The Leading Factors For Brain Injuries In Children And Teens

 Source:  Flickr

Source: Flickr

With the weather getting warmer, children will be spending more time outside, enjoying some of their favorite sports like football, soccer, and basketball. Kids love sports! It teaches them teamwork and planning strategies, and helps build friendships. And as much as kids like sports, teenagers love learning to drive and aim to receive independence from their parents via a driver’s license. This summer teens will be putting their pedals to the metal and test driving their new skills. So, since the spring and summer are so much fun for children of all ages, everyone should also be wary of the dangers that blows to the head in tackle sports and car crashes can have on children. Children from the ages of 0 to 19 have a greater risk for brain injuries than any other age, according to The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).

According to Forbes, “[Of the}More than 55,000 teenage drivers and their passengers who were seriously injured in auto accidents during 2009 and 2010, 30 percent suffered acute head injuries, including concussions, skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries.”

Since playing sports and getting into car accidents are leading factors for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in children, parents should keep an eye on their children's behavior in case of head injury. The BIAA gives the following brain injury symptoms that parents should look out for that could impair a child’s physical, cognitive, and emotional being.

Symptoms of Child Brain Injuries

speech short term memory deficits mood swings
vision impaired concentration denial
hearing slowness of thinking self-centeredness
headaches limited attention span anxiety
motor coordination impairments of perception depression
spasticity of muscles communication skills lowered self-esteem
paresis or paralysis planning sexual dysfunction
seizure disorders writing restlessness
balance reading lack of motivation
fatigue judgment difficulty controlling emotions

Brain injuries can affect a child in multiple ways, as shown in the above brain injury symptoms chart. Collectively, these TBI symptoms can affect a child’s school work, social life, and general way of life. And since the recent news about the NFL concussion scandals, TBIs have become household dinner table talk. All of the negative TBI press has caused parents to become more involved in their children’s physical activities and become reluctant to let their children play sports or learn how to drive. While it’s disheartening to kids to have their parents deny their enrollment in football camp, these parents may be making the right choice. After all, “Each year an average of 62,000 children sustain brain injuries requiring hospitalization as a result of motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports injuries, physical abuse and other causes. A staggering 564,000 children are seen in hospital emergency departments for brain injury and released,” the BIAA reports. And according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), “Sports and recreational activities contribute to about 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among American children and adolescents.”

Brain Injury Accident Lawyer

Brain injuries happen, and they are an injury that nobody expects could happen to them. But for children with brain injuries, it’s even worse. The BIAA reports that, “The brain of a child is continuing to develop. The assumption used to be a child with a brain injury would recover better than an adult because there was more “plasticity” in a younger brain, but recent research has shown that this is not the case. A brain injury actually has a more devastating impact on a child than an injury of the same severity on a mature adult.”  This is why brain trauma is a topic that needs to be discussed more often and more openly by the public. The BIAA leads the charge in continuing the conversation on brain trauma during the month of March, which is Brain Injury Awareness month. While brain injury experts are studying how to heal traumatic brain injuries, it may be a while until a surefire treatment is created. Until then, since we can't bubble wrap children and forbid them to leave the house, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  provides the following tips to help prevent brain injury accidents from occurring. 

How to Prevent Brain Injuries In Children

1. Buckling your child in the car using a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt (according to the child's height, weight, and age).

2. Wearing a seat belt every time you drive or ride in a motor vehicle.

3. Never driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

4. Wearing a helmet and making sure your children wear helmets when:

Michigan Brain Injury Lawyer
  • Riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter, or all-terrain vehicle;

  • Playing a contact sport, such as football, ice hockey, or boxing;

  • Using in-line skates or riding a skateboard;

  • Batting and running bases in baseball or softball;

  • Riding a horse; or

  • Skiing or snowboarding.

5. Making living areas safer for seniors, by:

  • Removing tripping hazards such as throw rugs and clutter in walkways;

  • Using nonslip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors; Installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub or shower;

  • Installing handrails on both sides of stairways;

  • Improving lighting throughout the home; and

  • Maintaining a regular physical activity program, if your doctor agrees, to improve lower body strength and balance.

6. Making living areas safer for children, by:

  • Installing window guards to keep young children from falling out of open windows; and

  • Using safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs when young children are around.

  • Making sure the surface on your child's playground is made of shock-absorbing material, such as hardwood mulch or sand.

While the CDC's 5th tip may be for senior citizens, some of this advice may also be applicable to children. Plenty of children have fallen while running up and down the stairs without using handrails and many have tripped over a rug and hit their head. Vigorous play with toys used to entice children to take baths have also led to slip and fall accidents in the bath tub. 

The fact of the matter is that children always face the risk of traumatic brain injuries because most children are physically active. By monitoring a child or teenager's physical, cognitive, and emotional behaviors following a head injury, parents can help their children immediately receive any medical attention they may need.

Summer fun like playing sports or taking road trips may lead to brain injury accidents. After all, sports and motor vehicle accidents are some of the leading factors for brain injuries in children and teens. If you or anyone you is suffering from a traumatic brain injury or any car accident injury, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC by calling 844.4MI.FIRM today. Our brain injury lawyers are available for a free legal consultation. 

The Dangers Of Saint Patrick's Day Drunk Driving

Detroit Drunk Driving Car Crash Lawyer

St. Patrick’s day is just around the corner, and that means that one of the biggest drinking nights of the year is coming up full throttle. Local bars are pulling out their shamrock decorations, putting together Celtic music playlists, and cooking up corned beef and cabbage to go along with the green beer they plan to serve. 

St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that many people have forgotten the cultural and religious significance of and have instead turned into one of the most popular drinking holidays in America. Between pub crawls, green beer drinking competitions, and Irish car bomb challenges, people of all ages spend St. Patrick’s Day drinking so heavily that they may not remember the celebration the next morning. This enormous amount of drinking that makes St. Patrick’s so fun is also exactly what makes it dangerous for everyone, due to the prevalence of drunk driving car accidents.

Now, this doesn’t mean that St. Paddy’s should not be celebrated. After all, there are many family friendly celebrations including Corktown’s Detroit St. Patrick’s Day Parade. However, the danger of St. Patrick’s Day drunk driving accidents implies that safety should be of concern. The State of Michigan reports that, “In 2015, law enforcement officers arrested more than 32,000 Michigan motorists for drunk driving.” They also mentioned that during the peak ‘party hours’ between midnight and 5:59 AM on March 18, 2014, the day after St. Patrick’s Day, nearly half of the car accidents fatalities involved drunk drivers. The report also said that “from 2014 to 2015, fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes increased by 3.2 percent in the U.S.”

With the increase of fatalities due to alcohol-impaired driving crashes, the State of Michigan also says, “Drunk driving kills more than 10,000 people each year in the U.S., and every single one of those deaths is preventable.” Drunk driving is a choice. It’s a choice that could end up killing or harming innocent people on the roads. Following some of the tips below, provided by the the State of Michigan, could help prevent many avoidable drunk driving car accidents this St. Patrick’s Day. 

St. Patrick’s Day Drunk Driving Safety Tips 

  • Before celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this year, decide whether you’ll drink or you’ll drive. You can’t do both.
  • Designate a sober, reliable driver to get you home safely from the party.
  • If you’re planning on driving, commit to staying sober.                       

These simple drunk driving safety planning tips may seem like common sense, but many people are excited about partying and enjoying the holiday and aren’t thinking about becoming involved in a drunk driving accident, let alone causing a drunk driving car crash. Some people don’t expect to drink as much as they do, or some people lose track of how many drinks they have had. Other people don’t know just how blurred their vision is until they are on the road. Planning before going out to party the holiday away is a smart and effective way to reduce the number of drunk driving car crashes. Designating a sober driver or finding another method of transportation like an Uber or Lyft, only takes a couple of minutes. And what’s a few minutes when lives are at stake? In line with the the State of Michigan, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests keeping the following tips in mind on Saint Patrick’s Day, to potentially prevent drinking and driving car crashes. 

