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2,456 Deaths in 2016 Due to Not Buckling Up

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) once again collaborated with local law enforcement agencies nationwide to remind people to buckle up.  The agency recently kicked off its yearly “Click It or Ticket” safety campaign in an effort to increase seat belt use and prevent needless car accident fatalities.

Click it or Ticket Campaign

“Safety is our top priority, and this department is proud to stand with local law enforcement officials to help spread the word about the importance of buckling up,” said Elaine L. Chao, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao, in a May press release.

The initiative, which ran from May 21-June 3, had the support of more than 10,000 law enforcement agencies from across the country. The campaign featured national advertisements that warned about the dangers of driving or riding in motor vehicles while unrestrained, in the hopes of bringing attention to this important topic. It is mandatory to wear a seat belt in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. During the campaign, police officers were out in full force, issuing citations to any persons who were not buckled up.

Traffic deaths could have been prevented

The federal campaign has had a positive impact on traffic safety since its launch, as figures show a steady uptick in seat belt use in the past decade. Although seat belt compliance has saved thousands of lives (an estimated 15,000 in 2016 alone), the NHTSA cautions that there’s still room for improvement.

Recent crash data indicate that 2,456 lives could have been saved if every driver and vehicle occupant over the age of 5 had buckled up.

Key takeaways from 2016 crash data

There were 17,480 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016 – the majority in passenger cars. Among the fatalities for which restraint use was known, 48 percent were not wearing their seat belts at the time of the accident. The safety report shows that nearly half of all front seat passengers killed in crashes were not buckled up, and 57 percent of backseat passengers killed were not restrained.

The data also examined fatalities by vehicle type. Some 61 percent of unrestrained occupants who were killed were in pick-up trucks, while 42 percent of unrestrained passengers were in standard passenger vehicles.

Seat belts are extremely effective at preventing ejection from a vehicle at the time of impact. In all of the fatal crashes in 2016, only 1 percent of all passenger vehicle occupants wearing their seat belts were thrown completely from the vehicle, compared to 29 percent of those who were unbuckled. 

New York was the first state to pass a mandatory seat belt law in 1984. The state’s “observed seat belt compliance rate” hovers just over 91 percent. In 2016, 34 percent of all New York passenger vehicle occupants killed in accidents were not wearing their seat belt, underscoring the immense value of restraint use.

Legal representation in Suffolk and Nassau Counties

The law firm of Edelman, Krasin & Jaye supports any initiatives that bring attention to the importance of seat belt use. Buckling up is one of the best defenses against distracted, reckless and impaired drivers and can increase your chances of surviving a serious collision.

Our award-winning legal team is dedicated to helping injury victims in New York recover just compensation from negligent parties. Call 1-800-469-7429 to schedule a free, private consultation with experienced car accident lawyers in Nassau County.

Additional Resources on Traffic Safety & Seat Belt Use:

  1. NHTSA, Buckle Up. It Could Save Your Life. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/buckle-it-could-save-your-life
  2. NHTSA, 2016 Traffic Safety Facts https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/buckle-it-could-save-your-life

New Jersey School Bus Crash Kills Two

The town of Mount Olive, New Jersey was the site of a deadly collision last Thursday. According to officials, a teacher and a student were killed when a school bus they were riding crashed into a dump truck on Interstate 80 westbound near Route 206 – approximately 50 miles outside of New York City.

Student and teacher killed in school bus collision

Witnesses told CBS2 News that the bus, which was taking middle schoolers on a field trip, missed an exit and was attempting to make a U-turn when the accident occurred. The school bus, from Paramus’ East Brook Middle School, was carrying a group of fifth graders and their teachers. A total of seven adults and 38 students were aboard the bus when the vehicle was broad sided by a dump truck. The grisly collision left 2 dead and 44 injured, of which 43 were hospitalized.

