Car Accidents

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in motor vehicle accident on Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

Earlier this week, a driver in a Dodge Charger reportedly ran a red light at the Cleveland intersection of Broadway Avenue and Jones Road. The driver struck a truck hauling steel that was making a left turn with a green light. The motor vehicle accident happened in the early morning and caused the temporary closing of both the northbound and southbound lanes of Broadway.

The occupant of the truck was not hurt. However, the offending driver and his passenger were taken to a local hospital, where the driver died from his injuries. The condition of his passenger is still unknown.

A violation of a traffic rule, such as running a red light, might create a presumption in favor of the victim. In addition, any accident report made by the police at the scene may constitute evidence. However, often there is no strict definition of who is liable in causing an accident. Consequently, dealing with accidents — and any potential lawsuits arising from them — often becomes exponentially more complicated than simple traffic rules.

Understanding your legal rights as a victim is a complex subject you might not have time to properly address in the aftermath of a pedestrian accident. You may have serious injuries, medical bills, impaired job function, insurance claims and countless other distractions of your time. Even though the issue of fault may seem clear to you, the driver that struck you may challenge the recovery you seek.

If you were the victim of a serious car accident, it is important that you have an attorney on your side to find other possible evidence and help argue a version of events that allows a jury to properly interpret the evidence that is presented. An attorney can advise you on what claims you may have, and help you prepare the best evidence to prove those claims.

Source: NewsNet5, “Cleveland man killed in crash involving truck at Broadway intersection,” Mike Waterhouse, May 22, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in car accident on Thursday, June 7, 2012.

Earlier this week, a teenager was sentenced to 2 ½ years behind bars — with a year to serve, and the remainder suspended — for a fatal car accident that happened while he was texting. His sentence reflects a growing trend in many states to criminalize cell phone use while driving.

In Ohio, that’s already the case because Gov. John R. Kasich signed into law various prohibitions against texting and driving. Depending on the driver’s age, the restrictions on texting and the use of other portable electronic devices may be enforced as either a primary or secondary offense. For adults, the secondary enforcement means that police must have another reason to initially stop and cite violators. For drivers under the age of 18, however, the law will be a primary offense.

According to a recent estimate by The National Safety Council, more than 20% of all traffic crashes in 2011 involved distracted drivers using cell phones. That amounts to more than 1 million accidents. Of that number, most were talking, while about 100,000 drivers were texting. In a finding by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a driver using a hand-held cell phone may be up to 4 times more likely to cause a crash.

If you were in an accident caused by another driver’s failure to drive safely, you deserve to be fairly compensated for any injuries and property damage you might have sustained. Even if you believe the other driver was negligent — because he or she was texting, for example — the recovery you seek may still be met with resistance. An attorney can help you prepare a claim or lawsuit so that you prevail.

Source: USA Today, “Mass. teen guilty in fatal texting-while-driving crash,” June 7, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Monday, June 11, 2012.

Chrysler recently announced that more than 137,000 Jeep Liberty SUVs have been added to a safety recall that began several months ago. One estimate puts the total number of vehicles affected to nearly 347,000. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, lower control arms in the rear suspensions in the SUVs can rust and break, possibly causing them to crash. The recall involves vehicles in states where salt is used to clear ice and snow from the roads, possibly including those sold or registered in Ohio.

If you have a loved one who was killed in a car accident, you should investigate all possible causes of the tragedy. The fault may not be limited to just the other driver. For example, if you suspect the fatal crash may have been attributable to a defective, unsafe or improperly installed vehicle component, you might be able to bring a claim for wrongful death against the corporate entity and recover compensation for the passing of your loved one.

Generally speaking, a consumer can expect that his or her reasonable use of a product will not cause injuries. That expectation includes the product’s design, its manufacturing and production, and any marketing and advertising (including a failure to warn about potential hazards associated with the use of the product).

In that vein, most consumers in Ohio generally expect their motor vehicles to be safely designed. To the extent unsafe components are discovered, it may be the responsibility of the corporate entity to issue a recall. Of course, even the best designed products may fail if they were negligently manufactured or installed. If you believe that to be the case, don’t delay in consulting with an attorney. An attorney can review the facts of your case and help you identify whether another person or entity was negligent.

If you suspect that a traffic fatality was caused by negligent design or installation, an attorney can advise you about all of your available options and help you obtain any recovery you deserve.

Source: USA Today, “Chrysler expands Jeep Liberty recall,” June 11, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in motor vehicle accident on Thursday, June 21, 2012.

Drivers in Ohio may be interested in a new report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study, which measured motor vehicle accident data from 2002 to 2010, found that efforts to reduce the number of deaths in crashes between cars and pickups have been unsuccessful. Fatalities in cars hit by pickups actually increased by 5% in that time period.

The fatalities may be caused by the height mismatch between cars and trucks. NHTSA has new technology that measures whether the forces from trucks strike higher than prescribed in routine crash tests.

Although many automakers have voluntarily agreed to address the height mismatch, none is required to prove compliance. Previous efforts by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers to lobby for a federal rule adopting the car-truck crash standard were also unsuccessful. The chairman of that committee believes a uniform test would ensure automakers are all complying in the same way.

