NY Attorney Offers Advice on Technology that Helps Keep Teens Safe While Driving

As an accident attorney, I could not help but laugh when I saw this Close to Home comic. Throughout my daily work, I meet many teenage victims of accident cases, so I understand the importance of not driving distracted. Therefore, while this comic is funny, it also got me thinking: is there a better way for parents to ensure the safety of their teen drivers— without going to the extremes of this mother and her driving gloves?

Recently, I have come to find a surprising source of comfort for the anxiety that having a teenage driver may provoke: technology. Indeed, those same cell phones that can cause so much potential for reckless and distracted driving can also be a powerful tool that can help keep young adults safe and accident-free.

Last November, my colleague Jim Reed wrote a blog post, which can be seen here, praising the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for banning texting while driving. Like Jim, as an accident attorney, I cannot say enough how much I agree with that decision. I am, however, also realistic in realizing that, like so many adults, teens are often glued to their cell phones. Even though there are laws in place banning texting and driving, the temptation is still there. That is why many parents may find a recent USA Today article, entitled “Devices Target Distracted Driving,” interesting; it cites cell phone apps or other forms of technology that can allow parents to stop their teen from texting, surfing the Internet, or even talking on their cell phones while they are driving.

Inspired by the USA Today article, here are three tools that can help keep your teens safe:

1. Cellcontrol– available for $7.95 a month for up to six phones, this in-car port stops drivers from gaming, searching the Internet, and receiving texts and phone calls while driving. You can see a video of how Cellcontrol works here.

2. iZup– a cheaper alternative to Cellcontrol, costing $20 annually, this blocks cell phone use while a car is moving, even disabling it at stop signs and red lights, often taking several minutes to disable after a car stops moving.

3. iCar Black Box App– In the event of an accident, this 99 cent app acts as a black box, recording a video during the accident that you can then access later.

Indeed, today the phase “There’s an app for that” can apply to so many varied topics, including everything from pet first aid to emergency flashlights when it comes to accident scenes. I deal with many families with teens who have been deeply affected by the terrible physical and emotional pain that car accidents can cause, and I can only hope that new technology can help prevent similar trauma in the future.

Even if these tools do not work best for you and your family, I encourage everyone with teenage drivers to stay safe, talk to your kids about their driving habits, and keep up to date with New York State teen driving laws.

No matter how you choose to protect your family while they drive, I hope that everyone stays safe this winter— preferably without having to wear “no-text driving gloves”! 

 Thanks, Christina

_______________________________
Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
csonsire@zifflaw.com
Office: 607.733.8866
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)
Web:zifflaw.com
Blog: NYInjuryLawBlog.com


Employee Beware: Do NOT Send Private Emails from Your Work Mail Account!

It seems like no-brainer. Do NOT send emails you wouldn’t want your employer to read FROM YOUR WORK EMAIL ACCOUNT!

Yet I hear about people continuing to make this same mistake. I thought I’d better offer a gentle reminder:  DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING ON YOUR WORK COMPUTER OR WORK EMAIL IS PRIVATE!

What sparked my intent to visit this topic was a recent California appellate court decision. The court ruled that even attorney-client confidentiality doesn’t apply when the email is on company servers.

This story was sent to me via Google Reader, in the LifeHacker.com post Your Employer Can Read Your Work Emails, Even to Your Lawyer [Privacy] by Kevin Purdy.

Kevin reported on a recent Wired magazine story – in a 3-0 decision, the Sacramento-based court ruled that a woman sending an email to her attorney, in a matter regarding plans to sue your employer, from your office was akin to “consulting her lawyer in her employer’s conference room, in a loud voice, with the door open, so that any reasonable person would expect that their discussion of her complaints about her employer would be overheard.”

Here’s a link to a PDF of the court’s decision on email privacy at work.

There is a loophole, but as far as I am concerned it’s risky. Wired reports that a New Jersey court found emails sent from a personal, web-based account, like Gmail, were private and confidential, due in part to the warnings and disclaimers on an attorney’s email signatures.

But passwords, notes, photos, etc., that you store on your work network, or work computer, are essentially stored in company property. Your employer was probably pretty careful to let you know that you shouldn’t violate company policies via the company equipment, and you shouldn’t have an expectation of privacy for what you put on the computer at work.

Think about it this way – what if you won a month-long cruise that you had to take right away. Your boss said you could have the time off – but in order to take care of your work, he would be going through every single file and e-mail message on your computer.Would you need a little time to set things straight?

