Driver Distraction Responsible for 1.4 Million Automobile Crashes in the Past Decade

Driver Distraction Responsible for 1.4 Million Automobile Crashes in the Past Decade

 

Distracted driving is a serious problem throughout the nation for drivers of all ages as well as cyclists, pedestrians and everyone who shares the road. New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman recently put the problem into perspective, saying more than one million crashes in the past decade involved a distraction of some kind.

 

Sources claim there were around 3 million auto accidents between 2004 and 2013. About 1.4 million of those, nearly half, involved driver distraction. In those accidents, more than 1,600 people died.

 

The “Decade of Distracted Driving”

Hoffman called it the decade of distracted driving, saying that something needs to be done to stop such accidents and save future lives. Hoffman has also warned that this problem is only getting worse, rather than better. The rate of distracted driving crashes is rising.

 

In 2004, for instance, inattention was cited in 42 percent of crashes. Today, inattention is cited in 53 percent of all accidents. The percentage of distracted driving accidents has grown 26 percent during the past decade.

 

Law enforcement cracking down

Several police departments have received grants to help fund distracted driving prevention and enforcement efforts. This comes from the new federal campaign “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” The campaign includes checkpoints and increasing patrols to hold distracted drivers accountable before they cause an accident.

 

Law enforcement has issued around 3,000 summonses for distracted driving violations, only halfway into the campaign.

 

A recent survey revealed that even though 9 out of 10 respondents knew it was against the law to text and drive, 3 in 10 admitted to doing it anyway despite the dangers of it being mentioned all over the local news, internet and roadside signs.

 

There are many causes of distractions

Texting and emailing aren’t the only distractions to drivers, others include talking on your phone and even reaching for it. When cited on accident reports, “inattention” also can refer to eating behind the wheel, dropping something on the floorboard or even changing the radio station.

 

Recent research suggests that even hands-free technology is distracting. Your mind is still being distracted, even though your hands aren’t. This leads to something referred to as “inattention blindness”.

 

A recent study from the University of Iowa Public Policy Center found that when drivers used hands-free devices there was a reduction of brain activity in the areas needed for driving of about 37 percent. In other words, the mere acts of listening and talking are enough to cause a serious auto accident.

 

This research is a strong indicator that we need to go above and beyond what the laws require of us. Putting down your cell phone and ending texting while driving isn’t enough, you need to make sure your eyes and your mind stay focused solely on the road ahead. Anything less, and you risk being involved in an accident that could dramatically change your life forever.

 

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Personal Injury and Parental Responsibility Laws

Many parents don’t realize that they can be held legally liable for the acts of their minor children. Almost every state has enacted some version of this kind of law, although the specifics vary, and it usually applies to both intentional and negligent acts committed by the child.

 

Parental Responsibility Laws

Parental responsibility laws have been a cornerstone of our legal system for more than a century. The first state to enact a law of this type was Hawaii in 1846, and to this day Hawaii’s version of the law remains one of the most encompassing in its application. In most states, the concept of parental responsibility applies to both the criminal and civil acts of the child.

 

Even though it may seem unfair for a parent to be held legally responsible for the acts of a child, state legislatures have decided that an innocent victim should not bear the financial burden of property damage or medical expenses that resulted through no fault of their own.

 

The reasoning behind these laws is that parents have a legal obligation to control their minor children, and to teach them better life skills so that the children may make better decisions. If a parent fails to fulfill their legal obligation to control their child, and the child then causes harm to another person or to property, the parent is legally and financially responsible. It is for this reason, if a child is negligent, that negligence is transferred to the parent.

 

Legal Age of Personal Responsibility

A minor is any person who has not yet reached the age of adulthood. The age at which a child legally becomes an adult varies from state to state, but in most states that age is 18. Most states that have parental responsibility laws have established the rule that parents can be held responsible for the acts of their child only until the child reaches 18 years of age However, at least one state has expanded parental responsibility to include children up to 21 years of age in certain situations.

 

Example of Parental Responsibility Laws in New Jersey

Parents may be liable for a child’s acts, but only for damage to railroads, public utilities or school property. In those instances a parent’s financial responsibility is capped at $5,000.00.

 

Parental Liability for a Minor’s Acts While Driving a Car

Usually, most parental liability laws include any damages a child may cause while driving a car. However, many states also have specific statutes further defining the legal liability of a parent or other adult in that situation. Those statutes are typically called “sponsorship laws.”
In those states, anyone under the age of 18 must have a “sponsor” in order to obtain a driver’s license. The sponsor is typically a parent, but may also be an employer. However, if the minor is negligent or engages in willful misconduct while driving a car, then damages resulting from the conduct can be transferred to the adult sponsor. This is true even if the sponsor had no actual control over the minor or even the vehicle. If the minor does cause any damage to others, the sponsor may be legally liable to the injured person up to the full amount of the damages.

