Articles Posted in Car Accidents

A new mobile app is sweeping the nation and its name is Pokémon Go. For those of us that experienced it first hand, Pokémon first landed big in the U.S. back in the 90s and captured the imaginations of children far and wide. The franchise has come back around, and this time it’s making its first smart phone debut.

The premise is simple and the series’ tagline: catch ‘em all. Players are tasked with collecting all the 151 types of pocket monsters, or Pokémon, and the mobile game has its players do this by exploring the real world. Using the phone’s GPS, players explore an augmented reality of the real world. They track down the nearby monsters and catch them as they appear transposed onto what the phone’s camera sees. The game itself is innocuous, excluding a recent security concern regarding an error in what account information is available to the game.

What has been causing some real world pressures though has been player behavior. This is in line with typical concerns of smart phone usage, especially with operation while driving. The allure of catching Pokémon at any time has led to some overeager players to attempt to play the game while driving, with sometimes disastrous results. It’s not just driving either. There have been cases of players straying into traffic, trespassing, and even walking off cliffs in pursuit of wild Pokémon. Some local governments are even considering passing regulation specifically targeting the game.

Many of us learned to bike as kids, and many of us continue to do so.  I know I don’t get to ride nearly as often as I’d like There is no reason to not to try and brush off those pedals and go for a spin, but if you’re over the age of 45, try not to push it too hard. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that the injuries sustained by bicyclists over the age of 45 increased by 23 percent, nearly a quarter more over their younger peers.

As with many statistics, this news should be taken with a grain of salt. There are always a multitude of factors that can result in skewed values. For example, there is actually an increase in the number of bicyclists over the age of 45, and an increase from there of cyclists who engage in sport cycling. It is not entirely risk born of age, and if anything the American people are showing that age really is just a number as they take to a pair of wheels. Still, our bodies aren’t always what they were before, and we need to be aware of our limits. If you’re biking to try and get back in shape, remember that you won’t get back there all at once. It takes time and practice. For everyone out there, remember to be safe. Wear a helmet, stay alert, ride with traffic, and obey the law. Stay safe and have fun out there!

If you or a loved one have been injured in a collision while biking or driving and need legal consultation, contact us at 202-296-0666.

Bicyclists beware; DC Law says you can’t recover any damages even if you are only a little bit at fault. This means that any incident where you had even the slightest possibility of somehow preventing that situation, you can’t collect any damages from a negligent motorist.  This is made worse by a lack of understanding of bicycle law by the police, and inconsistent police review.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association is trying to  fix this through educational outreach, but it can only do so much. They are pushing for the Bicycle and Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Amendment Act of 2015.  This proposed law attempts to change the law of contributory negligence.  Essentially, this amendment will prevent the cyclist’s opposing party from obtaining a complete defense due to any amount of fault on the cyclist’s part.

Recently, the Motor Vehicle Collision Recovery Act was voted 3-0 from the committee to move on for consideration by the full D.C. Council. It explicitly protects non-motorists in its language, and will afford bicyclists greater protection. The bill includes the last clear chance doctrine, which shifts the potential for final fault onto the negligent motorist. Even if the cyclist is found to be at fault, if the motorist failed to capitalize on a last clear chance to avoid the collision, the cyclist may potentially obtain a recovery.

Drive safe. It’s a familiar saying. Car accidents rack up a lot of costs, either monetary or emotional.  Too often, it costs lives, too.

What leads to crashes? In an interview with Bethesda Magazine, Detective Cpl. David Cohen said, “…in 99.9 percent of our cases, the fatal collision could have been prevented if someone had just done something differently.” To consider them accidents, according to the Detective, is to suggest there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. We can always take precautions to protect our own lives and property, and those of our neighbors.

When a fatal crash occurs, county collision detectives get involved.  It is their task to study the scene of the collision and analyze the factors that went into it. With calculations, simulation, and long hours, detectives gain an understanding of the crash and determine who was at fault, and if that fault is of a criminal nature. Often, investigations do not end with criminal charges being pressed, but not for the reason you might think. In about 60% of the investigated collisions, the perpetrator died in the crash.

This chart shows recent pedestrian and bicycle accident data from the District of Columbia:

DC PED Injury graphs
As you can see, pedestrian fatalities are getting more frequent and more severe.

At Lewis & Tompkins PC, we are seeing more pedestrian and bicycle accident victims.  In our experience, inattentive drivers (I’m talking to you, cell phone users)  and hectic rush hour traffic are the most frequent causes of cars hitting pedestrians and bicyclists.

