The More Cars There are on the Road, the More Accidents and Fatalities There are Also

The More Cars There are on the Road, the More Accidents and Fatalities There are Also

Printed in the November 24, 1967, issue of the Life Magazine and in the AF&G All Fun and Games website is a story which says that in 1895, when there were only two cars in the state of Ohio, the unfortunate event of these two cars colliding into each other occurred. Besides this story above, there are other very interesting facts about car accidents. Some of these say:

  • The first traffic fatality, wherein a man was killed by a car, occurred in in NYC 1899;
  • The first electric car, called the Baker Torpedo, was taken for a speed test 1n 1902. It went as fast as 80 mph before crashing and killing two spectators;
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted a study on car crashes. This study showed that at least 90% of the more than five million motor vehicle accidents occurring every year are due to driver error or driver fault which include drunk-driving (which is the leading cause of car accidents), reckless driving, overspeeding and distracted driving; and,
  • An analysis of fatal car crashes show almost consistently that the more cars there are on the road, the more accidents and fatalities there are also.

In 2015, 16.1 million cars and trucks were purchased in the U.S., adding to the 253 million already running on roads and highways. Today, cars are the most common form of land transportation. Though increase in the number of cars and trucks may signify economic growth, based on the last fact mentioned above, it would hint that there will be more motor vehicle crashes too.

Bad road behavior or driver error is not the only fault of drivers, though. Many of those who are at-fault in accidents are also guilty of not compensating their victims. As a result, besides causing their victims pain and suffering, victims are also made to suffer financially due to the cost of medical treatment and loss of wages.

To assure accident victims of the compensation they have a legal right to claim, a law was passed in 1925 which made carrying of auto liability insurance compulsory for drivers. The states of Massachusetts and Connecticut were the first states that adopted this law which, today, is known as the Financial Responsibility law; its aim is to help make sure that drivers, who cause accidents, have the financial capability to compensate victims for the damages and losses they suffer.

Though proving financial responsibility is a law in all 50 states in the U.S., not all states require the carrying of auto liability insurance. In New Hampshire, in lieu of an auto insurance, it is enough for drivers to either deposit security/money with the state treasurer or file an SR-22 . In the 49 states where auto liability insurance is mandated, drivers are required to purchase either a “tort” insurance policy or a “no-fault” insurance policy. The “tort” insurance policy in required in the thirty-eight states, called “tort” or “fault” states, while the “no-fault” insurance coverage is the policy required in 12 “no-fault” states (Florida, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Utah) .

In “tort” or “fault” states, compensation to accident victims is paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. If the compensation paid by the insurance firm does not fully cover the damages and losses suffered by the victim, then the victim may file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault driver for further claims. In “no-fault” states, drivers, who are involved in an accident, are paid by their own auto insurance providers, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

After an accident, another problem injured victims are subjected to is dealing with insurance providers who are either slow in paying out valid insurance claims. Worse than this, however, are insurance firms refusing to pay, denying valid claims, or a claims adjuster pressuring a victim to accept a quick settlement that is unfair.

According to the Mokaram Law Firm, “Accidents can happen for countless reasons and many are unavoidable, but car accidents that are preventable by using common sense and courtesy are inexcusable. Victims of these accidents often will suffer through years of personal injuries and financial backlash for an accident they did not cause.” This is why it would be wise for injured victims to get in touch with a personal injury lawyer immediately after an accident as this may help them pursue the full amount of compensation they are entitled under the law, whether through a lawsuit or out-of-court settlement.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage – It’s Worth the Extra Cost

car accidentCarrying auto liability insurance or a state-approved bond, which will show a driver’s financial capability in compensating anyone who is innocently injured or whose property is damaged in an accident, is a requirement in all 50 states in the US. This requirement is meant ensure injured victims of reckless, negligent and irresponsible at-fault drivers that they have a chance of receiving compensation which will cover cost of treatment for their injury and loss of income.

The type of auto insurance, however, differs among states. While most states require a tort-liability policy, there are a few that require the no-fault auto insurance instead – the difference simply on how compensation may be sought.

In tort states, to be able to seek compensation, the victim of an accident usually needs to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver (unless this driver makes an out-of-court settlement with his/her victim) and prove that the accident was a result of his or her negligent act. After liability has been proven, payments to cover bodily injury and property damage (this does not include payment for the at-fault driver’s own injuries and damaged property) will be made by the at-fault driver’s insurance provider. According to the website of the Mokaram Law Firm, any amount that will exceed the compensation that needs to be paid will already have to come from the liable driver’s own pocket.

