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Reduction of Environmental Funding in Delaware

Over the last decade, there has been a steep reduction in the amount of environmental funding and staffing available at both federal and state levels. According to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project, these budget cuts come at a most inopportune time considering the booming oil and gas industry, and the ever-increasing number of flagrant violators who continue to go unchecked.

Most States Have Reduced Environmental Agency Funding Over the Last Decade

According to the report, 30 states have reduced funding to their environmental agencies’ pollution control programs. These cuts were implemented despite the devastating impact of climate change and coastal flooding in several states. Forty states reduced the staffing levels at their environmental agencies, and 21 states eliminated at least 10 percent of their environmental workforce.

Delaware cut its environmental agency funding by 33 percent since 2008, earning a spot among the top five states with the largest percentage of cuts to operating budgets in the last decade. Additionally, it is reported that:

  • Out of the 30 states that reduced funding, 16 did so by more than 20 percent.
  • States eliminated more than 4,400 positions at environmental protection agencies.
  • In some cases, environmental agency funding was slashed despite an increase in overall state spending.
  • The reduction in spending for state pollution control programs cuts across party lines and has occurred in both notoriously democratic states, such as Delaware.
  • Delaware was among the top 10 states with the largest percentage of cuts to environmental agency staff, which is a 21 percent decrease since 2008.

How Are Environmental Laws Being Implemented and Enforced?

Understaffing and underfunding has made it more difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as well as state environmental agencies to implement and enforce environmental protection laws, such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Those who have been exposed to toxic materials or chemicals may be able to obtain compensation in an environmental toxic tort claim. To prove a toxic tort claim, a plaintiff must generally show that the substance he or she was exposed to is dangerous and caused harm. Available damages typically include medical expenses and monitoring, lost wages, pain and suffering, and potentially wrongful death damages in cases of toxic tort-related fatalities. For more information, it is best to contact a local environmental attorney that will explain environmental toxic torts, your legal rights, and options.

Wilmington Environment Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Represent Victims Who Are Exposed to Toxins

If you were harmed by exposure to environmental pollutants, contact one of our knowledgeable Wilmington environment lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. We are dedicated to holding corporations accountable for their actions and obtaining maximum compensation for our clients. Complete our online form or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free case consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Dump Truck Accidents

Wilmington truck accident lawyers advocate for victims of dump truck accidents.Dump trucks represent a heightened risk of injury and death compared to passenger vehicles. A typical dump truck weights several times the average passenger vehicle. In fact, a loaded dump truck can weigh over 65,000 pounds and can create catastrophic consequences when involved in a collision.

Weight is not the only factor that makes dump trucks especially dangerous.  Dump trucks are designed to have added ground clearance and a relatively high center of gravity. This makes the trucks much more susceptible to overturning while making turns. The combination of heavy weight and a relatively high center of gravity makes dump trucks inherently harder to stop or maneuver. Considering this, precautions are necessary to maintain safety.

Keeping the Roads Safe

Both individual state and federal laws impose requirements on commercial drivers. When applying for a commercial driver’s licenses, applicants must have a clean driving record and pass medical, written, and practical driving tests. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 requires a commercial driver’s license holder to be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle when convicted of major violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The holder can also be disqualified for serious traffic violations, such as making erratic lane changes or driving recklessly.

Despite efforts to minimize risks posed by dump trucks, serious accidents often happen. Some of the more common causes include negligent acts by the driver, such as:

  • Failing to yield when leaving a construction work zone or driving recklessly
  • Inadequately securing loads
  • Neglecting safety procedures

Sometimes, the hazard is created by the truck owner, such as if a truck is not properly maintained. Failure to properly maintain the brakes, steering, and tire traction and pressure is especially risky and invites serious accidents to take place. Unfortunately, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, serious dump truck accidents are on the rise. In 2016, 8,206 dump trucks needed to be towed from an accident. This was an increase of nearly 10 percent from the year prior. In that same year, 5,483 accidents involving injuries were recorded, representing an increase of 2.7 percent from the year prior.

Representing Victims of Dump Truck Accidents

Victims of dump truck accidents may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive full compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other crash-related damages. If a victim is killed in a dump truck accident, the surviving family will need to file a wrongful death claim to be compensated for their losses.

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Advocate for Victims of Dump Truck Accidents

If you were seriously injured in a dump truck accident, contact an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete an online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.

Delaware Road Deaths Outpacing 2017

Delaware car accident lawyers handle fatal car accident claims.Delaware Office of Highway Safety statistics show the number of Delaware roadway fatalities in 2018 is outpacing last year’s numbers – much to the concern of Delaware officials. At a similar point last year, accident fatalities in Delaware totaled 47. So far this year, at least 61 people have lost their lives in auto accidents. Only 2016 saw a higher number of highway fatalities for this time period at 67. Each year, more than 100 people are fatally injured in wrecks on Delaware roads. Should this trend continue, the number of Delaware accident fatalities will likely exceed last year’s total of 118.

