Toyota Accidents: Prius – Lexus Recalls | Bronx Personal Injury Attorney


Never before in the history of the automobile has there been a manufacturer’s recall even remotely approaching the 10,000,000 recall notices issued by the Toyota Motor Company.   It is a number that staggers the imagination and, inevitably, will lead to an avalanche of lawsuits.

The lawsuits will probably vary in kind.  Some lawsuits will involve class actions concerning the significant reductions in the resale value of cars affected by the  recall.

The most serious lawsuits will be brought  by those injured in accidents involving  recalled vehicles.

There has even been a report of an individual, involved in a serious accident attributed to him, that resulted in his being imprisoned when his story that there was sudden, unintended acceleration was not believed.  Presumably, if a review of the evidence indicates that a Toyota defect was actually the cause of that accident, there could be a lawsuit based upon the unjust incarceration.

While those whose cars have been recalled undoubtedly suffered enormous inconvenience, it would require a serious injury before a personal injury lawsuit would be entertained  by a Personal Injury Attorney.   Calls to our office from those receiving recall notices and who suffered  no injury, have had to be informed that, barring a serious injury, the costs to our office to bring a lawsuit would outweigh the recovery we could anticipate, even assuming the best of circumstances.

With new evidence becoming public, that relates to the “sudden acceleration” problems of the various Toyota vehicles including Prius and Lexus, the advantage to the injured litigant becomes  more  pronounced.  To those who have not yet had a chance to have their vehicles “repaired”, and even to those who have had their “repairs” completed  pursuant to the recall, any accident, involving both “sudden acceleration” and an injury, should be the subject of a call to a Personal Injury Attorney. ( There is significant basis to believe that Toyota  may not have fully developed a total “fix” for the problems their cars have experienced.).


Motor Vehicle Accidents | Manhattan Personal Injury Attorney


Since  records of the “rate of traffic fatalities” have been kept, 2009 has recorded the lowest rate ever! “Fatality rate” involves the number of traffic fatalities combined with the number of miles traveled.

In just the last year alone, there was an 8.9% in the number of deaths reported:  37,261 in 2008 and 33,963 in 2009.  The “rate” of deaths in 2008 was 1.25 per “100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT); in 2009 it was 1.16 per VMT–again, the lowest ever recorded!

Why the decline? According t the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is due to a combination of factors including the increased  use of seat belts prompted  by national campaigns to promote seat belt use, and campaigns to reduce drunk driving and distracted driving (which involve the use of cell phones for calls and texting). In addition to these items indicated by David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator, we should also look  to the increased presence of collision avoidance devices appearing in automobiles.


Automobile Injuries: Hopeful Signs & Potential Danger | Manhattan Accident Attorney


A recent report by the Insurance Council of Texas indicated a steady seven year decline in Texas in the number of people injured or killed in automobile accidents. The decline is over 20%. The Texas Department of Transportation confirms a drop in five of the last six years. While we have not performed the research to confirm this point, scuttlebutt among the personal injury bar is that the number of automobile cases across the nation have diminished significantly over the past several years. This is reflected in caseloads involving auto accidents, and in the nature of cases appearing on court calendars. It is confirmed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety which indicated that Texas is following a nationwide trend. (“Claims Journal,“ Feb. 10, 2010)

Why is this the case? Simply because the safety features now available in cars assist the vehicle occupants to mitigate injuries when accidents do occur, and also assist a vehicle operator in avoiding an accident from occurring in the first place. Effective seat-belts, front and side airbags and head restraints fall into the mitigation of injury category. Electronic stability control, traction control, ABS brakes, and even forward collision and lane departure warnings fall into the accident avoidance category.

We remind the reader, however, that a major contributor to a potential upsurge in highway accidents lurks in mobile devices, whether handheld or otherwise, as numerous studies have indicated.

On this point, an insurance company recently settled a matter involving the death of two bicyclists in South Carolina for 5 million dollars (unusual in itself in that such a large amount of insurance was available). Why did the company settle on behalf of its inured rather than go to trial?: Their insured had pleaded guilty, criminally, to reckless driving after having been originally charged with “reckless homicide”. A basis for those charges: the driver of the vehicle was on a cell phone at the time of the crash. (Claims Journal, February 10, 2010)

If you have been injured by a driver that was on a handheld device in any manner contact our Manhattan Accident Attorneys office at Orlow Law today.


Distracted Driving Study Called Irresponsible


United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood declared the recent findings of an insurance industry study “irresponsible.”  The conclusion of this study was that laws enacted by several states, banning phone calls and/or texting on hand-held devices, have NOT led to fewer accidents. This result is nothing short of astounding. It directly contradicts other findings and  has become the subject of considerable controversy. This outcome flows from a study of insurance  claims filed both before,  and then following, the enactment of these bans in California, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Six states ban the use of hand-held devices and nineteen states and D.C. limit the ban to texting.

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association limits its position to a ban on texting. It wants more data before deciding on whether to call for a ban on all hand-held devices. On the other hand, the National Safety Council wants to see a total ban on all distracting devices, including hands-free devices!

Should the issue of the use of distracting devices come  up at trial, the potential certainly exists for dueling experts. Nevertheless, to the experienced Personal Injury Attorney, this is not an unusual occurrence and would not, and should not, deter the attorney from  pursuing this item of evidence  to what will hopefully be his client’s advantage.

To read the complete article about the Study CLICK HERE.


Texting While Driving: Update


In a follow up to our posting (January 12, 2010) regarding the Presidential Executive Order banning federal employees from texting while driving government vehicles, the Federal Government has just (January 26th, 2010) banned all texting by drivers of buses and large commercial trucks.

This ban is enforceable by fines of up to $2,750.

