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Road Debris: In the way on the way

Imagine you’re driving to a friend’s place, it’s dark, and you suddenly approach a large tree branch in the road. How do you react? Do you slam on your brakes, risking who’s behind you possibly rear-ending you? Do you swerve left into oncoming traffic? Or right and possibly into a ditch?
With only a split second to decide, it makes sense how road debris causes over 25,000 crashes and 80 fatalities per year in North America. ([Crash Course in Collision Prevention and Preparation, Now Available | AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety](https://www.aaafoundation.org/crash-course-collision-prevention-and-preparation-now-available?button=vrrdFS))
And if a static tree branch doesn’t scare you, understand that most road debris actually moves. If other cars on the road drive past or come into contact with road debris, that same object may be moving when you get closer, making it even more difficult to determine what you should do to avoid it. Now, you must not only judge how you should maneuver your vehicle, but how you should maneuver it with respect to another moving object.
The true culprit, however, isn’t always the environment. It’s us! Blown tires, mufflers, bumpers, or cargo like mattresses, firewood, or bicycles that fall off cars are extremely tricky to steer around. Even if you’re an advanced driver you can never be sure how something is going to bounce. With other cars on the road and distractions you’re already dealing with like a phone or a child, lost cargo can be absolutely fatal.
That being said, we each need to do our part to not contribute to road debris. Here are some things you can do to keep our roads safer:
* Always uses ropes, straps, and chains to hold down items. Don’t trust the weight of an object or flimsy materials like bungee cords or string.
* Always anchor your ropes. If you’re going to spend the time tying your cargo down, finish the job correctly by tying a knot on something sturdy.
* Use a bowline, Truckers Hitch, and Double Fisherman’s Bend to secure your cargo.
* Try to keep cargo below the top edge of the truck bed.
* Be sure all bags, boxes, and containers are 100% closed.
* Cover loose items.
And if you are following someone who’s carrying a large assortment of cargo, give them another car length of space. This way you’ll have a bit more time to react should something fly off.
Joe and Martin Injury Attorneys is committed to keeping our roads safe and representing those who have been a victim when it’s not. If your auto accident was caused by someone else’s negligence to properly secure their cargo on the road, we are here for you. Call Joe and Martin Injury Attorneys at (843)357-8888 or visit us at joeandmartin.com.

Symptoms and Side-Effects of Whiplash

There are several common causes of whiplash: car or cycling accidents, falls from horseback riding, contact sports or other falls and accidents in which the head jerks back violently.  How do you know if you have whiplash? If you have been in an accident like those listed you may have neck pain, headaches at the base of you neck, dizziness and blurred vision.  Some treatments for whiplash like aspirin and physical therapy may help ease the pain within a few weeks.  Some instances of whiplash last up to three months.  In any case, seek medical attention to be sure of a proper diagnosis and treatment. If you have been injured and suffer from whiplash, we may be able to help you.  Call today for a free consultation (843) 357-8888 or visit joeandmartin.com.

A Guide to Stop Distracted Driving

In today’s fast-paced world. we are faced with distracted driving daily. With as many billboards as there are advising us to not become distracted and drive at the same time, most of us are familiar with the concept at this point. But did you know that there are actually several different types of this offense that can be committed? Understandably, cell phones take most of the heat on the topic of distracted driving, but they’re not the only kind.

Manual Distractions 
Manual Distractions quite literally encompass any action that requires one or both hands being removed from the steering wheel. Cell phones are a given, but think about all the other things we do in the car that require our hands? Fixing your make-up, adjusting the radio, eating, or even reaching for something in the back seat. These tasks seem innocent, but they can be distracting and the defense won’t let up if they find out you were preoccupied while operating your vehicle. Parents are especially susceptible here because of all the many ways they must tend to the needs of their children in a vehicle.

Visual Distractions
Visual distractions can generally be defined as anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road. For instance, looking in the back seat, a glove compartment, or the center console are all examples of visual distractions. An example we’re all guilty of would be checking out accidents, emergency vehicles, or hazards on the side of the road. Regardless of how attractive the stimulus is, these distractions cause us to lose focus and potentially harm ourselves and others.

Cognitive Distractions
Cognitive distractions are described as a loss of focus when driving. Sleepiness or “zoning out” are common while operating a vehicle, especially on long or late drives. Cognitive distractions are hard to prove because it’s difficult to show what a driver was focused on just prior to an accident, but they are dangerous nonetheless.
At Joe and Martin Injury Attorneys, we work hard to help you receive the compensation you deserve if you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver. An experienced injury lawyer who cares about your case can help you make sense of your accident.

Call us today at (843)357-8888 or visit JoeAndMartin.com/contact for a free consultation.

Pedestrians: Pay Attention!

