How Long Will My Car Accident Case Take? Answers from a NY & PA Car Accident Lawyer

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

Immediately seek medical assistance and consult an attorney after a car accident.

Jessica Whitton, a freelance writer and paralegal, has written a good summary of the major steps in a personal injury lawsuit.

Before I summarize what she wrote, I want to point out one important factor:

Time is of the essence in IMMEDIATELY consulting a lawyer. There are many insurance companies who are training their employees to immediately contact an injured person with hopes that the can get that injured person to sign off on their claims before that person has a chance to learn the true severity of their injuries or the full extent of their possible claims.

Many times, these claims adjusters will mislead the vulnerable injured person, and accordingly, it is critically important that an injured person hire a lawyer to protect their interests.

Please remember the time for bringing a negligence claim in New York state is three years and two years in Pennsylvania.

Here is Jessica’s step-by-step approach to understanding the typical steps in a personal-injury lawsuit:

At ZiffLaw, we do everything in our power to keep our cases moving as quickly as possible.  With that said, we will not rush any case as we know achieving maximum recovery for our clients often requires us to do things the hard way, not the easy and fast way.  We truly believe our willingness to go the extra mile distinguishes us from other lawyers who are willing to accept an easy and fast settlement rather than do the hard work necessary to get the very best result.

Thanks for reading! Leave me a message below if you have any questions.

Jim

___________________________________

James B. Reed
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 Lawyer of the Year”
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

Be Sure Your Sidewalk Is Safely Clear Of Ice And Snow This Winter, Says NY and PA Injury Lawyer

edmonton-slippery-sidewalks

It’s January in the Twin Tiers, and even though we have not seen a lot of snow yet this winter, we have seen plenty of ice on sidewalks and roadways.

icy signIt will be treacherous walking until we get our January thaw.

So if you slip and fall and are injured on someone else’s sidewalk, who is responsible?

Generally, it’s the property owners’ responsibility to make sure their sidewalk is clear of snow, ice and any other hazards.

In the City of Elmira, for example, homeowners are required by both city and state codes to clear their sidewalks.

Section 302.3 of the Property Maintenance Code of the State of NY requires a homeowner to do the following: All sidewalks, walkways, stairs, driveways, parking spaces and similar areas shall be kept in a proper state of repair, and maintained free from hazardous conditions.

In the City of Elmira, homeowners are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of their property. If you fail to clear the sidewalk within 12 hours after it starts snowing, you can be fined $100 by Code Enforcement. It is also the homeowner’s responsibility to shovel out fire hydrants on or near their property. If a fire were to break out, the Elmira Fire Department would lose valuable time attempting to locate and dig out a buried fire hydrant.

The Elmira Department of Public Works clears the sidewalk from all city-owned properties and parks with tractors.

Aside from legal obligations, keeping your property safe is the right thing to do for your neighbors! Nobody wants to have a person fall on their property because they did not bother to shovel or salt icy spots.

The bottom line is if you fail to clean your walk and someone falls on your property, you are more than likely to face some sort of legal ramifications.

I talk to people all the time who fall on snow and ice and the first thing we investigate is whether that property owner properly cleared their sidewalk of snow and ice. If you didn’t, you could face civil liability and the insurance company handling your homeowners’ insurance will have to deal with it.

Lately, I have noticed many business owners don’t clear the snow and ice from their property. That is inexcusable. You are inviting people to come to your business and at a minimum you should make it safe so people can get there without hurting themselves.

It’s winter and it’s New York State. It’s simple. Do the right thing. Make plans to keep your property safe, because if you don’t and someone is injured or killed on your property, you could face some major legal troubles.

This blog post was adapted from a “Law Talk” segment with me during the WETM News at Noon on Jan. 14, 2015. Ziff Law Firm lawyers discuss legal issues in the news at 12:20 p.m. every Wednesday on Law Talk. Set your DVR to catch the five-minute segments each week!

