Cincinnati Personal Injury Law Blog

Common types of collisions and how to avoid them

Being aware of the common types of collisions and how to avoid them might help some Ohio drivers prevent crashes and injuries. While motorists might not be able to avoid some crashes, there are many things they can do to drive in a safer manner.

The four most common types of car accidents are front-impact crashes, rear-end crashes, side-impact collisions and parking lot crashes. Parking lot crashes often happen when many vehicles go in different directions or when a car is backing up. Drivers should be aware of their environment even before they get into the car to identify potential incidents. They can also park further away from other vehicles. Side-impact crashes result from right-of-way confusion at intersections or from vehicles crossing into parallel lanes. Drivers should keep their eyes on the road, follow traffic rules and look both ways before crossing intersections.

As red-light cameras decline, traffic deaths increase

Ohio readers might be concerned to learn that traffic fatalities from red-light collisions are on the rise, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The institute said that a decrease in red-light cameras is partially responsible for the problem.

IIHS researchers found that there were 421 American communities using red-light cameras as of July 2018, which is a drop from the 533 communities that were using the devices in 2012. They also found that traffic deaths from red-light accidents increased by 17% during the same period of time. Meanwhile, other studies by the institute have found that red-light cameras reduced red-light moving violations by approximately 40% and red-light crash deaths by 21%.

Common causes of construction site accidents

It doesn't matter if you work on a construction site every day or are simply visiting, such as to make a delivery or complete a specific job, there are dangers everywhere. It's the steps you take that can be the difference between maintaining your safety and suffering a serious injury.

Understanding the most common causes of construction site accidents can help you prevent trouble. Here's what you need to watch out for.

  • Falls from height: Anyone working at height, such as on a roof or scaffolding, is at risk of falling to the ground below. This can be the result of a misstep, slip and fall, or inclement weather, among other causes.
  • Falling object: If an object falls from above, it could strike anyone standing below. And if the object is heavy enough, it could cause serious injury or even death.
  • Slip and fall: Construction sites commonly have debris everywhere, such as tools and leftover construction material. All of these things improve the likelihood of a slip and fall, which can result in injuries such as broken bones, concussion and more.
  • Vehicle accidents: Depending on the type of construction site and stage of the work, vehicle accidents are a possibility. These are used for everything from transporting workers to dropping off materials. This type of accident can harm the people inside the vehicle, as well as those in close proximity.
  • Electrocution: An often overlooked construction site accident, electrocution is all too common when someone doesn't take the appropriate precautions regarding how electricity to the area is arranged.

Study finds hands-free cell use does not stop distraction

Ohio drivers who use a hands-free cellphone while behind the wheel should be aware that this is still mildly distracting and that they should not use their free hands to engage in other activities. A company that works with fleets in the commercial and public sector providing safety solutions and video telemetrics examined over 100 billion miles of data and looked at video of more than 100,000 "risky events" to conclude that hands-free cellphone use is often accompanied by other distracting activities. At least nine people die on U.S. roads daily as a result of distracted driving.

The company found that its drivers tended to use their cellphone when traveling at 65 mph. The company's client intelligence analyst surmised that this could be because many trucks have an upper speed limit of 65. As a result, drivers would reach that maximum speed, turn on their cruise control and relax with the hands-free cell phone. Their attention might be more likely to waver at this time.

Car crashes often lead to actionable legal claims

The leading cause of injuries nationwide is car accidents, so it's no surprise that many of these incidents result in lawsuits. In Ohio, people who are injured in auto collisions might be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses or other damages. While the specifics and outcomes of car crash cases may vary widely, most cases share the same basics, running from pre-litigation negotiations to establishing negligence and receiving compensation from at-fault parties or their insurers.

Negotiations may begin at any point during a case, but there are usually opportunities for an attorney to negotiate a settlement early on. The insurance company that has liability for damages will often make an offer to settle. If the offer is appropriate and fair, it may be worth it to settle the personal injury claim at that point. Typically, settling the case means receiving payment in exchange for an agreement not to file a lawsuit. Otherwise, a lawsuit might be necessary.

Car insurance claim mistakes that could cost you

Making a car insurance claim after an accident is easier than what it first appears. If you call your agent, tell them everything and hope for the best, you may not be satisfied with the final result.

Conversely, when you understand your policy and legal rights, you can take steps to prevent mistakes that could cost you time and money in the future.

Distracted driver risk goes up with new safety systems

New technology designed to improve safety may cause more problems for Ohio drivers than it solves. Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute returned data on two new safety devices and associated car accident risk. Both lane-assistance and adaptive cruise control technologies promoted human error. The AAA Foundation reported a higher risk of distracted driving and car accidents attributable to the safety devices. The finding ran contrary to the goal of automation technology, which is limiting human error.

Both technologies use external sensors to spot risks and provide slight modification to either direction or acceleration. The systems provide initial action, alerting the driver to the need to determine whether further action is required. The study showed that, instead of augmenting an attentive driver's attention, the systems replaced it altogether. Drivers increased the risk of getting into car accidents by trusting the systems and turning their attention to other things.

New cars may soon have alcohol detection systems

Many automakers are working hard on alcohol detection systems for their vehicles. Some are using in-car cameras while others have turned to touch sensors. One system, called the ignition interlock device, has already been proven to help keep those who are intoxicated from driving. Ohio residents should know that some lawmakers now want to make alcohol detection a permanent feature on all new cars.

A bill was introduced in Congress titled the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, or the RIDE Act of 2019. If passed, it would fund the development and testing of an alcohol detection system and mandate all automakers to install it in their vehicles by 2024. The details of the implementation process are vague; for instance, it is unclear if development teams will base their work on existing tech.

The other driver's policy can sometimes cover your medical care

Getting into a car crash in any circumstances can be quite stressful, but when you don't have health insurance, a car crash that leaves you hurt could feel like the end of the world. It is common for people to panic and worry about how they will cover the cost of the treatment they need for their broken bones, head injuries or other serious medical issues caused by the crash, and recover missed wages.

Depending on the severity of the injuries you suffer, it could cost thousands of dollars to get the care that you need and take weeks or even months for you to return to work. The good news is that if the other driver caused the collision, you likely have the right to seek coverage through their motor vehicle liability insurance policy.

Study associates opioids with some fatal two-car crashes

The opioid epidemic has had its impact on car crash numbers in Ohio and across the U.S. Whereas 2% of crash initiators in 1993 tested positive for opioids, that percentage went up to 7.1% in 2016. Now, a study published in JAMA Network Open has associated opioid use with a fair number of fatal two-car collisions.

Researchers analyzed 18,321 such collisions and found that a total of 1,467 drivers were found with opioids in their system at the time of the crash they were in. Of these, 918 drivers were crash initiators: that is, nearly twice as many as those drivers who tested positive for opioids but did not cause the crash. Hydrocodone and morphine were the most widespread opioids, being found in 32% and 27% of these drivers, respectively.

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