Archive for March, 2012

Collision Avoidance Systems: Can They Really Prevent Car Accidents?

A driver takes a risk every time he or she enters a vehicle. What if I get into a car crash? What if I’m rear ended? What if I’m not sure what to do after a car accident? All of these fears are rational and realistic. The National Highway Traffic Administration estimates that at least one car crash occurs globally every 60 seconds, approximating to more than 5.25 million car accidents every year. One of the most frequent types of car accident, a rear end crash, accounts for roughly 30% of all car accidents in a given year according to

To combat these continually rising numbers, several car companies are implementing collision avoidance systems. These systems rely on a series of sensors located in both the front and rear end of the vehicle to alert the driver when he or she approaches external objects like nearby cars, parking ramp walls, or light poles. More intuitively, certain systems notify drivers that they must reduce their speed around upcoming turns and by how much to do so.

A real-world example of a collision avoidance system in action applies to a driver attempting to switch lanes. With the system intact, if a driver tries to prod his way into the left lane without noticing the large semi in his blind spot, the avoidance system belts out a word of caution alerting the driver of the nearby vehicle, thus preventing a potentially serious or fatal car crash. In certain brands, the car will actually swerve itself in the opposite direction to prevent the unsafe lane change.

Though many companies now include this technology in their vehicles, Swedish car manufacturer Volvo is at the forefront. Not only does Volvo’s system alert a driver if he or she is nearing a vehicle, but it also enables the car to slam on the brakes if the driver does not do so. Take a look at the video below to see Volvo’s collision avoidance system in action.

Four Ways to Prevent Workplace Accidents

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates that roughly 60% of accidents at work go unreported every year. Many avoid reporting workplace accidents for fear of executive confrontation or simple lack of will. Despite the perceived burden of reporting a workplace accident, employees actually benefit from recording such incidents. For instance, if an employee seeks time-off for an accident at work, referencing a log of when the accident occurred is helpful in determining how much time off is needed to fully recover.

What most people fail to realize is that, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation of 1995, employers are required to report all accidents in the workplace regardless of the incident’s severity. For this reason, it is imperative that employees do their part in recognizing when workplace accidents occur and properly recording them for employer review.  This requirement extends beyond the realm of erroneous human behavior to include spread of diseases and illnesses as well. Employees and employers should take every measure possible to prevent workplace accidents. The list below provides four preventive measures to take in every workplace:

  1. Safety Training for New and Current Employees: As part of orientation, all employers should enforce a rigorous safety training session to assure that employees know what to do if a workplace accident occurs.
  2. Ongoing Safety Education: an initial safety orientation is a good start, but continuing safety education in the workplace at regular intervals can save employers thousands of dollars in the long run if a workplace accident were to occur. Monthly safety meetings, bulletin board reminders and occasional informational video sessions are all good ways of continuing an employee’s safety education.
  3. Provide Necessary Safety Equipment: easily the most obvious point on the list, but also the most important. Without necessary safety and first-aid equipment readily available, an accident in the workplace can go from bad to worse in minutes. Essential safety protection includes eye goggles, adhesive bandages and ear plugs.
  4. Proper Training for Specialized Machinery: if your organization uses any sort of occupational-specific machinery, necessary training in machinery function should be given to all employees who will use it. This sort of training should not occur on the job, but rather before the employee begins work.

Virginia Tech Shooting: Who’s to Blame?

In 2007, a lone gunman shocked the nation with his violent rampage on a campus full of unsuspecting students in Blacksburg, Virginia. The campus was the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and the gunman, a disgruntled English major with a history of psychological distress and anxiety disorders. Five years after the massacre that took the lives of 33 students, including his own, and injured 25 others, prosecution attempted this past week to establish responsibility in this extensive list of wrongful death cases.

When word first broke on campus that a gunman opened fire on his classmates, university police dismissed him as a jealous boyfriend posing no further threat to the student population, or so the prosecutors lead jurors to believe. Despite yielding both .22 caliber semi-automatic and 9 mm handguns, the prosecution provided evidence that university police waited two and half hours before responding to the first shots on campus according to the Washington Post. Once a response was finally set in motion, the police pursued the wrong suspect, allowing the gunman to chain-lock the doors of Norris Hall and continue his massacre.

