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Backover Car Accidents: A Risk that Puts Your Children in Danger

Millions of homeowners have driveways they back out of on a daily basis. However, it is possible to hit children or pets while backing out of a driveway or even an apartment complex parking lot. Depending on the circumstances, it may be difficult or even impossible to see a small child playing behind your vehicle. Unfortunately, children die this way each year.

At Hilton & Somer, LLC, our attorneys are dedicated to helping our communities with safety tips that can prevent injuries and deaths. Parents can follow the tips below to prevent a backover accident.

1. Check Around Your Vehicle

You should never rely solely on mirrors to provide information about your surroundings. While mirrors are essential for avoiding certain types of accidents, they cannot show you whether a small child is playing behind your vehicle.

You should exit your vehicle and check behind and underneath it to ensure that no pets or children are nearby. Check around your vehicle just to be sure no pets or children approach while you are backing out.

2. Teach Your Children Not to Play Near Vehicles

You can help your children avoid falling victim to a backover accident by teaching them to never play near vehicles or areas where vehicles could be in motion. This means driveways, parking lots and streets should be areas your children see as “off limits.”

Education must be a central part of any campaign to prevent car accidents, including deaths involving backover accidents.

3. Avoid Distractions While Backing Out

You need to be able to hear your surroundings to avoid colliding with pets or other people. Turn down the radio and pay close attention to your surroundings. Try to listen for any people or pets that might be near your vehicle while you are backing out of a garage or driveway. You should also take a careful look around before backing out of your garage or driveway.

4. Never Drink and Drive

You should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Not only does it affect your judgment, it also affects your reaction time. You may not be able to stop in time to avoid collisions with other objects or people. Your visual and spatial awareness are also negatively affected by alcohol.

5. Make Sure Your Driveway Has Adequate Lighting

There will be times where it is necessary to back out of your driveway at night or during late evening hours. If a pet or child is behind your vehicle, and there is not enough lighting, you may be unable to see them in time to avoid a collision.

Rear-headlights provide some lighting, but you want to make sure you have adequate visibility while backing out of your driveway. You should not rely on rear lights or cameras and sensors alone.

6. Be Prepared to Hit the Brakes

You should be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice. Keep in mind that you may need to suddenly brake while backing out of a parking lot or driveway. You should also back out as cautiously and slowly as possible.

About Our Fairfax Personal Injury Lawyers

The Fairfax personal injury lawyers at Hilton & Somer, LLC have experience with auto and pedestrian accident cases. We can explain your legal rights after a car accident.

For future safety tips, we encourage you to continue following our blog. You can also receive blog updates by liking us on Facebook.

You can schedule a free consultation with us by calling (703) 782-8349 or by using the case review form on our website.

Fatal Pedestrian Accidents Exceed Murder Rate in Fairfax

In April 2019, police officials gathered in Fairfax County, Virginia to warn the public about the dangers of distracted driving. According to their data, from 2017 to 2018 pedestrian and cycling fatalities increased 19% across the region. This represented a third of the traffic fatalities in the area. In Fairfax County, fatalities were so high that they even outpaced homicides in the community. The increase in pedestrian fatalities was primarily due to a rise in distracted driving on the county’s roads. As such, police officials are asking the public to put down their phones and avoid distracted driving at all times.

To improve the safety on Virginia roads, the Fairfax County Police Department launched the area’s Street Smart campaign in the spring. This campaign’s goal was to educate the public on sharing the road with cyclists and pedestrians and improve awareness, especially in targeted priority areas in Virginia, Maryland, and D.C.

Reducing Pedestrian Accidents In Virginia

To combat the rise in pedestrian accidents, officials are encouraging drivers in Fairfax and throughout the state of Virginia to take the following steps:

  • Slow down
  • Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Remain alert at all times
  • Look twice before making a turn
  • Yield to people crossing
  • Give cyclists at least 3 feet when passing
  • Put cell phones away
  • Do not pass vehicles stopped at a crosswalk
  • Never pass a stopped school bus
  • Do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol

The CDC also recommends that pedestrians help protect themselves from a fatal accident by taking the following steps:

  • Pay attention while walking
  • Cross at designated crosswalks or intersections only
  • Use crossing signals
  • Avoid jaywalking
  • Carry a flashlight or wear reflective clothing when walking at night
  • Avoid distractions such as looking at your cell phone or listening to music
  • Always walk on the sidewalk whenever possible
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk on the shoulder of the road facing oncoming traffic
  • Never walk on an interstate or highway, as it is illegal
  • Never assume a driver will give you the right of way

Sadly, even when pedestrians follow all the rules of the road and obey all traffic signals, devastating and serious accidents still occur. Unfortunately, injured pedestrians often find themselves fighting an uphill battle with insurance companies after a crash. They typically offer accident victims a lowball settlement that is just a fraction of what they deserve. As a way to minimize their liabilities, adjusters offer these settlements quickly and before the full extent of injuries can be determined.

