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South Dakota Personal Injury Law Blog

What factors cause the most catastrophic truck crashes?

Although it may be hard to believe, many tractor-trailers that you'll notice driving alongside you on the highway or city streets weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. This is significantly more than the average passenger car. The latter weighs around 3,000 pounds. The sheer difference in size is one of the reasons that crashes between passenger cars and trucks often leave the motorists involved in them with catastrophic injuries or worse.

You must realize that not every truck weighs as much as 80,000 pounds. It's generally only the ones that are fully-loaded that are that heavy. Tractor-trailers that are packed full aren't the only dangerous ones though.

Autumn can bring unexpected hazards for motorcyclists

South Dakota motorcyclists likely still have a couple of months of good riding weather before the cold and snow sets in. However, it's essential not to underestimate some of the dangers that fall can present to bikers.

Leaves are among the top hazards. They're beautiful ti look at, but when they fall, they can stick to your visor and/or windshield and impair your vision -- particularly when they're wet. If you want to enjoy the sight of leaves falling, pull over. It's too easy to get mesmerized by them and become distracted if you're watching them while you're riding.

If you have a CDL, you face higher standards for alcohol use

As a truck driver, your commercial driver's license represents more than the ability to drive trucks; it also represents your livelihood. Any suspension or revocation of that license could easily mean unemployment and looking for a new vocation.

For this reason, it's imperative that you keep your driving record clean. You may get a ticket or two, or get into an accident, but that may not be enough to lose your license, even temporarily. One surefire way to jeopardize your CDL is by drinking and driving.

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries

When a person's spinal cord is damaged, they may suffer from permanent injuries and changes in their ability to function. The injuries that will be suffered mainly depend on the particular part of the spinal cord that has been damaged. Sadly, the repair that can be done to a damaged spinal cord is limited, but a person can make significant progress through rehabilitation.

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, and they result in people losing their quality of life as a result. If you have been injured in a car accident, you must seek medical attention immediately after because what may seem like a minor injury could be very serious. It is also important that you take action to get the compensation that you deserve if you have suffered spinal cord damage.

How police spot a drunk driver

You probably know that the police need a reason to pull you over. They can't just pull over your car at random and give you a breath test to see if you have been drinking. They need to stop you for some sort of traffic violation, e.g., speeding, and then determine that you are potentially intoxicated or they need to see signs of intoxication while you drive.

So, what do they look for? A few key things include drivers who:

  • Swerve all over the road or from side to side in their lane
  • Drive with their lights off even though it is dark out and lights are clearly needed
  • Accelerate or decelerate far more quickly than necessary
  • Get into accidents, no matter how minor, or who have near misses
  • Drive the wrong way on the interstate or a one-way street
  • Make illegal or abrupt turns
  • Do not respond quickly to traffic control devices, such as stoplights
  • Signal one direction and turn in the other
  • Have one set of tires on each side of the centerline
  • Hit the brakes for no reason or who stop well before stop signs

Truck hits tractor in South Dakota

South Dakota is a well-populated state, so it is no surprise that there are many vehicles of different kinds out on the roads. If one thing goes wrong with any of those vehicles, the result can be a motorcycle accident, a car accident or a truck accident. Sometimes, it can even be a combination of all three. However, South Dakota also has an agricultural sector, and that means that vehicles like tractors can be involved in accidents too.

When heavy vehicles like trucks and tractors collide, the drivers of both can suffer injuries. That happened recently when, according to the South Dakota Highway Patrol, a tractor was heading south down a hill of SD Highway 73. All of a sudden, a truck crested the top of the hill and smashed directly into the back of the tractor.

Motorcyclists at rally get in multiple accidents

South Dakota is a popular rallying place for many kinds of groups. It is a destination of choice for people wanting to attend conferences, festivals and motorcycle events like the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Of course, the Sturgis event has its share of motorcycle accidents each year. Those accidents, in turn, can result in personal injuries that range from minor to life-threatening.

At this year's Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, at least 10 people have been injured in accidents, with some of those accidents involving other types of vehicles. For example, a motorcycle was going southbound on South Dakota Highway 79 when, all of a sudden, a 2011 Ford Escape, which was going northbound at the time, turned directly in front of the motorcycle. The driver of the motorcycle, who was 86 years old, suffered minor injuries. He had been wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. The driver and passenger of the Ford Escape, who had both been wearing seat belts, were not injured.

Has paraplegia left your life permanently changed?

The idea of becoming paralyzed may be one that leaves many people feeling lucky that they have all of their abilities. However, a serious accident could occur at any time that leaves an unsuspecting individual with this type of life-changing injury. Though individuals with paraplegia can still live full lives, it can take time to make such a serious adjustment.

Unfortunately, a reckless or negligent driver may have caused an accident that left you with this type of injury. In fact, accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries that lead to paraplegia and other forms of paralysis. What does this mean for you?

Possession of drugs in South Dakota

  • Did you know that there are actually three different ways you can be charged with drug possession in South Dakota? One of those ways is particularly unique to the state -- which may be why it ties (along with Wyoming and South Carolina) for the highest number of drug arrests in the nation.

Most people are familiar with the first way you can end up with a drug charge: You get caught with actual drugs in your possession. South Dakota is notoriously rough on drug offenders. Even a small amount of marijuana can lead to a $2,000 fine and a year in jail.

Constructive possession is another route that prosecutors can use to convict people of drug possession. In essence, constructive possession is the charge that law enforcement will use when they aren't sure whose drugs they just found in a home or car -- so they simply charge everybody who could have possibly had access and control of those drugs. That means if your college roomie hides his pot stash in the common bathroom you share, you can both be arrested.

Semitruck hits car head-on

The middle of summer sees cars and trucks going to many different destinations on South Dakota roads. Most of them, one hopes, pay attention to all of the things that can keep themselves and others safe on the roads, like adhering to speed limits and watching where they're going, However, some drivers are not careful, and car accidents and truck accidents result.

A truck accident occurred on U.S. Highway 83 at about 7:00 p.m. one recent evening. A semitruck driver, who was driving northbound close to Herreid, tried to pass another vehicle. When he did, he collided head-on with a Buick LaCrosse, which was in the southbound lane at the time.

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