teen driving safety

Keeping Your Teen Safe Behind the Wheel

For parents, few days are as nerve-racking as the day that their teen begins driving. There are many good reasons for this. Teenagers don’t yet have fully developed brains, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, which controls decision making, appropriate social behavior, and complex cognitive behavior.

Luckily, there are steps you can take that leave you with more choices than “give your teen the keys and hope for the best” and “never let them drive.” Use these tips to keep your teen safe. If you do find yourself in a crash, turn to the team at Burns, Cunningham & Mackey for the help you need. Call us at 251-260-3815 to get started.

Be a Good Example

One of the best ways to encourage safe driving is to be a good example. If you tell your child to avoid distractions every time they are behind the wheel but text constantly while driving, what do you think they’ll actually choose to do when they are driving? If you tell them to leave plenty of space between cars and stay calm but ride someone’s bumper to keep someone from sneaking in and honk when they cut in anyway, what do you think they’ll do?

If you want your safe driving message to actually stick, you need to live it.

Create a Culture of Communication

If kids are in unsafe situations, it’s important that they feel comfortable asking you for help. Imagine, for example, your teenager ending up at a high school party. Under enormous peer pressure, they have two drinks and have to drive home. Would you rather have them try the drive, fearing your rage if they get caught, or reach out to you and ask for help? Mistakes do happen, and your teen should know that they can reach out to you for help before they unintentionally make the situation worse.

Set Clear Limits for Passengers

Passengers are one of the greatest sources of distraction for drivers, and especially for teens. Set firm limits beforehand and explain to your teen why they cannot have a car full of friends. This is where encouraging communication can be helpful. If your teen’s first instinct is to find a way to skirt the rules and not get caught, you’ll have a hard time enforcing this. If you have a relationship where they respect your rules even if they don’t like them, this will go much more smoothly.

Forbid Distractions and Find Ways to Enforce This Rule

Cell phones are extremely dangerous for teen drivers. As teenagers become more accustomed to driving, they may feel like it’s safe to text or check social media while they drive. Be a good example in this area. When you drive, make a habit of putting your phone in the lockbox or otherwise out of reach. If it makes you feel safer, look into apps and phone settings that prevent the phone from working while the car is in motion.

Consider a Speed Tracker

Speeding is, unfortunately, part of the teenage driving experience. However, speeding comes with serious consequences. Not only does your teen risk tickets, fines, and increases in car insurance, they could cause a serious accident. Some car insurance companies have widgets that you put in the car to track speeding, sudden stops, and other unsafe driving behavior. This allows you to keep track of your teenaged driver’s behavior.

Often, simply knowing that their parent is watching is enough to encourage teens to make safer choices. However, note that this type of device can also cause your car insurance to go up if your teen regularly engages in dangerous driving behaviors, so be ready to enforce consequences if that happens.

Reach Out to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey Today

No matter how careful you and your teen are, accidents do happen. When they do, you deserve legal representation that has your best interests in mind. We can help. At Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, we help accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Whether we can secure a fair settlement out of court or we have to fight for you in the courtroom, we’re ready. Schedule a consultation now by calling us at 251-260-3815 or reaching out to us online.

left turn accident

Who Is At Fault for a Left Turn Accident?

Left turns are a major cause of car accidents. In a study looking at accidents occurring at intersections, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that over 22% of crashes happen because of a left turn. If you have been hurt in a left turn crash, you may wonder who’s responsible. Speaking with an Alabama car accident attorney can help you understand your case and decide whether or not to take legal action.

Failure to Yield

Most left turn accidents occur because of a failure to yield. At a standard intersection, the person driving straight through an intersection has the right of way over a person driving the opposite direction and turning left. The driver turning left is expected to stop, wait for the intersection to clear, and proceed with their left turn.

However, everyone knows drivers that do not quite follow the rules of the road. Perhaps someone thinks they can make it through if they hit the gas, or they know that the other driver is likely to slow down and let them through to avoid an accident. Whatever the reason, many people turn left when it is unsafe to do so.

When this causes an accident, the driver turning left is typically found to be at fault. This means that they could be held financially responsible for damages.

