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The posted speed limit applies to perfect driving conditions (e.g., lighting, weather and traffic flow).  It is the maximum speed allowed in that perfect driving context.  When less than optimum conditions are present (e.g., reduced light/vision, wet roads or congested traffic), the basic speed law requires that you reduce your speed so that you can safely stop your vehicle within the assured clear distance ahead of whatever is in front of you (e.g., a car, a pedestrian, etc.).  Regrettably, some drivers ignore this basic rule of the road and drive the posted speed limit (if not exceed it) in poor driving conditions.  Raise your hand if you have been driving in a snow squall and semi-truck has blown past you in the passing lane, kicking up more snow and making driving even more dangerous.  Driving too fast for conditions can lead to dangerous crashes.  Maintain the appropriate speed for conditions present.  It is the law.

 

Authored by L. Page Graves

Needless to say, the recent news about the operation of motor vehicles being  (or capable of) hacked by outside sources is deeply disturbing.  Fiat-Chrysler just announced its recall of 1.4 Million vehicles after reported hacking disrupted the driving of at least one reported occurrence.  Jeep owners are strongly urged to take their vehicles to a certified dealer to update the hardware system to (hopefully) immunize or prevent this vulnerability.  The fact that an outside source can disrupt driving raises questions about the owner’s use of the vehicle.  Is it negligent to operate a car knowing that it is vulnerable to hacking which may lead to the cause of a crash?  Surely, an argument could be made that if the owner does not get the vehicle updated, as recalled, then that driver clearly is not acting with ordinary care by taking the risk of hacking out on the road.  It seems highly probable that a new era of negligence law and product liability law will be developed in the next decade as we evolve into high-tech motor vehicle operation (e.g., driverless vehicles).

Authored by L. Page Graves

 

The nice weather is upon us. Naturally, with that, so are avid motorcycle enthusiasts and cyclists. Sadly, although a motorcyclist or bicyclist is generally highly prudent and safe consciously aware of the road environment, this common Michigan traveler on the roadway seems to be the one missed, more than the one seen. Accredited motorcyclist and cyclist organizations promote high visibility programs to enhance safety for all. Studies show that high visibility clothing and accessories lower the risk to the motorcyclist or cyclist. Vehicle motorists must always still be aware of motorcyclists and cyclists on the roadway; revisiting the 10 common rules for safe coexistence, is always recommended. When a motorcyclist or cyclist is, regretfully, involved in a crash with a motor vehicle, special legal rights attach under Michigan’s compulsory automobile no-fault insurance system. Accident victims are welcomed to contact Smith & Johnson, Attorneys, P.C., for a free consultation to learn their legal rights.

Authored by L. Page Graves

Medical service providers have legal standing to independently bring and enforce auto no-fault insurance claims. Recently, however, auto no-fault insurers have tried to challenge and prevent medical providers from bringing legal action directly against the insurer. In Wyoming Chiropractic Health Clinic, P.C. v Auto-Owners Ins Co, __ Mich App __ (2014)(a unanimous published opinion) the Michigan Court of Appeals soundly rejected the insurance industry’s unfounded attack. The insurance industry filed a request to appeal with the Michigan Supreme Court. In an Order dated May 28, 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court denied the request, which means that the Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the law was (and has been for decades on this precise subject) correct. For more information about assessing and enforcing medical service provider no-fault claims, contact Smith & Johnson, Attorneys, P.C., for a free consultation.

Authored by L. Page Graves

The auto no-fault insurance industry’s recent effort to reform the Michigan system of auto insurance is currently stalled before the Michigan House of Representatives. The version of the bill as passed by the State Senate, changed modestly after being reported out by the House Committee on Insurance. As with any politically charged issue, partisan rhetoric and misleading talking points have deliberately clouded the factual reality of what is really at stake. And regrettably, many news accounts of the important debate do not clarify or correct the rhetoric but instead, merely repeat what each side to the debate has alleged. Objectivity is what Michigan residents expect from their State Legislators as opposed to re-election campaign donation inspired action. For more objective information as to both sides of the issue, please contact Smith & Johnson, Attorneys, P.C., for a free consultation and discussion about this important topic that impacts all Michigan residents and our State’s critically important economic driver: Pure Michigan tourism from abroad.

Authored by L. Page Graves