- Personal Injury
New York is the perfect location for boating. Its abundance of lakes and proximity to the Atlantic Ocean make it a popular destination for boating, jet skiing, and all sorts of watercraft. Watersports are exciting, novel, and understandably popular among New Yorkers and out-of-state visitors.
However, these activities carry unique risks and liabilities for those involved. If you’ve been injured in a boating accident, it’s important to understand your options for receiving compensation. But, first, let’s do a quick review of boating regulations.
LAWS COVERING BOATING AND BOATING ACCIDENTS
Recreational boating is governed by both state and federal regulations.
Under Title forty-six, subtitle two – Vessels and Seamen, federal regulations cover operational provisions, vessel inspection requirements, marine casualty reporting procedures, vessel identification measures, and requirements for state boating safety programs.
New York also has its own state-specific regulations for boating, including the process for determining liability in various circumstances. These can be found in the state’s Navigation Law. Our attorneys are well-versed in these laws, and can explain how they apply to your specific case after a boating accident.
DETERMINING LIABILITY IN A BOATING ACCIDENT
The process of determining liability requires recalling and analyzing the events that led up to the accident. Here are some key questions that we would will want to address with clients who were hurt in a boating accident:
- Was the operator irresponsible in handling their vessel?
- Was the operator boating under the influence?
- Was the accident caused by human error, and if so, whose error was it?
- Was the boat seaworthy, and was it equipped properly with safety gear?
- Was the boat defective in some way?
- Was the operator trained and licensed in utilizing their vessel?
We will also handle the necessary investigations and file the relevant motions in order to discover the cause of your boating accident.
SEEKING COMPENSATION THROUGH INSURANCE
Boating insurance is not a requirement in New York. Therefore, a victim cannot predict the exact amount of compensation they may receive from another party’s insurance. However, most watercraft owners will have some form of insurance, as they are financially liable for any damages they cause.
Boater’s insurance typically covers bodily injury, medical expenses, and property damage. There will always be policy limits but you generally can expect these policies to cover your expenses after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
Coverage could also come from a liable party’s homeowner’s insurance or your own health insurance. However, if your costs exceed your coverage, then you will need to recover damages from the liable party by filing a lawsuit.
TYPES OF BOATING ACCIDENTS AND STATISTICS
The United States Coast Guard recognizes over a dozen water vessel types, each of which come with their own unique risks. This graphic illustrates the seven that are most frequently involved in accidents. As you can see, open motorboats pose the greatest risk of death and injury.
The seven most common causes of accidents in 2019 are shown here. Collisions with other boats and fixed objects lead all other accident types, and falls overboard cause the most deaths. But grounding, capsizing, and other mishaps can be dangerous as well.
Whatever the vessel type and cause, if you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced attorneys will take the time to learn about the circumstances of your case, and recommend the best way to proceed.
People often say large trucks are the most dangerous things on the road. I disagree. Most of the time, trucks don’t cause accidents. Usually, it’s irresponsible truck drivers that are to blame for putting others in harm’s way.
WHAT ARE SPEEDING AND AGGRESSIVE DRIVING?
Two of the worst forms of irresponsible truck driving are speeding and aggressive driving. Aggressive driving is when a driver makes unreasonable maneuvers without regard for the safety of others on the road. It includes things like:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Blocking other cars from changing lanes
Speeding and aggressive truck driving is incredibly dangerous because of the sheer size and weight of the average large truck. When irresponsible truck driving causes an accident, the victims should do everything in their power to hold the at-fault parties responsible.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR COMPENSATION IN NEW YORK?
There are a few options in this state. For more minor injuries, personal injury protection benefits are great. They cover up to $50,000 of an insured driver’s monetary expenses without considering who caused the accident. Unfortunately, truck accidents aren’t usually minor. Drivers with serious injuries can usually file an insurance claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company or take the other party to court by filing a lawsuit.
This is where things can get complicated. First, with truck accidents, it’s not just the driver that can be held responsible. In New York, there is a concept called vicarious liability that makes employers liable for their employees’ irresponsible acts while at work. In these cases, you have to figure out who is responsible so you sue the right people or file a claim with the right insurance company. And once you know what parties to pursue, third-party claims and lawsuits still present their own unique challenges.
With a third-party insurance claim, an insurance claims adjuster investigates the claim and determines who is at fault and who is responsible for paying what. The challenge is that the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company, and the insurance company doesn’t want to pay out if they can help it.
Lawsuits are even more complicated. They involve complex procedures and make the driver responsible for proving the other party was at-fault. With speeding and aggressive truck driving, the good news is that there’s a lot of great evidence available. For example, many trucks have what’s called an electronic logging device that keeps records of a truck’s speed. The trouble is that gathering this evidence is hard if you’ve never done it before. And once you have all the evidence, you still have to make a strong case in court.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by speeding or aggressive driving, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our dedicated team of attorneys has decades of experience keeping irresponsible truck driving in check by making sure our injured clients are justly compensated.
