In many areas of the US right now, icy road conditions prevail. If you do not have to be driving on the road, the best safety tip when dealing with icy conditions is to not drive until the roads have been properly treated for ice. If, however, you must travel on icy roads here are a few basic safety tips to keep in mind:
Make sure all passengers are wearing seat belts.
Keep plenty of distance between cars. You never know when you will hit an icy spot.
If you do skid, turn the wheels into the direction of the skid.
At any intersection stay alert even if you have the green light and keep a lookout for any vehicle that maybe skidding into the intersection.
How dangerous is texting with your fingers and thumb while driving? A recent Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study found that manual text messaging elevated the risk of a crash or near crash to more than 23 times higher than “nondistracted” driving.
Across the nation, distracted driving is a growing threat to traffic safety. In 2008, 5,870 people died and another 515,000 people were injured in police-reported crashes in which driver distraction was listed as a cause, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The proportion of fatal accidents associated with distracted driving increased from 11 percent in 2004 to 16 percent in 2008, according to federal statistics.
The dangers of driving and talking on a cell phone or sending text messages have received attention with some states acting to ban certain activities while driving. It is unlawful in the State of Connecticut to use a hand held cell phone while driving a motor vehicle. Other secondary tasks such as eating, drinking and talking with passengers also can cause distractions.
A 2007 national survey found that 81 percent of people ages 16 and older have a wireless phone in the vehicle while they are driving. The age group with the greatest proportion of distracted drivers is the under-20 age group. Sixteen percent of drivers under 20 in fatal crashes were reported to have been distracted while driving. Text messaging appears to be a growing problem with more and more people texting while driving. Connecticut has banned texting while driving. However, just like Connecticut drivers continue to use their cell phones while driving so do people continue to text and drive.
Injuries can occur in car accidents that leave little or limited visible property damage. There is no strong correlation between the amount of property damage and the extent of injuries. If such a strong correlation existed, there would be serious injuries from ever car accident that involved a car being totaled. Yet, everyone has heard or known about car wrecks where the property damage has been overwhelming but the occupants of the vehicle came out without a scratch. There are numerous factors involved as to why an impact from a vehicle collision that leaves limited visible property damage causes personal injuries including: 1) the location of the impact (i.e. rear end collision, side impact, etc.); 2) whether the person had warning of the impact; 3) the positioning of the person’s body at the time of impact; 4) the age of the person (older age results in a greater risk of injury); 5) whether both vehicles were moving at the time of impact; and 6) whether the injured person had a pre-existing condition thereby being more prone to injury. There are other factors as well. Additionally, just because there is limited visible property damage does not mean that there is no other damage to the vehicle. Bumpers have energy absorbing material behind their covers. In many impacts the bumper will show little damage, but when the bumper cover is removed there exists damage to the energy absorbing material.
The items listed above should be explored and potentially used in any car accident case involving personal injuries and limited visible property damage. It is important to pursue such a legal claim with an attorney who has trial experience with such cases. These cases can be won and have been worn by our firm. The most recent favorable jury verdict obtained by Attorney James Sabatini in a car accident case with limited property damage was on September 23, 2009.
On July 8, 2009, Governor Rell signed a Bill that requires an automobile liability insurer to disclose the limits applicable under a policy it issued within 14 days after receiving a written request for it. The request must be made on behalf of a person claiming bodily injury or death resulting from a car accident involving a person the insurer’s policy covers. The insurance company’s disclosure must be in writing and set forth all available insurance coverage for the car accident including umbrella or excess liability coverage. The law goes into effect on October 1, 2009 and will apply to all claims filed on or after that date.
This law is significant for people injured in a Connecticut car accident. Before this law, an insurance company was not required to disclose its insured’s policy limits prior to litigation. Consequently in order for the plaintiff’s attorney to discover the policy limits, a lawsuit had to be filed. With the filing of the lawsuit additional time and expenses are incurred. In cases where the tortfeasor has minimum insurance coverage which would under compensate the injured person, the costs and time of litigation against the tortfeasor can now be avoided because the policy limits will be disclosed prior to litigation and a settlement exhausting the policy limits can be obtained. Furthermore, a claim for underinsured motorist benefits can now be made in a more timely fashion.