Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Car accidents occur frequently in New York, but especially for those who have never been involved in one, the process can be scary and confusing. Taking a few important steps can ensure that the situation is handled as quickly and effectively as possible.

Stop Immediately

A silver car crashed in the front
No matter who caused the car accident, it’s important that both parties stop immediately. Leaving the scene of an accident is illegal and can lead to license revocation, fines, and/or a jail sentence. Once you’ve stopped, check with each passenger in your vehicle for injuries before making contact with the other driver to determine their condition and exchange information, including name and address, insurance information, vehicle registration, license plate number, and driver’s license number.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the leading cause of a vehicle accident is a driver turning left at an intersection. These types of accidents are associated with increased risk of injury or death due to the crossing of oncoming traffic, which is typically traveling at a greater speed than the turning driver. However, determining who is at fault in a left turn collision can be difficult, and drivers need to know what to do if it occurs.

Who Has the Right of Way When Making a Left Turn?

A person turning the steering wheel of a vehicle upside down

New York Vehicle and Traffic Law §1141 states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection…shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close as to constitute an immediate hazard.” Additionally, § 1163 of the Traffic Laws of the City of New York emphasizes that no turns should be made at an intersection unless they “can be made with reasonable safety.”

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Associate, Edward A. Averbuch took a verdict in Supreme Court, New York County in late August 2019 in a case where Leav & Steinberg represented plaintiff, a 43 year old male, who suffered injuries in an automobile accident that took place in early 2014.

It was plaintiff’s position at trial that his injuries raised to the level of “serious injuries”, as that term is defined by the Insurance Law, because he suffered tears to the tendons of the shoulder, including the rotator cuff, as well as derangement and impingement syndromes to the shoulder–all of which required surgical intervention to repair in August 2015. The surgeon opined as to the following intra operative findings: detached tear of the labrum, grade I chondromalacia of the central portion of the glenoid and partial thickness tearing of the rotator cuff on the bursal side of the joint. In addition, plaintiff also sustained a herniated disc in the lumbar spine and two herniated discs in the thoracic spine. The injuries to the spine were withdrawn prior to trial as plaintiff suffered similar injuries in a prior accident.

The trial commenced on the issue of damages only. Earlier in the litigation, plaintiff filed a motion seeking summary judgment on the issue of liability, which was granted as against the defendant in October 2018.

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Two separate fatal accidents occurred within hours of each other this past weekend in New York City.

On Saturday, December 1, at 6:30 p.m., a 65-year-old Staten Island man, who was changing his tire on East 28th Street near Shore Parkway in Brooklyn, was fatally struck by a white minivan. The driver of the minivan then fled the scene and abandoned his vehicle a few blocks away from the accident. The vehicle, which had Pennsylvania plates, was later found by police at Emmons Avenue and Bragg Street. Medics rushed the victim to the hospital, but unfortunately, he passed away. The driver has not yet been located and there is currently no description of the driver. An investigation by NYPD’s Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Squad is currently underway.

Earlier in the day, an 89-year-old woman was killed while walking across Riverdale Ave., near West 263rd Street in the Bronx. The victim was crossing the street when she was struck by an SUV making a left-hand turn. She was rushed to St. Barnabas Hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries. The driver, who tested negative for alcohol, did not leave the scene of the accident.  The local news agency, Bronx 12 News reported on the story.  Click here for the link.

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On July 10th, 2018, Trial Attorney, Ricardo J. Martinez, obtained a $287,000 verdict on behalf of one of our clients who sustained minor injuries to his lower back as a result of an arrest gone wrong.  On June 25th, 2014, one of our clients was arrested for jumping a subway turnstile in Manhattan.  Undercover NYPD officers witnessed the infraction and arrested our client. They placed him in the back of a police van and violated a very basic safety rule, they failed to place a seat belt on our client.  During transport, the van come to a sudden stop causing our client to be thrown into a metal partition.  He was taking to a hospital where he complained of shoulder pain.  Several weeks later, his back started to hurt and he sought medical treatment.  He was diagnosed with a lower back disc bulge. He had minimal treatment before discontinuing physical therapy because he had to go back to work.  Several years later, he had 2 epidural injections in his lower back.

Prior to trial, the defendants, The City of New York, offered $35,000 to settle the case. We advised our client to reject the offer, which he did.  During trial, the defendants’ attorneys argued that our client was in fact seat belted and that even if he wasn’t, his injuries were minor and had resolved by the time the trial was held.  Mr. Martinez successfully convinced the jury that our client was not seat belted and that his injuries were indeed significant and he would live with them the rest of his life.  The jury compensated our client $287,000 for his pain and suffering, which was a direct result of the defendants’ negligence.

