smart phone with covid-19 graphic and mask in the backgroundDuring the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a decrease in the number of car accidents due to less traffic. Although accidents are down, the injury attorneys at our firm have noticed there has been an increase in the severity of the accidents that do occur. Additionally, car crash victims are facing unique problems resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Rest assured, if you or a loved one has been injured because of the negligence of another driver, the auto accident attorneys at Gray and White are still working and are here to help you. Gray and White provides free consultations and case evaluations to go over your legal options and ensure that any questions you may have are answered. 

Higher Speeds During Coronavirus Outbreak 

The vastly empty roads during recent weeks have resulted in many drivers traveling at higher speeds and engaging in other reckless behaviors, such as not obeying traffic signals or not paying attention to other vehicles with the right-of-way. 

A recent report published by INRIX details the changes in average driving speeds since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020. 

Looking at data compiled from several major cities, the research group found that although the average vehicle mileage has decreased approximately 80% since shelter-in-place orders were implemented, the speed that cars are traveling has increased as much as 75% in some places. These statistics are being compared to normal traffic patterns from January and February of 2020. 

For example, New York saw a 60% increase in speeding tickets in March compared to February. Washington, DC, has seen a 20% increase in speeding tickets and a 40% increase in the number of drivers who exceed the speed limit by 21-25 MPH. In some cities, such as Seattle, there has been an increase of 15 to 30 MPH in average speeds during morning commutes. Here in Louisville, Kentucky, data shows that driving speeds have also increased, leading to several recent minor and serious accidents. 

The nationwide trend of increased driving speeds due to coronavirus means there is more risk for accidents. Speeding is one of the leading factors in auto accidents. Prior research shows that a mere 1% increase in speed results in a 3% increase in the risk of severe injury and a 4% increase in the risk of fatal injuries. 

Pedestrian Accidents More Likely to Occur During Shelter-in-Place Orders

While Kentucky has issued a shelter-in-place order, people are still advised to get outside and go on walks. More foot traffic near roads presents a higher risk of pedestrian accidents in which walkers are hit by passing cars. 

In a study conducted in 2010, researchers found that the risk of death for a pedestrian rises significantly when a vehicle that strikes the pedestrian is exceeding 30 MPH. The risk of fatality becomes 3.5 to 5.5 times more likely for a pedestrian if the vehicle is exceeding 40 MPH. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cautions that increased speeds make it more likely a driver will lose control of the vehicle, resulting in less effective occupant protection equipment, an increased stopping distance, more severe injuries, and greater property damage. NHTSA reported 9,378 traffic deaths were associated with speeding in 2018. 

Difficulties Seeking Treatment for Injuries During the Pandemic 

Along with an increase in the risk of accidents, the severity of injuries from accidents may also be higher due to the challenges COVID-19 poses for accessing treatment for injuries. Greater pain and suffering and potentially permanent damage could occur if a person is not able to recover because of an inability to receive adequate medical care promptly. 

Many people right now are hesitant to go to already overwhelmed emergency rooms, where the chance of exposure to the coronavirus is significantly higher. For this reason, car crash victims are, unfortunately, delaying crucial early treatment for their injuries. 

The auto accident attorneys at Gray and White have been in contact with several Kentucky medical providers to assist in coordinating treatment for our clients. We are working hard to ensure that our clients are receiving proper care for their injuries during this pandemic. 

Most medical providers in Kentucky, including chiropractors, orthopedic doctors, and physical therapists, have implemented necessary precautions to treat accident-related injuries while mitigating the risk of coronavirus exposure. The precautions include: 

  • Waiting in cars instead of waiting rooms. To avoid exposure between patients in waiting rooms, many medical offices are allowing patients to call the office upon arrival and wait in their car until the doctor is ready to see them. 
  • More time between scheduled patients. Doctors have substantially lowered the number of patients they see in a day to reduce exposure between patients. 
  • Video consultations for accident injuries and physical therapy. Some medical providers are offering consultations over video, also known as “telemedicine,” so they can treat patients without the need to see them in an office. Physical therapists can assist patients with completing exercises and other important therapies needed to treat soft-tissue accident-related injuries to prevent long-term or permanent damage over video conference. 
  • Heightened cleaning between patients. All medical offices should be obeying the government recommendations for additional cleaning of treatment rooms and locations between each patient. 

We Are Ready to Help You During Covid-19

The concerns we highlighted in this article may seem daunting, but the attorneys at Gray and White are here to help you through these troubling times. We deal with the insurance companies to ensure that our clients receive their fair settlement or compensation. Additionally, we can assist you with finding medical providers to care for the pain and suffering brought on by your accident. 

In order to receive the legal advice and care you need, it is crucial that you contact our personal injury lawyers after an accident during the coronavirus pandemic. There are never any out-of-pocket costs to hire our attorney as we only collect attorney fees or expenses if we obtain a settlement or recovery. 

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law
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