Tag Archives: car accident

Over the years cars have gotten safer as more safety features have been introduced; safety features can help reduce car crashes. Sometimes vehicle manufacturers have taken their own initiative to produce additional safety features and sometimes the federal government has had to step in to legislate safety changes. Take a look at these five new […]

Car accidents are caused by many reasons including poor driving conditions, distracted driving and worn-out tires. Every driver should work to eliminate risk factors for car accidents. These top driving & maintenance mistakes are responsible for many car accidents: Distracted driving Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of car accidents; particularly the use […]

A car with unaddressed maintenance issues may be at higher risk for a car accident, while a well maintained car should be better equipped to handle unexpected road hazards such as ice, snow, heavy rain or debris. Top car maintenance tips to prevent car accident

Worn out or inappropriate tires are dangerous; they can increase the chance of a blow-out or accident from a slip on an icy road. Tire safety is one of the ways to avoid an unnecessary car accident. When purchasing a car, owners should understand that they will need to replace their tires a few times […]

Car insurance is an expense so there is a temptation to skip it or to ask: do I really need car insurance? Truthfully, most people with a driver’s license should carry car insurance, even if you don’t own a vehicle. Carrying car insurance is the law in Washington State if you drive a vehicle. But […]

Running-red-light-accidentCar accidents happen for a variety of reasons but when a person drives their vehicle through a red light they are putting themselves and other drivers or pedestrians in grave danger. Studies have found that on average, an intersection sees a motorist run a red light every 20 minutes. In 2012, 683 people were killed and 133,000 were injured in crashes that involved red light running.

Red Light Running Defined

A red light running violation occurs when a driver enters an intersection after the traffic signal has turned red. In intersections where a right turn on a red light is permitted, drivers are expected to come to a complete stop before turning; failure to do so could be considered running a red light.

Red Light Cameras

Red light cameras have been implemented in many cities and are an effective way to reduce red-light running violations. In general, people follow rules more closely when law enforcement is present but it is clearly not viable to have a police presence at every intersection. Red light cameras work by taking a picture of the person and license plate when the vehicle enters an intersection after the light has turned red. IIHS conducted a series of studies on red-light traffic violations in different communities and found that red light violations are reduced by 40 percent after red-light cameras were installed. As a bonus, red-light running was also reduced by similar rates in nearby intersections that did not have cameras.

Red light cameras should not be considered a violation of privacy as we cannot expect privacy on a public road. Additionally, driving is a regulated activity and we are obligated to follow the rules of the road or face tickets. A red light camera acts as a replacement for traditional law enforcement.

In 2013, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted a national telephone survey and found that in cities without red light cameras, 93 percent of drivers said that it was unacceptable to run a red light if it was possible to stop safely but 35 percent of respondents had run a red light in the past 30 days. In cities with long-standing red light cameras in place, 93 percent of respondents said that running a red light was unacceptable but only 7 percent admitted to running a red light in the past month.

Some industry studies indicate that as a group, red light runners are more likely to be young, male, less likely to wear seat belts, and have poor driving records with multiple convictions or alcohol related convictions on their records. Of the red light runners who caused an accident, they were also more likely to be speeding or driving while impaired at the time of the crash and less likely to have a valid driver’s license.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is two to three times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation!

senior-driverIn 2009, there were more than 33 million licensed drivers over the age of 65 in the United States and that number is likely to grow as our population ages. On average, 500 senior drivers are injured in car accidents every day. According to the NHTSA, “on the basis of estimated annual travel, the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times as high as the rate for drivers 25 through 69 years old.” In addition, older people made up 9 percent of the population in 1997 but accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.

Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase considerably after age 80. Although this is largely due to a higher susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers, age-related declines in vision and cognitive functioning as well as physical changes do affect some seniors’ driving abilities.

Do Driving Skills Actually Decline with Age?

In general yes they do but declines don’t affect every senior personally. With that in mind, we cannot simply say that anyone over a certain age cannot drive.For those whose skills do decline towhere they are a danger to themselves and others, caregivers can expect a difficult situation. Many elderly drivers become defensive or even angry when they are told that they are no longer safe to drive. The decision may come down to their medical doctor or the department of licensing.

How Does Aging Affect the Abilities of Senior Drivers?

