Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

Pedestrians in Virginia and the Beltway region have been at an increased risk of injury from auto-pedestrian accidents in recent years. Obsolete traffic control devices, as part of a broader shift away from pedestrian infrastructure, have caused more pedestrians to cross dangerous roads without the right-of-way, resulting in hundreds of injuries and deaths in recent years in the region. A woman was recently killed when attempting to cross the street from a restaurant in Washington County earlier this month.

According to a local news report discussing the incident, the 72-year-old victim was crossing the street in front of the Williamsport Waffle House restaurant on Route 11 an early morning in January, when she was struck by a GMC truck and died at the scene of the crash. Reportedly, it was still dark outside when the crash occurred, and visibility may have been an issue. The driver of the truck stopped after the incident and has cooperated fully with authorities concerning the tragedy, although the article does not note if a citation was issued to the driver after the crash.

Pedestrians in Virginia should exercise extreme caution when walking near a roadway or crossing the street. It is always best to find a crosswalk to cross a busy street and make eye contact with any stopping drivers before entering the road to ensure that they see you. Drivers owe all pedestrians a duty to avoid a collision and can be held accountable for causing a crash. A pedestrian who is hit by a vehicle while properly using a crosswalk has the right of way, and the driver of the vehicle can be held financially accountable for any injuries suffered in the crash.

In recent years, the dangers of prescription opioids have gained significant public attention. The public has now recognized the potential for severe opioid addiction and the dire health outcomes it portends. What has gained less attention is the link between opioid use and motor vehicle accidents. Research has shown that people who take prescription opioids are more than twice as likely to be involved in a car accident than people who don’t. As opioid use climbed from the 1990s and early 2010s, so did the number of fatalities among drivers who used prescription opioids. Until recently, however, little was known about the link between prescription opioid use and non-fatal motor vehicle accidents.

A recent study from researchers at Yale University sought to remedy this gap in knowledge. In a study of non-fatal accidents from 2014-2018, the researchers found that car accidents involving opioids have significantly decreased. The researchers started with de-identified data from roughly 255 million people with health insurance from all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. From there, they looked at over 142,000 emergency room visits resulting from motor vehicle accidents. Then, they determined how many injured drivers had an active opioid prescription at the time of the accident. Each year, the number of drivers with opioid prescriptions dropped. By the end of the study, so did the number of accidents.

The study’s authors credit this change to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2016 guidelines around the prescription of opioids. That year, the CDC provided guidance for doctors on whether to prescribe or continue prescribing opioids, along with the length and dosage of prescriptions. Additionally, the CDC offered strategies for assessing the risks of opioid abuse and the harm it can inflict on patients and their families. After the CDC published its guidelines, non-fatal accidents involving opioids decreased by 28%. According to an author of the study, this data suggests that more cautious opioid prescription practices have reduced the occurrence of motor vehicle accidents. The study’s lead author further credits lawmakers at the federal and state levels who have tried to address the opioid crisis. They praised measures including drug take-back programs, electronic databases that monitor the number of opioid prescriptions within a state, and further restrictions on opioid prescriptions.

In today’s world, it is common to see riders being picked up by popular rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft. These rideshare services offer convenience at the tip of our fingertips as individuals and groups book rides to get them from point A to point B using the mobile app on their phones. Rideshare companies have their own policies for dealing with car accidents that result while rideshare drivers are on the clock, and this includes their own requirements for insurance coverage. According to a quick look at Uber’s website, a partner driver must be insured, and while rideshare drivers are online with Uber, the company maintains auto insurance on the driver’s behalf. Figuring out exactly which type of insurance coverage a family member has after a serious accident can be complex.

According to a recent news article, a Maryland man working for a popular rideshare service company was killed in a car crash in Baltimore County, Maryland. His family is suing Uber, the rideshare service he worked for, due to a dispute regarding the amount of insurance coverage provided to the deceased man. In December 2021, another driver caused a car accident, resulting in the death of the man whose family is suing Uber and the death of the at-fault driver. In addition, other rideshare passengers suffered serious injuries. The other driver was driving on the wrong side of the road, resulting in their vehicles colliding head-on. In addition, the other driver was in possession of a stolen car, and toxicology results showed that he had cocaine and fentanyl in his system. The other driver did not have insurance. The family is suing Uber Technologies Inc., claiming that the company committed fraud. The family believes that their deceased family member had $1 million in insurance based on information found on Uber’s website, but Uber disagrees and is arguing that it is a fraction of that amount. The family is also suing the insurance company for wrongful death and breach of contract. A settlement conference was scheduled to occur to determine if the case would proceed to trial.

