On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Car Accidents on Tuesday, December 15, 2015.
When it comes to finding the perfect new car, consumers are motivated by very different factors. For some, the size of the vehicle's engine and its overall performance will play a major role, while for others it may be appearance and amenities. Still others will put significant stock in an automaker's reputation for reliability.
There is at least one factor, however, that every new car buyer will take into consideration regardless of their underlying interests: vehicle safety. To that end, many prospective buyers will look no further than the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's ratings to see how many stars a particular model earned on the agency's crash-worthiness test.
Interestingly enough, the NHTSA indicated just last week that it was proposing major updates to its current crash test standards, which have not been updated for several years.
What exactly is the NHTSA proposing?
The NHTSA is proposing three major changes to its test protocol. First, it is seeking to use newer and more advanced crash test dummies designed to do a better job of measuring injuries. Second, it is looking to introduce a new frontal oblique crash test to account for a serious and frequently deadly kind of angled crash. Third, and perhaps most significantly, it's seeking to overhaul how crash scores are calculated by considering not just crash worthiness, but also crash-avoidance systems and pedestrian safety.
How would the assessment of crash-avoidance systems work?
The proposal indicates that the agency would examine how well a vehicle makes use of nine crash avoidance technologies such as lane-departure warning systems, auto-braking systems and collision warning systems.
Does this mean vehicles would be assigned three scores going forward instead of just one?
No. Vehicles would still be assigned a single overall score (one to five stars), but it would be based on the scores earned in all three categories instead of just the one. It remains undetermined, however, how much weight the agency plans on assigning to each of the three categories.
When would this new system take effect?
According to the NHTSA, the new ratings system, which will not be applied retroactively, would take effect in the 2019 model year.
Why is the NHTSA even doing this?
The primary justification for this shift is that it accounts for technological advances and could spur automakers to start making more crash avoidance systems standard equipment in order to earn higher scores and, by extension, make more sales.
It's encouraging to see the NHTSA taking safety ratings to the next level. Here's hoping it results in more people walking away from car crashes or avoiding them altogether.
What are your thoughts? Are these changes past due or entirely unnecessary?
On behalf of Perrotta, Lamb & Johnson, LLC posted in Car Accidents on Friday, April 8, 2016.
Many people who are injured in auto accidents wonder if they can afford to hire an attorney. A more important question is whether you need an attorney.
Personal injury lawyers typically use a contingency fee arrangement. This means you pay the lawyer nothing up front. Your fee will be will a percentage of the recovery the lawyer makes for personal injury. The contingency fee system provides access to our civil justice system to people who could not otherwise afford to hire an attorney.
The contingency fee is usually 30 percent if the attorney can resolve your case by negotiations. If your case has to go to trial, most lawyers charge a higher percentage. However, even by paying the lawyer a significant percentage of your settlement, you are likely to left with more money in your pocket at the end of your case than if you tried to negotiate with the insurance company yourself, especially if you suffered a serious injury.
A more important question is whether you need to hire a lawyer. If you suffered only minor injuries and you expect to recover fully in a few days, it may not make sense to hire an attorney. Most lawyers offer a free initial consultation and will give you a candid answer if they think you need legal representation. Most firms will also review your settlement offer and let you know if it is appropriate.
If you have suffered a serious injury, however, negotiating with the insurance company yourself can be costly. You may say or do things that will result in your case being worth less. If you plan to hire an attorney, it's better to so right away. The contingency fee will be the same percentage whether you hire a lawyer right away or later in your case. By receiving the advice of an attorney from day one, your personal injury case will likely be worth more.
Perrotta & Cahn, Attorneys at Law in Cartersville, Georgia, offers a free initial consultation to discuss attorney fees or other issues in car accidents involving personal injury.