New York Car Seat Law Changes

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On October 23, 2017, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that goes into effect on November 1, 2019 requiring children under the age of 2 to remain in rear facing car seats. The underlying legislation cited a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics that showed a rear-facing car seat best protects a child’s head by “preventing the relatively large head from moving independently of the proportionately smaller neck.” Failure to abide by the new law will result in a penalty of a fine of $100 and 3 points on the driver’s license for violations involving children under the age of 16. This penalty applies to violations of New York’s Occupant Restraint laws applicable to children under 16 years of age.

Motor vehicle accidents are a tragic cause of death amongst children that can often be prevented by an increased use of the appropriate safety restraints. The first step to keeping kids safe in the car is ensuring the use of a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt as their height and weight requirement permits. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, car seats reduce the risk of infant fatality by 71% and to toddlers by 54% in passenger vehicles.

Aside from ensuring kids are buckled up, correct usage of car seats and booster seats can save lives. Knowing which kind of car seat your child should be using based on their age, height and weight is preeminently important. After installing the car seat following your specific car seat’s guidelines, you should register the car seat here to receive any recall notices should they occur. New York’s current Occupant Restraint laws require the following:

  • Children up to the age of 4 must be properly restrained in a federally approved child safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a seat belt or universal child restraint anchorage (LATCH) system. However, a child who is under the age of 4 and weighs more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a lap/shoulder safety belt.
  • Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be properly secured in a child restraint system that is designed to accommodate a certain height and weight.
  • Children ages 8 through 15 must be restrained by a seat belt that has both a shoulder and lap belt. According to The CDC states that seat belts reduce the risk of death and severe injury in half for older children and adults.
  • Although not required, it is recommended that children be secured in a booster seat until the child reaches 4 feet 9 inches in height or weighs 100 pounds.

In addition to New York’s laws, the CDC recommends that children be seated in the back seat until the age of 12 to prevent injury from a front seat airbag. The safest spot for children in the back row is the middle back seat. Having your child seated in the back seat reduces his/her risk of death by 33%.

Above all, parents and caregivers must set an example for children by using a seat belt themselves. As children get older, they may be resistant to comply with the child safety restraint laws, especially if they see a role model ignoring regulations. To keep your kids safe, you must also take your own safety seriously.

Is Your Ford Explorer Poisoning You?

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If you drive a Ford Explorer, it may be poisoning you. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there have been more than 2,700 complaints about carbon monoxide poisoning in drivers and passengers of 2011-2017 models of Ford Explorer SUVs.  41 injuries and 3 motor vehicle accidents are presumed to be linked to the poisoning. Just this past July, 24 officers in Texas were found to have high levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, leading the police to remove 400 Explorers from the roads.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be dangerous for both drivers and passengers and include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of breath
  • Loss of consciousness

The NHTSA has determined that the poisoning is attributed to leaky exhaust systems in the SUVs. At the urgency of the Center for Automobile Safety, although Ford has not agreed to do a formal recall, they have agreed to inspect and repair the exhaust systems of Ford Explorer models 2011-2017 free of charge. If you or someone you love owns a 2011-2017 Ford Explorer, contact your local Ford dealership immediately to schedule an appointment to have your vehicle’s exhaust system inspected and repaired:

In Poughkeepsie – 845-462-1900
In Beacon – 845-831-1400
In Newburgh – 845-561-3900
In Kingston – 845-338-7800
In Rhinebeck – 845-876-4400

In the event you need legal assistance, don’t hesitate to contact an experienced car accident attorney at Spiegel, Brown and Fichera LLP.

Personal Injury Claims for Motorcycle Accident Victims

Motorcycle accidents can be fatal and those who do survive often suffer devastating injuries. The federal government estimates that in 2014, the number of deaths on motorcycles was over 27 times that of people in cars. Motorcycle accidents often result in serious brain injuries. In 2015, 40% of motorcyclists involved in fatal accidents were not wearing a helmet. It is for this reason it is important that helmets are worn. Motorcycle helmets are approximately 37% effective in preventing death and approximately 67% effective in preventing brain injuries.

Duty to mitigate
In a New York personal injury action, when a person is injured by the negligence of someone else, even through no fault of his or her own, the injured person has a duty to minimize the consequences of the injury. This is also known as the “duty to mitigate.” In the case of a motorcycle accident, defense counsel may raise a defense to prevent recovery for any injuries caused or enhanced by a plaintiff’s failure to wear a helmet.

