In 2021, Massachusetts there were 390 victims in fatal car accidents, the most since 2009. The next highest was in 2012 when 364 people died. Many attribute the dramatic rise in fatal accidents to the effects of the pandemic. Like the prior year, for most of the year, traffic congestion was way down as many people either lost their jobs, were laid off, or chose to work remotely. Consequently, motorists took advantage of open lanes to – speed. Law enforcement was scarce as officers feared contracting Covid from personal encounters with infected motorists.
More speeding tickets for traveling in excess of 100 miles per hour were issued than many could recall in recent memory. Impaired driving was on the increase as well due to lax traffic enforcement and from people taking out their frustrations by combining drinking, ingesting drugs, and then driving recklessly on empty highways. Motorcycle accidents and deaths also rose in 2021 as did the incidence of driving without a seatbelt.
Springfield Speeding Car Accidents
Speed was again a major factor in most accidents. In Springfield, for example, one 4-day period saw four people die in car accidents. A man walking his bicycle on the side of the road was struck and killed. A motorist who had been clocked at 114 miles per hour crashed his vehicle and succumbed to fatal injuries, all part of the 19 people killed in Springfield in 2021. However, in 2019, there were only 7 fatal traffic accidents in that city.
Speeding has always been a prime factor in car accidents. Impaired drivers and those who are impatient or just wanting to race take unnecessary risks that jeopardize the safety of themselves, their passengers, and others on the roadways. For the past two decades, speed has been involved in 26% of all fatal car accidents in the U.S. Only alcohol involvement accounted for more fatalities, though speeding was a factor in many of those accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car that is traveling at least 70 miles per hour that is involved in a crash will nearly always result in a fatality. In conjunction with that, a driver in a car that is traveling 15 miles per hour over the median speed limit has the highest risk of being in a serious or fatal accident. When you speed, your dramatically decrease your perception/reaction time and increase the distance your car will travel before stopping, unless you strike something first.
However, in a study conducted by the IIHS, or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a car traveling at 50 miles per hour in a crash saw noticeable deformation of the driver side door opening, dashboard and foot area. At 56 miles per hour, researchers noted that the vehicle’s interior was seriously compromised with sensors on crash dummies indicating that motorists would likely suffer severe neck injuries and lower leg fractures. Even with air bag deployment at these speeds, your head has a high probability of going through the bag and smashing into the steering wheel with victims suffering traumatic brain injuries and facial fractures.
Steps to Take in an Injury Accident
Car accident attorneys from Burns and Jain have handled many car accident injury claims involving speed, impairment, fatigue, and distractions. The chances of being in a car accident may not be high, though consider that there are about 6 million car accidents every year, and that approximately 40,000 people are killed annually.
Car accident injury claims may be the most prevalent of personal injury claims but knowing what to do if you are injured in a car accident can greatly increase your chances of a satisfactory settlement. Here are some suggestions:
- Do not move your vehicle.
- If injured, call 911 and wait in your car for police and ambulance to arrive
- Although you are required to exchange certain information with the other driver, wait for the police if you are injured and let them handle it
- Do not discuss with the other motorist how the accident happened or mention anything to the about how you are doing or feeling
- Do not refuse medical care or assistance by first responders—many injuries do not manifest or are not recognized until hours or even days later that could result in causation issues or allegations of fabricating injuries
- If you are able to do so, take photos with your cellphone of your car, the other vehicle, the accident scene, witnesses, traffic lights, debris, skidmarks, or anything else that may have contributed to the accident
- Ask any witnesses for contract information or ask them to wait for police
- If questioned by police, do not go into detail about speed or distances unless you are absolutely sure or clear. Include all possible injuries you may have suffered.
- Immediately seek medical attention from your own physician
- Call your insurance company about the accident
- Refuse to give any statements to insurance adjusters or investigators until you contact and retain a car accident attorney
- Follow your care provider’s advice and attend all medical visits and therapy sessions until you are released from care
- Keep a log of your medical expenses, visits, medications, care providers, and any related out-of-pocket expenses
By promptly contacting a car accident attorney from Burns and Jain, you are protecting your claim. Your attorney will immediately inform the defendant’s insurer of legal representation, investigate the causes and circumstances of the accident, retrieve the police or car accident report, and retain a car accident reconstruction expert if liability is an issue and your injuries are serious. If you wait and try to handle the claim on your own, you risk losing valuable evidence including witnesses who can support your version of events. You may also jeopardize your claim by unintentionally minimizing your injuries, by not getting prompt medical attention, or skipping out on medical visits, or by saying something that could be construed by an insurance adjuster as an admission of at least partial fault and lack of credibility.
Since demonstrating and proving damages are vital, your car accident attorney will obtain all medical records, request appropriate medical opinions regarding your diagnosis and prognosis, show income losses, and other economic losses as well as proving emotional distress and pain and suffering. A Burns and Jain attorney will also handle all negotiations or prepare you for litigation if a settlement cannot be achieved.
Damages in Car Accident Injury Claims
Damages vary widely in car accident injury claims. Many cases involve:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future income loss
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
Also, be prepared for a serious accident claim by having adequate coverage. We recommend that motorists purchase at least $100,000 in liability, uninsured, and underinsured coverage. Remember that underinsured coverage is not mandatory in Massachusetts so you must purchase it separately.
Retain the Law Office of Burns and Jain
There are many car accident attorneys but few that have the experience, dedication, and attention to detail that our lawyers possess. Call a car accident attorney from Burns and Jain at (617) 227-7423 for a free consultation about your injury or wrongful death claim.