The Most Dangerous Roads In America — By the Numbers

Dangerous Roads In America

In 2016, 40,200 people—the equivalent of 1.25 per 100 million vehicle miles—died in motor vehicle crashes. Heavy traffic, distracted driving, excessive speed, impaired drivers, unsafe driving and road conditions are common causes for accidents. To stay safe, pay attention and use caution whether you’re commuting to work, running errands or on a cross-country road adventure. And since awareness is a key to accident prevention, before you head out on your next trip, discover the most dangerous roads in America.

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The Most Dangerous Roads In America — By the Numbers

Could These Wristbands (And Similar Technology) Make Truckers And Drivers Safer?

In 29 states, trucking topped the list of the most common jobs in 2014. While popular, the job exposes truckers to risks like congestion, poor weather conditions and other health challenges. New technology may address these risks and improve the safety of everyone on the road. Continue reading “Could These Wristbands (And Similar Technology) Make Truckers And Drivers Safer?”

Could These Wristbands (And Similar Technology) Make Truckers And Drivers Safer?

Why Are Insurance Companies So Hard On Car Accident Claimants? [An Intriguing Theory]

Arizona car insurance companies

It comes as an unpleasant shock to far too many car accident victims. The insurance company that should, by all moral rights, bend over backward to pay for your damages gives you a surprisingly hard time.

Continue reading “Why Are Insurance Companies So Hard On Car Accident Claimants? [An Intriguing Theory]”

Why Are Insurance Companies So Hard On Car Accident Claimants? [An Intriguing Theory]

What the Science Says About Eyewitness Memory After a Car Accident

Eyewitness testimony provides powerful, convincing evidence that some action happened.

Or at least it should, in theory. After all, if you see something with your own eyes, you can be pretty sure that your perceptions match reality. But perhaps surprisingly, eyewitness memories—even ones recorded shortly after an event—are often flawed. People who provide misinformation after the fact can manipulate our memories without us even realizing it. Skillful use of wording or photos when questioning an eyewitness about a car accident can corrupt our memories and replace them with something else that is to the questioner’s advantage. Our eyes—and our minds—often betray us without our permission or even conscious knowledge!

In one study, researchers used this “misinformation effect” to cleverly make eyewitnesses to a car accident later think they had seen a yield sign, when they had actually seen a stop sign. In another study, researchers tricked eyewitnesses into thinking they had seen a barn that was not there. Although these are examples of intentional manipulation, some memory corruption is unintentional.

When eyewitnesses to a car accident talk with each other while waiting for the police to arrive at the scene, they can contaminate each other’s memories of what they saw. Eyewitnesses tend to hold on to the memories that are corroborated by other eyewitnesses and discard memories that conflict with or do not match what others saw.

The Innocence Project uses DNA evidence to exonerate people wrongly convicted of crimes. In three out of four of these cases, eyewitness testimony was the basis for the conviction. People have been incarcerated and even sent to death row for crimes they did not commit–all because of incorrect eyewitness testimony.

Memories can change with each retelling. We all have a relative whose stories become bigger each time they tell them. And as our memories fade with time, our minds will “fill in the blanks,” because the brain abhors a vacuum. It replaces fading memories with filled-in content, further corrupting our recollections.

In car accidents, flawed eyewitness testimony can result in blaming the wrong person for the crash. The insurance company can use faulty eyewitness testimony to discredit or devalue your injury claim.

If you need legal insight after a car accident, the Kelly Law Team can help. We will work hard to assemble powerful, believable evidence and construct a logically sound case to get you all the compensation you deserve. Call 602-283-4122 or visit our website to set up your free consultation.

What the Science Says About Eyewitness Memory After a Car Accident

More Creative–Possibly Novel–Ideas to Avoid Distraction That Could Lead to a Car Accident

Avoid Distraction That Could Lead to a Car Accident
Avoid Distraction That Could Lead to a Car Accident

What else can you do–or stop doing–to avoid or at least limit the odds of getting into another Arizona car accident?

  1. First of all, it’s useful (if painful) to reflect on your recent car accident. What caused it? What (if anything) can you do to avoid similar situations?

For instance, maybe a teenager plowed through a red light and T-boned your passenger side door. Being “more mindful” behind the wheel wouldn’t have helped you. But working with your car accident attorney to understand exactly what went wrong–even if it was the other driver’s fault, 100%–can give you insights about how to protect yourself in the future.

