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New Must Know Info: How Do I Pay A Personal Injury Lawyer in New York?

A new post has been added to our Must Know Info: How Do I Pay A Personal Injury Lawyer in New York?

We discuss why worries about paying for a New York City injury attorney should never hold you back from hiring one. This is because injury lawyers don’t take any payment unless they win a recovery in your case. To learn more, click here.


Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Seat Belt Enforcement Campaign

The governor of the state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, launched the “Buckle Up New York, Click It or Ticket” campaign to enforce and encourage the use of seat belts. According to a statement from the governor’s office, this campaign runs through Nov. 29. During and after this campaign, police officers throughout the state will be checking vehicles to ensure that everyone is wearing their seat belt, especially children in the backseat, who may need to be restrained in car seats.

In 2019, New York police issued 26,432 citations for improper or nonexistent seat belt use. However, the governor’s public statement regarding seat belt use looks on the bright side of that number. Data from the Traffic Safety Management and Research at the University at Albany’s Rockefeller College found that seat belt compliance reached a record high of 94% in 2019. The goal of Gov. Cuomo’s campaign is to reduce the number of citations and car accident-related injuries that could have been prevented by wearing a seat belt.

Gov. Cuomo signed legislation in August that requires every occupant of the vehicle to wear a seat belt, updating and tightening existing legislation. New York police officers are now able to issue citations or tickets to anyone who is not wearing a seat belt. This also applies to restraining children properly in a booster or car safety seat.

The overarching reason for implementing this new update to the seat belt law is to ensure that everyone on New York’s roads is safer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seat belts are crucial to reducing the risk of injury and death in the event of a car accident. In their Policy Impact report from January 2011, the CDC found that seat belts can reduce the chance of sustaining a serious injury by 50%. If you are wearing a seat belt at the time of a crash, the chance of dying in that accident is reduced by 45%. The report outlined overwhelming evidence in support of the widespread enforcement of seat belt wearing for each occupant in a vehicle, as seat belts are shown to save lives.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that of the 37,133 people killed in car accidents in 2017, 2,549 could have been saved if they had properly worn a seat belt. New York’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign hopes to cut this number of deaths to zero.

Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney

Were you injured in a car accident in New York? Even if you were partially at fault, you still may have a right to financial compensation. You should not have to struggle with paying medical bills or the stress of losing income if your injury temporarily puts you out of work.

The New York car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP have decades of collective experience handling cases like yours. Let us do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 for a free case review.


Injury Data Reveals Infrastructure Need for E-Scooter Riders in NY

The uptick in electric scooter riding in New York City has come with a slew of complications, including a rising number of scooter-related injuries. New York City leaders and scooter company officials alike are weighing their options for creating a safer transit environment for these e-scooters. One recent report suggests that the most promising option is to create more third-lane, or bike lane, options for electric scooters.

This report, compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), found that most people who are injured in scooter accidents were riding on a sidewalk at the time of their accident. Their research suggests that scooter riders often do not feel safe enough to share the road with cars, so they opt for using sidewalks when bike lanes are not available. While this may keep scooter riders safe from colliding with vehicles, it puts pedestrians who use sidewalks at a greater risk.

The data show that three out of every five scooter riders who were injured sustained their injuries while riding on a sidewalk. Conversely, only one out of five of the injured riders was hurt while riding in a bike lane. About a quarter of riders who were injured were in a traffic lane with cars when they were injured. These injuries tend to be more serious compared to the bike lane or sidewalk injuries.

Electric scooter injuries can include broken bones, cuts and bruises, and even traumatic brain injuries. This is exacerbated by the fact that many people use electric scooters for fun, not for commuting to work. This means that numerous riders fail to wear helmets while operating the scooter. Some riders have died from their injuries, which necessitated a temporary pause on Revel scooters in the city this summer.

Designing a Safer City for E-Scooters

The IIHS report on scooter injuries reveals a gap in city infrastructure that, until addressed, will continue to cause scooter injuries and even deaths. More scooter riders are using sidewalks because they do not have adequate access to bike lanes, which in turn results in more accidents. This also puts pedestrians at a higher risk of being hit.

Scooter companies such as Link, Bird, and Lime all agree that adding third lanes to city infrastructure would be greatly beneficial to scooter riders. A spokesman for Lime said, “Adding street space for vulnerable road users like scooter riders, cyclists, and pedestrians at the expense of cars is the number one way to make streets safer for all users.”

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a scooter accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you were partly at fault. The New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP have the experience and determination it takes to win the full and fair compensation you deserve. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with an attorney.


