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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Product Liability

What types of defective products are involved in product liability lawsuits?

Product liability suits involve automobile defects, tire defects, unsafe toys, infant products and furniture, defective refinery equipment, unsafe manufacturing equipment, defective drugs, defective aviation or train parts and defective safety equipment among others.

What determines whether or not a product is defective?

An attorney representing an injured client in a product liability claim must show that the product in question has a significant manufacturing or design defect and that the defect directly led to the client’s injury. An attorney may also show that the manufacturer knew of the defect and ignored his or her duty to warn consumers of the product’s dangers.

Does the presence of a warning allow the manufacturer to escape liability for an injury caused by a defect?

If there is a warning intended to deter the user from using the product in an unintended manner, and the injury occurred due to the user’s failure to follow this warning, the manufacturer will probably not be liable for the resulting injuries. If, however, the user was injured while using the product as intended, the warning does not protect the manufacturer from liability. A warning also does not protect manufacturers from liability if the defect should have been foreseeable.

Who may become a defendant in a California product liability case?

Depending on the nature of the defect, you may target the manufacturer, distributor, retailer, or any other party involved in getting the defective product to the public.

Is my claim still valid if the injury occurred from misuse?

Even if the injury was caused while using the product in a manner inconsistent with its purpose, you may have a valid product liability claim. If it is determined by the court that this misuse was foreseeable, and the manufacturer failed to address it in a warning or through redesign, they may be held liable for your injuries.

Dangerous Drugs

What should I do if I am currently taking a medication receiving negative press?

First talk to you doctor. He will let you know if you are at risk for any serious side effects. If your doctor tells you to keep taking the medication, and you are still concerned about your health, you can see a second doctor or ask if there is another medication that can help your condition.

When should I contact a defective drug attorney?

You should contact an experienced defective drug attorney if you or a loved one has a serious injury that you suspect was caused by a defective drug. You may only be entitled to compensation from the drug manufacturer if there is a severe injury that can be traced directly to use of the medication.

What is “pharmaceutical liability”?

The term “pharmaceutical liability” refers to the responsibility a drug maker must acknowledge when a drug is proven to have caused severe injuries. Strict liability occurs when a manufacturer is found liable of creating, selling and marketing a drug known to have dangerous side effects. Negligence occurs when a manufacturer fails to take steps necessary to ensure the safety of their drugs, or to uncover dangerous defects.

Are my current medications safe?

Check with your doctor to see if there are any new developments regarding the medications you are currently taking. You may also check the FDA Website for recent recalls and drug safety information.

Worker’s Compensation

What is worker’s compensation?

Worker’s compensation is a system that provides benefits to workers who are injured or who contract an occupational disease while working. The benefits include medical care, temporary disability payments, and compensation for a resulting permanent disability. In the event of the death of an injured worker, benefits are payable to the family of the worker. Benefits may be paid voluntarily, or it may be necessary to apply to the Worker’s Compensation Courts for relief. We at the Ledger Law can and will help you through this process.

Who is covered?

Virtually every worker who performs services for wages is covered by the law, regardless of the number of workers employed by the employer. If you are not a citizen, you might still be entitled to benefits. Do not hesitate to call us. Under New Jersey law, domestic and farm workers are covered. However, workers considered to be independent contractors, rather than employees are not covered.

Railroad workers, federal employers are covered under federal worker’s compensation law.

What must a worker do if injured?

The worker should notify the employer as soon as possible, but not later than 90 days from the date of the accident. The notice may be given to the supervisor, personnel office, or anyone in the authority at the employer’s place of business. Notice need not be in writing. If the worker needs medical treatment, a request should be made to the employer as soon as possible. This helps the employer notify the insurance carrier more quickly, enabling you to receive benefits sooner.

What if an employer refuses to provide medical services and/or temporary disability benefits?

The injured worker should seek the services of an attorney who will file a formal claim petition and a motion for medical and temporary benefits with the Division of Worker’s Compensation. Attorneys are prohibited by law from charging a fee in advance for such services. Fees will be fixed by the court only if a compensation award is made.

