Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?

When an accident happens and you file a personal injury suit, the other driver will often claim that it was the weather’s fault for the crash and not their own.

Was the Accident Caused by Snow or Ice or the Other Driver?However, unless the weather was perfect at the time of the crash, it can be seen in New Jersey courts as a contributor to a car accident.  And even when the weather is perfect, other factors, like the setting sun in the driver’s eyes or the lack of light on a dark street, can influence a case. In reality, nearly all accidents are influenced by an exterior problem that made it more difficult—even slightly more difficult—to drive a vehicle.

However, that does not mean that every crash was avoidable or that every driver was without fault. Conditions like snow or ice do not excuse poor driving. On the contrary, poor conditions like these actually require drivers to exercise even greater caution and be even more attentive. A good lawyer knows this and refuses to let a driver off the hook when they caused a crash that hurt you, even if they claim that bad weather was to blame.

How Do Car Accident Lawsuits Work?

Car accident lawsuits are actually a type of personal injury lawsuit. Personal injury lawsuits are brought by people who have been hurt by someone else’s negligence and want to be compensated for their losses.
Personal injury claims must include each of the following four components:

1. The person they are suing owed them a legal duty to keep them safe or out of harm’s way.
2. That person did not uphold this legal duty.
3. This failure was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
4. The plaintiff was, in fact, hurt in the accident.

Driver’s Have a Legal Duty to Keep Others Safe

Anybody who drives a car owes a legal duty to drive reasonably safely for the conditions found on the road. Determining what constitutes “reasonable safe driving” in any given circumstance can be difficult. However, some basic guidelines obviously need to be followed, including:

• Driving at a speed that is neither too slow nor too fast.
• Obeying traffic laws.
• Keeping a safe distance from the car in front.
• Being attentive enough for potential hazards to avoid them before creating an accident.

Even in pristine driving conditions, determining whether someone was driving reasonably safely can be difficult. For example, if someone was going five miles per hour over the speed limit, but so was everyone else on the road, does that automatically make them unsafe? In many cases, it falls to the jury to decide whether a driver’s conduct on the road was reasonably safe or not.

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver’s Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?

How Does The Weather Influence a Driver's Legal Duty To Keep Others Safe?A driver’s legal duty to keep others safe on the road has this important aspect: they must adapt to road conditions. For example, someone driving at the speed limit and staying a two-car lengths’ distance from the car in front of them would be driving reasonably safely when the sun is shining. But when the roads are icy and snowing, that probably won’t be safe enough. So instead, the road conditions require the driver to slow down even more and increase their following distance.

When the weather is bad and driving conditions poor, drivers are legally required to adapt to ensure others’ safety on the road. However, when they fail to adapt their driving technique to the conditions they face, they can be held liable for the accidents they cause.

Poor Weather Does Not Take The Blame For Poor Driving

So, if you get hurt in a car accident in New Jersey, and the other driver claims they aren’t responsible because the weather was terrible, be assured that the weather does not automatically absolve them of their role in the crash. While the weather might have been horrible—icy roads, heavy rain, snow, or fog that reduced visibility, stiff gusts of wind that made it difficult to steer—drivers still have a legal responsibility to drive in a manner that is reasonably safe for those exact conditions. In other words, if the driver were driving the way he or she would in perfect conditions, then they were likely failing to uphold their responsibility to keep others safe.

In Sum, Bad Weather Demands Better Driving

When a potentially negligent driver tries to blame the weather for their role in a car accident that harmed you, it is often an attempt to avoid liability—that will fail. In summary, poor weather conditions actually require better and safer driving techniques than would have been necessary with nice weather.

Consult with Personal Injury Attorneys

The car accident and personal injury attorneys at The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson are accustomed to drivers claiming that the crash was the weather’s fault and not their own. But our attorneys can turn these claims back against them and use them to convince a jury that bad road conditions required the driver to drive even more safely than normal.

Using these legal tactics, we can fight for your interests, both in the courtroom with the jury and outside the courtroom with insurance companies.

With us fighting for you, you can be confident that everything will be done to ensure that you get the compensation that you need and deserve after the crash that hurt you.

Contact us at (609) 528-2596 in New Jersey if you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident and the other driver blames the weather.

Car Accident History Reports and What They Mean for Your Car Accident Claim

The goal of any insurance claim or personal injury claim is to provide proper healthcare and financially restore the victim as much as possible.

