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Brooklyn Legal Issues Blog

Some progress seen with New York's Vision Zero plan

Residents in New York City certainly have much to be proud of. Their city is nationally recognized for many reasons and now the effort to not only reduce but to eliminate vehicular deaths on city streets might just be another feather in the big apple's cap. It was five years ago that the Mayor launched what is called Vision Zero, a plan designed to eradicate all deaths in motor vehicle accidents in New York City by the year 2024.

According to a recent report by The New York Times, the plan seems to be working. In 2013, there were 299 vehicular fatalities in the city. By 2017, that number dropped to 222. Now, the story gets even better as 200 deaths were recorded last year. The number of people killed in car accidents in 2018 is actually lower than in any year since the records began being tracked in 1910.

Drunk driver kills designated driver

People in New York should be well aware of the dangers associated with driving a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol or using drugs. So many awareness campaigns have been initiated over the years and there are always additional warnings about this behavior during the holiday season. Unfortunately, some people simply refuse to pay attention to the facts and instead focus on whatever they want to do even if that means drinking and driving. For this reason, there continue to be innocent people injured or killed completely unnecessarily.

One example of this can be seen in a recent crash in neighboring New Jersey in which an impaired driver hit a vehicle being driven by a designated driver according to CBS New York. That responsible designated driver was actually killed by the very irresponsible impaired driver. Other people in the car hit by the impaired driver experienced serious injuries, including head trauma. That person's prognosis is unknown but it may involve long-term brain damage.

Holiday DUI realities

People who live in New York have for many decades now been witness to numerous public awareness and education campaigns about the dangers associated with driving a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. While there is a defined blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent that determines whether or not a person is considered legally intoxicated, the reality is that a person's ability to drive safely may be inhibited even with a BAC below that threshold.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that two out of every three people will at some point be impacted by a drunk driving accident. The chance of this may increase at night as the rate of fatal crashes involving alcohol in 2014 was 34 percent during dark hours versus nine percent during daylight hours.

Call for federal oversight of law enforcement

People who live in New York should be able to trust that their local police officers are looking out for the best interests of citizens and their communities. While this may be true in most situations, there can also be times when law enforcement officers go too far in their efforts to control people or enforce the law. Some officers may even blatantly abuse their position and treat people unfairly and cruelly. 

The problems associated with police brutality and violence can be seen in numerous media reports but also in some data points as well. According to The Washington Post, more than 840 people have died at the hands of police officers in the United States in 2018 alone. Going back to the start of 2015, an estimated 3,800 lives have been cut short in police killings.

What can you do to protect customers in a retail establishment?

You take pride in the thriving retail establishment that you own in New York and you recognize that your customers play an integral role in keeping your business functioning the way you want it to. Part of developing loyal customers is giving them an experience that is superior to the one they could expect to receive at your competitors. When they come to your store, their experience should be safe, helpful and efficient. 

Keeping your customers safe while they are on the premises of your business is a crucial part of maintaining a successful business. If your customers do get injured because you have been reckless or have failed to maintain your establishment, you could be at risk of facing a lawsuit that could ruin your reputation and tarnish your brand. 

What should you do if the police are at your door?

In New York, there has often been concern among citizens about how to react in the presence of law enforcement officers. Knowing your rights is important, but it's equally important to understand what your best options are in any given situation that involves police.

For example, what do you do if the police show up at your door? FindLaw examines the limitations that police must observe when it comes to search and seizure. Despite what one may think, law enforcement is not simply allowed to search anyone's property without any reason. They must have either proof of a crime, evidence within their line of sight that a crime has occurred, or probable cause that they will find this evidence upon searching the premise.

What is negligent entrustment?

A car accident in Brooklyn can result in you having to deal with a mountain of unanticipated expenses. The prospects of being able to successfully manage such costs may seem to go down if the driver that hit you reveals that they were not using their own vehicle. Oftentimes, when one is not in their own car, it signifies that they may lack the purchasing power to buy one. If that is the case, the chances of you recovering any compensation from them may be slim. The next inevitable question then is whether you can hold the vehicle's owner liable? 

You may have heard of the legal concept of negligent entrustment. This principle allows you to assign vicarious liability to a vehicle owner for car accidents and the damage their vehicle causes while being operated by another. This makes sense from the standpoint that people are typically responsible for any damages related to their property. Yet in many states, the law requires an element of knowledge to be present in order to apply negligent entrustment to a case. It must be proven that the driver involved has displayed negligent or incompetent tendencies behind the wheel, and that the vehicle owner knew of such tendencies and allowed them to use the vehicle anyway. 

How can I protect myself when stopped by law enforcement?

If you are stopped by law enforcement in New York, do you know your rights? Do you know what to do to avoid being arrested or ending up in a bad situation? It is imperative that you understand what you must do and what to avoid, so the situation does not escalate. You have many rights under the constitution, but sometimes how you handle your rights can have a big effect on the situation.

According to USA Today, you can always evoke your rights, especially that to stay silent. However, officers may not always respect your rights and could arrest you. It is best if you react in a calm and polite manner whenever interacting with officers. You should also clarify anything an officer says. Ask if he or she is giving you an order. If an officer orders you to do something, then you must comply, but if not, then you have the choice to comply or not if it is in violation of your rights.

How many people die from medical errors?

If you think medical malpractice in New York and the U.S. is an overblown problem promoted by attorneys chasing big settlements, it may surprise you to learn about a recent hospital study led by doctors themselves. According to National Public Radio, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers, led by a resident surgeon, say the result of medical errors is much more significant than previously thought. In fact, they noted mistakes should be listed as the third-highest cause of death in rankings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In analyzing previous studies, the researchers estimate that more than 250,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical mistakes. That places errors in third place on the CDC's annual mortality list, following deaths from cancer and heart disease, which accounted for 600,000 deaths each in 2014. Respiratory disease was responsible for about 150,000 deaths.

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