Current statistics show that at least 11 teens die every day as a result of texting while driving. According to a AAA poll, 94% of teen drivers acknowledge the dangers of texting while driving, but 35% admitted to doing it anyway. 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones, and these are the cases where the teen admitted to being distracted by the phone. Have I done it? Yes. Have you done it? Yes. Does it need to stop? Yes.
The use of cellphones while driving, whether it be for texting, browsing the web or social media is rampant. I did my own extremely unscientific experiment the other day while enjoying my morning walk in downtown Cleveland. At about 8:00AM on a Wednesday morning, I decided that I would observe the next 50 cars that drove by me, to see if they were looking at their phones. Out of the 50 vehicles which I was able to confirm whether or not they were on their phones, 34 of the 50 were on their phone. THAT IS 68% of the drivers that I saw driving down a busy city street with pedestrians running across the road at any given time.
You have been in an accident. It wasn't your fault, and you really are not sure what is going to happen. The at fault person's insurance company calls you within minutes, hours, or within a couple of days wanting to talk to you about the accident.
The person on the other side of the telephone tells you that they are so very sorry that this happened, and they immediately want to ask you some questions about the accident. They (should) ask you whether they have your permission to record the conversation. You should ask yourself....
Do I have to talk to them?
Do I have to give a recorded statement?
What's the harm if I do?
What's the harm if I do not?
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE A RECORDED STATEMENT!
Recorded statements are designed for one purpose. To help the insurance company. The questions are all part of a script, which is designed to aid in minimizing the accident, and any associated injuries. Any statement you make will likely be used in the future to benefit the insurance company. My advice with regard to talking to the insurance company is as follows:
Do not give a recorded statement;
Do not give them your social security number;
Do not discuss your injuries with them;
Do not allow them to tell you that a recorded statement is required;
Do tell them that your attorney will be in touch to discuss the claim;
Do contact counsel for some advice as to how to handle the claim.
Bob Dyer: Car insurance rip-off continues By Bob Dyer Beacon Journal columnist Published: May 28, 2016 - 07:52 PMNot long ago I told you about the curious case of Timothy Manning. On the morning of Dec. 31, Manning and his daughter were driving in Massillon, entering an intersection, when a driver coming in the opposite direction in a huge pickup truck suddenly turned left in front of them. Manning jammed on his brakes and steered hard to his left but couldn’t avoid a crash. When police arrived, the other driver admitted he was at fault, saying he just didn’t see Manning coming. He was cited and convicted of failing to yield. Manning had a green light, was traveling slightly below the speed limit and, according to the investigating officer, did everything humanly possible to avoid the crash. “There is not a single shred of evidence to support that Mr. Manning was at fault at all,” Massillon Police Sgt. Jason Saintenoy told me. We were talking because the other driver’s insurance company, Progressive, had stiffed Manning, claiming he was 30 percent responsible for the crash — an assertion the sergeant believes is absolutely absurd. Rather than accepting Progressive’s lowball offer, Manning went through his own insurance company — paying a $500 deductible and renting a car because Progressive refused to provide one. Three months later, he still didn’t have his money back, so he called me, saying, “These companies can do anything they want to your claim and get away with it.” I’m not so sure he was wrong. I have written two columns about this. For the first, I contacted a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Insurance, which allegedly functions as the state’s insurance watchdog. He blew me off, telling me I could get my answers from the Ohio Insurance Institute — an insurance industry trade group! After that was published, I got a call from the head ODI spokesman, who claimed his agency does have teeth and said that if Manning filed a formal protest (by calling 1-800-686-1526), justice would prevail. He did. It didn’t. Once ODI started writing letters, Progressive backed off somewhat, but not enough. The company offered to pay Manning 70 percent of what it owes him. And that was good enough for ODI, which has closed the case. I emailed chief ODI spokesman David Hopcraft, saying closing this case “seems to confirm the widespread assertion that ODI is a lapdog for the insurance agency. Why should we think otherwise?” He noted the swiftness of his agency’s action, adding, “While the response [from Progressive] does not include a reason that the insurer decided to pay Mr. Manning 70 percent of his claim, it can be noted that the offer came [only] after the Ohio Department of Insurance contacted the company.” I wanted to hear Progressive’s side of this particular case, and also ask why Progressive has been the culprit in about 98 percent of similar stories I have heard from the readers who flooded my inbox and voice mail. In an email to the company, I cut to the chase: “Does Progressive simply