How to Avoid St. Patrick's Day Drunk Driving

  • Designate your sober driver or have an alternate transportation plan before the party begins.
  • Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself – eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.
  • If you don't have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.
  • Use your community's sober ride program.
  • Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive and have had too much to drink.
  • Always buckle up – it's still your best defense against other drunk drivers.
Michigan Drunk Driving Lawyer

Armed with an “it won’t happen to me” mentality, people seem more fearless today than they have ever been. However, people should always still be prepared for dangerous situations such as car crashes and do what they can to prevent them. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) says that in the state of Michigan, 236 people are killed annually due to drunk driving car accidents, and according to BACtrack, the average Saint Patrick Day’s blood alcohol content rings in at 0.126 at midnight, which means that more people are staying out later and drinking, which could lead to more drunk driving car crashes during the peak hours. Michigan considers a drunk driver with a 0.08 or higher blood alcohol content. So anyone may find themselves drunk driving or affected by drunk driving, without even knowing what their blood alcohol content is. By taking drunk driving precautions like those advised by the The State of Michigan and the NHTSA, especially if driving during those St. Patrick’s Day peak hours from 12 AM to 5:59 AM, people can make sure their night stays fun and doesn’t get ruined by a potential stint in prison and a lifetime of dealing with drunk driving lawyers.

Saint Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking nights of the year, which causes many drunk driving accidents. Drunk driving accidents are completely preventable but unfortunately, they still happen. Drunk driving accident deaths and drunk driving car crash injuries can be very serious and can pull families into legal nightmares. If you or anyone you know have been in a car accident involving a drunk driver, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC by calling 844.4MI.FIRM. Our drunk driving car accident attorneys can give you a free consultation today. 

Drowsy Driving Dangers During Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is coming up this upcoming Sunday, March 11, 2018. Unfortunately, the hour we will be losing as we “spring forward,” is an unpleasant experience. Many people wake up thinking they have more time because of the lack of light outside, only to remember that DST just occurred and they need to get up immediately, in order to make it to work on time. Beginning our day an hour earlier may be annoying but it can also be dangerous. The sun comes up later in the day, causing the morning commute to be darker and proving drivers with less visibility than they are used to. People may become exhausted as they begin their day an hour early and may get onto the road with heavy eyes and sleep-deprived minds. A tired and dark morning are two factors that can lead to car accidents.

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

According to The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), our society is chronically sleep deprived, and the hour change after DST does not help with that. Both “spring ahead” and “fall back” are equivalent to the jet lag that occurs when traveling to a different time zone, and even an hour can make a massive difference in energy. These changes tinker with our sleep cycle and it may take at least 5 days for our bodies to get accustomed to them. During those 5 days, the road will have inattentive, drowsy drivers with drooping eyes, who will be waking an hour earlier than they are used to, in order to get to work or school on time.

Drowsy driving due to DST afflicts so many people that a Johns Hopkins Hospital and Standford University study from 1999 reported that the Monday after “spring forward” resulted in an average increase in car accidents, jumping from the average of 72.8% rate of a usual Monday to 83.5% the Monday after DST. That is a 10.7% increase on the Monday after spring DST, which is a shocking increase in car accidents in one day every year! 

Along the lines of NEJM's findings, Richard P. Allen, a Johns Hopkins neurologist who oversaw the study, told Vox, "We didn’t expect to see anything, actually. To me it was really amazing that one hour made that difference." According to Vox, "Allen stresses that a one-hour sleep disruption will be more severe for someone who is already sleep-deprived. "A lot of these accidents occur because we don't have residual sleep [reserves] to survive that insult," he says. "When we're running nearly empty on our sleep-wake status, it doesn't take much to push it into a negative area."

Another study by the University of Colorado Boulder also confirmed DST’s role in the rise of motor vehicle accidents, when it reported that in the first six days after DST, there were 302 motor vehicle accident deaths in 2007. The Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) also found a 17% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after losing an hour, because of DST in 2007. These newer statistics means that there has been a 6.3% increase in the number of DST car crashes, since the study conducted by Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1999. These results show the significant difference that losing an hour sleep can make to our driving, before our bodies become accustomed to the time change, and how the percentage of DST car accidents may be increasing over time.

Luckily, the Johns Hopkins and Stanford study also showed that by the end of the week after DST, the number of car accidents settled back to nearly the usual number of car crashes as the Monday before DST occurred. Perhaps this is because drivers have had the 5 days they needed to get adjusted to their new sleep cycles, and therefore were attentive enough to avoid car accidents. 

Drowsy Driving Car Crash Lawyer

People who are especially vulnerable to the changing sleep cycle during DST are those who get 6 or less hours of sleep. They are already sleep deprived and losing an additional hour of sleep due to DST can make a bigger difference in these peoples’ abilities to drive safely. What we can take away from these DST car accident studies according to Vox is that, "even small decreases in our sleep times can stress our bodies. And good sleep increasingly is seen as a subtle yet critical component of our health...To prepare for a rough Monday after the clock change, it's a good idea to get enough sleep in the days leading up to it." It's better to get catch some extra z's than to chug coffee and cause car accidents!

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Michigan car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our Michigan personal injury lawyers are ready to talk to you about your claims.

March Is Brain Injury Awareness Month

FACT - At least 5.3 million Americans live with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)-related disability.

FACT - Everyday, about 137 people die in the U.S. from a TBI-related injury.

FACT - In Michigan, 58,500 will sustain a TBI every year.

These numbers are staggering. And yet, much of the public is undereducated on the topic of brain injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer

Well, those who want to learn more about brain injuries are in luck since March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), which is an organization created specifically to speak about and spread awareness of brain injuries, annually leads the nation in commemorating Brain Injury Awareness Month by creating brain injury awareness campaigns. Thethe theme for 2018 - 2020 is "Change Your Mind."

#ChangeYourMind informs the public about what brain injuries are, the prevalence of brain injuries, and of the needs of people with brain injuries as well as their families’ needs. The BIAA also works with the brain injury community to “de-stigmatize the injury, empower those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.” The BIAA’s campaign and general brain injury advocacy are necessary to the advancement of science and the human understanding of the most mysterious organ, the brain. The more awareness there is around a subject, the more the public’s thirst for knowledge increases, and subsequently more research is performed to find answers and solutions to the problem millions are facing.

 Source: BIAA

Source: BIAA

In the past, the lack of general knowledge on the seriousness of brain injuries and brain injury treatments caused confusion to those who suffered from TBIs. Brain injuries affect day to day living, various social interactions, and short term and long term health. One man who was involved in a head-on car collision shared his TBI story on the BIAA’s website. He suffered a Diffuse Axonal TBI from his car accident and was in a 32 day coma. A Diffuse Axonal TBI occurs when the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers tear when the brain rotates inside the skull. In his own words, “This all took place at a time when very few would survive something like this. Of the 3 people involved, I am the only one who survived. I feel that I was spared for a reason at a time when computers were just a great fantasy, and I was expected to go on in life as if nothing was wrong. By about the 4th termination from employment I began to realize that I wasn’t as ‘fine’ as I was told, BUT, I signed off on the claim in the judge’s chambers in 1977 so there was no way to prove anything until 35 years later I showed a job history which reads like a phone book.”

While not everyone is affected by brain injuries, anyone is susceptible to enduring one, since humans are a very active bunch. From taking a blow to the head in football, to slipping and knocking the noggin on an icy sidewalk, to loss of blood flow to the brain following a brain hemorrhage, there are many ways to fall prey to TBIs. And roughly 14.3% of TBIs are actually sustained in motor vehicle accidents. The Michigan Law Firm, PC helps victims of motor vehicle accidents who have suffered from a TBI. This is why our TBI lawyers are always studying up on the latest brain injury recovery breakthroughs and are keeping informed on the topic of neurocognitive deficits. Our law firm seeks to stay as knowledgeable on brain trauma as possible, so we can better advocate for our car accident clients, which is why we are proud members of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan (BIAMI), a BIAA affiliate.

Michigan Brain Injury Lawyer

As active members of BIAMI, The Michigan Law Firm, PC, regularly takes part in BIAMI events. Most notably, we attended the 2017 BIAMI Legal Conference in order to keep updated on and participate in discussions on the legal implications of brain injuries and other closed head injuries as a result of a car crash. In an effort to better support those who have sustained brain injuries, support the research into brain injury therapies, and to learn about new brain injury therapy protocols and diagnostic tests for TBI patients, the firm continues to be an active member of BIAMI. Our brain injury accident attorneys want to be involved in the conversation regarding the rights of treating providers including, but not limited to, neurologists, neuropsychiatrists, therapists, and other brain injury rehabilitation professionals. Most importantly, The Michigan Law Firm, PC wants to help BIAMI and BIAA increase awareness of brain injuries and help advance the world’s understanding of and immediate treatment of brain injuries.

Too keep up-to-date with Change Your Mind, follow #ChangeYourMind on Twitter, or visit the BIAA or BIAMI websites.