The National Safety Council estimates that 200,000 crashes in the U.S. are caused by drivers who are texting. Currently, about 24 states ban texting while driving, and more states are on the way. There is also pending legislation in Congress that would accomplish the same result.


New York State Trooper Killed In The Line Of Duty

Jill Mattice, a six-year veteran of the New York State Troopers was fatally injured in a head on collision with a tractor-trailer on the evening of Wednesday, January 20th. Mattice was pronounced dead on Route 23 where the accident took place.

“Her community was enhanced by her service,” Governor David Paterson said in a written statement. “Her State is humbled by her sacrifice.”

There is an ongoing investigation into the crash. She was the first female to have ever been killed on the job in the state of New York.

Source: New York Daily News


Driving Under The Influence of Cellphone Technology | Driving & Texting


On January 11, 2010 the New York Times, in its “Technology” section, published some interesting, yet disturbing, statistics: 11% of drivers, at any one time, talk on their cell phones while driving (per a federal study); Drivers using cell phones cause 2600 deaths each year (per a Harvard study)*; 570,000 accidents causing minor and major injuries are the result of cell phone usage (Harvard study);

With the growing awareness by Americans of the hazards of cell phone usage in cars, the NYTimes also found (in a NYT/CBS NEWS poll) that 50% of Americans hold the view that texting and driving should be punished at least as harshly as drunk driving.

This attitude is fortified by published studies indicating that drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to have an accident than other drivers.   In fact, the likelihood that someone using a cell phone will crash has been shown to equal that of a driver with a .08 percent blood alcohol level, the level considered “impaired” in many, if not most, states.

While the dangers of cell phones usage, in ALL its forms, is well established (texting, hands free, hand held),

no state has banned the use of cell phones while driving entirely.  The most that has been restricted is the use of hand held devices.  Federal employees are not allowed to text while driving, pursuant to an executive order issued by President Obama.

For the Personal Injury Attorney, the issue of distracted or impaired driving while using a cell phone has become an entirely new area to be investigated in automobile accident cases.  This is also a new area for litigation and discovery.  There will, undoubtedly, be judges across the country that will be reluctant to permit opposing parties access to the cell phone records of their adversaries.  Nevertheless, as knowledge about the horrific hazards cell phone usage poses while driving becomes more widespread, our courts will hopefully expand dramatically their tolerance for the discovery of cell phone records.

Currently, any experienced Personal Injury attorney will make every effort to obtain cell phone records of an opposing party if there is the slightest indication that cell phone usage may have been a contributing cause of the accident involved.

*Transportation Secretary LaHood states the annual death toll from cell phone distraction amounts to 5,800


Another Woman Killed by NYPD Allegedly Drunk Driving

As Reported by the New York Times,

“For the second time in five weeks, a New York City police officer has been arrested on charges of killing a pedestrian while driving drunk, this time in the Bronx, officials said on Friday.

Drana Nikac, 67, was killed.

The scene, Kingsbridge Avenue at West 232nd Street in the Bronx. It was the second recent fatality with a police officer at the wheel.

About 6:30 a.m., the police said, Detective Kevin C. Spellman, 42, a 22-year veteran of the Police Department, was driving south on Kingsbridge Avenue in his government sedan when he struck the woman, identified by relatives as Drana Nikac, 67, as she crossed the avenue near West 232nd Street in Kingsbridge.

Drunk Driving Accidents in New York should not be tolerated, especially by those that are commissioned with the protection of the citizens of New York. This is not only just an incident of Police Misconduct in NYC, this is seemd to be a further sign of a culture that seems accepting of shirking the responsibility to its citizens.  If you have been a victim of police misconduct or a drunk driving accident in New York, make sure to stand up for your rights and make your voice heard.  As citizens we have the responsibility to keep our protectors in check.



It is truly unfortunate whenever those sworn to uphold the laws upon which our society is based proceed to violate those very same laws. It was our founding father, John Adams, who first stated the now often heard truism that the United States is “a nation of laws, not of men”. That regardless of a person’s station in life, the laws apply to each and every individual.
As Mayor Bloomberg says in the accompanying video on a recent post about the NYPD officer who killed the minister’s Daughter crossing the street, it is precisely because of the trust and responsibility we assign to police officers in our society, that they are to be held to an even higher standard than others. To be so very irresponsible as to become intoxicated, and then get behind the wheel of a car, flies directly in the face of the standards we must set for someone who walks among us with a badge and a loaded weapon !


Alleged DWI Accident Kills 11 year old on the Henry Hudson In NYC

As Reported  by

An 11-year-old girl has died after the car she was riding in overturned, and the driver has been charged with driving while intoxicated and vehicular manslaughter.

The accident happened early Sunday on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan.

Police say 31-year-old Carmen Huertas was driving with seven children, including her own daughter, to a sleepover at her Mount Eden home just before 1 a.m. Sunday when she lost control of the car.

The vehicle reportedly veered off road, flipped several times before hitting a tree.

Some girls were thrown from the car from the force of the impact, cops said.

Leandra Rosado, 11, of Chelsea, was taken to Saint Luke’s Hospital in Manhattan, and died there.

The other girls, ages 11 to 14, suffered broken wrists, broken legs, and contusions, according to a hospital spokesman.

Huertas’ 11-year-old daughter broke her wrist, he said.

Another tragedy in New York City involving speeding and children leads to death and unnecessary suffering of a family.  This is further proof that as a parent you must not only be directly responsible for your children but also for the lives of others.  As Car Accident Attorneys in New York City we see such preventable tragedy too often.

Don’t just think about your life, think about the lives of others. Imagine life with out your loved ones before you decide to endanger the lives of others, especially children, by driving recklessly or intoxicated.  One poor choice could be monumental.