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

 


Buckle Up Or Else! Twin Tiers Police Officers Join National Crackdown! Be Smart And Use Seat Belt At All Times, Says NY and PA Car Accident Lawyer

http://youtu.be/2jfUTIYHMvY

Police agencies across the nation — including the Twin Tiers — have launched a two-week “Click It or Ticket” high-visibility seat-belt enforcement drive this week, and are reminding motorists to wear seat belts on every trip, day or night.

Buckling up every time you get in a vehicle isn’t just important this month, or because you might get a ticket, but because it saves lives and prevents serious injuries.

We see the results of A LOT of car crashes – take it from us – you are much less likely to be seriously injured in a crash if you are wearing your seat belt. Otherwise, be prepared to meet your windshield face to face at 60 mph. 

0007H“We know seat belts save lives, and while we’re encouraged that national seat belt use is at an all-time high, we won’t stop our efforts until all motorists make the simple yet safe choice to buckle up on every trip,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “If you’re not buckled up, you’ll be ticketed.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data show that the use of seat belts in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 12,174 lives in 2012. Seat belts have saved nearly 63,000 lives during the five-year-period from 2008 to 2012, according to an NHTSA news release.

Nationwide, seat belt use was at a record high of 87 percent in 2013. However, nighttime seat belt use continues to lag behind daytime use. More motorists who are killed in crashes at night are unrestrained at the time of the crashes (61 percent) than those killed in crashes during the day (43 percent), the news release said.

This year’s campaign includes the “Fake-A-Rooney” advertisement (above) that airs nationally through May 26. The advertisement conveys the message that driving without a seat belt is not a joking matter, and officers take seat-belt violations seriously and will issue a ticket if you’re caught without being buckled.

There are no acceptable excuses or exceptions. Always wear a seat belt!

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: [email protected]

 

 


Contact Me If You Have Been Injured Because Of GM Ignition Defect, Says NY and PA Personal Injury Lawyer

The 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt is among the recalled GM cars.

The 2009 Chevrolet Cobalt is among the recalled GM cars.

New revelations come out seemingly every day about the botched recall of 2.6 million small GM cars worldwide to replace faulty ignition switches that have led to at least 13 deaths.

If you are one of the GM drivers injured because of a faulty ignition, please contact Ziff Law Managing Partner Jim Reed toll-free at 800-943-3529 or send email to [email protected] if you want to discuss bringing a claim.

Jim Reed

Jim Reed

GM made a business decision to put millions of lives at risk to save less than $1 per vehicle that would’ve been recalled.

GM dealers were warned nine years ago that the Chevrolet Cobalt could stall because of the switches, but it did not recall the vehicles until February of this year.

GM chose to send alerts to dealers like service bulletins rather than recalls because they are an inexpensive alternative to recalls.

With the ignition switches, the defect can cause the vehicles to turn off while they are being driven, raising numerous safety issues, including failure of air bags to deploy and diminished ability to steer and brake the vehicle.

We have written several blog posts about this mess at GM. We urged people to get their recalled car checked immediately.

GM signWe told the story about the parents of a Georgia woman killed in a 2010 crash in a Cobalt who helped drag this sad and tragic story into the headlines.

But this is what you need to know right this minute: If you are driving one of the vehicles listed below. get it to your GM dealer today. Not. tomorrow. Now.

These cars are killers.

The defect has been primarily linked to Chevy Cobalt vehicles, but the recall includes:

  • 2005-2010 Chevy Cobalt.
  • 2006-2010 Pontiac Solstice.
  • 2007-2010 Pontiac G5.
  • 2007-2010 Saturn Sky.
  • 2006-2011 Chevy HHR.
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion.

Please contact Ziff Law Managing Partner Jim Reed toll-free at 800-943-3529 or send email to [email protected] if you want to discuss bringing a claim.

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

 


Free Book Takes Mystery Out Of Car Insurance Policies For NY Drivers, Says NY and PA Accident Lawyer

Get our free book today to protect yourself in case you're in an accident.

Get our free book today to protect yourself in case you’re in an accident.

It’s almost the start of a new year, so now is a good time to review your car insurance policy.

