Car Accidents

The type of music you listen to affects your driving?!

No comments

Did you know that the type of music you listen to can affect your driving tendencies and make you much more likely to get into a car accident? It can also determine if you get pulled over for speeding, running red lights, and increase the chances of you getting into a high speed car accident. I’ve noticed it myself in my own driving and others but finally a study was done to prove my subconscious hypothesis.

An Israeli study connected test subjects to heart monitors and put them through a driving simulator while they listened to music of varying tempos. A no-music control group experienced significant heart rate fluctuation while driving — that is, their heart sped up when things got exciting, like if a pedestrian jumped in the street. But those who were listening to any type of music saw their heart rate stay level.

At first glance, this suggests that the drivers who were listening to music were more calm, and thus more careful drivers than the control group. But it was the opposite  was actually true. The people listening were calm (maybe), but only because they were less focused on driving than the control group — they were placated by the music.

The study also showed that drivers who were listening to higher-tempo music (between 120 and 140 beats per minute, the speed of most dance and techno music) were twice as likely to blast through red lights and had twice as many accidents as those who were listening to slower music or the deafening echo of their own thoughts.

Moral of the story: If you want someone to drive slower, turn the station to something with little beat to it such as smooth Jazz, talk radio, books on tape, or classical music. Skip the EDM music if you want your driver to drive slow, unless you want to get somewhere quickly.

Andrew CherinThe type of music you listen to affects your driving?!
Read more

Dangers of the turn lane: First in time = right of way?

No comments

Turn lanes are some of the most misunderstood traffic lanes. Not many people know how early is too early to get into a turn lane and who has the right of way to it. This is so misunderstood that many car accidents are caused because of the confusion on who has the right of way.

Today we will focus on who has the right of way when you turn into the turn lane ahead of other traffic and another car in front of you wants to turn into the turn lane and crashes into you. Who is at fault for this situation?

A number of driving rules come into play in this situation: When can you be in a turn lane? What can you use the turn lane for? Who has the right of way once you establish yourself in the lane?

The law on turn lanes:

RCW 46.61.290(3)(c) Upon a roadway where a center lane has been provided by distinctive pavement markings for the use of vehicles turning left from either direction, no vehicles may turn left from any other lane. A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. No vehicle may travel further than three hundred feet within the lane. A signal, either electric or manual, for indicating a left turn movement, shall be made at least one hundred feet before the actual left turn movement is made.

The law on changing lanes:

RCW 46.61.305 (1) No person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided. (2) A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.

Conclusion: 

If you have established yourself in a turn lane by giving proper notice and are within 300 feet of your turn, you have the right to the turn lane as being first established in the lane even though a car in front of you wants to be in the lane as well. The earliest you can change lanes into a turn lane is 300 feet before your turn or the length of a football field. Additionally, just because a car is in front of you doesn’t mean they have the right of way into the turn lane. A car that has fully established itself in the lane legally has the right of way to that lane. A signal of lane change must be made at least 100 feet before the turn to give adequate notice to those around you.

Speeding and illegal lane changes can come into play to say otherwise on this one. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact your Seattle personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation. We are paid out of the settlement making it so anyone can afford to hire us.

Andrew CherinDangers of the turn lane: First in time = right of way?
Read more

What do I tell the insurance company after a car accident?

No comments

After our clients have been injured in a Seattle car accident, two of the first questions they ask us are: “What should I say to the insurance company both mine and the defendant’s? What should I not say to the insurance company?”

The most important thing to keep in mind when speaking with an insurance company is to be very cautious and guarded, even if it is your own insurance company, because their mission is to find out whatever information benefits them.

You may think that they have your best interests at heart, but they are a business and thus they want to save money by paying as little as possible to you for your car accident injuries. This means that they will either try to minimize your claim or deny it altogether, depending on the information they obtain from you. This is why it is best if you say as little as possible. Anything you say can be twisted to be used against you and in favor of the other party.

