Articles Tagged with insurance

Some Washington motorists may know that some days are safer than others when it comes to driving, but a few of the risky periods may be somewhat surprising. Statistics show many different days each year on which the hazards of the road are more prominent than usual. While holidays like Memorial Day weekend are obvious because of the number of vehicles on the road during the traditional kickoff to summer, others are more unusual.

Memorial Day weekend may already seem like an obvious time to avoid driving more than necessary due to the higher incidence of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities. Daylight saving time is a less obvious choice, but one study showed that the hour of lost sleep correlated with a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the following Monday. Black Friday is another dangerous day to drive and park, as demonstrated by a Progressive Insurance report showing a massive 36 percent increase in parking lot claims and doubled overall claims.

Alcohol consumed by drivers increases the risks of being on the road on St. Patrick’s Day and New Year’s Day. For reasons yet to be explained, however, Friday the 13th also poses a higher risk of traffic accidents. A United Kingdom insurer has reported that collision claims rose approximately 13 percent on Friday the 13th, regardless of the time of year in which the day falls. Aggressive driving tendencies in general rise during major holidays, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

After being in a car accident that was caused by another driver, it is important that it is reported to the authorities. In addition, it is a good idea to report the accident to the insurance company of the driver who was at fault. Although the driver who caused the accident is required to report it to his or her insurance provider, those who are responsible for a crash aren’t necessarily motivated to do so.

It is important for all parties to get as much information as possible to help bolster their claims in the aftermath of a motor vehicle accident. It is advisable to take pictures, collect insurance information from other drivers involved and get witness statements from anyone who saw the crash occur. The report that is made to the insurance company should only state the facts in the case.

The insurance company will typically conduct its own investigation and the police will make a determination as to whether either driver broke the law. In some cases, the insurance company may need to look into the case itself before authorizing any repairs or paying for any damage that may have resulted from the crash. In the event that the other driver’s insurance company refuses to honor a valid claim, drivers should file claims with their own insurance company and let their insurer take steps to obtain reimbursement.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health declares nearly 10 million drivers in 2013 aged 12 and older admitted to driving while impaired by illegal drugs. This figure translates to about 3.8 percent of the population, and in the same year, about 11 percent, or 28.7 million drivers, confessed to driving under the influence of alcohol. While the numbers have dropped over recent years, many drivers test positive for both drugs and alcohol after causing motor vehicle accidents.

The NSDUH survey also showed that the highest risk group for impaired driving is those aged 18 to 25. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2009 showed that 18 percent of the drivers across all age groups who died in motor vehicle accidents that year tested positive for at least one type of drug.

Drugged driving, whether the drugs are prescription medications or illegal substances like marijuana or cocaine, can impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle because reaction times and motor skills are easily affected by these substances. Many prescription drugs, including those used for pain relief and anxiety, come with specific warnings against operating machinery or motor vehicles. Other studies have determined that 4 to 14 percent of drivers who suffered injuries or death in auto accidents tested positive for marijuana use.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics, 33,561 people were killed and 2.36 million people were injured in the 5.42 million motor vehicle accidents that authorities reported across the United States in 2012. This means that a crash-related death occurred every 16 minutes. In Washington state alone, 444 people died in traffic collisions the same year. Despite these statistics, the agency estimates that around 10 million or more car accidents a year are never reported.

With the NHTSA reporting an increase in motor vehicle crashes and deaths in 2012, an auto insurance claims study from the Insurance Research Council shows that the medical costs for auto injuries continues to rise quicker than inflation while the seriousness of the injuries decreases. The average economic damages claimed between 2007 and 2012 rose 8 percent annualized in relation to personal injury claims, and the average damages claimed for bodily injury increased 4 percent. By 2012, the average bodily injury claim was for $14, 653 while the average property damage claim was for $3,073. The average comprehensive claim cost $1,585 while the average collision claim cost $2,950.

The NHTSA reports that car accident victims only pay around 26 percent of the expenses. While local and state municipalities pay around 3 percent and federal revenues pay about 6 percent, medical providers and charities pay around 14 percent. Private insurers account for the remaining percentage of total crash expenses. In 2010, the total costs amounted to nearly $1 trillion.