The two fatalities included Jennifer Williamson, a 51-year old teacher at East Brooke Middle School, and a student whose identity has not yet been confirmed. The collision occurred less than one mile from the field trip destination: Waterloo Village. As authorities continue to investigate the crash, traffic experts are raising concerns about school bus safety, particularly in relation to their performance in side-impact collisions like this one.

According to federal figures, school buses are among the safest passenger vehicles on the road. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a rate of 0.2 fatalities for every 100 million miles driven by school buses, compared with 1.5 deaths for every 100 million miles driven in standard passenger vehicles.

While all school buses in New Jersey are equipped with seat belts, this safety measure did little to protect the occupants. The bus was “sheared apart” during the impact, with part of the ravaged vehicle left in the median at a 45-degree angle. There were passengers entrapped in the wreckage and others who were ejected from their seats.

“I have never seen anything like that. I can only describe it as horrific,” said Mount Olive Mayor Robert Greenbaum.

Liability issues in bus accidents

There are important factors to consider when determining liability in a school bus accident. Was one of the drivers negligent in their actions? Were the standards of care met? Was a driver distracted or speeding? Was a mechanical issue to blame? Was the bus in safe operating condition? Was an illegal maneuver or traffic violation committed?

There are comprehensive state and federal standards that apply to the licensing of school bus drivers, their requirements and their training. Only thorough investigations of accident reports can identify liable parties and if standards of care were truly breached.

If a bus driver’s actions or inactions contributed to an accident, a number of parties may be held responsible in a court of law. These include:

  1. The school district
  2. The bus driver
  3. Insurance company
  4. Third-party contracting company

Other potential defendants in bus collisions include another negligent driver or vehicle parts manufacturers who distributed faulty or defective parts that contributed to the crash.

Accident attorneys New York residents trust

Here at Edelman, Krasin and Jaye, we have the experience and resources to help clients navigate complex legal matters involving vicarious liability, government immunity and cases involving multiple defendants. When you need a skilled school bus accident lawyer in NYC or throughout the Tri State area, you can count on our law firm for superior advocacy and client support.

Put your trust in an award-winning law firm with hundreds of millions in verdicts and settlements. Call 1-800-469-7429 to speak with a NY school bus accident lawyer today.

Additional Resources on NJ School Bus Crash:

  1. Yahoo News, NJ school bus collision leaves 2 dead, some critically hurt https://www.yahoo.com/gma/school-bus-collides-dump-truck-jersey-injuries-reported-150103465–abc-news-topstories.html
  2. CBS News New York, Student, Teacher Killed When School Bus, Dump Truck Collide In Mount Olive, N.J. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2018/05/17/mount-olive-school-bus-crash/
  3. NorthJersey.com, Why was Paramus school bus crash so violent? Buses vulnerable to side impact, experts say https://www.northjersey.com/story/news/transportation/2018/05/19/paramus-school-bus-crash-buses-vulnerable-side-impact/624350002/

4 Reasons to Love Driverless Cars

self driving carPlenty of predictions made by science fiction writers have already come true. Like the iPad (predicted by Arthur C. Clarke), organ transplants (predicted by Mary Shelley), flat-screen TVs (predicted by Ray Bradbury), and an apocalyptic alien invasion, predicted by H.G. Wells. Well, perhaps not the last one, but driverless cars (predicted by many, including Isaac Asimov) are definitely reality now, and that’s great news for transportation safety and insurance costs.

More lives saved and injuries prevented

Driver error of any kind is the most common reason for car crashes. It includes dangerous behaviors like drunk driving, driving while substance impaired, driving while fatigued, and driving while distracted, as well as speeding, tailgating, and making unsafe lane changes. When drivers no longer have to drive, all of these errors can presumably be eliminated. In the U.S. alone, the widespread use of driverless cars is expected to save countless lives, and prevent injuries both minor and major.

In fact, it’s thought that driverless cars could slash accident rates by up to 90 percent by the year 2050.

