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Archive for March, 2014

Medications and Driving

Posted on: March 28th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

file1031263057366Driving on prescription drugs can be as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. With certain medications you may never realize that your reaction times or motor skills are compromised because you still feel okay. When taking prescription medication, be aware of the phrase “may cause drowsiness” on the label. Pertinent information is usually located right before dosage and directions.

Watch for these active ingredients in allergy medications: diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine, brompheniramine, clemastine and doxylamine. Additionally, you will find these antihistamines in cough medicine, cold tablets, flue therapies, or just about any drug that helps you rest.

We all force ourselves to work when we are sick, which means getting behind the wheel. Never drive immediately after taking medication because it might take up to 30 minutes to set in and you don’t want to be caught behind the wheel suddenly feeling loopy or tired. If you feel yourself nodding off then pull off the road and rest for a while until you feel awake enough to drive.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

The Importance of Seeking a Medical Evaluation After an Accident

Posted on: March 26th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

file0001812797650We all know that person in our families that refuses to seek medical attention no matter how much pain they are in. After an auto accident it is important to receive timely medical attention for injuries because a person might have adrenalin pumping through their body and simply not realize they have sustained an injury. This type of injury does not present itself right away and that is why you should never decline being taken to the hospital for an evaluation.

Some symptoms do not display immediately. A concussion or internal bleeding might not show up until hours or even days later. There are two important reasons why you should be evaluated following a collision:

1. Emergency Medical Technicians are trained experts, who can determine if you have sustained a serious injury, even if you don’t have any apparent symptoms.

1. The more time that passes, the harder it becomes to prove that your injuries were related to the crash.

Simply because an injury isn’t as obvious as a broken bone, it doesn’t mean one hasn’t occurred.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

Keep your Paper Work After a Car Accident

Posted on: March 20th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOrganization is your best defense for your personal injury case. Hold on to all paperwork that will be presented to the insurance company including all communications and evidence from the accident. I recommend keeping a binder to store all important documents in one place.

The following are important items for you to hold on to:

  • All prescriptions given to you by the emergency room doctor and your treating physician.
  • Letters from your doctor that state you are unable to work.
  • Collect all receipts for out of pocket expenses including a rental car, prescriptions, co-pays, funeral expenses, etc.
  • Keep the names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses as well as anything you might have overheard any witnesses say at the scene of the accident.
  • Receipts for traveling to and from your doctor’s office, physical therapy, or diagnostic center including gas, tolls, bus or taxi.

Loosing important paperwork will delay, reduce, or even deny your accident claim. Your case cannot be settled if there is a lack of evidence both prior to filing the lawsuit and up to the time of closing statements.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

GPS Systems May Cause Distracted Driving Accidents

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane


All of us have depended on our GPS Systems one time or another to get us somewhere when we are driving in an unfamiliar area. You may have experienced technical difficulties with your GPS such as the screen changing over to a battery recharge screen while mid path or maybe it thinks you are on a road that is actually an overpass. I have even had my GPS tell me to turn onto a one-way road going the wrong way. All of this brings me to one question, do GPS Systems cause distracted driving accidents?

The answer is yes. The following are a few tips for utilizing your technology to stay convenient and keep you safe.

If you are programming a GPS while driving then it is just as bad as texting while driving. Always program your GPS while parked before you head out on the road.

Make sure your GPS is fully charged before you head out on the road to avoid losing your route mid path.

If you have a passenger in your vehicle, have them navigate the system for you so that you are not distracted.

If you are using an old system then make sure your maps are up to date. It is recommended that you download new maps every 1 – 2 years for construction changes. Otherwise you might end up driving into something that may no longer be a road.

Never mute your GPS. Voice commands will help keep your eyes on the road and decrease your chances of getting into an accident.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

The Importance of Writing Statements after Your Auto Accident

Posted on: March 16th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

file000368977040You just returned home after being in a car collision and your mind is racing. Though it is difficult, before too much time passes you want to document all of your recollections about the incident. The sooner you start, the better because as time passes you may forget the details. I recommend that you keep a spiral notebook as your “accident journal”  Inside, write down everything you recall from beginning to end:

Did the other car have the right of way?
Did the other driver cut you off?
Did the other driver admit being at fault?
What were the weather conditions at the time?
Can you recall if there was road construction going on?
Was the sun glaring in the eyes of the other driver making it difficult to see?
What did the other driver say to you?
Did you speak with any eye witnesses?
Did the police officer make any comments to you?
How were you feeling at the scene and how are you feeling now?
Did any part of your body strike the inside of your car?

