Category: Car Accidents

What Does Stomach Pain Mean after a Car Accident?

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Stomach Pain

With emergency phone calls, witness interviews, and police reports, the events following a car accident can be overwhelming. Often, the shock of the accident is so traumatic that a person may not feel as though they have suffered a personal injury. This is especially true for a stomach injury. The symptoms of abdominal pain may not surface until several hours, or even days, following an accident. Some people may choose to skip what they believe is an unnecessary visit to the doctor. But, if left untreated, what may seem like minor stomach pain can manifest in something far more serious and, sometimes, deadly.

When in a vehicle, the human body travels at a specific speed while being restrained by a seat belt. Should the car get into an accident, the abrupt force subjects the body to a trauma that it is simply not meant to withstand, even at low speeds. The seat belt causes an injury to the abdomen known as seat belt syndrome. With the sudden loss of inertia, the seat belt instantly locks and keeps the body from propelling forward. This can cause a myriad of injuries to the abdomen such as internal bleeding or even spinal cord damage.

What are the Signs of Internal Organ Damage?

Passengers involved in a car accident are likely to suffer an injury to the abdomen, simply because of the force applied from the seat belt locking. But the severity of any stomach injury may depend on the location of the crash, the speed of which the car is traveling, and other factors. It is worth noting that children may experience a more severe stomach injury because the lack of development of muscles and their small size; the body’s musculature is used to help protect internal organs.

Blunt abdominal trauma (BAT) commonly occurs from any form of accident, not just vehicular. The abdomen is surrounded by several vital organs, such as the pancreas, liver, spleen, intestines, and kidneys. Any amount of forceful impact can compress these important organs and may also cause internal lacerations or bleeding. With this being the case, it is important to be aware of the signs of BAT or other stomach injuries:

  • Visible bruising or bruise-like pain
  • Stomach pain or pain in pelvis
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Bloated or pressured feeling
  • Disorientation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pale skin
  • Painful or sensitive to the touch
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in urine or stool

If these symptoms occur in the hours or days following a car accident or any trauma to the body, it is highly recommended that victims seek medical attention immediately. If left untreated, several complications can occur from a stomach injury, some of which may be life-threatening. Injuries such as lacerated organs or liver and kidney damage can lead to a lifelong impairment. If the stomach or intestine is damaged, the rupture could also cause internal bleeding, which could lead to a systemic infection.

A ruptured spleen injury commonly occurs because of the violent nature of a car accident and the location of the spleen itself, which is the upper left portion of the abdomen. Though a spleen injury may not be felt in that area at all, it is possible that it can radiate in the body’s shoulder area as well. The spleen helps the immune system and the body’s creation of white blood cells, which is essential to a healthy body. Though the spleen is not necessary for living, it is particularly important nonetheless, and could lead to death if it is ruptured and untreated. Victims of a ruptured spleen may have to undergo emergency surgery, extensive treatments, and possible removal of the spleen itself.

What to Do Following a Car Accident

There are a few things to do immediately following a car accident, such as checking on the passengers of any involved vehicles, contacting the police, and contacting the insurance companies. But perhaps the most vital step is to seek medical attention.

It is always recommended to seek medical help following any accident, whether it would be a car accident, motorcycle, bicycle, or even a household accident. A victim of an accident may not truly ever know if they had suffered an injury, or the extent of an injury, without visiting a doctor. This is especially true for those in a car accident; the high speeds and suddenness may produce enough shock that it will mask any injury or pain. It will then likely manifest itself later.

That is how minor stomach pain can turn into a serious or fatal injury: lack of medical treatment. For instance, if a patient is suffering from internal bleeding and it is left undiscovered, it could cause an infection that could enter other organs through the blood.

Car Accident Laws in New Jersey

Car accident laws in New Jersey are different than other states in the country. If ever in a car accident, a driver needs to understand these laws when seeking compensation from the at-fault party.

Firstly, New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state. This means that each party in an accident contacts their own insurance company for covering their damages, not necessarily the at-fault party. If the injury were severe enough and met other guidelines, such as expenses exceeding the insurance company’s personal injury protection limits, the victim may seek further compensation from the at-fault party.

New Jersey is also considered a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if the court finds the plaintiff over 50 percent responsible for the accident, then they do not get a reward. Furthermore, if the plaintiff is found to be 25 percent responsible for the accident, their compensation would only be 75 percent of the ruled amount.

The fear of medical bills may cause one to be hesitant to making a doctor’s appointment. But that should not sway a victim of an accident. Medical attention should be sought regardless of the severity of the accident. It is best to let a doctor tell a person they are injury-free than the victim assuming they are instead.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Protect the Rights of Those Suffering from Stomach Injuries

Suffering an abdominal injury can lead to financial and medical complications that may last for several years or an entire lifetime. The best way to be compensated for the losses experienced in a car accident is to seek legal help. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr right away. Our experienced lawyers will go through the details of your case and fight to get the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or 732-249-4600 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

What are Common Causes of Car Accidents?

