Deadly Car Crash in New York: When to determine fault

Just this week, on Monday, August 15, there were seven casualties in a two-vehicle accident, as reported by NBC New York. In the first vehicle, two 20-somethings were thrown from the vehicle and killed at the scene, while an elderly woman from the second vehicle was pronounced dead at the hospital. The rest of the occupants of the second car, a young family of four, were treated for minor injuries. The scene is set up like this: a Honda Civic, carrying the younger couple, appears to have lost control and crossed the center line, hitting a Nissan Pathfinder in the late afternoon.

While this seems like a pretty cut-and-dry accident scene—the driver of the Honda is clearly in the wrong—there is more than meets the eye. You may be wondering why the police handling the investigation brought in both vehicles for their safety inspection. Well, as any New York car accident attorney would tell you, there are many factors in play when someone gets into a car accident. For one, was it driver error that caused the accident or was the car manufactured/designed with a defect? Two, if either car (yes, including the car not at fault) didn’t have the safety measures up to code, would that have made the difference in the number of lives lost or the amount of injuries? In this case, while it’s entirely possible that the driver of the Honda was at fault—were they eating, texting, drifting off to sleep, or distracted by the passenger of the car—it’s also possible that the car itself may have contributed to the accident or even completely been at fault. If the brakes suddenly stopped working or the gas pedal got stuck, and the driver lost control, then the fault of the accident ends up lying on the company that manufactured the car. If either vehicle had malfunctioning airbags, could that have contributed to the deaths of any of the three killed? There are so many questions surrounding this accident alone.

When it comes to seeking compensation, the family that was injured and the family of the passengers that were killed may seek money from the driver at fault, as would be their right. If the car was at fault, everyone involved (or their family) may actually seek compensation from the manufacturer than any other person involved. Now we can see why those cars were brought in for safety inspections. Before fault can be applied, there has to be a thorough investigation of why the driver of the Honda lost control.

So, when you look at a car accident from now on, try not to immediately place the blame. In the event that you’re in an accident yourself, you may be experiencing a whole range of emotions: panic, anger, frustration, pain. Anyone in your situation would be going through the same thing. But imagine the fear if your brakes went out and, without control, you slammed into a wall or another car. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the fickle nature of our vehicles.

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Employer Negligence as Contributing Factor to Truck Accidents

Despite the threats posed by 18-wheelers or big rigs on roads and highways, truck operation will never cease because of the major contribution these huge vehicles make in the U.S. economy. All the government can do is create and strictly enforce laws that will ensure the safe operation of trucks, like: qualification of drivers; use of truck parts, like brakes and tires that comply with DOT standards; maximum hours of service (HOS) that a driver can operate a truck; and, maintenance of a record of regular truck inspection and maintenance.

Obviously, however, the laws and their strict implementation are not enough as evidenced by the half a million truck accidents that cause 3,964 deaths and 95,000 injuries in 2013 alone.

Currently, there are about 2 million 18-wheelers operating in the U.S. Not all of these are operated, however, due to the lack of qualified drivers which, according to the American Trucking Associations, is at 48,000. With thousands of deliveries to complete every day, many operators require drivers to put in extra hours; drivers, on their part, push themselves to the limit, driving cross counties despite feeling fatigued and lacking sleep just so they can cover more road miles for a higher pay.

Besides allowing drivers and, sometimes, even forcing them to violate the HOS mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), some operators (especially operators of small trucking firms) resort to illegal means, specifically, by hiring very young and unskilled drivers, failing to train those hired, requiring their drivers to drive longer than the allowed number of service and then asking them to alter the number of hours they have rendered in log book; and, failing to properly screen applicants for past records or driving violations – all these just to get as many job orders as they can and have these orders finished on time.

According to Tucson personal injury attorneys, trucking companies have the legal responsibility of ensuring that safety standards in regards to employees and vehicles are strictly upheld, as this will greatly affect the safety of other motorists and everyone else on the road. If and when trucking companies fail to uphold these standards, then they can be held financially responsible for their gross negligence.

