Caught on Tape: Officers at DUI Checkpoint Violate Constitutional Rights

Brooklyn DUI Checkpoint | The Law Offices of David J. HernandezIn New York, DUI checkpoints are common sights. Even at the checkpoints, however, officers are still required to follow protocols that respect your rights as a U.S. citizen.

We would all like to believe police officers do all they can to ensure our rights, valued by us dearly, are not violated by the actions of law enforcement. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Police officers, at the end of the day, are people. People are not perfect, and do not always perform their duties to the best of their ability. Likewise, some officers do cut corners at times.

This is not okay, and is certainly not fair to you.

One such instance of officers violating rights occurred earlier this year at a DUI checkpoint. In this circumstance, however, the victim of unfair police treatment understood his rights as a citizen-despite the actions of the officers.

The best part of the stop? The driver caught the entire scene on tape.

The video from the DUI checkpoint has gone viral, with over four million views and counting. In the clip, police search the man’s vehicle (without his consent), damage his car with search dogs, and require him to reveal his age and show identification.

As an experienced DUI attorney in Brooklyn, New York, I’ve unfortunately come across cases where clients were subjected to police intimidation, their rights violated by careless law enforcements tactics.

If you have been charged with a DUI in New York after a stop a DUI checkpoint, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney today. If your constitutional rights have been violated, you deserve someone who will stand up for you-even if law enforcement didn’t.

How to Deal With an Accident on Vacation

Car Driving Through the MountainsThe summer is a great time to leave the big city and take a road trip to somewhere more open, maybe the beach or the mountains, or a simple visit with family members in a far off place. Road trips are a fun, and often cheaper, way of taking a vacation.

Although a car accident is probably the last thing on your mind as you set out, and the last thing you want on your mind, the complications of a car accident out of town can quickly ruin a vacation. Not knowing who to call or what repair shop to take your car to can make an already stressful situation unbearable.

Whether you are taking the family car or renting a vehicle for an out-of-town vacation, there is some information you might want to know before you step on the gas.

This article should answer some of the most pressing questions that arise after a car accident on vacation such as whether your insurance will cover out-of-town repairs on your own vehicle and whether rental car repair is covered by insurance.

First, it is vital that you obtain a thorough police report after the accident, especially if another distracted or negligent driver caused the accident. There is a good chance that, if you are far from home, you will not encounter the people at the scene of the accident again.

A detailed report will serve as your reference to the nature of the accident, and could hold evidence vital to proving someone else was at fault. If your or any of your passengers are injured, make sure to also keep a close record of those injuries and how serious they are. This information will be vital to your case if you choose to hold the responsible party liable for the damage done to your car and your life.

Let’s address the issue of getting in an accident with a rental car: all in all, an accident is an accident and the process is similar but, because you do not own the vehicle, there are some unique steps to take and information to be aware of.

With a rental, you will likely need to deal with s bit of additional paperwork. As soon as you can, you should contact the rental company and inform them of what happened. Most rental cars are equipped with a sticker in the glove box that has emergency information on it.

Once you get in touch with the company, ask them about the next steps. Take a close look at your own insurance plan and any insurance that may be provided by the rental company. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage within your policy, it usually protects the any car you rent. Also make sure to inform your insurance company about any additional insurance you purchased at the time of your rental.

When all is said and done, your insurance company has the responsibility of paying the rental company for damage done to the car (if your policy has first-party coverage). The company is entitled to having repairs covered on their vehicle as soon as possible.

The most inconvenient aspect of this situation is what is called “loss of use.” This means that if you don’t have rental coverage on your active insurance policy you will owe rental fees to the company even if you are no longer driving the car. For example, if it takes 3 days to repair damages, you will have to pay the fee for those three days even though you didn’t drive the car anywhere.

To sum it all up: make sure to communicate with your insurance company, the rental company, and read the fine print. Doing all this will keep the paperwork, and ideally the stress, at a minimum.

When it comes to your own car, getting in a serious accident far away from home can make the accident process just that much more difficult, especially when it comes to repairs.

Knowing that your vehicle is being repaired by a body shop or professional you trust is comforting, but when an accident happens away from home it is likely that you’ll have to find a repair shop locally. Most insurance companies won’t pay to have a damaged car towed back to the hometown.

If possible, consider a temporary repair. If your car has relatively serious damage, but a minor repair will get it home to a place you trust, discuss that option with your insurance company.

Trusting a body shop that you’ve never taken your car to, and likely won’t take your car to again, can be difficult. The repairs could turn out to be low quality. There are some options for ensuring your car
is repaired with integrity.

A lot of car insurance carriers have contracts with specific collision repair shops that covers a nationwide warranty. This means that by using one of these contracted shop you can receive a warranty on the repairs, allowing you to bring attention to problems that may pop up regarding repairs to your vehicle.

The cost of any repair adjustments that are made within such a warranty will most likely be transferred back to the shop that originally did the repairs. If you have questions about this, it is best to contact your insurance company or refer to your insurance policy.

A car accident is scary, especially far from home. If injuries occur, it throws an even bigger wrench in to a situation that is already difficult. If you or one of your family members is seriously injured, you’ll have to take care of medical bills on top of all the paperwork and repairs associated with the vehicle.

If you have suffered in a car accident on vacation, a car accident that was caused by the negligence of another, consider contacting an attorney about your case in addition to your insurance or rental company.

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Law Office of David J. Hernandez & Associates Wins Prestigious 2015 Litigator Award

PRESS RELEASE

Law Office of David J. Hernandez & Associates
Wins Prestigious 2015 Litigator Award

Law Office of David J. Hernandez & Associates named 2015 Litigator Award Winner. Having been conferred this prestigious National Award, the firm ranks among the Top 1% of all lawyers for: Wrongful Death Litigation.

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON: JAN. 14, 2016 Law Office of David J. Hernandez & Associates, a trial law firm located in Brooklyn, New York, was today awarded the prestigious 2015 Litigator Award for extraordinary achievement within the field(s) of: Wrongful Death Litigation.

Justly standing as the nations most coveted symbol of “Litigation Achievement”, this unrivaled annual honor recognizes trial lawyers {firms} who have attained extraordinary litigation achievement within one or more of 72 pre-defined “Practice Specialty” categories. Based strictly on “Verdict and/or Settlement” dollar achievement rather than peer popularity, the Litigator AwardsLitigator Award for Wrongful Dealth are perhaps the most rigorous and openly judged trial law rating. Simply being nominated is to be set among the elite of the profession. Those awarded are generally considered among the finest trial lawyers in the nation.

To be Award Eligible, Nominees must prove achievement of litigation “Performance Benchmarks” that includes not less than:

a). One verified “Verdicts or Settlements” of at-least $1 Million Dollars in any one Practice Specialty category within the preceding 5 year period prior to Nomination*, or

b). One verified “Verdict or Settlement” of at-least $5 Million Dollars in any one Practice Specialty category within the preceding 10 year period prior to Nomination**, or

c). One verified “Verdict or Settlement” of at-least $10 Million Dollars in any one Practice Specialty category within the preceding 20 year period prior to Nomination.