In a case like this, it’s difficult for a wrongful death attorney to establish responsibility or determine who was negligent  due to the complexity of the situation. But grieving parents need some sense of closure in directing blame for the death of their child. Since the gunman was unable to stand trial, the parents attorneys attempted to prove the elements of negligence in the university police’s error in judgment and response.

At James Morris Law, in wrongful death situations involving car accidentsconstruction accidents or other types of negligent cases, it is our job to bring justice to those who’ve lost a loved one. If you’re in need of a buffalo personal injury lawyer, or buffalo wrongful death lawyer  call James Morris Law today, 716-855-1118.

Texting while Driving Research Revealed

Texting while Driving threatens our safety behind the wheel. Unfortunately, little research exists to conclude the severity of damage texting while driving causes. The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) however, released a definitive report last summer on distracted driving, pulling research from over 350 scientific papers published over the last decade. Much of their research focused on cell phone use while driving. Before we get into the conclusions of the GHSA’s research, here’s a brief overview of the different types of distracted driving.

Four types of driver distraction:

Visual – drivers eyes focused on something other than the road
Auditory – listening and focus attention to sound unrelated to driving
Manual – physically interacting with something other than the steering wheel
Cognitive – mental processes focused on something other than driving

Many distractions incorporate any or all of these types causing both sensory and mental distractions. The GHSA used these distractions as criteria for their study to determine when drivers were considered distracted. Now that you know what constitutes distracted driving, here are some of the most startling distracted driving statistics from the GHSA’s report (view the full report here: Distracted Driving: What Research Shows and What States Can Do)

  1. Drivers are distracted up to 50% of the time while driving: based on observations of over 100 different drivers, drivers engaged in a secondary activity 25%-50% of the time. More specifically, evidence showed that two-thirds of all drivers surveyed reported cellphone use while driving
  2. Fifteen to thirty percent of all crashes involve at least one distracted driver: this proportion may be even greater due to restrictions in generating data.
  3. One eighth of all drivers admitted to texting and driving: the study also suggested that texting is likely to increase crash risk more so than traditional cell phone use.

Due your part to stop preventable car accidents by shutting out distractions while driving. Should you fall victim to a distracted driver, contact a buffalo lawyer from a law firm with over 100 years of combined personal injury compensation experience. Call James Morris Law, 716-855-1118.

A Dog Bite Injury may be the Least of Your Worries. . .

A dog bite injury is painful enough for a family to deal with, let alone the numerous other animal injuries a person can suffer. The info-graphic below provides a grim look at the havoc an everyday pest, like a mosquito, can wreak on an unsuspecting victim. If you need a lawyer as the result of a dog attack, or a personal injury attorney in Buffalo, call James Morris Law today, 716-855-1118


Teen Car Accident Injuries: What’s the Cause?

Reckless driving applies to any age group, typically however, it’s our young driver’s that concern us most. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that in 2009, over 3,000 teens, age 15-19, were fatally injured in car accidents, and another 350,000 were treated for automobile injuries. An even more startling automobile accident statistic by the CDC claims that, though people ages 15-24 account for just 14% of the population, they account for 30% of the total costs of injuries from car accidents among males, and 28% among females, culminating a whopping total of $26 billion annually. So what causes this vast discrepancy in teenage driving risks versus the rest of the population? The CDC provides an extensive list of teen car accident factors to explain this phenomenon; here are a few of the most important:

1. Teens are more likely to speed: In 2005, 37% of fatal car crashes involving 15-20 year olds were due to speeding. The presence of male teenage passengers increases this likelihood according to a study on the observed effects of teenage passengers on the risky driving behavior of teenage drivers.

2. Teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use: a 2005 study confirmed that roughly 10% of teens admitted to rarely or never wearing a seat-belt, that percentage was even higher for male participants.

