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Canandaigua Personal Injury Law Blog

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.

Distracted driving in New York: Hands-free doesn’t help

Experts note that New York will soon have some of the most stringent penalties in the country for vehicle operators charged with distracted driving. The fact is people have always allowed themselves to be distracted while driving with such things as music, conversation with passengers, reading a map and eating or drinking. What may be different now is the combination of cellphone use and increased traffic on roadways has made it a more dangerous undertaking. Car accidents caused by someone who is texting and driving are on the increase, and recent studies are supporting the fact that even hands-free communication may be to blame.

According to the American Automobile Association, three out of four drivers believe hands-free technology is safe to use while operating a motor vehicle. But a new research study indicates the opposite may be true – it actually increases mental distraction. The AAA study finds that current shortcomings in voice-based technologies, intended as safety features, are likely to cause unintended higher cognitive distraction. It has already been proven by researchers that drivers can miss stop signs and red lights, as well as pedestrians and even other vehicles, because their minds are not fully engaged in operating the car or truck.

Tractor-trailer accident leads to fight for trucker safety

It doesn't matter if you're a New York resident or live elsewhere. Drivers and parents can easily relate to the pain, anger and frustration a mother has been feeling since two of her daughters were killed in a highway accident involving semi-trucks. Without celebrity fame creating national headlines about her loss, this mother of nine has been steadfastly pressuring United States lawmakers to devise and enforce safer trucking practices and improve equipment.

Her fight reportedly began after the 2013 accident. She and three of her children were traveling a southern highway when a tractor-trailer rear-ended their car. It spun around and was forced under the trailer of another semi-truck. One teen, 17, died on the scene. Her 13-year-old sister passed away a few days later. Reports are the 59-year-old slowed her car because of an accident ahead. A truck hauling automobiles attempted to change lanes when, according to the police report, it swiped the Crown Victoria. As it spun around, the truck hit it again. The trucker was charged with failure to maintain a lane and two homicide by vehicle counts. The case is pending.

What does New York alternative dispute resolution mean?

The New York State Unified Court System provides plaintiffs and defendants, insurance companies, injured persons and other parties with some options in lieu of trial. These creative out-of-court solutions can sometimes help to resolve conflicts and aid in reaching settlement agreements in personal injury cases such as motor vehicle or pedestrian accidents.

Known as alternative dispute resolution, this option can be chosen voluntarily. An experienced review of the circumstances with legal counsel will help determine its likelihood to succeed. Often when settlement negotiations don't work and a lawsuit is filed, a court will order ADR is tried first.

Is a lawyer necessary to file a lawsuit in New York?

Many New Yorkers find themselves faced with personal injury, the loss of a loved one or extensive property damage that happened as a result of someone's negligence or deliberate action. Sometimes, criminal charges are filed against the at-fault person. Other times, it is strictly a civil matter, and insurance companies are responsible to pay for losses. The most serious occurrences often end up as wrongful death claims that eventually lead to trial.

A question often on the minds of injured parties is whether or not they need an attorney if they want to file a lawsuit. The simple answer is no, it isn't required by the New York judiciary. Without legal counsel representing a claimant, he or she is known as self-represented or pro se. What a person might wish to consider, however, is exactly what is involved, and what is at stake for the family.

Safety and semi truck driver wages: Are they related?

Goods transported by tractor-trailers keep New York businesses working. Because they are so integrated into our daily lives, safety is always something that car drivers, law enforcement and government regulators continually wish to improve. An accident involving a big rig is usually quite serious. This is understandable when you compare the size of the semi truck to the size of a car or motorcycle. Often it isn't the truck driver who suffers serious injury.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the government entity that oversees the trucking industry. Its guidelines and rules are designed to protect everyone involved. One regulation in particular, the allowable time a driver may be on the road without rest, remains a focus of the agency, drivers and owners alike. Officials have advised they are considering a relevant question, the answer to which may affect New York trucking companies if it leads to further regulation. They are currently soliciting comments and will do an analysis as to whether there is a relationship between safety and driver pay. Generally, drivers are paid by the mile and may not be compensated for wait time. With limits set by law as to how many hours they may be on the road, are drivers forced into unsafe practices in order to make a living?

Motorcycle accidents: basic knowledge for victims

Other than the obvious dangers, New York residents may not realize that seeking compensation for victims of motorcycle accidents can require a depth of knowledge and experience that exceeds that which is successful regarding other accidents. Many fatalities occur, but riders often suffer catastrophic injuries that leave them disabled in some way. For these victims, seeking the best possible financial settlements or jury awards is critical to their survival.

One of the most important things to remember is that talking to an insurance company without the benefit of legal advice can be a mistake. It's not that an agent will be deceptive or antagonizing, but rather, it helps to understand the motives of the insurer. The company's goal is to minimize losses to the greatest extent possible.

1 drunk driver to blame in 7 Canandaigua accidents

It's not unusual for Canandaigua residents to hear news reports about car accidents caused by drunk drivers. On Aug. 27, however, the news was pretty unusual. Reports are that chaos ensued when seven accidents happened within 12 minutes – all allegedly caused by a single drunk driver.

The accident investigation will keep officials busy for some time. Once completed, however, the victims will be in a position to decide whether seeking compensation for injuries or property damage is appropriate. With multiple insurance companies involved, it's also likely that skilled negotiation techniques will be helpful to their recoveries.

Better access to history may help New York personal injury cases

Motor vehicle accidents happen everywhere. Fender-benders and catastrophic multi-vehicle crashes, whether caused by negligence or a distracted driver, result in damage to property, injuries or fatalities. Investigators reconstruct the car accident, and do their best to determine who is at fault. Prosecutors take that information and make a determination as to whether or not criminal charges are appropriate. In the past, they could only consider previous convictions in their evaluations.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced several months ago that the Department of Motor Vehicles will make additional driving history available to prosecutors. In addition to conviction records, traffic tickets issued in the previous 10 years can be accessed by District Attorneys, investigators and paralegals working under their supervision. Often charges filed against a driver are reduced in a plea agreement. The goal of this new access is to help officials make more informed decisions regarding lesser charges. Potentially dangerous drivers may be less likely to fall through the cracks of the system if a pattern of behavior is observed.

New York race crash investigation: Will recklessness be a factor?

Most people in Canandaigua or Ontario County are aware of the tragic motor vehicle accident on Aug. 9 wherein a NASCAR driver was hit and killed by another racecar. Investigators are reportedly questioning witnesses and undertaking accident reconstruction to compile the facts. It may be that Tony Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup Series champion and team owner, will face charges if the investigation supports it.

Whether or not prosecutors choose to file charges in a fatal pedestrian accident, the family of the victim has the option of bringing a civil suit against the party or parties responsible. Evaluating the legal issues involved will help in determining what, if any, legal remedy may be helpful.