What to do if your car breaks down on a busy highway

April 15, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

car-breakdown-633066-m.jpgLast weekend we read about a couple of fatal car accidents that occurred after a car was disabled on the highway and was rear-ended by another vehicle. So, we thought we'd take this opportunity to advise you on what to do if your vehicle breaks down on a busy freeway or highway.

One of the scariest things for any motorist is to have their car or truck break down on a busy highway. It's especially dangerous during times of busy traffic, after dark or during inclement weather. One must keep their wits about them to insure ones own safety and the safety of passengers in the vehicle.

Whether your tire blew, your engine unexpectedly shut off, you simply ran out of gas, or you've been involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should attempt to get your vehicle as far away from traffic as possible. Try to maneuver your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and onto the shoulder or even beyond the shoulder or emergency lane if possible. You want to avoid the possibility of another car hitting you.

If your vehicle is stopped in lanes of traffic, get out of your vehicle and get to safety if possible. However, you don't want to be in a situation where you are darting across lanes of traffic because you might get hit. Do not attempt to run across the highway unless you are absolutely sure you can make it.

Call 9-1-1 and let authorities know where you are if your vehicle is stuck in a dangerous place like a bridge or a freeway overpass. The state highway patrol can come and assist you and make sure that you are safe.

Turn on your hazard lights. Don't turn your vehicle off if possible because you want all of your lights and hazards still working. Raise your hood as another way to alert the highway patrol that you are broken down.

If you remain in your vehicle, keep your seat belt on. On some highways where traffic is moving quickly and drivers are coming home from bars or clubs, you want to make every precaution in case drivers are not paying attention.

Know where you are

When you call for help, one of the most frustrating aspects of a freeway breakdown is not being able to tell the 9-1-1 operator your location. If you don't know exactly where you are, try to approximate the driving time from a major sign that you saw, or the milepost number. Look for landmarks or businesses alongside the roadway. If you have a GPS on your cellphone, you can locate your position using the GPS.

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Sleep apnea and driving

April 9, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

The New York Times reports that a train engineer who was at the controls a Metro-North train that derailed killing four people and injuring 70 had severe sleep apnea that had not been diagnosed.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person stops breathing or breathes shallowly while asleep. The pause in breathing can last from just a few seconds to several minutes and in severe cases, it can occur more than 30 times in an hour.

Sleep apnea is a severe sleep disturbance and can cause sleepiness during the day time. Often the disorder goes undiagnosed.

Sleep apnea and sleep deprivation are both linked to motor vehicle accidents and sleepiness, like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, can contribute to an accident, especially if the driver falls asleep or zones out at the wheel. A driver who is experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness may be 7-15 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident.

People in transportation fields such as bus drivers, train operators and heavy equipment operators may pose a danger on the roadways especially when their shifts changes or when they have long shifts.

While the subject of sleep apnea is in the news after the New York train derailment, it's been a problem that researchers have looked at for a number of years. In 1991, a paper -- "Drivers with untreated sleep apnea. A cause of death and serious injury." -- looked at three patients with untreated sleep apnea who fell asleep while driving causing serious motor vehicle accidents. According to the paper, one person was killed, one became a paraplegic and the three drivers with sleep apnea were seriously injured.

Some commercial drivers may resist being tested for sleep apnea for fear that, if they are diagnosed, they may lose their job.

Diagnosis of sleep apnea requires a sleep study which measures a person's Apnea-Hypopnea Index using electrodes. Some indicators for testing is snoring, a high Body Mass Index, Hypertension, Diabetes, daytime fatigue and Cardiovascular Disease though these factors are not always present in people suffering from sleep apnea.

Many states have voluntary reporting of sleep apnea by physicians. While a physician may not be mandated by law to report an impaired river, a physician who believes that a patient's medical condition impairs safe driving making them a hazard to themselves and others has an ethical duty to report the patient to the Department of Licensing.

Drivers who are involved in a motor vehicle accident caused by a sleep disorder may be found liable for the accident. In addition, their employers may also be found negligent. In one such case, the family of Susan Slattery received a $40.8M wrongful death and injury settlement because a semi-truck driver fell asleep at the wheel and the Slattery family estate successfully argued that the truck driver was not properly supervised.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by the negligence of others.