Researchers suggest several possible causes for the rise in the number of fatal accidents. Increased traffic volumes and the prevalence of distracted driving behaviors may be contributing factors. Distracted driving behaviors can include talking or texting on cell phones, interacting with a car’s infotainment systems such as the radio or navigation systems and engaging in personal grooming tasks such as brushing hair or applying makeup.

Fatal Accidents Spike in Summer

Summer is an especially dangerous time in Delaware as out-of-state drivers fill the roadways. Delaware beaches remain a popular vacation spot for many vacationers. Several of the fatal accidents involved out-of-state residents. In early July, a New Jersey family’s Ocean City, Maryland vacation ended in tragedy as a father and his four daughters were fatally injured in a head-on collision. In a separate hit and run incident, a Pennsylvania man also was killed on a Delaware roadway last month.

Weekends are an especially dangerous time on Delaware roadways. Almost half of the deadly crashes that occurred in Delaware last month took place in the time period between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

This year’s fatal motor vehicle accidents include the following circumstances:

  • Motorist being struck by a passing vehicle on Interstate 494 after exiting his car to make a phone call
  • Hit and run of a bicyclist riding on shoulder of South DuPont Highway
  • Speeding motorist failing to negotiate a curve on Ralph Road
  • Motorcycle crash in Laurel
  • Motor vehicle collision on Millsboro Highway and Nine Foot Road
  • Flaming single car wreck on Concord Pike north of Wilmington
  • Heavy duty pickup truck crossing center median on Delaware Route 1 colliding with minivan
  • Collision between a burglary suspect and state police trooper in Milton

Delaware drivers are most often cited as being at fault in these fatal accidents. Office of Highway Safety statistics show for the time period 2011-2017, Delaware drivers were found at fault in 84 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents. While that number decreases slightly in the summer months to between 71-79 percent, the majority of drivers involved in the fatal crashes are Delaware residents.

The Delaware Department of Transportation continues to evaluate all factors involved in these highway deaths in its continuing effort to make Delaware roadways safer. In the case of the tragic five-fatality minivan crash, the collision occurred on a section of Delaware Route 1 that lacked guardrails. In response, the Department of Transportation has announced a plan to install barriers at the site. Police pursuit polices also are being scrutinized as result of the bicycle accident that claimed a life in Milton.

Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Handle Fatal Car Accident Claims

If you have been seriously injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident, the experienced Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. are here to assist you in obtaining the maximum compensation possible. With offices conveniently located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we proudly serve clients throughout the state. To schedule your free confidential consultation with a Delaware car accident lawyer, call us today at 302-656-5445 or contact us online.

Dangerous Understaffing in Prisons

Delaware wrongful death lawyers report on dangerous understaffing in prisonsThe fatal prison uprising that occurred in February 2017 at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware demonstrates the understaffing issues affecting prisons nationwide. During the incident, prison inmates held six correctional officers and a counselor hostage in an 18-hour standoff, which resulted in the tragic death of one of the officers. After the uprising, about 200 correctional officers and medical staff members resigned or retired from the correctional facility. Attorneys at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. represented the family of the slain correctional officer in their wrongful death suit against several state officials. Ultimately, the state agreed to pay the Plaintiffs a record-setting settlement that topped $7.5 million.

At the time of the incident, only four guards were tasked with supervising more than 125 prisoners. The national average as reported by the Department of Justice is one guard per five inmates. Delaware is one of about 15 states in which officials cite understaffing as a major safety concern in their state facilities. Commonly, prisons address the problem by encouraging officers to work overtime instead of hiring more guards. In Delaware facilities, about 40 percent of the staff work overtime on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this may lead to future revolts that could endanger guards and other prison staff as well as inmates who may not be involved.

If you have been injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one due to another’s negligence, the Delaware wrongful death lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. have the knowledge and experience to achieve justice. To arrange a free consultation, contact us online or call 302-656-5445. From our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, we represent individuals and families throughout the state, including those in Dover, Delaware.

Bridgeville Car Accident Fatally Injures Maryland Man

Bridgeville Car Accident Fatally Injures Maryland ManA man sustained fatal injuries after a car accident in Bridgeville, Delaware on Sunday night. Just after 11 pm, the fatal car crash occurred when a sedan traveling at a high speed was hit by another car on the left front and side of the sedan. The 30-year-old man from Stevensville, Maryland who was driving the car that was struck succumbed to his fatal injuries at the scene of the Bridgeville car accident while the 18-year-old woman driving the other vehicle exited the crash without any personal injuries.

