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When the essential become infected or otherwise injured, what rights do they have?

by: Anthony Hirschberger

Effective 8:00 p.m. on March 22nd, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered all “non-essential” business owners to effectively close their business and ask all workers to stay home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

On the list of “essential” workers who must continue to show up at work and bravely protect New Yorkers are members of the NYPD (cops) and FDNY (firemen). Not only are these brave individuals continuing to put themselves at risk for all of the normal dangers they face in normal times, but they are also putting themselves and their loved ones at risk of contracting the serious and potentially deadly coronavirus.

Luckily, the Legislature enacted special statutory causes of action for firefighters and police officers:

  • General Municipal Law § 205-a for firefighters
  • General Municipal Law § 205-e for police officers

Unlike the common law cause of action, recovery under G.M.L §§ 205-a and 205-e is neither subject to nor circumscribed by the Firefighter’s Rule. In fact, comparative negligence is not a defense in such action. And, to recover, an injured worker must only show a reasonable connection between a violation of the law and an injury. This is a significantly relaxed standard from regular lawsuits that require the plaintiff to show that a violation was a “substantial factor” in causing the injuries claimed.

What does this mean in the context of the novel coronavirus? The law requires that there must be a “well-developed body of law” that has been violated and that the violation has a reasonable relationship to the injury. One such bday of law that has been recognized under the Municipal Laws cited above is OSHA.

Under OSHA, healthcare employers need to use a combination of controls to protect workers and help reduce the transmission of the seasonal flu virus, including:

  • Promoting, administering and making readily accessible the annual flu vaccine to all workers
  • Encouraging sick workers to stay at home
  • Emphasizing hand hygiene and cough etiquette
  • Using airborne infection isolation rooms
  • Ensuring proper functioning of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in patient rooms, procedure rooms, and examination rooms
  • Limiting the transport of infectious patients throughout the healthcare facility
  • Limiting the number of healthcare staff who come in contact with flu patients
  • Providing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) (gloves, gowns, surgical masks, respirators) to healthcare staff and ensuring that it is used and discarded correctly.

As has been well documented by now, healthcare employees are being asked to work without proper PPE, and some are being asked to work after re-using PPE, which is an unsafe practice. If a firefighter or police officer comes into contact with healthcare workers who were not given adequate PPE, among dozens of other possible violations, and contracts the coronavirus, the injured worker may have a lawsuit against the employer of that health care worker. This will even apply if the employer is the City of New York or one of its numerous departments and agencies.

This is a fast-moving and unknown body of law, and we encourage any “essential” worker who contracts the coronavirus to contact our law firm for an immediate consultation. Furthermore, we’d also like to remind our “essential” workers that even if they do not contract the coronavirus but are injured in some other way, they should still contact us for an immediate consultation.

Hach & Rose, LLP is set up to work remotely for all of your needs while this new crisis unfolds.


Falling Building Debris Poses Safety Risk to New York Pedestrians

One New York City woman’s death caused by falling debris has shined a light on safety infractions of hundreds of other city buildings, according to The New York Times.

Sixty-year-old architect Erica L. Tishman was killed after a piece of debris fell from a building she was walking past in December of 2019. The city’s Department of Buildings issued the owners of the 17-story office building a fine in April of that year because the terra cotta facade above the 15th floor was deteriorating and could potentially break off, putting pedestrians in danger. Himmel + Meringoff Properties, the building’s owner, paid the $1,250 fine but apparently did not repair the problem.

After Tishman’s death, the Department of Buildings launched surprise inspections at the city’s buildings, finding 220 other structures in violation. The Department issued a number of Class 1 facade violations, which are “immediately hazardous” to pedestrians but are not necessarily major violations. Class 1 violations include loose masonry, bricks, or stones on the building’s exterior, or cracks in its facade that could injure passersby.

Falling debris, whether from a construction site or from shoddy masonry, can potentially pose serious health risks to workers or pedestrians. As was the case with Tishman, who died before first responders even arrived at the scene, head injuries are the most common and most severe results of falling debris. The victim might experience a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion or contusion, paralysis, a spinal cord injury, or even blindness. They might also need treatment for cuts, bruises, broken bones, and neck injuries.

