Category Archives for Terrence M. Polich


Walking Safely – How to Avoid Injury or Death as a Pedestrian

Six simple ways to reduce your risk of being hit by a car

The number of pedestrians killed in traffic accidents increased 11% last year, according to a report released recently by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Nearly 6,000 people died in car versus pedestrian accidents.  It is the highest number in more than 20 years and the largest single-year increase in pedestrian fatalities ever.

According to the Active Transportation Alliance, an advocacy group for better pedestrian, bicycling and public transportation options, the three leading causes of pedestrian fatalities are:

  • Speeding,
  • Failure to yield, and
  • Distractions, such as looking at a phone, while walking or driving.

Distracted driving has been a well-known cause of traffic accidents and distracted walking (pedestrians distracted by their phones) is now also contributing to the problem.

By far, the largest cause of pedestrian fatalities is vehicle speed.  A pedestrian struck at 20 mph has a 10% chance of being killed.  A pedestrian struck at 40 mph has an 80% chance of dying.  Speeding causes a disproportionate amount of accidents and greatly increases the resulting injuries and fatalities.

According to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your chances of being struck while a pedestrian.  These include:

  1. Cross the street in a well-lit area at night;
  2. Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars, or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you;
  3. Walk on a sidewalk and if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic;
  4. Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible;
  5. Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON’T WALK signs;
  6. Look left, right and left again before crossing a street.

Whether you are a driver or a pedestrian, the best way to avoid an accident is to stay alert and follow the rules of the road.  Everyone I have ever talked to who has been hit by a car or injured in a serious motor vehicle accident, tells me they never thought it could happen to them and that it happened in an instant.  Being aware of the need to drive or walk carefully and following these safety tips and the rules of the road can help keep you safe.


Attorney Terrence M. Polich is a partner at Clifford & Raihala, S.C.  Attorney Polich is an experienced trial lawyer, specializing in auto accident cases, including pedestrian and bicycle injury cases.


What You Can Do to Prevent Bicycle Injuries and Fatalities

3 ways to improve safety

Spring is here and summer is right around the corner. With the warmer weather, more and more people will be out bicycling. It is an ideal time to consider bicycle safety and how to prevent bicycle injuries.

Increased consciousness about fitness and the benefits of bicycling has led to a vast increase in bicycling for recreation and commuting. Unfortunately, with more bicycles on the road, we are also seeing more bicycle injuries and fatalities. Hospital admissions due to bicycle injuries more than doubled between 1998 and 2013 according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Experts agree that cyclists can take some basic precautions to improve safety:

  1. Wear a helmet and reflective gear;
  2. Have lights for night riding; and
  3. Ride defensively.

By far the best means of preventing bicycle injuries and fatalities is for motorists to obey the Rules of the Road (Wisconsin) and exercise care when encountering bicyclists. The most common contributory factors attributed to drivers who cause motor vehicle collisions include:

  • Failure to maintain a proper look-out;
  • Improper turning;
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way;
  • Alcohol impairment;
  • Speeding;
  • Travelling too fast for conditions; and
  • Dooring (failing to lookout for cyclist when opening a vehicle’s door after parking).

With summer fast approaching it is a good idea to review the Rules of the Road and make sure you know how to keep yourself and others safe on our roads. Accidents involving bicycles typically involve more serious injuries, so it is absolutely essential for motorists to keep an eye out for cyclists, and drive defensively.


Attorney Terrence M. Polich is a partner at Clifford & Raihala, S.C. Attorney Polich is an experienced trial lawyer, specializing in auto accident cases, including bicycle injury cases. Attorney Polich is also an avid bicyclist.