Archive for the ‘Auto Accidents’ Category

Rochester and Buffalo Traffic Accidents: School Buses an Autumn Risk

21
Aug 2014
By: James Morris Law

A fatal collision in Monroe County left 35-school children traumatized recently. According to Time Warner Cable News, a driver ran a stop sign and was hit by the bus in which the children were riding. The driver was killed. Five of the children aboard the bus required medical attention but fortunately none were seriously hurt. Not all children are so lucky when involved in a bus collision.

School buses are reportedly the safest way for children to commute to and from school. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), just one percent of kids who lose their lives in fatal school transportation accidents die involving collisions with school buses.

Still, accidents do happen. An NHTSA Fact Sheet reveals that a total of 1,222 fatal accidents resulted in kids dying while commuting to or from school from 2003 to 2012. In total, 119 of the kids who died were killed in pedestrian accidents involving a school bus and 55 were killed while riding a school bus. If a child is injured or killed when commuting to school, a personal injury lawyer can help parents to pursue a claim for compensation.

Preventing School Bus Accidents

The NHTSA’s website, Kids, the School Bus and You, provides safety tips for drivers to keep kids safe as children commute to school and provides safety tips for kids who take the bus to school.

To prevent accidents, drivers are urged to:

  • Be on the lookout for kids who are walking to school before pulling out of driveways.
  • Watch or signs indicating that you are in a school zone and follow the lower speed limit while looking carefully for kids.
  • Be especially vigilant in looking for kids walking to school in areas where there are no sidewalks for kids to walk on.
  • Follow the legal rules and stop for school buses that have red flashing lights and an extended stop arm. Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean that it is time for drivers to prepare to stop.

To prevent accidents involving school buses, kids are urged to:

  • Get to the bus stop five minutes or more before the scheduled time of arrival.
  • Stay six feet, or three giant steps, away from the curb while waiting and before boarding the bus.
  • Line up in the direction away from the street while waiting to board the bus.
  • Wait until the bus has stopped completely and the driver has said that it is OK before trying to get on the bus.
  • Use the handrails when getting on and off of the bus to avoid falls.
  • Leave at least 10 feet between you and the bus when you are crossing. Always cross in front of the bus and never get behind the bus.
  • Leave at least 3 large steps, or six feet, between you and the side of the bus.
  • Avoid stooping or bending down to pick up any dropped items unless you have first told the driver that you are going to do so, as bus drivers may not see you if you are bending over.

Parents should remind kids of these best practices for safety in order to reduce the chances that a school bus accident will occur during this school year. If kids and drivers do their part, hopefully children will be able to commute to and from school without a collision occurring.

If you need an injury attorney in Rochester or Buffalo, contact the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9040.  Attorney advertising.

Why is the Summer So Risky for Teenage Drivers?

23
Jun 2014
By: James Morris Law

From Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2012, almost 1,000 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes involving teenage drivers. According to CNN, more than 550 of the fatalities were teenagers.

With so many deaths during this time, it is no wonder the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been dubbed the 100 Deadliest Days. The National Safety Council has reported that in 2012, there were 327 deaths in June, 319 deaths in July and 286 deaths in August.

Teens are in danger in the summer because of graduation and summer break. With more time to be on the roads, student accidents are more likely to occur and cause injuries or fatalities. An experienced attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris can represent victims of collisions and help them to obtain compensation from those who were responsible.

The Summer is High Risk for Teens

There are a lot of reasons why the summer is such a dangerous time for teen drivers.

One problem is that there are simply more people on the roads in the summer, which increases the chance of a crash. The NSC indicates that Americans drove more than 780 million miles from Memorial Day to Labor Day in 2012. People tend to go on vacations and are out more — and more traffic means more risk.

Teenagers also have a lot more time to drive in the summer, since they do not have to be in class all day. A lot of this time is unsupervised, as their parents are at work. Later curfews during summer months  also means a lot of night driving. Operating a vehicle at night is more dangerous than daytime driving, especially for inexperienced drivers.

Because teens tend to have free time, they may go to different places than they would during the school year, and they are also more likely to drive recreationally. As a result, they may be on unfamiliar roads and thus more likely to get hurt or killed in a crash.