The physical and mental changes that come on as we age can diminish the abilities of senior drivers:

  • A slower response time
  • A decrease in vision and/or hearing skills
  • A loss of muscle strength and flexibility
  • Drowsiness due to medications
  • A reduction in the ability to focus or concentrate
  • Lower tolerance for alcohol

Tips for Elderly Adults to Stay Fit for the Road:

  • Exercise regularly to increase strength and flexibility.
  • Ask the doctor or pharmacist to review medicines (both prescription and over-the counter) to reduce side effects and interactions.
  • Get eye exams at least once a year. Wear glasses or corrective lenses if required.
  • Drive during daylight hours and in good weather.
  • Find the safest route with well-lit streets, intersections with left turn arrows, and easy parking.
  • Plan the route ahead of time.
  • Leave a large following distance behind the car in front of you.
  • Avoid distractions such as loud music.

The bottom line is that we should be compassionate to our parents’ desire to maintain independence through driving but equally aware of changes in their ability. If you believe that your elderly parent or patient is experiencing medical or other problems due to aging that could impair their ability to drive safely you should address the issue right away; involving their medical doctor if necessary.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is two to three times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation!

senior-driverMost North Americans depend on cars to get us around; driving gives us independence and freedom. The problem is that as we age our motor skills, vision, and response times can deteriorate, making us a danger to ourselves and others. Many families agonize over the decision to take their parents’ car keys away and most are met with resistance. How do you know if your elderly parent is still safe to drive?

Signs of Elderly Driver Decline:

  • Drives either too fast or too slow for the road and traffic flow
  • Relies on passengers for line of site questions
  • Responds too slowly or doesn’t see bicyclists, pedestrians, or other drivers on the road
  • Ignores, disobeys or misunderstands traffic lights and street signs
  • Stops being able to gauge the distances between or approaching cars
  • Doesn’t yield to others that have the right of way
  • Seems drowsy, confused, or frightened, or easily angered or frustrated
  • Drifts across lanes or bumps into curbs
  • Forgets to turn on headlights after dusk
  • Seems to be having a lot of near accidents or is having car accidents
  • Lacks the strength to turn the wheel quickly in case of emergency
  • Gets lost on the road, even in familiar areas
  • Has difficulty maneuvering their neck, head, or shoulders while driving or parking
  • Experiences night blindness when glare from oncoming headlights or streetlights appears
  • Ignores needed mechanical repairs

If you can identify one or more of these issues in your elderly parent, suggest they be assessed by their medical doctor as they may be unfit to drive.

Caregivers Should Look at These Medical Issues:

  • Has the elderly person had a physical exam in the last year to test reflexes, vision, and hearing?
  • Have they been diagnosed with any medical illness that could affect their ability to drive?
  • Has a physician recommended that they stop driving?
  • Are they on any medications that could make them drowsy?
  • Have they reduced their alcohol intake to compensate for a decreasing tolerance?
  • Have they had a serious fall in the last year?
  • Do they have difficulty climbing a flight of stairs or walking more than a city block?

Easing into Decreased Driving Ability

Just because your elderly parent is experiencing declines in their abilities doesn’t mean that they have to give up driving all together:

  • Stop driving at night
  • Only drive in familiar areas
  • Avoid highways and rush hour traffic
  • Leave plenty of time to get to destination
  • Don’t drive alone

The AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons) sponsors a program called the 55-Alive Mature Driver Program, which helps older people deal with issues such as compensating for vision problems associated with aging. And, the Association for Driver Rehabilitation offers referrals to specialists who teach people with disabilities, including aging drivers, how to improve their driving. Some states, including Washington, offer seniors a discount on car insurance in exchange for taking a safe driving course each year.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is two to three times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. today for a FREE consultation!

TrialMost car accident insurance claims are resolved long before a lawsuit is filed and even those that do end up in a lawsuit typically get resolved by settlement agreement. There are car accident cases, however, that cannot be resolved without trial. Significant issues that cannot be determined may include things like who caused the accident or the amount of compensation an injured party should receive.

If your car accident case is going to trial it will be useful to understand common concepts and procedures that will be involved.

A Jury is Selected

In most states a jury of 12 or less will be selected to decide on key issues of your car accident case. In the first stage of the trial called voir dire, potential jury members are asked a series of questions so that the lawyers and judge can learn more about them and decide if the person has any biases that would prevent them from making a fair and impartial decision.

Opening Statements

The trial begins with opening statements, an opportunity for each side’s attorney to lay out their side of the case and identify what facts they will prove or refute. Each attorney discusses what they expect the evidence to show. The plaintiff’s attorney is usually granted the opportunity to speak first as they have the burden of proving the allegations of the case. Opening statements commonly last about twenty minutes.

