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Auto Accidents

Why Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Attorney?

Hiring a motorcycle accident attorney after being involved in a collision can have significant benefits for you and your family, and may afford you compensation for damages you incurred.

John: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough. Today, our topic is “why do I need a motorcycle accident attorney?” Welcome, Robert and Kevin.

Kevin: Thank you John.

Robert: Thank you John.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

John: What are the most common reasons that motorcycle collisions occur?

Kevin: Similar to motor vehicle collisions, the most common reasons that motorcycle collisions occur – in my experience, John – involve lack of driver attention, speeding, texting, [and] not paying attention to the roadway. However, having been involved in numerous lawsuits and cases involving motorcycle collisions, there’s also the extra element of sometimes, even when people are trying to pay attention when they’re driving a motor vehicle, [accidents still occur]. It’s hard to see a motorcyclist at certain angles as they’re driving on the roadway or driving on the highway.

Often times, a driver may be paying attention and may be looking in the side mirror or the rear-view mirror. Based upon the size of the motorcycle, they just genuinely don’t see the motorcyclist. Only if they turn ahead to the left or to the right, would they actually see the motorcyclist. Another thing that comes up in those types of cases is, again, a driver who’s driving a car [and] paying attention, it’s harder to judge speed if you’re pulling away from stop sign and you looked to your left and you see a motorcyclist that you estimate to be a few hundred feet away and you try to pull out. [It may be closer]. It’s harder for a motorist or anyone in general to have that depth perception when you’re on the roadway.

In addition to the common reasons that collisions occur are lack of attention [or] failure to pay attention. There are people who are driving motor vehicles who are not doing anything wrong, but they’re not taking the extra steps and the extra precautions that are necessary to see motorcyclist on the roadway, especially highways.

John: Right. Because we see so many more cars on the road, we get used to looking out for other cars. Like you said, you’re looking in the side mirror of your vehicle and you’re looking for another car, you’re not really thinking, “Oh, there might be a motorcycle next to me.” When you don’t see in your normal vision where you would normally see a car, you just assume, “Oh, there’s nothing there,” rather than taking that extra time to turn around and look to make sure there’s nothing smaller like a motorcycle.

Kevin: We see that on highways. A driver could be driving a vehicle and looks in their rear-view mirror [and] they don’t see anyone behind them. A few moments later, they go to get in the left lane or the right lane and there is a collision with a motorcyclist. They just didn’t see the motorcyclist approaching from the rear. They didn’t know that they were passing on either the left or the right. Again, the driver who thinks that they’re doing everything that they need to do to be safe causes that collision and may ultimately be responsible for the injuries that result from that motorcycle collision.

Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident

John: Right. Robert, is it harder to prove negligence in a motorcycle accident?

Robert: We see a bias against motorcyclists, the bias coming from the insurance company and also from juries. You could have a motorcyclist who’s got 20 [or] 30 years of experience, who is an excellent and safe driver. Never been in an accident before, [and is doing] everything absolutely right. The jury might feel based upon their own experience in dealing with motorcyclists that this person must have been negligent. This person must have been reckless. They drive a motorcycle for Lord’s sake, they have to want to drive fast.

The truth of the matter is the motorcyclists that we’ve represented are some of the safest drivers that are out on the road. But initially when we present a claim to an insurance company for medical bills and payment for pain and suffering, their first reaction is, “Well, wait a minute, the motorcyclist must have some comparative fault [or] must have some comparative negligence.” The insurance company tries to reduce the payment.

Motorcyclists are faced with insurance bias in that they can’t even get Personal Injury Protection coverage on their policies in Massachusetts. Because the legislature has been convinced by the insurance industry that there are just too many accidents involved with motorcyclists and they’re not going to pay for their medical bills through the PIP coverage.

Motorcycle Accidents and Fatalities

John: Interesting. Kevin, are fatalities more common in motorcycle accidents?

Kevin: Unfortunately, John, they are. What we see in our practice handling motorcycle collisions in Massachusetts and Hampshire, [is] that yes, statistically those sorts of incidents in collisions do involve fatalities at a higher frequency. It’s based upon just the lack of the protection to the rider or passenger. In New Hampshire, you’re not required to wear helmet while driving the motorcycle. Even if you’re the safest motorcyclist in the world, traveling on a beautiful sunny day on Route 16 in New Hampshire, within the speed limit, within your designated lane, you never know when someone’s going to pull from a side street or hit you as an oncoming motorist.