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Common Causes of Car Accidents

On average, there are approximately six million car accidents each year in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When a car accident occurs, it can lead to a variety of damages for the victim and their family, including lost wages, expensive medical bills, vehicular damage, and pain and suffering.

Drivers have a duty of care to other motorists on the road. When a driver breaches this duty of care and it results in an accident, they can be held liable for any damages that result. A driver can breach this duty of care in many ways, including distracted driving, driver fatigue, impaired driving, and reckless driving. Victims should contact a lawyer to help recover their entitled compensation for damages from the accident.

Distracted Driving

When a person is behind the wheel, it is crucial that they stay cautious and focused on the road. When a motorist is focusing on something other than driving, they are driving while distracted. Distracted driving is more than just texting while driving. It also includes eating or drinking, having a lengthy discussion with a passenger, or grooming oneself while driving. Anything that takes the motorist’s eyes or mind off of driving is considered a distraction.

All drivers have a responsibility to their safety and the safety of those around them. When they choose to drive distracted, they are being negligent. If a car accident is caused by a distracted driver, the victim can take legal action against the at-fault motorist for any damages that result from the accident.

Driving Under the Influence

The NHTSA reported that alcohol is a factor in more than 40 percent of all car accident fatalities. Drugs and alcohol impair a person’s judgment, making it impossible to drive safely while under the influence. In fact, drugs and alcohol can affect one’s vision, reaction time, and decision-making skills; three important skills that are needed for safe driving.

All drivers have a duty of care to others on the road. Drivers who choose to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol breach this responsibility. This means that drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol are liable for any accidents or injuries that result from their poor decision. Victims of drunk driving accidents should contact a lawyer to help recover damages.

Drowsy Driving

When a motorist is too fatigued to drive safely, it is referred to as drowsy driving. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. This is because a drowsy driver is impaired; they have a slower reaction time and have poorer decision-making skills. This impairment can ultimately lead to a car accident if the driver falls asleep.

Drivers are responsible for ensuring that they are well-rested enough to drive. If they are not, they must pull over until they have had enough rest to continue. If an accident results from drowsy driving, the negligent motorist can be held liable. Victims of drowsy driving accidents should contact a lawyer to explore their legal options.

Reckless and Aggressive Driving

All drivers are responsible for following traffic laws and posted speed limits. When a motorist ignores these traffic laws, they could be considered a reckless or aggressive driver. Reckless and aggressive driving are similar, however, what sets aggressive driving apart is that the driver is trying to scare or harass other drivers around them.

A few examples of aggressive driving include speeding and tailgating. A few examples of reckless driving include failure to use a turn signal or not stopping at a stop sign or red light. Reckless and aggressive driving are both illegal, and victims of either should contact a lawyer for legal assistance.

What Should I Do After a Collision?

Car accident victims should contact a lawyer after a collision happens. A car accident often leads to a variety of losses for the victim, including both financial and emotional losses. A lawyer can help a victim secure their entitled compensation for these losses.

To prevail in a legal case, the victim and their lawyer must prove that the other driver was either negligent or reckless. It is important to identify the difference between negligent driving and reckless driving. Negligent driving is when a driver fails to uphold their duty of care to others on the road by participating in dangerous activities, like distracted driving. Reckless driving, however, is when a motorist has a blatant disregard for another driver’s safety.

To prove that a driver was negligent, the victim must prove that the motorist had a duty of care that they breached, which ultimately led to the accident. All drivers have a duty of care to others on the road, therefore, the victim must prove how they breached this duty. A breach of this duty may include distracted, drowsy, or impaired driving. After the breach has been identified, the victim must prove that the breach led to the injuries or damages. They can show evidence of medical bills, lost wages, and other financial losses to help prove this.

To prove that a driver was reckless, the victim must prove that the driver had a blatant disregard for their safety while behind the wheel. A victim can prove that another driver had a blatant disregard for their safety by showing that they had a conscious disregard for the danger they created, despite the substantial risks of property damage and personal injury. For more information about a potential case, a car accident victim should contact a lawyer.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Car Accident Victims Find Justice

Car accidents happen for many reasons. If you were recently injured in a collision, the Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help. Car accidents often result in damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and vehicular damage. Our legal team works hard to protect the rights of their clients. Contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 to schedule a free consultation. We have an office located in Highland Park, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

What are Common Causes of Summer Car Accidents?

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Summer

There are many factors to consider when driving in summer, including teenage motorists, tourists, road construction, and vehicle maintenance. Drivers should learn about these causes because it can help reduce their risk of a car accident if they know how to avoid them. Listed below are the most common causes of summer car accidents.

Teenage Drivers

Teenage drivers do not have much driving experience, and many of them do not abide by road rules and regulations. Teenagers are more likely to speed and race other vehicles, run red lights, disregard street signs, drive while drowsy, and drive under the influence. Additionally, distracted driving is common among teenage drivers. New or young drivers are subject to be distracted. Passengers, cellphones, music, grooming, other cars, and reaching for objects are typical forms of distracted driving.