When this occurs, pedestrian accident victims need an experienced and skilled law firm on their side from the very beginning. Your lawyer will fight the insurance companies every step of the way to ensure that injured accident victims receive the money they need to put their lives back together again.

Contact Our Fairfax Pedestrian Accident Lawyers Today

If you or someone you love has been a victim of a pedestrian accident in Fairfax VA, Washington DC, or anywhere in Maryland, you may be facing catastrophic injuries and damages. At Hilton & Somer LLC, our Fairfax personal injury lawyers know that pedestrian accidents are particularly devastating and often result in long-term disability, pain, and suffering. When this occurs, you need an experienced and skilled pedestrian accident lawyer in your corner, helping you fight for your right to maximum compensation. Contact us today at (703) 782-8349 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. We are here when you need us the most – and we will fight for you every step of the way.

Commuting in the DC-MD-VA Region

If you live in Virginia, Maryland, or Washington DC and commute to work every day, you’re not alone. In fact, according to a recent census, a large portion of residents in these communities commute every single day, and some have extremely long commutes.

Commuting to work may be a necessity, but it can also increase your risk of getting into a serious car accident. In order to avoid car crashes on the way to or from work, it is important to understand commuting in the DC-MD-VA region and how long commute times could impact your safety.

How Many Commute to Work in Fairfax?

Of the seven metro areas in the study, Fairfax County claimed the highest percentage of commuters. Here, more than 81% of drivers commute daily to work.

Prince George’s County came in second with 77% of residents commuting to work. Montgomery County came in third with 75.2% of residents commuting daily to their offices.

However, from Fairfax to D.C., the percentage of drivers commuting actually trended slightly downward between 2009 and 2015. This decline in drivers has been steady in all parts of the region for the last decade.

How Long are Fairfax Commutes

Even though there are fewer commuters on the road than before, the average commute time has increased in all areas. The U.S. Census data showed that the average commuter is spending more time getting to work than ever before, whether they live in Maryland or Virginia.

In the Washington area, Prince George’s County drivers spend the most time on their commute – an average of 36.5 minutes. This was followed by Montgomery County at 34.5 minutes and Fairfax County at 32 minutes.

Car Commuting is Still Superior in Fairfax

In Fairfax County, the majority of residents use their own vehicles to drive to work instead of public transportation. In D.C., just 39.5% of residents commuted to work in their own cars. Since 2004, commuters in the region declined at least 10%. However, driving is still the preferred method of commuting.

However, even with recent improvements in public transportation safety, the number of commuters hopping on the Metro or catching a bus to work has stayed relatively stagnant. Fairfax County did report a slight 1% increase in commuters taking public transportation to work. However, the county still reports the lowest percentage of public transit commuters in the region at just 9.8%.

Contact Our Fairfax Car Accident Lawyers Today

If you or someone you love has been a victim of a car crash in Fairfax VA, Washington DC, or anywhere in Maryland, it is important to know that you are not alone. At Hilton & Somer LLP, our Fairfax car accident lawyers understand the complexities of handling insurance companies after a devastating car crash. We also know that insurance companies don’t always play fair. That’s why we fight aggressively every step of the way. Contact us today at (703) 782-8349 for a free initial consultation and review of your potential case. We are here when you need us the most.

What are the Most Common Types of Construction Accidents?

Construction is booming in cities and towns across the United States. From building expansions to new high rise apartment complexes, it is rare to go a few city blocks without seeing some form of construction in and around Fairfax, Virginia. 

Yet, while construction sites may be common, they’re also dangerous. According to the Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), four types of construction accidents cause 60% of all construction workplace fatalities. That’s why they’re nicknamed the “fatal four.” Every year, the fatal four most common construction site accidents are responsible for 468 construction fatalities across the United States.

The Fatal Four Construction Accidents

In 2017, 4,674 worker fatalities occurred across the United States. Of those fatalities over 20% occurred on a construction site, and 60% of these fatalities were the result of just four types of construction accidents. It has been estimated that if these fatal four were eliminated every year, an additional 582 lives would be saved. 

