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NYPD officer charged with vehicular manslaughter

A pedestrian was killed on Friday morning, October 4 in Staten Island, New York when an off-duty New York Police Department officer plowed his personal sport utility vehicle into him. According to CBS New York, 51-year-old Maryland resident William “Bruce” Hemphill was struck by 29-year-old Joseph McClean, who was speeding when the accident took place.

Hemphill was trying to get to the other side of the road to his job at Great Lakes Dredge and Dock when McClean crashed into him.

The 121st Precinct-based police officer remained at the scene of the accident and was arrested on account of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated charges.

Police are still investigating the incident.

Equipment mishap in pickup injures three children in Greenville

An accident involving a piece of equipment negligently placed in a pickup truck resulted in three children getting hurt in New York. According to the police, a black pickup truck was coasting along Route 6 near the Greenville Town Hall on Monday, September 24 when the unsecure ladder or scaffolding in its truck bed hurtled out of the pickup and into the windshield of a minivan, injuring three children.

The children received medical attention and were released from the hospital shortly after the incident.

Police are encouraging anyone who might have information as to the whereabouts of the vehicle and the identity of the driver of said vehicle, or other details pertinent to the resolution of the case, to get in touch with the State Police at (845) 344-5300.

If you should find yourself the victim of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence in New York, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an attorney from Hach & Rose, LLP. Call us at (212) 779-0057 to discuss filing a personal injury claim today.

Favorable Jury Verdict for Road Construction Accident

Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle driven by one of the defendants. The driver was changing lanes and the car struck the rear end of a parked truck that was shielding workers who were removing safety cones that had been used to close one of the highway’s lanes. Plaintiff suffered injuries to his head, a knee, and a shoulder.

Plaintiff brought suit against driver and the driver’s employer for negligently operating a motor vehicle. Plaintiff also sued the contractor overseeing the roadwork project for negligently creating a dangerous condition which contributed to the accident.

Hach & Rose, LLP, representing the plaintiff, claimed that the driver failed to exercise due caution while changing lanes. In addition, plaintiff’s counsel successfully presented a highway-safety expert who opined that the parked truck created a hazard. The roadwork crew could have been adequately protected in a manner that did not require a truck being parked on the highway. Finally, plaintiff’s counsel claimed the contractor overseeing the roadwork project failed to adequately warn that a lane was closed.

Defendant’s counsel contended that warning signs had been posted two miles ahead of the roadwork site and intermittently thereafter. Furthermore, defendant’s counsel presented their own highway-safety expert who opined that the signage provided ample warning of the roadwork that was being performed.

The jury found that the defendants were liable for the accident. The driver and his employer were assigned 65 percent of the liability, while the contractor was assigned 35 percent of the liability.

Two casualties in Norwich two-vehicle crash

New York State Police stationed at Norwich reported a two-vehicle crash that resulted in the deaths of two people and caused seven others to be wounded. According to police, the accident occurred when a 2000 Ford Focus crossed the center line and slammed into a 2002 Dodge Caravan around 1:42 a.m. on Sunday, August 4.

Both drivers died from injuries they incurred in the accident. The driver of the Ford Focus, 15-year-old Brandy L. Smith, died at the scene of the crash, while the driver of the Dodge, Oxford resident David C. Clark, died from his injuries at the Chenango Memorial Hospital.

Injured were Smith’s passenger and six Dodge Caravan riders. They were transported to various local hospitals for medical treatment.


Liability Insurance and Underinsured Motorist Protection

All motor vehicle owners are required to carry liability insurance in the event that their car is involved in an accident causing injuries. The minimum amount of insurance coverage required in New York is $25,000. Unfortunately, this amount of money often is the amount recovered by those seriously injured in an automobile accident.

The person who causes an accident, also known as the “tortfeasor,” is often incapable of paying judgments beyond the amount of their insurance coverage. Once the “tortfeasor’s” coverage is exhausted, the injured party then has the right to make a claim against their own household automobile policy. This is known as an underinsured motorist claim. The claim can amount to the difference between the tortfeasor’s coverage amount and the amount of coverage on the injured party’s household automobile policy. For example, if a tortfeasor has a $25,000 automobile policy and the injured party has $500,000 in underinsured motorist protection, the injured party can claim the difference of $475,000.

CHECK YOUR AUTO INSURANCE DECLARATION PAGE!!! Your underinsured motorist protection is important protection for you and people in your household in the event you are injured in an automobile accident.

11 people injured in early morning Brooklyn van accident

Two vehicles, a “dollar van” and a taxicab, collided with each other Thursday morning, causing eleven people to suffer both minor and major injuries.

The accident, which occurred at 9:15 a.m., took place at the intersection of Lefferts Avenue and Rogers Avenue in East Flatbrush, as reported by a FDNY spokesperson. Five people sustained severe injuries and were immediately taken to four various hospitals – Kings County Hospital, Downstate Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center, and New York Methodist Hospital. An additional six people were treated by responders at the scene of the accident for minor injuries.

The cause of the accident was still under investigation hours after it occurred.

Unfortunately, car wrecks such as this one all too often cause devastating harm to unsuspecting people, leaving them suffering physically, emotionally, and financially. However, at Hach & Rose, LLP, our lawyers work diligently to help those who have been unduly victimized by such an accident. Call (212) 779-0057 today to find out how we may be able to help you pursue financial compensation if you’ve been through a car accident caused by someone else’s actions.

New York Jets Coach Responsible for Three-Car Crash

On January 14, the coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan, ran into a black Mazda, which in turn spun into a red Toyota, causing a three-car accident. This accident took place in Pennsylvania at the intersection of West 3rd and Wyandotte Street.

