Category Archives: Accidents

What Should I Do If There Is a Mistake on the Police Report?

We frequently see mistakes on police accident reports. Sometimes, the mistakes are minor but many are serious mistakes which make it look like the motorcyclist is at fault when it was really the driver of the car who caused the accident.

Police reports must be reviewed by a supervisor but some mistakes can’t possibly be caught by a supervisor and other mistakes just aren’t noticed. The police report below shows a serious glaring mistake that wouldn’t be caught by a supervisor.

When the police accident report has a serious error which points the cause of the accident on our client, we still want to represent the client but we’ll have a little more work to do.

This Police Report Is Obviously Wrong and Blames Our Client for Causing the Accident

In the police report below,the NYS Trooper got the accident scene and The facts of how the accident happened completely wrong and backwards. She blamed the motorcyclist for causing the accident by making an unsafe merge into the Parkway when it’s obvious that the entrance lane does not merge.

Our client was riding a motorcycle and is listed on this police report as V1. The Trooper wrote: “V1 had just gotten onto Ocean Parkway and made an unsafe merge, colliding with V2”.

Police Report Error

This police report wrongly states our client’s motorcycle V1 improperly made an unsafe merge onto the Parkway

The New York State Trooper inserted a diagram into the police report showing the Parkway entrance. The diagram was obtained from the New York State Police accident report software.

The Trooper either selected the wrong type of Parkway entrance or since this type of entrance is less common, it may not have been in the software. Whatever the reason, it is clearly the wrong diagram.

Wrong Police Report Diagram

This police report diagram shows a normal merge onto a Parkway and is the wrong diagram which caused the Trooper to indicate on the police report that our client was at fault when he was not.

The diagram shows a common Parkway entrance with a merge lane. However, at this location there is no merge because the entrance becomes its own 3rd lane. Prior to the entrance, the Parkway was two lanes, but at the entrance the Parkway changes from two lanes to three lanes.

This Google maps photo shows that there is no merge and the entrance becomes a new  lane. Consequently, the entrance doesn’t match the diagram and the motorcycle did not merge into the Parkway lane.

Google Maps Photo Shows the Parkway Entrance Does Not Match the Police Report Diagram

The solid white line of the entrance merging onto the Parkway can be seen in the right foreground of the photo. There is no merge because the entrance lane continues on as a third lane and never merges into the left lane. The Parkway goes from two lanes to three lanes.

Parkway entrance lane

This view is looking towards the entrance where the motorcycle came from and shows the entrance lane on the left

The Trooper blamed the accident on our client’s motorcycle and properly merging onto the Parkway and into the lane of oncoming traffic but this is simply wrong. This probably happened because the trooper was looking at the diagram instead of the accident scene when she wrote the report.

What Can You Do When the Police Report Is Wrong?

There are only two things you can do:

  1. You can try to speak to the police officer who wrote the report or to the police officer’s supervisor and explain why the police report is wrong. On rare occasions, they will amend the police report.
  2. More likely, the police will tell you to file an MV-104 which is the driver’s report. It looks like a police report and has a similar number (the police report is an MV-104A) but this report is written by you, not the police officer. Find out how to file an MV-104 accident report to correct your police report. If you were injured, we prefer to fill out the report for you.

What Can Your Attorney Do When the Police Report Is Wrong?

Depending upon the error, there are different things that we can do. With the police report  shown above, we can go out to the accident scene and take a video to show the insurance company claims representative that there is no merge about the police accident report is obviously wrong.

If we have to file a lawsuit, we will take a deposition of the defendant car driver and when confronted with photographs of the Parkway entrance, we will likely be able to get the driver to admit that our motorcyclist did not merge into their lane.

What Does It Do to Your Accident Case If the Police Accident Report Is Wrong?

It just creates more work for us because it makes it more difficult to settle your case. The insurance company claims representatives love to go by the police report when it favors them. This sometimes means that we will have to file a lawsuit. But often we are still able to settle the accident case for the entire insurance policy.

Fortunately for you, it won’t cost you any more money if we have to work more because our legal fee remains 1/3 no matter how much work we do.

What If I Really Caused the Accident the Police Report Is Not Wrong?

We frequently represent clients who were declined by other accident lawyers either because the police report shows the accident was caused by the client or because the police accident report makes it look like that.

