Reporting Your Buffalo Car Accident

Sep 2015

Drivers in the state of New York have to buy no fault insurance coverage. The maximum amount of money available under no fault coverage is $50,000. No fault coverage pays for medical bills and loss of wages after an accident. If you exceed the $50,000 in basic no fault benefits, you can apply for additional benefits available through auto policies from other household members or other vehicles you occupied. No fault coverage is also called personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.


No fault PIP coverage means you get all of your medical bills covered and some of your wages paid if you have to miss work following a traffic accident, regardless of who caused the collision. If injuries were serious or death occurred and there was another driver to blame, you may be able to pursue a claim against that motorist for damages not covered by PIP. You need to know how to report a car accident and what steps to take after a collision so you can maximize your chances of getting full compensation for crash losses.

How to Report a Car Accident

If you want PIP coverage, you must follow rules set forth in Regulation 68 for reporting a collision. Department of Financial Services explains Regulation 68 requires: “in the event of an accident, written notice setting forth details sufficient to identify the eligible injured person, along with reasonably obtainable information regarding the time, place and circumstances of the accident, shall be given by, or on behalf of, each eligible injured person, to the applicable No-Fault insurer, or any of their authorized agents, as soon as reasonably practicable, but in no event more than 30 days after the date of the accident.”

The only exception to this requirement is if you can provide clear justification, in writing, for why you did not provide this information within 30 days.

The PIP claim must be filed with the insurer covering the car you were an occupant of. If you were involved in a pedestrian collision, you must file with the car that hit you. If you don’t know who hit you or the driver was uninsured, you can sometimes file a PIP claim with the insurance of any member of your household who had PIP coverage.

You should also be sure to get information from the other driver about his insurance, and to get the other driver’s contact details. When you suffered serious injuries, you will need to deal with the other driver’s insurance. The insurance representing the policyholder who caused the accident should pay for economic and non-financial damages. You can recover this money through a negotiated settlement if the insurer accepts fault and is willing to make a settlement offer. If you do not believe the insurer is offering a fair payout, you can file a personal injury claim. If your family member was killed, you can go to court and file a wrongful death claim.

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Buffalo, NY Lawyer James Morris Selected as a Top Attorney in Upstate New York

Aug 2015

Buffalo, NY personal injury lawyer James Morris has been named to the 2015 Upstate New York Super Lawyers Top 50 list, a recognition limited only to a select few legal professionals in the state.

While he has been recognized by Super Lawyers each year since 2007, this marks the first year Morris has been named to the exclusive Top 50 list. He joins the Top 50 as one of the few plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers to receive extremely high point totals during the nomination, research and peer review process. The attorneys in Upstate New York who receive the highest point totals during the Super Lawyers process are further recognized in the Top 50 list.

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to be named to its list.

An attorney in Western New York for more than 25 years, Morris devotes his practice exclusive to personal injury and wrongful death litigation. He handles injury and wrongful death claims involving motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, injuries to children and more.

Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area.

The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law.

Police Could Subpoena Phone Records After Buffalo Rear-End Collisions

Feb 2015

Rear-end accidents are one of the most common types of collisions in Buffalo, Clarence, Williamsville, Amherst and nationwide. After a rear-end accident, determining the crash cause is important in order to determine who should be held legally liable for all losses and damages incurred by victims. In some cases, a driver can be held criminally responsible for causing death or serious injury if he was grossly negligent or was impaired while driving and caused an accident to happen. cell-phone-1254846-m

A personal injury lawyer knows that law enforcement officers will typically conduct a comprehensive investigation into an accident cause, especially if serious injury or death happened. One part of this investigation may involve asking the motorists who were in the crash to provide their cell phone records.

Cell Phone Records Can Shed Light on Rear-End Accident Causes

According to the Claims Journal, a rear-end accident that has made headlines is currently being investigated. The crash involved Olympian athlete and reality television star Bruce Jenner. There were a total of four vehicles in the chain-reaction rear-end crash that left one person dead. Each of the drivers involved in the accident, including Jenner, has been asked to provide their cellular phone records. If any of the drivers is not willing to turn those records over, it is likely that the sheriff’s investigators who have been assigned to determine the cause of the crash will subpoena the records.

The purpose of obtaining the records is to determine if any of the drivers was either talking on the phone during the crash or was involved in texting during the crash. Talking or texting does not automatically mean you are to blame for causing the accident. However, because these behaviors do significantly increase the risk of a collision due to delayed reaction times and impaired judgment, the fact that you were on the phone or texting can be a strong indicator that you may have been at least partly to blame for causing the rear-end or other accident to occur.