While all of these are concerns, CNN indicates that one of the biggest reasons why more teens die during the 100 Deadliest Days is that they tend to drive in cars with friends. Having passengers in the car can up the chances that a teen driver will be involved in a collision by as much as 44 percent.

Parents who know about other dangers such as drunk and distracted driving, may underestimate the risks associated with driving with passengers in the car. It is important for parents to be aware of the dangers and to set clear rules for their children regarding how many passengers can be in the car at a time. These rules should apply not just if their own son or daughter is driving, but also before their son or daughter gets into the car with someone else at the wheel.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044 or visit http://www.jamesmorrislaw.com.  Attorney advertising.

Buffalo Traffic Accidents & Risk of Speeding Teens

17
Jul 2013
By: James Morris Law

Teenagers have limited driving experience and, unfortunately, sometimes they do not make very good decisions while they are behind the wheel. One of the riskiest decisions that a teen can make is driving too fast. Speeding is dangerous for every driver because it increases the chance of losing control of the car; makes the car more difficult to stop; and results in crashes occurring with more force. Unfortunately for young people, speeding is even more risky than for other motorists because high speeds combined with driver inexperience result in many crashes occurring.

Our Buffalo auto accident lawyers know that many teen traffic deaths occur as a direct result of drivers who go too fast. Unfortunately, when teens speed, they endanger their own lives, the lives of all passengers in the car, and the lives of every other pedestrian, bicycle rider or motorist on the road. Crashes with these young drivers are far too common and the Governors’ Highway Safety Association has recently taken a close look at the role of speeding in teen auto accident deaths.

Speeding as a Leading Cause of Teen Auto Accident Deaths

Young teenagers have a greater chance of becoming involved in auto accidents than other motorists and make more insurance claims arising from crashes. Death due to motorcycle accidents is also consistently a top cause of death among young people.  Now, the Governors’ Highway Safety Association has demonstrated that a great number of the teen traffic accident deaths happen due to speeding.

According to the GHSA report, as many as 33 percent of all fatal teen car wrecks involve excessive speed. This reflects an increase in the number of speed-related deaths since the year 2000.  In 2000, just 30 percent of deadly teen wrecks had a driver who was going too fast for the road.

This percentage increase of speeding-related deaths occurred even as the overall number of fatal teen car wrecks has declined. Improved safety efforts, a stronger focus on drunk driving and anti-texting campaigns have helped to bring the overall death toll down, even as car accidents remain a top cause of fatalities. Yet, amidst this decline in auto accident deaths, teens are speeding and ending up in speed-related crashes now more than ever.

To help save lives and prevent more teens from falling victim, it is important for lawmakers, parents and schools to work together. Lawmakers have helped to do their parts in reducing teen deaths by passing graduated licensing laws in many states that limit night driving for young drivers and that impose restrictions on the number of passengers in cars. The GHSA indicates that most speed-related teen deaths happen at night and with multiple passengers, so these graduated licensing laws can help to reduce speeding accidents. Parents should also talk to their teens and schools should consider providing educational materials about the high risks associated with driving too fast.

If you’ve been injured in Buffalo or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-477-9044.

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Where Does New York Stand When it Comes to Safety Rules?

25
Feb 2013
By: James Morris Law

Every year, the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety publishes a summary of safety laws across the fifty states. The purpose of the summary is to see where states stand, what types of regulations they have passed to try to make their roads safer, and what regulations the state is still missing.

Our Buffalo, NY injury attorneys urge every driver to pay attention to this summary of safety laws. Not only can you learn where our state stands as far as driver safety, but you can also learn what types of laws and regulations are recommended by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. This way, you can follow the guidelines and suggested safety rules even if New York does not yet have a law in place regarding a specific dangerous driving behavior.

Where Does New York Stand on Safety?

New York was given a green rating by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. This means the state has passed many of the key driving safety laws that are recommended. Although it is lacking in a few areas, New York has done a lot to keep its roads safe.

