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Construction Accidents, Municipalities, and Notices of Claim

The construction and repair of roads, buildings, and bridges will always be needed as they make up the very infrastructure of modern society. At times, though, working on such projects can be hazardous to those on the job site due to the negligence of others. When, in New York, a construction worker is injured due to the negligence of a municipality, there is a requirement that the injured worker file a notice of claim within ninety (90) days of the accident in order to proceed with a possible suit.

An example of the notice of claim requirement is embodied, in relevant part, in General Municipal Law § 50-e: A notice of claim is required to be filed “within ninety days after the claim arises . . . and shall set forth . . . (2) the nature of the claim; (3) the time when, the place where and the manner in which the claim arose; and (4) the items of damage or injuries claimed to have been sustained so far as then practicable . . . .”

Quite often there are circumstances where construction workers are injured on municipal property during the construction of municipal buildings, schools, and roadways. In many circumstances when workers are not aware of the notice of claim requirement and fail to contact an attorney within ninety (90) days of the accident, their claims are not preserved and their ability to file a lawsuit can be relinquished forever. Failure to file a notice of claim can prevent a person from recovering lost wages, benefits, past and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering damages.

If you are hurt in a construction accident and it may be due to the negligence of a municipality, it is important to file a notice of claim within ninety (90) days of the accident.

Our firm has achieved jury verdicts and settlements for injured individuals in the amounts of $13 million, $8 million, and $6 million, in addition to many others.

If you need legal help following a construction accident, contact the New York personal injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, today.

Teen dies after sticking head out of emergency hatch

The horrific death of a 16 year-old boy from Queens made national headlines this weekend after he was fatally injured when he opened the emergency hatch on the top level of a double-decker bus on Friday.

As the teen opened the hatch and stuck his head out, the party bus carrying 65 teenagers to a Sweet 16 party went under a highway underpass near the George Washington Bridge. Several teenagers on the bus saw the gruesome scene and many were covered in his blood.

Law enforcement says the teenager suffered traumatic head injuries, the New York Post reports. The company who owns the party bus plans on conducting an internal investigation.

MO justices overturn liability cap for medical malpractice cases

A 4-3 decision by Missouri Supreme Court justices on Tuesday overturned a 2005 law that capped non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases to $350,000. Patients injured by medical professionals can now be awarded unlimited amounts by juries.

The justices who voted to overturn the law claim it had violated the Missouri Constitution’s Bill of Rights for citizens to have the right of a trial by jury. Supporters of the court’s decision consider it an important victory for patients whose lives have been dramatically altered by medical malpractice.

Opponents argue that the price and availability of healthcare will be negatively affected. Others claim that, before the law was in place, many physicians left Missouri due to rising medical malpractice premiums.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical mistake, contact the experienced New York medical malpractice attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP at (212) 779-0057 today.

Nearly 15 tons of ground beef recalled due to salmonella scare

A possible salmonella contamination has caused Cargill Meat Solutions to voluntarily recall nearly 15 tons of ground beef.

The defective products were distributed in seven different states and were produced on May 25, 2012. After this, the beef in question was shipped to distribution centers that are located in New York, Connecticut and Maine. It was then sold in Hannaford supermarkets in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts.

The ‘use-by’ date on the product has already passed, but officials are concerned that consumers may have put the beef items in their freezers for later use.

Officials told all consumers to check the beef products in order to make sure that the ‘use or sell by’ date is not between May 29 and June 16. If so, it should not be used and consumers have been promised a full refund. The recall is still under investigation at this time.

If you or a loved one has become ill after consuming a defective food product, you need experienced and knowledgeable representation on your side that may be able to help you receive the compensation for your suffering. Contact the New York product defect lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP by calling (212) 779-0057.

Motorcycles and No Fault Insurance

Traveling in New York can be a daily struggle for individuals attempting to commute to work, school, social gatherings, and other events. Thus, many people turn to motorcycles for transportation. Riding a motorcycle is commonly considered the fastest and easiest method of traveling through traffic, moving around buses and trucks, and avoiding other obstacles on the road. Unfortunately, however, motorcyclists are often injured as a result of the fast pace that these bikes can travel and the lack of protection they provide to riders.

Auto insurance typically covers the damages resulting from motorcycle accidents. However, sometimes long and costly lawsuits are brought to court to determine the party at fault in these incidents. In an attempt to reduce the number of these court battles, many states, including New York, have adopted “no-fault” insurance systems. Under no-fault auto insurance programs, it does not matter who caused the accident. Instead, this law requires the insurance companies of the parties involved to pay up to $50,000 for the various damages one faces as a result of the accident, such as lost wages and medical expenses.