In the summer, drunk driving car accidents also increase because of holidays, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Teenage drivers should be aware of the dangers of drunk driving. If a teenager plans to drink during a summer holiday event, they should arrange for a safe ride home ahead of time.

Tourists

During summer, many people will travel and take vacations, especially around long holiday weekends. However, tourists may not be familiar with road rules and regulations, street signs, directions, or even the flow of traffic, which can cause crashes. When driving in an unfamiliar area, it is important to be extra cautious.

Road Construction

The warm weather in the summer months causes more people to go outside and travel. Some of the most common causes of summer car accidents are related to road construction. During the summer, construction workers take advantage of the warmer weather to repair damages from winter and rain storms. During this time, many roads are blocked and the lanes are narrowed and shifted suddenly, which can leave minimal time for drivers to make decisions in emergencies.

In summer, drivers of all ages are exposed to increased traffic, more concrete barriers, and poor road surfaces due to construction. These minor inconveniences while driving are some of the main causes of car accidents. Since road construction will increase in summer, motorists should be on the lookout for work areas. Motorists should drive with caution when signs for construction work are approaching.

Improperly Maintained Vehicles

The maintenance of a vehicle is something that should not be overlooked, especially in the hot and humid summer months. When drivers disregard the seasonal upkeep of their tires, they may suffer from harsh consequences during the middle of summer. When the temperature increases to such high levels, the ground becomes a hot plate for tires, which then leads to the possibility of a tire blowout.

A tire blowout can cause serious consequences. No matter the location of the tire blowout, a car can spin out of control, run off the road, crash into a barrier, road shoulder, or even another vehicle. It is strongly encouraged that vehicle maintenance is attend to before the warm weather begins. A vehicle should be maintained regularly.

Fault and Car Accidents in New Jersey

A main factor that will make or break a car accident case is proving fault. In New Jersey, a personal injury protection (PIP) claim is typically filed. This is intended to be used when a claim is made with a person’s own auto insurance provider. PIP provides the driver with coverage up to the limits of their own policy, usually documented for their medical needs and expenses.

Some choose to purchase PIP coverage in case there is an event with significant expenses and losses. Common car accident-related damages include compensation for lost wages and even death benefits and funeral expenses. A car accident victim must understand that every case is different, so not all procedures will apply in the same manner.

In the state of New Jersey, it is imperative to prove that the other party caused the collision and that an injury is severe. Proving fault will be important when trying to recover compensation after a car accident. A victim can speak to a lawyer for help proving their claim. A lawyer can guide their client and explain their rights. A lawyer will fight on their client’s behalf and follow the right procedures and file the right paperwork.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients with Summer Car Crash Cases

The Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr know how serious collisions increase in summer, and we can protect your rights. Drivers encounter many hazards in the summer months, and if you were recently injured in a collision, we can advise you on how to proceed with your case. Complete our online form or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. We are located in Highland Park, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Who is Liable for a Wrong-Way Accident?

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Highland Park Personal Injury Lawyers

When a wrong-way car accident occurs, it may seem obvious that the driver traveling in the wrong direction is to blame for the crash. However, there are other possible liable parties. There are many issues that may contribute to the cause of the accident, such as poor road signs, auto defects, and other factors. To determine fault in any car accident case, it takes a full investigation of the evidence. Once evidence is compiled, the case must prove the other party’s negligent actions caused the collision in order to establish a favorable claim for damages.

It is not enough to prove that the other car had been traveling in the wrong direction at the time of the accident. A claim must show that there was some element of negligence involved in order to prove the case. When seeking a favorable ruling in a personal injury case, the claimant must be able to present evidence that someone’s negligent actions led to the accident.

What Commonly Causes Wrong-Way Collisions?

When one car crashes into another in a wrong-way accident, it is often a head-on collision or a similar frontal crash. Colliding in that way, especially at high speeds, can cause serious and catastrophic injuries.

According to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study, more than 60 percent of wrong-way accidents are caused by drunk driving. The actual number is likely higher since not every reported wrong-way crash included information on the blood alcohol content (BAC) level of the drivers involved. Among the reported instances, each of the drivers had a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher, which is nearly twice the legal limit.

Besides drunk driving, the NTSB listed some other factors that cause wrong-way accidents, including the following:

Entering Exit Ramp: When a driver mistakenly enters a highway in the wrong direction, the culprit may be unclear signage or confusing access. This usually happens when a driver is unfamiliar with the layout of the road and erroneously accesses a highway traveling against traffic.

Nighttime Driving: The time of day increases the risk of wrong-way accidents. When it is dark outside, drivers are more likely to miss poorly placed or poorly lit signage. Like drunk driving, drowsy driving is more likely to happen late at night. The NTSB study found that 78 percent of wrong-way driving accidents took place between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Weekend Driving: The NTSB study also found that wrong-way crashes occurred more often on weekends. This is likely related to the increased amount of intoxicated drivers on the roads on Friday nights through Sunday nights.

