What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

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What is  a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a lawsuit for the death of someone, where you are able to prove that their death was caused by someone else’s negligence. It’s different than other lawsuits because it is a family member or a guardian who is bringing the case and not the person who was injured.

Under those circumstances, the law tells us who is entitled to bring the lawsuit and what damages they can recover. For example, oftentimes if it is a wage owner, they can recover damages for their future lost wages as well as for the value of their life. It takes into account they meant to their family. All of this helps our firm in determining the value of the life.

When we take in a wrongful death lawsuit, not only are we responsible to prove someone’s negligence, often the more valuable part is to prove the value of a life. Someone will ask “how do I know what the value of a life is?” It’s our job as the experts to bring in the witnesses, including professional experts like economists, to demonstrate what the value of a life is. It takes a real expertise to handle these types of wrongful death cases because of the technical aspects of the case and the difficulty in proving them.

 

If you have lost a loved one in an accident, please contact us today.

Prepare Your Teen Driver with Safety Tips from NHTSA

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

School’s Out! Prepare Your Teen Driver with safety tips from NHTSA

Prepare your child for a safe driving experience with these safety tips from the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration).

Summer has arrived! This means endless trips to the pool, to the lake, to friend’s houses, to lunch, to the beach…you get the idea. If you have a teen driver, summer means they have all day to spend in the car with their friends. It’s a big shift from just commuting to school in the morning and afternoon.  According to an NHTSA study, ‘teens were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behavior when driving with a teenage peer versus driving alone. The likelihood increased to three times when traveling with multiple passengers‘. This is the scenario you’re facing every day during the summer. So prepare yourself with these tips:

5toDrive

  • Practice the ‘5 to Drive’:
  1. No Cell Phone – not just no texting!
  2. No Extra Passengers – check your state rules on passenger limitations for teen drivers
  3. No Speeding
  4. No Alcohol
  5. Always buckle-up – drivers and passengers!
  • Set your own ground rules and consequences should they be broken.
  • Be a good example – 41% of teens say their parents continue unsafe driving behaviors even after their teens ask them to stop. If you do it, your kids will do it too.

For more information on how to educate your teen about safe driving, visit http://www.safercar.gov/parents/TeenDriving/teendriving.htm

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, please contact The Cooper Firm for a complimentary case consultation.

Pedestrian Deaths Increasing More than Ever

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Pedestrian Deaths Increasing More than Ever

Walking is supposed to be good for you – right? Not if it’s deadly.

According to an analysis of preliminary state traffic fatality data, pedestrian deaths grew 10 percent last year, 2015. Unfortunately, this is the largest year-to year increase in pedestrian deaths since 1975, and that is when the federal system for recording traffic deaths was created. In the first six months of 2015, there were 2,368 pedestrians killed.

Many factors could be related to this surge. A major factor to blame is the growing use of cellphones. Smartphones are in the hands of almost everyone causing major distractions while driving or walking. Warmer weather year round also promotes walking as well as healthcare agencies encouraging people to walk for health benefits. The economy has greatly improved in the past few years along with gas prices dropping resulting in more miles being driven than ever before, according to the analysis.

What are some ways to prevent these fatalities from occurring?

-Don’t drive distracted. Put your cell phone away and keep your focus on the road.

-Avoid walking after dark. Almost three-quarters of pedestrian deaths occur after dark. (A third of those also involved alcohol consumption) If you must walk after dark, do not walk in roadways and wear reflective clothing.

-Use sidewalks. Stay off major roadways as much as possible. Do not jay-walk and be aware of your surroundings.

-Walk against traffic. This can help you be a defensive walker. If a car is coming towards you, you can react as opposed to not seeing what is coming.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a pedestrian accident or car accident, contact our law offices today.

Your Next Car Could Tell You When You’re Not Paying Attention

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Vehicle Safety Technology Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Your Next Car Could Tell You When You’re Not Paying Attention

Since fully autonomous vehicles are still many years away from infiltrating the auto market, automakers are developing technology that will allow vehicles to determine if its human driver is paying attention to the road.

