Icy Roads Kill…..Especially When Large Trucks Fail to Slow Down for Conditions…..

The driver of a UPS tandem tractor-trailer similar to this one triggered an accident Tuesday morning that killed an dessa man.

The driver of a UPS tandem tractor-trailer similar to this one triggered an accident Tuesday morning that killed an dessa man.

There is a fundamental rule every new driver is taught:  You are REQUIRED to reduce speed when conditions require.

Unfortunately, many drivers violate this fundamental rule and often the consequences are deadly.

An Odessa man who was critically injured Tuesday morning when a UPS tandem tractor-trailer struck and rolled over on his vehicle on an icy Route 13 died early Wednesday, according to the New York State Police.

Troopers said Glenn Marsh, 58, of Odessa, was driving south on Route 13 at about 8 a.m. Tuesday when the truck, which was traveling down a hill, crossed the center line near the Chemung-Schuyler county line and struck Marsh’s sedan head-on and rolled over on it, according to news reports.

20863-2Marsh suffered massive injuries, troopers said, and had to be extricated from his crushed vehicle by emergency workers. He transported to Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, PA.

New York State Police Sgt. Steve Neuberger told the news media it was the fault of the UPS truck driver: “The UPS driver lost control due to slick conditions. The truck went across the road and struck the car, and the car went under the trailer.”

Marsh died during the night, police said.

This is the latest tragic example of what happens when tandem tractor-trailers hit icy conditions, especially on hilly two-lane highways!

Thanks for reading,

Jim
______________________________________
Jim Reed, N.Y. Truck Crash Lawyer
[email protected]


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]

 

 


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: [email protected]

 

 


Q&A: School Bus Accidents, Snow Days Were Hot Topics On Recent ‘Law Talk’

School bus drivers can be held legally liable if they are involved in an accident.

School bus drivers can be held legally liable if they are involved in an accident.

Welcome to the newest feature on our Ziff Law blogs, Q & A.

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

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.

Submit your questions by email to [email protected]

Our question today is adapted from my March 12 appearance on “Law Talk,” a segment at about 12:20 p.m. during the WETM News at Noon on Wednesdays. In “Law Talk,” the Ziff Law lawyers talk about legal issues, often in connection with news events.

Q&A 1Q: What happens if a school bus driver has an accident? Is the driver or the school district responsible if there are injuries?

Jim Reed: A school bus being operated on the road is not any different than any other vehicle. The bus driver has an obligation to drive safely, so that means in bad weather conditions, the bus driver should reduce his speed and make sure the vehicle is properly equipped with snow tires and other safety equipment.

Bus drivers must answer to the same laws as other motorists.

Over the years, I have handled a number of bus accident cases. In one case, a school bus driver rear-ended the back of another bus and was ticketed for Following Too Closely like any other driver who rear-ended another vehicle.

Also, as an employer of the school bus driver, a school district can be held liable for the negligence of its employee. In other words, if a school bus driver causes a collision that injures someone, both the bus driver and the school district that employs him can be held liable.

Bus stop signQ: Schools were closed March 12 because of an approaching winter storm, which dumped ice and varied amounts of snow across the Twin Tiers. Some parents, seeing only rain in the morning, raised objections based on the conditions they saw at that hour.

Jim:  School superintendents are trying to make decisions based on weather forecasts and a reasonable assessment of the road conditions that exist at the time or in the near future. Obviously, these superintendents are trying to make the best decision possible based upon their assessment of the conditions.

On March 12, a lot of people early in the day were saying, “It’s just raining. Why is there a snow day?” I believe the schools superintendents made the decision to close schools for the day because the conditions were forecast to dramatically deteriorate in the afternoon. The superintendents knew they could get the children to school safely but they weren’t sure about getting them home safely in the forecasted ice and snow conditions.

Even though I know it bothers parents when schools are closed when conditions don’t seem that bad, I think most superintendents would rather be safe than sorry.

In the area around Elmira, Horseheads and Corning, we have a lot of rural roads where all that stands between a school bus and a large drop-off is a small guardrail. A bus sliding on snow and ice could easily drive through that guardrail, sending the bus over the edge and likely causing a horrible accident.

