Dangers Inherent When Driving a Truck

November 20, 2014

traffic

Any driver that operates a vehicle while in an impaired condition can be the cause of a
serious accident. In this article, a St. Augustine truck accident attorney looks at what can happen when an impaired driver is operating a tractor-trailer or other type of big rig.

Impairment

Impairment is the reduced ability to control mental and physical functions. This can result from use of alcohol, prescription or nonprescription drugs, exhaustion, illness and the like. Any of these factors acting on the driver of any vehicle is a recipe for disaster. However, when you combine these factors and the driver of a tractor-trailer, the danger skyrockets. These vehicles are enormous, and they can neither turn nor stop on a dime. The driver whose control over himself or herself is reduced can have little or no control over his or her vehicle. When such a driver causes an accident, severe injuries can be the result and the driver may be liable for damages sustained by the victims.

A Very Real Danger

No one likes to believe that the drivers operating these big rigs are anything other than wide awake and sober. However, this is not always the case. The fact that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, has developed and implemented stringent standards concerning the use of alcohol and drugs by truck drivers demonstrates that this is not a situation to be taken lightly. Drug and alcohol screening for newly hired drivers and random testing for currently employed drivers must be completed by all trucking companies. Any driver involved in an accident must also be tested, especially if the accident caused severe injuries or if the truck driver was ticketed by a police officer.

Dangers of Driving While Impaired

Alcohol and drugs affect a truck driver in the same manner as they would anyone driving an automobile, motorcycle or any other vehicle. The driver’s reaction time is diminished; his or her reasoning ability and situational awareness is reduced; and reflex actions are slowed. The drowsiness caused by alcohol and certain medications or nonprescription drugs can cause the driver to go to sleep while operating the vehicle, to misread signs or fail to see impending threats or hazards.

It is not necessary for the driver to take drugs in order for this to happen. It can also happen if the driver is overtired from driving hour-after-hour. Truck drivers often take stimulants in their efforts to stay awake, but when these wear off exhaustion sets in. In an effort to minimize this risk, FMCSA guidelines mandate that drivers observe appropriate periods of downtime and limit their driving to specific lengths of time.

In Case of an Accident

People who have been injured or victimized through an accident involving an impaired truck driver are not without legal recourse. An experienced St. Augustine truck accident lawyer can help to determine whether or not legal proceedings will be of benefit and how best to demonstrate that the driver was in fact impaired. This may be done through drug or alcohol testing, but fatigue is a more difficult issue unless the drowsiness can be linked to a drug of some sort. If the driver was overtired after having driven for too long, one way to demonstrate that would be for your lawyer to examine the driver’s logs. These provide a written record of his or her hours at the wheel.

If You Were Injured in an Accident Involving a Truck

If you believe the truck driver was driving while impaired, contact your St. Augustine truck accident attorney by calling the Attorneys at Canan Law at 904-824-9402 today.

 

What You Need to Know about Standardized Field Tests

November 13, 2014

The most important thing to do if a police officer pulls you over is to keep calm. Your life is not over, and there are several things you can do to protect yourself and avoid incriminating yourself, so long as you keep your wits. The following video goes through what you should do if you are pulled over. If you have further questions please contact a St. Augustine car accident attorney.


Settlement, Trial and Appeal: a Few Key Facts Every Plaintiff Should Know

October 16, 2014

It is possible that you can have your personal injury case settled without having to go through a trial or asking for a retrial if you lose. With the help of a St. Augustine accident attorney and some understanding of personal injury cases, you can be equipped to handle any settlement offers that come your way.

How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me?

After suffering an injury from an accident, you may have thought about representing yourself in your case by handling the case with the insurance company or pursuing legal action on your own. While you may believe that this can save you money, you may lose in the long run by not having the same education and experience that an attorney in St. Augustine can bring to the table.

Injury and Treatment: Photographic Evidence

Personal Injury Attorney in St. Augustine

In today’s visual world, personal injury trials often feature graphic and demonstrative evidence that showcase the plaintiff’s injuries and treatment. A personal injury lawyer in St. Augustine may discuss the possibility of using photographs to help prove the injuries that you suffered in the car accident. Using photographic evidence may be especially helpful when the part of the body that has been injured is in a location that modesty would generally prevent the victim from showing others. Photographic evidence is also important to show how an injury progresses as time goes on. There is often a long period of time between the actual injury and the trial. Having this evidence can help record this transition as evidence disappears or fades.