Since the start of your pregnancy, it seems as if every report you see on WJLA, every show you watch on PBS, and every movie you watch on MNT is about women losing their babies in car accidents. Perhaps you’re just sensitive to the subject, so you subconsciously see it everywhere. However, that doesn’t mean the danger isn’t real…right?

So, should you be worried for your unborn child? If so, what can you do to protect him?

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Turns are one of the most dangerous common traffic movements. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, 30 percent of all traffic accidents occur in intersections as a result of improper turns. This statistic doesn’t bode well for Washingtonians, as D.C. has thousands of intersections where millions of drivers cross and turn each day. Many of these intersections present twice the risk, as they not only have one turn lane per side, but two.

However, just because you live in a city that has high turning accident risks doesn’t mean that you can’t protect yourself from a tragic accident.

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You had just taken your little girl to get her first library card. Needless to say you were a little emotional as she picked out her first book and took it to the counter, showed the librarian her “special” card and continued to smile and hug the Clifford book the entire time you were putting her into her car seat. As you turned onto Arlington, she began asking you questions about the pictures in the book and kept asking you to turn around. You waited until the intersection at Edgemoore Lane, and as you stopped, you quickly looked back at her, answered a few questions and then proceeded to make your turn.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a large minivan smashes into your side and pushes your car up onto the curb. Fortunately, besides a few bumps and bruises, both you and your daughter are okay. The back window shattered, but your little girl was smart enough to cover her face with “Clifford,” so the glass didn’t cut her.

Although thankful that the injuries weren’t more severe, you’re not sure what happened to cause the accident. You thought you were clear, and you make that turn all the time. What more could you have done to have prevented the collision?

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After a cold, long winter, summer is finally here. To celebrate the warm weather, many families are hitting the road for some much needed vacation time. Whether you’re headed to Ocean City, Williamsburg, or any other hot spot in the D.C. area, you are probably getting there by car.

How to Stay Safe on Your Upcoming Road Trip

Before you get behind the wheel this summer, make sure you’ve done the following to keep your family safe and secure on your way to and from your next vacation.

  • Make a trip to your mechanic first. Let your mechanic know that you are getting ready to go on a road trip. He will check your tire pressure, tire treads, fluid levels and more. These are all important to have checked so your car does not break down on the side of the road, or worse.
  • Plan your route. One of the most dangerous things you can do while driving is take your eyes off the road. By planning your route ahead of time you will know where you’re going so you do not have to look down at your phone, GPS, or map.
  • Pack plenty of entertainment. Your kids will get bored on the trip. While you can’t prevent that, you can take steps to ensure your kids won’t distract you while you are driving—and potentially causing an accident. Bring plenty of entertainment for your kids to have within arms’ reach.

The key to having a fun family vacation is keeping everyone safe, and that starts before you leave the house.

As Maryland car accident lawyers, we hear of too many accidents that destroy family’s vacations. By following these tips and planning your trip before you get behind the wheel, you can avoid catastrophe on the drive and have an enjoyable escape out of town.

Do you know of another family going on a road trip this summer? Email them this blog post to help them have a safe trip.

It's hard to drive anywhere in DC without hitting a pothole. While potholes aren’t unusual in the DC metro area, the long winter and recent storms have caused a record amount of road damage. D.C.'s Department of Transportation filled more than four times as many potholes during this year’s Potholepalooza campaign as it did in 2013. And, the road repairs continue.

Potholes are hard to avoid. If you see a large pothole, you may have no option except to drive through it. This can cause damage to your car.

Many times, the damage is subtle. You’ve been driving over potholes all winter and spring. You haven’t noticed any visible damage, but potholes put a huge strain on your car’s suspension and shocks. If they are deep, they can have an impact similar to a 35-mph car accident.

Seven Signs That Your Car May Have Pothole Damage

  1. Your car pulling to the left or right; this can indicate a wheel alignment problem.
  2. You have uneven tire wear, another sign of a wheel alignment problem.
  3. Your tire pressure is low.
  4. There are bulges or blisters on the tire sidewalls.
  5. There are dents or dings in your wheel rims.
  6. Your car seems to bounce more on rough roads.
  7. Your vehicle sways when you make turns.

If you notice any of these problems, ask your mechanic to check your car for damage.

VDOT, the City of DC, and Maryland counties are working hard to repair this year’s potholes. But repair work takes time. In the meantime, try to avoid potholes when possible. If you can’t avoid the pothole, slow down and hold the steering firmly to avoid losing control. You can find out if there potholes on your route by checking the DDOT pothole repair website.

Have you noticed any unusually large potholes this spring? Post a comment and share your DC pothole horror story. We’d love to hear about your experience.