No matter how serious your injury or property damage, and regardless of fault in your case, your claim for recovery may be met with resistance, or you may be offered an unreasonably low settlement amount. Therefore, if you have sustained serious injuries in a motor vehicle accident, don’t delay in consulting with an attorney that can review your case and advise you of the evidence you will need to prove your claim.

An attorney can work with accident reconstruction specialists, independent investigators, medical experts and economic experts to establish the true value of your case and determine which parties may have been at fault in the crash. An attorney can also help you determine whether a motor vehicle design flaw may have contributed to your injuries. In such event, the manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor or retailer of a defective product may also be liable for damages.

Source: USA Today, “Cars and SUVs less mismatched in crashes; pickups lag,” Jayne O’Donnell, June 21, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in car accident on Monday, June 25, 2012.

According to a study, a DWI conviction may be only the tip of the iceberg in an individual’s lifelong struggle with alcohol or drug abuse. For that reason, Ohio residents and drivers may face an ongoing threat of car accidents caused by repeat DWI offenders. Today’s story illustrates a repeat arrest of a DWI offender.

According to local police, an Ohio man, who was released on bond after being charged earlier this month on drunken-driving and narcotics charges, has been arrested again. The man’s previous arrest was made after police stopped the man’s car and determined that he was driving under the influence. It is unclear whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the most recent arrest; the man was officially charged for attempting to break into a relative’s home.

According to a study that interviewed 700 adults with a drunk-driving conviction about 15 years earlier, nearly 50% never stopped drinking or had fallen back into unhealthy habits. The study identified women as risky drinkers if they habitually had more than 7 drinks per week. For men, the limits were more than 14 drinks per week. Although the study did not measure how many of the drinkers had repeat convictions, researchers believe that mandatory treatment for DWI convicts might have lifelong benefits.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident because another driver was negligently driving under the influence, an attorney can advise you on how best to prepare a claim. If the crash also results in a criminal DWI charge being brought against the other driver, an attorney can determine whether any evidentiary findings in that related case might be applicable to your civil claim. An attorney can provide the strong advocacy skills and in-depth analysis that will convince a jury to award you the recovery you deserve.

Source: Reuters, “Man arrested for second time in eight days in Naperville,” Bill Bird, June 22, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in car accident on Thursday, July 5, 2012.

Today, many of us are likely tired, having stayed up late watching fireworks, sitting around a bonfire and finding other ways to enjoy the Fourth of July holiday. Hopefully, tired is about as bad as it gets for the majority of Ohio residents and few people are living with having been injured in a car accident over the holiday.

Just as Independence Day fireworks and sparklers are commonplace, so too, sadly, are car accidents caused by alcohol. Too many people celebrate their days off with alcohol and then get caught up in the fun and forget the severity of drunk driving. Last year, almost 600 drivers were arrested in Ohio for suspicion of driving drunk between July 1 and July 4.

Being that it is only one day after the holiday, sources do not yet have the number of supposed drunk drivers arrested this year. If this year’s traffic accident trends foreshadow what numbers will be reported, then there could be some bad news with regards to traffic safety in Ohio.

While 2011 reportedly was one of the safest years on record on Ohio roads, 2012 is shaping up to be less impressive. Crash fatalities have been on the rise in the state this year and that’s without adding some of the most dangerous times of year into the mix, including Independence Day and the various other holidays that remain before us this year.

During both 2011 and this year, OVI arrests have increased in Ohio, leading to a reduction in the number of OVI accidents in the state. When reports of this past holiday’s drunk driving arrests and accidents are released, we will post an update.

Source: Newsnet5, “2011 crash fatalities hit historic low; 2012 fatalities on the rise in Ohio,” Tina Kaufman, July 4, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Monday, August 6, 2012.

Motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians are particularly dangerous and are much more likely to result in serious injuries or death than collisions between vehicles. When a driver has been drinking or using drugs, victims of a car crash may be entitled to compensation to help with the recovery process. In cases in which a drunk driver causes the death of another person, that person’s family can sometimes recover compensation for damages through a wrongful death claim.

On July 31, a 35-year-old man was arraigned on a charge of operating a vehicle while impaired, which is also called an OVI. This charge stemmed from a July 29 crash at Cleveland’s “Dancing in the Street Festival” on 117th Street and Clifton Boulevard. The bail was set at $150,000, and the driver’s attorney (not affiliated with this firm) did not contest that amount.

Three pedestrians were injured, and one was killed in the accident. While the three injured pedestrians, aged 25, 37 and 44, may file lawsuits related to their injuries, the family of the deceased pedestrian, who was 27, may legally claim that their loved one suffered a wrongful death.

One of the injured pedestrians remains in critical condition and may have a greater claim to funds than the other two. Hospital stays are extremely expensive, and anyone who has been injured because of another driver’s negligence may find it beneficial to pursue a personal injury claim to help alleviate some of the medical costs.

