Can I Get Reimbursed for Damage from a Pothole?

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

pothole in road

Those who drive around New York City regularly will not be surprised that potholes cause significant property damage and injuries. In fact, from 2009 to 2015, the city paid drivers $1.5 million in reimbursement for property damage and personal injuries due to potholes. Unfortunately, many more cases of damage and injury go unreimbursed. Here are some things you need to know to get compensation for damage from a pothole.

State and city liability for pothole damage

Whoever owns the road is responsible for keeping it properly maintained. When someone is injured or suffers damage because of a breach of this duty, that owning entity may be legally liable. However, the municipality or state must have had prior notice of the pothole at issue and failed to fix it. For example, for New York City to be responsible for your damages, its Department of Transportation must have written notice of the pothole at least 15 days before your accident.

If the pothole accident occurs on a road for which the state is responsible, and the pothole was weather-related, there is a good chance that the state will not be liable. According to Highway Law §58, the state cannot be held liable for damages suffered due to defects in state highways unless they occur between May 1 and November 15. This effectively eliminates liability for potholes due to winter freeze/thaw cycles.

How to recover compensation for a pothole accident

If you have a strong case for liability and clear evidence of damages, you may file a claim with the responsible entity. However, claims need to be filed in the right place, at the right time, and they are subject to caps.

There is a strict 90-day deadline to file a claim for loss. For a municipal claim, the notice of claim must be delivered to the Comptroller’s Office by one of the accepted methods – via the eClaim system, by personal delivery, or by registered or certified mail. For state claims, requests for reimbursement of property damage of up to $5,000 are filed with the Department of Transportation as a small claim. Claims above $5,000 need to be filed as an action in the Court of Claims. It is strongly advised to have an attorney help you do this.

The fight for compensation through government entities can be an uphill battle. Speak with a car accident lawyer about the possibility of filing a no fault insurance claim if your pothole accident falls outside the scope of city or state liability. Regardless of fault, the policy should provide payment for related economic losses. Be aware that the time to file a claim is limited to only 30 days after the accident.

Get help with your pothole accident claim

Whether the accident occurs in NYC or elsewhere in New York State, a pothole accident claim will be accompanied by strict procedures and deadlines. Take the hassle out of the process by speaking with a municipality lawyer who understands not only the steps involved in a successful claim, but also how to prove liability. The Manhattan pothole accident lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. provide skilled and aggressive representation for those who have suffered loss because of someone else’s negligence. Call today to schedule a free and confidential case review.M

Early Action Can Minimize Pain After a Car Accident

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

Doctor analyzing x-ray screening image in hospital office during medical exam

Auto accidents are an everyday reality in the greater New York City area – within the city alone, there were more than 228,000 car crashes 2018. Not every accident causes personal injuries, but more than 44,000 were reported in 2018.

Sometimes the injuries are immediately obvious, like broken bones, cuts, or paralysis. Other times, the injuries may not be apparent until days or weeks after the accident. In either case, the pain after a car accident may linger far longer than expected. It is important to take these facts into consideration when assessing injuries, and also when negotiating a personal injury settlement.

Assessing injuries after a car accident

Too often, accident victims refuse medical attention at the scene. Sometimes they do not realize they are injured at all, and sometimes they just wrongly assume that the injuries are not that serious. Unfortunately, many injuries can become more obvious later on as pain and inflammation increase.

Waiting to see a doctor can cause a few problems. First, it prevents early treatment that could lessen the pain in the long run. Second, it can give the false impression that the injuries and accompanying pain are exaggerated or otherwise not honest. The best course is to see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if it does not seem that bad. It also helps to speak with a personal injury attorney to understand your rights and responsibilities going forward.

Common latent injuries

Due to changes in velocity that occur during a crash, even a low-speed impact can cause damage. Often the result is soft tissue injuries – injuries to the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, such as sprains and strains. Sometimes these heal on their own. Sometimes they need treatment in order to lessen the severity and duration of suffering.

After car accident, neck pain may indicate a condition like whiplash, which is one of the most common injuries following a rear-end collision. Surprisingly, most cases of whiplash occur in low impact crashes. Whiplash can lead to long-term dizziness, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. Some of these conditions may be improved with physical therapy.

After a car accident, back pain may be a sign of strains or sprains in the spine, herniated discs, or even fractured vertebrae. Many of these injuries can cause serious, even permanent, impairment, yet go undetected for days or weeks after the accident. Seeking medical attention early on can limit the long-term damage.