3. Teens are more likely to be in an accident at any BAC level: the CDC confirms that any elevated level of blood alcohol puts teens at a greater risk of a car accident than the rest of the population. Twenty-five percent of drivers age 15-20 who died in a car accident in 2008 had BAC levels of .08 or higher.

4. Teens are more likely to be in a car accident on the weekend: A 2008 study found that 56% of teenage fatal car accidents occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Fortunately, there is hope for teen drivers. Research suggests that 16-year-olds who enrolled in comprehensive graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs slashed their risk of getting in an automobile accident by as much as 40%. An automobile accident can strike anyone at any time, not just teens. Should you, a child or a friend need a car accident attorney, call an attorney in buffalo from a law firm with over 100 years of combined personal injury experience. Call James Morris Law, 716-855-1118.

A Personal Injury Attorney’s Car Accident Resource Page

Below you’ll find anything and everything you’ve ever needed to know about car accidents, car accident law and car accident injuries that we’ve posted on Enjoy!

1. Should NYS Ban Cell Phone Use in Cars
2. Useful sources for knowing your BAC Level
3. Read this and think twice before driving impaired
4. How much would a fatal car accident cost you?
5. Texting while driving on the rise
6. Why automobile accidents occur between cars and buildings
7. Are teen car accidents higher in the summer?
8. Why your bus driver might cause your next car accident
9. What happens in a car accident with an uninsured motorist?
10. Most common type of car accidents in New York and its cause.
11. Teen Car Accidents: What’s the Cause?

A Note on Civility from an Attorney in Buffalo

Our legal system is an adversary system. It is easy to become angry with opposing counsel or a Judge who disagrees with our position. As lawyers it is crucial that we act in a civil manner. Personal attacks are never warranted. We can condemn the conduct without name calling. While I admit to enjoying the humor of South Park or Family Guy, the often brutal verbal attacks on these shows involve cartoon characters and do not hurt people. By avoiding harsh attacks or crude language we improve our chances of reaching a resolution and improve our relationships.

Prevent a Bicycle Accident with Three Simple Tips

Spring is around the corner, which unfortunately means a surge in bicycle accidents. In 2009, over 600 bicyclists were killed in collisions on the open road, and another 50,000+ were injured according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA); an alarming bicycle accident statistic for those who plan to saddle up their bicycle and hit the pavement as the weather warms. Many bicycle accident injuries are preventable. Below you’ll find some tips and preventive measures to take to assure that you stay clear of a personal injury.

1. Wear a helmet!
Easily the most obvious tip for any bike rider, but also the most important. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute reported recently that 37 states require cyclists to wear helmets. The majority of these laws apply only to those under the age of 18. Another survey, conducted by the NHTSA, concluded that despite measures taken to increase bicycle safety, roughly 65% of bicyclists choose not to wear helmets. In 91% of bicycle collision deaths, the rider did not wear a helmet, according to the Institute of Highway Safety. Use your head, wear a helmet.

2. Pump your brakes.
Did you know that in many states, in addition to being a serious safety hazard, riding a bicycle without brakes is illegal? The cycle circuit comprises many types of bikes: single-speeds, 10-speeds, 21-speeds, mountain bikes, etc. A recent trend however, especially in highly urbanized areas, is fixed-gear bicycles: single-speed bikes with no traditional braking-mechanism. These bikes force riders to use their legs and feet to bring the bike to a halt, requiring an increased amount of focus and a quick reaction time. Save yourself some trouble and ride a bike with traditional brakes to prevent a bicycle injury.

3. Lighten Up.
This tip is especially useful for those night-crawling cyclists. If you take to the streets when the sun goes down, be sure that you’re visible to motorists. Wearable blinking reflectors are not only cheap and practical, but can also save your life. Clip one to your clothes or to the front/rear of your bike so drivers can identify you on dim lit roads.

Bike riding provides a great reason for you to get outdoors and enjoy nature to its fullest; keep it an enjoyable experience by following the tips listed above. Should you or a fellow rider suffer an injury from a bicycle accident, call an attorney in buffalo from a law firm with over 100 years of combined personal injury experience. Call James Morris Law, 716-855-1118.