Archive for the ‘Auto Accidents’ Category

Why You Should Never Try to Pass a Snow Plow on the Right

snow plowIf you live in Connecticut, then you know that winter brings snow, with all its beauty and all of its aggravation. There’s no doubt that one of the most frustrating aspects of a heavy snowstorm is getting stuck behind a slow-moving snow plow. But no matter how much you hate sitting in traffic behind one of these 70,000 pound vehicles, do not make the mistake of passing a snow plow on the right: doing so is extremely dangerous, and risks injury to you, the snow plow driver, and the others with whom you share the road. Truck accidents are always dangerous, but especially in slick, snowy conditions.

We all can agree that snow plows make our lives easier, as long as they’re not in our way. After all, snow plow drivers are the ones who are out there in the dead of night and the absolute worst weather, picking up snow and dumping salt to make it safer for all of us to get where we need to go. But plows generally don’t travel more than 45 miles per hour when they’re picking up snow, and they’re even slower when they’re spreading salt. That makes it tempting to pass them, especially on the right. This is illegal and with good reason. Most snow plows have blades called wing plows that extend past the roadway and onto the shoulder, but when snow plows are operating, these blades aren’t visible because they are throwing up clouds of snow. When you accelerate and drive into one of these blades, you risk a serious crash, made worse by slick roadways.

The simple rule is that if a snow plow operator has their flashing lights on, it means that they’re hard at work, clearing the road for you and other drivers. If you’re behind one, the extra time that is costing you is not worth your safety or the safety of others on the road. Just relax, enjoy the beauty around you, and stay safe.

If you or someone you love is involved in a truck accident of any kind, and you need legal representation, the professionals at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers are here and ready to help. Call us today to set up a convenient time to meet for a consultation.


Distracted Driving Caused by Work Calls or Messaging

distracted drivingThe picture most often painted when it comes to distracted driving is a younger driver that simply cannot wait to post on Snapchat or send a text message. However, there are other potential culprits when it comes to taking drivers’ eyes off the road. To the surprise of many, there are a lot of accidents that could have been avoided had the driver not been distracted by a call or message from their place of work.

In fact, a survey of over a thousand people has shown that around half of those that fall between the ages of 18 and 44 have reported using their devices for work purposes while operating a vehicle. The biggest culprit in these circumstances? The 25 percent of Millennial-aged workers that are afraid of upsetting their employer due to not answering the call or message. This shows how the current economy and lack of job security has begun to affect more than our economy.

Distracted Driving Kills

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 3,500 fatalities and 391,000 injuries on the road were caused or somehow had distracted driving as a factor in the accident. More staggeringly, this accounts for 16 percent of all injuries and 10 percent of fatalities due to car accidents.

Overworked and Distracted

With work happened more and more from outside the office, it should come as no surprise that these new stresses on workers are having an effect on the road. In many cases, it is the employer putting the pressure on that leads these drivers to answer messaging rather than keeping their eyes on the road. In fact, around 25% of those surveyed reporting their boss contacting them via mobile device despite knowing the employee was operating a vehicle.

While the Millennial generation certainly accounts for a portion of these incidents, it doesn’t seem to be a young driver issue. In fact, employees aged 45 to 64 are also communicating with their work while behind the wheel, as one-third of those surveyed confirmed of their own driving behaviors. It seems companies need to adopt new policies that account for this type of distraction that leads to fatalities and injuries alike for their workforce.

If you have been injured due to a distracted driver, contact us today.

Study Shows Hands-Free Devices Cause Distracted Driving

distracted drivingPreviously in Connecticut, drivers had exceptions to holding their cellphones while driving but in January of this year, those exceptions were taken away. Restrictions on cellphone usage is not new. Lawmakers have acknowledged the dangers of texting or making phone calls while operating a vehicle as it takes drivers’ hands off the wheel and takes their attention off the road. However, hands-free usage has remained legal.

Increased technology has made the issue worse. The actions of snapping photographs, sending text messages, using the GPS applications on smartphones, recording videos and even asking Siri a question causes distraction in drivers. A study came out around the time these laws changed in Connecticut that was released by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia that gave greater insight into distracted driving due to mobile devices for lawmakers.

The Study

The study conducted by QUT and released in December 2016 has found hands-free devices are just as dangerous as using a hand-held phone. The findings show drivers participating in both actions have a one second longer reaction to hazards on the road. The researchers involved in the study concluded it is too early to start making legal decisions based on the findings but also noted the statistics found during the study are staggering.

In one part of the study, drivers were put in a virtual road network. During the simulation, a pedestrian entered their peripheral view and crossed the street using a crosswalk. When the drivers were using a mobile device, they took a full second longer to react. While this doesn’t sound like a large amount of time, the extra distance traveled is more concerning. If the driver was traveling 25 mph, they would have traveled an additional 35 feet or so during the second it took to notice the pedestrian. This distance could lead to tragedy under certain circumstances.