Car Accident History Reports and What They Mean for Your Car Accident ClaimAny time a person is injured or suffers property damage in a car accident, they will most likely want to seek compensation for their damages through either a car insurance claim or a car accident injury claim against any responsible parties, with the goal of these claims being to restore themselves financially to their pre-car accident state.

In terms of injury compensation, the injured party’s own insurance coverage and policy will usually be the biggest determining factor when it comes to how much injury damage they are covered for, and how much will need to be sought from the insurance policies of any other drivers potentially responsible for the accident (discussed in detail in our article several weeks ago).

Compensation for property damage is handled in a very similar matter, but a relatively new aspect that car accident victims are having to contend with is the increasing prevalence of car accident history reports like Carfax, VehicleHistory.com, and DMV reports.

Today’s article will focus on how these accident history reports and their increasing availability and use may actually be causing even more property damage to car accident victims, and what options are at your disposal when it comes to mitigating and seeking compensation for these added damages if you have been involved in a car accident.

Hamilton Car Accident Lawyers and “The Value of Your Car after an Accident”

As previously mentioned, the goal of any insurance claim or personal injury claim is to restore the victim of any kind of accident to a pre-accident state financially. When it comes to car accidents, this used to be relatively straightforward when it came to damages to the vehicle itself. In the case of the total loss of the vehicle, the car accident victim could simply refer to car appraisal guides like Kelly Blue Book, input the make, model, year, mileage, options, and features of their car and obtain a very accurate estimate for the value of their car.

However, as private buyers and dealerships increasingly factor in vehicle accident history reports when making a purchase, the simple fact that your car was involved in an accident can significantly reduce its value, even if it was repaired to its pre-accident state. If any kind of buyer is presented with the option of buying two identical cars, but one has been involved in an accident, and the other has not, 9 times out 10 that buyer will elect to purchase the vehicle that has no history of the accident.

This truth means that your car fundamentally no longer has the same value it would have had it not been involved in an accident, even if that accident only caused minor or superficial damage to your vehicle, or even if your vehicle was completely repaired in terms of its performance, safety, and appearance.

Adding Vehicle History Damages to a Mercer County Car Accident Claim

Adding Vehicle History Damages to a Mercer County Car Accident ClaimConsidering now that the mere fact your vehicle was involved in an accident can severely diminish its value, we must ask “what can a car accident victim do about this?”.

Unfortunately, current New Jersey court precedents have more or less established that car accident victims seeking compensation for this kind of damage from their own insurance company (known as a first-party claim) can, and usually will be, denied compensation for the damage done to their vehicle in the form of car accident history reports.

On the other hand, plaintiffs have found much more success when including this kind of damage as part of a third-party claim, that is to say, claims for damages against another driver and their insurance policy provider. In addition, in situations where the negligent driver is uninsured, or their insurance is not enough to cover these damages (under-insured), then the driver who is seeking damages can instead do so through their own uninsured/under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage, at which point compensation for damages done to a vehicle due to its involvement in an accident and subsequent inclusion in car history reports may actually be able to be recovered.

Like any claim for compensation, be it for injuries or for property damage, a claim seeking damages for the diminished value of your car due to its involvement in a car accident will need to be supported by evidence, and for these kinds of damages specifically, expert testimony is the most often relied upon the type of evidence to substantiate these damages. However, expert testimony costs money, so if the diminished value of your car is of similar value to the cost of expert testimony, at the end of the day it may not be worth actually pursuing compensation for these kinds of damages. On the other hand, if your car was a collectible or some kind of high-end luxury car, the value of these damages to your car can often be extremely high, making it much more worthwhile to seek compensation for its diminished value.

Contact Our Trenton Car Accident Claims Attorneys Today

Any time you are seeking compensation for injury damages or property damages, be it from a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, construction accident, a slip and fall, a premises liability claim, or any other kind of accident, possibly the most important thing you can do is to retain the counsel of an experienced Mercer County accident and injury attorney in order to better understand your options, help you gather and present the evidence necessary to support your claim, and ultimately help you and your family secure the compensation you need and deserve for the damages you have suffered.

Contact Our Mercer County Car Accident Claims Attorneys TodayAt the Law Office of Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in all manner of a car accident and personal injury claims in towns across New Jersey and Mercer County, including East Brunswick, Princeton, Hamilton, Lawrence, and Trenton. Practicing law since 1972, our firm has carefully refined our ability to provide effective, knowledgeable, and attentive representation to each of our clients, with our ultimate goal being to work closely with our clients and their families in a wide range of legal matters including personal injury, workers’ compensation, and municipal and criminal court defense.