Bicycle Helmet Laws in New York

Riding a bicycle in the city is one of the best ways to get around. It’s free, it’s good exercise, and it gives you a close-up look at your surroundings. However, the lack of a protective barrier usually provided by a car necessitates some extra safety precautions.

In New York State, everyone under the age of 14 is required by law to wear a helmet while riding on a bicycle, even as a passenger. Children younger than one year of age are not allowed to ride as passengers on a bicycle. There are no explicit laws requiring adults to wear helmets while riding a bike in New York State, but some counties like Rockland and Erie counties have passed laws requiring anyone riding within the county to wear a helmet.

Even though there is no law specifically requiring adults to wear a helmet while bike riding, a helmet could be the difference between life and death in a serious accident. According to a report from CBS 2, helmets reduce the risk of serious injury in a bicycle accident by up to 85%. Likewise, a report from 2008 found that 91% of bike riders killed in accidents that year were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. There is no state in America that requires adults over the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle, but it’s clearly important to wear one for public safety.  

According to the New York Police Department, 693 cyclists were injured in New York City in September 2020, and six cyclists died. Experts suggest that wearing a helmet could save your life in the event of a collision.

Still, children under the age of 14 are required by state law to wear a helmet any time they are riding on a bike. Parents could be fined up to $50 if their child is riding without one. Helmets can reduce the risk of sustaining a traumatic brain injury by 88% in the event of an accident.

Selecting a Bicycle Helmet

When shopping for a helmet, there are a few factors to take into consideration. The New York Health Department recommends looking for the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) sticker on the helmet. This ensures that the helmet meets safety standards. The helmet should sit on your head evenly and snugly, not tipping forward or backward. There should be about two finger widths distance between the front of the helmet and your eyebrows. Always keep the helmet buckled under your chin while riding.

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a bicycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if you were partly at fault. The New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can build your case and help you win maximum compensation for your injuries. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to schedule your free consultation.


Court Rules That Workers’ Compensation Principles Should Be Applied to At-Home Workers

In a recent decision from New York State’s Third Department of their Appellate Division, workers’ compensation claims from employees working from home must be decided using the long-standing definitions of what constitutes a “short break” or what is “work-related” or personal. The decision came from the recent case, In the Matter of the Claim of Christopher Capraro, Appellant, versus Matrix Absence Management et al., Respondents. Workers’ Compensation Board, Respondent.

In 2016, the claimant, Christopher Capraro, ordered office furniture to use in a home office for his new job. His employer informed Capraro that the company would not reimburse him for the furniture as they had already provided him with the necessary computer equipment for the role. When the unassembled furniture was delivered in boxes on June 13, 2016, Capraro attempted to haul them into his home. In the process, he injured himself. In 2017, Capraro filed for workers’ compensation benefits, claiming the injury sustained in carrying the boxes of furniture caused him to stop working.

The Workers’ Compensation Law Judge assigned to his claim denied it, finding that his injuries did not arise from a sufficiently work-related activity. Capraro appealed the decision to a panel of the Workers’ Compensation Board, which upheld the Law Judge’s decision, despite one board member’s dissent.

Capraro then appealed to the full Workers’ Compensation Board, which upheld the previous decision. Capraro appealed a third time to the New York Appellate Division, Third Department. In a ruling published by the Appellate Division on Oct. 22, 2020, the appeals division determined that the previous denials for workers’ compensation benefits were based on a new, overly strict set of standards.

Home Residence as a Place of Employment

According to the appeals division’s statement, “a ‘regular pattern of work at home’ renders the employee’s residence ‘a place of employment’ as much as any traditional workplace maintained by the employer.” Therefore, Capraro was injured during his regular work shift at his workplace and should be considered for workers’ compensation based on the traditional set of standards.

As a result, the appeals court remitted the decision back to the Workers’ Compensation Board to assess Capraro’s claim using the long-established standard. In remitting the decision back to the Workers’ Compensation Board, the appeals court recommended that the Board accept that a “short break or some similar ‘momentary deviation from the work routine for a customary and accepted purpose’ does not constitute an interruption in employment sufficient to bar a claim for benefits.” Therefore, Capraro did not sufficiently interrupt his work time when moving the boxes.

Contact a New York Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you were injured while working from home, you may be wondering whether you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Our attorneys can help you develop a compelling case and secure the maximum compensation you deserve. Call the New York City workers’ compensation attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to see how much your case might be worth. Our number is (212) 779-0057.


