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What is Causing my Neck and Back Pain after an Auto Accident?

Neck PainMotor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injury in the United States. A car accident, even one that seems relatively minor, can result in fairly serious injuries. Oftentimes, however, those involved in these types of accidents don’t notice their injuries until later on. This frequently happens for the same reason athletes may not feel injured while they are in the middle of a game; the adrenaline rush.

You have most likely seen or heard stories of football players finishing a game with a broken ankle or broken leg, then not being able to move and requiring surgery after the game. The adrenaline rush of being “in the zone” allows athletes to minimize the pain in their minds and keep powering through while the game is still going on. Auto accidents can create a similar situation for some who are involved. When you crash into another vehicle, you are startled, your heart starts to race, and your mind is intently focused on dealing with the situation.

In the heat of the moment, you may feel only minor aches and pains, if anything at all. But in the coming days, you begin to experience neck and back pain and start to wonder what’s causing it. This is where many who are involved in auto accidents make a mistake. They believe that, just because they felt little (if any) pain at the scene of the accident, the pain they are feeling now must be minor. In many cases, however, this is the sign of a more serious injury.

What is Causing my Neck and Back Pain after an Accident?

If you are starting to feel neck and back pain (particularly pain in your lower back) after an auto accident, this is often due to a whiplash injury. Whiplash is the rapid, jerky back-and-forth motion experienced by many vehicle occupants during a collision. Whiplash can cause injuries to the neck and several areas of the back. The effects of these injuries can last for days, weeks, or even months.

The extent and severity of a whiplash injury depends largely on the speed at which the vehicles collide, the ability for vehicle occupants to “brace” for the collision, how soon those involved are treated for their injuries, and other factors.

Symptoms of whiplash can occur immediately after an accident, but as we discussed earlier, it can take several hours up to several days in some cases to begin feeling the effects of the injury. Some common symptoms of a whiplash injury include:

The neck and back pain you feel after a car accident is known as discogenic pain. Discogenic pain refers to aches associated with our spinal discs. There are five vertebrae in our lumbar spine with soft discs between each one. These discs serve as a cushioning system and help provide mobility and stability for our body.

Individuals can experience discogenic pain because of gradual deterioration of the spine, or it can happen because of sudden trauma, such as a whiplash injury from a car crash. Some of the most common conditions that may cause neck and back pain after an accident include:

What to Do if you Feel Back and Neck Pain after an Accident

If you or someone close to you was involved in an accident and you are experiencing neck and back pain afterwards, seek qualified medical treatment immediately. Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical, and the sooner you see a medical professional, the better the chances of a successful recovery without requiring major procedures such as surgery. After you have received medical help, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

If the accident was the fault of another party, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. With these types of cases, insurance companies often contact injured parties soon after the incident with a lowball settlement offer. Before accepting any offers from an insurer, speak to the skilled South Carolina accident injury lawyers at Peake & Fowler. We will thoroughly assess your case and advise you of your legal rights and options, so you will have all the facts before deciding how to proceed. Call our office today at 803-998-2412 for a free consultation or send us a message through our web contact form.

Trucking Accidents

Trucking Accidents: What You Need to Know and the Best Ways to avoid an Accident with a Big Rig

Anytime someone is involved in a motor vehicle accident, there is the risk of serious injuries and in the worst cases, fatalities. Accidents involving larger vehicles such as commercial trucks bring an event greater risk of serious and catastrophic injuries because of the sheer size and weight of the vehicle(s) involved. This is especially true when a big rig truck is fully loaded with cargo, in which case they may be carrying upwards of 80,000 pounds or more.

Each year, thousands of individuals are killed and tens of thousands are injured in trucking accidents. And not surprisingly, when there is an accident involving a big rig truck and a passenger vehicle, occupants of the passenger vehicle tend to sustain the most severe injuries. In fact, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), when there is a fatal crash between a passenger vehicle and a large commercial vehicle, 83% of the victims are occupants of passenger vehicles.

With the risk of injury in trucking accidents greatly compounded, it is very important for motorists to be extra cautious when they are sharing the road with large commercial vehicles. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to avoid an accident with a big rig:

Keep a safe distance between you and the truck

It is far more difficult for a tractor-trailer to maneuver than a smaller vehicle. For example, a semi-truck requires significantly more space to make a turn. In addition, commercial trucks have a harder time braking quickly when the situation requires it. This can become especially hazardous if there is inclement weather, such as snow, ice, and fog. Be sure to give large commercial vehicles plenty of space at all times to help ensure that everyone stays safe.