For instance, we settled a claim for the entire $100,000 insurance policy where a police report showed our client ran a red light on his bicycle and a witness saw him go through a red light.

We also settled a claim for the entire insurance policy where the police report indicated our client admitted he ran a stop sign on his motorcycle and a witness saw him go through the stop sign.

If you were injured in an accident, call us right now for a free consultation with no obligation. Call days/nights/weekends
1-800-HURT-911 | 1-800-487-8911

Other articles you may want to see:
How to Get a Police Accident Report
How to file an MV-104 accident report to correct your police report

 

Hospital Suing for Billing? How to Stop & Fight Hospital Bills

You just had a motorcycle accident. You go home from the ER at the hospital and you’re in pain. Now you’re in real pain when you receive a shocking hospital bill for $28,000!

If you don’t pay the hospital bill, the hospital may file a lawsuit and if you don’t hire a lawyer to defend you, the hospital’s lawyers will look to garnish your wages. But that doesn’t have to happen!

What Not to Do after a Motorcycle Accident

  1. Don’t limp home to avoid a bill for going to the hospital!
  2. Don’t ignore hospital bills, tell your accident lawyer immediately.
  3. If you get collection letters from the hospital, tell your accident lawyer immediately.
  4. If you are served with lawsuit papers from the hospital, tell your accident lawyer immediately!

Why Going Home to Avoid the Hospital Is a Bad Idea

We often have motorcycle accident clients who refuse to go to the hospital by ambulance and instead go home from the accident. This is a bad idea because:

  1. At the accident scene, you often won’t know how seriously injured you are because it can take up to 48 hours for pain to begin. Delaying diagnosis and treatment can cause more serious injuries and even death.
  2. Your accident case is worth more money and can settle faster if you go to the hospital by ambulance from the accident scene. We can deal with the hospital bill later and the driver who caused your accident will probably be responsible to pay it.
  3. Some motorcyclists had injuries more serious than they thought and had to go to the hospital anyway, either later that day or the next day.
  4. You’ll get into the hospital immediately when the ambulance brings you in. If you go on your own, you can sit in the waiting room for as long as 5-8 hours or more!

Why Hospital Bills Are Confusing

You may receive several different types of hospital bills

  • Summary bill
  • Itemized bill
  • Billing statement

You may receive different hospital bills from different billers

If you were only in the Emergency Room:

  • The hospital bill will include use of the emergency room and nursing services.
  • The radiology department may submit their own bill for x-rays and CT scans.
  • Doctors in the Emergency Room will each submit their own bill for physician services.*
  • You may receive an ambulance bill from the ambulance service.

If you were admitted to the hospital:

  • The hospital bill usually includes the ER room, room, food, nursing services, pharmacy, and operating room expenses. It may also include laboratory fees.
  • The radiology department will often submit their own bill for x-rays and CT scans.
  • Doctors who provide treatment will submit their own bill for physician services.*

*You may receive many separate invoices from hospital physicians like emergency room physicians, anesthesiologists, pathologists and radiologists. In addition to the cost of the x-ray or CT scan, the radiologist who reads your x-ray will send a bill for physician services for reading the scan.

Outpatient billing:

After you leave the hospital, you may see a doctor at a private office or you may go back to the hospital clinic to see a doctor. If you see a doctor at the hospital after you have left the hospital, the hospital will send you a separate bill for outpatient billing for physician services at the time of your appointment. You may also receive separate invoices for diagnostic tests, radiology, and lab fees.

Homecare:

If you need care at home after release from the hospital, you will receive a separate bill for services and/or products provided in the home, Including visiting nurses, home health aide, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapist or social worker, IV therapy and home medical equipment.

Why you don’t know what the hospital is billing you for

The hospital only sends you a Summary bill. They won’t send you an Itemized bill unless you request it. Even when you request it, they usually just send you another copy of the Summary bill. This happens to us all the time. The hospital doesn’t want you to see the Itemized bill because that’s what you’ll find out what they are really charging you for!

What hospitals don’t want you to see in their itemized bill

Hospitals are very creative with their billing and may charge fraudulent fees. The emergency room bill is sometimes reasonable but usually is not. Sometimes, we see a hospital billing $1,100 for the emergency room but we often see emergency room bills as much as $6,000-$28,000 when they should have been $1,100.

