With More New York Children Killed as Vision Zero Street Safety Initiative Remains Stagnant, City Could Be Held Responsible
Vision Zero was created by the City of New York with the intention of protecting families with safer streets. The leading cause of death for NYC children under 14 is being struck by a vehicle, and the Vision Zero concept heralds that this statistic should be unacceptable.
Since the implementation of Vision Zero in 2014, New York City has used multiple tools to improve the safety of streets in each borough. They implemented new street designs, increased penalties for dangerous drivers, and expanded speed limits, hoping that the combination would help prevent crashes.
However, a new study has shown that more NYC kids were killed in 2022 by drivers, than in any other year since Vision Zero began. The Transporation Alternatives Organization found that 15 children under 18 years of age were killed by drivers in 2022. This number has doubled in comparison to both 2018 and 2020.
New York City claims that traffic deaths are on the decline, but when you look at the numbers year after year, that is not the case. The lowest number of deaths per year since the Vision Zero launch was in 2018 when 202 people were killed by collisions. In 2022, 255 fatalities occurred, which is a 24% increase in death rate in comparison to 2018.
The 10-year mark of Vision Zero is approaching, and with this new analysis, it remains clear that the city is not seeing the results it had originally hoped. The City Council has stated that it will hold a hearing on Vision Zero in February, which is hopefully the beginning of Vision Zero improvements.
When you or a loved one are injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle, there can multiple parties upon which to assign blame. Victims can pursue compensation from the driver that hit them; the company that operates a taxi, bus, or scooter; or even the manufacturer of a faulty part that may have caused the accident. But what many people don’t realize is that negligence can also be assigned to the City for failure to ensure safety.
With the statistics telling such a grim story in the face of continued failed efforts to curb the danger, municipalities are more often being held responsible. If there’s been an accident or injury, you can reach out to Belluck & Fox today for a free consultation to learn about the next steps and possible paths toward the compensation you deserve.
Belluck & Fox Settles Car Accident Injury Lawsuit on Jersey Shore
She was on vacation with her friends over Memorial Day Weekend. Everything was going great on their trip to the Jersey Shore. They were in a cab when, out of nowhere, an elderly driver crossed into oncoming traffic.
That car hit two vehicles, one of which was the cab. The client was injured badly, fracturing her nose which required her to undergo surgery.
That car hit two vehicles, one of which being the cab. The client was injured badly, fracturing her nose and having to undergo surgery.
Even in the face of complications, like the (subsequent and unrelated) death of the driver and a limited insurance policy, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Belluck & Fox were able to bring the case to a successful settlement. When all was said and done, the client walked away with two and half times the original offer.
Serious car accident injuries can leave a victim with staggering medical bills, a sudden drop in income, and months or years of pain and suffering. That’s why it is so important to reach out to top-rated car accident lawyers like Belluck & Fox. Decades of experience allow us to know how to:
Manage all communication with insurance companies and the at-fault party.
Gather extensive documentation of your motor vehicle accident to support your claim for maximum compensation.
Identify all possible sources of compensation.
Build a strong case with in-depth understanding of local accident laws.
Ensure time doesn’t run out on your car accident claims.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you don’t have to go it alone. At Belluck & Fox, our award-winning personal injury lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the compensation you need to get your life back in order after an accident. Reach out today for a free consultation.
Belluck & Fox Wins Personal Injury Settlement for Pedestrian Accident
She was just trying to cross the street. After pushing the button on the traffic light at the intersection of Broadway and Hudson Avenue in Albany, New York, she waited for the light to change and began to walk.
When she was more than halfway across, her legs were suddenly swept out from under her as she was hit by a car that was making a left turn.
She sustained soft tissue injuries to her knee, lower back, and shoulder, none of which required surgery. While her ultimate recovery went well, there were many gaps in her treatment due to extenuating circumstances and COVID-19.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Belluck & Fox knew the victim had a strong case and deserved compensation for the treatments and suffering she had to endure as a result of the accident. Our team was able to win a settlement worth six and a half times the initial offer made to her as compensation.
A pedestrian accident victim is subject to New York’s “no-fault” insurance laws, but being on foot makes a difference:
- An injured pedestrian can tap the insurance of the at-fault motorist or motorists involved in the accident to recoup medical expenses, lost wages, and other reasonable costs.
- The injured pedestrian can also use the “no-fault” laws to tap their own auto insurance policy.
- If the pedestrian does not have access to the motorist’s insurance information, such as in a hit-and-run, and if the pedestrian cannot tap into his or her own policy, they can file a claim with the state’s Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corp.