The bottom line for the schools, and for all of us, is this: “Be safe, be smart and slow down!” If in doubt, stay home until the road crews have done their work.

Please appreciate that while we are happy to try to provide you some 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

 

 

 

 


Corning Community College Student Killed In Three-Vehicle Crash Near Spencer Hill Campus

CCC Sign2An 18-year-old Painted Post man, a student at Corning Community College, was killed Monday morning in a three-car accident on Spencer Hill Road, the winding, at-times treacherous two-lane road that connects the college with the city of Corning.

According to news reports:

Police said Justin A. Lewis was driving away from the campus at about 11:50 a.m. when he lost control of his vehicle and struck two other cars on a long curve near the main entrance.

corning_community_college_employer_logo_fullLewis was pronounced dead at the scene by the Steuben County Coroner. The two other drivers, including another CCC student, were hospitalized following the crash. The injuries were not considered life-threatening by police.

Police said excessive speed may have been a factor in the accident. Lewis’ vehicle crossed the center line, struck the two other vehicles and a cement rock wall.

Traffic was rerouted for the rest of the day off Spencer Hill Road as police reconstructed the accident.

The college issued a statement after the tragedy: “Our thoughts and heartfelt prayers go out to those involved in this accident, and to those family members and friends of the student who lost his life in this tragedy.”

Vincent Spagnoletti, commissioner for the Steuben County Department of Public Works, said major safety improvements were made during the summer of 2009 to Spencer Hill Road, also known as County Route 40. The road experiences heavy student traffic and has been the site of many accidents over the years.

The section of road where Monday’s accident happened was widened, trees were taken down on the inside of the curve so drivers had better visibility and rumble strips were added along the road to warn drivers who swung wide on the curves into the oncoming lane, Spagnoletti said.

Our thoughts and prayers at the Ziff Law Firm also go out to Justin’s family and friends.

Spencer Hill Road is one of the most treacherous and well-traveled roads in the Twin Tiers because of the number of young drivers on the road most days. If you or someone you care about is a student at CCC, let this accident be a sad reminder of the dangers posed on that road every day.

The campus attracts students from all over the Twin Tiers, from Bath and Hornell east to Waverly, Sayre and Towanda. It also draws students from Schuyler County, including Watkins Glen, from Elmira, Horseheads and Big Flats in the Southern Tier, and into Wellsboro and Mansfield and other points south of the Pennsylvania border in the Northern Tier.

Today, if you’re one of the Twin Tiers residents driving on Spencer Hill Road, remember Justin and respect one of our most dangerous roads.

Read news stories about the accident and see photos and videos of the scene here and here and here and 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: [email protected]


Unsafe Trucking Industry Needs Higher Insurance Limits

7733459308_cba851214f_nThe American Association for Justice has hit the road again this summer with its 18-page “Truck Safety Alert: The Rising Danger from Trucks, and How to Stop It.”

It should be required reading for all drivers!

According to the report:

“Trucks are the predominant means of freight transportation in the United States, with a 67 percent market share. The nearly 11 million trucks that travel U.S. roads each year make up only 4.7 percent of all passenger vehicles, yet are involved in 12.4 percent of all fatal crashes. Fatalities (per miles driven) are 17 percent higher for trucks than for passenger vehicles.

“According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the rate of truck accidents and fatalities has begun to creep up after several years of decline .In 2011, the most recent year for which data are available, 3,757 people died in collisions with trucks and 80,000 more were seriously injured. The death toll marked the second straight year fatalities rose, and an 11.2 percent increase over 2009’s record low. Fatalities in truck crashes increased across all categories, with the greatest increase being the 21 percent increase in truck occupant fatalities in multivehicle crashes. Such fatalities have now increased
40 percent since 2009.”

truck signThe association warns that the number of truck crash fatalities is likely to go up because there are going to be more trucks on the road, and they’re getting bigger.

Here’s another chilling number from the report: “In fatal two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck, 97 percent of the deaths were the occupants in the passenger vehicles.”