ONLY GIVE OBJECTIVE INFORMATION WHEN REQUESTED

 

When dealing with the other driver’s insurance company, it is best if you only give objective information that is requested, such as the date of the Seattle car accident, your insurance policy information, and your contact information, and that you would like to talk to your personal injury lawyer if more information is requested. You only want to give them information when they request it and nothing more.

Most people will down play their injuries initially because they don’t want to be looked at as weak or meager. Additionally, people don’t want to say they are injured and how bad because they are uncomfortable talking about their pain and vulnerability after a car accident. For this reason, many men do not file a personal injury case against the insurance company and will rather tough out injuries and not seek treatment unless they need surgery.

In terms of your own insurance company, you have an obligation under your insurance contract to speak with them, but you still want to be very cautious about anything you sign or about giving a recorded statement. In your recorded statement it is ok to consult with your attorney before talking. Additionally, you can say that you do not know the extent of your injuries and you are currently seeking medical treatment for the injuries you suffered in the car accident.

If you have been injured in a Seattle car accident, you should think about talking to a Seattle personal injury lawyer first to determine your rights and what you are entitled to. You could be entitled to $10,000 or more for your car accident injury case. Best of all, consultations are free and Seattle personal injury lawyers are only paid out of the settlement and do not charge anything if we cannot recover anything for you. Anyone can afford a personal injury lawyer but you can’t afford not to have one against the insurance company.

 

 

Andrew CherinWhat do I tell the insurance company after a car accident?
Read more

Geico Car Accident Injury Cases

No comments

Many people have asked me what do I think of certain insurance companies compared to others in car accident injury cases in Seattle. I have experience with most insurance companies both from a 1st party (your own insurance company) and 3rd party (the defendant’s insurance company) view points. I want to break down my thoughts on each insurance company and how they handle these cases from both sides view points.

Every insurance company is in the business of making money first and foremost. While the insurance adjuster on the other line may sound very nice and genuine, they do not have your best interests in their forethought. They are first and foremost trying to have you settle your case for as little money as possible as soon as possible. This is why they want to have you give them statements, give them authorization to all your medical records ever, and tell you they have the money and this is how much your case is worth with a deadline to take it or the money goes away.

Geico is no different from these other insurance companies. They spend billions of dollars (it seems) on car insurance commercials every year. From the Geico Gecko, to the Caveman, to the many other crazy commercials, they spend a ton of money on advertising. They spend a ton of money on advertising to sign up as many people as possible. To offset these costs, they want to pay out as little as possible on your car accident injury case and their insurance adjusters reflect this mindset.

Geico as a 1st party insurance company in regards to PIP (personal injury protection) and paying you for your medical records are ok. They will for the most part pay most if not all of your medical bills without making reductions. They will not often threaten IME (independent medical examinations) to see if their doctor believes you need further treatment regardless of what your doctors are saying. An IME is a way for them to stop paying for your medical bills, or at least that is what they want to make you think.

However, if you have Geico insurance and the person that caused your car accident does not have insurance and you have UIM (uninsured motorist insurance), Geico is very tough to settle cases with. They will basically treat you as if they represent the defendant and will make all excuses or arguments that the defendant had. They will not be fair to you. They will diminish your injuries and force you to settle for how much they want to pay you, not much. They will not treat you as if you are their insured and give you everything you want. They are a business and want to make money and not give money away.

Geico as a 3rd party insurance company is notoriously stingy with their offers to settle cases. There is no real surprise here as most insurance companies will do this as well. However, Geico often will fight tooth and nails to make sure they diminish your story and your injuries. They are trained assassins when it comes to negotiating your settlement and will push most attorneys to file a lawsuit against them in order to get more money. If you try to settle your case with them without a Seattle personal injury lawyer representing you, good luck getting much money in your pocket and your medical bills paid.

If you have been injured in a car accident, you should contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation. We are paid out of the settlement and are only paid if you recover a settlement. No settlement, no fee.