In no-fault states, however, cost of medical treatment resulting from the injuries (of both drivers) sustained in the accident will be paid by each driver’s insurance provider, regardless of whose fault the accident is. This means no more need to file a lawsuit to be able to prove fault.

This state requirement, of carrying auto liability insurance, particularly in tort states, should be enough to assure anyone of the compensation that he or she may be deemed eligible by the court to receive. However, there is one very troubling major problem (related to this auto liability coverage) that the Insurance Research Council has identified – that 1 in every 8 drivers in the US continuously drives on roads and highways despite being uninsured. However, instead of catching these drivers and putting them behind bars, insured drivers are rather given the additional requirement of carrying Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist coverage on top of their auto liability insurance.

Due to the absence of coverage on a vehicle, Uninsured motorist coverage will cover all economic losses and damages suffered by an innocent victim. This coverage is most helpful if a person is hit by an uninsured driver, a stolen vehicle or a victim of a hit & run. Underinsured motorist coverage, on the other hand, is intended to cover the amount in excess of the policy limit of the underinsured motorist.

Uninsured /Underinsured Motorist coverage will definitely be additional costs for any driver; however, thinking about the benefits it will provide, it might just be worth the extra cost.

Devastating Outcomes: The Most Common Construction Accidents

Construction work is a dangerous profession. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reported in the year 2013 that a total of 796 deaths were caused by construction-related accidents. According to the organization’s findings, these fatalities translated to about 20 percent of all workplace deaths that occurred in the U.S. during that single year. Knowing these hazards, it’s important for people working in this industry to be aware of the dangers they face regularly.

On their website, Clawson and Staubes, LLC: Injury Group lists down some of the most common accidents that occur in construction sites. The list includes slip and trip accidents, crane accidents, electrocution accidents, heavy equipment accidents, and fall accidents. The most common among these dangers are slip, trip, and fall accidents. According to their data, about 22 percent of injuries that result from accidents in construction sites are caused by falls that happen when workers slip or trip from cranes, ladders, and scaffolding. Such accidents typically happen due to risk factors such as the absence of a proper safety protocol, the use of improper safety equipment and faulty equipment, as well as the hiring of workers that are unqualified for hard labor.

Regardless of the cause of the accident, construction injuries can lead to very devastating consequences. Workers that become seriously injured while on the job risk facing lifelong medical conditions, as well as significant loss of income due to their inability to come back to work and make a living. As such, it’s important for these workers to know that there are legal avenues they can pursue should the worst ever happen while they toil in the workplace. With the help of a qualified personal injury attorney, workers that have been injured in construction accidents can receive compensation that can help cover the damages caused by their employer’s negligent practices.

Which Doctors Are Sued The Most?

Doctor at DeskDoctors and other medical personnel hold the highest standards of professionalism and trust. They are bound to uphold the highest ethical standards based on the Hippocratic oath which the medical practitioner sworn to when they entered the medical profession. But doctors are humans as well and hence can make errors which unfortunately can lead to injury or death of their patients, which they swore to protect and treat.

While no amount of money can compensate for the lost life, the surviving relatives of the deceased can make the doctor liable for the injury or death of their loved one. Americans file over 17,000 medical malpractice lawsuits every year, according to recent data. This fact of doctors getting involved in medical malpractice was proven by a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Examining information on 66,426 malpractice suits from 915,564 physicians, the study revealed that most doctors don’t settle or lose in lawsuits.

A separate report by Medscape found that 35% of lawsuits were due to “failure to diagnose” and 17% were due to “failure to treat.” According to the New England Journal of Medicine study, certain medical specialties are targeted more than others. So which field of doctors have the most number of medical malpractice lawsuits? This is based on the findings of the Medscape survey involving 4,000 primary care physicians and selected specialists:

  • Obstetrician/Gynecologist – 85 percent
  • Surgeon – 83 percent
  • Orthopedic – 79 percent
  • Radiologist – 72 percent
  • Anesthesiologist – 58 percent
  • Internal Medicine – 46 percent
  • Oncologist – 34 percent

Orthopedists and general surgeons reflected the highest percentage of being the only parties included in a medical malpractice suit with 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively. OB/Gyns came in at third with 18 percent. The survey revealed that older doctors were more likely to be sued for medical malpractice. According to the study, 80 percent of doctors above 60 years old faced a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Who is Eligible Under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Code, also known as Wage-earner’s Plan, Repayment Plan or Debt Adjustment is a restructuring type of bankruptcy wherein debtors are allowed to design a three-year payment proposal during which time they can settle their debts (this plan can be extended up to five years if approved by the court). This proposal, which is actually a restructured payment scheme, is aimed at helping debtors make debt payments more affordable for them. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, wherein debtors will need to submit their “non-exempt” properties for liquidation, debtors who file for bankruptcy under this chapter are allowed to keep their properties and assets; business owners are also allowed to continue operating their business, especially if it is a major source of their income and payment for debts.