I think even great, honest employees sometimes treat work computers more like home computers. I’m just here to remind you that you shouldn’t!

Thanks for reading,

Jim

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

Your Employer Can Read Your Work Emails, Even to Your Lawyer [Privacy]

Your Employer Can Read Your Work Emails, Even to Your LawyerThere are many, many reasons not to use your work email address for anything remotely personal. Here’s one more: a California appellate court has ruled that even attorney-client confidentiality doesn’t apply when the email is on company servers.

Photo by Stephen Edgar – Netweb.
In a 3-0 decision, the Sacramento-based court ruled that a woman sending an email to her attorney, in a matter regarding plans to sue your employer, from your office was akin to “consulting her lawyer in her employer’s conference room, in a loud voice, with the door open, so that any reasonable person would expect that their discussion of her complaints about her employer would be overheard.” (Google Docs PDF link to decision).
As Wired writes, a New Jersey court had previously found that emails sent from a personal, web-based account, like Gmail, were private and confidential, due in part to the warnings and disclaimers on an attorney’s email signatures (so, you see, they have their place). But if you’re considering a jump from your job, or even further action, consider yourself warned.


There’s An App for That: iWrecked Helps After an Accident


The app iWrecked has been called the original auto accident app for the iPhone.

OK, if you’re thinking “What on earth would I want an accident app for?” I can tell you. IWrecked is an invaluable tool for recording essential details after a crash. It’s absolutely FREE and from my perspective(s) – as a personal injury lawyer, an avid bicyclist and bike accident attorney and an everyday driver – this app is something everybody with an iPhone (or one a new iPod Touch w/cameras) should have. I’m using this app on my own iPhone and I thought it would be a good idea to spread the word on the NY Injury Law Blog and the NY Bike Accident Blog.

I heard about this app via The Chicago Bicycle Advocate by Brendan Kevenides (“Cool iPhone App Can Help Bicyclists After A Crash”)

Basically, iWrecked can help in two ways – recording information about an accident and getting help after an accident.

According to the description by iWrecked makers Vurgood Applications, the app is a resource for recording everything you need to after a wreck. “Take unlimited photos of the damage and accident scene….generate a detailed, professional-looking PDF accident report with images, which you can send directly from the app to your insurance company.”

Wow, that’s two sentences describing would be a tremendous hassle without iWrecked to prompt you to get the information you need, then sort and store it, and make a report.

Here are some more features:

  • detailed accident log and history
  • unlimited photos from the device camera or imported from photo library
  • a PDF accident report with images to preview and send
  • listings of nearby taxi and/or towing companies to assist you
  • emergency numbers (911) with the press of a button
  • unlimited vehicle information and photos in a log
  • speed-dial call buttons to set for the insurance company, other driver and more

You can see a video of iWrecked in action on in this post (embedded above). Check it out. No driver or bicyclist expects to be in an accident, yet accidents happen every day. Why not be prepared – especially since it’s FREE!

Thanks for reading,

Jim

______________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
NY & PA Personal Injury Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com
E-mail me at FreeReports@zifflaw.com for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.


NY Accident Lawyer Warns Other NY Injury Attorneys About Internet Scam Targeting Injury Law Firms

Citibank-check

“If it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true.”

I ALWAYS keep that old saying in mind when considering any aspect of my personal injury or malpractice cases. Over the years, being extremely suspicious of something that sounds too good to be true has saved my bacon more times than I can count.

Just this past week, my suspicious instinct for self-preservation saved me from the most sophisticated Internet scam I have ever seen. What is amazing about this scam is that it is specifically targeting law firms.

And lest you think lawyers are too smart to get victimized by a simple Internet scam, think again — I am told that at least 22 law firms have fallen prey to this scam with each of them losing $300,000 to $400,000. That’s right, MORE than $300,000 each! And there is no recourse for these duped firms.

So let me tell you about the scam so you can make sure you don’t fall prey to this scam.

It starts innocently enough. You receive an E-mail from a woman who has been terribly hurt in a New York City accident. The woman tells you she is Korean and was working in the US in NYC at the time of her injury.

She says that the insurance company (MetLife in my case) has offered her $400,000 to settle her case but they are now jerking her around about paying because she has moved back to Korea due to her injuries and disability. She says she just needs a US attorney to receive the settlement check and then send her the funds in Korea.

