While there aren't any definite statistics on actual accident rates involving pets and car accidents, the fact remains that they can put you at serious risk. Currently, pet related accidents are merely lumped into the distracted driving category along with swatting an insect or reaching for a coffee.
At this point in time, Hawaii is the only state to implement an outright ban on driving with your pet in your lap, claiming that pets interfere with a driver's ability to maintain control of the vehicle. Two years ago, governor Schwarzenegger vetoed a law passed by legislature that would fine drivers for having a pet in their lap. His reasoning was that he was only focused on passing laws that met California's top priorities at the time. Similar legistlation was shot down in Virginia. As a Personal Injury Attorney Seattle, I think that anything that can potentially decrease car accident rates should be a priority.
On May 13th, 2010 bicycle manufacturer Niner Bikes issued a voluntary recall of their bicycles. This recall is based on the issue that the bicycle's frame can potentially crack and thus result in the rider loosing control and crashing. A bicycle crash can result in serious injuries, particularly if the rider isn't wearing a proper safety helmet. Sometimes these injuries are so severe that it's necessary for the victim to hire a Personal Injury Attorney Seattle in order to recover their damages from the accident.
The bicycle frames susceptibility to cracking results from a welding deficiency along the front triangle of the bicycle structure. If a bike was to fracture while the riders was going high speeds or traveling in close proximity to a car, the injuries could be catastrophic. Luckily, no reports of anyone getting hurt have been issued thus far. However, Niner Bikes has received reports that 53 of their products have experienced cracking along that particular weld while someone was riding the bicycle.
At least Louise Robbins, a Wisconsin librarian, can attest to that fact. She and her husband traveled to China in the summer of 2009 when her husband suffered injuries brought about by slipping on the wet marble floor in their hotel lobby and hitting his head. He seemed okay at the time so they continued up into the mountains for a sightseeing trip. Symptoms began to appear once they reached an altitude and it became apparent that he was suffering from bleeding in his brain.
He made multiple flights to receive treatment before finally make it home to the States. Because of the severity of his injuries, it was necessary that he be transported in a plane specially equipped to transport patients in critical condition with medical equipment and personnel. Louise spent $250 for their travelers insurance policy which saved them from having to pay over $100,000 for all the treatment and transport her husband received.
Many Americans believe that when they travel outside of the country, their health insurance follows them. This couldn't be farther from the truth though. Rarely do domestic health insurance policies cover emergency evacuations which are often the most expensive cost of an injury abroad.
The US Travel Insurance Association states that Americans spent $1 billion on supplemental insurance in 2008. Many people make this purchase to protect themselves against canceled flights, or disruption to their plans due to natural disasters (remember how many flights were canceled due to the Icelandic volcano eruption this year?) but the benefits these polices provide in an emergency far outweigh those advantages.
On average, travelers insurance will run you about 5% of the cost of your trip, which is a complete bargain if you end up using it. The two most common reason travelers are medically evacuated are from heart attacks and car accidents. So even when you're out of the country trying to relax, the reality of being involved in a car accident is still very present.
As a personal injury lawyer Seattle, I can warn you about how costly a car accident can be if you're not covered by insurance. At the Law Offices of Kirk Bernard, we've seen many unfortunate people whose lives have been destroyed financially by a lack of insurance. Do yourself a favor, don't travel without it. For tips on how to pick the right traveler's insurance policy, click here.
Even though states are cracking down on texting while driving by passing more stringent laws, it's ultimately up to law enforcement officials to put these laws into motion. They're finding that while these laws are great in theory, they're actually extremely difficult to actually enforce. Police officers are having a really hard time proving that someone was in fact texting while driving, and not just "talking" on their hand-held cell phone which is still legal in some states.
In 2007, a young girl was killed when a 17 year old driver smashed into the side of her car without so much as a tap to the brakes. The female driver was obviously distracted when the accident happened but without having witness accounts or without the driving admitting to texting, the victim's family will never know exactly why their daughter was killed that fateful night.
