New NY State Budget Lets Crossbow Hunters Take Aim Again, Says NY and PA Accident Attorney

crossbow

Crossbow hunters may be able to resume hunting in New York State as soon as this fall now that the new state budget, which was recently approved, legalizes the use of crossbows for hunting small and big game.

Now the state Department of Environmental Conservation will regulate their use. Crossbow hunting will be approved, except on Long Island and Westchester County, for hunters 14 years of age or older.

The DEC will write new regulations and hold a public comment period, then after considering the comments, the DEC will finalize the regulations.

“As per the recently signed law, crossbows may only be used during the last 10 days of the Northern Zone early archery season and the last 14 days of the Southern Zone early archery season,” said Emily DeSantis, a DEC spokeswoman.

Download the DEC’s Guidelines for Crossbow Hunters here.

According to news reports here and here:

The approved budget legislation made crossbows legal in most of the state, but banned them in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties. In addition, the legislation only will allow their use during the last 10 days of the early archery season in the Northern Zone, and last 14 days of the early archery season in the Southern Zone.

The early archery season in the Northern Zone is three weeks long; the Southern Zone season, nearly six weeks.

New York Bowhunters Inc., a bowhunting group that’s pushed hard to keep crossbows out of the archery season, has said it believes a crossbow is not a bow and is closer to a firearm.

But Rick McDermott of Pulaski, chairman of the New York Crossbow Coalition said the legislation came out the way it did was the result of a strong grassroots effort by Upstate supporters and compromise among the state’s lawmakers. The governor’s support was also a big plus.

“What happened is we were able to convince enough people Upstate to talk to their legislators, who in turn made a request to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver that there should be something in the budget for crossbows – at the very least some kind of compromise,” McDermott said.

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: agee@zifflaw.com


Q&A: Act Quickly If Your Vehicle Is Recalled By Manufacturer, Says NY and PA Personal Injury Lawyer

GM recalls

GM has recalled 2.6 million small cars for defective ignition switches.

In today’s Question & Answer feature, Ziff Law managing partner Jim Reed fields a questions about car recalls, which have been a big national news story lately because automakers are on a record pace for recalls.

According to news reports, about 9 million vehicles have been recalled already in 2014, including 2.6 million small GM cars for defective ignition switches and 1.8 million Toyotas.

Toyota has recalled 1.8 million vehicles recently.

Toyota has recalled 1.8 million vehicles recently.

A Georgia couple’s search for the truth after their daughter died in a one-car accident in 2010 in a Chevrolet Cobalt drove the GM ignition switch problem into the headlines.

On a recent “Law Talk” segment on WETM News at Noon on Wednesdays, Jim talked about why car owners need to pay attention to the recall notices. In “Law Talk,” the Ziff Law lawyers talk about legal issues, often in connection with news events.

Question: What should Twin Tiers residents do if they receive a recall notice for their car? And what happens if they get in an accident in a vehicle that has been recalled?

Jim Reed: Car owners are seeing a lot of recalls now and wondering if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Recalls are a good thing because they are saying that the manufacturer is doing the right thing, rather than sweeping it under the carpet, as used to happen years ago. We used to talk about cases like the Ford Pinto, where manufacturers knew there was a dangerous problem with one of their vehicles and did not do something about it. The Pinto was recalled in 1978 after fuel-tank design flaws led to fatal fires in some cases when Pintos were struck from behind. At that time, Ford was accused of deciding that it was cheaper to pay off lawsuits than make the repairs.

recall signThese recalls are getting away from that and they are a good safety step. Frankly, a lot of people are critical of lawsuits – I understand, I am a lawyer who handles these lawsuits – but the thing I have to constantly stress to people is it is often these lawsuits that motivate manufacturers to change their behavior. So people should embrace recalls.

When you get a recall notice, make an appointment with your dealer right away. Some of the recalls may be for something small, like weather stripping that can lead to a leak in your car, but others involve braking systems or ignition systems, things that make a huge difference.

Don’t ignore a recall notice or wait for something bad to happen. Take steps to make sure you are driving in a safe car.

If there is something really critical in that recall notice, avoid using the recalled car until it is repaired. Better to be safe than sorry.

Jim Reed

Jim Reed

Have a legal question for the Ziff Law lawyers to answer here? Submit your questions by email to jreed@zifflaw.com and we may answer it in a future Q&A blog post. While we will answer questions about personal injury, medical malpractice and divorce law, our primary practice areas, we will also be glad to talk about car/motorcycle/truck insurance, medical bills, lost wages, property damage and any legal issue in the news.