It is a feat achieved by fewer than 1% of all Lawyers, and truly a testament to each Award Recipient’s remarkable performance relative to peers. Of the nearly 1.1 Million lawyers considered, only a select few per State or DMA, will achieve the distinction of being awarded annually in any given Practice Specialty*.

Winning a 2015 Litigator Award is a “Powerful Endorsement” of superior litigation achievement that provides discerning clientele {as well as referring professionals} with a strong reason to trust their case with an Award Recipient. Moreover, it offers a testament to their remarkable performance relative to peers.

To learn more go to: www.LitigatorAwards.com

Media Contact
Amy G. Harris
2015 Litigator Awards
(800) 992-9049
AHarris@LitigatorAwards.com

www.LitigatorAwards.com

Proposals to Adopt the Uniform Bar Exam Are Met With Apprehension

Discussions are brewing in New York regarding the adoption of the Uniform Bar Examination (UBE), but the feedback isn’t all positive. The UBE is currently used in 14 states throughout the country and allows students who pass to practice law in other states, among additional benefits. By adopting the UBE, New York would abandon the state’s existing bar exam.

Many who were involved in the recent panel organized by the Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals voiced concerns that the UBE would affect minority students and make it difficult to actually prepare for the test. An article in the New York Law Journal shared that apprehension first surfaced in November 2014, thus putting the UBE on hold for the time being in New York.

In order for the UBE to become the standard, New York’s high court has to approve all aspects of the exam. The panel was arranged to give both sides a chance to actively express their opinions.
How does the UBE impact each student’s “practical training”?

Recent years have seen a strong shift in New York law schools to increase practical training for each student. Rather than merely enforcing book knowledge, law professors are encouraging skills that are necessary outside of the classroom. Much of the concern surrounding the UBE questioned whether it would help or hinder this educational change.

The Dean at Brooklyn Law School asked whether written tests are indeed the most effective way to assess the real-world skills students gain while in school. He pushed for a fairer system, one that would benefit students who are unable to afford prep material for each test.

Similarly, a law professor in New York said that there is a constant challenge to find the balance between bar passage preparation and furthering the practical skills necessary for life after law school. Would the UBE only increase this existing tension?

A widespread concern from the panel is that using the UBE would only undermine the specific legal knowledge one needs to practice in each state. One attorney said that to practice law in New York, a “precise knowledge” of state legislature is required.

So for the time being, it is unclear whether the UBE will truly be the future of law schools in New York. Law school educators and even students are requesting that if the UBE does become the standard, it should not be enforced until current students can take the exam they’ve spent time preparing for. To administer the UBE any sooner would put the majority of students at a disadvantage.

Remembering the Attack on Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor Remembrance | Brooklyn, NY Personal Injury Attorney | Law Offices of David J. Hernandez & Associates72 years ago this month, America suffered one of the most brutal attacks our country has ever seen. 353 Japanese fighter, bombers, and torpedo planes attacked the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, sinking four Navy battleships and severely damaging four more.

In the attack, 2,402 Americans were killed—1,282 more wounded.

Last week, we observed Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day with everyone in the country ordered to fly their flags at half-mast in honor of those fallen and wounded.

As a proud American and Brooklyn, New York, business and throughout World War II. So many brave men and women gave their lives for a valiant cause, fighting for justice and protection in the world.

If you know has served in the American armed forces, please take the time to thank them today and appreciate the sacrifice they are making so that our freedoms and nation’s interests can be protected.
If you are serving or have served in the U.S. military, the attorneys at the Law Offices of David J. Hernandez & Associates would like to extend many thanks to your dedication.

Let us not forget that fateful morning 72 years ago, as the unsuspecting base fell victim to one of the deadliest attacks in American history. Each year on Dec. 7, please take the time to thank a veteran, remember the price World War II, and any Am

2 Year Old Girl on Life Support During Organ Donation Debate

Thaiya Spruill-Smith was declared brain-dead due on Friday, November 14th. The injuries that led to her death were said to have been sustained when she was violently shaken by her step-father. The girl’s biological father, Terrell Smith, had been fighting for her custody from a short time after her birth. This custody battle with Thaiya’s mother, Teoka Spruill, caused some debate about what should be done with their daughter’s remains. Teoka wanted to donate the organs, whereas Terrell wished his daughter to be buried with her organs.

Mr. Smith’s attorney, David J. Hernandez, expressed concern that if the daughter’s organs were donated, it could compromise a criminal investigation against David Adams, Thaiya’s 25 year old step-father. Mr. Adams admitted to shaking his step-daughter violently, and doctors agree that her injuries of excess fluid in the brain and bleeding were consistent with violent shaking. If the medical examiner rules the death as a homicide, the Brooklyn District Attorney is expected to upgrade the assault charges to murder.

The New York Times quoted Julia Rivera, director of communications for the New York Organ Donor Network saying that organ or tissue donations “can only occur when there is agreement among family members to proceed with donation.” She also said that because the patient was not enrolled in the New York State Donate Life Registry, and because of the family’s disagreement, donation was not possible.

After finding this new information, Mr. Smith realized custody was a moot point, and withdrew his petition. The court hearing lasted only a few minutes once it was determined that organ donation was not legally possible, and the decision was made to bury Thaiya Spruill-Smith intact.

Recent Taser Injuries, Deaths Prompt Law Enforcement Bans

Here in New York and across the country, Tasers have become the police weapon of choice for subduing out-of-control suspects. The point of the device is to shock a subject’s muscles, causing him or her to collapse.The strong electric shock administered through a Taser, however, has proven to be fatal in some cases, causing cardiac and sudden death.

In the aftermath of dozens of Taser-related personal injury and wrongful death claims surfacing this year, five police departments in Texas announced last week that they are banning the use of stun guns.

Police departments, individual officers, and Taser International, which manufacturers the weapons, have all been named in Taser-related lawsuits this year.

Whether the liability for serious injuries and deaths caused by Tasers lies with police or Taser International, or both, is a complicated issue.

Amnesty International has reported that 500 people died in the U.S. after being shocked by a Taser in the previous 13 years, and many of these cases are linked to excessive police force. The New York Civil Liberties Union has also reported police abuse of Tasers.

However, it has been suggested that even when a Taser is used properly, adverse events can occur. In 2009, Taser International even added a warning to its product – telling police not to aim them at a subject’s chest.

When a product – even a product that is meant to cause some harm – results in an adverse effect leading to injuries or even death,the maker of that product may be subject to liability. Taser Internationahas been held accountable for this in the past.

Those who are injured by Tasers, or who suffer at the hands of police due to excessive force, here in New York may benefit from talking to a personal injury and police brutality attorney about their rights.

