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Fatal Accidents from Impaired Driving an Increasing Problem in New York

Motorists driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol is still a major problem in New York, as new data published in an Adirondack Daily Enterprise (Saranac Lake, NY) column indicates. Over two out of every five fatalities are related to drugs or alcohol.

According to a study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 36,560 traffic deaths in 2018, nearly 30%, or over 10,000 people, were in alcohol-impaired motor vehicle accidents. As a result, the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) gave funding to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research (ITSMR), a research center within New York University at Albany, to update its studies regarding the involvement of drugs and alcohol in fatal and personal injury crashes in New York.

The ITSMR found the number of intoxicated deadly crashes in 2019 had fallen 12% since 2015. Impaired fatal crashes made up 38% to 51% of all deadly accidents during the four-year span from 2015 to 2019. In 2018, nearly half (42%) of reported impaired fatal and personal injury crashes happened on weekends, and 58% happened at night (from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.). The study showed that 51% of the intoxicated fatal and personal injury crashes that year involved more than one vehicle, and 35% involved just one vehicle. Cyclists and pedestrians were victims in 14% of the intoxicated fatal and personal injury crashes.

In 2019, three-quarters of intoxicated drivers in fatal accidents were male. That same year, drivers between the ages 21 and 29 made up 30% of impaired fatal and personal injury crashes. Drivers between the ages of 30 and 39 made up 27%. Drivers 60 and older made up just 8% of impaired fatalities and personal injury crashes, despite making up 30% of the licensed drivers in New York. Also, 4% of these crashes involved people under the legal drinking age of 21.

Drunk Driving Accident Injuries

Common injuries sustained by victims of drunk driving accidents in New York include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash and neck injuries
  • Cuts, bruises, and lacerations
  • Amputations
  • Fractures and broken bones
  • Internal injuries
  • Burn injuries
  • Disfiguring facial injuries and scars
  • Soft tissue injuries

You Could Be Owed Compensation

 Depending on the facts and circumstances of the drunk driving truck accident, you could be entitled to various types of compensation, including:

  • Medical expenses (past and future)
  • Rehabilitation and therapy
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium

Contact a New York Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured from a motor vehicle accident caused by a drunk driver, you might be eligible to pursue a claim for financial compensation. At Hach & Rose, LLP, our skilled and compassionate personal injury lawyers are prepared to help you hold the negligent party accountable. Call now for a free and confidential consultation.

 


Why Emptier Streets Are More Dangerous In New York

The coronavirus pandemic hit New York City especially hard in the first few months that the virus spread across the United States. Traffic on the streets mirrored the logical trend of more people staying home and only going out when necessary – it decreased dramatically. But the New York Times reported a troubling statistic emerged alongside this trend. There were more deadly car accidents in 2020 than usual in the city.

This is despite the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted a plan in 2014 to increasingly improve safety on the streets, named Vision Zero. This plan aimed to completely eliminate traffic-related deaths in the city by 2024. With the upward trend of accidents occurring during the pandemic, this goal is becoming more unrealistic. But how did this happen?

The New York Times suggested that because New Yorkers felt isolated, cramped, and bored in their homes while attempting to shield themselves from the virus, they took to the streets to blow off some steam and recapture their freedom. This translated to a higher number of motorcycle riders and street racers on the roads than the city normally sees on an average night.

Because of this increased trend in reckless driving, car and motorcycle accident-related deaths rose 76% in one year. In 2019, the city recorded 68 motor vehicle deaths. But in 2020, that number rose to 120. However, the article reported that the number of pedestrian- and bicycle-related deaths dropped in 2020, related to past years.

NY Mirrors a National Trend

So, even though the city streets are still not as crowded as they were before the pandemic, they likely still have more reckless drivers on them than on an average, pre-pandemic day. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2020, traffic-related deaths increased across the nation. This federal agency recorded traffic-related deaths in all states and found that the coronavirus pandemic is likely connected to this higher number of deaths on our streets.  

Elderly and older people tended to stay home more often than younger people as the virus gained a chokehold on the country. Older people are generally more cautious, slower drivers, and therefore tend to cause fewer traffic accidents due to speeding. But younger, more adventurous drivers tend to cause accidents while speeding or driving recklessly. And because young people had less incentive to stay home during the pandemic, they were more likely to be on the roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also believes that an increase in drug and alcohol usage during the pandemic is a factor in increased accidents. While Americans turned to substances to cope with the stress of the pandemic – from unemployment to a sickness in the family to strained finances – substance-related traffic accidents spiked across the nation.

