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May 2023 Newsletter

Welcome to our May 2023 Newsletter!

Motorcycle Awareness Month – Does Your Lawyer Ride?

The injuries sustained in car accidents can be frustrating and costly. But motorcycle accidents can be far more extreme. Since May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, we will share some safety tips for all motorists. Motorcycles offer far less protection to the operator than a car does, the chance of injury is exponentially greater for motorcyclists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5,579 motorcyclists died in fatal accidents in 2020. Of those 5,579, 27% of the operators were drunk (NHTSA). In 2020, compared to passenger cars, motorcyclists were 4 times for likely to get injured and 28 times more likely to die (NHTSA). Statistically, riding a motorcycle is far more deadly than driving a car.
There are a handful of ways to reduce safety risks for motorcyclists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has several recommendations. First is to use a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant motorcycle helmet. Wearing a helmet that meets all safety standards is important to protecting your head against head injuries if you get into an accident.
Before taking your motorcycle on the road, you must have the proper license. In 2020, 36% of the motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes did not have the proper licensing. Taking a motorcycle safety course can help improve awareness as a rider. You should also perform a safety self-check on your motorcycle. Checking the lights, brakes, signals, tires and tires pressures are crucial. Not every motorcycle is the same. There can be differences in handling and responsiveness, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the motorcycle before taking it on the road.
The NHTSA also has safety recommendations for riding apparel. When riding a motorcycle, your arms and legs should be completely covered. The shoes or boots you wear should also be high enough to cover your ankles. Wearing gloves can provide extra grip, and possibly protect your hands in a crash. Lastly, bright colored clothing can help with visibility on the road.
Motorcyclists should ride defensively and assume that drivers don’t see you. Often times other motorists do not see motorcycles- motorcycles are smaller than cars and can be easy to miss. When riding a motorcycle always follow traffic laws. It’s best to stay on the left side of the lane as well, it’s easier for drivers to see you there. Giving proper distance between motorcycles and other traffic is very important in prevent collisions too, as motorcycles need more time to slow down.
On the road there are precautions motorists can take to improve safety.
Be vigilant! Motorcycles are every where and often appear from places you don’t expect, like your blind spots. Be particularly careful when making left turns. Left turns are deadly for motorcyclists, since the motorcycle is only a small part of your viewpoint when making a turn. Look twice before proceeding. Avoid distractions while driving. checking your cell phone can wait. Many motorcyclists are struck in the rear while stopped because motorists don’t see them until its too late.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact us. Our lawyers ride, does yours? 

Estates Don’t Have To Pay Credit Card Bills, Right?

One of the questions most often asked of us regarding estates is “Am I responsible for my deceased family member’s credit card bills?” Credit card bills do not magically disappear simply because the card holder died.
An executor is responsible for paying all the outstanding debts from the assets of the estate. However, the executor is not personally liable for the debts. In New York State, creditors should be filing their claims within seven months from the date of appointment of the executor. The seven month creditor period does not prevent a claim from being presented after seven months. An executor must act in good faith when resolving estate debts. Executors should review statements and records to ascertain the credit cards held by the decedent. The seven month creditor period is designed to protect an executor who distributes the estate’s assets in good faith before a claim in presented. If, however an executor has reason to know of a credit card debt and fails to resolve it, and then proceeds to distribute the estate because no claim was filed within 7 months, the executor can be subject to personal liability. After an executor is appointed, credit card companies or their collection agencies typically notify the executor that a claim has been filed against the estate. Since credit card debts are last on the statutory estate liability priority list, credit card companies are anxious to resolve their claims. As such, the will negotiate the debt down, sometimes substantially.

In New York, Estates owe the payment of debts in the following order:

1) Funeral expenses;

2) Administration expenses (accountant’s fees, legal fess, appraisals fees and Surrogate’s Court fees);

3) Federal and State taxes in priority order;

4) Judgment Creditors in priority order;

5) Secured Creditors (for example: mortgages, vehicle and co-op loans);

6) Unsecured Debts (credit cards, medical bills)


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