Andrew CherinGeico Car Accident Injury Cases
Read more

Did you know insurance adjusters go to claims school?

No comments

If you are injured in a car accident in Seattle and believe that the person representing the insurance company on the other line has your best interest and is just another person just like you, you are wrong. Insurance adjusters are professional negotiators and know how to get you to settle for as little as possible. Insurance adjusters often go to claims schools in order to become an insurance adjuster. At this school they are taught how to answer calls, how to evaluate claims, and most importantly how to make you settle for as little money as possible.

If you have been injured in a car accident, they will want to take your statement at the outset of your case and put words into your mouth on a recorded line. This is one of the tricks they play to show that either you caused the car accident in some way or another or you were not has hurt as you are claiming later.

What should you do then? You should tell them you are not comfortable making a statement at this time and you should ask a Seattle personal injury lawyer about your case. Rarely will a Seattle personal injury lawyer tell you it is a good idea to give a statement to the insurance company.

Insurance adjusters will try to offer you money soon after the car accident to compensate you for your injuries. They will try to make you realize that they have a check book and can write you a check right now to compensate you for your case. They will belittle your injuries and tell them your injuries are not worth much so you should take this offer now or it will go away.

When should you ever try to settle your case following a car accident? If you are trying to settle your case without a Seattle personal injury lawyer, you should wait until your injuries have healed and you are back to 100%. That probably means you need to go to a physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc., in order to get better.

How do you pay for your treatment that you need if you are waiting for your settlement to pay for treatment? If you do not have your own car insurance policy called personal injury protection or PIP and you don’t have medical insurance, most physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, etc., will wait to be compensated out of the settlement. However, most of the time they will require you to have an attorney representing you in order for them to give you treatment up front for free because they want to make sure they are paid out of the settlement.

How much is your case worth? This is a tough question that is dependent and unique to each individual case. However, you are entitled to compensation for medical bills whether you paid for them out of pocket or your insurance company paid for them, lost wages even if you used vacation or sick leave and were still paid, and pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is dependent on how long you sought medical treatment, how severe your injuries from the car accident were, and if you have permanent injuries, among other things.

If you have been in a car accident, don’t get schooled by these trained professional negotiators. Even the field and hire your own professional negotiator/ Seattle personal injury lawyer today. Consultations are free and we are paid out of the settlement so no up front costs. Personal injury lawyers are very affordable because we are paid out of the settlement and there are no out of pocket costs. Everyone can afford a personal injury lawyer but you can’t afford to not have one.

 

Andrew CherinDid you know insurance adjusters go to claims school?
Read more

Tips for Driving in the Seattle Rain

No comments

With the rainy season upon us, I thought it would be a good idea to post my tips for driving safe in the rain. Seattle has some of the worst traffic in the nation. Couple that with lots of rain and you get a recipe for unsafe driving conditions and car accidents.

  1. Drive with your head lights on – many cars come with all day running lights so this is not as big of a thing as it used to be. It can be hard to see in heavy rains and if you don’t have your headlights on, someone might try to merge into your lane right in front of you and cause a car accident.
  2. Look out for large pooling water and drive slow through them – we all know certain locations where rain collects and pools. Drive slow through these areas and keep an eye out for other areas where water collects like near sidewalks and dips in the road. Hitting large pools of water at a fast speed can cause your car to lose traction (hydroplane) and cause a car accident.
  3. Give extra room for cars behind you when you are coming to a stop – this seems weird but slowing down and easing into your stop by periodically showing your brake lights will make it so the car behind you has adequate time to see that you are about to stop. This can help you avoid someone hitting you from behind and causing a car accident.
  4. Take corners slower than normal – turning around a corner in the rain can cause your car to spin out. Taking a corner fast in the rain can cause loss of traction as the momentum of the car and slick water underneath pushes your car in the direction of the turn.
  5. Stay away from cars that are driving fast and anticipate their moves – cars that are driving erratically are hazardous to you, stay away from them. They are more likely to lose control and not see you when switching between lanes.

