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Most of the time when someone is inquiring about a personal injury case, the first thing they want to know is how much money they’re able to be compensated for as a result of the injury. While it is good to hire a personal injury law firm that has notable case results similar to the incident of the prospective client, the total figure a person will receive can vary drastically based on a number of factors. A number of these factors aren’t known right away either, and can only be summated as the case progresses.

The Types of Financial Losses a Person Can Recover

The eventual goal of a personal injury claim is to compensate you for any and all financial losses that resulted from the injury. Not every type of loss is completely objective, because there are long term effects an injury can cause that go beyond concrete things such as medical bills. To put simply, total losses can be calculated based on two categories, economic losses and non-economic losses. 

Economic Losses

Economic losses are the things you would typically think of that need to be compensated for your injury. This includes medical bills, lost wages and other out of pocket expenses. In most cases your medical bills will be paid for by some form of insurance. However, there are things that insurance companies don’t pay for that are absolutely economic losses. Co-payments, travel expenses, any unreimbursed medical expenses, even modifications that needed to be made at home, are reimbursable through your lawsuit. Also, in some cases you may be required to reimburse your healthcare provider for medical expenses that they have incurred if you receive a settlement.

Also, many people have disability policies that pay them a portion of their salary following an injury. In a car accident lawsuit you are entitled to receive your total lost wages from the defendant. However, you are only going to recover the amount of money for lost wages that you did not fully recover from insurance. If your insurer is entitled to reimbursement from your lawsuit, then you will receive the total amount of lost wages from the defendant. However, you will be required to repay the insurer the portion that they paid to you.

Finally, some injuries are devastating enough where the road to recovery is very long. Even worse, some injuries can have a permanent effect and never fully recover. In these cases, your total compensation will account for future economic needs as a result of the injury. For example, if you cannot return to work you are entitled to life-long lost wages. In such situations an economist may be hired to figure out your future lost wages, with retirement and inflation in mind, so that they can be reimbursed accurately in your lawsuit.

Non-economic Losses

As mentioned earlier, there are factors that are not so concrete in how much is owed. Non-economic losses put a monetary figure on subjective effects of the injury, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and other emotional injuries. As you can imagine, it can often be difficult to put a financial figure on such damages. The way it is usually done is by comparing people that have suffered similar injuries and seeing what juries have awarded them at trial. However, if a settlement cannot be reached then that amount of money is decided by a jury. This can often lead to a wide discrepancy from case to case. Also, like economic losses, non-economic losses can also be permanent. In such cases that will have to be accounted for in the jury’s verdict or in the settlement.

Other Factors That Affect the Total Compensation


The first consideration in formulating the value of a case is liability. Simply put, liability means fault. Who is at fault for the accident? This isn’t always black and white. In New York, we recognize the theory of comparative negligence. That means that to receive compensation for an accident you do not have to establish 100% fault on the opposing party. You can establish any percentage of fault less the 100% and collect for the other party’s proportionate share of fault. So if another party is 50% at fault you can collect 50% of the total value of your damages mentioned earlier.

Once you have calculated both economic and non-economic damages, you simply add them together arriving at a total amount of damages. Once you have a total amount of damages, you multiply it by the opposing party’s total percentage of fault. For example, if your total damages are $1,000,000 and the defendant is 50% at fault you are entitled to $500,000.

Adequate Insurance

At the end of the day, someone has to pay out. The money doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s important to keep in mind that to collect the money you are entitled to, the defendant either must have adequate insurance or have the resources to pay for your damages. If the person is uninsured or under-insured and has no assets, you will not be able to collect the money you are owed. For example, if your total losses equal $1,000,000 but the responsible party is only insured for $25,000, your only way of recovering the difference will be by personally enforcing the judgment you obtain at trial against the responsible party’s assets. 

In my experience as a Personal Injury Attorney, most people do not have assets to pay that type of judgment. Therefore, for most accidents, your recovery will be limited by the other party’s insurance. Unfortunately, this scenario arises from time to time. That is why it’s always important to maintain adequate UM/SUM insurance as previously discussed. I always recommend that you match your UM/SUM limits to your own car insurance liability limits.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.

It seems to be almost commonplace to hear something in the news about an accident caused by texting and driving, in New York and throughout the US. The fact is that texting while operating a vehicle is a major form of “distracted” driving, which is a term used to describe any activity that diverts attention away from driving, which needs to be the primary task at hand and the primary focus. Other examples of distracted driving include talking on the phone, viewing social media, eating or drinking, grooming, loud music, drugs or alcohol and many others. In fact, the distractions caused by texting has been compared to the threat of a driver under the influence of alcohol.

