Category: Auto Accidents

Car Accidents and Neck Injuries

Our bodies are subject to a ripple effect.  Just one injury can end up affecting our entire wellbeing.  A car accident is a traumatic event that can cause residual effects on your body for weeks, months, and even years.  It can take time to assess how you feel, and a proper recovery rests on that ability.  Although each person and situation is different, there are many common injuries after any sort of auto accident.  Although each car accident has their own unique conditions — such as the angle of the collision and the position of where each person is located during the crash — many patients experience similar symptoms.  In this series, we are re going to discuss four common injuries that, without treatment, can turn into chronic problems.

Car accidents are notorious for causing neck injuries.  But another common complaint is stiffness and pain in the middle of your back, or your thoracic spine.  As mentioned above, the ripple effect of a car accident can cause this pain to occur in many places you may not have expected.  The pain from an accident may begin at your neck, but if you are involuntarily making changes to your posture or other muscles are compensating, this pain can ripple down your spine and cause other issues.

In the middle of your back — the thoracic spine — the muscles might feel very tight.  Even something as simple as sitting in chair might feel difficult at times because of the stress on the rhomboid muscles.  The tightness there can shorten the muscles, which can cause you to feel like your shoulders are locked up.  You may find that rotating side to side can be hard to do.  Along with the mid-back, the lower back can also be aggravated after the incident (we’ll be discussing this in an upcoming article).

A simple fix to alleviate these symptoms can be a simple rowing exercise.  Miming the action of rowing will strengthen the rhomboid muscles, located around your scapula.  When these muscles are strong, it will allow you to carry your weight in the proper position and not just on the area of the thoracic spine.  This will also keep your shoulders feeling looser and less ‘locked up.’

Stretching and strengthening are the two components that can really alleviate your pain, and careful attention to these muscle groups will allow you to continually assess how your body is feeling after an accident.  This can help you avoid further pain in the long term.  Something that seems like a small issue, such as poor posture, can lead to rounded shoulders and contribute to kyphosis, or an abnormally curved spine.  If there is a lack of emphasis on strengthening your muscles now, this can contribute to greater arthritis pain in the future.

A car accident can inflict many systemic injuries, but with knowledge and consistent practice, you can stem the onset of pain.  Of course, the best way to ensure relief from chronic pain is by visiting a specialist that can cater to your exact needs.  Contact a neck pain doctor Rockville MD trusts today.

advanced spine and wellness centerThanks to our friends and contributors from Advanced Spine & Wellness Center for their insight into car accidents and neck injuries.

Dangers of Defective Tires

Defective tires are some of the most common causes of car accidents, which is why t is important to regularly check the condition and pressure of your car’s tires. This is an essential precautionary practice that may help you avoid accidents. Car tire manufacturers are required to ensure that they supply tire dealers with quality tires. This ensures that customers also get new tires that are free of defects. However, once a client purchases tires from a dealer, he or she is responsible for the maintenance of the tires in his car. Use tires that are in good condition to reduce the risk of accidents and damage to property.

Limitations of Defective Tires

Using quality tires on your car reduces the likelihood of accidents like rollovers and tire blowouts from occurring. Such accidents can cause serious injuries and even death, as a Las Vegas NV car accident lawyer. Check your tires regularly for signs of wear and tear. The more you use your tires, the more they wear out, which may cause the tire tread to separate, or its belt to peel off. Tires with such defects are likely to blow when in use, which may cause the car to roll over, or the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Some of the injuries that you may suffer as a result of a car accident include concussions, broken bones, internal bleeding, spinal injuries, paralysis, scrapes, and cuts, or brain injuries. Other causes of tire-related accidents include poorly manufactured tires, defective assembly, and improper installation.

Tire manufacturers are required to test their tires thoroughly before distributing them to the market, to ensure that the tires distributed to dealers are free of defects and therefore, roadworthy. Tire manufacturers are also expected to produce quality and durable tires. Although some car owners buy reconditioned tires, using this type of tire does not guarantee safety, because reconditioning only seals the existing weak points in a tire. Often, reconditioned tires wear out quickly and develop other problems after short periods of use. Many car safety experts discourage car owners from using reconditioned tires, because they are likely to become defective after short periods of use.

Avoid Cheap and Counterfeit Tires

Many vehicles come with inbuilt safety features to protect you from suffering serious injuries in case of an accident. Good tires are important safety features in any vehicle. However, unlike new cars, used cars often come with used tires. Before you buy a used car, consider taking it for a tire inspection to determine if they are defective. Alternatively, replace the old tires with new ones to eliminate the possibility of driving on defective tires.

Buying new tires does not guarantee safety, because of the proliferation of fake products on the market, including tires. Buy tires from tire manufacturers with a reputation for quality and durability. Stick to the brands you know, and do not be overly concerned about price because cheap is not often effective. When it comes to your safety, do not skimp on expenditure.