Source: CBS DFW, “Local Police Department Discontinues Use of Tasers,” Sept. 21, 2013

Source: northjersey.com, “Stun-gun control: Strict N.J. policy aims to curb unnecessary, or dangerous, use,” Rebecca Baker, Sept. 20, 2013

Fatal Car Accidents Involving Marijuana Have Tripled

Smoking MarijuanaThere is a lot of controversy surrounding the topic of marijuana. For every staunch supporter of the legalization of pot there is a dead-set denouncer. Each side can lobby pros and cons at a dizzying rate. However, one recently released study highlights a disturbing trend that has emerged as “weed” has become more commonplace. A report from the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health states, “Fatal crashes involving marijuana use tripled during the previous decade,” (Thompson, 2014).

In the past decades, many drive-safe public service announcements have revolved around the message of “don’t drink and drive”, “buckle up”, or “don’t text and drive”; however, if this new study is correct, we could soon (appropriately) see a shift towards the message of “don’t smoke and drive”. Just how prevalent is marijuana usage in car crashes? “Currently, one of nine drivers involved in fatal crashes would test positive for marijuana,” says Dr. Li, director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia (Thompson, 2014).

The report looked at over 23,000 drivers who died in car accidents between the years of 1999 and 2010. At the start of the study, in 1999, drugged driving accounted for 16% of traffic related deaths; however, by the end, 28% of traffic related deaths could be attributed back to drugged driving (Thompson, 2014). These numbers do not just apply to states that have legalized marijuana. Instead, this increase in drug related deaths is an epidemic plaguing the entire United States.

Many drivers may not realize it but using pot impairs one’s driving ability much the way consuming alcohol does. Marijuana can impact judgment, vision, reflexes, and concentration making for a very dangerous driver. “The public knows about drunk driving, but I don’t think they have awareness of drugged driving, so this is a huge issue. We need to alert the public that if you’ve used any type of substance, you should not get behind the wheel,” said Jonathan Adkins, deputy executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association (Thompson, 2014).

In addition to cultural perception differences between marijuana and alcohol usage, it is more difficult to spot drivers under the influence of marijuana. For example, when police want to catch drunk drivers they can linger outside of a bar…there isn’t a bar for pot (yet). In addition, police don’t have tests that are both accurate and widely acceptable for catching drugged drivers. If you are pulled over on suspicion of an alcohol related DUI you may be given a breathalyzer. Unfortunately, there isn’t an equivalent for those suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana. At this time, changing public perception of drugged driving and educating drivers may be the best bet for preventing these fatal car crashes involving marijuana usage from quadrupling or worse.

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Young and Old Drivers Distracted by Cellphones

Sad PhoneThe leading cause of accidental death among “working-age” adults is poisoning, most often from prescription drug overdose. Falls cause the most fatal injuries in adults older than 65. Car accidents cause the most injury-related deaths in younger people.

It seems as though every age and stage has unique risks when it comes to injury-related death. But, one of the causes of these fatal injuries is becoming more prevalent across the board, from teenagers to adults: cell phones.

Distractions caused by mobile devices contribute notably to crashes that kill people. Most people have heard the adage “don’t text and drive” but it turns out that many of these accidents aren’t caused solely by texting (though it is the most common culprit).

In fact, according to a news report from Health, research has shown that about 5% of crashes involve texting while 21% involve talking on a handheld or hands-free device. It is often assumed — and past research has revealed — that teenage hands hold the cellphone behind the wheel, but more recent information shows that the adults scolding them for it may not be much better.

The Car Connection put out an article detailing a recent online survey asking 2,045 adults about their driving habits, and what they consider safe and unsafe. The results may surprise you.

An immense majority of the adults (94%) think that sending texts while driving is “dangerous or very dangerous.” An almost equally large percentage believes it is a risk to even read text messages behind the wheel. These answers are a good sign, right? Well, it’s a sign adults know the risks.

In the same survey, 45% of those adults admitted to reading text messages on the road while driving. Thirty-seven percent of the adults said they type and send text messages behind the wheel. Even more surprising, one-third of those surveyed say they have looked up information or surfed the web while driving.

As stated in the article, “we tend to focus our energies on warning teens about the dangers of distracted driving, rather than their parents. We figure mom and dad know better.” Unfortunately, the survey shows that we do know better — but we’re doing it anyway.

The fatal accidents caused by distracted driving from cell phone use do not only encompass texting and driving: talking on the phone while driving is shown to be dangerously distracting as well.

Think of how many times you’ve called someone while driving; it’s common to call your spouse or the kids on the way home from work, or even get on a conference call while stuck in morning rush-hour traffic. Drivers often talk on the phone, and it is common thought that talking while driving is less distracting.

The bottom line is that if a driver is doing anything other than focusing on the road, they are at greater risk for an accident. In the survey, 69% percent of adults agree that talking on a hand-held cell phone behind the wheel is distracting.

A smaller percentage thought that chatting on a hands-free device was as dangerous. But, some studies and research shows that conversation is the distraction, not necessarily the device.

Despite numbers revealing the risk, a large percentage of adults (74%) talk on the phone while driving, and 21% do so frequently.

Parents who drive with their children in the car have even admitted to using their cell behind the wheel.An interview of 570 parents, with children between the age of 1 and 12, revealed that 90% drive distracted.

Two-thirds of the parents said they talked on the phone while driving with their child in the back seat, and 15% admitted to texting. This behavior puts everyone in the car at risk for a fatal accident; it also makes an
impression on a child who will, in the future, be responsible for making decisions about cell phone use behind the wheel.

It is true that more young people are dying in car accidents caused distracted driving than adults. According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver error — such as texting— encompasses 95% of auto crashes among 15 to 18 year old drivers.

While researchers state “these issues are more related to driver inexperience than driving drunk or drugged,” it is becoming clear that even experienced drivers allow themselves to get distracted by cell phones.

Because distracted driving is causing more and more accidents on the road, law enforcement is cracking down. Some states have laws against talking on the phone, and texting while driving is most often met with a ticket if an officer spots a driver with phone in hand. Distracted driving isn’t only dangerous; it is reprehensible by law.

If a driver using a cell phone behind the wheel causes an accident that injures other people, that person can be held liable. Injuries caused by distracted driver can be life threatening and life altering; medical bills can quickly become overwhelming and the injured person’s ability to work to earn money could be affected.

All this information tells us that something must change when it comes to the relationship between driving and cell phones. Young or old, experienced or inexperienced, drivers shouldn’t make a habit of using a mobile device behind the wheel.

On the crowded city streets of New York, countless accidents take place as a result of distracted driving. If you read this post, share it with friends and family members to warn them of just how dangerous mixing cell phones with driving can be.