Settling a car accident claim over lingering pain

Insurance adjusters strive to close files as quickly as possible, limiting the amount their companies pay on claims. If you have been injured and the crash was someone else’s fault, you can bet that the other driver’s insurance company will call quickly and offer you a low amount to settle quickly. Unfortunately, insurance settlements include releases of liability – you cannot go back to ask for more money later if the injury turns out to be more serious.

Before even thinking of entering a settlement, see a doctor and speak with a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will advocate for you to see that any settlement accounts for the costs of treatment and any suffering that your doctors reasonably anticipate in the future.

Speak with a NY car accident attorney

The first days after an accident can impact the coming years of your life. If you have been injured, promptly seek medical care and discuss your situation with a car accident lawyer at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green. From our Manhattan office, we passionately advocate on behalf of injured clients throughout New York City, including the Bronx, Brooklyn, all 5 boroughs, and Westchester and Long Island. Call today to set up a free, confidential consultation.

Potential Liable Parties in a Car Accident

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

Shards of car glass on the street after car accident

When a quick errand run turns treacherous because of another driver’s attention, you deserve to be compensated for your injuries. After any type of traffic collision where property damage and physical harm occurs, establishing liability is one of the most critical steps needed when it comes to securing damages for your claim.  

Various factors will ultimately determine which individual (or parties) is liable for the accident. For example, a driver is seriously hurt after another motorist cuts in front of her without signaling the move. The victim may be held partially responsible for the collision if it can be proven that she made an illegal lane change or was speeding at the time of the crash.

It can be challenging to prove fault in an accident, especially when who caused the accident is disputed. Proving fault requires hard evidence, ranging from police reports, eyewitness testimony and photos of the accident scene.

Determining accident liability and filing insurance claims with a full appreciation of the state’s no-fault laws makes litigating cases in New York City’s five boroughs especially complex. For this reason, it’s crucial to seek legal advice as soon as possible. A lawyer will answer questions about your eligibility for legal recourse and begin a proper investigation into potential liable parties.

Who may be held accountable for car accident injuries?

While reckless or negligent driving behavior is a common allegation in car accident claims, there are other situations where liability may fall elsewhere. Take for instance an auto part manufacturer that distributes a defective ignition switch which causes a motorist to lose control of their vehicle and crash. Or, consider an SUV that is equipped with a faulty airbag that deploys randomly, causing severe injury.

Unfortunately, there are millions of cars and vehicle parts that have been recalled for defects and safety concerns over the years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicle defects were a factor in nearly 50,000 accidents last year.

Automobile manufacturers and makers of vehicle parts have a duty to design and manufacture products that are reasonably safe for their intended purpose. Depending on the unique circumstances of the accident, a product liability claim may be filed against the manufacturer of a faulty vehicle part, the automobile manufacturer or even the company that distributed the vehicle.

Discuss your case with NYC car accident lawyers

The law firm of Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green has successfully taken on complex accident cases stemming from negligent driving, cell phone use, vehicle defects, equipment malfunction, and driver impairment, among other factors. Our veteran attorneys have a reputation for pursuing maximum compensation and achieving outstanding results for our clients. Determining fault in a motor vehicle collision requires in-depth investigations, supporting evidence and a thorough understanding of negligence and product liability laws. Establishing liability is not always cut and dry, particularly in multiple-vehicle crashes, where victims can benefit immeasurably from a trusted legal advocate.

Most personal injury cases arising from auto accidents in New York are resolved out-of-court, but a skilled car accident lawyer will protect your interests and take the case to trial if a settlement falls short. Call Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green P.C. today to arrange a free case evaluation.

4 Types of Brain Injuries Caused by Car Accidents

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

Doctor analyzing x-ray screening image in hospital office during medical exam

Roughly 2 million people every year are injured in car accidents across the United States, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, vehicle accidents have the potential to cause brain injuries, one of the most serious types of injury. This can result from the head of a collision victim hitting part of the car or the pavement, or even from extreme, repeated movement of the head, even if it does not come into contact with any other object.

The type of brain injury called traumatic brain injury (TBI) can cause long-term impairment in thinking or mobility. In extreme cases, it can cause paraplegia or quadriplegia, inability to move the extremities.

