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May 2014 Archives

Finding a way home from holiday parties should be a priority

On behalf of Kammholz Law PLLC posted in Wrongful Death on Thursday, December 12, 2013.
As the holidays approach, there will be more and more people in Waterloo going to parties and celebrating the season. At many of these get-togethers there will be alcohol, but it is essential that anyone planning to drink should also know how he or she is going to get home from the holiday party. Trying to find a sober driver at the end of the party will likely be more difficult, which may prompt some people to throw caution to the wind and drive home while impaired.There are a number of studies that show driving during the holiday season is dangerous and a recent survey by Mothers Against Drunk Driving has shown that nearly three-quarters of people have seen someone drive home after having too much to drink. Drunk driving, of course, puts everyone on the road at risk of serious injury or death.In fact, between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve last year nearly 1,100 people were killed in drunk driving accidents.Unfortunately, no matter how many studies, government initiatives and transportation deals are out there, there will be drivers who think it is fine to drive home while intoxicated. Some of these drivers will cause serious accidents and upstate New Yorkers should expect some fatal accidents this holiday season. For the family members who lose loved ones in these accidents, wrongful death lawsuits may be in order.As we've hinted at, drunk driving accidents are preventable. If an individual would just have a sober designated driver, he or she would avoid an accident altogether. This means, then, that when someone causes a drunk driving accident, he or she can be held responsible for his or her actions in court.Source: USA Today, "Holiday revelers urged to avoid drunken driving," Larry Copeland, Dec. 11, 2013

Job hunter in New York killed by 2 taxi cabs in fatal accident

On behalf of Kammholz Law PLLC posted in Wrongful Death on Saturday, April 19, 2014.
A tragic accident claimed the life of a young woman who visited New York to attend job interviews. In cases where a family has lost a loved one who was in the prime of her life and looking forward to pursuing a career, they typically have extreme difficulty to find closure and move forward. The fatal accident occurred on York Avenue late on a recent Thursday evening.Witnesses described how a young woman landed in the path of a taxi cab after she was knocked down by another cab. They said that the woman was in the company of her sister and a male friend when they crossed the street. It was mentioned that the accident happened on a dangerous section of York Avenue, just beyond the crest of a hill that obscures the view of drivers and pedestrians.The young woman was reported to have been a senior at Boston College. Several witnesses rushed to the injured victim after she was knocked down, but they stated that it was obvious that she would not survive. The media report made no mention about the drivers of the two taxi cabs or whether any charges were filed against either driver after the accident.When a New York family loses a loved one in a fatal accident involving another party, they naturally want to learn exactly what happened and to what extent the other party caused or contributed to the tragedy. They may decide to assess the viability of proceeding with a civil wrongful death claim, seeking an award of financial relief based upon evidence of negligence. This victim was reportedly jaywalking on a dangerous stretch of street, though it is as yet unknown if either of the cab drivers were speeding or engaged in some form of distracted driving -- only a full investigation can answer those questions. If the family chooses to pursue a claim for financial redress against the cabbies and their employers, they will need to prove that one or both drivers acted negligently in a manner that contributed to the young woman's death. When the evidence supports such a ruling, courts may apportion fault among multiple parties -- sometimes even including the victim -- and enter a judgment for monetary damages based upon a percentage of fault as determined by the court.Source: upi.com, "Pedestrian crash in New York cuts short the life of Boston College senior Kelly Gordon", Frances Burns, April 11, 2014

Proposed texting and driving law would prevent New York crashes

At this point in New York and throughout the entire U.S., it is no surprise to hear that texting or talking on the phone while driving is not smart. It's not safe. And in more and more areas, it's not legal. New York could become one of those states that outlaws texting while driving, making it a primary traffic violation. The goal, of course, is to prevent car accidents that take the lives of pedestrians, drivers and passengers every day. Earlier this week, the New York Senate had the bill before it and casted a vote. The outcome overwhelmingly approves the proposal to outlaw texting while driving, with a 57-3 vote. Now, it is up to the Assembly and state Governor to determine the final decision on the legislation. If passed, drivers who police see and suspect of texting behind the wheel can be pulled over and cited for the offense. While that might sound like a difficult behavior to regulate and confirm, sources say that New York law already prohibits using a hand-held phone while driving. Therefore, an officer wouldn't need to prove that someone was sending a text message; he would need to simply have seen the suspect holding a cell phone. New York drivers are allowed to talk on the phone while driving, but only if they are using a hands-free setup. If caught using a hand-held, whether texting or talking, they can only be charged for the violation as a secondary offense. The main change should this new proposal be passed, therefore, would be escalating the cell phone/texting violations to offenses that alone warrant being pulled over and ticketed. Sources indicate that the tickets would each cost an offender $150. Is any text or call worth that much? What do you think about the issue of texting while driving? Should New York lawmakers move forward with the plan to further criminalize distracted driving? Source The Wall Street Journal: "NY senators vote to toughen texting-at-wheel law," Associated Press, 3 May 2011