Older Drivers: Elderly drivers over 70 years old made up a significant portion of the at-fault drivers in wrong-way crashes. It has been suggested that this is due to declining vision that may interfere with safe driving, such as the inability to properly read road signs.

Lane Position: Wrong-way accidents are more common when the cars are traveling in the lane closest to the median. The NTSB study showed that this is the case in seven out of nine wrong-way collisions.

Other driver behaviors can influence the likelihood of a wrong-way accident. Some wrong-way accidents are caused by drivers with mental health issues, dementia, memory loss, and vision problems. Drivers who caused these accidents may have misunderstood road signs or missed them entirely.

Aggressive driving can also cause a wrong-way collision. If a driver decides to pass another car and misjudges their proximity to the oncoming traffic, they may hit a vehicle. On some occasions, a reckless driver might deliberately ignore road signs.

What are Some Factors That Determine Liability?

A wrong-way accident may be caused when a driver loses control of their car due to a vehicle malfunction, and the car or auto part manufacturer may be at fault. If the accident was caused by poor signage, a local government entity may be responsible. Safety issues that have been associated with wrong-way accidents also include road maintenance issues, weather conditions, and other traffic hazards. For help with establishing fault, a wrong-way car accident victim should speak to a lawyer. A lawyer can help the victim with their case.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Injured Victims of Wrong-Way Crashes Establish Liability

If you were injured in a wrong-way car accident, you may be able to collect damages; however, determining fault may be difficult. A Highland Park car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr will help you identify who is responsible for your car accident injuries. For more information and a free consultation about your case, call us at 732-249-4600 or complete our online form. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

What Steps Should I Take After a Rental Car Accident?

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A serious car accident can be very costly and may even leave a victim with long-lasting physical and emotional distress. Any severe car accident can be traumatic, but a collision in a rental car adds additional stress. In a rental car accident, there may be additional complications. Drivers may feel like they are going to be responsible for the damage to the rental car, even if the accident was not their fault.

Different rental companies may have different policies on insurance and may offer various levels of coverage, depending on how much the renter pays. When someone rents a car, there is a lot of paperwork that can be confusing and require more than one signature. After an accident, the driver may have reasonable questions and concerns about the rental agreement and what happens after a crash. When an accident does occur, it is important to remember a few key points. While there may be many questions about rental policies, the first priority should always be safety.

Make Sure Everyone is Safe

After any car accident, The number one priority should be the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Any drivers and passengers need to be moved to a safe place whenever it is possible. Getting out of a vehicle on the highway after a crash can be dangerous. If the vehicle is still operational, it is very important to pull over to the side of the road and out of the way of other traffic. If the vehicle is disabled, it may be necessary to move passengers to a safer location.

In some situations, it may be more dangerous to leave the vehicle than to remain in place and wait for emergency services. Additionally, the severity of injuries is a factor in whether or not to move a car accident victim. Moving someone who has a catastrophic injury could make matters worse. It is best to assess the situation and surroundings to decide what the safest move is after a crash.

Contact Emergency Services

Contacting emergency services after a crash is extremely important. It is a necessary means for getting potentially life-saving medical treatment. It may also be a legal requirement to at least make a police report, depending on the location of the accident. Also, it is a good idea to keep emergency numbers in mind when traveling outside of the United States. Most Americans are likely familiar with 9-1-1, but some areas will have separate numbers for police, fire, and medical personnel. Before traveling, making a list of emergency contacts can save trouble later on.

Exchange Information and Gather Evidence

After everyone is safe and emergency services are on the way, the next important step is to exchange information with anyone else involved in the accident. This will typically include name and contact information from drivers and insurance information. It is best to remember that even if another vehicle was not involved or if the other driver left the scene, getting information from a property owner can be helpful later on.

If a driver hits a parked car, it is customary to try to find the driver, and if this fails, one should leave a note with contact information under their windshield wiper. This information is important for both insurance claims and legal suits. If it is possible, taking photographs of the scene and any damage as soon as possible after the accident can be helpful.

When taking photos or otherwise documenting what happened, it is best to make note of the following:

  • Color, make, and model of all the vehicles involved.
  • Date and time of the accident.
  • Weather conditions, including the state of the road and any natural or street lighting.
  • Any damage done to vehicles and property.
  • Any injuries sustained by drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

Contact the Car Rental Company

Calling the rental company should be the next step. Their number can be found on the rental agreement. It is important to explain the situation truthfully and with the necessary details. Rental companies will typically have their own procedures for dealing with repairs or replacements of rental vehicles and insurance issues.

Another good reason to be familiar with the rental agreement is to understand who is responsible for damages. A rental company may cover many damages, but if the driver pays for repairs themselves, the company is unlikely to refund them. It is also a good idea to be familiar with the specifics of rental insurance.