The type of brain injuries that can result from car accidents are:

  • Concussion: Concussions result from a head being struck or being in rapid momentum or back and forth movement.
  • Contusion: “Contusion” means bruise. A bruise on the brain is possible in a car accident, and may require surgery. There is a type of contusion called Coup-Contrecoup, which means that bruises have occurred on both sides of the brain.
  • Diffuse Axonal: If a patient’s head rotates violently, it can cause tears in the brain. Concussions are a mild form of this type of injury.
  • Penetration: If an object penetrates the head and goes into the brain, it can cause major trauma and even death.

Symptoms of Brain Injuries

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, you should be alert to the signs of brain injury. These symptoms can be extremely variable, and many symptoms can be associated with other types of injuries. If you think you see these symptoms, it’s wise to consult a physician to be on the safe side.

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Becoming unconscious after the accident
  • Nausea
  • Dilated or uneven pupils
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Slower thinking or response times
  • Confusion
  • Difficult thinking or concentrating
  • Difficulty in maintaining balance or coordination
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Difficulty being alert
  • Emotional volatility or withdrawal
  • Seizures
  • Numbness in extremities

Experienced Car Accident Attorneys in New York

If you or a loved one has been injured or died in a car accident, you may be facing both emotional and financial hardship. Accidents and injuries can be traumatic. They can require medical treatment, which can be expensive and result in being unable to work for periods of time.

If you believe the car accident was the result of negligence from another party, the most prudent thing to do is talk to a seasoned car accident attorney. Initial consultations are always free. Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green are experienced car accident lawyers in New York City. Please call us today at (212) 307-5800 to discuss your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Traumatic brain injury and concussion. https://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/index.html.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vital Signs. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html.

5 Ways to Keep Your Teenagers Safe Behind the Wheel

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

teenage girl driver with car keysAccording to statistics from the National Safety Council, half of all adolescents will be involved in a car accident before they finish high school. Getting a driver’s license is a rite a passage for teenagers, but just because they are legally able to get behind the wheel doesn’t mean they are safe drivers. Good driving skills take time, practice and patience to build, but beyond setting a good example, what can you do to keep your kids safe on the road?

The following are steps parents can take to help instill safe driving habits in their teenagers.

Practice, practice and more practice

You can guide your teen to becoming a safer driver by letting him or her practice under your supervision. Aim to spend at least a few hours each week on different types of roads under different traffic conditions. Use this time to teach your teen the essentials of defensive driving. This includes maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front, adjusting driving behavior according to weather conditions and remaining aware of surroundings for the unexpected.

Put the brakes on speeding

An estimated 31 percent of all traffic fatalities involve speeding, and per mile driven, teenagers are nearly three times more likely than adults to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident. Emphasize the dire consequences of excess speed when behind the wheel, explaining that arriving a few minutes early isn’t worth the risk of one’s life.

No cell phone use and no texting

Most teens are glued to their smart phones, and if yours is a voracious texter and talker, it’s time to lay down the law or revoke driving privileges. Texting is one of the most dangerous types of distracted driving, and according to a survey published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, a whopping 40 percent of American teenagers admit to texting while driving. Studies have suggested that texting and driving is almost equally as hazardous as drunk driving. Ensure your teen knows that cell phones should only be used when the car is safely stopped in a parking lot.

Monitor performance with driving apps

Your teen may promise to be a distraction-free driver, but if you have doubts there are several apps that track what they do and don’t do while behind the wheel. Some apps monitor acceleration, speed and braking, while others automatically mute text messages and calls until the destination has been reached.

Sign a teen driving contract

Create a driving contract that details baseline rules in addition to penalties for violating those rules and have your teenager sign the contract at the very start. There are several variations of these available for download on the Internet, which cover basics like always wearing a seat belt, never using a cell phone while driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Car accident representation in New York and Long Island

If your teenager or a loved one is involved in a crash, an experienced car accident attorney can be an invaluable resource. Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb and Green can help accident victims understand their rights and secure the money damages to which they are entitled. Contact us today to schedule a free case review with car accident lawyers New York and Long Island residents have come to trust.

Additional Resources:

  1. Journal of Adolescent Health, Texting/Emailing While Driving Among High School Students in 35 States https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(18)30250-7/fulltext
  2. Healthy Children, Behind the Wheel: How to Help Your Teen Become a Safe Driver https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/safety/Pages/Behind-the-Wheel-Helping-Teens-Become-Safe-Drivers.aspx
  3. YourTeenMag, Keeping Your Teen Drivers Safe Behind The Wheel https://yourteenmag.com/teenager-school/teens-high-school/parents-teen-driving/tuesday-tips-better-teen-driver

Common Car Accident Injuries You May Not Feel Right Away

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

If you have been in a car accident, there are potential injuries you might feel right away, such as bone and skull fractures, bruises, and torn ligaments. But there are also many common car accident injuries that people often don’t feel right away.