For instance, maybe you typically drive through a neighborhood where a lot of teens and college kids tend to drink and party. In the future, to steer clear of these unsafe characters, you could take a slightly longer route home.

  1. Talk to other people in your life and your family about the dangers of distracted driving.

By making a public pledge to friends and family members that you are “the anti-distracted driving guy [or girl],” you will get a reputation as an anti-distracted driving zealot. Sounds weird, maybe, but here’s the kicker: you will be more likely to actually live up to that designation because of the psychological principle of consistency.

In other words, if you tell people that distracted driving is horrible and that you consider it completely unacceptable to talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel–if you announce these beliefs loudly and publicly–you will create subconscious pressure on yourself to conform to those beliefs.

  1. Practice mindfulness meditation.

There are dozens of studies–perhaps hundreds at this point–that suggest benefits of regular mindfulness practice. Meditation can help you concentrate in school, improve your levels of happiness, make you less emotionally reactive, lower your blood pressure, you name it.

Mindfulness also helps with concentration. And that can matter big time when you’re in a fast-evolving situation on the road. If a car suddenly crosses the double line divider and heads towards your car, you have only an instant to react. If you have trained your attention, it is possible (but not tested) that you could have a slight reactivity advantage. But milliseconds matter in fast crashes.

Of course, this is only speculation, and for obvious reasons, you should avoid practicing deep breathing or similar exercises when behind the wheel–especially if you’re at risk of falling asleep. Instead, train yourself to be vigilant on the road. Concentrate on potential threats in the environment. Be alert, don’t coast.

No matter what caused your car crash, you probably have a lot of questions about how to get fairly compensated, how to negotiate with the insurance company, and how to hold the person who hurt you to justice. The Kelly Law team is standing by–we can give you clarity. Call us for a consultation.

More Creative–Possibly Novel–Ideas to Avoid Distraction That Could Lead to a Car Accident

How a Car Accident Can Compound Your Pre-Existing Condition Part 2

In 2013, a Pennsylvania driver was stopped on a road when a box truck rear-ended her car. In the days and weeks after the collision, the driver complained of neck and back pain—otherwise known as “whiplash.” The pain got progressively worse, until two years later, when she was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome. A jury recently found that the negligent driver was liable for the woman’s onset of fibromyalgia and awarded her damages.

In the previous post, we looked how an accident can compound a victim’s pre-existing condition, and why a negligent driver can still be liable for this pain. But, as we explained, pre-existing conditions can cut both ways, because insurance companies often use them against a claimant.

Fibromyalgia presents another complicated issue on top of this discussion of pre-existing conditions. Fibromyalgia can be a debilitating, painful disease, but it remains a mysterious one. Sometimes, it sets in for no apparent reason, but some studies have linked the onset (or worsening) of fibromyalgia to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and collisions. And it may be years after an event, before symptoms manifest. Further, there is no cure, so a person with fibromyalgia may have resulting outrageous medical expenses to try to alleviate the pain.

With the murkiness of the condition, an insurance company may counter a plaintiff’s claim of fibromyalgia by finding an expert who denies the existence of a link between the disease and trauma. Some experts will even deny the existence of the disease altogether.

In the case referenced above, the jury concluded, based off the testimony of an expert rheumatologist, that the collision caused the plaintiff’s fibromyalgia, despite the fact the fibromyalgia didn’t set in until long after the accident occurred.

This case shows that, despite the need for more research, it is possible to prove that a car crash, or other traumatic episode, caused or worsened a victim’s fibromyalgia. Which is important, as its sufferers know that the physical, mental and financial pain are very real.

If you’ve been in a car accident or collision of some kind and are experiencing mysterious pain, contact our offices for a consultation.

How a Car Accident Can Compound Your Pre-Existing Condition Part 2

A Quick Catalogue of Common Spinal Injuries After an Auto Accident

Spinal injury

What if you car accident was minor? You suffered just a few bruises or a mild concussion. Even still, you should see a qualified doctor as soon as possible. The bruises could indicate a more serious medical situation, like internal bleeding. A seemingly mild head injury could actually presage an urgent crisis, like bleeding or swelling in the brain. Continue reading “A Quick Catalogue of Common Spinal Injuries After an Auto Accident”

A Quick Catalogue of Common Spinal Injuries After an Auto Accident