Criminal Case and Personal Injury Case: What to Consider

Sometimes, if there is a drinking and driving accident or a hit and run, there will be a criminal case coinciding with a personal injury case. For instance, if a drunk driver gets into an accident that injures someone else, the intoxicated driver will likely go on to face criminal charges as well as a civil suit where the injury victim will pursue compensation for the harm they have suffered. This blog will discuss what injured clients should consider when navigating the civil lawsuit system at the same time as a criminal case. Should you wait until after the criminal case wraps up to go forward with your personal injury suit? We will answer this question and more.

What Happens When a Criminal Case and Personal Injury Case Are at the Same Time?

Criminal cases and civil cases have different purposes. The purpose of a criminal case is to punish the criminal offender for their unlawful behavior. The purpose of a civil case is to compensate the party injured by negligent or wrongful behavior. Another big difference between criminal cases and civil cases is the burden of proof. The burden of proof in a criminal case is much higher than it is in a civil case. In fact, it is the highest legal burden there is and that is the “beyond a reasonable doubt” burden.

So, where would a criminal case and a personal injury case overlap? Well, when criminal behavior ends up injuring someone else, two separate cases can develop. In the instance of a drunk driving accident, the drunk driver can be charged with a DUI. If the drunk driver caused an accident resulting in injury to another, the charges can be raised to a more serious level. On the other side of things, the injury victim can bring a civil suit pursuing compensation for the losses they sustained in the accident. A civil suit, however, will only be necessary if the insurance provider for the drunk driver fails to make an acceptable settlement offer on the victim’s claim.

Will the criminal case impact the civil case or vice versa? Not likely and, if at all, not really. The two suits will likely overlap significantly, however, in terms of the evidence presented. Much of the evidence the district attorney brings in the criminal case is likely going to come into play during the civil case. Evidence will include things like proof of the drunk driver’s level of intoxication. This would involve blood alcohol content test results, eyewitness accounts of the accident and the drunk driver’s reckless behavior, accident reports, and more. If the criminal case results in a criminal conviction, this may be used as evidence to support the drunk driver’s reckless behavior and support the liability assertion in the civil case. It may even help support an award for punitive damages, which are only awarded in exceptional cases of driver recklessness or gross negligence.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, however, you should not wait for the criminal case to proceed or wrap up. Time is of the essence in personal injury cases and the sooner you can retain legal counsel and begin the process of bringing your claim, the better.

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

After being injured by a drunk driver, do not delay. The team at CDH Law is here to begin immediate work on investigating and building your personal injury claim to help ensure your legal rights are protected. Contact us today.

An Intro to Air Bag Injuries

There has been a recent recall over potentially explosive airbag parts. Over 33 million people in the U.S. could be driving vehicles with airbag inflators that, in rare cases, explode in a collision and send dangerous shrapnel flying. As such, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has demanded that the manufacturers of these vehicles recall the approximately 67 million airbag inflators that have this explosion risk. Amidst these recall demands, a broader conversation over airbag safety has given way. It is important to know that airbags, in most cases, will save lives rather than endanger them. That being said, there is a risk of air bag injuries and that is what we will discuss today.

Understanding Air Bag Injuries

Airbags are usually located in the steering column of a vehicle. They can also be commonly found in the dashboard in front of the passenger’s seat as well as the sides of the driver and passenger seats. Made of light fabric, airbags are connected to a crash sensor that, upon detecting a collision, will trigger an igniter that fills the airbag with gas. The deployment and expansion of the airbag take only a fraction of a section and happen with a significant amount of force. The bag expanded with the gas is meant to cushion the impact of a crash if you are thrown forward or to the side of the vehicle and avoid being thrown into the hard surfaces that surround you in the vehicle.