Too often, trucks are carrying  a load that is too large, or they’re being driven by operators who are fatigued or abusing substances.

Too many unsafe trucks slip through the roadside inspection process and new technology aimed at making trucking safer often is too expensive for the small truck companies to install.

Despite all the facts and statistics listed above, those dangerous trucks are only required to carry $750,000.00 in insurance coverage by the FSCMA! Trust me, when a tractor trailer takes out a family of 5, $750,000.00 is not enough.  When a tractor trailer maims a father and husband who can never work and support his family again, $750,000.00 is not enough.  When a tractor trailer crashes into a line of stopped vehicles and injures multiple people and totals 10 cars, $750,000.00 is not enough.

The owners of these tractor trailers should be made to carry enough insurance to fully reimburse anyone they injure.  It’s time that the FSCMA catch up with the times and mandate insurance limits that reasonably reflect the potential harm these 80,000 pound trucks present to the motoring public.

I urge you to read the full report here.

Thanks for reading, and remember to use extra caution around trucks when you are traveling on our nation’s highways – that truck may only have $750,000.00 in insurance coverage.

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]

 


Williamsport Couple Killed In Crash, Leaving Three Children Injured and Orphaned

A Williamsport couple were killed in a head-on car accident Friday afternoon in MIllerton in Bradford County, and their three children, who were in the back seat, were sent to area hospitals.

State police said the driver of the second vehicle crossed the center line and struck and killed the couple.

Killed were Ryan English, 35 years old, and his wife Karen English, 32. Police did not release the conditions of the three children but said they were taken to an area hospital.  Reports from social media indicate one child is now at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, where he is expected to stay for the next 3-6 weeks.  The other two children have been discharged and are with family.

State police and the county coroner told WETM-TV and the Star-Gazette that Ryan English was driving a 2012 Chevrolet Suburban eastbound on state Route 328 in Wells Township shortly before 5 p.m. Friday when a 2004 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by Roegester Grays, 45, of Lawrenceville, crossed the center line and struck the English vehicle head-on.

Ryan and Karen English were pronounced dead at the scene.

Grays was transported to Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira. Police did not comment on his condition.

All those involved in the accident were wearing seat belts or in child safety seats, police said.

Police also said they are unsure why Grays’ vehicle crossed the center line.

My heart breaks for the English family, the family of Ryan’s wife Karen, and for their three young boys going through this unimaginable tragedy.  I was proud to call Ryan a friend – he was the type of man all men should strive to emulate – an intelligent hard worker – a proud father and family man – aware of the importance of his community and country – outgoing and boisterous –  quick with a laugh and a smile.

Ryan, a native of Horseheads, NY, will be sadly missed by many, but by none more so than his three young sons.  I can’t begin to imagine what this family is going through.  Please keep them all in your thoughts.

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]

 

 

 


State Farm Provides ‘True Revelation’ In Advice To Drivers In Seemingly Minor Accidents, Says NY And PA Accident Lawyer

State Farm's advice to its policyholders in minor accidents offers a surprising tip about injuries..

Dallas lawyer Bob Kraft recently blogged about a surprising statement on the State Farm website written for its policyholders who have minor car accidents.

On its website, State Farm writes: “Even low-impact collisions can cause injuries, some not appearing until days after the accident.”

Bob’s response was priceless and perfect: “Wow — I promise that I have NEVER heard that statement from a State Farm adjuster, not in 41 years of handling auto accident cases. This is a true revelation!”

Isn’t it ironic that State Farm, in defending cases brought against them, frequently says that injuries couldn’t have been caused by a low-impact collision, yet they say just the opposite when properly advising their customers that they should be checked out medically even after a seemingly minor collision?

At least they got it right when advising their customers! Now if they could just tell their liability adjusters the same information, all would be well in the world!

Go here to read State Farm’s list of things to do — and not do — after a minor car accident.

