Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Drowsy Driving and Buffalo Car Accidents

Sep 2016

Recently, a late-night motor vehicle accident occurred which left one driver dead and which left another person injured. WGRZ reported on the tragic accident, which happened on Fillmore Avenue and North Parade shortly before midnight. Police indicate the driver of the vehicle lost control of his car, which resulted in the driver sideswiping a light pole before his vehicle hit a tree. The driver was killed in the collision and pronounced dead at the crash scene, while the passenger in the vehicle was rushed to Erie Community Medical Center with serious injuries. driving-1434211

Police indicate the cause of the car accident is still under investigation. There are lots of reasons for single car and multi-vehicle accidents at night, including drunk driving.

Fatigued driving is also a big issue, and motorists need to be aware of the dangers of driving when tired. Fatigued driving is becoming an especially big focus among safety advocates as a new report has been released showing some of the significant dangers of drowsy driving.

A new report from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) emphasized the risks of fatigued driving. According to the report, approximately 84 million motorists throughout the United States drive even though they are too tired to be safe. The toll of these drowsy drivers is substantial, as around 5,000 people lost their lives in 2015 in crashes resulting from drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving is not a new problem. Each year, on average, 109,000 people get hurt and around 6,400 lose their lives in drowsy driving crashes. The annual cost of losses from drowsy driving is $109 billion, and a total of 328,000 drowsy driving crashes happen each year. Around seven percent of all crashes and close to 17 percent of all fatal crashes on the roads in the United States involve a driver who is drowsy.

Drivers can prevent this type of accident from happening by making sure to get enough sleep. They should also restrict the number of hours they drive before getting rest. A motorist who has been beyond the wheel for too long is impaired in similar ways to a motorist who is drunk. The motorist may experience delayed reaction time and impaired judgment. If he falls asleep, he can leave his lane and strike other vehicles or objects.

Drivers should also make it a point to stop if they find themselves getting tired behind the wheel or if they nod off as they drive. Coffee, cold temperatures like opening a window, and loud music are not going to be sufficient to keep a drowsy driver alert enough to be safe. Motorists need to make sure they make smart choices and get off the road before they hurt or kill themselves or other drivers. If someone is fatigued behind the wheel and causes a collision to happen, the drowsy driver can be held accountable for losses.

“Driving Selfies” Put New York Motorists At Risk

Aug 2016

Driving a carIn the wake of warnings about texting while driving and playing games while driving, New York is now cautioning motorists against another type of distracted driving: taking “selfies” behind the wheel.

According to a new report published by the Auto Insurance Center, New York ranks eighth in the nation for #DrivingSelfies per 100,000 residents. That means thousands of drivers statewide are taking their eyes off the road to take pictures of themselves with their smartphones and upload them to social media.

New York has some of the nation’s toughest laws against cell phone use while driving. The state law prohibits drivers from holding portable electronic devices, viewing, taking or transmitting images and transmitting, sending or retrieving electronic data while driving, all of which are involved when taking “driving selfies.” Penalties include a $400 fine and five points on the offender’s license.

But according to the Auto Insurance Center’s report, state laws have done little to deter drivers from taking this risk on the road.

New York officials emphasized the need for drivers to think about the consequences of using their phones while driving, as WIVB 4 reports. Distracted drivers have a hard time staying in their own lanes, which means they could drift off the road and hit someone walking or jogging. They often cause rear-end accidents and even head-on collisions when they drift into the oncoming lane.

And because taking a picture takes the driver’s eyes off the road for at least two seconds, driving selfies can be even more dangerous than texting or talking on the phone while driving.

People injured by distracted drivers have legal rights – and an attorney can help

Because using handheld electronics while driving is illegal in New York, people who are injured by distracted drivers may think their insurance will cover them without issue. Unfortunately, the truth is often more complex. The distracted driver may deny wrongdoing, or the insurance company may try to claim that the injured person did something else to cause the accident.