When incidents like that occur when you’re driving a motorcycle with or without a helmet, often times, those head injuries or those internal injuries are severe enough that the motorcyclists won’t survive that collision.

Motorcycle Insurance vs. Motor Vehicle Insurance

John: Robert, you started talking a little bit about insurance coverage and then the insurance bias against motorcycle drivers. What is the difference in motorcycle insurance coverage versus car insurance?

Robert: I think the most significant difference is that when you have a car in Massachusetts on the road, you are required to have Personal Injury Protection coverage, which pays for yourself and your passengers’ medical bills up to a certain amount. It could be $2,000 or it could be $8,000. Motorcyclists aren’t even allowed that option, they are not allowed to have that Personal Injury Protection. Now, the smart motorcyclists will buy additional coverage to protect themselves because they know that they can’t get Personal Injury Protection.

They might buy medical payments coverage, although, some of them make sure that they have some form of health insurance to pay for any potential injury. They’ll hopefully increase the limits of their motorcycle liability under an uninsured motor’s protection, in case they’re hurt by an at-fault driver that does not have enough insurance coverage.

John: Okay. That’s really good information. Robert and Kevin, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Robert: Thank you John.

Kevin: Thank you John.

John: For more information, visit helpinginjured.com or call (978) 744-8000. 

What Will a Car Insurance Company Pay for in the Event of an Accident Related Death?

Insurance companies may cover some of the costs of an accident related death, but dealing with insurance companies is no small task. Learn more about who can help you after an accident related death in this podcast with attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough.

John: Hi, I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough. Today our topic is “what will a car insurance company pay for in the event of an accident-related death?” Welcome Robert and Kevin.

Robert: Thank you John.

Kevin: Thank you John

Are Medical Expenses Covered After an Accident Related Death?

John: So, will a car insurance company pay for medical expenses such as an ambulance ride or an air flight if that’s necessary after an accident?

Robert: Absolutely. In Massachusetts, when you’re involved in a motor vehicle crash, regardless of who is at fault, if there’s an injury or a death, the vehicle that the person who is injured or dies is in, the insurance company is responsible at least initially for payments related to any medical treatment that might happen. [This includes] an ambulance ride, any med flight, [or a] helicopter ride if necessary. Any accident-related medical expenses are paid for by the insurance company of the motor vehicle that the person was in.

There’s certainly at least a limit to that though. In Massachusetts, the outward limit to pay for medical expenses related to either an injury or a death is $8,000, and if medical bills go beyond that, you’ll be dealing with private health insurance or you’ll be dealing with the at-fault person’s insurance company to be reimbursed for medical expenses or all expenses related to a person’s death.

John: And those expenses can add up very quickly, especially when you’re talking about ambulance rides, med flights, or things like that.

Robert: Without question. The more serious an impact and the more serious an accident, the more significant that the medical bills are. So, you need to get right on top of that to make sure that any insurance that might be available – automobile,  health or otherwise is immediately accessed by the person themselves or their family members [so they] can [be] reimbursed for those medical expenses.

John: Okay. What about in the case where somebody has died. Will a car insurance company pay for the funeral expenses for the deceased?

Kevin: John, the easy answer to that is yes. But it often requires a different analysis. What I mean by that is Robert and I are both licensed in Massachusetts and Hampshire, and the law can vary dramatically from state to state, including what forms of coverage are required. For example, in Massachusetts, they have two different types of insurance that may be available to you immediately after a collision involving a wrongful death.

That includes personal injury protection as well as medical payments coverage. In New Hampshire, they don’t have the personal injury protection coverage, but they do offer medical payments coverage. In either Massachusetts or New Hampshire, those types of insurance may be immediately available to you.

However, there could be liability insurance involved for the at-fault party, which often times doesn’t kick in immediately. You have to do the investigation and the analysis and the presentment of those funeral bills or expenses to get paid. There are numerous different types of coverage that may come into play that would provide payment for funeral expenses.

Personal Injury Coverage in Massachusetts

John: Okay. Can you explain a little bit more the personal injury coverage that’s in Massachusetts?

Kevin: Yes, Massachusetts is a state that has some compulsory coverages, and what I mean by that is, in order to have a motor vehicle lawfully on the roadway in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, you have to have what’s called personal injury protection coverage. There are different types of deductible options available to a driver or a purchaser of that policy, but in essence, personal injury protection provides coverage, no matter who’s at fault, for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle collision.

