As summer fades in New York and winter is just around the corner, the temperatures drop, and the leaves start to fall. For most drivers, each season brings a whole new set of risks and an adjustment period while they learn to avoid them. When drivers pay attention to the driving risks associated with fall, accidents can be minimized.

The first thing to consider according to esurance.com is back to school traffic. As kids head back to school there are additional busses and cars on the road. There may also be more pedestrians out walking in the afternoon and morning. Drivers who are used to a fairly tame commute may need to take extra care if they pass a school zone.

Another driving risk is fog. Perceptions of distance and driving visibility are greatly limited by fog, which is common in the cold fall mornings. When driving through fog, drivers should rely on their low beam lights, lower their speed and increase distance between them and the car in front of them.

Summer nights are long and light. As the seasons change, darkness comes earlier. According to AARP, 50% of traffic deaths occur at nighttime, signifying how important it is that drivers take time to adjust to the changing daytime. It can be extremely hard to judge distance and speed when a driver cannot see well.

Finally, drivers should be on the lookout for animals on the road. Deer mate in November and are likely to be closer to the roads during that time. Research shows that 1 in every 100 car drivers will hit a deer at some point in their driving history.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

Driving can be dangerous, even if everybody on the road is completely sober. However, the attorneys at Shulman & Hill know that impaired driving is extraordinarily dangerous and contributes to many vehicular accidents in New York and around the rest of the country.

According to MedlinePlus, over half of all car crashes in the United States are somehow related to impaired driving. Impaired driving can involve operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including specific prescription drugs that can cause drowsiness or affect concentration.  It can also involve drivers who text or who are dangerously sleepy.

If you notice that a vehicle in your vicinity is drifting or weaving while on the road, there is a good chance that the driver may be impaired. Cars that execute sudden turns or brake without warning may also signal an impaired driver. Sometimes you may notice that an impaired driver is leaning very close to the windshield due to not being able to see clearly. Some motorists have reported even seeing impaired drivers imbibing alcohol while operating the car.

Keep in mind that, again, impaired drivers are not always drunk. People who text and drive are also impaired, as their full attention is not on the road. Remember to keep your cell phone out of your hands while driving and ensure that any teenagers learning to drive do the same.

If you see an impaired driver, make sure that you get the license plate number and notify the local authorities. For more information about impaired driving, make sure to visit our web page.

Last Sunday morning, nine family members set out in a van from their home in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, on an overnight trip through New York state to Niagara Falls, Canada. While the van was traveling on Route 20 in a westbound direction, a pickup truck reportedly struck the side of it in a T-bone configuration after the driver allegedly ran a stop sign.

The crash reportedly ejected as many as seven family members from the van, claiming the lives of three of them. Of the four children hospitalized in the collision, one four-year-old girl remains in critical condition in the hospital at this time. Her twin sister, since discharged, suffered lacerations and broken bones in the crash. A 10-year-old girl suffered a broken leg, facial fractures and lacerations, while a 14-year-old boy sustained bruises and lacerations.

The pickup driver, a 20-year-old man from Lackawanna, New York, is now in custody, facing charges of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and aggravated vehicular homicide. Toxicology reports are pending.

The three family members who died in the crash include a 47-year-old woman, as well as her daughter and granddaughter, a cousin to the twin sisters who was also four years old. The pickup driver has a June 10th court date scheduled.

According to authorities, not everyone in the van was wearing a seatbelt when the collision occurred.

Since one of the children remains hospitalized at this time, the family is still in the area of Buffalo, New York awaiting the outcome of her treatment.

It can take years to recover from injuries sustained in a car crash. Some never fully recover. Those suffering injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident may find it helpful to discuss the case with an attorney.

When people get into a car accident in New York, they may think they did not sustain an injury. However, people may incur an injury called whiplash. It is important for people to recognize the signs of this injury so they can seek medical attention.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a person may get whiplash if his or her head snaps back and forth during a car collision. While some people may think that whiplash means their neck is only a bit sore, this is not the case. This injury can harm the muscles, ligaments, and disks in the neck, and it can be a severe injury. Because of this, it is important for people to see their doctor so they understand the extent of the injury.