Be cautious when merging into traffic with a big rig truck

Merging into traffic can be challenging, especially when traffic is heavy. If there is a semi-truck merging in one of the lanes next to you, be extra careful. It is generally best to let the truck in ahead of you and give them a safe distance. Otherwise, if you get in ahead of the truck and have to make a sudden stop, the truck may not be able to stop in time, which increases the chances of a rear-end collision. If you are already well ahead of the truck and it doesn’t make sense to let them merge ahead of you, just be mindful of the truck’s limitations and try to put as much distance as possible (without speeding or driving recklessly of course) between you and them.

Be mindful of a trucker’s blind spots and stay out of them as much as possible

One of the major reasons for motor vehicle accidents is failure to see another car that enters a blind spot. The risk of blind spot accidents is even higher with big rig trucks, because they have multiple blind spots that are larger than those in passenger vehicles. Because of this risk, be sure to stay out of a commercial trucker’s blind spot as much as possible. Only enter the blind spot when you are passing the vehicle and complete the pass as quickly and safely as you can. Do NOT linger in the truck’s blind spot for any length of time.

Avoid distracted driving

Technology has helped make driving safer in many ways. For example, vehicles today are coming equipped with blind spot monitors, backup cameras, and other important safety features. That said, technology has also created more distractions than ever before. Texting, watching videos, and other smartphone activity is especially bad because it distracts us in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. Motorists should never engage in any of these activities while driving, and most certainly stay off of your phone when you are driving near a big rig truck.

Involved in an 18-Wheeler Accident? Contact an Experienced South Carolina Truck Accident Attorney

Sometimes, motorists follow all the rules and still end up in a crash with a large commercial vehicle. When this results in serious injury and it was the fault of the truck driver, trucking company, and/or a related party, injured parties deserve to be compensated. These cases can be quite complicated, however, because there are numerous governing laws and regulations and multiple parties that could potentially be responsible. To ensure that you receive full and fair compensation and that all responsible parties are held fully accountable, it is important to work with a personal injury attorney who has extensive experience and a proven track record with these types of cases.

At Peake & Fowler, we have successfully represented clients injured in truck accidents in South Carolina since 2000. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of this area of the law, and we work closely with our clients to provide the strong personalized representation they need and deserve. Call us today at 803-998-2412 for a free consultation or send us a message through our online contact form.

Hit-and-run accident injury law firm - Peake & Fowler

Hit & Run Accidents in the U.S. Are on the Rise

When you’re involved in any sort of motor vehicle crash, you have a basic legal duty to remain at the scene to exchange information and render assistance to anyone who might be injured. Unfortunately, not all drivers do this. Hit and run accidents are becoming more common on our nation’s roads, now numbering 11 out of every 100 traffic accidents. Hit and run deaths are on the rise (nearly 1,500 annually), with a 13.7% increase in the latest period studied. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a serious crime, but it’s something that happens all too often.

Why People Flee the Scene

The reasons that people flee the scene of an accident vary. A motor vehicle accident is a stressful event that can trigger that “flight” instinct in some people, especially those who feel as if they’ve done something wrong. In some cases, a person might leave because they are already involved in some other illegal activity, might not have permission to use the vehicle they’re driving, or might not even have a driver’s license.

Some drivers may be impaired and realize that they will be charged with a DUI should they stop after an accident. Others might not have auto insurance and fear being held financially responsible for damages. In some cases, especially with pedestrians or bicyclists at night, the driver might not be aware that they’ve hit someone.

Injuries to Bicyclists and Pedestrians

A hit and run accident can involve nearly any type of car crash, but they tend to be the most common among bicyclist and pedestrian accidents. These can be tragic because a vehicle moving at even the slowest speed can cause severe injury or death to a pedestrian or cyclist. Common injuries suffered include brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, disfigurement, and loss of limbs.

What’s the Penalty for a Hit and Run?

The penalties for a hit and run vary by state, but this is a serious offense. Anyone who leaves the scene of an accident can expect both criminal and administrative penalties should they be caught. In many cases, witnesses, physical evidence, or technology brings these hit and run drivers to justice, so fleeing the scene isn’t a wise choice.