As you dig out your policy, ask yourself two questions:

1.  Do I have enough insurance to protect me and my family if we have an accident that’s my fault?

2.  How can I better protect myself if I have an accident caused by another driver who has no or inadequate insurance? (You could end up paying for your own recovery, and your medical bills could be staggering.)

If you’re like most drivers, you accept the minimum levels of coverage to keep your costs down. But those low levels can get you in trouble if you have an accident, regardless of whether it was your fault.

Before you call your car insurance agent with these questions, read my free, 34-page book, “Learn the Five Secrets to Buying Auto Insurance.” It’s available here.

As I say in the book, I wrote it to level the playing field between you and your insurance company. I’ve been helping folks whose lives have been changed by careless drivers for more than 20 years, and many people come to me for help because the New York State insurance laws are very confusing.

Insurance companies like to keep their customers in the dark. They do a terrible job of educating consumers and they are far more interested in profits than helping their customers.

As managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm and an injury attorney, my job is to help those who are seriously injured recover their lost wages and pay their medical bills, and make sure they receive fair compensation for their pain and disability.

My book makes car insurance in New York understandable. I break down the two general categories of insurance coverage:

  • Liability coverage, which protects the other person if you injure someone else.
  • Coverage that protects you and your passengers.

This includes no-fault insurance coverage and Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (SUM) coverage.

My book explains how much insurance is enough insurance to protect you in case you have an accident, whether it’s your fault or the other driver’s.

A recent New York Times story cited some alarming statistics nationwide about insurance coverage:

  • The Insurance Research Council’s most recent estimate, from 2009, is that 13.8 percent of all United States drivers have no insurance at all.
  • ISO, an insurance risk information service, said that about 20 percent of people who do have insurance purchase just the minimum liability coverage in case they hurt someone else. The policies pay out as little as $25,000 in New York and $15,000 in Pennsylvania. That’s less than the cost of one day in a hospital!

The SUM (Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists) coverage is the most critical component of your car insurance policy.

For example, I met with a local businessman recently who had $500,000 of liability coverage to protect others should he have an accident, but only $25,000 to protect himself and his family in that very same accident.

Needless to say, he was shocked to learn that his insurance coverage was so deficient but happy to learn that he could buy the SUM coverage he needed for less than $10 a month.

So PLEASE dig out your insurance policy and check your coverage, then order our free book and protect yourself and your family.

After reading my book, if you are still unsure whether you have the proper types of coverage and the right amounts of coverage, feel free to email me the declaration pages listing your coverage and I will be happy to let you know what I think. You may email me at [email protected] Of course, there is no fee for this review – I just want to make sure folks get the coverage they need.

Residents of Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers — may you have a safe and happy holiday season, and a prosperous 2013!

Thanks, 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

 

 


Report: Insurance Companies Cheat Many Consumers With ‘Lowball’ Claims Payments!

Download the new report about how insurance giants are "lowballing" accident claim payments.

The Consumer Federation of America issued a new report this month that says the nation’s largest insurance companies use computerized claims systems that can be easily “adjusted” to make “lowball” claim payments to many injured consumers, resulting in payments that are smaller than consumers are entitled to according to their insurance policies!

The primary author of the report is a former longtime insurance executive and an expert on insurance claims’ practices.

This is just another example of the big insurance companies robbing the very people who pay their hard-earned money to have coverage when they need it!

You can read the full report here.

Mark Romano, the Claims Project Director for the Consumer Federation of America, said he hopes the report will be a “wake-up call for consumers and regulators” about Colossus, the dominant claims systems in the marketplace, which is sold by Computer Sciences Corp.

“When CSC and its competitors talk publicly about computer-based claims systems, they stress that the programs allow insurers to more consistently evaluate bodily injury claims,” Romano told the Consumer Federation of America. “Consistency is a legitimate goal, but these companies tell a different story behind closed doors. Software marketing representatives acknowledge that the real reason insurance companies are willing to invest millions in these systems is that they can dial down claims payments to thousands of consumers at a time, regardless of whether these payouts are fair.”

