Episode 15: Louisville car wreck attorney Jim Desmond is going to provide practical tips and advice on how to stay out of a car wreck. Handling automobile accidents and motorcycle wrecks has been his primary focus for 30 years. He understands why collisions often happen. Today, he’ll try to help you actually avoid needing the help of a personal injury attorney.
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“Hopefully, I Won’t See You Again”
When you consider the serious accidents and injuries involved in the cases Jim Desmond handles, you can understand why he might say this to a client. No one wants to be involved in an accident. For many, the injuries can lead to life-changing issues.
Working the Puzzle
Jim approaches car wreck claims as you would with a puzzle. There are many different pieces involved in getting the claim resolved. It takes patience and commitment to gather each of those pieces. Examples of the various pieces often include:
- Getting your car fixed
- Does the at-fault driver have insurance?
- Is there uninsured coverage (UM) available?
- Is there underinsured coverage (UIM) available?
- How much insurance does the other driver have?
- What’s the best way to get your medical bills paid?
Jim understands how complicated this process is. It’s one of the main reasons he focuses on car wrecks and motorcycle accidents. You have to understand the law and how various insurance policies come into play, based on the situation of each particular case.
Unfortunately, in this area of law, the worse you’re hurt, often the higher the value of the claim. The problem is, no one wants to be significantly injured in a car wreck.
Driving Is a Team Sport
Jim explains that drivers sometimes assume they only have to worry about their own actions and everything will go fine. In reality, when you hit the road, it’s more like playing a game of football. You have to keep an eye on all of the other drivers (i.e. the other players on the field).
Safe drivers need to have a game plan. Which route are you going to take? Which will you avoid? To stay out of a car wreck, it’s vitally important that you are aware of what’s going on around you. You have to react differently depending on what the other people around you are doing.
It’s Not Just about the Rules of the Road
Jim knows you have to understand the rules of the road, but there’s more to safe driving than that. You need to be prepared to safely avoid the hazards you’re going to encounter while you’re driving.
When you see a bad driver, a bus, a large truck, or U-Haul, get away from it. You’re in the danger zone. You need to either speed up to get around the driver or slow down to enable enough space so you can react accordingly. Anticipate problems and do your best to minimize the risk to you, your passengers, and your vehicle.
Give It the Gas
There are some situations in which your safety may be the more important factor. If you have to speed up to safely pass a bad driver, use your turn signal and do it. Better to risk a ticket than the injuries and hassles involved in a car wreck claim.
If you’re making a left-hand turn, you already know you don’t have the right of way. You’re crossing a lane that’s traveling in the opposite direction. Give it the gas and get across the lane as quickly, and safely, as possible.
When you’re making a slow turn, Jim explains that you’re in a hazardous position. It’s not up to the oncoming driver. You’ve got to get out of the way. Go!
Kentucky is a pure, comparative fault state. If a portion of the fault can be attributed to either or both drivers, the judge can limit liability based on what percent of the accident was caused by each driver. Even if you claim the other driver was speeding, if you turned in front of that driver, some of the blame will be attributed to your action or inaction. Speed is often a minor factor in the overall decision of fault.
Dealing with the Traffic Light
At an intersection, just because you have the green light, doesn’t mean you can ignore what the other drivers are doing. Someone may run the red light for a variety of reasons. Be aware of what’s going on around you.
What happens if both drivers recall they each had a green light, at the time of the accident? It’s possible that the fault might be split 50-50, especially if there are no witnesses or cameras in the area.
Pedestrians Can Also be at Fault
There are safe ways and areas for pedestrians to cross the road. Just because they are on the road, doesn’t mean a collision would be 100% the fault of the driver. You can’t simply decide to cross a highway on foot and expect all of the traffic to stop. Comparative fault can also apply to pedestrians.
If you’re crossing the road, make sure drivers see you and understand your intentions. That’s why it’s best to cross at designated crosswalks and when the light indicates you can cross. Still, be aware of your surroundings.
Don’t Stop in the Middle of the Road
Jim comments on the issues you can cause, even when you’re trying to be courteous. Before you stop to let another driver cross, consider what the other drivers around you are expecting to happen. If the light is green and traffic is moving, is it really a good idea to stop to let another car cross the lane? The drivers behind you aren’t expecting a sudden stop. This could lead to a collision or multiple collisions. This entire episode is about how to stay out of a car wreck.
Look Over Your Shoulder
When you’re turning or merging, you need to check your side-view mirrors but also remember to physically look to ensure the lane is clear. It’s possible another driver is in your blind spot, or that you’re in the other driver’s blind spot.
Don’t Drive in a Wolf Pack
Jim discussed how you often see groups of drivers together on a highway. This presents a danger. If one of those drivers in that wolf pack needs to react to something, where are they going? They’re probably going to have to swerve into the adjacent lane. If you’re riding beside him/her, you’re in the danger zone. You should give it some gas and get ahead of the wolf pack, or slow down so you’re not driving as part of it. You’ll have more options should you encounter debris in the road, an animal darting into traffic, or another driver doing something unexpectedly.
Parking Lots are a Free-for-All
It’s surprising to learn how many collisions occur in parking lots. People simply ignore common rules when it comes to parking lots. There are many distractions while you’re searching for an open spot, or backing out of your spot. People suddenly stop to let someone out of the car. Pedestrians walk in front or behind cars. It’s a mess. You have to take additional caution and be patient.
Remember to go slowly and turn your head instead of simply relying on the mirrors.
Don’t Drive on the Left Lane
The rule is simply that you should keep right, except to pass another vehicle. Don’t drive in the left lane. Don’t ride beside someone, because they may not see you and neither of you will have room to maneuver around a hazard. At the same time, you’re not law enforcement. It’s not your job to make sure the other drivers slow down. By driving in the right lane, other drivers have the opportunity to get around you if they’re going faster. Let them do it. It’s just one more way to help you to stay out of a car wreck.
For more information about Louisville Personal Injury Attorney Jim Desmond, visit www.AttorneyDesmond.com. Better yet, call Jim on his cell phone at (502) 609-7657.
The information provided on this podcast is for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. You should seek the advice of an attorney for guidance related to your specific situation. I am only licensed in Kentucky and Indiana, so the general advice provided may not apply outside of those states.
This podcast may be freely shared, but may not be modified or edited in any way. This is an attorney advertisement. The principal office is located in Louisville, KY. Co-host Jim Ray is a non-attorney spokesperson.