If we can’t answer your question, we will refer you to a lawyer with expertise in that particular area.

Please appreciate that while we are happy to provide basic legal information, doing so does NOT create an attorney/client relationship (unless you formally retain us to represent you). The information provided is general information and should NOT be considered legal advice. Also appreciate that in order to give definitive legal answers, it is critically important that a lawyer meet with you to get all the necessary details to provide a definitive answer so we encourage you to review the information we are providing with your own lawyer.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 


Investigators Accuse Syracuse Surgeon, Hospital of Dangerous, Insensitive Care, Says NY and PA Medical Malpractice Lawyer

A federal agency has been very critical of staff and administration at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center in Syracuse.

A federal agency has been very critical of staff and administration at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse. (Source: Syracuse.com)

A surgeon in Syracuse has been accused of slapping sedated patients on the buttocks and calling them derogatory names, according to a government investigation. The hospital where the surgeon worked is accused of intentionally ignoring the accusations and other shoddy patient care.

This is absolutely reprehensible behavior on the part of this doctor, and the scarier part is that he had been doing it for years in front of who knows how many staff people — and it took years before someone had the guts to report it.

And even when they did report it, the hospital did nothing until it was reported to the hospital administrators in December. One staffer’s complaints to OR administrators early last year were apparently ignored, according to the report by the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Dr. Michael T. Clarke

Dr. Michael T. Clarke

The federal report does not name the doctor, but a filing with the state health department says it is Dr. Michael T. Clarke, an orthopedic surgeon.

Many staffers interviewed said they chose not to speak up after they saw earlier complaints ignored, and they also feared for their jobs if they blew the whistle on Dr. Clarke.

These kinds of coverups inside hospitals are all too common – we see them frequently in the medical malpractice cases we handle, where doctors cover for doctors, nurses cover for nurses, and so on.

According to a news report, the hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, could be terminated from the Medicare and Medicaid programs that pay for the majority of patients treated in hospitals.

The doctor’s alleged inappropriate behavior, which included cursing at patients and staff, according to the report, went on for more than a year. Dr. Clarke conveniently moved to another Syracuse-area hospital in February.

Clarke, 47, is part of a large group of orthopedic surgeons in the Syracuse area.

The doctor is being investigated by the state health department and the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, the news report said.

rubber gloveThe doctor claims he slapped the patients to test the effectiveness of spinal anesthetic, according to the report, but staff members told investigators they had never seen another doctor do that.

After the complaint was filed with the hospital, Dr. Clarke was told to stop slapping patients and using foul language. But four staffers assigned to monitor Dr. Clarke said they were given inadequate instructions and filed incomplete reports.

The investigative report on Dr. Clarke came out just five months after the hospital was cited for violating infection control practices when a nurse violated infection control techniques as she potentially exposed a patient to another patient’s blood.

In a March letter to the hospital that sums this mess up very well, federal investigators wrote: “We have determined that the deficiencies cited are significant and limit your hospital’s capacity to render adequate care and to ensure the health and safety of your patients.”

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: agee@zifflaw.com

 


When You Get Dreaded Jury Duty Summons, Remember Brooke Melton, Says NY and PA Personal Injury Lawyer

Brooke Melton was killed in this Chevrolet Cobalt in 2010 because of a defective ignition installed by GM.

Brooke Melton was killed in this Chevrolet Cobalt in a 2010 accident because of a defective ignition installed by GM.

The next time you receive a jury summons and roll your eyes and begin planning for how you are going to try to get out of it, remember Brooke Melton.

Why?

Brooke Melton

Brooke Melton

Watch this clip of lawyer Michael Smerconish, a longtime radio host who recently started a Saturday morning show on CNN. Smerconish argued on a recent show that the civil justice system succeeded in exposing the fact that GM engineers knew about potential problems with ignition systems in thousands of vehicles – that led to at least a dozen deaths, including Brooke’s – thanks to a civil lawsuit in Georgia brought by Brooke’s parents. Brooke was killed in a 2010 crash of a Chevrolet Cobalt that had a faulty ignition.

This is a great commentary on why jury duty is so important and why folks should embrace their right to serve as jurors rather than try to get out of serving. Our forefathers considered jury service as one of the highest callings or rights as a citizen, and a right that should be aggressively protected.

