What are the Most Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents?

Most other vehicles on the road do not stand a chance against a tractor trailer. These oversized vehicles can cause devastation when involved in an accident. Resulting injuries are often serious, if not fatal. So, how do we share the road safely with large trucks? For starters, you can give them a wide berth on the road. Stay focused and drive defensively. You can also learn about some of the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents and account for this information when you are sharing the road with a tractor trailer.

What are the Most Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents?

There are too many different causes of tractor trailer accidents to recount at one time. The nature of these causes runs a wide range. Here, we will focus on the more common contributing causes to tractor trailer accidents. There can, of course, be more than one cause of a tractor trailer accident and it is not uncommon for multiple causes discussed here to be at play in an oversized truck accident.

First, let’s take a look at some of the external, environmental factors that can often cause a tractor trailer accident. Weather, for instance, can create unsafe roadway and driving conditions. Heavy rain, snow, and sleet can mean slick road surface. Slick road surfaces mean significantly reduced traction which, in turn, makes it more difficult to effectively stop or slow a truck down and increases the chances of a truck driver losing control over the vehicle. Furthermore, such weather conditions can severely impair the driver’s ability to see other cars and hazards.

Poorly maintained roads and confusing construction site arrangements can also lead to tractor trailer accidents. It is dangerous enough for a regular-sized vehicle to hit a pot hole on a poorly maintained road, but this danger exponentially increases with an oversized vehicle like a tractor trailer. A tire blowout caused by a pothole can lead to the truck jackknifing and sweeping out to other lanes of traffic, unable to stop hitting anything in its path.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the dangerous driving behaviors tractor trailer drivers engage in that are often the root causes of accidents. Driver fatigue, for starters, is a common cause of tractor trailer accidents. While truck drivers can put in long hours on the road, there are legal regulations in place that restrict the number of hours a truck driver can put in within a certain period of time. Unfortunately, far too many drivers ignore the restrictions and end up driving while tired. This can slow reaction time and impair judgment.

Truck drivers can also engage in reckless driving behaviors that can all too easily result in an accident. Excessive lane changing, speeding, disregarding traffic signals, and tailgating are all common causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers driving while distracted also greatly increase the chances of an accident occurring. When truck drivers check their phones, text, eat, or engage in any activity that takes their full attention away from the road, accidents happen.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Trucking accidents can have devastating results for all involved. If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor trailer accident, you can count on CDH Law. Contact us today.

Will You Have to Pay Alimony After Divorce?

Alimony, also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance,” may be one of the most controversial issues to be addressed in divorce proceedings. In fact, you may be concerned that you will be on the hook for paying alimony by the time your divorce has wrapped up. In some cases, alimony is even ordered while a divorce is still pending. While it will be up to the court to determine alimony, unless you and your spouse can reach an independent agreement on the issue, it can be difficult to say for sure whether you will have to pay alimony after divorce. Learning more about alimony in New York, how it is awarded, and how it is calculated, however, can give you some guidance on what may be to come.

Will You Have to Pay Alimony After Divorce?

In New York family court, the judge looks primarily at need and ability to pay. What are the needs of the spouse requesting alimony? Does the other spouse have the ability to provide this financial assistance? More specifically, the court will look at a number of relevant factors when rendering a determination on the question of alimony. These factors include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The age and health of each spouse
  • The educational or training needs of one spouse, if any
  • Whether the requesting spouse can eventually become self- supporting
  • Financial impacts of one spouse acting as primary caregiver to the children
  • How the marital property is distributed

In weighing all of these factors, the court may decide that awarding alimony in your case is appropriate. If your spouse has a demonstrated need for financial assistance and you have the ability to provide this financial assistance, then the court is likely to award alimony. The question then becomes, what type of alimony, how much alimony, and how long will you have to pay alimony.

The court may only order temporary alimony. This is support paid only while divorce proceedings are pending. Once the divorce has been finalized, this type of spousal maintenance ends. The court may order further alimony payments, but it will be separate from the temporary alimony order.

