2011 May Archive

$52,000 Settlement Obtained by Cullan & Cullan for Woman Injured in Omaha Car Crash

By Cullan & Cullan on May 27, 2011 - Comments off

Recently, the personal injury attorneys at Cullan & Cullan helped an Omaha woman obtain a $52,000 settlement for injuries suffered in a car accident in Omaha, Nebraska. The collision was caused after a motorist wrongfully turned in front of the woman, who is also a mother of two children. As a result of the crash, the woman suffered neck and back injuries.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009 approximately 2.2 million people in the United States were injured in car accidents. The injuries sustained in car accidents in Nebraska can vary greatly. The most common injuries include head and face injuries, such as lacerations, bruises, fractures, and dental injury; brain injuries, such as concussions; neck injuries, such as whiplash, fractures, sprains, or disc injury; shoulder and arm injuries, such as sprains, lacerations, fractures or dislocations; back and spine injuries; various leg, knee, and foot injuries, including hip injury; and even psychological injuries with symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Read the rest »

FMCSA Launches Pre-Employment Screening Program for Commercial Motor Carrier Companies

By Cullan & Cullan on May 25, 2011 - Comments off

On Tuesday, May 11, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP), a program that gives commercial motor carrier companies access to truck driver accident and inspection records electronically during a truck driver’s hiring process.

According to the FMCSA, the program gives commercial carriers the appropriate tools needed to make an informed hiring decision, which ultimately results in safer truck drivers on the nation’s roads. The Pre-Employment Screening Program gives commercial carriers up to five years of access to a driver’s accident data in addition to inspection data of up to three years, without regard to the jurisdiction or state. This information will assist commercial carriers in better assessing a prospective driver’s possible safety risks. In addition, the PSP gives drivers an opportunity to verify their driving history data and fix any inconsistencies. Every month, the PSP is populated by the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) of the FMCSA. The MCMIS contains data regarding driver performance, such as state-reported accidents, results from inspection and compliance reviews, enforcement data, and more. Read the rest »

Cullan & Cullan Obtains $120,000 Verdict for Omaha Car Accident Victim

By Cullan & Cullan on May 24, 2011 - Comments off

In May of 2008, a Douglas County jury returned a verdict of $120,000 after an Omaha car accident caused a 62-year-old Omaha man to suffer severe back injuries. The man was represented by injury lawyers from Cullan & Cullan. During the trial, the defense denied the accident was the cause of the back injuries, but the jury disagreed. The jury verdict was one of the largest verdicts in Douglas County Court in Omaha, NE, at the time.

During the man’s trial against State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., he alleged that the accident was caused when he was driving eastbound on Ames Avenue at 30th Street when a vehicle traveling westbound failed to yield the right-of-way and turned left in front of him, resulting in the injury accident. The other motorist also reportedly failed to comply with the appropriate traffic signal and was traveling at an excessive speed. Read the rest »

Study Finds Antilock Braking Systems Decrease Risk of Large Truck Accidents

By Cullan & Cullan on May 20, 2011 - Comments off

An antilock braking system (ABS) is a safety system that permits a motor vehicle’s wheels to retain traction with the road as directed by a motorist while braking. This prevents the vehicle’s wheels from locking and therefore avoids skidding. Typically, an ABS offers motorists improved control of the vehicle and reduces stopping distances on most surfaces. Under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 121, large trucks that weigh 10,000 pounds or more are required to have an ABS. Since 1997, an ABS has been required on tractors, semi-trailers, and single-unit trucks as well.

According to a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), antilock brakes on trucks resulted in a three percent reduction in accidents. The study also found that among the kinds of accidents that ABS influences, there is significant reduction in jackknife accidents, off-road overturns, and at-fault involvement in accidents with other motor vehicles, with the exception of front-to-rear collisions. Read the rest »

U.S. DOT Announces New Measures to Increase Passenger Bus Safety

By Cullan & Cullan on May 18, 2011 - Comments off

Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, announced on May 5 several new measures the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is a part of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), plans to implement to ensure the safety of bus passengers.

Now, the DOT will require testing for commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) to be more rigorous and will also create new rules to reinforce passenger carriers’ compliance with federal safety regulations. Working with state law enforcement, the FMCSA will also conduct unannounced motorcoach inspections at popular travel destinations throughout the spring summer seasons.