If you have a chance to serve on a jury, serve with pride, knowing that your service has incredible power and meaning. You will have the chance to significantly impact another person’s life and send a message how justice will be served in your community.

Smerconish makes the point forcefully in his straightforward but powerful commentary.

“We know what we know today because of the pursuit of justice by Brooke Melton’s parents,” he said. “Our civil justice system is often maligned, but it remains a great check on our free enterprise system. Often, it serves as a more vigilant force than the government itself ….

“So here’s a thought: The next time a jury duty notice arrives, instead of thinking about how that service can be avoided, instead consider the power, the importance of the civil justice system,” he said. “Think about Mr. and Mrs. Melton.”

Michael Smerconish

Michael Smerconish

According to news reports here and here, General Motors knew in 2004, a decade before the recall, that Chevrolet Cobalts had ignition switches that could inadvertently shut off the engines while the vehicles were being driven, according to depositions in the Meltons’ civil lawsuit.

When the engine stalled, it would cut off the power steering, brakes and its safety systems, including the airbags. At least one GM engineer had the problem while test driving the vehicle before it went on sale in 2004, reports showed.

GM created a fix and advised dealers in 2005 to install the part – if car owners complained. GM did not recall the vehicles until February of this year and the recall has now been extended to 2.6 million vehicles.

Brooke Melton, a pediatric nurse, died on her 29th birthday. GM has settled the lawsuit with the Meltons and the terms were not announced.

The Meltons may have helped save thousands of lives by pursuing the civil lawsuit. Their pursuit of justice, which I am sure caused them great pain and hardship, should not be forgotten.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 


NY Gives Nurse Practitioners More Autonomy In Patient Decisions, Says NY and PA Medical Malpractice Attorney

nptoolpictStarting next year, nurse practitioners in New York State will be able to operate more independently of doctors now that the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act, approved as part of the state budget agreement, has removed the requirement of a written practice agreement between a nurse practitioner and a doctor as a condition of practice.

Seventeen other states and Washington, D.C., have already done this, according to a news report.

The New York State Medical Society and doctors groups oppose more independence for nurse practitioners. Patient safety and quality of care have been key concerns because nurse practitioners are not trained as much as doctors, the groups said.

But the news report says research suggests there’s little difference in the quality of care provided by nurse practitioners and doctors — and that is very troubling.  I don’t know who that says more about.  Should we, as consumers of medical care, be concerned about more primary care being assumed by nurse practitioners?  Or should we be concerned that better trained, more highly educated medical doctors don’t provide any better care than the nurses who are supposed to work under them?

nurse_practitioner_t_shirt-p2356221985832876413o5k_400Nurse practitioners want to work more independently so they do more with fewer doctors available.

Nurse practitioners can diagnose and treat illnesses, prescribe drugs and do many of the same things as doctors. A nurse practitioner is a registered nurse with a master’s degree and training in a specialty area such as primary care.

In a prepared statement, Denis Tarrant, president of Nurse Practitioner Association of New York State, said the law “will ensure that New Yorkers will have access to high quality health care.”

To learn more about nurse practitioners, go to the association website.

Read more about the Nurse Practitioners Modernization Act here.

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: agee@zifflaw.com


Are Distracted Docs Responsible For Woman’s Death After Surgery? NY and PA Medical Malpractice Attorney Sees Dangers of Social Media In Hospitals

inside-of-mobile-operating-room1Facebook in the Operating Room?  Apparently so.

Two Texas doctors face trial in September after being accused of paying more attention to their social media than their patient in the Operating Room, who died shortly after surgery.

Dr. Christopher Spillers

Dr. Christopher Spillers

Anesthesiologist Dr. Christopher Spillers and cardiologist Dr. Robert Rinkenberger have been charged with malpractice after the 61-year-old female patient died 10 hours after undergoing an AV node ablation at Medical City Dallas Hospital.

According to the Dallas Observer blog:

Dr. Rinkenberger, in deposition testimony, blames Dr. Spillers, who he said was distracted and did not see the patient’s low blood-oxygen levels until 15 or 20 minutes after she turned blue.

Dr. Rinkenberger accused Dr. Spillers of “doing something either (with) his cell phone or pad or something” while managing the patient’s anesthesia.

Dr. Spillers testified that he only checked the Internet during surgeries if he had questions about a procedure or medication. But after being confronted by a photo from his Facebook page of a photo of another patient’s vital signs during surgery, he seems to admit that he has in fact posted on cases during surgery.