When a driver cannot devote his or her full attention to controlling the car, the result is a safety hazard and an increased risk of a motor vehicle accident. Texting while driving is a particularly scary type of distraction because sending or reading a message takes the eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. To put that in perspective, if a person was moving at 60mph and had their eyes off the road for 5 seconds, they have traveled 440 feet without looking at the road. The distracted driver has traveled a distance farther than a football field without looking at the road.

Texting and Driving Statistics in the US

Nationwide statistics bear out how risky texting while can be, as well as how dangerous it actually is in accidents:

Teens and Texting While Driving

Getting a driver’s license is probably the most anticipated milestone in a teenager’s life, and many parents even look forward to the moment when their children can get behind the wheel. However, the riskiest time period for a teen driver is within the first few months after obtaining their license. The biggest factors for teen drivers include lack of experience, risk taking, and impaired driving. However, driving while distracted by texting is at the top of the list. Peer pressure can play a big factor too, so it is important that parents explain to their children the true dangers of texting and driving.

Here are some age-specific statistics that show the alarming incidence of teens who text while driving.

Resources for Parents

While these statistics are alarming, there are preventative ways parents can improve safety behind the wheel for their teens. Children will naturally imitate their parents, so start them off on the right foot by being a good example behind the wheel yourself. Wear your seatbelt, stick to the speed limit, and most importantly, never look at your phone while driving. Be the motorist you want your young driver to be by eliminating distractions.

It’s also smart to consider a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, that lays out your expectations for your child’s use of the car. A written contract allows you to outline rules and penalties before an accident occurs. Additional resources for parents include AAA’s Keys 2 Drive as well as on the CDC’s site, Parents are the Key to Safe Teen Driving.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.

Driving on Long Island is not always easy. Suffolk County is so diverse that the conditions of the road can vary greatly. You have old New England communities mixed with new developments and construction, resulting in an interesting environment for drivers. You may find windy, hilly roads in the north shore,and  densely populated roads on the south shore. In addition you’ll find narrow highways, potholes, and heavy traffic. Add to that an island full of aggressive New York drivers and you will notice the need to drive defensively to stay safe. Here are the top 5 biggest road hazards when driving in Suffolk County.

Narrow Roads

If you live or drive on the north shore of Long Island, you may encounter some very narrow roads. Some roads in older towns such as Northport or Huntington, are so narrow that two way traffic is barely possible without one car pulling over to make room. The best advice in handling these roads is to drive slowly and be observant. The only time to take your eyes off the road is to check your mirrors. Otherwise pay special attention at intersections and when an oncoming car is approaching.


Potholes are everywhere on Long Island. They seem to appear in great numbers in the winter, are repaired in the summer, and then reemerge on our roads in the winter. Therefore, drivers need to be constantly looking out for them. Not only do potholes damage tires, but they can cause cars to swerve or momentarily lose control. The best thing to do is to try to avoid them at all cost. If you can safely maneuver around a pothole it is in your best interest to do so. Additionally, regardless of whether or not you are able to maneuver around a pothole, you should always slow down if you see one in your lane. Make sure your tires are properly inflated and be careful when driving through puddles as they could hide potholes.

Aggressive Drivers

Aggressive drivers on Long Island are unavoidable. The only thing you can do to protect yourself is to drive defensively. When you encounter an aggressive driver on the road, it is important to stay calm. Staying calm will keep you alert so that you can safely anticipate what the other drivers are trying to do. If an aggressive driver challenges you, just be courteous and let them by. It is better to be safe than to try and teach them a lesson on the road.


Especially in New York, we have a tendency to always feel we are in a rush. Traffic can be so frustrating especially when it is unexpected. The best thing to do is to be patient. Getting upset or trying to make unsafe driving maneuvers is not going to make the traffic go away. It will only increase your chance of getting into an accident; which is a way more inconvenient situation. It’s also important to not let bumper to bumper traffic tempt you into getting distracted on the road. This isn’t a time to try and eat your food or to look at your phone. Staying patient and alert is essential to staying safe during traffic.

Winter Weather

After a certain point in the year, a snowstorm could happen at any given moment. Driving in the snow or on black ice can be extremely dangerous. When the weather is especially bad, we recommend just staying home. If that is not an option, remember to drive as slow and as cautious as possible. Drastically increase your braking distance at intersections and stay a good 5 second distance behind cars. If someone in your family has a car with four-wheel drive, see if you can use that one if you are the only one driving.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.