Personal injury protection coverage also provides loss wage payments, co-pays, deductibles, and as we discussed already, funeral expenses.

John: And in the event that a car insurance company doesn’t cover the full cost of the accident, what request does a family have?

Robert: Because there’s a limit to the amount of coverage available to pay for medical bills or funeral expenses, often times, probably most the time, a family member who’s been [put] in a situation where a family member died, is going to be left with still significant medical and funeral bills to pay for. If the accident and the death was the fault of somebody else’s negligence, that person will be left with the option to sue them or make a claim against their insurance company to pay for any outstanding medical bills or funeral bills.

That’s something that they would need to certainly consult with a professional to make sure that all options of excessive bills and payments are looked at.

Kevin: Our own insurance and our own medical coverage can help a lot in the case of an accident or a death due to an accident, but once those bills go over and above what our own insurance coverage can cover, then that’s where we really need to get into that situation of looking to find the at-fault driver and make sure that they pay their share.

Robert: Absolutely, because, to add insult to injury, a person’s family member or loved one is injured, or killed in a car accident, and they’re left with astronomical bills. And, if it was somebody else’s fault, and that somebody else has his assets or insurance coverage, then that has to be looked at.

John: All right. Well, that’s really great information, Robert, and Kevin. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Robert: Thank you, John.

Kevin: Thanks, John.

John: And for more information, visit helpinginjured.com, or call (978) 744-8000.

What Makes Car Accidents Deadlier than Other Types of Accidents?

Car accidents can be particularly deadly, especially compared to other types of accidents. Learn about the factors that make car accidents fatal from attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough.

John: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough. Today our topic is “what makes car accidents deadlier than other types of car accidents?” Welcome Robert and Kevin.

Robert and Kevin: Thank you John.

Types of Injuries in Car Accidents

John: What type of injuries are typically sustained in car accidents?

Kevin: With motor vehicle collisions and car accidents, we see a large spectrum of potential injuries. The factors that are involved in that can vary dramatically, such as the type of vehicle that somebody is in, where they’re positioned in the vehicle, if they’re at the driver seat versus a front seat passenger or a rear seat passenger, the size of the vehicle, and the speed of the motor vehicle. The analysis that goes into the types of injuries and the factors that are involved in the injuries can be very large. That’s why each case is very fact specific. When we meet with clients and sign up new clients, it’s very important to get all of the detailed information regarding that particular collision.

But as I mentioned, John, some of the things that we look for immediately when assessing the extent of an injury would involve the speed of the motor vehicle at the time of the collision and the type of roadway that it’s on.

What Increases the Risk of Fatalities in a Car Accident?

John: Okay. What makes this type of car accident injuries deadlier than in other types of accidents?

Robert: Most certainly when you’re dealing with motor vehicles and thousands of pounds of steel crushing into either a fixed object or another moving object coming at you, you’re going to have significant damages. You’re going to have horrific injuries, you’re going to have fire and burn victims, you’re going to have people ejected through windshields. It’s horrible to think about and horrible to discuss, but people are on the roadways and they’re acting careless, and they’re speeding, and they’re drinking, and they’re texting. You’re going to have significant, significant issues as a result of that kind of behavior.

John: Right and like Kevin said, just the speed that you’re at, especially on the highway but on any road, even just 40, 50 miles an hour on a side road, hitting something that’s immovable . . ..

Robert: Not just an immovable object but another 40 or 50 mile an hour vehicle coming headfirst.

John: Right, that doubles the amount of impact.

Robert: It doubles the amount of impact and people aren’t going to walk [away] from those kinds of impacts, even with the air bags and even with the extra safety features we have. You get an impact at that speed and there’s likely going to be fatalities involved.

John: Correct.

Kevin: John just to add to that, to what Robert’s mentioning, we talk about speed and the size of the vehicles, but we also handle motorcycle collisions and motor vehicle versus pedestrian or motor vehicle versus bicyclist. Speed is a huge factor when we see these collisions, but often times we represent passengers on motorcycles, the operator of a motorcycle who it may not have been [in] a high speed type collision, but because of the nature of that machinery, the motorcycle itself, [and] the lack of protection, we see severe horrific injuries. [This includes] road rash, scarring, head injuries, [and] broken bones. Although speed is a huge element to it, it’s important to know the type of collision that’s involved and the type of motor vehicles involved, or the motorcycles involved when handling that.

