Irene H Gabo Back on “Good Morning”, Davidzon Radio 620AM, for Q&A

 In Motorcycle Accidents, No Fault Insurance, Premise Liability

Irene H Gabo answers Audience Q&A on Natasha Bystritskaya popular “Good Morning” show on Davidzon Radio 620AM. The areas covered included accident reporting, construction accidents and claims, what to do immediately after a slip and fall, and child injuries at school and friend’s house.

Listen to the Broadcast:

Q&A Transcript

If the accident is not my fault, do I have to let my own insurance company know about it, and if I do will they raise my insurance premiums?

Yes you should contact your insurance company, but they should not raise your premium if the accident was not your fault. New York is a No-Fault automobile accident state. It means that your automobile insurance company is required to pay for your medical expenses up to a certain amount, depending on the policy, and your lost wages, and not raise a premium if its not your fault. Many of these companies subrogate against the offending vehicle to get that paid money back.

If I am injured while working on a construction site, can I get more than just workers compensation and do I have a claim against property owner?

Your financial recovery against your employer may be affected by workers compensation laws, but remember that other parties may be legally responsible for your injuries, including third-party contractors, property owners or equipment manufacturers. Your recovery from those parties will not be affected by workers compensation laws. Depending on the amount of authority over the work that the property owner exercised, and the amount of control the owner had over the property itself when the injury occurred, the property owner may be legally responsible for some or all of your injuries.

I head you speak about slip and fall accidents, can you repeat what I should do immediately after or shortly after the incident?

Inspect the area where you fell. What caused you to fall? Did anyone see you fall? Write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone in the vicinity where the incident occurred, both those who saw you fall and others who were there after the incident, because you may need them as witnesses on your behalf if the landowner disputes your claim. Even if someone did not see you fall but was present at the time, he or she could, if necessary, describe your pain and the conditions of the floor, lighting, etc., immediately after you fell.

If the incident occurred in a store or place of business, speak with the manager or supervisor on duty. Have him or her make a record of the incident, and get a copy of anything prepared by the business. If anyone (especially an employee, supervisor or manager) makes a comment suggesting that this has occurred before, or that they were aware of the condition before your fall, make a mental note. If possible, get the name of the person who made the comment. As soon as you are out of the store, write down the name and what exactly the person said, and who else heard him or her make the statement.

I was injured in a motorcycle accident, but my injuries are not severe, no broken bones, can I have a case against the other driver?

The insurance and liability rules in New York are very different for motorcycles than for cars. A motorcycle is not a motor vehicle within the meaning of the No-Fault Law. Since motorcycles are exempt from the definition of motor vehicle, a motorcyclist is not a covered person under the No-Fault Law and is not entitled to these medical and lost wage benefits. However, motorcyclists injured in motor vehicle accidents are not subject to the “serious injury” threshold under New York No-Fault Law. Thus, a person injured on a motorcycle can bring a claim against the offending driver even for minor injuries that would normally not pass the No-Fault threshold. New York Motorcycle Insurance minimums are $25,000 per person injured in any one accident and $50,000 because of the death of one person in one accident and $50,000 for two or more persons injured in any one accident and $100,000 for the deaths of two or more persons in one accident. UM/SUM Coverage is also available to owners of motorcycles. An injured motorcyclist’s insurance policy will reveal the amount of UM/SUM coverage they have purchased and is available to them.

I fell down the stairs leaving one of Brooklyn hospitals, outside, broke my pinkie finger in the fall. No one came to help or made a report, and I left. Can I still sue them?

You have 3 years to sue a hospital for fall outside its premises, but only a year and 90 days if the hospital is a city one, like Coney Island, but remember conditions change. Stairs may be replaced, handrails may be changed or added, video surveillance may be taped over. So its important to do a prompt investigation of location of the accident, request video, if any, and if needed, consult with an expert engineer, which attorneys usually do, to see if the stairs were up to code or in violation. For example, if the handrail didn’t go all the way down the stairs, or the stairs were too wide and had no handrail.

My child was hurt in school about 2 months ago, he fell off a chair while two boys were fighting and fell on him and broke his nose. Can we do anything against the Board of Ed?

There may be a case against for negligent supervision by the teacher. If the boys were fighting and the teacher failed to intervene, or stop them, or ignored them, she may have failed to prevent the injury. Its not an easy case, as this may have happened in the matter of seconds, but if there is pattern of fights in the class similar to this, or someone was injured before and the violence was not addressed, there may be a case. Don’t forget that the initial notice to the City of New York is due within 90 days of the accident.

My son was on a roof of a friend’s building and tripped over some broken glass there and needed stitches. Who will pay his medical bills we have no insurance.

I am guessing if there is glass on the roof, there are other people accessing the roof other than your son and his friend, and the question is whether there is a lock on the door leading to the roof, or alarm, and if they are broken or out of order. If the lock is not working and people are accessing the roof, super or management should know about it and clean the roof up from debris. Usually, the building has coverage for medical benefits, up to $5,000.00 on their policy, some have more, but you will need to make a claim against the building.

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