It is important to note, however, that no-fault auto insurance specifically excludes drivers and passengers who commute via motorcycle.

Our firm has much experience representing clients involved in personal injury claims arising from motorcycle accidents in New York. In a case where the passenger of a motorcycle was hit by the door of a limousine, we successfully reached a settlement for $1.7 million. In another case where the passenger of a motorcycle was struck by an oncoming vehicle, a New York jury determined that $8 million dollars was to be paid to the injured passenger.

If you need legal help following a motorcycle accident, contact the New York personal injury attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, today.

Unsafe Subway Steps Revealed in Viral Video

Recently, a short, documentary-like video of the 36th Street subway stop in Brooklyn has been circulating on the internet. The filmmaker, Dean Patterson, had been tripping up the steps every day when he exited this subway stop, so he decided to investigate whether he was the only person experiencing this issue. How did he accomplish this? By taking advantage of modern video technology, Patterson was able to capture many others repeatedly falling on the same step, some only stumbling and catching themselves and others falling on their faces.

After being posted to YouTube, Patterson’s video quickly went viral. It reached 481,000 views two days after being uploaded on June 27th. Additionally, many members of the YouTube community shared this video on their personal accounts, leading to thousands more views. This prompted news providers such as CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and many others to report on the video, encouraging more people to view it and learn more about the danger this subway stop presented.

After the video was posted, the problem causing so many people to fall was uncovered: the steps were not uniform. The one particular step, located in the middle of the staircase, that consistently tripped people was slightly taller than the rest of the steps. This seemingly small difference clearly affected many commuters, both in terms of embarrassment and physical pain. Throughout the video, many innocent individuals are seen falling over this step. Fortunately, in response to the video, the city of New York blocked off the subway exit and decided to take action to correct this issue. (If you would like to watch the video, follow this link.

Since the faulty staircase was in a subway station, the city of New York could have been held liable for any tripping accidents that ensued. However, in New York, governmental entities are entitled to a written notice of the details of an accident within a 90-day time period of when the incident occurred. Formally, this is called a “Notice of Claim.” When suing the city, one must file a Notice of Claim within the required timeframe, or the right sue is forfeited. Unfortunately, the video by Patterson is not substantial enough to be viewed as a Notice of Claim, as it was created to be shared amongst people and not for legal purposes. Moreover, when a Notice of Claim is filed, it must be sent to the proper authorities. Posting a video on YouTube does not meet this requirement.

If you have been injured due to dangerous stairways or other unsafe property, our skilled New York premises liability lawyers can help you with the legal steps necessary to filing a lawsuit. For more information, contact Hach & Rose, LLP, today.

Railroad Worker Accidents

Traveling by train is one of the most common and efficient forms of commuting in and around the New York City area. Between the numerous subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road, the New Jersey Transit, the Metro-North Railroad, and Amtrak, there are hundreds of railroad workers who help to make these rail lines run as they should. However, due to the inherent danger of this job, many railroaders are injured in the act of repairing, maintaining, or overseeing the trains and rail lines.

When these accidents occur, transit workers typically experience serious disruptions to their lives. For instance, they may be physically affected to the point where they can no longer perform their jobs. Additionally, they may be affected financially, as workers’ compensation insurance can only help to an extent. Lastly, they may also suffer psychological effects of their accidents, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Fortunately for injured railroad workers, the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a federal law that protects railroaders and entitles them to compensation if they are injured while working. This protection applies to everyone who is employed by a railroad company that participates in interstate commerce. However, FELA only covers individuals who are actively fulfilling work-related duties at the time of the accident.

In addition, this statute mandates that New York railroad employers provide the following for their employers: a safe working environment, protection from harm by other employees, attentive supervision, safe equipment, and job training, if necessary. If any of these requirements go unfulfilled, resulting in an accident, the injured railroaders may be entitled to compensation from their employer. When pursuing compensation under FELA, New York train accident lawyers also must prove negligence on the part of the railroad company. Negligence refers to a failure to exercise the care that a reasonably sensible person would exercise in a similar circumstance.

If the case is successful, the injured railroad worker can recover compensation for the following damages:

  • Lost wages (past, future, and insurance coverage)
  • Medical costs (past and future treatment)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental distress
  • Permanent injuries
  • Scarring or disfigurement

The statue of limitations, or deadline, for taking legal action for railroad accidents is three years from the date of the accident. However, the sooner you contact our New York FELA lawyers, the sooner we can provide legal advice and investigate the accident. That being said, if you, a family member, or friend has been injured as a result of working on a railroad, please contact Hach & Rose, LLP, today.

