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Articles Posted in Car Accidents

In many ways, millennials have had an uphill battle; they inherited a struggling economy, lackluster job market, and even a reputation for being lazy and selfish. Stereotypes of millennials living in their parents’ basement, taking selfies and binge watching Netflix all day are just that – stereotypes. But there may be some merit to the claims that millennials are not the best drivers. In fact, a new AAA Foundation study says that young millennials are among the worst drivers on the road.

It’s no surprise that novice teen drivers have a greater risk of being involved in an auto accident than their older, more experienced counterparts. In addition to lack of experience, teens are more inclined to practice dangerous driving behaviors, such as distraction, speeding, and reckless driving. However, teens are not the biggest concern. In fact, young millennials – people between the ages of 19 and 24 – are the drivers with the most dangerous behaviors.

The AAA study reports that ““88% of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot of worst behaved U.S. drivers.” A MA auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been harmed by another driver’s negligence.

What Dangerous Driving Behaviors Do Millennials Engage in the Most?

Any behavior that takes your focus from the road or limits your ability to safely control your vehicle can be deadly. The AAA study linked the following behaviors to young millennial drivers:

  • Driving and texting
  • Speeding
  • Running red lights

In 2015, traffic fatalities increased by approximately seven percent, making it “the largest single-year increase in five decades.” So why such a rise in roadway deaths? Careless driving may be the culprit.

Young People Underestimate Dangers

According to the AAA Foundation’s executive director Dr. David Yang, many people in this age group simply don’t understand the severity of their driving behaviors. “Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said Yang. “It is critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”

Young Millennials – Dangerous Driving Statistics

Studies continue to prove that careless driving is a problem with young millennials. But what constitutes “careless driving”? See below for a few examples.

This age group:

  • Reads text messages six times more frequently than other age groups.
  • Is nearly twice as likely to send a text while driving.
  • Is four times as likely to speed.

And about 14 percent of young millennials think it is acceptable to run a red light just as it’s about to turn red, even if it’s still possible to come to a complete stop. A Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you determine how to recover damages if you’ve been injured in an auto accident. Continue reading

Motor vehicle insurance is intended to protect you from financial losses if you are involved in an accident. These losses can result from property damage to your vehicle, other vehicles, other property, and from personal injuries suffered by anyone involved in the accident. In addition to being important, auto insurance is required by law. But what if you are injured in a car accident and the at-fault person doesn’t have insurance? Will your policy cover your medical bills and damage to your car? What if the at-fault person just doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all of your damages? Read on for more information about uninsured and underinsured coverage, and why it’s so important.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM and UIM, respectively) is optional or “add-on” coverage that supplements a basic insurance policy. Don’t let the fact that UM and UIM are optional convince you that they’re unnecessary. If you are injured by a driver who doesn’t carry auto insurance, or whose coverage is inadequate, you may find yourself in serious financial trouble, unless you have UM and UIM coverage. A Boston auto accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist.

Can’t I Just Sue the At-Fault Driver?

Yes, in theory you can sue anyone you want to, but statistics show that the majority of uninsured and underinsured motorists are driving without coverage because they can’t afford it. If they can’t afford $30-a-month for basic auto insurance, how much do you think you’ll get from them in a personal injury lawsuit? That’s not to say that a lawsuit is pointless, but having UM and UIM coverage can protect you against a financial crisis if the at-fault driver is destitute.

Uninsured Driver Statistics

If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, or you are injured in a hit-and-run, UM and UIM can save the day. According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately one out of every seven U.S. drivers is uninsured. Further, 12.5 percent of accidents are caused by uninsured drivers, and $28,000,000,000 worth of auto damage is unpaid annually due to uninsured drivers. And there are even more drivers with inadequate insurance policies (UIM). Take the following scenario for example:

Mr. A is involved in an accident with Mr. B; it is Mr. B’s fault. Mr. A is rushed to the hospital, and weeks later the total damages (medical expenses and property damage) have amounted to just over $22,000. Unfortunately, while Mr. B’s insurance policy has bodily injury coverage, it caps at $10,000. If Mr. A has UIM in the amount of $100,000, his policy will kick in to pay the remaining $12,000 that Mr. B’s policy didn’t cover. If, however, Mr. A doesn’t carry UIM, he’ll be on the hook for that $12,000 himself. A MA car accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by an underinsured driver. Continue reading

Summer is the most popular season for day trips, road trips, and trips to the lake or beach. Although the more obvious hazards of winter, such as snow and ice, have vanished for the foreseeable future, summer driving carries its own set of risks. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), July and August are the two deadliest months for car accidents. What makes summer driving so dangerous, and how can you avoid becoming a statistic?