The holiday season is upon us, and nobody gets as excited about the festivities as the kids. In the midst of all the fun, you want to ensure that your little ones are protected. From the numerous parties to the activities at the mall and the culmination at Christmas, enough emphasis on holiday safety tips cannot be made.

With the rush of shopping and decorating, it is quite easy to overlook the children in the frenzy. Before anything else, we need to take note that a lot of injuries, falls, cuts and children kidnapping takes place over the holidays. Need I remind you the movie Home Alone?

There are various ways that the kids can get hurt over the holidays, and we are going to explore but a couple of ways to be safe. With hands-on tips, the only thing you will have to worry about this holidays is whether you’re Christmas decorations are sufficient or not.

Home Christmas Safety Tips

What is Christmas without the conventional tree, the mistletoe, the decorations and the bubble glass? Herein, however, lies so much risk that to fully be safe, you would need to practice extra caution when decorating.

On a study done by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 1700 injuries reported in over 100 hospitals were Christmas related. Of the 1700, 500 were related to decorations, falling while decorating, electrical failure, choking and fire.

In case of a home fire, measures like using a fire extinguisher can stop its spread.  Raise the alarm- scream out loud if need be. If the fire is not contained, evacuate the house using the nearest possible exit- and resist the urge to go back for your valuables. Drop to the ground where there is a cleaner air and roll on the ground to safety. After crawling out of a room, close the door behind you as it will slow down the spread of the fire.

If your clothes catch fire- stop, drop and roll. Don’t run as you will increase the risk of inhaling carbon monoxide. Should you be notified that there is a fire and you are absent, call 911 and seek immediate evacuation of whoever may be in the house.

The gift of stomach-upset-free holidays

Holidays for many of us are synonymous with food. Our moms and grandmothers take exceptional care, spending hours over the stove and cooking turkeys to perfection. The whole cooking process, right from defrosting to leftovers, is a process synonymous with all kinds of fertile ground for bacteria growth.

Safety When Driving

The holiday season falls in the winter, which makes it a time to be extremely cautious especially if you are using the roads.  Safety when driving during the holidays is important, here are some tips:

<>Check the weather before you leave the house. Instances of black ice on the road should be noted. It is recommended that you get winter wheels for your car ahead of the holidays.

Safety tips for kids over the holiday

With homes filled by guests and a lot of parties, children tend to spend most of their time in the entertainment room because of the fact that they are largely forgotten during the festivities.

A couple of tips to have you winning during this “Oops! I forgot to check my child” season:

If you would like to have access to a complete Christmas Safety Guide please take a look to this resource: KidGuard Parent’s Holiday Guide 2018

We recently talked about car safety features and how they can help you navigate the wintry roads. With winter weather just waiting to cover our roads with snow and black ice, we think it’s important you know what to do if you ever get into a skid. With some help from ArtOfManliness, we’ll be listing 5 different types of skids one could get into while driving, and how you could safely get out of these skids and correct your car’s trajectory.

Losing control of your vehicle can be one of the scariest feelings in the world. Especially if you’re on a highway. It can be extremely easy to lose focus as panic sets in. The very fact that there are different types of skids and each type requires a different maneuver to correct is scary enough. In addition, it’s important to know if your car is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. This could help you understand the type of skid your car might get into and how to get out of it.

Without further ado, here are the 5 different types of skids along with tips on how you could 1) get out of them and 2) prevent them from happening:

The Wheel Spin

Most drivers who’ve driven through snow-covered roads have experienced “The Wheel Spin”. When you accelerate and your tires spin at a speed your car is not traveling at, you’re in a wheel spin. This type of skid can lead to different outcomes depending on whether your car is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. The cause of a wheel spin is simple – accelerating too fast on a slippery or snow-covered road. The tires don’t properly grip the pavement, due to the lack of friction, causing them to spin rapidly. Don’t underestimate this type of skid. It might not be too dangerous if you’re just trying to back out of your driveway. But if it happens while you’re already accelerating, or worse, during a turn or on a steep hill, it could lead to catastrophe.

The solution, however, is relatively simple. Although it’s simple, it can create panic. If it happens to you, the first thing you need to do is remain calm (as with all skids) and remember how to get out of this type of skid. You need to regain traction. Take your foot of the accelerator, and retry accelerating with a much lighter foot. Slowly and cautiously accelerate (*unless this could make the situation more dangerous, ie. if you’re headed down a steep hill) until your tires regain traction. You might have to give this a couple of tries if your wheels are stuck in snow. Prevent ever getting into a Wheel Spin by taking it slow on the road when it’s slippery or covered in snow. 

Wheel Lockup

“Wheel Lockup” occurs when you brake too aggressively/suddenly. Your vehicle could still be in motion, but your tires will stop turning. This presents a dangerous situation if you’re ever stopping abruptly to avoid a collision. Fortunately, “Anti-Lock Braking Systems” (ABS) are now in most cars on the road and are designed to keep your wheels from locking up should you ever brake too aggressively. Check your car’s user manual, or look on the dashboard when you start your car for the ABS symbol, to see if your car has this safety feature installed. If you don’t have the ABS installed in your car, remember that the solution to Wheel Lockup is simple. But Wheel Lockup can prevent you from steering in an emergency situation when you need to steer clear of an object. And you may only have fractions of a second to regain control. If your wheels lock up on you because you’re braking to avoid a collision, remain calm and remember how to get out of it. Pulsate your brakes. Release them and softly/progressively brake again until you feel your wheels turn with your steering wheel toward a safe zone. Repeat this rapidly over and again until you come to a full stop in a safe area (ie. the side of the road).

When we see an accident approaching, it may be instinct to slam on the brakes. But without ABS, this is not always the right move. You’d be surprised at how quickly your car can come to a full stop if you apply the proper amount of pressure to your brakes. If you suddenly slam on the brakes, your wheels will likely lock up. But if you progressively hit the brakes and remain calm in this type of emergency, you may be able to prevent wheel lockup. Remember to keep a very fair amount of distance between you and other cars on the road.


An “Understeer” skid can occur when your car’s front tires lose traction and you’re unable to turn around a corner. This occurs most often when you haven’t slowed down enough before making a turn. If this ever happens to you and your car is front-wheel drive, do not spin the front tires. Additionally, aggressively braking can make this situation more dangerous. Your wheels may lock up and you’ve now lost your ability to steer. Another cause of the Understeer Skid may be a discrepancy of weight between the front and rear of your car. If you’re ever in an Understeer skid, don’t give in to the thought that turning your wheels further in the direction you planned to turn will rectify the situation. It will likely make it worse. Your best bet is to try to regain traction. Jerking your wheels straight and then slowly turning them in the direction you want to go can help your wheels gain traction so you avoid skidding off the road.

Prevent ever getting into an Understeer Skid by slowing down to an appropriate speed before turning. Pay attention to the speed limit signs at exits when you’re on the highway. If the roads are icy, snowy, or slippery, go slower than the recommended speed.

The Oversteer Skid

The “Oversteer Skid” happens when your rear tires lose traction on the road and propels your car into a slide, usually caused by a wheel spin in rear-wheel drive vehicles. It can often occur when you’re going too fast and apply the brakes while turning, which shifts much of the weight off the rear tires and onto the front. The solution to an Oversteer Skid depends on whether you’re driving a rear-wheel drive car or a front-wheel drive car. If you’re driving a rear-wheel drive car, your first step should be to take your foot off the gas. If you’re driving a front-wheel drive car, take your foot off the brakes and gently apply gas. Then, slightly steer into a safe direction. If you jerk your steering wheel too quickly, you won’t gain any traction and thus continue to keep skidding. Progressively turning will help your wheels gain traction.

Prevent ever getting into the Oversteer Skid as you would prevent getting into an Understeer Skid – take it slow. Take it even slower on icy or snowy roads.

The Counterskid (Or Fishtailing)

When you fail to correct an Oversteer Skid, you may end up in a “Counterskid”, or “fishtailing”. Your vehicle’s rear end will skid one way, and then another, like a pendulum. It’ll build momentum with every swing until you can rectify it. A Counterskid can be extremely scary. You must remember to remain calm. If your rear-end keeps fishtailing, you may lose complete control by its third swing.

If you’re in a car with rear-wheel drive, your first step is to take your foot off the gas. If you’re in a car with front-wheel drive, take your foot off the brakes and gently accelerate. With each swing, slightly turn your wheel toward the direction you want to go. Again, if you turn your wheel too far, you won’t gain traction and you’ll continue to skid. So, remain calm, and continue to slightly turn your wheel in the direction your rear-end is fishtailing toward (likely the direction you were heading) until you gain complete traction back and can recover your trajectory.

These suggestions are made by ArtOfManliness and may not always be the best option. It is up to you to know the feel of your car and prevent yourself from ever getting into a skid. The roads will be dangerous when winter weather hits. If you must drive in inclement weather or on icy, snowy roads, take it slow. And keep these suggestions in mind.

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.