Important: There is a two-year statute of limitation. A formal Claim Petition must be filed within two years of the date of the injury or the last payment of compensation, whichever is later. Medical treatment authorized by the employer is considered a payment of compensation. In cases of occupational illness, the Claim Petition must be filed within two years from the date the worker first became aware of the condition and its relationship to employment. The statute of limitations applies to minors also. Â An injured worker may also file an application for informal hearing, before a Judge of Compensation. At the informal hearing, a representative of the employer or the employer’s insurance carrier is usually present. The suggestions made by the judge at an informal hearing are however, not binding on either party. The filing of an application for an informal hearing does not stop the two-year statute of limitations from running.

What happens after a claim is reported?

The employer or the employer’s insurance carrier will investigate the claim. If the claim is found compensable, they will pay for necessary and reasonable medical treatment, loss of wages during the period of rehabilitation, and, when documented, benefits for permanent disability. We at the Ledger Law have a lot of experience in dealing with each part of this process. We will guide you through each phase.

Within 21 days of receiving notice of the accident, the insurance carrier should file a First Report of Injury form with the Division. This form gives the Division initial information about the accident and injuries. Another form, called the Subsequent Report of Injury, must be filed with the Division within 26 weeks after the worker returns to work or has reached maximum medical improvement. At that time, the worker should receive a letter from the insurance carrier explaining the benefits paid to date on their claim. The information from these forms help the Division ensure that workers receive fair and timely benefits for work-related injuries.

Can an employer take action against a worker for filing a claim?

The worker’s compensation Statute prohibits the employer from discharging or discriminating in any manner against an employee because the employee has claimed or attempted to claim worker’s compensation benefits or has testified, or is about to testify, in a worker’s compensation case.

Does the worker’s compensation law give special consideration to minors?

Yes. If a minor, employed in violation of the Child Labor Law, suffers a disability because of a job-related injury or illness, benefits will be double the amount ordinarily awarded.

Wrongful Death

How much of a settlement is my family entitled to?

Your case is unique and your potential settlement amount will depend on a variety of factors. Claims for wrongful death can include compensation for related medical and burial expenses, loss of income, mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of anticipated future, income, loss of services, loss of family benefits, care and assistance, pain and suffering, general damages, punitive damages, and legal fees.

Can I bring a wrongful death action if the deceased never held a job?

Wrongful death claims often involve children or adults who did not have a steady income. Compensation for loss of companionship, care or other method of family contribution may be requested in the wrongful death lawsuit. The loss of non-monetary contributions, such as the role a stay at home mom or housewife provides, is considered a “pecuniary loss” in a wrongful death action.

What does my attorney have to prove for my claim to be successful?

An attorney will have to show that your loved one’s death resulted from the negligent acts of the defendant and a financial loss occurred as a result of the death, including loss of income, medical and burial expenses, and others.

Who can file a claim for wrongful death?

Immediate family members have the right to bring a wrongful death claim. Our attorneys have represented spouses, children and parents of deceased victims.

What is the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim?

In the state of New Jersey, family members have 2 years from when the death occurred to bring a claim. If the death was a result of medical malpractice, the family members have 2 years from the date the malpractice was discovered.

What kinds of damages are recoverable in a wrongful death claim?

You may be entitled to claim damages for mental anguish, loss of companionship, loss of income, expected loss of services, protection, care and assistance, death and burial expenses, medical expenses, loss of benefits, pain and suffering, etc.

Insurance Claims

How do you prove an insurance company acted in bad faith?

Your attorney will attempt to show the court that the insurer failed to meet the contractual obligations without just cause. Your attorney will show that a claim was unfairly denied, or that you were unfairly dropped from the policy contrary to the provisions in the signed contract. We can show the insurer acted unreasonably by demonstrating what a reasonable insurer would do in a similar situation.

What are some examples of 'bad faith' on the part of the insurer?

You may have a claim if your insurer unreasonably denies or delays a valid claim, fails to promptly and thoroughly investigate a claim, interprets contractual wording in an unreasonably narrow fashion to the insured’s detriment, or refuses to settle a case or reimburse an insured for the entirety of the insured’s loss with no adequate justification.

If an insurance claim is denied, does this automatically constitute bad faith?

No. There are instances where insurance policy holders may attempt to get settlements that are not due, are misinformed about their benefits, or simply use fraudulent information to get benefits.

Will my insurance rates increase if I follow through with a lawsuit?