Not All Symptoms Occur Immediately

Woman with muscle injury having pain in her neckIn the aftermath of a car accident, you might feel shaken up, but not as if you have an injury. Fear and the desire to move out of a crash scene can make you ignore minor symptoms.

Some injuries, especially those to soft tissue, may actually not be felt for a long period of time after an accident — even for several weeks.

The fact that you don’t feel the injuries, though, doesn’t mean they are minor. Some can affect you physically for the rest of your life, and impact your quality of life as well. Some can even be fatal.

Here’s a brief overview of injuries you can sustain in a car accident, but not may feel right away.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Related Injuries

Your brain can be affected seriously in even a minor accident. If you’re rear-ended, for example, it can cause you to move suddenly forward and then back. That jostles the brain. It can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, or other head injury. These can occur without the head looking or feeling especially hurt.

If you have hit your head or had your head severely jostled, be sure to see a physician immediately after the accident. They can check for signs of concussion.

Other symptoms of brain injuries include headaches 48 to 72 hours post accident. These can result from neck injuries, brain movement, a concussion, or bleeding or blood clots in your brain. The latter two can be fatal if not treated.

Neck or Shoulder Pain or Stiffness

You might feel fine after a car crash, but then begin to feel pain or stiffness in the neck or shoulder. This is one of the most frequent symptoms to occur in the aftermath of an accident.

These symptoms are part of whiplash. The term whiplash derives from the way a body moves when a car is rear-ended. It moves abruptly back and forth, like a whip being cracked. This type of movement can result in soft tissue damage, which your doctor will not see on an X-ray. Whiplash can result in long-term or even permanent mobility issues.

Back Pain

If you’ve injured your muscles, nerves, ligaments, or vertebrae, you can develop back pain days or weeks after the accident. Back pain is particularly frequent in rear-end or hit-from-the-side accidents.

Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in New York

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green are experienced car accident lawyers. Please call us today at (212) 307-5800 for a free consultation about your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. Konet, Kyle. Arrowhead Clinic. “Delayed Car Accident Injury Symptoms To Pay Attention To.” https://www.arrowheadclinic.com/category/blog/delayed-car-accident-injury-symptoms
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html

“Pokemon Go” and “Snap Chat” Contibuting to Dangerous Trend of Distracted Driving

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

Smartphones make it easier than ever for us to stay connected, but that enhanced connectivity can pose serious risks. In fact, cell phones have become one of the most common distractions for drivers. Drivers text messaging on their cell phones are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.

Teenagers are particularly prone to being distracted by cell phones while driving. In the United States, 35% of teenagers admit to texting while driving and 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents are distracted by their cell phones. Smartphone applications fuel distracted driving. Two apps targeted at teenage audiences are particularly problematic: “Pokémon Go” and “Snapchat”.

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that allows players to “capture” digital creatures at real locations using their smartphones. Since its release last week, a number of car accidents caused by drivers using the smartphone app have been reported. The app has also been blamed with creating risk of personal injury because users become engrossed in the game and unaware of their surroundings; there are reports of distracted users slipping and falling, walking into traffic, and even falling off of a cliff.

A number of car accidents have also been caused by “Snapchat,” an app that allows users to share photos and videos with friends. Snapchat has a speed “filter” that enables users to share how fast they are traveling while they take photos and videos. This feature has been blamed for encouraging speeding. In Atlanta, a teen recently caused a serious car accident driving over 100 mph while using this feature. The driver of the car she crashed into suffered permanent brain trauma and has brought a lawsuit against both the teen driver and Snapchat.

It is harrowing enough to watch your child get behind the wheel of a car and drive down the street and out of sight for the first time. You worry about other careless drivers, drunk drivers and bad weather. You hope friends in the passenger seat won’t distract your child or encourage them to speed. You implore your child not to text and drive or drink and drive. Now you have a new worry – your child catching Pokémon while driving – or Snapchatting while driving. Also remember that if your child is out catching Pokémon in a car owned by you and gets into an accident and injures someone, under New York law, your liability is the same as if you were the one actually driving the car and catching Pokémon. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t there. As the vehicle owner, the law puts you in the driver’s seat and puts your child’s iPhone in your hands. Please talk to your child and make sure they understand the dangers of playing on apps while driving.