The Plaintiff’s Attorney Presents Evidence

The second phase of the trial involves the plaintiff’s lawyer presenting their case. The plaintiff’s side goes first since they have the “burden of proof”. Witnesses are typically called including the plaintiff himself and any other witnesses to the car accident. Questions will be asked to paint a picture of how the car accident happened including observations from before and after the crash and at the scene of the accident. There may also be a second round of witnesses to discuss things such as injuries sustained to the plaintiff. Once the attorney has completed questioning witnesses and presenting evidence he
“rests” the case.

The Defendant’s Attorney Presents Evidence

Once the plaintiff’s case has been put to “rest”, the judge calls the defendant’s attorney forward to present counter evidence. The defendant’s presentation follows the same format as the presentation made on behalf of the plaintiff: witnesses are called to testify to support the claims and defenses of the defendant. For example, a witness to the car accident may provide a competing version of events or a doctor with a different analysis of the injury may discuss his opinion.

Closing Arguments

Each side is given the opportunity to present their closing argument. The attorneys talk to the jury about the evidence that was presented and attempt to persuade them to draw certain conclusions and then render a verdict in their favor.
Jury Deliberation
After closing arguments, the jury exits to a separate room to deliberate the evidence and reach a verdict. Jury deliberations are confidential and neither the attorneys nor the judge may oversee or participate. Most juries for car accident cases reach a verdict within a couple of hours but there is no time limit.

The Jury Reaches a Verdict

Once a verdict is reached, the judge is notified and everyone is called back into the courtroom. The verdict is read and made a part of the official court record.

A jury trial for a car accident case usually only lasts a few days from jury selection to verdict but the length of the trial will obviously be affected by the complexity of the case and local court procedures.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car crash please don’t fight your insurance company alone. Do not underestimate the ability of an accident attorney to get the job done: the Insurance Research Council found that insurance payouts to clients are 3.5 times higher to those who hired an accident attorney. Call the experienced accident lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. to setup your FREE CONSULTATION today!

Teen-texting-drivingTexting and Driving has been in the news a lot the last few years but despite the media coverage, social campaigns, and changes in law enforcement many people continue to text and drive. This year the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) determined that driving a vehicle while texting is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated and that it has now replaced drinking while driving as the leading cause of car accidents among teenagers. Texting while driving causes over 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries every year according to a study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis.

Texting and Driving Facts

  • One quarter of teenagers admit that they respond to a text message while driving at least once every time they drive while 20 percent admit to sending and receiving multiple messages per trip.
  • 47 percent of adults admit to texting while driving and 10 percent admit to sending and receiving multiple messages per trip.
  • Reaching for a phone, dialing or texting are a serious distraction to your primary task: driving. These sub-tasks increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
  • Sending or receiving a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds; while driving at 55 miles per hour that is like driving the length of an entire football field, blind.
  • 11 percent of all drivers under the age of 20 who were involved in a fatal car crash were distracted while driving. This age group has the largest proportion of drivers who were distracted while driving.
  • For drivers 15-19 years old involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent of the distracted drivers were distracted by their cell phones.
  • To date laws against texting while driving are not proving effective: in states with anti-texting and driving laws, fifty-seven percent of teenage boys admitted to texting and driving, compared to 59 percent in states with no texting law.
  • By texting and driving you are 23 times more likely to crash your vehicle.

The question is what can we do to stop people from texting and driving? We know that over the years, less people are drinking and driving which can be attributed to public service messages, strict laws and enforcement, and increased social stigma. Cell phone manufacturers could do their part through advertising and developing apps that restrict texts and calls from coming in when it detects the phone is in a moving car.

Lawmakers have been pushing for tougher distracted driving laws including increased fines for talking or texting on a cell phone and stricter measures for repeat offenders. A survey conducted by NHTSA found that 90 percent of drivers support laws that ban texting while driving; 80% support a ban on e-mailing while driving; and almost 75% believe that restrictions should apply to all drivers, not just specific groups such as teens.

If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident, please don’t fight your insurance company alone. Do not underestimate the ability of an accident attorney to get the job done: the Insurance Research Council found that insurance payouts to clients are 3.5 times higher to those who hired an accident attorney. Call the experienced accident lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. to setup your FREE CONSULTATION today!