Hospital bills get real interesting when you are admitted. If you look at your itemized hospital bill, you may find that you have been charged hundreds of dollars of fraudulent charges for a disposable mucus recovery device (box of tissues) and/or thermal therapy (a bag of ice); oral administration fee (a nurse handing you pills); Etc.

What to Do When You Receive Hospital Bills

If you haven’t been injured in an accident and do not have an accident attorney, see Medical & Hospital Billing Errors at HURT911®

If you have been injured in an accident, call an accident lawyer immediately and ask if the lawyer will represent you for your hospital bill.

If we are representing you for your injuries, we will make sure that all collection efforts are stopped and if you are sued, we will represent you. We will have your hospital bill reviewed to negotiate a reduction. Call us now 7 days/nights for a free consultation at 1-800-HURT-911 1-800-487-8911.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or any other type of accident, make sure your accident attorney knows that you are being billed by the hospital.

Why you should tell your accident lawyer about collection letters even if you have insurance

This is an example of what can happen when you don’t tell your accident lawyer that the hospital is sending you collection letters or suing you.

Our client broke a rib in a motorcycle accident and was taken to Winthrop Hospital by ambulance. The emergency room bill was $28,000 but our client had health insurance so he didn’t have to pay for the bill.

Unfortunately, the hospital was trying to bill his “no-fault” insurance for over a year but motorcyclists in New York do not have no-fault insurance so the hospital should have been billing his regular health insurance provided by his employer.

Our client ignored requests from the hospital to provide his insurance information and then later ignored letters from the hospital’s collection agency.

Eventually, the hospital filed a lawsuit against our client but our client never responded to the lawsuit and never notified us. The hospital got a default judgment against our client and garnished his salary. He didn’t even know the money was taken out of his checking account and checks for his car and apartment bounced. That’s when our client notified us!

We submitted his hospital bill to his health insurance company but they denied it because it was submitted to late.

Because our client was personally served with the hospital lawsuit papers, we could not reopen the lawsuit and the hospital was unwilling to negotiate the $28,000 hospital bill. The best we could do was to get the hospital to unfreeze his checking account and agree to wait until his motorcycle accident case was settled.

If our client had notified us of the collection letters, we could have stopped those letters and they probably would not have filed a lawsuit. Even if they did file a lawsuit, we could have fought it for him. We probably would have been able to settle the hospital bill for as little as $1,600 paid out of our client’s motorcycle accident settlement if our client had notified us of the collection letters.

What We Do to Stop Collection

We will immediately send a letter to the collection agency advising the collection agency that we represent you and to stop contacting you.

What We Do to Fight Hospital Bills

We can have your hospital bills reviewed by a hospital billing review service to remove fraudulent charges, unnecessary charges and overcharges. See the hospital bill cost review report and the settlement letter for the example case below.

Example of a hospital bill we settled:

Hospital: NYU Winthrop University Hospital
Collection Agency: POM Recoveries
Amount of ER Hospital Bill: $6,676.99
Report of Hospital Bill Review Showed the reasonable amount to be: $1,667.20
Settlement With Collection Agency: $1,152
Motorcycle accident case settled for client: $100,000
Legal Fee: $33,333.33
Net Amount to Client After Legal Fee: $66,666.67
Amount Client Would Have Received If the Hospital Bill Was Paid: $59,989.68
Cost of Hospital Bill Review Report: $500
Amount Client Received Because the Hospital Bill Was Reduced: $65,014.67
Amount We Saved Our Client: $5,024.99
See the Hospital Collection Agency Settlement Letter

What about Doctor Bills For Medical Treatment after the Hospital?

If you have a motorcycle accident and don’t have medical insurance, that’s not a problem. We can ask your doctor to bill you on a “lien”.

This means that we will pay the doctor at the end of your accident case from your settlement money. You’ll be able to get the medical treatment you need and you won’t have to worry about making payments or receiving collection letters!

Do Biker Lawyers Represent Club Members?

We represent motorcycle club members and 1% members but many if not most lawyers do not and we don’t know if other motorcycle lawyers do.

