Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Despite the backlog of court cases and slowdown in the Court system, Leav & Steinberg LLP was successful in resolving a case for a man despite the fact that the defendant claimed that the accident was caused by our client and that his injuries were not related or serious.

Brooklyn, New York is among the largest most populated cities in America.  Car accident’s occur all the time.  Most of the time, the parties are able to work out their disputes amicably.  Here a nice older man claimed he was rear ended by a driver while travelling near Ocean Avenue and Avenue N.  The other drive claimed our client the cause of the accident as he alleged our client cut him off in traffic.  Despite the defendant taking this position we pushed ahead and took the deposition of the defendant driver.  Partner, Daniel Leav was successful in proving that the driver’s version attempting to blame our accident was not credible. After two years of denying liability, the defendant reached out to our office and we were able to obtain an excellent result for our client.

$175,000.00 recovery obtained for a 64 year old man who claims he was rear ended by a car.  The defendant car claimed our client turned suddenly into his path of travel.  The client sustained a shoulder injury among other injuries and underwent a shoulder arthroscopic surgery.  While a motion as to whether the injuries were serious and related was pending the matter was settled for a figure representing full value.

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On February 27, 2015, at 4:00AM, a vehicle traveling in the wrong direction on Sprain Brook Parkway, between Route 100 B and the Heatherdell Road overpass in Greenburgh, Westchester County, violently collided head-on with a vehicle that was traveling the in the right direction on that roadway.

The impact was so heavy, that it propelled the vehicle over the highway’s guardrail, pinning the driver inside his vehicle. The first responders who arrived at the scene had to use the jaws of life to cut the vehicle to reach the driver to administer medical attention. The accident resulted in the driver’s death.

During their investigation, the police officers noticed a strong smell of alcohol coming from the driver of the vehicle that was traveling in the wrong direction, as well as drugs inside of his vehicle.

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On February 11, 2015, a black-car driver, while approaching a stopped vehicle in front of him on the West Side Highway in Manhattan, rammed his car into the back of that vehicle, causing his car to veer to the left and smash into the metal posts that divide the road. The driver failed to reduce the speed of his car, failed to maintain a safe distance between the front of his car and the rear of the vehicle stopped in front of him and completely failed to depress the brakes at any time before the accident to attempt to stop his vehicle. The accident resulted in the death of the back seat passenger, Bob Simon, who was rushed that evening to the hospital with devastating head/neck injuries. Since the happening of the accident, it was revealed the driver had his license suspended nine times, the driver’s dispatch received emails from other passengers complaining about his driving and the driver’s superiors received complaints from his fellow co-workers who reported his erratic driving just days before the fatal accident. The black-car was equipped with an event data recorder that will be crucial to piece together the events leading up to the accident. The driver claims he was struck by an unknown vehicle that caused him to black out and lose control of the cab. However, witnesses at the scene of the accident, stated this is not so, but that the driver slammed on the gas pedal and accelerated his vehicle causing it to ram into the rear of the stopped vehicle in front of him. The driver never depressed on the brake pedal at any time before the crash. It is important to demand and send out immediate requests to preserve all event data recorders from any car accident–particularly so with livery cabs and/or medallion taxis which now come equipped with the devices.

Post: Co-worker warned limo boss about Bob Simon’s “erratic” driver

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In the morning of February 13, 2015, at about 8:45AM, a 15-year old girl was walking across Grand Street when she was struck by a MTA bus. The girl was walking across the street with the pedestrian light in her favor within the crosswalk, when the Q59 attempted a left turn onto Grand Street, causing the bus to pin the girl under its left front wheel. The accident happened at or near southbound Union Avenue and Grand Street in Brooklyn, New York. The MTA bus driver was arrested, charged with violation of highway law and issued various appearance tickets after the accident. The MTA bus failed to yield the right of way to a pedestrian who was within the crosswalk, and walking across the street with the signal in her favor. The MTA bus should have waited before even attempting the left turn, until the crosswalk was free and clear of pedestrians. There were several witnesses to the accident. The girl suffered severe injuries to her leg, which was shattered from the impact with the bus. She was removed from the scene and transported to the emergency room of Bellevue Hospital.

Resources:

http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/girl-15-pinned-wheel-brooklyn-city-bus-article-1.2114179

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On the evening of Tuesday, February 3, 2015, a Metro North train collided with an SUV that was stopped on the tracks near Valhalla station. As a result of this tragic accident, the driver of the SUV and five passengers on the train were killed. There were also numerous injuries to other passengers.

While investigators haven’t answered many questions about the crash. Their initial findings are shedding some light on what could have played a role in causing this accident.

Initially it appears that the driver of the SUV was in traffic that was inching toward the crossing, and when the warning lights came on and the crossing gates came down, the driver’s car was within the gates. One of the gates hit the driver’s vehicle, who subsequently got out of her vehicle to check for damage. Seemingly unhurried, the driver got back in the car and proceeded further onto the tracks.

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Traffic Rules and Regulations of the City of New York §4-03(a)(1)(i) provides “…vehicles turning right or left, shall yield the right of way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection or an adjacent crosswalk…” Many times, motorists make left turns onto a roadway without looking and seeing whether there are approaching vehicles, bicyclists or pedestrians entering the intersection, causing serious accidents.

