St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Tire Safety Hazards

Tire Safety Hazards

Tire Safety Hazards

5 Tire Safety Hazards

Proper maintenance of your vehicle is an important step toward ensuring your safety on the road. Tire failures at high speeds can result in vehicle rollovers, serious injuries and death. Below are five safety hazards to watch out for; the presence of any of these conditions can indicate that your tires should be repaired or replaced – before it is too late.

Tires Not Inflated to the Proper Air Pressure: Incorrect tire pressure compromises both the comfort and safety of your ride. Improper pressure affects braking, cornering, stability, mileage and tire life. Furthermore, tires that are not inflated to the proper pressure face a higher risk of catastrophic failure resulting in a serious accident. Low tire pressure causes increased friction and can overheat the tire, causing tread separation. The recommended tire pressure is always less than the maximum allowable pressure stated on the tire itself. Your vehicle recommended tire pressure can be found in the owners manual, or the label on the car drivers side door, glove compartment or gas tank door.

Worn Tread: If the tread on your tires has worn down, you are at an increased risk of a blowout or hydroplaning accident. Additionally, worn tread may indicate a more serious problem, such as improper balance, suspension or alignment. Finally, tires with worn tread are more likely to be underinflated, affecting steering, braking and mileage, and causing further safety risks due to improper air pressure.

Tire Repeatedly Loses Air Pressure: If you often notice that one of your tires seems low, despite the fact that you have inflated the tires to the proper pressure, this could indicate a leak. There may be a small puncture in the tire tread, perhaps caused by driving over a nail, or it may be caused by a poor seal between the tire and rim or a damaged valve. These problems can often be repaired, rather than having to replace the tire. Ignoring the problem can lead to a sudden drop in tire pressure while on the road, which can result in a blowout or loss of control.

Bulge in the Sidewall: Any budge, regardless of size, indicates that the tire integrity has been compromised and the tire should be replaced immediately. This could be due to an impact with a curb or pothole. When such a bulge occurs, the steel belts inside the tire have weakened and can no longer ensure safe operation of the vehicle. Care should also be taken to ensure that the impact that caused the tire bulge did not also cause damage to the wheel itself.

Old Tires/Vehicles in Storage: If your tires are old or the vehicle has been immobile for a lengthy period of time, the tires may be affected by a form of dry rot. Regardless of how climate-controlled the storage environment is, tires that sit for extended periods will weaken over time until they are unsafe for travel. Similarly, old tires will show signs of degradation. You can identify this problem by examining the tire for small cracks in the tire sidewall. If any cracks are present, the tire should be replaced.

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Personal injury cases

Bringing a Claim for Injuries When the Accident Was Partly Your Fault

Personal injury cases
In order to prevail in a personal injury case, you must be able to prove that your injuries were directly caused by the negligent actions of another. If you can prove that your injuries were at least partly caused by another, you may be able to receive compensation for your medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering, permanent physical impairment or disfigurement, lost income, decreased earning capacity, property damage, or other economic losses.

If you have been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to recover compensation from anyone else who partially caused the accident, even if the accident was partly your own fault. The legal theories of contributory negligence and comparative negligence apply in cases where the plaintiff in a lawsuit was partially responsible for his or her own injuries.

Contributory negligence means the injured person actions, at least to some extent caused his or her own injuries. For example, someone who ignores a Caution: Wet Floor sign and subsequently slips and falls may be deemed to have been careless and, thus, at fault for his or her injuries. As such, contributory negligence can prevent the injured person from recovering any compensation, even when his or her carelessness was minor as compared to the fault of the other party. In some states, accident victims are entitled to recover compensation only if they can prove that the other party fault was greater.

In some jurisdictions, the concept of contributory negligence has fallen out of favor and is no longer applied. Instead, it has been replaced with the concept of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence means that the fault for causing an accident is compared among all parties, typically broken down as a percentage of fault attributed to each party. When this occurs, the monetary recovery awarded to the injured plaintiff is reduced by his or her percentage of fault. For example, if you were injured in a car accident that was determined to be 25% your fault, your monetary recovery from the other driver insurance company would be limited to 75% of the amount of your damages from the accident, an amount equal to that driver percentage of fault for causing the accident. By applying the concept of comparative negligence, each party is held accountable only for his or her percentage of fault for causing the injuries.

