Going Up: Traffic Fatalities

In May, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) published early projections of motor vehicle fatality rates for 2012. For the first time since 2005, fatality figures went up and, while reasons are not entirely clear, there are some good guesses.

According to NHTSA, a fatality is included in their data if a collision occurred that involved the death of a vehicle occupant within 30 days of the accident. For 2012, that means a 5.3 percent increase in fatalities from 2012.

Keeping yourself and your family safe from harm on any roadway is not always easy. Consider these tips:

  • Do not drive distracted and be aware of those who do. Next time you are out, take note of drivers talking on cell phones or texting (even though it is against the law). They are driving distracted and could make a fatal error at an intersection near you.
  • Impaired driving is more than just drunk driving. Like distraction, fatigue affects driving in ways similar to drinking alcohol. When you are tired, reaction time, decision making and physical coordination is impaired. Business trips and jet lag add to the problem.
  • Remember the rules of the road. Rules of the road standardize the flow of traffic. Those who drive outside those rules, like those who drive recklessly or speed, kill almost 10,000 people annually. Observe the speed limit and drive more slowly in inclement conditions. If you notice someone speeding, fall back and stay out of the way.

It seems simple — buckle up and arrive alive — but staying safe on the road is not easy. If involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, speak to an experienced New York injury lawyer.

Careless Driving Resulting in Death

We recently posed the question of whether revised hours of service (HOS) regulations promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) would reduce the number of people killed by big rig trucks in the United States. If one tragic accident can be representative, the answer is no.

Joe Bell was the father of Jadin Bell, a 15-year old student from La Grande, Oregon who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. Jadin Bell died in February of this year and after a period of soul searching, Mr. Bell set out across America to tell the story of his son and somehow deal with his grief along the way.

On April 20, Mr. Bell set out on foot with a pushcart and a backpack, bound for New York City, where his son had hoped one day to work in fashion or photography. Mr. Bell thought his walk might take two years. Chronicling his journey for thousands on social media and in newspapers as he passed through towns, Mr. Bell spoke where he could about his son, about tolerance and about his grief.

Hobbled by blisters and the ache of rebuilt knees, Mr. Bell made it to about 20 miles north of Kit Carson, Colorado. While walking down the side of a rural road on October 9, Mr. Bell was struck and killed by the driver of a tractor-trailer who had reportedly fallen asleep at the wheel. The driver was uninjured and cited for careless driving resulting in death.

Mr. Bell no longer walks for the change his son needed, nor does he struggle further with grief. Maybe we should.

Handling Matters of Catastrophic Injury

The shock of a serious injury can bring a life and a family to a halt. Whether in a car wreck, a fall or other accident, understanding a new normal is devastating for the patient and family alike.

Severe personal injury can be disabling and end the ability to earn a livelihood. A catastrophic injury is one that changes the course of life, such as traumatic brain injury (TBI). While you may get right up after a fall, or walk away from a car accident, neurological damage may only become apparent in weeks to come.

When a medical condition is stable, good legal help may be required to pursue compensation for care needed over a period of recovery or a lifetime. As experienced New York injury lawyers, we analyze the cause and effect of an accident and what you might realistically recover for injury caused by the negligence of others.

In the case of a brain, spinal or other serious injury, legal counsel works to secure appropriate compensation through settlement or litigation to address the following financial needs:

  • Lost present and future wages and salary
  • Present and future medical expenses, including potential emergency procedures, rehabilitation and counseling services
  • Medical supplies, remodeling, specialized equipment and vehicles
  • Personal care and assistance in the case of incapacitation

Dealing with a life-altering injury requires superb medical, psychological and legal service. If you or a loved one suffers catastrophic injury, seek experienced legal advice.