Articles Tagged with compensation

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After suffering a personal injury, many people are not familiar with the related legal terms. The law has its own language, and if you’ve been injured in an auto accident or on someone else’s property, then it is important to know at least the basics of the relevant legal jargon.

Here we’ll discuss a few terms that anyone who has suffered a personal injury in New York should understand.

Liability is a basic concept in personal injury law. When someone else is liable for an injury you’ve suffered, that person (the defendant) is legally responsible for the harm caused to you (the plaintiff). When the defendant is found to be liable for your injury, he or she could be ordered by the court to pay damages.

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According to the Department of Transportation, between 2003 and 2013, there were more than 400 serious injuries and 38 traffic fatalities on Queens Boulevard. The city plans to improve on those tragic figures by investing $100 million in the roadway before 2018.

Specifically, the plan is to turn the boulevard into a safe, pedestrian-friendly environment with better pedestrian crossings, protected bike lanes, wider medians, and as much as five more feet of pedestrian space on either side of the boulevard. The idea is to give the boulevard tree-lined walkways like those you’ll find along Brooklyn’s Ocean and Eastern parkways.

The $100 million for the Queens Boulevard redesign is part of a total of $250 million — provided through Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Great Streets” initiative — that will go also toward safety improvements on Fourth and Atlantic avenues in Brooklyn and Grand Concourse in the Bronx.

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New York State law requires drivers who are involved in motor vehicle accidents to stop and exchange information with the other driver or drivers involved in the crash. If no one is injured and only property is damaged, then the drivers should exchange information about their licenses, insurance and vehicle registration.

There are more required steps, however, if the property damage to any one party is more than $1,000. In that case, the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that each driver involved in the accident file an official report with the DMV no later than 10 days after the crash. That official form is called the Report of Motor Vehicle Accident, or MV-104.

When a crash results in injury or death, then the law requires that the police be notified immediately. The drivers involved in the crash and the police must report the accident to the DMV.

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We’ve often written about the legal concept of negligence and how it factors into personal injury claims. Here let’s briefly review New York negligence law and how pedestrian accidents may be affected.

First, to successfully prove that another party’s negligence resulted in your injury, you’ll have to show that the other party owed you a duty of care. For example, if you have the right of way in a crosswalk, then drivers have a duty of care not to turn into the crosswalk and hit you. Unfortunately, too often reckless drivers breach this duty of care.

Another thing that has to be proven in a negligence lawsuit is that the plaintiff’s injuries would not have happened if it weren’t for the defendant’s breach of duty. It must also be shown that a reasonable person would have known that the defendant’s actions could possibly cause injury to someone else.

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Over the long term, the annual number of traffic deaths in the United States has gradually declined. However, the same cannot be said of the number of fatal pedestrian accidents.

According to recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of pedestrian deaths across the country was 15 percent higher in 2013 than in 2009. And as we discussed in a previous post, nearly 75 percent of pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas.

Like other large cities, New York City has set a goal to reduce the annual number of fatal auto accidents to zero within 10 years. Since last year, the rate of pedestrian deaths has been lowered significantly. As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” campaign, measures have included lowering the speed limit throughout much of the city, including Central Park.

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In May 2014, a report on the impact of auto accidents was released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The report was based on statistics from 2010, when the total cost of auto accidents in the United States was estimated to be $871 billion, including economic and non-economic losses.

The accident data is truly staggering:

  • 24 million damaged vehicles
  • 3.9 million injuries
  • 32,999 deaths

Some people may resign themselves to the statement, “Accidents happen.” But at Newman, Anzalone & Newman, we understand how a single accident can have devastating consequences, and helping accident victims hold the responsible parties accountable is one of our main areas of legal practice.

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A number of our recent posts have dealt with injury-related issues that arise during the winter months. For example, the number of shopping injuries tends to increase around the holidays, and slip-and-fall injuries are more likely if property owners fail to clear snow and ice from walkways.

Slippery roads are another concern on the streets and highways of New York City in the winter months. Drivers have an obligation to slow down and make proper adjustments to changing weather conditions, including accumulation of ice and snow. Too often, motorists get in too much of a hurry and cause accidents that leave people with serious injuries.

If you are involved in a multi-vehicle collision in the midst of winter weather conditions, then it is important to gather the proper evidence to file a claim with your insurance company. New York is a no-fault car insurance state, meaning that the compensation you receive for medical bills and other costs will come first from your insurer.

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The problem of pedestrian accidents in New York City is well known. Widespread education efforts and a police crackdown were the focus of media attention earlier this year. Still, pedestrians continue to suffer serious injuries because of driver negligence, and injured parties or their families find themselves in need of legal assistance to reach an appropriate settlement.

Matters are significantly more complicated when a pedestrian has been injured in a hit-and-run accident. This situation tends to leave victims feeling helpless and unsure of their legal options. Even after you have contacted police and filed a report, it may still be necessary to speak with a personal injury attorney about investigating the crash, tracking down the hit-and-run driver, and suing that individual for negligence.

Witness interviews, video from security cameras and evidence from the site of the accident may all be used in efforts to locate and identify the driver who hurt you. However, most people who have suffered a hit-and-run injury are not in a position to gather these kinds of evidence. Again, a legal professional with experience in handling hit-and-run cases can take the necessary steps to help you build a strong claim.

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If you have been injured in a truck accident in New York, then you may be fairly certain about who was at fault for the crash: the truck driver. Reckless driving, truck driver fatigue, distracted driving — unfortunately, these are all behaviors that lead to commercial vehicle accidents and cause extremely serious injuries to victims.

However, in many cases, the truck driver is not the only one liable for damages. State and federal regulations apply throughout the trucking industry, and truck owners, trucking companies and other companies that contract with motor carriers may be liable for injuries suffered in a collision. Often, the key for injured victims is to have a personal injury attorney investigate the accident and identify all of the responsible parties.

For example, a trucking company may be liable for improperly loading cargo. Improper loading can result in rollovers and jackknifing, and too often occupants of smaller vehicles pay the price.

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Use of handheld electronic devices while driving is prohibited in New York, but you’re still likely to see drivers breaking the law in broad daylight. Each year thousands of serious auto accidents are caused by this kind of driver negligence, and distracted driving has been shown to be as dangerous as drunk driving.

Under New York law, people who are caught for the first time using a handheld electronic device while driving will have to pay a fine of $150. A penalty of five points will also be added to a distracted driver’s license. A second offense within 18 months will result in a fine of $200. A third offense within 18 months carries a $400 fine.

Despite the penalties, people still risk their lives and the lives of others by texting and talking on mobile devices while driving. Other illegal activities while driving include use of a portable electronic device to take, view or send pictures. Drivers are also prohibited from using their hands to play electronic games or browse the Internet while behind the wheel of a vehicle in motion. All of these activities can pull a driver’s attention completely off the road, posing a risk of serious injury.

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