Even if the distracted driver is cited for using a cell phone while driving, it’s important to remember that the police are there to deal with the offender, not to help the victim get compensation. And even if fault isn’t disputed, the insurance company may try to downplay the extent of your injuries or find other ways to reduce your claim as much as possible.

That’s why it’s critical to retain an experienced lawyer as soon as possible after a crash. If distracted driving was a factor, your attorney will consult cell phone records, social media and witness reports to prove that the driver who caused your injuries was negligent. As with any car accident case, we’ll also review medical records and other evidence to prove the full extent of your losses due to the crash, and we’ll negotiate directly with the insurance company to make sure you are fairly compensated.

Buffalo Collision Involving Two Teens Reveals Risks of Teen Drivers

Apr 2016

In the state of New York, countless teen drivers are involved in fatal car collisions each year.  Even a single death is devastating, but unfortunately teenagers face the most substantial risk of any demographic group of being killed in a car crash. Teens are especially at risk of getting hurt or killed in a wreck if they have any passengers in the car at the time when a young person is driving.

Buffalo Collision Shows Risk For Teen Drivers & Passengers

This past winter, one of many collisions involving teen drivers occurred when an 18-year-old driver became involved in a crash with a snow plow. Buffalo News reports the 18-year-old’s vehicle moved across the center turn lane and crossed over into the eastbound lane where it struck one of three plows which were on the road at the time.  A passenger in the car, who was 16, sustained injuries including cuts and a fractured vertebrae. Both the driver and passenger who were injured were taken to Erie County Medical Center for treatment.

The teen was issued two tickets in this case, with the first citation indicating he had moved from a lane unsafely and with the additional citation indicating he had failed to keep right. The reasons for the accident are still under investigation.

The fact the teen had a passenger in the car with him was a contributing risk factor to a crash occurring.  A recent study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety clearly demonstrates dangers associated with young people having passengers in the car as they drive.

Having even one other passenger nearly doubles motor vehicle collision risk among teen drivers. The crash risk per mile doubles as soon as there are two passengers, and quadruples in situations where at least three additional passengers aged 21 or under are in the car with the teenaged driver as he is operating a vehicle.

CBS News, reporting on another recent study, revealed having passengers in the car was very risky for young people because these passengers could be more of a distraction than cell phone use, than eating, or then reaching for items inside of the vehicle.

Graduated licensing laws in New York recognize the dangers of having multiple passengers and impose a restriction on teens who have not yet become eligible for their full license available at age 18 (or aged 17 if the teen took driver’s education).  Teens without their full license are allowed to have only one passenger under the age of 21 in the car with them at a time.

Graduated licensing laws limiting passengers can reduce dangers of crashes, but since NY law still allows one passenger, teens who drive around with at least one friend will continue to face a higher chance of a fatal crash.

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Rear-End Accidents Less Likely Due To Crash Prevention Systems, Study Reports

Mar 2016

Front crash prevention systems installed in vehicles have reduced the number of rear-end accidents caused by drivers, according to a recent nationwide study analyzing different crash prevention technologies.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted the study based on auto accident data gathered by police nationwide, according to Motor Trend magazine. The IIHS analyzed data for accidents involving vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking systems and forward collision warning systems.

Such technological advancements greatly reduced (from 23 to 40 percent, depending on the type of warning or braking system) the number of rear-end accidents. “The success of front crash prevention represents a big step forward towards safer roads,” IIHS chief researcher David Zuby said, according to the Motor Trend article.

How do front crash prevention systems work?

Front crash preventions vary depending on the vehicle manufacturer. In most cases, such systems work using a combination of motion-sensor cameras, lasers or radar to detect another vehicle.

Some car companies equip their vehicles with warning systems that alert drivers to a possible collision with another vehicle based on the distance between the two vehicles and their respective speeds. Other warning systems go one step further and automatically brake if the car is about to collide with another vehicle.

Such technology has the potential to significantly reduce the number of “rear-end crashes and whiplash injuries,” Zuby explained to Motor Trend magazine. Whiplash is a type of neck injury caused by the violent forward, backward movement of a person’s neck, especially during rear-end accidents.