 If you or someone you know has suffered a brain injury or other serious injury as a result of an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Valentine's Day Drunk Driving Dangers

Detroit Drunk Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Today is one of the most romantic days of the year - Valentine’s Day! In case you didn’t remember, it’s not too late to buy that box of chocolate or grab a bouquet of flowers. For those who did remember, I’m sure many loved ones are in for a wonderful and romantic dinner. Some restaurants even offer special menus that pair special Valentine’s dishes with the perfect corresponding alcohol to enhance the romantic dining experience. Whether dining at the most popular restaurant in town with a three month waiting list or proclaiming love over chicken wonton tacos at Applebees, most lovebirds will be toasting their love with alcohol! To many people, Valentine’s Day isn’t being celebrated properly if there isn’t a champagne toast, a fancy cocktail, or a chocolate stout beer involved. In fact, Valentine’s Day is the 3rd highest drinking holiday in America!

That’s right, Screener says that the amount of alcohol consumed on Valentine’s Day is only topped by how much Americans drink on Super Bowl Sunday and New Year’s Eve. And in fourth and fifth place on that list are the 4th of July and Halloween. Screener obtained this information from BACtrack, which is a company that makes breathalyzers to test a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). BACtrack performed a study in which they gathered over 100,000 anonymous BAC test results from users of BACtrack Mobile, their award winning smartphone breathalyzer. This information was compiled into the BACtrack Consumption Report, which is regularly updated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that about 28 people die daily because of drinking and driving. And that is just any other day. However, as shown by the BACtrack Consumption Report, national alcohol consumption is at its peak over the holidays. There’s nothing wrong with eggnog on Christmas or a candy corn jello shot on Halloween, but it’s when driving is added to holiday drinking that there is an issue.

Detroit Drunk Driving Attorney

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 300 people over the past 5 years died in drunk driving automobile accidents between Christmas and New Year’s alone. Combine this knowledge of holiday drunk driving fatalities with information from a 2017 OpenTable survey which found that 71% of people plan to dine out for Valentine’s Day, and it is reasonable to assume that there will be a marked increase in drunk driving auto accidents today. Many couples will be going out to dinner and enjoying a glass or two of wine with their steak or heart-shaped pizza, only to drive home under the influence of alcohol and risk becoming involved in a drunk driving auto accident. It’s important to note that, according to West Virginia University, even one drink may decrease attention span, limit reflexes, and overall hinder a person’s ability to safely drive.

No one wants their special night ruined because of a drunk driving automobile accident. By not drinking and driving this Valentine’s Day, you can be sure that you are not causing a drunk driving car accident. Just because you’re not drinking and driving though, doesn’t mean that others aren't. Considering how many more people are on the road than usual on Valentine’s Day, and how many of those people have possibly consumed alcohol, it only makes sense that the number of drunk driving car crashes will increase today.

TABC Certification has several suggestions on how to avoid being involved in a drunk driving automobile accident this Valentine’s Day:

How To Avoid Valentine’s Day Drunk Driving Car Accidents

Michigan Drunk Driving Lawyer
  • Hire a private car for the evening - Not only is this safer, but it also shows how much you appreciate your partner when you hire a chauffeur for the evening so you can enjoy drinking without guilt.

  • Stay at a hotel - If you want to avoid driving altogether, consider staying at a hotel with a well-reviewed restaurant. That way, you can drink as much as you want before heading up to your room.

  • Create a unique night in - Consider staying at home for Valentine’s Day. Send any kids to a babysitter and create your special night in your own home.

  • Choose your own Valentine’s Day - Valentine’s Day is a busy day for restaurants. Consider celebrating Valentine’s Day on a different day to avoid overcrowded restaurants and overpriced taxi prices.

  • Abstain from alcohol - Enjoy the night without alcohol. This is easier if both abstain from alcohol for the night.

Another tip, especially for those who want to stick to a budget, is to use the chauffeur services of ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Even public transportation is a good way to avoid drunk driving, especially if your special night involves more than one activity.

Drinking and driving is never safe. Valentine’s Day should be a time to enjoy with your partner and not your drunk driving accident attorney. Stay safe with your significant other on the road this Valentine’s Day by not drinking and driving. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driving automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Volvo's Automatic Braking System for Semi-Trucks

Truck Accident Lawyer Michigan

Volvo Trucks Global is taking a step into the future with its new automatic braking system. The company has created a Collision Warning/Early Braking system for its trucks. This development, as detailed in Business Insider, is designed for trucks to brake automatically if they get too close to other vehicles in front of them. A sensor on the front “sees” the road ahead, and brakes the truck on its own, if it gets too close to the car in front of it. 
When braking, an alarm sounds and a display light activates on the dashboard, anticipating the truck’s sudden stop. The truck’s back taillights flash like hazards when the automatic braking system is in use, alerting drivers behind the truck, so that drivers behind can avoid a rear end car crash. All this for a truck carrying 40 tons of cargo!   

The primary goal of Volvo working to make automated features for semi-trucks is to increase auto safety. Hayder Wokil, Autonomous and Automated Driving Director for Volvo Trucks, said, “We are focused on solutions that can make difficult, repetitive and time-consuming tasks easier for all concerned.” The latest technological improvement will affect other drivers on the road, beyond just the truck drivers. In 2015, almost 64% of fatal crashes involving large trucks also involved two other vehicles, as found in an analysis by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In other words, other drivers are at risk of injury or death from a semi-truck accident. Developments like automated truck brakes may improve the safety of truck crashes for all drivers. 
Worldwide, companies like Volvo are using trucks to minimize harvest damage that human-operated trucks create, utilizing automatic garbage trucks, and enlisting self-driving delivery trucks to bring packages to people’s doorsteps. With so many possibilities for advancement, the automated truck industry will likely see rapid growth in the coming years. It will be exciting to watch consumer fears grow into fascination, as more and more automotive companies focus on turning even the biggest trucks on the road into a safer form of transportation in the near future. 

Michigan Truck Accident Attorney

Volvo's automatic braking system for semi-trucks will make stopping suddenly much easier for truck drivers, helping drivers behind them avoid rear end car accidents. If you or someone you know has been involved in a truck accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our skilled attorneys can tell you if you are eligible for any compensation under Michigan law. 

Vehicle Headlight Performances Are Leaving Drivers In The Dark

Michigan Auto Accident Attorney

Headlights are as necessary to driving as they are for providing visual safety on roads. While many over look need for headlights during the day, they are a safety necessity during the night that can help prevent night time car accidents. With shadows dancing on the road and visibility limited to what can only be seen with car headlights, driving in the night can be dangerous. USA TODAY reported on a recent study that found something that may be even more alarming if you often drive at night: only 2 of the 37 mid-size sport-utility vehicles (SUV) offered by the U.S. auto industry have headlight packages that are considered to have “good” performance. This alarming discovery should worry drivers, as poor headlight performance can put motorists and pedestrians in danger on dark roads.

The study is actually an update to one conducted in 2016. It tests 2017's car models gradually, rating headlight performances. The results found that 11 models have “poor” headlights, 12 fall in the “marginal” category, and 12 were found to be “acceptable.” Despite the less than stellar findings, headlights on cars tested in the study have improved since 2016's test, when 12 of 21 models were labeled as having a “poor” performance, with only four having “acceptable” headlights. The only two vehicles with the best headlight performance were the Volvo XC60 and the Hyundai Santa Fe. The vehicles with the worst headlights were the Infiniti QX60, Lincoln MKC, Lincoln MKX, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Jeep Wrangler, Kia Sorento, and the Toyota 4Runner.

A senior research engineer for the headlight performance study, Matt Brumbelow, said that cars are, “still coming up short, though things are improving. Manufacturers are responding and some of the quick fixes have already taken place.”

Some automakers have taken on the challenge of creating these quick fixes by actually designing new improvements to headlights. These include lights that swerve with the curvature of roads, while others have advocated for the switch of all headlights to the already existing adaptive-beam headlights, which “dim light aimed at oncoming motorists to reduce glare while maintaining high beams on the road ahead to ensure visibility.” Additionally, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (a group that represents major automakers) supports changing outdated US regulations in order to allow the adoption of even more technology that could greatly improve headlight performance, as already demonstrated in Europe and Japan.

Car Crash Lawyer Michigan

On the other hand, as shown by the headlight tests, there is still a long way to go before drivers can be guaranteed safe headlights for all vehicles. Sometimes, installation issues may prevent headlights from performing well. Other times, car owners find that manufacturers didn't aim headlights in the right direction when they were installed. Simple errors like these may lead to difficulties driving in the dark, down the road, which can in turn lead to car crashes. Working and properly installed headlights are important because, if motorists cannot see while driving at night, they may be at greater risk of being involved in an automobile crash. Headlight regulations should continue to be monitored to light the way for automakers to design the safest vehicles for consumers, no matter what time of day it is.