As cell phone use while driving becomes increasingly common, the chances of being involved in a car accident with a distracted driver escalate. If you or a loved one has been injured by the carelessness of another driver, please contact Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. for a free consultation, and visit our our website at friedmanlevy.com for more information.

Factors Used to Determine Fault in a Car Accident

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

Who's at Fault in a Car Accident?When the courts are asked to determine liability in a personal injury case involving a traffic accident, one of the first things a jury is asked to consider is who is at fault for the accident. There are several factors that are taken into consideration when making that determination.

First and foremost, if any of the drivers involved in the accident were guilty of any traffic violation related to the accident, there is a good chance that the court will assign fault the driver guilty of the infraction. Common traffic violations related to traffic accidents include running red lights or stop signs, speeding, making improper turns, and texting while driving. Similarly, if any of the drivers is guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she is likely to be found at fault for the accident.

A police officer’s account of the accident is also important in determining which party is at fault. The police officer will interview witnesses, including the parties to the accident, and weigh conflicting stories to determine what actually happened to cause the accident. Tire marks on the road and the positioning of vehicles can help an officer come to a conclusion. Sometimes, video footage exists to eliminate any doubt as to what happened, either from someone’s dash cam or from a security camera. Police officers have experience and training to help them recreate accident scenes from the evidence available, but their reports are not perfect.

When an accident is the result of a rear end collision or a left hand turn, the officer is usually quick to assign blame to the car in the rear or the car turning left. The rule of thumb while driving is that the driver making a turn must wait for oncoming traffic to pass before turning. A driver must always cede the right of way to the traffic in front.

The role that the determination of fault plays depends largely on the laws of the state in which the accident occurs. Some states follow a doctrine of contributory negligence while some have a more lenient policy of comparative negligence. States that use contributory negligence may preclude a plaintiff from collecting any damages if his or her own negligence contributed to the accident at all. States, like New York, that use a model of comparative negligence will reduce a jury’s award by the percentage of fault found to be the plaintiff’s. Even if you are more than 50% at fault for causing an accident, you can still sue for your injuries in New York. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, call Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green for a free consultation.

Even the Police Don’t Know What “No-Fault” Means in a Car Accident – Do You?

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

I recently witnessed an automobile accident in the New York City suburb in which I live where no one was hurt, but plenty of damage was done to one of the vehicles involved. I was stopped at a red light directly behind the car that caused the accident. Ahead of that car was an SUV that was already backing into a parallel parking space when we both approached the red light and stopped. When the SUV was halfway into the parking space, the driver ahead of me tried to squeeze her car through the gap between the parking SUV and a truck waiting to turn left at the red light. I watched in amazement as the corner of the car’s bumper scratched its way up half the length of the parking SUV. The vehicles stopped where they were, and the at-fault driver immediately hopped out of her car and started screaming at her innocent victim that she had backed into her car while “speeding backwards into the parking space”. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

After 26 years as a personal injury attorney, I know that what gets reported on a police report by each of the drivers becomes the gospel for each of their insurance companies. If the driver of the car reported that the SUV had backed into her, the car’s insurance company would not only have refused to pay for the SUV’s damage, but would also likely have tried to recoup the car’s damages from the SUV’s insurance company. I was determined not to let that happen (and fortunately I happened not to be in a rush to get anywhere).

I parked my car up the street and came back to accident location where the drivers were waiting for the police to arrive. I introduced myself to the SUV driver and told her that I had witnessed the car accident from just 20 feet away and saw everything. I assured her that the accident was entirely the car’s fault, and that I intended to put my statement on the police accident report. I know from experience that insurance companies take non-party witness statements very seriously if they are contained on the police accident report.

This is when I learned how misinformed the police and most people are about what “No-Fault” means in New York State. A friendly suburban police officer arrived within minutes, looked at the cars, listened to the drivers tell their stories – one truthful, and the other full of lies – scribbled down their names in his memo book, and then told the drivers that he was not going to make a report because “this is a no-fault accident, so they don’t need an accident report”. “Excuse me officer,” I said politely, “but no fault has nothing to do with this”. “Who are you,” he asked to which I responded, “a witness”. He then told me that I could give the drivers my name if wanted to as he headed back to his car and drove away. I told the SUV driver to take lots of pictures of the vehicles where they were, exchange information with the other driver, and gave her my card, and said call me if and when you need me to give a statement.