Car Accidents and Electronic Devices

In today’s world, technology has become an essential aspect of one’s daily life. The advent of computers, tablets, cell phones, GPS units, and other electronic devices has greatly changed the way that individuals engage in everyday activities, such as shopping, communicating, and especially driving. As a result, there has been a sharp increase in the number of accidents involving the use of mobile electronic devices while driving. Subsequently, the amount of fatalities and injuries resulting from these incidents and the number of personal injury lawsuits has also risen.

Today, regulations pertaining to cell phone usage while driving differ according to state laws. Although no states completely outlaw the use of cell phones when operating motor vehicles, many have certain restrictions regarding their usage. As of June 2012, ten states as well as Washington, D.C.; Guam; and the U.S. Virgin Islands strictly prohibit the use of handheld cell phones while operating motor vehicles. Additionally, in 32 states and Washington, D.C., all beginner drivers are banned from using cell phones while driving. School bus drivers are also banned from using cell phones while operating buses carrying passengers in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Next, text messaging while driving is addressed under different statutes. In 39 states plus Washington, D.C.; Guam; and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all drivers are forbidden from text messaging while driving. In other states, the application of texting bans differ based on the age of the individual driving, the profession of the driver (such as a public transportation driver), and various other factors.

For example, Massachusetts has enforced laws that prohibit both talking on the phone and texting for “junior operators,” or drivers who are 16.5 to 18 years of age. In regards to these laws, the first offense fines the driver $100, imposes a 60-day license suspension, and requires the driver to take a course and an exam. The second offense comes with a $250 fine and 180-day license suspension. A third offense fines an individual $500 and results in a one-year license suspension.

In California, the law currently states that adult drivers can only use hands-free cell phone devices, and it strictly prohibits the action of texting while driving. The base fines for using a handheld mobile device or texting while driving are as follows: $20 for the first offense and $50 for subsequent tickets of the same offense. For more information regarding a specific state’s legislation, view the table on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website (http://www.iihs.org/laws/cellphonelaws.aspx).

In New York specifically, the current laws state the following: all forms of text messaging and other uses of handheld cell phones are strictly prohibited; adult drivers can only make calls with approved hands-free devices while in motion; taxi drivers are banned from using cell phones while driving, regardless of the technology they use. In addition, laws restricting cell phone use while driving are of primary enforcement. This means that a police officer can pull an individual over for using a cell phone while driving even if the person has not engaged in any other traffic offense at the same time.

Given these increased restrictions added to the legislation on distracted driving in 2011, police officers have placed a far greater focus on ticketing drivers that are using mobile devices. The consequences of violating laws restricting cell phone usage include a two-point violation on one’s license. Additionally, the penalty for text messaging while driving is a $150 fine.

The average New Yorker is well aware of the fact that using handheld cell phones while driving is strictly prohibited by the law. More than just being illegal, actions such as texting, using an iPad, or operating a GPS device while driving are greatly distracting and threaten the lives of innocent people nearby. If you or someone you love has been harmed by one of these or a similarly dangerous distraction, it is important to investigate your legal rights and options.

The person who is injured as a result of another individual using an electronic device while driving has the ability to claim that negligence contributed to the accident. Negligence, as used in the legal system in terms of driving, refers to the idea that the party at fault for the incident unintentionally acted in a way that detracted from their duty to drive safely. This typically requires an investigation of the events going on at the time of the accident.

One method of gathering this information involves examining the history that is left on the electronic devices that may or may not have contributed to the accident. This could lead to unveiling the truth about driver’s actions. Technology allows law enforcement officials to retrieve records of past calls, text messages, internet usage, GPS use, and other such actions. Thus, this method of investigation allows police, attorneys, judges, and other law enforcement agencies to correctly and appropriately penalize the people engaging in this behavior while driving.

Besides taking advantage of the history that is stored on electronics to hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions, it is necessary to find an effective method of preventing such accidents. Parents, educators, and employers can play an instrumental role in teaching the public of the potential dangers that using electronic devices while driving presents. Such individuals can also educate drivers regarding the possible repercussions of distracted driving as a result of using such devices. In learning about the potential harm that such actions can cause to oneself, such as jail time, fines, and job loss, as well as the possible damage to others, including death or injury, people may be dissuaded from operating a vehicle while using electronic devices.

If you or someone you know has been the victim in an auto accident involving distracted driving as a result of electronic devices, contact the New York car accident lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, today.


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