DUIs cited as leading cause of NJ fatal car crashes for 2021Fatal traffic accidents in New Jersey have increased for the third consecutive year, according to a recently released NJ State Police report analyzing traffic accidents in 2021. A total of 667 deadly accidents occurred in the state that year; of those, 210 accidents were said to have been the result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI). This is the first time in 10 years DUIs were cited as the leading cause of fatal accidents. During those 10 years, distracted driving or driver inattention was the top factor.

Impaired driving covers various substances, not just alcohol. While there are tests for analyzing the level of alcohol in a driver’s system at the time of an accident, determining the level of other substances such as marijuana is not as easy. Officials are now working on strategies to further educate drivers on the risks of driving under the influence of any substance, legal or illegal, as well as continuing their campaign against distracted driving. More information on the findings of this report can be found here.

Holiday-Fire-Prevention-PI-Blog-Photos-7-300x200This time of year the flickering glow of candles, the bright lights decorating our homes and holiday trees all add to the festive nature of the holidays, but they also pose a high risk for house fires. The National Fire Protection Association has reported that most December house fires can be attributed to candles, which are used in the celebration of many holidays that fall this time of year. Christmas trees are another major contributing factor. These fires can be devastating, leading to property loss, and putting you, your family, your neighbors, and emergency responders at risk for injury.

To keep your holiday celebrations from going up in smoke, it is important to take some extra care to make sure your decorations are safe, and your fire and smoke detectors are in working order. The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety issued a few tips—many of which are common sense but worth revisiting—to help you reduce your risk of holiday fires. For more information read “Follow These Tips to Prevent Holiday Fires, NJ Expert Says.”

Stroller recall; baby in strollerParents and caregivers who have purchased a Mockingbird stroller between March 2020 and September of this year can expect to receive a letter from the manufacturer announcing a recall due to the risk of injury certain of these strollers pose to young children.

It was reported recently that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission had received numerous reports of the frames of certain of these strollers cracking, causing children to fall inside the strollers and risking injury. Parents are urged to stop using these strollers immediately. To learn if your stroller is one of the affected ones read, “Stroller recall: Nearly 150K strollers recalled sue to this hazard.”

Halloween-Safety-PI-blog-300x200Halloween is just a little over two weeks away. As you decorate your yard and fill your candy bowls in preparation, it’s a good idea to take a few moments to check your property for safety hazards.

Trick-or-treaters donned in masks and flowing costumes are focused on one thing only—the treats they are about to receive. These children are easily distracted by spooky decorations, the antics of their friends, and the general excitement of the holiday. They aren’t watching for hidden hazards like sticks, stones, uneven pavements, loose pets or open flames from candles and torches. As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to make sure your property is clear of any obvious hazards that could lead to slip and falls or other injuries. For a convenient safety checklist of what to look for, read “How to Prepare Your House for Trick-or-Treaters.”

Motor vehicle accident victims reporting crash and exchanging information at accident sceneNo one ever plans on crashing their car, yet it has been reported that 1 out of 5 motorists are involved in a motor vehicle accident every year. Even minor fender-benders can leave drivers shaken and not thinking clearly. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place—just in case.

The first thing to do in a car accident, if possible, is to assess your injuries and those of all others involved. The next step is to call the police so that an official accident report can be filed and processed. Then comes the exchange of information—but how much personal information are you obligated to divulge to the stranger you just accidentally bumped into? Read “You’ve Been in A Car Crash in NJ. What Info Should You Exchange?” to learn more.

Waivers and personal Injury LawThese days it is hard to engage in organized physical activities without being asked to sign a waiver. Exercise classes, sporting events, charity races/challenges and the like all require participants to sign forms agreeing to accept responsibility for any inherent risk associated with the event. Unfortunately, few people take the time to read these waivers to understand exactly what they are signing, and it isn’t until an injury occurs that they learn what they have given up.

In some cases, the wording of the waiver may be too vague to hold up in court. However, most waivers clearly state that, by signing, participants agree to assume responsibility and not hold the event organizers or sponsors responsible for injuries they may incur. For an example of why it is important to read the fine print before signing any form, read about a recent case involving USA Cycling.

Slip-Fall-PI-blog-300x200When you think of a slip and fall injury, images that come to mind may be of snowy, icy conditions, or maybe an elderly person. The truth is slip and falls can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time of year.

Injuries sustained from slip and fall accidents can range from minor to major and in extreme cases even death. Victims who suffer major injuries can be faced with extensive medical expenses and potential lost wages during convalescence, and they may seek to recover damages through a lawsuit. To successfully prove a slip and fall lawsuit, certain essential elements must exist. To learn what those elements are, read “Necessary Elements to Prove in a Slip and Fall Case.”

Man with dog - pets are propertyTo many people, pets are family but, under the law, dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals are property. This question comes up in court from time to time, most often in divorce cases but more recently in a personal injury lawsuit.

According to reports, a woman claimed she was injured while attempting to rescue a dog from a local canal.  She attempted to sue the dog’s owners under a “rescue doctrine,” but the court determined that doctrine applies only to injuries suffered in an attempt to rescue another person and, only under special circumstances, to attempts to save property. Subsequently, her claim was denied. What is New Jersey’s rescue doctrine and why did the courts rule that it didn’t apply in this case? To find out, read “Woman injured rescuing neighbor’s dog cannot sue its owners, N.J. Supreme Court rules.”

sneakers tied together - when pranks cause injury of damageIn a few short weeks, schools will close for summer vacation and that means senior pranks will soon be underway. While most people may consider pranks to be nothing more than playful, amusing tricks intended to get a reaction, there is a fine line between mischievous and malicious. Crossing that line can lead to serious consequences.

When a prank results in damage to property or in harm or injury to another person, participants can find themselves facing criminal charges for everything from vandalism to assault and battery. Understanding the law can help you—or your teen—avoid serious consequences. To learn more, read “Teen Pranks Can Turn into a Criminal Charge.”

driver holding smartphone open to navigation appThese days it’s hard to find drivers who don’t rely on their smartphone’s navigation apps, especially when traveling along unfamiliar roads or looking for ways around traffic jams. And for good reason. These electronic guidance systems provide drivers with the clear direction they need to proceed with confidence rather than hesitantly trying to find a way out on their own and risking an accident. If you are planning to use your phone’s navigation app, though, consider activating it before pulling out of your driveway to avoid breaking any distracted driving laws.

Technically New Jersey’s ‘don’t text and drive’ laws don’t apply to opening apps on your smartphone. However, these distracted driving laws may come into play if you are required to do anything more than simply tap the screen to open your app. Read “Using A Navigation App Could Get You A $200 Ticket in NJ” to learn more.

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