When the Driver Turning Left May Not Be Liable

While the left turn driver is liable in the vast majority of left turn accidents, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. There are circumstances in which the other driver could be the responsible party. Examples include:

  • If the driver heading straight is speeding and strikes the left turn driver
  • When the driver heading straight runs a red light and causes the accident
  • The person driving straight is under the influence of drugs or alcohol and drives unsafely as a result
  • The driver going straight is distracted and does not take preventative measures to avoid the crash

Avoiding Left Turn Accidents

A few key tips can help drivers avoid left turn accidents. Avoid accidents and potential financial consequences with these guidelines:

  • Check left, right, and straight before making a left turn. If you are unsure about whether or not you can clear the intersection before someone driving straight reaches it, wait until they pass.
  • Drive defensively. Even if you are in the right and another driver causes the accident, it is always better to avoid a crash than to be stuck working out compensation afterwards.
  • Do not attempt to make a left turn unless you can see that traffic is clear. This might mean waiting until SUVs, vans, and other large vehicles in the opposing left turn lane are out of the way.

What to Do If You Are Injured in a Left Turn Accident

Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are while on the road, there will always be reckless drivers putting others at risk. If you get hurt in a left turn accident and you believe the other party is at fault, it is important to discuss your options with an attorney as soon as possible.

Alabama law follows the contributory negligence legal doctrine. If the victim of an accident is found to be even 1% at fault for the accident, they cannot recover damages through the civil court system. Insurance companies use this to their benefit while negotiating settlements. If you try to negotiate with them on your own, you risk losing any chance at compensation. An attorney can work with you to collect evidence, build your case, and hold the other driver accountable for their actions.

When you meet with your Alabama left turn accident attorney, supply all the evidence you have. This includes police reports, medical reports and bills, photos of the accident, and witness statements. To have any chance at a fair settlement, you need to prove that the other drive was indisputably negligent in their actions.

Explore Your Legal Options Now You should reach out to a personal injury attorney in Alabama as soon as possible. We know it is difficult while you are healing from a crash and trying to juggle other obligations, but your attorney can take care of the legal and financial side of your accident while you focus on recovering. Reach out to Burns, Cunningham & Mackey, P.C. now to figure out what your next step should be. Message us online or call us at 251-432-0612.

sunglare accident

Who is to Blame for Sun Glare Accidents?

As we get into the fall and winter months, sun glare becomes more of a problem for drivers. Shorter days means that our drives to and from work are often disrupted by the bright sunlight that invades our vehicle through our front windshield. This can inhibit our ability to drive safely, and it can make it very difficult to deal with what would otherwise be routine road and traffic conditions.

Sun glare is especially dangerous during this time of year. Having to drive while facing the glare of the sun is similar to driving in other hazards such as fog, heavy rain, or snow. When these conditions are present, it is all you can do to safely navigate the roadways and avoid hitting a pedestrian, bicyclist, or another vehicle.

Bright sunlight contributes to numerous auto accidents each year. The exact number of accidents is hard to determine, however, because sun glare is not always listed as a contributing factor on police reports. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) puts the figure at around 300, but organizations like AAA dispute this figure, and they believe the real number is much higher.

A comprehensive study conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH) looked at hospitalizations from motor vehicle crashes between 1995 and 2014. This study found that bright sunlight is present in approximately one-third of all crashes with injuries that happen during daylight hours. These findings indicate that the problem of sun glare is far more widespread than some officials would like to acknowledge.

Who is Responsible for a Sun Glare Accident?

This is a question that often comes up when there is an accident that results from bright sunlight. The driver who was blinded by the glare may have crashed into someone or something else, but is it their fault? After all, sunlight is a natural occurrence, so wouldn’t a sun glare accident be considered an “act of God”?

On the surface, this assertion might seem logical. Sunlight is natural, and when and where the sun shines each day is beyond human control. So, in the most technical sense, you might be able to call sun glare an “act of God.” Legally, however, this argument does not hold water.

To use the “act of God” defense to argue against liability for a car accident, the accident needs to be caused by an extraordinary natural event that is unforeseeable. This would be something like an earthquake or flood that no one saw coming ahead of time. If an accident is caused exclusively by an event like this, then you might have a viable argument.

Sun glare, of course, does not fit this description. The sun rises every morning and sets every afternoon/evening. These events are predictable, they happen every day, and it is not hard to know approximately what time each day they will happen. So, if you are driving east in the morning or west in the evening, there is a good chance you might encounter bright sunlight, and you have a duty to take reasonable steps to prepare for this possibility.

Failure to take reasonable precautions to avoid a sun glare accident would constitute negligence; and if you are determined to be totally at fault for any resulting accident (in other words, no other person or party contributed to it), you would be liable for damages under Alabama law.