Lord Jesus Christ was in a marked crosswalk walking across the street when he was struck by a Massachusetts driver. Police officers gave the young woman at fault for hitting Christ, a citation at the scene for neglecting to yield to the pedestrian. Christ, whose name was confirmed when officers checked his identification, luckily only sustained minor injuries which included lacerations on his face. The 50-year-old man was discharged from the hospital shortly after his injuries were treated.
This case brings up a good point regarding pedestrian laws. Nearly all states have laws requiring drivers to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk. A crosswalk can mean a marked crosswalk with horizontal white stripes and a blinking yellow light, or it can just be a regular intersection without any of that. Regardless, pedestrians have the right-of-way since they are at a great disadvantage should they come in contact with a car. At the Law Offices of Kirk Bernard, we have seen devastating accidents with life-long disabilities resulting from pedestrian accidents. Unfortunately, many could have been avoided had drivers and pedestrians exercised greater caution.
New York safety inspector has pleaded guilty to allegations of false statements, mail fraud and violated the Toxic Substances Control Act. The inspector tampered with or faked the readings of hundreds of asbestos tests over the last decade. Typically, he wouldn't conduct any asbestos tests at all and would merely submit reports that buildings were free of asbestos and lead. Now free on bail, the Queens inspector is facing between 51 and 63 months in jail for his crimes.
Investigators are trying to determine whether Saverio Todaro acting independently or whether accomplices were involved. All in all, they've found over 200 buildings implicated in his fraudulent reports, and investigators fear it may be just the tip of the iceberg. In many of these instances, the buildings have been demolished to make way for the city's affordable-housing program. It's impossible to determine whether the workers involved in the demolition were exposed to asbestos and other toxic substances.
Asbestos is linked to deadly diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma which is a form of cancer that attacks the protective lining surrounding one's internal organs. Mesothelioma is almost always fatal and often goes undetected for many years or even decades. This toxic substance is most dangerous when in it's airborne state, which would have been the case if it was released during a demolition project. These cases often go to court where the victim is rewarded a lump sum for their injuries. However, this is a small consolation when the victim ultimately loses his life.
At the law offices of Kirk Bernard, we've seen many tragic cases of mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos. The worst part is that it can almost always be avoided with proper testing and abatement. If you worry that you may have suffered injuries as a result of asbestos exposure, we urge you to consult with a Seattle Personal Injury Lawyer immediately so you can protect your legal rights.
The Fire Department of Chula Vista, California is proposing to charge drivers who cause accidents requiring the services of the Fire Department. They estimate that approximately $100,000 is spent each year on the department's assistance in auto accidents. Each year, they respond to about 420 accidents which use their time and resources. By charging the drivers at fault, they can recoup a good chunk of their expenditures.
The City of Chula Vista claims that they think this is a fair since taxpayers wouldn't have to foot the bill for accidents that they didn't cause. The amount charged would vary depending on the severity of the accident and the amount of assistance required. The majority of car accidents would cost $435 while accidents requiring extraction from a vehicle would cost $1800, and a fire would run you $605. In the event that someone needs to be airlifted to a nearby hospital, the fee would jump up to $2100.
Thanks to current population awareness of environmentally-friendly "green-living" choices, there is a major push for electric vehicles right now. Money is pouring into the technology and research and development necessary to make these vehicles a viable purchasing option for consumers. One of the major safety concerns surrounding electric cars is the lack of noise they produce. Pedestrians and other drivers complain that electric vehicles are so quiet, you don't even know they're there.
A study conducted by the University of Calfornia at Riverside concluded that electric cars had to be 40% closer to a pedestrian before they were detected, in comparison to a car with a standard combustion engine. This poses a serious safety risk when pedestrians are looking to cross the road. Bicyclists also rely heavily on audible clues to discern traffic flow around them. Many of us don't realize how much we use these audible clues until they're not available.