The Appellate Division, Second Department is often faced with cases involving pedestrians or bicyclists struck by motor vehicles. Recently, just this year, the Appellate Division decided France Herly Bien-Aime v. Clare, —N.Y.S.2d—, 2015 NY Slip Op 00713 (2nd Dept., 1-28-2015) and Tsang v. New York City Transit Authority, —N.Y.S.2d—, 2015 NY Slip Op 00875 (2nd Dept., 2-4-2015)

In France, supra, the plaintiff was a pedestrian struck by a vehicle driven by the defendant as she walked across Bedford Avenue, at its intersection with Parkside Avenue, in Brooklyn. The plaintiff testified she stopped at the intersection before stepping onto the street. During that time, she observed traffic and saw the pedestrian “WALK” signal in her favor before entering the street and crossing over Bedford Avenue within the marked crosswalk. She testified she was more than halfway across the street, closer to the other side and still within the crosswalk, when she was struck on the right side by the defendant’s vehicle as it made a left turn into the intersection causing her to fall. The France Court found, based on plaintiff’s testimony, that she entered the intersection after exercising due care. The defendant motorist testified he did not remember looking for any pedestrians crossing the street when he was stopped on Parkside Avenue before making the left turn onto Bedford Avenue. He also testified he did not see the plaintiff pedestrian at any time before the accident, until he saw her on top of his vehicle’s hood, even though there was nothing obstructing his view of the roadway. The France Court granted plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on the issue of liability and found the defendant failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the plaintiff pedestrian was comparatively at fault for the happening of the accident.

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One of a personal injury attorney’s most important tasks is to protect clients. Two major parts of that involve ensuring clients have the best case possible under the law and protecting their privacy. Our last blog was about how injury attorneys can fortify a case with information from vehicle event data recorders. We linked to the New York law about the disclosure of the information recorded by event data records, such as speed, location, and brake performance. That type of activity recording raises privacy concerns, but that comes with the injury case territory.

Another privacy issue arises from a similar recording device, the license plate recorder. License plate recorders are cameras that may be mounted on things like police cars, tow trucks, traffic signs, and bridges and they have the potential to track each and every location an individual has driven. The ACLU has called for more legal restriction on the information obtained by these devices based on rights contained in the Fourth Amendment, in part because private companies are disclosing information with little to no oversight. Some states have already passed laws on the retention of the information collected from these cameras.

New recording devices raise new issues; as technology evolves, so does the law. But personal injury attorneys have been dealing with countless privacy issues since the start. Most commonly we deal with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA law. The law says injury attorneys have to turn over certain medical records and authorizations releasing medical records directly from healthcare providers to the attorneys whose job is to defend the case. A proper HIPAA authorization is always required to release medical records, but generally speaking only records related to the body parts injured in the accident need to be turned over. In Gumbs v. Flushing Town Center III, L.P., 1114 A.D.3d 573, 981 N.Y.S.2d 394 (1st Dept. 2014), the Appellate Division affirmed the decision of the Honorable Laura Douglas to protect the plaintiff from providing authorizations to the defendants relating to some of his own medical records. His case was related to injuries sustained to his shoulder and ankle. The defendants were seeking records from his cardiologist and primary care physician. The defendants claimed the records were related to the plaintiff’s ability to work and his life expectancy.

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You get a new case call to your office. The prospective client tells you that they were traveling on a road with the right of way when a car traveling in the opposite direction seemed to speed up and then made a sudden left turn in front of them. Prior to turning the other car seemed so far away. You get the police report and the offending vehicle says it was fully stopped and when safe to enter began its turn when the collision occurred. Sure the turning car should yield to your client. But you want the smoking gun, the evidence to prove they are being less than truthful.

That time has come.

In 2012 Congress passed Senate Bill 1813, Section 31406 which mandates that all cars sold in the United States starting in 2015 be equipped with Event Data Recorders.

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Bridges are ubiquitous in New York City. To get from Manhattan Island, Staten Island, or Long Island to each other or the main continent requires a bridge or a tunnel. And most of those bridges are for car travel. And cars get into accidents. Recently the Tappan Zee Bridge was the sight of a major accident that resulted in a death.

The Accident

On July 23, 2013, an S.U.V. caused an accident on the Tappan Zee Bridge. The S.U.V. was traveling south in the northbound lane just before 9 p.m. The S.U.V. crashed into a Nissan, which rolled over multiple times. A third vehicle avoided the S.U.V. and the Nissan, but was hit from behind by a fourth vehicle. A fifth vehicle sideswiped the S.U.V. before the traffic was brought to a standstill. The passenger in the Nissan was pronounced dead on the scene. Four others were injured and taken to local hospitals. Traffic was snarled for hours.

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Exploding cars are de rigueur in action movies. But in real life, it is pretty scary. Think about the Ford Pinto and one pictures exploding gas tanks. This was used to great comic effect in the movie “Top Secret,” a parody of WWII spy movies. But there have been “32 rear-impact collisions that caused fatal fires resulting in 44 deaths in Grand Cherokees, and five accidents that resulted in seven deaths in Jeep Libertys” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Investigation

On August 23, 2010, NHTSA opened an investigation into possible fuel tank explosions during rear-end collision and impacts. This investigation covered Jeep Grand Cherokees for model years 1993 to 2004, Jeep Cherokees for model years 1993 to 2001, and Jeep Libertys for model years 2002 to 2007. This investigation started as a safety defect investigation, but was upgraded to an engineering analysis to determine if the “vehicles contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.” NHTSA said the design of the vehicle with “the location of the gas tanks behind the rear axle of the Jeeps could make them more vulnerable to being ruptured in an accident.”