A woman was shepherding a calf that had strayed from its farm and onto a rural road in New York State when a driver on that rural road struck and killed her. rural road

Now, the New York State Court of Appeals has ruled in Hain v. Jamison that it should be up to a jury to decide whether the farm owner should be liable for its failure to keep or retrieve its cattle. The lower courts have gone back and forth on the issue. The calf had gotten loose in the roadway as an apparent result of the defendant’s failure to keep it property enclosed or to come find it after it had escaped. The farm argued its error in letting the calf escape and also its failure to find it in time wasn’t a proximate cause of the woman’s death. The trial court denied the motion. But the appellate division reversed, finding the farm’s negligence provided the occasion for – but did not cause – the woman to enter the road, where she was then hit by the defendant driver. The New York State Court of Appeals reversed, finding the farm did not meet its proof burden in showing an absence of issues of material fact. Specifically, the question of what proximately caused the decedent’s death was a matter to be decided by the jury – rather than the judge.

That means the plaintiff, the decedent’s widowed husband, may continue with his wrongful death claim against all originally named defendants.

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A five-year-old girl was buckled snugly into her booster seat in the back of her parent’s Toyota passenger car. It was the the day before Christmas 2014. She and her family – her mother, her father, and her older sister – were on the Texas interstate. Up ahead, police had stopped traffic. The girl’s dad, behind the wheel, applied the brake. The vehicle stopped in the left lane. The driver of the sport utility vehicle behind them, though, never saw the brake lights. At the time, he was using the video chat application on his Apple iPhone 6 Plus, known as FaceTime. The brakes on his 5,000-pound vehicle, traveling at full speed, were never applied. iphone

Everyone was hurt, but the injuries of the little girl and her father were especially serious. He survived. She did not.

Now, in Modisette v. Apple, the family is suing the manufacturer of the iPhone and its FaceTime application, which comes pre-loaded onto all iPhones and iPads. The plaintiffs allege that Apple has the technology to determine when a user is operating a motor vehicle and can disable the video chat application, which can dangerously consume a driver’s attention.

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By the year 2030, it’s expected more than 60 million adults over age 65 will be navigating our roadways. Given what we know about the challenges of driving as you age, one would assume states would be bracing for this by expanding programs that might restrict drivers who pose safety risks due to worsening vision, decreased reflexes, hearing loss, or cognitive decline. However, according to a new report from Stateline.org, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trust, state lawmakers have become reluctant to restrict seniors’ driving licenses or impose any extra requirements to get them renewed based solely on age criteria.car

Typically, older drivers have been subject to vision and road tests. However, advocates for the aging have become powerful political forces in recent years. For example, the AARP and AAA have argued forcefully that age should not be deemed the only indicator of an individual’s ability to drive a vehicle. And there are a growing number of programs that aim to help seniors safely navigate the roads. For the most part, insurance companies consider older drivers to be safe. Furthermore, it seems that the age-related restrictions aren’t actually as effective as it was once believed in reducing traffic deaths.

As one spokeswoman for the AARP said, states should not discriminate against older drivers simply because of their age. Instead, their overall ability and health is what should be considered. Meanwhile, the executive director for the Governors Highway Safety Association said another reason many states have been slow to pass additional age-based restrictions is that while people are living longer, our definition of what is “old” has morphed. Being 75 no longer means one is at death’s door. Seniors today are more active and are living much longer than previous generations. In fact, our nation recently elected its oldest-ever president, Donald Trump, who is 70. (Before that, Ronald Reagan, who took the oath of office at the age of 69, was the oldest.)

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Two children were struck and killed by an unlicensed driver while crossing a busy, five-lane road with their babysitter on a Thursday night. The babysitter suffered injuries, while the children, ages 10 and five, were pronounced dead at the scene.pedestrian

Authorities are investigating the tragedy, which involved a 20-year-old driver who struck all three pedestrians crossing near an intersection (but not in it). There is a traffic signal but no pedestrian crosswalk at that intersection. The speed limit on Fairview Road, where the fatal crash occurred, is 45 mph, according to the Asheville Citizen-Times. The driver was arrested on the scene for not having a valid state driver’s license and for driving with no operator’s license. Still, investigators say it is unlikely he will face additional charges. There is no indication he was speeding or under the influence of drug or alcohol. Furthermore evidence indicates the driver’s traffic light was green at the time he proceeded through the intersection. He struck the trio shortly after passing through it, investigators believe.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released in May, there were 4,884 pedestrians killed and 65,000 injured nationally in traffic crashes in 2014. On average, that meant a pedestrian was killed every two hours and injured every eight minutes. A quarter of these occurred from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. – which is precisely when this incident happened. The babysitter, whom family describe as “like a grandmother” to the children, was walking them to a local Subway restaurant in a nearby plaza to get some dinner.

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In North Carolina personal injury cases, the recovery of damages is prohibited if the plaintiff (the person who is injured) is even partially at fault. This is called contributory negligence. Every state handles the issue of contributory negligence a bit differently, and North Carolina is one of the most unfavorable to plaintiffs in this regard. traffic

Defendants in North Carolina injury lawsuits will press hard on the issue of contributory negligence because if they can prove it, they’ve won their case. That’s why your Greensboro personal injury attorney has to be prepared.

