January 2010 Archives

Text Messaging for Truck and Bus Drivers

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The Department of Transportation has ordered that commercial trucks and buses from text messaging while driving.  There is no law on the books, this is a rule promulgated by presidential order which, for bus and truck drivers, is as good as a law.   

Congress is also considering new rules to make even stiffer rules for texting while driving.  The laws are largely symbolic. How can you tell if someone is texting, making a phone call, whatever.  The Baltimore Sun recently reported that 25% of teen drivers told researched they sent text messages while driving.  Almost half of all responders indicated they have driving in a car with someone who was texting while driving.  

The new Maryland law that bans texting while driving has been on the books for about 5 months. I don't think there have been many prosecutions but hopefully the message is clear: you cannot text and drive.

Does Uninsured Motorist Cover Pain and Suffering Damages?

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Based on the number to times our auto accident lawyers are asked this question, I think it is fair to say there is a huge misconception about this issue.  If there is no insurance or inadequate insurance on behalf of the at-fault driver, your insurance company - the uninsured/underinsured insurer - essentially steps in the the shoes of the defendant and is obligated to pay all damages that you could make against the real bad guy.  Settlement of these cases are never disputed on the basis that the UM carrier is no obligated to pay for pain and suffering.

So, yes, absolutely, pain and suffering damages in Maryland are compensable in an uninsured motorist claim.  

What Your Car Insurance Company Does Not Tell You

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Chris Earley wrote a good post about this last week in his Massachusetts Auto Accident Blog.

I'm not a big fan of demonizing insurance companies.  They are in the business of making a profit.  Our job as car accident lawyers and your job as consumers is to stay informed, keep them in check, and be ready to fight when they cannot be kept in check.