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Teen Deaths Down 11% After Bans On Texting and Driving

Texting and driving has been the subject of many a public service announcement over the past 5 years or so. In fact, it is a message that has become just as widespread as “don’t drink and drive”. However, unfortunately, despite all of the warnings, texting while driving is still something many of us are guilty of. From teenagers to senior citizens, from business professionals to celebrities (like Jenny McCarthy), just about everyone has, at one point or another, texted while behind the wheel. We know the danger yet it seems we just can’t resist picking the phone up while driving. Perhaps the results of a new study will provide some added motivation.

Research from the American Journal of Public Health reveals that traffic fatalities decreased by 3% in states that allow police officers to pull over texting drivers, and in states that focus on stopping texting among younger drivers, traffic deaths between 15- and 21-year-olds fell by 11% (Aho, 2014). Basically, according to this study, one of the easiest solutions to stopping texting and driving (making it illegal) does indeed work.

Texting while driving takes a driver’s eyes off of the road for approximately 4.6 seconds. That’s a pretty long time. The next time you’re a passenger in a car, close your eyes and count to 4…see how fast the scenery and the cars around you change. Imagine if you had been driving.

Despite bans, texting while driving is still fairly common so changing cultural attitudes is important; however, adopting anti-texting laws is proving to be a good starting point. At least accoring to this recent study.

Other studies in previous years have yielded mixed results. For instance, a study in 2010 found that bans on texting and driving led to a small increase in collision claims in 4 different states (Aho, 2014). This increase
was attributed to the fact that drivers were even more distracted trying to conceal their phones and text while driving. Another study from 2013 concluded “for single-vehicle, single-occupant fatalities, laws seem to reduce risk for several months before drivers adjust,” (Aho,2014). This means that once residents get used to the law and potentially find that they aren’t getting busted every time they whip out their phone behind the wheel they stop worrying about it so much and thus stop obeying.

Regardless of what studies say, bans on texting and driving are popular. Currently, there are 44 states that have laws against texting and driving; to provide some comparison, only 33 states allow police officers to pull
drivers over for not buckling up (Aho, 2014). New York is one of the states that prohibit the usage of a hand-held cell phone (including texting) while driving unless the driver is contacting emergency personnel.

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Son Calls Cops When Mom Texts And Drives

Kid-Talking-on-the-PhoneIn recent years, there has been a huge push to change cultural perceptions about texting and driving. At one time, not that long ago, the phenomenon of texting and driving was pretty commonplace and just about everyone from teenaged girls to middle aged professionals were guilty of typin out a quick message on the go. However, as many studies have show, texting and driving is quite dangerous and in many cases fatal.

While many states have adopted laws banning texting and driving especially among minors some may be wondering if cultural perceptions have really changed; after all, speeding is also illegal but still a culturally acceptable act. One recent news story

demonstrations that, at least in some cases,cultural perceptions about texting and driving are indeed changing.

Recently, Jenny McCarthy’s son called the cops because his mother was textin and driving. Evan, a 12-year-old who Ms. McCarthy describes as a “rule follower” decided to bust his mom for her illegal habit (Ramisetti, 2014). Notice the usage of the word “habit” because apparently this isn’t the first time the former “View” co-host has sent a message while behind the wheel. “We’re driving in the car and of course I text and drive,” Jenny McCarthy said on her radio show (Ramisetti, 2014). Upon seeing his mother breaking the law the pre-teen took out his own phone can called the police. He is reported to have said “My mom is texting and driving right now” (Ramisetti, 2014).

How did Jenny McCarthy avoid any kind of trouble or even a visit from the police in response to this phone call? By breaking another law. She heard the phone call being placed and literally took Evan’s phone and chucked it out the car window (Ramisetti, 2014). This is definitely not an action any legal counsel would recommend.

According toNew York State law, the 41-year-old could have faced a fine and possibly even points on her driver’s license because you cannot use a hand-held cell phone (including sending a text message or email) while driving unless it is to contact emergency personnel. For a first time offense, Jenny McCarthy would have faced a fine between $50 and $150 and potentially 5 driver violation points.

It is also amusing to note that this is not the first time Evan has called the police on his mother. Once, when she left the house to smoke a cigarette and he couldn’t locate her he called 911 and told them “I am alone in the house. My mom abandoned me,” (Ramisetti, 2014).

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Taxi Traffic Accident…Now What?

Man Driving CabThere are plenty of advantages to living in a place that has a plethora of public transportation options such as cabs. For one, you can typically get any place you need to go without owning a car, which can save you some major money not only on a car itself but on insurance, gas, maintenance, and more. Unfortunately, just because you aren’t behind the wheel doesn’t mean you can write off the possibility of a car accident. So, what happens if you’re riding along in a cab and suddenly find yourself in a car accident?

If you find yourself in a cab car accident, regardless of who is at fault, there is some good news for you (the passenger). According to David Goguen, a legal editor at Nolo, “In general, a passenger who gets hurt in a car accident usually has an easier case than a driver because the passenger does not have to worry about proving liability. One of the drivers is almost always going to be liable,” (n.d.). This means that yourmedical and other accident related expenses should be taken care of by either the taxi driver or the other driver(s) involved depending on who is at fault. In this case, as the passenger, you’re the “innocent bystander”.

However, it is worth noting that since a cab driver is dependent upon his or her ability to drive in order to earn living he or she may fight liability more intensely than another driver would (Goguen, n.d.). This doesn’t
mean that your claim won’t be handled appropriately. It just means that you may have a longer wait, have to get a lawyer involved, or will need to settle out of court.

If you are a passenger in a cab that has a car accident, you will want to do many of the things you would do in a “normal” car accident. These tasks include:

  • Getting contact information for all of the drivers involved.
  • Getting contact information for any witnesses.
  • Getting statements from witnesses while their memory of the accident isstill fresh.
  • Taking pictures of the damage.
  • Getting the police involved so that you have an official report of the incident – this is especially important if you are injured.

After an accident, if you have injuries or other expenses, you will want to file a claim with an insurance company as soon as possible. As the passenger in the cab, you will file claims with the insurance companies for all of the drivers involved unless one driver is clearly the one at fault (Goguen, n.d.). Filing (and settling) your claim will be much easier if you completed the tasks listed above.

Unfortunately, there are two common problems that arise in taxi car accident claims. One, as mentioned above, the driver may fiercely dispute liability, which can cause long delays. This will be worse if the accident is the
fault of both drivers. Two, multiple passenger injury claims may be filed which exhaust the insurance funds available (Goguen, n.d.). When either of these situations arises, the passenger (you) may be faced with having
to take less money than the claim is worth. In this case, it is important to consult with an attorney to find out what your options might be.

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Does Driving High Heighten the Risk of a DUI?

Hand Holding a Marijuana CigaretteMarijuana is becoming an increasingly more accessible drug across the country:
it’s being decriminalized in a majority of states, medical marijuanais legal in some parts of the country, and Washington and Colorado have made recreational marijuana legal.