MAN HIT BY A CAR IN ROCHESTER, NEW YORK YESTERDAY SUFFERS INJURY

Determining liability in multiple car pileup accidents often takes detailed investigation on the part of all parties involved. Such diligence will no doubt be exercised in the case of a Rochester, New York pedestrian accident that sent one man to the hospital yesterday morning. The incident occurred as a man crossed Driving Park Avenue near the Maplewood Family YMCA and Rose Garden, just northwest of downtown. A preliminary police report indicates the man had been collecting bottles in a cart in front of the workout facility early that morning. A car approached as he was attempting to cross Driving Park Avenue and stopped to let the man proceed. As he walked across the street, a pickup truck approached the scene behind the first vehicle and failed to also stop to let the man cross. The pickup truck crashed into the rear of the first car, causing the first car to lunge forward and hit the pedestrian. The police report indicates the force of impact from the first car on the pedestrian caused him to fly nearly 30 feet in the air. Emergency responders took the man to nearby Strong Hospital, where it was determined he had suffered a broken wrist and several broken ribs from being hit by the car. So far, Rochester police have only issued a ticket to the driver of the pickup truck, as he was found to be driving with a suspended license. The man hit in by the car had yet to be identified as of Thursday morning. It will be interesting to watch how this pedestrian accident case plays out in the local media. Source: ABC13 WHAM
 

WATCH OUT! CONSTRUCTION ZONE DANGERS IN NEW YORK

As summer fades into autumn thoughts of road construction often drift away as families begin the hectic school year. But there is good reason for New York drivers to remain vigilant when passing through work zones.Recent U.S. Department of Transportation statistics reveal that the people in greatest danger of being killed in a construction zone accident are not the workers, it is the drivers and passengers of motor vehicles passing through them.Transportation officials from federal and state governments have been working earnestly to reduce the number of car crashes in construction zone accidents over the past seven years. Work zones are covered with alerts for drivers from the warning signs at the beginning of the construction zone to the orange cones guarding danger zones to the bright vests of the workers who work tirelessly to build, maintain and repair the pavement.While these safety measures have helped lower fatalities, the number of lives lost remain high. In 2009, 667 people died in work zone related crashes. Of those lives lost, 85 percent of them were either drivers or their passengers.Drivers passing through work zones need to exercise special caution. Precautionary steps include slowing down and paying special attention to the roadway, whose route may be altered to accommodate the construction. In addition, drivers should avoid distractions such as using their cell phones or load music, which could impair their ability to focus on the road.Safety on the roadway is everyone's responsibility. Drivers and construction workers alike need to do their part to ensure everyone gets where they need to go in one piece.Source: fastlane.dot.gov, "As Work Zone Awareness Week Begins, road safety is more important than ever," Press release 5 April 2011.

Suspect in fatal New York crash has lengthy criminal record

Court records show that the New York man a­ccused of causing an accident that killed two teenagers has a history of traffic violations and criminal convictions. Troopers with the New York State Police say the 22-year-old man struck an SUV carrying four high school students when he suddenly and aggressively switched lanes. In addition to the fatalities, two of the SUV's occupants were severely injured. Charges are currently pending against the suspect, who suffered cuts to his head during the car accident.Police say the suspect underwent an alcohol test immediately after the crash, which he reportedly failed. However, the state police crime lab has yet to release the results of a more detailed toxicology test. Troopers also claim the suspect was speeding at the time of the accident, estimating that his rate of speed exceeded 70 or 75 miles per hour.The suspect's landlord described the man as rude and disrespectful, explaining that she planned on evicting him due to his and his live-in girlfriend's poor treatment of the apartment. She alleges that a handyman hired to conduct repairs at the unit refused to return after being treated poorly by the suspect.Additionally, police claim the couple ran an illegal drug dealing business out of the apartment and charged them with cannabis distribution after conducting a search of the premises. The county's child protective services took custody of the pair's infant daughter at that time. However, officers could not further discuss the man's criminal history. In addition to drug charges, the man was convicted of disorderly conduct on two occasions.The suspect has also been convicted of speeding three times within 18 months. His drivers' license was suspended for nearly a year, but was valid at the time of the fatal accident.Source: TimesUnion.com "A troubled past, now an uncertain future," Paul Grondahl, Dec. 6, 2012