If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you’re entitled to just compensation for your injuries. We don’t ask or care if you’re a 1% member. If you decide to tell us or we find out, that’s okay. We gladly represent everyone and represent 1% members and motorcycle police officers.

We have only two goals:

  1. Prove the driver was 100% at fault for causing your accident and injuries.
  2. Obtain the most amount of money as compensation that we can get for you.

Apparently, some “biker” lawyers don’t want to associate with motorcycle club members. According to a press release by the Motorcycle Profiling Project, Law Tigers attorneys, a well-known franchise of national motorcycle injury lawyers are not really club friendly.

In the press release, entitled “Don’t Support Two Faced ‘Biker’ Attorneys“, the Motorcycle Profiling Project wrote,

“Motorcycle club members are a very valuable resource for motorcycle accident attorneys. Regardless of private entities such as Law Tigers legal right to restrict employees expression rights [against associating with motorcycle clubs], motorcycle club members and motorcycle rights advocates have a choice when they are the unfortunate victims of an accident.”

“But not all all motorcycle attorneys walk the walk.”

Whether you’re a member of a 1% club or any other motorcycle club, we’ll treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve and should expect. We don’t hide our attitude. Suffolk County Police and other agencies have taken our photos together with 1% members.

See what you can do to help stop motorcycle profiling.

Call Attorneys Phil Franckel and Rob Plevy for a free consultation
Days/Nights/Weekends at 1-800-HURT-911 | 1-800-487-8911

 

Why Wasn’t The Driver Arrested?

Why Wasn’t the Driver Charged with a Crime?

There are two reasons why a driver would not be arrested at a traffic accident in the New York City and Long Island area:

  1. The driver violated a section of the NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law which is a violation but not commit a crime (see below); or
  2. There wasn’t sufficient evidence to prove a crime was committed.

Far too frequently, motorcyclists are killed because a driver wasn’t paying attention and we are asked by the grieving family, “Why wasn’t the driver arrested?”

Unfortunately, family members don’t seem to get an adequate explanation from police or detectives. This article will attempt to provide an explanation for family members.

Can a Police Officer Arrest a Driver For Causing a Death?

I believe that within limited circumstances, a police officer can make an arrest without a warrant for a violation of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law after an investigation has determined that probable cause exists. See § 140.10 2. of the NY Criminal Procedure Law. But this New York criminal attorney’s blog states, “However, for an officer to arrest a person for a non-criminal offense, the offense must be committed in the officer’s presence.”

The act itself of causing the death of a motorist or a pedestrian is not a crime. There must be some violation of law to make an arrest.

In New York City, a new law signed in June 2014 effective August 2014 made failing to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists a misdemeanor offense. But according to the Gothamist, the new law is hardly being used with arrests only 1% of applicable accidents.

In this pedestrian death of a three-year-old child in Brooklyn, the driver of a Skittles van struck the child on a scooter when he was attempting to make a right turn. The driver was arrested and charged with failure to exercise due care and failure to yield to a pedestrian both of which are now misdemeanors.

Outside of New York City, the law is so undefined and confusing that police officers usually don’t make an arrest. For instance, the “rule of two” which is a policy, not a law that in New York State a driver must have broken at least two traffic laws if an arrest is to be made.

In Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island, police officers will not even issue a traffic ticket at an accident unless the police officer witnessed the violation. This is because it would be almost impossible to obtain a conviction. In some upstate New York counties, police officers will issue a traffic ticket at an accident without witnessing the violation.

It would be highly unusual for a police officer to make an arrest for a traffic offense unless a crime has also been committed. If an arrest was made for a traffic infraction, it would be even more unusual to obtain a conviction or for a court to impose a sentence including time in jail or prison.

The definition of “offense” is found in Section 10 of the Penal Law and is a violation of any law for which imprisonment or a fine may be imposed including:

  • State Laws
  • Local Laws
  • Local Ordinances
  • Felonies
  • Misdemeanors; and
  • Petty offenses which include Violations and Traffic Infractions CPL § 1.20(39).

There are three levels of offenses in New York State:

  1. Felony
  2. Misdemeanor
  3. Petty Offense which includes violations and traffic infractions. A conviction for a petty offense is not considered a criminal conviction. Punishment can include incarceration for no more than15 days in jail and can also include fines, restitution, state surcharges and/or community service.

