What To Do If You Have Been Involved In A Car Accident

A car accident in Bronx, NY

Image Credit: Ricky Norris/Flickr

According to Association for Safe International Road Travel, over 37,000 people die in road crashes each year in the United States with an additional 2.35 million ending up injured or disabled.

In fact, motor vehicle traffic crashes were the leading cause of injury related death for New York State residents.

If you happen to be happen to be involved in a car accident in New York, will you know how to react in the after effects? How you deal with the aftermath of a traffic collision can possibly prevent additional injuries and speed up the repair process.

The following basic steps can help better prepare you in the case that you get into a car accident.

Preparation

The statistics from car insurance industry experts show that you will file a claim for collision once every 17.9 years which is why you should have an action plan in place in case you’re ever involved in an auto collision.

You should have a pen and paper in your glove compartment to take notes as well as your insurance card.

You may also want to consider having a set of cones, warning triangles, or emergency flares in the trunk of your car to help alert traffic.

What To Do After A Car Accident

By taking the following steps immediately after a car accident, you can make the process of filing a claim a bit easier.

Safety First

If you were involved in a minor fender bender, such as another car rear-ending you, and there are no serious injuries, then you should move your automobile so that it doesn’t block oncoming traffic and move your car to an area that is easily visible to upcoming cars.

Leaving your car parked in the middle of the highway or busy road can increase the possibility of further accidents and injuries.

Prior to moving your car off the road, take some photographs showing the damage to your vehicle and accident location, but only if you’re able to do so safely.

If your car cannot be moved, then remain in the car and make sure that everyone inside has their seatbelts fastened until assistance arrives. While waiting, make sure to turn on your hazard lights as a way to warn oncoming traffic.

If you need to get out of your car at any time prior to help coming, such as to take photographs of the accident or exchange information, make sure to exit on the opposite side of incoming traffic, even if that means that you need to crawl to the passenger side of the car.

When assessing damage from the accident or exchanging information, try to stand behind or in front of the cars – make sure to avoid standing beside it on the side where incoming traffic is coming from.

Exchange Information

New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires that you stop and exchange information with any involved drivers regardless of how minor the accident is. In cases where you have hit a parked vehicle, caused property damage, or injured a domestic animal, then you must locate the owner or contact the police.

After you and the other driver are in a safe spot, some of the information that you will want to exchange or take note of includes the following:

  • Name, address and phone number of the driver of the car
  • Insurance company and policy number – if the name of the insured is different then the driver, determine the relationship is between the two
  • Drive license number
  • Make and model of the car as well as license plate number

Contact The Police

Even if you think that you can resolve the issue yourself, you should contact the police as any damages and/or injuries may be more serious than you realize. Even if you’re involved in a minor accident, a police officer can help sort things out. Additionally, you’ll have an official record of the accident which can help you if you decide to file a claim in the future.

If anyone has been seriously injured by the accident then you must call for an ambulance. DO NOT attempt to treat the injured person yourself or try and move them as it’s possible that you may make the injury worse.

Witnesses

If there are any witnesses to the accident, attempt to get their name as well as contact information.

Reporting The Accident To The DMV

If any property damage caused has exceeded $1,000 or if a person was injured or killed, New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires you to file a report (MV-104) within 10 days. Failure to do so can allow the DMV to suspend your license.

Liability

When exchanging information with the other driver or discussing the accident with the police, it’s important that you do not admit fault or apologize for the accident, even if you feel that you are responsible.

Any information that you give to the police or to the other driver can be used against you in future proceedings. Instead, you should first speak with your insurance company, a lawyer or both.

Notify Your Insurance Company

It’s important to notify your insurance company immediately about the accident, even if you aren’t planning on filing a claim. As opposed to reporting an accident occurred to your insurance company, filing a claim means having your insurance company pay for any car repairs and/or medical bills.

Even if you and the other driver agree that the expenses will be paid out of pocket, you should report the accident to your insurance company as they have a right to cancel your insurance or deny coverage if they haven’t been notified within a reasonable time (typically within a day or two).

New York is a no-fault insurance state which means that you must collect first from your insurance provider, regardless of who caused the accident, unless you meet the serious injury threshold.

This is why it’s important to report the accident to your insurance company. You, or the other driver, might decide that the out-of-pocket costs are too great, and therefore try to make a claim based on the accident. If you failed to report the incident to your insurance company, you can count on the insurer looking to deny coverage.

