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Attorney Spotlight: Michael Rose

A Founding Partner of Hach & Rose, LLP, Michael Rose has more than 20 years of experience fighting for his clients. We sat down with Michael to learn more about his career path, what inspires him, and hear about some of his largest cases.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

I always knew that I wanted to do something to help society, I just didn’t know exactly how I wanted to do it. Initially, I thought I wanted to do that was through environmental law. But as I went through law school, I realized I wanted to become a trial lawyer. I enjoy speaking in public and being in the courtroom. After law school, I was hired by a personal injury firm where I learned skills both as a trial lawyer and how to best serve clients. I was lucky to be put into the right situations where I was able to discover what I’m really passionate about. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to help people in need.

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

Our first seven-figure jury verdict was a really significant case for us, not solely because of the money we won but in confirming that we’re doing good for our clients. That was back when Greg Hach and I first started the practice, and things were very different back then. We had to be very conscientious about the amount of money we spent pursuing a case, because at the time our budgets weren’t anything like what they are now. We were representing a man who was involved in an auto accident. He was a union printer, and because of the nature of his job he had a history of back problems. The accident was truly the straw that broke the camel’s back, and he needed significant spinal surgery. He couldn’t return to work after the accident and he had a family to support, including a daughter in law school. The attorneys on the side of the defendant were arguing that they shouldn’t have to pay any significant amount of money because our client had a history of back issues. They said his disability wasn’t caused by the accident, it was caused by years of working in print shops. The trial was expensive, back at a time where the amount we spent on a case was something we needed to be very careful about. It was a big deal to us, but we knew we had to do the right thing by the client, no matter how much hardship it caused us.

Finally, the defendant offered to settle for $500,000. It would have been a huge amount of money at the time, and I think our client would have accepted it if we had advised it. But I really felt it wasn’t the right amount of money, considering the significance of the injuries our client will suffer with the rest of his life. So we rejected the offer and decided to take the case to trial. The trial took a month and cost us $50,000 at a time when we really didn’t have that kind of money. We were taking a huge risk, and we put the case into the jury’s hands.

There was a moment I’ll never forget, right before the jury gave their decision. The jury was out and during that time they have the opportunity to ask questions and write notes for the judge. They sent a note asking for a calculator. At that point, I knew we were in good shape! The jury settled on a number over $2,000,000. That was when I knew we were doing the right thing. If we stick to our convictions, we’ll be successful.

Tell us about the origin story of Hach & Rose, LLP. How did you decide to start the firm?

Greg and I met while working at a law firm in downtown Manhattan. We both started working there straight out of law school. We were around the same age and the firm was in the process of making us both partnership offers. We were only in our late 20s, and we would have been the youngest partners in the history of that firm. It was a very large, well respected firm, and becoming partners would have offered us very secure, stable careers. But even though we were young, Greg and I already had big dreams, and we knew how we’d want to run a business. We wanted to be in control of our own destinies. It was more important to take the risk of starting out on our own, rather than take the safe road.

We began our journey towards creating a firm by renting two small offices in Manhattan. The first employee we hired was Philomena, when she was only 19. She’s still with us, 20 years later, managing our office. Today we have 15 attorneys and more than 40 employees.

What are you most proud of?

Personally, my kids. They’re both teenagers now and I’m so proud of how they’re growing into young adults and how they’ve become kind, thoughtful people people who care about others and what’s going on in the world. I like to think that some of that came from watching me as they grew up.

Professionally, the fact that I grew a business from the ground up. It’s a business based on helping people, and that means a lot to me. Not only are we helping our clients, but we have 40 employees that support their families through their careers with us. I’m proud that people enjoy working here, and that they’re proud of our firm. You spend more time in your office than you do at home, so providing a place that people are happy to work in is important to me.

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

Nope! I’m too self-absorbed to have any hidden talents, I would have talked about it already! (Honestly, what attorney isn’t? If your attorney isn’t at least a little self-absorbed, you might want to find a new one…)

But to answer the question, I do love to exercise. It’s a way that I reduce stress and clear my mind. I grew up playing soccer and tennis competitively. I still play tennis, and I share that hobby with my daughter. I also enjoy playing basketball with my son.

