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Auto Accidents

Snow Storm Safety Tips: Driving

driving along a snowy road

It’s best to avoid driving in snowy weather if at all possible.

You can’t seem to turn on the news these past two weeks in New England without hearing about the next snow storm or blizzard that will be progressing through the area. In Boston, there has been about 72 inches (6 feet) of snow within the last 18 days. Mother Nature has managed to help us beat the record for the snowiest 30-day period, which was previously occupied by a record of 58.8 inches in a stretch that included the infamous Blizzard of 1978. Even more notable is that fact that we still have 12 days to try and bump that number up.

As the snow piles continue to grow, the safety concerns grow with it. Everybody is dealing with a sequence of inconvenient snow storms, which add on day to day tasks: shoveling every day, getting up earlier than usual to try and get to work on time, scurrying to try and get a parking spot that isn’t being saved by someone’s patio chair, cooking pot, or fan. We must remember that it can get pretty bad out there as everyone tries to continue with their daily lives, which likely includes spending some time behind the wheel. With the snowfall accumulation forecasted to continue throughout the week, some safety measures should be taken while driving in order to try and survive this record-breaking snowfall that we seem to have been gifted with.

Snow Storm Safety Tips

  • Drive slowly and be aware of children playing in the street and/or around snow piles.
  • Clear exterior exhausts vents and vehicle exhausts to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Avoid driving at night if possible.
  • If you are out at night and walking, try wearing bright colors or reflective gear.
  • Stay inside during storms unless absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid shortcuts; shortcut paths may be dangerous as it is less likely that snow has been removed.
  • Do not use cruise control when you are driving on a slushy or slippery road.
  • Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under-inflated tires provide less traction, which is already an issue with snow and ice covered roads.
  • Remain calm in a skid.  Do not over steer or slam on your breaks. This will make it harder to regain control of the vehicle.
  • Brake gently to avoid skidding.
  • Increase your following distance. This will give you plenty of time to respond hazards on the road and changing conditions.
  • Clean all the snow off of your car. Make sure to clear the rear windows, mirrors, and roof as well as the windshield.
  • Clean off your headlights and taillights so that you can see and be seen.
  • Do not pass snow plows.
  • Remember bridges, ramps and overpasses are likely to freeze with temperatures dropping.

Whether you’re enjoying the current snowfall apocalypse that has invaded New England, which I don’t presume to be many of you, or wish you could pack it back up and send it elsewhere – or better yet, pack your own bags and go elsewhere – the sorrowful fact is that we have to deal with it. We have been glued to our TVs watching the weather forecast for the next snow storm or blizzard and as they have become more and more frequent, we dismiss the importance and urgency in becoming prepared.  Here in New England, many of us have a “we can handle anything” outlook on things, or still have a sense of humor about the whole ordeal. The Boston Globe compared the snowfall totals to the heights of some of Boston’s favorite athletes. Rob Gronkowski is still peeping over the snow but others weren’t so lucky. Let’s not mistake the “we can handle anything” attitude for a “we have seen it all” attitude. Stay alert and stay warm.

Massachusetts Motorcyclist Laws

motorcycle in sunlightAs a new motorcyclist myself, and with spring looking further and further every day here in New England, I know fellow motorcyclists are getting eager for the start of the new “riding season.” In all of the anticipation for spring and the hope for a miracle of a short winter, don’t forget to take some time to review and become familiar with the Massachusetts motorcyclist laws. It can help make this year’s riding experience safer and as a result more enjoyable.

Helmet Law

In the State of Massachusetts, every motorcyclist must wear a DOT (Department of Transportation) certified helmet. This law applies to riders of every age and operators of low-powered cycles such as mopeds and scooters as well. Despite the law, and the hundreds of tests and studies that prove that a helmet can strongly diminish deaths and serious injuries, too many motorcyclists still choose to ride unprotected. Some argue that wearing a helmet impairs vision and hearing while riding. Even though I can see how this concern materialized, it has been proven that it is simply not the case. Helmets provide a field of vision of more than 210 degrees which is substantially above the 140 degrees standard that is used by licensing agencies to identify vision problems. When it comes to helmets impacting hearing, it is simply not true. On the contrary, a helmet allows the rider to be able to hear his/her surroundings in a more equally proportioned way. The overwhelming fact is that helmets save lives, so use your head and wear a helmet.