Dr. Robert Rinkenberger

Dr. Robert Rinkenberger

From the deposition:

Question: “Where it says ‘just sitting here watching the tube on Christmas morning,’ you are clearly referring to the fact that you have to be managing an anesthetic procedure on Christmas morning and you’re watching the anesthetic monitor, fair?”

Dr. Spillers: “Uh-huh. Yes.”

For more excerpts from the depositions, go to the Observer link.

A University of Rochester Medical Center anesthesiologist, talking about distracted doctoring in general in a recent presentation covered by Outpatient Surgery magazine, sees distractions everywhere in health care.

“Everybody’s addicted to their gizmos,” Dr. Peter Papadakos said. When you come onto the surgical wing, he said, you pass the unit secretary “who is texting on her smartphone,” then the nurse, “who is surfing the Web,” then the resident, “who is gaming on his tablet.”

He’s more concerned about the distractions in the Operating Room.

“Everything we learn about time outs and other precautions is meaningless if we don’t focus our staff,” he said. “How many people realize that their staffs aren’t paying attention during time outs, because they’re busy checking Facebook and e-mails?”

He suggests that medical facilities need to create and enforce a strict communications policy, including areas where personal electronic devices are not allowed.

“The digital nightmare is not farcical,” he said. “It’s happening at your institution.”

I absolutely agree communications policies must be implemented.  Distracted drivers are one thing, but surgeons and anesthesiologists posting to Facebook from the Operating Room?  Intolerable.

Thank you for reading,

Christina Sonsire,
csonsire@zifflaw.com

 


Federal Judge Orders Insurance Giant To Pay $1M For Its Bad Faith Negotiations, Says NY and PA Personal Injury Lawyer

New York Central Mutual Fire Insurance Co., one of the most difficult insurance carriers the Ziff Law lawyers have encountered, has been ordered to pay $1 million to Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance Co. in a car accident case. A federal magistrate judge in Syracuse, NY said New York Central’s insistence on staying with its first settlement offer “epitomize(d)” bad faith negotiations.

NYCM logoThe dispute between these insurance companies came up after a New York Central policyholder drove through a stop sign and struck a car driven by a 37-year-old mother of three children. The mother had to have six surgeries and endured depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The judge said New York Central acted in gross disregard for Quincy Mutual’s interest when it stuck to a $75,000 settlement offer and lost two opportunities to settle with the victim of a serious car accident caused by a New York Central policyholder.

The report said New York Central could have settled the case for its policy limits of $500,000 or for $750,000 — figures far less than the nearly $1.5 million the car accident victim eventually received through a settlement. Quincy chipped in its full policy limit of $1 million, while the rest was covered by New York Central and its reinsurer, according to the decision.

quincyU.S. Magistrate Judge David Peebles appeared peeved by New York Central’s ultimate payment of $132,479 toward the settlement, which takes into account portions covered by New York Central’s reinsurer. New York Central exposed Quincy Mutual to up to $1 million liability and its policyholder to liability above $1.5 million — all for the risk of paying an additional $57,479 above its $75,000 offer, the judge said.

“Significantly, during the period the case languished, New York Central had the use of, and was therefore able to earn interest on, the full $132,479,” his ruling said. “These facts epitomize bad faith negotiations, suggesting gross disregard for the interests of Quincy Mutual and Warden and placing those of New York Central above them.”

New York Central, which provided a $500,000 auto policy to to the driver who caused the accident, handled the settlement negotiations that followed.

According to the ruling, there was a real chance that the victim would have settled for $500,000 in December 2005, a time when there was little hope that the driver who struck her would escape liability, the magistrate judge found.

New York Central lost another settlement opportunity in 2007, after a trial court “severely criticized” the primary insurer’s decision not to budge from its $75,000 settlement offer and highlighted that liability was firmly established and that interest was accruing.

At that point, the victim was willing to settle for $750,000, an amount that would have triggered Quincy Mutual’s homeowners policy, which provided $1 million in excess coverage, but would have put the excess insurer on the hook for less money.

“Had New York Central tendered its full $500,000 policy at that time, Quincy Mutual would have been responsible for only $250,000, which is $750,000 less than it actually paid,” the ruling said.

The magistrate judge was unconvinced by New York Central’s arguments that Quincy Mutual should have entered into negotiations earlier to help reduce its liability.