Some of the different laws that New York has passed and some of the areas where it is lacking include the following:

  • The state allows police to pull over drivers just for not wearing a seat belt, even if the driver isn’t doing anything else wrong. This type of law – a primary seat belt law – helps to ensure all drivers wear their belts.
  • New York got full credit for requiring all motorcycle riders to wear helmets and for having a booster seat law in place.
  • New York gets full credit for its laws requiring a minimum age of 16 for a learner’s permit, for its six-month holding period, for its rules on supervised driving and for restricting both night time driving and the number of passengers that can drive with a teen driver.
  • While New York imposes a restriction on teen cell phone use when driving, the state does not get credit for its law on this issue since the law is not comprehensive enough.
  • New York does not get credit on the issue of making drivers wait until they are 18 until they are awarded a full license.
  • New York does get credit for all its DUI laws. These laws include mandates requiring all offenders to use an ignition interlock device; child endangement laws; mandatory BAC test laws; and open container laws.
  • New York gets credit for its law imposing a restriction on texting messaging for all drivers.

In looking at the survey of the important safety laws identified by the Advocate’s report, it is clear that New York does very well in protecting its citizens from hazards on the road. In fact, the state has 13 of the 15 recommended laws. The remaining laws on limiting cell phone use for teens and on requiring drivers to wait until they are 18 to get a full license can be addressed by parents who may wish to set tough guidelines to keep their teen drivers safe.

If you’ve been injured in Buffalo or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of James Morris today at 800-477-9044.

Rollover Accidents Present a Special Risk for Buffalo Drivers

19
Feb 2013
By: James Morris Law

According to WGRZ Channel 2, a multi-vehicle accident occurred on Grand Island Bridge on Friday morning, backing up traffic for all cars headed north to Niagara Falls. Only minor injuries reportedly occurred in the crash, but the accident involved a rollover vehicle, which normally makes accidents much more dangerous.

Our Buffalo, NY accident attorneys were very glad to hear that no one suffered serious injuries in this auto accident, which was believed to have been caused in part by reduced visibility and slick snow-build up that are so common in Buffalo winters. Unfortunately, the accident serves not just as a reminder that winter weather can be dangerous but also as a reminder of the risk of rollover crashes.

Rollover Accidents Put All Drivers at Risk

A rollover accident occurs in any crash situation where one or more of the vehicles rolls over at least once and generally ends up in an upside-down orientation. Rollover accidents can occur with any types of vehicles but they are most common when:

  • A driver is driving a sport utility vehicle (SUV)
  • A driver is operating a mini-van
  • A driver is operating a truck
  • A driver is operating a tractor trailer

In general, any vehicle with a high center of gravity can become unstable, especially in the event that the vehicle is going too fast on slippery pavement or around sharp turns. SUVs and trucks both have a high center of gravity, especially if they are packed with a heavy load. This makes them more prone to rolling over and endangering their passengers.

The Dangers of Rollover Accidents

Rollover accidents are far too common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, there are more than 280,000 crashes each year in which one or more vehicles rolls over. These rollover incidents cause more than 10,000 deaths every year.

In many cases, it is the passenger who rolled over who is killed in the crash. For instance, most fatal rollovers in four-wheel drive vehicles involve just a single vehicle. The car goes around a turn too fast or otherwise makes a dangerous maneuver, the driver loses control, the stability of the vehicle is affected and the car flips. Alcohol is often, but not always, involved in these single vehicle crashes, and many of the accidents involve male drivers ages 25 and under.

When passengers are in a rollover accident, they are in danger of being ejected from the vehicle. This can cause serious injury or death. Typically, those who are ejected from the car in a rollover accident are not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. This can also put these drivers in danger of traumatic head injury from banging their head as the car rolls over.

Rollover accidents are not only risky to passengers but can also be deadly to anyone else on the road. When a large truck flips, for example, the truck can crush other vehicles and is likely to result in death.

This recent rollover accident, therefore, while it fortunately only caused minor injuries, is an important reminder of the risks presented by top heavy cars and should serve as a caution to all drivers to be careful and in control this winter.

If you’ve been injured in Buffalo or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of James Morris today at 800-477-9044.

Winter Driving Tips Help You Avoid Auto Accidents

13
Dec 2012
By: James Morris Law

As anyone who lives in Buffalo knows, there comes a time over the course of the winter when it just doesn’t seem like it could snow anymore. But it does. Of course, snow on the roads is only one danger that exists for drivers in Buffalo winters. Freezing rain, hail, fog and ice are all possible during the Buffalo winters and can all make the roads an unsafe place to be.

