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Canandaigua Personal Injury Law Blog

Can motorcycle accidents be avoided?

New York motorcyclists include individuals of all skill and experience levels. Some may wonder how certain motorcycle accidents can be avoided, particularly when a vehicle turns into or in front of a motorcycle. According to Wes Siler of Ride Apart, motorcyclists can do some things to avoid some of the most common accident types.

The top tips for avoiding accidents are learning to handle and ride the bike and wearing appropriate equipment, says Soler. Motorcyclists may want to take rider education courses before taking to major roads, especially if they've never ridden before.

Pedestrian accidents: Cellphone use and distracted driving

Twenty years ago, cellphones were still considered a luxury and a bit of an oddity, but as we move into 2015, cellphones have become an integral part of most people's lives. New York residents use their phones for making calls, texting, catching up on emails, browsing the Web and even videoconferencing. The portability of cellphones has made it tempting to engage in these behaviors in any "free" time, including moments spent behind the wheel.

While some people may say that they only text or check their phones when they are not actively driving -- such as while waiting in traffic or at a stop light -- the truth is that any time spent looking at or scrolling through a phone is time where the driver's eyes and attention are not on the road. A distracted driver may not see a pedestrian crossing the street in front of the vehicle, see approaching emergency vehicles or notice that the car is creeping ahead and getting ready to bump into another car.

Wrongful death guidelines in New York

When a New York family loses a loved one because of someone's negligence, error or willful action, it may be the right choice to file a wrongful death claim. Fatal accidents are common causes of loss, and the unexpected blow to families can be devastating. Much of the time, it isn't a chance to enjoy a monetary windfall that drives the decision to sue. It is the way that family can make some sense of their loss; by facilitating their recovery through holding another person or persons accountable, it's more likely they can move on.

It may be helpful for individuals to recognize, however, that the State of New York sets a priority under the law as to who is allowed to make this type of claim. A summary of wrongful death and intestacy statutes sets out this information, beginning with the proviso that damages in wrongful death cases are distributed under the state's intestate law. This means the monies are distributed based on relationships within the family as they would if a person dies without a will.

Driver cleared in car accident death tied to faulty switch recall

New York drivers, particularly in families connected to the General Motors faulty ignition switch case we wrote about last time, might send well-wishes to a woman in another state. She was cleared of criminally negligent homicide relating to the death of her boyfriend several years ago. What makes the story worth noting is that the car crash that took his life has now been publicly connected by GM to that defective switch.

Information aired as a result of her proceeding might have a bearing on a number of cases yet to be settled or scheduled for trial. There may be others who face the same accusation as this defendant has – driving the vehicle intoxicated, erroneously deduced based on lack of skid marks or other evidence of a driver trying to avoid a wreck. Wrongful death survivors can seek compensation for their losses from responsible parties. Criminal charges filed against a driver in such a case may strengthen a plaintiff's position. But if it is determined there was a defective part to blame, the case dynamics might change.

First wrongful death trial against General Motors set for 2016

News media stories about the faulty ignition switch in certain General Motors vehicles have been everywhere over the past several months. The issues have been complicated and not just from a legal standpoint. Many families have suffered the loss of a loved one allegedly due to car accidents caused when the switch inadvertently turned off, causing collisions without the deployment of air bags or other injury countermeasures. The car company officials have admitted knowing about the defect. A huge number of lawsuits and class actions have been filed.

It's reported that a Southern District of New York judge has scheduled the first consolidated litigation trial in federal court for Jan. 11, 2016. While the approximately 130 lawsuits included in the proceedings involve lost vehicle value claims as well, the bellwether trial will reportedly be a personal injury or wrongful death claim. Counsel for GM has separately requested that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court dismiss class action lawsuits seeking about $10 billion in compensation for lost value. Adding to the complex litigation is the fact that GM's reorganization under its Chapter 11 filing could preclude product liability claims relating to vehicles manufactured before the bankruptcy.

What is accident reconstruction in New York?

When someone is hit and injured or killed while walking on a New York sidewalk, crossing a street or in a parking lot, police reports follow. Regardless of what kind of claim may be filed on behalf of the victim or survivor, the police investigators have an obligation to report the pedestrian incident with precision. One of the tools they can use is called accident reconstruction.

New York State Police support a division known as the Collision Reconstruction Unit. With highly specialized expertise, this 50-member unit utilizes a series of helpful tools to investigate the accident and clearly report their findings through what they call a forensic map. Highly trained, they work behind the scenes of serious motor vehicle accidents, including those involving pedestrians, to identify and document evidence found on site. Their precision and meticulous attention to detail is utilized quickly, while an accident scene isn't contaminated by traffic or other reasons.

Motorcyclists: Protecting the vulnerable after an accident

Everyone who travels the highways and byways of Canandaigua assumes a degree of risk. Our fast-paced, get-from-here-to-there society spends countless hours on the roads – most of the time safely and productively. For many, however, mere seconds change their lives forever. They are caught up in some type of vehicle crash. Some of the most devastating involve motorcycles.

Bikers have always been more susceptible to injuries on the road because of the size of their vehicles and their physical exposure. Nowadays, the risk is heightened as car and truck drivers become more distracted by cellphones and other diversions. The popular increased size of passenger vehicles doesn't help either.

Drivers in New York: What is a DMV reexamination?

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles has restrictions that will apply to many drivers at one time or another. Driving the beautiful highways and byways of our state is a pleasure for some and a necessity for others. There is no question that the task can also carry accident liability along with it if something should go wrong.

The DMV provides driver guidelines and requirements, especially for those who are considered to be seniors by the department. The goal is to keep aging drivers independent and behind the wheel as long as they are capable and safely operate their vehicles. Basic vision tests are usually given for renewal and in some circumstances, a written test is required. If the minimum standard for vision isn't met, a specialist eye exam is needed. An Eye Test Report is provided to the DMV. Those results determine renewal. Any driver with a medical condition that might interfere with driving safely must meet certain restrictive conditions to maintain a license.

Losing a loved one leads to wrongful death lawsuit against bank

New York courts have evolved over the years to a certain degree, especially regarding punitive damages associated with civil claims. Whether plaintiffs have survived a pedestrian or vehicle accident or a loved one died as a result of someone's negligence, the loss is still the same. Most survivors respond to this emotional upheaval with a sincere desire to punish whoever is responsible.

An example of this strong wish for accountability is shown in a case on the west coast. A daughter is suing a huge banking organization because she claims its foreclosure of her mother's home was deadly.

Are drivers or pedestrians liable in a New York accident?

Personal injury cases that arise as a result of car, truck, boat or pedestrian accidents are meant to provide victims and survivors with the peace of mind that someone is being held accountable as well as compensation for medical expenses, income lost and other recovery needs. When it comes to pedestrians, New York has particular safety guidelines in place. They are designed not only to reduce the number of injuries in the state but also may help to determine fault when an accident does happen.

Many laws apply equally to vehicle drivers and pedestrians. Others are distinct. For example, pedestrians are required to obey traffic signals, pavement markings and other traffic signs. They may share most public highways with motor vehicles but not parkways, expressways or interstate highways. If there aren't sidewalks, a person must walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.