If there are injuries, most states classify these cases as a felony hit and run. In South Carolina, the criminal penalties are steep, with fines up to $10,000 and prison time from 1 to 10 years. Misdemeanor hit and run convictions can also carry some jail time and fines up to $5,000. Also, drivers can expect to lose their driving privileges, either temporarily or permanently. Some victims also sue hit and run drivers in civil court, specifically requesting awards for punitive damages to punish the driver’s bad behavior.

Advice for Hit and Run Victims

If you’re involved in a hit and run accident, it can be a very stressful event. Your best chance of catching the driver requires that you remain as calm as possible and gather some important information. Write down anything you remember about the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle. Look around for any possible witnesses and get their contact information. Take detailed notes and photographs of the accident scene to document damage and the circumstances of the incident. Finally, seek medical attention for yourself or anyone else injured and make sure to file a prompt police report. Finally, contact a reputable attorney for assistance.

Getting into a hit and run accident is often confusing because injured parties aren’t sure who to hold accountable. Accident victims might have medical bills, lost wages, or other damages and coverage for these items is in dispute. A personal injury lawyer can help fight for the rights of accident victims, including negotiating with insurance companies. While a hit and run accident is stressful, you shouldn’t have to continue suffering in a continuing struggle to receive compensation.  Contact the Peake & Fowler Law Firm at (803) 788-4370 and one of our Injury Attorneys will help you with your hit & run issue.

Peake & Fowler - Columbia South Carolina Pedestrian Accident Lawyers

Accidents Involving Pedestrians on the Rise

Despite infrastructure, new laws and safety campaigns to protect pedestrians on the roads in South Carolina, the number of pedestrian accidents in the state are on the rise.  Data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2013, there were 100 pedestrian fatalities in South Carolina; in 2014 that number increased to 107 pedestrian fatalities and in 2015, to a tragic 123 pedestrian fatalities. Furthermore, in 2009, the number of pedestrian fatalities recorded in the state was significantly lower – 89.

The following considers factors that have contributed to the increase in pedestrian accidents in South Carolina, as well as what you can do if you are a pedestrian who is injured in a crash.

Why Pedestrian Accidents Are Increasing

The specific reasons behind the increase in pedestrian accidents are elusive. However, a number of factors may be to blame.

For example, the incident rates of both distracted driving and distracted walking are increasing. According to Distraction.gov, 431,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in the year 2014 alone. Much of the distraction has been fueled by the use of mobile phones, the prevalence of which has surged in the past half-decade.

In fact, not only are more people driving while distracted by their cellphones, but more people are walking while distracted by their cellphones. According to Ohio State University researchers, thousands of pedestrians are treated in emergency rooms each year for injured related to using a cellphone while walking.

In addition to distracted driving, other factors that may be contributing to pedestrian accidents include a higher prevalence of speeding (there were 54 more speeding-related fatalities in South Carolina in 2015 than there were in 2014).

What to Do If You Are Involved in a Pedestrian Accident in South Carolina

Accidents involving pedestrians often have catastrophic consequences; the pedestrian is typically left with tragic injuries, including but not limited to a head injury or traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, broken bones, and internal injuries.

If a distracted or otherwise at-fault driver hits you, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries. In some cases, filing an insurance claim makes sense; in other cases, you may need to pursue a lawsuit in order to recover the compensation that you deserve. By filing a civil suit, you can seek damages for all injuries related to your accident, including: pain and suffering; medical expenses; lost wages; permanent disability and disfigurement; loss of earning capacity; and all other economic and noneconomic losses.

What If I Contributed to My Accident?

In some cases, pedestrians are partially at fault for the accidents in which they are involved, often as a result of being distracted and walking into the path of a motor vehicle. However, you can still recover compensation if the driver committed any act of negligence and was partially to blame as well. Per comparative negligence laws in the state, you are allowed to seek damages even if you contributed to your own injuries; recoverable damages will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of fault.

Work With Our Experienced South Carolina Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Our talented South Carolina pedestrian accident attorneys understand what you are going through after a crash and will work hard to prove the negligence of the at-fault driver and get you your full compensation amount. We will conduct a thorough investigation of your accident, work with accident reconstruction experts, and build a strong case. When you have been injured, you deserve the best in legal representation – for a free case consultation contact Peake & Fowler at (803) 788-4370.