Contact a New York Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a motorcycle or car accident in the New York City area, do not hesitate to reach out to the accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP immediately. Our lawyers have years of experience handling cases like yours and will fight to win the maximum compensation for you. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.


New York City Snow Removal Requirements

During the winter months, the city of New York requires property owners and renters to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks outside their buildings. This helps to keep pedestrians safe and reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident. The city released a guidebook outlining what exactly property owners, managers, and residents are required to do after a snowfall.

 According to the New York City Department of Sanitation, homeowners, property managers, and tenants should prepare for the winter season by gathering the necessary supplies for clearing snow. This could include shovels, plows, and salt, since salt naturally melts ice. The department also recommends hiring an outside service when the snowfall is too heavy for you to clear on your own.

 The guidebook states that anyone who owns, leases, rents, or manages a property can be held responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to the building of snow and ice. You do not need to clean the snow and ice while the snow is falling, or even immediately after it stops snowing. The department lays out a timeline for when snow must be removed, depending on the time it stops snowing. For example, if it stopped snowing sometime between 7 a.m. and 4:59 p.m., you must clear the snow and ice within four hours after it stopped.

Protect Yourself and Passersby

 Removing snow from a sidewalk can be a very strenuous activity, depending on the amount of snow you have to shovel. If you wait until it stops falling, Consumer Reports recommends that you remove the snow in layers, and only carry as much snow as you are comfortable lifting. Between 1990 and 2006, about 11,500 people injured themselves while shoveling snow each year. It’s important to use the right tools and ask for help when you need it.

 Clearing the snow from the area around your building will help protect pedestrians passing by, but will also help protect you from being held liable for an accident on your premises. By clearing a path for people to pass safely, it is less likely that someone will slip and fall on a snowy or icy surface and hit you with a premises liability lawsuit. The law varies from state to state, but in New York, the property owner will be held liable if someone was injured while walking on snow that was not cleared in a timely manner, as this constitutes a hazardous condition.

 Property owners who do not comply with this mandate will face fines up to $350.

 Contact a New York Attorney

If you were involved in an accident in New York City, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, including your medical expenses, lost wages, more. The New York slip and fall attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to assist you. We’ll do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with a member of our team.


Injury Data Reveals Infrastructure Need for E-Scooter Riders in NY

The uptick in electric scooter riding in New York City has come with a slew of complications, including a rising number of scooter-related injuries. New York City leaders and scooter company officials alike are weighing their options for creating a safer transit environment for these e-scooters. One recent report suggests that the most promising option is to create more third-lane, or bike lane, options for electric scooters.

This report, compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), found that most people who are injured in scooter accidents were riding on a sidewalk at the time of their accident. Their research suggests that scooter riders often do not feel safe enough to share the road with cars, so they opt for using sidewalks when bike lanes are not available. While this may keep scooter riders safe from colliding with vehicles, it puts pedestrians who use sidewalks at a greater risk.

The data show that three out of every five scooter riders who were injured sustained their injuries while riding on a sidewalk. Conversely, only one out of five of the injured riders was hurt while riding in a bike lane. About a quarter of riders who were injured were in a traffic lane with cars when they were injured. These injuries tend to be more serious compared to the bike lane or sidewalk injuries.

Electric scooter injuries can include broken bones, cuts and bruises, and even traumatic brain injuries. This is exacerbated by the fact that many people use electric scooters for fun, not for commuting to work. This means that numerous riders fail to wear helmets while operating the scooter. Some riders have died from their injuries, which necessitated a temporary pause on Revel scooters in the city this summer.

Designing a Safer City for E-Scooters

The IIHS report on scooter injuries reveals a gap in city infrastructure that, until addressed, will continue to cause scooter injuries and even deaths. More scooter riders are using sidewalks because they do not have adequate access to bike lanes, which in turn results in more accidents. This also puts pedestrians at a higher risk of being hit.

Scooter companies such as Link, Bird, and Lime all agree that adding third lanes to city infrastructure would be greatly beneficial to scooter riders. A spokesman for Lime said, “Adding street space for vulnerable road users like scooter riders, cyclists, and pedestrians at the expense of cars is the number one way to make streets safer for all users.”