Besides forbidding creditors from starting or continuing any effort to collect payment (while the chapter 13 plan is in effect), there are many other advantages offered by this chapter. As listed in the website of the United States Courts (http://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy/bankruptcy-basics/chapter-13-bankruptcy-basics), these advantages include:

a. Keeping a debtor’s home from getting foreclosed and a chance for debtors to pay past due mortgage payments over time.

b. The chance to reschedule secured debts and extend payments for these over the approved chapter 13 plan (either three years or five years).

c. Protection for co-signers or a third party who is equally liable with the debtor.

d. Coursing all plan payments to a chapter 13 trustee instead of to the creditors directly. This keeps debtors from having direct contact with creditors.

Individuals, who may be operating an unincorporated business or are self-employed, are eligible for chapter 13 protection (corporations or partnerships do not qualify under this chapter), but only if their secured debts are less than $1,149,525 and their unsecured debts, less than $383,175 (these figures are occasionally adjusted in order to reflect changes in the consumer price index.

Ryan J. Ruehle Attorney at Law, LLC, mentions in his website how incredibly common it is “for people to avoid filing for bankruptcy in fear that bankruptcy will complicate their credit status or signify that they have somehow failed financially.” On the contrary, people can use the bankruptcy process to their advantage and work their way toward financial freedom. With help from a seasoned bankruptcy lawyer, debtors will understand more what bankruptcy is really all about, the many advantages it offers and which particular chapter will best work for them.

New Rules from U.S. FDA to Affect the Whole Tobacco Industry and the Nation’s 40 Million Smokers

E-Cigarette

In a number of U.S. states, Americans are banned from being sold e-cigarettes unless they can show a photo identification which will prove that they are above 18 years old. This new rule, which extends federal regulatory authority to e-cigarettes, comes from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and its adoption by all states will affect not only the tobacco industry but the nation’s 40 million smokers (including the estimated 9 million adult e-cigarette users ) as well.

There is currently no federal oversight or protection for American consumers in connection with the sale and use of E-cigarettes, which has grown into a multi-billion dollar business. E-cigarettes, which were introduced during the early part of the year 2000, are devices that deliver nicotine without the harmful cancer-causing tar and chemicals.

While British health experts see the use of e-cigarettes as an effective way of helping people quit smoking traditional cigarettes, health experts in the U.S. are wary as to whether banning these devices to be sold to Americans below 18 will make them quit smoking or would only cause them to smoke cigarettes instead.

Smoking is a huge concern for American health experts, considering the fact that more than 480,000 tobacco-related deaths are reported in the U.S. every year. Though Matthew Myers, president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, welcomed the FDA’s new rules, which are take effect in 90 days, he says that the process of implementing the rules has brought about much difficulty.

One of the biggest effects of the FDA rule is the need for manufacturers of e-cigarettes and tobacco products to register with the FDA, disclose to the agency their manufacturing processes, and provide the agency with a detailed list of their products’ ingredients. All manufacturers will also be subjected to FDA inspections and will only be able to market their products as “mild,” or “light” after these have been approved and allowed by the FDA. No company will also be allowed to give out free sample products.

What does the Constitution Really Say about Gay Rights?

ConstitutionIt was a period of peace and relief for the LGBT people in Charlotte after this city outlawed LGBT discrimination last February (2016). That peace, however, was short-lived as North Carolina’s State governor and legislature passed and signed into law (just in one day) what many now consider as the most extreme anti-LGBT measure ever legalized in the country.

North Carolina’s new law has two parts: use of public restroom based on one’s biological gender (not on one’s preferred gender identity); and, prohibition on any local government to create any (new) anti-discrimination law (like the one Charlotte passed).

North Carolina is the third state (in the last five years) to prohibit local anti-discrimination laws. While many see this move as a counterattack in the latest battle over gay rights, it is this conservative State’s way of response to liberal cities that pass laws in protection of the LGBT people.

Can this move lead to questions about constitutionality?

Barely a week after North Carolina signed its new law, it has already been met with much criticism from various businesses and organizations. Besides a lawsuit filed by Equality North Carolina, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and Lambda Legal, wherein the State is accused of violating the US Constitution’s stipulations regarding equal treatment, as many as 120 company executives have also signed a letter which criticizes the law and seeks its repeal; the States of Connecticut, New York, Washington as well as other cities have also banned government-connected travels to North Carolina as an expression of their opposition to the law.