Car Accidents Are a Real Danger for Those with Undiagnosed Focal Epilepsy

For people with undiagnosed focal epilepsy, the possibility of having a subtle seizure while driving is a very real and dangerous one. These seizures could happen at any time and are characterized by intense moments of déjà vu or hallucinations, according to MedPage Today. But because these seizures are not similar to those experienced by other epileptics, those suffering from subtle seizures may not realize they have epilepsy. Because of this, focal epilepsy sometimes takes years to diagnose. Doctors believe that in that gap between the first seizure and diagnosis, the potential for serious car accidents occurring is a danger for the whole community.

Johns Hopkins calls focal epilepsy a brain condition that only affects one half of the brain at a time. It can affect the frontal, temporal, parietal, or occipital lobe. The intensity and consequences of the seizure depend on which lobe exhibits it. However, subtle seizures are not as noticeably and physically disruptive as motor seizures. For people who experience subtle seizures, the time between their first seizure and diagnosis averages to about 600 days. For those who suffer from motor seizures, that gap closes to about 60 days.

Subtle seizures are dangerous because they can affect a person’s ability to operate a moving vehicle. People suffering from focal epilepsy may or may not lose consciousness during one of these seizures. Symptoms of a subtle seizure with impaired awareness are:

  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Being unresponsive to your environment
  • Staring into space
  • Performing repetitive movements such as walking in circles, chewing, swallowing

Symptoms of a subtle seizure without a loss of consciousness include:

  • Involuntarily jerking a body part
  • Experiencing spontaneous tingling, seeing flashing lights, or feeling dizzy
  • Experiencing a change in taste, smell, or sound

Losing consciousness, being unable to respond appropriately and quickly to your surroundings, staring into space, or making movements involuntarily are all dangerous when driving a car. But if a person does not have the other standard hallmarks of epilepsy, it could be mistaken for a number of other illnesses.

Treatment for epilepsy varies depending on the severity of a person’s condition, but doctors will often start by prescribing anticonvulsant medications to reduce the severity of these episodes. It is considered a medical emergency if a seizure lasts more than five minutes. If you stop breathing, have a high fever, experience heat exhaustion, or are pregnant during a seizure, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Contact a New York Injury Attorney

If you were injured in a car accident that was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the New York City car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to see how much your case might be worth. Our number is (212) 779-0057.


Attorney Spotlight: Hillary Nappi

Hach & Rose, LLP attorney Hillary Nappi gives insight into why she became a lawyer and who she is.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

I decided to be an attorney when I was six years old. My parents had gone out to dinner and left me with a babysitter. While they were gone I accidentally broke a lamp and, afraid to get in trouble, I quickly glued it back together. When my parents came home and saw the lamp, which was obviously a mess, they asked me what happened. I lied and spun a story blaming my dog. My parents were not fooled, and I was grounded. I made a list of reasons why I should be let off punishment in a marble notebook and presented it to my parents over dinner. They laughed and told me I was still punished for lying. I hounded them every day for the whole week. Finally, they let me off punishment two days early. For my perseverance they told me that I would probably make a good lawyer. After my dad explained to me what a lawyer was, I decided right then and there that it would be my future.

What practice areas do you focus on?

I work on complex corporate litigation, corporate governance, and sexual abuse and assault cases.

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

I have two cases which mean the world to me. The first case was litigated last year. I represented a 17-year-old high school student in a case involving bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination. My client is gay and when he came out to his classmates he was brutally bullied and harassed. He fought back, and instead of dealing with the bullies, his school suspended him. When he returned to school, he was assaulted on the campus. Again, the school punished him instead of his attackers, and moved to have him expelled. The administration’s response to his sexuality made me realize how many kids are being marginalized every day and how many children need protection. We were able to arrange for him to finish his education with home schooling, and we also settled the case so that he had money to compensate him for his injuries. Most importantly, the outcome of this case gave him the freedom to start his new life, seeking out people and places that would let him feel respected and accepted.

The second case is a Child Victims Act (CVA) case. My client was repeatedly raped and abused by her brother in law when she was a child. When she contacted me, no other firm would take her case. We were successfully able to bring awareness of her allegations to the community she grew up in (and fled). When her case settled, she told me that it was the first day of the rest of her life. She has repeatedly called me a “life-saver.” Though I’m honored that she feels that way, I don’t necessarily think that’s true. However, her case made me feel like a “gladiator in a suit” (a quote from one of my favorite shows, Scandal).

These two cases helped me to realize that even though representing survivors of sexual assault can be incredibly draining, cases like these are why I do it. I helped to change the lives of these two people, and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.

What are you most proud of?