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a scooter accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you were partly at fault. The New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP have the experience and determination it takes to win the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with an attorney.


Bicycle Helmet Laws in New York

Riding a bicycle in the city is one of the best ways to get around. It’s free, it’s good exercise, and it gives you a close-up look at your surroundings. However, the lack of a protective barrier usually provided by a car necessitates some extra safety precautions.

In New York State, everyone under the age of 14 is required by law to wear a helmet while riding on a bicycle, even as a passenger. Children younger than one year of age are not allowed to ride as passengers on a bicycle. There are no explicit laws requiring adults to wear helmets while riding a bike in New York State, but some counties like Rockland and Erie counties have passed laws requiring anyone riding within the county to wear a helmet.

Even though there is no law specifically requiring adults to wear a helmet while bike riding, a helmet could be the difference between life and death in a serious accident. According to a report from CBS 2, helmets reduce the risk of serious injury in a bicycle accident by up to 85%. Likewise, a report from 2008 found that 91% of bike riders killed in accidents that year were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. There is no state in America that requires adults over the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, but it’s clearly important to wear one for public safety.  

According to the New York Police Department, 693 cyclists were injured in New York City in September 2020, and six cyclists died. Experts suggest that wearing a helmet could save your life in the event of a collision.

Still, children under the age of 14 are required by state law to wear a helmet any time they are riding on a bike. Parents could be fined up to $50 if their child is riding without one. Helmets can reduce the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury by 88% in the event of an accident.

Selecting a Bicycle Helmet

When shopping for a helmet, there are a few factors to take into consideration. The New York Health Department recommends looking for the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) sticker on the helmet. This ensures that the helmet meets safety standards. The helmet should sit on your head evenly and snugly, not tipping forward or backward. There should be about two finger widths distance between the front of the helmet and your eyebrows. Always keep the helmet buckled under your chin while riding.

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you were partly at fault. The New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can build your case and help you win maximum compensation for your injuries. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to schedule your free consultation.


Outdoor Dining in NYC Poses Safety Risk to Patrons

New York City restaurants have pivoted their dining room setups to comply with the city’s Open Restaurants program. The coronavirus pandemic has hit restaurants especially hard, but the city introduced the Open Restaurants initiative to help eateries get their revenues back on track. The guidelines allow restaurants to set up socially distanced tables outside – even on sidewalks and in the streets. While this has allowed restaurant owners to serve more customers safely in regard to the virus, it has presented a new and potentially deadly dilemma.

By seating guests on roadways and sidewalks, restaurant owners put them at a greater risk of getting hit by errant drivers, especially when the roads are narrow. Despite the city’s mandate to construct blockades between the roadway and the tables, there have already been four accidents in which a vehicle drove into dining tables since the government allowed outdoor seating in June.

According to NYC.gov, the barriers between the seating area in the roadway and the lanes must be 18 inches wide and no more than 36 inches tall. However, they do not require the barricades to be a certain weight or made of a specified material. Because of this lack of specification, restaurants are constructing barricades made from weaker materials, such as plywood or decorative planters.

The New York Post reported that a pickup truck slammed into the outdoor seating area of the cocktail bar, L’Wren, located on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, on July 21. The restaurant owner, Travis Klaus, said no one was seriously injured, but that the accident likely scared away some of his regular customers. Police reported that the 22-year-old driver of the pickup truck did not have a driver’s license and attempted to flee the scene. A L’Wren customer chased him down and stayed with him until the police arrived.

About 6,000 restaurants spread across the five boroughs are operating with outdoor seating in a roadway, according to the New York Post. The city has been carrying out inspections to ensure the safety of these dining areas and the compliance of their Open Restaurant guidelines. However, these accidents continue to happen, even when the barricades are deemed compliant, such as at L’Wren.

Contact a New York Car Accident and Injury Lawyer

If you were hit by a car while dining outside, either on a sidewalk or in a roadway, call the attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. You may be facing expensive medical bills, as well as dealing with pain and suffering, and we want to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to get in touch with a member of our team today. We offer free consultations so that you can learn about your legal options.


What Causes Car Accidents in New York City?

In New York City, there is a car accident every two minutes. This amounts to over 200,000 car accidents every year. Out of those 200,000 accidents, there are close to 200 fatalities. But why are there so many accidents in just one city? Factors such as poor road conditions, dangerous driving hours, speeding, congestion, and age contribute to the high number of accidents.