When someone is injured on another person’s property, due to the property owner’s willful negligence or irresponsibility, the victim or victim’s family can file a premises liability lawsuit. In this type of suit, the plaintiff must show that:

  • they were on the defendant’s property legally
  • the property owner should have known about the dangerous condition that caused the accident but for some reason didn’t fix it or provide ample warning
  • the property owner’s negligence caused the victim’s injury

When a pedestrian is injured by a falling object, they are eligible to file a premises liability lawsuit to win compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the pedestrian died because of their injury, their family may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Contact a New York Pedestrian Accident Attorney

If you were injured by a piece of falling debris, you might be eligible to file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP have years of experience representing injured pedestrians and want to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call Hach & Rose, LLP or contact us online to receive a free consultation.

 

 


Child Burn Injuries: What You Need to Know

Burn injuries are among the most physically excruciating kinds of injuries for people to endure. Most burn injuries are classified into one of three degrees:

  • First-Degree Burns — Superficial burns damaging only the epidermis or the outermost layer of skin. Sunburn is the most common example of a first-degree burn, and these involve mild pain but heal on their own in a few days.
  • Second-Degree Burns — Superficial partial-thickness burns damaging both the epidermis and the dermis, the layer of skin below the epidermis. Some second-degree burns cause blisters and scarring, and skin grafting is possible in some cases. Recovery can be several weeks.
  • Third-Degree Burns — Deep partial-thickness burns damaging sweat glands and underlying tissues. Third-degree burns always require skin grafting, and some can also involve surgery.

Additional less common degrees of burn injuries include:

  • Fourth-Degree Burns — extend into the fat
  • Fifth-Degree Burns — extend into the muscle
  • Sixth-Degree Burns — extend into the bone

 The American Burn Association (ABA) reported that 24 percent of all burn injuries involve children under 15 years of age. Unintentional fire or burn injuries were the third-leading cause of injury deaths for children 5 years of age to 9 years of age and the fifth-leading cause of injury deaths in the United States in 2015 for children 1 year of age to 4 years of age.

Stanford Children’s Health states that the majority of fires that kill or injure children are residential fires, and fires kill about 500 children 14 years of age and under every year. The leading cause of home fires and related injuries is home-cooking equipment, but the leading cause of residential fire-related death and injury among children 9 years of age and under is carelessness.

While many negligent parties claim that fires were not preventable and there was nothing they could have done to prevent injuries, this is rarely the case. With a proper investigation, there is often a wide assortment of evidence that can be used against negligent property owners, including lack of smoke detectors, failure to comply with fire codes, or faulty electrical wiring.

Contact a Child Burn Injuries Attorney in New York

If your child sustained severe burn injuries in an accident caused by another party’s negligence in New York, do not wait to seek legal representation. Make sure you contact Hach & Rose, LLP as soon as possible.

Our firm is well aware of the significant pain and challenges burn injury victims face, and we can work to help your child recover as much as possible. Call (212) 779-0057 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.


Financial abuse of the elderly in nursing homes

Though most cases of financial abuse of the elderly occur within the family, sometimes a nursing home caretaker will attempt to exploit a resident. Elderly people are easily taken advantage of financially because they often do not understand how to handle their finances, especially if they suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Many older people who are very sick or dying simply do not prioritize their financial health over their physical health, and might not notice suspicious withdrawals or forged checks.

Understanding the nature of financial abuse, the warning signs, and the consequences can better equip you to fight against it. This article will outline what you need to know about this type of elder abuse.