All across New York, people move into new apartments, condos, and homes using rental trucks. Rental trucks are a convenient option for moving but they are also capable of inflicting severe physical harm and considerable property damage. Pursuing justice is not entirely straightforward, but an experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover fair compensation for your accident expenses.
YOUR OPTIONS FOR COMPENSATION
Generally, your four options for compensation are:
- No-fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits
- Third-party Insurance Claims
- Filing a Lawsuit
- Small Claims Court
New York’s no-fault law requires all auto insurance policies to include Personal Injury Protection benefits. This policy gets injured parties covered quickly, regardless of who was at fault. The downside is that personal injury protection only covers up to $50,000 worth of expenses, so you will likely need to pursue other options to recover additional compensation.
Unlike no-fault, third-party claims incorporate the concept of ‘negligence.’ This means, essentially, that a party acted carelessly when they had a legal duty to be careful. Negligent third parties could include other drivers, vehicle manufacturers, a state transportation agency, or any other party who indirectly caused the accident.
Once you file a claim against a third party, their insurance adjuster will begin an investigation to determine who was at fault for the accident. The drawback here is that the same person who decides how much compensation is deserved is also the one responsible for paying it.
Another option is to file a lawsuit. In order to do so, you must meet New York’s lawsuit threshold. You can meet the threshold if you: suffered a serious injury, have expenses exceeding fifty thousand dollars, are suing on behalf of a deceased loved one, or don’t meet minimum insurance requirements.
One benefit of lawsuits is that they are decided by an impartial judge or jury, as opposed to an insurance adjuster. They may also include compensation for pain and suffering and don’t impose a maximum limit on your financial award.
Small claims court is for monetary disputes of less than five thousand and one dollars. Truck accident victims will sometimes file a small claim for property damage in order to fill in the gaps left by a no-fault claim, which is very limited in coverage.
DETERMINING LIABILITY AFTER A RENTAL TRUCK ACCIDENT
Rental truck accidents require you to consider the potential liability of at least two parties: the driver and the rental company. A driver could be proven negligent for speeding, distracted driving, aggressive driving, or other forms of carelessness. A rental truck company could be found negligent for leasing to an unlicensed or visibly intoxicated driver, as well as for failing to properly maintain their vehicle. Failure to properly maintain a vehicle can include:
- Bald tires
- Faulty brakes
- Faulty steering
- Defective back door
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a rental truck accident in New York, contact Rosenblum Law for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll help you determine your options for compensation, handle all investigatory matters and legal paperwork, and negotiate the best possible settlement.
Truckers create unique hazards on the road. Tractor-trailers are long, heavy, and often carry hazardous materials. This is a big reason why truck accidents caused by a drunk truck driver are so infuriating. Drunk driving becomes especially unacceptable when the driver is operating a vehicle capable of great destruction, like a large truck.
Thankfully, the law recognizes these dangers. Federal trucking regulations and New York’s state laws define driving while intoxicated for commercial drivers as having a point-zero-four percent blood alcohol content level, which is stricter than the rule for non-commercial drivers.
WHY YOU NEED AN ATTORNEY
Drivers should know that lawsuits are complicated and will almost always require a qualified attorney. First, lawsuits require significant legal expertise. For example, not everyone can file a personal injury lawsuit. New York’s no-fault system makes no-fault insurance benefits an insured New York driver’ first option for compensation. Drivers that want to go the lawsuit route have to satisfy certain criteria under a legal threshold. An attorney will evaluate whether a driver can file a lawsuit and may have to defend this right. In the case Pyeun versus Woo, for example, Ms. Pyeun’s attorney had to submit medical reports to the court to prove her injuries were serious enough to satisfy the threshold after Mr. Woo, the drunk truck driver who hit her, claimed she was not eligible to file.
Cases are also frequently won and lost on procedural technicalities like filing the wrong form or submitting something late. An attorney helps with navigating the complex legal system.
Proving another caused an accident can also be tricky. In cases with drunk truck drivers, there’s often a lot of great evidence available, such as:
- Blood alcohol test results
- Medical records
- A criminal DWI conviction, if there is one
But this is just a starting point. These cases can require more specialized evidence like expert testimony or vehicle damage analysis. Maybe you can’t prove the driver was drunk, but their drunkenness caused them to veer into your lane and hit your vehicle. Well, evidence that they veered into your lane might support an alternative theory that the driver was at-fault for driving carelessly. Gathering all this evidence isn’t easy for the average person who doesn’t have the experience and resources of an attorney.
And evidence alone isn’t enough. A judge or jury still has to be convinced the driver was drunk and that their drunkenness caused the accident. When evidence is sparse, an attorney must come up with back-up arguments or alternative theories to give a client the best chance at recovering compensation.
Finally, most cases don’t even end up at trial. They are resolved in a boardroom, with attorneys negotiating a settlement. Most ordinary people don’t fare well in negotiations with seasoned attorneys.
Fortunately, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Rosenblum Law have all this expertise and more. We don’t stop until our clients receive the compensation they justly deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by drunk driving, contact Rosenblum Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Distracted driving seems more common than ever in the smartphone age. Driving with a smartphone means constant distractions, from emails to texts to phone calls. Drivers also divide their attention when they do things like drink coffee or eat a fast food burger while on the road. Truck drivers are no exception. When tractor trailers are operated by distracted drivers, the results can be tragic and expensive.
