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Spotlight on Brandon Cotter

Hach & Rose, LLP attorney Brandon Cotter gives insight into why he became a lawyer and who he is.

What inspired you to become an attorney?

Honestly, I have no idea! I think a lot of people have a story that drives them from the time they are kids. When I was little, I wanted to be a baseball player because I loved the Chicago Cubs, but it turns out my fastball wasn’t exactly major league level.
I ended becoming a lawyer not so much from one stoke of inspiration so much as a culmination of years of observation. I come from a blue-collar family in a small town. My father ran the local bakery and my mother put herself through school and became a nurse, caring for elderly nursing home patients. I saw them work hard, day in and day out, and they made sure I did too. I think when you spend most of your life living paycheck to paycheck you see these small injustices. Many times, it isn’t that big of a deal. A landlord treats you poorly, or a phone company overcharges you a bit. It seems like the people in power know just how much to take advantage of you before someone will step in and do something.
At some point I realized that I had the ability to be a person who can help. I think it comes from a combination of knowing what it is like to need help, and also wanting to right a few wrongs along the way.

What practice areas do you focus on?

I focus mainly on construction accidents, motor vehicle crashes, and premises cases. I am a trial lawyer, so part of me would love to get in there and try every case put in front of me. However, specializing in these areas means you get to know everything about your client. When we go to court for a client, we know their livelihood is on the line. Knowing I put my full energy into this specific area of law lets me rest easy at night knowing we are prepared to win.

Tell us about one of your most interesting cases.

I think this is probably the hardest question to answer. The easy thing to do here is to list off my biggest verdicts and settlements. If you are reading this trying to decide if you want me to represent you, I am sure that might be comforting, but you can find that stuff online. While it is a nice feeling every time I help someone walk away with millions of dollars, my favorite case didn’t end that way. My favorite case was for an elderly woman I represented early in my career who fell walking out of a restaurant. When I first spoke to her, she somewhat meekly told me what happened, embarrassed to describe her fall. She was ashamed that she needed a lawyer, but her medical bills were piling up and she truly needed help. She walked me through her accident, and I was able to help her. The medical bills were covered, she received a decent settlement, and most importantly she was happy. When she came to get her settlement check she brought her daughter and we talked about her mother and her case. A few years down the road after the client passed, her daughter hired me for a case because I gained her trust while working with her mother. Trust is invaluable, and it felt good to be that family’s lawyer.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of who I represent, and who I fight against. Every client I have is taking on one of the biggest companies in America, and sometimes the world. Building owners, insurance companies, product makers – they have the power. Each of my clients ask me to fight these companies on their behalf. They know from the get-go that our contract works like this: If they lose, I lose. We are in this together. Every time we settle a case or get a verdict, my client’s life will get better and I get the satisfaction of knowing we took down one of the big guys.

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

I have the opposite of a hidden talent – I have a hidden weakness! I sing so poorly that my father once sang “Father and Son” at a talent show with my sisters. When asked on stage why he didn’t bring his son up to sing, he replied that he had no intention of punishing the audience.

What is your favorite quote?

“Fiat justitia, ruat caelum,” which translates to “Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.”

New Must Know Info: Ladder accidents in New York and Labor Law Section 240

A new article has been added to our Must Know Info section. In the article, attorney Brandon Cotter discusses Labor Law Section 240 and how it applies to workplace ladder safety.

To read the full article, click here.

Why Emptier Streets Are More Dangerous In New York

The coronavirus pandemic hit New York City especially hard in the first few months that the virus spread across the United States. Traffic on the streets mirrored the logical trend of more people staying home and only going out when necessary – it decreased dramatically. But the New York Times reported a troubling statistic emerged alongside this trend. There were more deadly car accidents in 2020 than usual in the city.