South Carolina hit and run accident attorney - Peake & Fowler

Young Man Killed by Hit and Run Driver

An 18-year-old man was killed in a hit and run accident, and police now believe they know who did it. Authorities found the body of a man who died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries along the median of Highway 321 near the intersection of Woodtrail Drive in Gaston, South Carolina. The man killed was determined to be John Denley Moore, Jr. Based on parts of a vehicle found at the scene of the accident, including a driver’s side mirror, police determined both that the individual had died when he was hit by a vehicle, and that the vehicle they were searching for was a 2007-2014 Chevrolet or GMC 2500 or 3500 HD pickup. Upon further investigation in the town of Gaston and throughout Lexington County, authorities located a 2009 Chevrolet 3500 HD with damage of the sort that police expected to find on the vehicle that hit Moore. Police seized the truck as evidence of the hit and run. The owner was determined to be Michael L. Gantt. A warrant was issued for Gantt’s arrest for hit and run involving death, and willful destruction of biological evidence. Police have not yet been able to locate Gantt, and anyone with information on his whereabouts is encouraged to contact the Gaston Police Department.

Drivers who fail to stop at the scene of an accident put themselves at risk of incurring serious criminal consequences, as well as liability for large fines and a possible civil lawsuit. In the state of South Carolina, a hit and run where death to the victim resulted is a felony, and a conviction can result in between one and 25 years of imprisonment and require payment of a fine into the tens of thousands of dollars. Drivers who leave the scene of an accident without rendering aid can also be sued in civil court for the injuries they caused, or for wrongful death. In addition to any expenses that the victim incurred from the accident, the victim may be awarded punitive damages in a lawsuit, which are funds the responsible driver is ordered to pay as a form of punishment for willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.

This case is an example of how skilled investigators can help to determine the perpetrator of a hit and run crash, and can help victims to ensure that those drivers face the consequences of their actions. If you have been injured in a hit and run crash, contact experienced lawyers as soon as possible. Good personal injury attorneys will know how best to investigate a hit and run crash, and can help you file the necessary legal documents and insurance claims to help you get paid what you’re owed for your medical expenses, lost work, and pain and suffering. Contact the skilled Columbia car accident lawyers at Peake & Fowler, P.A. for a free consultation on your claims in and around Columbia, South Carolina, including Eastover, Elgin, Hopkins, Camden, and Richland County. Call 803-788-4370 to speak to an attorney about your possible lawsuit.

dangerous road lawyer

Single-Car Crash Leads to Fatality in Little Mountain

A crash occurring on Wheeland School Road in Newberry County recently resulted in the death of the driver. Highway Patrol are continuing to investigate the accident, but it appears that the driver, traveling west, for some reason ran off the road and hit a tree, at which time the vehicle burst into flames. The driver died at the scene of the accident. The name of the driver has not been released.

It can be difficult to investigate accidents involving a single vehicle where the driver has died. Loss of income earned by the deceased family member, in addition to costs of medical attention prior to the victim’s death, and costs associated with burial, can weigh heavily on the victim’s surviving family. While alcohol or simple driver inattention are sometimes to blame, there are a number of other reasons that such accidents may have occurred, many of which may in fact entitle victims of single-car crashes, or their heirs, to compensation.

One example of such a cause is a hazardous road condition. If the roadway near the crash site was marked by deep or dangerous potholes, was unevenly paved, or was under construction and left in an unsafe state by construction crews, the government entity responsible for the road’s condition may be liable for damages resulting from the crash.
Another potential cause of a single-car crash is mechanical failure. Perhaps a component of the car was poorly designed by the manufacturer, and its failure led to the crash. The victims of that crash could bring a case against the designer, manufacturer, or distributor of the car for resulting damages in a product liability action. Similarly, if a mechanic had recently worked on the car, but the repairs were not completed or were done improperly, and the mechanic’s failings led to the crash, then that mechanic may be responsible for the ensuing injuries.

Seeking compensation for single-car crashes can require the investigation and knowledge of skilled experts. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a single car crash, seek counsel from an experienced attorney versed in such investigations, so that you can ensure that you’re fully compensated for your loss. Reach out to the seasoned Columbia personal injury and car accident attorneys at Peake and Fowler for a no-cost consultation on your potential legal claim.