In some instances, disputes with rideshare companies and insurance companies regarding coverage and claims can lead to litigation. It can be difficult to decipher contracts, understand the laws that govern contracts, and understand exactly what coverage and claims may apply. This is why connecting with an experienced lawyer in your area can be extremely beneficial.

It’s no secret that everyday driving is a dangerous endeavor that requires caution and consideration from all drivers. But long-distance trips in recreational vehicles, or RVs, can be novel experiences that can trip up even the most experienced of drivers. Accidents in these vehicles may seem rare but can be deadly. Many RV passengers do not wear seatbelts, and there may be a risk of more projectile items in the vehicle that could harm passengers in a crash. Further, RV travelers may be more likely to be on road trips for long periods of time or be driving on unfamiliar roads in unfamiliar jurisdictions, increasing the risk of an accident.

According to a recent article, a group of people traveling to New York Fashion Week from Houston was involved in an accident in Virginia. The RV they were riding in collided with a tractor-trailer, killing two of the passengers and injuring seven others. The 25-year-old driver has been charged with reckless driving and driving without a valid operator’s license and was the only person in the RV wearing a seat belt. The investigation, however, is still underway.

Seat Belt Laws in Virginia

While all drivers and passengers should wear protective devices to prevent serious injury and even death in car accidents, the law does not always require it. Seat belt requirements vary by state and can apply differently to different age groups or where a passenger is seated in the vehicle. For example, some states require every person in a vehicle to buckle up, regardless of age, while others only require seatbelts for the driver and front passenger. This is even further complicated by vehicles like buses and RVs, which aren’t subject to the same seat belt laws as traditional motor vehicles.

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It is a known fact that vehicular accidents occur every day, and it is common for drivers to file claims with their insurance and sometimes civil claims in court. However, in some particularly egregious cases, criminal charges are brought by the state. Criminal vehicular charges may be brought in situations where a car accident results in the death of another person, particularly in situations where one driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving recklessly. Depending on the state, there are different laws that govern when someone may be criminally charged.

According to a recent news report, a 40-year-old Virginia man was charged with criminal vehicular homicide in St. Louis County, Minnesota. Authorities found that the driver’s blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit. The 40-year-old driver is accused of crossing the center line and hitting another vehicle head-on. Due to the crash, officers found the other vehicle in a ditch, and unfortunately, the crash resulted in the death of the other driver. Officers reported that the 40-year-old driver had a limp and watery eyes, as well as slurred speech, in addition to smelling like alcohol. His blood alcohol content was .247, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08.

What’s the Difference Between a Civil Personal Injury Lawsuit and a Criminal Charge?

Hit-and-run collisions involve at least one individual fleeing the scene after a crash without offering information or identification, without aiding others involved in the crash, or without reporting the crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were approximately 737,100 hit-and-run crashes in 2015, which equates to this type of crash occurring somewhere in the U.S. every 43 seconds. Hit-and-Run collisions can be especially stressful for victims who suffer various injuries and property damage to their vehicles.

Fleeing the scene of a car accident is illegal and can result in consequences that involve criminal prosecution. Studies have shown that there are various reasons why individuals decide to flee the scene of a car accident. These reasons may include driving while intoxicated, driving significantly over the speed limit, outstanding warrants for the driver’s arrest, driving a stolen vehicle, or driving without a license or insurance, to name a few.

In a recent news report, two people were injured after a crash on Interstate 66 in Manassas, Virginia. A Nissan Altima experienced a mechanical failure and stopped in the left-center travel lane of the interstate. The driver and passenger of the Altima took various precautions, including putting on the car’s hazard lights and putting a cone that they borrowed from a nearby work zone behind the vehicle. The driver and the passenger then waited behind a retaining wall for help. Within minutes, a Kia Forte slammed into the back of the Nissan, and the driver of the Kia fled on foot and disappeared into the woods.

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death among individuals aged 1 – 54 in the United States. In a recent car accident in Virginia, reckless driving led to one fatality and multiple injuries. According to a local news report, a two-vehicle car accident from earlier this month resulted in the death of one person in Orange County, VA. One southbound Ford was traveling on Route 522 when the Ford ran off the right side of the road and hit the guardrail, causing the car to cross into the opposite lane and collide with a northbound car. A passenger in the southbound Ford died at the scene of the crash, while two other passengers were hospitalized with serious injuries. The 20-year-old driver was hospitalized with minor injuries, and charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain proper control of the vehicle. None of the people involved in the accident were wearing seatbelts.