Obtaining Injury and Treatment Photographs

A personal injury lawyer in St. Augustine may express that it is best for you to take your own photographs of the injury and treatment that you receive. Although the quality may not be comparable to that of a professional photographer, pictures by victims may provide a more personal experience for the jury. Take pictures through each stage of your injury. For example, if you broke your arm in the car accident, take a picture of your arm while you have a cast on. Then, take another set of pictures when the cast is taken off. This later set of pictures may be able to depict skin lesions or atrophy that developed during the treatment period.

On some occasions, healthcare providers may take pictures of injuries. Plastic surgeons often take pictures of this nature during each treatment stage. They may also take pictures during operations to ensure the quality of their work. You may want to ask your healthcare provider for copies of any pictures of this nature. Then, be sure to provide them to your personal injury lawyer in St. Augustine.

Reasons to Use Photographs of Injuries and Treatment

Often in personal injury cases, a victim sustains injuries that may fade over time. For example, he or she may have a black eye or hematoma. Over time, these injuries may disappear. When a victim talks about the accident at trial, it may be difficult for the jury to imagine these injuries. However, a picture can graphically convey these injuries. They can also help the jury imagine the pain that a victim suffered. Additionally, pictures that show the treatment that a victim had to endure because of the accident are also important. A healthcare provider’s routine recitation of this treatment can be cold and boring to the jury. A picture can help demonstrate the pain and discomfort that went along with treatment. Photographs are often the best type of evidence to depict certain medical conditions, including chrondomalasia of the knee and scarring.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of including photographic evidence of your injuries and your treatment in your case, a personal injury attorney in St. Augustine may be able to help. Contact Attorneys at Canan Law by calling 904-824-9402 and setting up a confidential appointment.

 

A St. Augustine DUI Attorney Explains How the Effects of Alcohol Are Assessed in a DUI Case

September 18, 2014

St. Augustine DUI lawyer keysThere are many factors that impact the effects of alcohol on an individual. In this article, an experienced St. Augustine DUI lawyer takes a look at some of these.

Contributing Factors

The rate at which alcohol is absorbed into, travels through and is secreted from the body varies from person to person. The manner in which it affects a person operating a motor vehicle is also subject to variation. However, observation of the behavior of the driver on the road can be an indicator of whether or not a driver is operating a vehicle in an impaired condition and to what degree the driver’s abilities are affected. To gain an accurate picture, the DUI attorney must obtain as much data as possible. The list below gives some of the factors that should be examined.

Personal Data:

• Physical type, as in height, weight, build, whether male or female
• Ethnic origin
• Profession or type of work
• Whether or not subject works in an environment in which fumes or chemicals are present
• Any prior history or diagnosis of alcoholism, age when this began, how often and how much the subject drinks
• Any problems with eyesight, use of contact lenses or prescription glasses

Health Problems:

• Whether or not subject is diabetic and when insulin was used last
• Gastro-intestinal surgical procedures
• Whether or not subject is epileptic and medications used
• Other physical or psychological issues
• Whether or not subject is seeing a physician or has been to a dentist recently
• Pharmaceuticals or prescription medications
• Fatigue

Sequence and Timing:

• When subject was seen consuming alcohol, elapsed time between onset and cessation, what the subject was drinking and how much
• Length of time between cessation of drinking and operation of motor vehicle, whether or not more than one and one-half hours elapsed
• What the subject had to eat before, after and during a drinking session, how much subject actually ate
• Whether or not drinking continued before the arrival of the police

Operation of a Motor Vehicle:

• Who was operating the vehicle and in what manner
• When drinking began
• How long the officer watched the driver as he or she drove
• Manner in which the driver was operating the vehicle
• Possibility of engine or other fault in the vehicle that could account for apparent erratic maneuvers
• How well the driver knew the area in which he or she was driving
• Anything in the vehicle that might have diverted the driver’s attention from the road
• Inconsistencies in noted behavior while operating the vehicle

Engage a DUI Lawyer

A DUI is a serious matter. For assistance, information or representation, contact Patrick Canan, your St. Augustine DUI attorney, by calling 904-824-9402 today.