In the recent case of Daisy v. Yost, the dispute arose from a Greensboro car accident. Although the two parties stipulated damages prior to trial, they did not agree on the issue of who was at fault, and specifically whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent for his own injuries.

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The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced that one of five National University Transportation Centers will be run by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Highway Safety Research Center. According to a recent press release, the school is slated to receive $2.8 million in federal funds during the first year of its research and then another $15 million over the course of the next five years. The goal will be to help create and manage a program called the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety. This will be a chance for the university – and North Carolina – to lead and influence the future of transportation. traffic

Ultimately, North Carolina researchers will be at the forefront of progress in slashing the number of roadway injuries and deaths. The better we understand traffic safety problems, the more effectively we can address them.

The other top transportation programs are Duke (also in North Carolina), Florida Atlantic, and the universities of Tennessee, Knoxville and California, Berkeley. Already, UNC heads up the Injury Research Prevention Center, which studies a range of topics, including (by funding):

  • Violence against children and youth – $6 million
  • Traumatic brain injury – $4 million
  • Occupational violence – $1.7 million
  • Prescription painkiller overdoses – $1.5 million
  • Transportation-related injury – $613,000
  • Older adult falls – $318,000
  • Suicide – $281,000
  • Partner violence – $244,000
  • Other – $3.5 million

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accident1-300x200There have been many tactics employed in an effort to reduce drunk driving, from awareness education in schools to tougher prison penalties. It seems almost everything has been tried. But now, law enforcement at a police department in Canada have come up with a unique and novel approach: Old Nickelback songs.

As reported by McClatchy news service, officials with the Kensington Police Department have said that this New Year’s Eve, newly-arrested drunk drivers are going to be made to listen on repeat to a widely disliked 15-year-old Nickelback album on their way to jail. Rolling Stone readers ranked Nickelback the second-worst band of the 1990s, just behind Creed.

Although the humorous approach is meant to raise awareness, authorities across the globe recognize drunk driving as a very serious issue indeed. New Year’s Eve especially is a night where police see a marked increase in drunk driving accidents and arrests.  In fact, the number of crashes in which alcohol and/or drugs is a factor increases by more than 70 percent from 6 p.m. Dec. 31 through 6 a.m. Jan. 1, as compared to an average weeknight. Continue reading

One would think that putting an end to distracted driving wouldn’t be rocket science. But as it turns out, that could very well be the case. phone

An engineer/rocket scientist who previously developed motors used on NASA space missions has created a device he says could eliminate distracted driving. Although the device seems to have real promise, he’s been trying to get it on the market for two years. The real trick, it seems, will be getting cell phone makers, technology companies, auto manufacturers, and the federal government on board. At this point, Scott Tibbitts and his colleagues at Katasi say they have at least one mobile phone provider who may be close to rolling out the gadget. Another provider has shown an interest in adopting the technology.

Tibbitts says he’s been fighting for two years now to get top executives to hear him out. He has explained that the firms that would be first on the market with this, “Could be heroes… Save a bunch of lives.” But cell phone and auto makers are gun-shy. The fear is that they will be denying customers the option of being connected while in a moving vehicle. The problem is this “feature” is killing thousands of people every year.  Continue reading

A driver suing for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage benefits prevailed in his quest to continue the case, as the North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled the trial court was right to deny summary judgment to defendant insurers. construction road

In Spruill v. Westfield, Allstate and Casualty, justices determined the lower court properly considered plaintiff an “insured” person under the Westfield policy, and further that the policies held by both Westfield and Allstate should be pro-rated.

This case stemmed from an auto accident that occurred in November 2012 while plaintiff, a construction company employee, was directing traffic for the company while on U.S. Highway 13. He was struck by a driver in a car traveling northbound. At the time, plaintiff was acting in the course and scope of employment, as he was helping his co-worker back up a tractor trailer onto the highway from the construction site. Plaintiff was a supervisor at the site, where workers were building a new Wal-Mart. He and another worker walked out onto the median of the highway to help the truck back out by stopping traffic in the opposite direction. He was wearing an orange and yellow reflective vest and was standing within the highway median when he was hit.  Continue reading

A lawsuit alleging wrongful death and personal injury caused by a defective vehicle will be allowed to proceed, according to a recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Jackson v. Ford Motor Co.driving

The plaintiff’s husband was killed in 2012 – and the plaintiff was seriously injured – when her husband lost control of his vehicle while the pair were traveling on U.S. Highway 70 in Tennessee. The plaintiff alleges the manufacturer of the car was liable for the auto accident because it had equipped the vehicle with a defective electronic power assisted steering (EPAS) system that resulted in a loss of control. Although the district court granted summary judgment to the defendant manufacturer on the ground that the plaintiff failed to adequately plead the proximate cause of the crash, the Seventh Circuit reversed, meaning the case can go forward.

This case is not the first product liability lawsuit Ford has faced over its power steering system. A federal class action lawsuit was filed in California in 2014, alleging certain model years of Ford Focus and Ford Fusion vehicles had defective EPAS systems – something about which the company knew but that it declined to correct or even acknowledge. The automaker filed a number of motions to dismiss, but so far the case is still moving ahead. The company did end up recalling some of those models after the lawsuit was filed. The loss of power steering, as noted in both of these actions, can create a dangerous condition for drivers.

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