Hauppauge Legal Issues Blog

What are the damages I can seek for a head injury?

Head injuries often have long-term consequences on a victim. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are roughly 1.7 million cases of traumatic brain injuries in the U.S. a year. Head injuries often occur as a result of a motor vehicle accident, a slip-and-fall incident or negligent behavior.

 

How to alter your estate plan after divorce

Once you make the final decision to proceed with the divorce process, it's important to turn your attention to your estate plan. If you neglect to make the necessary changes soon enough, it could impact you and your loved ones in the future.

Here are some of the many ways to alter your estate plan after divorce:

  • Update your health care proxy: You're not likely to want your ex-spouse to make important medical decisions on your behalf, should the time come. Update your health care proxy to name a new agent.
  • Update your will or trust: Unless you want to leave everything behind to your ex-spouse, update your will or trust with a new beneficiary or beneficiaries.
  • Review your life insurance policies: There's a good chance your ex-spouse is named as the beneficiary of your life insurance policies. If this is the case, make an immediate change. The law is the law, and if you leave your ex as your beneficiary, they'll receive the death benefit upon your passing.

Don't let one of these car insurance claim mistakes sink you

Filing a car insurance claim after a motor vehicle accident is more challenging than it sounds. In addition to protecting your legal rights, there's a good chance you're also dealing with a variety of injuries.

Here are some car insurance claim mistakes to avoid at all costs:

  • Letting your insurance company take advantage of you: A car insurance policy is a legal contract. Your insurer has an obligation to provide the benefits defined in the policy. Don't let them off the hook.
  • Providing a written or recorded statement: Don't agree to this, as you never know if you'll say something that harms your ability to receive compensation. Also, don't sign anything until you are 100 percent sure of what you're agreeing to.
  • Be careful about when you accept a final payment: For example, if your insurance company sends you a check marked as final payment, think long and hard about what it means to your claim. If you accept this money, you'll find it difficult to receive additional compensation in the future.
  • Don't wait too long: Even if you're dealing with serious injuries, don't wait too long to file a car insurance claim. If you need assistance, don't hesitate to ask a family member or friend to help.

Easy ways to prevent texting and driving, a serious accident

Even with strict laws in place, texting and driving remains a problem in every part of the country. While you don't have any control over other drivers, you can do your part in making the road a safer place for everyone.

Here are three simple tips you can follow to prevent texting and driving, thus reducing the likelihood of being involved in an accident:

  • Put your phone away: Rather than keep your phone in your pocket or cup holder, put it in the glove box or trunk. This sounds extreme, but it eliminates the risk of using the device while you're in motion.
  • Use an app: There are apps that block incoming texts when driving. Better yet, they can also send an auto response back to the sender, which tells them that you're driving. Upon parking, you can check your phone for messages and then respond in a safe manner.
  • Mount your phone to the dashboard or window: When using a smartphone for its navigation features, mount it on your dashboard or high on the window. This allows you to glance at it without fully taking your eyes off the road.

Benefits of discussing estate planning with your parents

While you hope your parents have an estate plan in place, there's no way of knowing for sure. This is why it's important to offer your assistance at various stages of their life.

However, even though you want to discuss estate planning with your parents, it's easier said than done. You don't want to come across as "money chasing." At the same time, ignoring the conversation could result in trouble for your parents and many others now and upon their death.

Should you worry about an indoor slip-and-fall accident?

While most people are never injured in a slip-and-fall accident, this is more common than you may believe. It's imperative to understand the most common causes of indoor slips and falls, as well as the steps you can take to protect yourself.

Here are five flooring conditions and defects that can result in a slip or fall:

  • Wet floors: A wet floor, regardless of the cause, makes for a slippery surface. For example, if an entryway is wet after a heavy rain, it greatly increases the risk of an accident when entering from the outside.
  • Too much wax or polish: Wax and polish are necessary on many types of floors, but using too much can result in slippery conditions.
  • Failure to close off dangerous areas: This can include everything from a wet floor to one that's damaged (such as a low spot). All of these areas should either be blocked off or explicitly noted.
  • Torn, worn, or bulging carpet: Carpeting can and will wear out over time, thus acting as a trip hazard. For instance, a bulge in the carpet can catch your shoe, thus causing you to tumble to the ground.
  • Defective stairs: This takes on many forms, such as rounded steps, missing or loose handrails and debris on the stairs.

How bad is drowsy driving in New York?

We hear about dangerous driving behaviors all the time. We are constantly reminded not to text or drink while driving. However, there is one distraction that we don’t pay as much attention to.

Driving while tired may be just as dangerous as drinking or texting. You should know how to recognize and prevent drowsy driving.

What will you do at a DUI checkpoint?

If you find yourself driving into a DUI checkpoint, it's important to remain calm and carefully consider what's about to happen. With the right approach, you increase the likelihood of making it through the checkpoint without incident.

Here are a handful of tips that can ease your stress at a DUI checkpoint:

  • Slow down and avoid erratic driving: Don't give the officer any reason to believe that you're under the influence of alcohol. Slow down, stay in your lane and maintain full and steady control of your vehicle.
  • Don't get out: You don't have to do anything outside of following the requests of the officer. As you pull up to the checkpoint, roll your window down and take directions from there.
  • Don't explain your legal rights: Don't tell the officer that you don't have to speak with them. Don't tell the officer that a checkpoint is illegal. Instead, keep all these thoughts to yourself, as sharing them will raise suspicions.
  • Don't make an illegal U-turn: You're permitted to turnaround before reaching a DUI checkpoint, but only if you do so legally.

NY Court: Volunteers can't sign away their rights

It’s true that when you start a new job, you often sign a lot of papers that talk about waivers and rights. Maybe you don’t understand all of them. Maybe you believe signing them is just part of getting and keeping a job.

For the most part, you’re not wrong. Many new employees sign at-will employment contracts that contain confidentiality agreements, non-compete agreements, exclusive employment agreement, and so on.

The most common safety violations in construction accidents

New York City never has a shortage of construction projects on the streets and sidewalks. Unfortunately, as the number of projects continue to line up in the city, the amount of injuries and fatalities increase as well. It should come as no surprise that the construction industry is responsible for a large portion of deaths and injuries in the city for both workers and pedestrians.

Many employers fail to ensure that all of their workers operate safely. Last year, New York City’s Department of health cited 91 OSHA fatality investigations between 2007 to 2014 to determine which safety violations are among the most frequent in construction fatalities. Construction workers and their families should be aware of the frequency of these violations to prepare themselves should a major injury occur on the site.

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