Lane Splitting

If you’re a motorcyclist, you know the temptation is there. You’re sitting in a line of traffic, bumper to bumper, on a hot summer day (with some protective gear I hope) and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘I could just sneak on by in between the lanes of cars; no harm, no foul.’ Truth is, there may very well be harm and it is a foul.  The foul being that in the state of Massachusetts it is illegal for a motorcyclist to participate in lane splitting. The fact is that lane splitting is illegal pretty much EVERYWHERE except in California. The number one reason being the level of risk of getting injured is very high. Motorcyclists are already in potential danger due to the lack of visibility on the road. When you add the lack of visibility and the notorious driving of Massachusetts drivers you should very well be thankful for this law.

Besides these established laws in Massachusetts, there are several other ways to help you remain safe on the road while riding. Take a quick moment to look over the Motorcycle Manual which is available online at www.massrmv.com/rmv/mcmanual. This will help you refresh your memory on the rules of the road, and will remind you of important things to look out for in order to remain safe. Whatever steps you take to remain safe while riding, enjoy yourself. Fingers crossed for an early end to what seems to be a cruel joke by Mother Nature on New England.

Avid Motorcyclists Continue To Ride Despite Cold Temperatures

motorcycles in cold weatherEven though we are turning the heat up in our cars and scraping the frost off of our windows, there are many avid motorcycle riders in Massachusetts who continue to ride despite the dip in temperatures.  Whether motorcyclists continue to ride in the cold is because of necessity or desire, the fact is that motorcycles continue to share the road with all of us.

With the drop in temperatures come icy roads, darker mornings and evenings, and frost or snow covered car windows.  Car and motorcycle riders must take extra caution to make sure that they are aware of each other on the roads of Massachusetts.  Mazow & McCullough have seen too many horrific injuries and deaths as a result of careless drivers shifting lanes too fast and crashing into riders, driving without properly clearing their windows, or simply not paying attention to their driving.

Take another few minutes in the morning to defrost your windows.  Scrape your front and back windshields from frost.  Drive a little slower if the roads are icy.

Remember that motorcycles are everywhere.  Even in the winter.

Worcester: Worst Drivers in America?

Worcester MA has worst drivers in America according to AllState report

Worcester City Hall

According to a new study by AllState Insurance Company, Boston was ranked as having the second worst drivers in America. The study further alleges that on average, Boston drivers have a motor vehicle accident roughly every 4.4 years. Unfortunately, the study also says that the number one riskiest drivers in the entire country are also in a Massachusetts city: Worcester.

The study, dubbed The Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report, received its information from property damage collision claims by and against its policy holders and analyzed the 200 largest cities in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual estimates of the population. That information was used to rank the best and worst drivers in America.

The report, although not used to determine auto insurance rates, is made “solely to boost the country’s discussion about safe driving and to increase awareness of the importance of being safe and attentive behind the wheel”. If so, it looks like Massachusetts is up for a long overdue discussion about keeping safe.

The cities ranked the safest included Fort Collins, CO and Brownsville, TX with an average 14.2 years between collisions. With cities having populations as dense as New York City and Los Angeles, it’s a wonder how they almost doubled in the amount of years between their accidents at 7.8 and 6.5 years respectively.

What gives, Massachusetts?

Photo credit: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

What Happens to Your Body in a Car Accident

see a doctor after a car accidentEven the simplest car rear-end car accident can leave the human body seriously injured. Few people know what actually happens to them when they are involved in minor rear-end collisions. Rarely do people seek medical treatment when involved in fender benders. But, doctors recommend that you do anyway for the following reasons.

Possible Car Accident Injuries

First, the fact that your vehicle has suddenly stopped does not mean that our body will as well. Whether you are hit from behind, the front or sides, your body, including your head, continues to move at the speed you were driving until it hits something or is stopped by your seatbelt- if you have one on. Your brain crashes against the inside of your skull on impact and then rebounds and smacks into the other side, having nowhere else to go. At the very minimum, a human being will have a headache or a concussion. At worst, the human brain begins to swell, which leads to more serious complications and could cause death.

Now let’s talk about the neck. The weight of your head on top of your neck jolting back and forth at such an unnatural speed for it can cause whiplash if it’s a minor impact. At much higher speeds, however, the motion could break the neck.

The human spine goes through a similar reaction, whipping back and forth and ultimately causing whiplash. This could lead to bulging discs and radiating pain to all limbs, joints and shoulders. The higher the speed, the more serious the injury to the driver and passengers. However small or big the accident, it’s repercussions are almost always the same; they impact people’s lives tremendously.

What to do if you’ve been injured

If you have suffered a personal injury or a loved one has been killed as a result of a car accident or hurt because of someone else’s negligence, please contact the law office of Mazow|McCullough, P.C. today so that the matter can be properly, efficiently and successfully handled. We can help you to feel empowered again as you seek justice for you or your loved one’s injuries and/or wrongful death. The right lawyer makes all the difference. You can contact us at 978-744-8000 or rem@helpinginjured.com.

At Mazow McCullough, we recognize every single car accident, at every single speed. Whether you were in a high speed accident or a fender bender, if you were hurt because of the negligence of another, your injuries deserve a voice.

On the Flip side

For most people, being in a car accident can be pretty dramatic. Even worse, most people that I know would be terrified after being in a car that was flipped over on its side during the accident. But, not this brave and young- in spirit- couple. After being unhurt in a serious accident in California, an elderly couple even posed for pictures, with the wife still stuck inside the vehicle. At one point, the wife even asked her husband for her purse so she can snap pictures of the pretty unbelievable moment. Both walked away unscathed from the seemingly terrifying experience.

Car flipped on side accident

As lucky as these two were, not many are so lucky as to walk away from such a serious accident. While car accident fatalities have decreased in Massachusetts over the last few years as well as nationally, they still occur. In fact, hundreds of fatal car accidents still occur statewide. Over 30,000 people are killed in crashes each year in the United States.

In Massachusetts, there were over $350 million dollars spent in crash-related death costs last year, including $6 million in medical costs and $388 million in work loss costs. While the senior’s photo-op was unbearably adorable, it is important to remember that crashes are preventable by being vigilant and following the rules of the road. Although we cannot decide how everyone is going to drive around us, we can do our part by being defensive drivers. Educating young and old drivers regarding preventative measures, seat belts, impaired and/or distracted driving and motorcycle safety should be on the forefront of everyone’s mind when out on the road.

Even so, accidents do happen. At the  Mazow|McCullough, P.C. we will aggressively pursue the responsible person(s) in question in order to hold them accountable, whether through mediation and arbitration, or by means of a jury trial. The injuries resulting from a motor vehicle or pedestrian accident can result in serious injuries, often death. You can contact us at 978-744-8000 or rem@helpinginjured.com. The Right Lawyer Makes All The Difference.

3.2 Million General Motors Cars Recalled

GM recalls

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors (GM), appears before Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill in April 2014 regarding the slow GM recall response.

General Motors has recalled 3.2 million cars for faulty ignition switches, cars including popular models like the Buick Lacross and the Chevy Impala. This latest recall is in addition to the 2.6 million Chevrolet Cobalts that General Motors had previously recalled for a similar problem. The main problem is in the ignition switch, which experts say could cause inserted keys with extra weight to slip out of position and shut the vehicle off abruptly during a “jarring event”.

GM has issued 44 recalls in North American this year alone and more than 20 million vehicles have been affected worldwide. In a statement released by General Motors, the company said it was aware of eight crashes. The defect has been linked to at least 13 deaths and 54 crashed and an internal investigation revealed GM knew about the problem for at least a decade before the recalls began. Fifteen employees have since been fired since the investigation began and federal and state criminal investigations are pending.

GM’s chief executive Mary Barra is set to testify today in Congress about why the company waited so long to recall the first 2.6 million vehicles they knew had the defected ignition switches.

Photo credit: Senator McCaskill / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Motorcycle Accidents

Attorney Lawyer vehicle harm

Being injured in a motorcycle accident can cause great bodily harm to the rider, including head, neck and spine injuries, limb amputations and broken bones. Even wearing a helmet cannot fully protect the motorcycle rider from harm in a collision. Riders and passengers may be thrown off the bike to collide with other vehicles or inanimate objects like trees or signs. The chance of escaping injury when you are in a motorcycle accident is very low.

One of our clients, Ramon, broke his ankle in a motorcycle accident. He knew he needed an attorney, but wasn’t sure where to turn. Once he found Mazow | McCullough, he says, he felt like part of the family. He was frustrated, and we helped him through that. We also secured compensation for things he hadn’t even thought of.

What to Do First After a Motorcycle Accident

If you are in a motorcycle accident, your first concern should be treatment of any injuries. Do not speak with insurance company representatives; they never have your best interests as a priority. In fact, many companies and insurance investigators will jump to the conclusion that a motorcycle accident is the fault of the rider. Call or speak only with experienced Massachusetts motorcycle accident attorneys at Mazow | McCullough to preserve your rights.

How We Help Victims of Motorcycle Accidents

At the law firm of Mazow | McCullough, we use expert witnesses, engineers and investigators who will thoroughly investigate all evidence from your accident, and calculate injury expenses and future monetary costs. We’ve shown many insurance companies that riders were not to blame for their accident. There could have been outside factors such as defective equipment, poor road conditions or collisions caused by another driver. It is clear that insurance investigators only want to save their company money by denying your claims and trying to prove you were at fault.

Massachusetts Motorcycle Laws

Massachusetts has many laws to regulate the ownership and use of motorcycles, including helmet laws. Our motorcycle accident lawyers are current with knowledge of all Massachusetts motorcycle laws. We are ready to help motorcycle operators who have been injured in a collision get results from their insurance companies and other responsible parties.

Personal injury law allows persons injured in motorcycle accidents to seek compensation for their damage claims from all parties who may be responsible. This includes parts manufacturers, motorcycle manufacturers and others. We can help you track back responsibility and gain compensation, so you can have financial relief from accident injuries due to negligent behavior or mistakes in the manufacturing processes.

Call Mazow | McCullough

We’re happy to consult with new clients about their motorcycle accidents that have caused personal injury. Please call our Salem, MA law office to speak with our experienced motorcycle accidents attorney today. Phone us now at (978) 744-8000 for legal representation you can count on.

Cooperating with the Insurance Company

Car insurance cooperate

What is a cooperation clause?

If you’re dealing with an insurance company following a motor vehicle accident, your insurance policy has a “cooperation clause” that states that you must cooperate with reasonable requests from the insurance company. This means that you may need to provide them with medical authorizations, recorded statements, and examinations under oath and be generally available to answer questions. All the requests, of course, have to be within reason, and there are boundaries that an insurance company can’t cross when requesting information. You should carefully review each and every request from the insurance company before simply agreeing to provide what they’re looking for.

No obligation to the at-fault driver’s insurance company

While there is a contractual obligation to cooperate with your own insurance company (and cooperation is also required of any passengers in your car who are seeking insurance benefits through your insurance company), you don’t owe the same obligation to the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This is important to understand, because the at-fault insurance company may not tell you that you do not need to voluntarily provide them any information. The insurance company may simply send you forms to fill out and medical authorizations to allow them access to your private medical history and demand that you provide a recorded statement. You are under no obligation to do any of this. Be very wary if the at-fault insurance company sends you documents and asks you to sign them. You could be signing away your rights without even knowing it.

Be aware of the distinct obligations that you owe to the different insurance companies.

Dangerous Defect in Recalled GM Vehicles

Automaker Lies to Victims’ Families

More than five years ago, the automaker General Motors became aware of a dangerous flaw in many of the vehicles it was producing. They learned that a faulty ignition switch in hundreds of thousands of their vehicles was a hazardous and potentially fatal defect for the drivers and occupants of the affected vehicles. Because of this flaw, the vehicle may turn off while running, causing the airbags to fail to deploy in a collision and increasing the likelihood of serious injury or death. Despite this knowledge, G.M. repeatedly told families of victims and the consumers still driving the vehicles that there was no problem with the vehicles, and any claims were wholly baseless. Those statements were willful and knowing lies to the very people who had suffered a loss due to a General Motors vehicle.

Vehicle crash lawyer help

GM Vehicle Recalls

The vehicles being recalled are the 2005 – 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5; the 2003 – 2007 Saturn Ion; the 2006 -2007 Chevrolet HHR; the 2005 – 2006 Pontiac Pursuit (in Canada); the 2006 – 2007 Pontiac Solstice; and the Saturn Sky vehicle.

Seek legal help if you were injured driving a recalled GM vehicle

If you or a loved one has been injured in a collision while driving a vehicle recalled by General Motors, it is imperative that you speak with a product liability attorney at Mazow | McCullough, P.C. today. Even if the collision causing the injury or loss may have been the fault of the person injured, if they were occupying one of the recalled vehicles it is extremely likely that they suffered injuries much more severe than they should have due to the defect in the vehicles. The product liability attorneys at Mazow | McCullough, P.C. have decades of experience pursuing justice for those injured by the negligence of large businesses. You and your family need an attorney on your side that will fight for the justice you deserve. Contact Mazow | McCullough, P.C. today for a free consultation, The Right Lawyer Makes All The Difference.

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