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Older Drivers Are Safe Drivers

thinkstockphotos-521803911-300x200In 2008, there were more than 32 million drivers age 65 and older in the United States. It is estimated that by 2020, that number will rise to more than 40 million licensed older drivers.

In New York State, there are more than 2 million licensed drivers age 65 or older. These older adults continue to drive so they can work, shop, keep appointments, enjoy life and stay independent.

Unfortunately, every year in New York State, more than 4,800 drivers over age 65 are seen in emergency departments, and more than 1,000 are injured severely enough to require hospitalization as a result of motor vehicle crashes. In addition, an average of 69 older drivers are killed in car crashes every year in New York State.

Many older drivers are very safe drivers. Older drivers are more likely than younger drivers to use a seat belt regularly and follow the rules of the road. Their years of experience in handling different road and traffic conditions are invaluable.

But there are ways that mature drivers can be even safer. Being careful about your health and taking simple precautions plays a big part in staying safe when driving.

A Healthy Body = A Safer Driver

As we age, changes in our physical and mental health can affect our ability to drive safely. Health conditions that affect vision or hearing, the use of hands and feet, and cognitive abilities may interfere with safe driving. These changes do not always mean it is time to stop driving. However, it is important to recognize the warning signs, compensate for them when possible and plan for the time when it is unsafe to continue driving.

Older drivers should follow a simple checklist to evaluate their health to make sure they are in the best condition for driving. Here are some things to consider before getting behind the wheel:

  • Vision
    Regular eye exams are important, especially if you have certain medical conditions like diabetes. Eye exams can detect vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, glare sensitivity or need for a new glasses prescription. Wear your glasses if needed for driving and make sure they fit properly.
  • Medication
    Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to see if your medications can affect your driving ability by causing you to become drowsy, dizzy, distracted or confused. Sometimes changing the time of day a medication is taken can make driving safer. Never stop taking medication without talking to your doctor.
  • Hearing
    Have routine hearing tests to make sure you can hear important traffic noises such as sirens and horns. If you use a hearing aid, always wear it when driving. Some medications can cause ringing in the ears, so talk to your doctor if you have any problems hearing.
  • Fitness
    Activities like walking, dancing, gardening, golfing, or yoga can help you stay in shape to meet the physical demands of driving by keeping muscles strong and enhancing flexibility and coordination.
  • Cognition
    Keep your mind sharp to help you make quick decisions while driving. Tell your doctor or a close family member if you become confused or anxious while driving.

Important Driving Tips for Older Drivers

Older drivers can follow these tips to improve their safety on the road:

  • Take a driver safety course. Many local agencies and national organizations offer classes for a small fee.
  • Plan your route before driving. Think about confusing intersections or other areas where you may find a difficult driving situation. Map out a route that makes you feel most comfortable.
  • Adjust your car to better fit your body. Raise the seat, tilt the steering wheel and/or adjust the mirrors to make driving more comfortable and less physically demanding. Look for programs that assist drivers with vehicle adjustments, or speak with a driver rehabilitation specialist.
  • Minimize distractions while driving. Turn off the radio or ask passengers to stay quiet.
  • Avoid stressful driving situations. Travel during the daytime, when the light is brightest. Stay off the roads during rush hour and when the weather is poor.
  • Make sure you are in the best physical condition for driving. Being in good physical shape can help to increase your range of motion. A driver needs to be able to turn their neck and shoulders to look out side and rear windows to see traffic that may be in their blind spot.

Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we have more than 60 years of experience protecting the rights of personal injury victims, including people hurt in bicycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400.

Funded by the National Safety Administration with a grant from the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

New York Changes Law Related to Water Contamination Injuries

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In the aftermath of revelations of contamination of drinking water in Hoosick Falls, New York and Flint, Michigan, the New York state legislature has amended the statute of limitations governing lawsuits for injuries caused by federally designated “Superfund” sites. The statute of limitations identifies the time period within which a person must file a lawsuit to prevent it from being barred. The change allows people who were unaware of the causal link between the contamination and personal injury more time to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), enacted in 1980, Congress set up a fund, knows as Superfund, to be used to compensate individuals who have suffered personal injury from any federally designated toxic/hazardous waste facilities. In addition to federally designated Superfund sites, there can also be state-designated sites.

Until the New York legislature acted on July 21, anyone with a potential claim for damages or loss from a Superfund site had to file suit within three years of the time an injury either was, or reasonably should have been, discovered, whichever date was earlier. The amended law changes the timetable, so that it’s the later, rather than the earlier, date. In addition, the amended law applies the extended period regardless of whether the sites pose a significant threat to public health or the environment, and regardless of whether the sites have been properly closed and require no further action.

Legal authorities say that, because of the broad application of the changes, some people who were previously denied relief may have another chance for recovery.

Contact Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we have more than 60 years of experience protecting the rights of personal injury victims, including people hurt in bicycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400.