One of the top causes of car accidents in New York City is negligence on the part of at-fault drivers, which is entirely out of the victim’s control. Negligence in driving could refer to driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs or being distracted by something such as a phone while driving. When a driver is distracted or inebriated on the road, they run the risk of swerving into oncoming traffic, drifting into the lane next to them, or running red lights. The results of these types of errors can range from minor to fatal.

Another major contributing factor to car accidents in New York is unsafe road conditions. Weather in the city can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous for driving. In the fall, rainy and foggy conditions make roads slick and reduce visibility, leaving the driver at risk of skidding their tires or being unable to see the vehicle in front of them. During winter, snow and ice compound these problems by adding elements such as black ice and snow flurries. During blizzards, the driver may not be able to see the vehicle in front of them until it is too late, and when they brake, their car may skid and rear-end the other vehicle.

Some drivers pose a threat to fellow drivers simply because of age-related factors. Senior citizens are more likely to suffer from poor eyesight, hearing loss, and delayed reaction times. These issues could threaten both pedestrians and other drivers. As senior citizens get older, they may consider taking additional precautions, such as only driving during the day. They may also consider ride-sharing options or public transportation if they’re starting to see signs that it may no longer be safe to drive. These signs might include stopping at green lights or running red lights, sideswiping parked cars, or getting lost more easily.

Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer

It may seem like getting into an accident is almost beyond your control but finding the right legal firm to represent you afterward is not. Hiring the right personal injury firm after a car accident is the most valuable decision you can make immediately following your injury. The right firm could be the difference between receiving the maximum compensation and only receiving the bare minimum or nothing at all.

If you’ve been in an accident, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the New York car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. We will fight aggressively for your right to compensation while you focus on healing. Call us at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your next steps with a dedicated member of our team.


Electric Scooter Injuries Are on the Rise, Doctors Say

Injuries sustained from electric scooter accidents nearly doubled from 2018 to 2019, according to a new study. Since electric scooters became a popular mode of transportation in 2014, they have caused a number of accidents, some of them fatal. As scooter companies reckon with these unintended consequences, doctors have grown used to seeing scooter injuries in their emergency rooms.

According to an article from Medical Xpress, in 2019, there were 29,600 scooter injuries nationwide that required hospital treatment. Dr. Eric Wagner, a surgeon at Emory University, said many of the injuries he treats are serious head injuries. Though scooter companies such as Lime encourage helmet use for all of their riders, many choose not to wear them. This results in serious injuries when a rider falls from the scooter or is struck by another vehicle.

Among the injuries riders sustain from scooter accidents are:

  • Brain bleeds
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Skull fractures
  • Internal organ injuries

Doctors are especially concerned about the potential for riders to suffer a traumatic brain injury when they fall off a scooter at a high rate of speed. About 13% of all emergency room scooter cases that doctors see are traumatic brain injuries, which are caused by violent blows to the head. They can also occur when part of the fragmented skull pierces the brain after a serious fall.

Common symptoms of traumatic brain injuries are:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Ringing of the ears
  • Slight nausea

However, any of the following symptoms may indicate a more severe brain injury:

  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of memory
  • Clear fluid starts leaking from your nose or ears
  • Loss of muscle control

The demographic that accounted for the greatest number of scooter injuries in the past five years was men aged 15 to 35, according to Medical Xpress. Doctors say scooter accidents can be avoided or minimized by avoiding alcohol and substances while driving the scooter and wearing a helmet. Additionally, experts warn against going too fast on the scooter, especially if you are riding it at an older age when your balance, coordination, and reaction time might be slower. Many accidents can be avoided if scooter riders abide by traffic laws, ride at a moderate speed, and wear protective gear.

Contact a New York Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in a scooter accident, you might be entitled to compensation. The lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP have secured substantial recovery for clients injured through no fault of their own, and they want to do the same for you. Reach out to our legal team at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your legal options and how much your case might be worth.


Pedestrian Injured by Falling Basket Designed to Protect Passersby From Falling Subway Debris

A metal basket struck a pedestrian Sunday, August 2, seriously injuring them and sending them to Jamaica Hospital for treatment. This type of basket is attached to the undersides of elevated subways throughout New York City and is designed to catch debris that often falls loose from the tracks.

