overly fatigued school bus driver. And who pays the highest price in a school bus accident? Our children do.
Child injury attorney Robert J Reeves has personally handled serious school bus accident cases. A few years ago, a Charlotte school bus overturned on the interstate. Because the children were not restrained in seat belts, many were injured when they were tossed in the air while the school bus was rolling over. Fortunately, most of the kids were fine with just a few bruises. However, our client who was initially cleared by the emergency room had to be rushed back later that night for emergency brain surgery from an undiagnosed serious head injury. When he became lethargic and starting vomiting, his parents knew something was wrong and took immediate actions that ultimately saved their child’s life. The lesson to be learned here is that in any accident, but especially in unrestrained school bus accidents, you have to make sure your child is medically fine. If there is even a hint of a head impact, an MRI or CT scan should be actively pursued. Broken bones are easy to spot, but head injuries may not be evident in the initial period after an accident. After you are certain your child is going to be alright, you should then contact an experienced child injury attorney to see what legal options are available. You’ll feel better knowing you have done everything to protect your child when others do not.
Accidents at Construction Sites
It’s good to see construction again. For too long, the economy dragged the building business down and kept workers from their jobs. No new houses or office buildings were being built. Even government spending was greatly decreased. Our country’s economy depends largely on good paying construction jobs. Now in Charlotte and throughout York County, we are seeing construction cranes and new housing developments. Here in Fort Mill and Rock Hill, there are numerous new housing subdivisions being developed. We will miss all the trees, but our area is growing again, and we will all benefit from the high paying construction jobs. However, with those jobs and wages comes the risk of serious injury while on the job and at work.
Workers compensation construction accidents are usually quite serious. People who work indoors or at offices can get hurt, but their injuries are typically minor and do not result in lost time. But folks who wear hardhats and build things can be seriously injured in an instant. Construction accidents can happen in an instant given all of the dangerous machinery and equipment being used. There is so much activity going on at the same time. Everyone has to watch out for each other. A moving crane or heavy loads being moved overhead can crush a worker or amputate a limb in a moment of distraction. Falls from at height can easily result in a serious back or head injury. And let’s not forget all of the saws and welding equipment that injure or even kill even the safest of construction workers. The point is we are all grateful for the new growth in building and everything that comes with new construction. But let’s be doubly careful while at work so that everyone gets back home safely to their families.
If you or someone you care about is injured in a construction accident, call us for answers and options. You can also download our free eBook South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law What To Do If Hurt At Work by going to our website www.rjrlaw.com. For a private, confidential review of your particular case, call Robert J. Reeves 803-554-4157 or email Robert@RJRlaw.com.
Be Safe. Get Home.
Child Accidents at Summer Camp
As children, we all enjoyed going off to summer camps. We would make new friends and learn new things. Parents would enjoy a little time away from the kids and trust that all will be well for a few days or a week. Camp programs today are fairly expensive, and you expect your children to be well cared for. However, there are still so many ways for small kids to get hurt if not properly supervised or if the camp equipment is not well maintained. This is where a moment of inattention or neglect can result in a serious child injury or even worse. Playgrounds must be set up correctly when first installed and then regularly inspected for wear and loose parts. Mulch underneath swings or other areas where children will be playing must be replenished and spread evenly to prevent injury from expected falls. To be safe, the camp employees must be on constant watch for unsafe conditions or dangerous play. If they do not do their job properly, child injury can occur. Camp counselors and their assistants must also know basic first aid and how to properly care for and treat injuries. And, if they see something getting out of hand, they must act quickly to prevent harm. Certainly, we want everyone to have a great summer and have those childhood experiences that will last a lifetime. But above all, we want everyone to be careful and head back home safe and sound to their parents and friends. Don’t take safety for granted. It is up to everyone to stay aware and watch out for each other.
Children Are Treated Differently
The law says children are more vulnerable, and thus, are treated differently than adults. A young child cannot be contributorily negligent (NC) or comparatively negligent (SC). Consequently, their injuries can still be compensable even if they engage in activities that might be considered unsafe. After all, “kids will be kids.” This is not an excuse, but rather, a warning to those persons charged with their care. This is precisely why we have to watch out for their safety more than others, because “kids will be kids.” If a camp is willing to take your money, they should be held accountable if they don’t also take care of your children.
Waivers of Liability
One last thing about summer camps. Private companies who operate camps routinely present parents with extensive “waivers of liability” forms which purport to hold themselves harmless from lawsuits if their children are injured while away. In many cases, these forms are not worth the paper they are written on. Such waivers cannot absolve liability where equipment is not maintained, where there are insufficient or insufficiently trained staff, or activities are too dangerous to involve children in the first place. And as we discussed above, children cannot legally enter into such contracts and are not held to the same legal standard in negligence claims for child injury cases. I would caution parents about sending their children to such camps if presented with such a waiver. All we really want is for the camp to take care of our kids and focus on having a great summer.
Be Safe. Get Home.