It is no secret that motorcycles can be very dangerous for their operators no matter how hard you try to drive one safely. In fact, there were more than 4,000 motorcycle crashes reported to police in New York in 2014 alone. Injuries are usually the result of direct impact between the driver and the other vehicle or pavement because it is not an enclosed vehicle equipped with safety measures in case of an accident. Due in part to their small and quick nature, motorcycles are also often less visible on roadways, especially during poor weather. They are generally less stable than a regular automobile, too. However, regardless of the myriad of reasons that motorcycles can be dangerous, motorcyclists have the right to travel the streets safely and without being injured by other traffic, though the laws governing motorcycles and other vehicles are different.
Last week I received a call from a current client regarding the unexpected death of his brother who was involved in a terrible car accident. My client’s brother was 41 years old, married, and had 3 children. The entire family seemed to be in a state of shock and my client was calling to ask if there was anything I might be able to do to help.
It’s important to understand that there are limits to what can be recovered in a personal injury lawsuit when a close family member has died in an accident. The specifics of the accident are not important to the point I am making here – this is not a question of who is at fault, or how the accident happened. It is a matter of properly understanding what it means to bring a lawsuit for ‘wrongful death’ and what types of damages can be recovered.
Simply stated, money damages in a wrongful death lawsuit under New York law are limited to pecuniary loss with respect to the injuries suffered by the victim; there is no remedy for the sadness and despair that a family member feels when someone close to them dies.
I think the reason people sometimes get confused is because they hear that a lawsuit allows a plaintiff to recover damages for pain and suffering. Pain and suffered can be included as damages in a personal injury lawsuit but this only covers or refers to the pain and suffering directly experienced by the accident victim. In the case of an accident, pain and suffering would only be included in a damage award if the victim had any awareness of the injury prior to death. [Read more…]
REPORT THE ACCIDENT. No matter how you got hurt, you must be able to place yourself at the scene of the accident. In most instances a call to 911 will trigger a police and/or emergency medical service response. When the authorities arrive you must tell them exactly what happened and advise them of any injuries you have sustained. If you require medical attention, make sure you advise the first responders where you feel pain.
If you are injured on the job, you must advise your foreman, supervisor or manager as to the mechanism of your injury and request they call 911 and create an official incident/accident report.
If you are injured on someone else’s property report it to the store manager, superintendent or anyone else working in the area where you got hurt. [Read more…]
Who will pay my medical bills?
Medical bills are usually the costliest expense associated with a personal injury case. These bills are incurred during the initial emergency medical response and, if long-term or lifetime medical care is required, remain an ongoing concern for the injured party and their family.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in in New York and/or New Jersey your medical bills are covered under “no-fault” insurance – also known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP). While there are variations as to the actual insurance company responsible for the bills, the general rule is that your medical bills are paid by the insurance company of the car you were occupying regardless of fault (hence the term “no-fault”). The minimum amount of benefits for this type of coverage in New York is $50,000.00. New Jersey affords its beneficiaries at least $250,000.00 in coverage.
Over the years, I have consulted with more than one thousand individuals who have been injured as a result of negligence. Since I work at a law firm that also handles immigration matters, I have been asked countless times by my clients, “Does it matter that I am an immigrant?” The answer is no. Period.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from. If you are injured as a result of someone’s negligence you are permitted to receive money damages for your injuries, medical bills and time lost from work.
Immigrants, documented or not, are permitted to access the courts at least here in New York State.
I have been fighting for the rights of immigrants for my entire career as a personal injury attorney and couldn’t be prouder to continue in that tradition with Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco (PPID), a firm that has played an important role in defending and upholding the rights of immigrants to the United States for almost 60 years.