This is despite the fact that Mayor Bill de Blasio enacted a plan in 2014 to increasingly improve safety on the streets, named Vision Zero. This plan aimed to completely eliminate traffic-related deaths in the city by 2024. With the upward trend of accidents occurring during the pandemic, this goal is becoming more unrealistic. But how did this happen?

The New York Times suggested that because New Yorkers felt isolated, cramped, and bored in their homes while attempting to shield themselves from the virus, they took to the streets to blow off some steam and recapture their freedom. This translated to a higher number of motorcycle riders and street racers on the roads than the city normally sees on an average night.

Because of this increased trend in reckless driving, car and motorcycle accident-related deaths rose 76% in one year. In 2019, the city recorded 68 motor vehicle deaths. But in 2020, that number rose to 120. However, the article reported that the number of pedestrian- and bicycle-related deaths dropped in 2020, related to past years.

NY Mirrors a National Trend

So, even though the city streets are still not as crowded as they were before the pandemic, they likely still have more reckless drivers on them than on an average, pre-pandemic day. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2020, traffic-related deaths increased across the nation. This federal agency recorded traffic-related deaths in all states and found that the coronavirus pandemic is likely connected to this higher number of deaths on our streets.  

Elderly and older people tended to stay home more often than younger people as the virus gained a chokehold on the country. Older people are generally more cautious, slower drivers, and therefore tend to cause fewer traffic accidents due to speeding. But younger, more adventurous drivers tend to cause accidents while speeding or driving recklessly. And because young people had less incentive to stay home during the pandemic, they were more likely to be on the roads.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also believes that an increase in drug and alcohol usage during the pandemic is a factor in increased accidents. While Americans turned to substances to cope with the stress of the pandemic – from unemployment to a sickness in the family to strained finances – substance-related traffic accidents spiked across the nation.

Contact a New York Accident Lawyer

If you were injured in a motorcycle or car accident in the New York City area, do not hesitate to reach out to the accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP immediately. Our lawyers have years of experience handling cases like yours and will fight to win the maximum compensation for you. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.

New Must Know Info: Should My Personal Injury Case Be Delayed Because of COVID-19?

A new webpage has been added to our Must Know Info section. We have been receiving inquiries from individuals worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will delay or stifle our ability to handle their cases. With all of the cutting-edge technology at our disposal, we are handling cases as efficiently as we were before the outbreak.

Click here for more information.

Bicyclists Forced to Navigate Snow-Covered Bike Lanes After Storm

The New York City Sanitation Commissioner apologized Monday for not having the equipment and resources necessary to quickly and efficiently remove snow from the city’s bike lanes. In a Streetsblog article, Sanitation Commissioner Edward Grayson admitted that while his department cleared snow from streets, it did not do the same for bike lanes and sidewalks.

Last Wednesday, a snowstorm dropped between 6 and 10 inches of snow on the city, one of the biggest storms in years. The New York Times lauded Grayson for quickly clearing the snow from the city’s streets but failed to mention the lack of effort made toward clearing the bike lanes. A photo accompanying the Streetsblog article shows a bike lane covered in snow and ice while the street next to it is clear.

The pandemic has cut Grayson’s workforce by about 400 people, leaving him with much less manpower than it takes to clean up a city as big as New York. Plus, the rise of outdoor dining during the pandemic has introduced new obstacles to the snowplows that have to travel up and down the streets.

New Plows Needed for Bike Lanes

Bike lanes have become increasingly popular as more New Yorkers opt to ride their bikes to work instead of taking the subway. As such, the city has added about 100 miles of bike lanes to the city’s 6,300 miles of streets since 2015, shortly after Mayor Bill de Blasio took office. However, the increase in narrow bike lanes has not paralleled the increase in narrow snowplows needed for them. The city’s sanitation department has not purchased any new equipment that could be used for snow removal from bike lanes, according to Streetsblog.