If an insurer attempts to increase your rates or drop you from a policy, they may find themselves involved in further legal action as this is an illegal practice.

What rights do I have as an insured party?

While certain rights of fairness are granted by law, the legal terms of your agreement will be stated in your contract. There are provisions of the law that protect insured parties from fraudulent or unfair terms disguised within contractual language. However, if an insurer is straightforward and you agree to fair terms, you will be obligated to uphold your end of the agreement. For example, most contracts obligate the insured to pay a monthly premium. If you default on your payments, you are subject to denial of your benefits or other penalties based on how your contract is written. If your insurance company refuses to make good on its obligations, you have a right to hire an attorney to help ensure that the terms are met.

Toxic Tort

What are some examples of environmental contamination leading to toxic tort cases?

Litigation for toxic torts has resulted from severe injuries and fatalities caused by exposure to asbestos, household and industrial chemical solvents, hazardous waste, medical waste, pesticides, dangerous drugs, radiation, electromagnetic energy, tobacco, toxic mold, and thimerosal.

Why are toxic tort cases so difficult to litigate?

Unlike the facts in a car accident, the information is usually very difficult to piece together and often hard to uncover. Toxic tort lawsuits usually involve a thorough investigation that may continue for a period of many years. Environmental scientists, medical professionals and other experts must be consulted to prove that a dangerous level of illegal contamination existed and that the toxic substance caused harm. Choosing an environmental contamination firm with experience may make a big difference in the outcome of a toxic tort case.

How do I know if toxic chemicals are used at my workplace?

If your job involves the use of toxic chemicals, there must be protocols in place for the safe handling of such substances, and workers should be adequately protected from their harmful effects. Your employer should have Material Safety Data Sheets on the effects and proper handling of specific chemicals. The presence of a warning, however, does not excuse an employer from liability if a hazard is discovered and worker’s compensation may be awarded if injuries occur. Proper warnings, on the other hand, can help employees avoid injury. If you are unsure about the dangers in your workplace, talk to your employer or human resources specialist.

Severe Injury

What is a catastrophic injury?

A catastrophic injury is a major injury that seriously impairs the victim’s health for an extended period of time, or causes irreversible, long-term damage. Catastrophic injuries may include severe brain injuries, severe burn injuries, neck injuries, spinal injuries, amputations, vision impairment, back injuries, fractures, paralysis or internal organ injuries. Catastrophic injuries are physically, emotionally and financially taxing and are extremely expensive to treat. Catastrophic injury victims may require years of ongoing treatment, therapy and life assistance. Severe injuries can be sustained in a car crash, workplace accident, construction accident, or virtually any type of accident.

If a family member was severely injured due to another’s negligence, how much compensation can he/she receive?

Many factors weigh into the personal injury claim brought by your family, and it may be difficult to put a dollar amount on the mental and financial suffering involved. Depending on the severity of the injury, your loved one may be entitled to receive compensation for medical bills, past and future income, loss of family benefits, pain and suffering, loss of the enjoyment of life, loss of spousal relations, and others.

What causes headaches after a brain injury?

Headaches are a common side effect of a brain injury, stemming from blood vessel manipulation following the head trauma, jaw joint tension, accompanying neck or shoulder strain, soreness from the impact site, muscle tension, etc. To relieve a headache, discuss the characteristics of the pain with your physician. Stress relief techniques, massage, tension relieving exercises, pain relief medications, diet changes, among others, may help patients minimize or eliminate headaches.

What causes a person to become comatose?

A serious brain injury often leads a victim to enter a comatose state, meaning the brain and body are alive, but the person is unable to interact with his or her environment. While the victim is unconscious, there is evidence that some comatose patients retain awareness of surrounding sound and light. A coma may worsen to a persistent vegetative state, where higher brain functions are no longer evident.

Are victims of brain injury more susceptible to future brain trauma?

Yes – once a person has sustained any form of brain injury, he or she is at a higher risk for additional brain injuries.

Are brain injuries more common for motorcyclists than auto drivers?

Yes – the Centers for Disease Control reports that motorcyclists are three times more likely to suffer injuries, and fourteen times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a crash than auto drivers.

How do you know if you have a concussion?

