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Ann Arbor Motor Vehicle Accidents Blog

The consequence of a really, really bad decision

Driving is dangerous. That much is a commonplace. When you pilot 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of steel down the road at highway speeds, bad things happen when you drive too fast and lose control.

It probably seemed like something a "cool dad" would do. Give the keys to your Suburban, to your 15-year-old, unlicensed daughter. You were on vacation, it was a quiet morning, she would run with her friends to breakfast and bring you back something.

Sleeping and driving can become deadly driving

Driving requires a great deal of alertness. There are a great many things going on with even the most undemanding of road trips, on a reasonably straight roads, with little traffic. This is why so many activities that cause distraction in a driver are so dangerous. Use of smartphones for texting, watching YouTube videos and surfing the web are the latest of items that steal a driver's attention and leave them vulnerable to crashes.

Alcohol has long been the focus of campaigns to raise awareness and reduce accidents caused by the overindulgence by drivers. Of course, virtually any activity that does not focus on driving the vehicle can be distracting, from doing makeup or shaving to eating and changing a radio station.

Drive safely during the Fourth of July holiday

As residents of Michigan prepare for the Fourth of July weekend, a caution goes out to all drivers to avoid drunk driving during the long weekend. Winters are long here in Michigan and residents across the state seem summer and summer holidays as a reward for enduring those winters.

But everyone need to remain responsible when drinking, and if you are spending the weekend at a cabin or on the lakes that surround Michigan, you need to ensure that your drinking does not coincide with the need to drive. Last year saw fewer highway fatalities in Michigan than in 2013, but there were still nine traffic deaths over the weekend and three of those were alcohol-related.

Eleven injured in chain-reaction crash on I-94

It's summer and I-94 is busy. As if there is ever a time when it is not busy. Roads like I-94 are dangerous because of volume of traffic they carry. While you may be able to allow your consciousness to wander and live to tell about when you are driving a quiet section of rural interstate out west, there are no quiet sections along I-94 in Michigan.

A crash last week involved nine vehicles and it was fortunate that there were no fatalities, as the crash involved three semi-trucks. Semi-trucks, when fully loaded and traveling at highway speeds, possess a tremendous amount of potential energy and when released during a crash, can cause horrific damage and severe injuries for any who survive a wreak.

Negligent driving in car accidents may lead to monetary claim

Tort claims exist in Michigan and elsewhere to give an innocent or comparatively innocent person the right to recover monetary compensation from one or more wrongdoers who caused the person's injuries. With respect to car accidents, the right to recovery is predominantly based on principles of negligence rather than on intentional wrongdoing. A driver's failure to use due care under the circumstances is said to be negligence. If that negligence is a substantial factor in causing the injuries or death, then there is a legal right to recover damages sustained.

Where the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol and drives recklessly, the wrongdoing approaches intentionality and will sometimes justify an award of punitive damages. The actions of the wrongdoer in that case are penalized in order to have a preventative effect on future accidents. The punitive damages part of the award is added to the compensatory damages amount and is provided to the injured victim.

Car accidents caused by distraction can carry stiff consequences

Anyone who has tried to drive and simultaneously use a cellphone for calling, texting or browsing knows how difficult it is to do without causing a crash or coming close to it. It might be a minor topic of concern if it was not such a dangerous activity. The fact is that over 3,000 people in the United States were killed in car accidents in 2013 due to distracted drivers. In Michigan, one 23-year-old woman has learned just how dangerous it is to use a cellphone and drive at the same time.

She was sentenced in a Michigan state court to six months in jail, two years of probation and community service for killing a bicyclist in an accident last fall. According to police, she was occupied with her phone and not focused on her driving. The judge added one extra penalty to the sentence: He ordered that the woman is not allowed to have a cellphone for two years.

Car Accidents caused by falling objects are compensable events

In Michigan as well as other jurisdictions, it is a basic rule of the road that a driver of a truck or other vehicle has the duty to have all cargo and accessories sufficiently fastened to the vehicle while traveling on the highways. When truck and car accidents occur due to cargo or attachments falling off of a truck and creating a collision, this is usually found to be due to the negligence of the truck driver and the owner. This kind of breach of duty took two lives on I-94 at about 2 p.m. on May 30.

At that time, a semi truck lost a set of dual tires on the interstate while it was heading westbound near Portage Road. The tires bounced over the median barrier and hit a 2013 Honda Accord that was heading east, according to the Portage, Michigan Police Department. The Honda went out of control after the tires came down on it, and it crashed.

Will 2015 bring more motorcycle deaths to Michigan?

The Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning to the summer driving season. These trips range from weekend jaunts to the lake, to longer vacation road trips crossing multiple states. But no matter where you drive, during summer, stay alert for motorcycles sharing the road. Sadly, a fatal motorcycle accident over the weekend serves as a warning and a reminder that with summer driving comes the risk of motorcycle crashes and fatalities.

Motorcycles are growing in popularity in Michigan and the death in Oakland County will likely be one of a great many this year. In 2014, 806 Michigan motorcyclists lost their lives in fatal bike accidents. In Oakland and Wayne counties alone, there were 217 fatalities. 

Drunk driving accidents may justify punitive damages award

An innocent and injured victim of a car crash is entitled to collect from all negligent drivers who may have contributed to the cause of the injuries. In Michigan and other jurisdictions, civil liability for damages to injured victims in drunk driving accidents is also determined by whether a driver was negligent or not in causing the accident. It is not the fact of drunkenness that will determine a driver's civil liability for monetary damages to injured victims.

The question instead is whether or not the driver was negligent and whether that negligence was a substantial factor in causing the accident and the claimant's injuries. It can be relevant, however, that a driver was drunk. That is generally because an injured claimant may be able to collect punitive damages from a drunk driver where the negligent operation of the vehicle rose to a level of reckless and wanton behavior.

The Takata air bag recall may take years to complete

Finally. Takata has issued the recall that many have been waiting months, or years, to occur. And it becomes the largest every automotive recall, encompassing 34 million vehicles from 11 manufacturers.

However, while the air bag inflator defect has been known of for years, there will be a significant problem in dealing with the millions of replacement inflators that will be necessary to replace all of the defective units currently in use and prevent additional deadly accidents.