Common Hazards

There are multiple factors that increase the risk of driving in summer, but the main issue is the significant uptick in traffic. More people on the road equals more opportunities for accidents. Summer driving hazards include:

 

  • Novice drivers: Suddenly, millions of teens who were previously in school Monday through Friday are now on the open road, with little to do but celebrate. In addition to their lack of experience, young drivers often have a sense of invincibility and adventure that can result in dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding. You can reduce this risk by traveling at off-peak hours, always driving defensively, and teaching your teen child about the risks of speeding, and reckless or distracted driving.

 

  • Heavy traffic: As stated above, there are more people on the road in summer than during any other season. In addition to school vacation and trips to the beach, there are also festivals, fairs and concerts just about every night of the week. Traffic can be especially heavy in tourist areas and around cities. Use caution; always leave ample space between your car and the car in front of you, drive defensively, and never allow yourself to be distracted when driving on a congested roadway. A Boston auto accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a car accident.

 

  • Construction: Summer is construction season. The sight of orange traffic cones is a good indicator that warmer weather is on the horizon. Construction zones are inherently dangerous. Lane changes can be confusing, and not everyone slows down to the required speed. And to make things even more harrowing, men and women working in the construction zone may be difficult to see. When approaching a construction zone, reduce your speed immediately, and avoid any type of distraction; don’t even adjust the air conditioning.

 

  • Cyclists and motorcycles: Cycling and riding are synonymous with summer. These environmentally-sound and economical modes of transportation are a good thing, but it may be difficult to see riders and cyclists due to their small size. Before switching lanes, always double check for motorcycles and cyclists in your blind spots. A MA motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in an accident involving a motorcycle.

 

  • Heavy rain: Heavy storms, and even light rain, can make roadways dangerous. Hydroplaning occurs when tires lose traction with the road. Anyone who has ever hydroplaned knows how scary it can be; you temporarily lose control of the vehicle, much like on icy roads. To avoid hydroplaning, reduce speeds during rainfall, avoid driving during heavy rains if possible, and make sure your tires have adequate traction.

 

  • Blowouts: Hot roads and hot air during summer months can cause the air inside of tires to expand. If a tire is excessively worn, air expansion can result in a tire blowout. Blowouts, especially at high speeds, can be disastrous. To prevent this type of accident, you should replace your tires at least once every five years, and check them regularly for proper traction and inflation.

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The start of summer can be an exciting time for everyone: warmer weather, the end of the school year, vacations, etc. But it also signals the beginning of a more disheartening season. According to research conducted by AAA, the 100 days after Memorial Day (until most school years begin again) are the “deadliest” for teen drivers. One sobering estimate, based on five years of research, is that approximately 1,000 people nationwide will die in automobile crashes involving teenage drivers (between the age of 16 and 19).

Much of this has been attributed to the increased number of teenage drivers on the road – when they are out of school, they are more likely to be driving around – however, this is also compounded by several other factors. For example, distracted driving is an issue for drivers of all ages, but especially for teenagers who are notorious for being “connected” at all times. It is estimated that distracted driving – including both talking and texting on cell phones – is behind almost 60% of crashes that occur over the summer. According to a study done by the University of Iowa which analyzed the final six seconds before a crash (by looking at over 2,000 dash-camera videos of moderate to severe crashes from August 2007 to April 2015) “15% involved talking to others in the car, 12% involved a cell phone (talking, texting, or otherwise operating), and 11% involved looking at or attending to something inside the car.” Additionally, according to Virginia Tech, using a cell phone or other device while driving, makes a crash more than 23 times more likely.

In order to work towards lessening these statistics of close to 10 teen driver-related deaths per day over the summer, it is important to take several different steps as parents, friends, and fellow drivers. If you are the parent of a teen driver, whether or not they recently acquired their license, it is crucial to both be aware of the increased danger of driving over the summer, as well as to communicate and discuss this with your child. Make sure that they understand how texting while driving (or even using their phone in another way) can dramatically increase the risk of crashing – and injuring themselves or others, or even causing a fatality.

More than two million people are injured or become disabled in car accidents annually in the United States. In many of these accidents, injuries are immediately apparent. But in tens of thousands of annual car accidents, victims don’t exhibit symptoms of their injuries for days, weeks, or even months. If you have been involved in an accident, it’s crucial that you seek medical attention immediately. A medical evaluation can help to determine whether initially-asymptomatic injuries could be hiding under the surface.