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), construction crews were working on the East New York J and Z line tracks at the time of the accident, around 11:45 a.m. The pedestrian, whose identity has not been released, was walking near the intersection of Fulton St. and Alabama Avenue when the basket fell on them, according to the Daily News.

The protective metal baskets were only installed last year after the MTA received numerous reports of debris falling on pedestrians. But as soon as last October, the MTA found that the baskets were not as trustworthy as they should have been and were not working as designed. The Daily News reported that there are 325,000 metal baskets installed for the 168 miles of elevated subway tracks in New York City.

Last October, the MTA issued a rapid inspection of all 325,000 baskets after a 15-piece hunk of metal fell from the tracks and crashed through a parked car. The inspection found over 2 million pieces of debris that could potentially fall and not be caught by the baskets, according to the Daily News. The MTA had planned to replace the metal baskets with safer, more reliable netting throughout the city, but the coronavirus pandemic put this plan on hold.

As the plan for netting replacements waits out a persistent pandemic, more instances of falling debris and even falling baskets are likely to occur. New Yorkers can potentially sue the MTA, or any government entity, if they are injured as a result of that entity’s negligence or failure to act responsibly. But there are generally many rules and deadlines to keep in mind if you plan to sue a government entity such as the MTA.

Filing a Notice of Claim

If you suffered an injury caused by the MTA, you must file a Notice of Claim within 90 days of the injury. Family members can also file a Notice of Claim for the wrongful death of another family member. The Notice of Claim is an official document that includes information such as:

  • The victim’s name and address, and the name and address of their attorney
  • The time and location of where the injury or accident occurred
  • The circumstances surrounding this claim
  • The type and degree of injuries sustained

After the government receives this claim, they will have 30 days to respond with a request for a hearing. During this hearing, the victim or their family will testify under oath to the circumstances of their injury. Then, the victim or their family can file a legal suit against the MTA (or other entity).

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured by falling subway debris or injured on public transit due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a right to compensation. The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can help you sort out the facts of your case and understand how much it might be worth. Our attorneys have spent years winning compensation for our clients after they sustained injuries and want to do the same for you. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to schedule your free consultation.


Scooter Company Revel Suspends NYC Operations After Fatal Crashes

The ride-sharing scooter company Revel has temporarily suspended its services in New York City while the company reassesses safety protocols following two deadly accidents.

On July 28, the scooter service sent out the following message on Twitter:

New York riders – starting today, NYC service will be shut down until further notice. We’re reviewing and strengthening our rider accountability and safety measures and communicating with city officials, and we look forward to serving you again in the near future.

A local CBS broadcast journalist died after falling off a Revel moped on July 18. The victim, 26-year-old Nina Kapur, was riding on the back of the moped, which was being driven by an unidentified 26-year-old man at the time of the accident. Revel provides riders with two helmets each time they rent a moped, but neither Kapur nor the driver was wearing them. Kapur died at Bellevue Hospital on the same day. The driver only suffered minor injuries.

Just ten days after Kapur’s death, 32-year-old Jeremy Malave died after he crashed his Revel scooter into a light pole and suffered severe head trauma in Queens. Officials are unsure whether he was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.

Some state officials, including New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), called for Revel to suspend and reevaluate their practices, according to Fox News. On Twitter, Espaillat called for the scooters to be removed from city streets, suggesting that they presented a clear danger to motorists, riders, and pedestrians. Mayor de Blasio said that Revel agreed to suspend operations after meeting with him on July 28.

Before its suspension, Revel allowed anyone 21 and older to operate the scooter when they provide a valid driver’s license and pay a small fee. No one younger than 18 was allowed to ride on the moped. New York City requires riders to wear helmets within city limits, but many Revel riders were often spotted without the helmets provided with each scooter.

The suspension comes just weeks after Revel suspended 1,000 New York City riders for not cooperating with the company’s safety guidelines. Prior to the suspension, Revel told the New York Times that Kapur’s death was the first fatality the company had seen in over 3 million rides.

Call a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been injured in an accident involving a Revel scooter, the attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP want to help you win the compensation you deserve. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Hach & Rose, LLP is still poised and ready to fight for your rights and the compensation that you deserve.

If you or a loved one has suffered because of someone else’s reckless or negligent actions, please reach out to the New York personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. Call us at (212) 779-0057 or make an appointment online to consult with a member of our legal team today.


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