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Articles Posted in Driver Safety

Motor vehicle accidents can be traumatizing, even minor ones. When you’re in such an emotional state, it can be difficult to think clearly. But the moments following an auto accident are crucial to the outcome of your case if you choose to file a personal injury claim. Read on for more information about what to do immediately following a car accident.

 

  • Remain at the scene: This is important for many reasons. For starters, if someone else was injured or property was damaged, you could face criminal charges as a hit-and-run driver. Secondly, never assume that you weren’t injured or that no damage occurred to your vehicle. Injuries and damages can appear hours, days, or even weeks after an accident. If you didn’t stick around to get the other driver’s information, you’ll be out of luck when it comes to recovering damages.

 

  • Make sure that passengers and other drivers are safe: Don’t proceed to the next steps until you are certain that everyone involved in the accident is safe. If anyone needs medical attention, call for help immediately. If someone is unconscious, or complaining of severe pain in the back or neck, avoid moving them until professionals arrive. If you are injured and conscious, ask someone to call for help.

 

  • Contact the police: Once you’ve determined that everyone is okay, it’s time to call the police. If there is property damage or injuries, this is of the utmost importance. If no injuries or property damage are apparent, go to the next step.

 

  • Exchange information with the other driver and any witnesses: It may be unnecessary to call the police if no damages or injuries exist, but it’s never a good idea to avoid exchanging information. Ask the other driver for his or her name, phone number, address, license plate number, and driver’s license number. Also get the names and numbers of any passengers and witnesses. Be polite, friendly, and cooperative. And willingly provide your information in exchange.

 

  • Don’t apologize or talk too much: Anything you say can be used against you. Don’t apologize, even if you think the accident was your fault. Simply ask if everyone is okay and offer to get help if needed. Certainly don’t admit liability. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an auto accident.

 

  • Contact your insurance company: Immediately following the accident and exchange of information, inform your insurance carrier that you’ve been involved in an accident. Give straightforward, clear facts, and avoid lying as this could amount to big trouble down the road.

 

  • Photograph the accident: With today’s smart phones, we always have a camera on hand. Take as many pictures as possible. Photograph the accident scene, damage to your vehicle, any other property damage, and anything that may have contributed to the accident, such as a blocked stop sign. Also photograph your injuries. A dark blue bruise today may be completely faded by tomorrow. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.

 

  • Keep records of any medical treatment and automotive work following the accident: Make a note of any appointments with physicians, chiropractors, and physical therapists, as well as a detailed account of any medications you are prescribed. In addition to your own notes, obtain copies of medical bills. These are invaluable if you decide to bring a personal injury lawsuit. In addition, make a note of how your injuries have negatively affected your life, from lost work time to activities you can no longer participate in.

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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

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.

With its beautiful coast, diverse mix of big cities and quaint, New England towns, and plenty of scenic backroads, Massachusetts is a popular state for motorcycle enthusiasts. Riding a motorcycle is cheaper than driving a car, allows a rider to maneuver through congested traffic more easily than drivers of passenger vehicles, and it’s fun. But riding a motorcycle is also inherently more dangerous than driving a car or truck. Read on for more information about risks associated with motorcycle riding, and how to avoid becoming a statistic.

Due a motorcycle’s small size and lack of protection, motorcycle accidents are more likely to result in serious injury and death than those involving only cars and trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Motorcyclist deaths occurred 27 more times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 crash data.” In fact, a motorcycle rider is six times more likely to suffer injuries in a crash than her car and truck driving counterparts. A Boston motorcycle accident lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a crash.

How to Avoid a Deadly Motorcycle Crash

But it’s not all bad news. Most motorcycle-related injuries and fatalities are preventable. There are multiple ways to protect yourself if you choose to ride. By following the tips below, you can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death.

  • Always wear a helmet: According to the NHTSA, helmets are 37 percent effective at preventing rider fatalities.
  • Make yourself visible: Most motorcycle accidents involving a passenger vehicle are caused by drivers who did not see the motorcyclist. According to the NHTSA, “The majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes generally are caused when other drivers simply didn’t see the motorcyclist.” To reduce this risk, avoid riding in vehicle blind spots, and wear bright colored clothing.
  • Ride defensively
  • Obey traffic laws
  • Enroll in a rider education course: Whether you’re new to riding or you’ve been riding for decades; it’s always good to have a refresher.
  • When possible, avoid riding in adverse weather conditions.
  • Do not speed: A 2013 study found that approximately 34 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were using excessive speed, compared to only 21 percent for drivers of passenger vehicles.
  • Never ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: A study of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2013 revealed that riders involved in fatal crashes had higher blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) than drivers of any other type of motor vehicle.