New York’s No-Fault Law does not apply to motorcyclists.
Unlike drivers and passengers injured in cars, motorcyclists do not receive the protection of New York’s No-Fault law. This is because motorcyclists do not fall under the statute’s definition of “motor vehicle.” Thus, motorcyclist will not be entitled to receive the benefits of no-fault insurance including payment for accident-related medical bills, lost wages and extraneous expenses such as travel to and from medical appointments and household help.

Motorcyclist plaintiff’s do not have to meet the “serious injury threshold.”
Although motorcyclists do not receive the benefits of New York’s No-Fault law, they also do not have to meet the often challenging “serious injury threshold.” This is the threshold that you must meet in order to sue for pain and suffering resulting from a motor vehicle accident. New York’s No-fault statute sets forth what qualifies as a “serious injury” and limits who can recover for injuries suffered in a car accident.

An experienced personal injury attorney can assist you in getting maximum compensation for your motorcycle accident-related injuries.
Though the fallout after a motorcycle accident may be traumatic and the wellbeing of all parties involved should be the primary concern, you should seek an experienced attorney to represent you in the claim against the driver who hit you. The attorneys at Spiegel, Brown and Fichera, LLP are here to assist you in pursuing your claim, will evaluate your case free of charge and obtain the maximum recovery available for your injuries.

Keeping Kids Safe in the Car

Motor vehicle injuries amongst children are a tragic cause of death that can be prevented by an increased use of the appropriate safety restraints. The first step to keeping kids safe in the car is ensuring the use of a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt as their height and weight requirement permits. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, car seats reduce the risk of infant fatality by 71% and to toddlers by 54% in passenger vehicles.

Aside from ensuring kids are buckled up, correct usage of car seats and booster seats can save lives. Knowing which kind of car seat your child should be using based on their age, height and weight is preeminently important. After installing the car seat following your specific car seat’s guidelines, you should register the car seat here to receive any recall notices should they occur.

New York’s Occupant Restraint laws require the following:

  • Children up to the age of 4 must be properly restrained in a federally approved child safety seat that is attached to a vehicle by a seat belt or universal child restraint anchorage (LATCH) system. However, a child who is under the age of 4 and weighs more than 40 pounds may be restrained in a booster seat with a lap/shoulder safety belt.
  • Children ages 4, 5, 6 and 7 must be properly secured in a child restraint system that is designed to accommodate a certain height and weight.
  • Children ages 8 through 15 must be restrained by a seat belt that has both a shoulder and lap belt. According to The CDC states that seat belts reduce the risk of death and severe injury in half for older children and adults.
  • Although not required, it is recommended that children be secured in a booster seat until the child reaches 4 feet 9 inches in height or weighs 100 pounds.

In addition to New York’s laws, the CDC recommends that children be seated in the back seat until the age of 12 to prevent injury from a front seat airbag. The safest spot for children in the back row is the middle back seat. Having your child seated in the back seat reduces his/her risk of death by 33%.

New York recently passed legislation that would require children under the age of 2 to remain in rear facing car seats. The legislation cites a study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics that showed a rear-facing car seat best protects a child’s head by “preventing the relatively large head from moving independently of the proportionately smaller neck.” If Governor Cuomo signs this bill, failure to abide by the law will result in a penalty of a fine of $100 and 3 points on the driver’s license for violations involving children under the age of 16. This penalty applies to violations of any of the above referenced requirements under New York’s Occupant Restraint laws.

Above all, parents and caregivers must set an example for children by using a seat belt themselves. As children get older, they may be resistant to comply with the child safety restraint laws, especially if they see a role model ignoring regulations. To keep your kids safe, you must also take your own safety seriously.

 

LEGISLATION POSED TO PROTECT CONSUMERS WHO OCCUPY VEHICLES IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK

The New York legislature has passed legislation that would make Supplemental Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist (SUM) coverage automatic in New York motor vehicle insurance policies. If the bill is signed by Governor Cuomo, insurance policies written after that date will provide SUM coverage in an amount equal to the bodily injury limits unless the insured signs a waiver.

SUM coverage protects drivers or passengers (and the spouse of a named insured) who are injured by the negligence of someone else who is either uninsured or underinsured. When the other driver is uninsured, SUM coverage will provide you with up to $25,000 (or more if you purchased additional coverage) for your accident-related injuries. Underinsured coverage comes into play when the value of your injuries exceeds the bodily injury policy limits of the negligent driver’s vehicle. In that case SUM coverage will permit you to recover up to the policy limits of your SUM coverage less the amount of the bodily injury policy limits of the negligent driver.

Time limits apply to making a SUM claim so if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident you should promptly contact a knowledgeable attorney such as the attorneys of Spiegel, Brown and Fichera, LLP to find out if SUM coverage may apply to you.