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Fatal Everett motorcycle accident involved car making left turn

April 7, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

left-hand-turn.jpgThe Seattle Times reports that a 36-year-old motorcyclist was killed when his motorcycle collided with a car making a left hand turn in Everett.

The fatal motorcycle accident occurred on Evergreen Way around 3pm.

A car making a left- hand turn is one of the most dangerous situation for all motorists, especially motorcyclists. In fact, 42% of all motorcycle-auto collisions occur when an auto is making a left-hand turn.

While a left-hand occurs between two autos can be serious, when a auto and a motorcycle collide, the motorcyclist the results can be catastrophic leaving the motorcyclist seriously injured or killed.

A left turn maneuver is always dangerous and therefore the law requires the motorist to being signaling the intention to turn left at least 100 feet before entering the intersection. The motorist must also make sure that the left hand turn does not endanger another vehicle and has the duty to yield to oncoming traffic.

While this Everett accident is being investigated, the burden of proof will be for the turning motorist to absolve themselves of negligence.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a personal injury law firm located in Bellevue, Washington and we represent motorcycle accident victims and their families.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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Are the number of alcohol-related car accident deaths under-reported?

March 24, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

dui.jpgThe United States has been making great strides to reduce alcohol-related car accidents, reducing serious injuries and fatalities related to drinking and driving in the past two decades . Drivers with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more has declined substantially since 1991.

Despite the drop in drunk driving, it is estimated that 10,600 Americans were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2012. Intoxicated driving factors in 31% of all motor vehicle accident deaths every year.

While the progress against drunk driving is laudable, a new study by the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities are under-reported.

Researcher Ralph Hingson believes the underreporting occurs because 30% of drivers killed in motor vehicle accidents do not undergo blood alcohol testing or their death certificate is issued before blood alcohol testing results are back from the lab. Death certificates provide data for the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which provides traffic accident statistics.

The reporting of alcohol involvement in motor vehicle accident also varies from state to state with some states including New Mexico and Nevada having low reporting numbers.

Washington State Car Accident Fatalities

Washington state has a population of nearly 7 million people. In 2012, there were 409 fatal motor vehicle accidents and 444 deaths. Washington state has one of the lower deaths per 100,000 population with 6.4 car accident deaths. Of the deaths where the BAC results of the driver was known, there were 69 drivers killed with a BAC of greater than 0.08%.

If you have been seriously injured in a car accident involving a drunk driver, or a family member has been killed, you may be seeking answers to your legal questions. The Farber Law Group aggressively advocates on behalf of drunk driving victims and their families. With more than 30 years of trial experience, we will work hard to obtain the settlement you deserve.

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1 killed, 1 critically injured in 2 Seattle-area pedestrian accidents in past week

March 17, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

crosswalk-sign-1431140-m.jpgOn March 13, a woman was killed in a Kenmore pedestrian accident when she was hit by a driver who then left the accident scene. The accident occurred at Juanita Drive Northeast at Northeast 160th Street at 7am in an unmarked crosswalk. The woman was taken to Harborview Medical Center but died later from her injuries.

A 53-year-old Kirkland man may be charged with felony hit-and-run in the accident. He apparently stopped after striking the woman with his car, left the scene and later called 911 to report the accident. The report on SeattlePI.com said that they detectives do not believe the man was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident.

On March 16, a man was struck while attempting to cross Highway 99 in Lynnwood when he was struck by a minivan.

This accident occurred near 148th Street Southwest around 7am. The unidentified man was taken to Harborview Medical Center with a life-threatening head injury and broken legs.

Both accidents occurred in the early morning hours. Often, pedestrians who run or walk in pre-dawn or early dawn hours,dark nighttime conditions, during inclement weather and places with poor lighting may not be seen by motorists.

There is an old adage "the pedestrian has the right of way" but the driver is not always at fault in a pedestrian accident. In the March 16 accident, the pedestrian was attempting to cross a busy highway and he was wearing dark clothing.

