Paul Deep, Esq

This is a continuing discussion of Legal Myths and Realities, because an informed citizen is usually the most successful citizen.

MYTH: When a person gets into a car accident the person who is at fault has to pay for your hospital bills.

REALITY:  New York State has adopted a “No Fault” policy when it comes to a person’s medical bills that are related to the accident.  This only means that it does not matter who caused the accident, when it comes to paying for your medically related expenses.  Your own car insurance will cover at least $50,000.00 in medical bills that are related to the accident, a percentage of lost wages, mileage and even housekeeping expenses if deemed necessary by your treating physician.  Many people increase their policies so that they can have more extensive coverage.  Filing for your benefits timely is very important, the application must be filed within thirty days.

MYTH: A custodial parent may move away from their home county without an order of the court.

REALITY: Unless the parents’ consent, a court order is required to relocate children away from their current home if it would inhibit the non-custodial parent’s regular parenting time.  That becomes one of the bigger issues in these cases as to what will actually impact the non-custodial parent’s contact with their children.  If a parent sees their children on an equal basis, any significant move would have an impact.  However, if a parent is only available to see their children on the weekends, then there may be a larger acceptable distance to move to.  There are several factors for the court to consider in determining if a relocation is in the best interest of the child.  Most notably, each parent’s reasons for seeking or opposing the move, the quality of the relationships between the child and the custodial and noncustodial parents, the impact of the move on the quantity and quality of the child’s future contact with the noncustodial parent, the degree to which the custodial parents and child’s life may be enhanced economically, emotionally and educationally by the move, and the feasibility of preserving the relationship between the noncustodial parent and child through suitable visitation arrangements.

MYTH: A person is not responsible for a tree that falls and causes damage to their neighbor’s property.

REALITY:  This has become increasingly more common with older and dead trees that fall and cause substantial damage to their neighbor’s homes.  If a tree causes damages to another’s property, the landowner of the tree can be held liable for damages.  Many insurance companies now require the landowner to clear, or take down, trees that are susceptible to damaging their homes or the others around them.

Giving attention to Legal Myths is not wrong.  It can be a starting point for developing an interest in the Law.  However, if legal issues are important in your life, for instance, but not limited to, custody of children, money payable for any reason or any other civil or criminal matter, it is wise to consult with a lawyer who can advise you of the truth of the many legal myths.  This discussion is not intended to render legal advice on specific cases or to express an opinion on any specific case or to display any predisposition.

Lockwood Law


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