A concussion is a slight brain injury that occurs when the brain tissue impacts the skull bone. Car accident victims found to have concussions usually show signs of confusion and may even pass out for a short time. It is best to see a physician after any type of impact.

What is SCI?

SCI refers to a spinal cord injury and is used as a blanket term to describe a broad range of damage to the spinal column. SCI results in a catastrophic loss of mobility or feeling in certain areas of the body. SCI can result from trauma incurred through car accidents, construction injuries, and trip and fall accidents, among others.

What are the effects of SCI?

Depending on the severity of the injury, SCI patients can experience a broad range of difficulties. With a complete spinal injury, patients will lose the ability to function below the injury site and will lose all sensation. With incomplete spinal injuries, patients will lose some functioning ability, but will be able to feel or use certain areas below the injury site. Some SCI patients may be left quadriplegic, meaning they lose function in all four limbs, or paraplegic, meaning they lose function in two limbs. Loss of motor function, lack of trunk control, loss of sensation, dysfunction of the bowel and bladder, sexual dysfunction, and loss of involuntary functions (such as breathing) may result from spinal injuries.

Can patients with spinal injuries make a full recovery?

SCI is generally regarded as an incurable condition. Although it can be impossible to tell how much a patient may recover directly following a spinal injury, it is possible to see significant recovery over time. If much of the paralysis or loss of function can be attributed to a swelling of the spinal cord, certain functions can be regained when the swelling subsides. Although there have been cases of full recovery, it is highly unlikely.

Do spinal cord patients die sooner than expected?

Yes. Spinal cord injuries put other systems of the body in jeopardy, and many SCI patients will lose their lives as a result of system failures. However, with the application of modern medicine and specialized SCI treatment, patients can live for many years despite their limitations.

What types of burn injury cases do you handle?

The attorneys at The Ledger Law Firm handle cases of severe burn injuries resulting from defective products, auto accidents, work-related injuries and construction accidents. Burn injuries may occur as a result of electrocution, building fires, thermal burns, chemical burns, gas explosions, flammable clothing, flammable liquids, water heater fires, defective electric blankets, etc.

How are burn injuries categorized?

Burn injuries are classified by severity, or depth of penetration. Burns may be considered first degree burns if they affect only the top layer of skin called the epidermis, second-degree burns if they affect the epidermis and dermis layers, and third degree burns if there is damage to the bones, muscles and tendons under the skin.

Will a severe burn injury create scarring?

Most burn injuries requiring hospitalization will scar. Generally, the only type of burn that may not cause scarring is the first-degree burn.

How are severe burns treated?

Depending on the severity of the burn injury, patients may undergo basic wound care and bandaging, physical and occupational therapy, skin grafting surgery, splints, manually resisted exercise, scar massage, medication, pain management therapy, reconstructive surgery, and intravenous fluid supplements.

What complications do burn injury patients face?

If you or a loved one suffered a serious burn injury, contact your doctor immediately if any of the following complications occur: unusual swelling or redness, high wound drainage, high fever, chills, persistent vomiting or nausea, shortness of breath, recurring headaches, dizziness, lower leg pain, wound odor, continuous bleeding, or loss of appetite.

Personal Injury

How is “personal injury” defined?

The term “personal injury” is used to explain an accident, caused by another’s negligence, which leads to bodily injury. The attorneys at the Ledger Law represent personal injury clients who have been seriously injured in auto accidents, truck accidents, aviation accidents, bus accidents, construction accidents, dog bite accidents, boat accidents, and helicopter accidents. Claims involving injuries caused by medical malpractice, defective products, and environmental contamination are also considered personal injury claims.

Will my personal injury case go to court?

In many cases, we are able to settle without the need for courtroom litigation. However, if the settlement offers from the insurance company are unacceptable, we are prepared to take your case to court and reach a jury decision if necessary. You will have the option of going to court to try to get an amount that seems fair.

What types of damages can I recover after an accident?

Although each case is unique, you may be entitled to collect damages for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and others. For wrongful death cases, the family of the deceased may be able to collect for loss of future income and benefits and loss of companionship. Your attorney will utilize accounting services to calculate an acceptable amount to restore your losses, financially and otherwise.

How much of my time will my personal injury claim take?