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS FOR COMPENSATION?
By default, insured New York drivers injured in a traffic accident can be compensated through no-fault benefits. These benefits cover up to fifty-thousand dollars of monetary expenses regardless of who was to blame. But with truck accidents, these limited benefits don’t normally cover all the damage. Luckily, drivers that satisfy certain conditions can go outside the no-fault system–by filing a lawsuit.
HOW DOES THE LAWSUIT APPROACH WORK?
Filing a lawsuit is basically telling the court that someone was careless in a way that caused an accident, and that they should be held responsible for your expenses. Distracted driving truck accident lawsuits are complicated for many reasons. Some of these challenges are well illustrated by Yao versus World Wide Travel.
In this case, a World Wide Travel bus was driving tourists from a Connecticut casino to Manhattan when it crashed into the guardrail on Interstate ninety-five. Tragically, fifteen passengers were killed, while another seventeen were injured. Predictably, lawsuits followed.
One challenge was deciding who could be held liable. The passengers sued the driver, the bus company, and the travel agency that sold the tickets. Ultimately, the bus company was held responsible because of
the concept of vicarious liability. This concept holds that an employer is responsible for its employee’s bad acts if they are done within the scope of employment. World Wide Travel was held vicariously liable because they were the employers of the bus driver and the crash happened while the bus driver was working. Similarly, in a truck accident lawsuit, you must first figure out who can be held responsible and who it makes sense to sue.
Another challenge was actually proving the bus driver’s distracted driving caused the accident. Proving distracted truck driving usually takes thorough investigation requiring an attorney’s experience and resources. To prove the bus driver’s fault, the passengers relied on expert testimony. The bus driver said he crashed because a truck cut him off, but an expert used event data recorders showing the vehicles’ speeds to prove the bus wasn’t cut off. These electronic logging devices are installed on busses and trucks to record speed and braking. Their relative speeds showed the truck could not have overtaken the bus. The expert also used the narrow angle of the tire marks left at the scene. They said gradually veering off the road at this angle is more consistent with distracted driving than someone swerving off the road because they were cut off.
Distracted truck driving is the height of irresponsibility. Recovering compensation after these accidents is likely but proving a case can be complicated. At Rosenblum Law, we have the experience, resources, and know-how to make sure our clients receive the compensation they deserve. So if you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by distracted driving, contact Rosenblum Law today for a free, no-obligation consultation.
We’ve all experienced the uncertainty of sharing the road with large trucks. Non-commercial vehicles simply aren’t equipped to deal with things like cargo falling into the roadway or a collision with a swerving tractor-trailer. Truck accidents involving these sorts of hazards happen all too frequently, leaving destruction in their wake.
WHAT ARE OVERLOADING AND IMPROPER LOADING?
Two common causes of truck accidents are overloading and improper loading. Overloading is when a truck carries more weight than it can handle. This can cause the driver to lose control or the truck to tip over or fold into itself, which is known as jackknifing. Improper loading is when cargo is secured improperly or is unevenly distributed in the trailer. This also causes drivers to lose control and has the added risk of cargo falling into the roadway.
Thankfully, the law recognizes these dangers. Both state and federal laws regulate trucking cargo, so when these laws are broken and cause an accident, it can form the basis of a lawsuit.
FILING A LAWSUIT
Drivers considering a lawsuit should first understand New York’s lawsuit threshold. New York is a no-fault state. This basically means New York wants insured drivers to first turn to their own no-fault insurance benefits and only pursue a lawsuit if it’s absolutely necessary. The lawsuit threshold defines this necessity as:
- Having a sufficiently serious injury
- Being uninsured
- Having covered expenses exceeding $50,000 dollars
- Sustaining injuries resulting in death
Drivers should also know that holding the responsible party liable is possible, but challenging.
First, many parties can be held responsible if an improperly loaded or overloaded cargo causes an accident, including:
- Truck owner
- Trucking company
- Merchants shipping or receiving the goods
Second, there are laws that formally require these parties to follow specific rules. This creates an objective basis for showing someone did something wrong. For example, a New York state law says the maximum weight for a single-axle truck is twenty-thousand, four-hundred pounds. If a truck heavier than this causes an accident, the fact that the truck was allowed to travel at this weight establishes someone’s wrongdoing.
Third, there are many potential sources of evidence. Records of cargo weight are usually kept by the merchants, the trucking company, and the truck driver. Records are also created when trucks stop at weigh stations.
Winning these types of cases is challenging. It isn’t always apparent who should actually be sued. Moreover, the web of state and federal laws restricting truck cargo can be very difficult to interpret. Finally, gathering evidence is a monumental task, requiring significant resources and know-how.
At Rosenblum Law, we have spent decades fighting and winning these types of cases. Our unrivaled experience and extensive resources make us an invaluable tool to drivers hoping to be fully compensated for their injuries. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident caused by overloading or improper loading, contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.