Car accident injury claims are one of the most common types of personal injury claims and lawsuits that are filed, but one involving a police vehicle are less common. This is primarily because police officers perform a vital public safety function and liability on their part can be difficult to prove. For instance, when an officer is responding to an emergency or urgent call, the vehicle’s siren and flashing lights are a warning to motorists to pull over and to allow the vehicle to pass, much like an ambulance or fire truck. In many instances, motorists ignore the obvious signals and fail to stop or take any action to avoid interfering with the officer responding to the emergency.
Train crossings are not an uncommon sight in many areas of the country, including Massachusetts. You can generally recognize when a train is crossing your path by flashing lights and a barrier that prevents cars from crossing the tracks. However, serious injuries and fatalities do occur at train crossings. Just this past April, 2018, a Springfield woman ran her SUV into a moving train around 2:00 a.m. on Memorial Drive in Springfield and suffered fatal injuries. It has not yet been established how the accident occurred.
Massachusetts has approximately 3000 railroad crossings throughout the state or areas where roads cross railroad tracks instead of over or under them. Between 1975 and 2016, there have been 36 fatalities at such crossings. According to the Federal Railway Administration, in 2017 there were 2,105 collisions between motor vehicles and trains in the U.S., resulting in 807 injuries and 274 fatalities. These incidents have been reduced considerably since 1981 when there were 9,461 collisions with 3,293 injuries and 728 fatalities.
Traffic accidents happen everyday and chances are that if you drive long enough, you will be in one as well. And if you are injured, what happens if the motorist who caused your accident was uninsured?
It only makes sense that young, inexperienced drivers pose a greater risk than those who have been driving for years. Statistics from across the nation are consistent in showing that car accidents are the number one killer of teens. Young drivers are more likely to speed, drink and drive, and use their cell phones than older groups of drivers. They also use seat belts less frequently, a major reason for catastrophic and fatal injuries in a crash.
Facing another cold, Massachusetts winter morning on your way to your car can be depressing, to say the least. Your car’s windshield is solid snow and ice and it can’t be more than 2 degrees outside. A large pile of snow is also on your roof. So, you shave off a small amount of ice and snow from the front windshield, just barely enough to see ahead of you, get the car started and you’re off. But you fail to see a car to your right at the next intersection and you slam into it.
Texting while driving has caused too many collisions. Since 2010, Massachusetts has outlawed texting while driving. This law, however, did not ban using your cellphone for making calls or scrolling through your email unless you are a driver under the age of 21. In the past few years, lawmakers have introduced legislation banning any hand-held use of cellphones for all drivers but the measures either stalled or died quietly in the House. Governor Baker did not endorse a full ban either, feeling it was unfair to drivers in older vehicles that lacked the technology that permitted hands-free use.
Any premature death is a tragedy but a fatality in a car accident can be especially traumatic since it occurs so suddenly and by the fault of another party. A recent fatal car accident in Hyannis that left a family emotionally devastated is one example.
In mid-October, New England Patriots defensive end and linebacker Harvey Langi and his wife were injured when their vehicle was rear-ended while stopped for a traffic light, in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Langi’s wife suffered broken ribs and fractures to both her hips. Langi reportedly sustained neck, back and head injuries in the collision. Langi was placed on the non-football injury list and his return to the team this season is questionable. He is a non-drafted rookie having played football at the University of Utah before beginning his two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints. He had resumed his college career at BYU before being picked up by the Patriots for the 2017 season. He has only played one game thus far in his NFL career.
Honest Insurance Reporting
Insurance fraud is one of the most widespread economic crimes that occurs in the US, accounting for losses of an astonishing $90 billion per year. Car accident fraud is one of these crimes, which is punishable as a felony in Massachusetts.
Hard and Soft Insurance Fraud
Distracted driving is now the main focus of auto safety advocates, displacing drunk driving though that still remains a major concern and will likely continue until autonomous or self-driving vehicles become the norm. And the concern over distracted driving is really over use of smartphones with Apple becoming the antagonist in the discussion. Apple has been sued in various lawsuits for allowing its phones and apps to be used by motorists despite apparently having the technology that may disable the device while driving or at least give the user an opportunity to do so.