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When Your Car Accident Claim Goes To Trial

The majority of car accident claims end in settlement and rarely end in lawsuits. However, going to court can still be possible when both parties have failed to come into an agreement or the negotiations have been unsuccessful. Going to trial may be the only option of addressing the conflict, and when this happens it is important that you have an injury attorney by your side to help guide and effectively represent you during the whole process.

Trails are the conclusion or final step in court-based proceedings regarding a personal injury claim. The trail would open the opportunity for both parties to dispute against the presented evidence to the court who has the authority to hear and made final decisions regarding the case. Law firms such as the Hankey Law Office state that most car accident claims may be passed on to a judge (also called a bench trial) or a jury (jury trial). A number of states require jury trials to be requested as included in the original paper work that started the lawsuit.

During the trial, the plaintiff will be the one who have to carry the burden of proof and should present strong evidence against the defendant(s), and the defendant(s) will have to prove that the plaintiff was also negligent in their action and is solely or partly to blame for the accident and their injuries. Evidence are presented through testimonies (from the plaintiff, witnesses, doctors, etc.) and this will be cross-examined by the defendant.

After both parties have presented their evidence and given their last arguments, the judge or jury will then deliberate on the case and will have the final verdict. Once the judge or jury have made their final decision, an appeal may be filed should one party feel unhappy with the verdict. This motion can be filed in the court of appeals within a specific time period, otherwise the decision is final and both parties are not allowed to have the case tried again.

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Whiplash: What You Need to Know about a Common Car Accident Injury

It’s an unfortunate fact that a significant number of car accidents take place in the United States every single year. Majority of these accidents leave plenty of people dealing with injuries and other long-term consequences. One of the most common consequences of minor car crashes is a medical condition called whiplash. This condition is caused by a forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck that typically results from rear-end collisions.

Whiplash can greatly affect a person’s ability to move their head and back. It is also a condition that gradually worsens over time. Initially, a person with whiplash might not even notice the symptoms of their condition. Otherwise, they might simply experience a slight tingling sensation or numbed feeling that can be easily written off. However, when whiplash is left untreated, the symptoms can escalate and turn into a sharp pain accompanied with dizziness, fatigue blurred vision, and ringing in the ears. In some cases, an aggravated case of whiplash can also cause depression, memory lapses, cognitive issues, insomnia, and irritability.

Unfortunately, treating whiplash can involve a long process of physical therapy and rehabilitation. This process of recovery often involves medical expenses and other financial obligations that might cause a lot of burden for the injured individual and his or her family. As such, most car accident victims that suffer whiplash have a pressing need to seek out financial assistance and compensation from those responsible for their current condition. The personal injury attorneys at Simpson Law Firm say on their website that cases of whiplash can be pursued in court to enable victims to receive the restitution they deserve. If you are currently suffering from such a condition due to a car accident, don’t hesitate to click here for more information about your legal options.

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Personal Injury: Whiplash

There are different kinds of injuries that individuals, who get involved in car accidents, may sustain. These can range from the least minor bruises to the more serious bone fracture, neck and spinal cord injury, traumatic head injury, injury to the face, internal injuries, paralysis, and whiplash, which the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) believes may be the most common car crash injury sustained by victims.

Whiplash is characterized by an abrupt, violent blow to one’s head, causing it to jolt back and forth. It can damage muscles, ligaments, tendons and other soft tissues in the neck area. Though a car accident may be its usual cause, a whiplash can also result from a fall, an injury sustained in sports, or an assault. When sustained through a motor vehicle accident, it would be due to the car being hit hard from behind or at the side, causing the neck to jerk with force to one side and then back.

