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Car accidents lead to call for changes in New York laws

It is not uncommon for lawmakers and other public officials to call for sweeping changes following a tragedy. Seatbelt laws, school bus stops before crossing railroad tracks and bans on handheld devices while driving are just a few examples of legislation resulting from deadly car accidents. New York mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for more changes in the wake of a recent accident that left two children dead.

While crossing a street with their mother, a 1-year-old and 4-year-old child were run over by a car driven by a woman who claims to have suffered a seizure behind the wheel. The driver, apparently afflicted with multiple sclerosis, allegedly lost consciousness and ran a red light, fatally injuring the children. One step the mayor proposes is to obligate doctors to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles when their patients are diagnosed with such conditions.

Other changes the mayor suggests include adding more red-light cameras in school zones and increasing the fines associated with infractions those cameras catch. Repeat offenders may also face higher insurance premiums, cancelled policies and suspended licenses. Police approve of the mayor's recommendations, but it is the DMV that is responsible for establishing rules for drivers, and insurance companies determine when to cancel a policy.

Car accidents resulting from running red lights, medical conditions or other issues often lead to insurance claims. Drivers may be surprised when such claims are denied for various reasons, and insurers may find themselves facing accusations of acting in bad faith. In such cases, insurance companies are fortunate to have the representation of a skilled New York attorney with experience defending insurers involved in many types of disputes.

Source: New York Post, "De Blasio pushes for stricter traffic laws after tragic crash", Max Jaeger, March 15, 2018

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