What is your favorite quote?

There are many that I like, but two come to mind. “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching,” is one I love by John Wooden. And then there’s the popular quote by the great Wayne Gretsky, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” As an attorney who has led his life choosing difficult paths, rather than the comfortable ones, that resonates with me.


High Stakes & Tire Spokes: Bike Accidents

High Stakes & Tire Spokes: Bike Accidents

by George W. Ilchert

Riding on a bike or a motorcycle gives the rider a kind of freedom that you just can’t get while driving: the wind in your hair, the feeling of control, and the thrill of the ride. But all benefits must come a cost, and you are more vulnerable on a bicycle or a motorcycle than you are in a car.

In today’s world, people are more likely than ever to choose a form of transportation that doesn’t involve public transit. Whether it be a car, motorcycle, or bike, we can expect to see more vehicles on the road, as the train cars go empty. Of course, not everyone can afford to own a motorcycle, and they may not have the space to store a bicycle. In those cases, vehicle-sharing services are on the rise, especially in the crowded boroughs of New York City. We can expect Citibikes and other bicycle renting services to be more popular than ever. For those looking for more power, there are even motorized scooter services like Revel (involved in an accident with a Revel scooter? Read more here).

With the sudden surge of cars, scooters, motorcycles, and bicycles on the road, accidents are bound to happen. As renting services do not require any training, be on the lookout for inexperienced riders. Injuries could be as simple as scraped knees, but with the crowded roads, they could be as serious as totaled cars, broken bones, and worse. To make matters worse, rental-riders are likely to flaunt the rules of the road, speeding across lanes and riding on sidewalks, causing danger for other drivers and pedestrians alike.

As one vehicle is operated solely by peddling and the other with a powerful motor, the rules for bicycles and motorcycles are different. The most important danger of riding either a motorcycle or a bicycle is twofold: the rider is not paying attention to the traffic around them, or a motor vehicle is not paying attention to the bicycles and motorcycles around them. In this article we’ll review the differences and the important facts to note when in an accident involving a bicycle or a motorcycle.

Rules for Bicycles

Though bicycles are not motor vehicles, they still have to follow rules of the road, though modified. This may surprise you, as bicycle riders often ride with utter abandon, and ignore all posted signs and traffic patterns.

The following are a summary of regulations that bicycle riders must follow, according to the nyc.gov website:

  • Ride in the street, not on the sidewalks (unless rider is age 12 or younger and the bicycle’s wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter).
  • Ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Stop at red lights and stop signs. Obey all traffic signals, signs and pavement markings, and exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, motor vehicles or other cyclists.
  • Use marked bike lanes or paths when available, except when making turns or when it is unsafe to do so.
  • Use a white headlight and a red taillight, as well as a bell or horn and reflectors.

Most bicycle accidents are caused by motor vehicles not allowing for the bike rider to have enough room to maneuver. However, they can also be caused by road damage, like a pothole or other road defect, that may not severely affect a motor vehicle but could mean serious damage for a bicycle and its operator.

There is one very important distinction between bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents. When struck by a motor vehicle, bicycle riders are entitled to no-fault benefits and motorcycle riders are not. Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law, often referred to as the “No-Fault Law”, excludes motorcycles from being defined as a “motor vehicle” for the purpose of determining coverage requirements. The operator of the motorcycle cannot obtain no-fault insurance coverage for their damages in an accident.

Rules for Motorcycles

Motorcycles must follow all rules that a motor vehicle must obey, including insurance with at least the minimum amount of coverage. Motorcycles must drive in the normal car lanes and cannot utilize the bicycle lanes. Because of the power of the engine in a motorcycle, it is not safe or legal for them to share the bicycle lane with non-motorized vehicles.

Accidents are always a danger for anyone on the road, but there is increased danger for motorcycles. Though they can reach the same speeds as a car, the rider has much less protection than the driver or passenger in a car. With no seatbelts, airbags, or other safety features, motorcycles leave their riders extremely exposed. A collision for a person riding a motorcycle is much more likely to have more serious injuries than the same collision involving a passenger in a car.