Lower insurance premiums

Many drivers have a love-hate relationship with auto insurance. The monthly premium is a nuisance, but when a crash happens, it’s sure nice to have the policy. As autonomous cars become increasingly prevalent and car crash rates decline, it’s expected that insurance carriers will adjust their premiums accordingly. Some experts think that there may be two types of auto insurance packages: One for manual cars, and one for autonomous cars. Since driverless vehicles have a greatly reduced risk of crashing, these premiums would naturally decline.

Safer commercial transportation

In addition to safer passenger vehicles, commercial transportation accidents are expected to greatly decrease when automated big rigs become commonplace. This is similar to what has already happened in the aviation industry. Pilots are primarily responsible for take-offs and landings, but during the actual flight, they mostly put the plane on autopilot. Industry experts envision the same thing happening for commercial truck drivers. This possibility is particularly exciting for safety advocates, as big rig crashes are among the deadliest.

Less time wasted in traffic jams

In some ways, computers are smarter than humans. When a driver tells an autonomous car to get him from Point A to Point B, the car can automatically generate current traffic pattern information and determine the most efficient and timeliest way to get to Point B. The widespread use of driverless cars could potentially result in less traffic congestion, fewer hours wasted sitting in traffic, and presumably, fewer road rage incidents.

Tomorrow’s technology, today’s problems

Car manufacturers have been steadily increasing the focus on safety technology in new model vehicles, and the prevalent use of driverless cars could certainly help keep the roadways safer. But it’s still going to be years before a significant number of drivers have autonomous cars, and in the meantime, far too many accidents happen every day.

If you’ve been involved in a car wreck on Long Island or anywhere in the 5 boroughs of NYC and require legal representation, you can turn to the seasoned team at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye. Request your confidential, one-on-one consultation with one of our Nassau County car accident lawyers today by calling 1.800.469.7429.

More information on the benefits of driverless cars:

  1. Bloomberg, Self-Driving Cars Will Kill Things You Love (And a Few You Hate), https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-13/self-driving-cars-will-kill-things-you-love-and-a-few-you-hate
  2. Business Insider, The 3 biggest ways self-driving cars will improve our lives, http://www.businessinsider.com/advantages-of-driverless-cars-2016-6/

Pedestrian Deaths Down in NYC

There’s good news for bicyclists and pedestrians in New York City: the streets are slowly becoming safer when it comes to vehicular traffic.

The New York Times reports that Queens Boulevard, a busy thoroughfare that has claimed 186 lives since 1990, has not had a single fatality since 2014. A large part of this recent downturn in pedestrian deaths is due to the efforts of Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose ambitious Vision Zero initiative has proven that proactive measures and safety improvements can help prevent needless accidents and deaths.

Queens Boulevard no longer a death zone

Once known as the “Boulevard of Death” Queens Blvd. is no longer one of the city’s deadliest streets. Mayor de Blasio says the moniker should be changed to the “Boulevard of Life,” a testament to the progress of Vision Zero. The ultimate goal is to eliminate all traffic deaths, which Blasio deems to be entirely preventable. Despite a stalled take-off, the campaign has garnered praise for its impressive roster of changes, including the lowering of the speed limit to 25 miles per hour on major arteries like Queens Boulevard.

In addition, the City poured substantial financial resources into the redesign of Queens Boulevard, with a view toward reducing pedestrian dangers. More than $4 million was invested in adding more crosswalks, median waiting areas, bike lanes, and high-tech cameras to catch speeding motorists. Engineers also re-tooled the 10 car lanes to mitigate the congestion between local and through traffic.

For residents like Lizi Rahman, whose 22-year-old-son was mowed down by a truck while riding a bike on Queens Boulevard 10 years ago, the changes have come a little late.  Since her son’s fatal accident, she has been a strong advocate for bike lanes on the well-traveled artery. “It won’t bring my son back, “ she told The Times. “Maybe other people will be safe.” Next year will see even bigger changes to the so-called Boulevard of Life, with the addition of wider, tree-lined medians, a continuous path for pedestrians and lots of benches.