Airbags do save lives and can prevent far more serious injuries from being incurred by a vehicle occupant, but the force and nature of an airbag deploying can cause injury in and of itself. The gas used to inflate the airbag has been known to cause or exacerbate respiratory problems. Other common airbag injuries include:

  • Facial bruising and fractures
  • Chest injuries
  • Heart injuries
  • Burns on the chest, arms, and face
  • Skull fractures
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Eye injuries from chemical irritation
  • Eye injuries from airbag impact
  • Internal organ damage

While these injuries are absolutely serious, they are often still better than what could have been without airbag deployment. There are, however, instances when airbag sensors malfunction and the airbags deploy when they shouldn’t. There are also instances when an airbag defect renders the airbag unnecessarily dangerous or ineffective. In these instances, you may be able to recover compensation for the harm you suffered from the hazardous airbag from parties such as the airbag or automobile manufacturer or anyone who was responsible for inspecting, maintaining, or replacing the airbag after you purchased the vehicle. You would be bringing a product liability claim and, in order to be successful in your claim, you would need to prove that the airbag was defective and that this defect was the direct cause of the harm you suffered.

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Injured in a crash? Injured by an airbag? At CDH Law, we got you covered. We will help you pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries from the responsible parties. Contact us today.

Long-Term Impacts of Severe Burn Injuries

Severe burns can play a big role in a number of different types of personal injury claims. For starters, those involved in vehicle accidents, whether it be a car, truck, or something else, can sustain severe burns for a number of reasons. Others may sustain a severe burn due to a dangerous property condition that led to a house fire or a defective product such as a space heater. Regardless of the specific cause, a severe burn can have devastating and lasting implications for a person’s health and well-being. The full extent of the impacts that can come with such an injury should be accounted for in any personal injury damage award pursued to help ensure the victim is properly compensated.

Symptoms and Effects of Severe Burn Injuries

The immediate symptoms of a severe burn can be really painful and uncomfortable in and of themselves. Such symptoms include:

  • Blistering
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Pale and clammy skin
  • Weakness
  • Peeling skin
  • Decreased alertness

While many who suffer even severe burns make a successful recovery with minimal long-term impacts beyond scarring, many of these kinds of injuries have effects spanning a person’s entire lifetime. In fact, the health risks associated with a severe burn have led some medical experts to advocate for this type of injury to be classified as a chronic disease. The fact that severe burns have been linked to increased risks for so many other serious health conditions means that classifying it as a chronic disease would help healthcare providers monitor a patient’s condition to more effectively and efficiently identify when these other health concerns arose.

Severe burns have been shown to increase the risk of:

  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Circulatory system disease
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Anxiety and depression
  • PTSD
  • Hypermetabolism
  • Nervous system conditions
  • Infectious disease
  • Chronic and persistent pain

In addition to having an increased risk for all of these serious health conditions, burn victims also face the potential to have persistent and long-term health problems associated with the burn injury itself. For instance, those who have suffered severe burns often have continuous problems with the burn site after it has healed. Hypertrophic scarring, for instance, is a really common complication to experience with a burn injury. This refers to the raised skin that forms around the original burn during the healing process. This scarring can have a serious impact on the burn victim’s ability to function, however. It can also have seriously detrimental impacts on their body image, leading to depression.

Contractures are also complications that arise as a result of a burn that has healed, but the scar continues to develop. As the scar continues to mature, it thickens and tightens which leads to a constriction of movement. This is particularly a problem when the scarring is happening over a joint. When these types of scars develop on the joints of the lower extremities, it can be difficult for the person to take a seat and walk around. When these types of scars develop on the upper extremities, activities of daily living can become very difficult if not impossible. Those tasks requiring fine motor skills can be particularly difficult depending on where the scarring has occurred. 

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have suffered a severe burn injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, make sure the full extent of your injury’s impacts is taken into account. At CDH Law, we fight to help ensure our clients are fully compensated for the harm they have suffered. Contact us today.

Does Summertime Increase the Risk of Personal Injury?

