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Personal Injury Blog

A blog about Legal News, Laws, and Cases related to personal injury. By Brian Anderson, Kennewick lawyer.

 

We are all distracted drivers now

 I don’t know how many people are like me, but I tend to notice crosses on the sides of the road, and I almost always wonder what happened. With the placement of some crosses like the one below, you sometimes get an idea of what likely happened, but then you might wonder about the contributing factors; was a driver drunk, was a driver sleepy, or was a driver distracted?

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Do you stop for school buses... when you should?

You would do anything for your kids, right? (Or nieces, nephews, grandchildren, whatever the case may be.) Keep them safe, make sure they have a bright future, protect them...the list goes on. Yet this sentiment doesn’t seem to hold true on the road.

Motorists have a bad (and sometimes fatal) habit of passing school buses while their stop signs are extended.

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Sometimes red light runners are caught by cameras...

 And sometimes they are caught because they crash into cross traffic.

Last Monday, a car ran a red light in Richland, hitting a Dial-a-Ride bus on the intersection of Thayer and Swift Boulevard. The bus, a transportation system for people with disabilities, flipped onto its side as a result of the impact of hitting a curb after being crashed into by the small Nissan Rogue. Luckily, no one was seriously injured; two people were treated for minor injuries.

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The Ethics of Driverless Cars

 Picture yourself in this scenario: You are driving home from a day at work in the middle lane on a three lane highway. You are enjoying your cruise home when suddenly the car in front of you slams on its brakes. You are going too fast to stop in time to avoid a collision. A split-second decision must be made. You could choose to hit the car in front of you and hope that you can slow down enough to prevent serious injury. The car in front of you is a large truck so the driver in front will be fine. You could also swerve into one of the two other lanes. If you swerve into the left lane, you will collide with a motorcyclist. If you swerve to the right, you will hit a SUV with a family of five inside. There are many things to consider here. Do you prioritize the safety of yourself over others?

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Driverless Cars: The Future is Here (almost)

The future of technology has been ingrained in Western culture and media for longer than most can remember. Movies, books and TV shows set in the near or distant future have enthralled many people for many years. One of the more common themes of our futuristic science fiction tales is automatization. From robots that perform all arrays of tasks, to AI that control the technological infrastructure of the world, seemingly distant technological advancements are ever present in peoples’ minds. But some of these seemingly purely theoretical applications of technology may not be so far from becoming a reality. 

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Double Jeopardy

 The latin phrase “non bis in idem” is translated as “not twice in the same thing” and refers to the right of a defendant to be protected from prosecution for the same crime twice. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “No person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” This is not exclusively an American doctrine, and is found in a similar form in the federal law of nearly every other modern country. In fact, every member of the Council of Europe has signed a convention which regulates human rights. Article Four of Protocol Seven of the Convention says that no person can be charged again for a crime that they have already been acquitted or convicted of. Laws that guard against double jeopardy are extremely important in any modern legal system, because of the how corrupt and easily abusable repeat trials would be.

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Road rage: musings of a personal injury attorney

Is it just me, or does road rage seem to be more prevalent nowadays than it used to be? It seems that if you accidentally cut someone off, drive in the left lane too long, or use your horn to signal your presence, you may just tick someone off. I am not innocent, either, and can say I have found myself on both sides of this situation.

What do you do when: someone cuts you off in traffic; you notice someone texting and driving; someone changes lanes in front of you without using a turn signal; someone drives too slowly in the left lane; or someone stops at an intersection where there is no yield or stop sign and no vehicles in sight?

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Eyes in the sky

How important is your privacy to you? And what would you define as a violation of that privacy?  If your neighbor climbed over your fence into your backyard and peered into your window, would you not almost certainly be offended? Without any doubt, this person would be breaking multiple laws such as trespassing and the Peeping Tom law. However, what if someone used a more subtle or sneaky way to view you and your property? 

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Driving in the rain

It has been a rainy October for the Tri-Cities – record levels of rainfall have been documented this month. Over the past few weeks, most of the days have been overcast and gray, raining off and on. Last Thursday, as I was driving through pouring rain from Kennewick to Walla Walla, I passed a serious accident heading westbound on I-182. Multiple ambulances, police cars, and a fire truck were arriving at the scene of the crash, which involved a semi and a couple of cars. The weather was undoubtedly a factor.

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A jury of your peers

I attended a murder trial last week. Not in any sort of official way, but simply as a learning experience. As a high school intern at Anderson Law in Kennewick, I have the opportunity to investigate law as a career. So, with the help of Anderson Law attorney Edwardo Morfin, I went to a superior court trial in Franklin County. Even though it wasn’t related to personal injury or car accidents, the trial was interesting and educational in many ways (especially since it was a murder trial). One thing in particular stood out to me: I noticed that the jury had significantly fewer Hispanics than Caucasians on it. There were two or three Hispanic jurors, but the majority of the jurors were Caucasian. Since the defendant was also Hispanic, I wondered if this was truly a jury of his peers. Although I do not believe this was indicative of jury selection bias, it made me think about the importance of jury diversity, and how maybe it isn’t being addressed enough. A lack of diverse juries, and potential racial bias, have been a problem in the American courtroom for a long time. Although American demographics have changed substantially, and race relations seem to be better than they ever have been, there is still much room for improvement.

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