In late September, 2014, Queens, NY residents gathered in a kosher supermarket, rifling through wares in preparation for Rosh Hashanah, completely unaware of the danger lurking just a few feet away. Outside, in the parking lot of Seasons on Main, an engine revved and an elderly male driver pressed his foot down on the gas pedal. For a brief moment, the unnamed driver was as unaware of the pending tragedy as the shoppers inside. By the time he realized he had accidently shifted his car into reverse, he had already crashed through the window of the kosher deli. Shards of glass broke out in fragments around the vehicle. The storefront property was now windowless. That tiny human error resulted in three injured pedestrians. One of the injured was also elderly, a deli employee who broke both legs. Officials report that injuries occurred both inside and outside of the grocery store.
Queens, NY is all too prone to car accidents like this. The type that could have been avoided had the driver been a bit more alert. Human error is rumored to account for approximately 90% of car accidents and the UN senate is making automobile accidents a top priority for the decade, claiming that by eliminating, or at the very least reducing the number of human errors on the road, $3 trillion could be saved. More importantly, fewer lives would be on the line. The Queens Supermarket accident is proof that careless driving poses a threat, not just to drivers, but to people everywhere. From the sidewalks of New York City to the aisles of a local grocer, from the US to Southeast Asia, there is no safe haven to run to that is out of the realm of a speeding vehicle. In a sense, a driver’s license when used irresponsibly is a deadly weapon.
There is no word yet as to whether the injured parties plan to hire car accident injury lawyers in an attempt to collect compensation for their suffering but it is notable to point out the fact that the deli clerk could have a great deal of difficulty manning a bustling counter with two broken legs. Alternate employment could be hard for him to find as well, considering his age and condition as it stands in comparison with the number of healthy young people roaming the streets of Flushing, NY in 2014, many of them unemployed and actively seeking local salaried positions.
The Nature of Human Error
One of the problems with accidents is that they are never the plan. Accidents are what happen when plans go awry and the disastrous results are always unexpected. Planning for an accident is almost impossible, due to the nature of these types of situations. Often the details must be carefully tended to in the aftermath of such events, at a time when those involved are understandably distraught. One of the injured mentioned above is still in critical condition. Others are physically and maybe even emotionally damaged. Additionally, one kosher supermarket sits windowless in Queens in the middle of the Rosh Hashanah rush. Damages, medical bills and lost wages tend to pile up rather quickly and the average American is only a few paychecks away from homelessness to begin with. Settlements sometimes account for the setbacks, but if these provisions come through too late or if the compensation isn’t enough to make up the difference, a vicious circle of debt, immobility and unemployment can settle in.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accident injuries and fatalities. While a driver could easily be distracted by just about anything from scenery to sleepiness, some of the main reasons for distraction are:
- The use of cellular devices (for talking, texting, internet, etc.)
- Talking to others in the car
- The consumption of food and drink while driving
- Tuning in to a radio station
New York law prohibits the use of handheld cellular devices while driving. In the state of New York, any violation of this law is considered a primary offense, meaning a traffic official can ticket this offense even if it isn’t accompanied by other traffic violations. While this law was designed to reduce the number of deaths caused by distraction, cellular devices aren’t the only distraction drivers need to be aware of. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety projects that a recent study showed that 80% of drivers have experienced a form of distraction while behind the wheel. They went on to site an approximated 16% of car accident fatalities as being directly related to driver distraction. Alertness is imperative to safety not just on the streets of New York City, but all along life’s never ending highway.
Richard C. Bell is a personal injury attorney who has been practicing law in New York City since 1982. He handles cases resulting from negligence and is committed to obtaining maximum compensation for his clients. In addition to being featured for his efforts in accredited media outlets such as The Donahue Show, The New York Times and The Daily News, Richard also has an excellent reputation for achieving multimillion dollar verdicts. Some of his most recent settlements have resulted in his clients being awarded upwards from $6.5 million. He can be reached at the Law Offices of Richard C Bell for inquiries.