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Kent Washington Personal Injury Law Blog

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.

Who is liable for fair ride accidents?

When the weather warms, counties across Washington start holding fairs. In the past, fairs were mainly agricultural, but these days, they are all about fun. You can still see animals, watch a rodeo and enjoy entertainment, but one of the biggest draws to any fair is the midway. Since these rides are constantly being moved around, they are often inspected by various individuals. National Law Review notes the state does have an agency that conducts inspections, but it is never guaranteed that the ride is completely safe and nothing was missed.

If you suffer an injury on such a ride and it was not due to your negligence, such as not following the rules, then you do have the right to file a case to receive damages. The person or entity liable for the damages can vary. It depends on what happened. If your injury was due to a malfunction of the ride itself, you could have a product liability case. If it was due to something else, then you probably have a negligence case.

What are road gators?

If you drive on Washington highways or interstates, then you may have heard the term road gators. According to Allstate, a road gator is a piece of tire that has been lost when driving. They are from large trucks that lose bits of their tires as they drive. Often the drivers never even realize they have lost part of a tire. However, these tire bits remain in the roadway, posing a hazard for other vehicles on the road.

These road gators usually come from large trucks that have multiple wheels. The loss of part of a tire really does not affect them as losing a tire would affect your vehicle. Some of these tire bits come from retread tires where the tread simply separates from the tire and falls off. Some are a result of tread separation where the tire just rips apart. Often low tire pressure is to blame for the issue.

What are the requirements to get a license at 16?

Getting your driver's license is a huge step in life. The privilege to drive is something not to be taken lightly. The state of Washington has set a path you must follow to get your first license. It involves a few steps that will help ensure you are prepared for the responsibility of driving. The State Department of Licensing lays out exactly what you have to do to get your driver's license if you are under the age of 16.

The process starts with getting an instruction permit. This allows you to legally drive under supervision so you can practice behind the wheel. This permit is held for at least six months before you can get your license. You also need to take and pass a driving course approved by the state, and you must complete hours behind the wheel under the supervision of a driver who has been licensed for at least five years. You need to have at least 10 hours of driving at night and 40 hours during the day to complete this step. While you are learning to drive, you cannot get any violations, such as a speeding ticket. You also cannot have any convictions related to drugs or alcohol.

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