Injured? Call Hach & Rose, LLP

The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are extremely knowledgeable about the ins and outs of bicycle and motorcycle accidents. You should not enter into any settlements regarding your accident without contacting an experienced attorney first. To be sure you are getting the compensation you deserve, it is imperative you contact a personal injury attorney who will fight for your rights. Partner Michael Rose achieved an $8,000,000 jury verdict for passenger on motorcycle involved in collision with car, which is just one of the impressive results that the Hach & Rose, LLP team has been able to achieve for their clients. Ready for an attorney who will fight aggressively for your rights? Call us at (212) 779-0057 to set up a free consultation today.

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82-Year-Old Woman Critically Injured After Being Struck by Revel Scooter

An elderly woman suffered critical injuries, including a serious head injury, after a 23-year-old accidentally hit her with the Revel scooter he was on. The accident happened at the intersection of Broadway and 60th Street in Columbus Circle on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

According to WLNY, the Revel scooter rider stayed at the scene and was clearly distraught after hitting the woman. The rider of the scooter was driving south on Broadway around 7:30 a.m. when he collided with the woman, who was crossing at 60th St. Police are not sure who had the right of way at the time of the incident. Witnesses rushed over to the woman to help her, but were unsure of what to do, according to a food truck worker who saw the accident.

The Revel scooter company has been under fire recently because of two Revel-related fatality accidents that happened earlier this summer. The company temporarily banned New York City riders from using their scooters because they repeatedly ignored safety protocols and did not wear the provided helmets.

On July 18, a local New York City reporter died after being thrown off of a Revel scooter. Nina Kapur, 26, was a passenger on the moped when its driver lost control and crashed. Neither Kapur nor the driver of the Revel moped was wearing a helmet. Near that time, a 32-year-old man suffered a severe head injury after falling from his Revel scooter and died from his injuries. Soon after these two accidents, Revel suspended its services in the city.

Revel Resumes with New Safety Protocols

WLNY reported that from January to July of this year, there were over 330 injury crashes involving Revel scooters. Kapur’s death was one of the only deaths the company has ever seen in relation to their scooters. But at the end of August, the company announced that they would be resuming their services in the city. This return comes with new safety protocols that riders must follow in order to use the Revel app and mopeds. According to a report from Verge, Revel worked directly with New York City officials in drafting these new safety rules. Some of the new regulations are:

  • In-app safety training designed to “sharpen your skills and your knowledge of the rules of the road”
  • Required selfie of the rider wearing the provided helmet
  • Expanded Revel riding lessons
  • Selling affordable helmets

Additionally, Revel has tightened up its suspension policy, giving zero free passes to riders who break the rules. This includes riding on a sidewalk, riding with someone younger than 18, riding on a road with a speed limit over 40 mph, and sharing your account with someone else. Riders who do any of the above will be permanently banned from using the app.

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone’s reckless driving, contact the New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. We are prepared to fight aggressively for your right to compensation so you can get back on your feet. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057.


Outdoor Dining in NYC Poses Safety Risk to Patrons

New York City restaurants have pivoted their dining room setups to comply with the city’s Open Restaurants program. The coronavirus pandemic has hit restaurants especially hard, but the city introduced the Open Restaurants initiative to help eateries get their revenues back on track. The guidelines allow restaurants to set up socially distanced tables outside – even on sidewalks and in the streets. While this has allowed restaurant owners to serve more customers safely in regard to the virus, it has presented a new and potentially deadly dilemma.

By seating guests on roadways and sidewalks, restaurant owners put them at a greater risk of getting hit by errant drivers, especially when the roads are narrow. Despite the city’s mandate to construct blockades between the roadway and the tables, there have already been four accidents in which a vehicle drove into dining tables since the government allowed outdoor seating in June.

According to NYC.gov, the barriers between the seating area in the roadway and the lanes must be 18 inches wide and no more than 36 inches tall. However, they do not require the barricades to be a certain weight or made of a specified material. Because of this lack of specification, restaurants are constructing barricades made from weaker materials, such as plywood or decorative planters.