A 68-year-old former police chief and a 16-year-old boy were killed in a head-on crash near Redmond on Aug. 24. According to sources, around 9 p.m., the man was driving west when an eastbound pickup truck driven by the teenager hit his SUV head-on.

After hitting the SUV, the teen’s pickup continued moving in the westbound lanes and crashed into another car. The pickup then flipped over and blocked both lanes of the highway.

The man and teen were declared dead at the scene. Police say the man’s 68-year-old wife was also in the car at the time of the crash. She was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment, where she was listed in critical condition. The woman in the second vehicle that was hit suffered only minor injuries, and she reportedly declined medical attention.

A 21-year-old driver was charged by police with vehicular homicide for killing his friend while he was attempting to replicate a skateboard trick using his car. The driver was traveling on Saturday, Aug. 16, with friends when one of his passengers asked him to try a ‘slap the rail” trick using his car. The idea was to hit the curb with the tires of the car and cause it bounce the vehicle.

The vehicle was headed north on Interstate 205. The driver took the exit ramp at freeway speed and lost control. The vehicle landed upside down. Police said an 18-year-old passenger was killed in the rollover and the other occupants all suffered minor injuries.

Reports state the group of friends had been watching a skateboarding movie earlier in the day. Police said the driver of the car was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. The driver was brought into court on Monday, Aug. 18. The judge set his bail at $30,000 and his arraignment for Aug. 29.

An Aug. 3 rollover accident on State Route 7 killed a University Place man and led Pierce County prosecutors to charge a Fort Riley, Kansas, man with vehicular homicide. The 25-year-old man pleaded not guilty on Aug. 5 and was held on $75,000 bail.

The accident occurred around 10:45 p.m. when the Kansas man lost control of a northbound pickup truck while rounding a curve near Pilgrim Road. The truck hit a guardrail after leaving the road and rolled before returning to the north lanes. The driver went to Good Samaritan Hospital with unspecified injuries, and a 48-year-old passenger, who was not wearing a seat belt, died after being partially ejected from his seat and becoming trapped between the guardrail and the truck.

The authorities believe that alcohol was a factor in the wreck and reported that the driver showed signs of intoxication at the crash site. Court records show that the passenger had asked the other man to drive, and the driver allegedly said that both men had shared a few beers before the accident and had been drinking all day.

Approximately 10 years ago, safety experts voiced alarm in regards to the increasing rate of elderly drivers on the road. Because elderly drivers have traditionally been associated with heightened rates of preventable car accidents, these experts were deeply concerned that as the number of elderly motorists on American roads increased, so would the rate of accidents generally.

Thankfully, a recent study indicates that these experts needn’t have worried so fitfully. According to analysis recently released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), elderly motorists aged 70 and older are safer than previous generations of similarly aged motorists. Specifically, this current generation of elderly drivers is not only less likely to be involved in collisions, they are less likely to suffer serious injury or death in the event that they are involved in accidents.

According to the IIHS, two primary factors account for this positive trend. First, elderly Americans are healthier than previous generations of elderly Americans. Second, advancements in technology and safety regulations have helped to ensure that motor vehicles are safer now than they have ever been before.

Summer is finally here. As a result, many bikers will be traveling throughout the Northwest and across the country on their motorcycles simply for the joy of riding. However, bikers should be advised that new research has confirmed what many bikers have had to learn the hard way. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) has determined that when bikers fail to wear helmets, they sustain greater injuries and subsequent medical bill balances when they are involved in motorcycle accidents as compared to bikers who wear helmets and are involved in collisions.

The recent insurance industry study focused on the ways in which medical claims were affected in Michigan during the year following repeal of the state’s mandatory helmet law. Medical claims tied to motorcycle accident injuries rose by between 22 and 34 percent during this period, depending on whether certain variables were adjusted for or not. Bikers were injured more substantially and required more medical care generally following the helmet requirement repeal.

The HLDI’s chief research officer emphasized that “The cost per injury claim is significantly higher after the law changed than before, which is consistent with other research that shows riding without a helmet leads to more head injuries.” This landmark study is the first to explore the link between helmet law repeal and injury severity as opposed to straight fatality statistics.

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