A new rule was also announced by the FMCSA under which anyone who applies for a CDL must obtain a commercial driver’s learner’s permit (CLP) first. The new rule also requires all state licensing agencies to use a testing system for CDLs that meets the CDL knowledge and skill standards of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, and also forbids the use of foreign language interpreters during testing to reduce testing fraud. Read the rest »

FMCSA Survey Finds Seat Belt Use Among Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers Increased in 2010

By Cullan & Cullan on May 16, 2011 - Comments off

On May 2, Ray LaHood, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, announced new data from a survey conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) that shows approximately 78 percent of commercial truck and bus drivers wore a seat belt when they were driving in 2010. In 2009, that number was 74 percent.

According to the data, since 2007 the number of commercial drivers that are wearing seat belts has increased by about 14 percent. The survey observed 26,830 commercial truck and bus drivers at 998 roadside sites across the United States. The survey discovered that seat belt use for commercial drivers as well as their occupants was about 80 percent in states in which law enforcement officials are able to stop drivers for not wearing a seat belt (primary enforcement), compared to 72 percent in states with secondary enforcement seat belt use laws. In states with secondary enforcement, officials are only able to stop or cite a driver for a seat belt violation if the driver committed a primary violation, such as speeding, at the same time. Read the rest »

Learning More about Truck Accidents in Nebraska

By Cullan & Cullan on May 13, 2011 - Comments off

In 2009, the most recent year statistics are available, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports there were 3,380 fatalities and approximately 74,000 people injured in large truck accidents in the United States.

In comparison to the previous year, large truck accident fatalities declined 20 percent, from 4,245 in 2008. Injuries sustained in large truck accidents also decreased in 2009 by about 18 percent from 2008, during which approximately 90,000 people were injured. According to the NHTSA, of the large truck accident fatalities that occurred in 2009, about 75 percent were occupants of other motor vehicles, while 10 percent were nonoccupants (such as pedestrians or bicyclists), with 15 percent being large truck occupants. Statistics are similar for those injured in large truck crashes: around 76 percent were occupants in other vehicles, with 2 percent being nonoccupants, and 22 percent being occupants in large trucks. Read the rest »

“Omaha Couple Receives $250,000.00 after Truck Accident” Story Inspires Law Student Brian Tackett

By Cullan & Cullan on May 11, 2011 - Comments off

Every year law students are invited to spend time with Cullan & Cullan LLC in a program entitled CULLANLAW. CULLANLAW offers mentoring for law students through first-hand experience, education, and trial practice.

CULLANLAW is proud to announce Brian Tackett, a second year student at Creighton University School of Law, has been awarded the CULLANLAW medal of excellence for his work, dedication, and commitment to trial practice and helping others. Brian placed in the “elite 8” at Creighton’s annual trial competition. He has been chosen as an alternate for the 2012 national trial team that competes on behalf of the school, directed by Professor Colin Mangrum. He is also planning on being part of the national arbitration team in 2012.

When asked about his experiences with CULLANLAW in 2010, Brian recalled the endless hours of preparation needed for Nebraska medical malpractice cases, Nebraska birth injury cases, and Nebraska semi-truck accident cases. “In the days and months leading up to a major trial, Joe and Pat worked tirelessly to prepare for their cases. I felt honored to be a part of that process. The time and experience gave me a real-world look at the work involved in preparing for major litigation, such as the brachial plexus case”. Read the rest »

FMCSA Reports One-Third of Truck Drivers in U.S. are Affected by Sleep Apnea

By Cullan & Cullan on May 5, 2011 - Comments off

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), close to 30 percent of truckers with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is breathing-related and causes short interruptions of breathing when someone is asleep. These pauses can last over 10 seconds and may occur 400 times in one night. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is often not recognized or diagnosed. Common indicators of sleep apnea include loud snoring, sleepiness during the day, depression, lack of concentration, falling asleep at inappropriate times, and memory impairment.

These symptoms are particularly dangerous for commercial truck drivers, who can drive up to 16 hours consecutively and operate a vehicle that is over 80,000 pounds.

Research shows that when sleep apnea goes untreated, it puts drivers at an increased risk of being involved in an accident. One study found that drivers with untreated sleep apnea did worse during performance testing than subjects who were alert but had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) above 0.04 percent, the legal limit for operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Read the rest »