Headlights keep dark roads lit for drivers, allowing them to see what's ahead on the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in an automobile accident related to headlight malfunction, or has been involved in any other type of car crash, please contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Oakland County Deputy In Critical Condition After Being Hit By Car


David Hack is an Oakland County Sheriff Deputy. On January 4, 2018, around 7:00 AM, according to the Detroit Free Press, Hack was policing an accident that had occurred in front of Rochester Adams High School, in Rochester Hill, Michigan. Deputy Hack was standing in front of his car when he was struck by a Ford Taurus driven by a 24-year-old college student who was on her way to Oakland University. David Hack was taken to Crittenton Hospital in Rochester Hills by the Rochester Fire Department.

According to Click On Detroit, since the car accident, David has opened his eyes three times. It was reported that he is still in critical condition and has not regained consciousness, but is now stable. Deputy Hack's family is staying hopeful and his wife believes that he is aware that his family's presence in the hospital room.


Deputy Hack's car crash comes as yet another disheartening police car accident, since only six weeks ago, a Oakland County Sheriff Deputy passed away after he was also struck by a car on Thanksgiving day. The Detroit Free Press reported that Deputy Eric Overall, "had just deployed tire-deflating stop sticks on the southbound side of M-15 at Seymour Lake Road and was "well off the roadway" when the driver purposely swerved to hit him at about 12:30 a.m." 22-year-old Christopher Joseph Berak, the driver who hit Overall, has four prior convictions for marijuana possession and for resisting and obstructing police. 

While Oakland County and Michiganders may be surprised to hear about both of these police accidents, car crashes involving law enforcement officers are more common than most may think. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently released statistics that found that 86 law enforcement officers were killed during in line-of-duty incidents in 2015. Of those 86 fatalities, 29 were police car crash deaths. 

While Deputy Overall's death was ruled a homicide, Deputy Hack's car crash was likely a non-intentional accident. While there is no surefire way to avoid causing a car accident, drivers would do well to always pay attention to their surroundings when operating a motor vehicle. For police car crashes in particular, one way to avoid car crashes with cops is to know how to respond when you are being pulled over by a law enforcement officer. The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog has previously discussed Michigan State Police Lieutenant Rob Davis' tips on what to do when a police officer pulls you over

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that each year 4,092 pedestrians are killed in motor related accidents. It's important for drivers to always be aware of their surroundings and to watch out for other cars as well as pedestrians. No matter how vigilant a driver is however, car accident can and do happen. If you have been involved in a car accident due to a negligent driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with a car accident attorney today.

Virtual Reality Treadmill Rehabilitates Neurological Patients

Michigan Personal Injury Law Firm

A new treadmill developed by Motek Medical uses virtual reality (VR) to safely challenge patients with neurological impairments. Called CAREN (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment), the platform has been tested by the Cleveland Clinic to help evaluate and train individuals with Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and other neurological conditions. The Cleveland Clinic is the first nonmilitary site in North and South America to install the interactive virtual reality treadmill. 

Specifically, CAREN analyzes balance, locomotion, and coordination in affected patients by placing them in an immersive and interactive environment. While a patient walks on the treadmill, surrounding visual projection, the floor, and the sound system react to the patient's behavior in response to real-time motion-capture capabilities. 

Another characteristic of CAREN is labeled '6-Degrees-of-Freedom,' and refers to the treadmill's ability to move up, down, left, and right and gives the platform simulator-like qualities. Real-time feedback merges data from CAREN's hardware to constantly perform quantifiable evaluation.

Physical Applications Of Virtual Reality Rehabilitation  

  • Identifying balance compensation anomalies.
  • Measuring and correcting gait problems from inefficient muscle use.
  • Identifying neural substrates of task difficulty and cognitive effort.

In less scientific terms, this means that the virtual reality treadmill has the capability to help zero in on physical and mental effects of neourological diseases, which will hopefully lead to improvements for people with brain conditions. By catering to a patient's customized needs and preferences, CAREN offers researchers future opportunities to make medical advancements for people suffering from degenerative brain diseases or traumatic brain injuries. 

Traumatic Brain Injury Car Accident Lawyer

Since brain injuries may occur anytime and anyplace, from playing professional football, getting into a car crash or motorcycle collision, or even due to the circumstances of being homeless, technological developments are all the more necessary to help improve the lives of people suffering from neurological impairments. A virtual reality treadmill is just the latest in modern advancements for the brain, and hopefully there are many more creative treatments to come.

CAREN could be the future for people suffering from neurological conditions or traumatic brain injuries. If you or someone you know has experienced a brain injury from a motor vehicle accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. 

My Oh My! That Seat Belt Looks Good On You

There are thousands of unique accessories in the fashion world, from purses to jewelry to hats to belts; the list goes on and on. Over the past few decades, fashion has started to become more economically friendly, with old products and materials being remade into something totally different. One unusual item being used for fashion is typically found in your car: seat belts! The secure straps were initially developed to save lives in automobile accidents, but today are being used for much more. 

 Source:  HARVEYS


Nils Bohlin, a Swedish engineer, invented the modern-day seat belt in 1959. Previously, there were only two-point seat belts, and the only people who used them were race car drivers. Bohlin was hired by Volvo to be the company’s first chief safety engineer. After Bohlin’s revolutionary invention, Volvo made the new seat belts available to other manufacturers to help increase safety in the industry. By 1968, all American vehicles were required to have the modern day seat belts. Volvo estimates that over one million lives have been saved by the seat belt from the time of its invention to the time of Bohlin’s death in September 2002. In just the United States alone, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that seat belts save over 11,000 lives in car crashes per year. 

At some point, however, seat belts evolved from only being safety devices to protect people in the event of a car accident. Today, seat belts are used as fashion accessories, an economically friendly way to change up an outfit. HARVEYS, a California-based company, makes handbags and lifestyle goods out of old car seat belts. It all started when Dana Harvey was restoring a classic car and used the leftover seat belts to make a bag for his wife, Melanie. Today, HARVEYS makes numerous purses, bags, and backpacks in endless colors and designs, using seat belts in a fun and creative way. The company’s products even extend to dog leashes, passport holders, and lawn chairs! In a statement HARVEYS said, employees “get to experience the full life cycle of a product, and that has a big effect on how (they) inspires you to make quality stuff that can last a lifetime.” The repurposing of seat belts doesn’t sound very far off from the original goals of creating a safer seat belt.

 Source:  Buckle-Down

Source: Buckle-Down

Another business, Buckle-Down, turns seat belts into belts and buckles that hold up pants. Custom designs allow customers to choose what they want their belt to look like, and they offer everything from Disney cartoons to sports teams to car company logos. Buckle-Down also partners with retailers such as Hot Topic, Bed Bath and Beyond, and the Disney theme parks to bring recycled seat belt belts to more people.

There is always the possibility that someone will fall in love with a seat belt fashion accessory, and as a result, use their seat belt more or help spread awareness to others about the importance of strapping in while riding in a motor vehicle. In fact, whether they are connected or not, along with the popularity of up-cycled seat belt products, seat belt usage in the US has increased steadily from 70.7% in 2000 to 90.1% in 2016. Still, there are many more lives that could be saved in a motor vehicle accident through the use of a seat belt. 48% of people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 were not wearing seat belts, which is alarming considering that this safety product is not a new development. During an automobile crash, buckling up helps keep passengers safe and secure inside their vehicles. The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog has previously discussed the NHTSA's safety tips on how to wear a seat belt properly, so as to help prevent an injury or fatality in the event of a car crash. 

Michigan Auto Accident Lawyer

Nils Bohlin likely never imagined his first seat belt becoming more than a safety precaution after its development. Smooth and sleek, seat belts offer a trendy and unique look to fashionistas looking to update their outfits. Seat belt products also help the environment by reusing old belts to make something brand new. While seat belts are continuing to be transformed today, it is important to remember to “Click It or Ticket” when riding in a motor vehicle, as your life may depend on it. 

Seat belt fashion accessories are available on the market, bringing a more attractive side to safety. However, in line with their original purpose, seat belts are an important safety measure that save lives during a motor vehicle crash. Anyone riding in a car or driving a vehicle should always wear their seat belts, because no one looks good flattened on the side of the road. If you or someone you know has been involved in a car collision, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Are Automated Traffic Cameras Harmful to Drivers?