Police will look at your call log to determine if you may have been talking on the phone. Cell phone records provide information on the time a call came in or a time the call was made, as well as how long you were on each call. This makes it very easy for police to see whether you were talking at the time of the crash.

It is a little harder to see if you were texting. The problem is that when you are texting, only the delivery time of the text is displayed on the phone records. The time when you are typing or reading does not show up. However, if there were many text messages sent or received at around the time that the accident happened, this could create a strong presumption that you were probably texting at the time of the collision. In rear-end accidents, the rear driver i usually considered at least partly responsible because he has the obligation to make sure he leaves room to stop if the front driver does. Still, phone records could provide more info on whether the front driver may have alone done something wrong that led to the crash occurring.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 800-477-9044 or visit  Serving Buffalo, Rochester, Williamsville, Amherst Cheektowaga and surrounding areas. Attorney advertising.

Could EZ-Pass Help Reduce Buffalo Speeding Collisions?

Feb 2015

Speeding is a top cause of motor vehicle collisions and fatalities in Rochester, Buffalo, Clarence, Amherst and throughout the entire United States. A personal injury lawyer knows that around a third of deadly car accidents in this country involve a motorist who is exceeding the posted speed limit and/or who is driving at a speed that is not safe given the current road and weather conditions.

Speed cameras and ticketing by law enforcement officers are some of the different ways in which lawmakers try to force people to abide by speed limits. Still, drivers continue to go too fast. Now, Fox News reports that there is a new approach being taken to help to deter speeding drivers. This approach involves the use of the popular toll collecting device, EZ Pass.

Could EZ Pass Help Reduce Speeding?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a third of all car accidents since 2003 that have resulted in fatalities have involved drivers who were going too fast. Highways and freeways are the site of approximately 30 percent of all of the deadly accidents in the country in which drivers are speeding. Only small local roads were the site of a higher percentage of speeding-related crashes, with about 38 percent of deaths caused by speeding occurring on these roads.

Preventing collisions on highways and freeways could save thousands of lives each year. In 2012 alone, 1,185 people died on U.S. interstates as a result of excess speed. In total over the course of that same year, there were 10,219 nationwide deaths on all roads due to speeding.

Many drivers traveling on highways and freeways use EZ Pass in order to avoid having to stop their vehicles to pay tolls. The EZ Pass goes in the front window of the vehicle and allows for electronic collection as the driver passes through the toll plaza.

Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland have now teamed up with EZ Pass so that a driver going through the toll plaza is also monitored for his speed. If the motorist is going too fast, he risks consequences. Currently, there is no system in place in which that driver is either ticketed or receives points on his license. Instead, a driver who is detected to be going over-the-limit is in danger of losing the use of his EZ Pass.

In Maryland, for example, a driver who exceeds the posted speed limit of 30 miles-per-hour in toll plazas could lose his EZ Pass for a period of 60 days. The driver will lose the use of the EZ Pass after two incidents in which he travels through the toll plaza at a speed that is at least 12 miles-per-hour over the speed limit.

There are some concerns in these states about privacy and about whether EZ Pass should be involved in speed monitoring. However, if this effort can save lives and reduce the dangers of interstate travel, the programs are likely here to stay and mores states may also move forward in an effort to improve their own road conditions.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 800-477-9044 or visit  Serving Buffalo, Rochester, Williamsville, Amherst Cheektowaga and surrounding areas. Attorney advertising.

Buffalo Teens & Driving Safely in Snow

Dec 2014

While teenagers throughout Williamsville, Clarence, Amherst, Buffalo and surrounding areas may be very eager to get their license and begin driving, parents may be less excited about their son or daughter being behind the wheel. A personal injury lawyer knows that there are significant risks for young drivers on the roads. In fact, as Drive Steady reports, the risk of a motor vehicle collision during a teenagers first year of driving is 10 times the risk faced by a more experienced motorist. In particular, the greatest number of accidents involving teen drivers occur during the first six months of the time when a young person gets his or her license.

Motor vehicle crashes caused by teen drivers remain a primary cause of death and serious injury for young people. There is always a danger when inexperienced drivers get behind the wheel; but the risk is made even worse during the winter months when inclement weather hits. Many teens have never driven in snow or with icy roads and this winter will be their first opportunity to battle these elements as they try to get safely to their destination.

Parents Can Play a Part in Teaching Kids Safe Winter Driving

While drugs and alcohol play a role in causing teen driving accidents, some of the biggest reasons why young people are so collision prone include overconfidence in their driving abilities coupled with inexperience that makes it difficult to respond to hazards. This can be a recipe for disaster during the winter, as young people may think that they can handle snow and ice on the roads and may end up endangering themselves and others as they drive in treacherous conditions.