- If the accident was caused by public or private infrastructure problems such as potholes that should not have existed, the injured party can seek damages from the responsible government body or property owner.
Filing claims for compensation after a serious pedestrian accident can be extremely complicated in New York, and having the best attorney on your side can make all the difference.
Belluck & Fox has secured more than $1 billion in compensation for clients and their families. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Reach out today if you or a loved one has been injured to learn about the process for pursuing compensation and the various time limits that may affect your case.
Trip or Treat?
Halloween is a big deal for children and families all across the United States, giving children (and many adults!) the opportunity to dress up and collect some great candy while they’re at it.
With a massive number of people participating each year, there is always a need to pause and think about how to stay safe and enjoy the holiday. We’ve compiled just a few tips to keep in mind as you head out this year.
- Costumes should be bright and preferably reflective to ensure trick or treaters can be seen by drivers and the people around them.
- When decorating your home, try to avoid things on the ground that trick or treaters could trip or injure themselves on. It also helps to keep your walkways well lit!
- Children should always be accompanied by an adult. Try to ensure some sort of way to communicate while you’re out – either a cell phone or walkie talkie – to avoid separating.
- It’s rare, but it is still a risk. Be sure to check candy before eating it, just in case someone had the wrong intentions. Always better to be safe than sorry.
- If you see any suspicious activity while you’re out around the neighborhood, report it. Halloween tends to be a reason for people to play pranks or worse, and we all need to look out for one another.
Lastly, have fun! While there are plenty of safety concerns to take into account, Halloween is meant to be an exciting, entertaining, and rewardingly sweet day. We hope you enjoy it this year. Feel free to share some of your best costume photos with us on social media!
Bike Accident and Injury Risks in NYC
According to the NYC DOT, nearly 4,500 bicyclists were injured in accidents involving a motor vehicle in 2017. Twenty-four of those bicyclists died.
Even though the risk of being injured while riding in NYC decreased dramatically between 2000 and 2017, there are still serious reasons to remain alert and careful while riding around the five boroughs.
In April 2019 cyclist Victor Ang, 74 at the time, was struck and subsequently run-over by a UPS truck. While the driver stayed at the scene and no charges have been filed, the incident highlights the risk bicyclists in NYC face each day as they ride to work, take care of family, or even just run errands.
According to the NY Post, Ang “sustained severe trauma to his body, including his legs.” Unfortunately it was reported that two months later, in June, Ang passed away as a result of the accident. As stated in his obituary, “he lit up every room he was in, and was known for his good sense of humor, his jokes, and laughter. He showed kindness to everyone around him.”
Even more troubling is that Victor is hardly alone. In July 2019 alone, we’ve learned of bicycle-related fatalities including Devra Freelander, a 28 year old artist struck by a cement truck in Brooklyn; and Moshe Wolpin, just 11 at the time of his accident, who recently passed as a result of injuries sustained when he was struck by a car on his way to school.
NYC BICYCLE SAFETY TIPS
Here are some key tips for staying safe while riding a bike in New York City. While certainly not a guarantee, keeping these in mind can help avoid a serious injury.
- Ride in the streets, not on the sidewalks, and always use the bike lane when one is available.
- Go in the same direction as vehicle traffic, and signal for turns just like they do.
- Follow all of the same warnings as vehicle traffic, like stop signs and traffic lights.
- Make sure other drivers can see you – light, reflectors, bright colors – anything to make you more noticeable on the road.
- Be very aware of pedestrians, car doors, and other obstacles on the road.
- Stay alert – if music distracts you, avoid listening to it while riding.
- Wear a helmet!
ALREADY BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT?
We know getting into a bike accident can be traumatic, and the injuries serious. You don’t need to be paying medical bills alone. Belluck & Fox has more than two decades of experience representing injured New Yorkers in bike, motorcycle, and car accidents. We’re proud to stand up for those who need help. Give us a call today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will help you get justice.
Common Airbag Injuries in Car Accidents
Although intended to save lives in the event of a collision, airbags can cause severe injuries in certain circumstances. When an airbag malfunctions or is defective, you could be owed significant compensation for any injuries you suffer.
Even when an airbag functions properly, it can still cause serious injuries. In such cases, an at-fault driver could be liable for your injuries.
What Causes Airbag Deployment?
Airbags are designed to deploy when the electronic control sensor is triggered in a collision.