New Yorkers wait through a seemingly endless amount of snow days, cold days, and overcast days until we get to summer. It really is a magical time for the state and you will see people out in droves to enjoy the season. While you are out enjoying the fine weather and the school break with your family, be sure to take care and be aware of some of the risks that summer brings along with the nicer weather. This can be a critical step towards keeping everyone that much safer.

Summertime and Personal Injuries: What Is the Correlation? 

It seems that, yes, summertime does have a heightened risk of personal injury. This is the season that has traditionally proved to show increases in the number of accidents and personal injury claims. So, as you make those summer plans and enjoy all that the season has to offer, be aware of those factors that seem to contribute to that increased risk of personal injury in the summer and take precautionary steps accordingly.

One type of personal injury incident that seems to increase in the summer is the occurrence of motor vehicle crashes. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the time frame between Memorial Day and Labor Day is a primary time for motor vehicle crashes across the country. This is likely due to a number of factors. Consider, for instance, the fact that summer brings an increased number of drivers onto the road. The weather is nice and people are on vacation, driving roads they may be unfamiliar with. They are taking trips and getting out to enjoy the weather. There also tends to be more road construction in the summer as well as more teen drivers and more drinking and driving.

Bicycle accidents also tend to be common in the summer month. Bicycling can be a great way to enjoy the beautiful summer months and, thus, tends to be a more popular pastime and form of transportation in this season. More bikes out there, more cars out there, and more pedestrians out there, combined with other factors like increased road construction, however, all contribute to the chances of a bike accident occurring. If you plan to be out on your bike this summer, be sure you are fitted with the proper safety gear, such as a helmet, and familiarize yourself with your biking route as well as the relevant laws applicable to bike riding.

Slip and falls are also a problem in the summer months. While winter may bring ice and snow, summer brings rainy days, cracks in concrete, and hazards littering lawns everywhere, including ladders, landscaping equipment, and toys. Kids are outside running around. Adults are running around trying to wrangle them. Take care when you are out and about. 

Summertime also is a common time for other personal injury accidents including:

  • Dog bites
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Electric scooter accidents
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Pool accidents

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Enjoy this summer season as safely as possible. Should you be injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can count on the team at CDH Law to protect and enforce your legal rights. Contact us today.

The Dangers of Tired Drivers

In a society that never seems to stop, it is no wonder that tired drivers plague our roads every day. We seem to be busier than ever and encouraged to push ourselves beyond our limits. The result? People seem to be more fatigued than ever. Fatigue can have devastating impacts on our health, quality of life, and our safety. Consider, for instance, the dangers of tired drivers pose to the rest of us on the road. Let’s take a closer look at that here.

Drowsy Driving Puts Others at Risk

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made a commitment to examining the dangers associated with drowsy driving and working to prevent such dangers from putting drivers at risk. NHTSA estimates that, in 2017 alone, there were 91,000 police-reported crashes that involved drowsy drivers. This, however, could be a severe underestimation. Those in the traffic safety, sleep science, and public health communities are in broad agreement that the actual number of those injured each year by drowsy drivers is likely much higher than estimates proclaim. This is due, in great part, to the fact that it is difficult for crash investigators to pin down drowsy driving as the cause of a car crash. They can look for drowsiness clues, but these are often elusive or inconclusive.

There are a number of dangers associated with drowsy driving. After all, drowsy drivers often have slower reaction times, struggle with reflexes, and have an inability to effectively identify dangers on the road in enough time to adequately respond to or avoid them. In this way, drowsy driving mimics driving while intoxicated. The impact drowsiness will have on a driver can also vary greatly depending on the amount of sleep that is lacking. Any level of drowsiness, however, can be dangerous and exponentially increase the likelihood of the drowsy driver causing a crash on the roadway.

Drowsiness has a clear impact on a person’s judgment. It also impacts their physical state of being. On top of all of this, lack of sleep can impact a person emotionally as well. It has been found that drowsy drivers can be more susceptible to sudden bursts of road rage than other, better-rested, calmer drivers.

