The latest edition of the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria has a new section instructing how to report on the newly emerging autonomous automobiles.

Administrators from all sectors of the automotive and technology fields, as well as government officials, are actively preparing for the very-near future of self-driving cars. The Governors Highway Safety Association, along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have just released the Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria, which is the criteria by which law enforcement and other agencies report car accident data. The fifth edition is the first to include instructions on reporting crashes involving autonomous vehicles. It is updated every five years.

Many American drivers are not aware of how soon we will be seeing self-driving cars on our roads with regularity. More companies are announcing their intent to develop these cars every year. It is estimated the United States will have several thousand self-driving vehicles on the streets by 2020. The number goes up to 4.5 million by 2035.

Have you recently been involved in a car accident? It doesn’t matter if it was your fault or someone else’s, there are probably a lot of questions popping into your head. The first few questions are usually centered on injuries, insurance and attorneys.  These three things will affect you the most immediately after an accident as well as later, just when you think it’s all over. While nothing will completely ease your stress and anxiety after an accident, having all your ducks in a row can make things a lot easier. It also eases the confusion when you make your first contact with a car accident attorney.

The Scene of the Accident

Although it is hard to, victims of a car accident should stay extremely aware the first few moments after it occurs. The more details you can recall and document from these initial moments could prove highly important to your case. Take notes of your immediate thoughts. What happened. What did you see? Write down witness statements and take down their phone numbers. Don’t forget to take down the license plate number of all vehicles involved. Everyone has a camera on their phone these days and now is the time they really come in handy. Take photos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles involved and any injuries obtained. Do not remove your car from where it was hit unless there are no damages or injuries. Leave it where the accident happened until police arrive.

A new study shows Sacramento drivers are the worst out of all 75 of the most populated urban areas in the country. Drivers in Detroit and Orlando, Florida are the best. Salt Lake City, Utah has the second worst drivers in the country behind Sacramento. Two million nationwide data points were studied throughout 2016 to find these results. Incident counts for all 75 inner city areas were weighted against the occurrence percentages. Traffic citations, DUI’s, speeding tickets and number of accidents were all calculated to find the final rankings.

Sacramento earned its distinguished title of worst drivers in the country because it also has the highest rate of traffic citations in the nation. QuoteWizard Insurance, the agency reporting the study results suggested Sacramentans consider traveling the cities many waterways to work as an option to its dangerous streets. Besides Sacramento, Fresno, Riverside, San Diego and Los Angeles were also among the nation’s worst drivers.

People spend millions of dollars a year on their pets and a major portion of that is vet bills. A study showed over $15 billion was spent on veterinary bills in 2016. Currently, pet owners spend more than $18 billion a year on pet healthcare. Some people feel their pets are a member of the family, just as a child would be. This seems especially true when the person has no children. Additionally, many studies have been done which point to distinct health benefits pet owners receive from the relationships they have with their pets. There have been important advances in veterinary care and services in recent years which may account for an almost 4 percent increase in pet spending from 2015. Pets have become a large part of American culture and the court system is beginning to realize that.

Traditionally, pets have been looked at as property. Recent court decisions have made major changes in that tradition, however. New York, Texas and Maryland courts have make landmark decisions in medical malpractice involving pets and their vets. Divorce court also sees a few pet custody cases. Instead of considering only who bought the pet or took most care of it, judges consider the best needs of the pet, just as they would in a child custody case in family court. There have been more than 25 state judges to manage financial trusts set up in pet’s names. It is clear the laws are changing when it comes to pets.

With so much more emphasis on pet’s owners as parents of a sort, the courts are seeing more cases of pet medical malpractice. For instance, a pet owner may admit their dog to a vet for dental surgery, being spayed or neutered, or a broken bone. It is possible for something to go wrong and the animal lose its life in the process. What if the vet was at fault? If there is proof some form of negligence occurred on the vet’s behalf that caused the dog to die, the owner could possibly receive remuneration for not only the cost of the dog and vet services, but also pain and suffering and other nonfinancial claims.

Sacramento has agreed to pay $9.75 million to the parents of a 9-month-old boy who was killed after his parent’s car was rear-ended by an undercover police car. The parents and their young son were on Interstate 80 during heavy traffic hours. An off-duty police officer and his children in a Ford Explorer belonging to the police department hit the back end of their car at roughly 60 MPH. Young Raiden Saechao was correctly strapped into his car seat but died several days later from severe head trauma.

The accident occurred in December of 2013. The couple had suffered several miscarriages as well as the death of a newborn before having Raiden. A court battle began and lasted three years before the city settled for almost 10 million dollars. Prosecutors chose not to file criminal charges. The lawsuit claimed that the officer’s distracted driving caused the death of the child. Officer Greg Mark Halstead is still employed by the police department and denies all allegations brought in the lawsuit. The city claimed the officer was not working at the time of the accident. The parents say they will donate a portion of the money to raising awareness of distracted driving.

A sevenfold increase in opioid-related car crash deaths has recently been reported by researchers. Yet another sure sign the U.S. opioid epidemic is deadlier than ever. More drivers than ever before are dying in crashes while under the influence of prescription painkillers. Columbia University researchers released a statement discussing how prescriptions for opioids like morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone have more than quadrupled in recent years. Seventy-six million were reported in 1991 compared to the 300 million in 2014.

With numbers soaring to such heights, it isn’t surprising we are beginning to see a connection to highway deaths. The increase in drivers testing positive for prescription opioids has become a public health concern in 2017. These types of drugs are used to kill pain from serious injury. Their effects include slowed reaction times, impaired cognitive skills, and drowsiness. All things that add a significant risk while driving. While it’s true that these prescription painkiller users are driving under the influence with more regularity than ever before, researchers say they still need to do more research before any clear facts are established.