Distracted driving is a growing and deadly problem. According to Distraction.gov, 3,197 people were killed and 431,000 were injured in 2014 due to distracted driving. Thousands of people are dying every year due to drivers not paying attention behind the wheel. This technology could help save lives. Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen have already started testing some of these systems, and it’s rumored that the technology will be available in two models next year.

Delphi Automotive has created the technology which will use cameras and software to track driver’s eyes and head movements. Since one of the most common distractions is cell phones, tracking a driver’s eye movement will help identify when a driver has become too distracted to drive. The systems will then alert the driver through vibrations or sound to let them know they need to re-focus their attention on the road. The system will work the same for drivers who may get drowsy behind the wheel as it will track their level of alertness. The radar will be able to recognize sagging eyelids, wrinkling of the temples, and squinting.

For drivers who are worried about their privacy or their distracted driving habits being shared, automakers have said that the information will not be released without their consent or a court request. More than likely, it will still be a long battle between automakers, technologist, consumers and industry government officials.

If these technologies are developed correctly, they have the potential to save thousands of lives.

If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident due to distracted driving, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Protect Your Teen Drivers with the “5 to Drive” Campaign

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Safety First - The Cooper Firm

Protect Your Teen Drivers with the “5 to Drive” Campaign

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching its “5 to Drive” campaign again this year for National Teen Driver Safety Week.

The campaign works to encourage parents to talk to their teen drivers about rules for the road in hopes that teens will drive safe. Car crashes are the leading cause of fatalities in teens 15 to 19 years old. In 2013, 2,614 teen drivers ages 15-19 were involved in fatal crashes. By having open conversations with your teenager, you can potentially save their life.

The campaign, which runs from October 18-24, 2015, addresses five of the most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. The campaign aims to help parents as they talk to teens about these five issues. Here are the “5 to Drive” rules for parents to discuss with their teens:

  1. No drinking and driving. Nearly one out of five young drivers’ ages 15 to 19 that are involved in fatal crashes had been drinking, even though they were too young to legally possess or buy alcohol.
  2. Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back Seat. Of all young passengers and teen drivers who died in car crashes, 64% were not restrained.
  3. Put it down. One text or call could wreck it all. The age group of 15 to 19 year olds has the highest percentage of drivers who were distracted by cell phones use and died in a car crash.
  4. Stop speeding before it stops you. In 2013, almost one-third or 29 percent of teen drivers who were involved in fatal car crashes were speeding.
  5. No more than one passenger at a time. The risk of a fatal crash goes up for teens with each additional passenger.

NHTSA hopes with the launch of the campaign that parents will be encouraged to talk to their teens about these rules and the consequences of not following them. Parents can do little when their teen is on the road alone, but they can equip them to make wise decisions. Be sure to share the word about the “5 to drive” campaign and the facts behind it. NHTSA’s website has even more detailed information and statistics about the five rules which you can read here www.safercar.gov/parents.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Traffic deaths rise making 2015 possibly the deadliest year since 2007

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Air Bag Defect Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Traffic deaths rise making 2015 possibly the deadliest year since 2007

Traffic deaths have increased by 14 percent this year along with injuries which have increased by a third according to the National Safety Council.

Recalls are not the only thing that have increased in the past two years. According to new data compiled by the National Safety Council, there could be more than 40,000 traffic fatalities this year. This will be the first time since 2007 that traffic deaths have been that high. Since the beginning of this year, there have been 19,000 deaths due to traffic accidents. That number only accounts through JuneStatistics have yet to be published for July and August, and they are historically two of the highest months for traffic fatalities according to the council. Fatalities are not the only big red flag waving. There have been 2.3 million “serious injuries” since the beginning of 2015, which is 30 percent higher than numbers from last year. Recalls for safety defects are also continuing to rise, with recalls for billions of vehicles and  products. Some recalls have even been coined as the largest in U.S. history. The president of the council, Deborah A.P. Hersman, said that the increase could be due to an improved economy and the record number of miles on the road this year, but that doesn’t account for everything.