To speak with our attorney team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding any kind of accident and the resulting damages to your life, and how we can help you to recover full and fair compensation for these damages, please contact us online, or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.

Why Won’t My NJ Primary Care Doctor Treat My Car Accident Injuries?

Top 3 Reasons Your NJ Primary Care Doctor Shouldn’t Treat You After A Motor Vehicle Accident.

Why Won’t My NJ Primary Care Doctor Treat My Car Accident Injuries?After an automobile accident, you must seek prompt medical attention, whether your personal injuries are severe enough that you are treated in a hospital emergency room immediately after the accident or a few days afterward. If the pain or discomfort of your injuries appears a few days after your accident or grows significantly worse over time, your initial thought may be to call or visit your primary care physician. Regretfully, it is quite likely that your physician will inform you they cannot treat you due to your symptoms being connected to the accident. Your doctor wants you to receive the best care and are looking after your best interests. Rather than becoming disheartened, feeling abandoned, or frustrated, you should consider that traumatic injuries are not their main area of expertise.

Your primary care physician treats various illnesses and injuries every day, but probably not the type of common injuries sustained in car accidents: whiplash, soft tissue injuries, traumatic brain injuries, blunt force trauma to the head or chest, broken bones, spinal injuries, ligament or tendon damage, and much more. These types of injuries require proper diagnosis, care, and documentation so that if you suffered severe or life-changing injuries and need money for medical bills, pain and suffering, wage loss, and other hardships, you can recover the maximum compensation for your losses.

The attorneys at the Law Office of Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson are admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We are engaged in teaching this complex area of litigation to attorneys from both states. Since 1972, we have helped numerous clients obtain compensation for injuries sustained in automobile accidents throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Our experienced team of lawyers is dedicated to helping you obtain the compensation you need and deserve.

Contact us online or by telephone at (609) 528-2596 to arrange a consultation with an experienced auto accident lawyer. You only have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. After the statute of limitations expires, you will no longer be able to sue to collect compensation for your injuries.

Reason #1: Improper Diagnosis From Your NJ Doctor Could Delay Proper Treatment

The adrenalin from a car accident may mask pain. If you are experiencing pain, your primary care doctor may prescribe pain medication and recommend giving it a few days or weeks to heal independently. These days or weeks without proper medical treatment or documentation could delay a proper diagnosis connecting the injuries, chronic pain, numbness, tingling, problems sleeping, or even PTSD with the accident. Specialists such as orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, physiatrists, and chiropractors, etc., will know and recommend consistent treatment and possibly physical therapy right away and will more likely be able to provide:

  • a detailed analysis of what happened to you as a result of the accident
  • a detailed synopsis of any pre-existing injuries or conditions that were not caused by the accident
  • key details about if the accident aggravated your pre-existing injuries
  • a list of medical tests they performed (i.e., range of motion, nerve compression tests, etc.)
  • Reason #1: Improper Diagnosis From Your NJ Doctor Could Delay Proper Treatmentspecialized MRI’s, X-rays, digital motion X-rays, etc
  • prescriptions to physical, occupational, & mental therapy, and vocational rehabilitation
  • info regarding specialists referrals for surgery or pain management
  • an explanation of whether your injuries are a temporary or permanent disability
  • details about future medical needs
  • impairment ratings (i.e., injuries’ effects on your ability to work, perform daily activities, etc.)

Reason #2: A NJ Accident Injury Specialist Can Accurately Value Your Case

Gaps in treatment can decrease the value of your personal injury claim and as well as your chances of recovering from your injuries. Treatment from a specialist can provide you and your personal injury attorney with accurately detailed information about how the motor vehicle accident has caused you harm, various losses (financial, mobility, quality of life, etc.), and injuries; you will have a stronger case to justify the insurance company or the negligent party paying you the maximum compensation for your personal injury claim.

Reason #3: PIP Billing Related Insurance Difficulties from Your NJ Accident

Your primary care physician may not accept your Personal Injury Protection (PIP)  coverage to treat your injuries. Known as “no-fault insurance,” the initial funds to cover expenses and damages will come from your auto insurance provider regardless of fault. The caveat is that although PIP can pay for medical, living, or rehab expenses after you suffer an injury after a car accident, PIP billing can be complicated, which means many primary care physician offices often choose not to see patients who PIP will cover.