To help you stay safe and minimize the risk of becoming involved in a winter car crash, the Buffalo News has recently published some winter safe driving tips. Our Buffalo auto accident attorneys urge everyone to heed the advice published in the News in order to stay safe as winter weather approaches.

Winter Safe Driving Tips

The Buffalo News has provided details on how best to react during certain winter driving situations as well as some general safe driving tips. According to their article:

  • When you experience a loss of traction due to ice, you need to maintain eye contact with a safe spot where you want your vehicle to end up. You then need to remove your foot from both the gas and the brakes and turn the car towards the area where you want your vehicle to travel. Slamming on the brakes is the worst thing you can do in these situations, the News warns.
  • If you are driving in ice, you should make use of both your windshield wipers and your car’s defroster. You should be sure to keep a reasonable distance between yourself and other cars in case you can’t stop easily and you should be sure to use your signals to let other drivers know well in advance if you are going to be slowing down, turning or stopping. By using your signals, you give other drivers a chance to put on the brakes well before you do so they do not skid into you. If a skid happens on the ice, you should turn the car’s wheels into the skid. Slamming the brakes is also a bad thing to do in these situations.
  • Use tire chains if they are recommended or required. Tire chains help to give you more control and make winter driving safer.
  • Never use cruise control if you are driving under icy conditions. Using cruise control takes the control of the vehicle away from you, making it more difficult to maintain an appropriate following distance or to respond quickly in the event that you start to skid out of control.

Following these safe driving tips should hopefully help you to make it through the winter weather season without becoming involved in a dangerous auto accident. The Buffalo News also recommends that you practice winter driving techniques such as driving under icy conditions, responding when you lose traction and coping with a skidding vehicle. If you practice these conditions in an empty parking lot where there are no cars that you can hit, you will be more prepared if you encounter a dangerous situation in traffic that you need to respond to.

If you’ve been injured in Buffalo or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-477-9044.

Unknown Pedestrian Fatality in Buffalo a Reminder of Autumn Risks

2
Nov 2012
By: James Morris Law

Police have released a sketch of an unidentified pedestrian accident victim in Buffalo, who was killed last week on Broadway. He was killed Thursday at 7:30 p.m. as he attempted to cross at Broadway and Woltz.

The Buffalo News reported it was the second time in less than 24 hours a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle and the latest in a long string of Buffalo pedestrian accidents. Our Buffalo personal injury lawyers know nearly one-third of traffic accident fatalities in New York are pedestrians. The New York State Department of Transportation reports 311 pedestrians were among the 1,119 traffic fatalities reported in 2010. More than 16,000 pedestrians were injured.

These tragedies are frequently caused by drivers who are not paying attention, who fail to yield the right-of-way or who otherwise act negligently in causing a pedestrian accident. Speeding is another likely cause — an increase of 5 mph more than doubles a walker’s risk of dying in the event of an accident.

The New York State Department of Transportation’s participation in the nationwide Safe Routes to School initiative is one program working to reduce the risk of serious or fatal pedestrian accidents involving younger children. In New York, and in other parts of the country, the number of children who walk and bike to school has declined dramatically over the years. The program aims to teach safety while encouraging children to walk or bike to school as a healthy, environmentally friendly travel alternative.

Whether a school bus accident, a bicycle accident or a pedestrian accident, the back-to-school season also increases the risk of tragic accidents involving young people. Motorists must use extra caution when traveling near schools or through residential neighborhoods, particularly in the early morning and afternoon hours.

But the truth of the matter is autumn is a dangerous time for pedestrian accidents. The end of Daylight Savings Time means an early dark that increases the risks, as do deteriorating weather condition. Combine that with Halloween and back-to-school, and the risks are bound to increase.

And, unfortunately, alcohol is too often involved in serious or fatal pedestrian accidents in Buffalo and elsewhere in New York.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports drunk driving accidents account for one-third of all traffic fatalities.

If you’ve been injured in Buffalo or the surrounding area, contact the Law Offices of James Morris today for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 800-477-9044

Motorcycle Accidents

There is a significantly increased risk of injury or death from driving a motorcycle compared to driving an automobile. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that 80% of reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. For the sake of comparison, that figure for automobiles is 20%. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that motorcycle fatalities have increased 55% since 2000. Statistically, young riders appear to be at the highest risk of fatality in motorcycle accidents, with the highest risk level amongst 20-29 year olds.