Nursing home caretakers often forge close relationships with their residents, but sometimes this closeness is only an avenue to exploitation. The elderly people who are most at risk of being taken advantage of are often:

  • Lonely or isolated
  • Grieving the recent loss of a loved one
  • Not well-versed in the specifics of handling money
  • Suffering from a mental or physical disability

There are countless ways the perpetrators can take advantage of their elderly targets, such as:

  • Forging the victim’s signature on checks and depositing them in their own account
  • Deceiving the elderly person into trusting them with their financial assets
  • Convincing the victim to sign a will or deed listing the perpetrator as the one who will be responsible for handling the victim’s assets later on
  • Outright stealing money or possessions

Keeping in touch with your loved one and being vigilant of their bank account activities will do a great amount to prevent this type of exploitation. But if you notice that your loved one seems uncertain of their financial assets, suspicious withdrawals from their accounts, or that some of their property is missing, you might want to begin investigating. Call an attorney for help as soon as you highly suspect that your loved one is being exploited.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If your loved one was taken advantage of financially, the attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP can help you put an end to this mistreatment. We have a long history of handling nursing home abuse cases and understand the emotional stress that comes along with them. We’ll do the legal legwork so your family can focus on healing. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your options today.

 


Broken bones in nursing homes

As people get older, their bones naturally become more brittle, especially in those who suffer from osteoporosis. Additionally, older people gradually lose muscle mass, which negatively affects their balance and mobility. These two factors make the elderly more susceptible to falls and more at risk of breaking bones.

Broken bones can usually be avoided in nursing homes if the caretakers are properly trained and acting with care. But too often, caretakers or facilities fail to adequately evaluate residents for the risk of falling when they enter the facility, or they may fail to provide the correct support or assistance the resident needs.

The most common types of broken bones in the elderly are hip, thigh, pelvis, back or vertebrae, arm, hand, ankle or leg fractures. Any one of these injuries could be debilitating or greatly affect a person’s ability to move independently. A broken hip is the most common injury after a fall, so if your loved one suffers from any other type of broken bone, you should probably dig a little deeper into the cause. It might have been a simple accident, or it might have been the result of negligence.

Negligent caretakers might make any of the following mistakes, which could result in a resident’s injury:

  • Leaving clutter and random objects on the floor of the patient’s room where they might trip or slip on them
  • Misdiagnose or ignore the warning signs of osteoporosis
  • Failing to help a resident out of their chair or bed, forcing the patient to attempt to stand on their own
  • Failing to keep the resident’s feet out of harm’s way of wheelchair wheels
  • Improperly lifting the patient into or out of the bed

If your loved one broke a bone while in a nursing home, it is important to first acquire a copy of the medical report made about the injury, then to call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If your loved one broke a bone while in a nursing home due to abuse or neglect, the New York nursing home abuse lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP can help.  We understand that nursing home abuse cases are extremely emotionally stressful, so we’ll handle the technicalities while your family focuses on healing. Call us at (212) 779-0057 for a no-obligation consultation today.


Internal organ damage caused by construction accidents

Members of construction crews put themselves at risk every day that they enter the job site. Their workplace is littered with hazardous materials and heavy machinery, and they often work from great heights on exposed roofs. Though they are at risk for many injuries, damage to their internal organs may be one of the most severe because it often leads to death.

Some of the most vital organs in the body are the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs. If one of these organs suffers trauma, such as from a fall or a high-speed impact with a piece of machinery, the damage might be irreparable. The two types of trauma are blunt force and penetrating trauma. A blunt force injury might be caused by falling off a roof or being accidentally struck by a piece of heavy machinery. Penetrating trauma occurs when something pierces the skin and the organ, such as a piece of glass or a beam.

The most common types of internal organ damage are:

  • Broken ribs that could puncture other organs
  • Abdominal aortic rupture is the enlargement of the aorta or the main blood vessel in the abdomen. If the aneurysm bursts, it could be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Kidney damage that could eventually lead to renal failure, which is the condition in which the kidneys fail to filter waste from the blood.
  • A ruptured spleen could be caused by blunt trauma to the abdomen. This is when the casing around the spleen bursts and blood pours into the surrounding area. It requires immediate medical attention and could be fatal.

Contact a New York construction accident lawyer

Construction workers are entitled to workers’ compensation in the event of an injury. Still, if someone else’s negligence caused the accident, they could win additional compensation through a third-party injury claim.