This rising epidemic has caught the eye of more than one activist organization, including MADD or Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They have voiced their concerns over the lack of reliable testing for opioids on the road and committed themselves to fighting the problem along with all impairing drugs.

A recently released study has shown obese drivers to be at a greater risk of a car accident than average weight drivers. Seventy-eight percent more likely. A body mass index of over 30 is considered to be obese. The finding showed a rise in deaths among people who weighed more than average despite the considerable increase in commercial and personal vehicle safety technology. Study results indicated this increased risk is due to other health-related problems obese people have. It also raises the issue that auto safety technology is not equipped to accommodate heavier drivers. The finding alarmed government safety officials who noted the disturbing rise in American obesity will coincide with more fatal car crashes regardless of any safety measures.


Body mass index or BMI measure body fat in relation to height. It is used as an estimate to roughly judge the portion of the body that is fat. There are four established weight ranges when BMI is considered:

According to the California Highway Patrol, the three people who died in car accidents over the four-day period starting on Thanksgiving night 2017 brought the states total roadway deaths to 20. The three people were two women and an infant, Sarah Rae Rohde, 27, of Copperopolis, her 19-month-old daughter, Arianna Harris, and Brenda McCann, 65, of Valley Springs, who died in a separate car accident. The mother and daughter pair were travelling west on Highway 4 on Thanksgiving. They were travelling just west of Holiday Mine Road at 55-60 mph when the wreck happened. Another child, a 4-year-old boy, was also in the car. The group struck a black bear that had wandered into the road. The mother and daughter were killed from the impact.

On the Monday before this accident, Brenda McCann was involved in a three-car pile-up in Valley Springs. Twenty-nine-year-old Mark Linnerman of Modesto was driving a 2005 Ford west on Highway 26, west of Vista del Lago Drive. Simultaneously, Wade McCann, driving a 1998 Jeep in front of Linnerman, stopped to make a left turn onto a frontage road running parallel to Highway 26. Linnerman failed to recognize this and the vehicles crashed. The force of the impact sent Mcann into the eastbound lane, where he was stuck by a 2014 Ford F150 pickup driven by Rudi Leon, 44-years-old, of Valley Springs. Brenda McCann was riding in the front passenger seat of the Jeep. She was transported to the Mark Twain Medical Center and pronounced deceased. Highway 26 was then blocked to further traffic for an hour and 20 minutes. No arrests were made. Drugs or alcohol are not believed to be factors in either of the collisions that occurred over the weekend. The Valley Springs accident is still under investigation, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Unfortunately for the public and CHP, deadly crashes are becoming far too commonplace in Calaveras County. According to CHP San Andreas Public Information Officer Tobias Butzler, in 2017, the number of fatalities has hit the roof. The death toll has doubled so far, this year. In 2016, there were a total of 10 mortal accidents. With less than a month left in 2017, the California Highway Patrol has responded to 19 fatal occurrences during which 20 people have been killed. The reasons are unknown, according to police but CHP lieutenants have agonized finding common themes to the fatalities. So far, no commonalities have been revealed.

Sports are an important part of academia and the growing up process. Playing sports and being involved in a team is invaluable to teaching life lessons and coping skills. Sports can also be a relief from stress for many kids or a way to excel. Sadly, as with any physical activity, there are risks of injury. This is even more true when it comes to sports like football, hockey, soccer, baseball and other contact sports. Football and soccer are said to be the two most dangerous contact sports. Sports injuries are costly, debilitating and can cause a lifetime of pain. They require significant medical expense, diminished quality of life, pain, suffering, and perhaps a loss of future earning potential. When faced with some of these losses, parents often wonder if they are able to sue to recover for them and others they may have incurred since the injury.

According to Safe Kids USA, more than 3.5 million children per year suffer severe sports-related injury. Traumatic brain injury is a commonly seen sports injury in children. It is most often cause by head blows from smashing into another player, a hard fall, or even hitting their head on equipment. Certain game moves can even cause player injury, such as “the header” in soccer. Football players not only receive a lot of head trauma but also have a significant risk for knee and ankle injury. Lacrosse is ranked as the third most dangerous sport for children. Wrestling and cheerleading are also on the list. While these sports are known to be more dangerous than others and consistently see severely injured players each year. They are still offered in school systems across the country.

These dangerous sports are offered and even required in some classes, but parents are required to sign a consent prohibiting them from suing the school or athletic organization if injury occurs. The consent form says they understand there is an inherent risk of injury in playing the game and realize their child may get seriously hurt. These consent forms work on the legal doctrine described as “assumption of the risk,” which states that when people participate in unsafe activities they shoulder the risk of injury knowingly.

When you are hurt in an accident, you just want to get better and put your life back together. Getting your claims approved by the insurance company is the last thing you want to worry about. Sadly, the insurance companies have only one concern and that is making money. If there is one little mistake, they may not pay your insurance claim, or it could be seriously delayed when you need it most. It is important to know what may cause a denial or delay of a medical insurance claim before you submit it. Doing so gives you the chance to submit the most complete claim possible and lessens your chance of issues.

Duplicate Claims

There are a few different reasons a claim will register as a duplicate. The biggest reason is when a doctor’s office does not get a timely reply for their services rendered and will resubmit the claim. The insurance company will automatically deny the claim at this point. These duplicate claim situations essentially reset the clock on the time it will take to get an approval. It also happened when two different doctors or health care providers make a claim for the same or similar services. Further information may be required before an approval will be issued.

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