Depending on the complexity of your case, and the willingness of the insurance company to compromise, your claim could take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Cases that end up in a courtroom will typically require more time than those that settle. Our personal injury attorneys will do everything possible to get you the money you need to meet medical and living expenses when you need it. Your attorney will take care of much of the paperwork, investigation, and meetings, so you do not have to worry about sacrificing much personal time.

How does the insurance company reach an offer amount?

Most insurance companies utilize special software that allows representatives to input the details of your accident. Based on the results, an offer is then made to you or your attorney. Most of our clients find that the initial offer is grossly insufficient.

How is responsibility determined after a car accident?

The process of discovering who is at fault for causing a car accident can be complicated and involve an in-depth investigation. While some cases are cut and dry, with valid witnesses and physical damage that points to clear cut carelessness, others may involve accident experts and investigators, witnesses and their statements, and the application of state driving laws. Although your account of what happened carries weight, it is often not enough to build a strong case. The accident attorney team at the Ledger Law utilizes trained investigators and researchers to gather solid evidence to support your claim.

Should I release my medical records to another driver’s insurance adjuster?

You never want to give the other driver’s insurance company a copy of your medical records. There is protocol they must follow in order to get your records released. Consult your accident attorney if the other driver’s insurance representatives are trying to pressure you into sending them important information.

If I do not appear to have any physical injuries after a car crash, should I still see a doctor?

Yes. There have been many instances of internal injuries arising hours or days following a car accident. Often the time frame these injuries are discovered in will have a great effect on your health. A doctor also has the ability to detect underlying injuries like whiplash or concussion that may not become immediately apparent.

Will my claim be dismissed if the accident was partly my fault?

You should remember to never admit fault following an accident. The clear cause of the crash may not be apparent initially, and your mind may not be in the clearest condition. Many things can contribute to an accident, such as weather conditions, defective equipment, the other driver’s error, etc. Only after a careful investigation of all the contributing factors will the primary cause become apparent. If some action on your part contributed to the final outcome of the accident, but another factor was involved, you may want to leave it up to a judge or jury to decide who is liable.

What agencies are involved in the investigation of aviation accidents?

Airplane crash investigations are assisted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Aviation Association, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, local police departments, and other agencies. These agencies will be looking to piece together the details of the accident to discover a clear cut cause, decide if any enforcement action should be taken, and utilize the findings to prevent future incidents.

What is a ‘statute of repose” for airplane crash litigation?

A statute of repose essentially places a limit on the time frame that an aviation lawsuit may be brought.

What happens after an airplane accident?

After a plane crash, dangerous malfunction, emergency landing, etc., the pilot or pilots involved are required to notify the NTSB immediately and complete a thorough written accident report within 10 days after the accident. Commercial carrier and private aircraft owners and operators are required by law to follow this protocol with the NTSB.

Why do I need an attorney if the NTSB is conducting a thorough investigation?

The NTSB’s goal is to evaluate safety standards with the potential of disciplinary action against any parties who may have contributed to the accident. Their intention is to create and maintain flying as a safe mode of travel. Although they may use your testimony and injuries to meet their objectives, they are not looking to find restitution for you and your family. A skilled injury attorney can protect your interests and help you bring a claim against the responsible party for compensation designed to help your family recover from the devastating effects of an air disaster.

What factors can lead to boating accidents that cause injury or death?

Many different factors can contribute to injury or death from a boating accident. Many boating accidents can be attributed to speeding watercrafts, boating under the influence of alcohol, inadequate training, lack of knowledge of safety procedures or equipment, inexperienced boaters, engine or equipment failure, hazardous boating conditions, and boating in bad weather.

Is an accident report required after a boating accident?

In instances where there is serious injury, fatalities, or significant property damage, an official report is required. Conditions that may also necessitate an accident report include, when a boat or watercraft is totaled, when a craft capsizes, when a person falls overboard, when a boat collides with another watercraft, when a fire occurs, when a boat sinks, when a boat is lost by flooding, when there is an explosion, or when a boat or passenger disappears.

What role does alcohol play in boating accidents?

Boaters tend to overlook the dangers of mixing alcohol and the operation of watercraft. Although drunk driving on waterways is not as highly enforced as drunk driving on the road, it is just as much of a problem. Alcohol consumption is found to be a factor in around one-third of all recreational boating fatalities and boaters who operate their vessels under the influence are said to be 10 times more likely to be killed in accident. Remember that boating while intoxicated is against the law.