The New York Post reported that a pickup truck slammed into the outdoor seating area of the cocktail bar, L’Wren, located on Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park, on July 21. The restaurant owner, Travis Klaus, said no one was seriously injured, but that the accident likely scared away some of his regular customers. Police reported that the 22-year-old driver of the pickup truck did not have a driver’s license and attempted to flee the scene. A L’Wren customer chased him down and stayed with him until the police arrived.

About 6,000 restaurants spread across the five boroughs are operating with outdoor seating in a roadway, according to the New York Post. The city has been carrying out inspections to ensure the safety of these dining areas and the compliance of their Open Restaurant guidelines. However, these accidents continue to happen, even when the barricades are deemed compliant, such as at L’Wren.

Contact a New York Car Accident and Injury Lawyer

If you were hit by a car while dining outside, either on a sidewalk or in a roadway, call the attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. You may be facing expensive medical bills, as well as dealing with pain and suffering, and we want to help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Call our office at (212) 779-0057 to get in touch with a member of our team today. We offer free consultations so that you can learn about your legal options.


What Causes Car Accidents in New York City?

In New York City, there is a car accident every two minutes. This amounts to over 200,000 car accidents every year. Out of those 200,000 accidents, there are close to 200 fatalities. But why are there so many accidents in just one city? Factors such as poor road conditions, dangerous driving hours, speeding, congestion, and age contribute to the high number of accidents.

One of the top causes of car accidents in New York City is negligence on the part of at-fault drivers, which is entirely out of the victim’s control. Negligence in driving could refer to driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs or being distracted by something such as a phone while driving. When a driver is distracted or inebriated on the road, they run the risk of swerving into oncoming traffic, drifting into the lane next to them, or running red lights. The results of these types of errors can range from minor to fatal.

Another major contributing factor to car accidents in New York is unsafe road conditions. Weather in the city can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous for driving. In the fall, rainy and foggy conditions make roads slick and reduce visibility, leaving the driver at risk of skidding their tires or being unable to see the vehicle in front of them. During winter, snow and ice compound these problems by adding elements such as black ice and snow flurries. During blizzards, the driver may not be able to see the vehicle in front of them until it is too late, and when they brake, their car may skid and rear-end the other vehicle.

Some drivers pose a threat to fellow drivers simply because of age-related factors. Senior citizens are more likely to suffer from poor eyesight, hearing loss, and delayed reaction times. These issues could threaten both pedestrians and other drivers. As senior citizens get older, they may consider taking additional precautions, such as only driving during the day. They may also consider ride-sharing options or public transportation if they’re starting to see signs that it may no longer be safe to drive. These signs might include stopping at green lights or running red lights, sideswiping parked cars, or getting lost more easily.

Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer

It may seem like getting into an accident is almost beyond your control but finding the right legal firm to represent you afterward is not. Hiring the right personal injury firm after a car accident is the most valuable decision you can make immediately following your injury. The right firm could be the difference between receiving the maximum compensation and only receiving the bare minimum or nothing at all.

If you’ve been in an accident, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the New York car accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. We will fight aggressively for your right to compensation while you focus on healing. Call us at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your next steps with a dedicated member of our team.


Fourteen hurt, one seriously injured, in NJ Transit bus crash near Port Authority

Fourteen people were suffered injuries and one was critically hurt after the NJ Transit bus crashed into a pole while en route to Port Authority. According to ABC 7, the accident happened on Saturday, Aug. 29, around 10:00 a.m.

The bus was heading to the Port Authority terminal on the upper level when it collided with a pole. When first responders arrived at the scene, they found passengers of the bus thrown to the floor, and some of them lying on the ground outside. Eleven people were transported to local hospitals with a variety of injuries and three people were treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Port Authority is investigating the cause of the accident. It has not been confirmed whether the bus driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash or if fatigue was a factor.

Because NJ Transit is a transportation agency run by a government entity, the rules for filing a claim against the organization are different from filing against an individual. But, unfortunately, being involved in a bus accident is not entirely uncommon. According to a recent study from the University of Michigan, buses are involved in some 63,000 collisions in the U.S. annually.

If you are filing a claim against a government agency like NJ Transit, you will need to fill out a notice of claim with the state within 90 days of the accident. A notice of claim will typically include:

  • A statement regarding your intent to claim compensation for the injuries you sustained as a result of an accident caused by a government agent, such as a negligent bus driver
  • Details concerning the time and place of the bus accident
  • A detailed description of the injuries you sustained (medical documents)
  • Your contact information, including address

Once the notice of claim has been filed with the state, you must allow 30 days to elapse before filing a lawsuit.

The injuries you might sustain in a bus accident vary widely depending on the severity of the accident and where you were sitting or standing at the time of the accident. They might include:

  • Whiplash
  • Broken and fractured bones
  • Concussions
  • Organ damage
  • Internal bleeding
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Head injuries

Because buses are tall and have a high center of gravity, they are also more prone to roll over in an accident or if they take a curve at too high a speed. This could compound the severity of the injuries sustained and complicate first responders’ ability to quickly render aid.

Contact a New York Bus Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in an accident and aren’t sure what your next steps should be, reach out to the New York bus accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. Our team can help you understand your rights and all the legal options available to you. Call our office at [phone number] to schedule a free consultation with us today. 


Protecting your Family from Uninsured Drivers

What is SUM/UM coverage, and why is it important to me?

Supplemental Underinsured Motorist and Uninsured Motorist coverage is an important part of your automobile insurance policy. This portion of your policy covers you and your resident relatives up to the amount of coverage you purchase.

This means that if the person who causes a car accident is uninsured, there is still coverage for you and your household relatives, up to the amount of coverage you purchase.

This also means that if the person who causes an accident is underinsured, there may be additional coverage available up to the amount of your rider.

Underinsured Motorist coverage does not provide coverage in the amount you purchase – it means that you have coverage up to the amount you purchase. In other words, any coverage the at-fault party has is deducted from the amount you purchase.

For example, if the at-fault party has the New York State minimum liability coverage of $25,000, and you have a $100,000 SUM/UM rider, then the most you could ever recover is $100,000. In basic terms, it means that you have an additional $75,000 available, that you would not have had if you did not purchase the SUM/UM rider.

There are many situations where your SUM/UM coverage might be used – but again, this is coverage for you. Even if you have $100,000/$300,000 in liability coverage, it might not mean there is that much available for you. It is a good idea to make sure that you are properly covered.

Contact us at (212) 779-0057 to review your automobile policy coverage, so that we can explain how the coverage works, each coverage’s limitations, and how it might benefit you.

How To Deal With The Other Guy’s Insurance Adjuster

After an accident, if you are deemed not at fault and file a bodily injury or property damage claim, expect to become very popular with the other party’s insurance adjuster. They will likely request a recorded statement from you. You are not required to do this, and our office recommends that you never give a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company. (Note: If your own insurance company needs to discuss details of the accident with you, you should cooperate but still exercise caution.)

The adjuster from the at-fault driver’s insurance company probably will also ask you to sign a medical authorization to gain access to your medical records. Do not sign it. There’s no need for them to have more information than necessary. They’re simply fishing for information from either past injuries or medical conditions that could damage your claim or limit your ability to collect fair compensation.

The other party’s adjuster may also want to settle your bodily injury claim with you before you’re finished with treatment, sometimes within 24 hours of your filing…think vultures on the savannah. Remember, they’re not looking to do what’s best for you; they’re looking to do what’s best for them—saving money. Threats to withdraw a settlement offer are empty ones. Don’t settle without talking to an accident attorney.

If adjusters press you to sign a release of any sort, confer with your attorney before signing anything. Don’t be intimidated. Again, do what’s right for your circumstances, not theirs. Adjusters can also be charming, friendly, and ask seemingly innocent questions. But even a “How are you?” and a response of “Fine” can damage your case.

Let an experienced accident attorney be your mouthpiece and guide you each step of the way to fully recover damages you are owed.


Electric Scooter Injuries Are on the Rise, Doctors Say

Injuries sustained from electric scooter accidents nearly doubled from 2018 to 2019, according to a new study. Since electric scooters became a popular mode of transportation in 2014, they have caused a number of accidents, some of them fatal. As scooter companies reckon with these unintended consequences, doctors have grown used to seeing scooter injuries in their emergency rooms.

According to an article from Medical Xpress, in 2019, there were 29,600 scooter injuries nationwide that required hospital treatment. Dr. Eric Wagner, a surgeon at Emory University, said many of the injuries he treats are serious head injuries. Though scooter companies such as Lime encourage helmet use for all of their riders, many choose not to wear them. This results in serious injuries when a rider falls from the scooter or is struck by another vehicle.

Among the injuries riders sustain from scooter accidents are:

  • Brain bleeds
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions
  • Skull fractures
  • Internal organ injuries

Doctors are especially concerned about the potential for riders to suffer a traumatic brain injury when they fall off a scooter at a high rate of speed. About 13% of all emergency room scooter cases that doctors see are traumatic brain injuries, which are caused by violent blows to the head. They can also occur when part of the fragmented skull pierces the brain after a serious fall.

Common symptoms of traumatic brain injuries are:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Ringing of the ears
  • Slight nausea

However, any of the following symptoms may indicate a more severe brain injury:

  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Loss of memory
  • Clear fluid starts leaking from your nose or ears
  • Loss of muscle control

The demographic that accounted for the greatest number of scooter injuries in the past five years was men aged 15 to 35, according to Medical Xpress. Doctors say scooter accidents can be avoided or minimized by avoiding alcohol and substances while driving the scooter and wearing a helmet. Additionally, experts warn against going too fast on the scooter, especially if you are riding it at an older age when your balance, coordination, and reaction time might be slower. Many accidents can be avoided if scooter riders abide by traffic laws, ride at a moderate speed, and wear protective gear.

Contact a New York Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in a scooter accident, you might be entitled to compensation. The lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP have secured substantial recovery for clients injured through no fault of their own, and they want to do the same for you. Reach out to our legal team at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your legal options and how much your case might be worth.


Drowning is Silent: Portable Pools

Portable pools are affordable and easy to transport, but they can be just as dangerous as any other pool. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received an average of 35 reports of deaths of children under the age of 5 in portable pools each year. These pools account for 11% of all pool drownings for children that age. You can prevent these deaths.

If a portable pool, either large or small, is in your plans or already in your yard, follow these simple steps:

  • Never leave a child unattended in a pool or spa, and always watch your child when he or she is in or near water
  • Keep children away from pool drains, pipes, and other openings to avoid entrapments
  • Have a telephone close by when you or your family is using a pool or spa
  • If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first
  • Share safety instructions with family, friends, and neighbors
  • Learn how to swim and teach your child how to swim
  • Learn to perform CPR on children and adults, and update those skills regularly
  • Understand the basics of life-saving so that you can assist in a pool emergency
  • Install a four foot or taller fence around the pool and spa and use self-closing and self-latching gates, and ask you neighbors to do the same at their pools
  • Install and use a lockable safety cover on your spa
  • If your house serves as a fourth side of a fence around a pool, install doors alarms and always use them for additional protection, and install window guards on windows facing pools or spas
  • Install pool and gate alarms to alert you when children go near the water
  • Ensure any pool and spa you use has compliant drain covers, and ask your pool service provider if you do not know
  • Maintain pool and spa covers in good working order
  • Consider using a surface wave or underwater alarm.

Simple steps save lives. Find more pool safety guidelines and safety videos at PoolSafety.gov. Whether the pool is a small blow-up pool or a huge structure with rigid sides, portable pools are often left full of water and unsupervised. Just like in-ground pools, portable need barriers and fencing that keep unsupervised children out. Empty and store small portable pools when you are not using them. Cover larger ones.

The New York personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP have successfully handled diving, drowning, and many other types of recreational accident cases. Contact us at (212) 779-0057 today for advice on your specific case.


Eye Protection in the Workplace

Every day an estimated 1,000 eye injuries occur in American workplaces. The financial cost of these injuries is enormous – more than $300 million per year in lost production time, medical expenses, and workers compensation. The personal toll these accidents take on the injured workers is unimaginable. Often, the injuries are permanent.

Take a moment to think about possible eye hazards at your workplace. A 1980 survey by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of about 1,000 eye injuries reveals how and why many on-the-job accidents occur.

What contributes to eye injuries at work?

  • Not wearing eye protection. BLS reports that nearly three out of every five workers injured were not wearing eye protection at the time of the accident.
  • Wearing the wrong kind of eye protection for the job. About 40 of the injured workers were wearing some form of eye protection when the accident occurred. These workers were most likely to be wearing eyeglasses with no side shields, though injuries among employees wearing full-cup or flat fold side shields occurred, as well.

What causes eye injuries?

  • Flying particles are the most common cause. BLS found that almost 70% of the accident studied resulted from flying or falling objects or sparks striking the eye. Injured workers estimated that nearly three-fifths of the objects were smaller than a pinhead. Most of the particles were said to be traveling faster than a hand-thrown object when the accident occurred.
  • Contact with chemicals caused one-fifth of the injuries. Other accidents were caused by objects swinging from a fixed or attached position, like tree limbs, ropes, chains, or tools which were pulled into the eye while the worker was using them.

Where to accidents occur most often?

Accidents most commonly occur on construction sites, involving industrial equipment. Potentially eye hazards can be found in nearly every industry, but BLS reported that more than 40% of injuries studied occurred among craft workers like mechanics, repairers, carpenters, and plumbers. Over a third of the injured workers were operatives, such as assemblers, sanders, and grinding machine operators. Laborers suffered about one-fifth of the eye injuries. Almost half the injured workers were employed in manufacturing; slightly more than 20% were in construction, and the rest were in carpentry, plumbing, and the like.

How eye injuries can be prevented?

Always wear effective eye protection. OSHA standards require that employers provide workers with suitable eye protection. To be effective, the eyewear must be of the appropriate type for the hazard encountered and properly fitted. For example, the BLS survey showed that 94% of the injuries to workers wearing eye protection resulted from objects or chemicals going around or under the protector. Eye protective devices should allow for air to circulate between the eye and the lens. Only 13 workers injured while wearing eye protection reported breakage.

Nearly one-fifth of the injured workers with eye protection wore face shields or welding helmets. However, only six percent of the workers injured while wearing eye protection wore goggles, which generally offer better protection for the eyes. Best protection is afforded when goggles are worn with face shields.

Better training and education is also recommended. BLS reported that most workers were hurt while doing their regular jobs. Workers injured while not wearing protective eyewear most often said they believed it was not required by the situation. Even though the vast majority of employers furnished eye protection at no cost to employees, about 40% of the workers received no information on where and what kind of eyewear should be used.

Maintenance is also an extremely important factor in preventing eye injuries. Eye protection devices must be properly maintained. Scratched and dirty devices reduce vision, cause glare, and may contribute to accidents.

Where can I get more information?

You can get more information at your nearest OSHA area office. Safety and health experts are available to explain mandatory requirements for effective eye protection and answer questions. They can also refer you to an onsite consultation service available in nearly every state through which you can get complimentary, penalty-free advice for eliminating possible eye hazards, designing a training program, or other safety and health matters.

Don’t know where the nearest federal or state office is? Call an OSHA Regional Office at the U.S. Department of Labor in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Denver, San Francisco, or Seattle.

The National Society to Prevent Blindness is another great resource for information. This voluntary health organization is dedicated to preserving sight and has developed excellent information and training materials for preventing eye injuries at work. Its 26 affiliates nationwide may also provide consultation in developing effective eye safety programs. For more information and a publications catalog, write to the National Society to Prevent Blindness at 79 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016-7896.

Eye Protection Works!

BLS reported that more than 50% of workers injured while wearing eye protection thought the eyewear had minimized their injuries. But nearly half the workers also felt that another type of protection could have better prevented or reduced the injuries they suffered. It is estimated the 90% of eye injuries can be prevented through the use of proper protective eyewear that is our goal and, by working together, OSHA, employers, workers, and health organizations can make it happen.

Hach & Rose, LLP has successfully represented many workers who were injured due to a failure to provide proper eye protection on the work site. Contact us today so that our attorneys can review your case.


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