An offense of the Penal Law is a crime, either a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by no more than one year in a county or city jail. A felony conviction is punishable by a term in NYS prison.

Insufficient Evidence

When a crime was or may have been committed, there may not be enough evidence to constitute probable cause for the police officer to make an arrest.

The police officer might feel that there could be probable cause but believe there isn’t enough evidence for the district attorney to prove guilt. It is unethical for the district attorney to prosecute if they don’t believe there is enough evidence to obtain a conviction.

For instance, a) a driver may have been drunk but the alcohol test was taken too late so it didn’t show the driver was drunk; b) the driver was on drugs but was only given a breathalyzer; c) the police officer didn’t have probable cause; or one of many other reasons.

The Driver Committed a Violation

In many fatal accidents, the driver may have been speeding, made an illegal U-turn or passed a stop sign or red light but just because it’s illegal that doesn’t mean it’s a crime. These are violations of NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law which is a lesser offense. It’s a traffic infraction, not a crime.

Note: In some states speeding is a misdemeanor, which is a crime, but speeding is not a crime in New York State.

The police will not arrest a driver and the court will not convict a driver only because someone died due to a driver’s negligence. A crime must have been committed.

Whether or not a crime has been committed, the family/estate of the deceased motorcyclist can bring a civil lawsuit for wrongful death seeking money damages and, in some cases, punitive damages against the people and or companies responsible for causing the motorcyclist’s death.

The failure to see what there is to be seen on the road or keep a proper lookout is a violation of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law. it is a traffic infraction, not a crime even if the motorcyclist is killed. This is what happens in almost all motorcycle accidents. The driver doesn’t see the motorcycle. This is how we win most of our motorcycle accident cases. We prove that the driver didn’t see the motorcycle.

If a driver didn’t see the motorcycle when making a left turn, the driver also “failed to yield” which is not a crime but a violation of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law.

We are often successful in proving a violation of the New York State Vehicle & Traffic Law by filing a motion for summary judgment which requests an order of the court ruling that the driver is 100% responsible for causing the motorcycle accident and provides 9% interest on any amount awarded.

What Else Can Be Done?

When the driver of a car is involved in an accident causing the death of another person, the driver will be required to appear at a hearing conducted by an Administrative Law Judge at the NYS Department Of Motor Vehicles. The purpose of the hearing is to determine if the driver’s license should be suspended or revoked.

When a hearing is scheduled, we will appear at the hearing to monitor the hearing and to request permission to ask questions. An example of why this is important is a hearing we attended where the Administrative Law Judge did not ask enough questions. We questioned the driver and got the driver to admit fault. This resulted in the insurance company agreeing to pay their entire $500,000 insurance policy before a lawsuit needed to be filed.

When the Driver Will Be Arrested — Vehicular Crimes

There are some motorcycle accidents where the police do not file charges but could have. In some situations, we can help to bring pressure upon the police and District Attorney’s Office to file charges against the driver responsible for causing the death of a motorcyclist. Please call us 7 days/nights/weekends for a free consultation at 1-800-HURT-911 | 1-800-487-8911.

There are situations which can elevate a motorcycle accident to a criminal offense, either a misdemeanor or felony, for causing the death of a motorcyclist.

The two most common vehicular crimes in New York are vehicular assault and vehicular manslaughter.

Offenses Which Can Result in the Arrest and Prosecution of a Driver Causing a Motorcycle Accident

— Hit and Run

When a driver leaves the scene of an accident (without exchanging identification, insurance and contact information) causing only property damage, it is a misdemeanor. When a driver leaves the scene of an accident causing injury, it is a felony.

Usually, an arrest is not made where a driver leaves the scene of the accident and returns to the accident scene.

We give out HURT911® Benefit Cards at motorcycle events which allow Members or a loved one to advertise a $5,000 cash reward (which will be paid by us) for the arrest and conviction of a driver who left the accident scene in a hit-and-run accident which injured or killed the motorcyclist.

— DUI / DWI / DWAI

If a driver causes the death of a motorcyclist while intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher or impaired by drugs, the driver will likely face serious felony charges including aggravated vehicular assault, criminally negligent homicide, vehicular manslaughter, murder in the second degree and jail or prison time (jail is for sentences of up to one year while prison is for sentences over one year).

The New York Department of Motor Vehicles lists penalties for an alcohol or drug-related violation. We believe the penalties are not severe enough.

We believe it’s time to treat a death caused by an intoxicated or impaired driver the same as Assault in the First Degree which (for a person with no criminal history) has a sentence of a mandatory minimum of 5 years and a maximum of up to 25 years. If you agree, send a letter to your county legislators, New York State Senators, and the governor.

— Reckless Driving

The important and difficult question to ask and answer is what conduct constitutes reckless driving and what “unreasonably” means in the statute quoted below. I will not attempt to answer that question here but as an example, speeding at 10 mph over the speed limit would not constitute reckless driving while driving at 100 mph would constitute reckless driving.

It is unlawful for a driver to drive in a manner that may endanger another person. Reckless driving in New York means driving “in a manner which unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway, or unreasonably endangers users of the public highway.” Every person found to be driving recklessly shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail. (Vehicle and Traffic Law §1212).

A person is guilty of aggravated vehicular homicide when he or she engages in reckless driving and commits the crime of vehicular manslaughter in the second degree as defined by NY Penal Law §1212.

If you were a victim of a crime, you may be able to obtain compensation through a lawsuit but you can also file a claim with the New York State Office of Victim Services.

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Please take a look at some of our settlements and verdicts for motorcycle accidents.

Call the HURT911® Personal Injury Dream Team right now 7 days/nights for a free consultation with no obligation at 1-800-HURT-911 >> 1-800-487-8911

At HURT911® you can speak with Dream Team Partners Rob Plevy, Esq. and Phil Franckel, Esq. whenever you need, days/nights/weekends.

New York motorcycle attorney Rob Plevy, Esq.       Motorcycle Attorney Phil Franckel, Esq.

Get the HURT911® Personal Injury Dream Team™ on your side!
Call Attorneys Rob Plevy & Phil Franckel days/nights/weekends for a free consultation
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Be Aware Potholes Are Everywhere

March will soon be here. The mix of nice weather, potholes and sand is a deadly mix for motorcyclists. If you can, don’t start riding until May. If you can’t wait, watch for potholes and sand on curved areas of the roadway during March, April and May. Even May can be dangerous as you will see in the case below.

Every year, we get calls from motorcyclists hurt after hitting potholes or riding over sand left behind by snowplows. But for most of these accidents motorcyclists will not be able to obtain compensation from a lawsuit.

Municipalities have a prior written notice law which excuses them from liability unless they had prior written notice of the pothole or their workers caused the pothole. But it gets worse!

In Wilson v. Incorporated Village of Hempstead (120 A.D.3d 665), two witnesses who lived on the street where the motorcycle accident occurred phoned the Village because the pothole was so severe. The Village repaired the pothole, yet the patch quickly fell apart and the pothole reappeared. When a motorcyclist hit the pothole on April 30, the pothole “was in the same condition” as it was before the repair.

The Village Department of Public Works, stated that in March they only make temporary “cold patch repairs” of potholes and permanent repairs are done during warm weather.

First, the court ruled that oral notice, including by telephone or voicemail, is not prior written notice, even if it was then written by the village employee!

Second, the court ruled that the Village did not create the pothole when the patch failed because a municipality’s repair must immediately result in a dangerous condition and make the defective condition more dangerous than it was before the repair.

Although the pothole patch failed, the pothole wasn’t immediately dangerous and wasn’t more dangerous than it was before the repair. The plaintiff’s case was dismissed and he recovered nothing for his injuries.

In the case of Smith v. Town of Brookhaven (45 A.D.3d 567), the operator of a motor scooter was hurt when he hit a pothole. His lawyer hired an engineer who reported that failure to maintain a storm drain caused the street to constantly flood, freeze, thaw, and erode, eventually causing the pothole. On appeal, the court ruled that the pothole formed as a result of wear and tear and environmental factors and was not an act of negligence. The Town of Brookhaven was held not liable for the injuries.

It should also be noted that where proper prior written notice of a pothole is given, the written notice must identify the specific location of the pothole whether there is one pothole or many potholes on the street (Sheikh v. City of New York 53 Misc.3d 1214(A)).

Finally, don’t hit a pothole!

How do you protect yourself from cagers?

What’s a cager?

According to Urbandictionary.com, a cager is “a popular word among motorcyclists and bicyclists for four wheeled motor vehicle drivers. The term is often used in a derogative sense, because the car body effectively forms a cage, isolating the said driver from having to interact with other road users.”

Simply, cagers don’t see motorcycles.  Aside from motorcycle awareness campaigns and being on the lookout for cagers, the only other way you can protect yourself is financially with insurance coverage that insures you.

How to protect yourself from drivers who don’t see motorcycles

We registered the website name www.CagerProtection.com where you can find out how to protect yourself.  We give out Cager Protection.com cards and recently gave them out at FullThrottle Magazine’s Bike Night and at a Long Island ABATE meeting.

We are constantly trying to get the word out to motorcyclists about inexpensive underinsured coverage and it’s starting to work.

Four clients injured in motorcycle accidents

We have four new motorcycle accident clients in the last four days. All of them were hit by drivers that never saw the motorcycle.

One of those clients in Queens heard about underinsured coverage from a friend who was a previous client of ours and he purchased $300,000 underinsured coverage. The car which hit him, has $100,000 insurance coverage. Our client can now obtain another $200,000 from his own insurance company.

The second of the four clients in Nassau, had $25,000 uninsured coverage with no underinsured coverage. He has injuries worth at least $500,000 and the car which hit him has only $100,000 coverage.

The third client in Brooklyn has $25,000 uninsured coverage and was hit by an unknown car which fled the scene, so that’s all he can get even though his injury is worth a lot more.

The fourth client in Suffolk has a leg injury worth well over $1 million.  He has no underinsured coverage, but he’s lucky because he got hit by a car owned by a large corporation which will be responsible for the entire value of his injury.

What to do before you have a motorcycle accident

Before you ride again, please take a look at www.CagerProtection.com.

If you have any questions about your insurance coverage, please feel free to call Phil Franckel, Esq. 7 days/nights to discuss it for free at 1-800-487-8911.

If you’re involved in an accident, even if another lawyer doesn’t think you have a case, call us immediately for a free consultation.

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month — what to be aware of

While efforts to raise awareness of motorcycles on the road may help to avoid some accidents, you probably see drivers not paying attention every time you’re on the road. We see the problem every time we get a new client.

May is a good time to review your underinsured insurance coverage. Read my article in last month’s issue of Full Throttle Magazine “How much underinsured coverage do I need”. Have a question about insurance coverage, just call us and will be happy to help you out.

With so many drivers not paying attention, the most important part of awareness is that of the motorcyclist. Motorcyclists need to assume that every driver doesn’t see them.

The single most important time to be aware of drivers is when you see a car about to make a left turn. The vast majority of our motorcycle accident cases involve a car making a left turn. In every one of these cases, the driver just didn’t see the motorcycle.

Motorcycle accidents involving cars making a left turn include:

  • Cars coming from the opposite direction making a left turn in front of you
  • Cars coming out of a parking lot
  • Cars coming out of a side street
  • Cars coming out of a driveway

Although we have motorcycle accident cases where a motorcycle was hit in the rear or sideswiped, these four types of left turn accidents seem to make up the bulk of our law practice.

Consequently, until left turns are banned or technology in cars takes over, the single most important driver to look for is the one about to make a left turn!

We’ve been helping raise awareness of motorcycles on the road with our campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.  Every year, we give out lawn signs, bumper stickers, magnetic bumper stickers and large magnetic car signs. Look for our signs at motorcycle events or just ask Lee at Full Throttle Magazine.

Look for our motorcycle awareness billboards in May at Costco in Melville/Farmingdale and Westbury displaying BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.

When a Police Officer said a hit & run accident was your fault

Robin Stissi was seriously hurt when she hit a guardrail on an exit ramp leading from Nichols road to the Long Island Expressway. There was no identification of another vehicle on the police report and the police officer indicated the accident was Robin’s fault.

We filed an uninsured claim for a hit-and-run accident with Robin’s insurance company which denied the claim saying she was not hit by a car. (You should never say you were “cut off” because contact with another vehicle is required in hit and run accidents)

We demanded an arbitration and they tried to obtain a court order permanently stopping us from proceeding to arbitration. However, we won the right to have a hearing in Suffolk County Supreme Court to determine whether a car hit Robin.

