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Middleton Wisconsin Personal Injury Law Blog

How can you know when you have a valid wrongful death claim?

It's devastating to lose a loved one in any situation, especially if the death was unexpected. One phone call from Wisconsin authorities to your family can change your life and the lives of your family members forever. If you lost someone you love in a car accident caused by a negligent or reckless driver, how can you ever pick up the pieces and move forward?

It may be possible that your family has grounds to move forward with a wrongful death claim, but this can be an overwhelming thought during a time of grief. You will find it helpful to seek legal guidance as soon as possible in order to ensure you take the appropriate steps with this process. The aftermath of a fatal accident is tragic and overwhelming, but you do not have to walk through it alone.

Safety ratings may be misleading

Professionals who study car safety ratings say that many vehicles Wisconsin drivers and others own may not be as safe as advertised. This is because crash tests don't consider how smaller vehicles fare in head-on collisions with larger vehicles. Vehicles are rated by the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on a scale of 1 to 5. Those who receive the highest score are generally thought to be the safest on the roads.

It is worth pointing out that the NHTSA is transparent about this issue, and it does collect data on all fatal crashes that occur in the United States. Data stretching back to the 1970s can be analyzed through FARS, which stands for Fatality Analysis Reporting System, using a tool called Auto Grades. The creator of the tool acknowledged that the current rating system was an effective tool in the past. However, it may be time to upgrade it to help keep everyone on the road safe.

Getting a license can raise teens' car crash risk eight times

While it can be a time for celebration when teens get their license, there is a very real risk that goes along with it. Wisconsin drivers should know that the National Institutes for Health ran a study comparing teen driving behavior before obtaining their license and after. It turns out that the chances that teens get in a crash or near-miss go up eight times in the first three months of having a license compared to the three months before obtaining it.

The 90 teens who participated in the study were found to engage in all kinds of unsafe maneuvers, including severe turning, harsh braking and high-speed acceleration after receiving their license. Researchers believe that the adult supervision teens receive when they have a permit is too quickly withdrawn, leaving teens with no way to develop skills on their own. A gradual withdrawal may be the best solution to this trend.

Drivers text, watch videos behind the wheel

Distracted driving is a major threat to roadway safety in Wisconsin and across the nation. It's linked to thousands of fatal or catastrophic accidents every year. In many states, distraction is the leading cause of motor vehicle collisions. Concern about distracted driving has gone up in recent years along with the behavior in question, especially as smartphones have become nearly ubiquitous. Drivers stuck in traffic, at red lights or even on monotonous stretches of roads may find it tempting to pick up their phones.

According to one study announced by a car insurance company, many drivers recognize the dangers posed by distracted driving. When people text behind the wheel, they take their minds away from the task at hand. At 55 mph, motorists can travel the length of a football field within seconds. Indeed, almost half of the participants said that they considered distracted driving to be the biggest threat to their own safety on the roads.

Volvo plans more safety technology for its cars

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2017, more than 10,800 people died in auto accidents that were caused by drunk driving. Starting in the early 2020s, Wisconsin drivers will be able to purchase Volvos with safety features that help prevent accidents caused by drunk and distracted driving. The company says it will begin rolling out the features in early 2020. Starting in 2020, the company's cars will not allow speeds higher than 112 miles per hour.

Volvo made its announcement about the new safety features on March 20. The company says it wants to focus on accident prevention over minimizing the impact of accidents once they happen.

Wisconsin intersection safety: Keep these things in mind

When you approach an intersection, it can be a stressful driving situation. You might have to cooperate with numerous other drivers simultaneously, so that each of you safely makes it through the crossroads. If one of the vehicles is turning or someone fails to yield the right-of-way, there is a high risk for collision that might result in serious injuries to you or a passenger in your car.

Another factor that poses a potential hazard at intersections is pedestrians. You just never know when someone is going to step into your path, even if he or she does not have the traffic light in his or her favor. Because of these and other issues, intersection safety should always be a main concern to licensed drivers in Wisconsin and elsewhere. If you suffer injury in a collision that someone else has caused, it is also important to know where to seek recovery support.

Weather Channel sued over death of storm spotter in 2017

Wisconsin residents who view the Weather Channel may remember an incident back in March of 2017 that involved the stars of the show "Storm Wranglers." The duo was driving near the city of Spur, Texas, to chase a tornado when they ran a stop sign and collided with another vehicle. The two stars and the 25-year-old driver of the other vehicle died upon impact.

Everything up to the accident was being livestreamed on the Weather Channel's Facebook page. Those familiar with "Storm Wranglers" know that the duo was known for their dramatic chases. Other storm chasers had expressed their concern over the duo's driving behavior long before the accident took place.

Drowsy driving a factor in many crashes

Wisconsin residents and others celebrated World Sleep Day on March 15. To highlight the importance of not driving while tired, Ford created a special sleep suit. The garment allowed individuals to see what the microsleeps felt like that a driver can experience without even realizing it. Although microsleeps only last for up to 10 seconds, they can make it harder to operate a motor vehicle safely.

Individuals who wore the suit were given a pair of goggles to wear that was connected to a smartphone. They also had weights attached to various parts of their body to further simulate the feeling of driving while tired. While drivers may believe that drowsy driving isn't dangerous, it accounts for roughly 20 percent of serious car accidents. In some cases, the level of impairment can equal that of being above the blood alcohol limit.

Pedestrian fatalities now exceed 15 percent of all traffic deaths

The roads in the U.S. are becoming more dangerous for pedestrians, according to recent data provided by a non-profit organization that targets traffic safety. Wisconsin residents may be shocked to learn that 6,227 people died while traveling on foot in 2018.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, which has members in all 50 states, publishes data on traffic safety annually. The report for 2018 that was recently released shows major areas of concern. Pedestrian fatalities now comprise over 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. The death rate is the highest in 28 years.

Reasons car accidents occur

There are many different factors that can contribute to drivers in Wisconsin being in an accident. It is the duty of the claims adjuster for the insurance company and the responsibility of law enforcement to determine the causes of an accident and who should be considered at fault. The police require the information in order to know to whom to issue a ticket. The insurance company has to know who is at fault to determine which party should receive a claims payment and the amount of the payment.

Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents and appears to be on the rise due to the prevalence of technology devices that are brought into vehicles or have become standard built-in features of vehicles. Drivers can be distracted by not only DVD players and cellphones but also children in the back seat and trying to eat or drink while driving. Although multi-tasking is considered a valuable skill in some arenas, it has no place behind the wheel of a vehicle.

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