Driver Distraction Responsible for 1.4 Million New Jersey Crashes in the Past Decade

Distracted driving is a serious problem throughout the nation for drivers of all ages as well as cyclists, pedestrians and everyone who shares the road. New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman recently put the problem into perspective, saying more than one million crashes in the past decade involved a distraction of some kind.

 

Sources claim there were around 3 million auto accidents in New Jersey between 2004 and 2013. About 1.4 million of those, nearly half, involved driver distraction. In those accidents, more than 1,600 people died.

 

The “Decade of Distracted Driving”

Hoffman called it the decade of distracted driving, saying that something needs to be done to stop such accidents and save future lives. Hoffman has also warned that this problem is only getting worse, rather than better. The rate of distracted driving crashes is rising.

 

In 2004, for instance, inattention was cited in 42 percent of crashes. Today, inattention is cited in 53 percent of all accidents. The percentage of distracted driving accidents has grown 26 percent during the past decade.

 

Law enforcement cracking down across the state

Sixty police departments in 10 counties across New Jersey have received grants to help fund distracted driving prevention and enforcement efforts. This comes from the new federal campaign “U Drive. U Text. U Pay.” The campaign includes checkpoints and increasing patrols to hold distracted drivers accountable before they cause an accident.

 

New Jersey law enforcement has issued around 3,000 summonses for distracted driving violations, only halfway into the campaign.

 

A recent survey revealed that even though 9 out of 10 respondents knew it was against the law to text and drive in New Jersey, 3 in 10 admitted to doing it anyway despite the dangers of it being mentioned all over the local news, internet and roadside signs.

 

There are many causes of distractions

Texting and emailing aren’t the only distractions to drivers in New Jersey, others include talking on your phone and even reaching for it. When cited on accident reports, “inattention” also can refer to eating behind the wheel, dropping something on the floorboard or even changing the radio station.

 

Recent research suggests that even hands-free technology is distracting. Your mind is still being distracted, even though your hands aren’t. This leads to something referred to as “inattention blindness”.

 

A recent study from the University of Iowa Public Policy Center found that when drivers used hands-free devices there was a reduction of brain activity in the areas needed for driving of about 37 percent. In other words, the mere acts of listening and talking are enough to cause a serious auto accident.

 

This research is a strong indicator that we need to go above and beyond what the laws require of us. Putting down your cell phone and ending texting while driving isn’t enough, you need to make sure your eyes and your mind stay focused solely on the road ahead. Anything less, and you risk being involved in an accident that could dramatically change your life forever.
If you are involved in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence call the Law Firm of Artusa Personal Injury Lawyers. We can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

New Jersey Dog Bite Statutes

More than half the states make the dog owner liable if their dog causes an injury, whether or not the owner had reason to think their dog was dangerous. Although commonly called dog-bite statutes, many of these state laws cover all kinds of injuries inflicted by dogs, not only bites. The New Jersey Dog Bite statutes are called “strict liability” statutes because they impose liability without fault, meaning an injured person does not have to prove that the dog owner did anything wrong.

 

The theory behind these laws is that anyone who has a dog should be responsible for any damage it causes, without any excuses. It doesn’t matter that the owner was careful with the dog, or didn’t know it would hurt anyone, or tried to keep the dog from injuring anyone.

 

New Jersey Statute 4:19-16 Liability of owner regardless of viciousness of dog

The owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a public place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog on the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.

 

For the purpose of this section, a person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner when he is on the property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner thereof.

 

To recover under N.J.S.A 4:19-16, a plaintiff must prove only that the defendant owned the dog, that the dog bit the plaintiff, and that the plaintiff was in a public place or lawfully on the owner’s property. The statute does not apply if the victim was trespassing without criminal intent, or the injury was not caused by a bite, or the target defendant was not the dog’s owner.

 

However, a cause of action also can be based upon common law strict liability for knowledge of wrongdoing, negligence and negligence per se (need not prove that a reasonable person should have acted differently).

 

There are two types of dog bite claims in which the defendant may appear liable without having to pay the victim at all, or without the responsibility of paying all of the victim’s losses. The first involves a victim who was trespassing. The dog bite statute permits a defense based upon trespass, but only if the trespasser had criminal intent.

 

The second is a claim based upon an accident that was caused by more than one person. For example, the victim’s conduct might have been wrongful and therefore negligent, or the dog might have been in the process of being walked by a professional dog walker who was inattentive and therefore negligent.