In many situations, a rental car will come with some form of basic coverage, including a collision damage waiver, theft protection, and third-party liability coverage. It is worth noting that a waiver is not insurance, it means that the company waives the right to make a driver pay for damages. Policies can vary greatly by company and by the individual rental agreement. Understanding the rules and keeping a copy of any paperwork can prevent future problems, especially if the accident leads to a court case. If the case goes to court, the victim needs a strong lawyer by their side to protect their rights.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Victims Affected by Rental Collisions

If you have suffered a serious injury as the result of a rental car wreck, you should contact one of our dedicated Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Accidents involving rental cars have their own list of considerations and complications. A qualified lawyer can help you understand your legal options. Car accidents can be very expensive and lead to injuries and other damages. We can help you get the compensation you deserve. Complete our online form or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Why are Fatal Car Accidents Increasing?

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Early in the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic when states began to impose lockdowns, traffic nearly came to a halt on many highways and smaller roads. With drivers stuck at home, it seemed that car accidents would decrease. Since the pandemic started, there are fewer accidents, but a higher rate of them are fatal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a study that looked into traffic density and accident statistics. The NHSTA released information that compared traffic patterns from January 2019 to September 2020, which showed a significant decrease in the amount of trips each year. The data showed that approximately 1.46 billion trips were taken in April 2019, while less than 900 million were taken in April 2020. The difference of more than 560 million represents a decrease of more than 38 percent.

In May and June 2020, the amount of trips taken decreased. When lockdowns arrived in March 2020, the percentage of drivers staying home reached 24 percent. In April 2020, there was a spike of 28.1 percent. Rates began to stabilize in May 2020 to September.

Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Driving Habits?

Based on NHTSA data, drivers are taking more risks. The study analyzed data from 2019 and 2020. By comparing the two years, researchers can see a clearer view of how driving behaviors have been affected.

The study revealed data from certain states that saw an increase in accidents, and defined Period 1 as dates between March 17, 2020 and July 18, 2020. Period 2 relates to dates between July 19, 2020 and September 30, 2020. When looking at driving behavior differences, the report contrasts these two periods by referencing data collected between September 10, 2019 and March 16, 2020 to compare pre-COVID-19 trends. According to the data, drivers were most likely to exhibit dangerous driving behaviors during early lockdowns. The alarming trend remained elevated throughout September.

Which Dangerous Driving Behaviors Increased During the Pandemic?

Early in the pandemic, motorists who ventured out to drive took risks that endangered their safety as well as the safety of those around them. The NHTSA study of motor vehicle accidents indicates that drivers during the spring throughout early fall were taking risks at higher rates than the year earlier. The unsafe driving behaviors that were most common were motorists who opted out of wearing their seat belt, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Failure to Wear Seat Belts

The data shows that only 78.1 percent of drivers and 75.4 percent of passengers wore seat belts in the pre-COVID-19 time period. During mid-March to mid-July 2020, the percentage decreased to 71.6 percent among drivers and 59.2 percent among passengers. In mid-July through September 2020, 74.7 percent of drivers and 66.7 percent of passengers were not wearing seat belts.

The ejection rate was also analyzed during the examined time period. Drivers who wear seat belts are far less likely to be ejected from their vehicles upon impact. The study found that ejection rates were significantly higher once COVID-19 started compared to the statistics from a year earlier.

Speeding

The NHTSA study referenced information from several earlier studies by the Federal Highway Administration, the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology, and others. Experts indicate that there was a 22 percent increase in speeding instances in metropolitan areas.

Impaired Driving

The accident data included in the study showed that nearly two-thirds of drivers were found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol between mid-March and mid-July 2020. Drivers tested positive for alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and other substances. During the following months, the percentage of drivers who tested positive for opioids nearly doubled, and the percentage of those under the influence of marijuana increased by approximately 50 percent.

Why are These Statistics Important?

The NHTSA data shows that car accidents are still prevalent, even though there may be less drivers on the roads. All motorists should remain cautious and abide by traffic laws, including the posted speed limits.

If one is involved in an accident with a negligent driver, it is wise to consult with a lawyer. A car accident lawyer will help their client with a personal injury claim. Depending on the case, an injured car accident victim may be able to collect compensation for their catastrophic injuries.

Highland Park Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Car Crash Victims During the Ongoing Pandemic

If you were injured in an accident that was caused by a negligent motorist, you are likely eligible for compensation. A Highland Park personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you build your case and secure your future. Complete our online form or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Do I Have to File a Police Report After a Car Accident in New Jersey?

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A car accident is a stressful experience; however, there are certain steps every driver should follow to ensure everything after the accident unfolds smoothly. One of the most important steps is contacting the local police department as soon as possible. Some states require drivers to report accidents to the police. New Jersey is one of many states that require drivers to report collisions to the police under certain conditions. Any driver in New Jersey is required to report a car accident to either the local police department or state police if there is an injury or death involved or if there is property damage of $500 or more.