The unfortunate reality is, motorcycle riders have a reputation for being disrespectful of the rules of the road, and even the law in general. Of course, that’s not true of the vast majority of motorcyclists…but inaccurate perceptions continue to prevail. And this negative attitude toward motorcyclists actually contributes to the high rate of accidents. Drivers are less likely to “double check” for motorcyclists before switching lanes or making turns, just as they are less likely to give ample space between their vehicle and a motorcycle ahead of, or beside them. When drivers believe that riders are impolite, unlawful road hogs, they are inclined to give them a “taste of their own medicine.” Not only is this behavior unfair, it can be deadly. If driver negligence has caused you harm, a MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed. Continue reading

On March 1, 2017, the Safety Institute released its quarterly Vehicle Safety Watch List to identify those vehicles with a higher-than-average risk of dangerous defects. The report uses statistics from Early Warning Reports, including injury and death claims. Although the list does not include automobile defects that have already been made official, it does take into account consumer reports that warn of potential dangers. Nearly half of the vehicles on the list are GM vehicles.

The March 2017 Vehicle Safety Watch List identifies 15 vehicles that may have dangerous defects. These include:

  • 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4×4 – Powertrain

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

Eight months after new high-tech traffic signals were installed in Quincy Center, there have been no pedestrian accidents. That’s a significant achievement, considering that there were 88 accidents involving pedestrians in this area between 2004 and 2013. Of those accidents, 58 resulted in injury and one pedestrian was killed. Despite this success, not everyone loves the new, odd-looking traffic signals.

How to Read the New Signals

The new signals in Quincy Center are known as “high-intensity activated crosswalks”. They are more conveniently referred to as HAWK beacons. Unfortunately, some people find the strange new lights more confusing than helpful. Below are some tips to help you safely navigate HAWK beacon signals when you come across them.

  • Drive through normally if no lights are on.
  • A steady or blinking yellow light means that, while vehicles still have the right-of-way, the light will soon turn red.
  • When both lights are on, the signal should be treated as a red light. Even if no one is using the crosswalk, you must still stop and wait.
  • You should treat the signal like a train crossing when the two red lights are blinking alternatively. Stop, check for people in the crosswalk, then proceed when it is safe to do so.

As you can see from the above instructions, HAWK beacons are not as straightforward as standard traffic signals, at least not until we get used to them. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that since their installation, there have been zero pedestrian accidents in what was once considered one of the most dangerous intersections in all of Massachusetts.  According to Chris Walker, a spokesman for the city’s Mayor Thomas Koch, the new signals are helping drivers and pedestrians alike use the busy intersections in a safer, more responsible manner.

“You can see the benefit of the dedicated signal,” he said. “It’s slowing traffic down through the area.” In addition to the complete absence of pedestrian accidents in the area, there has been a significant drop in motor vehicle accidents since the installation of the signals. A Boston injury attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been involved in a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident.

Not Everyone’s Feeling the Love

So, why doesn’t everyone love the HAWK beacons in Quincy Center?  Shanayta Carmody would prefer that the city bring back signs instructing vehicles and pedestrians on how to safely deal with the crosswalk. ”It’s very confusing and chaotic since they put this new crosswalk in,” said Carmody. And the new signals may impede the flow of traffic. An observation of the intersection during busy traffic hours revealed backed up traffic from Hancock all the way to the Granite Street intersection. In one instance, cars blocked a crosswalk instead of leaving space for pedestrians. According to Rob Keyworth, who uses the crosswalk on his daily commute to Boston, people don’t know what to do with the new lights. “Nobody has ever seen a setup like that,” he said. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a successful injury claim following a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident.

Quincy Center isn’t the only area in MA to install HAWK beacons. Several towns across the state have installed similar systems. The federal government considers the HAWK systems to be a “proven safety countermeasure,” and recommends their installation in busy pedestrian crossings. The design, which was developed in the 1990s in Tucson, resulted in a 69 percent decrease in pedestrian accidents following their installation in that city. Continue reading

In the wake of a lawsuit against Apple for a fatal accident involving a FaceTime-ing driver, a new lawsuit has been filed against the tech giant. The class action lawsuit alleges that the company put profits before the safety of its customers and the general public. The FaceTime-ing accident resulted in the tragic death of five-year-old Moriah Modisette. The new lawsuit alleges that Julio Ceja was rear ended because a distracted driver was texting on an iPhone.

Should the irresponsible behavior of a driver be Apple’s fault? Well, the class action is not seeking damages for Ceja’s back injury. Rather, it wants to hold the tech company accountable for failure to implement a “lock-out” feature for drivers. Apparently, the company holds a patent for this feature. Both lawsuits claim that implementing the feature would prevent iPhone-related distractions. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident due to a distracted driver, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.

What is Driver Lock Out?

The hypothetical scenario is frightening. You’re enjoying a relaxing ride in your automated car. Windows down, soft rock on the radio, chowing on a cheeseburger without a care in the world. Your smart car has safely navigated you to and from work a thousand times, and you trust it implicitly.

But one day, something in the car’s CPU goes haywire, and it doesn’t recognize a detoured area until it’s far too late. The car suddenly computes that it will have to sharply turn left or right since braking hard would cause a rear-end accident. The only problem is that to the left is a crowd of tourists taking pictures of a statue, and to the right is a single mother carrying her child.

What does the car do? How can a car choose between endangering the lives of people behind you, or choosing to veer into the path of pedestrians? When there is no avoiding a potentially-deadly accident, what implications does that have for an automated vehicles?

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