Excessive speed may lead to serious accidents on the road, whether the highway is deserted or congested. Any parties involved in the collision may incur a spate of injuries or even fatalities. Other contributing factors in a car accident may include drowsy driving, intoxicated driving, or texting while driving.

If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a car accident, the Georgetown car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. will assist you. To arrange a free consultation, contact us online or call 302-656-5445. From our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, we represent individuals and families throughout the state, including those in Dover, Delaware.

Fatal Car Crash in Frederica Claims Woman’s Life and Injures Three

Fatal Car Crash in Frederica Claims Woman’s Life and Injures ThreeA fatal car crash that occurred in Frederica, Delaware, claimed a woman’s life and injured three other victims. Around 9:15 pm, on Sunday night, the fatal car accident took place when two cars entered the intersection of Bowers Beach Road and Bay Road, and one of the vehicles struck a sedan on the driver’s side. Both cars then spun out and crashed into the median from different directions. The 57-year-old woman from Felton, Delaware who was driving the struck car succumbed to her fatal injuries after being transported to the Bayhealth Kent General Hospital. A 43-year-old man from Essex, Maryland and his two passengers sustained a variety of personal injuries and received treatment at the same hospital after the fatal car crash.

Side-impact collisions commonly occur within intersections and could leave victims with many types of injuries and potential fatalities. Even with the utmost caution drivers may engage in crashes like this although oftentimes distracted driving, speeding, or failing to obey traffic signals may contribute to side-impact collisions. Debilitating pain and injuries may adversely affect the quality of life for survivors of a serious car accident and may interrupt in their ability to earn an income.

If you or your loved ones have been seriously injured in a car accident, the Georgetown car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. will assist you. To arrange a free consultation, contact us online or call 302-656-5445. From our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, we represent individuals and families throughout the state, including those in Dover, Delaware.

Wrongful Death Suits in Delaware

Delaware wrongful death lawyers help families recover compensation in wrongful death actions.A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case that may be filed when the wrongful actions of another party cause the death of someone else. A wrongful act is any that would have allowed the deceased person to bring a personal injury claim had they survived. In Delaware, if an injured person is pursuing compensation in a personal injury case and then dies, the estate may take over the case and file for wrongful death. If the person being sued dies, the case may continue against representatives of the person’s estate.

Filing a Wrongful Death Suit

Every state has different laws about who may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally, some relation between the deceased person and the claimant must exist. In Delaware, the following people can file a wrongful death action:

  • The children of the deceased, including those born out of wedlock
  • The siblings of the deceased, including any related only through one parent
  • The parents of the deceased even if they were not married at the time the child was born

A wrongful death suit can still be brought even when there is no surviving child, sibling, or parent. In such cases, compensation can be awarded to any person who was related to the deceased person by blood or marriage.

The Delaware statute of limitations gives claimants two years from the day a person dies to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state civil court system. Wrongful death claims may be brought and run concurrently with criminal cases being tried based on the same evidence of the person’s death. Any claims filed past the two-year statute of limitations will most likely be barred from court.

Awarding Damages in Delaware

If the defendant in a wrongful death case is found liable for the death of the person on whose behalf the claim was filed, then damages will be awarded. The jury or judge decides the amount of damages that are granted. In Delaware, damages may be recovered for:

  • Funeral and burial expenses that are not more than $7000
  • Loss of contributions for support
  • Loss of contributions for marital, parental, and household services, including the reasonable cost of providing for the care of minor children

The surviving spouse or next of kin may also receive damages for mental anguish. Others who may receive mental anguish damages are the surviving spouse, child, or parent who stand in loco parentis (in the place of a parent) to the person who died. It is not necessary to have achieved this status before the injury to be awarded damages. However, the reverse is not true. Any person to whom the decedent stood in loco parentis must have already had that status as of the date of injury or they cannot recover damages for mental anguish.

Delaware Wrongful Death Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Families Recover Compensation in Wrongful Death Actions

If you have questions about filing a wrongful death action, consult with an experienced Delaware wrongful death lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call 302-656-5445 to schedule a free consultation or contact us online. We have convenient locations in Wilmington and Georgetown to serve clients throughout Sussex County, New Castle County and Kent County.

Operation Safe Driver Week Highlights Unsafe Driving Behaviors

Wilmington truck accident lawyers pursue justice and compensation for victims of unsafe driving behaviors.Law enforcement agencies in both the United States and Canada recently participated in “Operation Safe Driver Week” in an effort to increase driver awareness about some of the most common unsafe driving behaviors. Law enforcement agencies not only increased their enforcement efforts during this week but also participated in campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of unsafe driving behaviors. Sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the goal of Operation Safe Driver Week was to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by commercial truck accidents.