The actions New York Central Mutual was punished for here — delaying at every opportunity, making low ball offers, and failing to negotiate claims in good faith — are the same actions I see them take in every case I have with them. There are much better options in the insurance world than New York Central Mutual, and any readers out there who happen to have this carrier should consider this decision when deciding on who their insurance carrier should be, as have seen New York Central Mutual do these same things to their own insureds.  All insurance carriers are NOT created equal, so choose wisely!

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: agee@zifflaw.com

 

 


Q&A: Why State Supreme Court Judge Rejected Challenge To Building Horseheads Apartment Complex

Do you have a legal question that needs to be answered? Welcome to a new feature on the Ziff Law blogs called Questions & Answers.

While we will answer questions about personal injury, medical malpractice and divorce

Adam Gee

Adam Gee

law, our primary practice areas, we will also be glad to talk about car/motorcycle/truck insurance, medical bills, lost wages, property damage and any legal issue in the news.

If we can’t answer your question, we will refer you to a lawyer with expertise in that particular area.

Submit your questions by email to Ziff Law managing partner Jim Reed at jreed@zifflaw.com.

Q&A 1Our question today is adapted from my two recent TV appearances about the embattled Biltmore Crossing housing project in Horseheads, which town residents are challenging because they are concerned that the 56-unit affordable apartment complex will hurt property values, among other complaints.

The complex, at Biltmore Drive and Gardner Road, will be for families making $25,000 to $37,000 a year, according to Conifer Realty of Rochester, the developer.

Read more about the ruling here.

My answer below is from the April 1 WENY-TV News broadcast (above) and the April 2 “Law Talk” segment during the WETM News at Noon. In the weekly “Law Talk” segments, the Ziff Law lawyers talk about legal issues, often in connection with news events.

Question: A New York State Supreme Court Judge recently dismissed a legal challenge that sought to block the construction of a 56-unit housing complex on Biltmore Drive in the Town of Horseheads. Why did Judge Judy O’Shea reject 13 of the lawsuit’s 17 legal challenges?

Adam Gee: The residents used Article 78, a New York State law that provides a way to challenge decisions made by a state official or administrative body, such as the Town of Horseheads and its Town Board.

The Town of Horseheads made multiple mistakes in the planning stages of this housing area. But when the law relates to procedural errors that were made, such as is alleged here, they were subject to a 120-day statute of limitations, according to Article 78.

The challengers to the project brought their petition into court in an attempt to have construction stopped because of what they said were failures of the town to comply with certain portions of the law, but the judge rejected it on procedural grounds.

It’s an interesting decision and it clearly lays out that the town did, on multiple occasions, fail to do things it was supposed to do. The town failed to provide the type and amount of notice it was supposed to provide. So when upset town residents say they feel like they were blindsided, really in a way, they were. They didn’t have the notification that the law says they were supposed to have so they could decide whether this is something they want to challenge.

The ironic part here is one of the reasons why so much time went by and no one challenged it in a timely fashion is because the town did not provide residents with the information they were required to, so in a sense, the town was rewarded for making these mistakes.

Click here to learn more about Article 78.

Please appreciate that while we are happy to provide basic legal information, doing so does NOT create an attorney/client relationship (unless you formally retain us to represent you). The information provided is general information and should NOT be considered legal advice. Also appreciate that in order to give definitive legal answers, it is critically important that a lawyer meet with you to get all the necessary details to provide a definitive answer so we encourage you to review the information we are providing with your own lawyer.

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: agee@zifflaw.com

 

 

 


Q&A: Don’t Let Insurance Companies Twist State Law After Motor Vehicle Crashes, Says NY and PA Accident Lawyer

Don't let insurance adjusters mislead you about the comparative negligence rule in New York State.

Don’t let insurance adjusters mislead you about the comparative negligence rule in New York State.

Welcome to the newest feature on our Ziff Law blogs, Questions & Answers.

If you have legal questions, we will try to provide answers here.

Q&A 1While we will answer questions about personal injury, medical malpractice and divorce law, our primary practice areas, we will also be glad to talk about car/motorcycle/truck insurance, medical bills, lost wages, property damage and any legal issue in the news.

If we can’t answer your question, we will refer you to a lawyer with expertise in that particular area.

Submit your questions by email to jreed@zifflaw.com.

Today’s question is from a Twin Tiers resident who received misleading information from an insurance adjuster after a minor car accident.