In addition, pedestrians and cyclists will also likely benefit from such technology, since vehicles will warn drivers or automatically stop the car if the car drives too close to other people on the road, according to Consumer Reports magazine.

What can I do to avoid a rear-end car accident?

Vehicles equipped with crash prevention technologies are a great way to prevent rear-end accidents. But you don’t need to have such technology in your vehicle in order to avoid a rear-end accident. When driving, make sure you leave a safe distance between your vehicle and other cars in front or back of you. A safe distance means you have enough time to safely come to stop if another driver hits another vehicle or stops unexpectedly. In general, a safe driving distance is two to three seconds between vehicles.

Other safety tips include:

  • Driving a safe speed (which can vary depending on weather conditions, especially in Upstate New York, where winter storms can be severe.)
  • Avoiding distractions while driving (don’t eat or text while driving. Texting while driving is against the law in New York.)
  • Properly maintain your vehicle (have your brakes and tires checked regularly to make sure they’re in good working order.)

Unfortunately, even the safest drivers sometimes have rear-end accidents. If another driver caused your rear-end crash in New York, contact our law firm immediately. We have years of experience working with people injured in rear-end car accidents. That’s how we’re able to consistently obtain settlements and verdicts that fairly compensate accident victims for the true cost of their crash. Contact us online or call 1-800-477-9044 to schedule your free case evaluation today.

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Where Head On Collisions are Most Likely to Occur in Buffalo

Nov 2015

A Buffalo woman attempting to pass a car on Route 97 recently collided head-on with another vehicle. The woman was trying to pass another vehicle and was traveling eastbound in the opposing traffic lane. She collided with another car, killing the other driver instantly. She was also killed in the accident. According to Buffalo News, the collision is under investigation and law enforcement officers are awaiting toxicology reports to make a determination on whether alcohol use was involved in the head-on accident or not. way-wrong-1245111

Head-on crashes make up a disproportionately high share of fatal car accidents, and of collisions resulting in serious injury. Statewide in New York, 966 fatal collisions and another 118,465 non-fatal injury crashes occurred over 2014, according to the NY Department of Motor Vehicles. Improper passing, which often results in head-on crashes, was the cause of a total of 13,589 statewide collisions. Drivers going the wrong way onto a highway, and drivers losing control while traveling around a curve are also very common causes of head-on crashes.

Motorists must be aware of the dangers of head-on collisions and must be proactive in attempting to prevent them from occurring. One key part of effective prevention decisions is knowing where head-on collisions are most likely to occur.

Where Head-On Collisions are Most Likely to Occur

Head-on collisions frequently occur on two lane roads, which have no middle median or physical barrier. Safety Transportation says ¾ of all head-on accidents in the United States occur on these types of roads. One possible option for lawmakers to improve safety on these type of roadways is to add a cable barrier or some other type of physical barrier.

Cable barriers are often recommended over concrete medians because the cable barrier has more give if a driver hits it, so motorists who strike the median are less likely to be badly injured or killed. The use of rumble strips could also be an effective way to alert drivers they have crossed over from their lane and into the lane of opposing traffic, which they are in danger of hitting head-on.

Drivers who travel on two lane undivided roads can also make sure they follow the speed limit- especially around curves where 23-percent of head-on accidents happen. They can also avoid distractions, intoxication, and drowsy driving, which are all contributing factors to causing head-on crashes as drivers veer off into opposing lanes.

Head-on collisions also frequently occur on highways, as well as on the entrance ramps and exit ramps people use in order to access highways. When drivers get onto highways going in the wrong direction, they are very likely to strike other vehicles moving at high-speeds, thus causing fatal head-on collisions. The use of more effective “No Enter” signs, placed slightly lower, could help to reduce these types of crashes according to NBC. Drivers also need to be careful attention to pavement markings and avoid intoxicated driving which could cause disorientation and result in wrong-way head-on accidents.