Seeking Compensation Beyond No Fault Coverage

You have the right to sue for personal injury losses including:

  • Medical expenses exceeding $50,000
  • Injuries that result in serious disfigurement, dismemberment, fracture, or other injuries as defined by the serious injury threshold in Article 51 of the Insurance Law
  • Injuries resulting in death

 Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer

If the car accident involved any injuries, property damage or resulted in the death of a friend or loved one, you may be entitled to seek compensation in addition to what No-Fault insurance will pay.

If you believe that you are entitled to additional compensation then you should seek the counsel of an experienced New York auto accident attorney.

Harlem Auto Accident Kills Passenger

Authorities are investigating an auto accident in Harlem that occurred on Monday at approximately 4:30 a.m., which left the driver injured and her passenger, a woman from Newark, dead.

Police say that a 1998 Honda Accord, driven by Brittany Garnett, was heading south on Amsterdam Avenue and sped through several red lights before slamming into a 2008 Chevrolet Impala at the intersection of West 157th St. and Amsterdam Avenue. The Honda then careened off and hit an unoccupied automobile on Amsterdam Avenue.

EMTs arrived on the scene and found Hills bloody and unconscious in the passenger seat. Both Hills and Garnett were taken to Harlem Hospital where Hills was later pronounced dead. Garnett only suffered minor injuries.

After being released from the hospital, Garnett was taken into custody where charges are currently pending.

The driver of the Chevrolet Impala, an on-duty parole officer, was uninjured.

We extend our condolences to the family and friends of the victims of this tragic accident.

Controversy Around New York’s Vision Zero Law

Data compiled by WNYC shows that in 2014, there were 269 deaths in New York City as a result of a fatal traffic crash. Of those 269 deaths, 144 pedestrians and 20 bicyclists were killed according to the data from WNYC, with several of those deaths resulting from being hit by an MTA bus.

It’s these fatal traffic deaths that New York City’s Vision Zero campaign is hoping to eliminate. While many of the changes proposed, like enhanced street lighting, better protected bike lanes, new road designs, and increased education for both pedestrians and drivers have been welcomed, Vision Zero hasn’t been without controversy.

Vision Zero Controversy

The latest controversy has come from the passing of the Right of Way Law created under Vision Zero. The law seeks to criminalize the actions of drivers who end up killing or seriously injuring pedestrians who have the right of way while at a crosswalk.

However, the bus driver’s union, TWU Local 100, believes the law unfairly and illogically targets bus operators. The TWU Local 100 has been seeking an exemption of the enforcement of the law for its members, unless there is tangible proof of negligence such as texting while driving or being intoxicated.

The Union even staged a work slowdown on June 17, 2015 as a way to protest the law which impacted several routes in the Bronx. The areas chosen were meant to target the district of targeting City Council Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez who helped shepherd the law.
Image caption: During the slowdown, TWU tweeted the photo above showing a bus operator waiting to turn left as a woman in the crosswalk – who had the right of way – checked her phone.
Image credit/link back to: https://twitter.com/TWULocal100/status/610822713196855296/photo/1

In an interview with Gothamist, union spokesperson Pete Donahue had the following to say:  “Common sense would dictate that you should not give a bus a green light to make a left turn onto a street and, at the same time, give pedestrians the ‘walk’ signal to cross that same street.”

Donahue believes that drivers should instead be given a left-turn only signal while pedestrians have a do-not cross signal.

New Bill Prevent City Bus Drivers from Being Arrested at the Scene of a Serious Accident

As there are no plans for such signals to be installed, a new bill backed by the union and passed by the State Senate, 54-6, seeks to prevent city bus drivers from being arrested at the scene of an accident as long as there are no signs of obvious negligence.

The law does not prevent an arrest later on after an investigation is completed. Instead, drivers would receive a ticket to show up to court to face any potential charges for violating the Right of Way Law.

Vision Zero advocates fear that the passing of this bill may hinder the investigation of officers at the crash scene as it’s unclear how long a driver can be detained and whether a breath test can be administered.

“It’s anti-Vision Zero,” Caroline Samponaro, Transportation Alternatives’ deputy director, said. “It creates a likelihood of confusion at the scene of the crash for officers.”

The bill still needs to pass the Assembly.