Delayed Symptoms May be Warning Signs

The list of injuries that may not initially present symptoms could go on forever. However, there are certain injuries that more commonly fall into this category. In most cases, mild symptoms will precede more serious ones. If days, weeks, or months following a car accident you experience any of the symptoms below (even if mild), it is in your best interest to contact your healthcare provider for a medical evaluation. A Boston injury attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

 

  • Headaches: A headache that develops a few days or weeks after a motor vehicle crash could be an indicator of bigger problems. A headache can be a warning sign of a concussion, neck injury, or a blood clot. While it’s certainly possible that you “just have a headache,” following an accident, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

 

  • Back pain: Any type of back pain, from mild to severe, can indicate an injury to the muscles and ligaments in your back. You may have even suffered nerve damage or injury to your vertebrae. A simple x-ray is usually sufficient to diagnose back injuries, but you may require a more sophisticated test, such as an MRI or CT scan.

 

  • Pain or bloating in the abdomen: These symptoms may indicate internal injuries, and may be accompanied by dizziness and fainting. As these symptoms may also serve as warning signs that you are bleeding internally, it is crucial that you seek immediate medical attention. Internal injuries and bleeding can be fatal if left untreated.

 

  • Personality of emotional changes: If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI), symptoms may not be immediately apparent. If days or weeks following a car crash you find yourself feeling “out of sorts,” you may want to seek medical attention. A health evaluation can generally identify the presence of a TBI. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve suffered a TBI in a car accident.

 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Following a serious car accident, you may experience PTSD. Many people have immediate symptoms of PTSD, but fail to recognize them. The good news is, early treatment generally produces excellent results. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of counseling that works well with patients who suffer from PTSD. Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy is another option. There is also a type of therapy known as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) that is being used more frequently to treat And certain medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are known to be quite effective.

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Having a criminal record can make several aspects of your life difficult, from getting a job to finding housing. And personal injury claims are no exception. Even a minor conviction, such as a traffic ticket, can harm your chances of recovering damages in a civil lawsuit. The good news is, however, that a skilled MA personal injury lawyer can help you navigate these murky waters and obtain the compensation you deserve following an accident or injury.

Is the Evidence Admissible?

In most personal injury cases, criminal convictions will not be admissible in court unless they are relevant to the matter at hand. In fact, criminal convictions are thoroughly reviewed to determine whether they will create an unfair prejudice. If a conviction is deemed relevant, it may still be excluded if the judge determines that the evidence would cause an unfair bias.

If evidence of a criminal conviction is admitted, even a minor offense can call your credibility into question. This is especially true if the crime involved dishonesty. For example, if you were busted for passing a bad check ten years ago, why should the court believe your personal injury claim today? The fact that you were a starving, reckless college student at the time and you’ve since become a responsible, hardworking father of two may not be enough. This is where experienced legal counsel is essential. A Boston injury attorney can help position you for the most favorable outcome if you find yourself in this situation.

What is Impeachment?

Despite the fact that googling the word impeachment is more likely to bring up images of President Trump these days, impeachment doesn’t only apply to controversial presidents. It is also a legal term that refers to catching a witness in a lie. If, for example, you claim that you were injured when another driver smashed into your car at an intersection, your own driving behaviors may be called into question. If you claim to be a safe driver, evidence of past speeding tickets could be admitted to destroy your credibility. This is known as impeachment.

Regardless of your criminal history, or lack thereof, personal injury claims require the help of a knowledgeable injury lawyer. As a rule of thumb, the nature and severity of your crime, and the length of time since the crime was committed, will factor heavily on the level of impact the conviction will have on your case. For example, a OUI offense from ten years ago is unlikely to have much, if any, impact on your case. A recent felony, however, is likely to impact your case significantly. Further, crimes that involve dishonesty and deception, such as forgery and fraud, can take a massive toll on your personal injury claim because they call your credibility into serious question. Continue reading

Following a motor vehicle accident, you will almost certainly have to deal with at least one insurance carrier. It’s important to provide insurance carriers with honest answers and details about the accident, but not before consulting with a lawyer. Anything you say to the insurance company – especially the other driver’s carrier – can be used against you. A Boston auto accident lawyer can help you determine what to say and how to say it.

When a two-car or multi-car accident occurs, at least two insurance companies will generally be involved. The policy of the at-fault driver usually covers liability for the accident. As such, that carrier will typically send an insurance adjuster to investigate the accident by conducting interviews and evaluating property damage.