To help avoid being a dangerous drowsy driver, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Avoid drinking any amount of alcohol before driving as this can exacerbate any fatigue you may already be feeling. You should also be sure to check any prescription medication or over-the-counter medication you may be taking as there may be drowsiness side effect warnings on these labels. It can also be best practice to avoid driving between what has been established as “peak sleepiness” periods. You are more likely to encounter fatigued drivers on the road between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. and in the late afternoon.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured in a crash caused by a drowsy driver? Reach out to the team at CDH Law for assistance enforcing your right to full and fair compensation. Contact us today.

The Most Common Construction Accident Injuries

The fact is that, even on the best days, a construction site is a dangerous place to be. Workers are doing intense physical labor that is often highly skilled as well. There are powerful machines. Often, work is done at great heights or on the side of the road. Because of this, there are inherent risks to working construction jobs. Construction workers injured on the job can often be living with serious injuries, constant pain, and financial problems exacerbated by steep medical bills and missed work.

Fortunately, the law provides a variety of legal protections to help injured workers seek proper compensation for the harm they have suffered. Understanding your rights and how to access them is critical. Our team at CDH Law can help you do just that and help secure you full and fair compensation for your construction site injuries.

What Are the Most Common Injuries Sustained in a Construction Accident?

Because of the range and variety of dangers present on construction sites, there is also a range and variety of injuries that commonly take place in construction work. Often, however, the injuries are severe. Some of the most common injuries sustained on construction sites include:

It may also come as no surprise that these injuries are often caused by the most common types of construction site accidents. Among the most common types of accidents that occur on construction sites, falling from significant heights is among the most prominent. Workers on construction sites often find themselves at elevated heights. This may be working in a building or on scaffolding. Sometimes, the use of machinery elevates workers to significantly above ground level. Falling from any one of these things can easily be fatal or at the very least lead to significant injuries.

Workers can also fall into pits, holes, and ditches located throughout many construction sites. There are also trenches dug for various reasons and it is not uncommon for these trenches to collapse. Workers in collapsed trenches risk having their air supply cut off. Furthermore, there is the risk of sustaining injury by being crushed in the trench collapse.

As previously stated, the big machines on a construction site can be a big risk to workers. Between the power tools and machinery, as well as working with generators and electrical wiring, it is understandable that electric shock is also among one of the most common construction site accidents. Workers can suffer serious electrical burns as a result. This can lead to both external and internal damage to the body as the electric current may run through the body.

Central New York Construction Accident Attorneys

If you have been injured on a construction site, understanding your rights to compensation can be critical to helping you get back on your feet. You may be able to pursue compensation through a third-party lawsuit. The team at CDH Law is here to help. Contact us today.

New York Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles

New York, the time has finally arrived when we get nice weather. The winter winds are on their way out and it is time to get out and enjoy all that this great state has to offer. For many, this will mean switching their preferred mode of transportation to motorcycling. Before you get out there on the road with your bike, make sure you have the motorcycle insurance that is required by law in New York.

What Are the Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles in New York?

In order to register your motorcycle in New York, you will need proof of insurance. The state’s law mandates that motorcycles carry minimum insurance in the following limits:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person
  • $50,000 in total bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident

If you have purchased auto insurance in New York, you may be wondering where the requirement for personal injury protection coverage is on this list. After all, New York is a no-fault state and automobiles are required to carry no-fault insurance that they can file against after an accident, regardless of who was at fault in causing the accident. Motorcycles, however, are not required by New York law to carry no-fault insurance coverage. It is one of the exceptions to the law.

Because there are so many months in New York where riding a motorcycle would not be very pleasant, i.e., the entirety of winter, it is important to know that you can pause or cancel your requisite motorcycle insurance coverage. You can pause or cancel coverage without needing to give up your registered license plate. Before you hit the road again, however, be sure that you have an active and adequate insurance policy to avoid legal liability.