refuse to pay the full amount of every claim it receives?” Progressive’s chief spokesperson did not address any of my questions, instead regurgitating the fact that Ohio, like most states, has a “comparative negligence system” that permits insurance companies to subtract various percentages of reimbursement if the other driver did something to contribute to the accident. Duh. That’s what this whole thing is about. However, the case file at the Ohio Department of Insurance reveals just how far Progressive is willing to stoop to try to save money. Progressive claimed Manning must have been speeding because 25 mph — the speed limit — “would require minimal stopping distance.” OK, let’s assume that Manning, 54, is not a world-class athlete but is a competent middle-age driver. At 25 mph, you are traveling 37 feet per second. So if it took Manning a mere 1.5 seconds to A) mentally process what was happening, B) lift his foot off the accelerator and place it on the brake and C) jam down the brake pedal while turning left, his car would have traveled 56 feet. Get a tape measure, unfurl it near an intersection and try to tell me 56 feet is no big deal. Unlike your favorite columnist, Progressive never bothered to talk to the Massillon officer. Who better to provide an unbiased assessment of what took place? Progressive thinks one of its employees is a better judge — an employee who wasn’t at the scene, who didn’t go to the scene later to check the tire marks, who didn’t even talk to the cop. Progressive also claims Manning “did not confirm that he took any evasive action,” which Manning says is a lie. He invites the company to listen to tapes of their conversions. Today — five months after Manning was the innocent victim of a lousy driver — he now must wait to get the rest of his money until after Progressive and his own company duke it out in arbitration. I wonder how many people in Manning’s shoes would have just thrown in the towel long ago. I wonder how much this blatant stonewalling has increased Progressive’s revenue. Maybe Flo knows. Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.
For those of you who love that runner's high, we have some laws and safety tips which you may find interesting!
1. If you can, USE THE SIDEWALK: Runners are considered pedestrians in Ohio. Ohio Law states that where a sidewalk is provided and "its use is practicable" it is unlawful to run in the street.
2. If there is no sidewalk, or you can't use it, USE THE SHOULDER: Where there is no sidewalk, you must walk or run on the shoulder or "as far as practicable" from the roadway.
3. FACE TRAFFIC: If it is a two way street, you must run on the left side, i.e. facing oncoming traffic.
4. DON'T RUN ON FREEWAYS: Ohio law defines a freeway as "a divided multi-lane highway for through traffic with all crossroads separated in grade and with full control of access."
5. USE MARKED CROSSWALKS: In intersections with traffic control signals in operation, you cannot lawfully cross anywhere except in the marked crosswalk.
6. YOU DO NOT ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT-OF-WAY: Although drivers must yield the right-of-way to any pedestrian on a sidewalk, within a marked crosswalk, or within an unmarked crosswalk, you must yield the right of way to "all vehicles, trackless trolleys, or streetcars".
7. DON'T DART. DON'T CUT ACROSS INTERSECTIONS: Ohio law prohibits pedestrians from suddenly leaving a curb or "other place of safety" to walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is "so close as to constitute an immediate hazard." You are also prohibited from crossing an intersection diagonally, unless authorized by an official traffic control device.
The great majority of people out there use social media in some fashion. One thing we have seen is that ALL automobile insurance companies are using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other Social Media sites to snoop on personal injury litigants.
Personal injury litigants and potential litigants should be aware that the information contained on these sites, including photographs, posts, messages, etc., may become accessible to defense attorneys, insurance adjusters, and witnesses in legal cases, even if you do not intend them to be or consider them private. As such, you should exercise some discretion in deciding what type of information that you post via these social media sites.
If you do participate in social media sites, it is probably in your best interest to never post any information or comment in any way concerning your claim or potential claim for personal injury, including photographs of your injuries or comments about your theory of what happened that caused your incident. This includes instant messaging and email as well. Of utmost importance, you should never post anything concerning a communication between you and your attorney.
If you have already posted photos, comments, messages, etc. about your pending claim or potential claim, you should NOT remove those posts from your social media site, even if you think it may harm your case, until you have consulted with your attorney. This may seem illogical, but removing posts about your case could be treated as destroying potential evidence, which is taken very seriously by our courts.
If you have any questions or concerns about these issues, you should discuss them with your attorney or consult with an experienced trial attorney.
Personal Injury Representation in and around Wadsworth, Ohio.
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