An alarming number of pedestrian fatalities occur each year.  Between 2015 and 2016, the number of pedestrian deaths rose from 57 to 66 in South Carolina according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Sadly, some pedestrian fatalities could be avoided if pedestrians were alert and aware of their surroundings when walking. A few pieces of advice to remember while you are walking could save your life:

  • Unless you are stopped and standing a safe distance away from the street, put your phone away so this won’t be a distraction for you.
  • Always walk in crosswalks after the sign indicates it is safe to do so, but remember to look before you cross as well.
  • Walking while under the influence is also a factor in fatalities. Take an Uber or Lyft or have a sober  friend drive you home rather than walking after drinking.
  • If you are listening to music, be sure that the volume is low enough to still hear what’s going on around you.

Be safe and pay attention, pedestrians! Take safety while walking into your own hands (or feet!).

Selfie Photo

Selfies, Statuses, and How Social Media Can Undercut Your Personal Injury Claim

Some pieces off advice bear repeating again and again… and again. One of them is about being careful about what you post on social media. This guidance typically gets brought up as it relates to job hunting or family matters, but it’s just as paramount in personal injury cases.
It’s important to understand that if there is evidence that undermines your personal injury claim — it can be and very likely will be used against you. That’s why a status update, message to friends, and even selfies need to be submitted with absolute scrutiny so that insurance companies or defense attorneys don’t use them to their advantage.
In the case of personal injury, it’s typical to file claims asking for compensation for medical bills or for the suffering caused by the physical injury. Social media can threaten these claims. For instance, imagine you’ve filed a claim for a serious injury caused to you because of being rear-ended in your car. A posted photo of you at the beach can be taken out of context to show you are faking your injury. This is exactly the sort of evidence that may sway a jury’s opinion — leaving you without compensation for medical bills, inconveniences caused by pain, and psychological distress.
Many people believe they have a greater entitlement to privacy than they do. The hard truth is, just about anything you send, submit, post, or share is up for grabs to create a defense against you. Insurance companies and defense attorneys will use whatever they can to poke holes in your claim. Just because your messages to your friends are private to you, doesn’t mean it can’t be used against you.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken after a personal injury accident. We suggest converting all social media accounts to private to at least narrow down the audience of who sees what you share. Second, examine very, very carefully what you decide to post before you post it. Does it insinuate you’re healthy and happy, despite making a personal injury claim arguing you’re not? Then don’t post it. The same goes with your family and friends. Kindly ask them to refrain from positing about you for the time being. It’s not easy removing ourselves from the social media sphere temporarily, but respecting the process of winning a personal injury claim is well worth it in the end.

Construction Accidents

Workers’ Compensation: How your work can work for you

Accidents can happen anywhere, even the places we feel safest. One of our safe places is the workplace, but injuries happen there too and they can be life-altering. If you’ve been injured in your workplace, ensure your rights are protected by reaching out to Joe and Martin Injury Attorneys.
Because injuries and even fatalities can happen at work, employers offer workers’ compensation to help injured employees on the job. It’s important to understand what the general benefits of workers’ compensation are in case you’ve been injured.
Compensation for medical bills:
Workers’ compensation covers doctor visits, medications, physical therapy, surgeries, and various other hospital needs up to a certain amount.
Vocational rehabilitation:
Vocation rehabilitation is a process that helps people with injuries, disabilities, or impairments to overcome difficulties with work due to injury.
Disability benefits:
Compensation given in case your accident caused permanent impairment.
Compensation for lost pay:
Supplemental pay that is given to you at 2/3 of your wage rate for the time you were unable to work due to your injury.
Workers may have a third-party claim they can bring against other individuals or products that are responsible to the accident.
These complexities evidence the importance of having competent legal representation if you’ve been injured on the job. If you’ve been hurt at work, reach out to us so we can make sure you are being treated fairly.

Tips for Meeting with a Doctor After an Accident 


Tell the truth and be cooperative, anything that wastes time is time lost that could be spent on you getting better after an accident.  Work with your doctor to determine the cause of pain after injury – remember, you should mention all ailments, physical and mental, so your doctor can determine the best way to treat your injuries.
If an examination becomes painful, tell your doctor that you do not want to continue that part of your consultation due to pain. Inform your doctor about any activities you can no longer perform or restrictions in movement. Even small annoyances can become lifelong problems.  Remembering these guidelines will help make your appointment run smoothly and should legal counsel need any information, your doctor will have made a thorough evaluation of your injuries and ailments.

If you have been injured in an auto accident, call Joe and Martin for your free consultation.