Detroit Traffic Accident Lawyer

You are driving home from work, eager to beat rush hour. You pull up to a red light intending to make a right turn on red before oncoming traffic approaches. You successfully make your right turn, however, you happened to miss the ‘no turn on red’ sign in your rush to evade the traffic! Now, a Michigan State Police officer has stopped you and has given you a $130 ticket for making an illegal turn.

Despite the pain of receiving a traffic ticket, Michigan drivers may actually have it better than drivers in 25 other states in the US. In each of these 25 states, at least one form of automated traffic cameras have been permitted to monitor traffic and automatically punish offenders. There are two forms of these traffic cameras: speed enforcement cameras and red light cameras. Each of these cameras is equipped with a trigger and a computer. As reported by PhotoEnforced, once a driver has committed a traffic violation by exceeding the speed limit or running a red light, the camera is triggered and automatically snaps a photo of the act. The snapshot and a traffic fine is then mailed to the owner about a month later.

According to The Detroit News, these automated cameras have proved extremely lucrative for some cities and states. Since first installing automated cameras in 2003, Chicago has raised $625 million from traffic fines alone! Using over 400 cameras, Chicago currently collects about $45 million from traffic violations annually. After being hired by the city to study the effects of the traffic cameras, Northwestern University (NWU) reported a 14% increase in rear-end accidents in intersections where cameras were present. NWU also found that the public perception of the cameras is that they are very unfair due to the “dilemma zone.”

Michigan Traffic Accident Lawer

As The Michigan Law Firm, PC blog previously discussed, the dilemma zone is the zone in which the yellow light turns red and the driver has to decide whether to brake immediately or drive through the intersection. To back up driver displeasure, NWU studies found that traffic violations are actually reduced if yellow lights are extended from three to four seconds. This time extension allows the driver more time to cross the intersection safely and avoid colliding with other cars. 

All of the information collected in NWU's study is important because, according to The U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) Federal Highway Administration, in 2015, vehicle travel reached an all time high with over 3.1 trillion miles traveled. Among the 6 states with the lowest fatality rate, 5 have all banned automated traffic cameras.

How Some States Deal With Automated Cameras

The Texas Transportation Institute supported the claim to lengthen yellow lights by reporting a 40% decrease in intersection car collisions when one second is added to yellow lights. Adding an extra second does not come without a cost, however. Georgia tried mandating the extension of yellow light signals too, but as a result, private companies running the traffic signals went bankrupt due to the decrease in traffic violations.

Some other states have been modifying their laws regarding the use of automated cameras. In Oxnard, California, after collecting over $2 million from traffic violations in 2016, a court found the city guilty of not extending yellow light times after it had been mandated by the state 2 years prior.

In North Carolina, almost all automated cameras have been removed after the state ruled that all profits are to go to school systems rather than private companies. On the contrary, after banning red light cameras in Virginia in 2005, the state reinstated the cameras in July of 2016.

Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

Automated traffic cameras are less harmful to drivers when the yellow light is extended in their favor. Regardless of whether the traffic light is being run by a city or private company, when the yellow light is purposely shortened in an attempt to collect more revenue from tickets, the driving situation becomes harmful to the driver. In the case of shorter yellow lights, drivers have to decide whether to brake abruptly or proceed through the intersection and assume the risk of running a red light, both of which are actions that can result in dangerous car accidents.

Although Michigan does not permit the use of automated traffic cameras, the risk of being involved in an automobile accident at an intersection or traffic light is still prevalent. In some circumstances, the absence of traffic cameras could lead to drivers speeding more often and driving more aggressively at intersections.  If you have been involved in any type of car accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation. Our accident attorneys are here to answer any questions you may have regarding any benefits you may be entitled to under Michigan law.

Winter Weather Means Hazardous Driving Conditions

While a lot of us may love the holiday season, one not so joyous thing that comes with it is the weather. What's particularly bad is that winter weather affects roads and can make driving dangerous. While fresh snow may be a pretty sight to see on Christmas morning, it’s a lot less pretty when it’s causing car collisions on the road. Unfortunately, snow, sleet, and ice, are responsible for a significant number of automobile accidents in winter months.

Detroit Black Ice Car Crash Lawyer

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), over 70% of roads in the U.S. are located in areas that receive at least 5 inches of snow on average each year. Nearly 70% of the U.S. population lives in these areas, meaning the vast majority of us have our drives impacted by winter weather conditions to some degree. Heavy snow and sleet reduce visibility of the road, and snow accumulation reduces the number of cars that fit on the street, as well as how fast vehicles are able to travel. On surface roads, speeds decrease by an average of 30-40% in snowy and icy conditions. On the freeway, speeds decrease by an average of 3-13% in light snow, and 5-40% in heavy snow. Snow and ice on the road also reduce pavement friction and vehicle maneuverability.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that of the 5,748,000 crashes that occurred between 2005 and 2015, 1,259,000 (22%) were weather related. This is an average of about 5,900 weather related automobile accidents per year. Of crashes caused by weather, precipitation and wet pavement were the most common causes, which is unsurprising because these conditions occur year round. Of weather conditions that are specific to winter months, 17% of crashes occurred during snow or sleet, 13% occurred on icy pavement, and 14% occurred due to snowy or slushy pavement. Rapidly changing conditions, such as a sudden blizzard, are the most dangerous conditions, as road visibility can change in an instant.

Road salt is commonly used to help reduce the effects of winter weather on the road. USDOT reports that winter road maintenance makes up 20% of state DOT maintenance budgets. State and local agencies spend approximately $2.3 billion on snow and ice road repairs. Salt has proven to be extremely effective in keeping drivers safer. According to a study done by Marquette University, road salt reduces the number of car collisions by 88%, injuries by 85%, and accident costs by 85%.

It’s clear that winter weather conditions make roads more dangerous and car accidents more likely to happen. However it’s unrealistic to expect drivers to just not go anywhere when it snows (especially in Michigan, where the winters can be very, very long). The Michigan Secretary of State offers the following tips for driving in winter weather.

Michigan Winter Car Crash Lawyer

While following these tips can’t guarantee you won’t get into a winter car accident caused by snow or ice, it may help reduce the risk of motor vehicle collisions, and keep you and your family safer if you should be involved a car crash. The holiday season is a celebratory time of year, but it’s important to be aware of the driving hazards that also occur. These scary winter car accident statistics aren’t meant to keep you in your house all winter, but should serve as an important reminder of the additional hazards winter weather poses to driving.

While winter weather conditions do make driving more dangerous, the truth is that car crashes happen all year round. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Dog Bites Owner Over Christmas Sweater

Detroit Pit Bull Attack Lawyer

Last holiday season, a pit bill mix named Scarface living in Tampa, Florida attacked his owner after she tried to put a Christmas sweater on him. As the owner, Brenda Guerrero, went outside and tried to place Scarface in the sweater, he turned and retaliated by biting down on Guerrero’s arm, according to AOL News. Hearing the commotion, Guerrero’s husband, Ismael, came outside and tried to help by pulling the dog free from his wife, but was also attacked. Guerrero's son, Antoine Harris, eventually stopped the attack by stabbing the pit bull mix in the head and neck. The pit bull mix also attacked Harris before the three victims were able to flee inside the house for safety. 

When the Tampa Police and the Hillsborough County Animal Control arrived, they attempted to tranquilize Scarface, but were unsuccessful. The dog was able to run into the house where two small children were also residing. During this time, authorities switched tactics by using a bean bag gun and a taser to subdue the dog, and then captured him with a catch-pole. Authorities told the Tampa Bay Times that both Guerrero and her husband were rushed to the hospital where Guerrero’s injuries were believed to be serious but not life threatening. 

Scarface was euthanized sometime on January 3, 2017, Fox 6 news reports. Kara Walker, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County, said that the pit bull mix was put down due to posing a safety risk to the public and because of the severe stab wounds sustained by Harris during the attack. 

Detroit Pit Bull Accident Lawyer

Pit bills like Scarface contributed to 71% of total recorded dog bites in 2016. also says family dogs inflicted 45% of dog bite fatalities in 2016. While dogs have a reputation of being man's best friend, they may sometimes attack for reasons we are not able to comprehend. It is important to treat our pets with respect and monitor their behavior in an effort to prevent dog bite accidents. This means, that if a dog isn't comfortable wearing clothing, don't force it to! The holiday season is a time for joyous celebration with family, friends, and pets. Don't spend yours in the ER because Fluffy wouldn't wear his jingle bells.  