The insurance company had three witnesses testify in court at the hearing, the police officer and two drivers. But we showed that the police officer was not believable and that the two drivers did not see the accident occur.

When I spoke with the police officer prior to his testimony, he was very nice to me but had an obvious problem with our client and was very emotional about it. I still don’t understand exactly why he was so emotional but it appeared to me that he had a problem with motorcyclists and we used that to our advantage when cross-examining him.

The police officer testified at the hearing that Robin told him she lost control of her motorcycle on the sand but the supposed statement was not on the police report. In fact, the police report indicated for Robin “NO STATEMENT DUE TO INJURIES”. We also got the police officer to admit that he did not see any sand.

One witness stated on the police report that she saw Robin hit the guard rail and did not see another car. The other witness stated that on the road before the exit ramp, “I saw her let go of the bike and hands out to the sides in a flying motion”. The witnesses testified at the hearing to the same information they provided on the police report.

But our investigator previously obtained written statements from the witnesses about what they saw including the fact that both witnesses lost sight of Robin on the exit ramp and neither witness saw the accident occur. They only saw events leading up to the accident and after the accident.

While we showed that the police officer’s testimony was not believable and that the witnesses did not see the accident occur, Robin’s testimony was detailed, in agreement with the two drivers, and extremely believable. The judge did not believe the police officer and ruled that he found Robin was struck by a hit and run car. Her insurance company immediately paid the claim.

Robin Stissi provided permission to use her name in this article.

If you’re involved in an accident, call us immediately for a free consultation.

If you have a question or would just like to say hello, please call Phil Franckel at 1-800-HURT-911

Potholes

Every year, we get calls during March, April and sometimes in May from experienced motorcyclists hurt after hitting a pothole or riding over sand left behind by snowplows.

Of course, you can hit a pothole anytime of year. We even got a call from the family of someone who was tragically killed in September when her motorcycle hit a pothole on the Parkway.

At the Long Island ABATE meeting in Suffolk last month, I made an announcement to remind people to watch for potholes and sand on curved areas of the roadway during March and April if they don’t want to put off riding until May.

Tragically, David Decarle died at Peconic Bay Medical Center after his motorcycle hit a pothole in Riverhead on March 17.

This year, the roads will likely be bad even through the month of May. If you can, don’t start riding until at least May.

Motorcyclists who call us usually say they don’t think there’s anything they can do but call to find out if there is any possibility of a lawsuit. It’s good that people call us to find out because in some situations, it may be possible.

Motorcyclists will not not be able to obtain compensation from a lawsuit for most of these accidents because usually no one is at fault. However, there are circumstances in which a company or government can be sued for negligence. One of the best types of negligence is where a government or company work crew created the condition which caused the pothole.

If you had any kind of motorcycle accident, always call us for a free consultation.
1-800-HURT-911
1-800-487-8911

Be Careful When Riding Past a Car Wash

The first time, I thought it was unusual when I got a call from a motorcyclist who was riding past a car wash and crashed when the motorcycle skidded on the slippery roadway.

Then I got a second call for the same type of accident while riding past a car wash. We have represented several motorcyclists who had accidents when riding past a car wash.

Water and soap running into the roadway can make it slippery. However, two of the accidents were caused by employees at the car wash using a chemical to make tires shine. The employees were using the chemical at the end of the driveway right by the street. The chemical was tracked into the street.

I mentioned this problem to Greg Sheridan of Full Throttle Magazine New York and he told me about a similar problem he had on a slippery area when riding past the driveway of someone who was selling cars out of his house.

Allowing the discharge of chemicals and wastewater is a violation of law. When a law written to improve safety is violated, it may be possible to have the court rule that the car wash is negligent without asking a jury to make the determination as to whether a reasonable person would do the same thing. This is called negligence per se.

After a quick look on Google, I found someone who skidded and crashed after leaving a motorcycle wash where he washed the motorcycle himself. He was at least a block away when the accident happened. It’s possible that he didn’t fully rinse the soap off and didn’t fully dry his motorcycle. Take a look at the video

If your motorcycle skids on soap or oil left by someone or a business, we’ll obtain the evidence needed to prove how negligence caused your motorcycle accident.
Call 1-800-487-8911 for a free consultation