Fourth of July Firework Injuries

Tips for a Safe Fourth of July

There’s nothing like the sticky heat of summer on a July evening lit with colorful fireworks. The Fourth of July marks our nation’s independence and has become a time of celebration with our families, friends, and neighborhoods. Everything turns red, white, and blue to mark the Declaration of Independence across the country. Plus, there are plenty of fun activities planned across Myrtle Beach and South Carolina that range from boat parades to concerts to fireworks over the beach. Whatever you decide to do this holiday, these Fourth of July safety tips can help keep you and your family out of harm’s way.
Fourth of July Firework Injuries
Firework Safety Tips
Fireworks have become an iconic symbol of the Fourth of July, right after the American flag. If you and your family are planning on setting off some of your own fireworks, keep these Fourth of July safety tips in mind:

  • Keep the fireworks outside! Never light them inside.
  • Keep water on hand just in case. A hose nearby is ideal.
  • Make sure to read the instructions—and the caution label—before lighting any fireworks.
  • Don’t drink and light! Drinking can impair your judgment.
  • Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes when using fireworks.
  • If a firework doesn’t go off, wait 20 minutes and then place it in a bucket of water. Don’t try to relight it.
  • Make sure to soak all used fireworks with water before tossing them in your outdoor garbage. Just because they don’t look lit, doesn’t mean they aren’t.

The first week of July is notorious for firework accidents. Last year, a professional football player even injured his hand lighting fireworks. Every year around the Fourth, 200 people check into the emergency room with firework injuries. Don’t be a statistic—if you choose to set off fireworks, follow the instructions, use proper safety equipment, and stay sober.
Beach Safety Tips
With the gorgeous South Carolina beaches, there are bound to be plenty of people in the sand and surf this holiday. The Red Cross advises beachgoers to:

  • Have young children and those who can’t swim wear a life jacket,
  • Follow the lifeguard’s instructions, and
  • Beware of rip currents (remember, swim parallel to the shore when caught in a rip current until you are free).

Check the weather before heading out and consider bringing along an umbrella or tent to provide some shade. And of course, pack plenty of sunscreen and apply liberally.
Grilling Safety Tips
Who doesn’t love setting out the grill for the Fourth? If you’re planning on grilling corn on the cob, burgers, or even pizza, make sure to follow these grill safety tips:

  • Tell the kids to run elsewhere and steer clear of the grilling area.
  • When you set up the grill, make sure it isn’t too close to anything that can burn like deck railings, eaves, and low branches.
  • Remove any grease that has built up.
  • Don’t go crazy with the lighter fluid if you’re using charcoal. You can always add more.
  • Make sure someone is always on grill duty. Don’t leave the grill unattended.

If you have any foods set out for a picnic, bring along plenty of ice packs. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot to lessen the chance of food contamination.
General Fourth of July Safety Tips
However you choose to spend the holiday, there are a couple of no-brainer safety tips that you should always follow. If you plan to be outside, make sure to use sunscreen. And if you plan on drinking, assign a designated driver beforehand. There’s never an excuse for drinking and driving.
We hope these Fourth of July safety tips help you and your family enjoy a fun Independence Day!

Top 5 Distractions While Driving

April is National Distracted Driving month. This is an important time to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. Taking your eyes off the road for only two seconds can double your risk of being in a crash. The media usually focuses on helping to avoid texting and driving, and while the use of phones is the leading cause of distracted driving accidents, there are other distractions that commonly happen while driving. .

Below are five common distractions that happen while driving and ways to help avoid them.

  • Cell Phones. Cell phones are the leading cause of distracted driving. According to a study conducted by the University of Utah, using a cell phone while driving (even if it’s hands free) creates the same delayed reactions as a person with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent (the legal limit). Take the pledge to never text and drive, or download one of these recommended apps to deter you from using your cell phone in the car.

 

  • Car Stereos. Adjusting the radio is a common task while driving. To avoid distraction and a accident, create preset stations or change your music options while you’re stopped.No matter how you are interacting with passengers, this cognitive distraction is very dangerous in a car. Whether it’s turning around to talk to your kids or looking at the person sitting in your passenger seat, talking to passengers is one of the leading distractions. You can join in on the conversation, but keep your eyes on the road.

 

  • GPS Devices. Though these are helpful when navigating drivers to their destination, GPS devices can present a major distraction, that some have even compared to as dangerous as using your cell phone. Because GPS devices require the same type of visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver as sending a text message, they’re just as dangerous. Some vehicles won’t allow you to use the navigation system while driving. To be even safer, you can set your destination before you leave.

 

  • Eating or Drinking. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration estimates that eating while driving increases the likelihood of crashes by 80 percent. When eating or drinking, many drivers divert their eyes away from the road or remove their hands from the wheel.

These five distractions are some of the most common, but not the only instances of distracted driving. Other examples include smoking, grooming, dropping something or even reading a newspaper or book. At the end of the day, remember to stay focused when driving by eliminating any unnecessary distractions.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a distracted driving accident, don’t wait. Contact Joe & Martin today for help.