INJURY LAW BLOG

Relevant & Important Information About Personal Injury Law So You Can Be In The Know

Seeking Damages From an MTA Bus Accident?

Accidents on an MTS Bus

MTA Bus NYC

Non-collision bus customer accidents, which did not involve a collision, increased 11% from August 2018 according to the MTA and reported in the New York Post. Of the 494 accidents reported, 207 of them were the result of what was described as "throwing movements." 207 may not seem like a lot, but to the injured passenger, or their family if the passenger dies as a result of the accident, it is one too many. If it happens to you, you may be due compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost income. To collect damages you must follow MTA rules and guidelines.

Is the MTA Liable?

This is the question MTA attorneys will ask. Even if the answer is "yes," their goal will be to minimize any compensation. Basically, for the MTA to be held liable, two critical elements must be satisfied:

  1. A Notice of Claim must be received within 90 days of the incident.
  2. The notice must show that either the MTA was negligent or the driver was negligent by not following MTA policy.

After receiving the Notice, the MTA has 30 days to respond. There will be a hearing. If the matter goes to court, the injured party has one year and 90 days to file a lawsuit. If the passenger died as a result of the injuries, the family has two years to file suit.

The Notice of Claim

It is always a good thing to remain at the scene of the accident and to ask for witnesses to support your claim. It may be difficult to prove a particular driver on a particular bus caused the injury, if you get off and walk away. Take detailed notes describing the facts of the matter, including the driver's id. The notice must include the following:

  • 1. Your full name and contact details.
  • 2. The deceased victim's details, if appropriate, and your relationship to the victim.
  • 3. Your attorney's contact details if you appropriate.
  • 4. Date, time, and location of the accident.
  • 5. Injuries and damages you suffered as a direct result of the accident.
  • 6. Other relevant circumstances surrounding the incident.
  •  

Proving Your Claim

Nothing is simple or straightforward when it comes to matters of law. The MTA's attorney will be looking for missing information or anything unclear that can be used to your disadvantage. You must show that:

  • - The MTA had a duty to protect you as a passenger. (E.g. if the driver was off-duty, then he or she was not in the employ of the MTA at the time.)
  • - The MTA breached its duty in some way. (E.g. the driver had not completed their training, so should not have been driving.)
  • - Your injury was a direct result of the breach of duty, or
  • - Your injury was a direct result of the driver's negligent actions.
  • - Your injury resulted in your suffering damages (medical expenses, lost income, etc.) so you are entitled to compensation.
  •  

Summary Comment

In a nutshell, you are entitled to damages if you suffer injury because either the MTA or a driver is at fault. To receive the damages you must meet MTA Notice of Claim standards, and you must have enough supporting evidence to prove your claim is fair. The MTA will be represented by an experienced attorney, so it makes sense that you are.

If you have suffered injury while getting on, traveling on, or getting off an MTA bus, and would like to seek legal advice, then please just click here to contact us.

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How to Handle a Valid Insurance Claim Denial

Insurance Claim Denial

Valid insurance claims can be denied for several reasons. You may have suffered injury caused by a traffic accident, being on an employer or other business's premises, or injured working on a construction site. Whatever the cause, you may be entitled to compensation and damages. There are basic procedures to follow when submitting a valid claim, and the insurance company must also follow certain procedures when they receive a claim. Despite everything, insurance claim denial happens, but you also have options.

Insurance Claim Denial

There are some obvious and sensible steps to take if you receive written notification that your insurance claim has been denied. Your initial response may be anything from anger to disappointment, or deciding to just "throw in the towel." The best thing to do is to study the denial and decide what practical steps to take.