Well, I am so used to insurance companies jerking people around for every reason under the sun, that that part of the story is entirelyplausible. Even though my instinct was that this smelled funny (and I told my wife that), I decided to play along and see where this would go.

I emailed back and said I would be happy to help but would need documentation of the settlement and additional information.

To my surprise, I was then emailed settlement documents that looked totally legitimate. They were professionally done, grammatically correct, and notarized. Not the kind of thing you normally see with the typical Internet scam where there are tons of misspellings and atrocious grammar. The documents identified a MetLife Adjuster with both a phone number and e-mail address for him.

So, I decided to continue to play along to see what would happen next.

I emailed the adjuster after checking that the E-mail was actually going to a MetLife domain. I truly thought that would be the end of it. But knock me over with a feather, I got an E-mail back from the adjuster

saying that he would process the $400,000 check and send it to me. I thought sure…..

The next day, I received a $400,000 MetLife check via FEDEX. The check (see the posted photo) looked totally legitimate and was drawn on a CitiBank account. I was amazed and was beginning to teeter on the edge of believing this actually might be legitimate. But that’s when I received a phone call from the US Postal Inspector. They asked if I had received a $400,000 check. I told them I had and they said that they were glad they had reached me before the check had been cashed or any funds had been transferred.

I was told that so far they were aware of 40 checks for $400,000 sent to lawyers and of those 40, 22 had already wired funds of more than $300,000 each out of the country. For those unfortunate lawyers, there is no recourse because the funds were now outside the US.

The Postal inspector explained that the CitiBank check did in fact have correct routing numbers for a MetLife account so that when the lawyer presented the check to his bank, that bank would honor the check because it looked to be legitimate. It would only be several days later when CitiBank rejected the check that a lawyer would learn of the scam. If the lawyer had already wired the money out of the country, they were totally out of luck.

So, a word to the wise: If it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true!” And another word to all attorneys: Wait until a check has CLEARED before disbursing any funds even if that means you have to wait 7 to 10 days. Better safe than sorry!

Thanks for reading,

Jim

_________________________________

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


Turn Social Networking To Your Advantage: Scope Out Attorneys – And the Other Side

online-research-keyboardLast year, I wrote a few posts on the NY Injury Law Blog about the risks of social media/networking for personal injury plaintiffs. In my posts “Experienced Attorney Warns: Protect Your Personal Injury Case by Being Smart About Social Media” and “Don’t Let Facebook Torpedo Your Client’s Case!” I warned readers about making missteps on social networking sites and undermining their personal injury cases. Insurance company attorneys deliberately pose as “friends” to infiltrate your social media. They can look for photos, messages, or other information that gives them ammunition to shoot down your case.

But I may have been guilty of some “glass half empty” thinking when it comes to social media such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, I’ve recently realized.

What to remember: Your posts on Facebook are not always private. Your tweets on Twitter will reach more readers than you may realize. When you file a personal injury lawsuit, the opposing side’s attorneys are going to find a way to tap and use all the information they can to undermine  the case against them – YOUR CASE.

But, and this is a big BUT, you CAN put social media to work for you – to find the best personal injury attorney. Because of the very wealth of details social media can offer on any given person, I’ve warned you to protect your privacy online. At the same time, don’t be shy about using it to YOUR ADVANTAGE.

I use social media to market my practice and the Ziff Law Firm. I encourage people to become a fan of the Ziff Law Firm on Facebook, and to follow me on Twitter – JimReedNYLawyer.

I write on the NY Injury Law Blog to share information about safety and legal issues in New York and Pennsylvania – for readers it’s also a good spot to get a feel for where I stand on some issues, and the standards I set for myself.

I track other attorneys’ blogs to keep up with new developments myself – an inspiration for this post was “Use Social Networking Tools to Find Out About the ‘Players’ in Your Trial” from TrialLawyerTips.com by Jackson and Wilson, Inc.

Here’s a great quote from the post: “What you need to understand is that the amount of information that can be found about someone using social networking searches is almost unlimited.”

Jackson and Wilson were writing from a “lawyer to lawyer” point of view, letting fellow attorneys know of the options for researching opposing counsel, jury members and court officials through social media online. I think Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, Orkut, etc., are a great resource for legal clients as well. The last word: When it comes to social media, use it to post carefully and research thoroughly.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________________

James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com
E-mail me at FreeReports@zifflaw.com for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.

http://www.zifflaw.com/NYInjuryLawBlog/don%E2%80%99t-let-facebook-torpedo-your-client%E2%80%99s-case

Google Scholar Launches Online Access to U.S. Laws and Cases

I want to pass along some BIG news that is wonderful for everyone: Google is now offering FREE access to a huge amount of U.S. law through Google Scholar.