New York Court Says Third Party Liability Payments Not an Offset

A New York appeals court has ruled that a party injured in an accident involving an uninsured motorist may collect damages from an at-fault third party, and that those damages will not offset any amounts to which the injured party is entitled under an uninsured motorists provision in his or her auto insurance policy.

In New York, as in other states, a motorist may add a rider to his or her insurance policy, providing a certain level of coverage in the event of an accident where the at-fault party either has no insurance or has little insurance. This clause is known as UM/UIM clause. Typically, those riders include a clause stating that the UIM “shall not duplicate” payments the injured party/insured receives from other parties. Accordingly, the practice in New York has been to allow an insurance company to reduce its payout on a UIM claim dollar for dollar for any amounts received from any other source. That appears to have changed.

In a ruling issued by the New York Appellate Division in June, the court found that the non-duplication clause did not mean that an injured party cannot seek full compensation by combining partial recoveries from several liable parties. In effect, the only time payments received from another source will offset an insurer’s responsibility under a UIM policy is when the amounts received from other sources exceed the total amount of damages.

Contact Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we have more than 60 years of experience protecting the rights of personal injury victims, including people hurt in bicycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400.

New York City Settles Police Brutality Claim for $4.1 Million

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>The City of New York will pay $4.1 million after the shooting death of an unarmed Brooklyn man by a police officer. The family of Akai Gurley will start receiving payments when Gurley’s 4-year-old daughter, Akaila, reaches the age of 18. The settlement also requires that a college fund be set up for Akaila.

According to witnesses, Gurley, then 28, was killed on November 20, 2014, by a bullet from the gun of New York City police officer Peter Liang. Liang and a partner testified that they were patrolling stairwells in the city’s Louis H. Pink Houses, when they entered an unlit stairwell at the seventh floor. Liang and his partner were both rookie officers and were conducting routine vertical sweeps, going to every floor of a housing project to see if a crime is in progress. Authorities say that Liang had been instructed by his commander not to conduct vertical patrols.

Evidence showed that Gurley entered the stairwell after leaving his girlfriend’s apartment, and was about 14 steps below Liang. Witnesses say that no words were exchanged, but that Liang drew his weapon and a flashlight. As he opened a door, his gun accidentally discharged, ricocheting off a wall and hitting Gurley in the chest. Witnesses say Gurley initially ran after the shot was fired, but stopped on the fifth floor, when he discovered he was bleeding. He died at the scene.

Court documents indicate that Liang will pay $25,000 of the settlement, the New York City Housing Authority will pay $400,000 and the city of New York will pay the rest of the settlement.
Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is free of charge.

Dominique Sharpton’s Personal Injury Claim in Jeopardy

istock_000012026246xsmall-300x192A personal injury action filed by Dominique Sharpton, daughter of the activist the Rev. Al Sharpton, may be in jeopardy because of a prior personal injury claim filed by Ms. Sharpton.

According to court records, Dominique Sharpton accepted a settlement in 2012 in a lawsuit filed for injuries she alleged occurred when she was struck as a pedestrian while crossing West 145th Street in 2008. Sharpton received the settlement from Roslyn Leasing, Inc. Attorneys for Roslyn say that Sharpton was at least partially at fault, but opted to settle the lawsuit.

Now Sharpton has brought a personal injury claim against the city of New York, asking for $5 million after she allegedly slipped and fell after tripping on cracked pavement on Broome Street in 2014. City attorneys, though, have brought up the prior claim, looking to determine if the injuries Sharpton contends were caused by the 2014 accident were actually due to pre-existing conditions sustained in the 2008 mishap.

In a recent deposition in the lawsuit, Sharpton testified that she only missed a couple of days of work as a result of the 2008 injury. However, court records show that she sought compensation for $13,000 in medical bills, as well as $8,000 for four weeks of lost wages for the 2008 accident. Attorneys for New York City also say that she has made contradictory statements about the severity of the injuries allegedly suffered in the 2014 slip and fall. Though Sharpton has claimed that she has experienced “permanent pain,” as well as torn ligaments and tendons in her right leg, she also divulged in her deposition that, since the accident, she has climbed a mountain in Bali and gone dancing on a number of occasions.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is free of charge.

Sackstein Attorney Eric B. Lee Serves as Grand Marshall of Korean Parade

Sackstein Attorney Eric B. Lee Serves as Grand Marshall of Korean Parade
October 7, 2016 By Mark H. Sackstein, Esq. Leave a Comment

Attorney Eric B. Lee, a partner at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, recently served as Grand Marshall of the 36th annual Korean Parade and Festival in New York City, held on October 1, 2016. The event, held every fall, celebrates the vibrant Korean culture throughout the city and the world, and features hundreds of local, regional and national Korean organizations. The parade includes a marching band and a traditional Korean percussion ensemble. In addition, the festival offers Tae Kwon Do demonstrations, Korean food, Korean folk music and the opportunity to meet famous Koreans here and abroad.

The annual celebration was created in 1980 by the Korean American Association of Greater New York, but is now sponsored by the Korea Times. The parade typically travels down the Avenue of the Americas, between 27th Street and 38th Street in Manhattan.

