Cell phones are everywhere, of course, and it is a common sight to see people walking on the streets or crosswalks with phones to their ears or talking on ear phones who are oblivious to what is around them. Now, observe that by drivers in motor vehicles and you have a potential tragedy in the making. Most states ban some form of cell phone use, but only 14 states and the District of Columbia ban all use of handheld phones by everyone. Now, Massachusetts may join that select group.
Is there anyone over the age of 18 who has not heard the adage “speed kills?’ While this short phrase could easily refer to methamphetamine use, and it certainly does in many circles, most people associate it with speeding while driving.
We all know that wearing a seat belt saves lives and can minimize the risk of sustaining a serious injury in an auto accident. Despite this obvious and well-known fact, car accidents are the number one killer of children ages 3-14 in the US and many of these fatalities stem from lack of seat belt use as well as the improper restraining of children in child safety or booster seats.
Home pools and those at hotels or resorts are often the venue for summer parties and other social events where alcohol is often served. Inevitably, people become intoxicated at these parties and accidents can happen on the premises or on the roadway if an inebriated guest causes an injury accident while driving home. In such cases, there are laws that determine if the host of the event can be held civilly liable for your injuries.
Has the introduction of Uber into our towns and cities led to a reduction in drunk driving arrests and, consequently, alcohol-related injuries and fatalities? Perhaps, but the “jury” seems to be still out on this question.
Anyone who gets into a cab, Uber or Lyft may have some concern about the character of your driver. For example, did the company verify that the driver has a clean driving record, is not a sex offender or has a record of violent felony convictions? Furthermore, is there insurance if there is an accident?
Uber and Lyft conduct background checks as either required by the jurisdiction where they are operating or as part of their own policies. In most cases, they report that they will reject applicants with a DUI/DWI or who have a record as a sex offender or other violent offenses. However, their background checks only extend back 7 years.
It is no secret to anyone who uses a cell phone to text or read messages how focused you can be on that activity alone. Sit on a bus or in a coffee shop and you will likely see that over many people are ignoring their environment while scrolling through emails and text messages or sending them. Now transfer that to the act of driving. Read more
Motorcycle and truck accidents happen every day and occasionally both are involved in the same collision. Because motorcycle riders have little protection in any kind of collision, the consequences can be catastrophic or fatal.
In a recent motorcycle accident near Elgin, Illinois, a 25-year old man was killed when a semi-tractor trailer made a left turn in front of his bike. The family of the motorcycle driver has filed a wrongful death action against the truck driver alleging that the driver failed to yield by making a turn when it was unsafe to do so, failed to maintain control of his truck, failed to maintain a proper lookout and was proceeding too fast for the traffic conditions.
Many people are excited about the prospect of driverless or autonomous vehicles becoming commonplace on our roadways, eliminating the human factors that are responsible for causing 94% of all traffic accidents. A high percentage of accidents and injuries are caused by intoxication, distracted driving (smartphone use) and speeding. If you are in a driverless car, though, then it makes no difference how intoxicated you are or if you are focused exclusively on your smartphone. Also, your driverless car will not speed so that factor may be eliminated as well.
Texting is ubiquitous these days. People are doing it while driving, crossing the street, drinking coffee at Starbucks or while working. It is the latter case that can put employers at risk for liability if an employee’s negligence causes injury to a third person.
An unusual case in which an employer is being sued by a third person, or one who is not a co-worker of the negligent employee, occurred at a Wal-Mart two years ago and is being litigated now. The employee was allegedly texting on his phone while pushing a cart filled with boxes when he inadvertently ran into the plaintiff and injuring her. The victim’s complaints consisted of loss of motion of her neck and shoulders and continued post-concussive symptoms that includes short-term memory loss.