What to Do if You Are the Victim of a Bus Accident

Regardless of whether the bill passes in the Assembly, driving in New York City shouldn’t intrinsically involve an arbitrary number of pedestrian or bicycle accidents or casualties. Pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities shouldn’t be dismissed as the cost of doing business in New York City.

If you or a loved one are a victim of a bus accident, your first priority should be receiving prompt medical attention.

Your next step is to contact an experienced bus accident lawyer who has specific knowledge of the laws and rules as they pertain to buses. As the story above illustrates, there are many regulations, laws, and other nuances that relate specifically to bus companies.

A bus accident lawyer will help you figure out whether you can sue for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. In the case of a wrongful death claim, you may be eligible to sue for funeral expenses, loss of care and companionship and other damages.

What Do Lawyers Do After Retiring In DC?

What do lawyers do when they stop practicing the law? This may sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but the Washington Post reports that lawyers find happiness in baking, tech and other fields after leaving law, with baking being the most popular profession.

Quit The Law

However this isn’t just a trend for DC – it appears that the exodus is happening throughout the US. The reason for this, according to CareerBliss, a company that tracks workplace satisfaction, is due to the fact that associate lawyers are becoming disillusioned and are less satisfied than in any other profession.

If you want to leave the law to follow a career path in a different profession here are two tips:

  • Start your planning while you’re in your current profession. Use your current job to help with saving money for the transition to your next phase and while doing so figure out what it is that you want to do and what steps need to be taken. If you find that you don’t have enough time to plan for your next venture, then consider doing consulting work in the legal field until you are ready for the next step.
  • Tap friends and professional colleagues to help make the proper introductions for helping you with either finding a new job or for helping you with your new venture. You can also use LinkedIn to meet people within the industry that you’re looking to get into and go to MeetUp groups as well.
  • March through Staten Island streets on Tuesday for swift justice

    Earlier today, protesters marched through Staten Island in hopes of getting swift justice against the arresting officers that allegedly put Eric Garner in a chokehold after Garner refused to be handcuffed and which subsequently led to his death. The protest started at the park where Garner was confronted by the police and ended at the precinct where the officers involved were stationed.

    Michael Jaccarino Protesting

    It ends today” was the mantra of the demonstrators which was comprised of relatives and friends of Eric Garner as well as local elected officials and other people appalled at the situation. There were about 100 people total in the march.

    When the demonstrators reached their final destination, the relatives of Garner’s lit multiple candles in his memory and set them near the entrance of the precinct. An amateur video of Garner’s arrest, on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes, shows an officer putting him in an apparent chokehold after he refuses to be handcuffed.

     

    You can hear Garner telling officers repeatedly that he can’t breathe after they push him to the ground, however a good 30 seconds elapse before they get off. Ellisha Flagg, sister to Eric Garner, believe that the chokehold exacerbated Garner’s asthma.

    The use of a chokehold is a tactic that’s banned by the NYPD, however this type of brutality has been the subject of more than 1,000 complaints to the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board over the last five years.

    A funeral for Garner, who was 43, is scheduled for Wednesday evening in Brooklyn.

     

    Ex-Tinder VP Whitney Wolfe Sues Over Sexual Harassment

    Whitney Wolfe, ex-vice president and former co-founder of Tinder, is suing former co-workers Sean Rad and Justin Mateen for sexual harassment and discrimination that went on during about a year and half of the time she spent employed at Tinder. She claims that because she was a woman in a predominantly male field, she was treated unfairly and belittled because of her gender.

    Mateen, who was Wolfe’s boss and former romantic interest, allegedly called her demeaning names, ridiculed her during group meetings, spread rumors about her, and sent her harassing text messages, and when she went to Rad (then her superior) for help, he did not protect her rights as an employee. Instead, he called her a “dramatic and emotional girl” and pressured her to resign from the company because he and Mateen felt that she made the company look bad just because she was a woman working for a company that made a dating app. It was bad enough that they stripped her of her co-founder status in 2013 when she did not deserve to have that taken from her; they had to go even further to push her out of the company completely.

    Wolfe’s case is one of many instances where women who work at tech start-ups in Silicon Valley or Los Angeles have been treated poorly in the workplace and have not been protected by an employee code of conduct that should be in place for all sexes, whether male, female or transgender. Because tech is a field predominantly controlled by men, men often react in a hostile way when a woman enters their territory. They often take it as a challenge when a woman strives to equal or surpass them in business power and they try to intimidate her so she will leave the company and no longer pose a perceived threat of emasculation.