Further, the study found less experienced drivers were twice as impaired by these devices in terms of distraction. This means it takes two seconds for an inexperienced driver to notice a pedestrian, meaning 70 additional feet were traveled. Considering the focus on young drivers using their devices for Snapchat and text messages, the statistics shown in this study are concerning. More testing and showing effects of different conversation types on the phone, such as texting or using applications, will be needed before researchers at QUT will recommend legal changes.

If you have been in a car accident due to someone using their mobile device or other distracted driving, contact us today for a free consultation on your case.

Opportunities to Collect Financial Damages After Drunk Driving Accident

drunk driving accidentFinancial compensation is often the last thing on someone’s mind after escaping a serious car accident, especially a drunk driving accident. However, you may be entitled to compensation for both injuries and damages that come from such an event. Further, you could be entitled to compensation for emotional damages such as pain and suffering. However, those damages become much more difficult to recover after time has passed, making it important to find the right personal injury lawyer early in the process.

The first part of the process is discerning who is liable for the damages and can be held accountable. Examples of such persons include:

  • The driver of the other vehicle in the crash
  • Governing entities if there was a defect in the roadway that led to or worsened the conditions for the accident
  • Third parties that intervened in some way, causing a negative effect
  • Owner of the other vehicle, if not the driver
  • Owner of the vehicle the victim was driving if it was not theirs and it led to or worsened conditions leading to the event
  • The establishment that served the driver in excess prior to the drunk driving accident
  • Your own insurance company
  • Insurance company of a relative that lives in the same household to get uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits

Figuring out the best party to pursue legally can be difficult. Contact our team at Jonathan Perkins Personal Injury Lawyers today. We understand the best legal strategies in any car accident. Through our years of experience, we have the knowledge needed to get the most favorable outcome in a drunk driving accident in Connecticut.

Poor Visibility Doesn’t Just Increase Car Accidents, It’s Illegal

low visibility car accidentsWhen it begins to rain, it’s time to turn the headlights on. This should be common sense, as rain makes for poor visibility when driving. While this should be incentive enough for motorists to take it upon themselves to turn their lights on, it is also illegal in the state of Connecticut to leave them off. This is because a large number of accidents happen within the state during snowstorms, misting, raining and other ailment weather, prompting lawmakers to create laws to address the increase in accidents.

The increase in accidents can be attributed to the lower visibility associated with such weather. Fog that occurs during rainstorms during hotter weather or the blindness that comes with snow can make it so motorists cannot see in front of their vehicles. Illumination can help the situation by literally shedding light on what is to come for the driver. Despite the visual aid that proper illumination gives during weather ailments, far too many Connecticut-based motorists opt not to use such lighting during the weather.

Connecticut General Statutes Section 14 – 96 (a)

As previously stated, driving in such conditions without proper illumination is not just ill-advised; it’s illegal. The relevant part of the listed law in Connecticut states each vehicle that travels on highways within the state of Connecticut is required to use lighted lamps and illuminating devices at the following times:

  • All times that fall between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise
  • When unfavorable atmospheric conditions make people and vehicles on the road imperceptible from 500 feet away. These conditions include fog, heavy rain, snowfall, and any other weather event that lowers visibility to under 500 feet for motorists.
  • Any time when there is a period of precipitation such as periods of snow, rain or fog. However, other precipitation that affects visibility is also subject to the same condition.

Poor visibility comes from a number of factors from hail and sleet to freezing rain and snow. Driving safely is the responsibility of the motorist operating their vehicle. If you have been injured due to the negligence of another motorist during inclement weather, contact our team today.

Effects of Alcohol on Driving Ability in Car Accidents

drunk car accidentsIt is pretty well-known that alcohol decreases brain functionality, but how does that affect one’s ability to drive, specifically? With reduced brain function, along with impairment of thinking, reasoning and coordination, alcohol can inhibit one’s ability to drive properly. Alcohol creates its effects once absorbed through the stomach and small intestine walls and it has been metabolized by the liver. In 2017, it was reported that 2,017 people were killed in car accidents by drivers under the influence but below the legal limit.

Age is a risk factor for drunk driving. In fact, young drivers between 16 and 24 years of age accounted for 39 percent of drunk drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2016. In the same year, those aged 25 to 34 accounted for another 29 percent of fatal crashes that involved alcohol impairment. In those crashes, there were four male drivers to every one female driver. In lieu of figured such as this, the drinking age was raised to 21 in all states. The NHTSA estimates 31,417 were saved between 1975 and 2016 due to the drinking age.