Brand Connection provides some tips for parents on helping kids learn how to drive safely in order to overcome the dangers associated with their first season of winter driving. Recommendations include:

  • That parents do some winter driving practice with kids. When the weather starts to get bad out, parents should take their kids to an empty parking lot and let their children practice driving in the snow. Kids need to learn how to react to a slide, so parents should have them stop suddenly so the car skids and they have the opportunity to get the vehicle back under control. Young people also need to be taught how to brake safely when the roads are icy.
  • Parents should watch for bad weather and try to restrict driving. When the snow is coming down or there is snow on the ground, teen trips in the car should be limited to the essentials. If possible, kids should not drive at all until after the roads have been cleared.
  • Parents may wish to enroll their kids in winter driving classes. Many schools offer this type of education in order to help young people to avoid collisions.

It is also a good idea for parents to share some basic safety tips, like always putting headlights on during snow storms and never passing a plow that is clearing the roads. As the recent massive Buffalo snow storms showed, it is never too early to teach your kids how to handle snow.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 800-477-9044 or visit  Serving Buffalo, Rochester, Williamsville, Amherst, Cheektowaga and surrounding areas. Attorney advertising.

Rear-View Cameras May Prevent Buffalo Crashes

Parents and relatives of young children need to be extremely careful when backing out of driveways.

As many as 50 young children are run over in a back-over crash every single week in the United States. Around 48 children need to visit an emergency room after being run over, and two children die in these crashes every single week.

A personal injury lawyer knows parents and close relatives are the behind the wheel in a majority of situations where a child is injured or killed in a back-over crash. In fact, according to Kids and Cars, a full 70 percent of back-over accidents resulting in injury or death to children involve a driver who is a parent or who is a close relative.

There are ways for parents to prevent back-over collisions and reduce the risk to their children. One of the best options may involve installing a rear-view camera in a vehicle or purchasing a vehicle that has a rear-view camera already installed in it.

Rear-view cameras can significant improve visibility and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has indicated it require rear-view cameras to be installed in all cars starting in 2016. Until that mandate goes into effect, parents and relatives may wish to purchase a vehicle with a system installed or install an aftermarket system in their vehicles after they have purchased the car.

Rear-View Cameras Reduce the Risk of Crashes for Kids

Rear-view cameras can make a big difference in helping to avoid deadly back-over accidents. In fact, as the Auto Channel reports, a study recently conducted by AAA has revealed rear-view cameras can improve rear visibility in vehicles by as much as 46 percent on average.

For some vehicles, such as hatchback cars, the improvement was even more significant. With a rear-view camera installed, a 75 percent improvement in rear visibility occurred. In vehicles that were smaller, such as sedans, adding a rear-view camera could improve rear visibility by 36 percent.

The greatest improvement in visibility occurred in the 10 feet immediately behind the area where the motor vehicle was driving. This is the area that tends to be the most dangerous spot for kids.

However, even after a rear-view camera has been installed, drivers need to continue to exercise a reasonable degree of care and caution in making sure they do not injure young children or otherwise cause a back-over accident to occur. AAA recommends before getting into the car, drivers do a pre-check to see if there are any obstacles behind the vehicle.

At the time when you are doing the pre-check, you can also wipe off the camera in case there is any snow or debris on it. The visibility of the rear-view camera may be affected by poor weather, so drivers also need to be aware that there is still some risk of a back-over crash.

The average age of a child who is injured or killed in a back-over accident is just 23 months. Drivers need to do their part to keep these vulnerable young people safe from a life changing or life-ending injury.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044 or visit  Serving Buffalo, Rochester, Williamsville, Amherst, Cheektowaga and surrounding areas. Attorney advertising.

Preventing Buffalo Accidents Caused by Intoxicated Teens

Oct 2014

Motor vehicle collisions are a leading cause of death for young drivers. Because of their inexperience, teenagers are also more likely to be involved in collisions than any other age group. Unfortunately, bad decisions by young people can also be a factor in why so many teens and young adults lose their lives in accidents in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and across Western New York.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognizes that teens are frequently encouraged to make poor choices, like driving drunk, as a result of peer pressure. MADD has developed programs to try to use peer pressure to positive effect to help reduce collisions among young drivers. A personal injury lawyer knows that pressure from a peer group can also have a negative affect and increase the risk of a teen deciding to drive drunk.