    Wolfe did resign from Tinder in April of this year, but she is not giving up the gender battle without a fight. She knows her rights as a woman and as a person and she is willing to stand up for herself publically. As she is surely aware, she is standing up for not only herself but all other women who have been sexually or verbally harassed in the workplace. Wolfe is living proof that women will not take abuse without holding the guilty party legally accountable for their words and actions, because women have just as much of a right as men to be successful leaders in any field of their choosing if they have the proper skills and qualifications.

    The stereotype that “girls aren’t good at math/computers” will no longer stand in a world where more and more women are entering technical fields and excelling, rising to powerful leadership positions and paving the way for more women to be empowered to do the same. Women like Wolfe must continue to stand up for their legal rights in the workplace if gender equality in the workplace is to be achieved and honored in our future.

    US Female Teen Attempting to Join ISIS Arrested

    Court documents which were unsealed on July 2nd show that 19 year old Muslim convert  Shannon Maureen Conley from Arvada, Colorado had been arrested and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. Ms. Conley was arrested in April during an attempt to get onto a plane that was bound for Frankfurt, Germany. Shannon had a connecting flight that would then take her to Turkey, where she then planned to drive to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant which is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which is an extreme Islamist group.

    Conley, a registered nurse’s aid. attempted to join ISIS so that she could link up with a 32 year old Tunisian man who she had met online and had fallen in love with. Conley had also joined the U.S. Army Explorers (USAE), a few months prior to her arrest, “to be trained in U.S. military tactics and in firearms,” according to documents from her arrest.

    Conley was planning on helping the camp by providing combat knowledge that she had learn from USAE as well as provide medical services.

    Conley first raised suspicions of her plans during a trip to Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada where she was seen taking notes and acting suspiciously by a security guard. It was after this trip that Conley landed on the FBI’s radar. FBI agents openly tried to dissuade Conley from her plan, meeting with her several times.

    It was during these meetings that Conley made FBI agents aware of her plans for jihad. She told the agents that she wanted to use her USAE military training to start a holy war even though she knew that it was illegal. She told FBI agents of her plans to fly to meet her suitor and that she was planning to help the camp come up with points of attack including military facilities, government employees and public officials.

    Conley felt that Jihad is the only answer to correct the wrongs against the Muslim world,” the documents say. A few days prior to her being arrested arrest by the FBI, she told the agents “there was nothing they could do to change her mind and that she was still going.”

     

    The Most Common Legal Mistakes Startups Make

    Starting any kind of business involves making important decisions that leaders will be held accountable for legally. Ideally, people make the best decisions for their company that will be legal and bring them the most profit, but when it comes to the unique business of running a startup, it can be easy to make legal mistakes, especially when people are not aware that their business decision can hurt them legally. Here are some of the most common legal mistakes startups make.

    Not Documenting Business Matters Properly for Tax Purposes

    When people are running a company, they have to file and pay taxes differently than they would if they simply worked for a company owned by someone else. Because startups often start very small, founders and CEOs may not realize they legally need to follow the same rules as any other company, which means that all employees have to read and sign the appropriate forms, including form I-9, form W-4, benefits forms, “At-Will” employment offer letters, the employee handbook, and any forms addressing stock options. These forms protect employees as well as the founders of the company from legal complications later, which is one reason why they are mandatory for tax purposes. Founders of the startup also needs to make sure to officially establish what kind of company the startup is (LLC, S corporation, or C corporation) and make sure they charge sales tax for any products or services sold as well as payroll tax for all employees. Founders of startups should also be aware of any tax incentives they may be eligible for, so they can save money on their taxes.

    Not Being Informed about Intellectual Property Law

    Founders of startups often unknowingly violate copyright law if they choose a name for their company or web domain that is already taken, use web content licensed to someone else, or use trademarks owned by others without permission. At the same time, once a startup decides on a name, they may run into problems if another company registers that name before the startup has a chance to claim it as their own. Patent protection should also be secured for any startup selling a unique product, so that other companies cannot legally sell that product. Those running a startup should educate themselves about copyright law right away, otherwise they may make business decisions that could result in serious legal repercussions that might prevent the startup from beginning to do business at all.