Pedestrians can be at fault when:

  • jaywalking
  • crossing against a "Do Not Walk" signal
  • entering the street while intoxicated
  • walking where prohibited such as highways, bridges or alongside railroad beds.

Drivers can be at fault when:

  • driving under the influence
  • speeding
  • driving distracted
  • driving recklessly
  • driving too fast for prevailing conditions

Comparative negligence: Sharing fault

Not every pedestrian accident is a case of one person being 100% at fault. In some accidents, there is comparative fault. For example, if a pedestrian is texting as he steps off the curb, even if he has the "walk" signal, he may be apportioned 25% fault since he should have been alert on the basis of "comparative negligence."

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed in a Washington pedestrian accident, we advise you to seek the counsel of a skilled personal injury attorney to insure your rights are protected. At The Farber Law Group, we have represent pedestrian accident victims and their families for more than 30 years.

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More traffic cameras coming to Bellevue?

March 14, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

red_light_cameras.jpgThe Bellevue Reporter reports that the Bellevue City Council is considering a police department recommendation to place more red light cameras around the city.

The police department cites the following reasons for exapnding the program:

  • Increased city revenue
  • Improving driver habits
  • Reducing car accidents

According to the Reporter, the current traffic enforcement cameras have brought in $2.3 million in revenue with an expense of about a quarter of a million.

The police department recommends that red-light cameras be placed in the following intersections:

  • Westbound Northeast Eighth Street and 116th Avenue Northeast
  • East and westbound Northeast Eighth and 112th Avenue Northeast east
  • Southbound speed zone camera for Sunset Elementary at West Lake Sammamish Boulevard.

The current contract for existing cameras expires on April 30th.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group, a Bellevue personal injury law firm. We represent those seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and pedestrian accidents.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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Seattle police investigate bicycle accident

March 4, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

bicycle%20wheel.jpgThe Seattle Depart of Transportation (SDOT) survey revealed that in 2013 that more than 150,000 Seattleites ride bicycles. Seattle has been working to increase the number of people riding bicycles but safety is the number one deterrent to people not riding a bicycle more.

Bicyclists and pedestrians are at a high risk for accidents in busy cities like Seattle. Unfortunately, yesterday there was a collision between a bicyclist and an automobile. Detective Jeff Kappel of the Seattle Police Depart writes that the SPD investigating a crash between a car and a bicyclist that took place yesterday afternoon around 4:30pm. The unidentified male bicyclist in his 40's was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The bicycle accident occurred at 15th Avenue West and West Ruffner Street when the bicyclist and a Honda Accord collided.

An ongoing investigation should determine the events leading up to the car-bicycle collision and should provide information on who was at fault.

Hopefully the bicyclist in this accident was not too severely injured. He may be well-advised to seek the counsel of a attorney if his injuries are serious so that his rights are protected.

Every year in the U.S., there are between 700 and 900 bicycling-related deaths across the United States. In nearly 75% of these accidents, a head injury was the cause of the death. A study by Harborview Injury Prevention and Research finds that bicyclist who wear an ANSI or Snell approved bicycle helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85%.

Unfortunately, fatal bicycle accidents may be increasing. In 2012, fatal bicycle accidents increased by 6% from 2011. While bicycle accident deaths for those under the age of 20 have fallen, deaths among bicyclists 20 and older have increased 193% since 1984.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a bicycling accident with a motor vehicle in Seattle, Bellevue or the surrounding areas, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Farber Law Group for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

Head-on Car Accidents Often Cause Serious Injuries & Fatalities in Washington State and Nationwide

March 1, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

Today we were saddened to read about a horrible wrong-way car accident which killed a 6-year-old boy and injured his mother and 10-year old brother on Interstate 5 near Vancouver, Washington this morning near exit 11.

Gage W. Musgrave, 84, the wrong-way driver was taken to Peace Health hospital for undisclosed injuries.

Musgrave mistakenly entered the highway either from a rest stop or off-ramp and Washington State Troopers believe that he only drove for several minutes on the highway before the car accident occurred.

Head-On Car Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2009 there were 1,772 people killed in car accidents caused by wrong way drivers -- drivers who are driving on the wrong side of the highway or road.