Depending on the severity of the impact, the control unit will determine which airbags should deploy. A signal is then sent to the inflator mechanism, and a chemical reaction causes the airbags to quickly inflate to protect occupants from the impact. This whole process occurs in a fraction of a second.
Upon deployment, the airbag inflates and acts as a cushion between the driver or passenger and the steering wheel, dashboard, or other hard surface in the vehicle.
Causes of Airbag Injuries
Airbags are meant to work in conjunction with seatbelts to keep car occupants safe. In order to be effective, airbags must deploy quickly, but sometimes the speed with which they eject causes of blunt-trauma injuries.
In addition to the rate of deployment, the following are some reasons that may also cause airbaginjuries:
- Spontaneous inflation
- Failure to deploy
- Occupants unrestrained by seatbelts
- Young passengers in the front seat
- Allergic reaction to airbag chemicals
- Insufficient car set securing
- Close proximity to the wheel or dashboard
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that drivers and passengers sit at least 10 to 12 inches away from the steering wheel and dashboard to lessen the risk of impact injuries upon airbag deployment.
Common Injuries Caused by Airbags
While designed to protect drivers and passengers, airbags are commonly the cause of injuries. A wide range of injuries can be caused by airbags even when they operate as they should.
Injuries caused by airbags can include following:
- Friction burns to the hands and upper body
- Cuts or bruising to the face, chest, and arms
- Impact injuries to the wrists and fingers
- Spinal cord injuries
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Trauma to the middle ear, causing hearing loss
- Exacerbating asthma
- Trauma to the fetus or amniotic sac in pregnant passengers or drivers
Airbag Injury Claims
Drivers have a right to expect that airbags will keep them safe in the event of a collision, not cause them harm. If an airbag is defective, you could be owed significant compensation from the manufacturer of the device, the automobile manufacturer, or multiple parties.
Even if the airbag was not defective, you could be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the crash that resulted in airbag deployment and injuries.
Your attorney will investigate the cause of your injuries and will work to determine any and all liable parties.
You could be eligible to recover damages including: medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, among others. Time is limited to file an injury claim, however, so it is critical to get legal help right away.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help?
The car accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox are committed to protecting the rights of injury victims. We understand that when you’ve been hurt, nothing can undo the physical trauma that you have already experienced.
We’re here to seek the justice and the fair compensation that you are owed. To discuss your situation and legal options, contact a New York airbag injury lawyer at Belluck & Fox today for a free consultation.
OTC and Prescription Drugs Cause Drivers Accidents
The concerns about over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medication use among truckers is heightened in recent years because America is gripped by a truck driver shortage. According to an article in the Washington Post, the American Trucking Association estimates that 51,000 more drivers are needed to accommodate the growing shipping demands from giant retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
The hazards of driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs are widely known. But not everyone realizes that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can cause severe impairment as well. Unfortunately, the limited pool of available truck drivers means that more truckers could be hitting the roads while medicated. When truck drivers take medication and operate vehicles weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, severe and often fatal accidents can occur.
How Can OTC and Prescription Drugs Affect Truck Drivers?
Truck drivers may use OTC medications to treat minor conditions such as a cold or allergies. While it is common to turn to OTC and prescription medications to combat illnesses and other conditions, it is crucial to refrain from driving until you understand how the medicine affects you. For those whose job it is to operate large commercial vehicles on busy roads and highways, it is even more essential to make sure that the medications do not impair them in any way.
Any substance that impacts a truck driver’s coordination and alertness could lead to a catastrophic injury accident. Some common medications that could negatively affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle include:
- Pain relievers
- Sleeping aids
- Cough and cold medicines
- Eye medications
- Some heart medicines
Prescription or OTC medications can cause side effects in truck drivers such as:
- Impaired coordination
- Delayed reaction time
- Balance problems
- Impaired spatial judgment
In addition, some OTC medications may cause drivers to experience anxiety, which could lead to a panic attack behind the wheel. All of these side effects could result in a disaster for nearby motorists, pedestrians and the truck driver.
Medications That Disqualify Truck Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established strict regulations that truck drivers and truck companies must follow in order to protect the public. While truckers are allowed to take many OTC medications on the clock, other medications are prohibited.
Many of the prohibited medications are habit-forming and can seriously affect the performance of drivers. These include:
- Controlled substances
- Depressants or stimulants
- Anti-seizure medication
Some of the above medications can be exempt from FMCSA’s rules if the driver obtains written permission from a licensed physician stating that their ability will not be impaired by the dosage.