With increased accessibility comes increased use, and that means more people are getting behind the wheel after smoking. In the two states where recreational marijuana is legal, driving high is becoming more of a concern. But, will driving high get you a DUI?

Let’s first consult the Standard Field Sobriety Test and compare its ability to identify a drunk driver to its ability to identify a stoned driver.

If you’re unfamiliar with the SFST, here are the three tasks an officer asks of a driver pulled over on the suspicion of intoxication: “follow a pen with your eyes while the officer moves it back and forth; get out
of the car and walk nine steps, heel to toe, turn around on one foot and go back; and stand on one leg for 30 seconds.”

If you complete these tasks without too much wobbling, you’ve effectively proven that you are not too intoxicated to operate a vehicle. This test has shown to detect 88% of drivers under the influence of alcohol, according to an article from the New York Times.

On the flip side, research shows that only 30% of people under the influence of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana — failed the SFST. According to the article, a stoned driver who is accustomed to driving stoned is much more likely to pass the test because the body adjusts to THC.

The same isn’t true for alcohol. A person who consumes five alcoholic drinks for the first time will be just as impaired as a seasoned consumer of five drinks. Driving after drinking will always have the same result: danger.

But, as the number of high drivers continues to increase, it will become more and more important to determine whether high driving should result in a DUI charge. It is important to know that DUI laws apply to marijuana.
But, the major question is this: How much will law enforcement focus on keeping high drivers off the road?

According the article, evidence proposed that there might be less to fear from high driving than drunk driving. Some researchers have even gone as far to suggest that already “limited [law enforcement] resources are better applied to continuing to reduce drunken driving.”

While it is clear that marijuana causes a deficiency in driving, and people should choose not to drive high, the likelihood of getting a DUI for doing so is slightly less. As of right now, officers will be focusing on getting drivers under the influence of alcohol off the road.

That being said, if an officer determines that you are driving under the influence of marijuana, and that your driving is impaired, you will most likely be issued a DUI charge. Being charged with driving under the influence, of alcohol or marijuana or any other drug, can have a detrimental effect on your life.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer to assist you through the process.

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Conquering a Multi-Car Crash: What to Know

Rear End Collision on the HighwayThe interstate during rush hour is pretty much a nightmare. Cars are bumper to bumper; people frequently slam on their breaks and get easily frustrated.This type of traffic is a breeding ground for pile-ups and serious multi-caraccidents.

Usually, when a car hits another vehicle from behind, it is that driver who is held liable for any injuries or damage. In most situations, it is clear that the rear-end collision took place because the rear vehicle
was not keeping a safe distance. In multi-car pile-ups, it isn’t so simple to determine who did what.

The more vehicles that are involved in an accident, the more complicated the process gets. These types of accidents can be confusing and scary, and a as car accident attorney in New York, I think it’s important to know the next steps if you’re involved in one.

The first piece of advice is to stay as calm as possible. Check yourself and your passengers for injuries, and stay in your vehicle and buckled up while you can. In this type of accident you could be hit several times after the first blow so getting out of the car might put you at greater risk.

A helpful article offers some common details of a multi-car accident:

  1. The destruction inflicted upon the cars involved is frequently more substantial than in a one or two car accident.
  2. There is an increased risk for injury because vehicles are often hit multiple times. Imagine the effect of whiplash from being rear-ended once and multiply that five times — these accidents are significantly more angerous
    and damaging.
  3. If anyone is found responsible, for any percentage of what caused the accident, it is possible to hold him or her legally liable to compensate for both injuries and damages.

When the authorities arrive, they will record the particulars of every car position, drivers’ accounts, weather conditions, and anything else that may help explain why the accident happened. The police will want to determine whether the accident was caused on the part of negligence by one of the drivers.

Determining “fault” during a multi-car accident could difficult, no matter how detailed the police report is — contradicting explanations of what happened from different drivers will likely cloud the evidence. This means that determining who will get compensation will also be arduous.

If you were injured in a multi-car pile-up, or any car accident, and have questions or concerns about compensation you could receive, contact an experienced car accident lawyer. The lawyers at the Law Office of David J. Hernandez & Associates are here to assist New Yorkers when an accident has altered their life.

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Kids in Cars: Keep Them Buckled

Young Child Looking Out a Car WindowAs years pass, and technology continues to improve, cars get safer for drivers and passengers. Seatbelts are sturdier and child safety seats are more secure and these safety instruments save lives — if they are used, and used properly.

Although the frequency of fatalities in car accidents has decreased in recent years, the numbers are still urprisingly high especially among children. According to an article from USA Today, more than 9,000 children 12 and younger died in car accidents from 2002 to 2011.

The worst part about that statistic is that many of those deaths could have been prevented. How? Well, according to reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three of the children killed in cars in 2011 were not secure in child safety seats.

There are several factors that may explain why so many children aren’t properly secured: individual state laws, socioeconomic status, and education. None of these factors can be attributed as the cause of children’s death in car accidents, but researchers speculate on how each one contributes.

Previous research has proven that proper child restraints are the most effective way to prevent child deaths in car accidents, but very few states in the U.S. have given heed to that information. Only two states require a car or booster seat for kids through the age of 8.

This means that only 2 in 100 children live in a place that, by law, requires a car or booster seat during their most vulnerable formative years. Every state does have child restraint laws, but the issue is that the age covered varies.

If it is any proof children younger than 12 should have child restraints, “more than 650 children 12 and under were killed in crashes in 2011…that’s more than a dozen children every week.” Even when children seem old enough to get rid of the booster seat, they may still be at great risk.

What’s more unsettling is that 45% of African American children and 46% of Hispanic children killed were unbuckled, compared to 26% of white children. While there is no solid proof that socioeconomic status impacts how many children are properly buckled, past research has shown that it can play a role in whether a family owns a car seat or is educated on the benefits of having one past toddler age.

The CDC states that consistent child passenger restraint laws would prompt a greater number of parents, whatever their socioeconomic status, to properly fasten in their children through the right age. In a study analyzing the effect of such a law, car and booster seat use tripled and serious injury and death decreased 17%.

A third factor that would contribute greatly to the increase in use of child safety restraints is education. Sometimes, finding the right child seat for a child can be confusing and difficult, and installing the child seat properly comes with its own frustrations.

Educating parents on how to properly install and use child safety seats could save hundreds of young lives. Some community fire and police stations offer education sessions, and many have certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians to consult.

Knowing that the click of a buckle can save so many lives should be encouragement enough to share this information with someone you know. As a car accident lawyer in New York City, it would be a relief to know that more and more
children are secured safely out on the busy roads.

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Tips: Sharing the Road with a Drunk Driver

Car Driving at NightLiving in a city with so many drivers, and as a car accident lawyer in New York City, I have seen many accidents happen as a result of a driver deciding to slide behind the wheel after too much to drink.

While it is clear that these accidents are very rarely the fault of the sober driver, it may be important to know how to drive defensively in the event you see a drunk or impaired driver on the road — these tips could keep you safe and free of the injury and hassle of an accident.