What a Family Can Do When a Loved One is Killed in a Car Accident

John: Right, so what can a family do if their loved one has been killed in a car accident?

Robert: First and foremost, the family needs to get through the grieving process and handle any of the emotional impact and aftermath of that, and seek professional help if they or their children continue to have post-traumatic stress [and] things like that. They should work with the police and the District Attorney’s office if there’s going to be a criminal investigation as to the cause of the accident. They should consult a civil attorney, a personal injury attorney that specializes in [that field] to make sure that all of their rights are looked at, that all the recovery is accessed, that all the medical bills are taken care of by the at-fault party. To make sure that if somebody was at fault, that there can be some amount of justice that can come from the incident.

John: Okay, well, that’s really great information. Robert and Kevin, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Robert: Thank you John.

Kevin: Thank you John.

John: For more information, visit helpinginjured.com or call (978) 744-8000.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Death in an Auto Accident?

Many car accidents are unfortunately fatal. In this podcast with car accident attorneys we discuss the most common causes of death and what you can do if your loved one has been killed in a car accident.

John: Hi. I’m John Maher. I am here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough. Today we’re talking about the most common causes of death in an auto accident. Welcome Robert and Kevin.

Kevin: Thank you John.

Robert: Thank you John.

Common Causes of Death in Auto Accidents

John: What are some common causes of auto accident deaths that you tend to see in your office?

Kevin: The most common causes of death for the cases that we handle at Mazow | McCullough include ejection type injury cases, crush type injury cases and head injury cases. It can be related to the speed of the motor vehicles at the time of the collision, the roadway that they’re on, the angle of the crash and also the type of vehicle that the parties [are] in. But I think that with the cases that we’ve handled over the years, the most common ones that we see involve serious head injuries.

Determining Fault in a Car Accident Case

John: Okay. How can it be determined that the other driver is responsible for the death of an individual in an accident?

Robert: John, in the cases that we handle in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, any time there is a fatality, the state police accident reconstruction team are immediately called to the scene to take measurements, to take witness statements, [and] to take photographs. They do a complete accident reconstruction analysis to determine what happened. Each time there is a fatality involved, the state police come with an accident reconstruction team, they put together a complete report, [and do] a complete investigation. They get blood tests of the drivers and then make a determination of what happened.

Then what we’ll do is; we’ll get our own accident reconstruction team. A private team together to go out reconfirm [and] to make sure that everything was done properly and to give us an extra opinion to determine who is at fault and what happened. They give us complete picture of the accident.

What Can a Family Do If They’ve Lost a Loved One in a Car Crash?

John: Okay. Then what recourse does a family who has lost a loved one in a car accident have?

Kevin: John, the recourse that the family members have is to be directly involved with the investigation in the accident reconstruction analysis that Robert had mentioned. Typically, the family does have some input. [They] may have been witnesses to the incident itself. Further recourse would be retaining a law office like Mazow | McCullough to also work closely with the state investigating authorities and also what Robert had mentioned. We often times conduct our own investigation just to make sure that things are done thoroughly [and] properly, and also to have that extra analysis if a case ultimately moves into litigation.

[When a] family wants to retain our firm, we present the claim to the at-fault party or their insurance company or family members. Most cases do get resolved as part of a claim. Often times unfortunately, we do have to file lawsuits and the family members are directly involved in the pursuit of the claim, the damages through that claim and [the] litigation process. They may learn information that wasn’t readily available at the scene or within those initial reports. Witness statements and depositions that get conducted during that investigation phase or [the] litigation phase that the family members are directly involved in sometimes provides further light or evidence as far as how a collision may have happened [and] who’s at fault. Things like that.

John: Okay. Great information Robert and Kevin. Thanks again for speaking with me today.

Robert: Thank you John

Kevin: Thanks John.

John: For more information, visit helpinginjured.com or call (978) 744-8000.

Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

Commercial vehicles are responsible for hundreds of accidents every day. Learn about the most common causes of commercial vehicle accidents in this podcast with car accident attorneys Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough.

John: Hi, I’m John Maher and I’m here today with Robert Mazow and Kevin McCullough of the Law Office of Mazow McCullough. Today our topic is Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents. Welcome Robert and Kevin.

Robert: Thank you John.

Kevin: Thanks John.

The Most Common Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents

John: Kevin, what are the most common causes you see in commercial vehicle accidents?