Stay safe in the rain and look out for others as you drive.

Andrew CherinTips for Driving in the Seattle Rain
Read more

Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving Car Accidents

No comments

What is the number one cause of distracted driving car accident deaths? A Pennsylvania Insurance Company did a study in 2013 about the most common cause of distracted driving the past two years leading to car accident deaths, posted in the Insurance Journal in 2013.

The study showed that contrary to popular belief, daydreaming was the number one cause of distraction for drivers involved in fatal car accidents from 2010-2011. I think this would probably also include sleeping or falling asleep at the wheel – too tired. This is probably more common because it has to do with the trucking industry, where truckers have to drive a long time and have mandatory breaks while driving requiring them to sleep or rest.

  1. 62% – Day Dreaming or Lost in Thought 
  2. 12% – Cell Phone Usage
  3. 7% – Outside Person or Event
  4. 5% – Other Occupants in Car
  5. 2% – Using A Navigational Device or Headphones
  6. 2% – Eating or Drinking
  7. 2% – Adjusting Audio or Climate Controls
  8. 1% – Adjusting Mirrors or Seats
  9. 1% – Pets or Insects in Car
  10. 1% – Smoking Cigarettes 

The study was based largely on the police officer’s judgment at the time of the crash and could be underrepresented of the true numbers because most people will be unwilling to say they were distracted at the time of a car accident especially in one where the other driver dies. The use of cellphone related car accidents is probably higher given the negative response around texting and driving some people may be hiding the fact they were using their phone.

This is just a reminder of the many distractions in your car that could be taking your attention from driving carefully to keep you and other drivers around you safe. One second of distractions could be the difference between you seeing a stop sign, a person crossing the street, a car stopped in front of you, or a car merging into your lane.

Here are some tips you can use to drive safe and avoid car accidents:

  • Make sure other drivers around you see you – don’t drive in their blind spots.
  • Anticipate cars merging into your lane to give them room.
  • Keep your pets in the back seat.
  • Set your music up on your phone’s playlist before you start driving.
  • Keep your eyes on the road.
  • Explain to your children the dangers of driving and the reason you need absolute quite while driving.
Andrew CherinMost Common Causes of Distracted Driving Car Accidents
Read more

Can you wear headphones with a chord connected to your phone while driving?

No comments

We have all seen the person driving while wearing earbuds with a physical chord attached to their phone. Have you ever wondered if that was illegal? Does this qualify under the new handsfree requirement law for driving and using your phone in Seattle? No, it is illegal. You can only wear headphones that are approved as hands free headphones for the new driving law. These are paired with your phone via bluetooth.

What is somewhat misleading is the fact that you can wear blue tooth enabled headphones and listen to your iphone podcast or music but you cannot wear chorded headphones even though they both function basically the same. I guess the reasoning behind this is that the chord could cause a driving hazard, which could cause a car accident.

Looking further, the listening device must only cover one ear according to WAC 204-10-045

If you are caught wearing headphones with chords, you will most likely be pulled over and fined $124.

RCW 46.37.480

(2) No person shall operate any motor vehicle on a public highway while wearing any headset or earphones connected to any electronic device capable of receiving a radio broadcast or playing a sound recording for the purpose of transmitting a sound to the human auditory senses and which headset or earphones muffle or exclude other sounds. This subsection does not apply to students and instructors participating in a Washington state motorcycle safety program.

(3) This section does not apply to authorized emergency vehicles, motorcyclists wearing a helmet with built-in headsets or earphones as approved by the Washington state patrol, or motorists using hands-free, wireless communications systems, as approved by the equipment section of the Washington state patrol.
Andrew CherinCan you wear headphones with a chord connected to your phone while driving?
Read more

How far is too far in a left turn lane?

No comments

How far can I go in a left turn lane that is in the center dividing two lanes of traffic in each direction for the purpose of turning left before it is illegal? We have all seen them around. We have all wondered how far can I travel in them to overtake traffic.

How far can you go in a turn lane to make a turn? If you are planning on taking a left turn into a business in a turn lane, you cannot use this lane unless the business you are turning into is less than 300 feet away or about the length of a football field. This is not very far.

Can I travel in a turn lane to overtake traffic? No, you cannot enter a turn lane in order to overtake or pass other cars going in the same direction. Turn lanes depicted like this are for left turns only.

What happens if you cause a car accident while driving in a turn lane too far? If you are in a turn lane for more than 300 feet or your destination from when you entered the turn lane was more than 300 feet away, you are potentially at fault for a car accident that you cause. However, the other vehicles around you must have also acted reasonably in their assumption that there is no traffic in the center lane and they took precautions to enter the turn lane safely.

Therefore, if you want to get into a left turn lane to take a left, you should make sure that where you want to take a left turn at is less than 300 feet away. 300 feet away is about 6 seconds of travel for a car going 35 mph, about 5 seconds for a car traveling 40mph, and about 4 seconds for a car traveling 45 to 50mph.

The law-

RCW 46.61.290(3)(c) Upon a roadway where a center lane has been provided by distinctive pavement markings for the use of vehicles turning left from either direction, no vehicles may turn left from any other lane. A vehicle shall not be driven in this center lane for the purpose of overtaking or passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction. No vehicle may travel further than three hundred feet within the lane. A signal, either electric or manual, for indicating a left turn movement, shall be made at least one hundred feet before the actual left turn movement is made.

 

Andrew CherinHow far is too far in a left turn lane?
Read more

Out of State Car Accidents in Seattle

No comments

Did you know that if you are on vacation in Seattle or another state and get in a car accident, you will have to hire a lawyer that is licensed to practice law in that state to represent you for your car accident injury case? This is because there are different laws for different states and a lawyer must be barred in that state in order to represent someone injured in that state. Therefore, if you don’t live in Seattle but live out of town, you will need to find a Seattle personal injury lawyer.

Therefore, if you are traveling to Washington State to go see the space needle in Seattle and are injured in a car accident while driving on I-5 in Seattle, even though you live in New York or Arizona, you will have to hire a Seattle personal injury lawyer in Seattle to represent you for your car accident injury case.

It’s not too hard to find a lawyer to represent you for your car accident injury case. In fact, it can be really quite easy. Today we can do a whole lot of different things to sign clients from other states. We can talk on the phone, video conference call, send docusigns, and send emails with documents straight from our phones in a second.

Many people think that they will need to be present in the state where they are injured in order to hire a lawyer and get their case settled. This could not be further from the truth. Many times I can talk on the phone to my potential clients, send them a docusign fee agreement, and then they send me all the information I need to represent them like claim numbers and medical records.

Additionally, once I have a claim number, background story, and some general information about injuries and treating doctors, my clients can focus on healing. Also, if they have PIP, I can obtain all their medical records and bills very quickly once my client completes treatment. This speeds up the process tremendously and allows my clients to focus on healing while I talk to the insurance adjusters.

I periodically check in with my clients while they are healing and they send me updates on their progress. Once they are healed, then I can begin collecting medical records and start settling their case. Once I have the best offer from the insurance company, we email or talk over the phone on the best options moving forward whether that be going to trial or accepting the settlement offer. At that point, I can easily send a docusign for my client to sign the settlement release and move forward with settling the case. The insurance company sends me a check for the settlement and I place the funds in a trust account governed by the Washington State Bar Association and then I write a check and mail it to my client the next day for the settlement amount they are owed.

The whole process from an out of state client to an in state client is basically the same. Most cases settle within a couple months of a client healing and being back to 100% or as close to as possible. If you are injured in a car accident in Seattle but live out of state, give me a call or email for a free consultation. Everyone can afford a personal injury lawyer (lawyers are paid out of the settlement usually 1/3 or 40% and never out of client’s pocket) but no one can afford not to.

Andrew CherinOut of State Car Accidents in Seattle
Read more