 

In such cases, the dog owner’s liability is not truly “strict”, but “almost strict,” in that the plaintiff cannot recover if his responsibility for the accident is greater than the responsibility of whoever else may be held responsible, and furthermore, he can recover from each defendant only the amount that corresponds to that person’s fault. For example, if the victim was not looking where he was going, and the jury believed that the victim was negligent, the jury could attribute 50% of the fault to the victim, in which event the victim would receive 50% of his losses. Another example would involve the dog walker. If the jury believed that the victim was not negligent, the jury might attribute 50% of the loss to the dog walker and 50% to the dog owner.

 

New Jersey has partially eliminated the joint and several rule, meaning that a defendant who is less than 60% responsible for any accident can be required to pay all of the economic expenses but only that portion of the noneconomic losses (such as pain and suffering) which equals his actual percentage of fault.

 

The Personal Injury lawyers at Artusa can help protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome for your dog bite case. You don’t need to face this alone and you shouldn’t, give us a call today and let us get started on your case right away.

 

New Jersey Personal Injury Guidelines

This article will attempt to answer some of your questions regarding the New Jersey laws that will affect your injury case, whether you are involved in an insurance company settlement or a personal injury lawsuit.

 

Time Limits for New Jersey Personal Injury Lawsuits

The first, and most important rule to understand in any case, is the statute of limitations. This is the amount of time from the incident that you are allowed to seek relief. All states have limits on the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit in the civil court system following some type of harm you have suffered. There are different deadlines depending on the type of case you’re asking the court to hear.

 

In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases gives an injured person two years from the date of the injury to go to court and file a lawsuit against those responsible for the injury.

 

It is very important to understand and abide by this law because, if you don’t get your lawsuit filed before the two-year time limit, the New Jersey court system will likely refuse to hear your case at any time after this limitation, and your right to compensation will be gone.

 

New Jersey Shared Fault Laws

In some cases, the party you are trying to hold responsible for your injuries may claim that you’re completely or partially to blame for the injuries you have sustained.

 

If you do share some of the liability, the total amount of the compensation, you receive from the other party, could end up affected.

 

In shared fault injury cases, New Jersey upholds the “modified comparative negligence rule.” In its simplest definition, this rule means that the amount of compensation you’re entitled to receive will be reduced by an amount that is equal to your percentage of fault for the accident. However, if it is found that you bear more than 50 percent of the legal blame, you won’t be able to collect anything at all from the other at-fault parties.

 

New Jersey courts are obligated to follow this rule in an injury lawsuit that goes to trial. You can also expect the lawyer for the defence to raise the issue of the comparative negligence rule during settlement talks.

 

No-Fault Rule for Car Accident Cases

In the case of car accidents only, New Jersey’s “no-fault” system means injury must be made against your own insurance policy, unless you can show that your injuries meet the “serious injury” threshold. This means that your options are limited to demanding compensation for pain and suffering. However, this process expedites the payment of most claims.

 

Caps on Injury Damages

Some states place limits on the kinds of damages that an injured person can receive in a court case.

 

In New Jersey, the only relevant law that addresses this is under section 2A: 15-5.14 of the New Jersey Code, which caps punitive damages in injury cases at five times the amount of compensatory damages or $350,000, whichever is greater. However, this law most likely won’t affect your case, since punitive damages are very rarely awarded.

 

Dog Bite/Attack Cases “Strict” Liability

In many states, dog owners are protected (to some degree) from injury liability for the first time their dog injures someone if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous. This is often referred to as the “one bite” rule. However, in New Jersey a specific statute makes the owner “strictly liable”, meaning regardless of the animal’s past behavior, the dog owner is responsible for a personal injury caused by their dog. The statute reads:

 

“The owner of any dog” [which bites someone] “in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

 

Injury Claims Against the Government of New Jersey

 

If your injury occurred due to the negligence of an employee or agency of the New Jersey government (at the state level), you will need to follow a different set of rules if you want to get compensation for your losses. You’ll need to file a formal claim with the state government within 90 days of your injury. After that, you’ll have to wait six months to file a lawsuit (assuming the government hasn’t contacted you to resolve your claim), and you must file the lawsuit, in any case within two years of your injury.
Personal injury cases can be confusing and usually mean that you will be going up against an insurance company who will have ruthless lawyers present to represent them and work toward an outcome that means they will offer very little in the way of compensation, if anything at all.

Personal Injury and Parental Responsibility Laws

Many parents don’t realize that they can be held legally liable for the acts of their minor children. Almost every state has enacted some version of this kind of law, although the specifics vary, and it usually applies to both intentional and negligent acts committed by the child.

 

Parental Responsibility Laws

Parental responsibility laws have been a cornerstone of our legal system for more than a century. The first state to enact a law of this type was Hawaii in 1846, and to this day Hawaii’s version of the law remains one of the most encompassing in its application. In most states, the concept of parental responsibility applies to both the criminal and civil acts of the child.