The accident must be reported by the quickest means necessary, so it is likely that a motorist will use their cellphone to call the police. If a driver is unable to use their phone, they should go to the nearest police station and file a report there. If a driver is incapacitated, then a passenger in the vehicle may file the report as well.

A written report must be filed within 10 days of the accident, which the police will do when they come out to the scene of the accident. If the accident was minor and did not meet the requirements, then the driver can fill out a New Jersey Self-Reporting Crash form found on the state’s website. Failing to report an accident will result in a possible driver’s license or registration suspension and fines or penalties up to $100 in addition to court fees.

What is Included in an Accident Police Report?

It is highly recommended to notify the police, even if the car accident did not meet the legal requirements. The police provide a third-party perspective of an accident that will include facts, accurate descriptions, and details. The police report is useful for insurance and medical purposes as well. It is likely that an insurance company will use the information of the report to provide an estimate of damages. Medical professionals may use the report to issue out a diagnosis.

The accident report will contain information specific to the accident, including:

  • Contact information of any drivers and passengers involved.
  • Any witness information, including contact information and accounts.
  • Insurance information of both drivers.
  • Driver accounts of the event.
  • Damage location on vehicles and other property damage.
  • Make and models of the vehicles.
  • Date, time, and location of the accident as well as road and weather conditions.

Can a Police Report Help Me with a Lawsuit?

A police report is particularly useful if one of the involved parties decides to file a personal injury lawsuit. Although a police report is not admissible in court as evidence, it can be used against a party if no police report was filed and there is an injury. The argument would be that the injury was not severe enough to warrant a police report. If the injury was severe, then it would make it illegal not to file the report. It is important to note that there is a two-year statute of limitations for any personal injury lawsuit starting from the date of the accident.

What Steps Should I Take After a Collision?

Other than contacting the police, there are other vital steps drivers must take following a car accident:

  • Stop the vehicle. Drivers should pull over to a safe area and shut off the engines if they are able to do so, even if the accident was minor.
  • Check everybody involved. After shutting off the vehicles, drivers should check themselves and passengers to make sure everyone is okay and safe.
  • Call police to the scene. Even if it is a minor accident, it is always a good idea to contact the police following an accident. A police report contains helpful information for the drivers, insurance companies, and medical professionals.
  • Document the accident scene. Drivers should collect as much information as possible, such as contact and insurance information and pictures of the damage and location. It is also best to relay as much information as possible to the police when they come to the scene. Additionally, it is important not to admit fault.
  • Get contact information from witnesses. If there are any witnesses, drivers can get their contact information.
  • Report the accident to the insurance company. A driver should inform the insurance company about the accident and injuries.
  • Go to the doctor for an assessment. Even if a driver does not feel they are injured, it is best to get checked out since some injuries can appear later.

It is important to note that New Jersey is a no-fault insurance state, meaning that regardless of fault, a driver must report the car accident to their own insurance company if they hope to cover their damages. Through no-fault insurance, a driver could only pursue a personal injury lawsuit if the injury was severe or if damages cannot be covered by the limits of the policy. It is also advisable to contact a lawyer for help with a claim.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Gather Evidence for Personal Injury Claims

Filing a police report after a collision is important, and in some states, it is required. If you were injured in a car wreck, a Highland Park car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr can help you. Call us at 732-249-4600 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, Colonia, Elizabeth, and Newark.

Are Teen-Related Distracted Driving Accidents Increasing During the Pandemic?

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According to a new study, the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has worsened distracted driving accident rates in the United States. The report published by Zendrive Collision Report found that there was a 63 percent increase in car accidents per one million miles throughout the first 11 months of 2020. Cellphone use was involved in 57 percent of the distracted driving collisions.

Many experts believe that these heightened accident rates are attributed to the increase in phone usage during the pandemic, including the use of online meetings, like Zoom. Many of these motorists are distracted teenage drivers.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is when a motorist’s attention is divided while they are behind the wheel. This means that distracted driving is not only texting while driving, but it also includes eating, talking, or grooming oneself while driving. However, it is important to note that texting while driving does take up the majority of distracted driving cases and is often more deadly. All distractions are dangerous, and drivers have a responsibility to prevent them.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that there are three types of distracted driving:

  • Visual: Visual distractions are when drivers takes their eyes off roadways, such as texting while driving.
  • Manual: A manual distraction is when the driver removes their hands from the wheel. An example of this is eating while driving.
  • Cognitive: A cognitive distraction is when the motorist’s mind is taken off of driving, such as having a lengthy conversation with a passenger.

Why are Teenagers More Susceptible to Driving Distracted?

The CDC also states that teenagers and young adults are the most likely to drive distracted. Many experts believe that teenagers are more susceptible to driving distracted because of their heightened dependence on cellphones for entertainment and communication. This is further explained in a 2019 study from the CDC. The study found that in the past 30 days, 40 percent of high school students texted or emailed while driving.

To prevent these increased rates of distracted driving, parents should take steps to teach their children safe driving tips.