Parents need to be aware of the impact that a child’s friends can have on whether the young adult uses alcohol and then drinks. As the holiday season approaches and kids attend dances and events, it is imperative that parents know who their children are spending time with to ensure that kids are not learning the wrong lessons when it comes to driving drunk.

Peer Pressure and Teen Drunk Driving

A study published in the National Institute of Health assessed the impact of a teenager’s peer group on driving abilities. Unfortunately, the study revealed that a young person who has friends in the car with him is significantly more likely to become involved in a motor vehicle crash than a teen who is alone in the car. There was no corresponding increase in motor vehicle collision risks among adults who had their peers in the car with them.

The study also demonstrated that less popular teens were generally more susceptible to peer pressure, but that more popular teens were the most likely to consume alcohol as a result of pressure from their friends and peer group. By contrast, if a teenager spent time with friends who disapproved of driving while impaired, the teen was much less likely to drive drunk.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has developed a Power of You(th) program intended to capitalize on the effects of positive peer pressure. MADD shares facts with teens as part of this program. For example, there is an informational booklet available that explains to young people that only 20 percent of teenagers binge drink and only 30 percent of teenagers admitted to having consumed alcohol in the 30 days prior to taking the survey.

As part of the Power of You(th) program, MADD also selects a group of national teen influencers. These are young people whose lives have been touched by alcohol or who have played an instrumental role in organizing events in the community to reduce teen drunk driving. The teen influencers will attend and organize local MADD events designed to help other young people make smart choices when it comes to impaired driving.

Parents, too, need to understand the impact of peer pressure and make sure they know who their kids are spending time with this fall and this holiday season.

Contact a Buffalo accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044 or visit  Representing clients throughout Buffalo and surrounding suburbs including Clarence, Cheektowaga and Williamsville. Attorney advertising.

Protecting Buffalo School Children from Brain Injuries & Other Sporting Injuries

Sep 2014

Playing sports has many health benefits for kids, as youth who participate in athletics learn to maintain a healthy lifestyle and may have a higher self esteem. Kids who participate in sports can also learn important skills like how to lose graciously and how to be a good team player. Unfortunately, despite the myriad benefits associated with participation in school sports, there are also very serious health risks that can occur.

A personal injury lawyer knows that most parents are especially concerned about the risks of head injury that football can cause. However, football is not the only potentially dangerous sport. As WCYB reports, other high risk sports include basketball, cheerleading and soccer.

Head injuries are also not the only risk that kids face when they play sports. It is important for parents, student athletes and school athletic departments to understand the dangers associated with athletic participation. Schools are in the best position to keep student athletes safe in most cases, and schools can be held accountable if kids sustain injuries as a result of negligence or safety lapses.

Preventing Injuries from School Sports

Action News 19 has a list of some key safety tips as kids start back to school and begin participating in sporting events again. For example, to reduce the risk of injury:

  • Kids who will be participating in a team sport should start an exercise program around four to six weeks before the sports season actually begins.
  • Kids should be slowly acclimatized to practicing or playing outdoors. The acclimatization process should occur over the first 10 days to two weeks of practice as they amount of time the kids spend outside is slowly increased.
  • Kids should be given plenty of opportunity to take rest breaks and should consume plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to allow time for a break every 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Kids need to have protective gear whenever they practice or play. Schools need to make sure that the protective gear is in good condition, appropriate for the particular sport and fitted properly to the child athlete.

Following these safety tips can help prevent many injuries that could occur, but kids always remain at risk of head injuries in any contact sport or sport where they could be hit in the head with a ball. Parents and athletic departments need to know the signs of concussion, such as dizziness, sensitivity to light and disorientation. A prompt medical evaluation should take place if there is a concussion suspected and the child should not continue to play sports until cleared by a medical professional.

Unfortunately, once a child has a concussion, the damage cannot be undone. A child is at risk of long-term complications including depression, an increased chance of suicide, and an increased chance of developing dementia. The effects of head injuries are cumulative so the more head injuries a child suffers, the greater the likelihood of long-term complications.

Contact a Buffalo, NY accident attorney at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044 or visit  Attorney advertising.

Rochester and Buffalo Traffic Accidents: School Buses an Autumn Risk

Aug 2014

A fatal collision in Monroe County left 35-school children traumatized recently. According to Time Warner Cable News, a driver ran a stop sign and was hit by the bus in which the children were riding. The driver was killed. Five of the children aboard the bus required medical attention but fortunately none were seriously hurt. Not all children are so lucky when involved in a bus collision.

School buses are reportedly the safest way for children to commute to and from school. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), just one percent of kids who lose their lives in fatal school transportation accidents die involving collisions with school buses.

Still, accidents do happen. An NHTSA Fact Sheet reveals that a total of 1,222 fatal accidents resulted in kids dying while commuting to or from school from 2003 to 2012. In total, 119 of the kids who died were killed in pedestrian accidents involving a school bus and 55 were killed while riding a school bus. If a child is injured or killed when commuting to school, a personal injury lawyer can help parents to pursue a claim for compensation.

Preventing School Bus Accidents

The NHTSA’s website, Kids, the School Bus and You, provides safety tips for drivers to keep kids safe as children commute to school and provides safety tips for kids who take the bus to school.

To prevent accidents, drivers are urged to:

  • Be on the lookout for kids who are walking to school before pulling out of driveways.
  • Watch or signs indicating that you are in a school zone and follow the lower speed limit while looking carefully for kids.
  • Be especially vigilant in looking for kids walking to school in areas where there are no sidewalks for kids to walk on.
  • Follow the legal rules and stop for school buses that have red flashing lights and an extended stop arm. Yellow flashing lights on a school bus mean that it is time for drivers to prepare to stop.

To prevent accidents involving school buses, kids are urged to:

  • Get to the bus stop five minutes or more before the scheduled time of arrival.
  • Stay six feet, or three giant steps, away from the curb while waiting and before boarding the bus.
  • Line up in the direction away from the street while waiting to board the bus.
  • Wait until the bus has stopped completely and the driver has said that it is OK before trying to get on the bus.
  • Use the handrails when getting on and off of the bus to avoid falls.
  • Leave at least 10 feet between you and the bus when you are crossing. Always cross in front of the bus and never get behind the bus.
  • Leave at least 3 large steps, or six feet, between you and the side of the bus.
  • Avoid stooping or bending down to pick up any dropped items unless you have first told the driver that you are going to do so, as bus drivers may not see you if you are bending over.

Parents should remind kids of these best practices for safety in order to reduce the chances that a school bus accident will occur during this school year. If kids and drivers do their part, hopefully children will be able to commute to and from school without a collision occurring.

If you need an injury attorney in Rochester or Buffalo, contact the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044.  Attorney advertising.

Buffalo Driver Safety Around Large Commercial Trucks

Jul 2014

Truck accidents are often deadly because the force and size of the truck can have a devastating impact on a standard passenger vehicle. Truckers need to do their part to operate their vehicles safely and to follow the rules of the road. However, drivers also need to understand the risks that truck accidents present and should do everything possible to avoid becoming an accident victim.

Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that the number of truck accident deaths is on the rise. This is an important wake-up call to motorists to remember to follow safety rules. Those who are hurt or people whose family members are killed in a trucking accident should also consult with a personal injury lawyer for help pursuing a claim for compensation.

Truck Accident Death Rate Rising

The NHTSA data showed that the number of truck accident deaths increased from 2011 to 2012. There were 3,921 people killed in large truck accidents in 2012, which was a four percent increase compared with the number killed in 2011.

Large trucks are defined by the NHTSA as vehicles that have a gross weight rating of 10,000 pounds or more. Trucks meeting this description were in a total of 330,000 accidents over the course of 2012. In total over the course of that year, there were 104,000 people injured in truck collisions in addition to the almost 4,000 deaths.

Truck accidents were most likely to cause fatalities to non-truck occupants. Drivers and passengers in other vehicles accounted for 73 percent of the victims who lose their lives in collisions with large trucks. People who were not in any vehicle at all accounted for 10 percent of the deaths and truckers made up 18 percent of victims.

The number of people who were not vehicle occupants who were killed in truck crashes went down in 2012, but there was a significant increase in both trucker fatalities and in fatalities among occupants of other vehicles. Five percent more people in other vehicles died in 2012 and nine percent more truckers were killed.

Because trucks can be so dangerous and cause such a significant risk of death among people in cars, motorists need to ensure that they are doing everything possible to try to reduce the risk they will become involved in an accident. Geico has provided some tips to drivers to follow related to truck blind spots; truck stopping distances; and passing.

Drivers are urged to remember that trucks have larger blind spots than passenger cars. To tell whether a trucker can see you or not, check if you can see him in the truck’s mirrors. If you cannot, you are in the “no-zone” or blind spot and you are at risk because the trucker is not able to see you.

Drivers should also be sure that they can see the truck’s front in their rear view mirror before pulling over when passing and should avoid ever cutting off a truck because trucks have such large blind spots.

Contact a Buffalo personal injury lawyer at the Law Offices of James Morris at 1-800-477-9044 or visit  Attorney advertising.