Why is this a big deal? Because historically law firms have had to pay incredibly high rates to gain access to online case law via services such as WestLaw and Lexis. The Ziff Law Firm currently pays more than $6,000 a year to Lexis! I have been longing for the day when we can eliminate that cost.google_scholar_logo

(Google has been developing Google Scholar for years now – it’s “a freely-accessible Web search engine that indexes the full text of scholarly literature” according to Wikipedia. The beta version was launched in late 2004, and now the Google Scholar index includes most peer-reviewed online journals from many of the world’s scholarly publishers.)

Here’s the official Google Blog post, “Finding the laws that govern us,” regarding their new service.

How it works (basically!)

Know how to use Google? You’ve got the concept, then! Go to the Google Scholar home page and select the radio button for Legal opinions and journals. You can search by the names of the parties in a particular case or the type of decision. Not only will Google Scholar return the results for a specific case you are looking into, it will offer links to associated cases for your further research.

While Google’s current offerings don’t match all the features of Lexis yet, it is only a matter of time until we can accomplish all we need to do for FREE.

And that’s the way it should be – information wants to be free.

A postscript on Google

Google is continually coming up with new features. I came across this post on the iPhone J.D. blog, a resource for lawyers who use iPhones (as I do!). Follow this link to a great post on using Google on your iPhone and some speculation on what might be available from Google in the future.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney

Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com

E-mail me at FreeReports@zifflaw.com for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.

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Experienced Attorney Warns: Protect Your Personal Injury Case By Being Smart About Social Media

Use-social-media-intelligentlyI have written before on the NY Injury Law Blog about the dangers of giving away your privacy online with social media. Sloppy postings on Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other social sites can easily undermine personal injury cases – and believe me, insurance companies are well versed in any techniques to weaken plaintiffs’ cases.

The following guest post from Virginia injury lawyer Ben Glass provides a very clear outlines of the Do’s and Don’ts of using social media for people who want to protect their privacy and their personal injury cases. I’m reprinting it here with Ben’s permission. Here is Ben’s Guest Post:

Warning for Clients About Social Media

FACT – While initially people were quite guarded about what photos they posted online and who has access to them, people are gradually becoming more exhibitionist. Your friends may have photos of you, that can be searched by your name, on their pages. In other words, your own privacy settings cannot protect you entirely.

FACT – The courts have ordered injured plaintiffs to produce their Facebook pages to the insurance company lawyers.

FACT – Evidence from Facebook has been admitted in Ontario Courts and is used by the police and the traditional media.

FACT – Every insurance defense lawyer has a law clerk on Facebook who is looking for their opponents’ pages, profiles and pictures on Facebook.

So, does that mean you have to withdraw from the 21st century and avoid social media? As your lawyer, I would like to say, well, yes. Avoid it like the plague. However, as a human being, I recognize that may not be possible. So, what steps can you take to protect yourself?

Step One: Take a critical eye to your social media sites to see if there is anything you would not want the insurance company lawyer to see. Remember that the insurance company will not know the context of your photos or comments. They won’t know if you swallowed a bottle of pain killers to get through that party.

Step Two: Check your privacy settings. Most sites allow you to block certain people altogether from seeing that you even are on the site. Block the opposing lawyer and his/her clerk. Keep in mind, however, that there will be law students and others whose names you won’t know, so this is not foolproof.

Step Three: Search your name in the search field to see what comes up and make sure it is acceptable.

Step Four: While you are at it, do the same thing on Google and You Tube. Make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Step Five: Don’t accept friend requests or answer emails through social media from people you do now know. On Facebook, if you send a message, you grant the receiver access to your profile for a certain number of days. That is a common device to get access to your profile. Keep in mind that because of the lawsuit process, the opposing legal team knows a lot about you and could send you an email that might make you think you know each other.

If you are in doubt about whether or not your pages are acceptable, speak to your personal injury lawyer about it.

Ben Glass, Virginia personal injury lawyer. Check out Ben’s website, BenGlassLaw.com, for more of his advice about personal injury law and protecting your case.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com

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Free and Found on the Web: Great Programs for Trial Lawyers

Law-tools-on-the-InternetA cool thing about blogs: Every once in a while, you come across a post with incredibly helpful information from someone with an insider’s knowledge.