Avoid Car Accident Risks While Tailgating at the Big Game

Oct 2015

Tailgating at the Buffalo Bills game, or other professional or college sporting event, is a favorite pastime for Buffalonians. While going tailgating before the game can be a lot of fun, it can also put you and your loved ones at risk of alcohol-related car accidentstraffic-jamz-1446911

You need to be aware of some of the dangers associated with tailgating and make sure you have done what you can to avoid such risks.  You also need to be aware of driving risks when the game is over and everyone is leaving the stadium to head home.

Avoid These Car Accident Risks While Tailgating

While tailgating at Ralph Wilson Stadium and after the football game has come to an end, some of the different car accident risks to be concerned about include:

  • The risk of a drunk driving accident. Tailgating happens in parking lots, and sometimes happens where people drive. Many tailgaters also get drunk. In fact, tailgaters are 14 times more likely than the average football game attendee to be so intoxicated as to be over the legal limit, according to ABC News. When you pull into the parking lot, set up your tailgating area, walk around the parking lot, or get ready  to leave the game, you need to be on the lookout for drunk drivers who may not be operating their vehicles safely.
  • The risk of backover accidents. Backover collisions happen frequently in parking lots, and occur when a driver is leaving a parking space or backing in to a space and does not look behind to make sure there are no obstacles in his way. Kids and Cars reports 48 children are hospitalized and two kids die every single week in backover accidents, on average. While kids are at the greatest risk of backover accidents generally, anyone could be hit by a reversing car in a parking lot during or after a football game when there are so many cars around.
  • The risk of a parking lot collision. State Farm claims data shows around 20 percent of accident claims occur because of crashes in parking lots, according to an Albany University study. Motorists in parking lots who are setting up their tailgating, who are parking for the game, or who are leaving the game may strike other vehicles or people.
  • The risk of rear-end crashes. When leaving the stadium, there is often a lot of densely-packed traffic. Drivers who aren’t paying attention to the road may cause rear-end accidents if they don’t notice the car in front of them has stopped or has changed speeds.

Next time you tailgate or attend any football game, keep these risk factors in mind so you can be safer both before the game and after. If drivers know about the dangers of car accidents when attending football games, they can make smarter and more informed choices to keep themselves and others from harm.

Reporting Your Buffalo Car Accident

Sep 2015

Drivers in the state of New York have to buy no fault insurance coverage. The maximum amount of money available under no fault coverage is $50,000. No fault coverage pays for medical bills and loss of wages after an accident. If you exceed the $50,000 in basic no fault benefits, you can apply for additional benefits available through auto policies from other household members or other vehicles you occupied. No fault coverage is also called personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.


No fault PIP coverage means you get all of your medical bills covered and some of your wages paid if you have to miss work following a traffic accident, regardless of who caused the collision. If injuries were serious or death occurred and there was another driver to blame, you may be able to pursue a claim against that motorist for damages not covered by PIP. You need to know how to report a car accident and what steps to take after a collision so you can maximize your chances of getting full compensation for crash losses.

How to Report a Car Accident

If you want PIP coverage, you must follow rules set forth in Regulation 68 for reporting a collision. Department of Financial Services explains Regulation 68 requires: “in the event of an accident, written notice setting forth details sufficient to identify the eligible injured person, along with reasonably obtainable information regarding the time, place and circumstances of the accident, shall be given by, or on behalf of, each eligible injured person, to the applicable No-Fault insurer, or any of their authorized agents, as soon as reasonably practicable, but in no event more than 30 days after the date of the accident.”

The only exception to this requirement is if you can provide clear justification, in writing, for why you did not provide this information within 30 days.

The PIP claim must be filed with the insurer covering the car you were an occupant of. If you were involved in a pedestrian collision, you must file with the car that hit you. If you don’t know who hit you or the driver was uninsured, you can sometimes file a PIP claim with the insurance of any member of your household who had PIP coverage.