My ability to remain real. I’m honest with my clients; I listen to their stories, offer them sympathy, and never over or underestimate what I can do for them. In my life, my friends and family know that I’m someone they can trust. No matter what happens, I never want to lose that quality.

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies, or a fun fact?

Recently I’ve gotten into cooking! There wasn’t too much else to do during quarantine, so I figured it would be a good time to brush up on my skills. I am now an expert at making fried rice.

What is your favorite quote?

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” by Martin Luther King, Jr. It was my high school yearbook quote and it still resonates with me. It’s the truest thing I’ve ever read.


The Pros and Cons of Self-Driving Trucks

Self-driving cars have been in the headlines for the past few years as companies have begun testing autonomous vehicles. A self-driving vehicle uses sensors, radar, cameras, and GPS systems to navigate the road and other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles around them. Now, those same self-driving car companies are expanding their reach with self-driving trucks. What will this mean for the future of autonomous vehicles and for the safety of everyone else who shares the road?

Right now, as companies like Waymo and Tesla are testing their machines, human drivers sit in the cab as a backup, in case the software malfunctions. But the goal is to put trucks on the road that can change lanes and speed up or slow down without a human operator. Since Google first started testing its driverless trucks in 2011, there have been 20 accidents involving their vehicles. Of those 20 accidents, the self-driving truck was at fault for only one of them.

Will Autonomous Technology Save Lives?

According to the National Safety Council, 38,800 people in the United States lost their lives in car accidents in 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission reported that 4,678 people died in accidents involving large trucks in 2019. Companies developing self-driving vehicles say that their autonomous technology could help save lives. One such company, Embark, said cutting the driver out of the equation will also cut out human errors such as driver fatigue and distracted driving.

Additionally, trucking companies are seeing a shortage of drivers. There is currently a shortage of about 100,000 truck drivers in America, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. As more current drivers retire over the next several years, this number will only increase.

However, there are still plenty of safety concerns when it comes to driverless vehicles sharing the roads with other drivers. In general, Americans do not trust self-driving cars. Nearly 50% of people surveyed by Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) said they “would never get in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle that was self-driving.” There has not been enough testing done yet to convince drivers that automated vehicles are safer than human-operated vehicles.

Moreover, it is generally accepted that semi-trucks are naturally more difficult to operate because of their length and immense weight. If people are wary of human truck drivers on the highway, it may be a long time before we trust a computer to do the job.

Contact a New York City Truck Accident Attorney

If you were injured in an accident involving a self-driving vehicle, contact the New York City truck accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. Our experienced team will navigate the complex legal process that follows an accident of this nature so you can focus on healing. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.


Attorney Spotlight: Halina Radchenko

New York City personal injury attorney Halina Radchenko discusses what inspired her to become a lawyer.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

Well as a kid, I absolutely loved theater and sometimes dreamed of being an actress, but as a child of immigrants there was no way that was going to happen. I came to the U.S. when I was 4 from Kiev. I think the seed of practicing law must have started young, though I didn’t truly realize it until high school. My great grandfather practiced as a criminal defense attorney on behalf of the King of Russia. My grandmother used to tell me stories as a child about his cases, and how much he loved helping people.

I went to James Madison High School, which is the high school that Ruth Bader Ginsburg graduated from. They actually had a courtroom named after her and I think that’s where my love for the law started. In my freshmen year I participated in a mock trial, and after that I was completely hooked. I had found a profession that tied my love of performance – because trying a case in court is definitely a kind of performance! – with a profession that my parents would approve of.

My great grandfather’s influence, coupled with my experiences in high school, are why I chose to become a plaintiff’s side personal injury trial lawyer. It’s a career I’m truly passionate about.

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

I think the most interesting case I ever worked on would be my first municipal liability case. This was really my first foray into a case suing the city, and I didn’t know all of the ins and outs associated with that kind of a case. My client had fallen in a pothole, and she had taken photos of the pothole at the time of the accident. Lo and behold, by 7 AM the next day, the pothole was gone! I thought, well, surely that means the city must have received written notice. But after 2 years of wild goose chase – which took two years! – it turned out they had never been notified. That was when I learned that in New York City, they employ roving repair gangs whose entire purpose is to just wander around the city and fix any potholes that they stumble across. And that was how it happened – the city had never had written notice, the repair gang just came across the pothole. I had no idea this process even existed, and I found out so much about the city and how repairs happen.

I truly thought I’d lose the case, but the night before the trial I had an idea to issue a crazy motion to go back into discovery. It was a last-ditch effort, but it was worth a shot. Somehow it worked, and we were able to settle for $75,000, way more than we ever expected to get. It was an incredibly difficult case, but it was fascinating, and in the end rewarding that I was able to get that amount for my client!