How to Prove Prescription Drug Use of a Driver After an Accident
If you have been hurt with a collision with a truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. In order to collect the compensation that you deserve, you need to contact an experienced truck accident attorney.
A truck accident lawyer can investigate the crash to prove that the trucker was impaired by a prescription or OTC drug. Medical records, medication receipts, drug tests and other vital forms of evidence can show that the driver was on medication at the time of the crash.
In addition to testing the driver, obtaining documentation from the driver’s employer can help shed light on the driver’s history. Often employers will withhold information about employee’s drug tests. Because this information is kept confidential, a court order is typically needed to obtain it. All of these steps can be taken by your lawyer with minimal input from you.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?
A collision with a large commercial vehicle can have a devastating impact on your health and livelihood. If you have been hurt in a crash and you believe the driver was under the influence of over-the-counter or prescription medication, the New York truck accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox are ready to fight for you.
Our top-rated lawyers have 25 years of experience representing clients who have been injured in catastrophic truck accidents. To find out how we can help you, contact us today for a free case review.
Arrange your free consultation now.
Accidents Caused by Traffic Congestion and Rubbernecking
While not everyone will admit it, we are all probably guilty of staring at an accident as we pass by. This act of taking your attention off of the road in front of you is often referred to as rubbernecking. While it can be tempting to see what is going on, it is crucial to realize that rubbernecking doesn’t just cause a slowdown in traffic. Drivers who become distracted by crash scenes could cause a severe accident themselves.
According to a study, 16% of all accidents are caused by rubbernecking drivers. This is problematic primarily because these collisions are entirely avoidable. If everyone paid full attention to the task of driving, traffic would move along smoothly and there would likely be fewer rear-end collisions caused by rubbernecking.
Is Rubbernecking Illegal in New York?
Distracted driving, which includes the act of rubbernecking, is a major problem on New York roads. While the state has taken steps to reduce certain types of distracted driving accidents by prohibiting drivers from using cell phones or electronic devices while driving, there are no regulations that directly govern rubbernecking.
However, all drivers have a basic legal duty to focus on the task of safely operating their motor vehicle at all times. It’s up to each driver on New York roads to pay attention and avoid this dangerous distraction while driving.
What Causes Traffic Congestion?
One of the main reasons why traffic is so congested in New York and in cities across the United States is that too many people need to be somewhere at the same times each day. People go to work, school, and run errands during the same hours, causing serious congestion problems in densely populated cities, suburbs and towns.
Most Americans live in low-density areas with few efficient public transportation options. Also, the convenience, flexibility, and privacy that personal vehicles offer are often a greater draw than public transit or carpooling options.
With nearly 90 percent of daily commuters in the U.S. using private vehicles and almost all of them needing to drive at the same times each day, it is no wonder that we report significant traffic congestion problems on a daily basis.
This underlying congestion problem only gets worse when some drivers slow down to check out a crash or other incident. Rubbernecking can cause chain-reaction traffic jams, as well as chain-reaction traffic accidents.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?
The distracted driving accident attorneys of Belluck & Fox represent clients who were hurt in accidents caused by rubbernecking drivers in New York City and across the state. We know the devastating impact an accident can have on your health, your finances, and your family’s lives. Let our legal team help you seek the compensation you deserve if someone else’s negligence caused you harm.
There is never a fee to speak with us about your case. Contact us by phone or online now to schedule a confidential consultation about your best legal options.
Citi Bikes and Bike-Related Accidents in New York City
Biking is an efficient, healthy, and eco-friendly way to get around. Unfortunately, riding a bike doesn’t come without risks, especially in New York City.
The availability of bike-share services, like Citi Bike, has given rise to increased bike-related accidents and injuries. If you have been hurt in a bike accident in Manhattan, the experienced injury lawyers at Belluck & Fox are ready to speak with you. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.
Bike Accident Causes and Types of Bike Accident Injuries
The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) reported that nearly 300 bicyclists died in a single year after being involved in accidents with cars. Some common causes of NYC bike accidents include:
- Drivers’ failure to yield – Bicyclists and pedestrians often have the right-of-way over vehicles, but when vehicle drivers don’t yield, fatal accidents can easily occur.
- Potholes – Potholes and defects in the road can be very dangerous for cyclists. When cyclists hit a pothole, they can be thrown from the bike and potentially land in traffic.
- Dooring – “Dooring” accidents occur when drivers or passengers fail to watch for cyclists when opening their vehicle’s doors. In the city, these accidents are all too common and can cause serious injury to cyclists.