According to the federation, the report also identifies specific techniques that insurers can use to directly and indirectly produce “lowball” claims:

  • Directly reduce payments by a predetermined amount across the board, without determining whether this will lead to unjustifiably low payments for individual claims.
  • Selectively remove higher-cost claims from data used to determine the acceptable range of payments for particular injuries. This has the effect of lowering payments for all claims of this type.
  • Require insurance adjusters without medical training or credentials to second-guess medical professionals by altering injury determinations, thus dictating lower payments for certain injuries.
  • Encourage adjusters to downplay or even ignore the likelihood that injured consumers will need future medical treatment or will be permanently impaired, thus lowering payouts.
  • Encourage adjusters to determine that drivers are partly at fault for the auto accident that injured them, even when they may not be.

All drivers should download a copy of the report and keep it handy in case they ever have an accident. Know your insurance policy and your rights. Read your policy and be vigilant if you ever have an accident.  Educated consumers may be the best defense against these despicable practices!

For drivers in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers — thanks for reading, and stay safe!

Thanks, 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

 

 


UPDATE: More Elmira Pedestrian Accidents …. It’s Time for Drivers to Wake Up and Watch Out for Walkers and Bicyclists

Two accidents involving pedestrians in the last 24 hours in Elmira serve as a stark reminder of the dangers facing pedestrians from inattentive or distracted drivers!

First, a mother and her 1-year-old child were injured, then a 17-year-old girl was struck 45 minutes later!

In the Elmira/Corning area where I live, there seems to be a growing trend of cars and trucks hitting pedestrians and bicyclists. I think this is a combination of more walkers/bikers and more cars/trucks sharing the roads together with a huge increase in the number of distracted drivers on the road.

These drivers are distracted by phones, radios, texting — or they are simply not paying attention.

In both Elmira pedestrian injury cases, the pedestrians were crossing the four-lane Clemens Center Parkway, which is a nightmare for pedestrians because they have to move quickly to get across safely before the light changes.

How many times have we seen pedestrians stranded unsafely in the middle of an intersection, waiting for the light to change again? This problem is especially obvious on a road like the Clemens Center Parkway, where the road is four lanes wide and there is a higher speed limit.

BUT REMEMBER:  NY LAW REQUIRES A MOTOR VEHICLE TO YIELD TO A PEDESTRIAN!  So regardless of the color of the light, if you see a pedestrian on the road, follow the law and give them a safe distance.

In one of the accidents, a mother and her 1-year-old child in a stroller were struck. They suffered minor injuries, police said.

According to news reports, the first accident occurred at about 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Clemens Center Parkway and East Fifth Street, Elmira, NY. The mother and child were transported to Arnot Ogden Medical Center and the driver of the pickup truck accused of striking them, Clayton Stevens of Lowman, was charged with Failing to Yield and Driving with a Suspended License.

A 17-year-old girl was hospitalized with internal injuries and possible broken bones after a second accident 45 minutes later involving a pedestrian at the Clemens Center Parkway and South Avenue on Elmira’s Southside. She is being treated at Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre. Police said the investigation continues.

See the news reports from WETM-TV and the Star-Gazette.

Remember the 17-year-old girl, and the mother and her 1-year-old child, the next time you’re driving on Clemens Center Parkway and SLOW DOWN. As you approach intersections, even if you have a green light, scan both sides of the road for pedestrians. Remember there may be people still trying to cross the road!

Finally, FOCUS ON THE ROAD — not your text messages or your missed phone calls or talk radio or talking with your passengers.

Someone else’s life may depend on you paying attention to the road!

Thanks for reading.

Thanks, Jim

_________________________________

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

 


Wider Access To “Black Box” Data Will Change Car Crash Lawsuits In Big Ways, Says NY Accident Lawyer

The use of event data recorders starting in 2013 will lead to big changes in car accident reporting.

Everyone has read about event data recorders (EDR) — usually called “black boxes” — that investigators find at the scenes of plane crashes. They are valuable tools for investigators in learning the exact details of what happened in the moments before and right up to the time of the crash itself.  Black box data reveals speed, braking, angle of forces, timing and a whole host of other valuable information.