That was the case for me with the following post, found at Winning Trial Advocacy Tips: Proven Courtroom Tips to Help You Persuade Jurors and Win Trials. This blog, part of TrialTheater.com, features advice to boost the expertise of trial lawyers.

I loved the following post by Elliott Wilcox. With his permission, I am using it here on the NY Injury Law Blog as a guest post. Thanks for the post, Elliott, and the sage tech advice!

Free Software for Trial Lawyers

On a budget? Here are some software programs that will help you prepare for your next jury trial and won’t break the bank. Most of these programs work on a variety of platforms, but since I’m a Mac guy, one or two of them might be Mac-only.

IMAGE EDITING PROGRAMS

GIMP: www.gimp.org

Need to crop photos, modify images, or enhance images for trial? This is a cheap (free) alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It includes a wide variety of image editing tools. It’s not easy to get started, but it’s a powerful resource.

Seashore: www.seashore.sourceforge.net

A simple image editing program that’s easier to use than GIMP.

Inkscape: www.inkscape.org

This is an illustration program (similar to Adobe Illustrator) that lets you create vector drawings and illustrations. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the professional program, but it lets you create amazing artwork.

Hugin: www.hugin.sourceforge.net

If you’re trying to take photos of a large, panoramic area, you usually can’t fit the entire scene into a single photo (at least not without a thousand dollar camera lens). Hugin solves that problem by letting you stitch 2+ photos together into a panoramic view.

AUDIO EDITING PROGRAMS

Audacity: www.audacity.sourceforge.net

If your evidence includes audio recordings of depositions, interviews, or police interrogations, Audacity is an invaluable tool. With this program, you’ll be able to edit audio recordings, extract smaller portions from extended interviews, and perform other audio editing functions.

3D MODELS / CRIME SCENE MODELING

Sketchup: www.sketchup.google.com

Create 3D and 2D models, apply textures, and voila! you’ve created an interactive model of the crime scene!

Sweet Home 3d: www.sweethome3d.eu

Need to layout a residential crime scene or a slip& fall scenario? Sweet Home 3d can render home layouts, furnishings, and create floorplans.

OFFICE SUITE PROGRAMS

Scribus: www.scribus.net

This program is great for producing flyers, brochures, newsletters, etc. You can use it to create posters or enlargements for use in direct examination or closing argument.

OpenOffice: www.openoffice.org

Can’t afford (or don’t trust) Microsoft Office? OpenOffice includes a full suite of office programs. You’ll get a word processor, spreadsheet, database, graphics, and presentation programs.

Google Docs: www.docs.google.com

Create and edit web-based documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

The documents are stored online, so multiple parties can modify them at once (beware of attorney-client privilege violations).

AbiWord: www.abisource.com

This word processing program is similar to Microsoft Word.

PRODUCTIVITY PROGRAMS

Evernote: www.evernote.com

This program works on your computer, iPhone, PDA, etc. You can synchronize your notes everywhere at once. It’s invaluable for jotting down notes, websites, and more.

Freemind: www.freemind.sourceforge.net

Need to brainstorm new cross-examination questions? Trying to organize your direct-examination, but not sure which topics you should address or which order you should present them in? Freemind is a mind-mapping program. If you’ve never used a mind-map before, it might take a little getting accustomed to, but it will make it much easier for you to get those brilliant ideas out of your head and onto paper.

TimeBridge: www.TimeBridge.com

If you’ve ever tried to schedule a meeting with several busy people, you know how difficult it can be to find a time that works for everyone. This online meeting scheduler allows all of the invitees to choose a preferred meeting slot, then it finds tha day and time that work the best for everyone.

– Elliott Wilcox, Trial Theater.com

Thank you, Elliott, for the permission to re-post your excellent software suggestions. Readers, don’t miss out on the informative Trial Theater website, where you can find loads more advice and tips about courtroom presentation.

,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com

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NY Accident Lawyer Recommends Free Online Resource to “Sketch” an Accident Scene

AccidentSketch-demo-shotFree is ALWAYS good in my book!

There is a great new FREE resource available to all New York and Pennsylvania car accident victims. AccidentSketch is a online utility that anyone can use to graphically document a car accident. The service is free and doesn’t even require registration!