Other dangerous streets still need attention

According to deputy director of Transportation Alternatives Caroline Samponaro, New York City still has “plenty” of other hazardous streets in need of attention. As the de Blasio administration continues its work on Vision Zero, this past year’s traffic deaths are suggestive of a positive trend.

As of late November 2017, NYC had 198 total traffic fatalities, a slight decline from the same time of the previous year. Ninety-two of these deaths involved pedestrians and 19 involved bicyclists.

Anyone has ever been knocked down by a vehicle while on foot or bicycle, knows the life-changing injuries that can result. Broken bones, concussions, and traumatic brain injury are just some of the types of harm regularly inflicted upon victims.

If you or someone you love is in need of an experienced pedestrian accident lawyer in New York, we invite you to contact Edelman, Krasin & Jaye for a free case review.

Our attorneys provide superior legal representation to residents throughout Long Island and the greater NYC area, and can outline your options for maximum financial recovery. Call our offices at 1.800.469.7429 to get started today.

Additional Resources:

  1. New York Times, No Longer New York City’s ‘Boulevard of Death’ https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/03/nyregion/queens-boulevard-of-death.html?_r=0
  2. New York Times, De Blasio Outlines Steps to Eliminate Traffic Deaths https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/19/nyregion/de-blasio-unveils-plans-to-eliminate-traffic-deaths.html?_r=0

 

 

 

How Is Fault Determined in a Car Accident?

Bystanders and drivers describing the scene of an accident to the police officerIf you or a loved one has been in a car accident, it’s important to know how fault is determined in New York state. Fault, or degree of negligence, is often important in bringing claims against a person who has harmed you, a friend, or family member, or damaged your property.

New York Is a No-Fault State

New York is what is known as a no-fault state. That means, for most injuries and damage, the costs will be paid by your own insurance company. Say, for example, that you are in a car accident in which your ankle is sprained and your car severely damaged. The car that hit you went through a red light and hit your vehicle in the intersection.

Even though the other driver might be clearly at fault for going through a red light, any medical treatment for your ankle and repair of your vehicle will be paid by your insurance company, not by the other driver’s insurance company or a suit brought against the other driver. That is what “no-fault” means. Insurance companies generally handle injuries and damages in car accidents without regard to who was at fault.

Drivers in our state are required to buy insurance in order to register their cars and get state license plates.

Can a Claim Be Brought Against a Negligent Party?

However, there are certain injuries in which New York state law allows injured parties to bring either personal injury claims or insurance liability suits in court against a party or parties accused of being negligent.

The injuries include:

  • Fracture of a bone
  • Disfigurement that is significant
  • Limitation of use of a body organ or limb that is permanent
  • Limitation of a body function or system that is significant
  • Substantial full disability for 90 days

These claims have a statute of limitations. They must be brought within 3 years of the date the accident occurred.

Comparative Negligence and How It Works

New York is a comparative negligence state. This means that any claims granted by a jury may be reduced if the court determines that the injured party was also partly at fault.

If, for example, a car couldn’t stop fast enough to avoid hitting the plaintiff’s car in the rear bumper after a sudden stop, a jury may find that driver negligent, as drivers should leave sufficient space to stop at all times. But if testimony indicates that the injured party was also driving over the speed limit and that contributed to the necessity of a sudden stop, the jury may find that the injured party contributed to the crash.

Any award in comparative negligence cases is reduced by the percentage the plaintiff is found at fault. If a jury awarded the injured party $20,000 in the above case, for example, and he or she was found to be 20% at fault, the total award will be reduced 20%, so that amount received will be ultimately $16,000.

New York City and Long Island Car Accident Attorneys

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crash, Edelman, Krasin & Jaye’s experienced lawyers can help. Our initial consultation is free, and we work on a contingent fee basis — which means you pay us nothing unless we win your case.

Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with a seasoned New York City and Long Island car accident lawyer today.

More information on establishing fault in a car accident claim:

  1. New York State Department of Financial Services. Automobile Owners Resource Center. http://dfs.ny.gov/consumer/cauto.htm#shop
  2. New York State Department of Financial Services. Consumer Frequently Asked Questions. No-Fault Insurance. http://dfs.ny.gov/consumer/faqs/faqs_nofault.htm

What Are the Permanent Effects of Whiplash in an Auto Accident?

Whiplash is the term commonly used to describe pain, stiffness, or an injury caused by people being moved rapidly back and forth in an auto accident. The term arose because bodies moving in a car as a result of a vehicle crash jerk back and forth, like a whip does when it’s cracking.

This can arise most commonly from the vehicle being rear-ended, where the body moves forward and then back. But it can also happen if a car is hit in front, when the body moves backward and then forward.

Whiplash Injuries

To consider whether whiplash has long-term effects, let’s look first at its initial effects.

Whiplash is one of the most common injuries suffered in auto accidents. However, it is difficult to diagnose, because the damage is often done to soft tissues and does not show up on x-rays. Muscle strain, muscle tears, nerve damage, and damage to ligaments, tendons, and discs are all soft tissue injuries.

If an auto accident has broken your arm or sprained your ankle, you will have a clear diagnosis. But whiplash, though its effects may be painful and debilitating, has no similar clear diagnostic tool.

As a result, whiplash is often diagnosed from symptoms.

Whiplash symptoms can include the following:

  • Pain or weakness in arm
  • Pain in back
  • Pain and stiffness in neck area
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Jaw pain
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Shoulder pain and stiffness
  • Visual impairments, such as dizziness
  • Sleep impairment
  • Anxiety

Long-Term Whiplash Injuries

The majority of whiplash symptoms resolve within a month or so. But some people suffer long-term damage. A Danish study, for example, found that people with stiffness or reduced movement in their neck were at relatively high risk for their symptoms to linger for a year.

Herniated disks caused by whiplash can also need long-term care.

Chronic headaches, chronic pain, fatigue, lower back pain and even memory problems can be caused by whiplash and last a significant period of time.

Because whiplash has such a range of symptoms and is relatively complicated to diagnose, it is important to seek medical attention after an auto accident, whether there are visible injuries or not. If you want to seek damages from a negligent party for medical care, lost wages, or physical therapy, it will be necessary to have evidence that a court will find persuasive. A doctor’s examination can provide evidence.

Contact a Whiplash Injury Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one is suffering from symptoms of whiplash after an accident, call Edelman, Krasin & Jaye. We have had years of experience litigating vehicle collisions in New York state.

Our initial consultation is free; we will discuss your case and possible next steps. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with an experienced New York City and Long Island auto accident lawyer today.

Additional resources on long-term effects of whiplash after a car accident:

  1. Wang, Jeffrey C. SpineUniverse. Spotlight on Back Pain. “Long-term Effects of Whiplash.” https://www.spineuniverse.com/blogs/wang/long-term-effects-whiplash
  2. Brain and Nervous System. News. “Whiplash: Predicting Long-Term Problems.” http://www.webmd.com/brain/news/20010625/whiplash-predicting-long-term-problems#1

What Can I Do If I’m Hit by a Driver With No Insurance?

Two Drivers Arguing After Traffic Accident It can happen in an instant. Your car is totaled and your leg is broken in several places. You may be in a cast for months.

What if the other driver has no insurance?

Fourteen Percent of Drivers Have No Insurance

If you feel quite secure because you’re thinking that states require drivers to have car insurance, think again. Not every state does require it. If the driver next to you is from one of the states that don’t, they might not be insured.

It’s surprisingly common to drive without insurance. Across the country, an estimated 14% of drivers don’t. Even when a state mandates insurance coverage before registering a car, some drivers drop coverage once their car is registered.