My Westchester County colleague, Mark A. Siesel, recently pointed out that black box data will be more widely available in car accident cases starting in 2013. Starting in 2013, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require that all vehicles capture the same data in the same format. There will also be a tool available to access all the data.This will be a huge change because it will allow a treasure trove of information to be available to those people investigating how a crash occurred.

My recent blog post on bicycles with GPS-enabled computers, coupled with the news about vehicle black boxes, provide cold, hard, objective proof of issues that historically been tough to prove — speed of a vehicle before impact, speed at impact, braking times and so on.

For now, the data from the black boxes in vehicles is not easily accessed by third parties such as insurance companies and litigants in car accident cases, even though between 65 percent and 90 percent of vehicles now made have EDRs, according to government figures from 2008.

Among the information available — the change in forward speed of the vehicle; the maximum change in speed; speed prior to impact; whether the driver applied the brake; seat belt use; the number of crashes and much more.

In New York and 12 other states (not Pennsylvania), privacy concerns led to laws requiring an owner’s permission to download the data. In New York, the owner is the person with the title to the vehicle.  Because of these laws, a vehicle owner, particularly one who felt that they might be at fault in causing a collision, could legally withhold permission to download their vehicle’s data.

OBTAINING BLACK BOX DATA QUICKLY CAN BE CRITICAL!

A big concern should be about the time limit on the access to the data. The data is only stored temporarily, for six to eight weeks of normal use of a vehicle.

This is another reason why it is critically important that injured parties promptly contact an experienced accident lawyer because there are many complex issues regarding preserving, analyzing and presenting the scientific data. Sad to say, it is never a good idea to try to perform your own brain surgery. Same goes for trying to handle your own injury case in Elmira, Corning and the Twin Tiers  ….

Thanks for reading.

Jim

_________________________________
James B. Reed
NY Car Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Mailto: [email protected]
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and

 

 


New Campaign Reminds Us – Don’t Be Distracted When You Drive, Walk Or Ride A Bike!

Typical scene at a local emergency room

A new campaign aims to cut down on accidents caused by unnecessary distractions.

We live in a world of distractions, and a new campaign launched this week in the Southern Tier aims to remind everyone – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists – about the dangers of not paying attention.

The traffic safety boards of Chemung and Steuben counties kicked off “Be Alert, Distraction Kills” in hopes of curbing accidents.

“We had a spate of bicycle and pedestrian deaths in Elmira, but that alone was not the reason for this initiative,” Jay Schissell, vice chairman of the Chemung County Traffic Safety Board and director of the Elmira-Chemung Transportation Council, told the Star-Gazette newspaper at a news conference.

“If there’s one commonality to the crashes we’ve been having recently, it’s distraction,” he added. “Distraction on the part of all users in the transportation system.”

He’s right! We all have the potential to get distracted when we walk, ride or drive – too often by cell phones and other devices.

But it is OUR JOB (and our legal obligation) to pay attention!  Failing to do so needlessly endangers other people and it just is NOT right that we should put someone else at risk of serious injury (or death) just because we don’t care enough to pay attention!

Schissell listed some all-too-common distractions – cell phones, CD players in cars, eating, putting on makeup, wearing headphones and using illegal drugs.

We forget how dangerous distractions can be until someone gets hurt!

Law enforcement will be involved in getting the message out, too.

The Elmira Police Department used a grant to buy a distracted driving simulator to be used in classrooms.

“We don’t want it to be just a video game,” Police Chief Michael Robertson told the Star-Gazette. “We want it to be an educational tool.”

Corning Police Chief Salvatore Trentanelli said they also plan an educational campaign, adding, “However, there will be some enforcement maintained by the police agencies.”

The campaign will also include portable message signs along some roads and YouTube videos, according to news reports, but in the end, it is up to all of us to STAY FOCUSED!

“It’s not for bicyclists, it’s not for pedestrians, it’s not for motorists,” said Schissell of the campaign. “It’s for everybody.”