What are you most proud of?

Personally, I’m really proud that I’ve achieved a good balance between my work and my home life. Before I had kids, I was incredibly career focused. After I had my kids, I was determined to be a great mom and an excellent lawyer at the same time, and I knew I’d need to work out a way to accomplish both without sacrificing anything. I’ve completely restructured my work and home life so that I can spend as much time as possible with my kids, while still getting as much time as I need to do my job to the best of my ability. I’m really proud of being able to be a great mom and a great lawyer.

Professionally, I’m very proud and humbled to become the next president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA). During the case that I was describing earlier, my boss at the time suggested that I use NYSTLA as a resource to get some transcripts I needed. That was how I was first introduced to the organization, and over the years I became more and more involved with them. They were a big part of my growth journey as a lawyer. I’m really proud of the work that they do. They work to change legislation that’s unfair and make New York a better place to live. When I was nominated as president-elect this year, I became the youngest president at NYSTLA, and possibly the youngest in the country (each state has their own Trial Lawyers Association).

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies or a fun fact?

I’m a diver! I love to dive, and as a result I’m really big into ocean conservation. If I am ever in the water and see a piece of garbage, I have to grab it. My kids all know the drill. If we’re in the water, we all immediately grab any trash. The strangest piece of trash I ever found was an iPhone in the middle of the ocean.

We like to dive when we travel as well, and one place I really want to dive is Thailand. They have a serious issue with pollution in their waters, and if you want to help them clean their waters, you can actually join a dive team for that purpose. I really want to go with my son so we can join the diving team and collect garbage. It’s a passion of mine.

What is your favorite quote?

“Heaven is a place. A place where nothing, nothing ever happens.” It’s a quote from the song Heaven by the Talking Heads. I love it because it reminds me to live my life to the fullest. Everyone has this abstract concept of what will happen when we die, but in this song, it’s just a bar where they play the same song, the same people are always there, and nothing ever happens. Down here on Earth is where everything happens. So to me, it means live your life to the fullest now, because nothing is better than this.


Attorney Spotlight: Mark Sokoloff

New York City personal injury lawyer Mark Sokoloff talks about his career and background.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

Ralph Nader spoke at my college and really inspired me. He was a civil rights attorney and is well known for his work in consumer protection, environmentalism, and government reform. That, and John F. Kennedy, who said “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

The first firm I worked with when I graduated from law school was a railroad labor firm, and one of the first cases I was involved with was Agent Orange. One of the first clients I worked with was Paul Reutershan.

He came in initially to see if he had a case against the railroad because a commuter had assaulted him. I told him no, the railroad isn’t responsible for that, and I figured that would be the end of the conversation. He says, “Well, while I have you here, can I ask you about something else? I think I got cancer from something called Agent Orange while I was serving as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam.” Right away, I think he’s crazy, what could he be talking about? But I try to be respectful and take notes, even though at this point I think this whole story is ridiculous. I get off the phone with him and tell him I’ll be in touch.

When I started looking into the information he gave me, things made more and more sense, and I became convinced that there was something important here. Other people were looking into it at the time, and they were going to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia to find out more about it. So I talked to the other attorneys at the firm, and we decided to go for it. We filed a complaint, hired experts to support our case, and it ended up going to federal court. The money that we won from the insurance company during that case became the start of the Agent Orange fund.

Unfortunately, Paul died from the cancer he contracted after his time in Vietnam before we won the case. He became the first person to receive a federal disability benefit as a veteran involved with Agent Orange, and he received it posthumously. This whole experience was extremely formative for my career, and it was my first entry into class action lawsuits.

What are you most proud of?

Well, being a part of the filing of Agent Orange is something I’m extremely proud of. I also helped to form the Independent Railway Supervisors Association (IRSA) as the first independent union on a major carrier.

I also have a very well cited second circuit court of appeals case, Bates vs. LIRR, which was one of the first Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) filed against the railroad, and we established that a railroad can’t furlough people with a disability.

Do you have any hidden talents, hobbies or a fun fact?

I actually once opened at The Improv, the comedy club on West 44th Street. It’s a pizza place now but in its day, it was an institution for comedians. I opened for Rodney Dangerfield and Sam Kinison. It was only 6 minutes, and it was a complete blur. I don’t even remember how I did! I guess I couldn’t have been that good since I became a lawyer, not a comedian.

What is your favorite quote?

For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.
Yates


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