If you also feel secure because you’re aware that New York is a “no-fault” auto insurance state, think again. No-fault generally means that everyone in a car with New York state insurance is covered by their own insurance. Therefore, even if the other driver caused the accident, your car insurance pays for your medical bills and any other damages from a car accident.

Under the no-fault system, which New Jersey also has, it might seem unimportant whether the other driver has insurance or not.

Exceptions to No-Fault Law

But wait. New York State law provides for exceptions to the no-fault rule. In these exceptions, injured motorists are allowed to bring suit against a driver who caused the accident, either by filing a liability insurance claim or bringing a personal injury suit. You can do this if a negligent driver caused you to have:

  • A broken bone
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Permanent limitation of use of a body organ or limb
  • Significant limitation of a body function or system
  • Substantially full disability for 90 days

In New Jersey, you can sue the other driver for similar serious injuries, including:

  • Loss of a body part
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Significant scarring
  • A fracture that is displaced
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent injury (not expected to heal)
  • Death

Both New York and New Jersey law also provide for comparative fault. So if a car accident case goes to trial and a jury finds that you were 20% responsible and the other driver 80% responsible, the other driver has to pay 80% of your claim.

So what do you do in those cases if the other driver has no insurance?

While it is possible to sue for personal injury, in many cases the other driver will not have assets significant enough cover an injury.

Purchase Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage

One option is to purchase uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage. Most insurance companies are required to offer this as an option.

In New York, motorists must have uninsured motorist coverage as part of their policy. They can buy underinsured motorist coverage as a supplement to a standard policy.

When You Need a Lawyer

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye have decades of experience litigating car accidents and insurance payments in New York state. We can assist you in any accident. Our initial consultation is free; we will discuss your case and possible next steps. Call today for a free consultation with an experienced New York City and Long Island car accident lawyer.

More information on what to do if you are involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver in New York:

  1. Brinson, Linda C. “What Happens If You’re in An Accident With An Uninsured Driver?” How Stuff Works. http://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/auto-insurance/accident-with-uninsured-driver.htm
  2. State of New Jersey. Department of Banking and Insurance. What You Should Know About…Filing an Uninsured/Underinsusred Motorist Property Damage Claim. http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/ins_ombudsman/wysk3.htm
  3. New York State. Department of Financial Services. Consumer Frequently Asked Questions. Auto Insurance. http://www.dfs.ny.gov/consumer/faqs/faqs_auto.htm

Top 5 Reasons You Need a Lawyer After a Car Accident

Femal Accident Victim Waits Outside of Her CarAuto accidents – from head-on crashes to minor fender benders — are often frightening, stressful and confusing.  Even if the damages were minimal and liability seems clear-cut, it’s always a good idea to consult an attorney about your rights, especially if you or the other party suffered serious injury.

Keep in mind that reputable car accident lawyers operate on a contingent-fee basis, so there is no risk or upfront monetary commitment as they only get paid when you do. If you or a loved one were hurt in a collision, here are five reasons you should schedule a legal evaluation as soon as possible.

Expert legal advice

An experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in car accident litigation can offer valuable guidance when it comes to New York’s No-fault laws and filing a claim against your own policy versus bringing a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney will recommend the best strategy for achieving compensation based on the unique circumstances of your case, helping you every step of the way until final resolution.

Fight for maximum compensation

Insurance adjustors are not your friends, and they rarely have your best interests in mind. Instead, they will try and keep settlements to a minimum, which can have disastrous consequences when hospital bills pile up. By having a veteran legal advocate in your corner, you have someone who is willing to fight for every dime owed, and who can properly evaluate your present and future damages.

Establish liability

You were rear-ended by a teenager who was texting while driving so you assume it’s an open-and-shut case. Proving who is to blame can be much more complicated than it seems. Witnesses may give different stories, or a police report may suggest you are partly responsible for the crash. This is where an established law firm can really assist by conducting a thorough investigation into the accident. Your attorney’s private investigator or accident reconstructionist may turn up a piece of evidence that bolsters your claim for damages.