NEW YORK MAN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASH

NEW YORK MAN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASHA 22-year-old woman faces criminal charges following her involvement in a car crash that left a middle-aged bicyclist with a number of severe injuries. The suspect was charged with driving with an obstructed view, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury, failure to use due care while driving near a bicyclist, driving on shoulder of a roadway, second degree vehicular assault after she allegedly struck the victim with her car and then fled from the crash site. She was released on $2,500 bail shortly after her arraignment in New York.Police say the auto accident occurred as the victim was riding his bicycle home from work on the north side of a state highway. Although investigators have not received any witness reports of the accident, they believe that the suspect struck the victim with her vehicle, throwing the man from his bicycle.Responders located the injured victim after a passing motorist called the authorities to report a damaged bicycle next to a body on the side of the highway. Police responded the call and arrived at the scene approximately 15 minutes after the accident. They reportedly confirmed the suspect's identity at this time, finding her in a nearby home.Police say the victim underwent emergency surgery following the accident and remains in intensive care at last report. The man sustained a number of severe injuries, including a fractured femur and serious trauma to his chest and head. Investigators reportedly failed to find a protective helmet at the crash site. Authorities were initially unable to determine the man's identity as he was unconscious after the accident, but did confirm that he has relatives in Mexico.The suspect was not injured in crash, but her car reportedly suffered damage to its body and windshield.

NEW YORK MAN TO BE SENTENCED IN FATAL ACCIDENT

A 21-year-old New York man has pleaded guilty to causing a crash that killed his fiancée and severely injured another motorist. The man was initially indicted on a number of felonies, including first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, vehicular homicide, second degree manslaughter, driving while impaired, second-degree vehicular assault, vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving.The serious auto accident at the center of the crash occurred in June of 2011 as the suspect and his fiancée were traveling to a beach. The suspect reportedly failed to obey a stop sign, causing his vehicle to slam into a southbound SUV and severely injuring its driver. While the suspect did not suffer any noteworthy injuries, his fiancée died at the site of the wreck.Prosecutors offered a plea deal to the suspect, pledging to drop most of the charges if he agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and two misdemeanors for driving while impaired, and a third additional charge of third-degree aggravated assault. He is expected to be sentenced to one year in prison for each misdemeanor, though he will be allowed to serve those sentences at the same time. He will likely receive a sentence of between one and three years in prison for the felony count.Although the suspect will receive jail time for his role in the fatal crash, he could also potentially face a civil lawsuit. His fiancée's family may decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to claim damages compensating them for the pain and suffering they endured following the death of their loved one. Likewise, the other motorist could file a personal injury claim requesting money to cover his medical bills and other expenses. It is unclear whether either party intends to pursue such legal action.

LACK OF SLEEP DANGEROUS FOR TEEN DRIVERS Cause Car Accidents

Teen drivers face many risks on the road and have the highest risk of being killed in a car accident. Car accidents are still the leading cause of death for teen drivers. In fact, drivers between 16 and 19 years old are three times more likely to be in a car accident compared to drivers older than 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Why are teen drivers more likely to be killed in a car accident? There are several factors, including lack of driving experience and unsafe driving behaviors. Now, a new study is adding another factor to that list: sleep deprivation.A new study suggests that lack of sleep is a serious risk for teen drivers, and sleep deprivation may be another common reason why teenagers are more likely to be in a car accident. Our article on car accidents discusses the study's findings in greater detail and explains why sleep deprivation is so dangerous for teenagers.The National Highway Traffic Safety Foundation reported that lack of sleep is a serious issue for drivers under the age of 25. They reported that sleep deprivation is attributed to 1,550 fatal car accidents every year in the United States.It is not that surprising that not getting enough sleep would increase the chances of getting into a car accident. Sleep deprivation can increase the chances of falling asleep behind the wheel as well as make it more difficult to concentrate on the road and safely operate your vehicle.All drivers should be aware of the dangers sleep deprivation has on their driving ability and make sure they are not too tired before getting behind the wheel.

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