Defective tires can cause serious accidents, which may cause injuries and damage to property. It is important to purchase quality tires and replace your tires before they wear out completely. Avoid buying cheap counterfeit tires or refurbished tires as they can easily become defective.

nadia von magdenko law associates

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Nadia von Magdenko & Associates for their insight into the dangers of defective tires.

The SUM Bill and Insurance Law

In June 2012, the New York State Legislature passed an amendment to the Insurance Law that would protect car insurance policyholders and their loved ones from injuries caused by uninsured and underinsured drivers. The SUM bill requires that a driver’s SUM insurance limit match their liability coverage — unless the driver chooses to decline the cost of the added protection. The amendment was later vetoed by Governor Cuomo in December 2012.

In New York State, drivers are currently required to carry 25/50/10 in bodily injury and property damage liability on their policy. This means that $25,000 is the maximum amount payable for bodily injury per person; $50,000 is the maximum payable per accident; and $10,000 is the maximum payable for property damage including the other driver’s vehicle as well as street signs, buildings, light posts, etc.

If an accident is deemed your fault, in theory your insurance policy will compensate any parties injured by your carelessness. The problem occurs when the negligent party has little or no insurance on the car. Often the most dangerous drivers have low policies because risk-factors (including previous accidents, speeding citations and DWIs) have given them high premium rates. Others are just trying to save money by lowering their insurance coverage; NY is 4th in the nation for auto insurance costs according to a 2013 report by the Insurance Information Institute.

Whatever the reason, many individuals are paying the minimum of $25,000 – hardly enough to cover a serious accident. In 2010, the National Safety Council reported the average cost of an accident with disabling injuries is over $70,000. SUM (Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist) coverage allows individuals to “supplement” the insurance of negligent drivers who cause an accident. For example, if the victim has liability coverage of $100,000 with SUM benefits while the driver at fault has the state minimum of $25,000, the latter would be considered “underinsured.” The victim could then receive the $25,000 from the negligent driver’s insurance company as well as $75,000 from their own. Such was the case in a 2012 lawsuit that energized the issues surrounding SUM insurance. In June 2010, 24-year old Johns Hopkins graduate Kaitlynn Fisher was killed in an intersection collision in Baltimore, Maryland. Fisher’s estate asserted a liability claim against the driver and her own insurer, Progressive, for compensation and SUM benefits. Progressive declined to pay out the benefits claiming that Kaitlynn was the negligent party, thereby creating a highly-publicized controversy. A lawsuit against the surviving driver determined that Kaitlynn was not the negligent party and the case was eventually settled.

In August 2012, a New York Times article referred to the incident as “The Auto Insurance Case That Blew Up on the Internet.” Aside from being a PR nightmare for Progressive insurance, the case also caused many officials and individuals to take a closer look at car insurance and policyholders’ understanding of it – particularly with regard to SUM coverage. The law remains that insurance companies do not have to offer more than the state required minimum of $25,000 unless a policy holder requests more body liability coverage. The new amendment would have required insurers to provide increased SUM coverage matching the chosen liability limits, though individuals could opt to decline it via a waiver or statement. In lieu of Governor Cuomo’s decision, a debate over whether the amendment protects responsible motorists or is unfair to consumers continues. The New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) says the amendment keeps taxes low for New Yorkers because underinsured drivers will not have to rely on benefits like Medicaid. Others, including The New York Public Interest Research Group praise it for potentially reducing auto fraud by medical companies who have a history of excessive billing, while United Policyholder (UP) feels it encourages people to be more financially literate and take more interest in how their coverage works. The bill’s sponsors are currently moving on a modified bill to address the governor’s concerns.

Opponents of the amendment like Governor Cuomo and the group New Yorkers Stand Against Insurance Fraud believe the law will unfairly increase insurance rates for NY drivers who already pay more than the national average. The governor stated in his veto message that “consumers should be free to choose what level of SUM coverage makes sense to them” and should not have to “affirmatively opt-out of such coverage.”

Despite the debate, many drivers remain unaware that SUM coverage exists. For a comparatively small premium (usually around $50-$100 per year) SUM coverage can protect those involved in an accident from the low insurance policies of negligent drivers. If an individual is injured by a driver with no insurance, an expired policy, a stolen car or a hit and run, SUM insurance will be their only compensation. The founder of UP, Amy Bach, points out that while awareness is low and insurers undersell SUM coverage, if drivers knew about it they would likely opt for it as a “common-sense” addition to their policy.

The mission of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association is “To promote a safer and healthier society, to assure access to the civil justice system by those who are wrongfully injured and to advance representation of the public by ethical, well-trained lawyers.” Okun Oddo & Babat partner, David Oddo is an active member of the NYSTLA.

Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd. copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.

