Ernest Holzberg & Associates Blog

New York City Personal Injury Lawyers

Ernest Holzberg & Associates FAQ

New York City Personal Injury Lawyers

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

What if you are seriously injured in an auto accident caused by a hit-and-run or uninsured car? If you own a car, you can protect against this possibility through your car insurance policy by purchasing Supplementary Uninsured Motorist coverage (SUM) as part of your auto insurance. SUM coverage lets you seek compensation for injuries by making a claim with your own insurance company. If you and your insurer cannot agree on what is fair compensation, arbitration can be used to decide your SUM claim.

For example: you are a pedestrian crossing the street in the crosswalk with the light in your favor and you are hit by a car which flees the scene. If you suffer a serious injury such as a leg fracture and your car insurance policy has only Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM), then the maximum compensation you could receive is $25,000.00. However, if you had purchased SUM coverage, then the compensation available from your insurance company would be much larger.

This example shows why you should have your insurance agent put SUM coverage in your auto insurance policy, not just UM. The cost for this increased protection in your policy is small.

If you have any questions about SUM coverage, please call me at 212-391-1139 or email me at dh @ holzberglaw.com.


Cameras are Rolling!

You have just been in a car accident, either as a driver or passenger. What should you do first? We all know the answer: call 911 to summon the police and ambulance to the accident scene.

What should you do while you’re waiting for the police? You’re not bleeding, no obvious signs of injury, no bones poking through your skin. You are not sure if you are seriously hurt, but you have heard that often people do not feel pain immediately following a car accident. Should you wait inside or outside of the car?

First of all, consider your own safety. If your car is stopped in a position where an approaching vehicle may not see it in enough time to avoid a collision and you can get out and walk to a safer location off the road, you may want to do that to avoid being hurt in a second accident. Or, if your car is smoking and you think it may catch on fire, you should get out.

After your have evaluated safety issues, consider this:

Assume that the driver or passengers from the other vehicle have cell phones. Assume that someone’s cell phone is filming you. For years, people have been using their cell phone cameras at the scene of accidents to take photographs of the damage to the vehicles or to record license plate numbers. Smart phones also allow a good quality video to be made of the people at the accident scene! So, please do not get out of your car and do a set of jumping jacks just to make sure your leg is not broken.

Contact our Manhattan Injury Attorneys at 1 212-391-1139!

In conclusion, in most cases it is best to wait inside the car for first responders to arrive.


What is ‘Venue’?

In which court will your case be filed? Many people think that your case will be brought in Manhattan, because that is where we have our office. Or, you might think that the choice is made based on where the accident happened. Neither is correct.

As your attorney, one of the important choices we make for you is the court where we file your lawsuit. This is called the “Venue” of your case. New York law requires the case to be “venued” in the county where either the Plaintiff ( the injured party) or the defendant (the person who caused your injury) resides. The venue is important because the value of your case is partly based on what kind of jury would hear your case if it ended up going to trial. Would the jurors be generous or stingy when it comes to deciding the amount of money you should receive for your injury?

Experienced attorneys know that jury verdicts can differ significantly between say, the Bronx or Westchester or Queens. We closely examine all possible venues before deciding which venue will bring the best result for you. For example, some clients may live in Westchester or Nassau County, but if their case can be brought in one of the New York City courts, perhaps based on a defendant’s residence, we would file in the court in the county where the defendant resides.

If you have any questions about Venue, feel free to send me an email or call.

Suzanne Holzberg


New Cases Make It Easier For Injured Recreational Bicyclists To Win Claims

There has been some good news recently for recreational cyclists injured due to negligence in New York State. Several recent court decisions have ruled that the risk of an accident is not automatically assumed by someone who is simply riding his or her bicycle on a paved road.

Generally, the law states that someone who voluntarily participates in a sporting event or athletic activity, like bicycling, assumes the risk of injury and cannot receive money for an injury caused by normally expected conditions or risks. This is called the “doctrine of primary assumption of risk.”

However, the courts are now recognizing a distinction between bicyclists participating in “sporting” versus “leisure” or “recreational” rides. In several recent cases, New York courts allowed lawsuits brought by “leisure/recreational” bicyclists who were injured due to someone else’s negligence. The courts ruled that when it comes to leisure/recreational bicycle riding, the assumption of risk doctrine does not apply.

This new exception to the doctrine of assumption of risk for recreational cyclists is based on the principal that biking on a paved public roadway is similar to other leisure activities such as walking, jogging or roller skating on roadways, and it would not be reasonable to assume that participants in these activities consented to, or assumed the risk of, others’ negligence simply by participating in these activities.

However, if a cyclist was injured during a bicycle race, which would be considered a “sporting” activity, the assumption of risk doctrine would apply because, unlike “leisure/recreational” bicycling, bicycle racing is considered a sporting activity. Also, if a cyclist – whether “sporting” or “leisure/recreational” – is injured on an unpaved dirt path, the doctrine of assumption of the risk would apply since the existence of tree roots or holes is a hazard one might expect to find when riding on an unpaved path.

In more and more decisions, New York courts are beginning to recognize that the assumption of risk defense does not apply when someone is injured while simply riding a bicycle on a paved road (Cotty v. Town of Southampton, 880 N.Y.S.2d 656).

Bicycling is great exercise and can be a safe and economical means of transportation. With the courts now recognizing and expanding the legal rights of riders, it’s time to get on your bikes and ride!

If you have questions about an injury you sustained while cycling, please contact our Manhattan Bike Accident Attorneys at 212-391-1139.