There’s No Obligation to Provide the Opposing Insurance Company with a Recorded Statement

If you have been injured by another driver, under no circumstances should you give a recorded statement to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Any information you provide is sure to be used against you if you bring a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver. Unless the insurance company has obtained a court order requiring you to provide a statement, you have no obligation to speak to them. A MA car accident attorney can help you understand your rights and options if you find yourself in this situation. Whatever the circumstances of your case, avoid talking to the opposing insurance company until you’ve consulted with an experienced attorney.

When it comes to your personal policy, however, a recorded statement may be necessary. It’s possible that your carrier will require a recorded statement as evidence of the unique details of your situation, and to confirm that you have obtained appropriate medical care for any resulting injuries. By cooperating with your insurance company, you can help to ensure that timely payments continue. Although it’s relatively uncommon for your personal carrier to request a recorded statement, it does happen. And if it does, a skilled lawyer can help here as well. For example, your attorney can make sure your carrier puts in writing that they will not provide your recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company.

Recorded statements, when given to the at-fault driver’s insurance company, have never been considered helpful to a personal injury case. As such, they should be denied whenever possible. The opposing insurance carrier will have plenty of tricks up its sleeves to reduce the amount of compensation you can get following an accident. Even innocent and seemingly-harmless statements can be twisted and used against you.

Avoid Saying…

Whether you’re talking to the opposing insurance company or your own, there are certain things you should avoid saying:

  • It was my fault: Although you may have contributed to the accident, the other driver may also be partially at fault. It is not for you to decide whose fault the accident was. Leave personal opinions out of the conversation.
  • I will give an official statement: As discussed above, leave the recorded statements for after you have spoken to your attorney.
  • I accept: In most cases, initial settlement offers are significantly lower than what the victim deserves. Consult with an attorney before you accept any offer.

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Automobile accidents have occurred since the invention of the automobile. Humans are imperfect creatures, and when they get behind two-plus tons of quickly-moving metal there are bound to be mistakes that cause serious damage both to the driver and to others.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, on average, there is an accident in some part of the world every single minute, and an estimated 5.25 million accidents worldwide every year. Anywhere between 37,000 and 43,000 people die every year in the United States from automobile accidents.

According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, accidents in just the United States account for over $230 billion in damage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance wrote nearly $60 million in direct premiums in 2015, accounting for a whopping 10 percent of the property/casualty insurance market share.

Point being? Auto accidents are alarmingly common and the insurance industry that services these accidents is a constantly booming business.

As with any other business, it is vital for insurance companies to develop and evolve with the advancing of time and technology. As a result, there is a movement growing within insurance companies that is pushing towards making auto insurance claims more “touchless.”

Essentially, a touchless auto claim is a technology-based claims process that enables a victim of an automobile crash to take a picture of the damage to their car, instantly upload it to their insurance company and get a response with an estimate for repair costs within one or two days. The appeal to this methodology is simple; it’s faster, more efficient and less of a hassle for the customer.

Whereas more traditional claims processes involve either an insurance agent physically going to the location of a crash to inspect damage and create an estimate, or an auto body shop inspecting the damage and preparing an estimate, a touchless claims process only involves those who were involved in the accident. Every other aspect – from inspecting the wreck, to estimating damages, to communicating with the customer and paying claims – would be automated.

Potential drawbacks

Although there is support growing amongst insurance executives for such a system, and it is generally agreed upon that this is the direction auto claims processing is headed in the future, there is no rush to get there and plenty of concerns. Hypothetically the system sounds simply ideal, however the actual implementation and utilization of such a system is bound to be trickier.

For one, a picture can only tell so much about the degree of damage that has been incurred by a vehicle. While a crash might appear to have only caused external damage, resulting in a smaller claim, more serous internal damage could have occurred that would only be found by a more extensive, thorough inspection.

Also, a touchless claims system would, by necessity, operate on a huge amount of trust. A picture doesn’t give context into how an accident occurred. How would an insurance company know who was at fault in an accident? Or if the accident had occurred years prior and the customer is attempting to defraud them? An automated system might be convenient, but it lacks the attention to detail of a real person. Continue reading

It is common knowledge amongst Massachusetts residents that, if you can drive here, you can probably drive anywhere. Massachusetts motorists are not known for their patience, forgivingness or attention to proper safety techniques while behind the wheel, and as a result there are many intersections and junctions in the state where dozens upon dozens of crashes happen every year.