The officer was wrong on two counts. This was NOT a “no-fault accident”, whatever that even means, and the drivers DID need a police report. Without getting too detailed, the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Insurance Reparations Act, more commonly known as the New York No-Fault Law, became effective on February 1, 1974. The law was enacted to provide prompt payment of health related expenses and wage loss of those parties injured as a result of an auto accident. Under the No-Fault law, the insurance company for the vehicle an injured person is in when an accident occurs, pays that injured person’s medical bills and lost wages regardless of whose fault the accident is – ergo, “No-Fault”.

No-Fault, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with damage to cars involved in accidents, and fault has everything to do with who pays for collision damage. Simply put, if it’s another driver’s fault that a collision occurs, you are entitled to get your property damages from them, and to do so you must prove the accident was their fault. While No-Fault’s serious injury threshold does play some part in whether you can sue for personal injuries arising out of a car accident, again fault has everything to do with whether you can recover from the other driver for your pain and suffering.

If you sustain a serious injury in a car accident, you must prove that the accident was the other driver’s fault in order for you to recover from them. The statements made by the parties and witnesses on the police accident report is the first piece of evidence the insurance company looks at in determining fault for the happening of the accident. By not knowing what “No-Fault” was, the police officer deprived the drivers of the opportunity to make a report with a non-party witness statement included, which would have gone a long way to getting the insurance claims settled quickly. Instead the police officer’s ignorance will likely result in the SUV driver having to pay for her own damages, while the guilty careless car driver walks away without any consequences.

Again, “No-Fault” only applies to medical bills and lost wages, and you do not have the right to seek those from the other driver. You do, however, absolutely have the right to recover all other damages to your car, property and injury to your body from the driver and owner of the other vehicle, but to do so requires that you prove that the accident was their “yes-fault”. And, of course, remember to demand that the police fill out an accident report, even if the officer doesn’t know the law; because now you do.

The Role of Distracted Driving in Personal Injury Cases

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

Accident with a Distracted Driver?Distracted driving has emerged as a disturbing trend that poses a serious threat not only to preoccupied drivers, but to other motorists on the roadways. Accidents caused by this unsafe practice have seen a major uptick in recent years due to the widespread use of smart phones to text and post to social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter, while driving. Although drivers of all ages may be guilty of driving while distracted, studies have found that teenage drivers are especially tempted to use their phone to snap photos or text from the driver’s seat.

Personal injury lawsuits on the basis of distracted driving are becoming more prevalent. A wrongful-death suit against taxi-alternative company Uber cites distracted driving as the cause of a collision that killed a 6-year-old girl and injured her mother and brother while they were crossing the street on New Year’s Eve in California. Allegedly, the Uber driver was logged into the company’s smart phone app, waiting to receive and accept a ride request, when his SUV collided with the girl and her family. Although this case doesn’t involve a teenage driver, it demonstrates how (alleged) smart phone use while driving can have horrifying consequences.

More than 3,300 fatalities occur each year as a result of distracted driving, according to the Department of Transportation and Distraction.gov, the official US website dedicated to distracted driving. Drivers are twice as likely to crash if they’re texting while driving than if they were paying attention.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers, with cell phone use being reported in 18 percent of all distraction-related fatalities in America. These scary statistics have led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to create an campaign against distracted driving aimed at young adults.

If you have teenage children or you just happen to be up on current trends, you’ll know that many young people use their cell phones to take “selfies”, a nickname for self-portraits. It’s come to the attention of law enforcement and safety advocates that teens are taking selfies and posting to social media while behind the wheel, some of them even use the hashtag #Ihopeidontcrash with their photos. Expressing that fear, even though it’s disguised with a supposedly amusing hashtag, shows that these young drivers have an inkling as to how dangerous this practice could be.

On average, texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. Distraction.gov says that at 55 mph, 4.6 seconds with your eyes on your cell phone is like driving an entire football field blindfolded.

Distracted driving falls into three main categories:

manual: taking your hands off of the wheel
visual: taking your eyes on the road
or cognitive: not being mentally present while driving.
Distracted driving laws vary by state, but many have a law in place that bans drivers from using handheld phones. In addition, most states ban bus drivers and beginner drivers from all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free), and enforce a ban on texting for all drivers.