Since many Citi Bike riders are tourists, they aren’t familiar with the very specific road conditions that biking in Manhattan presents.
Who Is at Liable for a Citi Bike Crash?
Responsibility for a Citi Bike crash will depend on the specifics of each case. An injury lawyer can investigate the accident to determine which party or parties were at fault.
Some potentially liable parties include:
- Drivers who strike Citi Bike riders
- Pedestrians who are harmed by an inexperienced or careless Citi Bike rider
- The bike-share company, if the accident was caused by a poorly maintained bike
- The bike manufacturer, if the accident was caused by a defective bike design or bike part
- Government entities, if a pothole or another road defect caused the accident
One factor tends to remain consistent: at-fault parties don’t want to pay what they owe. When you seek compensation for your injuries, the insurance company may deny your claim, offer a lowball settlement, or delay paying you. Having a lawyer on your side will give you the resources you need to recover fair payment as soon as possible.
What Should I do If I’m Hit by a Car While I’m Cycling?
As a cyclist, if you are involved in a collision with a motor vehicle, to protect yourself and your rights, make sure to do the following:
- Call 911 – Make sure to seek treatment immediately if you sustain injuries. Even if you can’t tell whether you are hurt at first, it is best to get medical attention. Cyclists do not have the protection that drivers do, which often results in severe and potentially fatal injuries.
- Gather Documentation – Take pictures of the scene of the incident if you can. These may be useful later on in the claims process. Make sure to take pictures of any damage to the bicycle, other vehicles involved, or any hazardous conditions such as potholes that contributed to your injury.
- Avoid Speaking with Insurers – In the aftermath of the accident, you may be contacted by an insurer. Whether they are calling on behalf of another person involved or for Citi Bike, do not speak with them on the record without first consulting an injury lawyer.
- Reach out to a Lawyer – Collisions and the injuries that they cause can be very costly for the victim. The best chance that injury victims have to collect the compensation that they need is to work with an experienced lawyer to handle their claim.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?
The lawyers at Belluck & Fox understand how life-changing bicycle accidents can be for those involved. If you are hurt on a Citi Bike, hire a lawyer who can aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. To discuss your case with a member of our team, call us or contact us online now.
Complete Guide to New York’s Driver and Family Protection Act
Before this year, you and your family might have been on the hook for expensive damages and medical costs if involved in a crash with an uninsured driver. But New York’s Driver and Family Protection Act changed all that.
Now motorists automatically gain supplemental insurance coverage as part of any new auto insurance policy, which they can reduce or decline if they so choose. Here’s how this legislation turned New York’s drivers into better informed — and better protected — consumers.
Coverage That Protects You the Same Way It Protects Others
We all know how automobile insurance should work. It’s supposed to protect us if we’re unfortunate enough to get into a motor vehicle accident, either by paying for the other driver’s repairs and medical expenses if we’re at fault or by compensating us for those repairs and expenses if we’re not.
New York State law says that motorists must carry liability insurance for at least these minimum amounts:
- $25,000 for bodily injury to one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury to all persons
- $10,000 for property damage
But what if the driver who’s at fault doesn’t have car insurance — or enough liability coverage?
That’s not so unusual. The Insurance Research Council estimates that one out of every eight drivers on the road in the United States in 2015 was uninsured.
So, as added protection, New York motorists are required to purchase mandatory Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage, which pays for bodily injury subject to the same minimums outlined above. If you want more coverage, you also could purchase additional Supplementary Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage. The limits for SUM coverage are higher, payable at least up to the same bodily injury liability limits of your own auto insurance policy.
Unfortunately, many New York motorists were either unaware of SUM coverage or had no idea that it was optional.
Without requesting it as part of their auto insurance policies, they found themselves able to recoup only the UM minimums for their medical expenses and property damage when involved in a wreck with an uninsured driver.
For a single injured person, such as a Staten Island man whom a drunken driver struck in 2012, that meant just $25,000 toward his hospitalization and rehabilitation, even though he and his wife had responsibly bought $100,000 in liability coverage for others.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Driver and Family Protection Act, which received bipartisan support, in December 2017. It amended the current insurance statute so that auto insurance policies entered into after June 18, 2018, automatically include SUM coverage equal to the bodily injury liability coverage purchased.
What Are the Benefits?
The greatest benefit is peace of mind. For any new automobile insurance policy entered into after June 18, 2018 (the amendment’s effective date), SUM coverage is automatically included in an amount equal to the bodily injury liability coverage purchased.