It's nothing new for criminals to try and gain money with fraudulent insurance claims. As the economy continues to fluctuate, people begin to worry about money and how they're going to get it. Many times this opens the door to criminal thought and behavior.
Now criminals are using methods that could target you as a victim during a car accident. Many of these schemes involve an orchestrated whole team of people with multiple cars involved. The scenarios are very detailed and usually involve trying to take advantage of the insurance companies.
It's really a shame what criminals will try and do to scam the system and it only makes things more difficult for the real victims in accidents and injury claims. Here's a short list of a few ways you can protect yourself from falling victim to these car accident frauds:
On April 27th, 2010, Georgia's House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill that bans texting and driving as well as talking on your cell phone while driving. Once the bill becomes a law, it will ban cell phone use for teens age 16 and 17, and will ban texting while driving for drivers of all ages. Offenses made by juvenile drivers come with a penalty of $150 fine with a 90 license suspension (or suspension until they turn 18 if that comes first). The $150 fine is doubled if another traffic violation occurs at the same time, for instance speeding while driving and texting. Adult drivers will only be fined $100.
Many feel that while the law is a step in the right direction, the penalties that come with it are not stringent enough to really deter people from texting while driving. Personal injury attorney, Kirk Bernard, feels that the law should extend to ban all drivers from talking on the cell phone while driving, regardless of their age.
If the bill becomes a law, it will be dubbed the Caleb Sorohan Act to commemorate Caleb Sorohan, a 19 year old boy who was killed due to an accident he caused by driving while text messaging. Currently, the bill is awaiting a signature from the Governor.
Georgia now joins the nine other States who have passed laws banning text messaging while driving. These other states include Oregon, Washington, New York, Colorado, and Virginia. Many of these states, such as Washington, have made texting and talking on a hand-held cell phone a primary offense so that a police officer can make a citation without needing another offense as a reason to pull the driver over.
As a Seattle personal injury lawyer, I have seen an explosion of car accidents caused by cell phone use and texting while driving over the last two to three years. Often times, the people who survive the accidents are still left with debilitating injuries that can last a lifetime. A Youtube video made by a police department in the UK is circulating at a rapid rate and was showcased in this clip from the Today Show. They created a public service announcement that graphically portrays a horrific car accident that kills four people, as a result of a driver who is text-messaging and crosses into oncoming traffic. You should be prepared that this video is extremely graphic, but it might be the key to discourage drivers from texting while behind the wheel.
More resources regarding texting and driving can be found here.
According to reports made by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), product manufacturers Simplicity and Graco cribs issued recalls for multiple models of their baby cribs due to a malfunction in the hardware that holds the components together. The hardware for the mattress' tubular support frame has been known to fail and become detached. This then creates a void where small children can become trapped, strangled, and possibly suffocate or fall out of the crib.
This issue seems to be isolated to the product models where one side of the crib drops down to allow a caregiver to easily extract the child. So far 99 accounts of the failed mattress frames have been noted. In one of those instances, a one-year-old boy suffocated after becoming entrapped between the mattress and crib frame. All other failures resulted in minor injuries such as scrapes and bruises.
This recall targets roughly 217,000 Graco cribs in two dozen different models. Simplicity is no longer in business, after nearly all of their models have been recalled. Their products have been linked to 13 child deaths since 2005. Many of these cribs were available for sale at major retail outlets such as Target, Walmart and Babies R Us.
We understand how much faith you put into the products you purchase for your children and it can be horrifying to find out those items can cause serious injury or death. As a product liability lawyer, the Law Offices of Kirk Bernard has dealt with many cases regarding faulty products that have led to the injuries of small children. These products range from car seats, strollers, baby carriers and slings. If your child has been injured as a result of a defective product, we recommend that you contact an experienced, reputable attorney that can advise you on your legal rights. For more information on this recall, you can visit the CPSC website here.