According to OSHA, the fatal four construction accidents include:

  • Falling from Heights – Roofers, construction workers, and chimney masons may all need to climb buildings and structures in order to build for their jobs. Falls accounted for 39.2% of all construction site deaths in 2017, making it the most common type of all fatal construction accidents. Sadly, the number of fall fatalities keeps increasing. 
  • Struck by Object – Construction workers can be struck by falling debris, tools, or other construction materials. They can also be struck by objects or equipment on the site. When this occurs, they can suffer deadly injuries. In fact, these types of construction accidents accounted for 8.2% of all construction fatalities in 2017. 
  • Electrocutions – Workers who routinely work around electrical wires may be at an increased risk for suffering serious and fatal electrocution injuries. These accidents caused 7.3% of all fatal construction injuries in 2017.
  • Caught-in/between – When workers are caught in or compressed by construction equipment or objects, they can suffer life-threatening and fatal injuries. These types of construction accidents accounted for 5.1% of all construction fatalities in 2017. 

There are numerous reasons why a construction worker might suffer a fatal workplace accident, including:

  • Hazardous or improperly designed scaffolding or structures
  • Unsafe ladders
  • Faulty or defective equipment
  • Harness failures
  • Lack of fall prevention safety equipment
  • Recklessness
  • Failure to adhere to safety guidelines
  • Co-worker negligence

Contact Our Fairfax Construction Accident Lawyers Today

If you or someone you love has been involved in a construction accident in Fairfax VA, Washington DC, or anywhere in Maryland, it is important to seek legal help immediately. Construction accidents are often severe and life-threatening. Even when injured construction workers recover, they are rarely the same. As such, they need an experienced construction accident lawyer on their side. 

At Hilton & Somer, LLC, our Fairfax construction accident lawyers understand the complexities that often surround construction accidents. We also know that without aggressive legal representation, injured construction workers may not collect the benefits they’re entitled to. Contact us today at (703) 782-8349 for a free initial consultation and review of your potential case. We are here when you need us the most – and we will fight for you every step of the way. 

Additional Resources

Falls in the Workplace – What Every Employee Should Know

4 Workers Were Killed On the Job – Are You Safe?

How Much Does It Cost to Insure a Motorcycle in Virginia?

Riding in the Virginia, Washington D.C. or Maryland area can be a great way to get around town, commute to work, or even spend your weekends. There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road, especially while the weather is warm and nice. Here, motorcyclists have their pick of beautiful country roads, rolling hills, fun urban areas, and scenic river paths.

If you’ve recently purchased a motorcycle, you may wonder how much it would cost to insure that motorcycle in Virginia. Are motorcycle insurance rates here better or worse than in other parts of the country? 

Insuring Your Motorcycle in Virginia?

Motorcyclists in Virginia are required by law to purchase a minimum amount of motorcycle accident insurance. This insurance helps to offset the costs of medical expenses and property damage after a serious accident. 

Value Penguin recently performed a study examining motorcycle insurance quotes from all 50 states in the country. They took these quotes and evaluated them to find the average annual motorcycle insurance rate for each state. 

How much do Virginia motorcyclists pay? On average, motorcyclists in Virginia pay 9% less than the national average. Here, motorcyclists pay an average of $470 a year or $39 a month for insurance. 

What About Insuring Your Bike Across the Country?

The average motorcycle insurance rate in the United States was $519 a year. To find the average rate, Value Penguin used a male, 45-year-old sample rider and gathered quotes from five major motorcycle carriers in each state. 

Bikers in North Dakota had the cheapest motorcycle insurance rates in the country at just $283 a year. However, they also have one of the shortest motorcycling seasons in the country. The top five cheapest places to insure your motorcycle were:

  • North Dakota ($283 a year)
  • Iowa ($323 a year)
  • Oklahoma ($341 a year) 
  • New Hampshire ($352 a year)
  • Wyoming ($354 a year)

Unlike states with the cheapest motorcycle insurance, the states with the highest rates of insurance also had the highest number of residents per bike. The states with the most expensive motorcycle insurance rates were:

  • Louisiana ($896 a year)
  • Texas ($749 a year)
  • Michigan ($746 a year)
  • Delaware ($743 a year)
  • Florida ($689 a year)

Our Fairfax Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Are on Your Side

If you or someone you love has been a victim of a motorcycle crash in Fairfax VA, Washington DC, or anywhere in Maryland, it may seem like no one is on your side. Insurance companies may be looking to pay you as little as possible for your injuries after an accident. When this occurs, you need someone who will fight for you.

At Hilton & Somer, LLC, our Fairfax motorcycle accident lawyers can help you during this traumatic time. Contact us at (703) 782-8349 for a free initial consultation and review of your case. We are here when you need us the most – and we will fight for you every step of the way. Call today!

Additional Reading

5 Situations That Lead to Motorcycle Crashes

Uninsured Motorists Are Becoming More Common Across the United States