Among the tips:

  • Don’t drive away.
  • Do stay at the scene and move your vehicle to a safe place out of traffic even if there appears to be no damage. If the other car is parked and the owner isn’t around, leave a note with your name and contact information.
  • Don’t assume there aren’t injuries.
  • Do assess yourself and your passengers. Even low-impact collisions can cause injuries, some not appearing until days after the accident.
  • Don’t sign any documents and avoid accepting or offering cash for repairs. You may end up paying out-of-pocket to repair damage to your car that only appears minor, or you could pay the other driver more than necessary.
  • Do stay calm. Take notes and photos, and exchange information with the other driver, including your name, address, phone number, driver’s license number, license plate number, insurance company, and policy number.
  • Don’t assume an accident is too minor to be reported.
  • Do call the police or file a report on your own. This will help your insurance agent handle your claim. An accident report could also help protect you from issues that may arise later about the extent of damage to your vehicle or injuries to you and the other driver.

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

 


Elmira Car Crash Results in Minor Injuries? It’s Too Soon to Tell says NY and PA Accident Lawyer

Elmira police said an accident Thursday morning involved just minor injuries, but accident victims should always be checked my medical professionals to be sure their injuries are not serious.

A hit-and-run accident Thursday morning on Elmira’s east side has the Elmira Police Department looking for witnesses after receiving conflicting information about the color of the fleeing vehicle.

Police also said there were apparently just minor injuries suffered in the accident, and that phrase “apparent minor injuries” always worries me.

The accident occurred Thursday morning at East Church Street and Madison Avenue, not far from our office at 303 William St.

Police told the Star-Gazette that an eastbound vehicle was struck from behind, and the striking vehicle fled the scene. The police added that it appeared that there were just minor injuries, but there were several ambulances on the scene, so it’s premature to say that the injuries were not serious!

Please remember this if you are ever involved in a motor vehicle accident:

As an experienced accident lawyer, I can tell you that sometimes minor injuries suffered in car accidents can develop into serious injuries. If you are injured in an accident, always get checked by an emergency room doctor of your personal doctor. What appears to be minor at that moment may take your life later! 

Police said they received conflicting information from the scene about the color of the striking vehicle. Anyone with information about the striking vehicle should call the Elmira Police tip line at 607-271-HALT.

Thanks for reading.

Adam
__________________________________________

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

 

 


Citizens Come Together to Make Positive Difference after Local Accident

Over 200 people gathered for a candlelight vigil and balloon release on Friday, January 20, in the town of Union. The vigil was held after two young boys died in a car crash earlier this month. Picture courtesy of the Press and Sun Bulletin in Binghamton.  

 As a parent of a young child myself, I could not help but feel emotional when I read about the January 7 car crash in Binghamton that killed four people, including a 7-year-old and a 6-year-old.

Joseph M. Plevinsky was driving three of his grandchildren to soccer practice at the Greater Binghamton Sports Complex on Airport Road, and his minivan swerved into an opposing lane of traffic and hit the car of 56-year-old Rose Kozlowski. Mr. Plevinsky, Ms. Kozlowski, 7-year-old Joshua Henry, and 6-year-old Tyler Houghton all died as a result of the crash. The only survivor is 8-year-old Nataya Henry, who was injured and taken to Wilson Regional Medical Center in Johnson City.

Despite the incredible tragedy of this crash, something truly admirable has come out of such horror and sadness: citizens of Binghamton and the surrounding area have come together. According to the Press and Sun Bulletin in Binghamton, more than 200 people braved the cold and attended a vigil for the boys who died in the accident. Also, a fundraiser held in the Maine-Endwell school system included a pasta dinner and a basket raffle that helped to raise money to help support the surviving Henry and Houghton children and plant a tree in memory of Joshua and Tyler.

These recent headlines about people coming together to grieve and help in a time of need are a reminder of the human impact that is felt by every accident. The effects of an accident only begin at the accident scene, and it is important to be reminded of just how deep loss can be felt and just how powerful holding a candlelight vigil or hosting a pasta dinner can be.

As an attorney, I am proud to work for justice for my clients every day. The citizens of Binghamton and the surrounding area, however, demonstrate a different definition of justice and righteousness, and I applaud you for making a positive difference and teaching us all that goodness and kindness really can come out of tragedy.

Thanks, Christina

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