You should also be sure to get information from the other driver about his insurance, and to get the other driver’s contact details. When you suffered serious injuries, you will need to deal with the other driver’s insurance. The insurance representing the policyholder who caused the accident should pay for economic and non-financial damages. You can recover this money through a negotiated settlement if the insurer accepts fault and is willing to make a settlement offer. If you do not believe the insurer is offering a fair payout, you can file a personal injury claim. If your family member was killed, you can go to court and file a wrongful death claim.

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Police Could Subpoena Phone Records After Buffalo Rear-End Collisions

Feb 2015

Rear-end accidents are one of the most common types of collisions in Buffalo, Clarence, Williamsville, Amherst and nationwide. After a rear-end accident, determining the crash cause is important in order to determine who should be held legally liable for all losses and damages incurred by victims. In some cases, a driver can be held criminally responsible for causing death or serious injury if he was grossly negligent or was impaired while driving and caused an accident to happen. cell-phone-1254846-m

A personal injury lawyer knows that law enforcement officers will typically conduct a comprehensive investigation into an accident cause, especially if serious injury or death happened. One part of this investigation may involve asking the motorists who were in the crash to provide their cell phone records.

Cell Phone Records Can Shed Light on Rear-End Accident Causes

According to the Claims Journal, a rear-end accident that has made headlines is currently being investigated. The crash involved Olympian athlete and reality television star Bruce Jenner. There were a total of four vehicles in the chain-reaction rear-end crash that left one person dead. Each of the drivers involved in the accident, including Jenner, has been asked to provide their cellular phone records. If any of the drivers is not willing to turn those records over, it is likely that the sheriff’s investigators who have been assigned to determine the cause of the crash will subpoena the records.

The purpose of obtaining the records is to determine if any of the drivers was either talking on the phone during the crash or was involved in texting during the crash. Talking or texting does not automatically mean you are to blame for causing the accident. However, because these behaviors do significantly increase the risk of a collision due to delayed reaction times and impaired judgment, the fact that you were on the phone or texting can be a strong indicator that you may have been at least partly to blame for causing the rear-end or other accident to occur.

Police will look at your call log to determine if you may have been talking on the phone. Cell phone records provide information on the time a call came in or a time the call was made, as well as how long you were on each call. This makes it very easy for police to see whether you were talking at the time of the crash.

It is a little harder to see if you were texting. The problem is that when you are texting, only the delivery time of the text is displayed on the phone records. The time when you are typing or reading does not show up. However, if there were many text messages sent or received at around the time that the accident happened, this could create a strong presumption that you were probably texting at the time of the collision. In rear-end accidents, the rear driver i usually considered at least partly responsible because he has the obligation to make sure he leaves room to stop if the front driver does. Still, phone records could provide more info on whether the front driver may have alone done something wrong that led to the crash occurring.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 800-477-9044 or visit  Serving Buffalo, Rochester, Williamsville, Amherst Cheektowaga and surrounding areas. Attorney advertising.

Buffalo Teens & Driving Safely in Snow

Dec 2014

While teenagers throughout Williamsville, Clarence, Amherst, Buffalo and surrounding areas may be very eager to get their license and begin driving, parents may be less excited about their son or daughter being behind the wheel. A personal injury lawyer knows that there are significant risks for young drivers on the roads. In fact, as Drive Steady reports, the risk of a motor vehicle collision during a teenagers first year of driving is 10 times the risk faced by a more experienced motorist. In particular, the greatest number of accidents involving teen drivers occur during the first six months of the time when a young person gets his or her license.

Motor vehicle crashes caused by teen drivers remain a primary cause of death and serious injury for young people. There is always a danger when inexperienced drivers get behind the wheel; but the risk is made even worse during the winter months when inclement weather hits. Many teens have never driven in snow or with icy roads and this winter will be their first opportunity to battle these elements as they try to get safely to their destination.