Above and beyond the requisite minimum insurance coverage, motorcyclists may want to consider expanding their coverage to help ensure that they have access to coverage for their own injuries and other damages in the event of an accident. For instance, collision coverage is not required, but can pay out damages should your bike suffer damages in a collision, regardless of who is at fault for the crash. You may also want to consider adding motorcycle comprehensive coverage. This coverage will help protect you should your bike suffer damage due to things beyond your control. This may include severe weather or vandalism, among other things.

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

Motorcycles are fun and a great way to enjoy the finer seasons here in New York. Like all modes of transportation, however, they are not without their risks. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may have sustained serious and lasting injuries. You can count on the team at CDH Law to pursue full and fair compensation on your behalf. We fight for you so that you can focus on your health and recovery. Contact us today.

Are You Considering a Structured Settlement? Here’s What to Know

When you reach the settlement phase of your personal injury case, you will be faced with a choice. Do you want to take your settlement as a lump sum, which would be a check for the full settlement amount? Or, do you want to invest all or part of your settlement in a structured annuity and receive payment over time at a guaranteed interest rate? The second option is referred to as a structured settlement and it is an attractive option for a number of reasons. Let’s take a closer look at structured settlements here.

What to Know About a Structured Settlement

With a structured settlement, you are, essentially, entering into a contract with an insurance company for the purchase of an annuity. You give the insurance company a lump sum portion of your settlement or your settlement in full upfront and then the insurance company provides you with regular monetary distributions from the annuity at a set interest rate.

Why would you take a structured settlement as opposed to a lump sum settlement? Well, there are several reasons. You would receive interest on the structured settlement investment. Some may say, “But couldn’t I just invest my settlement proceeds in something like the stock market and get interest that way?” Yes, you could, but this goes to one of the other benefits of a structured settlement.

You see, back in 1982, Congress passed The Periodic Payment Settlement Act of 1982. This Act was a formal recognition of the benefits of structured settlements and encouraged the use of structured settlements. After the Act passed, the Internal Revenue Code was modified to exempt personal injury settlements from taxation if the settlement proceeds were invested in a qualified structured settlement annuity. This means that the interest distributed from your annuity would not be taxed, but interest earned due to any increases in stock purchased with your lump sum settlement proceeds would be taxed. The interest on the annuity is also guaranteed whereas there is no guarantee that your stock will go up in value.

Additionally, structured settlements provide protection from other people accessing your settlement proceeds. It is a barrier to others gaining access to your money. Furthermore, putting your settlement in an annuity eliminates the need for you to manage your settlement proceeds as it is taken care of for you.

Before you take the structured settlement option for your personal injury settlement, be sure to review everything with your lawyer. Discuss whether this is the best way for you to go and the potential implications of entering into a structured settlement. You may also want to discuss all the customizable aspects of a structured settlement. You can decide how much of your settlement you would want to invest, when you would want payouts from the annuity, and more.

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

At CDH Law, our team takes care of you from the beginning to the end of the personal injury claim process. We fight for the injured. Contact us today.

New York Winter Driving Hazards

Well New Yorkers, winter is upon us. Whether you love the chilly days or plan to hibernate for as much of the season as possible, the ice and snow is here for the foreseeable future. As such it is important to brush up on your winter driving safety practices. After all, even for the most seasoned winter warriors among us, New York winter driving hazards can be perilous. Let’s take a look at some such hazards and how we can all stay safe on the roads this season.

New York Winter Driving Hazards

What creates winter driving hazards? The low temperatures, the icy conditions, and the snowy conditions. These are the real root causes to pretty much all of the winter driving hazards. Consider the snow and ice, for instance. Ice and snow on the road can not only be difficult to see, but can easily cause you to lose control of your vehicle as the tires struggle to grip these slick surfaces. The lack of traction due to snow and ice can make it difficult to stop your car and it can also make it difficult to steer your car.

There are also the visibility issues to consider when discussing winter driving hazards. Ice and snow buildup on your windshield and mirrors can bring your visibility on the road to a minimum. There may also be cars driving by that kick up snow onto your windshield. On top of all of this, you may also have visibility issues due to problems within your car as well. A low functioning heater or window defroster in your car can make condensation buildup nearly impossible to combat. Foggy, icy, or snowy windshields are not going to afford you much of an ability to clearly see the path ahead of you and can be incredibly dangerous as a result.

There are also some dangerous side effects to the low temperatures we experience in New York winters. For instance, cold air impacts tire pressure. The lower temperatures causes a reduction in tire air pressure. This means that your properly inflated summer tires may not be up to snuff for the winter. Additionally, cold weather can lead to battery failure. Batteries struggle in the cold to provide sufficient charge to start a car’s engine. In colder temperature, more charge is required. This means that many end up stranded in the cold because they cannot get their car to start.

Speaking of being stranded in cold temperatures, because of all of the winter hazards out there, it is always recommended that you keep a winter emergency kit in your car. In the event that you experience car problems during the winter season, a well-stocked winter emergency kit can be invaluable. In this kit, consider including things like blankets and extra clothing. It should also contain flashlights, water, and hardy snacks.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Stay safe out there, New York. If you are injured in an accident caused by someone acting negligent this winter season, you can count on the dedicated personal injury team at CDH Law to help fight for full and fair compensation. Contact us today.

Keeping Pedestrians Safe

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that, in 2020 alone, 6,516 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes. Clearly, pedestrians are at risk on U.S. roads. As such, we should all make a concerted effort to do what we can to keep pedestrians safe. Motorists and pedestrians alike can make adjustments in their behaviors to help reduce the number of pedestrian accidents that occur each year. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can help keep pedestrians safe.

Keeping Pedestrians Safe

One of the best ways that drivers and pedestrians can help keep pedestrians safe on the roads is by eliminating distractions. In recent years, the dangers of distracted driving have become a major talking point on the national stage. With our constant dependency on and use of our phones, most states have even passed legislation making it illegal to use a handheld device while driving. Unfortunately, distracted driving persists and it is one of the most common causes of pedestrian accidents. Drivers, put away your phones, wait to eat until you get home, give the road your full attention. You may just save a life.

Pedestrians, however, are also not immune to putting themselves in danger because of being distracted. If you look around on sidewalks everywhere, you will likely see pedestrians glued to their phone screen. They may be texting, checking email, or selecting some music to listen to on their walk. Regardless, pedestrians are as distracted as ever. Some remain distracted even when crossing roads. You can easily see how this would be dangerous. Pedestrians, help keep yourself injury and accident free. Pay attention to your surroundings.

Accounting for inclement weather conditions can also help keep pedestrians safe. Of course, best practice is to avoid walking or driving when rain, sleet, snow, and other dangerous weather patterns strike. Sometimes, however, this is not always possible. When inclement weather hits, visibility can be greatly impacted as can roadway traction. Icy or wet conditions can greatly increase the distance necessary for a car to come to a safe and complete stop or avoid a roadway hazard. These conditions can also increase the chances of a person losing control over their vehicle. In the event of rain or snow, pedestrians and drivers should remain extra vigilant. Pay attention to your surroundings. Vehicles, in particular, should slow their speeds.

Pedestrians can also help keep themselves safe by wearing bright and reflective clothing, especially at night. It is best, however, to avoid walking at night altogether. After all, visibility is lower at night. It is also more likely to be the victim of someone driving under the influence when you are out and about at night. If you are out walking at night, however, make sure your clothing is visible. Stick to well-lit areas and use crosswalks whenever available. Never assume that a vehicle sees you.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Pedestrian accidents can often involve devastating injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident, reach out to the trusted personal injury team at CDH Law. Contact us today.