Share

Garden City, NY Estate Planning & Complex Litigation Blog

Friday, May 31, 2019

Dealing with an Uninsured Driver After a Car Accident

Car insurance is not only beneficial,  it is also legally required in every state in the U.S. However, t some drivers fail to  obtain insurance coverage or are underinsured, which poses unique challenges. In these situations,  recovering damages is quite different than in the typical car accident case.

Involving Your Own Insurance Company

In many situations, you can turn to your own insurance company if the at-fault driver does not have insurance coverage. However, you can only do this if you have specific additional forms of insurance coverage.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Some states require a certain level of Uninsurer Motorist Coverage (UIM) while others do not. Most states that do not require it force insurance companies to offer it, however, so you may have this type of coverage and not realize it. Nonetheless, you might have had to purchase this extra form of coverage separately for it to apply. Check your insurance policy language to determine if you have UIM insurance.

Generally,  UIM coverage does not exceed  your standard liability coverage. In other word,  if you have $100,000 in total liability coverage per accident, that will be your UIM limit as well.

Collision Coverage

Another option that involves your own insurance company is collision coverage. This type of insurance covers  repairs to your vehicle that are caused by an accident. It will usually apply if you are in a crash with an uninsured driver or were the victim of a hit-and-run. While this type of coverage is helpful for property damage, it does not cover injuries sustained during or after the collision.

Coverage in No-Fault States

If you live in a no-fault state, whether the other driver has insurance may not affect you as much as if you lived in a fault state. This is because drivers in no-fault states will look to their own insurance for coverage first. The other driver’s insurance only matters if the injuries are severe enough to go above your policy’s limits.

Your Other Options After an Accident

In most situations, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the other driver, regardless of whether he or she has insurance. This is true if you have a severe injury in no-fault states as well. However, while you certainly have this option, it may not be a practical solution in many situations.

People often do not carry car insurance because they cannot afford the regular payments. If someone cannot afford to pay car insurance, they likely cannot afford to pay for a judgment against them to cover your injuries either. While you certainly can take steps to acquire the funds through other means after you obtain a  judgment (e.g., a garnishment or levy), such efforts often cost more in fees and time than you stand to gain.

If you have been involved in an accident with a driver  driver who does not have insurance or is underinsured, an adept personal injury attorney to can help you explore all of your options.


Friday, May 17, 2019

Hurricane Insurance and Why You Need It

Hurricanes are the mightiest natural events on Earth. In size, they can exceed the entire state of Texas. In energy, they contain hundreds of times more energy than even the largest tornado. Unfortunately, these natural events readily turn into natural disasters. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Florida and the Gulf Coast with a storm surge of nearly thirty feet and more rain than the area could handle. Much of New Orleans was underwater and took years to recover. All in, Hurricane Katrina caused approximately $110 billion in damage.

Similarly, Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas in 2017. As a category 4 hurricane, Harvey brought more than forty inches of rain causing many areas of Houston to flood and displace tens of thousands of residents. All in, Hurricane Harvey caused approximately $125 billion in damage. While these are two of the costliest hurricanes in United States recorded history, smaller hurricanes threaten the southern and eastern parts of the United States every year. The United States Congressional Budget Office estimates that on average, hurricanes cause $28 billion in damage each year.

For many homeowners affected by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey, their only option was to walk away from the property because the cost of repairing the house was simply too great without hurricane insurance. Many planned to use their homeowners insurance to pay for any damage caused by a hurricane. While homeowners insurance policies will cover hurricanes, they have special deductibles that can make an insurance claim for a hurricane damage extremely costly, such as requiring a certain percentage of the insured property’s value to be paid as a deductible. Additionally, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. In New Orleans and Houston, flooding was the major cause of damage which left many homeowners without any coverage for the damage. To protect against hurricanes and the unique risks that come with them such as flooding, you need a specific bundle of insurance commonly referred to as hurricane insurance.

Hurricane insurance is not an actual policy – it is the combination of two underlying policies. The first policy is the homeowners insurance policy which covers direct damage from the hurricane such as wind damage. However, as noted, homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage, thus creating a coverage gap if a hurricane hits. The resolve this gap, flood insurance should be added to the bundle to protect against the flooding that comes along with hurricanes. By combining homeowners insurance with flood insurance, the homeowner is protected from direct hurricane damage such as windstorms and indirect hurricane damage such as flooding.

As a result, when considering hurricane insurance make sure to analyze the deductible for windstorms and hurricane damage as these can significantly change between policies, and be sure to get flood insurance to complement your homeowners insurance protections. Finally, if you’re looking at purchasing a property in hurricane affected areas, make sure to consider the cost of homeowners insurance and flood insurance as these can be very expensive in areas that are high-risk for hurricane damage and flooding.

 


Friday, May 3, 2019

The Value of a Police Report After an Accident

You’re driving along on a nice sunny day enjoying the radio on your way to work when suddenly you hear the loud screeching noise of tires sliding on pavement. Without time to react, you brace for impact as you realize you’re about to be hit. Seconds later you hear the metal-on-metal crunch of someone slamming into the back of your car because they were texting and driving. In the course of the impact, your head whips forward and back. Getting out of the car, you realize that your neck hurts and you can’t look to the right. What do you do?