The Impact of Civil Litigation on Your Criminal Case

September 10, 2014

St. Augustine criminal attorney

If you are facing a civil lawsuit in addition to criminal charges, you need to make sure that you do not take responsibility in a settlement or make any statements that could be misconstrued as an admission of guilt. Negotiating a settlement could be enough evidence to taint your case and could be used against you in a criminal case. Discuss any possible civil actions against you with your St. Augustine criminal attorney in order to reduce the risk of jeopardizing your criminal case.

Careful Wording in a Civil Case

If you do end up settling a civil case, you will need to work with the personal injury attorney to ensure that you do not admit guilt. While statements regarding responsibility in civil cases are generally inadmissible in criminal hearings, the statements can be admitted if they are made in the course of an official investigation. The statements will not be excluded unless the same law enforcement agency makes those statements. Understanding the legal ramifications of your actions might be challenging, so talk to our St. Augustine criminal lawyer about your case before you take further action in a civil matter.

Testifying in a Civil Case

If you are facing criminal charges after civil litigation, you should not personally discuss any relevant matters during discovery in a civil case. Your lawyer can review your testimony with you, help prepare you for discovery and trial and discuss ways to address the matter that offer the most legal protection. Together, you might consider one of the following options: waiting to proceed with the civil case until the criminal matter is resolved, using the testimony of another person, testifying over the objection of your attorney, or signing a general, as opposed to a specific, statement. Your lawyer might have additional suggestions for you.

If you are involved in civil litigation along with your criminal case, you will need specific counsel on how to handle both matters. A St. Augustine criminal attorney at Canan Law will work with you to craft an effective legal strategy. You can reach them at 904-824-9402 for further information.

 

Pre-Existing Injuries

September 5, 2014

personal injury attorney in St. AugustineVictims of personal injury accidents generally do not have the legal acumen or stamina to pursue a claim without the assistance of a personal injury attorney in St. Augustine. Not only do most people lack sufficient knowledge of the law, but many insurance carriers do not want to settle without a fight, and they are very good at fighting. It is particularly important to have a St. Augustine personal injury attorney in your corner if your claim is for a new injury where you had a pre-existing one.

The Problematic Nature of Pre-Existing Injuries

Successfully arguing that an injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence can be challenging enough. You and your personal injury lawyer in St. Augustine need to show that the defendant owed a duty of care which was breached, and that this breach directly caused your injuries. Attorneys with the insurance carrier are very adept at trying to attribute the blame to someone else—even on the plaintiff in some cases. When injuries occur where you were previously hurt, the difficulty in proving your case rises significantly.

Insurance company attorneys may try to argue that your supposed new injury is simply a flare-up of the old one, and it did not occur as a result of the actions or inaction of the defendant. If sufficient evidence exists that you were re-injured, the insurer may try to argue that you would not be as hurt as you are were it not for the previous injury. In essence, they will try to mitigate damages. If yours is a soft-tissue injury, defense attorneys may even argue that you don’t have an injury at all, and that you are simply making it up in order to gain a payday. The reason such an argument can be made is that these types of injuries are very difficult to objectively measure.

Don’t Give Up

You should not give up. If you legitimately were injured because of the negligent behavior of the defendant, you have every right to seek compensation for your losses. You should recognize, though, that you may have a tougher battle than you might have otherwise.

If You Have Been Injured in an Accident

While certain circumstances can make it difficult to argue a personal injury case, you owe it to yourself to pursue a claim in order to recover the cost of medical care, lost wages, pain, suffering and more. Call a personal injury attorney in St. Augustine to arrange a free consultation at 904-824-9402.

Your Rights Against Unlawful Searches & Seizures

September 4, 2014

Your constitutional rights protect you from illegal searches and seizures, but the only way to defend your liberties is to stay informed. Be prepared to guard your rights by reviewing the following information and frequently asked questions about privacy and constitutional rights. You should speak to a St. Augustine Criminal Defense attorney regarding any questions or concerns.

The Law Offices of Patrick T. Canan in St. Augustine, Florida represents clients throughout St. Johns County, Duval County, Flagler County, Putman County, Clay County,
and the cities of St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra Beach, Palm Coast, Palatka, Green Cove Springs, Bunnell, Flagler Beach, Hastings, Crescent City, Interlachen, and Jacksonville.

The Offices of Patrick T. Canan | 1030 N. Ponce de Leon Blvd | St. Augustine, FL 32084 | Telephone 904.824.9402 | Fax 904.824.9269
Email generalinquiries@cananlaw.com | For emergencies, call 904.716.3450 | Office Hours: 8:30-5:00 Monday through Friday
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