However, repeat offenders are the biggest concern when it comes to drunk driving. Those involved in a fatal crash while at a BAC of .08 were 4.5 times more likely to have prior convictions for driving under the influence. In 2016, around one in six of children under the age of 14 that were involved in drunk-driving crashes died, with 44 percent of those crashes caused by the driver of the vehicle in which the child was a passenger. It is estimated that drunk driving crashes cost $44 billion each year in the United States.

Every 50 minutes in 2016, someone died from a drunk driving crash, yet people still get behind the wheel while impaired every day in the United States. There are steps that can be taken to prevent these avoidable accidents and fatalities.

Avoiding Drunk Driving

  • If a driver appears to be impaired on the road, you have a moral obligation to report the behavior to the proper authorities to potentially save a life.
  • If you plan to drink, plan not to drive. Designating a sober driver or using one of the many smartphone applications to get a ride may cost a bit in the immediate future but could save a lot of finances, complications and potentially your own life.
  • If you drink and your plan for a ride falls through, call a cab. If you don’t know the number for a cab service, a member of the staff at the establishment you are at will be happy to help.
  • If you see someone about to get behind the wheel and you know they are impaired, offer them a ride and take their keys away. If you are also drunk, use one of the above tips to get them a ride as well.

If you have been injured due to a drunk driver, you’re entitled to compensation. Contact our team today to learn more.

How are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated after a Car Accident?

car accident pain and sufferingBefore understanding how pain and suffering damages are calculated after a car accident, it’s important to know what constitutes as pain and suffering. Simply put, pain and suffering refers to both physical and emotional stress that comes after an accident, along with the injuries the accident caused. For instance, if you get a third-degree burn, rather than only receiving compensation for the hospital bills, you would also seek compensation for the pain of going through the pain, the discomfort during healing, and the implications and effects the injury had on your daily life.

Pain and suffering covers the stress and limitations that come after an accident, which is an important part of the recovery process. After all, compensation for medical bills may help with immediate costs, but personal injury affects lives beyond the physical treatments needed. Even shorter-term injury recovery processes affect the daily life of victims, creating more stress that medical bills don’t cover.

Two Methods of Calculation

While there is no set way in which insurers must calculate pain and suffering, there are two methods of calculation that are generally used. The first method is based on the actual damages, which include medical bills and lost wages. Pain and suffering is calculated by taking the total of those costs and multiplying it by a number that typically falls between 1 and 5, depending upon severity. If, for instance, your medical bills and lost wages total at $4,000 and it is surmised your pain and suffering falls around the middle at 3, your pain and suffering damages would be calculated at $12,000. If your pain and suffering was less severe at a 2, the damages would be calculated at $8,000. For severe pain and suffering, this method would put pain and suffering damages at $20,000.

In other cases, a plaintiffs’ attorney will use a per diem calculation. With this method, an amount is put on each day of suffering. In some cases, this is based on what salary would have been earned. Using $100 as an example, if it took 90 days for full maximum recovery, $9,000 would be rewarded for pain and suffering. For longer recoveries, that amount would increase by $100 per day. Depending on the specifics of a case, calculation of pain and suffering will vary. Contact our team today to get proper representation from a legal team with your interests in mind.

Cell Phone Usage on Connecticut Roads Increases Driver Distraction

texting while drivingThe National Safety Council issued a whitepaper on crashes that involved the use of a cellphone, which highlighted driver distraction dangers. The document also showed the issues in tracking the accidents accurately. In this report, research indicated that police reports do not accurately report cell phone usage, even when the cell phone involvement was easily observed. According to the NSC, there is enough evidence to support their case for the dangers of underreporting.

In fact, it seems underreporting has led to an underestimate of the actual threat to public safety associated with distracted driving that comes with mobile usage. In Connecticut, using a handheld device is illegal but it doesn’t seem to be deterring drivers as much as hoped. It also seems police are no investigating the use of cell phones when other infractions, such as reckless driving or intoxication, occur since the other charges are easier to prove.

Nationally, this has become an issue. Below are some staggering statistics that shed light on the impact of cellular devices on the road.

Mobile Device Statistics

  • In fatal accidents involving teenagers, 21% were distracted by a handheld device.
  • There is a 400% increase in the amount of time drivers’ eyes are off the road due to texting while driving.
  • Each day, approximately 11 teenagers die due to texting while driving.
  • Texting while driving bans are supported by about 94% of drivers.
  • Of those same drivers, 74% are in support of a ban on handheld devices.
  • Compared to adult drivers, teenagers are four times more likely to either crash or nearly have an accident as a result of cell phone usage (both talking and texting).
  • Compared to drunk driving, drivers who text while operating a vehicle are six times more likely to cause an accident.
  • Texting is the most dangerous activity in mobile usage while driving.
  • In a poll conducted by AAA, 94% of teenage drivers surveyed know of the dangers of texting and driving yet 34% admitted to participating in the behavior.
  • Teenage drivers with one passenger are at twice the risk of a fatal car accident while teenagers with two or more passengers increase their risk by as much as five times.
  • Answering a text message, on average, takes 5 seconds. If you are traveling at 55 mph, that means your eyes are off the road for the length of an entire football field.

While it is acknowledged that text messaging while operating a vehicle is dangerous, many still do it each day. If you have been in an accident due to the cell phone usage of another driver, contact us today. We will use the extent of the law to ensure your rights are protected and justice is reached.

Am I Legally Obligated to Report a Minor Auto Accident?

auto accident fender benderWith the rising costs of insurance, many times, a motorist would prefer not to report an accident. This is especially true for “fender benders” where there are no injuries and the damage is minor. However, those small damages can become big complications. Without a report filed, you could find yourself footing your own bill when you aren’t at fault. If you find yourself considering not reporting an accident, there are a few considerations to make.

For starters, there are two entities in which you might report your accident, each with their own set of considerations.

Law Enforcement

Other than the facts of the accident, which state you live in is a big consideration. Most states require any accident that results in injury to be reported. However, if the damage is over a certain amount in those states, it is also required to be reported. Typically, this is when damages exceed $1,000 or $2,500. At the scene of the accident, it’s important to exchange information such as contact and insurance. Every state requires this to be done, even when the accident will presumably not be reported.

If the other driver is hesitant or uncooperative in exchanging information, law enforcement should be called. Whether they don’t have insurance or are simply refusing to cooperate, it makes better legal sense to have the authorities involved to ensure you get the necessary information. If the other driver is cooperative, there still may be a good faith dispute later about the cause of the accident. Without having an investigating officer at the scene or to see physical evidence at the scene, later issues become hearsay in nature.

Weather is another consideration. If there is inclement weather, precaution must be taken in consideration of others on the road, making it important to get police involvement. In other cases, there might be possible injuries, since injuries don’t always immediately appear. If you don’t have a report of the accident, it will be a lot harder to claim your injuries as caused by the accident.

Insurance Company

There are two big reasons a person may decide not to report to insurance:

  • The driver assumes their premium will increase.
  • The driver assumes the two motorists can work out the cost without the involvement of insurance.

However, all insurance companies in their policies have it written that any accident must be reported to the company immediately. If the accident is not immediately reported but then later has to be reported, it could lead to bigger complications and penalties down the line.

When the two motorists decide to just work things out, which is ill-advised, and damage is later revealed in the vehicle such as an engine issue that was undetectable, the motorist will likely have to file a claim. The same is true of personal injuries that don’t immediately appear. If the motorist waits a few weeks then files for those injuries or damages that later cropped up, protection or coverage may be denied due to the lapse in reporting.

The only time when it may make sense to not file a claim is when the accident is your vehicle on your property and there are no injuries with only damage to your own property. This means there is no dispute over fault and only you are the one responsible for damages. However, such cases are rare making it a good rule of thumb to always report accidents to avoid bigger issues down the line.

If you have been in an auto accident, contact our team at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers today.

Why Summer is the Season of Traffic Accidents

Whether you are a motorist or a pedestrian, there is always some risk of being involved in a traffic accident. However, there are times where that risk is higher. Summertime tends to have the highest number of accidents compared to other seasons, but why is that? Regardless of your own behavior, the season comes with inherent risks for accidents.

Reasons for Increased Risk

  • More travelers. With the warm weather comes more drivers on the road. With that in mind, it’s easy to see how the season becomes a higher risk for accidents with the increase in road congestion.
  • Inexperienced drivers. When school lets out for the summer, far more inexperienced drivers are on the road. It is estimated that teenager drivers spend up to 40 percent more time on the road when school is not in session, leading to more collisions.
  • Construction and highway work zones. Since the weather is vastly better for construction and road work, there are many more construction zones set up in the summer season. This increases detours and creates driving challenges that can lead to auto accidents.
  • Vehicle-related failure. Due to higher temperatures, it is more likely to have a tire blowout or general equipment failure in a vehicle. Paired with more people on the road, accidents rise.

Reduce Your Risk

While accidents can be unavoidable, there are a few tips to stay safer on the road during these conditions.

  • Follow traffic laws.
  • Avoid driving under the influence or under high emotions or stress.
  • Invest in summer preparation maintenance.
  • Stay buckled up.
  • Allow for more time to get where you’re going.

Whether it’s the summertime or not, accidents happen. Our team of Connecticut car accident lawyers at Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers know how to protect your rights. Whether you are at fault or have suffered an injury due to the negligence of another driver, we can help. Contact us online today or give us a call to find out how our experience can serve you.