Grayson told Streetsblog that his department is looking toward buying narrow plows to use on bike lanes, but at the moment, they do not have it in their budget to buy them. The smallest plows they have are eight and a half feet wide, which is too wide for many bike lanes. “It’s not that we don’t care. I want your readers to know that some of those smaller tractor units would be helpful. We just got decimated on what we are buying,” Grayson told Streetsblog.

While the roads have been long-cleared for people with cars, bicyclists are still waiting for some relief as far as snow removal. Navigating an icy lane deep with snow is basically impossible. And many bicyclists do not want to ride in the city streets alongside cars, buses, and taxis, who may not see them. It is the sanitation department’s policy to clear roads first and bike lanes and pedestrian sidewalks second, but Grayson said he is actively working on doing better for the remainder of this winter and next winter.

Contact a New York Injury Attorney 

If you were injured in an accident in the New York City area, call the personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. Our team has the experience and determination it takes to win you the full and fair compensation. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.

New York City Snow Removal Requirements

During the winter months, the city of New York requires property owners and renters to clear snow and ice from the sidewalks outside their buildings. This helps to keep pedestrians safe and reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident. The city released a guidebook outlining what exactly property owners, managers, and residents are required to do after a snowfall.

 According to the New York City Department of Sanitation, homeowners, property managers, and tenants should prepare for the winter season by gathering the necessary supplies for clearing snow. This could include shovels, plows, and salt, since salt naturally melts ice. The department also recommends hiring an outside service when the snowfall is too heavy for you to clear on your own.

 The guidebook states that anyone who owns, leases, rents, or manages a property can be held responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to the building of snow and ice. You do not need to clean the snow and ice while the snow is falling, or even immediately after it stops snowing. The department lays out a timeline for when snow must be removed, depending on the time it stops snowing. For example, if it stopped snowing sometime between 7 a.m. and 4:59 p.m., you must clear the snow and ice within four hours after it stopped.

Protect Yourself and Passersby

 Removing snow from a sidewalk can be a very strenuous activity, depending on the amount of snow you have to shovel. If you wait until it stops falling, Consumer Reports recommends that you remove the snow in layers, and only carry as much snow as you are comfortable lifting. Between 1990 and 2006, about 11,500 people injured themselves while shoveling snow each year. It’s important to use the right tools and ask for help when you need it.

 Clearing the snow from the area around your building will help protect pedestrians passing by, but will also help protect you from being held liable for an accident on your premises. By clearing a path for people to pass safely, it is less likely that someone will slip and fall on a snowy or icy surface and hit you with a premises liability lawsuit. The law varies from state to state, but in New York, the property owner will be held liable if someone was injured while walking on snow that was not cleared in a timely manner, as this constitutes a hazardous condition.

 Property owners who do not comply with this mandate will face fines up to $350.

 Contact a New York Attorney

If you were involved in an accident in New York City, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, including your medical expenses, lost wages, more. The New York slip and fall attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are ready to assist you. We’ll do the legal legwork so you can focus on healing. Call our office today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with a member of our team.

Tesla Driver Hits and Injures Cyclist, Police Do Nothing

On Thursday morning, a New York City bicyclist was hit and seriously injured by the driver of a Tesla on Second Avenue, according to Streetsblog. A Streetsblog reporter witnessed the crash and the subsequent police response and recorded what he saw in his article.

First responders transported the injured cyclist to a nearby hospital while police officers spoke with the Tesla driver. After speaking with the driver and a witness to the accident, officers decided not to issue the driver a failure-to-yield ticket. NYPD Officer McCloud told the Streetsblog reporter that the crash was an accident, and that is why he did not issue a ticket to the driver.

The accident occurred at about 10 a.m. on Second Ave. near the 59th St. Bridge. A group of commuting cyclists, including the one riding an electric Citi bike who was later hit, was using the designated bike lane. A car was illegally parked in a “No Parking” spot right next to the bike lane, just before the entrance to a parking garage. As the cyclists passed the illegally parked car and the garage entrance, the white Tesla turned left into the garage entrance, hitting the Citi bike rider. The illegally parked car had blocked her view of the cyclists.

According to the Streetsblog reporter, the injured cyclist rolled over the Tesla’s hood and landed in the street. He screamed in pain and told witnesses he felt extreme pain in his back and lungs. Four minutes later, EMTs were loading him up into the back of an ambulance, taking him away before the police arrived.

NYPD Officer McCloud spoke at length with the Tesla driver but did not speak with the victim. After McCloud determined the timeline and the chain of events, he decided not to issue the driver a ticket for failure to yield, and the driver left.

According to Streetsblog, NYPD officers issued 63,955 failure-to-yield tickets to drivers between Jan. 1 and Oct. 1 of last year. This year, that number has dropped by more than 50%, suggesting that police officers are taking less initiative to discipline reckless drivers in the city. Every day in New York City, there are about 120 injury car crashes like the one that happened on Thursday. It is more likely than not that drivers who failed to yield to bicyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers regularly get away without even a ticket.

Contact a New York Bicycle Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a bicycling accident in New York City, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. You do not need to navigate the legal process of claiming your full compensation alone. Don’t hesitate to contact the New York traffic accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to inquire how much your case could be worth. Our number is (212) 779-0057.

Personal Electric Scooters Are Legal in New York City

New York City is about to see a surge in electric scooters on its streets. On Nov. 23, a recent New York law that lifted the ban on all personal electric scooters went into effect.

However, this does not mean that shared scooter companies like Lime and Bird will be able to operate in New York City, just yet. The lift on the ban only applies to personal scooters, not ones you can rent through an app. According to the New York Times, a pilot program testing the safety of shared scooter programs will launch in May of 2021 but will exclude Manhattan. Until then, shared scooter companies are essentially banished from operating in city limits.

Worries About Safety

Electric scooters began gaining popularity in the past two or three years after shared riding companies like Lime and Bird put down roots (and scooters) in big cities across the U.S. But with the new mode of transportation came new worries about safety. The scooters proved to be dangerous to both riders and to pedestrians. Emergency room doctors saw a dramatic uptick in scooter-related injuries sustained by riders. Scooter injuries could range from cuts and bruises to traumatic brain injuries and even death.

Ride-sharing moped companies like Revel saw a similar uptick in injuries, too. At the end of the summer, New York completely banned Revel mopeds from the city after two New York City Revel riders died in accidents. Electric mopeds put pedestrians at risk, as well. One elderly woman was struck by a 23-year-old Revel moped rider in Columbus Circle on Sep. 29. The 82-year-old woman sustained serious injuries. While Revel mopeds were temporarily banned from the city following the two deaths, Revel resumed business after implementing new safety measures. 

How to Enforce Safety Rules

Between 2018 and 2019, scooter-related injuries doubled. However, doctors generally agree that traumatic scooter-related injuries and deaths can be prevented by wearing a helmet. Bird and Lime both recommend that riders wear helmets, but wearing one is not a requirement to rent the scooter. When it comes to mopeds, each rented Revel moped comes with two helmets for the rider and a passenger, but many riders choose not to wear them. Because electric scooter and moped companies face challenges enforcing safety rules, they continue to see rising scooter-related injuries being attributed to their products.

And for New York City lawmakers, finding ways to enforce safety measures on electric scooters has proven to be a setback in legalizing their use. Most of the riders who get into accidents while riding electric scooters are inexperienced and not wearing safety gear. Finding ways to enforce safety precautions and provide training programs for new riders will be scooter companies’ and lawmakers’ next priority.

Contact a New York Accident Attorney

If you were injured in a scooter accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Scooter-related injuries are on the rise, and it is not uncommon for clients, both riders and pedestrians, to win compensation after an accident. Please do not hesitate to contact the New York accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP to inquire how much your case could be worth. Our number is (212) 779-0057.

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.

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