Archive for the ‘Car Accidents’ Category

Buffalo Drivers Face Higher Risk of Death While Driving

A record number of people in the U.S. are dying in car accidents and the problem is getting worse, according to recent analysis. NPR has reported on this phenomenon, reporting on the biggest two-year increase in car accident fatalities in more than 50 years. There was a 14 percent rise in car accident deaths during that time frame.

Buffalo Auto Accident LawyerThis is more than just a statistic. It means lives have been lost, families have been shattered, and communities have suffered.

Awareness of the rising accident death rates may compel drivers to use greater caution. Motorists must also know their rights in case they are hurt in a crash that is clearly the fault of another driver. In those cases, they may be entitled to compensation. Those who have lost a loved one in a collision may have grounds to assert a claim of wrongful death against any drivers, companies, or government agencies that may have been at fault.

Car Accident Fatality Rates on the Rise

In 2016, there were more car accidents than we’ve seen in any year since 2007. The number of fatalities had been declining before 2015, attributed largely to higher unemployment and a weak economy.

Since then, the economy has improved, but this good news is tempered by the fact that roads have gotten less safe. As gas prices have fallen, so too has unemployment. Meanwhile wages have gone up. All this means people are more likely to be out on the road. This has resulted in many more car accident deaths.

There were more than 40,000 people killed in auto accidents in 2016 alone. This was up six percent from the number of fatalities in 2015.

The increase in car accident fatalities cannot be attributed solely to the fact there are more people on the road, although that is a big mitigating factor. The issue is that not only that more people are out and about in their vehicles, but also that people continue to engage in unsafe behaviors. In some cases, they are engaging in even more unsafe behaviors than ever before.

Drugged driving deaths are on the rise, according to USA Today, with so many more people dying in drug-related car accidents that regulators are alarmed. Relaxing attitudes towards marijuana may be playing a role in rising fatalities, and the opioid crisis is likely contributing to this problem and may make drugged driving accident rates go up even further.

Motorists need to be aware that they are likely to encounter more crowded roads, and that the collision risk on those roads is rising. Drivers should be as careful as they can to try to avoid accidents. Those who have been injured in an accident should know their rights if another motorist has caused a crash that resulted in a personal injury. A qualified car accident attorney can help protect those rights.

How to Stay Safe if Your Car Spins Out at an Icy Buffalo Intersection

19
Jan 2017
By:

Recently, major highways in Buffalo had to shut down as a result of a series of accidents during a winter storm. WIVB reported on the accidents and the resulting shutdowns of roadways. Icy intersection

In one incident, all lanes of I-190 Southbound were blocked as a result of a tractor trailer truck which jack-knifed. The incident happened between Exit 6 and Exit 7 and fortunately no one got hurt.  Shortly before 6:00 PM on the same day, the right lane of I-190 Southbound was closed at Exit 16 because of a different crash. Route 5 also closed for four miles; Route 219 beyond Mile Strip Road had a closed left lane because of a car accident; and the Skyway shut down completely due to bad weather.

The winters in Buffalo are bad, and a series of accidents like these typically happen during storms or when there is a lot of ice on the roads. While snow and ice are inevitable, however, there are things motorists can do to try to reduce the number of winter-weather accidents happening on Buffalo roads. In particular, drivers should know what to do if their cars start to spin out on an interstate or at an intersection.

Interstates and highways are common locations for winter weather accidents because of the close proximity of vehicles. Cars traveling close together are more likely to hit each other if weather  conditions are bad. Close proximity of vehicles also means if any car spins out, it’s probably going to cause a multi-vehicle accident that could even lead to a pileup.

Since there are dangers at intersections and interstates, drivers should be aware of the risk and try to stay safe.  One of the best ways to do that is to know how to react if your car starts to spin out and you feel yourself losing control.

If you find yourself in this situation, determine if it is your front or rear wheels skidding. If your rear wheels are skidding on ice, try to steer the car in the direction where you want the front wheels to turn.  For example, if you feel your rear-wheels begin to slide to the right, turn your steering wheel to the right to try to take the front wheels with it. You could potentially have to try to turn your wheel multiple times both left and right before you can regain control.

If your front wheels skid, you should try to shift the car to neutral right away. The skidding front wheels are going to slow the car down naturally which can make it easier for you to gain traction. Steer the car in the direction that you wish the vehicle to move. Once you have regained control, you can switch the car into drive and accelerate slowly to get back on your way.