While emergency rooms are capable of billing your PIP insurance, if you need a follow-up (or your injuries don’t require urgent treatment), your appointment must be with a physician who not only specifically works with motor vehicle accident victims and can provide you with the best treatment, but can also capably and confidently handle PIP billing.

Contact Our Mercer County Car Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, we have extensive experience helping clients across Mercer County, Trenton, Princeton, and Hamilton recover the compensation they need and deserve for their injuries. We work closely with investigative and medical experts to help prove your claim and provide honest, intelligent, and diligent service to all of our clients.

If you or a loved one has been injured by another party’s reckless or negligent actions in an accident, including medical malpractice, product liability, premises liability, or a slip and fall, please contact us online or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596, for a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident injuries and options for recovering compensation.

Decline in Traffic Fatalities During Covid-19 Pandemic

According to a CBS This Morning report, more than 20 states saw a marked drop in fatalities caused by car accidents between March and May

Decline in Traffic Fatalities During Covid-19 PandemicThe Covid-19 pandemic that has wrought havoc on the entire planet has adversely impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. Our physical, emotional, social, and financial lives have been put in jeopardy; and we have had to orient ourselves to new systems of operation. While the lockdowns caused by the pandemic have had many difficult effects on our lives, one positive thing has come out of the removal of cars from the road: there has been a drastic decline in traffic-related automobile accidents causing fatalities across the country.

According to a CBS This Morning report, more than 20 states saw a marked drop in fatalities caused by car accidents between March and May, during which many states and local governments were implementing stay-at-home orders. Most notable among the statistics of declining fatalities gathered by the CBS This Morning report was an 84 percent decline in fatalities on highways in California. Because that state, in particular, drove home a message that it was imperative not to drive unless absolutely necessary in order to provide space on the roads for emergency responders to field calls related to the Coronavirus, traffic was greatly reduced, and fatal accidents fell with them.

What About New Jersey Traffic Accident and Fatality Statistics?

New Jersey also has seen a serious drop in reported auto fatalities during this trying time, reportedly reaching 50-year lows. This pattern in New Jersey and the country is welcome news, but it is a stark turnaround from before the pandemic. According to the New Jersey State Police, traffic fatality patterns had been steady for years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 96 percent of the vehicles involved in US traffic accidents in 2014 were passenger vehicles, and in 2014 over 21,000 people died across the country in traffic accidents involving passenger vehicles. Additionally, that year, a startling 2.07 million people were injured in passenger vehicle accidents. Given that accident fatality numbers have stayed fairly steady – as in high – over the past 5 years before the pandemic (seeing a drop of only 3 percent from 2015-2018 data), we are left to wonder whether patterns will simply return to the dangerous ‘normal’ after the pandemic has subsided.

Counties like Bergen, Middlesex, and Essex have historically been the counties with the most traffic accidents; can the 35 percent decline of traffic fatalities reported in April 2020 when compared to April 2019 be maintained in high accident areas, and all areas around New Jersey?

Not necessarily at all, warns the New Jersey State Police. In fact, while NJSP records show that the rate of fatalities from auto accidents has declined by 9 percent overall compared to 2019, this drop is not as sharp as it could be. Traffic in New Jersey has decreased by 62 percent during the first months of the pandemic, so a 9 percent decrease in fatalities actually shows that some drivers are taking advantage of the emptier roads to engage in risky behaviors such as speeding that have resulted in additional traffic deaths.

Increase in risky behavior on roadways can prove dangerous during Covid-19

What is the People´s Perspective When it comes to COVID-19 and Law Enforcement?New Jersey Governors Highway Safety Association Senior Director Pam Shadel Fischer added another dangerous cause of accidents. She said, “There is a sense that because of Covid-19, law enforcement is diverted.” This perspective that risky behavior would go unchecked on ‘empty’ roads is dangerous and life-threatening, both for drivers engaging in risky behaviors as well as everyone else on the road, whether in a car or not.

Reminder to Drivers Getting Back on the Road Post Pandemic

As drivers get back on the road, New Jersey drivers are reminded to engage in basic safety precautions to make sure that you, your passengers, and others on the road stay safe. Make sure you have completed safety checks for your car, especially if you haven’t driven it in a while. Always wear your seatbelt and ensure that all passengers are also strapped in. Never drive under the influence of alcohol or mind-altering drugs. Obey all street signs, and follow the local speed limits, even if you seem to be alone on the road. Sometimes the most dangerous times operating a vehicle are those in which you let your guard down because you perceive that you have more room to roam than you actually do. Remember that at any moment, a car, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian could enter into your trajectory from an unseen path, and driving defensively while following all traffic laws is the surest way to keep everyone safe on the road.

Contact Trenton NJ Fatal Auto Accident and Injury Lawyers Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our experienced team of auto accident lawyers supports clients across Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area in all matters regarding car accidents and personal injury claims.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team today to discuss your accident, please contact us online, or through our Trenton office at 609.528.2596. We look forward to working with you.

Car Accidents More Prevalent Due To Daylight Savings Time

17 percent increase in traffic incident-related deaths the Monday after the daylight-saving time (DST)

Car Accidents More Prevalent Due To Daylight Savings TimeDaylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months and back again in the fall to make better use of natural daylight.  But have you ever thought about the possibility that daylight-saving time (DST) might actually be dangerous? When the clocks spring forward and fall back each year, it is only by an hour, but research suggests it may take days to adjust to the time difference, and during that adjustment period, there is a spike in car crashes, especially after we “spring forward” and lose an hour of sleep.

What do researchers say about vehicle safety and DST?

Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder studied the DST change that could have caused the daylight saving time period (from March to November 2002-2011) and found over 30 deaths annually. The U.S. government’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System saw a 17 percent increase in traffic incident-related deaths the Monday after the springtime change. Traffic fatalities all that week were also higher than average. Some of the effects can be attributed to lower visibility because it is darker in the earlier hour. Still, most of the accidents, experts say, were because people struggle to stay awake behind the wheel. Some police departments say that there’s about a 10 percent increase in crashes just after the change.

In 2020, a study published in Cell Biology looking at motor vehicle fatality data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (1996-2017) found a 6 percent increase in motor vehicle fatalities the week DST started, most of which occurred in the mornings. This fatality rate decreased the week after DST started, and there was no subsequent increase in traffic deaths when the clocks reverted to Standard Time in the fall.

The traffic statistics alone seem like conclusive evidence that daylight saving time is more than a mere inconvenience. Researchers say that the grogginess we feel for the first couple of days after we change the clocks might just be scratching the surface of how our bodies actually process the disruption. People who only sleep four or five hours a night under normal circumstances are at a much higher risk of causing a car crash than people who sleep six or seven hours a night.  The effect is lessened for those who sleep more than seven hours a night, but most statistics indicate that most working Americans are frequently in a sleep deficit. When sleep cycles are disrupted even further, the problem of groggy/sleepy driving is only exacerbated.

What is drowsy driving?

Drowsy driving is a serious problem that can lead to life-threatening car crashes. Drivers who do not get enough sleep the night before are at the most significant risk of a crash. Drivers suffering the effects of DST may also feel sleepy and could cause an accident.

Are there other dangers?

The springtime shift has been linked to health problems, including increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, depression, workplace accidents, and suicides. Without sleep, we are more prone to crave unhealthy, high-calorie foods, and we are less likely to exercise. This combination can cause you to feel more irritable and less productive. Not to mention, the more sleep-deprived you are, the more likely you are to get sick.

It seems incredulous that such a slight change in our schedules could trigger such dire consequences, but fatigue can affect when and how much we eat, our exercise routine, and of course, our sleep schedules.  More studies are needed to determine how a temporary kind of jetlag feeling, lasting 2 weeks at most, can significantly influence health and well-being.

What can I do to combat the effects of DST?

  1. Avoid using electronics less than an hour before bed. Electronic devices emit a blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime.
  2. Watch your caffeine intake. Drinking caffeine up to 6 hours before bedtime can make you lose an hour or more of sleep.
  3. Ease into the time change. Shift your bedtime by 10 minutes every night, beginning a week before the time change.
  4. Stick to a strict sleep schedule and create a bedtime routine. Try to get ready for bed at the same time every night (even on the weekends). Creating a routine, such as a bath or a shower, meditation, deep breathing/stretching exercises, or a warm cup of tea, are all great ways to get your body and mind to relax.
  5. Nap if you need to. Naps are a great way to recharge during the day.  Just make sure they are not longer than 30 minutes, or you could have trouble sleeping at night.

Contact Our Mercer County NJ Lawyers Today

If you or someone you know has been in an accident due to the effects of DST fatigue, or for any reason, contact The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson at (609) 528-2596.  Let our legal team help you get the settlement to which you are entitled.  We provide excellent legal service and are prepared to work on your case to obtain the best result possible.