Although traffic fatalities could be due to more cars and miles logged on the roads, vehicles are equipped with more safety features than ever before. Seat belt use is up. Vehicles have airbags in the front, rear and sides of the vehicle and some vehicles even offer additional airbags in other places. Safety technology has continued to advance with lane departure warnings, backup cameras and auto-braking systems. And these products are not just offered on luxury models. In addition, according to the council, deaths due to drunk drivers have decreased by 2o percent, and teen driving deaths have gone down as well.

Distracted driving has risen significantly though. The council released a study earlier this year that showed that a quarter of all crashes had a cell phone involved. There are a significant amount of older vehicles on the road, with the average age of vehicles on the road being 11 years old. There are also many smaller vehicles instead of large SUVs due to the economy dropping a few years back. Smaller and older cars are not going to hold up in crashes as well as the newer or larger models.

The increase in deaths and the increase in defective vehicles should be troubling to government safety agencies. We urge safety regulators not ignore these numbers, but to continue to advocate for consumers and make changes that will save lives.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a car accident, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Dashboards like Smartphones Raise Safety Concerns

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Vehicle Safety Technology Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Dashboards like Smartphones Raise Safety Concerns

Dashboards are becoming increasingly popular on new vehicles, but safety advocates worry that they could increase risk of a car accident.

Automakers don’t seem to be too worried, and are only answering the overwhelming demand from consumers to make dashboards more like smartphones. Most automakers say that the dashboards will actually improve driving safety. Due to the voice controls and large touch screens, automakers think drivers will be less distracted and less tempted to play with their phone while driving.

Unfortunately, dashboards are more complex than they use to be, making them more difficult to work with. Just as you would look at your phone to complete a task, you are instead looking at the dash on your vehicle. In some cases, safety advocates and distracted driving studies think you could actually look at the dashboard longer than you typically would at your cell phone. David Strayer, a professor of cognition and neural science at the University of Utah who has also written several studies on distracted driving, showed in his research that reading a text message takes at least four seconds. And even four seconds is far longer that what Strayer considers safe.  Playing on your dashboard can take much longer than four seconds.

The newer the vehicle, the more features the dashboard will hold. Some dashboards will even show you your mentions on Twitter, although not allowing you to see your full Twitter stream. Text messages will appear across the dashboard and can be read aloud while you are driving. These are all things drivers shouldn’t be doing or looking at while driving, regardless of whether it’s a cell phone or dashboard.

There are currently no standards for dashboards in vehicles. Some safety agencies, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, have issued driver-distraction guidelines for dashboard displays, but they are only voluntary. Due to the lack of standards, there is a possibility that the more complex dashboards get, the more accidents there will be as a result. Insurers have not taken a stand on dashboards yet, and have not changed policy rates if a vehicle has an interactive dashboard or not.

It would be wise for NHTSA to educate itself on the new technologies and go ahead and create actual regulations for automakers instead of filling in later when these technologies could cause serious harm to consumers.

Distracted Teen Drivers are worse than thought

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Distracted Teen Drivers are worse than thought

Although we all knew that distractions played a big role in teen car crashes, data revealed that it is much worse than we ever thought. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed nearly 1,700 videos that captured teen drivers in moments leading up to a car crash. The videos revealed that distractions were a factor in 6 out of 10 moderate to severe car crashes. The data proved that distractions play a role in car crashes four times the amount officials estimated based on police reports.

The videos came from cameras mounted in vehicles that show what is happening on the road as well as what the driver is doing simultaneously. AAA was able to look at more than 6,842 videos with the help of Lytx Inc., a company which uses videos to improve driver safety behaviors. The most common forms of distraction were talking with passengers in the vehicle or on the phone, texting, or reviewing messages. Other distractions included looking at something inside the vehicle (10%), looking outside away from the road (9%), singing or moving to music (8%), grooming (6%), and reaching for an object (6%).