Parents Can Play a Part in Teaching Kids Safe Winter Driving

While drugs and alcohol play a role in causing teen driving accidents, some of the biggest reasons why young people are so collision prone include overconfidence in their driving abilities coupled with inexperience that makes it difficult to respond to hazards. This can be a recipe for disaster during the winter, as young people may think that they can handle snow and ice on the roads and may end up endangering themselves and others as they drive in treacherous conditions.

Brand Connection provides some tips for parents on helping kids learn how to drive safely in order to overcome the dangers associated with their first season of winter driving. Recommendations include:

  • That parents do some winter driving practice with kids. When the weather starts to get bad out, parents should take their kids to an empty parking lot and let their children practice driving in the snow. Kids need to learn how to react to a slide, so parents should have them stop suddenly so the car skids and they have the opportunity to get the vehicle back under control. Young people also need to be taught how to brake safely when the roads are icy.
  • Parents should watch for bad weather and try to restrict driving. When the snow is coming down or there is snow on the ground, teen trips in the car should be limited to the essentials. If possible, kids should not drive at all until after the roads have been cleared.
  • Parents may wish to enroll their kids in winter driving classes. Many schools offer this type of education in order to help young people to avoid collisions.

It is also a good idea for parents to share some basic safety tips, like always putting headlights on during snow storms and never passing a plow that is clearing the roads. As the recent massive Buffalo snow storms showed, it is never too early to teach your kids how to handle snow.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 800-477-9044 or visit  Serving Buffalo, Rochester, Williamsville, Amherst, Cheektowaga and surrounding areas. Attorney advertising.

Rear-View Cameras May Prevent Buffalo Crashes

Parents and relatives of young children need to be extremely careful when backing out of driveways.

As many as 50 young children are run over in a back-over crash every single week in the United States. Around 48 children need to visit an emergency room after being run over, and two children die in these crashes every single week.

A personal injury lawyer knows parents and close relatives are the behind the wheel in a majority of situations where a child is injured or killed in a back-over crash. In fact, according to Kids and Cars, a full 70 percent of back-over accidents resulting in injury or death to children involve a driver who is a parent or who is a close relative.

There are ways for parents to prevent back-over collisions and reduce the risk to their children. One of the best options may involve installing a rear-view camera in a vehicle or purchasing a vehicle that has a rear-view camera already installed in it.

Rear-view cameras can significant improve visibility and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated it require rear-view cameras to be installed in all cars starting in 2016. Until that mandate goes into effect, parents and relatives may wish to purchase a vehicle with a system installed or install an aftermarket system in their vehicles after they have purchased the car.

Rear-View Cameras Reduce the Risk of Crashes for Kids

Rear-view cameras can make a big difference in helping to avoid deadly back-over accidents. In fact, as the Auto Channel reports, a study recently conducted by AAA has revealed rear-view cameras can improve rear visibility in vehicles by as much as 46 percent on average.

For some vehicles, such as hatchback cars, the improvement was even more significant. With a rear-view camera installed, a 75 percent improvement in rear visibility occurred. In vehicles that were smaller, such as sedans, adding a rear-view camera could improve rear visibility by 36 percent.

The greatest improvement in visibility occurred in the 10 feet immediately behind the area where the motor vehicle was driving. This is the area that tends to be the most dangerous spot for kids.

However, even after a rear-view camera has been installed, drivers need to continue to exercise a reasonable degree of care and caution in making sure they do not injure young children or otherwise cause a back-over accident to occur. AAA recommends before getting into the car, drivers do a pre-check to see if there are any obstacles behind the vehicle.

At the time when you are doing the pre-check, you can also wipe off the camera in case there is any snow or debris on it. The visibility of the rear-view camera may be affected by poor weather, so drivers also need to be aware that there is still some risk of a back-over crash.

The average age of a child who is injured or killed in a back-over accident is just 23 months. Drivers need to do their part to keep these vulnerable young people safe from a life changing or life-ending injury.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044 or visit  Serving Buffalo, Rochester, Williamsville, Amherst, Cheektowaga and surrounding areas. Attorney advertising.