Spinal Injuries in Auto Accidents in Buffalo

23
Nov 2016
By:

New York is a no fault auto insurance state, which means many accident victims get coverage from their own personal injury protection (PIP) policy after a car accident injury. However, if a crash victim experiences an injury considered to be serious, this can give the victim the right to pursue civil action against someone else who was at fault for causing the auto accident. There are lots of different kinds of injuries, but some of the most serious are those affecting the spinal cord. luxury-car-interior-1447962

Spinal cord injuries in auto accidents can be life changing and often result in ongoing medical expenses and an impaired ability to work, if the victim can work at all. It is imperative to understand what options you have available to you as a spinal cord injury victim for seeking compensation. Anyone who was responsible for your auto accident injuries, from a careless driver to a car manufacturer, could potentially be made to pay you damages. The money you receive can help you ensure you can afford to provide for yourself and your family and can make it possible for you to get the best medical care.

When most people think of a spinal cord injury, they think of an injury that causes complete paralysis. Many spinal cord injuries do in fact make it impossible to control affected parts of the body and can result in the victim becoming paralyzed. However, there are different kinds of spinal cord injuries and not all of those injuries will result in a person being left unable to walk or move.

Some of the different types of spinal injuries an auto accident victim could suffer include:

  • Anterior cord syndrome: ACS causes damage to the front of the spinal cord. The result is both sensory and motor pathways sustain damage. Movement will be difficult or impossible.  You may still have some lingering feeling in affected parts of the body.
  • Central cord syndrome: With this type of injury, the center of the spinal cord is damaged. Nerves are also damaged which carry signals from  your brain to your spinal cord.  You may experience paralysis of the arms and loss of fine motor skills. There may be some impairment in the legs, but the impairment in the legs is usually not as profound as it is in the arms or as it is with other types of spinal injuries. In some cases, bladder, bowel control, and sexual function is lost in patients suffering from central cord syndrome.
  • Brown-Sequard syndrome: This injury occurs when just one side of the spinal cord is damaged. You may experience profound effects on one side of the body, such as becoming unable to move your left side. The other side of your body may retain full movement.

If you suffer these types of spinal cord injury, or any type of spinal cord injury, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible following the auto accident in order to determine if anyone can be held accountable for losses.

Stay Sober to Avoid Halloween Pedestrian Accidents in Buffalo

24
Oct 2016
By:

In 2014, a three year old boy was out trick-or-treating with his family in upstate New York, as so many children do on Halloween night. Tragically, this little boy did not make it home at the end of the night because he was killed in a traffic accident. WHEC reports the motorist who struck the little boy said he did not see the child. The initial investigation did not identify signs of intoxication. beer-guy-2-1543615

Now, however, two years later the man who was driving on that fateful Halloween night is facing criminal charges and court papers claim he had both alcohol and diazepam in his system.  Prosecutors indicate they had to wait to press charges against the driver until a lengthy investigation could be completed and until toxicology reports from the collision scene came back. He faces the potential for jail time if convicted of the crimes.

This Halloween, similar tragedies are likely to happen — but they don’t have to! Drivers can take steps to help ensure that no kids die in pedestrian or traffic collisions. Preventing these types of Halloween accidents requires a simple commitment from motorists not to get behind the wheel when they are intoxicated.

It is always important to avoid intoxicated driving, but especially on Halloween night when young children will be out. Everyone can do their part to keep kids safe from drunk driving pedestrian accidents on Halloween:

  • If you are going to be drinking, have a ride planned before you start. A designated driver, a car sharing service, or a taxi should be lined up. You may even want a backup plan to make certain there is no question about getting in the car drunk.
  • If your kids are going to a party, talk with them. Teen drunk drivers are a problem on halloween as young people attend parties with their friends and then drive home intoxicated. Be sure you know where your teens are going to be for halloween night and confirm a parent will be supervising and no alcohol will be served. Remind your kids that they should never drive drunk or get into a car with anyone who is drunk under any circumstances.
  • If you are throwing a party, be sure your guests don’t create a risk. Consider not serving alcohol, or at least make sure you have other beverages available for designated drivers. Don’t let anyone leave and drive drunk either. Call them a cab, invite them to stay over, or drive them home yourself if you are sober, rather than taking the risk someone leaving your house could injure a child on halloween night.

Everyone working together can ensure a safer Halloween for our children and a happier start to the holiday season for us all.

Drowsy Driving and Buffalo Car Accidents

23
Sep 2016
By:

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

30
Aug 2016
By:

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

19
Apr 2016
By:

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

11
Mar 2016
By:

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

24
Nov 2015
By:

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

28
Oct 2015
By:

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.