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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.


Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign

The governor of the state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, launched the “Buckle Up New York, Click It or Ticket” campaign to enforce and encourage the use of seat belts. According to a statement from the governor’s office, this campaign runs through Nov. 29. During and after this campaign, police officers throughout the state will be checking vehicles to ensure that everyone is wearing their seat belt, especially children in the backseat, who may need to be restrained in car seats.

In 2019, New York police issued 26,432 citations for improper or nonexistent seat belt use. However, the governor’s public statement regarding seat belt use looks on the bright side of that number. Data from the Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College found that seat belt compliance reached a record high of 94% in 2019. The goal of Gov. Cuomo’s campaign is to reduce the number of citations and car accident-related injuries that could have been prevented by wearing a seat belt.

Gov. Cuomo signed legislation in August that requires every occupant of the vehicle to wear a seat belt, updating and tightening existing legislation. New York police officers are now able to issue citations or tickets to anyone who is not wearing a seat belt. This also applies to restraining children properly in a booster or car safety seat.

The overarching reason for implementing this new update to the seat belt law is to ensure that everyone on New York’s roads is safer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts are crucial to reducing the risk of injury and death in the event of a car accident. In their Policy Impact report from January 2011, the CDC found that seat belts can reduce the chance of sustaining a serious injury by 50%. If you are wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash, the chance of dying in that accident is reduced by 45%. The report outlined overwhelming evidence in support of the widespread enforcement of seat belt wearing for each occupant in a vehicle, as seat belts are shown to save lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that of the 37,133 people killed in car accidents in 2017, 2,549 could have been saved if they had properly worn a seat belt. New York’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign hopes to cut this number of deaths to zero.

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

Were you injured in a car accident in New York? Even if you were partially at fault, you still may have a right to financial compensation. You should not have to struggle with paying medical bills or the stress of losing income if your injury temporarily puts you out of work.

The New York car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP have decades of collective experience handling cases like yours. Let us do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 for a free case review.


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.


Street-Racers in New York City Take Advantage of Empty Highways

New York City is battling the coronavirus pandemic and all of its unexpected consequences, including street-racers speeding down nearly-empty stretches of road.

Since the city issued stay-at-home orders to flatten the curve of the virus’s spread, the roads have been much emptier than usual. For some New Yorkers, this presented the opportunity to use long stretches of highway as a racetrack, according to an article from Patch.

Specifically, residents in Tribeca complain of about 30 cars and motorcycles racing up and down a mile-long stretch of the West Side Highway. Residents near the roadway say they hear loud revving engines at all hours of the day and late into the night.

Impact of Coronavirus on Driving Safety

These street-racers pose a danger to nearby pedestrians and other drivers on the road. Between 2013 and 2016, there were over 44,000 pedestrian accidents in New York City. Because Mayor Bill de Blasio instructed residents to stay home, there are likely more pedestrians out than usual. Since many people can’t go to school or to work, many have turned to daily walks to get fresh air and exercise. With more pedestrians out and about comes a greater risk of accidents occurring, especially when reckless drivers are present.

Speeding drivers pose a threat to non-racing drivers on these roads, too. The New York Police Department reported 3,922 car accidents in Manhattan in 2018. This number is likely to spike with dangerous drivers on the road. Additionally, there are fewer police officers to respond to complaints about racers because their energy is focused on handling COVID-19. According to Patch, over 7,000 NYPD officers are currently out sick. This is 20% of their police force. The remaining officers must keep themselves available to respond to COVID-19-related calls.

If you are injured in a pedestrian or car accident because of someone else’s reckless driving, you can and should take legal action against them. You should not have to suffer financially because of another person’s negligence. The drivers who are taking advantage of the empty roadways created as a result of COVID-19 are knowingly breaking the law and could cause a tragic accident.

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

You should never have to face the challenges of a car accident alone. You may need help navigating the costs of car repairs, lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. The legal team at Hach & Rose, LLP is here to help you, even during these difficult times.

Given the coronavirus pandemic, we have taken a proactive approach to protecting our clients and employees. We are able to provide the same high-quality service that you have come to expect. We offer online consultations and are here to answer your calls, emails, or messages, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Call (212) 779-0057.


Auto Insurance for Delivery Drivers

With the majority of the country on lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many Americans have lost their jobs and are looking for other ways to make an income. Because restaurants can only offer to-go options right now, food delivery services such as Favor and Uber Eats are booming. Many are taking on these jobs to make some extra cash, but might not know that they need to upgrade their insurance plan to accommodate commercial business if they are driving their own car.

Since food delivery is technically a business use of your vehicle, not personal use, insurance companies might require you to purchase a commercial auto insurance policy. The insurance company will charge more for this policy because they believe you are more likely to get into an accident as a delivery driver or taxi driver, probably because you will likely be on the road much more often than for personal use.