Kevin: Great question John. At the Law Office of Mazow | McCullough, we handle numerous types of collisions including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, collisions involving MBTA buses, trolleys, [and] trains. The most common causes of these collisions that we see is just a general lack of paying attention. Whether it’s someone having a beverage, eating some food, not familiar with the area that they’re in, [or] looking at a map within the vehicle, and also lack of training, especially on the commercial side of things.

Unfortunately, unless there’s a significant collision or injury involved, a lot of the employers and businesses don’t really dive into the depths of the training that’s needed for driving an MBTA vehicle or a commercial bus or a commercial truck. Once we handle these types of cases and we conduct depositions and discovery, and we sit people down in a conference room and question them on what training they’ve had, it’s shocking sometimes to find out how little training they’ve had, if any. I’d summarize that up with the most common causes of these types of collisions being just a general lack of training and also not paying attention.

Commercial Vehicle Accidents Involving Taxis

John: Right. Are taxis included in the commercial vehicles and do you handle those as well?

Kevin: Definitely John, we do handle collisions involving taxis [and] Uber vehicles and the same answer holds true there. A taxi is commonly in a rush either to pick up a fare or drop off a fare, they [are] maybe in a part of the city that they don’t know about or they’re not familiar with. Just in general, we all see it, driving in the streets of the North Shore area of Boston. When we see a taxi driver, sometimes they may go a little too fast, they may cut off that person in front or behind them just to get to where they need to go.

What to Do If You’ve Lost a Loved One in a Commercial Vehicle Accident

John: Right. Robert, what can the survivors of a victim killed in a commercial vehicle crash do after they’ve lost a loved one?

Robert: John, it depends on if they’re hit or killed as a pedestrian or if they are a passenger in another vehicle, or if they’re a passenger in the vehicle that caused the accident. For instance, if they’re a pedestrian, they have a couple of resources that they can turn to for payment of medical bills, or in the case of a death payment for a burial and funeral expenses. First thing they can do if they’re a pedestrian is look at the vehicle that caused the crash, go after their Personal Injury Protection coverage, go after their coverage to get the medical bills, funeral bills, [and] burial expenses paid for. If they have their own insurance, their own medical bill payments coverage, if they have their own on or under-insured motorist coverage and their own policy, if they happen to have one or a family member had one, they can look to that.

If they’re a passenger in a cab for instance, their recourse initially is going to be getting their medical bills taken care of by the vehicle that they’re in, by the cab’s PIP or Personal Injury Protection coverage. Then if there’s not enough coverage [or] if there’s not any coverage, they can look to their own policies if they happen to have one. There are different resources, there are different primary versus secondary, versus excess coverages that need to [be looked] at. People probably need to be talking to a professional to make sure that the right coverages come in at the right times. Balance [that] with perhaps their own private health insurance coverage that might come into play as well.

How to Handle the Other Side’s Lawyers

John: Right. Are you looking at potentially going after a company, like a cab company or a trucking company or something like that, where that company might have their own set of lawyers that you’re up against? In that case it would be very difficult as an individual to try to navigate that whole system?

Robert: Certainly in the cab companies’ situations, Massachusetts has allowed taxi cab companies to set up each cab as its own separate company. Even if there’s a large cooperation that might own 100 medallions and have 100 vehicles out on the road, each one of those vehicles has been able to see protection of only up to $20,000 of insurance coverage. You need to seek [out] a professional to see whether you can pierce the cooperate veil to get cooperation, to see whether or not this is a phony setup and that you can get access to the coverage that a person may really need to access. But in the case of a truck or some other commercial vehicle, generally those are insured better and they provide more liability protection if the driver or employee is at fault for an accident.

John: All right, that’s great information. Robert and Kevin, thanks again for speaking with me today.

Robert: Thanks John.

Kevin: Thank you John.

John: For more information, visit helpinginjured.com or call (978) 744-8000.

Everyday Distractions

With distracted driving month coming to an end, and warmer weather hopefully following I thought I would take the time to revisit this topic and point out the everyday things you possibly do while driving that without realizing it make you one of the many distracted drivers on the road.

Smoking while driving
I am not a fan of smoking. Therefore, I will keep this short and sweet.
You need to look for the lighter/cigarette- distraction.
You need to light up the cigarette- distraction.
You need to hold the cigarette with one hand- distraction.
You need to get rid of the ashes- distraction.