Also alarming is that, according to the NHTSA, “statistics show that the percentage of intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes is greater than the percentage of intoxicated drivers on our roads.” This is a significant safety concern.

There are safety measures riders can take to protects themselves, some of which are similar to the tips we provided for safe bicycling. Most important is that riders use a safe and properly fitted helmet, as required by New York law. The CDC indicates the use of a helmet decreases the chances of fatality in a motorcycle crash by 37%, and decreases the risk of head injury by 69%, which is significant. Additionally, riders should wear bright clothing to make them highly visible, and protective clothing, like a leather jacket, may also be beneficial.

If you’ve been hurt, please give us a call to talk to our knowledgeable, experienced attorneys.  At James Morris Law we always fight to achieve the best results for our clients.

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Tragic Upstate New York Bicycle Accident Fatality a Harsh Reminder That Negligence Can Happen Any Time of Day

Upstate New Yorkers may be a tough breed, but we are all going to be in shock for a long time about a recent reckless driving bicycle accident fatality. On July 30, 2012, a beloved local teacher went out for an early morning Sunday bicycle ride when, police say, a motorcyclist who was allegedly driving drunk hit her. The impact threw her into the road. She was then run over by a car said to have been driven by the motorcyclist’s girlfriend.

According to police reports, the motorcyclist had been driving recklessly—doing wheelies, speeding up, then braking—just before he crashed into the cyclist. The motorbike collision victim was rushed to Strong Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The motorcyclist was arrested for DWI before being taken to the hospital with serious injuries. There were no reports of whether the driver of the car that crashed into the cyclist was injured.

The seasoned Buffalo personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices of James Morris have handled hundreds of car wreck injury and death cases in Western New York, but this one hits close to home, especially for anyone who is a parent. The cyclist who was killed by the car had two small children and a loving husband, whose lives are now changed forever.

This is a cautionary tale about many aspects of road safety. The accident happened before 8 am, when there was no heavy traffic. It’s likely that the last thing on the car crash victim’s mind was the chance of anyone driving drunk at that hour. There is also the issue of distracted driving involving the motorcyclist and the driver of the car. It is a sad lesson that it doesn’t just take texting while driving or using a cellphone or GPS unit to distract drivers. The biker was simply driving recklessly and the driver of the car was not paying attention to the roadway.

The takeaway from this tragic event: Because we all share the road, accidents only take a split second to destroy lives. This is a wake-up call to everyone to be cautious on the roads, whether you are operating a vehicle or a bicycle. Drunk drivers, distracted drivers, speeding drivers—they could be just around the corner, no matter what hour it is.

If you or a loved one suffered a bike crash injury or you lost a relative in a car accident fatality or motorcycle accident death, seek powerful legal representation. Contact the Law Offices of James Morris for a free consultation with an aggressive upstate and western New York personal injury lawyer. Call us at 1-800-477-9044 or complete our online contact form.

James Morris Law
1015 Liberty Building, 424 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14202

How to Work Effectively With Your Lawyer

It is important to work effectively with your lawyer so you can have a satisfying working relationship with one another. This is an excellent article about the subject, which we wanted to both share and elaborate upon.

It is a good idea to bring a copy of your own insurance documents (declaration page), when you first meet with your attorney. Your attorney’s office can also obtain this information if necessary, but as the article above mentions, the client can sometimes access this information quicker.

You should also bring with you other information your attorney may need to begin working on your file. For instance, for a personal injury matter, this may include the names and contact information for all your treating physicians, or copies of police accident reports. There are often key deadlines early on in a potential lawsuit, so the more information your attorney has on hand from the outset of your case, the better.

Keep all documentation, including letters and bills from doctors and insurance companies. Discuss with your attorney early on what types of documents they may want you to forward to their office, and be sure to do so in a timely fashion. This will help to ensure the attorney will always have up to date information in your file when they need it. Sometimes it is as simple as mailing (or e-mailing) it to the office when you receive it, or leaving it with the assistant or paralegal in charge of your file.

Keep a list of questions you would like to discuss with your attorney, as well as notes about what happened since the last time you spoke, which will help you make the most of your next appointment.

For a personal injury or medical malpractice case, it can be useful to keep a calendar documenting symptoms and keeping track of all your medical appointments.

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