 

Even though it may seem unfair for a parent to be held legally responsible for the acts of a child, state legislatures have decided that an innocent victim should not bear the financial burden of property damage or medical expenses that resulted through no fault of their own.

 

The reasoning behind these laws is that parents have a legal obligation to control their minor children, and to teach them better life skills so that the children may make better decisions. If a parent fails to fulfill their legal obligation to control their child, and the child then causes harm to another person or to property, the parent is legally and financially responsible. It is for this reason, if a child is negligent, that negligence is transferred to the parent.

 

Legal Age of Personal Responsibility

A minor is any person who has not yet reached the age of adulthood. The age at which a child legally becomes an adult varies from state to state, but in most states that age is 18. Most states that have parental responsibility laws have established the rule that parents can be held responsible for the acts of their child only until the child reaches 18 years of age However, at least one state has expanded parental responsibility to include children up to 21 years of age in certain situations.

 

Example of Parental Responsibility Laws in New Jersey

Parents may be liable for a child’s acts, but only for damage to railroads, public utilities or school property. In those instances a parent’s financial responsibility is capped at $5,000.00.

 

Parental Liability for a Minor’s Acts While Driving a Car

Usually, most parental liability laws include any damages a child may cause while driving a car. However, many states also have specific statutes further defining the legal liability of a parent or other adult in that situation. Those statutes are typically called “sponsorship laws.”

 

In those states, anyone under the age of 18 must have a “sponsor” in order to obtain a driver’s license. The sponsor is typically a parent, but may also be an employer. However, if the minor is negligent or engages in willful misconduct while driving a car, then damages resulting from the conduct can be transferred to the adult sponsor. This is true even if the sponsor had no actual control over the minor or even the vehicle. If the minor does cause any damage to others, the sponsor may be legally liable to the injured person up to the full amount of the damages.

 

If you find yourself involved in a personal injury case the personal injury experts at Artusa Law Firm in Jersey City can get you the compensation you deserve.

 

New Jersey Wrongful Death Lawsuits

New Jersey defines a wrongful death as a death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect or default of another”. The conditions that caused the death must be such that, if the deceased person had lived, they would have been able to bring a personal injury claim to court.

 

In this respect, a wrongful death claim can be seen as a personal injury claim in which the injured person is no longer able to present their case in court. Instead, another party must present the claim on the behalf of the deceased.

 

New Jersey allows a wrongful death claim to be filed in civil court even if a related criminal case has also been filed. A wrongful death claim is a civil claim so it must be filed by the personal representative or beneficiaries directly. Liability in the case is expressed solely in terms of monetary damages. By contrast, a criminal case is filed by the prosecuting attorney, and culpability is penalized with incarceration, probation and other penalties.

 

Statute of Limitations for Filing a New Jersey Wrongful Death Claim

The New Jersey statute of limitations, or time limit for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. If the claim is not filed within that two year window, it will almost certainly be barred from court entirely.

 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in New Jersey?

A wrongful death claim is filed by the deceased person’s surviving family members. The claim is usually filed by the executor or personal representative of the estate. However, any damages recovered in the case are distributed to surviving family members who were actually dependent on the deceased person at the time of death, or who are entitled to inherit from the deceased person under New Jersey’s inheritance laws.

 

Those who may receive a portion of the damages in a New Jersey wrongful death case include:

 

  • The surviving spouse and children or grandchildren
  • Surviving parents of the deceased
  • Any surviving siblings, nieces or nephews of the deceased
  • Any person who can prove they were dependent on the deceased

 

Damages in a New Jersey wrongful death case are intended to compensate the estate and the surviving family members for their losses resulting from the passing of the deceased. Consequently, damages in a New Jersey wrongful death claim may be available for losses including:

 

  • Loss of financial support, based on the compensation the deceased could reasonably have been expected to earn if they had lived.
  • Loss of companionship, care, comfort and guidance.
  • Loss of value of household services like cleaning, childcare and other chores.
  • Reasonable medical, funeral and burial expenses related to the deceased’s final illness or injury.

 

New Jersey law does not allow surviving family members to recover damages for emotional distress or to recover punitive damages in a wrongful death case. However, family members may be able to file a separate claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress in order to seek damages for severe emotional distress caused by the death if the surviving family member was present when the death occurred and suffered severe distress as a result.

 

The professional Personal Injury lawyers at Artusa can help you with your wrongful death claim. It is hard enough to lose a loved one, but when you lose your loved one to someone else’s negligence that makes it that much worse. You need a New Jersey lawyer you can trust, to make sure you receive the guidance you need to help you through this difficult time.