Preventing Accidents Caused by Bright Sunlight

With the dangers of sun glare accidents at their highest this time of year, every driver should take steps to minimize the chances of this type of accident occurring:

  • Clean off the streaks and marks from your windshield regularly;
  • Replace any worn or broken wiper blades;
  • Always have plenty of washer fluid when you are driving;
  • Wear sunglasses that significantly reduce glare, such as polarized sunglasses;
  • Use your sun visor and turn it to its sides when necessary to reduce glare;
  • Drive slowly and allow plenty of space between your vehicle and other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians;
  • If possible, change your drive time and route slightly to reduce the amount of time you have to spend looking at bright sunlight.

Injured in a Sun Glare Accident in Alabama? Speak with an Experienced Auto Accident Lawyer

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out what your legal rights and options are, contact Burns, Cunningham, & Mackey for a free consultation and case assessment. Call our office today at (251) 260-3815, message us online, or stop by our Mobile office in person at your convenience to speak with a member of our legal team.

recover from a car accident

5 Ways to Speed up Your Recovery after a Car Accident

Many individuals who are involved in auto accidents suffer from some kind of physical injury. In some cases, the injuries are relatively minor and only last for a few days. In other cases, the injuries can be moderate to severe, and it can take several weeks or months (or longer) for the victim to fully recover or reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). 

There are numerous types of injuries that can result from a car accident, and each situation is different. And there is no set time for recovery; this will depend on the severity of the injuries, the overall health of the individual, how the individual’s body reacts to various forms of treatment, and other specific factors. 

All that said, there are several things you can do to speed up your recovery time if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident:

  1. Get Immediate Medical Help After the Accident

Whenever you are involved in an accident, even a minor fender-bender, you should always get a thorough medical examination. Some injuries are readily apparent, but in other cases, the symptoms may not show up until several hours or even a few days later. This can even happen with more severe conditions such as internal injuries. Always go to the emergency room and get checked out just to be on the safe side. The sooner your injuries are properly diagnosed, the sooner they can be treated, and the better your chances of a full and speedy recovery.

  • Listen to your Doctor

One important legal consideration with regards to auto accidents is the duty of the injured party to mitigate their losses. This means not only getting any immediate and thorough medical examination, but also listening to what your doctor tells you and undergoing any surgeries or other treatments that they recommend. It may seem overwhelming to have to make time in your schedule for follow-up visits, further testing, and various types of procedures. This may require you to miss more time from work, and you might not want to go through all of this. Keep in mind, however, that the pain and hassle you have to endure in the short-term will be well worth it in the long run when you are able to more quickly heal from your injuries.

  • Follow Through on all Necessary Rehabilitation

Along the same lines as the previous point, we cannot stress enough the importance of following through on physical therapy and any other recommended rehab. It can be challenging to keep all of your physical therapy appointments, especially if you have to go in three or four times a week. Another area that is difficult for many people is doing the exercises that the therapist recommends after they get home. These exercises are very important, however, because they help you rebuild your strength. This is why not doing them as prescribed could be detrimental to your rehabilitation plan.

  • Stay Rested and Eat Right

In addition to doing the required exercises, you should also follow your doctor’s orders with regards to resting and eating healthy. Do not try to do too much too soon, and take the time needed to rest and let your body heal. Also be sure to stay hydrated and eat a diet full of the vitamins and nutrients your doctor recommends.

  • Consult a Mental Health Professional

For many people, being injured in an auto accident is a traumatic experience. Just the collision itself can cause recurring nightmares and a fear of driving. Studies also indicate that a significant percentage of car accident victims develop various forms of psychological trauma; such as severe anxiety, depression, fear of an uncertain future, difficulty sleeping, difficulty with focus and concentration, emotional outbursts, and many others. 

Psychological trauma is not something to be ashamed about – it is very normal under the circumstances. But the symptoms of this condition are not likely to go away quickly on their own. In fact, if left untreated, they can grow far worse, and they can also cause your physical condition to deteriorate. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above (or similar symptoms), consult a mental health professional as soon as possible, so you can be properly treated.

Obtain Strong Legal Counsel

As mentioned in the previous point, a car accident can be a traumatic experience. And when you are trying to recover, the last thing you need to be dealing with is the stress of trying to obtain just compensation (for your losses) from an insurance company that wants to pay you as little as possible. This is especially true in a state like Alabama, where they apply the “contributory negligence” legal standard. This means that if an injury victim is found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident, they can be barred from recovering any damages at all. 

You can be sure that the other side will try to use the state’s defendant-friendly legal standard against you, and this is why it is extremely important to get an experienced attorney involved as early as possible in the process. With a skilled and knowledgeable attorney in your corner, you can rest easy knowing that the legal part of the process is being handled, and that you are in the best possible position to recover full and fair compensation for your injuries.