First, this article offers some great advice for recognizing a drunk driver on the streets. While not all of these symptoms apply to all drivers who have been drinking, they are the most common signs that a driver may be
over the limit:

  • Weaving or zigzagging across the road frequently
  • Abruptly swerving or turning
  • Driving slower that 10 mph above the speed limit, or speeding excessively
  • Stopping inappropriately or without a visible reason
  • Driving in to oncoming traffic
  • Slow response to traffic signals (sudden stops and delayed starts)

Sometimes an intoxicated driver is easy to point out, other times it is extremely difficult to tell. Maybe the driver swerved because they were fiddling with the radio knob, or spilled their hot coffee. But if you
are sure that the person is drunk, or at least a serious danger to himself and others, the best thing you can do is call 911.

Letting the authorities know that there is a dangerous driver on the road will allow the situation to be handled properly. Even if it turns out that the individual was not truly impaired, better safe than sorry. If you’re sure a driver is impaired, don’t try to stop them or handle the situation yourself.

If you’re stuck in relatively heavy traffic with someone who you believe is impaired, and you can’t easily pass them up or get to another route, be prepared to drive defensively:

  • Get ready to take fast, evasive action if something goes wrong
  • Keep as much distance from the impaired driver as possible.
  • If a vehicle is coming right at you on collision course, pull off to right and honk you horn.

In some situations, drivers follow an impaired driver to ensure that they get to their destination safely, without accident or injury. If you choose to do this, keep in mind that there are some risks.

Don’t break any traffic laws in order to keep the driver in sight, and don’t follow to closely. Causing an accident in order to try to keep another driver safe probably isn’t worth it.

Keep this information in mind while you’re on the road in New York so that if you see an impaired driver, you will know how to act quickly to avoid an accident.

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Simulation Says “No Texting!”

Crowded Street in New York CityYou hear your cellphone buzz while you’re driving. You know the text could be important, someone is expecting your swift reply. Do you pick up the phone and read the text? Do you reply?

Most people know that the safe and correct answer is probably “no,” texting and driving is proven to be pretty dangerous. Unfortunately, texting and driving is still something that happens frequently. In fact, over the last few years, texting and driving has actually become more common.

In New York City, where there are millions of cell phones, people, and cars crowding the roads, texting and driving poses an even greater risk. Sudden stops, construction sites, parked cars, and pedestrian crossings require a driver’s full attention on the road in order to avoid serious accidents — and a simulation is proving it.

The city Department of Transportation partnered with AT&T to prove to drivers of all ages that sending a quick text while behind the wheel can quickly cause a dangerous accident. A texting and driving simulator proved to participants that texting and driving is a bad decision.

The machine was put out on the corner of Broadway and 23 rd Street. Anyone who chose to take the challenge sat in a drivers seat and began navigating digital city streets on a monitor. As the participants
drove they received a text on a phone connected to the simulator and were prompted to respond.

Nobody lasted very long, and some New Yorkers were surprised by just how distracting texting and driving can be.

A 21-year-old woman lasted only two minutes. According to the news story, the effort she put toward correctly spelling words in her text caused an accident. While she was trying to correct her text, a car pulled out causing a T-bone accident.

Another participant almost hit a parked car after drifting to the side of the road while texting, proving that texting and driving doesn’t just cause collisions with oncoming traffic.

This activity was an attempt to “educate the public in a very hands-on way that is not preachy,” and most of the people who sat down and tried to text and drive learned a good lesson.

If there is ever a chance to participate in an activity such as this in New York City, the car accident attorneys at the Law Office of David J. Hernandez & Associates encourages everyone to do so.

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New York City Mayor Reducing Traffic Deaths

Taxi Cab Driving Through NYCEvery New York City resident knows that on streets crowded daily with so many people, bicycles, cars, cabs, and motorcycles safety is an issue. Dozens of accidents and injuries happen on a daily basis in our city — but there is a movement to bring those numbers down to zero.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has developed a plan to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024: Vision Zero. Recently, some changes to traffic laws in the city were approved by city council as a part of the package of bills that are a part of the plan.

Among the changed rules are tighter restrictions on cab drivers, heftier penalties for hitting a bicyclist or pedestrian who has the right of way, and stricter guidelines for motorcycle riding.

The council speaker said “these policies will make our streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike.” Street safety is at the forefront of city improvement after a significant amount of grisly traffic deaths early this year.

One of the deaths was that of a 26-year-old woman, who was crossing her street and was first hit by an ambulance, which put her in the path of another car that struck and killed her. This sort of sudden, senseless, and seemingly preventable death is what Mayor Bill de Blasio has committed his administration to preventing.

In that one weekend, four people were killed in traffic accidents in New York City, outpacing the number of murders in the same time period. This statistical spike in traffic injury and fatalities is the catalyst for our mayor’s movement to end the “epidemic” of unsafe traffic practices in the city. The Vision Zero plan is modeled after a Swedish philosophy that treats all road deaths and serious injuries as preventable. This initiative has become the centerpiece of the transportation agenda.

Why is the mayor modeling after Sweden? Well, according to national law, “zero” people are allowed to die in Swedish traffic. For almost two decades, every traffic law in Sweden has been tailored to this “seemingly impossible” goal of completely eradicating traffic deaths and serious injuries from car accidents.

So far, Sweden’s efforts have not been in vain. The national fatality rate from traffic accidents is 2.7 deaths per 100,000 people and is the lowest in the world.

The country’s guiding premise is that “every inch of street space must anticipate, and accommodate human error.”

The Absolute Zero movement is a bid to reverse roadway unruliness that has essentially been a way of life in New York City for many years. In a city of more than 800 languages, nearly 14,000 taxis, and 8.4 million potential traffic rants this initiative promises to be quite a challenge.

There are surface similarities between New York and the European Sweden, such as bike lanes, pedestrian islands, and a well-developed public transportation and transit system. But, upon closer examination, it is the differences between the two places that will make it more difficult for NYC to be as traffic-savvy as Sweden.

For example, some pillars of the Swedish traffic model include the reduction of default sped limits and the expansion of automated law enforce (such as traffic cameras.) In New York, each one of these initiatives will require the approval of state lawmakers and, even though the Mayor has already gotten the ball rolling, it could take much longer to have these important measures put in place.

One of the most striking this about the Swedish policy, which the New York administration hasn’t quite caught up with, is the general dismissal of the effects of education or enforcement on pedestrian safety. The director of traffic safety at the Swedish Transport administration and godfather of the Vision Zero plan said the best way to prevent death from traffic accidents is to “design around the human as we are.”

For now, New York City is focusing more on enforcing laws and changing laws, and adding additional penalties for more specific traffic violations.

From now on, cab drivers that hit a pedestrian in NYC can be prohibited from driving a taxi ever again. Some people have expressed concern about punishing cab drivers so harshly because accidents can be caused by a number of reasons.