This means you can recover more toward your medical expenses and damages once the at-fault driver’s insurance has been exhausted, if he or she has any.
Let’s say you’re involved in a crash with an at-fault driver who has $25,000 of liability coverage. With $100,000 SUM coverage on your own policy, you can recover up to $100,000 toward your expenses: $25,000 from the other driver’s policy, plus $75,000 from your SUM coverage.
If you have the same $100,000 SUM coverage and are involved in a wreck with an uninsured at-fault driver, your SUM policy will compensate you.
SUM coverage also handles your expenses in a hit-and-run situation, where even if the other driver has insurance, he or she isn’t around to contact.
What’s more, the coverage protects you if you’re riding a bicycle, if you’re a pedestrian, or if you’re traveling or driving in a car that’s not your own.
What Are the Negatives?
As we’ve noted, the Driver and Family Protection Act applies only to new policies entered into after June 18, 2018 — not existing policies renewed after that date.
If you have an older policy, you must talk to your insurance company about adding SUM coverage.
If you do not want SUM coverage, or if you want to purchase it in limits lower than your policy’s bodily injury liability limits, you must tell your insurer this in writing or by signing an electronic waiver. However, the insurer has the option to require such equal coverage, anyway — or to provide SUM coverage in an umbrella or excess liability policy.
The Driver and Family Protection Act expires automatically on June 30, 2020, unless the New York State Legislature decides to extend it.
How Does It Work?
If you’re saying to yourself, “But I thought New York was a no-fault state,” you’re right. “No fault” means that your own insurance coverage first pays your medical expenses and reimburses you for lost income — regardless of who is determined to be at fault in a collision — unless you meet a “serious injury” threshold. That limits your maximum compensation to $50,000 for all medical treatment, lost earnings, and certain accident-related expenses.
You can file a claim outside the no-fault system — and tap into your SUM coverage if necessary — if your injuries meet certain requirements, resulting in one of the following:
- A fracture
- Significant disfigurement
- Significant limited use of a bodily function or system
- Permanent loss of the use of a bodily organ, member, system or function
- Permanent consequential limitation of the use of a bodily organ or member
- Loss of a fetus
A “serious injury” also includes any medically determined injury or nonpermanent impairment that prevents the injured person from performing customary daily activities for at least 90 days immediately after the injuring incident.
Under the “serious injury” threshold, you can seek damages above $50,000 to cover a variety of expenses, including lost income and medical bills. That’s where you could tap into your SUM coverage if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough liability insurance, has no insurance or can’t be found.
Whether you add SUM coverage to your current policy or enter into a new policy where it’s automatically included, this provision gives you one less worry after a car crash.
How to Deal with Your Insurance Company After an Injury
Even if you have the nicest insurance agent, an insurance company will try to minimize the amount of damages it pays to someone who is hurt in an accident. Insurance is a business. So it’s wise to focus on your own care while protecting yourself from anything that might delay or deny your compensation.
First, make sure that you call the police to establish the facts of the crash.
Then, see a doctor right away. Some injuries are immediately obvious. However, injuries that affect the joints, muscles, spine and internal organs can take days or weeks to manifest. Minor soreness, stiffness, body aches or numbness can mask something more serious, such as an injury to the head, neck or back.
Your insurance coverage is meant to help protect you, your family and your passengers. So it’s to your benefit to be as thorough and as accurate as possible in relating any injuries.
If possible, gather the contact information of any witnesses and use your cellphone to take photographs of the scene, the positions of the involved vehicles, any property damage, skid marks and the road conditions.
Although police also take photographs and collect witness information, it’s helpful for your insurance claim — and any legal action you might pursue — to have your own records as well. (Photographs also can come in handy if any driver moves a vehicle to avoid blocking traffic before the police arrive — or leaves the scene altogether.)
Upon contacting your insurance company, stick to the basics: when and where it happened, and who was involved.
If an insurance company representative asks, “How are you?” be polite, but save the medical talk for a physician. Don’t give a recorded statement, and don’t admit fault. Say that you’d like to be examined by a doctor to be sure that you’re all right, even if you’re not whisked away to a hospital.
Let Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Help You
At Belluck & Fox, we have a dedicated team of skilled auto accident attorneys who not only know the law but are sensitive and respectful of our clients’ circumstances. If you or a loved one has been seriously hurt in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver, please call us for a free consultation at (212) 681-1575, or contact us online to schedule a time to talk.
Our highly respected personal injury law firm serves accident victims across New York, and we stand ready to help you now.