Thursday, August 18, 2011

Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance

By: Sara Wallitt, Esq. - Attorney at The Law Offices of William Mattar

Imagine that you are a passenger in your spouse’s vehicle and your spouse runs a red light, causing an accident.  You suffer very serious injuries in this collision.  Under many standard insurance policies in New York State, a spouse is not permitted to make a claim against their spouse’s policy.  Unless Supplemental Coverage was obtained, a recovery may not be obtainable for the bodily injuries sustained in the accident.

It is therefore important that you and your spouse consider obtaining Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance through your auto policy.  Many insurance companies will not automatically provide this coverage, but they are required to offer you the opportunity to purchase it if you wish.  The cost is rather minimal and, in my opinion, is well worth it, as it will enable you to recover if you are injured in an accident for which your spouse is at fault.  After all, who are you in the car with more often than your spouse?

I suggest that you review your automobile insurance policy to determine if you have already purchased Supplemental Spousal Liability Insurance.  If you have not, I recommend that you contact your insurance agent and add this very important coverage to your policy.

The lawyers at William Mattar Law Offices are willing to review your car insurance policy with you to provide an overview of your policy.  This way you will have a starting point for questions to ask your insurance agent.  Give us a call at 444-4444.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What is a “serious injury” and how is it relevant to my car accident case?

By:  Jaclyn S. Wanemaker, Esq. - Attorney at The Law Offices of William Mattar

A person injured in a car accident must satisfy at least one of the below categories of “serious injury” to successfully bring a claim for injuries in New York.  The term “serious injury” is defined by New York State Insurance Law Section 5102 (d) as a personal injury that results in:

- death;
- dismemberment;
- significant disfigurement;
- a fracture;
- loss of fetus;
- permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system;
- permanent consequential limitation of use of body organ or member;
- significant limitation of use of a body function or system; or
- a medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

As you’ll see, the first few categories are more objective, whereas the latter are more subjective and leave room for interpretation.  Courts interpret the categories of “serious injury” and report their decisions in what is known as case law.  Case law is continuously changing as new decisions are reported by the Courts.  Attorneys who handle car accident cases should be familiar with recent decisions and can perform legal research to find case law applicable to your situation.

If you would like to consult with one of the attorneys at the Law Office of William Mattar, please call us at (716) 444-4444 or visit

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Ithaca is Gorges"... And Affordable According to AARP

Whether you're from Western NY, Central NY, Upstate NY, the City; us New Yorkers know what a great state we live in.  Residents should be proud of its beauty and historic elements.  From the bright lights of NYC to the gorgeous Finger Lakes region, New York is definitely something to brag about.

Ithaca, tucked neatly into the Finger Lakes region, is well-known for its beautiful landscape.  Along with being a breathtaking area, its cost of living is also very reasonable.  Check out the article below from AARP, naming Ithaca as one of the top 10 Most Affordable Places to Retire!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heat Wave Continues in WNY and Many Other Areas

In this blistering heat, there is more to be concerned about than just feeling uncomfortable.  People, and animals, can fall victim to heat stroke due to rising temperatures.

Take a look at this article below from MSNBC that talks about recent weather activity on the East Coast and in the Midwest parts of the U.S.  Be sure to keep hydrated and stay safe!

(Click this link to see the article online along with photos of the heat wave  -

East Coast A.M. Commute in the 90's; Triple Digits Coming 

'It's not just about discomfort' but 'survival,' says health expert; 29 states under heat alert staff and news service reports 

It felt like 96 in Boston, and that was just during the morning commute, as the East Coast braced for searing triple-digit temperatures later Friday.

The National Weather Service issued excessive heat warnings and advisories for 29 states in the country's mid-section and along the East Coast.

The heat has roasted communities across the Midwest for nearly a week. Already responsible for at least 22 deaths, the heat wave moved east on Thursday.

Meteorologists also warned of poor air quality in numerous cities in the northeast, with a code red air quality — designated as unhealthy for all people — forecast for Baltimore and Washington, D.C., according to the Weather Channel's Mark Avery.

"In this heat, it's not just about discomfort," Latoya White, executive director of Health Leads, a program run out of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., told The Washington Post.

She told the paper that for many people it's about "survival."

The unrelenting heat prompted power provider Consolidated Edison to reduce voltage in some New York neighborhoods overnight, a so-called brownout. 

The company said increased use of air conditioners could push power usage to an all-time record on Friday, although Con Ed and other power companies said they had enough electricity to meet demand.
The thermometer during Boston's morning commute hit 88 degrees, with a heat index of 96 degrees, and the mercury was expected to climb relentlessly through the day. 

"It only gets worse from here," said meteorologist Alan Dunham with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Mass. 

"We're looking at a high air temperature of about 102 with a heat index value up to 108," he said of the Boston area. 

New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and other major East Coast metropolises likewise faced stifling heat and should expect to come close to or surpass record highs, according to 

Boston's forecast was expected to fall just two degrees shy of its highest temperature on record, 104 degrees set in 1911. 