After a Washington man watched his three-year-old daughter narrowly avoid being hit by a driver who was distracted by texting on his cell phone, he decided to take action. There's no denying that driving while texting shifts your attention away from the road and can result in a catastrophic, if not fatal, Seattle car accident. Car and Driver Magazine published a study conducted by Virginia Tech that concluded drivers that text have slower reaction times than intoxicated drivers. Not only that, but those who choose to text while driving are almost 25 times more likely to be implicated in an auto accident.
Erik Wood teamed with software writers to bring OTTER to life. His software, which is an acronym for "One Touch Text Response," serves to inhibit people's instinctual need to respond to a text-message right away, even when they're driving. The application is set-up so that when you travel faster than 10 miles per hour, a GPS sensor will trigger your phone to go into an auto-reply mode. The phone won't alert the driver in any way that a text message has been received and it will send a customized response automatically to the sender.
Wood claims the software was designed to be used as a "tool, not a shackle" and was not intended to "impede on anyone's civil liberties." OTTER has also paired up with the Break the Habit Campaign which serves to educate teenagers about the dangers of texting while driving.
An added bonus that the software provides is decreasing distractions while working or studying. Wood has heard from users that are now much more productive during school or work hours by setting their phone to the auto-respond OTTER mode. This application works on the Google Android platform only and is available to download for $3.99.
We hope that more people will come forward with other smart ideas to make our roads safer and to help decrease accident rates. At the Law Offices of Kirk Bernard, we've seen way too many accidents caused by texting while driving that could have been easily avoided. To learn more about the Break the Habit Campaign click here. For more information about OTTER, please click here.
The other day I told you about a car that is able to actually steer itself and how I hope that the technology would be able to prevent car accidents in the future. Well, I just finished reading an article where a team of Scientists at Freie Universität, working under the computer science professor Raúl Rojas, are developing technology that will allow you to steer your car with your eyes.
You read that right. There are cameras and software that monitor where your eyes track on the road, collect that data and then adjust the direction of travel based on where you look. Acceleration and braking work independently of the eye-tracking software, called eyeDriver. The technology behind it is rather complex and you can read more about it here and here.
The car operates in two modes under this technology, free ride and routing.In the free ride setting, the steering works in conjunction with visual and physical input from the driver. On the other hand, routing mode offers autonomous steering by tracking eye movement. Only when you come to fork on the road will the car prompt you for decision making.
The software actually has the technology to sense when your eyes close, and when this happens it automatically applies the brakes. I would love to see more advancements like this that can hep make driving safer. As we begin to live busier and busier lives car accidents appear to be happening more and more. It would be wonderful to be able to cut down on the number of accidents and have safer highways.
I was thumbing through Yahoo News when I stumbled upon this article about a car that is set to climb (switchback laden) Pike's Peak this fall. Big deal you might be thinking right now, but the catch is that it will do so without a driver!
The first thing that flashed in my mind was the old movie "The LoveBug" where "Herbie" had a mind and personality of it's own. While this car is nothing like that, it may very well be able to one day help save lives and prevent car accidents.
Stanford University researchers have been working on technology that can make driving a much safer experience for us in the future, and this is a major milestone in that journey. This is certainly not the first major break through in cars that operate themselves. We currently have cars on the market with adaptive cruise control as well as cars that parallel park without the aid of the driver.
If you'd like to find out more about this car (Shelley) you can read the full article here.
As lawmakers attempt to crack down on the practices of the world's largest financial institutions that led to our current financial crisis, the Security and Exchange Commission has filed fraud charges against Goldman Sachs and it's Vice President Fabrice Tourre. The basis of this case rests on the allegations that Goldman Sachs misled their clients to invest in a mortgage product that was designed to fail. The big question at hand now, is whether this is just the tip of the iceberg and if more charges will be filed against other financial institutions as well.
Renowned hedge fund company, Paulson & Co., was an integral player in developing this subprime product in conjunction with Goldman Sachs. Paulson was granted the opportunity to personally choose the subprime mortgages that would be available in this product, dubbed Abacus. Then, knowing that these mortgages were doomed to fold, Paulson shorted the investment and waited to cash in on their failure.