In general, reckless driving is committed by someone who drives his/her vehicle “on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person” regardless of the posted speed limit. Unfortunately, drivers on the road may encounter someone driving recklessly at any time of day and on any road. Wearing a seat belt and ensuring that all passengers are properly restrained before a trip begins can help protect against severe injuries or death.

Seatbelts are known as one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes according to the CDC. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 23,824 passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2020, 51 percent were not wearing seat belts. Wearing a seat belt during every trip can help save lives.

With spring and warmer temperatures upon us, many people are heading outdoors to enjoy the weather. More people outside walking and cycling, however, also means that drivers and pedestrians alike must be on higher alert when sharing the road. For pedestrians, using the utmost caution and crossing the road at marked crosswalks is crucial, but drivers must also pay extra attention to and check for pedestrians before making a turn or proceeding through an intersection.

According to a recent local news report, an accident involving a driver operating his vehicle under the influence left a college track athlete dead. Local authorities reported that four athletes and an assistant coach with the university’s men’s cross country and track team were running along a local road when a red two-door sedan hit three athletes before fleeing the scene. Police arrested and identified the driver shortly after the accident when the car crashed into the median on Route 199. After first responders transported five athletes to a local hospital for treatment, one of them passed away from his injuries and two other athletes suffered significant injuries. Local accident reconstruction teams and authorities are continuing to investigate the accident.

In the United States overall, total traffic deaths have decreased by eight percent in the last ten years, but pedestrian deaths have increased by 42 percent over the same period. Similarly, over the last decade, pedestrian deaths from car accidents have dramatically increased in Virginia. Although pedestrian accidents and fatalities take place for a number of different reasons, the most common causes involve pedestrians crossing the street where there is not an intersection, crossing an unmarked intersection, or standing in the roadway.

Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death and present significant socio-economic losses to everyone in the community. While many safety agencies have developed and implemented preventative measures to combat Virginia multi-vehicle accidents, these incidents remain a growing concern. Over the last twenty years, safety groups have spent immense amounts of time and resources to better understand the contributing factors towards car accidents. However, despite progress, there are many gaps yet to be filled, especially regarding multi-vehicle accidents.

There are fundamental differences between the cause of single-vehicle (SV) and multi-vehicle accidents (MV). Some research suggests that SV accidents stem from driver error, whereas MV accidents involve multiple factors. Moreover, temporal factors do not significantly impact SV accidents but are more likely to affect the likelihood of an MV accident. Temporal factors refer to details such as the time of day, day of the week, and season of an accident. Whereas traffic characteristics, such as speed limits, impact both MV and SV crashes. Both accidents are more likely to occur when the speed gap gets larger. Additionally, road and pavement characteristics influence SV and MV accidents. Roadways with higher road curvatures present a risk for higher numbers of MV crashes.

Regardless of the cause, MV accidents often set off a series of events that can impact many people. For instance, a news source described a harrowing series of Virginia crashes. The multi-vehicle accident began when a Hyundai driver made a right turn and veered into the path of a Jeep driver. The collision caused the Jeep driver to cross into the oncoming traffic lane and a town car. The town car overturned and slammed into a Mercedes. The town car driver died at the scene of the accident.

Virginians received an icy surprise earlier this month when a major snowstorm swept through many parts of the state. Although locals were prepared for a few inches of snow, the storm brought more than a foot to the Fredericksburg area. As the snow fell, vehicles on the road slowed down and eventually stopped. For some vehicles, there was reportedly as much as four inches of ice frozen underneath.

According to a recent news report, hundreds of drivers were stranded on Interstate 95 in Virginia overnight. Following the major snowstorm, traffic came to a standstill on I-95 after hundreds of cars got into various accidents that left vehicles trapped or stalled. Many people abandoned their cars, while others spent the night in their vehicles on the highway. Throughout the night, state troopers reportedly moved along the 40 mile stretch of highway from vehicle to vehicle providing supplies.

More than 24 hours after many individuals had been stranded, emergency crews finally freed hundreds of drivers. Tow trucks dragged hundreds of disabled cars out of the ice. Although the interstate reopened after most vehicles were cleared off, local authorities warned drivers that snowy weather conditions could still lead to slick roads and limiting unnecessary travel overnight was advised.

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