For many people in this situation, they would exchange personal and insurance information and be on their way. For some, they might recognize the need for a police report to document the accident. Regardless of the seriousness of the accident, you should always file a police report following an accident. The police report provides significant value in recovering costs associated with the accident as it officially records the occurrence of the accident and the accident’s specifics. Costs from the accident can be a result of damage to your car or personal injury to yourself.

In the case of damage to your car, simple admission by the person who hit you might be sufficient to get your money from them or their insurance. However, they may deny that the accident happened at which point you have to prove that the accident happened, and that it happened as you claim. This is where the police report comes in. If the person who hit you attempts to deny what happened, you can present the police report as evidence that the accident occurred.

Additionally, while your car may not appear to have any major damage, that might not be the reality. Your car might seem to work perfectly well following the accident, when in actuality it sustained serious damage that won’t manifest itself for several weeks or months. In this situation, you would again have to prove that the accident happened. Without the police report, you may have significant difficulty in proving the accident occurred.

Similarly, the police report proves the accident happened if you’ve suffered personal injury. In the above scenario where a person has been rear-ended and now has neck pain, providing the police report that indicates the rear-end collision occurred will provide legal evidence to support your claim. Additionally, as with the car, your personal injury might not manifest for a period of time after the accident. Again, the police report can help to validate your claim to lost wages, medical expenses, and other damages which you may be legally entitled to.

Thus, if you’ve been involved in an accident, make sure to file a police report. To file a police report, call the police after the accident and a police officer will ask you questions and record your answers. After you’ve given the information to the officer, you can request a copy of the police report.

Having a police report on file can be the difference between recovering or not recovering what you’re legally entitled to.

 


Friday, April 26, 2019

The Effect of Traffic Tickets on Car Accident Cases

It’s Tuesday afternoon and you’re driving home from work. Remembering that you need to pick up some groceries on your way home, you decide to take a detour to stop at the grocery store. In doing so, you leave the highway and enter suburban streets. Coming up to an intersection, you slow down and stop at the stop sign. Once you’ve come to a complete stop you begin to pull out only to feel the jarring impact of a car that didn’t stop at the stop sign followed by the crunching of metal and plastic. Thankfully everyone is okay. Once the police show up, they complete an accident report and issue the other driver a ticket for failure to stop at the stop sign. What effect does the traffic ticket have?


Read more . . .


Friday, April 12, 2019

Who is liable for fire-related accidents in your kitchen?

Your friends are over and a few are helping you prepare dinner for your annual Sunday Roast. Suddenly, your friend yells out that the oven is on fire. Startled, you see a large flame glowing through the glass door and you rush to turn the oven off. After unsuccessfully putting out the fire by turning off the oven, you call the fire department. By the time the fire department shows up and extinguishes the flame, nearly one-third of your kitchen is damaged. So, who is responsible for the damage?

In typical lawyer speak, the answer is “it depends.” Just because the fire occurred in your kitchen does not mean that you are de facto responsible for any damage that it causes – au contraire! The question of who is liable for fire-related accidents in your kitchen is best answered by determining who is responsible for the fire itself. In the above scenario, the fire could have been started by a flame-up or other cooking incident in the oven. Alternatively, it could be the result of a defective oven. If the fire is a result of your doing, then you are likely to be liable. However, if the fire is a result of incorrectly installed heating coils that resulted in part of the oven catching fire, then the manufacturer of the oven may be liable for the fire-related damage caused to your kitchen.


Read more . . .


Friday, April 5, 2019

What to do if you are Injured at an Airbnb

Airbnb, the home-sharing service for people seeking commercial lodging, now boasts millions of listings worldwide. With that expansion has come questions of who is responsible in the event of an injury. Although the law is fairly established with respect to traditional lodging providers, such as hotels, the rules are still developing for Airbnb.

One contributing factor to Airbnb injuries is the fact that private residences are not held to the same standards as commercial locations. While a hotel will take extra steps to avoid liability, private homeowners typically do not. So, for instance, an Airbnb with a swimming pool almost certainly will not have a lifeguard on duty or other safeguards to prevent drowning.  By staying on private property, your risk of personal injury will be higher.

If you do get hurt, you may assume that the homeowner's insurance policy will cover you.  However, this will likely not be the case. That's because most insurance policies exclude coverage for business activities. Some insurance companies have even threatened to cancel policies on residences used for such activities as Airbnb. Because hosts are using their homes for profit, they run the risk of having their policies canceled or claims denied. In the event of an injury, this could mean you will be the one fighting for compensation.

Although the terms of service preclude you from suing Airbnb for injury, the company has started to offer secondary liability insurance for its hosts. You will likely still need to file through the host's insurance policy, which may result in cancellation of the primary policy. The secondary coverage may not be sufficient to cover your injuries and medical costs, but it's a start.

