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Kent Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

Are self-driving cars safe?

The idea of a car that drives itself was once a thing only found in science fiction, but it is now a reality. Self-driving cars seem to pop up a lot in the news in Washington. However, many of those stories focus on accidents involving these cars. You may wonder if they are really safe or if they pose a risk to everyone on the road and even to pedestrians.

According to CNN, self-driving cars are safe. Studies have even indicated they may be safer than human drivers. Part of the reason is a self-driving car does not have the flaws of a human. It cannot get distracted. It does not have blind spots because it can scan all around the car. It also is programmed to adjust to traffic and road conditions. A self-driving car also has the ability to detect objects in the roadway or obstacles at a speed much higher than a human. This means it can react more quickly.

Who can sue for wrongful death?

The untimely death of a loved one is never easy. It can be especially difficult when the death was due to the negligence of someone else. The law in Washington provides you with the chance for some recourse through a wrongful death claim. You may file a lawsuit against the person or entity responsible for the death of your loved one and receive financial compensation if you win the case.

The law is strict on wrongful death cases, though. The Washington State Legislature explains that you may not have the right to file a lawsuit in every situation where a loved one dies due to the wrongful actions of someone else. There are very specific rules outlining who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of a loved one.

Can a blaring radio keep you awake on the road?

Keeping awake and alert is a top priority for truckers who spend many hours on a nighttime Washington road. Truck drivers will try a number of ways to maintain their energy and stamina while driving. Some drivers may think keeping the radio on is the right call since constant noise should keep people from falling asleep. But the truth is that a blaring radio in your truck might not be a good idea.

Knight Transportation warns that a continuing stream of noise from the radio can actually exhaust your brain. While you are listening to the radio, you are receiving a stream of input that your mind has to process. However, the more you listen to audio content, the more your brain has to think about what it is processing. This applies no matter if you listen to music, a radio talk show, or a book on tape.

Suggestions for staying safe on wet roads

When you leave to drive somewhere, you can protect your safety and that of your passengers by planning your route ahead of time, putting any distractions away and putting your full attention on driving safely and following the rules of the road. However, there are times when other influences can make it difficult to maintain control of your vehicle and you have to rely on your instincts to help you make wise decisions. At Greaney Scudder Law Firm, we have helped many people in Washington who have been the victim of a car accident. 

One factor that can make driving difficult is inclement weather. When it is raining and snowing for example, you may experience visibility issues as well as less control over the traction your vehicle has on the road. According to AAA Exchange, your tires are working hard to keep contact with the road and even a meager 1/12 inch of water translates to nearly a gallon of water per second that your tires have to remove to keep their traction. As such, it is imperative that you keep your pace slow and steady and allow the vehicle in front of you plenty of room. Never follow another car too closely as a sudden slowing in their pace could send you scrambling to stop. 

Woman's death the result of poor equipment design, family says

When people are required to work around or with individual pieces of machinery or equipment, they are often required to undergo training designed to educate them on how to safely and adequately do their job. Such protocols help guarantee the safety of all of the workers who need to use it. Unfortunately, there are times when despite the efforts of employers in Washington, malfunctions, carelessness and even design flaws can compromise the safety of workers. 

This is precisely what one family is claiming in a wrongful death lawsuit after their family member was pulled underneath and dragged by a piece of equipment they claim was poorly designed. The incident occurred when the woman was working to position a cargo loader to unload a 777F aircraft. The person operating the cargo loader did not notice that the woman was still in the path of the deck and started moving it forward. The auxiliary deck then struck the woman and pulled her underneath where she was then dragged nearly 80 feet before anyone realized she was missing. 

Truck crashes and the resulting injuries

Washington residents have to share the road with commercial trucks, otherwise known as "big rigs". Trucking crashes can often result in serious injury or even fatalities, but many people don't understand the basics about trucks or why they can be such hazards on the road.

FindLaw has a page with frequently asked questions about truck crashes and injuries that can be a help to anyone just starting off looking for information. One of the biggest questions is, what are the common factors that contribute to these crashes? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is a combination of a truck's "characteristics and performance capabilities" and drivers being unaware of them. These characteristics and capabilities include a truck's rather large blind spot, as well as limits with acceleration or braking.

Should you go through a yellow light?

Everyone has come upon a yellow traffic light and had to make the decision of whether to stop or go through. This is one of the most fundamental skills when it comes to driving. It is one of those instant decisions that you make on the fly while driving. It also could be a potential for an accident or a traffic ticket. According to The Bellingham Herald, Washington state law is lenient when it comes to a yellow light.

The law does not require that you stop when a light turns yellow. This is considered a permissive yellow law. That simply means that you are able to proceed through the intersection when the light is yellow. Some states have a restrictive yellow law, which means it is illegal to enter the intersection on a yellow light.

How unsafe buildings can lead to wrongful deaths

Washington state’s variety of office buildings, shopping malls and multi-story stores should be safe for visitors, workers and patrons. However, if the owners of these buildings do not properly maintain their respective buildings, the possibility for a serious injury increases. In fact, a person may even suffer a wrongful death due to negligence in building maintenance and upkeep.

FindLaw points out that under premises liability, property owners are held responsible for injuries and accidents that people suffer while on their property, such as slipping and falling due to a slippery or faulty floor. Liability is determined by a number of factors, including the legal status of the person who suffered injury and if it was reasonable that the property owner should have known about the fault that caused the injury.

Rules govening trucker work hours

Whether driving along the busy I-5 corridor or local surface streets in Washington State, you no doubt see you fair share of tractor trailers on the road with you. The massive size and weight of these vehicles can be humbling to a person in a standard passenger vehicle and can make you feel very vulnerable with good reason. The importance of safe operation on the part of truck drivers cannot be emphasized enough. Not driving when tired is one thing truckers can and should do to keep everyone safe.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency's Hours of Service rule outlines the parameters for how long a trucker may work or drive in a single day and in a single work week. The goal of this rule is to prevent fatigue among truckers and thereby improve safety on the roads.

When must I legally have my headlights on?

You have many types of safety features on your vehicle. There are new ones being introduced all the time. They are designed to keep you safer on the roadways. One of the oldest and most practical safety features is something you may not give much thought to. This is your headlights. Your headlights can really help when used at the right times. Washington law actually stipulates some times when you must or should use them.

According to the Department of Licensing, you are required by law to have your headlights on a half an hour before sunset and after sunrise. There are other situations not required by law but highly suggested when you should turn your headlights on. These includes any weather situation where visibility is low, such as heavy rain, snow and fog.

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