Don’t mix emotions with facts on how the event took place. Continue your journal each day as this will help your lawyer to understand what took place before, during and after the accident and how you have been affected as a result. You can never have too much documentation on what took place.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

Distracted Driving Leads to Fatal Crashes

Posted on: March 15th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

DSC_4915Every year the Washington Traffic Safety Commission releases statistics for Washington Car Collisions. A 2004 – 2008 report on Fatal Crashes Involving Distracted Driving showed an average of 152 deaths per year as a result of distracted driving. Since collision data is collected by investigators, these numbers may actually be higher because often times there is no evidence of distraction at the crash site and drivers may be reluctant to admit a distraction.

In crashes involving death, statistics show the following mortality rates: driver – 65%, passenger – 23.7% and pedestrian 9.8%. Nearly a quarter of the deaths were between ages 16 and 25. Persons over the age of 70 only represented 14.2% of distracted driving deaths. 62.1% of the total accidents occurred on rural roads and 40.2% of accidents occurred on US/State Highways, both urban and rural. The highest percentage of deaths were in King county, though Snohimish came in at number four.

So what are the contributing factors for these distracted driving collisions? 77% of the 3,967 drivers involved in distracted  driving collisions were male. Common driver errors were as follows: alcohol or drug impairment – 36.6%, Speeding – 28.9%, Failure to yield right of way – 15.5%. 42% of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths were not using seat belts.

To read the full report, visit:


The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.

The Importance of Taking Pictures After a Car Accident

Posted on: March 7th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

Car AccidentCases are not won based on “facts”. They are won based on the evidence presented both in and out of court. When an injured victim fails to provide evidence or supporting documents as proof to the insurance carrier, they are giving them the perfect opportunity to reject a claim.

No person knows when an accident is going to happen. It can happen at any time to anyone, yet from a legal standpoint the biggest mistake an injured person can make is failing to document everything that just took place at the scene of the incident. A lack of proof can destroy a potential injury claim.

If possible, you or someone who is with you should document the scene. You can easily collect evidence with a cell phone using the camera and video functions.

Because your cell phone is your best defense, it  is always a good idea to charge your phone before leaving home or keeping a charger in your car.

Here is a list of things that should be photographed or videotaped (include the date/time stamp if possible):

  • Both vehicles showing impact, how they stopped including skid marks. Photograph from all angles and include the license plates.
  • Details of the damage made to each car.
  • Roadside debris, broken glass and damaged items inside the car.
  • Bodily injuries, including every cut, scrape bruise and scratch. Also take pictures throughout the healing process.
  • If you believe visibility was blocked by a tree or construction then make sure to take pictures of those things before the scene changes.
  • If you believe the other driver might be under the influence of alcohol then quietly video  their actions and statements.
  • Take pictures of items you may need for your injuries including wheelchair, cane, bed pan, knee brace etc.

If there is a dispute over what occurred, photos and videos will tell the real story. Even if you do not think you will need to file a claim it is better to have evidence and not need it, then to realize two months down the road that you are not healing and you should have photographed the scene.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.


Tips to Stay Awake on Your Next Road Trip

Posted on: March 6th, 2014 by Joe Cunnane

file5901256161591As the days get sunnier you might find yourself staring out the office window daydreaming about your next road trip.  Here are some tips for staying safe for the next big trip cross country or just crossing the Cascades.

On long drives your attention may begin to wonder or the wrong song might begin to rock you to sleep. Before beginning a long drive, always get enough sleep and eat a healthy meal. Here in Western Washington caffeine is always the answer, but it isn’t necessarily the best way to stay alert while driving. Stimulants may have a downside when they begin to wear off.

Taking breaks to pull over and stretch your legs every couple of hours will allow you to re-energize. Take advantage of this time to grab a quick snack or a much needed nap.

Keeping up in good conversation will help you to stay awake, but also be careful that it doesn’t distract you. Take turns driving with another adult so that you can allow time for a little shut-eye. If you are driving alone, turn on  the radio or music and keep the window cracked open to allow cool air in.

The Cunnane Law Office has provided this content for informational purposes only.  You should refer your questions to a personal injury attorney.