Why Drawing an Accurate Accident Sketch is Important

Insurance companies, courts and lawyers all require detailed depictions of an accident to successfully resolve claims for compensation. Often there will be disputes about where each car involved in an accident was prior to, during or after the car crash. Ther may be disputes about the direction of travel for each car. There may be disputes about what car had the right of way at the time of the accident.

Experienced accident lawyers know that working with an accident sketch is a great way for your clients to discuss with you the details of EXACTLY how an accident occurred.

I discovered the existence of the AccidentSketch service through the Lifehacker weblog. I think it is a fantastic tool to ease the process of making an accurate accident report – and it puts the means in the hands of the people who were involved in the crash. AccidentSketch is one of those tools that is essential, once you know it’s out there.

One Warning!

Because it is critically important that an accident sketch be as accurate as possible, I would strongly urge anyone who was injured in a car accident to consult with an experienced accident lawyer BEFORE submitting an accident scene sketch to any insurance company. Why? Because anything you submit to an insurance company, even your own insurance company, may be used against you by the insurance company for the other driver involved in your accident. Accordingly, you want to make certain that the sketch is 100% accurate and there is nothing in the sketch that might shoot you in the foot…..

How AccidentSketch works

The software is amazingly simple to use. All of the standard road elements are already created – just put them together like a puzzle to recreate the circumstances of an accident.

First, you select road “pieces” to map an accurate depiction of the road, be it a curve, a urn, an intersection or other type of street. The pieces drag and snap into a grid at a scale of 1:100.

Then select your vehicle type (trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians are also options) and place it in the road map you created. You can choose vehicle colors and input license plate numbers.

Continue to add vehicles and other details, such as traffic signs, lights, arrows, braking marks and more, until you have an accurate drawing of your accident.

You may even create a time-lapse version of the accident, by placing multiple images of vehicles on the map and using arrows to show their courses of action.

To complete your account of the accident, AccidentSketch allows you to type in a text report, where you can explain the accident in depth.

At this point, without paying a fee and with minimum effort, you will have a detailed, accurate and easy-to-follow accident report that will be invaluable information in settling insurance claims or a court case. Check out this sample: AccidentSketch-example.

Thanks for reading,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
New York Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com

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Internet Service Brings Testimony From Half the World Away

Skype-logoThe New York Post recently reported on a technological innovation that could radically change trial cases in the future.

In the story “Facts can’t es-Skype” (Julia Dahl, 9/25), the Post described how a Queens judge used the Internet service Skype to resolve a civil trial.

Skype, in case you haven’t tried or heard of it, is a program that will allow you to make free phone calls over the Internet. With a Web cam (a fixture of most laptops now) you can not only hear but also see the person you are talking to.

“No more wasting time. All we need is a Web cam and Skype,” Queens Supreme Court Justice Martin Ritholtz said. “It’s so easy technologically.”

The plaintiff in the case, 53-year-old Jasmer Singh, now lives in India. But in 2001, he was injured in a car accident in New York City, and he was seeking money from Allstate to cover his medical expenses.

By using Skype to take his testimony, the judge saved everyone involved lots of time, aggravation and money. A win for all around, but probably felt the most by Singh, who was awarded $15,000 for pain and suffering.

The news story said this was probably the first use of Skype to resolve a court case in this country. It won’t be the last, I’m sure.

Thanks for reading,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:jreed@zifflaw.com http://www.zifflaw.com

Facts can’t es-Skype

Last Updated: 5:14 AM, September 25, 2009

Posted: 4:57 AM, September 25, 2009

Justice really knows no bounds anymore.

A Queens judge solved the problem of a civil trial that involved a plaintiff in India by simply having the man testify yesterday using the Internet telephone/video provider Skype, saving thousands in costs and days of people’s time.

The testimony is believed to be the first of its kind in New York State, and perhaps the country.

“No more wasting time. All we need is a Web cam and Skype,” Queens Supreme Court Justice Martin Ritholtz said. “It’s so easy technologically.”

A few glitches in the video feed aside, Jasmer Singh, 53, was able to testify about a 2001 auto accident in which he was seeking more money from Allstate to cover medical expenses from a computer store in Punjab Province in India.

“It is a terrific system,” Singh’s lawyer, Jonathan Davis said. “It’s almost like he’s here in the courtroom.”

But because of the timely testimony, the jury was able to rule in a day, awarding Singh $15,000 for pain and suffering. He had been seeking as much as $120,000.

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