Tips for Summer Driving

driving GOOD

Stay safe this summer when taking a road trip and doing any other kind of driving. Here are some summer driving tips:

• Statistics show that distracted driving is involved in 80% of all driving accidents. Keep yourself free of distraction this summer by putting your cell phone away while driving.

• Buckle up! Using your seatbelt is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep you and your family safe.

• Don’t speed! Speeding increases the risk of getting into an accident, which can cause you and/or others to be injured.

• If you are going on a long road trip, make sure that any and all maintenance issues have been taken care of such as a tune-up, oil change, battery check and tire rotations.

• According to federal officials, drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of crashes and highway fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 100,000 crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. Studies show that being awake for 18 hours creates an impairment that is equal to a blood alcohol concentration of .05. When we are awake for a substantial amount of hours, our vision and thoughts become impaired diminishing our awareness. When it comes to fatigue it is wise not to take any chances. Take plenty of breaks and do not push yourself over your limit. If you get tired while driving, pull over and take a nap. It’s that simple.

Beware of Skimming Devices at ATMs

ATMNassau County Executive Edward Mangano is warning people to be cautious when using debit cards at ATM machines. Authorities have seen an increase in people becoming victims of debit card information thefts. Many of these thefts have been committed by criminals who attach skimming devices to ATMs where cards are swiped.

In May, three skimming devices were found attached to gas station pumps at a Gulf gas station in Merrick, Long Island. The devices were found after the gas station’s owner reported several pumps had stopped accepting card transactions.

It is important for people to be on guard and follow these precautions:

• Be aware of anyone behind you that could look over your shoulder to get personal information
• Cover the keypad when entering your PIN
• Examine your bank statements carefully and immediately report any problems or unknown withdrawals to your bank

When using an ATM, it is up to you to protect yourself, your money and your personal identification numbers.

If you believe you may have been a victim of an ATM scam, call 911 immediately.

Authorities advise anyone with information about skimming devices should call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS (8477). All calls are anonymous.

The Commute

commuting to workAn employee will not be covered by worker’s compensation when that employee is going to work or coming from work. The reasoning behind the commute is that an employee is on their own time prior to arriving at work and same upon leaving work. The employer should not be liable for an accident before you have even arrived at your workplace. However, there are exceptions. Commutes can be covered if you are 1) going to a different job site than your usual employment, 2) bringing equipment or tools to your job, 3) considered clocked in when you leave your home for work.

Lunch breaks are a common grey area in compensation. If you clock out for lunch then most likely you will not be covered by comp but there are exceptions. An employee who is not at their normal place of employment and steps out for lunch may be covered by workers’ compensation and if there is any business conducted on the lunch break. While many commute situations will result in no comp coverage, you should contact an attorney so that you know your rights.

Left Turns Are a Killer

left turnData shows more people are struck and killed by drivers making left turns in New York than any other state.

One of the biggest problems with left turns is that the driver making the turn, has a green light at the exact same time the pedestrians have the walk light. However, this is not the only issue. Vehicle A-pillars, which are the front pieces of the car frame that hold the windshield and roof together are a blind spot to the driver, putting pedestrians at risk.

According to WNYC data, 17 pedestrians and 3 bicyclists were fatally struck by vehicles making left turns last year. A recent study from the Department of Transportation found that left turn crashes outnumber right turn crashes 3 to 1.

The reason making a left turn is so complex is because drivers must judge the speed and distance of oncoming cars, battle the glare of headlights, and watch for pedestrians – many of whom are usually distracted by their cell phones.

What can be done to prevent pedestrians from being hit by left turning drivers? Installing barriers to prevent left turns on specific roads could be one way to prevent such accidents. Installing jug handles, rotaries and more left turn arrows on traffic lights would also be beneficial and reduce the amount of left turn pedestrian accidents.

Will My Employer Be Angry If I File a Claim?

workers compensationMost employers understand that accidents happen and this is why they carry workers’ compensation insurance. However, some employers may discourage you from filing a workers’ compensation claim by telling you that you only have 24 hours to file the claim. This is not true. Some employers may even tell you to file the claim with your own health insurance, yet you would be lying. Don’t do it. Tell the truth.

It is expensive to train and hire new employees, so your employer will most likely want you to recover and come back to work as soon as possible. It is important that you keep your employer up-to-date on the status of your health and your return back to work. While your employer is not required to hold your job open while you are out on leave, most employers will bring employees back on board after an injury.

It is against the law to retaliate against an employee for filing a workers’ comp claim. If your employer tries to prevent you from filing a claim, call an experienced workers’ compensation law firm, such as Schwartzapfel Lawyers immediately.

Crane Accident Leaves Several People Injured In Midtown

crane GOODSeveral people were injured on Sunday in Midtown when a massive air conditioning unit, weighing 30,000 pounds fell 28 stories as it was being lifted by a crane.

