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.

 

Back to School Safety For You And Your Children

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Summer is coming to an end and it’s that time of year when our children head back to school. With the new school year approaching, it is important to keep in mind some safety tips to help our children have a safe and successful school year.

Maintain slow speed while driving near schools and residential areas
With the reopening of schools comes increased vehicular traffic as well as child pedestrians, especially at and around the beginning and end of the school day. Around these times, the areas close to schools are potentially dangerous for drivers as well as children walking to and from school. Younger children are less aware of potential danger around them and more impulsive, thus they tend to run in the road unexpectedly. For this reason, is it is important to drive slowly around schools as well as around residential areas where children may be waiting for the school bus.

Encourage children to be aware of their surroundings
It is important to remind your children to be observant of their surroundings while waiting for the school bus or walking to and from school. Not only may there be distracted drivers who may not be looking out for children, but there may be unleashed dogs also posing a potential risk to your children’s safety. If possible, children should walk with other children in the neighborhood so that they are not alone and more visible to drivers.

Recognize warning signs of bullying
Motor vehicle accidents and unleashed dogs are not the only causes of injuries to children, however. In recent years, the incidents of childhood bullying have significantly increased especially due to developing technology. Bullying often occurs over the internet or through phones also known as cyberbullying. Some of the signs children may exhibit if they are being bullied include withdrawing, speaking negatively of their days at school or showing a strong aversion towards going to school. If your child exhibits any of these signs you should reach out to your child’s school if you think your child is a victim of bullying.

Unfortunately, bullying is not always done through technology and can occur in person while your child is at school. As a result of bullying, your child may sustain physical injuries. If your child is injured by another student or a third party at school you may be entitled to compensation.

 

PRECAUTIONS TO TAKE WHEN VIEWING THE HISTORICAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

On August 21, 2017, the United States will experience the first coast to coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. It is estimated that 1.85 million to 7.4 million people will travel to locations in “the path of totality.” Although New York is not in “the path of totality,” people in New York will be able to view a partial eclipse. This rare and exciting event, however, comes with the potential danger of eye injuries including temporary or permanent blindness. It is important that you do not view the eclipse with the naked eye and that you use a solar viewer or eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2. The American Astrological Society has compiled a list of eclipse glasses and solar viewers that meet this standard: https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters.

HOW SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTS PERSONAL INJURY CASES

Social media has become a huge part of many people’s day to day lives. As people become more and more comfortable with sharing their lives online, the laws have had to adapt. There can be legal ramifications for what people post online, like in cases of cyber bullying and harassment. Although trivial, it might be wise to take a break from all your social media sites if you are in the middle of an ongoing personal injury case.

Here’s why:

Attorneys can use Discovery to gain access to your account If you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, defense attorneys look for evidence to suggest your claim is an exaggeration of your injuries or the extent of its effect on your life. In a personal injury case, attorneys are entitled to discovery. “Discoverable” information is that which is “material and necessary” and “reasonably calculated” to lead to relevant information. For example, if you claim your injury has impacted your ability to walk but there are pictures of you walking around enjoying your weekend with friends, this could be used against you. If these pictures are public, the court may decide that it can be inferred that private information may contain material that contradicts or conflicts your claims or injuries and order disclosure of the private information.

Even if your account is “private”, you can still be at risk Due to the fact that defense attorneys may be able to use Discovery to obtain access to material that refutes your claim, your private settings won’t protect you.

Don’t tweet about the defendant Though you may feel upset with the person who you feel caused your injuries, negative posts you write about them can be used in court as well. However justified in your anger you may be, the defense attorneys can portray you as being someone who is exaggerating and simply out to get money.

Posting about your injuries and activities can backfire When you write about your injuries and your daily activities on social media, your description may be different than the official claims made in court. If your claim on Facebook is inconsistent than the doctor’s claim testifying for the case, the defense could find this to be a falsehood. In summary, don’t even tweet about your injuries or daily activities. Posts on your social media can decrease the value of your argument in the court.