One major drawback concerning whiplash injuries is that these are often neither easily nor immediately noticeable until some (or many) hours after the accident. X-rays can prove useless too as the injury does not necessarily show fractured bones on the neck. There are symptoms, though, that may hint its existence, like a sense of needles and pins in the arms, dizziness, lack of energy, nausea, neck swelling, back pain, pain on the shoulder and arms, headaches blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, and muscle spasms.

Though being rear-ended by an speeding vehicle can definitely result to a serious whiplash injury, it can be a surprise for many to know that most whiplash injuries are caused by vehicles running only between five and ten miles per hour. The best advice given to all drivers to avoid this type of injury despite an accident is by making sure that one is properly restrained, which means making sure that one is wearing or is secured by a seatbelt.

Rear-ending another vehicle can be due either to tailgating or inattentive/distracted driving. The driver at fault will surely need to comply with the stipulations of the law and compensate his/her victim for the damages the victim will suffer from (due to the injury).

On the part of the victim, it will be very wise to seek the services of a highly-competent personal injury lawyer, who will explain to him/her the best legal options that may enable him/her to receive compensation from the liable party – a right of the victim that the law upholds.

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Auto Accidents: Who are the Real Liable Parties?

The National Safety Council (NSC), which is a 501 public service organization that is both -profit, non-governmental, is an ally of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the task of saving lives by preventing injuries and deaths (in homes, at work, in communities and) on the road through leadership, advocacy, education and research. But rather than just counting fatal public road accidents, which is the practice of the NHTSA, the NSC includes those that occur in private premises, and for the year 2013, the NSC was able to record 35,200 fatal traffic accidents plus 3.8 million crashes more resulting to injuries that require medical attention. The council also states that the most common causes of the accidents are human errors, such as drunk-driving, reckless road behavior, overspeeding, texting while driving, running a red light, tailgating, and an endless list of other mistakes.

Motor vehicle accidents are due to factors that are either within or beyond the driver’s control. Manufacturing defects and sub-standard car parts, to which vehicle and vehicle-parts manufacturers are answerable for, and road defects, to which the government may be held responsible, are factors beyond the driver’s control.

In May 2014, the NHTSA posted (in its website) a list of vehicles that were being recalled by their manufacturers. Obviously, the vehicles had defective parts that were serious enough to put lives at risk. Some of these defects are a steering wheel that could malfunction, engine parts that can cause gas to leak, child locks that could possibly disengage, wipers that may not function, brake pads that may disengage from the caliper, and so forth.

In the case of roads, potholes, ruts, cracked asphalt and ice patches were discovered too and unless repairs are made and maintenance ensured, the American motorists will continue to carry the burden which translates to costly vehicle maintenance and repair, more fuel consumption and greater risks to accidents.

Whatever the causes of car accidents are, all these usually boil down to only one fault: negligence. Now, any harm that befalls an innocent victim, who may be a motorist, a pedestrian, a bicyclist or a motorcyclist, whether the harm is a personal injury or wrongful death, the liable party will be legally responsible in compensating the injured victim or the victim’s bereaved family. This compensation ought to cover the victim’s lost wages, cost of medical treatment and all other damages (present and future) that result due to the injury.

The litigation process, which will allow the victim or his/her family to receive compensation, is not an easy process, though. Evidences will have to be shown that the victim is, indeed, a real victim, which means that he/she is totally without fault in the accident. Proving who the real liable party in the accident is, is not easy too as the real cause of the accident may have been a defective car part or a defective road, and not necessarily driver error.

It is a sad fact that many victims have lost civil lawsuits in the past or were awarded just a small amount of compensation simply because they lacked proper legal representation. Victims should understand that legal professionals are their strongest allies in legal battles where their rights and financial situation are at stake.

There are a number of highly-qualified legal professionals to whom victims can turn to for strong representation, such as Massachusetts car accident lawyers, a Milwaukee car accident lawyer or an Oklahoma personal injury lawyer. These people are just a phone away and, surely, their actions in helping and representing victims can make a lot of difference in the court.

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