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Seattle Motor Vehicle Accident Law Blog

When do the most fatal accidents occur in Seattle?

Automobiles are a necessary evil for most people in the United States. Getting to and from work, or the store, or to the kids' ballgames or dance recitals generally requires that people have at least one family car to transport them. Even in relatively urban areas like Seattle, suburban sprawl and sometimes inadequate public transport means cars are common. Unfortunately, especially in cities, this means residents are exposed every day to the possibility of being killed in an accident on crowded streets.

But when is that risk at its height? Are there times when one is more likely to be involved in a fatal accident? While it is impossible to predict a crash in any individual circumstances, we can look to data on past accidents involving fatalities to see if there are any patterns that might emerge.

CDC statistics shed some light on pedestrian accidents

Summer time is coming, and here in the Pacific Northwest, that means a chance for many residents to get outside and enjoy milder weather after a long winter of being cooped up. Especially in an urban area like Seattle, this involves an increase in the number of people walking the city's streets, either to get from place to place, or just exercise and feel the sun on their faces. Unfortunately, with more pedestrians comes an increased chance of pedestrian-automobile collisions. These can be some of the most harrowing accidents there because of the serious and sometimes fatal injuries that a pedestrian can suffer in such crashes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 over 4,500 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents across the country, or one every two hours. Every time a pedestrian takes a trip, he or she is one and a half times more likely to be killed than someone in a car. Further, that same year, more than 150,000 people were treated for injuries related to a pedestrian-vehicle accident. Many times, fatalities in these accidents are the more vulnerable members of the population.

'Duck Bus' accidents take toll on industry in Seattle

Readers from the Seattle area know that in a city like this one, mass transit is a necessary way to get people from place to place. They are also likely aware that the city is a tourist destination and that the money brought in by tourists is a boon to the regional economy. One sight that residents may have seen is that of 'Duck Boats' or busses traveling the streets and waterways of Seattle.

These 'Ducks' take their name from the designation of similar vehicles used during World War II, DUKWs, that were utilized to ferry supplies and soldiers from ships onto the land. These amphibious vehicles are notable in that they can travel on both land and water, and have become relatively popular with tourists wanting to get a unique tour of the city. Unfortunately, due to some serious accidents, these vehicles have gotten a bit of a bad reputation.

Safety experts call for action to halt rising accident fatalities

An alarming rise in traffic accident deaths has safety experts calling for action. Traffic accident related fatalities increased six percent from last year and 14 percent from 2014. Accidents continue to become more common around the nation for many reasons.

The National Safety Council suspects that traffic accident deaths are increasing due to people speeding, drinking while driving and getting distracted behind the wheel. Phone use while driving appears to be the prime suspect. Smartphone users are no longer just texting and driving. More people are using their smartphone to read the news, browse Facebook and even check the weather while driving.

Natural brain reactions can lead to being a distracted driver

It might seem obvious for drivers in Washington State and across the nation to pay strict attention to the road and avoid behaviors that might lead to them being a distracted driver and causing an accident. However, the number of people who are texting and driving and committing other behaviors that involve smartphones and other devices is increasing. Invariably, this leads to the growing statistics of people who are injured or killed in an auto accident. It is beneficial to know why people look away from the road and at their devices when driving. Researchers are seeking to determine the cause that sparks the potentially damaging effect.

A psychologist who has studied distracted driving states that chemicals in the brain cause people to look at their phones even if they know they should not. Smartphone indicators that they have received a message is perceived as a reward. Another researcher says that the chemical dopamine is a cause of this activity. Dopamine is similarly stimulated in other pleasurable or exciting activities. Those who have a tendency toward addictive behaviors are more likely to pick up their phone when they receive a notification or a call, whether they are driving or not.

A fool for a client

_MG_0037.jpgEvery now and then, someone asks me what was the most important thing I learned in my three years of law school at the University of Washington. My answer, without hesitation, has been the same since I graduated in 1995: "If you have a legal situation, hire an appropriately qualified lawyer."

Matt Dubin Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

ATA_Lifetime (002).jpgAnnouncing the Lifetime Achievement selection of Matthew D. Dubin among America's Top 100 Attorneys®. Lifetime Achievement selection to America's Top 100 Attorneys® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify the nation's most exceptional attorneys whose accomplishments and impact on the legal profession merit a Lifetime Achievement award.

Judge or Jury

judge 2.jpgWhen most people think of a trial, they imagine a courtroom scene with a judge, a bailiff, the parties and lawyers, and a jury of twelve people who get to decide the case. While this is a fairly common scene, it isn't always how it works. Either side in a civil trial can demand a jury, but sometimes the parties decide to waive the right to a jury trial and have a judge decide the case. This is called a bench trial, and it has benefits and disadvantages relative to a jury trial.

Get the rental car coverage

rentalcar.pngWhat do you do when your car has been damaged in an accident and you need to get around. Whether your car is a total loss or whether it can be repaired, you still need some alternative method of transportation while you are without a vehicle. If the wreck was caused by the other driver, they are responsible to provide you a rental car while your car is in the shop or until your total loss claim is resolved, but what if they don't have insurance? Even if they do have insurance, their insurance company may choose to engage in a lengthy investigation on liability, delaying any payments. But you need a car now. What can you do?

Reckless driver sends deputy to hospital after car crash

A car accident can happen to anyone in Washington State and come without warning. No one is immune to the injuries and fatalities that can result from a car crash. Even those whose job it is to investigate and help people who have been in an auto accident can be in a crash themselves, suffering the aftereffects. A crash can have wide-ranging ramifications and those who have been affected need to know their legal rights even if their loved ones were a first-responders.

This reality came to pass in the state recently at around 3:30 p.m. when a head-on crash injured a 34-year-old sheriff's deputy as he sat in his squad car. A pickup truck was turning a corner and passing a van when it went into the lanes of the road heading in the opposite direction and hit the deputy's vehicle. The truck went over the hood. According to the driver of the pickup, he tried to pass the van because it had stopped in front of him. Law enforcement cited the man operating the pickup for being a reckless driver. The van was cited for failing to yield. The deputy was trapped inside his squad car and needed to be extricated after the roof was removed. As he was transported to the hospital, the deputy had his neck immobilized. He had severe injuries, but was reported to be aware of his surroundings and responding when spoken to.

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