Recent data collected and analyzed from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) by various Boston media outlets showed that, from 2004 to 2013, the five intersections that saw the most crashes were as follows:

  1. Columbia Road at the Expressway, South Boston (296 crashes)
  2. Middlesex Turnpike at Route 128, Burlington (295 crashes)
  3. Granite Avenue and the Expressway, Milton (245 crashes)
  4. North Washington Street and the Central Artery, Boston (232 crashes)
  5. Route 128 and I-93 junction, Woburn (225 crashes)

Although these intersections and junctions contain the highest likelihood according to the data for a motorist to become involved in a minor accident, or an accident with injuries, they are not the deadliest intersections in the state. The I-93/I-495 junction in Andover and the junction of Routes 3 and 18 in Weymouth both had two fatalities over the 10-year span of data.

Regardless of the severity, any accident can become a gigantic burden for anybody involved. Even some minor fender benders can cost thousands of dollars to repair. If the damage is bad enough that you need to bring the car to the garage, that complicates your work schedule immensely, and may require you to take days off work while it is fixed, making you lose out on income.

Should the accident cause a serious injury, you could be facing multiple thousands of dollars in repairs and medical bills. In this situation, missing work is a certainty.

A majority of accidents happen due to simple driver error, and far too many of these accidents are caused by distractions. The commute is no time to send or check emails, do your makeup or hair, eat leftover soup or catch up on that book you’re enjoying. In no situation is driving impaired – by alcohol or other substances – ever a good idea.

If you are involved in an accident where another driver was at fault and was clearly distracted, you have a legal right to seek damages from that driver for their negligent actions. If another driver broke the rules of the road, like performing an illegal U-turn that resulted in an accident, you may also be able to file a claim against them to seek financial compensation to pay for repairs to your car or for injuries incurred.

Police and government officials can try to implement new policies, put more signs up and crack down on dangerous activities such as drinking and driving or texting and driving, but the only true deterrent for accidents at any location on the road is the behavior of the drivers themselves. People must appreciate the power of the machinery they are operating, and respect that they are placing their lives in the hands of others every time they go out for a drive. Continue reading

A 45-year old Dennisport woman was struck and killed earlier this week when she stopped to check on a flat tire. The woman was traveling westbound on Route 6 when she pulled onto the shoulder of the Cape Cod highway. According to police, this area of the highway does not have a breakdown lane. As the woman exited her vehicle, she was struck by a pickup truck driven by a 22-year old Dennis man. The victim, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Safety Tips for Roadside Breakdowns

This tragedy is a stark reminder of the dangers of roadside breakdowns, especially when they occur at night, and on highways or other busy stretches of road. Obviously, if a tire blows or your vehicle breaks down, you have little choice about when and where to pull over. If the area isn’t safe, what do you do? According to the National Safety Council, the tips below can help prevent serious injury and death in the event of a roadside breakdown.

  • The moment you notice a problem, gently remove your foot from the gas pedal. Avoid braking hard or fast. Slowly and carefully move your vehicle to the breakdown lane (if available) or to the side of the road. If you are on a highway and believe you can make it to an exit, try to reach the nearest exit before pulling off the road. Don’t forget to signal your turns to the drivers behind you.
  • Once you have pulled off the road, it’s important to make your car highly visible to other drivers. Preemptively stashing reflective triangles in your trunk is a good idea. If you have these, place them behind your vehicle. Turn on your car’s emergency flashers, and turn on the interior light if it’s dark outside.
  • If you must change a flat tire, make sure that you can do it away from traffic. If this is possible, proceed with changing the tire. If it is not, however, call for professional help. Even if the added delay will create schedule conflicts or other problems, don’t attempt to change a tire yourself in a dangerous location. A MA injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.
  • If the car is beyond repair or you are stopped on a dangerous stretch of roadway, get professional help. Do not attempt to wave down other motorists. If you have a cellphone, call for help. If you don’t, raise your hood and tie something – preferably white – to the antennae to signal that you need help. Stand far away from the vehicle and wait for help.
  • If your car is beyond repair and stopped in a safe location, you can remain in the vehicle. Keep your doors locked and use your cell phone to call for help. If someone stops to offer help, crack the window slightly and politely ask the person to contact the police. A Boston car accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Interstate highways and busy roadways are patrolled frequently by police and other emergency personnel. Many highways also have “call for help” phones; if you can reach one safely, use it. However, walking along a stretch of highway is rarely a good idea. Unless you are sure that you can safely reach a call box or other source of help, do not walk. If you do walk, use the right side of the roadway and never attempt to cross a multi-lane highway.

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