Road Accidents & Crashes

As Spring is upon us, it is natural to take the roads for leisure activities from a bicycle trip to a Sunday drive. This post will highlight some of the more-common sources of accidents to be aware of when traveling on Orange County and Hudson Valley roads.

Bicycle Accidents

Similar to a motor vehicle accident, bicycle accidents can result in serious personal injury. In the event that there is an accident or a crash, cyclists are not provided with adequate safety. Because bicycle use is rapidly growing for transportation and leisure, accidents and crashes are also increasing.

There are two common forms of a bicycle accident: (1) the cyclist being hit by a motor vehicle, and (2) the roadways has a defect or hazard that caused the accident. Although the first scenario is more common, the roadway conditions can pose risk equally damaging to the cyclist.

Regardless of the how the accident occurred, it is usually the result of someone else’s negligence. Most commonly, negligence can be found in either the motorist, the cyclist, the government entity responsible for the road maintenance, or some combination of these. If the negligence is caused by a motorist or entity, the cyclist has a legal right to be compensated for their injuries.

If involved in a bicycle accident, it is important to get a police report. Even minor injuries, sometimes later develop into something more serious or permanent. Likewise, it is important to seek prompt medical attention for the treatment of any injuries. This will help documenting the injuries and the extent of the injury. It may even be helpful to take pictures.

Road Maintenance

Oftentimes, motorists are injured or killed from the poor design or maintenance (or both) of a roadway. A large number of bridges, overpasses, ramps and intersections need updating and repairs. In these instances, the entity that designed, constructed and maintains the road, may be accountable for any dangerous and defective conditions that cause a serious accident.

Some conditions include:

  • Lack of guardrails and shoulders
  • Improper barriers
  • Obstructive telephone and utility poles
  • Narrow bridges
  • Obstacles in the road
  • Poor drainage
  • Potholes
  • Rough or unpaved roads
  • Improper grading
  • Trees and other foliage blocking traffic signs
  • Malfunctioning traffic lights
  • Construction site violations
  • Defective traffic design or road defects

One of the hardships surround special protection, because some of these entities are a part of the government. However, there are claims that can waive the immunity. As a result, actions for damages based on dangerous or defective road conditions, requires immediate attention to collect the appropriate amount of evidence at the time of the accident.

Alcohol-Related Crashes

Because drunk driving “accidents” are always preventable, the crash is not considered an accident. In the event that a person is killed or injured by a drunk driver, they are a victim of a crime.

Often times, with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level as low as .02%, there is a decline in visual functions and physical impairments for generally normal tasks. As the BAC level increases, there are further reductions in coordination, concentrations and perception. Although some of these specifics are unknown, the general effects alcohol has on a driver are widely known. Nonetheless, drinking and driving continues to the leading cause of auto accidents.

In some cases, it has not been the intoxicated driver that has been found to have fault when there is an accident. The sale of an alcoholic beverage can be the proximate cause of personal injuries or the death caused. Restaurants, bars or similar businesses can be found to have fault where there is a sale “by the drink.” This excludes social hosts or stores that sell packaged liquor to help reduce the amount of patrons that often times are “over served.”

Some of the ways a restaurant or bar can be held responsible include: the seller served alcohol to a person under the age of 21 years old, who later caused an accident, injuring themselves or others; or the seller knowingly served liquor to someone who was visibly intoxicated, who later caused an accident injuring themselves or someone else.

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