How can I Prevent My Teen from Distracted Driving?

Parents should try to actively educate their children about the dangers of distracted driving. They should also try to teach their children healthy driving habits that can prevent them from getting in a car accident.

One healthy habit that could help a young motorist is teaching them to turn on the Do Not Disturb feature on their phone while driving. Many teenagers and young adults become distracted by cellphone notifications, calls, and text messages. Do Not Disturb mode can prevent a driver from receiving these notifications while driving, which prevents them from looking at their phone. Motorists can often adjust their phone settings to make the Do Not Disturb feature come on automatically while driving.

Parents are also encouraged to teach their teenagers or young adult how to behave when call or texts are unavoidable. If the driver is expecting an important call, they should know to pull over or park somewhere momentarily while they answer. If they cannot do this, they should know to wait until they have arrived at their destination to answer. Parents should also avoid trying to contact their children when they know they are behind the wheel. This can prevent the driver from being tempted to check their cellphone.

What Should a Teenager Do After a Collision?

Immediately after a car accident, a victim should ensure that the other driver is okay, and check to see if anyone has any injuries. They should also call the police and any emergency services that are needed, like an ambulance.

After the driver is sure that everyone is physically safe, they should take photographs of the scene of the accident and any vehicular damage. They should also look to see if there were any witnesses to the accident that could corroborate their story. This can ultimately help the case.

A person who has recently been in a motor vehicle accident should also contact a car accident lawyer. A lawyer can help a victim obtain entitled compensation for any injuries or expenses that resulted from the accident. They often do this by looking at the scene of the accident, examining police reports, and talking to potential witnesses. They can help gather important evidence related to the case in order to prove that the at-fault party is liable.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Victims After Distracted Driving Collisions

If you have an injury because of a distracted driver, you need to contact a Highland Park car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Distracted driving rates are increasing during the pandemic. Car accidents are often expensive and lead to both economic and non-economic losses, but we can help you with your case. Complete our online form or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

What are the Most Common Types of Automobile Defects?

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Not only can automobile defects be the root cause of car accidents, they can make collisions more severe. There are many working parts in automobiles, and if one component is flawed in some way, it could lead to a traumatic crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been requiring manufacturers to perform recalls for vehicles with safety defects since 1966, and car companies also do this on their own.

There is no definitive way to tell how many cars are defective, but some flaws are more common than others. Some typical automobile defects include the following:

Airbags

It is well-known that airbags are vulnerable to defects. Some airbags fail to deploy, while others deploy at the wrong times. There is also the problem of when they deploy too quickly with more force than they should. Any of these three malfunctions can cause serious injuries or make a victim’s injuries worse.

Seat Belts

Another one of the most defective car parts are seat belts. As the vehicle’s main restraint system, seat belts can really be problematic when they fail to perform. The NHTSA reports that close to three million people become injured from seat belt failures each year. This includes broken latches, and defective tension detectors or locking mechanisms.

Fuel Pumps

Fuel pumps can also be defective, which could make the vehicle suddenly stop moving. Fuel pumps send gas from tank to engine, and if the fuel stream is halted, the engine can sputter and stop. If the power is lost when the vehicle is accelerating, it will seem as though it is stalling instead.

Brakes and Power Steering

Brake and power steering failure can also cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Not being able to stop at a traffic signal or other critical spot can be fatal. It is recommended to choose vehicles with dual brake systems, which may lower the chances of the brakes failing. If the power steering fails, it might be possible to maintain some control.

Windows and Door Latches

Defective windows and door latches can also cause car accidents. Windows have to fit tightly against the rubber stops on the doors; there should be no cracks or holes in them, either.

Recently, the NHTSA carried out an investigation pertaining to door latch failures. The NHTSA learned that pawl springs were often the culprits. These coil-shaped objects work to bring door handles back to the closed position. When defective, the door could bounce back open after being slammed shut, harming the person. Doors could also fly open when people lean against them, which could be deadly if the vehicle was in motion.

Tires, Windshield Wipers, and Lights

Tires, windshield wipers, headlights, and taillights were also pointed out as being common automobile defects. If a defective tire suddenly loses pressure or pops while a car is moving, the driver can lose control and crash.

Defective windshield wipers should not lead to immediate life-threatening situations, but if they are not working correctly, visibility is reduced and it is hard to see outside. A driver who notices that their wipers are not working right should get new ones as soon as possible.

It is also important to make sure that the car’s headlights and taillights are in good shape as well. Waiting too long to replace them can be dangerous.

How Do I Strengthen a Defective Automobile Claim?

Proving a defective automobile claim can be challenging, so it is essential to gather and preserve any supporting evidence. Evidence includes photographs and videos of the vehicle at the accident scene, as well as documentation of any injuries.

Although it may be necessary to use the vehicle for work or personal use, contacting a qualified car accident lawyer before doing so is recommended. Having it repaired or continuing to drive it could jeopardize any claim that is made. The best step is to keep it in a garage and rent another vehicle until a thorough investigation can take place.