The law, however, is not without supporters. One of these is the Liberty Council, a Christian legal aid group, which has offered to defend the State against the lawsuit (Liberty Council represented the Kentucky court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples the previous year).
Apparently, North Carolina’s law is testing the limits of the US Constitution. But while the 14th Amendment promises equal protection under the law, the Supreme Court remains vague with regard to what this promise means for the LGBT community.

Many legal professionals believe that the case against North Carolina will definitely be a tough one to litigate; however, many also believe that it may force the Supreme Court to answer what the Constitution really says about gay rights.

Recalls and very Huge Fines Faced by Volkswagen

Around the globe, more than 8 million Volkswagen cars may be recalled, while in the US, besides the close to half a million cars that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already ordered to be recalled, a Volkswagen fraud lawsuit filed by the US Justice Department (against Volkswagen) in behalf of the EPA may also result to about $90 billion in fines.

The investigation of emission scandal that Volkswagen is involved with, wherein German car manufacturer Volkswagen is accused of cheating emissions tests in the US, has now spread to many other countries, including parts of Europe, Canada and South Korea.

Since 2009, Volkswagen has sold at least 480,000 of its clean diesel cars in the US after passing emissions tests conducted by the EPA. It was later found out, however, that these vehicles were equipped with a defeat device, a type of computer software which allowed the German-made cars to detect testing scenarios. Consequently, the device put the car into safety mode, reducing its emission of nitrogen oxide (NOx) by making the vehicle’s engine run below its normal power – though fraudulent, it was definitely an impressive way of dishonestly making its way into the US car market. After tests have been conducted, as the vehicle goes back on the road and runs on normal power, it also goes back to emitting hazardous pollutants that are up to 40 times higher than the limit set by the Clean Air Act.

Diesel-power cars are slowly, but definitely, gaining a spot in the US car industry. This is why some wonder how other car manufacturers, like Chevrolet, have been able to change the image of diesel engines from slow, noisy and emitting lots of dirty smoke, to quiet and as clean as gasoline engines, while Volkswagen had to cheat in order to pass emissions tests. Since diesel engines also provide more torque and diesel itself ensures better fuel economy, it may only be a matter of time before cars with diesel engine start dominating US roads and highways too, but as regards those manufactured by Volkswagen, only time will tell.

Black Woman Cast as Beloved Childhood Character

Social media went aflame when it was announced that Laurence Olivier Award-winning actress, Noma Dumawezni, Harry Potter Platformwas cast as the adult Hermione Granger in the upcoming play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Jamie Parker and Paul Thornley were also cast as Harry Potter and Ron Weasley, respectively. The play, adamantly stated as “not a prequel” to the septology, revolves around the hardships faced by overworked Ministry father and school-age son, Harry and Albus Severus.

Many people cited the films in justification for their vehemence against the casting of a black woman as Hermione Granger and even continually cites one line from the third book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (published in 1999), that supposedly states that the character in question was white.

Author of the series, J.K. Rowling, took to her own social media channels and went on to support the new casting. She said, “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione”. Matthew Lewis and Evanna Lynch (who played Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood in the films) have also expressed their support for Dumawezni. Emma Watson played the role for the film adaptations.

The play is set to premiere on the 30th of July 2016 at the West End’s Palace Theatre.

Volkswagen to give out $1,000 for customers involved in emission rigging scandal

With hopes of winning back their clientele’s trust, Volkswagen is giving away cash cards worth $1,000 to those affected by what was dubbed by some to be one of the scruffiest scandals in the automotive industry.

According to a report by the Independent, the German automaker is planning to dole out a pre-loaded Visa card with $500, and another cash card worth $500 to be spent on any Volkswagen dealership. The move, which hopes to regain trust and goodwill to its customers and the public, is estimated to cost the company $500 million.

However, some found Volkswagen’s move unappealing. According to Senators Edward Markey and Richard Blumenthal, the compensation offered by the automaker giant is “insultingly inadequate.” The senators also challenged the company to buy back the affected cars, and to announce that every owner involved in the emission-rigging scandal should have the right to sue.

In September, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that some Volkswagen units are equipped with a device designed to rig emission tests. The software, which was installed in more than 400,000 diesel-powered, four-cylinder cars, works by switching the engine into a sort of test mode when it sense that the car is being tested for emission. But when on the road, this test mode switches off, resulting to an emission that is up to 40 times higher than what clean air regulation allows.

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