This case highlights the importance of hiring the right attorneys that aren’t scared to go to trial if the defendants’ are not willing to make a fair offer.

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Leav & Steinberg, LLP is committed to excellence and client satisfaction. One may ask how this is accomplished? Where does Leav & Steinberg win their cases? The answer is simple. We win our cases at intake. From the second our clients walk through our doors; our firm is dedicated to achieving the most favorable outcome.

A young man was injured on his motorcycle when the defendant was making an illegal U-turn and struck him causing him to be thrown off his motorcycle. He then retained Leav & Steinberg, LLP where one of our associates met him at the hospital at his request. Our client sustained serious personal injuries and required approximately five surgeries after breaking his left leg in two places.

The defendant contested liability in that he denied that his vehicle ever came into contact with our client.

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In 2013, a New York Police Officer was responding to a motor vehicle accident in the Bronx.  While standing by her patrol car gathering documents to complete, an uninvolved van stopped uphill just ahead of the accident began rolling backwards.  Plaintiff, a single mother, working for the Police Department for over 10 years tried to move out of the way but was pinned between the patrol car as she was struck by the van’s sideview mirror.

She was taken to the scene by ambulance and treated for a right (dominant hand) wrist injury.  X-rays were initially negative, but within a week, the swelling had subsided and a radius fracture was diagnosed along with a nerve injury to her hand.

Leav & Steinberg, LLP had represented several members of her family before and been successful for them.  However, she was also aware that our firm’s reputation for successfully litigating cases against The New York Police Department for negligence. Wanting a firm that would fight for justice for anyone seriously injured,  she contacted partner Edward Steinberg, who came to her home and spent time understanding the details of the case, and limits the injury was going to cause on her career.

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On the morning of December 27, 2016, a multi vehicle accident, including two tractor trailers, killed three men and injured five more. The accident occurred at approximately 5:45 a.m., when the two tractor trailers, a Toyota sedan, and a pick-up truck collided on the eastbound lane of the Cross Bronx Expressway near Webster Ave. The three men traveling in the pick-up truck died at the scene of the accident.

The five injured passengers were taken to St. Barnabas Hospital and Bronx-Lebanon Hospital and are all in stable condition.

Leav & Steinberg has successfully represented a 25 year old male who was involved in an automobile accident and suffered multiple injuries. A $1,025,000.00 settlement before trial was obtained for the injuries our client sustained in the accident.

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August 30, 2016 was a deadly night in Queens and the Bronx.  A tragic collision occurred on the Long Island Expressway in Queens.  According to the New York Post, the multiple fatality and multiple vehicle collision may have been caused by drag racing.  See article here.  Meanwhile, in the Bronx, a pedestrian was killed after being struck by two vehicles while crossing Bronxdale Avenue at the intersection of Bronxdale Avenue and Barnes Avenue.  The first of the two vehicles to strike the pedestrian fled the scene.  See article here.  Unfortunately, all too often in collisions like this there is inadequate insurance to compensate the injured victims and the families of the decedents.  In New York State, the minimum insurance required is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident.  If you own an automobile check with your insurance carrier to find out about Supplemental Uninsured Motorist coverage to protect your interests in the event you are in a collision with a vehicle that has inadequate coverage.

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As an attorney representing car accident victims quite often, the recent news of two Tesla vehicles that crashed while in self-driving or autonomous driving mode raised a lot of questions.  From the attorney perspective, we are taught to evaluate an accident applying two major elements.  The first element is negligence, a two prong question.  First, d id the operator of a motor vehicle, operate his or her car in a way that was unreasonable under the circumstances.  The failure to operate your car in a reasonable manner is the first element of negligence.  The second element is proving that that failure, was a substantial factor or proximate cause of the accident.  The lines are blurred when we consider modern technology.  We must now consider whether the vehicle itself was negligent.

Tesla advises all of its owners that it’s autopilot feature DOES NOT mean that the vehicle is operating itself.  However, all marketing and news stories are describing the benefits of placing the car in autopilot mode and allowing the car and its sensors to sense the road and vehicles and obstructions around it.  Given this dichotomy, one must ask if the warning given is sufficient to free Tesla of any responsibility.

Joshua Brown’s death was the first reported death while operating a vehicle in autopilot mode.  This month, his vehicle collided with an 18 wheeler when the autopilot feature and the surrounding sun glare did not allow the vehicle’s autopilot features to react in a reasonable and timely manner.  The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating this accident with a focus on fault of the vehicle’s autopilot features.