    Not Solidifying Co-Founder Agreements Right Away

    If more than one person founds and owns a startup, they will often neglect to sit down and officially plan the percentage of the company that each founder owns; each founder’s unique role and responsibilities; how to deal with issues like founders leaving, being dismissed or passing away; and how other important business decisions will be made amongst the co-founders. If no formal co-founder agreement is made and problems occur once the startup has started doing business, it is very easy for a founder to get upset and file a lawsuit if they feel they are not being treated fairly. This may lead to co-founders abruptly leaving the company, which puts the company at risk of losing its stability.

    Not Hiring Good Lawyers

    If someone has enough money to establish a startup, they should put aside enough money to hire a good lawyer or law firm to help them manage their startup and make sure they are making good legal choices and not forgetting the necessary steps towards managing their company. Many startup companies are tempted to hire friends and relatives as their lawyers to save money, without being concerned with their level of legal expertise. Having a lawyer or team who are experienced in corporate law, intellectual property law, and tax law is the best defense to protect a startup from making a legal mistake with expensive consequences.

     

     

    The Five Best Mobile Apps for Lawyers

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    Lawyers have busy, demanding jobs, and fast-paced lives. This makes mobile apps incredibly useful, because when your time is limited and you have an immediate need for organization and information, there is no better place to access that information than through your mobile device. Every lawyer should have these five apps downloaded on their smartphone or tablet to stay competitive and provide their clients with the best service.

    Fastcase
    Fastcase is a free app on the Android and Apple platforms that functions as a web-based law library which lawyers can use to prepare for oral arguments, search for regularly updated U.S. cases and statutes, prepare for settlement negotiations and client meetings, and more. Search functions are highly customizable, and you can sync your mobile search history and favorites to Fastcase use on your computer. This app is essential for lawyers who want to have fast access to the most up-to-date information available and serve their clients with that information.

    Legal Edge
    Legal Edge is a free app for Apple devices that allows lawyers to keep updated with the most current news, streaming articles and blog posts on a variety of subjects, including banking and finance, consumer protection, intellectual property, labor and employment, health law, real estate, and much more. All content is made available through JD Supra, a leader in the practice of law. Readers can even contact writers and blogger directly through the app with any questions. Staying updated on daily legal news is always useful when your clients will be experiencing the same problems as the ones in the news, and you have valuable knowledge about the relevant issues.

    iAnnotate PDF
    Storing, sharing and annotating documents, forms and notes in one place has never been easier with the iAnnotate PDF app for your Apple or Android device. Upload Word documents, PDFs, images, and PowerPoint presentations to store for your own use or share with clients. Content is also searchable by filename, tag, or within text so you can find the information you need quickly. Transfer files from your computer, Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud storage and automatically upload changes. Going paperless is easy with iAnnotate, which saves lawyers the hassle of shuffling through notebooks and folders for the information they need. An organized lawyer is the asset every client wants, and iAnnotate will always keep you organized. iAnnotate PDF is $9.99 for Apple devices and free for Android devices.

    ScanBizCards HD Lite
    Networking is important for all professions, including lawyers. When you scan business cards of contacts you meet at work, conventions, trade shows and meetings, you will always have their contact information when you need it. This convenience is especially beneficial for lawyers, who can provide each other with valuable insight in the constantly changing world of law. This app is available for both Apple and Android devices, listed with Android as ScanBizCards Lite. Not only does the app store scans of your business cards, it also sends contact information to your address book or allows you to merge with an existing contact, add a personal note for each business card, share business cards over email or text message, or export contact information to popular platforms like Salesforce and LinkedIn. ScanBizCards Premium offers the full expansion of features and is available from the Google Play Store for only $1.99, or $9.99 listed as ScanBizCards HD Business Card Reader in the Apple store.

    iTimeKeep
    Record billable hours and track employee time with iTimeKeep, a timekeeping app available on Android or Apple devices for free. As a lawyer, you should get paid for all of the time you devote to your clients and their cases both at home and on the go or while traveling, and with a mobile device, recording every task is easy. Those eight minute phone calls or 20 minute meetings really add up when you record them diligently. There is also a voice to text feature for when you need to record time quickly. Employees will be happy to record their time with iTimeKeep, and you can save money because you won’t need to purchase expensive software.