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had previously estimated that distraction only accounted for 14% of all teen driver crashes, but these videos revealed that distractions account for 58% of teen driver crashes. Due to the findings, laws need to change in order to protect teens from being distracted. Things such as restricting the number of passengers in cars and prohibiting cell phones may reduce the amount of accidents involving teens. Nearly 963,000 teen drivers were involved in car crashes (police-reported) in the US in 2013. Out of those crashes, 383,000 resulted in injuries and 2,865 resulted in death. Protect yourself and others on the road by staying focused and keeping distractions out of reach.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of a car accident, contact our law offices today for a free consultation.

Source: PostBulletin.com

Could using iWatch be considered distracted driving?

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Cobb Personal Injury Attorney - The Cooper Firm

Could using iWatch be considered distracted driving?

When Google Glass originally came out, a woman was pulled over for using the product while driving. Now that the iWatch has been released, there has been talk on whether iWatch will be considered the same as using a mobile phone while driving. The United Kingdom’s Department for Transport has already been quoted saying that using iWatch while driving would carry the same penalties as driving using a mobile phone. In the United Kingdom, driving while using a mobile phone could cost you a 100-pound fine, equivalent to $160.

Although the product won’t be hitting the market until next year, regulators feel strongly that the product could be a distraction to drivers. The Institute of Advanced Motorists study compared the smartwatch to the smartphone and feels that the watch may demand attention of drivers with ‘constant alerts.’ Although there have been no comments from the US Department of Transportation on the matter, with the challenges of the use of Google Glass behind the wheel, we may see more studies released on the subject matter. There are some laws that prohibit texting and driving depending on the state. This may open up to more devices as new products are released such as the iWatch. For a list of distracted driving laws by state, you can visit Distraction.gov.

Though the iWatch may not be prohibited behind the wheel yet, we do strongly suggest that any sort of distraction that takes your hands and mind from wheel should be removed.

Combating Technology with Technology

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Vehicle Safety Technology Attorney - The Cooper Firm

5 Apps to help you stop texting while driving

It is extremely important to drive safe considering your life and the lives of others are at stake. As much as drivers do not intend to drive distracted, the alert saying you received a new message or call can spur a habitual action of reading the text or answering the phone call.  With drivers taking their eyes off the road for an average of 23 seconds, there is plenty of time for an accident to occur.

No text or call is worth putting someone’s life at risk. With the way our smartphones are glued to our hips, it may be best to use technology to combat technology. There are several new apps that will help you drive without distractions as well as encourage safety while you are behind the wheel.

  1. DriveSafe Mode – (Free)  DriveSafe Mode sends an alert through email if your phone is being used while driving. Although it doesn’t block any incoming calls or text, nor does it block the user from using their phone, it does help parents to keep track of whether their child has been using their phone while driving.
  2. AT&T Drive Mode – (For Android and Blackberry Phones) – (Free) AT&T created an application that locks your phone when you are moving more than 25 mph. It will then send an auto response message of your choice to the caller or texter. When you speed is below 25 mph for more than five minutes the app will then show you your missed calls or messages.
  3. DriveSafe.ly – (For Blackberry and Android) – (Free) This app combats texting while driving by reading your text message, phone call, or email aloud. This prevents the driver from reaching from their phone. It also automatically responds to the recipients automatically or by voice using hands free.
  4. tXtblocker – ($6.99 monthly) This app will block text messages while you are driving and at certain locations, such as school, work, or home. It is a great application for parents who want to control phone usage or need GPS tracking.
  5. Textecution – (For Androids) – ($29.99) When your GPS detects that you are going a certain speed it will disable the phone and sent an automated text reply. You can override this function if you are a passenger or riding a bus through the account administrator who can override the app.

All of these applications are good resources to combat technology with technology. Although it can be beneficial, technology can also be very dangerous. Make choices based on safety, and always remember that “It can wait.”


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