Let’s remember that – and BE SAFE!

To see the news reports:

Elmira Star-Gazette

The Leader in Corning

WETM-TV

WENY-TV

YNN

Thanks, Jim

_________________________________
James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Mailto: [email protected]
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)

 


Finger Lakes Boat Accident Lawyer: Fatal Boat Explosion Reinforces Importance of Safe Refueling!

Summer boating season on lakes and other waterways in New York and Pennsylvania is here!  As we prepare to head back out on the water, there are a whole host of things we need to be concerned about to make sure our boating trips are safe.  What some boater fail to recall, though, is that the most important safety issue they face may face all day occurs before they ever leave the marina.

Boaters are used to being warned about alcohol, speed and safety vests.  But a May 31 fatal accident in Erie, Pa., serves as a stark reminder of the dangers boaters face when refueling.

A 25-year-old Erie woman was killed and nine others, including a 2-year-old child, were injured when a 32-foot Wellcraft exploded after refueling at the Erie Yacht Club.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is leading the investigation with the Erie Bureau of Fire, according to news reports.

Erie fire investigators told the Erie Times-News newspaper that they believe a faulty gasket in one of the boat’s two tanks, which combined can hold 200 gallons of fuel, allowed gas fumes to back up into the boat’s engine compartment instead of being blown out.

The buildup of fumes fueled an explosion that investigators said was set off when the boat backfired as the boat’s owner tried to start the boat after refueling, the newspaper reported.

Here is the latest news: Investigators will now meet with experts to try to determine the cause of the explosion, the newspaper reported June 12.

Fuel fires or explosions caused three deaths and 113 injuries in boating accidents nationwide in 2009, according to the most recent information from the Coast Guard.

Refueling tips

The Coast Guard offers boaters these refueling tips:

Before fueling

  • Put out all smoking materials and secure your boat to the dock.
  • Know how much fuel your boat holds and how much you need.
  • Turn off engine, electronics and extinguish all flames.
  • Send passengers ashore and close hatches, ports and doors.
  • Remove portable tanks and fill them on the dock.

During fueling

  • Make sure you have selected the type of fuel you need.
  • Be certain fuel is going into the proper fill entry.
  • Use an absorbent pad or doughnut around the deck fill to catch spills.
  • Maintain contact between the nozzle and deck fill to prevent sparking.
  • Hold the nozzle when refueling — don’t use a hands-free clip.
  • Fuel slowly and listen for a change in tone as the tank gets full.
  • Don’t rely on the automatic shut-off device as they often don’t shut off in time. Marina fuel pumps flow at a faster rate than land-based pumps.
  • Resist topping off. As the temperature rises, fuel expands. Fill tanks to 90 percent capacity to leave room for expansion.

After fueling

  • Wipe up all spills and drips on deck from the overboard fuel vent. Dispose of used pads properly.
  • Do not use detergents to disperse a sheen or spill on the water. It’s illegal.
  • Open ports, hatches and doors to ventilate.
  • Before starting the engine, operate the blower for three to five minutes.
  • Sniff the bilges and engine compartment for fumes.

Remember that boating safety begins at the dock!

During our too short summers I am on Keuka Lake with my family as often as weather permits.  Fellow Ziff Law attorney Jim Reed spends his summers on beautiful Seneca Lake.  We are boaters ourselves, and know the pressure that Captain Dad is under to get the family out on the water as soon as possible.  There are so many things to remember, and most of them take time to address.  I have experienced the temptation to fire the boat up immediately after gassing up.  The boat is full of kids intent on a day of swimming, sunning, skiing and tubing – the cooler is packed  – the sunscreen is on  – everyone wants to get started.  It is at this point that we have to do the responsible thing.  Turn on the blowers, open the hatch and sniff for gas, make sure that everything is safe before you turn that key. The tragedy in Erie, Pennsylvania that inspired this story is a horrific reminder of what can happen when we take shortcuts.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe on the water this summer!

Adam
_______________________________
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]
www.zifflaw.com