Regardless, this added penalty will likely make taxi cab drivers much more cautious for fear of losing their livelihood. As the drivers of the most used cars in the city, it is fair to hold cab drivers to higher standards of responsibility and safety.

As for motorcyclists, new rules will govern their behavior as riders: wheelies, doughnuts, burnouts, and revving will be outlawed. This puts a snuff on adventurous riding in the city, which may upset some but could increase overall safety.

The Vision Zero package also has a series of resolutions that call on New York state lawmakers to approve changes that the city can’t make on their own. These include turning over control of traffic enforcement cameras and greater penalties for driving on the sidewalk.

Additionally, there is talk of reducing the city speed limit from 30 m.p.h to 25 m.p.h. Law enforcement has recently turned their attention on dangerous driving, cracking down on speeding, red-light infractions, distracted driving and failing to yield.

Hopefully this movement is beneficial and does reduce traffic deaths and injuries, but accidents can’t be completely prevented. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver in New York City, contact an experienced personal injury or car accident attorney as soon as possible.

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Wrongly Convicted New York Prisoners Released

Wrongly-Convicted-Prisoners-David-J.-Hernandez-AssociatesQuestionable investigative strategy and questionable prosecutions during high crime era like the ‘90s have prompted conviction review units across the country to look in to decades-old cases, and release wrongly accused individuals.

This movement has resulted in a record 87 exonerations across the country in 2013, and the pace this year could exceed that. Hundreds of people who have spent years in jail for a crime they didn’t commit are being relieved of their convictions and sentences.

New York City has just jumped onboard and according an article from the NY Times Brooklyn’s task is enormous. Review units are looking at 57 cases involving retired New York Detective, Louis Scarcella — whose methods have come under attack — as well as dozens of other cases.

Most of these cases are from the 1980s and 1990s, when Brooklyn averaged 600 homicides a year. In the first six months of this year, Brooklyn’s district attorney’s office lifted the convictions of six men.

In those six cases, the unit found solid evidence proving that the men shouldn’t have been convicted and jailed. Two of the cases were overturned based on DNA evidence; three cases because the testimony of a crack-addicted witness used by Scarcella was discredited; and the sixth based on a simple receipt that proved the defendant’s alibi.

The remaining cases being reviewed are more challenging: most of them lack proof of actual innocence. The challenge lies in the fact that in these cases, the police work — or the trial — was so tangled and uncertain that the defendant would not have been convicted based on today’s methods and standards.

The New York district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, has lead the way and made this task a priority. When he took office, there were only two lawyers on the review unit and they were drowning in the cases that need to be investigated. Since then, Thompson has assigned 10 additional district attorneys and three detectives to take care of the remaining cases.

A professor at Harvard Law who directs the criminal justice institute is a consultant to the district attorney on the design and operations of the investigative unit: he ensures that the unit is running as efficiently and lawfully as possible. A panel of three independent lawyers reviews the unit’s recommendations for exoneration and Mr. Thompson makes the final decisions.

The effort costs a whopping $1.1 million a year, but in the end could save the state of New York a lot of money. It costs $167,731 a year to feed, house, and guard one inmate in New York City. That means that for the six inmates that were recently released as a result of the investigation efforts, the city was paying over $1 million a year. In five months the investigation has already brought the city back what it costs to fund the effort for one year.

This effort not only benefits the people who are being released, who were never meant to be in prison in the first place, it is also freeing the city of additional financial burdens. So, what was so bad about Detective Scarcella’s tactics that make his convictions the target of this huge investigation?

He was accused of fabricating confessions, coercing witnesses and failing to turn in evidence that would have freed the defendant from their alleged crimes.The most damaging patternin the detective’s cases was the use of a crack addict as a witnessin six separate murder cases.

This “witness” often got crucial details wrong and consistently contradicted other witnesses. One of the cases she testified in was completely dismissed because she did not show up for her cross-examination: clearly this witness was not reliable, and yet she kept appearing in many of Scarcella’s cases.

One of the most recent exonerations is a perfect example of the use of a witness whose story didn’t line up. Based on witness testimony, Roger Logan was sentenced 25 years to life 17 years ago, in 1997, for a murder that took place in Brooklyn.

Scarcella was the detective on the case and responsible for the conviction, and when Logan found out Scarcella’s cases were being reviewed he wrote the district attorney to make sure they took a second look at his case. Logan had always maintained his innocence.

The prosecution’s case, which landed Logan in jail, was based on an “eye witness” account in the witness claimed she was on the street when the shooting took place. Later, this witness identified Logan in a lineup, but a judge ruled that inadmissible in trial because the lineup “put a spotlight on Mr. Logan.

There was an additional hearing to determine whether the witness could identify Logan based on other means. She claimed to have seen him the day before the murder, and had also seen him several times the day of the murder. Based on this account, Logan was convicted and sentenced for a crime he didn’t commit.

Recently, the review unit discovered that this witness was in police custody after an arrest and wasn’t released until later in the evening on the day of the murder. There is no way she could have seen the defendant the day before the murder, or “all day” on the day of the murder.

With this information, and further testimony from more trustworthy witnesses, Logan has been released from jail. He spent 17 years waiting for a review of his case: he missed the death of his parents, the growth of his children, and the birth of his grandchildren.

As a criminal defense attorney, it is disheartening to know that so many people have spent years in jail for a crime they may not have committed.A statement from the article describes it best: “ the duty of a prosecutor is to do justice, not just to get convictions.”

Although the legal process has improved since the time many of these men were convicted, there are still unsanitary investigation and prosecutorial methods and innocent people are sometimes put behind bars. This effort is the first step in determining common characteristics of problematic cases and helping to avoid wrongful convictions in the future.

If you have been charged with a crime you did not commit, knowing where to find and experiencedBrooklyn criminal defense attorney could mean the difference between freedom and undeserved penalties.
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A Woman Abused by Officer in DUI Arrest

A NYPD Police Car DrivingBeing pulled over by an officer who thinks you are driving under the influence of alcohol is scary: a DUI charge is serious and so are the penalties. But, at the very least, one would expect an officer making a DWI arrest truly believes that person is under the influence of alcohol.

In some cases, officers make mistakes while administering sobriety tests or communicating rights and these mistakes are valid defenses in a DUIcase. Unfortunately, an NYPD highway cop made more than just an honest mistake during a DWI arrest: he used the arrest to seduce and ultimately injure a Bronx woman.

The police officer pulled the woman over and arrested her for DWI, but later sent her text messages saying that he would clear his case up for her if she went on a date with him. As a DWI criminal defense attorney, I know that an offer such as this can be tempting for someone who has been charged with a DWI and fears hefty fines or the loss of freedom in jail time.

The woman gave in and went on a date with the officer, according an article from the NY Daily News. While they were out for dinner the officer ordered her a drink that made her drowsy. The next morning, she woke up in his bed with a black eye and no memory of the previous night.

