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Car Accidents

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Drunk Driving Still a Major Factor in Car Accidents in New York

Every time we step into a car, we put ourselves at risk. Though danger isn’t usually our first thought when we get behind the wheel, the fact remains that an average of more than 10 million motor accidents in the U.S. each year can make driving a bit frightening. In 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 39,000 individuals died in those accidents and thousands more died within a month or two of suffering life-altering injuries while driving or while a passenger in a car.


There are lots of reasons for car accidents, especially these days as drivers find it necessary to talk and text when they should have their eyes…and minds…on the road. Alcohol also remains a major culprit as far as car accidents are concerned, and lawyers like New York car accident attorney, Harley Fastman see plenty of alcohol-related cases each year.


New York personal injury lawyers like Harley Fastman have come to recognize that drinking while driving has no age limitations. While young people do indeed drive while intoxicated, the problem is just as prevalent among middle-agers and even older individuals. As a matter of fact, surveys by the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission point to the fact that the average drunk driver ranges from 21 to 45 years old, with male drivers twice as likely to get behind the wheel within two hours of consuming alcohol.


Attorneys like Fastman know the appalling facts and figures about DUIs in New York, and though the aforementioned survey notes that 97 percent of all Americans see drinking and driving as a threat to their personal safety, only 63 percent believe that they should not drive after consuming 2 drinks, which can often put a person’s alcohol level over the legal limit, which is .08 in The Empire State. Many male drivers under 30 believe they can have 4 drinks and still get behind the wheel.


Sadly, national experts view New York alcohol laws as among the most lenient in the country. In order to support the nightlife of locales like New York City, there are only four hours in a day – 4 am to 8 am – when alcohol can’t be served. That’s 20 hours each day during which the drinking public can consume beverages that will potentially make them a lethal weapon while operating a motor vehicle.


Unfortunately, this raises the possibility of becoming a drunk driver’s victim, especially for those who must be out and about in the late night or early morning hours, when the majority of drunk driving incidents occur. And though arrests for driving while intoxicated have lessened slightly in the last year, notes New York personal injury attorney, Harley Fastman – who practices cases in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Westchester, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties – victims continue to find themselves in dire need of legal assistance in DUI matters.


A drunk driving accident can be a life-changing event. If you’re a victim and need assistance, complete the Online Case Review Form on this website or call 516-437-7300 for more information about your legal options.

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Car Accident-Related Bills and Medical Expenses

Many of us know someone who has been seriously injured in an automobile accident. We’ve seen spinal cord injuries that leave victims unable to walk and traumatic brain injury that renders the victim helpless and in need of constant long-term care. Others have suffered severe disfigurement due to car fires that occur after a crash. Some have legs and arms crushed and require amputation. The list goes on and on.


One can only imagine the horror the victim’s family feels when faced with the potential of tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in medical bills. Indeed, New York personal injury attorney Harley Fastman has seen the physical, emotional, AND financial pain that accidents can cause first-hand and wants victims to know that they have a right to be compensated for their serious injuries.


The Empire State, explains New York car accident attorney, Harley Fastman, is a so-called “no-fault” state. This legislation was passed in order to speed up compensation to accident victims to pay for medical expenses. No-fault means that car accident victims file for benefits through the insurer of the car in which they were injured, even if the other driver is believed to be at fault. However, if you are a pedestrian hit by a car or truck, the insurer for the vehicle that hit you will be paying your medical bills and lost wages.


Contact a personal injury attorney for advice on the following process:


  • Your insurance company needs to be contacted at once. Phone them with your policy information or have a family member do so. Stress the severity of the situation.
  • The insurance company will send a “no-fault application” immediately, which must be filled out within 30 days. Do this promptly. Failure to complete and submit paperwork may result in denial of coverage due to “lack of notice.”
  • Follow up on all paperwork. Call the insurance company to make sure no further information is required. This ties up any loose ends and assures that compensation is forthcoming.


Some people delay filing because they think they feel okay after their accident. The fact is, however, that some injuries aren’t as apparent as others. Hence, accident victims should always be checked by a doctor to determine the presence of internal injuries and other issues that may result in deadly consequences.


In many no-fault states, the victim is not able to sue the driver at fault for pain and suffering, emotional distress and inconvenience. However, New York’s no-fault laws include a “serious injury threshold” clause, which states that a liability claim can be filed by those who are considered seriously hurt, explains New York personal injury lawyer, Harley Fastman, who’s law firm practices car accident cases in Nassau and Suffolk County, Westchester, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx.


Anyone who files a successful personal injury suit against the party at fault for serious injuries suffered in a car accident may receive several types of damages including not only payment of past and future medical costs but also lost wages, loss of pension or annuity, pain and suffering, and non-economic damages such as loss of consortium (loss of benefits of a family relationship due to injury).


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident, it’s time to investigate your legal options. For more information, call 516-437-7300 or complete the convenient Online Case Review Form on this website.

Posted on June 30th, 2011

Texting While Driving Prompts Call for New Legislation in New York

Maybe you know someone who does it. Maybe you’ve done it yourself at times. Perhaps you’ve warned your teenagers not to but wonder if they heeded your advice. Regardless of the circumstances, the fact remains that texting while driving in New York is illegal and has been since 2009, when Governor Paterson signed a bill that said drivers in NY could no longer read or send pictures or text messages from any handheld device (including a laptop) while operating their vehicle.


Though the New York law carries a $150 fine, officials and others say it has been hard to enforce because it was dubbed a “secondary violation.” In other words, the driver has to be stopped for some other infraction and “caught” texting in order to be fined. However, the NY legislature has recently proposed changing texting to a “primary violation”, which allows police officers to stop someone whom they believe to be texting or reading a message. In return, drivers who are issued a citation will get 3 penalty points for each incidence if Governor Andrew Cuomo’s new version of the law is passed.


Looking at national statistics, it’s easy to understand why The Empire State adopted the original 2009 bill and is pushing for the new legislation. In 2009, “distracted” drivers caused the death of 5,500 people on America’s roadways. And those are only the incidents that were confirmed as involving texting or other cellular telephone operation.


Experts estimate there were probably hundreds more incidents that went undiscovered. In New York State alone, nearly 4,000 tickets were issued for texting while driving from the day of the inception of the law until March 2011, says the Department of Motor Vehicles. New York personal injury attorney, Harley Fastman, notes that as an experienced New York car accident attorney, he is seeing more and more texting-related cases as well.


The demographic most responsible for texting-related accidents – as one might suspect – has been teens and young adults, particular newer drivers who don’t yet have a grasp on what it truly takes to be a responsible driver. Fastman, who regularly deals with New York personal injury lawsuits, cites national statistics which state that about half of all drivers under the age of 18 admit to texting while driving. In a 2009 survey, some 61 percent also admitted to “risky driving behavior.”


Related studies, Harley Fastman notes, show that teens who text while driving typically reduce their reaction time to that of a 70 year-old driver. Furthermore, teens admit that texting is their number one distraction though many of them have elected not to cease the habit, driving with one hand on the wheel and their mind on the message they’re sending to their friend. Some admit they finally stop texting when they’ve had a close call. Others wait until it’s too late, says Fastman, who’s law firm practices car accident cases throughout New York including Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, Nassau, Brooklyn, Suffolk and Westchester.


If you’ve been involved in an auto accident involving a distracted driver, it’s important to investigate your legal options. For more information about your rights as an accident victim, call 516-437-7300 today or complete our Online Case Review Form.