Articles Posted in Automobile Accidents

In 2015, vehicular crashes involving at least one large truck or bus were involved in an estimated 6,263,000 nonfatal crashes and killed 3,838 people in the United States.

Anyone who has been driving for any period of time on the modern-day rifle ranges known as Massachusetts highways has driven by and seen first-hand the devastation caused by automobile collisions. The carnage can be exponentially worse when one of the involved vehicles is a bus or truck. This is due to simple physics.  Force = mass x acceleration. The more something weighs, the more force it will impart at a given speed when it strikes another object. School busses are a particular concern. They often contain our children, do not have seat belts and weigh about 30,000 pounds before passengers get in them.

Following a collision involving a commercial truck or bus, it is important that an injured person take certain steps as quickly as possible to best preserve their rights. Indeed, in an ironic twist on the pejorative term “ambulance chaser” some insurers and defense law firms have rapid response teams designed to get to truck and bus collision scenes before the vehicles are cleared from the scene. These defense insurers/firms – in their effort to limit their legal exposure — know the value of seeing the scene with their own eyes, taking photos of the scene from the perspectives that put their employers in the best possible light and quickly identifying percipient witnesses. Of course, these corporations usually have an enormous advantage over an injured party. First, they are not injured and on the way to the hospital. Second, they have other people to begin the “risk management” process. Nonetheless, the sooner an injured party gets counsel working on their behalf, the better.

How will the possibly, perhaps inevitably, driverless future impact motor vehicle accidents? In 2015 there were over 6 million reported car crashes that resulted in over 2 million injuries.[1]  The primary cause behind most motor vehicle crashes is human error; for all the things humans do well, driving isn’t necessarily one of them.

In 2014 Tesla released the Model S, which included a tech package option that had autopilot features.[2]  Tesla’s idea was to have a system that could handle some of the responsibilities of driving to eliminate some of the deficiencies inherent in humans drivers.  Tesla, among other car manufacturers and some tech companies, believe computer operated cars could someday eliminate human errors in driving entirely.[3]

Unfortunately, in 2016 a Tesla car operating on autopilot resulted in a fatal crash for the car’s driver.[4]  The crash was an unfortunate tragedy, but the incident raised a number important legal questions:

If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to deal with the headache of being involved in a car accident.  Unfortunately, most of us will be involved in a collision at some point in our lives.  Statistics show that over the course of a typical long, driving lifetime, you should have a total of three to four accidents.  When you are involved in an accident there are numerous problems that arise.  First, and foremost, are any of the people involved hurt?  Even low impact collisions can cause injuries, including injuries you don’t feel immediately after the accident.  Here are a few tips on what to do if you’re involved in a car accident.

If either driver feels they’ve been injured or there is any vehicle damage, call the police.  Calling the police doesn’t necessarily mean one of the drivers will get a ticket or arrested, but it does ensure that there will be documentation of what happened including the identity of all persons involved and any witnesses.  A police report can be a vital piece of information if a dispute about the collision arises.

The police officer that responds will be gathering as much information about the collision as he or she can, but this doesn’t mean you can’t collect your own too.  If you have a smart phone take pictures and take notes.  Pictures of injuries to yourself, vehicle damage, license plate numbers, skid marks, traffic signals and mile markers on the road, are all valuable pieces of evidence to preserve.  You don’t have to be exhaustive, just get what you believe to be the important evidence.  If you do end up in an insurance dispute or lawsuit, contemporaneous pictures and notes could help you against the other driver when often times collisions are not witnessed and the case becomes one of “he said versus she said.”