The Importance of Having Car Insurance

Whether you commute for two hours to and from work each day or drive once a week or less, a good automobile insurance policy is one of the best investments you can make. Even if you are a careful driver who has never been in an accident, you cannot control the actions of the drivers around you, and you may find yourself in need of the protection that your insurance can offer.

Legal Requirements

If you own a vehicle in the State of New York, you are required by law to carry insurance. The New York No-Fault law mandates coverage so that in most small accident cases, each driver’s insurances will cover their damages, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you are uninsured, you will not be allowed to sue the other driver for a minor accident, even if the accident was completely the other person’s fault. If you do not have your own insurance, your repairs and medical expenses will be out of pocket.

 

Additional Liability

Although you are only required to carry the minimum amount of $50,000 in insurance, you should always opt for additional coverage. For any damages above the no-fault limit, an injured party may sue the person responsible for the accident, and you could be personally liable if the accident is determined to be your fault.

 

No matter how careful of a driver you are, you can still be prone to distractions, make an error, or experience a mechanical problem that may lead to a collision. Even if the mechanical problem was not your fault, the other driver can sue you if he is injured in an accident caused by your vehicle. If you do not carry insurance above the $50,000 limit, you could find yourself owing a significant amount of money, which could lead to liens on your property or garnishment of your wages.

 

Additional Benefits

Your auto insurance can also help if you are the victim of an accident that was not your fault. Uninsured motorist coverage will pay you if you are injured by an uninsured driver, or by a driver who carried only the minimum coverage. In addition, your insurance may include benefits for medical expenses and lost wages, which can reimburse you for those expenses while a claim is pending. These benefits can be crucial if you are unable to work and need help to pay your bills while you are waiting for a settlement.

 

Learn More About Your Benefits

Call the law firm of O’Brien and Ford at 716-907-7777 if you have been injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, or visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/ for more information.

 

The Leading Causes of Vehicle Accidents

Over ten million automobile accidents happen in the United States every year, from small fender-benders to multiple vehicle accidents with serious of fatal injuries. Driver error, weather conditions, faulty equipment, and intentional actions can, alone or in combination, lead to an accident.

Distracted Driving
According to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration, distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents in the United States, accounting for as much as eighty percent of all accidents. Distracted driving can take many forms, but one of the most common is texting or using a phone while driving. In the time it takes to send one text, a car traveling at highway speeds can travel the length of a football field. All states prohibit texting while driving, and many have prohibited the use of all hand-held mobile devices while driving.

Other driving distractions include eating, putting on makeup, and talking to passengers. Passengers in a vehicle are particularly distracting to new drivers, so some states limit the number of passengers that teenage drivers may carry.

Impaired Driving
After distracted driving, impaired driving is the most common cause of highway injuries and deaths. Driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, and certain prescription medications is a recipe for disaster. This poses a great risk to the driver, his passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians.

Often overlooked or dismissed, fatigued driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of controlled substances. Commercial truck drivers are especially vulnerable to the temptation to drive for too many hours with too little sleep in order to meet deadlines.

Weather
Snow, ice, and rain can all be hazardous, especially for drivers who are unfamiliar with driving in those conditions. Even the most experienced drivers must be particularly cautious around snow and ice, but drivers who have never lived in regions where those conditions are much more likely to be involved in accidents. Whenever rain, snow, ice or fog are present, the posted speed limits may not be safe, braking times will be greater, and visibility can be reduced.

Driver Error
Even the best drivers make mistakes. A slight miscalculation could turn a near miss into a collision. Accidents happen when drivers fail to notice motorcycles and smaller vehicles or do not signal properly before turning or changing lanes. Accidents at intersections occur when drivers fail to observe stop signs or do not look in all directions before proceeding. Never assume that other drivers will signal properly, observe speed limits, or obey stop lights or signs.

Faulty Equipment
Examples of equipment failures that lead to accidents should also be taken into consideration:

• Non-functioning brake lights or turn signals
• Brake failure
• Tire blowouts
• Improperly calibrated speedometers
• Improperly secured cargo

Call and Accident Expert
If you are injured in an accident, the top-rated attorneys at The O’Brien and Ford Firm can help. Visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/, or call 716-907-7777 for a free consultation.

Liability for Dog Bite Injuries in New York

It seems that every neighborhood has one: The dog that barks and growls at everyone who passes by; the yard that you cross the street to avoid, in case the dog is out; the neighborhood pet that you warn your children to steer clear of. If that pet does bite or attack someone, can the owner be held responsible? New York law allows injured persons to sue a pet owner under certain circumstances.

Strict Liability

When a dog has previously been declared “dangerous,” the owner is automatically responsible for any medical or veterinary expenses if the pet attacks and injures a person or another pet. The injury may come from a bite but may also occur if the dog knocks someone down or if a person is injured while running away from the dog. The dog may not be considered dangerous if it was provoked or injured a person or animal while protecting the life or property of its owner.

Animal control regulations vary by locality. In some counties, certain breeds of dog are banned. In others, some breeds are automatically considered “dangerous” for purposes of strict liability, even without any previous history of aggressive behavior. On the other hand, in some counties, a dog must have injured or killed a person or domestic animal and/or have been reported to exhibit aggressive behavior.

The strict liability statute covers medical and veterinary expenses only. In order to recover for pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages, the injured person must sue the dog owner.

Negligence

Unlike most personal injury actions, proof of negligence is not required in order to recover damages from the owner of a dog that bites or injures a person. The injured person must prove that the dog owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous or had vicious propensities. This can be established by proving that the dog had previously attacked a person or domestic animal, causing death or serious injury, or that the dog was known to exhibit violent behavior such as growling, snapping, and baring its teeth. Previous vicious behavior cannot be established if the dog was being threatened, harassed, attacked, or was protecting a person or property.

Insurance

Many homeowner’s insurance policies will cover damages caused by pets. Some may not cover certain breeds, such as pit bulls or rottweilers, however.

New York Dog Bite Attorneys

If you or a family member has been bitten or injured by a dog, call The Law Firm of O’Brien and Ford at 716-907-7777 for a free consultation. You may also visit our website at http://obrienandford.com/.