Dog owners have to train and familiarize their pet with wearing animal clothing before forcing outfits on them. If owners are not careful, there is the possibility that animals will become agitated and lash out - much like the Scarface the pit bull mix. Don't ruin your holiday season by making your pet match the family for the Christmas card. If you or someone you know has been injured in a dog bite accident, contact The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. 

Holiday Season Causes More Drunk Driving Accidents

It is almost impossible to separate Christmas and New Years from drinking alcohol. From spiced wine, spiked punch, and brandied eggnog at holiday parties, to beer while watching football on New Year's day, almost every holiday event has a corresponding alcoholic beverage. And while it is, of course, fun to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, with a drink or two, often times figuring out how to safely get home from those parties is overlooked. The winter holiday season is therefore unfortunately notorious for seeing a spike in drunk driving accidents, as too many people drunkenly get behind the wheel after their holiday celebrations.

Detroit Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more people are likely to die in alcohol related crashes during the holidays than at any other time of year. During Christmas and New Year's, 2 to 3 times more people die in alcohol-related crashes than during comparable time periods during the rest of the year. During this time period, alcohol causes 40% of traffic fatalities, as compared to just 28% during the rest of December.

Data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in December of 2015, drunk driving resulted in 840 deaths. Also in that month, drunk driving accidents were 4 times more likely to occur at night as opposed to during the day. In Michigan alone, the Michigan State Police reported that there were 5 fatal crashes and 6 fatalities on Christmas day in 2016. On New Year’s Eve 2016 and New Year’s Day 2017, there were 9 fatal accidents and 11 fatalities. In all of these car accidents, alcohol and lack of seat belt use were factors that lead to car accident fatalities.

Making matters worse, there is a significant increase in traffic during the holidays, putting more people at risk of being involved in any type of car accident, let alone a drunk driving car accident. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the amount of long distance road trips taken increased by 23% during Christmas and New Year’s as compared to the rest of the year. People travel, on average, 275 miles to visit friends and family over the holidays, with about half of travelers completing their trips in one day, without spending any nights away.  So many people on the road means heavier traffic, and more people at risk of being involved in an automobile accident. Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s fall on a different day of the week each year, making traffic patterns more difficult to predict.

When consuming alcohol at holiday parties, drivers often don't realize just how drunk they are, and think they are OK to drive. When alcohol is consumed, skills that pertain to driving (such as concentration, and decision making) are diminished more quickly than some of the more obvious signs of drunkenness take to set in. Even though alcohol may not initially change the drinker's behavior, anyone who imbibes alcohol may still be impaired. Alcohol slows reaction times, makes it tough to control behavior, and may even amplify aggression. When large quantities of alcohol are consumed, speech can be slurred and drinkers may feel a loss of balance and drowsiness. All of these symptoms of drinking can impair driving abilities, and a person experiencing drunk driving behavior has no business being behind the wheel.

Michigan Winter Car Crash Lawyer

If you find yourself enjoying an alcoholic beverage this holiday season, call an Uber or take the bus home. Better yet, if you know you'll be drinking ahead of time, prearrange a ride.  If you're spending the holidays with a group of people who will all be partaking in alcoholic beverages, select a designated driver. These are all ways in which you may be able to reduce the likelihood of causing a drunk driving accident. And if you see someone who is drunk at a party, HuffPost has the following tips for helping prevent a drunk driver from taking the wheel.

Holiday Drunk Driving Prevention Tips

  • If someone is noticeably impaired, take away their keys.

  • Remind drunk people that police often set up more drunk driving checkpoints during holidays (although this is illegal in Michigan, so it may only work if you are out of state).

  • Set ground rules, such as a person cannot start drinking until they have turned over their keys

  • Find out who at the party does not drink, and assign them as designated drivers.

  • If you’re at a family party with teenagers, hire them out to “babysit” the adults by driving them home.

So, if you have a drink or two during holiday festivities, keep in mind that  no matter how quickly you think you can sober up, or if you’re the "least drunk" person at the party, anyone who has been recently consuming multiple alcoholic drinks is not suitable to drive. There are plenty of options available to make sure a drunk person does not operate a vehicle. While you can’t guarantee you won’t be involved in an automobile accident, you can guarantee that you will not be the one to call an accident attorney and admit to driving drunk.

Drunk driving is never OK, but alcohol-related accidents are unfortunately common during the holiday season. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driving automobile accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let us handle the legal issues while you focus on recovering. 

Drivers Should Be Prepared for Heavy Christmas Traffic

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and for many of us, that means hitting the road and driving to visit friends and family. Time Magazine reported that approximately 100 million Americans travel between December 23 and January 3, and a whopping 90% of those travelers travel by car. That means traffic-a lot of traffic, and all of over the span of only a couple of days! And when more cars are on the road, it means car collisions are more likely to happen.

Michigan Traffic Accident Lawyer

It should be noted that Christmas traffic patterns are much harder to predict than Thanksgiving traffic patterns. Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday every year, making traffic flow on the days leading up to and after the holiday, pretty predictable, since it’s the same day of the week each year. Christmas, on the other hand, falls on a different day each year, making traffic more difficult to forecast. When the holiday falls in relation to the weekend, as well as when schools start winter break, can vary year to year and will impact travel days and traffic patterns. That being said, Waze, a navigation app, has released travel data from years past to help forecast what traffic will be like this year.

Since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, it is likely that Friday, December 22nd, will be the worst travel day. Specifically, traffic will be the heaviest between 3 PM and 6 PM when people start leaving work, but roads will be more congested than usual starting as early as 11 AM. In years past, Christmas Eve has also been a pretty heavy travel day. However since Christmas Eve is a Sunday this year, it's likely that many people will begin their travel on Friday or Saturday, and Christmas Eve traffic won't be as heavy as it's been in years past. Like Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day is the best day to travel, as traffic is at its lightest, and mimics weekend traffic patterns. Regardless of when your holiday travel plans are, it's important to be alert, as traffic flow probably won't be the same as it is on a normal day.

Waze’s data in regard to what destinations people are searching for on Christmas Eve likely won’t come as much of a surprise. Places of worship were by far the most searched for destination, seeing a 148% increase in searches. Before they go to church though, drivers appear to be running some last minute errands or trying to catch a flight. Grocery stores, restaurants, shopping areas, and airports all saw increases in number of searches as well, with most people making their drives between 10 AM and 4 PM. If you can, try and complete any urgent or last minute errands before Christmas Eve, and save yourself from a potential highway standstill!

Detroit Car Accident Lawyer

When it comes to returning home after Santa has made his visit, traffic is more spread out over a few days. Historically, December 27th has been the worst day in terms of return traffic. But since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, drivers' return trips will largely depend on what day of the week they need to be back at work. This means that there will likely be more variation as to what days people are heading home. Based on data from 2016, waiting to return home until the 28th, as opposed o the 27th, resulted in lighter traffic.

Sitting in traffic may not bring much holiday cheer, but it is an unavoidable part of traveling over the holidays. If you can plan your travel to avoid the most congested times, you may be able to avoid the worst of the gridlock. Also by avoiding traffic, you may be able to avoid expressing and being on the receiving end of aggressive driving behaviors. Road rage car accidents are often prevalent during rush hour, and are like to be worse at a time when millions of people are running late to Christmas dinner. 

If you do find yourself traveling at one of the more popular travel times, know that your drive to Grandma and Grandpa's house is probably going to take longer than usual. Allow yourself extra time to get where you need to be, and let friends and family know that traffic may make you a little late. No one likes sitting in traffic, but it's a part of the deal when it comes to holiday travel, and no holiday can be happy when a loved one has been injured in a car accident.

Heavier traffic which can lead to road rage and aggressive driving, combined with winter weather conditions, means that there may be many car crashes this holiday season. If you or a loved one become injured in a car crash due to aggressive driving, distracted driving, road rage, or winter weather, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with an experienced accident attorney.

Christmas Lights May Cause Distracted Driving Accidents

With Christmas just around the corner, houses, shopping complexes, and office buildings all around, are decorated in shining lights, Santa sleighs, and reindeer. While receiving gifts may be most peoples' favorite part about the upcoming holidays, Christmas decorations are another cause for excitement, as they bring out creativity and even competition, to see who has the best displays. In fact, the whole premise of the movie Deck The Hallsis, "two neighbors having it out after one of them decorates his house for the holidays so brightly that it can be seen from space!" Visibility from space may be a stretch, but many businesses, homes, and even cities in Michigan, go all out in lighting splendor during the holidays. Driving to see these Christmas light spectacles is a very popular Christmas pastime. 

Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer

In fact, there are multiple holiday light displays throughout the Metro Detroit area which hold up traffic and draw crowds of pedestrians. Downtown Rochester, Michigan is famous for its outstanding light display throughout that connects all downtown storefronts. Restaurants and small shops are decorated in different colors, which gives the entire strip an amazing glow. Citizens of Michigan can view this sight by driving through downtown but also enjoy parking, walking around, and taking pictures with their family and friends. For those who don't like to leave the comfort and warmth of their car, Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe is a popular holiday decoration destination. The houses in this neighborhood are known for the extravagant Christmas lights and people from all across the Metro Detroit area come to see them.

While the light shows and displays are so dazzling, it is for the reason that they are eye catching that they may also be dangerous. Looking at lights while in a car causes attention to veer away from the road and may in turn cause drivers to become involved in distracted driving car accidents. These distracted driving car crashes might not only involve other cars, but in such high traffic areas, may lead to distracted driving pedestrian accidents. A few weeks ago, in Massachusetts, a local news outlet reported that a 62-year-old man was hit by a car while crossing the street to view a popular Christmas light display that is put up every year. He was hit by a 23-year-old who was driving through the light display. This is just one example of the many distracted driving car accidents that can occur relating to both pedestrians and drivers during the holiday season. And although that distracted driving pedestrian accident occurred in Massachusetts, similar winter car crashes can occur to families talking selfies in downtown Rochester or couples driving through Lake Shore Drive.  

Rochester Hills Car Accident Lawyer

Whether you are a pedestrian or a driver, one thing to always remember is to be aware of your surroundings and know that your actions can affect the lives of others. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day 9 people are killed and around 1,000 people are injured due to distracted driving. That's over 12,000 people who get injured because of distracted driving! 

If you plan on driving to see holiday lights this year, choosing a designated driver, as you would to avoid drunk driving, may be a good idea. A designated driver would not look at the holiday decorations and instead would focus on the road so the rest of the vehicle's occupants can enjoy Christmas spectacles without worry. If you plan to take in the holiday spirit via walking, try to wear reflective clothing and move in a group so as to be visible, and try to stay on sidewalks and walkways, so as to avoid stepping in the road. While there is no surefire way to avoid being involved in a distracted driving car accident or a distracted pedestrian crash, by staying alert and staying in your lane (or sidewalk), any potential accidents can hopefully be avoided.

Pedestrians and drivers who want to take pictures of the holiday displays should be aware that cell phones are a huge contributor to distracted driving and adding Christmas lights just begging to be photographed and tweeted into the mix, doesn’t help. Getting the perfect Instagram picture is not worth a call to a car accident lawyer. Telling your accident attorney that you got hit by a car because you walked into the road while taking a selfie with Santa in the background not only sounds embarrassing, but may cause you deal with a ridiculous number of Michigan car insurance legal issues. 

The holiday season comes with an infectious spirit that causes people to drink eggnog, go caroling, and decorate their houses with lights. While driving around town to look at holiday light displays is a popular event, drivers and pedestrians should always remember to be aware of their surroundings and take precautions to prevent distracted driving car accidents. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC, at 844.MI.FIRM, for a free consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney. 

Judge Throws Out Apple Lawsuit Relating To Distracted Driving

distracted driving accident

Should the manufacturer of a phone be held responsible for an automobile accident that was caused by someone using one of their phones while driving? It’s a question that likely isn’t going to disappear anytime soon, but at least according to one California judge, the answer is no.

According to Apple Insider, a class action lawsuit was filed against Apple in Los Angeles, California in January of 2017. The suit included victims and loved ones of victims who died in automobile accidents that were caused by a driver using an iPhone while behind the wheel. The suit claims that Apple had the technology to prevent texting while driving since 2008, and had a patent for it since 2014. The suit alleges that Apple refused to implement the technology as they were afraid it would cause them to lose sales to other phone manufacturers who weren’t using such technology. As a result, iPhone owners were able to text (or otherwise use their phone) while driving, injuring and killing others on the road. The plaintiffs wanted Apple to be held accountable for allowing drivers to be able to use their iPhones while driving.

But according to a circuit court judge in Santa Monica, California, it’s unreasonable to hold Apple accountable for the ultimate harm that is caused by an accident in which an iPhone was involved. As a result, the case was thrown out in August of 2017. Had the suit gone to trial, the plaintiffs were asking for Apple to halt production of iPhones in California until they would be manufactured with “lock out” technology, and that all current iPhones be updated to include the technology that prevents drivers from being able to use their iPhone while driving.

texting while driving accident

That ultimately didn’t happen, as the case was thrown out. But in the meantime, Apple has launched a new setting called “Do Not Disturb While Driving”, as part of their iOS 11 software update. As The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog previously mentioned, when enabled, Do Not Disturb While Driving mutes calls, notifications, and text messages, and keeps the screen dark. iPhone owners can also have the feature auto-reply to text messages, letting the contact know that the person is driving.

The safe driving feature turns on automatically when it detects an accelerating vehicle, or drivers can program the setting to turn on whenever the phone connects to their vehicle’s Bluetooth. There is an “I’m Not Driving” option for those who are riding in a car as a passenger, but of course there’s nothing really stopping the driver from claiming they are not driving, in order to be able to use their phone. Because of this, some feel as though the feature doesn’t go far enough to prevent a driver from engaging in distracted driving behaviors. They believe that Do Not Disturb While Driving should turn on automatically, without the driver having to enable it, and that there should be no option to turn it off. For similar smart phone apps that lock drivers out of their phones while driving, check out this blog post from The Michigan Law, Firm, PLLC.

While there may not be a perfect solution yet, it is clear that a solution is desperately needed. Distracted driving is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors a driver can engage in, risking not only their life, but the lives of everyone else on the road as well. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving car accidents in 2015 alone. On top of that 391,000 people were injured in distracted driving car crashes.

distracted driving accident lawyer

The aforementioned Apple lawsuit cites data from the United States Department of Transportation, which reports that 1.5 million people are texting while driving at any given moment. They also cite data from the California Highway Patrol and the Federal Highway Administration which notes that iPhones specifically caused 52,000 automobile accidents in California each year, as well as 312 deaths in 2015.

Regardless of whether or not Apple should be held responsible for automobile accidents caused by iPhones, the lesson here is that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. While features like Do Not Disturb While Driving and other apps that lock drivers out of their phones while in a vehicle are helpful, it’s ultimately the driver’s choice as to whether or not they use their phone while driving, not the manufacturer's. No text or phone call or playlist is nearly important enough to take your eyes off the road, and could mean injury or death for you, your passengers, and other people on the road.

Distracted driving in any form is absolutely never okay. Regardless of whether or not your phone has technology that can prevent you from using it while driving, it's ultimately up to you to decide to put the phone down when you're behind the wheel. Even if you can choose to put the phone down however,  you can't control other people's actions, and car accidents can still happen. If you have been the victim of a distracted driving accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.  

First Snowfalls Causing Car Collisions Across Michigan

The snow has started in Michigan, and unfortunately, the dangerous impact it can have on roads is already being seen. In only the first week of December, numerous car collisions caused by hazardous weather conditions were already reported.

Detroit Winter Car Accident Lawyer

In western Michigan, accidents involving over three dozen cars were reported by the Detroit Free Press. On Thursday, December 7, 2017, westbound I-94 in southwestern Michigan was closed due to various pileups that began around 9 AM. An initial twenty car pileup was then quickly followed by a ten car pileup. Eight other smaller accidents were also reported that day, including one car accident involvign a pickup truck that slid into oncoming traffic, sideswiping an SUV. Luckily, only minor injuries were reported. The car accidents occurred near Mattawan, Michigan, in Van Buren County. Slippery road conditions were cited as the cause of all of these automobile accidents.

The Detroit Free Press also reported on a tragic scene that was caused by winter weather conditions in northern Michigan. On Wednesday, December 6, 2017, a 25-year old man was killed after he was hit by an oncoming vehicle as he was clearing snow from his driveway. The man was using a snowblower when a 25-year old female driver lost control of her vehicle, hitting the man. The accident occurred in Kingsley, Michigan, which is located in Grand Traverse County. The names of those involved in the accident have not been released as an investigation is ongoing.

