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.

How to value a wrongful death claim in NJ

In New Jersey, the value of a wrongful death claim is based on financial impact, and not on emotional loss.

Financial Impact vs Emotional Loss in Wrongful Death Cases Mercer County NJCoping with the death of a loved one can be so stressful and emotionally draining. You may be experiencing overwhelming grief and at the same time anger about your loss. You may have to plan a funeral, settle your loved one’s personal and business responsibilities, and deal with suddenly intense financial needs as a result of your loss.

But you may be eligible to win financial compensation by means of a wrongful death claim. It depends on the cause of your loved one’s death, either by medical malpractice, an accident in the workplace, a deadly assault, or other circumstances.

What Is Wrongful Death in New Jersey?

“Wrongful death” is defined as the death of a person due to an act that should not have occurred (such as neglect), or an act that the person would have been compensated for had they survived. Common wrongful death cases include:

Who Can Benefit?

A wrongful death claim can be made by the surviving dependents of the deceased person, according to N.J.S.A. 2A:31-4.  These can include:

  • A spouse and any children or grandchildren.
  • Parents of a deceased person, typically if that person was unmarried with no children.
  • Siblings, nieces, or nephews of the deceased person.
  • Anyone who is able to prove that he or she was truly dependent on the deceased person.

First priority in paying out wrongful death cases is given to the surviving spouse and children, then to parents, and then to siblings, nieces, and nephews.

What Can I Seek Compensation For?

Commonly, people file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for:

  • What Can I Seek Compensation For?Loss of the finances provided by the deceased person. This is based on the amount of money that the deceased would have earned had he or she lived.
  • Loss of household services, like childcare and chores.
  • Loss of companionship, comfort, or care.
  • The expense of medical care related to the injury, and funeral expenses related to death.

Please note that, in New Jersey, the value of a wrongful death claim is based on financial impact, and not on emotional loss. Surviving family members cannot recover from emotional distress or seek punitive damages in a wrongful death claim.

However, depending on the circumstances of your loved one’s death, you might be able to make a claim under the NJ Survival Statute. This allows the estate of the victim to pursue compensation for suffering and pain, as well as lost wages and medical expenses, that the victim experienced during the time of the accident to the untimely death.

Finally, keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations to file the claim. All wrongful death cases in New Jersey must be filed within at most two years of the date of death. Beyond that two-year time limit, the case will most likely not proceed.

Why would I go ahead with a wrongful death claim?

A wrongful death case can provide the money you need to pay outstanding medical bills or funeral costs. It can help your family replace the income you’ve lost, and will continue to lose, as a result of the wrongful death.

The case might also benefit you by bringing the person responsible for the death to account. Often, a wrongful death lawsuit is the only way to do this.

These are important benefits, but there are also important potential costs to think about.

Potential Downsides of a Wrongful Death Case

During a wrongful death case:

  • You may have to talk about the accident and about your loved one. This can be emotionally difficult.
  • You may feel as if you are putting a price tag on your loss. However, you are not profiting financially from your loved one’s death.

If you choose to file a wrongful death claim, it is your attorney’s job to make the process go as smoothly as possible for you.

How do I file?

Contact Monmouth County NJ Lawyers TodayMost states require a wrongful death case to be filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased person, who brings the wrongful death case for the benefit of the deceased’s surviving spouse and children if there are any, or more distant relatives if not.

Why would I need a wrongful death lawyer?

A skilled attorney can help you gather evidence, prove your case, and recover damages in court or reach a fair settlement. In reaching a settlement, your lawyer knows how to leverage evidence and present convincing arguments to get the best settlement. Your attorney can also make sure that all of your rights are protected.

Contact Trenton NJ Lawyers Today

Coping with the loss of a loved one can be overwhelmingly stressful. You need an attorney who is not only compassionate but also able to leverage legal knowledge and experience to fight for your rights.

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, Our team’s skill, and dedication to your family, can make all the difference in securing compensation for the unwarranted loss of your loved one in  Trenton, Princeton, Hamilton, and the greater Mercer County area.

To arrange a free consultation to discuss your wrongful death claim, please contact us online, or through our Trenton office at 609.528.2596. We look forward to working with you.

Fatal Car Accident Bucks County PA – Vehicle in Flames after being struck by a Drunk Driver

A Bristol Township resident has been arrested and charged after a fatal high-speed crash and DUI 

Fatal Car Accident Bucks County PA - Vehicle in Flames after being struck by a Drunk DriverAccording to Pennsylvania State Police, a Toyota Sienna minivan was traveling along the highway while the occupants were on their way home from work. Due to concern about mechanical issues, the minivan had its hazard lights on at the time. The minivan, containing four occupants, was hit from behind by the Toyota Sports Utility Vehicle. The impact caused the minivan to go off the highway and striking a concrete barrier. The minivan then became engulfed in flames.

State Police said that two of the occupants in the rear of the minivan were killed by the fast-moving fire.  The minivan driver and one passenger sustained injuries and including burns.

Driving at a High Speed with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) well over the Legal Limit

Reportedly, an investigation into the crash revealed that the driver of the Toyota Sienna had been drinking alcohol before the collision.  Troopers obtaining vehicle data from the Toyota Sienna disclosed that the vehicle was traveling at between 106 mph and 115 mph at the time of the crash. It was disclosed that blood draw taken following the crash from the driver of the Toyota Sienna measured blood-alcohol level between .151 and .169 percent, well above the legal limit of .08.

Fatal Accident Data Due to Alcohol-Impaired Drivers

The Center for Disease Control reports that every day there is 29 death in the United States caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.  This horrifying statistic means that there is one death every 50 fifty minutes throughout the nation that could have been prevented.

PennDot Alcohol-Related Accident Statistics in Pennsylvania

PennDot reports that in 2018, the number of alcohol-related crashes decreased to 9,811 from 10,346 alcohol-related crashes in 2017. This was the lowest number in the preceding five years. However, in 2018, alcohol-related fatalities increased to 331 from 293 alcohol-related fatalities in 2017.  Alcohol-related accidents reportedly caused 6,227 injuries in 2018.

Injured in a crash with an Impaired Driver? Consult a Bucks County Motor Vehicle Accident and Injury Attorney to Protect Your Rights

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our team of attorneys is experienced in supporting and fiercely representing our clients who have been involved in all types of motor vehicle accidents across Princeton, Trenton, Hamilton, Lawrence, and the greater Mercer County area. No matter your situation you don’t have to confront it alone.

To speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential personal injury or permanent disability case, please contact us online or through our Trenton, NJ office at 609.528.2596.

Tractor Trailer Accident on NJ Turnpike Attorneys

Three injured on the NJ Turnpike as a tractor-trailer overturns in Woodbridge NJ

Tractor Trailer Accident on NJ Turnpike AttorneysIt has been reported that least three people were injured when a tractor-trailer carrying garbage overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike on Wednesday morning. The crash occurred on the Turnpike, in Woodbridge, New Jersey, north of Interchange 10 around 6 a.m.

The tractor-trailer collided with a passenger car and the truck overturned, landed onto its side, facing the wrong direction on the roadway.  The content of the truck spilled debris over the road.  Southbound traffic on the Turnpike had been diverted around the vehicles and road debris.

Two Needed Medical attention at Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center following the Truck Accident

Two people in the passenger car were taken to Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center. Their condition is not known and earlier reports do not disclose the occupants’ injuries.  It was reported that the driver of the truck had been treated at the accident scene.

Auto Accident Statistics in NJ

The New Jersey Department of Transportation released the number of car accidents that occurred in New Jersey from 2001 through 2018.  In 2018, there were 278,413 crashes, which means that there 762 car accidents per day.  While not the highest reported crashes since 2001, the number of accidents that occurred in 2018 was the highest number of motor vehicle accidents since 2004.

There were 17,082 crashes that occurred on the Interstate system in New Jersey in 2018 as reported by the New Department of Transportation.  Reportedly, the New Jersey Counties with the highest number of motor vehicle crashes in 2018 were Essex (30,078), Bergen (29,459), and Middlesex (28,965).

Contact Our Mercer County Truck and Tractor Trailer Accident Attorneys Today

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson, our personal injury attorneys have a history of success when it comes to helping clients injured in accidents across Princeton, Trenton, Hamilton, Lawrence, and the greater Mercer County area.

If you have been injured as the result of the reckless or negligent actions of another, contact our firm today to discuss your options in a free and confidential consultation. We undertsnad that this can be one of the most trying momements in your life. Concerns may be flooding your mind about finances, medical bills, quality legal representation, and of course your health or the health of a family member. To schedule your consultation, please contact us online. or through our Trenton, NJ office at 609.528.2596.