This woman has filed a lawsuit against the officer and the city of New York for $150 million that accuses the officer of excessive force, negligent training, assault, battery, false DWI arrest, rape, libel, malicious prosecution, abuse of authority, harassment, and other violations.

The laundry list of violations is being reviewed by the city’s Law Department. The woman’s DWI charge was dropped. Regardless of what happens in this particular case, it is a scary example of what some officers are capable of doing.

If you have been arrested for and charged with DWI in New York City, but have experienced neglect or abuse, were personally injured by an officer, or believe that the officer was wrong to arrest you there may be a defense to have those charges lifted.

Contact the experienced DWI criminal defense attorneys and personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of David J. Hernandez to discuss your case and options for defense.

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Are Amusement Parks Liable for Injuries?

Coney Island Amusement Park RidesPicture this: the kids are out of school for the summer and have already worn out the many activities that New York City has to offer, and they have been begging for something fun to do. One of the most exciting and fun-filled places to go is, of course, Coney Island.

While your kids are enjoying the ride, something goes wrong and they are injured. Can the amusement park be held responsible for that injury? As a premises liability attorney in Brooklyn, I get this question often— especially in the summer when more people are visiting the amusement park.

Amusement parks take several steps to protect themselves against lawsuits for injuries that happen on their property. When you buy your ticket online or at the gate, it most likely has a disclaimer on the back — ortwo, or three.

But, these disclaimers do not completely release amusement parks from responsibility and liability. There are several legal theories that can apply to an amusement park injury, and the two most common are negligence and product liability.

Examples of negligence include failure to post or maintain warning signs, failure to train the ride operators, not keeping rides and equipment in safe condition, and failure to regularly inspect. The amusement park may also be held liable for the actions and omissions of its employees.

If you do sue an amusement park for an injury that took place on their premises, there are several common defenses their attorneys might use. One is assumption of risk: if you board a ride at an amusement park, you should know the possible risks of being injured.

A second defense may be rider noncompliance with safety rules. Sometimes, passengers on roller coasters do not abide by the safety rules that are listed and explained, such as keeping hands and feet inside the car or standing up. If you, or your children, are injured because these rules were not followed, it is an easy defense for the park.

But, if an injury occurred, and all the safety rules were being followed, there is a chance that the amusement park was negligent and therefore responsible for your injuries. Be careful this summer, and know where to contact and experienced premises liability lawyer if you are injured as a result of neglect.

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Children Killed as Passengers of Drunk Drivers

A Child Sleeping in the Backseat of a CarWhen you hear about a child being killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver, it may be natural to assume that the child was in the car with his or her sober family when the drunk driver caused the accident.

Too many children die every year in alcohol-related car accidents, but a new study suggests that the majority of these children are riding in the car with the impaired driver.

The exact rate of children’s deaths while riding in the car with a drunk driver varies by state, according to an article from Reuters on the study. But, in 2010 about 1,210 children younger than 15 years old were killed in a car crash — one in five of those crashes involved drunks driving.

The study analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which keeps track of deadly car accidents.The data revealed that 2,344 children younger than 15 years old died in 2,075 car crashes involving drunk drivers between 2001 and 2010.

Of those thousands of deaths, 65% of the children were riding with the drunk driver. Over that ten year period, the number of child passengers that were killed while riding with a drunk driver actually decreased by 41% from 197 in 2001 to 116 in 2010.

Regardless of the decrease, too many young people are dying in car accidents because they had to be in the car with an impaired driver. Children younger than 15, who don’t yet have their driver’s license have little control over who they get in the car with: if mom, dad, or the babysitter is their ride home from baseball practice that day, getting in the car is really the only option.

An impaired driver puts that child at great risk as soon as the wheels start rolling. According to the study, 61% of the children who died while riding with a drunk driver were not restrained.

This indicates that the impaired driver did not buckle in the young child, or didn’t make sure they were wearing a seat belt. One of the researchers said, “About 70% of the time, the drunk driver survived the crash. This means that many times the crashes were survivable, and if the child were buckled up correctly they might have lived.”

Car accidents in which children lose a life are even more devastating, especially if it could have been prevented.

On the brighter side, New York had the lowest measurable rates of children dying in a car accident while riding with a drunk driver. But when a devastating accident such as this does happen, it is important to know where to find an experienced car accident attorney in New York City.

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Most Common Types of Car Accidents

In a city as busy as New York, car accidents occur at an alarming rate. As an experienced Brooklyn car accident injury attorney, I’m often asked by friends which type of accidents I see occurring with the most frequency. While the Law Offices of David J. Hernandez & Associates deals with a broad range of car and auto crash injuries, I have noticed a trend in the types and causes of crashes.

To help better answer this question, I recently found an article from  The Wall Street Journal  that details the most common type of car accidents.

The report details a study by CarInsurance.com, which looked at more than 42,000 online auto insurance quotes given from Sept. 1, 2011 to Feb. 5, 2013. These quotes were for collision, comprehensive, and liability coverage on single-vehicle policies for drivers who had reported an incident in the preceding five years.

So how did the results stack up? The following chart shows the percentages of ways vehicles were damaged in car accidents:

Car Accident Statistics | Brooklyn, NY Personal Injury Attorney | Law Offices of David J. Hernandez & Associates

As you can see, one car striking another is the most prevalent type of car accident.

To learn more about car accidents and the injuries associated with the aforementioned crashes, contact an experienced Brooklyn, New York personal injury attorney.

Pregnant? Risk of Car Accident May be Higher

Pregnant Drivers at Risk | Brooklyn, NY | Law Office of David J. HernandezWhen you’re pregnant, you have a lot of things on your mind. Are you eating the right things for your baby? Are you getting the vitamins you need? Should you avoid flying on planes or relaxing in hot tubs?

A new report from ABC News indicates that you may need to add “driving a car” to the list of questionable activities.

The article cites a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which found that the half a million women who gave birth between 2006 and 2011 were 42 percent more likely to be in a car accident during their pregnancy as opposed to when they were not expecting.

The results show that almost one out of every fifty women will be involved in a car accident while pregnant.

Why the heightened risk for a car accident? The answer is not exactly clear, but a mix of stress and other pregnancy symptoms (nausea, fatigue, back pain, sleeplessness, etc.) are possible factors suggested by the study.

What does this mean for you if you’re pregnant? Doctors weighing in on the study don’t necessarily recommend refraining from driving altogether. Instead, they simply recommend returning to the basics of road safety when getting behind the wheel. The everyday routine of driving you typically get away with may not be as easy when you’re pregnant.

If you are pregnant and have been injured in a car accident, however, do not simply assume it was your fault. Other drivers consistently make mistakes for a variety of reasons—from distracted driving to negligent action. Contact an experienced Brooklyn, New York car accident injury attorney today for the help you need.

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