Ten people are reported to have been hurt, but injuries are not considered to be life-threatening. Of those injured by falling debris were two construction workers, pedestrians walking by and people who were inside passing cars. As emergency crews responded to the accident at 261 Madison Avenue, they rushed the victims to nearby hospitals.

“Although it’s not clear why or how the unit fell, a full investigation will explain what exactly happened. Thank God there were no fatalities and none of the injuries were life- threatening. My thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured and I wish them well soon,” said personal injury attorney Steven Schwartzapfel.

Steven Schwartzapfel Suggests Cracking Down on Contractors and Employers to Ensure Safety Equipment is Given to Workers

More sad news in the construction industry as a construction worker fell to his death from a scaffolding in the Bronx.

The 25 year old was doing work at the Butler Houses when he fell from 15-feet-high and hit his head on the pavement.

Emergency Services rushed the worker to Bronx Lebanon Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Department of Buildings issued a violation against the city-owned building after records showed that a complaint was made about the scaffolding not meeting building safety code standards.

Under New York Labor Law, any elevation difference requires full safety precautions. The Labor Law section 240(1) also imposes strict liability upon the Owner and General Contractor on the job for injuries sustained when working at high elevations.

Section 240(1) states: This statute governs all premises’ owners and contractors, except owners of one- and two-family dwellings. It protects employees from special hazards related to height when engaged in the erection, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning, or pointing of a building or structure.

Attorney Steven Schwartzapfel stated, “My condolences go out to the family and friends of this construction worker. Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. It is important for OSHA to start cracking down on contractors and employers to ensure safety equipment, such as safety harnesses and hardhats are being distributed to workers by their employers.”

Why Hiring an Attorney is Beneficial for your Workers’ Comp Claim

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Every year tens of thousands of New York’s suffer from job-related illnesses or injuries. Most if not all employees in New York are covered by workers’ compensation if they are injured at work. Under the workers’ compensation system, employers must pay for the employee’s medical expenses and lost wages if they get hurt on the job. Even if the employee is at fault for their injuries, they can still collect workers’ compensation. However, collecting workers’ compensation isn’t as easy as it seems as the process can have significant delays. In addition, your benefits can be lost if you don’t file on time. Thus, it is important and beneficial to hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help you through the process.

Schwartzapfel Lawyers has extensive experience with the workers’ compensation system. The website, has a wealth of information to help injured workers with their claim. There are several different types of workers’ compensation benefits that could be awarded to you and Schwartzapfel Lawyers will help get the monies you deserve.

Lane Splitting – Should It Be Legalized In Other States?

Motorcycle lane splitting is legal in california

California is the only state in the U.S. where motorcyclists are allowed to ride between lanes of cars to cut through traffic. Lawmakers are looking to legalize this practice called lane-splitting in other states because it will decrease highway congestion. However, this new approach has set off a debate because traffic safety officials say lane-splitting is unsafe and will create more danger on the roads.

Reports show in 2013 there were 4,668 motorcycle deaths in the U.S., which is a higher total than a decade earlier. Last year a survey by the traffic-safety showed over 60% of automobile drivers said they object to lane-splitting and think that it’s too dangerous, not to mention startling to the driver.

Lane-splitting is controversial in the United States and the question remains whether or not it should become legal in other states.

Let’s face it, lane-splitting may reduce highway congestion, but it is very dangerous to both the motorcyclist and automobile driver. Unexpected vehicle movements such as lane changes may occur with little warning. Buses and tractor-trailers have tremendous blind spots making the cyclist nearly invisible when lane-splitting.

Persuading an adjuster to pay a claim if you were lane-splitting could be very difficult as adjusters may view your actions as negligent because you may have created a dangerous situation for other motorists—particularly considering how difficult it may be to see a rider lane-splitting.

Legalizing lane-splitting in New York and other parts of the country would only allow for more deaths and injuries.

Steven Schwartzapfel Shows Concern After a NJ Worker is Fatally Injured on the Job

Sadly another construction worker was killed on the job when a wall collapsed and fell on him Wednesday.

The 56-year-old man was working on removing a wall from outside a building in preparation for the construction of a garage door when the accident happened. Authorities say a 9-by-12-foot section of the wall fell on him, trapping him beneath cinderblocks.

Police and emergency medical responders performed CPR on the man and he was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, New York, but unfortunately was later pronounced dead.

The worker was employed by Saddle Brook-based Jon’s Construction, which is a sub-contractor for Infante Construction.

Personal Injury Attorney, Steven Schwartzapfel stated, “This is absolutely horrible and my condolences go out to this worker’s family, friends, and construction colleagues on the job site. A thorough investigation by OSHA will show if all proper permits were obtained prior to the start of the work.”