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Albany personal injury and criminal defense law blog

Does where you sit in the car impact injuries in a crash?

For years, New York residents, like their counterparts across the country, have probably been under the impression that the best way to avoid auto accident injuries is to sit in the back seat. The back of the car is occupied more often, as older adults who have given up driving are more likely to sit there, as are Uber and Lyft passengers. However, improving technology and new research has demonstrated that the back of the car may not be as safe as it was once thought to be.

According to researchers, seatbelts in the back seat do not have load limiters. This means they cannot loosen up. Therefore, in a frontal car accident, the seatbelt is likely to injure passengers. It can cause spinal, back and abdominal injuries, regardless of the age of the occupant. Better technology is already combatting this problem, as seatbelts can now tighten as the car feels a crash is about to happen or loosen up if the passenger is pressing against it so hard that the belt itself might cause an injury. These new developments have not been translated into the backseat, which is why many experts are recommending older passengers sit in the front instead. This does not mean that passengers should skip wearing a seatbelt, as the dangers of not wearing one severely outweigh the risks of wearing one.

Motorcyclists face TBI risks, but helmets help

The sun is shining, and people are getting their motorcycles out of storage for the summer. While getting on your bike and hitting the open road is a great way to enjoy the weather, motorcycling can be dangerous. On average, 150 people die in New York motorcycle accidents each year and there are over 1,500 injuries.

Injuries sustained during motorcycle crashes can be severe, and some of the worst include traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). But luckily, study after study has shown that you can decrease the likelihood of suffering a TBI by wearing a helmet.

Auto insurance and medical bills don’t always match up

In New York, you need auto insurance to drive legally. This might lead you to think that the guilty driver’s insurance would cover your bills if you got into an accident, but the numbers don’t always support that assumption.

New York law says that drivers need insurance worth $25,000 for body injury. It also demands that you carry $50,000 coverage for accidents that injure two or more people. But these amounts fall well below the average cost of hospitalization. According to the New York Department of Health, Albany County drivers sent to the hospital faced an average medical bill of $74,092.

What is my constitutional right to privacy?

There is a common misconception that when an Albany resident sees a policeman or woman knocking on the door, he or she should open it and allow them to come inside the house to search it. This is not the case-police officers either need a warrant to enter and search private property or should seek and receive consent. It is important to understand that giving consent is not essential and without it, evidence seized from a warrantless search is most likely going to be inadmissible in court.

The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to privacy and the freedom from unreasonable governmental intrusions. The Fourth Amendment protects against those searches and seizures that are unreasonable under the law. Therefore, it is important to know what circumstances can be considered reasonable and what constitutes a violation of one's fundamental rights. Without this understanding, evidence that could otherwise be excluded might end up making it to trial.

What defenses are available against drug charges?

While it may seem like drug possession charges are final and cannot be challenged, this is not always the case. Albany residents who are facing criminal charges should know that they have legal defenses available to them and an experienced attorney can help them prepare an aggressive defense to protect their rights.

Defendants have the constitutional right to due process of law, which means that searches and seizures preceding an arrest should be lawful. While drugs found in plain sight can be used as evidence after a legal traffic stop, items found after prying open the car's trunk when permission is not given can violate someone's constitutional rights. This is perhaps one of the most common drug charges defense strategy that can be used.

Breathalyzer test results not always a sign of intoxication

When someone has been arrested for drunk driving, the evidence may seem incontrovertible at first. After all, the breathalyzer test has been around for decades. It is an easy and reliable way to measure a person’s blood-alcohol concentration. Following arrest, the suspect is typically asked to also take a blood test to confirm the results.

But upon careful scrutiny, seemingly ironclad evidence doesn’t always hold up. One recent case demonstrates that even if you haven’t been drinking, certain diets and medical conditions can fool a breathalyzer device into thinking you are over the legal limit.

Every driver should take steps to avoid underriding crashes

When a semi-trailer and a passenger vehicle collide, the occupants of the passenger vehicle are usually more vulnerable than the truck driver. Occupants of passenger vehicles usually receive severe injuries in semi-trailer crashes, if they survive at all.

The occupants of passenger vehicles are so vulnerable in crashes involving semi-trailers because semi-trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times more than passenger vehicles weigh and are positioned higher off the ground that passenger vehicles are. This higher ground clearance can be especially hazardous because it allows for a particularly catastrophic type of crash called underriding.

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