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.

Think Twice Before Using Social Media After an Accident

Rarely a day goes by that person does not access their social media accounts. Social media has become ingrained in our everyday lives. We have come to depend on it to provide us with updates on friends and loved ones near and far. It provides a sense of community and support to many. We post our thoughts, share our feelings, and show people a glimpse into our lives. There are so many benefits of social media, but it does not come without its risks. This can be particularly and poignantly true when it comes to the time following an accident. Accident victims risk more than they may know when using social media while they have an injury claim pending with an insurance company. Here is why you should think twice before using social media after an accident.

Think Twice Before Using Social Media After an Accident

Insurance companies investigate claimants. This is a fact. You may not believe it, but insurance companies have vast resources and they use it to protect their bottom line. This means looking into the lives of claimants to see if there are any weaknesses in their accident claims. Insurance companies will dispatch investigators to follow claimants around, covertly taking pictures of their day to day comings and goings. It will also involve a thorough search of the claimant’s online presence.

Well, you may think that there is nothing on your social media that could hurt your claim. You may think that you would never post anything that would hurt your claim. The trouble comes with the fact that even the most seemingly innocent social media activity can end up undermining your claim or completely destroying it.

For instance, you may post something about the accident after it happened. It may be just a simple “I was in an accident, but I am okay.” Innocent enough, right? Well, saying you are “okay” after an accident can be twisted around as you saying you were not hurt in the accident. This is a sticking point if you have a pending injury claim related to that very accident. It doesn’t matter if your intention was only to assuage the fears of your loved ones that you may have been seriously injured, an insurance company will use it as it can.

After an accident, you have to carry on with your everyday life despite the new challenges you may face. Doing this and posting evidence of this on social media can read very differently. For instance, you may have posted pictures from your weekend hike or kayaking trip. When these kinds of pictures get in front of an insurance adjuster, however, they can spin it in a different direction. They can claim that it does not look like you are that hurt or that you are suffering too much after an accident. Posts and photographic evidence of things like this can be compelling. Even if the reality is different, pictures like this can be difficult to refute.

Personal Injury Attorneys

After an accident, call CDH Law. We know the tricks of the insurance company and we are not only here to protect you from them, but to stand up and fight for you. Contact us today.

When Settlement Negotiations Don’t Work in Personal Injury Cases

Being injured in an accident is an overwhelming ordeal to go through. After such a traumatic experience, there are still battles and hurdles to overcome afterwards. While trying to cope with the pain of your injuries, you may feel helpless as you watch medical expenses pile up. You may be missing out on wage earnings due to missed time at work. The anxiety and financial pressure can be severe. It is no wonder accident victims are often extremely eager to reach a resolution on their personal injury claim. While most personal injury claims end in reaching a settlement with the insurance company, what happens when settlement negotiations do not work in a personal injury case?

When Settlement Negotiations Don’t Work in Personal Injury Cases

Settlement negotiations on a personal injury claim usually begin with the sending of a demand letter to the insurance company. The demand letter will outline the events of the accident. It will detail the property damage and, perhaps most importantly, it will detail the injuries sustained by the claimant in the accident. The claimant’s damages will be broken down and estimated. This will all be presented to the insurance company. As a result, the insurance company will likely generate their initial offer on the claim.

Now, brace yourself for that initial offer, because, after all you have been through, you may be disheartened by it. It is often extremely low and not nearly what you deserve to be paid out on your claim. The insurance company is often hoping that the claimant will accept this initial offer in a desperate attempt to quickly resolve the claim and get at least some much-needed compensation to cover expenses. Remember that once you accept an insurance company’s settlement offer, you will be asked to sign a release that will prevent you from bringing any future claims on this accident. In other words, you get one shot to recover the compensation you deserve for the harm you have suffered in the accident. Do not get wrapped up on the idea of a quick recovery when it could have such a significant impact in the long term.

After the initial settlement offer made by the insurance company, there will often be a back and forth exchange of offers and counteroffers. In most cases, a settlement agreement is reached. There are some cases, however, where an insurance company will fail to come back with a reasonable offer. They will not budge and you as the claimant will have some tough choices to make. At this point in the process, it is time to seriously consider the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the insurance company.

By bringing your claim to court, it is important to realize that you could leave the courthouse with nothing. You could, however, end up being awarded much more than you would have gotten through settlement negotiations. The point is that you must take a good, hard look at your claim. How strong is it? Are there any potential questions as to who is actually liable for causing the accident? Is the medical evidence of your injuries clear, consistent, and solid? If you have a strong claim, then it may be a good idea to file a lawsuit.

Personal Injury Attorneys

The time dealing with the insurance company after an accident can be frustrating, especially after all an accident injury victim has been through. Hand this burden over to the dedicated team at CDH Law. We are here to fight for you. Contact us today.

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.

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.

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.