Two vehicles colliding head-on are some of the most devastating types of car accidents, often leaving people seriously injured or, as in this case, killed. A head-on collision must be one of the worst car accidents for first responders to have to deal with. The force of two vehicles travelling in opposite directions and colliding at high speeds can leave both vehicles mangled wrecks. The loss of life is heart breaking.

Most often when we see head-on collisions, alcohol or drugs are involved. In this accident, we do not know if that is the case at this time but the elderly driver at the wheel makes one wonder if the driver was confused, lost his bearings or if medications he might be taken caused him to be impaired.

In some head-on crashes, there can be multiple contributing factors including confusing or missing signage or poorly designed on/off ramps.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed with their wrongful death lawsuits.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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Washington pedestrian accidents often cause serious injuries, fatalities

February 22, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

pedestrian-xing.jpgPedestrians who are struck by a car or a truck are often traumatized by the experience. Often, pedestrian accident victims sustain serious and life-altering injures and death. Pedestrians can receive disabling injuries even if they are hit by a car traveling at relatively low speeds. The higher rate of speed that the motor vehicle is going, the greater chance of disabling or fatal injuries. The Washington car accident attorneys at The Farber Law Group advise pedestrians and drivers to look out for each other as we approach spring.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provide some statistics related to pedestrian accidents:

  • 4,743 pedestrians were killed in 2012 after they were struck by a motor vehicle.
  • 76,000 pedestrians were injured in 2012 in auto-pedestrian accidents.
  • A substantial number of pedestrians were struck in non-roadway accidents such as a parking lot or driveway and therefore their injuries or deaths were not counted in official statistics.

Pedestrians age 70 and older are more likely to die after being hit by an automobile

Alcohol a factor in pedestrian accident deaths

Alcohol continues to factor into pedestrian accident deaths. Drivers with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher were involved in 13% of the pedestrian accident deaths in 2012. Pedestrians own alcohol use is a factor in some fatal accidents. In 2012, 36% of the pedestrians older than 16 who were killed had a BAC of 0.08% or higher.

Steps to take if you were involved in a Washington car/pedestrian accident

If you have been struck by a car, truck or bus, be sure to call 911 so you can be assessed by a certified emergency medical technician at the accident scene. Sometimes, people who are struck are in shock and adrenaline can make it difficult to assess their own medical condition. If you are able to, please note the road conditions and get the names/addresses of any witnesses as well as the pertinent information of the driver who hit you.

The Farber Law Group recommends that you seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney so he/she can obtain copies of the police and EMT report and gather evidence and contact witnesses before information is lost.

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Third of all children killed in motor vehicle accidents were not buckled up

February 19, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

A leading cause of car accident deaths among children was the failure of the child to be buckled up either with a seat belt or a car or booster seat according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Failing to buckle a child up runs the risk of the child being ejected from the vehicle in an accident resulting in serious injury or spinal cord injury and even death.

You probably know that motor vehicle accident injuries are the leading cause of death among children but did you know to what extent that the appropriate infant seat, car seat or booster seat saves lives? According to the CDC, using the appropriate infant seat for children under the age of one cuts the risk of death by 71%. For toddlers between ages 1-4, the risk of death is reduced by 54%. Seat belts for older children and adult reduces the risk of death in a car accident by about 50%.

One disturbing statistic for minority children is the fact that nearly 1 in 2 of black (45) and Hispanic (46%) children who were killed in car accidents 2009-2010 were not buckled up.

The CDC is trying to get the word out to parents and care givers that children should be buckled up in an appropriate seat for every car seat. It is estimated that nationwide, as many as 20% of children are not buckled up properly.

It is important that you have the correct fit for your child's seat, that it fits your vehicle correctly and that you use it each and every time that you drive.

The following graphic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows the correct car seat or booster seat by age.
Washington State Seat Belt Laws

Washington state placed a safety seat belt law in effect in 1986. The state considers failing to buckle a child up correctly a primary offense and a police officer can stop a car and a ticket a driver for failing to do so. A driver may be ticketed $124 for failing to buckle up a child age 16 and under. The Washington law also requires children 12 years and younger to be riding in the rear seat of the car if practical and requires children 7 years and younger

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2 injured when SUV hits school bus in Lake Stevens

February 18, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

washington_school_bus.jpgTwo people in a Chevrolet Tahoe have been injured after their SUV struck a Lake Stevens school bus this morning.