One important step to take before deciding to room at an Airbnb is to check with any applicable rules or laws in the host city. The municipality in which you will be staying may require the host to provide some sort of accident coverage for injured guests.

You should also try to find out more about the host residence, especially if you have children.  You can read reviews of residences on Airbnb's website. Also, try to inspect the property for yourself before booking, if possible. You can also look into traveler's insurance to see if accidents and personal injuries can be covered. Finally, while Airbnb does not offer legal advice, you can contact the company or check online forums for any questions you may have.

The Takeaway

Ultimately, if you do find yourself or a loved one injured while sating at an Airbnb, you may need to retain the services of a personal injury attorney. An attorney will work to determine who should be held liable for your injuries and fight to get the compensation you need and deserve.


Monday, April 1, 2019

Risk-benefit Test in Product Liability Cases

When bringing a product liability case, there are two primary tests which may be applied for purposes of establishing liability and eventually, damages: first, the consumer expectations test; second, the risk-benefit test. The consumer expectations test requires the plaintiff to prove that the product failed to perform in a safe manner that would be expected by an ordinary consumer when the product is used as intended or in a reasonably foreseeable manner. Conversely, the risk-benefit test requires the plaintiff to establish a prima facie case of causation showing that a design feature of the product was a substantial factor in causing injury. The consumer expectations test requires a higher burden of proof for the plaintiff than does the risk-benefit test. Note that these two tests are not mutually exclusive. This post will focus on the risk-benefit test.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Deciding Whether to Try Your Case to a Judge or Jury

When bringing a personal injury case against someone, you typically prove the four elements of negligence:

  1. The person owed you a duty of care
  2. The person violated that duty of care
  3. That violation of duty resulted in your injury
  4. You sustained actual damages from that injury

When proving each element, you generally have to establish your burden of proof – which is “by a preponderance of the evidence” (something is more likely than not) in a civil case. This is a lower standard than the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Nonetheless, the person or people who decide whether you have met that standard of proof is exceptionally important.

In personal injury cases, the body that decides whether the burden of proof has been met is known as the “finder of find” or “fact-finder.” The fact-finder may be composed of a jury of peers or a single judge. When a single judge is the fact-finder, the trial is known as a bench trial. When the fact-finder is a group of peers forming a jury, the trial is known as a jury trial.

Generally, a jury trial is preferential. However, there are certain situations where a bench trial could be advantageous:


Read more . . .


Friday, March 15, 2019

4 Reasons Everyone Needs an Estate Plan

Many people are under the misconception that estate plans are only necessary for those with substantial wealth. In fact, estate plans are important for everyone who wants to plan for the future. For those unfamiliar with the concept, an estate plan coordinates the distribution of your assets upon your death. Without an estate plan, your estate (assets) will go through the probate system, regardless of how much or how little you have. There are many reasons that everyone needs an estate plan, but the top reasons are:


Read more . . .


Friday, March 1, 2019

What is a Contingency Fee?

It’s Wednesday evening and you just got off work, but you remember that you need to pick up some ingredients for dinner. You make a detour to the local grocer to pick up some chicken and carrots on your way home – it’ll only take fifteen minutes. As you’re strolling through the aisles, you don’t see an unmarked puddle of standing water and slip. While falling, you break your arm as well as injure your neck. As a result, you spend the evening at the hospital and leave with a medical bill for $6,000. The next day, you wake up sore and unable to leave the house. You can’t go to work but need to continue working to support your family, not to mention the medical bill you incurred the night before. What do you do?


Read more . . .


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Selling Your Business

The majority of businesses in the United States are small businesses. To understand the impact that small business has, consider the fact that small business generates nearly 60% of all new jobs within the United States. Amazon, Walmart, and other big companies often stand out with their massive revenues and employment numbers, but at the end of the day, the primary drivers behind the economy are small business.

If you have a family business or personal business that you’ve built up, you are likely one of these economic drivers. For many families and individuals, the business becomes an identity. Family businesses in particular are susceptible to acting as an identity for that family. Thus, for many small business owners planning for retirement, the question of what to do with the small business is a major stressor. For a family business, the transfer of control and ownership from one generation to the next can be incredibly complicated and strenuous. If it’s not a family business, then the question is primarily how to effectuate the sale and estate planning repercussions. The following sections will give an overview of general considerations for family-owned businesses and then general concerns relating to the sale of a business.


Read more . . .


Archived Posts

2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2014
2013
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2012


Lawrence M. Gordon, Attorney at Law, P.C. has offices in Garden City, NY and assists clients throughout Long Island, including: the north shore of Long Island, The Town Of Oyster Bay, The Town Of North Hempstead, The Town Of Hempstead, The Town Of Huntington, Nassau & Suffolk Counties & throughout the Five Boroughs of The City Of New York.



© 2020 Lawrence M. Gordon, Attorney at Law, P.C. | Attorney Advertising
300 Garden City Plaza, Suite 450, Garden City, NY 11530
| Phone: 516-333-5000 | 800-628-1620

Practice Areas

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative