Designating Drivers and Other Ways to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents
Warmer weather is here and more people are taking to the road. That fact alone increases the risk for car accidents.
Warmer weather also means teenagers who have gotten their driver’s licenses are on the road, practicing their driving. Lack of experience increases accident risks for teen drivers and so does the presence of more bicycles, pedestrians and traffic in general.
What About Underage Drinking and Driving?
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) reports the following statistics about underage drinking, and the facts are rather alarming:
- Teens riding with an underage drinking driver are involved in 25% of car crashes
- Out of the 14 million people who are dependent on alcohol, 95% of them began drinking before they reached 21
- Teenagers who drink when young are seven times more at risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash.
- Over 40% of all 10th graders drink alcohol
However, teenagers are not the age group that has the highest rate of drunk drivers. Drivers between the ages of 26 and 29 have the highest rate of drunk driving incidents (20.7 percent).
What Are Some Practical Ways to Avoid Drunk Driving?
Ways to avoid riding with a drunk driver include:
- Assign a designated driver who is not drinking
- Arrange other transportation (Uber, Lyft or taxi)
- Take your friends keys away from then if they have been drinking
- Offer your guests at parties other alternatives to alcohol (water, soda, etc.)
- Serve food along with alcoholic beverages
- Do not serve alcohol to minors
- Drive defensively and avoid indicators of drunk drivers (weaving or drifting, wide turns, extremely slow speeds, etc.)
Seek Legal Help if Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident
If you are seriously injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. You would have the right to recover damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, future lost income and other related damages.
How Does the “Scaffolding Law” Protect New York Workers?
Falls from heights during construction work often involve falls ladders or scaffolds. However, the differences in falls can be substantial. Workers on ladders may be feet from the ground, whereas workers on scaffolds could be many stories off the ground.
This type of work at heights is so dangerous that the State of New York passed a law, called Labor Law 240, to offer extra protection to laborers, who do construction work at heights.
Labor Law 240 has additional safety regulations that apply when scaffolding or staging is more than 20 feet off the ground or floor. Scaffolds or staging at these heights require safety rails. The scaffolding or staging also must be fastened to prevent it from swaying. Scaffolding should be sturdy enough to bear four times the weight that is placed on it, when in use.
Equipment that Labor Law 240 Requires for Safety Protection
By law, all contractors, owners and their agents (except owners of one and two-family dwellings) involved with construction or building maintenance work must furnish or erect equipment to give laborers proper protection. Equipment includes:
- Other protective devices
What Types of Work Does the Scaffold Law Cover?
The Scaffold Law protects workers doing the following work involved with buildings and structures:
Are Many Workers at Risk for Scaffolding Injuries?
OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) estimates that 65 percent of construction workers in the U.S. work on scaffolds. Close to three quarters of scaffold accidents resulted from the following:
- Planking or support gave way
- Employee slipped and fell
- A falling object struck the employee
Falls from heights can create a crippling injury. Any worker who sustains an injury of this type should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for help with recovering compensation. For more information, see our Ladder and Scaffold Accidents page.
What Legal Requirements Exist for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death is a legal term that indicates a party’s unlawful actions caused a death to occur. Obviously, not every death is a wrongful death. What makes a death wrongful in the eyes of New York State law?
What Elements Are Necessary for a NY Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To bring a wrongful death case in New York, the following elements are necessary:
- An individual died (New York State law does not recognize a fetus that dies before birth as an individual, even if a wrongful act killed the fetus)
- The person died as a result of another’s wrongful act, neglect or failure to fulfill a legal obligation
- If the person had lived, he or she would have been able to take legal action against the person who was responsible for the harm
- The person who died must be survived by one or more persons who suffered loss as a result of the death
- Damages exist that can be recovered by the estate
- The court has assigned a personal representative, and that person is the only one who can file the lawsuit on behalf of the surviving beneficiaries (exception below)
- When a personal representatives refuses to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family may have an administrator appointed to prosecute the wrongful death on their behalf
If a criminal action was brought against the same defendant with regards to the wrongful death, the personal representative has at least one year from the termination of the criminal action to file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the two year statute of limitations has expired or if there is less than a year remaining before the statue would expire.
(Reference: New York Estates Powers and Trusts Law, Article 5, Part 4 Rights of Members of Family Resulting from Wrongful Act, Neglect or Default Causing Death of Decedent)
At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to talk about wrongful death and determine whether grounds exist to pursue a lawsuit.