If you have been injured at a construction site, the New York construction accident lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP are here to help. We will investigate and build your case while you focus on getting better. Our team has already won millions of dollars in compensation for other construction workers, and we can help you, too. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your legal options today.


Roof and ceiling collapses on construction sites

With an increased number of structures being built in New York every day comes an increase in workers’ injuries. One common accident that can cause a slew of injuries is the collapse of a roof or ceiling that the crew is working on. A worker could fall from a great height off of the building or through the ceiling, causing them injury or even death.

How do roof and ceiling collapses happen?

These types of accidents are usually the result of poor crew management, inadequate safety precautions, poor training, or rushing the job to get in done by the deadline and within the budget. For example, if a ceiling was installed without the proper support, such as a load-bearing wall, it could collapse under excess weight. This weight could come from air ducts, water pipes, or even errant construction equipment such as a falling beam.

What types of injuries could be caused by a roof collapse?

Depending on the height a worker falls from, the injuries will vary in severity. At best, they might suffer bruises and broken bones. At worst, the fall could be fatal. Some common injuries sustained by workers who fell from or through roofs are:

Some typical construction site roof and ceiling collapse accident injuries include:

  • Death
  • Amputations
  • Broken bones
  • Paralysis
  • Impalement
  • Brain injuries
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Quadriplegia
  • Paraplegia
  • Joint injuries
  • Bruises and lacerations
  • Burns
  • Tissue damage
  • Back, neck, and shoulder injuries
  • Other internal injuries and organ damage

If you choose to pursue legal action to hold an outside party accountable for your injuries, you could be compensated enough money to cover your medical bills, reduced quality of life, pain and suffering, and more.

Contact a New York roof collapse lawyer

If you were injured in a roof or ceiling collapse on a job site, contact Hach & Rose, LLP for help. Our team of experienced New York construction accident lawyers has already won millions of dollars of compensation for other injured New York construction workers, and we want to assist you. Call us at (212) 779-0057 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.


Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in nursing homes

According to the National Council on Aging, about 1 in 10 nursing home residents over the age of 60 have experienced some form of abuse in nursing homes. It is essential to be aware of the various types of abuse older adults experience in nursing homes to protect vulnerable residents better.

Of the seven basic types of elder abuse that, unfortunately, are common in American nursing homes, physical, sexual, and emotional or psychological abuse, is the most prevalent. Neglect, abandonment, financial exploitation, and self-neglect are the other four types.

Thousands of elderly Americans are psychologically and physically abused by their caretakers each year, but knowing the signs of these abuses can prevent it and protect your loved ones.

Physical abuse is one common form of mistreatment that the elderly experience at the hands of their trusted caretakers. They might get physically injured either by intentional or unintentional methods; sometimes, a caretaker is negligent in the way they interact with their patients, sometimes leaving them with bruises or broken bones. Other times, a caretaker will intentionally cause harm to the older adult by kicking, punching, or pushing them. Signs of physical abuse can be easy to spot if the resident has cuts, bruises, broken bones, etc.

Sexual abuse of the elderly, as with anyone else, occurs when they are forced or coerced into a sexual interaction without giving consent. Telltale signs of sexual abuse are bruising and bleeding around the inner thighs and genital area, social withdrawal, bloody undergarments, and problems walking or sitting. It should be noted that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s may not be able to communicate that they have been abused.

Psychological or emotional abuse might manifest as name-calling, humiliation, blocking access to resources, forcing isolation, or making threats. An older adult who is being abused in this way might avoid eye contact, appear withdrawn or scared, exhibit mood swings, or isolate themselves from their friends and family.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If a nursing home caretaker has abused your loved one, turn to a New York nursing home abuse lawyer for assistance in putting an end to this mistreatment. We believe that when you put your elderly loved one in a residential facility, they should receive the highest quality of care. When caretakers breach this boundary of trust, care, and respect, the employee and the facility should face the consequences. Call our office at Hach & Rose, LLP to discuss your options today.


