Smiley & Smiley, LLP

New York Personal Injury Law Blog

Construction accidents and solutions

Construction projects in New York City involve immense time, planning, strategic work, and long hours. Unfortunately, accidents also occasionally occur in this industry. Lives are put on the line every day to ensure the safety of citizens, improve roads, and enhance the growth of communities. Workers adhere to safety precautions in the construction industry, but factors such as falling and tripping, working at heights and among moving objects, and manual handling can lead to danger at any work site.

The topic of construction worker safety is highly debated in New York City, especially since a significant number of work-related fatalities have occurred in the area. NBC New York reports that 33 deaths have occurred over the last two years, leading to calls for change in the ways construction workers are trained. Local 1447, a bill requiring workers to get safety training and take an apprenticeship course, has been controversial among various minority construction workers. The bill has also sparked dispute in its potential leveraging in favor of union businesses. The New York Construction Alliance is one voice against Local 1447, as it works to create safer work environments among both union and nonunion workers, and points out that workers are already required to go through safety training on major projects.  

What are no-fault laws and how do they impact New Yorkers?

Some states, including New York, have no-fault insurance requirements for drivers. Here is an explanation of these no-fault laws and how they impact New Yorkers involved in automobile accidents.

The New York Biking Coalition explains that no-fault laws require drivers whose vehicles are registered in New York to maintain no-fault insurance. Most traditional car insurance plans require their holders to prove that they were not at fault in an accident before they pay. No-fault insurance provides coverage for drivers, passengers, bikers and pedestrians involved in a car accident regardless of who was at fault. This insurance covers the costs of injuries and lost wages up to $50,000.

What are some signs of nursing home abuse?

Families in New York with aging loved ones in nursing homes expect only the best for their relatives. However, nursing home abuse and neglect does occur, and in some cases the results can be tragic. To this end, it’s vital that you are able to recognize the common signs of nursing home neglect so that you can take the proper action to mitigate ill-effects.

NextAvenue.com lists a few of the indications that a nursing home is not living up to a reasonable standard of care. Ensuring that residents have access the nutritious foods is a huge concern, especially for those with special dietary needs. A neglectful nursing home staff may fail to provide the appropriate sustenance, which can lead to illness and other issues. Approximately 20 percent of nursing homes all over the world experience issues with malnutrition among residents.

Manufacturer recalls over 36,000 defective fireworks

There are often products that seem to be inextricably linked to certain seasons and holidays. Flowers and Valentine’s Day, pumpkins and Halloween, as well as fruitcakes and Christmas are just a few examples of this fact. With the increased use of such products by consumers in New York around the holidays also comes an increase in the number of injuries and ailments that they may cause. If and when manufacturers discover that a seasonal product that they produce is causing harm, they are expected to act upon such information, despite the impact that it may have on their holiday sales figures.

It likely goes without saying that the month preceding and following the Fourth of July is one of the most lucrative for fireworks providers. Yet the fireworks manufacturer TNT is currently having to endure a hit this year after initiating a recall on over 36,000 of its popular Red, White and Blue Smoke fireworks. Those who have already bought these products are being encouraged to report their purchases in order to receive a full refund. The recall was initiated after it was discovered that some of the fireworks were exploding rather than spewing the colorful smoke they are known for. Thus far, only a handful of minor injuries have been reported as a result of this defect. Consumers in four states are said to be affected by this action.

Applying the attractive nuisance doctrine to a liability case

As your kids seek out new activities to enjoy during the summer in New York City, they may encounter potential dangers that they do not immediately pick up on. Many of our past clients here at Smiley and Smiley, LLP have come to us after their children were injured or killed while playing in areas or on structures they did not recognize to be hazardous. If a similar scenario has played out with one of your children, you may justly question whether or not any legal recourse is available to you.

Common dangers that kids often encounter at play include abandoned buildings, worksites, swimming pools, and rivers or ponds. When children choose to play in such areas without the permission of the property owners, it is often assumed that those owners cannot be held responsible for anything that may happen because the kids were technically trespassing. However, that is not always the case.

What are the consequences of distracted driving?

While many drivers are aware of how dangerous it is to operate a vehicle after consuming alcohol, many forget about how risky it is to drive with distractions. Sadly, distracted driving can be just as dangerous and sometimes results in accidents that claim lives and leave victims with permanent injuries. If you drive in New York, or are a passenger in someone else’s car, it is important to be vigilant and avoid any potential distractions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that distracted driving, which involves any activity that takes a driver’s eyes off the road, can lead to a greater chance of a traffic collision. In fact, statistical data suggests that more than 1,100 people are hurt in crashes that involve distracted drivers every single day. Moreover, more than eight people pass away in these wrecks on a daily basis, on average. To make matters worse, it can be difficult to measure a driver’s level of distraction following an accident, so the actual number of crashes involving this dangerous behavior may be even higher.

Wall collapse at construction site leads to criminal charges

New York residents who work in the construction industry put their lives at risk every day that they show up for work. With that in mind, workers should be able to rely on the honesty and goodwill of their employers to follow safety regulations and provide them with appropriate direction and materials in order to protect their safety while working. Sadly, this does not always happen.

After a wall collapse at a building site in September 2015, two men today continue to struggle with physical and medical problems including the ability to walk. Another man is dead. The owner of the constuction company faces a myriad of criminal charges for his failure to follow safety guidelines. He is also accused of tax fraud and applying for workers' compensation insurance only after the accident occured.

Bill aims to make catching distracted drivers easier

Over the last several years, cell phones have become a huge part of the lives of most people in New York. The temptation to chat with friends, check work emails and post on social media can be too much for some people to resists. However, when a person chooses to do so while they are behind the wheel, they put themselves and everyone around them in danger of being in an accident caused by distracted driving.

In an effort to combat the huge problem of distracted driving, a bill is winding its way through the legislature in New York that would give authorities the ability to tell whether or not a driver had been using his or her phone. However, the legislation has some expressing concerns about privacy. Proponents say that the technology could be tailored to collect only time stamps and not personal information.

Andrew Smiley to serve as organization President

Smiley & Smiley, LLP Attorneys at Law are proud to announce that partner Andrew J. Smiley has been elected to serve as the President of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers. The Academy is a professional organization that brings together a cross-functional set of people committed to justice in the civil law system in the state of New York. The organization's mission is to "protect, preserve and enhance the civil justice system."

The group features attorneys who represent both plaintiffs and defendants as well as judges, goverment officials and law school professors. Law clerks, legal secretaries, paralegals and current law school students are also actively involved in the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers.

Defensive driving techniques all drivers should know

Driving in New York can be a challenge. The traffic gets rather heavy and hazards are everywhere. Drivers can make things easier on themselves by learning defensive driving techniques. According to SafeMotorist.com, defensive driving is about keeping safe on the roads and being ready for anything that could happen. It is a proactive approach to driving. A person who drives defensively has been taught how to react better to issues and stay safe on the roads because they have learned to remain calm and make good driving decisions.

When being taught defensive driving techniques, a driver may learn about common causes of accidents, such as drunk driving. They may be taught how to keep themselves safe through wearing a seat belt. Drivers may study driving maneuvers that can help them get out of a sticky situation and learn what to do when they come into contact with an erratic or angry driver. They may also learn how to better handle road rage, stress and fatigue when driving.

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