How can I reduce the risk of a maritime accident?

To keep your passengers safe on the water, make sure whoever is operating the boat has adequate training, experience and familiarity with the craft. Make sure the boat operator is not going to be drinking alcohol, and that there are enough life jackets for each person on board. Do not take the boat out in dangerous weather conditions, and avoid dangerous stunts or high speeds. Always keep good visibility ahead, and do not boat in areas where swimmers frequent.

What types of compensation are possible with a motorcycle crash lawsuit?

A motorcycle rider who was seriously injured in a collision may have a right to collect damages for motorcycle repair costs, medical costs, lost income, out of pocket expenses, pain and suffering, therapy costs, and others.

What is the main cause of death in motorcycle accidents?

The majority of fatalities that occur after motorcycle accidents are attributed to traumatic head injury.

Why should I hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney?

An attorney with specific expertise in this field has unique knowledge of the laws and rights that apply to motorcyclists. The motorcycle attorneys at the Ledger Law can help you maximize your compensation through careful investigation and a diligent pursuit of your claim.

What constitutes “unreasonable” landowner maintenance?

After an injury on another’s property, Ledger Law investigators will attempt to determine what caused the accident, and what could have been done to prevent the injury. Laws governing premises liability were written to protect guests from unreasonable and dangerous conditions. In attempting to uncover if the owner was unreasonable, our investigators will look for evidence that safe, clean and secure premises were not maintained.

What are some indications of unreasonable or unsafe premises?

Signs of unreasonable maintenance that can lead to injury may include obstacles on walkways, slippery surfaces, broken concrete, tears in the carpet, loose rocks or gravel, wet areas, low lighting, broken stairs, loose handrails, unsafe porch or balcony areas, broken glass, etc. The presence of dangerous conditions such as these may indicate that a property owner does not inspect his property on a regular basis to ensure safety.

Could I be held partly responsible for a trip and fall accident?

After an injury on another’s property, you should examine your behavior to identify where liability may lie. The property owner’s insurance company will undoubtedly ask you questions in an attempt to identify if fault lies with you. We advise that you refrain from talking to the property owner’s attorney until you are fully aware of your rights. It is a good idea to consult our trip and fall attorney because in many cases, injured parties may incorrectly blame themselves or think that they could have been more careful when, in fact, the property owner may be solely at fault.

What is a “slip & fall” accident?

A “slip & fall” accident is the most common type of premises liability accident, occurring when a guest or resident falls on a slippery surface. A fall attributed to a break or inconsistency in flooring is generally referred to as a “trip and fall.”

Who may become a defendant in a premises liability claim?

Homeowners, owners of rental properties, parking lot owners, business owners, and any owners or management personnel who control private properties may be held accountable for injuries resulting from unsafe premises.

Why might employee, resident, or witness testimony be helpful in premises liability cases?

After you decide to pursue a trip and fall or related claim, your attorney will investigate your incident in hopes of finding evidence that shows how long the dangerous condition existed. Interviewing others may yield important information and reveal a previous complaint or show that the owner in fact had knowledge of the potentially dangerous condition and did nothing to fix it.

What factors lead to truck accidents caused by tire failure?

Tires that are under inflated or improperly mounted on the rim can cause serious accidents. Overloading trucks past the acceptable weight can also place too much pressure on tires and cause blowouts. Although Federal laws prohibit trucking companies from overloading cargo, it is a common occurrence. Defective or cracked rims, defective or worn tires, or defective valve stems, may cause rapid tire deflation or explosion. Federal law also places guidelines for safe levels of tire tread on large trucks.

What is a jack knife accident?

A truck is said to jack knife when a semi-tractor trailer is forced to skid and momentum leads the trailer to keep moving even after the cab stops, forming a 90 degree angle. Many jack knife accidents lead to rollovers as well. Truck drivers may initiate a jack knife by failing to follow safety guidelines and locking the brakes instead of applying even pressure.

What is a “no-zone” crash?

“No-zones” refer to the areas surrounding large trucks where common blind spots occur, such as the side no-zone, the rear no-zone, and the front no-zone. Cars and other vehicles present in the no-zone blind spots are at an increased risk of an accident.