If you plan on taking a job as a food delivery person, you will need to notify your insurance company and ask about the possible consequences of not upgrading your policy. Sticking with your regular personal policy might come back to bite you later if you get into an accident during a delivery and file a claim.

However, some auto insurance companies have already made changes to their policies to accommodate these uncertain and sometimes confusing times. For example, Allstate automatically granted each of their policyholders special coverage for delivering items such as medicine, meal delivery, grocery delivery, etc., through the end of April. In that case, Allstate customers will not need to upgrade their policy to commercial status. Farmers Insurance has enacted a similar extension of their coverage through April 30th, as well.

According to an article by The Rideshare Guy, many food delivery companies like Uber Eats and Domino’s Pizza have their own insurance policies, so their hired drivers don’t need to buy their own commercial policies. However, certain companies’ insurance plans do not extend to drivers in the state of New York, and they will be responsible for purchasing their own commercial policies. Amazon Flex and Uber Eats specifically do not cover New York drivers. GrubHub, Instacart, and Walmart also do not provide company coverage for their drivers.

Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer

If you got into a car accident while delivering food or using your car in a commercial capacity, you might need help navigating your insurance claim. The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to stand up for you and help you get the compensation you’re owed. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your legal options today.


The dangers of driving while drowsy

drowsyAccording to a 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, car crashes caused by drowsy drivers are eight times higher than the previously accepted national estimate. AAA conducted the study by analyzing dashcam footage of 700 average American drivers. Drowsy driving tends to be an underreported cause of car accidents because it can be hard to document and to prove.

Jake Nelson, the director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research for AAA, said, “Missing just two to three hours of sleep can more than quadruple your risk for a crash, which is the equivalent of driving drunk.” A AAA Foundation survey found that nearly 29% of American drivers recently drove while they were almost too tired to keep their eyes open.

Being aware of the fact that you’re overly tired and can’t keep your eyes open is an important factor in keeping yourself and others safe on the road. If you notice that you keep drifting from your lane or can’t remember the last few miles you have driven, you should pull over and at least take a 20-minute nap. AAA experts say that short-term remedies for sleepiness, like chugging coffee or singing with the windows down, won’t outsmart your body’s need for sleep.

Still, AAA recommends that drivers always get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep before getting in the driver’s seat, especially if they have a long trip ahead of them. To avoid driving while drowsy, drivers should try to drive during a time of the day that they’re usually alert and avoid eating heavy foods before the drive.

If you are prescribed a medication that makes you drowsy, talk to your doctor about the best times to take it, or ask if you can take it before bed. AAA also developed Roadwise Rx, which can help you determine whether your medication might affect your safety behind the wheel.

Contact a New York Drowsy Driving Accident Lawyer

If you were injured because of a drowsy driver, you might be entitled to compensation. The New York car accident lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP will be ready to get you the fair compensation you deserve. Call us at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to discuss your rights and legal options today.


Neck and back injuries commonly suffered in car accidents

back injuriesThe back and the neck are the two parts of the body that are most commonly injured in car accidents. Unfortunately, damage to these areas can result in severe trauma to the spinal cord, sometimes leaving the victim with long-lasting health problems. According to an article from Chirotrust, between 40-70% of whiplash victims continue experiencing symptoms of trauma even a decade after the accident.

Whiplash

When the head and the trunk of your body move forcefully in opposite directions, this sometimes results in whiplash. It is extremely common in rear-end car accidents when the body is unexpectedly jolted forward but the head snaps back. The neck, caught between these two oppositely moving parts, experiences extreme stress and is subject to injury. Additionally, when your head is jolted like this, your brain might collide with your skull, causing contusions or a TBI.

Lumbar sprains

When ligaments are torn from their attachments in the lower back, this results in lumbar sprains. Lumbar sprains and strains are the most common cause of chronic back pain because the lower back aids in moving, bending, stretching, and twisting, and often occur because of overuse. But when the lower back is impacted during a car accident, a lumbar sprain can occur instantaneously, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. A doctor may prescribe pain medication and physical therapy to treat the sprain.

Herniated discs

Discs are like soft cushions between the bones that form the spinal cord. They act as shock absorbers for your back and are encased in a hardened outer layer called the annulus. When the inner disc pushes out of its hardened outside and into the spinal canal, this is considered a herniated disc. Herniated discs can cause severe pain because they press on spinal nerves and can be caused by a single severe strain on the back.

Contact a New York car accident lawyer

If you suffered neck or back injuries following a car accident, you might be entitled to compensation for the harm you’ve suffered. The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to stand up for you and help you get the justice you’re owed. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your legal options today.