In cases in which criminal charges are filed, it can be easier to pursue civil claims against a drunk or distracted driver. In this case, the driver has three prior drunk driving convictions on his record. The outcome of the most recent charge will be the most relevant criminal charge in any civil suits related to the street fair incident.

Source: News Channel 5, “Bond set at $150K for driver accused of killing 1, injuring 3 others at Cleveland street fair,” Paul Brest, July 31, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in car accident on Monday, August 20, 2012.

Traffic accidents are an unfortunate daily reality on the roads, but there are few more dangerous circumstances than a vehicle traveling the wrong way on an interstate. The high speeds involved make these situations especially hazardous, and it’s worse when alcohol plays a role, as allegedly occurred in a recent collision in Wood County.

A driver going the wrong way on Interstate 75 caused a two-vehicle crash Aug. 15 that sent one person to the hospital. Authorities believe alcohol was a factor in the car accident, which occurred near milepost 171 in the Cygnet area.

The collision was being investigated by the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Investigators have determined that a 40-year-old man who lives in Lima entered the interstate going the wrong way. The driver headed southbound in the I-75 northbound lanes before striking another vehicle head-on. That vehicle was operated by a 53-year-old man from Dayton.

After being struck, the Dayton man’s vehicle careened off the interstate to the left and caught fire. The man driving the vehicle that had been going the wrong way left the scene and fled into an adjacent wooded area. Authorities were initially unable to find him after about four hours of searching. The injured man was taken to Blanchard Valley Hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

The wrong-way vehicle was heavily damaged in the crash and towed from the scene, and the Dayton man’s vehicle was entirely engulfed in flame and totaled. The accident caused the closing of I-75 for about two hours in both directions. Northbound traffic was not resumed for about five hours.

Anyone who has been injured in a car accident of this sort has a critical need for legal representation to ensure the victim’s rights are protected and proper compensation is awarded. The victim in this case not only suffered injuries; his vehicle burned and was totaled. To put one’s life back on track after such an experience, victims should be fully aware of their rights under our state’s personal injury laws.

Source: The Plain Dealer, “Wrong-way, head-on crash on I-75 hurts one,” Aug. 15, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in wrongful death on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.

When a car accident results in a fatality, the family of the deceased may be entitled to compensation for wrongful death. This compensation, which can come from insurers or the estate of the party determined to be responsible for the accident, is typically awarded for funeral expenses, medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Occasionally, an insurance company will attempt to settle with the victim’s family directly after the accident. In that case, the family needs to seek legal advice to decide if the settlement offer is reasonable.

A fatal crash in Ohio last month has resulted in felony charges against a teen driver. The 17-year-old boy was driving his Camaro when he apparently crossed the center line of the road into the oncoming lane. The Camaro collided with a man on a Suzuki motorcycle. The rider of the motorcycle, a 66-year-old, died at the scene.

It usually falls to investigators to determine who was at fault after an accident. This determination is based on many factors, including the position of the vehicles after the crash, the pattern of debris at the scene and sometimes toxicology tests.

Going over the center line into the opposing lane is usually an indicator of fault, but this is not always the case. If the driver could not avoid crossing the line because of a hazard in the road, a medical emergency or another credible reason, it is possible that neither party will be found at fault. However, if authorities determine that one party is to blame for the accident, this can strengthen any civil claim filed by victims or their families. There may also be a need for investigation beyond the initial police report.

It is unclear why prosecutors waited until just recently to file third-degree felony charges against the driver, who was transported to a local hospital after the accident and released the following day. However, if the driver is convicted, the family’s wrongful death claim, should they choose to file one, will likely be bolstered by the conviction.

Source: Coshocton Tribune, “Teen charged in fatal July crash,” Kathie Dickerson, Aug. 21, 2012

On behalf of Weisman, Kennedy & Berris Co., L.P.A. posted in car accident on Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

Driving while texting has been proven to be a distraction that can cause serious car accidents, resulting in property damage, personal injury or loss of life. There is no doubt about it: a distracted driver is a hazard on the road, and it only takes a moment of inattention for an otherwise innocuous moment to become fatal. That is why the Ohio legislature just made it easier for victims of distracted driving to prove another driver’s negligence.

On Aug. 31, two bans on mobile communications devices went into effect in Ohio. For drivers under the age of 18, getting caught using any mobile communication device while behind the wheel of a car is a primary offense that results in a significant fine and a 60-day driving suspension. This ban includes phones, tablets, portable gaming devices and handheld GPS units. The new law prohibits texting, talking, emailing or otherwise using these devices while driving.

For adults 18 and over, sending or reading texts while behind the wheel of a car is now a minor misdemeanor. It is classified as a secondary offense, which means the police must have another reason to pull a driver over before the officer can write a ticket for texting. Ohio is the 39th state to put laws banning texting while driving on the books.

Victims of car crashes resulting from a driver’s use of a cell phone or other communication device now have the law on their side. The usage log on these devices can help prove that the driver was distracted and in violation of the law at the time of the accident. This makes it easier to prove who was at fault and helps ensure that accident victims are compensated for their losses.

Source: Ohio News Network, “Statewide Texting Ban Takes Effect Friday,” Aug. 30, 2012