After people incur whiplash, they may experience many symptoms. Some people might have a headache and feel pain in their neck. Other people may realize their neck has decreased range of motion. People may feel tingling in their arms or experience shoulder pain. Most of the time, people notice these symptoms a day after the car crash. Many people may find that their symptoms subside in the weeks after the incident. However, in some situations, a person may experience symptoms for a few months. This may be more likely if someone is older or has had whiplash in the past.

There are many ways a physician might treat whiplash. The Mayo Clinic says that a doctor may take x-rays to see the full extent of the injury, or ask patients to complete small tasks with their heads and necks. For injuries that are less severe, a doctor might recommend that patients put cold or hot packs on the injury and rest. However, sometimes a physician might write a prescription or tell a patient to take an over-the-counter medication. If people have a more severe injury, some doctors might suggest physical therapy to help neck muscles regain their strength.

People usually have one thing in mind when shopping for a motor vehicle insurance policy: price. Insuring a motor vehicle, especially in New York City, can be very expensive. Price, not policy limits, usually becomes the primary concern. However, it is crucial that you understand your insurance policy, because a few dollars can determine whether you are adequately covered.

Below are the major things to understand about your insurance policy:

  • Bodily Injury (BI): Bodily injury is the amount the insurance company will pay for physical injuries sustained by other people as a result of the insured’s liability. In New York State, the minimum BI coverage is $25,000. There is an issue with having such a limited policy. If a lawsuit is commenced against the insured, the case goes to trial, and the verdict exceeds $25,000, the insured will be personally liable for the amount exceeding $25,000. For example, John has a $25,000 in BI insurance, and rear ends Stephanie’s vehicle. Stephanie sustains a fracture as a result of the accident, and sues John. The jury verdict is $100,000. John’s insurance company will pay $25,000, and John will be responsible for $75,000.
  • No-Fault (NF): New York State is a “No-Fault” state, meaning that the auto insurance company will pay up to $50,000 in medical benefits after an accident, regardless of who caused the accident.

Although individuals can negotiate for higher benefits, the majority of policies in New York State carry the $50,000 minimum.

  • Property Damage (PD): Generally, this is the amount that the insurance company will pay for property damage caused to other vehicles as a result of the insured liability.
  • Uninsured Motorist (UM): This category can be vital, but is usually overlooked. UM coverage comes into play when a person is involved in an accident caused by an individual with no insurance policy, or an unidentified individual. This is common in hit and run accidents, as well as accidents involving stolen vehicles. In New York State, the minimum UM policy is $25,000.

Did you know that you can ask for your sick and/or vacation time to be restored as part of your Workers’ Compensation claim? If you need time off from work due to your work-related injuries, and you use your sick and/or vacation time, we can request that the insurance carrier reimburse your employer for the wages paid and you in return will also get your time restored. This reimbursement is usually directed by a Law Judge or an Administrative Decision.

Hit and run accidents are unfortunately very common in New York City and the surrounding boroughs. More than 38,000 hit and run accidents were reported in 2015. Generally, the insurance company of the car that strikes a pedestrian in New York will assume payments of all medical bills and a percentage of lost wages. That vehicle’s insurance company will also pay the bodily injury claim for physical injuries, as well as pain and suffering as a result of the accident. However, this does not apply to pedestrians struck by a hit and run vehicle.

In New York, when a pedestrian is struck by a hit and run vehicle, there is generally no way to ascertain the insurance company information, unless the license plate is obtained. New York State created a solution to this problem, known as The Motor Vehicle Accident Identification Corporation (MVAIC). MVAIC pays benefits to automobile accident victims, pedestrians, or cyclists who are injured by an uninsured or hit and run vehicle. MVAIC provides both no-fault benefits up to $50,000, as well as up to $25,000 per injured person as compensation for injuries, pain, and suffering sustained in the accident. MVAIC has very stringent deadlines, and filing a claim is not a straightforward process. Attempting to file a claim without proper experience can affect the available compensation.