Ryan denied speeding, but did not similarly deny his responsibility for causing the accident. According to reports and witnesses, Ryan’s car was seen driving up the hill at a high speed, causing him to collide with the driver of the Mazda. Fortunately, none of the drivers of the vehicles were harmed in the accident. Additionally, according to the police report, Ryan only received a warning for running the red light.

Car accidents such as this are a major cause of injuries and deaths throughout the U.S. each year. If you have been injured in such an accident, call a New York City car accident lawyer of Hach & Rose, LLP, today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with a legal professional about your options and rights.

Bus driver’s manslaughter trial begins

The criminal trial of a bus driver who was behind the wheel when it crashed, killing 15 of its 32 passengers, started in New York last week. The driver has been charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

According to Reuters, the accident occurred in March 2011 in Chinatown. Passengers on the bus were being driven back to New York from a casino in Connecticut when the fatal accident occurred. The bus driver says he lost control when a semi-trailer cut him off.

However, prosecutors cite the National Transportation Safety Board’s ruling that he was fatigued and has a bad driving record. They say there are no signs of him trying to stop when it slid hundreds of feet, hit a guardrail, and rolled over.

Car Accidents and Electronic Devices

In today’s world, technology has become an essential aspect of one’s daily life. The advent of computers, tablets, cell phones, GPS units, and other electronic devices has greatly changed the way that individuals engage in everyday activities, such as shopping, communicating, and especially driving. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in the number of accidents involving the use of mobile electronic devices while driving. Subsequently, the amount of fatalities and injuries resulting from these incidents and the number of personal injury lawsuits has also risen.

Today, regulations pertaining to cell phone usage while driving differ according to state laws. Although no states completely outlaw the use of cell phones when operating motor vehicles, many have certain restrictions regarding their usage. As of June 2012, ten states as well as Washington, D.C.; Guam; and the U.S. Virgin Islands strictly prohibit the use of handheld cell phones while operating motor vehicles. Additionally, in 32 states and Washington, D.C., all beginner drivers are banned from using cell phones while driving. School bus drivers are also banned from using cell phones while operating buses carrying passengers in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Next, text messaging while driving is addressed under different statutes. In 39 states plus Washington, D.C.; Guam; and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all drivers are forbidden from text messaging while driving. In other states, the application of texting bans differ based on the age of the individual driving, the profession of the driver (such as a public transportation driver), and various other factors.

For example, Massachusetts has enforced laws that prohibit both talking on the phone and texting for “junior operators,” or drivers who are 16.5 to 18 years of age. In regards to these laws, the first offense fines the driver $100, imposes a 60-day license suspension, and requires the driver to take a course and an exam. The second offense comes with a $250 fine and 180-day license suspension. A third offense fines an individual $500 and results in a one-year license suspension.

In California, the law currently states that adult drivers can only use hands-free cell phone devices, and it strictly prohibits the action of texting while driving. The base fines for using a handheld mobile device or texting while driving are as follows: $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent tickets of the same offense. For more information regarding a specific state’s legislation, view the table on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website (http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx).

In New York specifically, the current laws state the following: all forms of text messaging and other uses of handheld cell phones are strictly prohibited; adult drivers can only make calls with approved hands-free devices while in motion; taxi drivers are banned from using cell phones while driving, regardless of the technology they use. In addition, laws restricting cell phone use while driving are of primary enforcement. This means that a police officer can pull an individual over for using a cell phone while driving even if the person has not engaged in any other traffic offense at the same time.

Given these increased restrictions added to the legislation on distracted driving in 2011, police officers have placed a far greater focus on ticketing drivers that are using mobile devices. The consequences of violating laws restricting cell phone usage include a two-point violation on one’s license. Additionally, the penalty for text messaging while driving is a $150 fine.

The average New Yorker is well aware of the fact that using handheld cell phones while driving is strictly prohibited by the law. More than just being illegal, actions such as texting, using an iPad, or operating a GPS device while driving are greatly distracting and threaten the lives of innocent people nearby. If you or someone you love has been harmed by one of these or a similarly dangerous distraction, it is important to investigate your legal rights and options.

The person who is injured as a result of another individual using an electronic device while driving has the ability to claim that negligence contributed to the accident. Negligence, as used in the legal system in terms of driving, refers to the idea that the party at fault for the incident unintentionally acted in a way that detracted from their duty to drive safely. This typically requires an investigation of the events going on at the time of the accident.

One method of gathering this information involves examining the history that is left on the electronic devices that may or may not have contributed to the accident. This could lead to unveiling the truth about driver’s actions. Technology allows law enforcement officials to retrieve records of past calls, text messages, internet usage, GPS use, and other such actions. Thus, this method of investigation allows police, attorneys, judges, and other law enforcement agencies to correctly and appropriately penalize the people engaging in this behavior while driving.

Besides taking advantage of the history that is stored on electronics to hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions, it is necessary to find an effective method of preventing such accidents. Parents, educators, and employers can play an instrumental role in teaching the public of the potential dangers that using electronic devices while driving presents. Such individuals can also educate drivers regarding the possible repercussions of distracted driving as a result of using such devices. In learning about the potential harm that such actions can cause to oneself, such as jail time, fines, and job loss, as well as the possible damage to others, including death or injury, people may be dissuaded from operating a vehicle while using electronic devices.

If you or someone you know has been the victim in an auto accident involving distracted driving as a result of electronic devices, contact the New York car accident lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, today.


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