Common nursing home infections

A 2004 National Nursing Home Survey found that nearly 1.5 million elderly Americans live in about 16,000 nursing homes. With crowded nursing homes comes an increased potential of harmful infections spreading. Because the elderly generally have diminished immune systems and because surgery can sometimes cause more harm than good, the spread of an infection could be disastrous in a nursing home. This article outlines the most common infections found in nursing homes and the ways to prevent and treat them.

Often, residents who are moved from one home to another or who were just transferred from a hospital are carriers of diseases unknown to their new nursing home. The most common nursing home infections are:

  • Respiratory infections like pneumonia and influenza
    • Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in nursing home residents, with residents using feeding tubes being at the highest risk of developing it. Elderly patients may manifest symptoms of pneumonia differently than younger patients, so blood tests and x-rays should definitively diagnose it.
  • Soft-tissue and skin infections
    • Infected pressure ulcers, vascular ulcers, and diabetic wound infections are common in nursing home residents, as well as less severe conditions such as skin dryness, redness, and peeling. Pressure ulcers, or bedsores, are unfortunately common in patients who are confined to a bed or wheelchair.
  • Gastroenteritis
    • Norovirus causes dehydration and diarrhea in nursing home patients, which could be fatal if it goes untreated. It can be passed from person to person and through food and water, making it difficult to detect an origin and to prevent it.
  • Urinary tract infections
    • UTIs are incredibly common in nursing home residents with indwelling catheters. The risk of developing a UTI increases each day the catheter remains inserted. Within a month, it is likely that there will be bacteria in the patient’s urine.

Contact a New York nursing home abuse lawyer

If your loved one has developed an infection due to neglect in a nursing home, contact an attorney right away. The New York nursing home abuse attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to investigate and help put an immediate end to this neglect and dangerous mistreatment. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 or reach out online to schedule your free consultation today.


Scaffolding accidents on construction sites

Scaffolding is designed to provide construction workers with a safe way to access hard-to-reach parts of the building they’re constructing, painting, or repairing. It’s a common sight in a growing city such as New York, where thousands of construction workers ascend scaffolding each day. But if the scaffolding was erected incorrectly, or a worker was improperly trained, a worker could get hurt.

Regardless of the specifics of the incident that led to the worker’s injury, they are always entitled to worker’s compensation if they can prove that they were injured on the job site while they were working. But if someone else’s negligence was a factor in the accident, the worker may also be able to file a civil suit to win additional compensation.

How do scaffolding accidents happen?

Scaffolding accidents usually occur because:

  • There were inadequate protections in place to prevent falls,
  • Materials were overloaded and added excess weight to the scaffolding,
  • The scaffolding was constructed improperly,
  • Parts of the scaffolding failed because of a manufacturer error
  • Workers were trained inadequately and not provided proper guidelines, and
  • Falling objects struck workers

What injuries are caused by scaffolding accidents?

Depending on the nature of the accident, injuries can vary from very minor to very severe. Falling from scaffolding could be fatal, as 35% of all construction site fatalities are attributed to falls. A worker might suffer lacerations, broken bones, paralysis, internal organ injury and bleeding, or a traumatic brain injury. The workers who are most at risk of injury by scaffolding are the ones who build and dismantle the scaffolding, before and after finished construction. This is because they are responsible for installing scaffolding when specific safety measures cannot be in place, such as ladders, guardrails, and planks.

How can scaffolding accidents be prevented?

To prevent scaffolding accidents, it is imperative to consult with an engineer to ensure that the scaffold can support its weight and four times that number. The construction crew needs to be properly trained on how to navigate the scaffolding and how to take advantage of safeguards such as guardrails. The crew should also be provided with safety equipment such as hard hats, harnesses, a vertical lifeline, and a vertical lifeline anchor.

Contact a New York scaffolding accident attorney

If you were injured in a scaffolding accident on a construction site, you could be owed financial compensation. The team of construction accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP is ready to assist you. We’ll investigate and build your case to win compensation to pay for your medical bills and lost wages. Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to schedule your free consultation today.


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