What is the New York “joint and several liability” law?

New York has a special “joint and several liability” law that drivers should be aware of, especially if you were involved in an accident. There are a few components to this rule that must be understood, including how many people were involved, how much in auto insurance each party possesses, and what percentage of fault can be assigned to each defendant.

In some cases, there may be multiple defendants in an auto accident lawsuit. If it can be determined that someone was at least partially responsible for the accident, they may be tried as a defendant and may be subject to paying damages after the return of the verdict.

Additionally, the amount of coverage each defendant has in their car insurance is a major component of joint and several liability. According to Hach & Rose attorney Michael Rose, many car owners only have $25,000 in car insurance. This may sound like a lot, but in the event of an accident, the damages owed to the plaintiff may far exceed that number. This is where the question of fault comes into play. If there are two defendants and one of them is 95% responsible while the other is only 5% responsible, but the latter is financially capable of paying the damages in full, then they are obligated by law to do so, and the defendant who is 95% responsible but not able to pay would not need to pay anything.

Though there is some controversy surrounding this law, New York is not the only state that has one. Twenty-eight other states also recognize it, including New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

Contact a New York car accident lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident, regardless of whether you had any fault in it, the personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to help you. We understand the complexities of the joint and several liability rule and will work with you to win the compensation you deserve. Call our office at (347) 318-9604 or reach out online to discuss your legal options today.


Six car maintenance tips that will keep you safer on the roads

Six car maintenance tipsAbout 3 million people are injured in car accidents in the U.S. each year. Sometimes, these accidents could have been prevented by simple car maintenance and driver precaution. To cut down your risk of getting into a preventable accident, read the car maintenance tips below. 

According to Esurance, there are six essential tips every car owner should follow to make sure that they (and others) will be safe on the road. 

  1. Perhaps most importantly, check your tires. According to safercar.gov, over 11,000 serious accidents occur each year in the U.S. because of tire issues that could have been fixed sooner. As soon as your air pressure light turns on, make sure to fill up your tires to the appropriate pressure, which can be found in the car’s manual. You should also use a pressure gauge to check your tires’ pressure every couple of months. Additionally, rotate your tires every 6,000 miles and realign them if necessary. 
  2. Change your oil as needed. Depending on your driving habits, you might need to change it every few months or once a year. Generally, experts suggest changing it every 3,000 miles. 
  3. Test your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals every once in a while to be sure they’re all in working order. A broken tail light is a good enough reason for law enforcement officers to give you a ticket, but working lights on your car are also crucial to your safety. 
  4. Replace your windshield wiper blades if you notice they look old or worn out. It’s better to do it ahead of time instead of waiting until you can’t see the road ahead of you during a downpour. 
  5. Check the battery cables for corrosion and the radiator for debris to prevent excess heating or electrical failure. 
  6. Replace your car’s dirty air filter. The air filter helps your engine run smoother and could prolong your car’s life.

Hurt in a Crash? Contact a New York auto accident lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident, the New York car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to help you win the compensation you deserve. Our team will handle your case so you can focus on getting better. Call our office at (347) 318-9604 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.


Traumatic brain injuries caused by car accidents

Traumatic brain injuriesA traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when a force penetrates or fractures the skull. Unfortunately, half of all TBIs result from car accidents. TBIs caused by car crashes don’t necessarily need to be due to a skull fracture or penetration; when the body experiences a sudden jolt or stop, the brain careens forward even if your head is held steady. This is how your brain collides with your skull, causing internal bruising and bleeding in the skull that isn’t visible to the naked eye.

If you or a loved one have been the victim of a car accident and have been diagnosed with a TBI, read the information below. Our lawyers at Hach & Rose can help you navigate the process of filing a claim and win you the compensation you deserve.

Four common TBIs caused by car accidents

  • Penetration: This occurs when an object, such as a metal part of a wrecked car, cuts into the brain. This is one of the most serious types of TBI because it could result in the victim’s death or serious paralysis.
  • Concussion: This is a less serious TBI, but is still worth filing a claim for. A concussion occurs when the brain is repeatedly being rocked back and forth in the skull.
  • Focal brain injury: This is an injury affecting one specific part of the brain, which could lead to loss of bodily function normally controlled by that area.
  • Locked-in syndrome: This rare and tragic TBI results from damage to the lower brain and brain stem. The victim is fully mentally aware, but is paralyzed and cannot speak.

Common TBI symptoms to watch for:

  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Changes in attention or mental skills
  • Numbness in fingers and toes

This list is not exhaustive, and you should reach out to a medical professional if you are concerned that you are suffering from a brain injury.

If you have suffered a TBI in a car accident, do not hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable brain injury attorney at Hach & Rose, LLP. We will help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation today.


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