Unsafe driver behavior remains the leading cause of large truck accident fatalities. Data provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that 3,852 deaths resulted from large truck crashes in 2015. Occupants of passenger vehicles that collided with trucks made up 69 percent of all fatalities. The vast majority of both large truck and passenger vehicles crashes are caused directly by driver behavior. Large truck crash causation studies, including a study done by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, have concluded that 88 percent of all large truck crashes are the result of unsafe driver behavior.

Data gained during Operation Safe Driver Week (which ran from October 15 to October 21, 2017) revealed the most frequently occurring unsafe driving behaviors. State and local law enforcement agencies issued over 38,000 warnings or citations to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers and over 20,000 warnings or citations to passenger vehicle drivers.

Study Findings

Unsafe driving behaviors that resulted in traffic warnings and/or citations for commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers or other heavy duty trucks included moving violations, speeding, failing to use a seatbelt, failing to obey traffic control devices, using a handheld phone, equipping their truck with illegal radar detectors, inattentive or careless driving and operating vehicles while sick or fatigued. The vast majority of the citations (84.2 percent) could be categorized as state or local moving violations. Moving violations could include the following types of driving behavior: following too closely to another vehicle, failing to yield to other vehicles, not driving within the proper lane or on the shoulder, failing to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks or for school buses, failing to properly secure loads and even reckless driving.

Passenger vehicle drivers were cited for similar violations including speeding, failure to use a seat belt, failure to obey traffic signals, and improper lane changes. Drivers of passenger vehicles were much more likely to be cited for speeding (43.5 percent of all citations) than CMV drivers (7.4 percent of all citations).

Wilmington Truck Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Pursue Justice and Compensation for Victims of Negligence

If you have been seriously injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A., can help you get the answers you need and the compensation you deserve. We have two conveniently located offices in Wilmington and Georgetown to serve clients in upstate and downstate, including those in Dover, Delaware. Call us today to schedule your free confidential consultation with one of our seasoned Wilmington truck accident lawyers at 302-656-5445 or contact us online.

Holiday Drunk Driving

As the end of the year approaches, many people have a social calendar full of parties and celebrations. Festivities typically include enjoying alcoholic drinks, making this time of year one of the most dangerous for drunk driving accidents. Especially on New Year’s Eve, the roads are full of drivers who have overestimated their ability to drive after drinking.

Effects of Alcohol on Driving

Many people have a drink for the stimulating effect – they become livelier, act happy, and “loosen up” and enjoy things more. But ironically, alcohol is classified as a depressant, so the more alcohol a person consumes, the greater its effects as a depressant. These include loss of coordination and control, impaired judgment, and loss of the ability to think rationally. That is why alcohol impaired driving is so dangerous. It is impossible to make the split-second decisions required to drive a motor vehicle.

Additionally, most social drinking happens in the evening and at night. People who decide to drive home after drinking are doing so in conditions where it is harder to see pedestrians and other unexpected obstacles. During the holiday season, they may also have winter weather conditions to contend with.

Blood Alcohol Concentration

Police measure how much alcohol a person has consumed with a breathalyzer test that determines blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or how much alcohol there is in a certain amount of blood. The legal limit in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico is .08 grams of alcohol/deciliter of blood. Unfortunately, this does not mean that lower BAC levels are safe for driving. Many people die each year in car accidents where drivers had BAC levels of .01 to .07.

Alcoholic beverages have differing amounts of alcohol. The following list is a general, but not absolute guide to how much alcohol is in different types of alcoholic drinks. For specific amounts check the drink container.

  • Beer 2–8 percent alcohol
  • Cider 4–8 percent alcohol
  • Wine 8–20 percent alcohol
  • Tequila 40 percent alcohol
  • Rum 40 percent or more alcohol
  • Brandy 40 percent or more alcohol
  • Gin 40–47 percent alcohol
  • Whiskey 40–50 percent alcohol
  • Vodka 40–50 percent alcohol
  • Liqueurs 15–60 percent alcohol

Tips for Avoiding DUIs and Drunk Driving Accidents

In 2016, close to 10,500 people died in alcohol-related crashes. To avoid being hurt in a crash or hurting others, remember these tips:

  • Never drink and drive. If you choose to drink at a holiday party, let someone else drive home.
  • Designate a driver who will be staying sober all evening before you get to the party.
  • Use the subway, a taxi service, or car service such as Lyft or Uber. Leave your car at home.
  • If you see a friend who has been drinking get into their car, offer to get them a taxi. Keeping them off the road could save lives.
  • Celebrate the season without alcohol.

Wilmington Car Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Represent Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents

If you have been injured or suffered the wrongful death of a loved one in a car accident caused by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Talk to a Wilmington car accident lawyer from Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. about your legal options. We will help you obtain justice and compensation for your injuries so that you can focus on your recovery. Contact us online or call 302-656-5445 or 800-355-1818 today to schedule a free consultation about your case. From our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware we represent clients throughout the state, including those in Dover, Delaware.