Question: I was in a car accident yesterday evening. A woman failed to stop at a stop sign and pulled out in front of me, and I struck her vehicle on the front driver side.

I just spoke with my insurance adjuster and she indicated that New York State has a shared responsibility law, or something like that, and that the insurance adjusters determine who was at fault and how much fault each party has.

signThe officer at the scene indicated the woman driving the other vehicle was clearly at fault because she failed to stop at the stop sign and pulled out in front of me.

Why should I have to share responsibility in this accident? There was nothing I could do to avoid the accident. Fortunately, there were no injuries, but I still feel that since she was fully responsible for the accident, her insurance should pay for the repairs to my vehicle.

Why should I have to pay the deductible out of my pocket through my insurance and claim this on my insurance if I was not at fault?

Does New York State really have such a law of shared responsibility, even if one driver is clearly at fault?

Answer: N.Y. does have a comparative negligence rule, which basically means that each party is responsible for their percentage of fault. For instance, if the other driver was 100 percent at fault, the other driver is 100 percent responsible for all damages.

Jim Reed

Jim Reed

On the other hand, if a judge or jury determines that the other driver was 80 percent at fault and you were 20 percent at fault, the other driver (and their insurance company) would only have to pay 80 percent of your damages.

Because New York State is what is called a “pure” comparative negligence state, you can collect from the other driver in direct ratio to their percent of fault, even if they are less than 50 percent responsible. (However, there are some exceptions to this general rule, so I recommend consulting with a lawyer.)

This comparative negligence law makes sense and is logical, but the way in which the insurance carriers often try to apply this law to cases is horrible. Even in cases of absolutely clear liability, where the other driver is 100 percent at fault, the carriers will often try to claim that you were 20 percent, 30 percent, 50 percent at fault, and will refuse to pay 100 percent of your property damage. I have had them do this in rear-ender cases, drunken driving cases, and other clear cases, and they are betting that most people just want to get their property damage check and will not fight them on this.

My advice is to NOT let insurance companies get away with this nonsense. Go talk to a lawyer and see if they can help you with the insurance carrier. Sometimes just the threat of a possible lawsuit over the property damage or personal injury claim is enough to have the carriers not jerk you around regarding the property damage claim.

Depending on the amount of your property damage, you can also take the other driver to Small Claims Court, suing them for 100 percent of the damage they caused.

And finally, you can (and should) file a complaint with the New York State Department of Financial Services (used to be called the N.Y. Insurance Department) about the insurance company’s dirty tactics.

File a complaint here.

Good luck and I wish you the best in fighting the good fight!

Jim
_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

Suspect Who Fled Elmira Hit-And-Run Crash Could Face Serious Charges, Says NY and PA Personal Injury Lawyer

Elmira police continue to investigate a hit-and-run accident that seriously injured a pedestrian.

Elmira police continue to investigate a hit-and-run accident that seriously injured a pedestrian Monday evening.

A driver has been arrested less than 24 hours after fleeing a hit-and-run accident that seriously injured a pedestrian in Elmira, according to news reports here and here.

Elmira police and witnesses said a 27-year-old woman was seriously injured when she was struck at North Main and West Second streets at 7:43 p.m. Monday.

traffic_lightThe vehicle was traveling west on West Second Street and turning left onto North Main Street when the pedestrian was struck.

The pedestrian was transported by Erway Ambulance to an Elmira hospital. Police have not released any additional information about the condition of the pedestrian.

A Totem Taxi and police chased the vehicle and it was later seen on Broadway on the Southside. A car matching the description of the striking vehicle – described as a blue, four-door, 2009 Mercury — was later stopped at Pine and Chestnut streets on the Southside and a suspect was arrested.

elmira policeThe investigation continues. Anyone who witnessed the accident is asked to call the Elmira Police Department Traffic Bureau at 737-5640, the Detective Bureau at 737-5610 or 271-HALT.

When a driver makes a mistake and hits a pedestrian, the worst thing they can do is run.

It’s a crime, and the more serious the injury, the more serious the crime. It can even be a felony under certain circumstances.

I had a client recently who was very seriously injured when a woman struck him with her car while he was walking to work on the side of the road. The woman thought she hit a deer, but stopped to investigate. When she did, she found my client unconscious where he was thrown into the brush off the side of the road. If she hadn’t stopped, my client would surely have died, and she would be looking at a felony Vehicular Manslaughter charge.

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: agee@zifflaw.com