"Today in the Midwest and the Northeast, it's not only record heat, but the humidity is unusually high as well. It's kind of a double-whammy," said senior meteorologist Tom Kines.
Cities up and down the East Coast opened cooling centers and extended public pool hours to offer residents some relief. 

On top of the heat, areas of southern coastal New England were warned about unhealthy air quality due to high levels of smog. 

By the weekend, most of New England will cool off, but the Mid-Atlantic is expected to stay "hot and miserable" through early next week, Kines said. 

In parts of the Midwest and in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, the heat will also linger, he added.
The combined heat and humidity could spike the heat index or "real feel" of the warmth to 115 degrees through Saturday.

By early Thursday afternoon in New York City, the thermometer hit 91 but it felt more like 112, according to

According to the Weather Channel, these searing temperatures in the Big Apple are rare: Central Park has only registered 57 days of triple-digit heat since 1870. The city of Rochester, N.Y., was bracing for its first day of heat of more than 100 degrees since 1953, the Weather Channel said.

Other cities watching their local heat indexes rise into the triple digits because of the oppressive mix of high temperatures and humidity included — among others — Tulsa, St. Louis, Buffalo, and Washington, D.C.

In Chicago, where a five-day heat wave in 1995 killed hundreds, the city on Thursday endured a fifth consecutive day of abnormally high temperatures with the heat index hitting 110 in the early afternoon — and forecasters warned the heat wave could continue into the weekend.

Unhealthy smog levels triggered by the heat were reported in Chicago, where residents were asked by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to reduce polluting activities such as idling cars and mowing lawns.

Cattle 'starving'

In Oklahoma, where the heat has exacerbated a severe drought, Gov. Mary Fallin said she planned to ease commercial vehicle restrictions to speed delivery of hay and other feed to cattle whose grazing areas have been destroyed by the weather.

"We have cattle that are starving," Fallin told Reuters, "and we have certain areas of the state where we need to get the hay delivered to the farmers and the ranchers and the cattlemen."

With the promise of refreshing ocean breezes, Boston's whale-watching ships and high speed tourist boats sold out their trips by mid-morning on Thursday.

Cooling centers in Richmond, Va., and New York welcomed overheated residents and a truck labeled "Water Fountain on the Go" cruised Manhattan streets, offering to refill empty water bottles to keep residents hydrated.

By the weekend the heat was expected to cover nearly 50 percent of the country and impact nearly half the population, according to forecaster Mary Yoon.

"What makes this heat wave so impressive is the pure size and longevity," said Yoon.

Longstanding records in Philadelphia and other cities may melt away by Friday, when the mercury was expected to spike, according to meteorologist Meghan Evans of

"Do not take this threat lightly," the NWS warned in a statement on its website, noting the extreme temperatures are particularly dangerous for the elderly and the very young.

"The length of this heat wave will pose a very real and dangerous health risk to these at-risk groups and those that do not have access to air conditioning," the statement said.

Most of the 22 deaths linked to the high temperatures have occurred in the Midwest.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Each Summer Children Die in Hot Cars

Humid WNY summers can be brutal, and with today being one of the hottest days of the year, it's a good time to read about car safety.  Focusing specifically on the temperature of the interior of your car and making sure NO children, pets, or others are ever left unattended in the blistering heat.

The below article from ABC News talks about how many children have died in 2011 after becoming trapped in a hot car, and also gives helpful safety and prevention tips.  One of the most important tips being "if you see an unattended child in a car, dial 911 IMMEDIATELY."

Please take a moment to read the below article and remember to always practice safety in your everyday lives.

There are heat advisories in big chunks of the country this week thanks to triple digit temperatures a good time for a reminder that at least 20 children have already died after becoming trapped in hot cars this year. Three of those recent deaths were somewhere that can be completely preventable: the trunk of the car.

Oklahoma, last week. An 8-year-old boy is exploring the 1998 Chevy Cavalier his parents just bought, when he gets stuck in the trunk and dies in the heat.

"They don't know the dangers of it -- being in a closed vehicle," said Sondra Lockyer, the boy's aunt.
Indiana, last month. Two brothers climb into the trunk of their mom's 2000 Chevrolet Malibu and also die.

"I have a problem with that," said Janette Fennel of the advocacy group Kids and Cars.
Fennel feels ill every time she hears about a new case.

"I felt, why didn't I push harder? Why didn't I just absolutely not stop?" said Fennel.
Kids and Cars has repeatedly called on General Motors to recall its older vehicles and install trunk safety releases that allow people inside to escape.

Starting in 2002, all cars were required to have a glow-in-the-dark safety release inside the trunk. You just pull the latch, and the trunk opens.

Fennel says no one has ever died in the trunk of a newer vehicle that has a safety release.
"Those children, I feel very certain, would be alive today if there had been a trunk release in that vehicle."