Time limits to sue

Under New York law, drivers, passengers and pedestrians who are injured in vehicle accidents have a limited time frame in which to sue for damages. Your lawyer will ensure that all documents – from medical records and depositions to police reports — are submitted in a timely fashion. If you do not file within this period, you forfeit your ability to file suit forever.

Familiar with No-Fault laws

Although New York’s No-Fault system was intended to streamline the payment of insurance crash benefits, there is a lot of red tape to deal with. The failure to comply with one stipulation can destroy your rights to collect reparations. A skilled attorney is well-versed in these regulations and insurance tactics used to deny claims, and will be prepared to fight for proper compensation and the best settlement possible.

New York car accident lawyers 

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye are dedicated car accident attorneys in New York, with an impressive track record of verdicts and settlements. Since 1952, we have successfully advocated for clients in Long Island and throughout the metropolitan NYC area. Don’t settle for less than you really deserve — schedule a free case review today by calling 800.469.7429.

Additional “Reasons to Hire a Car Accident Lawyer” Resources: 

  1. DMV, When to Hire a Personal Attorney http://www.dmv.org/insurance/when-to-hire-a-personal-injury-attorney.php
  2. LifeHack, 10 Reasons to Hire a Personal Injury Attorney http://www.lifehack.org/528768/10-reasons-hire-personal-injury-attorney
  3. NYBC.net, Understanding No Fault Laws in New York http://www.nybc.net/understanding-no-fault-laws-in-new-york/

Study Shows Uptick in Fatal Car Accidents Related to Opioid Use

car after head on collisionOpioid addiction and misuse has been deemed a national crisis, with the economic burden on the U.S. estimated at more than 78 billion dollars. Nearly 100 Americans overdose on prescription narcotics every day, and a recent study indicates that fatal opioid-related car accidents in our nation are on the rise.

The study was published in the May 4 edition of the American Journal of Public Health, raising concern about the alarming rate of deadly crashes involving drivers taking narcotic painkillers. According to researchers, the prevalence of prescription opioids detected in fatally injured motorists increased from 1.0 percent in 1995 to 7.2 percent in 2015 – a whopping seven-fold increase.

Traffic safety study on narcotic painkillers

The researchers evaluated data from Fatality Analysis Reporting Systems from Hawaii, California, New Hampshire, Illinois, West Virginia and Rhode Island, concluding more attention must be focused on the dangerous effects of increased prescription opioid use.

The study encompassed toxicological tests from 37,000 fatally injured drivers (taken within 60 minutes of the accident). The findings showed that opioid prevalence was higher in female compared to male drivers, and that 30 percent of those killed had elevated blood alcohol concentrations at the time of the crash.

The opioid crisis

Opioids are a class of medication that help relieve and reduce pain. Available in tablets, pills and liquid, they include codeine, fentanyl, Percodan, Tramadol, Oxycodone, opium, heroin and other morphine-derivatives. Continued use of narcotic painkillers –even those available by prescription — can lead to physical dependence, or addiction. Statistics show that opioid prescriptions in the United States have spiked dramatically in the past two decades.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse attributes this trend due to misinformation presented by pharmaceutical companies, who assured medical practitioners that patients could not become addicted to prescription opioids.

By 2015, more than 33,000 deaths in the U.S. were attributed to opioid overdose, including prescription narcotics. Authorities say that millions of Americans now suffer from opioid addiction and narcotic abuse disorders. Over the past two decades, opioid overdose deaths increased by 137 percent.

President Donald Trump just last month declared the opioid crisis a “national emergency,” saying “we’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.”

Opioids – both prescription and illegal – have a strong depressant effect. These powerful narcotics lead to drowsiness, and can seriously slow reflexes and reaction times, impairing one’s ability to drive safely.

The opioid epidemic is a significant contributing factor to the uptick in traffic fatalities.  If you or someone you care about is injured in an accident caused by a drugged driver, the law affords remedies for seeking financial restitution. For skilled legal advocacy in New York, contact the law firm of Edeleman, Krasin and Jaye.

We are a client-focused firm, and fight aggressively for maximum compensation. To set up a free case review with a Long Island car accident lawyer that gets results, please call 800.469.7429.

Additional Resources on “Opioid Use and Car Accidents”

  1. American Journal of Public Health, Trends in Prescription Opioids Detected in Fatally Injured Drivers in 6 US States: 1995–2015 http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2017.303902
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse, Opioid Crisis https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-crisis
  3. NBC News, Trump Declares Opioid Crisis National Emergency https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/trump-declares-opioid-crisis-national-emergency-n791576

When Is a Vehicle Considered Totaled?

A wrecked car lays in wait after a vicious car accident. Rescue workers linger in the background.Close Up of a Broken Car WindshieldYou may have heard friends lamenting that their car was totaled. This can be a perplexing term, especially since occasions in which a car is referred to as “totaled” can range from major damage to dents or other damage that may not look that serious to the naked eye.

Insurance companies determine whether a vehicle is a total loss

So, let’s back up a minute. The term “totaled” actually derives from insurance companies. They review the amount it would cost to repair a vehicle after an accident. They will also likely consider whether repairs will allow the vehicle to pass inspection when any repairs are completed. They also consider age and other factors.

Accidents that may look relatively minor from the outside may jeopardize a vehicle’s ability to respond efficiently and consistently. Why? More and more, cars run with highly sophisticated computer equipment and within computer networks. Repairs to these are not just cosmetic. They may be very expensive to repair and may not ensure that the vehicle can pass state inspection and safety laws. If it can’t, of course, it will not be legal to drive the vehicle.

The insurance companies make an estimate of the car’s actual cash value (ACV). Essentially, that’s the amount you would receive for the vehicle were you to try and sell it to someone yourself. These values can be found on reputable sites such as Kelly Blue Book.

Then, they divide that figure by the estimated repair cost. If the cost to repair is more than the ACV, or above a threshold they have determined, the insurance will officially declare your car a total loss. You must relinquish your title and ownership.

Some states require insurers to declare a car a total loss if the damage is severe or meets certain regulations.

Common use of the term “totaled”

Some people may use the term “totaled” to refer to damage that doesn’t meet the insurance companies definition of total loss, but that will cost the vehicle owner so much to repair that, once age and safety factors are added in, it may be more cost-effective for the owner to get rid of the vehicle and purchase a newer one.

Take a situation where an individual has a $2,000 deductible on an older car, for example. It will cost the owner $2,000 before the insurance will reimburse for repairs. If the car is more than 10 years old, it may be worth less than $2,000. It is not worth it to the owner to have it repaired. The owner may use the term “totaled” even if the insurance company doesn’t officially call it a total loss.

Can your vehicle be safely repaired?

If you have been in an automobile accident that caused severe damage to your vehicle, safety is key. If the vehicle cannot be repaired safely, it is a danger to you and other drivers whether it is officially totaled or not.

The efficiency and balance of cars may be damaged by collisions. Remember that repairs are not only about restoring the look of the car. More seriously, they are about whether its safe and effective functioning can be restored.

Need an experienced car accident lawyer on Long Island?

Edelman, Krasin & Jaye have years of experiences litigating vehicle collisions and insurance payments in New York State. We can assist you in any accident. Our initial consultation is free; we will discuss your case and possible next steps. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with an experienced New York City and Long Island car accident lawyer today.

More on what to do with your totaled car:

  1. Bonner, Marianne. “When Is Your Vehicle a Total Loss?” The Balance. November 2, 2015. https://www.thebalance.com/when-is-your-vehicle-a-total-loss-462451
  2. Kelley Blue Book. “What Is a Totaled Car?” https://www.kbb.com/what-is/totaled-car/