Posts

Why Car Accidents Increase During the Holidays

The holidays are usually known as a happy and exciting time, but unfortunately, this time of the year is also recognized for reasons that are less than jolly. The sad truth is that the days surrounding Christmas and New Year’s are among the deadliest in the country as far as traffic is concerned, and the numerous vehicle accidents that do not result in a fatality often still come with lasting repercussions. But just why do car accidents increase during the holidays in the first place? By recognizing the most common causes of auto collisions during this time of the year, you can better understand what types of claim you may be able to file in the event that you are the victim of one. And of course, knowing the risks will also help decrease your chances of getting into a new accident.

Traffic Increases During the Holidays

Many people are quick to point the finger at careless driving or getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol (which we’ll go into momentarily), but the truth is that sometimes the cause is very simple. The holiday season equates to more vehicles or traffic volume on the road, which of course just increases the risk of collision. It is therefore important that you take certain precautions, such as allowing yourself extra time to reach your destination and leaving as much room between yourself and other drivers.

Holiday Gatherings Often Involve Alcohol

Many people enjoy a cup of spiked eggnog or holiday punch at parties and other gatherings throughout December, though of course there are plenty of other alcoholic beverages going around as well. There’s nothing wrong with having some fun with friends and family and enjoying a drink or too, but there is a problem when drunk driving is involved. In fact, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis has found that almost 40 percent of all accidents during the week of Christmas resulted from at least one of the drivers being under the influence of alcohol while operating the vehicle. So for those planning on drinking during the holidays, it’s important to be responsible and keep alcohol limited and/or have a reliable designated driver lined up.

Keeping Vehicles Maintained Is Not a Priority

Many of us often are not as on top of vehicle maintenance as we should be, but the truth is that it tends to fall even more to the wayside when holidays like Christmas are swiftly approaching. After all, why spend all your money on new brake pads or replacement tires when you have gifts and decorations to buy instead? But while it can seem like the prudent choice at the time, making sure you have enough funds for holiday spending by skimping on vehicle maintenance can prove to be a deadly decision. After all, many of us live in areas where the weather is more difficult to drive in this time of year, and again, the roads are also more congested with general traffic and drivers who may already be making unsafe decisions. You can drive as carefully as you like, but the fact is that not investing in proper vehicle maintenance can leave you with a car that is unresponsive when and where you need it to be.

Holiday Stress is Very Real

The holidays are fun and all, but let’s face it– most of us are also very stressed out over a lot of things during this time. There are presents to buy, cooking to be done, things to finish at work, events to attend (or host) and for many people, traveling to do. It’s all a lot to deal with, and it’s imperative to take time for yourself to de-stress and calm down before you get on the road. If you find that this is hard to do, try doing some slow breathing techniques or even squeezing a stress ball before you start the engine.

The Bottom Line

Sometimes accidents still happen despite precautions being taken. If you are involved in an auto accident, it is important that you reach out to an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. This is particularly true when you are the victim, as you may be entitled to compensation. While nothing can take back the accident from happening, your attorney will be there to help you navigate what happens next. In the meantime, stay safe this holiday season!

Bicycle and Pedestrian Injuries and Deaths Increase

The United States is a country dependent upon cars to get around. However, many communities across the nation are trying to encourage and implement more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. With the help of the US Department of Transportation, these communities push for residents to choose walking, biking, and using public transport instead of relying on a car for transportation. Unfortunately, pedestrians and cyclists make up 16 percent of transportation fatalities in the United States and the numbers appear to be rising.

What’s the Problem?

Roads are built to limit the amount of traffic a city or town experiences. Governments build numerous driving lanes and install traffic lights. However, this design does pose risk to those who choose to walk or bike to get around because there just isn’t enough room to fit all the cars plus the cyclists and walkers. While pedestrians can utilize a sidewalk to stay safe, cyclists can not. They are also not allowed to ride in car lanes. However, the number of bike lanes available throughout the country are few and are, in fact, beginning to disappear. Traffic lights are not pedestrian and cyclist friendly either. This is because the person only has few seconds to cross the road before the light turns green.

Although there are indeed cities that have implemented cost-effective strategies to protect pedestrians and cyclists, cars still remain a big risk. Here are a few statistics supporting this:

  • Approximately 80 cyclists die every year in the US
  • One-third of cyclist fatalities is linked to drunk driving
  • California has the highest amount of cyclist deaths per year

Even as pedestrian and cycling deaths increase, many people still choose walking and bicycling over driving. Why? Because choosing these alternative methods of transportation prove cost effective, decrease the carbon footprint, provide exercise, and even reduces stress.

Are You the Victim of a Pedestrian of Cyclist Accident?

If you have been involved in an accident with a car where you were the pedestrian or cyclist, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately. Get compensated for the accident and the results you experienced, such as medical bills, loss of income, and more. Contact Hastings & Hastings who serve Phoenix and the surrounding areas at 800-975-0080.

Who is Liable in a Pile Up Accident?

There’s no question that every car accident is dangerous and that most have the ability to result in injuries; however, pile-up accidents are unique. In these situations, it is extremely rare that no one gets hurt.

Knowing who is actually liable in these types of accidents is crucial to ensuring you have the resources to recover the compensation you deserve. Unfortunately, determining fault in a pile up is especially challenging. In most cases, while two cars actually start this type of accident, as more and more cars are added to the mix, it can become confusing who hit who.

In the end, it is often left up to the insurance companies, along with the court, to figure out who was actually responsible for the accident that occurred. The good news is, there are some things you can look for.

Liability Explained

Car accident liability means that the party who was negligent or who was actually responsible for the accident that occurred is the one who will be liable, and they will have to pay for any damages that occur in the case. If a particular person is deemed to be the “at fault” party, then in some cases, insurance companies will actually cover the damages.

However, when pile-ups, where there are many injuries and multiple damaged vehicles, not everything is always covered. Figuring out how to determine fault is crucial in these situations to ensure that you receive the full amount of compensation that you deserve.

Liability that Occurs in Multi-Vehicle Accidents

A traditional rear-end vehicle accident is considered much easier for you, the police or the insurance company to determine liability in. It’s pretty straightforward – the person who hits someone else from the back is at fault (while there are some exceptions). In a multiple car accident, the car is still going to be considered at fault when they hit another vehicle that is already crashed or stopped, unless it was pushed by another vehicle. In these situations, the first vehicle that did not stop and that results in the chain of vehicles hitting one another is going to be the one considered liable.

Sometimes, there is the misconception that the party that actually caused this type of accident to begin with, is the party that is actually responsible for the entire accident. While, in some cases, this may be the case, there is usually more than one party that is at fault. Even if someone is targeted, they may not be the individual responsible for the injuries or damages you suffered.

Vehicles that are involved after the fact may be the ones that are actually liable for the injuries that you suffered. In some situations, there may be several different parties responsible for a single person’s injury or damages. One example of this is if a person has stopped their vehicle in a pile up and then it is hit by two other cars after this happened. Each of the cars that actually hit them are considered responsible. In this situation, it may require that you contact several insurance companies to make a claim and there is one that may pay 60 percent of the total damages while the other only pays 40 percent.

Regardless of the situation, there are steps that you can take to ensure you receive the most compensation for your claim possible. Being informed and knowing what to do is the best way to get the compensation you deserve.

In some situations, the best thing you will be able to do is hire an attorney. They will be able to make sense of the situation and ensure you receive the compensation that you rightfully deserve.

Cell Phone Usage Prohibited for Teen Drivers in Arizona

Arizona has recently joined the other 48 states regarding placing limitations and prevention of cell phone use while behind the wheel. Today, the only state that has no type of law in place that prohibits calls or texting while driving is the state of Montana.

The new law in the state of Arizona is not quite as restrictive as many of the other state laws; however, it does present a number of important implications for drivers and visitors in Arizona. This law specifically applies to teen drivers. It can also impact legal situations that involve accidents which are the result of teens who use their phones while driving and leads to an accident.

Here, you can learn more about the new teen driver law regarding cell phones in Arizona and how it affects you and your teenager.

The Basics of the New Cell Phone Law in Arizona

This is a law that applies specifically to any new driver that is between the ages of 15.5 and 18. It was put in place to prohibit the use of a cell phone while the individual is driving – except in a “specific emergency situation,” or in order to listen to the “audible turn-by-turn navigation,” or another map app.

Similar to the previously set up laws for various teen drives, the new law makes these drivers subject to what is referred to as “secondary enforcement.” What this means is that a teen cannot be pulled over or even cited just for being seen using a phone while they are behind the wheel. What the law actually means is that the teen will have to be pulled over for some other type of violation before the police officer can issue a citation for the use of their phone. Also, if a teen does not receive a citation for the use of a cell phone, driving at night or for having extra passengers in the vehicle for a period of six months, then they are no longer affected by the law.

In regard to other laws that are currently in place, this one is not very restrictive. However, it does carry a few penalties for any violation, which include:

  • For a first violation the individual can face a fine of up to $75 and a 30-day extension of the six-month period
  • For a second violation, the individual will face a fine up to $100 and a 60-day extension of the six-month period.
  • For three or more violations, the individual can face a fine of up to $100 and a 30-day license suspension.

Why is the Law Targeted to Teens?

There have been several attempts made by Arizona lawmakers to introduce laws that are more stringent for the use of a cell phone while driving. To date, these have not been successful. However, the law for teens received a higher level of support.

If you consider the statistics related to vehicle accidents that involve teens, it is no surprise that this new law has been enacted. According to a recent study from AAA, drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest level of crashes than any other driver in the U.S.

What to Do if a Distracted Teen Hits Your Vehicle

If you are involved in an accident with a distracted teen driver, then the best thing you can do is contact an attorney. They can help ensure that the needed evidence is gathered to prove your case and help you recover compensation for the injuries and damages you incurred. In the long run, proper legal representation will help in these situations. To find out more, contact the offices of Hastings and Hastings at 800-975-0080.