Michigan Snow Car Crash Lawyer

Accidents like these are unfortunately common throughout the United States as winter weather starts to set in. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 22% of car collisions that occurred between 2005 and 2014 were caused by hazardous weather. Those accidents killed an average of 5,900 people each year, which accounts for 16% of annual vehicular deaths. Of accidents caused by hazardous weather, wet pavement was the most common culprit, being responsible for 73% of all weather related accidents. Snow and sleet precipitation accounted for 17% of all weather related accidents, snowy and slushy pavement accounted for 14% of these car crashes, and and icy pavement accounted for 13%.

These numbers are scary, and Michigan winters are cold and long. This doesn’t mean that you should never get in your car again until April, but it is important that drivers are aware of the hazards that snow, sleet, slush, and ice can present. Practicing safe driving behaviors is always important, but especially so when driving in hazardous weather. Drivers should first make sure their vehicles are ready for winter driving. Steps to make a car winter ready can be found on The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog. Once a car is winter ready, drivers should take their time on the road and be sure to leave enough stopping distance between themselves and other vehicles. Finally, If the weather really seems just too dangerous to be driving in, it’s likely that most businesses will be closed, and you don’t need to brave the elements and risk injuring or hurting yourself or others.

Accidents happen year round, but the truth is that winter weather conditions make car accidents even more likely. If you or a loved one have been involved in an automobile accident caused by hazardous weather such as snow or ice, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.

Beware Of Traffic Light Camera Ticketing

With the holiday season fast approaching, thousands of Michiganders will do doubt be travelling to see their families or even to take a winter vacation. While many may choose to fly, driving is also a popular travel method to reach nearby destinations. While roadtrippers are crossing between states, they need take into consideration any differences in state road laws, particularly at intersections. Unlike Michigan, the Detroit News says 23 other states use automated ticket cameras to fine drivers unaware that they are being filmed for breaking the law. 

Michigan Out of State Traffic Ticket Lawyer

Privatized traffic law enforcement systems are growing in number throughout the United States, but Michigan has yet to follow the trend. The fact that Michigan hasn't followed suit may be for the best since many states have had negative experiences, and even scandals arise from the use of ticketing cameras. While traffic cameras were designed to make drivers follow road rules, since even just seeing a camera causes motorists to slow down, this is the exact reason they also caused trouble when drivers are ticketed after driving through an intersection during the “dilemma zone." The dilemma zone refers to the time frame in which a driver has to make a split-second decision to proceed through or slam on their brakes to stop, when a traffic light has just turned red.

Additionally, a study conducted in Los Angeles, California highlighted how red-light cameras led to an increase in traffic accidents, predominantly rear-end car crashes from drivers slamming on their brakes after seeing the camera's flash. This study led to many cities in California to break their contractual agreement with the traffic camera companies and even discover that one city's police department purposely stopped recording the information received from the traffic cameras in order to hide the results.

The scandals occurring in other states who use ticketing cameras at intersections include companies bribing local officials, automated ticket companies refusing to use the money acquired through traffic citations for public school funding, and privately owned ticket operation companies placing profit over traffic safety by setting ticket quotas.

It is for all of these problems with traffic cameras that Michigan Senator Mike Shirkey introduced Senate Bill 593 in November 2015. The bill suggests banning the use of unmanned traffic monitoring devices to detect or enforce traffic violations concerning speed limits, signals, traffic signs, etc. 

Shirkey has said, “The recent scandals that took place in other states (related to ticketing cameras at intersections) show the true nature of some of these programs, and Michigan drivers have always, thankfully, valued freedom and we've avoided the added stress that cameras and their inaccurate ticketing can present.”

Michigan Traffic Ticket Lawyer

For now, Michigan residents can rest easy that the traffic cameras currently in place at select intersections across the state are simply there to monitor the flow of traffic. That doesn’t mean however, that drivers should disobey traffic signs or forget the laws of the road. Police can and will issue traffic citations which may be difficult to fight in court and may lead to points being added to a motorist's license, no matter if the ticket is received out-of-state or in-state.

Although some Americans relate traffic cameras to sinister government objectives such as increasing tax rates and invading citizens privacy, and point to the above mentioned scandals as proof, these state governments view traffic cameras as a safety addition to their city which keeps down traffic violations and keeps school zones safe. So, when you're driving to Bubbe's house for Hannukah this year, mind your speed or traffic cameras won't mind giving you a speeding ticket. It's better to eat cold latkes than have to explain to your Michigan accident Lawyer that you got rear-ended in Ohio when you slammed on your brakes at a traffic light that took your picture for speeding. 

Red light cameras and speeding ticket cameras seem to be a reasonable safety measure for many American lawmakers who are working to help decrease and prevent auto accidents and traffic violations. While Michigan doesn't employ cameras to catch speeding or rule breaking drivers, Michigan drivers should always remember to follow the rules of the road to avoid getting in trouble with the law and to avoid getting into motor vehicle accidents. If you or somebody you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation with an experienced accident attorney.

Colder Temperatures Reignite Car Idling Debate

Detroit Parking Ticket Lawyer

Readers of The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog may remember two articles from this past summer that documented the saga of a Michigan man receiving a ticket for warming up his car one winter morning. Nick Taylor Trupiano, age 24 and of Roseville, Michigan, started his car in his driveway one morning in January of 2017. Taylor went back in his house to wait for it to warm up, but when he went back out to his car, was shocked to find a ticket on the windshield. The ticket read, “Vehicle parked in drive with keys in the ignition, motor running -- no one around."

Trupiano, angry and confused by the $128 fine, posted a picture of the ticket on Facebook, along with a heated description of the situation. The post was shared over 14,000 times. Facebook users were both angered at the Roseville Police Department for the bizarre ticket, and concerned that the same thing could happen to them. The Roseville Police Department responded, saying that, by leaving the car on with the keys in the ignition, Trupiano was “putting the public at risk” and creating a “public safety issue.” Essentially, Trupiano was leaving the car open to being stolen, since it was sitting in public view with the keys in the ignition. The law that Trupiano was ticketed under was put in place in order to deter carjackings. Had he started his car with a remote starter, it would have been fine. It’s the fact that the keys were in the ignition, making it fairly easy to steal the car, that was the issue. Trupiano fought the ticket, but lost, and was forced to pay the fine.

Many Michigan residents were concerned that the same thing could happen to them, since it's common for Michiganders in the middle of a harsh, typical winter to warm their cars up while they wait inside. Agreeing with Michigan citizens, Representative Holly Hughes introduced Bill 4215, a bill that would make it legal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition so long as it was on private property. The bill passed the Michigan House of Representatives, and Governor Rick Snyder officially signed it into law on June 28, 2017. To be clear, it is still illegal to leave a car running with the keys in the ignition on public roads and freeways.

Detroit Snow Car Accident Lawyer

While the bill may have alleviated many Michigan residents’ fears about being ticketed for warming up their car in the winter, what was lost in the debate is whether or not cars even need to be warmed up in the winter. The short answer is, no. The idea that drivers need to warm up their vehicles before driving in the winter does stem from some truth, but doesn’t carry much weight now. According to the Washington Post, it is true that a vehicle's fuel economy does decrease significantly in colder temperatures, and it does take longer for the engine to warm up to its optimal temperature in the winter. More so, vehicles manufactured with carburetors do need to be warmed up in order to work well and prevent the car from stalling. However, automobile manufacturers stopped using carburetors by the mid 1990s, and began using electronic fuel injections. Electronic fuel injections can monitor and adjust to the temperature, so warming up isn’t necessary. As a result, modern vehicles don’t need to be warmed up for more than 30 seconds before driving - the engine will warm up faster while being driven than it would will idling in the driveway.

In short, if you’re warming up your vehicle to help your engine, that really isn’t necessary. But if you idle your car in the morning simply so your car is warm and you don’t have to spend the first 10 minutes of your commute in an icebox, that’s a different story! Many drivers warm up their car for comfort, but it’s important to consider the economic and environmental implications. Idling your car not only wastes fuel (and thereby wastes money) but it also gives off greenhouse gas emissions. A 2009 study found that idling cars account for 1.6% of all greenhouse gas emissions in America. While some idling, such as idling in traffic, is unavoidable, idling in the driveway is not. That same study found that based on the price of fuel in 2009, Americans could save $5.9 billion a year on fuel costs if drivers would cut out unnecessary idling.

Whether you decide to idle your car in the morning or not is up to you. But if you do decide to idle your car, make sure you do so in your driveway, where it is now legal. Do so on a public street, and you are fair game for a ticket.

While accidents can happen any time of year, driving in snowy and icy conditions can be especially challenging, and can lead to winter weather car accidents. If you have been involved in an automobile accident due to winter road conditions, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation.