Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common causes of customer and guest injuries in Omaha, Nebraska. Shopping malls, grocery stores, and other businesses may fail to reasonably prevent customer falls by ignoring spills or failing to post warning signs. After a slip and fall accident that causes serious injuries, you may be eligible for financial recovery. Obtaining this recovery, however, will take proving one or more party’s fault for the fall.
Report Your Accident Right Away
Failing to report your slip and fall to a manager or supervisor could immediately hurt your chances of securing compensation. If you do not report your accident, there might not be any record of it happening. The defendant could argue the fall did not happen the way you said it did since no record of events will exist. Although another form of evidence, such as surveillance footage, may support your claim, notifying someone of your fall can protect you.
Tell an employee, supervisor or business owner about your slip and fall accident right away. Describe exactly what happened. For your own notes, write down the name of the person you spoke to and how he or she reacted to the information. If the employee fails to file an official accident report or even to remedy the hazard, it could be further proof of the store’s negligence.
Take pictures of important evidence that could serve your case in the future. This includes the location of the fall, the hazard that caused you to slip, your personal injuries and other relevant details. The evidence you gather from the scene could provide important proof of someone’s negligence during your injury claim.
- Photographs of the store and floor
- A written description of what happened
- Time and location of the accident
- Video or surveillance footage
- Copies of accident reports
- Maintenance records
- Sweep logs
- Repair or service documents
You should also keep copies of information that prove your injuries, such as letters from doctors, official diagnoses, test results, x-rays, prescriptions, and treatment plans. A lawyer can help you gather evidence such as maintenance logs from the store. If you contact an Omaha slip and fall attorney right away, he or she can call the store immediately and request an order of preservation. This will force the company to preserve and submit its cleaning and maintenance records during the discovery phase of your case.
Another action your lawyer can take during discovery is to subpoena the defendant or witnesses. A subpoena orders someone to attend court or a hearing. Subpoenas can help your lawyer gather sworn testimony about your slip and fall accident. The defendant or an eyewitness may have pertinent details that help your case. Requesting statements in the form of depositions can serve as important proof during your claim.
Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Omaha
Proving liability in a slip and fall accident claim takes establishing a few main elements. First, the property defect or hazardous condition existed long enough that a reasonable business would have noticed and repaired the defect. Second, the defendant was negligent in remedying the issue. Third, your injuries occurred because of the defendant’s negligence. Fourth, you suffered compensable harm in the slip and fall. You or your lawyer must prove the fall was foreseeable, yet the defendant did nothing to prevent it.
Hiring a slip and fall accident lawyer can ease the burden of proof during a premises liability lawsuit in Nebraska. Your lawyer can visit the place where you fell to help you collect evidence. He or she can then use this evidence to build a case against one or more responsible parties. Your lawyer can handle the claims-filing steps and negotiate for a settlement award that suits your damages. An attorney with experience can help you prove fault after a slip and fall.
Chain-reaction or multivehicle accidents in Nebraska can injure several people at once. In a chain-reaction accident, the driver that struck you may not necessarily be the person at-fault or responsible for the collision. Understanding the complex matter of liability in a crash involving multiple vehicles may take assistance from a car accident attorney. Someone will need to investigate your accident to trace your injuries back to the liable, or at-fault, party.
What Is a Chain-Reaction Car Accident?
A chain-reaction accident involves more than two vehicles striking each other. Three or more cars may end up in a chain of rear-end collisions, or multiple cars could collide to form a pileup. Pileups are more common in situations involving wrong-way drivers, commercial trucks or dangerous conditions such as snow.
Chain-reaction car accidents are often catastrophic for the initial victim hit since the collision must occur with enough inertia to force the vehicle into other cars. As the energy from collision to collision lessens, so does the force with which the vehicles collide. Property damages and injuries will grow less serious until the kinetic energy dies out and the vehicles stop.
In most chain-reaction car accidents, Driver A (the person that caused the first collision) and Driver B (the first person hit) will suffer the most severe injuries. Driver C’s injuries may also be serious. Drivers D, E and so on may experience minor to no injuries. Chain-reaction accidents are often the result of a single driver’s mistake or recklessness. Multiple parties, however, could share fault.
Determining Fault and Liability
Chain-reaction crashes typically occur due to the force of an initial collision. For example, if a big rig rear-ends a car, the force of this first collision could be enough to push the car into the vehicle in front of it. The second collision could cause another rear-end collision between the third and fourth cars, and so on. While the crash may involve multiple vehicles, only one party might be liable. The driver that caused the first accident will be the party most likely at fault for everyone’s damages.
Just as a rear-end collision could involve an at-fault front-driver, so may a chain-reaction accident. The fault may not always lie with the first driver. If Driver B did something to cause Driver A to crash, for example, Driver B could be liable for the original collision and every related crash thereafter. Driver B could be responsible if he or she failed to replace broken taillights, for instance, making it difficult for Driver A to see Driver B braking.
The best way to assign liability for a chain-reaction car accident is to hire a team of investigators. Crash reconstructionists and forensic experts may need to visit the scene, interview witnesses and take other measures to determine exactly how the crash occurred. If you were in a multivehicle collision, work with a law firm for resources to help you get to the bottom of who caused your accident.
How to File an Insurance Claim
In Nebraska, the driver that caused the car accident will have to pay for victims’ medical expenses, property damages, and other losses. The state’s fault-based insurance system forces victims to determine the at-fault party before filing claims. If you get into a multivehicle collision, call the police to report the accident. The odds are high that the crash caused at least the minimum amount of property damage required to call the police: $1,000. The police can investigate the accident and help you determine fault.
Do not admit fault for the multi-vehicle crash, even if you were the first driver to strike someone. Another driver, the City of Omaha or a construction company could all be liable for your damages after a chain-reaction wreck. A conversation with an attorney can help you understand the multifaceted issue of fault that may surround your case.
No parent should expect a child to go his or her entire childhood without a single injury. Parents should not, however, have to anticipate the risk of severe or life-threatening injuries – especially while at school. Sadly, not every school in Nebraska takes its responsibilities over student safety seriously. Negligence, carelessness and unsafe premises can cause serious student injuries. If your child suffered an injury at school, learn your rights as a parent. Your family may be eligible for a damage award if the school or a staff member should have prevented the accident. Filing a claim with the help of an Omaha child injury attorney could also shed light on dangerous practices at your child’s school, pushing for a change.
School Injuries That May Lead to Lawsuits
Although it is normal for kids to get the occasional bump or bruise, coming home with a bone fracture or head injury is cause for concern. Schools and their staff members should take reasonable care to prevent serious and unusual child injuries. Failure to do so could yield the opportunity for a student to suffer many different types of serious injuries.
- Brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Eye injuries
- Muscle sprains
- Skull fractures
- Slip, trip and fall accidents
- Soft-tissue injuries
Injuries at school can stem from normal child’s play…or something more sinister. Negligence could have caused your child’s injury if it happened because of dangerous playground equipment, lack of child supervision or crime such as child abuse. The school or school district could be liable in these situations.
Determining a School’s Liability in Omaha
As a parent, you may have grounds to file an injury lawsuit on your child’s behalf against a school in Omaha if it was negligent in preventing the accident. Negligence refers to a breach of duty of care. All schools owe a duty to reasonably prevent student injuries and deaths. This duty of care entails many actions and behaviors schools and their staff members should follow to minimize the risk of student injury. Any breach of this duty could expose the school to liability for a child’s serious injuries or death.
- Short staffing
- Lack of child supervision
- Unkempt school grounds
- Poorly maintained playground or equipment
- Lack of safe hiring procedures
- Negligent teacher training
- Lack of school inspections
- Dangerous parking lots
- Inadequate school security
- Unsafe bus drivers
If a prudent school in Omaha would have acted differently under the same circumstances, your child’s school could be liable for your damages. Your injury lawyer will need to prove that the school should reasonably have done more to prevent your child’s injury. Proving negligence may take a full investigation of the accident, along with gathering evidence and speaking to witnesses who saw your child’s incident. A lawyer can help you with this burden of proof.
Is a Public School Immune?
No, public schools in Nebraska are not immune to accident liability. Although the sovereign immunity rule protects most government entities from liability, it does not apply to situations in which the government or one of its agents was negligent in causing or contributing to the accident. If your child’s public school or one of its employees contributed to your child’s injuries, you may use the state’s Tort Claims Act to bring a lawsuit.
If you wish to bring a claim against a public school, you will need to file a claim with all pertinent information regarding your case to the Office of Risk Management in Lincoln, Nebraska. You or your lawyer will need to include the total amount of the claim, place of occurrence, insurance information and relevant known facts regarding the injury claim. If your case is worth more than $5,000, you or your attorney will need to attend a hearing. Hiring a lawyer can help you go up against your child’s school in pursuit of fair financial recovery in Omaha.
After dog attacks, life may never be the same. You may suffer an injury that leaves permanent scars or disfigurement. You might also have to cope with emotional or psychological issues after the attack, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Understanding Nebraska’s dog bite laws could help you feel more in control of your life and future. The law may entitle you to compensation you could use to move on after significant injuries. Contact an Omaha dog bite attorney today.
Nebraska Has Strict Liability Dog Bite Laws
Most states abide by either strict liability or one-bite dog laws. Nebraska is a strict liability state. Nebraska Revised Statute 54-601 states a dog owner will be liable for any injuries or damages his or her dog causes, regardless of negligence. An exception is if the injured person was unlawfully on the pet owner’s property at the time of the attack. Another exception is if the dog was performing its duties as a police or military animal.
Nebraska’s dog bite statute also covers other dog activities, such as tearing up property or jumping on someone. Any injuries or damages a dog causes to someone lawfully on a property will become the pet owner’s legal responsibility. Since Nebraska is a strict liability state, you do not have to prove the owner was negligent to recover damages. Showing the dog caused your injuries and that you were not trespassing will generally be enough to hold the owner liable.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
You may need to file a claim against the dog owner if the attack caused serious injuries. A serious injury can mean a temporary or permanent disability, severe pain, and suffering, mental anguish, expensive medical costs, or other specific losses. A minor bite injury with no complications might not be worth pursuing a lawsuit. A debilitating dog bite, however, could be grounds for a lawsuit.
- Catastrophic injuries
- Puncture wounds
- Torn or missing skin
- Injuries to the neck, face or head
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Eye injuries
- Severe blood loss
- Serious infections
- Wrongful death
Some dog attacks require surgeries, skin grafts, reconstructive procedures, rabies shots, staples, stitches, and other significant treatments. If you or a loved one has a catastrophic injury because of a dog attack, bring a claim in pursuit of financial recovery. Nebraska’s dog bite laws could make you eligible for significant compensation.
What To Do After a Dog Attack
Prevent dog attacks in Omaha by never approaching a strange dog. Ask the owner’s permission before approaching or petting the animal. If a stray or unleashed dog approaches you, stay very still. Do not run from the dog, make loud noises or instigate an attack. Never disturb a dog that is eating or with puppies. If a dog attacks, protect your head and neck by tucking them in toward your chest and rolling into a ball. Cover your ears with your hands.
If a dog attack injures you, seek medical care right away. Go to a hospital in Omaha and explain what happened. You may need special treatments to prevent infections or the spread of diseases such as rabies, especially if the dog was not up-to-date on its vaccines. Document your attack, writing down information such as the name of the owner and where the attack occurred. Once you have received medical treatment, contact the pet owner’s insurance company to file a claim. His or her homeowner’s insurance should cover dog attacks.
If the owner does not have insurance, file an injury claim against him or her with the local civil courts. The pet owner may have to pay out of pocket for your medical bills, property repairs and other expenses. Hire a dog bite attorney to help you bring your claim. You have four years from the date of the dog bite to file a personal injury lawsuit in Nebraska. Work with a dog bite lawyer to help maximize your odds of a payout.
Certain facilities decline with age. An elderly person’s vision, hearing, strength, reflexes and reaction time may not be what they once were. These are all important qualities in a driver, making it important for state laws to stay on top of aging drivers. Like most states, Nebraska has special driving laws reserved for senior citizens. These laws aim to improve roadway safety and enable senior citizens to drive as long as possible.
Drivers 72 and Older Must Renew in Person
Every driver, regardless of age, must renew his or her driver’s license every five years in Nebraska. Once a driver reaches the age of 72, he or she must renew a driver’s license in person. Renewing online or by mail is no longer an option. During the in-person visit to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the elderly driver must also pass a vision test. The senior can choose to undergo a free vision test from a DMV employee or bring in a Statement of Vision from an outside ophthalmologist or optometrist. The Statement of Vision must have a date that is within 90 days of the DMV visit.
It is up to DMV personnel whether to require someone over 72 to also take a written and/or road driving test for driver’s license renewal. A staff member may require additional tests if the driver reports any medical problems or new health conditions, or if the driver was recently involved in a traffic accident. The DMV also accepts requests from the elderly driver’s family members to investigate the individual. A safe driver investigation looks into the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in light of safety concerns.
Restricted Driving Privileges for the Elderly
In some cases, the DMV may restrict an elderly driver’s license or limit his or her driving privileges. This may be necessary if a driving road test shows the person has issues with certain situations, such as driving at night. The most common type of senior citizen license restriction is requiring the driver to wear prescription glasses or contact lenses. A decline in eyesight is a frequent reason for the DMV to restrict the elderly person’s driver’s license.
In Nebraska, the DMV also has the power to order an elderly driver to take certain precautions before driving. For example, the individual may need to install mechanical aids on the vehicle or add mirrors for enhanced visibility. The DMV could order a driver to stay off the interstate, only drive during the day, drive an automatic vehicle, use automatic turn signals, drive below a certain speed or take other actions to improve roadway safety. The DMV has jurisdiction over what it requires an elderly driver to do before allowing him or her back on the road.
An elderly person may qualify for a disability placard if he or she cannot travel more than 200 feet unassisted due to visual or physical impairment. A driver may also qualify if he or she suffers from respiratory issues that impact mobility, cardiac conditions or a disability affecting one or more limbs. The driver will need to fill out an application for a handicapped license plate and/or parking placard at the DMV. The driver will also need a doctor’s signature on the medical portion of the form.
How To Improve Senior Driving Safety
If you have a senior citizen in your family with declining driving abilities, take time to educate him or her on driving safety. Broach the subject by expressing your concern for his or her safety. Tell your loved one to follow all restrictions the DMV placed on his or her driving abilities. Help your loved one keep up with doctor’s appointments. Regular exercise, vision exams, and checkups can help an elderly person drive safer, longer and avoid car accidents.
If you worry your loved one poses a risk to him/herself or others on the road, mail in a Citizen Examination Report to the Nebraska Driver Licensing Division. You may request to keep your report confidential if desired.
Food poisoning is no small matter. It could cause extreme illnesses and long-lasting health problems. Eating contaminated or toxic food could lead to symptoms that range from uncomfortable to deadly. Young children and the elderly are especially in danger if they contract food poisoning. Someone with a weakened immune system may not survive a serious food-related illness. In Nebraska, it may be possible to file a lawsuit against a party for food poisoning with the help of an Omaha product liability attorney.
Food Poisoning and Premises Liability
Food poisoning cases often fall under the umbrella of premises liability. It is a property owner’s responsibility to protect guests and visitors from unreasonable risks of harm. This includes risks of food poisoning if the property offers food items for free or for purchase. The owner of a restaurant, deli, grocery store, bar, cruise ship, amusement park or another enterprise that offers food must take precautions to ensure the safety and quality of the food. Any act of negligence that contributes to food poisoning could make the property owner liable for damages.
- Failing to comply with food safety standards
- Failing to properly store, refrigerate or cook foods
- Using rotten or spoiled foods
- Serving contaminated or undercooked foods
- Hiring incompetent food preparers
- Keeping an unsanitary kitchen or premises
Proving a liability lawsuit for food poisoning will require the victim’s attorney to establish the defendant committed a negligent act and that this act led to the victim consuming food that made him or her sick. Proving a food poisoning suit can be difficult since the victim’s attorney must show a connection between the food eaten and the illness contracted. If multiple people who ate at the same establishment have similar complaints, this could strengthen a claim against the owner.
Product Liability Lawsuits for Contaminated Food
Other food poisoning lawsuits hold food item manufacturers or distributors responsible for damages. Anyone who manufactures food products in the U.S. must comply with federal safety and quality standards. Failure to do so could result in contaminated or unsafe foods distributed to the masses. Most product liability lawsuits in Nebraska use the legal doctrine of strict product liability. The courts will hold a manufacturer strictly liable for damages if one of three food defects is present.
- Design defects: A design defect could make a food item spoil before it reaches consumers. Designing a package that is not airtight, for example, could cause food to rot or absorb contaminants in transit.
- Manufacturing mistakes: A manufacturing error could make an otherwise safe food item dangerous for consumption due to issues on the assembly line. An example is a batch of hamburger meat that raw chicken accidentally contaminates.
- Inadequate marketing: Marketing mistakes could also cause food poisoning. Failing to warn consumers to refrigerate an item that may spoil, for example, could cause serious illnesses.
If you ate a contaminated food item, the product manufacturer could be to blame. If the victim or his or her lawyer can prove the food item contained one of these defects, and that the item caused food poisoning, the victim could recover compensation without establishing the defendant’s negligence. Some defective food items make it on the national recall list, but others may not yet have enough consumer complaints.
When to Call a Product Liability Lawyer
You may have grounds for a food poisoning lawsuit if you suffered serious harm such as a major illness, missed time from work, pain and suffering, expensive hospital bills, or the loss of a loved one. An attorney may be able to establish a causal connection between your case of E. coli, listeria, salmonella or another illness and the defendant’s negligence. Otherwise, your lawyer may be able to bring a claim based on strict negligence. Hire a product liability attorney to help you establish that someone else negligently or intentionally caused your food poisoning in Omaha.
Walking around Omaha could come with significant risks. A negligent or distracted driver could hit you while you are crossing the street or even on the sidewalk. If a vehicle strikes you, you could suffer life-changing personal injuries. You may have grounds for a civil liability lawsuit against the at-fault driver with the help of an Omaha pedestrian accidents attorney.
Pedestrian Rights in Nebraska
In 2018, 24 pedestrians died in Nebraska – the highest death toll in 10 years. An additional 357 pedestrians suffered injuries in traffic accidents. Pedestrians do not always have the right-of-way in Nebraska. Every roadway user – including bicyclists and pedestrians – must exercise reasonable care when crossing the street and interacting with others on the road. Yet in many cases, especially at crosswalks, it is the driver that infringes upon the pedestrian’s rights. Impatient, aggressive, reckless and negligent drivers may ignore pedestrian rights and cause serious accidents.
- Pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks
- Turning vehicles must yield to pedestrians
- Pedestrians and drivers must obey traffic signals
- Pedestrians should not cross midblock unless it is safe to do so
- Drivers should yield to jaywalkers
- A driver cannot drive around a car that has parked to allow pedestrians to pass
- Drivers should never speed in school zones or residential areas
The main duty of care a pedestrian has to prevent accidents is not to step off a curb when it is unsafe to do so. Walking in front of an oncoming vehicle that does not have enough distance to reasonably come to a stop could point to the pedestrian’s fault for a collision. Distracted walking has contributed to the number of pedestrian accidents and deaths in Nebraska over the years. As a pedestrian, do your part to protect yourself by paying attention to where you walk.
Common Pedestrian Accident Injuries
A vehicle-pedestrian collision can cause catastrophic injuries. If a vehicle strikes you, you could end up with expensive and painful damages. With no protection from the forces exerted in a crash, you may suffer life-altering injuries. The nature of a pedestrian collision tends to cause some injuries more often than others.
- Head, neck and chest injuries
- Brain injuries
- Facial injuries
- Lower extremity injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal organ trauma
The type of injury will depend on how the vehicle struck you. If you rolled over the hood and collided with the windshield, for example, you may have suffered a head injury or lacerations. If the car collided with your legs, on the other hand, you may have fractured your tibia. Any type of injury may be severe due to the force of the impact from the vehicle.
What To Do Next
If a vehicle struck you while walking on the street or in a parking lot in Omaha, you have rights. First, take care of your physical health by calling an ambulance or getting a ride to the hospital. Remain at the scene and call 911 if you have injuries. The police can order emergency medical services, if necessary. Give the police officer your contact information. Then, get medical care to treat your injuries. Keep copies of your medical documents for later.
The party at fault for your pedestrian accident will be the one liable for your damages, according to Nebraska’s fault laws. If the driver caused the collision, he or she may owe you financial compensation. File an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. Describe your injuries and offer proof, such as a police report or medical records. Do not admit fault or accept a small settlement.
Hire a pedestrian accident lawyer to help you navigate the claims process. A lawyer can help you gather evidence against the driver, such as proof that he or she was texting and driving. Establishing negligence or fault could enable you to collect fair compensation for your pedestrian accident damages. The driver could owe you money for your hospital bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
Posted in Accident Information on December 8, 2016
Earlier this year, a three year old girl was in critical condition after almost drowning in a home swimming pool in west Omaha. Reports indicated that she was likely under water for up to two minutes before being pulled from the pool, administered CPR, and taken to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center down the road.
While incidents like these may seem rare or unlikely to happen to you, the CDC estimates that about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day, making it the fifth leading cause of unintentional death in the country. Of those deaths, 20% are children under the age of 14, and for every child who dies, five more receive emergency medical treatment for non-fatal injuries.
Although pools are a great source of entertainment, exercise, and even relaxation, they also come with a number of risks. If you own a pool or visit one frequently with your children, it is important to keep in mind some of these safety tips in the event of an emergency or to prevent one from happening altogether.
As the case above shows, knowing and administering CPR can be the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. There is no doubt that the young girl is alive today because those around her acted quickly. Just a few days after the incident in Nebraska, a young boy in California named Alex Pierce was not as fortunate and died in a pool accident because CPR was not administered by life guards at the scene. Learning CPR as a pool owner or goer can buy those precious few moments of time before professional help arrives.
Install Pool Barriers
Did you know that half of the children who drown in a pool each year do so within 25 yards of a parent, adult, or supervisor? Even if you are nearby your child, a momentary lapse in attention can have disastrous consequences. Especially if you have young children who can wander off on their own, it’s recommended that you install a four to five foot fence around the pool area. In certain instances, insurance companies will not provide insurance if this is not done properly. Another alternative is a pool alarm which can sound whenever someone enters the water.
Did you also know that up to 6,500 adolescents are brought to the hospital each year because of diving related accidents and injuries? Although diving can be a source of fun and entertainment, if not done properly, serious harm can result. Especially in the shallow end of the pool, head first dives can lead to brain and spinal cord injury. Set rules or make sure that all pool occupants are properly trained on how and where diving is appropriate.
Swim Clear of Drains
Even if a child has taken swimming lessons and is comfortable in the water, pool drains can create enormous suction which can trap someone under water via hair, a body part, or an article of clothing. Although these types of accidents are fairly uncommon today, it was estimated that there were 74 reports of circulation entrapments in 2007 which mainly impacted children ages 5 to 9. In response to this issue, in 2008 the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act was passed, providing new regulations for drain covers, after a child was trapped by 700lbs of suction pressure and killed, even as her mother tried to pull her free. In addition to warning your children to stay away from pool drains, even if there is an appropriate cover, it’s important to know the location of the pool pump so it can be shut off in case of emergency.
Although most pool related accidents happen with peak use in the summer, pool safety is a year round endeavor. To learn more about steps you can take to maximize the safety around your pool, visit poolsafely.gov for more information and tips. And if you or a loved one has been injured due to unsafe pool or drain conditions in Omaha, contact our office today to discuss the details of your potential claim.
Posted in Accident Information on February 19, 2016
Car Accidents are one of the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 32,675 lives in 2014 alone. While it’s no secret that driving comes with a fair share of risk, a number of factors contribute to dangerous conditions on the road. Diving into some statistics, we found a relationship between both gas prices and weather conditions on the number of traffic related deaths in Nebraska.
Gas Prices: The Inverse Relationship
A study done by NPR last year analyzed the relationship between gas prices and traffic fatalities in 144 countries and found that higher gas prices are associated with fewer deaths and lower gas prices are associated with more traffic deaths. Another study done at South Dakota State University substantiated this claim, estimating that a $2 drop in gas prices across the country could translate to about 9,000 fatalities in the United States. This seems drastic at first, but the relationship makes sense. The Washington State Department of Transportation found in its 2015 Corridor Capacity Report that, “falling gas prices have a tendency to worsen traffic congestion; when gas prices decline, driving becomes less expensive and people often drive alone (or drive more) rather than using alternate commute modes such as transit or carpools.” Furthermore, low gas prices mean that drivers are less concerned with gas saving techniques, such as maintaining slower, constant speeds and gradual acceleration, which also happen to be safer driving habits. More people on the road with less regard for their driving habits certainly seems like it could translate to more fatal crashes. Combining data from the Nebraska Department of Transportation and Nebraska Energy Office, we found the relationship to be true.
Gas Prices Vs. Traffic Fatalities: Nebraska 2000-2015
Weather: The Most Dangerous Months to Drive in Nebraska
Common sense leads many to believe that the most dangerous times to drive occur under adverse weather conditions. Reduced visibility, slick roads, and less control are all negative byproducts of rain, snow, and ice. According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, the first snow storm of the year generates twice as many crashes as those occurring on a typical day. While this is true that more accidents may occur during harsh weather conditions, according to the statistics on traffic related fatalities, the most dangerous time to drive is actually on a hot, sunny day in August.
Using data also provided by the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety and WeatherDB, since 1960, we found that the most dangerous months to drive in Nebraska begin in July and end in October. For example, a Nebraskan is almost twice as likely to die in a traffic collision in August as opposed to a much colder month like February. While this seems counter intuitive at first, warm weather creates a number of unfavorable conditions for drivers:
- More people are outside enjoying the weather
- Children are out of school and more teen drivers are on the road
- Vacation and travel spike during summer months
- More hours of light keep people on the road later
Don’t believe us? Check out the data below:
Traffic Deaths By Month
|Average per 100k||1.33||1.18||1.35||1.41||1.59||1.73||1.98||2.11||1.82||1.96||1.66||1.66||19.78|
Posted in Accident Information on February 17, 2016
We examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to find who was most at risk to be at fault, most at risk to be a victim, and the true cost for those involved from both perspectives. And even though you may be an adult or a college freshman who has heard it all before in high school health class, it’s important to always be aware of just how many drinks it takes for you to be over the limit.
What Factors Influence Alcohol Related Fatalities?
Are colder weather states more likely to be involved in Alcohol Related Fatalities?
How “Fine” Are You?
We’ve all heard the term “lightweight” before, and that is mainly because there is scientific evidence to back it up. It takes far fewer drinks for someone weighing 100 pounds to find themselves over the legal limit than for someone weighing 200 pounds. But the effects of a .08 BAC are the same for everyone, no matter your size or gender. It’s unlikely that you’ll have a breathalyzer on hand to test what your BAC is, so it’s important to always be aware of how many drinks you’ve had.
To expand upon that, given the craft beer craze and the propensity of making yourself drinks at home that are much stronger than those made for you at the bar, it’s always important to be aware of how much alcohol content is in your drink. A lot of beers have more than the standard 5% ABV used to measure a single drink, which means that you can’t drink anywhere near as much of that as you could a light beer before finding yourself over the legal limit. There are many occasions that call for a drink, but carelessness in what you do after those drinks is where a good night can turn bad real quick.
Young and Inexperienced
We all know that the legal age of consumption is 21 – there are states with exceptions to consumption and possession – and most states have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to minors and alcohol. That doesn’t mean that most Americans haven’t had a drink by the time they reach 21; in fact, 65 percent of those 18 and younger have had a drink in their lives. On top of that, drivers aged 16-20 accounted for 17 percent of the total fatalities related to car accidents involving alcohol; those 21-24 comprised 30 percent of the total, the highest of any age group.
Penalties for a DUI are much more severe for those underage. Fines vary from state to state but if you are involved in an accident with alcohol in your system, you can count on paying a few thousand dollars in fines and losing your license for a while, even if it’s your first offense. And not many things are worse than losing your license as a teenager. Except of course prison, which depending on how far over the legal limit you are or if you’re responsible for injuries, is a possibility as well. Some states have a .02 BAC minimum for those underage to prevent false readings from mouthwash or gum, but the zero-tolerance policy of other states mean that, even if you blow a .01, you’ll be arrested.
Repeat Offenders and Innocent Bystanders
One of the more troubling statistics for DUIs are the amount of drivers who have been arrested for the same offense before. It is estimated that 25 percent of drivers arrested or convicted fall into this category, and while that number has declined in recent years, one-fourth is still a very high percentage. Currently, there are only 21 states that require a mandatory ignition interlock system for first-offenders, despite 79 percent of respondents to a AAA poll saying they would support such initiatives.
However, the interlock is not completely fail-safe. It does reduce the likelihood of a repeat offender by 67 percent, but some counties are reporting problems. One in California found that only 27 percent of those required to install the device actually do so, which means a lot of people are driving with a suspended license or not at all. These results are not typical though, as 97 percent of drivers in the entire state of Michigan follow through with the program, and only 2.8 percent become repeat offenders. Nationwide, interlocks are responsible for a 70 percent reduction in DUI arrests.
Of greater concern than the number of drivers being arrested who perhaps shouldn’t have been driving in the first place, are the passengers and pedestrians that fall victim to someone else’s poor decision. Sadly, 209 children 14 and younger died as a result of being in an accident caused by an impaired driver. Approximately 29 percent of those kids were occupants of other vehicles. The tragic reality is that this just happening once is too much, and passengers, whether with the driver or in a different car, of all ages make up 27 percent of the total fatalities. The number of innocent pedestrians killed makes up eight percent of the total.
When and Where Alcohol-Related Accidents Happen
The increased likelihood of a DUI happening at night may be obvious, but just how much more is startling. These accidents happen at four times the frequency at night compared to the day, and that gap only increases on the weekend. The rate of those killed during holidays is also very high. New Year’s, the Fourth of July and Labor Day have the highest frequency, as 44, 39 and 38 percent, respectively, of the car accident deaths during these holidays happen as the result of a drunk driver.
There also appeared to be a direct correlation between states that consume more alcohol and those with a higher frequency of DUI occurrences. North Dakota, Delaware and Montana were the worst three of this category; North Dakota had the highest rate of fatal accidents involving alcohol, and the fourth highest gallons of alcohol consumed. Delaware was sixth and third, Montana was fifth and six th in each respective category.
Measures Taken to Prevent
Over the past few years, many steps have been taken to cut down on the frequency of DUIs. We’ve mentioned mandatory interlock systems for first time offenders and zero-tolerance policies for those underage, but other efforts are in place as well. Sobriety checkpoints, media campaigns and instructional programs in schools are just a couple of ways the government and local law enforcement are attempting to keep the roads safe. Friends and family can do their part as well by simply talking to those whom they feel could be at risk, because those who drink a lot or have prior convictions are more likely to be arrested for drunk driving.
Some do question the effectiveness of such programs, though. Checkpoints are especially tricky, in part because 12 states view them as unconstitutional; so it’s tough to reduce occurrences of drunk driving nationwide when many police officers believe them to be a much more reliable way to curb DUIs than simple patrol. According to the most recently available data, drivers in the U.S. admit to driving within two hours of having alcohol one billion times per year. This equates to only one arrest being made for every 88 instances of someone driving over the legal limit. Checkpoints have been found to reduce alcohol related accidents by 17 percent, but some believe that these checkpoints are improperly used because far more citations are issued for a broken taillight or driving without insurance than for a DUI.
The state and federal governments can only institute so many programs. The majority of the responsibility still lies with the driver. If you feel like you’ve had too much, don’t drive. It’s estimated that alcohol-involved crashes cost a total of $236 billion in 2015. A $40 Uber home (and again to get your car in the morning) or crashing on your friend’s couch is far cheaper than the fines, court costs and jail time you could be faced with if you cause an accident while driving drunk.