You may be deemed to be partially at fault for your injuries if you have failed to act with reasonably prudent care under the circumstances of the accident, or if you voluntarily assume a portion of the risk by exposing yourself to danger, such as by failing to use the available restraints on an amusement park ride or ignoring a posted warning sign.

The total value of your claim is based on many factors, including how easily fault can be apportioned among the parties, the seriousness of your injuries, medical treatments received and insurance coverage limits. Once the claim total value is established and the percentages are applied, a final figure for the injured plaintiff compensation can be determine

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Texting While Driving

The Truth About Texting While Driving

Texting While Driving

Michigan has had a law against texting while driving since 2010, but in October of this year the law will change. A separate section will then apply to commercial drivers and school bus drivers. Also, the law does not make texting while driving a crime. Instead it is a civil infraction, like speeding, which can only result in a fine. It is a non-reporting offense, so no points are added to a person’s license unless they are operating a commercial vehicle after October of this year.

So how do you avoid those fines?

  1. Don’t use your cell phone to text while your vehicle is moving. The civil infraction only prevents texting while operating a moving motor vehicle.
  1. Don’t take calls on your cell phone if you are operating a commercial vehicle unless:
    • You can do so without holding the phone (such as with a hands-free device).
    • You do not have to push more than one button to dial or answer the phone.
    • You can avoid moving out of your seat to reach your phone.

The law is relatively narrow in scope. It carves out a large exception for drivers who are reporting traffic accidents, medical emergencies, serious road hazards, or any situation that the driver believes could threaten his or her personal safety or result in a crime. It also does not apply to active-duty law enforcement, fire department personnel, or emergency medical responders.

If the law does apply, then violators must pay a fine of up to $100 for a first offense or $200 for later offenses. This is a relatively minor fine, but a traffic stop by an officer can still take time out of your day and could result in more serious charges. Challenging the ticket can still require two court appearances.

It is better to wait to read and respond to text messages until your vehicle is safely stopped in a parking lot. Beside avoiding a ticket, it can help prevent accidents that can be quite serious as a result of distracted driving.

*Please note: Every case is different, and there may be some aspect of your particular cas which may result in an outsome other than is descriged above. This post is not intended as legal advice and may not apply to your particular case. It is always best to contact our office for a consultation if you have been or believe you may be charged with a crime.

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basic driver improvement

Keep Points Off Your License

basic driver improvement
A brand new law was approved by the Governor on December 16, 2010, which can help you keep points off your license and keep your insurance rates low after receiving a ticket. The law requires the Secretary of State to offer a basic driver improvement course to certain individuals after receiving notification of a moving violation. The Secretary of State is required to send you a Notice of Eligibility for this course after they are informed you have received a traffic ticket (unless you fall within certain critera explained below). If you receive a Notice of Eligibility you have 60 days to successfuly complete the basic driver improvement course before points will be assessed against your license. The cost of this course cannot exceed $100.00.

You will not be eligible to take the basic driver improvement course if:

You have a commercial driver’s license.
The moving violation you were charged with is a criminal offense (this includes misdemeanors and felonies).
The moving violation you were charged with is would result in 4 or more points being added to your driving record.
You were charged with:
Careless or Negligent Driving,
Speeding in a Construction Zone,
Speeding in a School Zone, or
Failure to Stop for a School Bus.
You were charged with more than 1 moving violation as a result of the same incident.
Your license was suspended in connection with the moving violation.
You have previously completed a basic driver improvement course.
You already have 3 or more points on your driving record.
Your license is restricted, suspended, or revoked, or you were driving without a license.

If you receive a Notice of Eligibility and successfully complete a basic driver improvement course within the 60 days, then no points should be added to your driving record, and your insurance company will not be provided any information with respect to that moving violation.

This is a one-time deal. Once you complete the basic driver improvement course, you can never take advantage of this statute again, but it should help you in the unlucky event you are charged with a traffic offense.

You can read the original language of the statute on the State of Michigan website. For more information, see the Secretary of State website.

* Please note: Every case is different, and there may be some aspect of your particular case which may result in an outcome other than is described above. This post is not intended as legal advice and may not apply to your particular case. It is always best to contact our office for a consultation if you have been or believe you may be charged with a crime.

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