GM makes more cars than any other company, so accidents are bound to happen in its vehicles. In a statement, GM put the responsibility back on parents, saying it has " alert parents and caregivers to the dangers of leaving children unattended in or around vehicles." We asked if GM plans to issue a recall, and the answer was 'No.'

If your vehicle was built before 2002, chances are there is no easy way to escape from inside the trunk. But in this economy, we want to make our cars last. So here are some safety tips:

Teach kids that cars are not toys and don't let them play in or around them.

Keep your car locked, even when it's parked at home in your garage or driveway.
Some cars have a switch in the trunk that allows you to turn off the remote function, so your trunk will only open with a key, which is much harder for small children to maneuver.

Some people get an extra keyless remote and keep it in their trunk.
You can buy a trunk safety release retrofit kit for $10 from Kids and Cars. Click here for more information.

Leaving children in the passenger compartment of the car is another tragic occurrence every summer. Here's prevention advice offered by Safe Kids:

If you see an unattended child in a car, dial 911 immediately.
Never leave a baby unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.
Place something that you will need at your next stop - for example, a purse, lunch, gym bag or briefcase - on the floor of the backseat where the child is sitting. This simple act could prevent you from accidentally forgetting your child if he or she is sleeping.
Be especially careful if you change your routine for dropping off babies at child care. Have a plan that if your child is late for child care, you will be called within a few minutes.
Watch children closely around vehicles, particularly when loading and unloading. Check to ensure all children leave the vehicle when you reach your destination. Do not overlook sleeping babies.

After the June deaths of two Indiana boys, General Motors provided the following statement to Good Morning America:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Indiana boys' family and we are deeply saddened by their loss.
Keeping children safe in and around vehicles is a priority for General Motors. For more than 15 years, we have worked with Safe Kids Worldwide to provide vital child passenger safety information to parents and caregivers in communities across the country. One important part of these efforts is to alert parents and caregivers to the dangers of leaving children unattended in or around vehicles. Increasing awareness and education is critical since millions of vehicles of varying makes and models without trunk latches are still in the marketplace. Since 2001, interior trunk releases have been provided standard in all GM passenger vehicles with trunks.

As always, we encourage parents and caregivers to visit for tips on how to help keep kids safe in the warm weather months and throughout the year."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rochester Tops List of 10 Most Affordable Places to Live

Check out the below blurb from MSN that talks about how Rochester, NY landed in the number one spot on a list of the 10 Most Livable Bargain Markets.  Click here to check out what other cities made the cut!

1. Rochester, N.Y.

Rochester provides a lot of bang for your buck. It has big-city culture, a highly educated population, picturesque scenery, affordable housing and an expanding high-tech job base.

The city of Rochester anchors a 90-mile stretch of Lake Ontario shoreline, which serves as its northern border. Affluent suburbs Pittsford to the south and Webster along the shore are populated with workers from companies such as Kodak, Bausch & Lomb and Xerox.

Although it lost many jobs to the Sunbelt in the past few decades, it has now diversified its economy and is adding jobs in health care, food and beverage manufacturing and technology, including alternative energy, as well as in higher education.

"It's not any one thing growing the economy now; it's all of these things," says Mark Peterson, CEO of the Greater Rochester Enterprise, an economic-development organization.

Indeed, the Brooking Institution's MetroMonitor ranked Rochester among the 10 strongest performing metros in the recovery.

Small to midsize technology firms are locating here in part because of the universities, including the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, which provide a highly educated work force.

And there is increasingly more for graduates to do, with the city pouring $1 billion into revitalizing its downtown in the next three years.

There's also the Finger Lakes to the south of Rochester for recreation and wine tasting, and trails for hikers and bikers, including the towpath of the Erie Canal.

It has some of the cleanest air in the country, and a high concentration of physicians and specialists, thanks to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

There's likely no road-rage epidemic here, as commutes are blissfully short, compared to other cities.
"I have a 12-minute commute to my downtown office," Peterson says. "You can work a full day here and still make it home for the soccer game and home for dinner."

Cons: High state income and property taxes, an aging population in some suburbs and cold winters.
  • Population: 1.02 million
  • Affordability index: 2.2
  • Unemployment: 7.72%
  • Job growth: -0.9%
  • Median home price: $115,700
  • Cost-of-living index: 90.8
  • Median household income: $52,600
  • Average commute time: 22.8 minutes
  • Commutes longer than an hour: 3.27%

Thursday, June 23, 2011

UNYTS Donate Life Blood Drive Next Thursday!

William Mattar Law Offices is participating in the UNYTS Donate Life Challenge!  On Thursday, June 30th our office will be hosing a blood drive benefiting the Rotary Club of Williamsville.  Stop by our principal office at 6720 Main Street in Williamsville to donate blood.  The UNYTS Donate Life Express truck will be parked at our building from 10am until 2pm.

Check out the poster below for all the details!


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