  • - New York State has laws and standards in place that both you the claimant, and the insurance company must adhere to, so if your claim has been denied, the insurance company must give you a reason.
  • - Even though the insurance company hires professionals to handle claims, everyone is human, and humans can make mistakes. It is also possible, but unlikely, that the insurance company is acting in bad faith, and just hoping that a denial will make your claim disappear.
  • - Decide where you believe they are at fault in denying your claim.
  • - Contact the insurance company in writing, keep a record of all communications, explaining why you believe they are "mistaken." Submit as much supporting documentation as possible. Highlight pertinent parts of the material you send. If they missed something and denied your claim, make it easy for the insurance company to see its own error.
  • - If that fails to get your claim approved, consider appealing their decision to the New York State Insurance Commissioner.
  • - Inform the insurance company that you are filing an appeal. Your goal is to have your claim approved. If the company made an honest mistake or even if they attempted to pressure you by incorrectly denying your claim, the threat of appealing to the Commissioner may be enough to get them to reopen your claim.
  • - Decide if you should also file a lawsuit against the company for, for example, bad faith and/or violating New York's insurance code by not working to legal standards, or simple breach of contract.

 

If it is a Workers' Compensation Claim

If your workers' comp claim is denied, the company will issue a "notice of controversy" and file it with the Workers' Compensation Board for review. Either party may appeal the review decision, and it will go to a separate review panel for further consideration. If you disagree with the second review, you may decide to make an appeal to the Appellate Division of New York's Supreme Court.

The Takeaway

Injury claims may run smoothly or they may not. If you, the claimant, are dissatisfied with how your valid claim is handled, you have options. The legal standards are complex, but we hope these basic guidelines will help you understand the steps. While you may decide to handle everything yourself, you may also choose to seek legal advice on what to do and how to do it. Simply click here to contact us so we can arrange a free, initial discussion.

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Things to Know About Product Liability and Personal Injury

defective product liability burins outletEven if you haven't yet personally experienced an incident that would necessitate a product liability/personal injury case, knowing all there is to know about the particulars of such cases beforehand can be a critical lifesaver.  The following are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when it comes to personal injury and product liability cases in general.

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Talking to the Police Without a Lawyer Present

accident police

There are many occasions when you may be in a police officer's presence; pulled over while driving, stopped while walking along a street, or you may have been apprehended and are in custody. There are basic rules for talking with the police without a lawyer present. Let us discuss them in two categories:

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Hurt in Police Custody: Do You Have a Case & What Should You Do?

police custody

Overview

It is uncommon, but people can be hurt in police custody. People can suffer injuries:

  • On the street after being taken into custody.
  • In a police vehicle.
  • On police premises.

Those injuries may be sustained because of:

  • A simple accident - whether avoidable or not.
  • Your own actions - whether accidental or not.
  • Unlawful police action.

No matter how someone is injured, it is essential to know the law to decide if you have a case and, if so, what you should do. In this article we will focus on unlawful police action. Unlawful action resulting in injury violates a person's Constitutional rights.

The United States Department of Justice says: The Department "vigorously investigates and, where the evidence permits, prosecutes allegations of Constitutional violations by law enforcement officers. The Department's investigations most often involve alleged uses of excessive force."

 

Your Status at the Time of the Injury

 

Your status is critical. If you are under arrest or have been detained by an officer, or if you are in jail but not convicted of a crime, then it must be shown that the officer used excessive force. "Excessive force" means the officer used more force than was reasonably necessary either to protect that officer or others, or to restrain the injured party. It is an objective standard, not something that relies on an officer's personal opinion. Reasonableness is what a judge decides how a reasonable officer at the time would act. It may be assumed that a "reasonable officer" would follow police procedures and adhere to police standards. A reasonable officer would:

  • Know the standards.
  • Have been trained to work to those standards.
  • Know how to apply them in any given situation.

It is not for nothing that NYC police vehicles have on their doors, "Courtesy Professionalism Respect."

 

What You Should Do

 

Both the officer and the Department may be liable in a civil or criminal case. A civil case can result in financial compensation and restitution for constitutional rights being violated, physical injury, psychological trauma, loss of income, and other direct results of the injuries. Payment depends on the specific circumstances of the case as a whole. If the officer is convicted of using excessive force, then punitive damages may be awarded.