The court may also order duration or non-durational alimony depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Durational alimony is more commonly awarded. The court orders spousal maintenance be paid for a fixed period of time. This is most often ordered when the court finds that the spouse has the means and ability to eventually become self-supporting. The duration of the alimony will largely depend on the length of the marriage, although the other factors listed above will be relevant as well. For marriages that are 0-15 years in length, support guidelines dictate that alimony should last between 15% and 30% of the length of the marriage. For marriages 15-20 years in length, support guidelines dictate that alimony should last between 40% and 40% of the marriage. For marriages lasting over 20 years in length, support guidelines dictate that alimony should last between 35% and 50% of the length of the marriage.

In some cases, non-durational support may be awarded. Non-durational support will often be permanent. It may end, however, if the recipient spouse remarries or lives with a partner who they present as their spouse. Non-durational support will also end if either spouse dies.

Family Law Attorneys

Alimony can have a big impact on your financial future. Make sure your best interests are protected as the court makes this critical determination. The team at CDH Law will provide you with zealous legal advocacy. Contact us today.

Remember Your Cryptocurrency When Estate Planning

Consider your digital assets. At this point, almost everyone has some. It may be pictures stored electronically, your social media accounts, or it may even contain something like cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency, in particular, is a more recent phenomenon, but its presence persists and it continues to gain in more widespread appeal. A larger swath of the population seems to be investing in cryptocurrency. Due to the significant investment, some people are making in these digital assets, and because of crypto’s unique properties, we hope these same people are remembering to include provisions for cryptocurrency when estate planning. 

Remember Your Cryptocurrency When Estate Planning

When you think cryptocurrency, Bitcoin may come to mind. After all, Bitcoin is one of the most prominent and popular cryptocurrencies out there, but there are many others on the market as well. Regardless of what type of cryptocurrency you hold, you will want to account for this digital asset in your estate plan. This is especially important when you think of the fact that cryptocurrencies are vastly different from other financial investment accounts. There is no central regulatory authority for crypto. The ownership or title for cryptocurrency is not registered and ownership is not regulated. Cryptocurrency information is distributed over many different location as part of the blockchain technology. This means that, if you do not detail what holdings you have, where to find them, and how to access them, your heirs may very well be completely unaware of its existence or how to get ahold of the crypto you left behind.

To help ensure that your cryptocurrency is not lost to the digital void and that it is properly transferred to your heirs upon your passing, there are steps you will need to take while estate planning that you will not necessarily have to do for other asset types. For starters, you will want to write down a list of your cryptocurrency holdings. This list should also include where they are held and how to access them. Consider, for security purposes, handwriting this list and avoiding the creation of a digital file which could be hacked. Place the list in a secure, but accessible place and inform the person who will act as a personal representative of your estate about the document’s location. Specify who should inherit your crypto. You should also assign digital powers to your personal representative so they can access and manage your crypto.

Empowering another to access your cryptocurrency can be tricky. Crypto is held in digital wallets accessible only by private key or password. This entry code is crucial and, without it, your personal representative or heirs will likely never be able to access your holdings once you pass away. Additionally, there is the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. This federal law makes it illegal to long into the account of a deceased individual. You and your personal representative need to be aware of the different policies various cryptocurrency exchanges have regarding access the holdings of a deceased crypto holder. Some require a will and a death certificate as well as other documentation before crypto can be accessed and transferred.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Have you included digital assets in your estate plan? Talk to the team at CDH Law about how to do just that. Contact us today.

Who is at Fault in a Lane Change Accident?

Lane change accidents can occur in a number of ways. A car may turn into a lane with a car already there. A driver may merge into a lane with a vehicle already in it. Alternately, a driver may change lanes into a lane at the same time another vehicle is already located in that precise lane spot. Regardless of what scenario you may find yourself in, a lane change accident can result in significant property damage and serious injury to all involved. As in any accident, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault in a lane change accident. Determining fault in an accident is critical as it is the legal responsibility of the at-fault party to compensate the others who were harmed by their actions. In most cases, it is usually the insurance carrier for the at-fault party who provides this compensation.

Who is at Fault in a Lane Change Accident?

It is important for drivers to be alert and aware of their surroundings. It is important that drivers comply with traffic laws and signal properly when turning, merging, or changing lanes. When drivers are distracted or engaging in negligent driving behaviors, accidents happen and people get hurt. Most lane change accidents are caused by driver inattention. These are drivers that fail to adequately check their blind spots and may even fail to notice the lights and alerts of blind spot monitor technology that often come standard in vehicles this day.

There are also a number of causes, both primary and contributing, of lane change accidents. Some such causes often include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to check mirrors
  • Failure to check blind spots
  • Failure to signal before changing lanes
  •  Driving while intoxicating
  • Broken headlights
  • Broken break lights
  • Speeding
  • Crossing multiple lanes of traffic at once
  • Drivers changing lanes at the same time

In order to determine who is at-fault for the lane change accident, a thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances of the accident will likely need to be conducted. The property damage to the vehicles can be very telling as to what happened in the accident as can the road debris and skid marks. These pieces of physical evidence can often be enough for an accident reconstruction expert to recreate what went on to cause the accident.

Witnesses can also play a critical role in determining who was at-fault for an accident. Witness accounts of the accident can either corroborate or contradict what either driver said happened in the accident. In other words, witnesses can be the tie breakers in a he said, she said situation. If you are ever in an accident, lane change or otherwise, be sure to try and get witness names and contact information as they can often provide compelling evidence. Pictures of the accident scene can also be instructive and helpful in supporting your version of events.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured in an accident like a lane change accident, reach out to the trusted personal injury team at CDH Law. We will help you in your fight to pursue monetary compensation for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today.

Selecting a Guardian for Young Children

Do you have young children? If so, putting an estate plan in place should be a priority for you. Yes, estate planning is about property distribution after you pass away, but it is also about so much more. For instance, one important thing that you can accomplish through estate planning is naming a guardian for your young children. This will be the person responsible for raising your children should you pass away. While the idea can be difficult to confront, you can also find a great deal of peace knowing you have selected the best person for one of the most important jobs ever. Here are some things to consider when selecting a guardian for young children.

Selecting a Guardian for Young Children

When you think of who you want to select as a guardian for young children, you are going to want to consider things like the ability to parent and parenting style. The ability to parent would also include the willingness to parent. Your guardian selection should be someone who would be amenable to raising your young children. This should be of paramount importance in the selection process. Talk to your prospective guardian selections and see if they would be willing to take on this huge responsibility should the need arise. It is also a good idea to make a secondary guardian selection who would be willing to serve as guardian should your primary guardian be unwilling or unable to take on the role should the need arise.

You also want to consider selecting a guardian who would be willing and able to be a guardian for your child into an indefinite future. A guardian for a young child will have to raise them for years to come. This means your guardian selection should be someone who is in it for the long haul. Consider the age and health status of prospective guardians. Beyond this, look at what stage of life your prospective guardians are in. Are they going to be focused on their careers for a while? Are they in the midst of building a family of their own? These are important considerations.

The ability to parent also includes the ability to provide a solid living environment for the children as well as the ability to support them financially. Raising young kids all the way through adulthood is expensive. You will want someone who will be able to take on this financial responsibility. You will also want someone who can provide your children with a good living environment. Steady housing in an area with good schools and that would be near your family may be something that is very important to you and should be strongly considered when selecting a guardian.

You may also want to consider the religious and moral beliefs of a potential guardian. If raising your children with certain morals and religious teachings is important to you, it may be a good idea to select a guardian who follows the same beliefs and will honor these wishes you have for raising your children.

Estate Planning Attorneys

Need a comprehensive estate plan? CDH Law is here to help. Contact us today.

Rear-End Collision Injuries

When a car is struck from behind by another vehicle, this is referred to as a “rear-end collision.” It often occurs at places such as intersections where one car comes to a stop or slows down to stop and the driver of the vehicle behind it is not paying attention or is going too fast to properly slow down. As a result, impact occurs. Rear-end collisions are incredibly common and can run a wide range of severity depending on factors such as speed. Unfortunately, vehicle occupants can sustain serious injuries even in what may seem to be a minor “fender bender.” Let’s take a look at some of the injuries that are commonly sustained in rear-end collisions.

Rear-End Collision Injuries 

Injuries to the cervical and lumbar spine are incredibly common in rear-end collisions. This, of course, refers to the neck and the back areas of the spinal column. The force of impact can lead to soft tissue injuries and put particular pressure on the vertebral discs. The discs act as cushions between the vertebrae so that the bones of the spine do not rub together, which can cause extremely painful friction as the bones rub together without the padding of the disc. In particular, herniated discs can arise as a result of the force of impact from a rear-end collision. Not only can this be incredibly painful, but the injury victim may also have numbness and weakness as a result. In severe cases, damage to the cervical or lumbar spine may result in paralysis.

One of the most common soft-tissue injuries that result from a rear-end collision is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are forced forward suddenly and then snap back, like a whip. Whiplash can be painful and lead to extreme soreness in the neck, shoulders, and upper back areas. A person suffering from whiplash may also experience tingling, numbness, or weakness in these areas. Dizziness and headaches are also common side effects of whiplash. 

As the force of impact from a rear-end collision can send a person’s head jolting forward, facial injuries are also common in these types of crashes. Vehicle occupants may sustain facial bruising or lacerations from their heads impacting with the steering column, dashboard, or other vehicle surfaces. In even more serious cases, vehicle occupants may be at risk of sustaining traumatic brain injuries. When the head is jolted forward, the inertia can cause the brain to hit the inside of the skull causing damage to it. Traumatic brain injuries can have devastating impacts on a person and require immediate medical attention. The symptoms of the injury may not fully present themselves right away, but immediate medical care and evaluation can help properly address it.

Bone fractures are another common rear-end collision injury. While seat belts save lives, the restriction of the seat belt upon impact can lead to rib fractures. Airbag deployment can also lead to fractures. Additionally, fractures and soft tissue injuries can be sustained in the hands, wrists, and arms as a person braces for impact.

Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured in a rear-end collision caused by someone else’s negligent driving, you have the legal right to pursue compensation against them for the harm you have suffered. The team at CDH Law is here to fight for you. Contact us today.

Be Cautious of These Summer Driving Hazards

Are you excited for the summer season? School is out. The temperatures are heating up. The memory of winter freezes is but a distant memory. It is no wonder why summer brings people out on the road. Everyone is gearing up for family road trips, backyard barbecues, and catching up with family and friends near and far. Before you hit the open road this summer, be mindful of the unique driving hazards that can come with this time of year. Proceed with caution and stay safe out there!

Be Cautious of These Summer Driving Hazards

The hallmarks of summer weather also compose some of the season’s primary driving hazards. Warmer temperatures, for instance, mean an increased risk for tire blowouts and overheated engines. The hotter weather causes the air in tires to expand which, in turn, means a risk for tire blowouts. To help avoid this, frequently check your tire pressure, and always carry a spare tire in your car. Avoid potholes and replace tires that have excessive wear. To help prevent your engine from overheating, which can lead to a breakdown or even cause a fire, check your engine coolant level as well as the condition of your hoses and belts. Should your engine begin overheating, pull over right away and call for assistance. Before restarting your car, wait for the engine to completely cool off, which takes about 30 minutes.

Warmer weather isn’t the only thing the summer season brings. It also brings rainy days and flooding. The rain can present hazards to drivers on a number of levels. First, the rain can impair visibility conditions. Second, rain creates slick roads that can lead to loss of traction, vehicle control, and ability to break in a timely manner. Additionally, many drivers get skittish in inclement weather like rain and this can lead to erratic and nervous driving behavior. While it is often best to avoid driving in inclement weather, sometimes it cannot be avoided. If you are on the road in summer rains, give more room between yourself and other vehicles and reduce your speed.

Summer also means an increased number of bicyclists, motorcycles, and pedestrians. All of which lack the basic structure and protection afforded by vehicles and all of which can be difficult to see and get lost in blind spots. If you are a driver, always double-check your blind spots. Give motorcycles a safe distance on the road. Be patient and vigilant. You could just save a life by doing so.

Teen drivers are another summer driving hazard. After all, school is out. These inexperienced drivers have the combined freedom of summer and being able to drive and they are likely to be taking advantage of it at every opportunity. This is where defensive driving becomes particularly important. While you may not be able to make teen drivers drive safer, you can be a defensive driver and try to anticipate any unsafe moves other drivers may make. Give plenty of distance, avoid aggressive maneuvers, and be mindful of the speed limit.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Stay safe out there on the road this summer. If you are injured in an auto accident caused by someone else’s unsafe driving, the team at CDH Law is here to help you. Contact us today.

Take These Steps to File an Insurance Claim After an Accident

Nobody wants to have to deal with an insurance company. This may be truer than ever after you have been in a car accident. The logistics and red tape abound. The hurdles you have to jump to get access to the benefits you need can be stressful and frustrating. Taking things one step at a time, however, can help make things a bit more manageable. It all starts with filing a claim.

Take These Steps to File an Insurance Claim After an Accident

After an accident, there are two types of insurance claims that you may be able to file. There is a first-party insurance claim that you file with your own insurance company. Then, there is a third-party insurance claim that you file with the insurance carrier for another person involved in the accident, such as the at-fault driver who caused the accident.

To file a claim, you will notify the insurance company of the accident and submit the police report as soon as it is available. Doing so sooner rather than later is usually best practice. This is especially true considering there is likely to be a provision in your own insurance policy requiring you to notify your insurance company of an accident within a certain amount of time. Failure to file a claim in a timely manner can also jeopardize your ability to collect on the claim.

Upon being notified of the accident, an investigation of your claim will be launched by the insurance company. They will try to gather as much information about the accident as possible. This can include getting statements from witnesses as well as getting a statement from you. Regardless of whether a request for a statement comes from your insurance company or that of another person’s insurance company, proceed with caution. You may be contractually obligated to provide a statement to your own insurance company, but that is not true in relation to someone else’s insurance provider. Insurance companies are businesses, after all, and they are out to protect their bottom line. They will look for any weakness in your statement and any possible loopholes to try and get out of paying on your claim. Keep all answers to their questions concise and to the point. Do not speculate and, if it is someone else’s insurance company, consider not giving a statement at all.

Based on the investigation, your claim may be denied. Alternatively, the value of your claim may be calculated and a settlement amount proposed. You may accept or reject this settlement offer. There is likely an appeals process outlined in your policy. If you are unable to reach an agreeable settlement, you may have to file suit.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Don’t go up against the insurance companies on your own. The tenacious team at CDH Law is here to fight for you. Contact us today.

What Do I Do If the Insurance Company Wants a Recorded Statement?

After your insurance company or an insurance company for another party involved in an accident is notified of said accident, the phone calls are likely to begin. Insurance companies begin contacting claimants and potential claimants right away. They are on a mission to gather as much information about the accident and resulting injuries as possible. Be warned, however, that their motivations are far from altruistic. Insurance companies will begin immediately exploring any potential way to get out of paying on a claim totally or at least in part. One of the ways they try to gather information to support a loophole is through requesting and conducting a recorded statement. If you are asked by an insurance company to give a recorded statement, proceed with caution.

What Do I Do If the Insurance Company Wants a Recorded Statement?

After a crash, it is not uncommon for your insurance carrier and the insurance carrier for the at-fault party to request a recorded statement with you. The best course of action when you receive such a request is likely to be ignore it or outright deny it. The insurance carrier for the at-fault party will often request recorded statements from everyone involved in the accident, injury victims included. As previously stated, the main motivation of this insurance carrier is often, if not always, to use recorded statements as a means of finding some way to get out of paying on accident claims. They will even look for ways to blame you, the accident victim.

While you are under no obligation to provide the at-fault carrier with a recorded statement, you may have a contractual obligation to comply with a recorded statement request from your own insurance carrier. In that case, you would have a duty to cooperate with your insurance company. Refusing to comply with the request for a recorded statement, should it violate the terms of your contract with your insurance carrier, is likely to result in your carrier denying the payment of benefits.

During a recorded statement, a representative from the insurance carrier, likely to be an insurance adjuster, will call you and begin with questions relating to basic identifying information such as your name and birthdate as well as your address. The line of questioning is then likely to turn to details surrounding how the accident happened and any injuries you may have sustained in the accident. Be sure to only answer the question you were asked. Keep your answers as simple and direct as possible.

Saying as little as possible is usually best practice for recorded statements. Avoid speculating. If you do not understand a question, ask for clarification instead of trying to guess what was meant by it. If you do not know the answer to a question, simply say that you do not know the answer.

Syracuse Personal Injury Attorneys

Interactions with insurance companies can be stressful. This can be especially true if your right to full and fair compensation for accident injuries is at stake. The team at CDH Law is not intimidated by insurance companies. We stand up to them to fight for our clients. Contact us today.

What are Compensatory Damages?

Being injured in an accident can take its toll physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Medical bills can reach staggering heights. You may be missing out on work due to your injuries and necessary recovery period. All of this can compound to spell significant stress for your finances. Through a personal injury claim, fortunately, you may be able to recover full and fair compensation for the financial toll, as well as other harm, sustained as a result of the accident caused by the negligence of someone else. The bulk of a personal injury award is, most times, compensatory damages. We’ll take a closer look at compensatory damages, what they are, and what they include here.

What Are Compensatory Damages?

For the losses sustained and the harm suffered in an accident, compensatory damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff. In fact, compensatory damages are often awarded in civil cases where the negligence or recklessness of someone else has resulted in another sustaining a loss. Compensatory damages will likely be awarded when the plaintiff, the injured party, can prove negligence on the part of the defendant. To prove negligence, the plaintiff must be able to demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty of care, that duty was breached, and the breach of that duty was the direct and proximate cause of the plaintiff sustaining damages.

The plaintiff must be able to quantify or put a number, on the amount of damages or loss sustained as a result of the defendant’s negligence. The appropriately named compensatory damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for that which was lost and suffered as a result of the accident. The bulk of a compensatory damage award is likely to include medical bills, among other costs incurred as a result of being injured in the accident. Things included in a compensatory damage award may include:

  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Physical therapy expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Increases in living expenses

Transportation to and from such things as doctors’ appointments are also compensable in a personal injury claim. Costs associated with home care for injury victims as well as modifying a home to meet the needs of a person physically disabled by their accident injuries are also compensable.

The above-mentioned damages are considered to be economic damages includable in a compensatory damages award. They are referred to as economic damages because they represent easily quantifiable economic losses sustained by the plaintiff. There are also non-economic compensatory damages available in most personal injury claims. Non-economic damages pose just as real an impact on the injury victim but can prove exceedingly difficult to quantify. Non-economic damages can include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of opportunity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Inconvenience
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

It is important to remember that compensatory damages will likely make up the bulk, if not all, of the available damages in a personal injury case. In some cases, punitive damages may be available, but this is pretty rare. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate the plaintiff for harm suffered. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are intended to punish the defendant for particularly egregious behavior that resulted in harm suffered by the plaintiff. Punitive damages are meant to deter such conduct from occurring again.

Syracuse Personal Injury Attorneys

The team at CDH Law is here to help you get the compensation you deserve for harm suffered in an accident. Contact us today.