Attorney Eric Lee joined the Nassau County law offices of Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP in 1996 and was named a partner in 1999. A 1992 graduate of Bentley College, in Waltham, Massachusetts, Attorney Lee graduated from the New England School of Law, in Boston, in 1995. He’s an active member of the Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York.

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Contact Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we have more than 60 years of experience protecting the rights of personal injury victims, including people hurt in bicycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400.

Popeye’s Faces Potential Lawsuit after Rat Found in Meal

A New Jersey woman who found part of a rat in an order of fried chicken that she bought at a restaurant in Harlem has hired an attorney, and will likely bring a lawsuit against owners of the franchise. Rosemary Thomas , of Clifton Park, apparently went to the fast-food restaurant with her daughter, sister and niece in September and discovered the head of a rat in an order of fried chicken. She says that she subsequently had to take her daughter to obtain medical care because she’d spent most of the day throwing up.

Thomas kept the rat head as evidence and even posted pictures of it on Facebook. A Popeye’s spokesperson said they are attempting to work with Thomas to determine if, in fact, the item was actually part of a rat. They contend, though, that it’s most likely chicken organ meat.

If the story has a bit of a familiar ring to it, that’s because just a few months ago, a woman in Louisiana made a similar claim. In July, Sherry Luke, of Houma, Louisiana, claimed to have found a rat inside a chicken breast she ordered at Popeye’s. She also posted a picture on Facebook and had a similar response from Popeye’s.

With tainted food, a personal injury suit will likely be based on negligence. To show negligence, you need to demonstrate that the business or person who served the tainted food did not exercise the level of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. In these cases, you would likely show that the owners of the restaurant did not take reasonable measures to keep the restaurant free of rats or other vermin, or failed to reasonable inspect the food to ensure that it had not been compromised.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is free of charge.

General Motors Settles Last Lawsuits Over Defective Switches

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Two personal injury lawsuits filed against auto giant General Motors in federal court in New York have been settled, according to attorneys for the plaintiffs. GM says these are the last claims linked to a defective ignition switch that would cut off power to vehicles, often at high speeds on highways.

According to company officials, the safety defect has been tied to at least 124 deaths. GM initiated a recall of more than six million cars in 2014, and previously settled prospective claims, as well as legal action filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, for more than $2 billion, including a $900 million fine imposed as part of a criminal complaint against the company.

An independent investigation revealed that General Motors knew about the problem for more than 10 years, but failed to take any action whatsoever, even though the company’s own safety engineers had compiled evidence that the problem was real.

Testimony at a number of trials indicated that the faulty ignition switch was used in both the Chevy Cobalt and the Pontiac G5. Evidence showed that General Motors had internal meetings to discuss concerns about the switch as early as 2005. GM never actually disclosed knowledge of the defect to the public. Instead, the problem and the company’s knowledge of it came to light during discovery proceedings in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against GM. Attorneys in that case obtained testimony from GM engineers and found written evidence in documents produced by the company.

Contact Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP

At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we have more than 60 years of experience protecting the rights of personal injury victims, including people hurt in bicycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400.

How A Drunk Driving Accident Can Be Different

thinkstockphotos-493785006-300x200According to statistics, more than half of all highway motor vehicle accident fatalities involve drunk drivers and nearly two thirds of all single fatal car accidents are tied to alcohol abuse. But a motor vehicle accident is a motor vehicle accident, right? It doesn’t matter if the driver was drunk—you still need to take the same steps to recover compensation for your losses, don’t you? Not necessarily! Here are some ways in which a crash involving a drunk driver may be different.

You May Be Able to Sue the Driver Directly

If the state is a no-fault insurance state, like New York, you typically have to look first to your own insurance provider and cannot sue the driver directly unless there are extenuating circumstances. In New York, that means that your injuries must pass a threshold defining “serious injury.” The reality, though, is that the vast majority of alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents result in serious injury or even death.

The Criminal Process Can Help in Your Lawsuit for Damages

Because drunk driving is also a criminal violation, law enforcement officers will fully investigate the facts and circumstances of the accident. Blood alcohol tests can help you establish negligence in a personal injury action, even though a conviction or plea for drunk driving does not automatically mean the person will be found liable for damages.

Some States Allow for Punitive Damages

If you can show that the drunk driver’s actions demonstrated a disregard for the safety of others, you may be able to obtain punitive damages in addition to compensation for actual losses. Drunk driving is typically thought to be reckless and egregious and often brings an award for punitive damages.

You May Be Able to Sue Other Parties

In New York, as in other states, there are dram shop and social host liability laws that make persons who serve alcohol responsible for injuries caused by those served. If a bar, restaurant or tavern employee served someone who was visibly intoxicated, or served them enough that a reasonable person would expect them to become intoxicated, the employee and the establishment can have some responsibility for the accident.

Contact Our Office

To set up an appointment with an experienced New York personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll free at 888-519-6400. Your first consultation is free of charge.

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