Moving Objects
What do I mean by moving objects? For one, that overly excited puppy (disclaimer, I call all dogs puppies regardless of age) that you bring in your car and decides that he wants to jump on your lap and look out the window, jump on the passenger seat and look out the window, zoom to the back seat and well, you get it, he is a cute but dangerous distraction. Most likely than not, you are too focused on what he is doing and making sure he doesn’t get hurt to be entirely and solely focused on driving. Anything from an excited puppy, to a piece of paper that you put on your dash which keeps sliding when you take turns is to be considered under the category of moving objects in your car causing you a distraction.

Adjusting mirrors/ controls
Follow the advice we all learned when we first started to learn how to drive, adjust all your mirrors before taking off. This way, you are not cruising down the road and realize that your side view mirror is pointing at your rear tire from that time that you weren’t trying to curb your wheel while parking.

Eating & Drinking
With everyone always being on the go, eating in the car is part of most people’s day.

Unfortunately, holding that burger in your hand while reaching to take a sip of the soda with your other hand doesn’t really result in responsible driving. This one falls under the distracted driving list for obvious reasons.

If you are a victim of a car accident resulting from a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Mazow | McCullough.

Multitasking & Distracted Driving

Multitasking – The ability to do several things at the same time.

“It’s called multitasking,” is my go-to statement to say to my boyfriend when he is texting away and remaining quiet as I ask him a question.

To which he responds, “I can’t do that.”

I read an article which stated that people who believe themselves to be good multitaskers are the most dangerous behind the wheel, and vice versa.  Which made me think, that instead of completely blaming smartphones and the 21st century for providing us with several tools of distraction, maybe just maybe, the problem might be people not knowing their limits and misjudging their own abilities?

Talking or texting on cellphones has become one of the most common ways of multitasking. Multitasking once reserved for the work environment, has now poured out and become a vital tool for everyday living and activities. Cellphones have given us the ability to be as close to being at two places at once as humanly possible. Hence why it plays such a big distraction when you are traveling in a car, you’re here but you want to be there. The point is cellphones equal multitasking heaven.

So if the problem really is people overestimating their own abilities when it comes to being able to multitask. The solution probably won’t be more statistics on how many people do it and how dangerous it is. Everyone knows it’s dangerous, the problem is the “it won’t happen to me” mentality, the “It’s not ok for everyone else to do it, but I’m good at it” thoughts.

So what is the solution?

I don’t know. But, in an era where social networks steer the world, and being socially accepted whether by likes on your Instagram post or your Facebook page make you feel more liked. Maybe the key lies in not shining a light as much on how many people do it, but rather how many more people don’t do it and how much more they are liked?

Far stretch? Maybe, but I’d say its wort a shot.

If you are a victim of a car accident resulting from a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Mazow | McCullough.

Distracted Driving Awareness Month

“Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America’s roadways. In 2014 alone, 3,129 were killed in distracted driving crashes.” – Distraction.gov

When I was first informed that April is distracted driving awareness month, my first thought was cell phone use. It has to be the number one reason why people out there are so, well, distracted right? But the more I thought about it over the weekend, the more I realized that distracted driving has been around for far longer than cellphones have. While I was sure that cellphone use had to take up one of the top 3 spots when it came to reasons why people are distracted behind the wheel, it couldn’t be number one source of distraction; I mean people have been driving for longer than cellphones have been around and distraction on the road has always been a problem.

So I did some research, and it turns out that according to the data gathered from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which is maintained by the National Highway Safety Administration. Cell phone use comes in second place when it comes to the top 10 driving distractions involved in fatal car crashes.
The number one reason is simple, people are generally distracted or “lost in thought.”

This makes sense; think about it, before there where cell phones, hand free devices, GPS systems there was just you and the road. There was minimal distraction, but with minimal distraction comes boredom. You are sitting in your car waiting for a light to turn red, mindlessly following the taillights of the car in front of you, and staying within the painted lines. Your mind is bound to wonder. Whether you wonder about why the sparrows get so darn close to your car every time as if playing a game of chicken with the other community of sparrows. Or you daze off to think about how you will check off your to do list for the day.

So for not only this month, but year round, let’s all try to be more aware of our state of mind and keep distractions to a minimum when it comes driving.

This month, I will write a series of blogs relating to distracted driving and how to do your part to keep distractions behind the wheel to a minimum. There should be nobody is injured due to somebody being distracted behind the wheel, there is simply no excuse.

If you are a victim of a car accident resulting from a distracted driver, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Mazow | McCullough.

Fitbit Data Being Used As Evidence in Car Accident & Other Cases

Fitbits, one of the many devices available on the market designed to track your activity levels, sleep, weight and even calorie intake. I myself have a Fitbit, after it was recommended to me by one of my friends I was interested in the little “health coach on a budget” device. One of my main reasons for obtaining the Fitbit was to track my sleeping pattern. Soon after buying it however, I realized that I could not stand to sleep with it on. (Insert sad trombone sound effect here.) But glass half full, that wasn’t the only reason I purchased it and it serves its purpose pretty darn well in every other aspect.

Since I have grown to love my “wrist health coach” it certainly caught my attention, when one morning while I was getting ready for work, I heard on the news that the data gathered by Fitbit’s was being used as evidence in court cases.

Now this sounded like something right up my alley!

I had one concern though, anybody who’s used any of the devices out there designed to track your activity levels etc. knows that the information gathered is only as good as how often you wear the device, so it can be misleading in a way. But then on second thought, I guess as long it’s not used as the sole source of evidence it works out.

So far, I am aware of Fitbits only being a part of two cases, the first being a personal injury case, which was naturally right up my alley.

A woman, who had been involved in a car accident, had her lifestyle and activity levels compromised as a result of the accident. She was a personal trainer and as a result of her injuries she could not be as active as she was prior to the accident. Her attorney used the data gathered by the Fitbit to prove her reduced physical activity, along with other supporting evidence. Now granted, I do not believe that the data obtained from the Fitbit’s should be used as sole evidence, but that data partnered with medical records and expert witnesses can be really convincing. It is exciting to know that as technology grows so grow other opportunities and I look forward to seeing these devices being used more and more in court cases.

The second case involved a woman in Lancaster, Pennsylvania who placed a 911 call claiming that she had been raped by a home invader. She had told the police that she woke up around midnight to find the intruder on top of her and that she had lost her Fitbit in the struggle. The Fitbit was found somewhere in the hallway and when the data was downloaded, it showed that while the woman said she had been sleeping up until the incident occurred, the data recorded showed the woman was actually awake and walking around. That along with other missing pieces of the puzzle in the woman’s story helped to prove that she was being less than honest.

Clearly, new evidence is always being used in legal cases and can do a lot to prove or disprove a particular matter. If you have been hurt in an accident and have questions about what kinds of evidence can be used to strengthen your case, don’t hesitate to contact Mazow | McCullough today for a consultation. Call now at (855) 693-9084.

Driving into the Glare of the Sun

I can’t seem to turn on the television recently without hearing about a horrific car accident that led to fatalities or serious injuries. One of them involves an 80 year old Plymouth woman, who was seriously injured and later died due to her injuries. She collided with a school bus as the bus was leaving a parking lot, her husband and granddaughter were also in the car but thankfully, they both suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police stated that the glare of the sun had a major role in the accident, and it is likely that the driver did not see the bus as she was driving.

Driving on a beautiful sunny day, whether it is in the summer or winter, can be both great and not so great. On one hand, you have the sun out and beautiful clear skies to accompany the nice scenery. On the other hand, you have this blinding sun that you can’t seem to get away from. I am the type of driver that considers leaving a gap between me and the car in front of me if it means that the sun will not be in my eyes, while I wait for the light to turn green. I think it, but I rarely/never do it. For some reason, drivers tend to get mad if you leave more than a 5 inch gap between you and the car in front of you, who knew?

Since there is no way to get around driving while the sun is in our eyes, considering that most of us drive either right after the sun has risen or just before the sun sets, which just happen to be the most dangerous and blinding times. Below are some tips to make the unavoidable a little more bearable.

  • Wear polarized sunglasses to help reduce the glare caused by the sun.
  • Keep your windshield clean, and definitely do this before your trip or if it is not possible to do before your trip, do it when you come to a stop. I think we all know what happens when you decide to spray windshield washer fluid while driving into the sun. (total and complete blindness)
  • Use your sun visor; it’s there for a reason.
  • Leave a decent amount of space between you and the driver in front of you while at the same time lowering your speed.
  • Drive with your headlights on to increase your visibility to other motorists on the road.
  • Avoid having papers/envelopes stored on your dashboard, nothing like white to reflect sunlight.

If you are the victim of a car accident that involves the sun glare, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident lawyer at Mazow | McCullough at (855) 693-9084 for a consultation.

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