Pedestrians & Bicyclists Injured by East Village Driver

Manhattan’s East Village was the scene of an auto accident in front of a Bodega that caused severe personal injuries and the driver of the vehicle in police custody. According to a New York Times article eight people were injured, three of them with life-threatening injuries. The accident also caused property damage to the storefront  and street. Continue reading “Pedestrians & Bicyclists Injured by East Village Driver”

Alcohol-Related Accidents, Injuries & Fatalities

Few errors in judgment affect others so detrimentally as drunk driving. When an individual makes the decision to drink and drive, they put everyone on the road in danger including other drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

In New York State, a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle can be considered legally impaired if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeds 0.05%. Once their BAC is 0.08% or greater, they are considered legally intoxicated.

In 2011, drunk drivers caused approximately 10,000 deaths in the United States with 315 fatalities occurring in New York State. According to MADD, every 2 minutes someone is hurt in an alcohol-related accident, with injuries including minor bumps and bruises, broken bones or trauma to the neck, brain and spinal cord. 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lives.

Young people are most at risk of being involved with drivers 21 to 24 years of age most likely to be intoxicated during a fatal crash. Most states have a zero tolerance policy for underage drivers. Other common offenders are motorcyclists and drivers who have previous convictions for drunk driving. While a majority of DWI arrests involve men, a report by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation reveals that DUI and DWI arrests for women rose nearly 30% from 2000-2010. In total, there were 35,541 arrests in 2011 in New York related to driving under the influence.

Drunk drivers tend to take greater risks than sober drivers
including driving aggressively, speeding, ignoring traffic signals
or even falling asleep at the wheel. The NYC police department reports that every month about 100 traffic accidents involve alcohol.
These can be especially deadly due to heavy rush hour traffic, road construction and scores of pedestrians on the road.

While the criminal justice system will punish drunk driving with jail sentences, heavy fines and fees, license suspension and/or treatment programs, it may fail to fully address the financial burden the accident and resultant injuries have on innocent victims.

Many choose to pursue a civil action against the parties responsible. This may not just involve the intoxicated driver. In some instances, bar or restaurant owners who over-serve customers, hosts of social gatherings or employers at work-related events who allow a clearly intoxicated person to leave in their car may also have some liability. Medical bills, repair of damages, loss of wages and wrongful death compensation are just some of the costs that may be recoverable from those responsible.

Okun, Oddo & Babat specializes in the representation of victims who have suffered serious personal injuries. We represent accident victims in all areas of personal injury arising out of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, hospital negligence, defective products and drugs, premises liability, construction site accidents and wrongful death. We handle civil litigation and trials in both the State and Federal Courts. We also offer high quality representation in all types of criminal and commercial matters. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our New York attorneys.

Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd.
copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.

New York Bicycle Accidents

With warmer weather in the New York Metropolitan Area, more and more bicyclists are venturing out on the busy city streets, navigating car and heavy vehicle traffic. The city’s roads, parks and recreational areas, sadly, see an increase in injuries, many times involving motor vehicles and bicycles. Of course, bicyclists are also expected to observe all the same traffic laws as everyone else and to take safety precautions. However, violating a traffic regulation does not give a motorist the right to hit you. Drivers must exercise reasonable care to avoid bicycle accidents.

Understanding New York City Bicycle Laws 
Under the New York State Law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as all other vehicle operators. Drivers of motor vehicles are legally required to respect the fact that bicycles, even though they may be slower and smaller, have every right to be on the roads.

If you were hit by an impatient or otherwise negligent driver
while riding a bicycle, you may have a right to compensation
from that driver’s insurance company. 

At the law firm of Okun, Oddo & Babat, we help clients seek fair compensation from the drivers who are legally responsible for bicycle accidents.  Contact us or call us at 212.642.0950 today to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Learn more about Bicycle Safety to avoid bicycle injuries and fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

pedestrian accident lawyer New York, NY

New York City Taxi & Limo Accidents

With the substantial volume of traffic regularly streaming in and around Manhattan, the five boroughs and nearby airports on a regular basis, it’s inevitable that numerous taxi, limousine and car service accidents occur in the NewYork City Metro area annually.  Aggressive driving, driver fatigue, substance abuse and other causes may result in severe injuries and loss of life to passengers and pedestrians as a result of neglect on the part of the driver.

…numerous taxi, limousine and car service accidents
occur in the NewYork City Metro area annually.

In many instances the insurance carried by vehicles for hire isn’t enough. $100,000 is the minimum coverage required for taxi cabs in New York City. In some cases, compensation may be pursued from an injured individual’s own uninsured motorist coverage. We may be able to pursue compensation for you to cover loss of life, injury, medical expenses and loss of income. We will review the details of your case and work tirelessly as advocates on your behalf.

The attorneys at Okun, Oddo & Babat have the experience, skill and expertise to help you pursue the maximum compensation for your losses in these unfortunate taxi and limo accidents. Call our office today at 212-642-0950 to arrange to speak to one of our accident lawyers or contact us by email and you will be contacted by us shortly.