The bus accident occurred around 7am this morning when the Tahoe crossed into the oncoming lanes at South Lake Stevens Road and South Davies Road. Police cite excessive speed as a factor in the accident.

The driver of the SUV and passenger were taken to Providence Regional Medical Center in Seattle for treatment of undisclosed injuries.

Fortunately no one on the bus was injured in the accident.

School Bus Accidents

School buses take millions of children to and fro school and are one of the safest ways for children to travel.

During the 10 year period from 2001 to 2010, there were 1,236 fatal school transportation-related accidents which accounted to 0.34% of the total of all fatal motor vehicle accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2010 there were 129 people killed in school transportation related accidents and of those, only 12% were occupants of the school vehicle including six drivers and 10 passengers. When you realize that there are approximately 10 billion student trips every year, they are very safe vehicles. Another way of looking at school accident data is that there are 0.2 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in school buses compared with 1.5 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles for cars.

School buses have many safety upgrades including warning light, tall seats, thick padding and strong internal structures. School bus drivers are held to a high standard as to training and physical well-being.

This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents including school bus accidents, metro bus accidents and airport shuttle bus accidents. For more information, see King County Transit Bus Accidents for information on legal assistance for people seriously injured in metro bus accidents.

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Our Bellevue office is here to assist you.

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Female drunk drivers on the rise?

February 17, 2014 by The Farber Law Group

king county car accident lawyerI was in Los Angeles last week when I read a horrific news story in the Los Angeles Times about a wrong way drunk driver who collided head-on with another vehicle resulting in the death of six people. The driver of the red Camaro was speeding at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour when the accident occurred.

At first glance, I assumed that the wrong way driver was a young man because the car involved was a red "muscle car" and that the driver was speeding. I was wrong. The driver was 21-year-old Olivia Carolee Culbreath. All evidence points to the fact that Culbreath was driving under the influence at the time of the car accident. This was not her first driving under the influence arrest, she was convicted of drunk driving when she was 17 years old. Now she faces a lengthy jail term.

Prior to the horrific crash, at least 17 people had called 911 to alert authorities. Unfortunately, it appears that nothing could have been done to stop her that night. She killed a family of four and her own two passengers, one of which was her sister.

This accident points out the chilling fact that since the 1980s, the number of women arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) are female. Women are more likely to be using another substance and have mental disorders than males arrested for DUI.

In the greater Seattle area, we have had a few incidents of female wrong way female drunk drivers. In one, incident, a 60-year-old woman drove more than 17 miles on Interstate 5 in the wrong direction. In January of this year, a woman was arrested in downtown Seattle after driving the wrong way on Interstate 5 in the early morning hours. In September of 2013, Kelly Ann Hudson was convicted of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault for killing an 81-year-old Kirkland woman and critically injuring one other person. Hudson was drunk and under the influence of prescription drugs when her car crossed the centerline and struck a small car head-on.

Women and Drunk Driving

Drunk driving is the number one reason women come into contact with the criminal justice system. Nationally, arrests for drunk driving is on the rise in the female population and has risen from the single digit numbers in the 80's to almost 30% in 2007. In 2008, the Federal Analysis Reporting System (FARS) revealed that 1,837 people were killed in car accidents involving females driving under the influence.

A North Carolina study showed that between 1976-1985, alcohol-related crashes rose in the female population compared with a 27% decline among males in the same age group.

The following are some characteristics of female drunk drivers:

  • A New Mexico study found that 85% of females convicted of DUI had a alcohol problem.
  • Female DUI offenders are often diagnosed with a problem with opiates or other medications.
  • The average age of a female on their first DUI is 31. However, there seems to be a trend in which young women are being involved in risky driving behaviors.
  • Female DUI drivers are more likely to be single or divorced.
  • A 2000 New Mexico study revealed that females convicted of DUI have a lower recidivism rate than males but a more recent study in Maryland found no lower recidivism rate.

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