In some defective automobile cases, expert witnesses are needed to provide testimonies. They may be better informed about the car make and model, any reported defects, and how the defects caused the crash.

How Do I Stay Informed About Recalls?

Once the NHTSA has established that a vehicle has a safety defect or is non-compliant to safety standards, car manufacturers are required to contact registered owners of these vehicles. The companies have to notify these owners via first-class mail about the problem and explain why it presents a risk. All the safety hazards must be detailed in the letter. In addition, it must explain how to fix the defect at no charge and where it can be completed.

The detailed letter will also include how long the repair or remedy will take, and who to get in touch with if there are any issues. Anyone who is concerned about their vehicle can go to the NHTSA website and enter their car’s vehicle identification number (VIN). If one discovers that their car has been recalled, they should contact a lawyer.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clients Harmed by Defective Vehicles

An automobile defect can cause a serious collision. If you have an injury because of a flawed auto part, contact a Highland Park car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us at 732-249-4600 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

How Do I Avoid a Car Accident Caused by a Blind Spot?

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car crash

While most car accidents are unforeseen and startling, blind spot accidents can be especially jarring. In a blind spot accident, a driver who collides with an undetected nearby vehicle only becomes aware of the car once contact has been made. In the United States, more than 800,000 of these accidents occur each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some of the most dangerous blind spot accidents involve big trucks or large passenger vehicles. The blind spots that exist around these larger vehicles can easily obscure an entire car.

What is a Blind Spot?

A blind spot is an area that the driver cannot see either directly or by using the vehicle’s mirrors. Typically, a blind spot occurs in an area that is behind the driver and off to one side of the car. Larger vehicles are more prone to bigger blind spots because the body of the car obscures the view of surrounding motorists.

Also, the height of the vehicle can make it harder for a driver to see vehicles below where they are seated, such as in the elevated driver’s seat of a truck’s cab. In large trucks, blind spots may also exist in the space that can extend several feet behind the truck’s trailer, which makes tailgating behind a truck extremely risky. The front of a big truck, or even a smaller vehicle, may also have a large blind spot.

What Typically Causes a Blind Spot Car Accident?

Although this type of accident is possible when a car first starts, such as when a vehicle is in reverse and backs over something in the driveway, blind spot accidents often occur when the car is moving on a busy road. Blind spot accidents frequently happen when drivers are merging or changing lanes. These accidents are more likely to happen on highways, where travelling at high speeds makes maneuvers even more perilous. Additionally, blind spot collisions commonly occur in roundabouts and intersections.

A blind spot accident typically occurs because a driver does not properly check all mirrors and angles to ensure that the area around the vehicle is free of other cars or obstructions. Before driving, it is important to adjust all mirrors to reduce the likelihood of an accident.

Preventing a Blind Spot Collision

Some ways to prevent a blind spot crash include:

Create a Routine: A driver should make it part of their routine to check mirrors and evaluate all sides of the car before merging or making a lane change. Leaning up or back to check from a different angle can make the difference in whether or not a blind spot safety check is executed effectively. The routine should include the inspection of mirrors, as well as over-the-shoulder glances to check for clearance to merge with traffic or to switch lanes.

Use Mirrors: A motorist should adjust their rearview mirrors before starting the vehicle every time they get behind the wheel. Even if no one else drives their car, a quick pre-drive mirror check can ensure that the mirrors are properly positioned, which can be useful if one of the mirrors was accidently moved. Opting to install a wider mirror or adding a small convex add-on mirror can also improve visibility.

Remain Attentive: When a motorist remains mindful of their surroundings, the chances of a blind spot accident is reduced. A driver who is aware of their surroundings will be able to change lanes safely. Successful defensive driving also involves keeping out of other drivers’ blind spots. Keeping a distance from other drivers also allows for more reaction time if they make a sudden shift into a neighboring lane.

Obey Traffic Rules: Adhering to conventional rules of the road is still the best way to avoid any type of accident. When a driver can predict the actions of other motorists, they are able to enjoy a safe driving experience. A prudent motorist obeys traffic laws, such as driving according to the posted speed limits, using turn signals appropriately, and observing lane markings and road signs. In addition to abiding by these laws, maintaining a consistent speed can also help. This allows all cars in the vicinity to adjust to each other without encountering surprises that can cause accidents.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

If a driver was hit by another motorist because that motorist entered their lane, they may be able to collect compensation. After a collision, it is important to collect evidence at the car accident scene after medical attention is received. Contacting a lawyer is another important step. A lawyer can help the victim recover damages for their losses, including payments for on-scene medical attention, follow-up care, or ongoing medical issues stemming from the accident. A victim may also be able to collect lost wages and other available compensation.

Highland Park Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Assist Clients After Blind Spot Car Accidents

If you were seriously injured in a blind spot car accident, we can help you with your case. Our Highland Park car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr help injured car accident victims obtain compensation after serious collisions. Contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation today. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.