Winning any case, and especially a case against a police officer, takes expert knowledge of both the law and the best way to pursue the case in a court action. If you have been hurt and want advice on what to do and how to proceed, please click this link to contact us for a free initial consultation.

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The Do’s and Don’t When Getting Pulled Over By an Officer

pulled over by an officer

Do’s and Don’t When Getting Pulled Over

You often hear the stories friends tell about getting pulled over or maybe it was you telling the story. Many people have a general idea of what to do when they get pulled over by an officer, but they don't know what exactly to do. It's similar to as a child you had a general idea of how to drive but you don't know completely until someone teaches it to you. Here are the do's and don't of getting pulled over by an officer:.

DO: Acknowledge The Officer And Pull Over

No matter how tempting it may seem, ignoring the officer will put you in a precarious situation and can quickly escalate the situation. Turn on your emergency lights and pull over to a safe area. Compliance will provide a good image and this is beneficial to you.

DON'T: Panic

It's common to feel nervous about getting pulled over, but you shouldn't panic. Take deep and slow breaths. Unless you've done something out-rightly criminal, you have nothing to worry about. At most, you'll have to pay a fine and your insurance may go up a bit.

DO: Say "Sorry"

Cops are people too and sometimes they may write you off with only a warning if you are courteous enough. They aren't out to get you like they are commonly misconstrued.

DON'T: Expedite the Process

Don't expedite the process by giving your documents before the officer asks for it. They may be prepared to simply give you a warning, but your help can secure your ticket without even giving it a chance.

DO: Be Civil

Once again, officers are human too and being civil is simply common courtesy. Also, if the officer has to give a testament or report in the court, being civil would have helped your case.

DON'T: Argue

The side of the road isn't a place to argue about a charge. Arguing is done in the court in front of a judge.

DO: Sign the Citation

A citation isn't an admittance of guilt. It simply confirms that you received the citation and agree to either 1) pay a fine or 2) appear in court.

DON'T: Act Suspicious

Don't do any unnecessary movements. Officers are just as nervous as you are. If you have a gun, some states require that you inform the officer beforehand. Officers can feel threatened if you are constantly moving or reaching under your seat. Sudden movements are highly discouraged.

The Takeaway

Don't ignore the officer and treat the officer as if they were another human, which they are. Being courteous or polite is always beneficial regardless of whether you receive a citation or not and acting civil is also advantageous to you as well. In addition, don't expedite the process and wait until the officer asks for documentation. Unnecessary and sudden movements are highly discouraged. If you find yourself in need of a legal expert or are interested in more information about legal situations, contact us.

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5 Tips for a Happy and Safe Halloween in NYC

Topic: Safety, halloween

Brooklyn house halloween NYC

Halloween in NYC

 

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Can You Sue the City if a Street Sign Falls on You?

damaged bent traffic sign

Can You Sue the City if a Street Sign Falls on You?

The short answer is, "Yes, you can - but." There are several "buts" to be taken into account. Successfully suing New York City because a street sign falls on you depends on specifics which we will discuss. The important thing is where does the fault for the injury lie? It may be with the city itself, a city employee's actions or inactions, someone totally separate from the city, an Act of God, or even the injured party. The basic fact that determines whether you can sue the city is - who is responsible.

City Government Negligence

The city is responsible for maintaining its property. If a street sign falls and injures you because it was not installed properly or has not been properly maintained, then one could say the city bears some responsibility. Proving poor installation or improper maintenance will be a big part of a successful lawsuit.

A street sign may be, or appear to be, in overall good condition but if it causes injury, there may still be a case. Here are four hypothetical examples:

  • - A sign that was either not erected properly or which has not been maintained properly falls and injures someone.
  • - As part of the Vision Zero Action Plan, road work is being carried out. Construction signs are being placed at, or collected from, the side of the road. A city employee or contractor mishandles a sign, it falls from the truck and hits you. If it can be shown that the employee had not been trained properly to handle the task, had been trained but was not paying attention while performing the task, or if the truck was unsuitable for carrying the number and type of signs, there may be a case to answer.
  • - A city vehicle is being driven carelessly or dangerously, and the driver collides with a street sign which falls and injures a cyclist or pedestrian. This may be an example of negligent or illegal behavior by a city employee.
  • - A city police chase is in progress, but is violating police department regulations. The vehicle being chased collides with a street sign which falls and injures someone. This may also be an incident resulting from municipal regulations being violated.

In these three examples, it may be possible to prove negligence or failure to perform. In such instances it is possible to sue the city.

Two "Buts"

  • It is New Year's Eve, you are out celebrating with friends. You climb onto a traffic sign, swing on it, fall off, the sign follows you down and injures you. As long as the sign was in good condition, it would be difficult to show the city or a city employee is responsible for the injury.
  •  
  • There is a storm and a state of emergency has been declared. Strong winds and lightning strikes make venturing outside dangerous. You go out and are struck by a flying street sign. The city would say you have some responsibility for your own safety and venturing out was irresponsible, therefore the injury was caused by your actions plus a random accident caused by an act of God.

In these examples it would be difficult to prove the city bore responsibility for the injuries.

The Takeaway

New York City has responsibilities. To prove a case it is important to show that the city had a duty of care to the injured party, and it failed. If you have been injured by a street sign, or in any other way that may involve NYC's failure to perform, please click this link to contact us, so we can arrange a free consultation.

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How Can Event Data Recorders (EDRs) Improve Your Case?

Smart car circuit board

Using the information held in an Event Data Recorder (EDR) in a legal matter can improve the strength of your case. EDRs can be used in both criminal and civil cases. If you are the injured party in a traffic accident or you believe you have been wrongly charged with a driving offense, you may be able to strengthen your case with the correct interpretation of the data. Let us begin by explaining what an EDR is.

What is an Event Data Recorder?

 

An EDR is a device installed in automobiles which acts as a sort of "black box" as used in aircraft. According to The National Academies Press: Sciences Engineering Medicine, it records the operation and status of a vehicle in the seconds before an accident. Both the police and a private party (your attorney acting on your instruction) may obtain data held in the EDR as part of the "discovery" phase of a legal case.

EDRs were first installed in vehicles by General Motors back in 1990, so they are an established engineering product. In addition, American courts have accepted that they carry relevant information that may be explained by a suitable expert to help a jury understand what the vehicle was doing at the time. The objective data in the EDR may contradict what an eyewitness or other observer believes they saw.

How Can an EDR Improve Your Case?

 

Court cases are heard by a judge and, when appropriate, by a jury. They listen to evidence, for example, based on information "discovered," from witnesses, and the opinion of experts. Objective evidence carries weight because it is not affected by a person's memory or what someone perceives happened. EDR data can improve a case because:

  • It is collected electronically, so is objective.
  • The Federal Rules of Evidence rule (FRE 1001) state that data may be held electronically, so it can be used to support a case.
  • Courts have established that EDR data may be "relevant and usable" in a case.
  • EDR data has passed third-party tests for accuracy, and results have been accepted by appropriately qualified experts.
  •  

The Takeaway

 

Cases are decided by evidence being heard and believed. EDR data is gathered objectively, has been proven to be reliable, and does not fade with time in the way a witness's memory may fade. Each EDR device's accuracy can be explained by an expert witness. Taking these into account strongly suggests that an EDR can improve a case. If you have been involved in an automobile accident, or if you believe you have been wrongly charged with a traffic offense and would like expert representation, please click this link to contact us, so we can arrange a free, initial consultation.

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Picking the Right Law School

Topic: tips, law school

teacher student (1)

The judiciary field is expanding and with that comes the increase in the number of schools specializing in teaching Law. When considering which school to choose, there are a lot of factors that must be taken into consideration. Sometimes it's hard to even understand what you need in a law school. Continue reading this article to find out more information about what to consider when choosing the right school of law for you.

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