Slip-and-fall accidents can happen at any location and for a variety of reasons. However, accidents involving construction workers often involve unique legal issues. Additionally, New York construction accidents occurring on staircases enhance the complexity of these cases. Construction workers who suffer injuries after falling on a defective staircase may encounter many challenges when recovering damages for their injuries. However, these accidents can have long-lasting physical, psychological, and financial consequences, and injury victims should pursue their claims against negligent parties.

For instance, a news report recently detailed the death of a construction worker who died after a stairwell collapsed at a parking garage. The man was removing railings when the structure collapsed, and he became trapped between the wall and floor. Sadly, he was pronounced dead at the accident scene, and another worker was hospitalized with critical injuries.

Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall construction accidents can stem from broken stairs and handrails, or another similar defect. Generally, when an individual suffers injuries on a broken staircase, they can file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner, site manager or another party responsible for the defect. In these situations, they can pursue a claim to recover damages for their medical costs, lost wages and benefits, and pain and suffering.

Dump trucks are one of the most prevalent vehicles on construction sites. These large vehicles are cumbersome, and their unusual design and loose loads can pose serious dangers to anyone in their vicinity. New York dump truck accidents may involve onsite construction accidents or motor vehicle collisions on the road. Those who suffer injuries in an accident involving a dump truck may face serious and life-long debilitating consequences.

Construction site operators generally use dump trucks to transport heavy loads of sand, gravel, or demolition debris. Most of these vehicles have an open-box bed that uses hydraulic rams to lift the front of the bed to dump the load on the ground behind the truck. Dump truck loads can weigh more than 15 tons, which is significantly heavier than an average vehicle. As such, accidents involving these vehicles often result in catastrophic injuries. For example, recently, a national news report described a tragic dump truck accident. According to the report, the two individuals were hit by a dump truck and fell into a ditch. Unfortunately, rescue operations were futile, and the two people suffered fatal injuries.

There are many reasons that a New York dump truck accident can occur. Some reasons include, the truck’s design, driver error, driving while impaired, accidental unloading, defective truck parts, truck company error or negligence, and flyaway debris. However, the majority of accidents involve careless operation and dump truck instability.

Construction sites are one of the most dangerous workplaces in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thousands of people suffer injuries related to construction projects every year, and many of these New York construction accidents involve elevators and similar hoisting devices. Elevators, hoists, hung scaffolds, and false cars present many serious dangers. Those that suffer injuries on these devices may face lifelong disability and even death.

For instance, a recent news report described a tragic elevator accident at a New York construction site. Officials report that a construction site worker fell from the 16th floor of a hospital that is under construction. He took a hoist elevator to the 16th floor, and witnesses reported that they saw the victim fall to the ground. Sadly, rescue attempts were futile as the man died at the scene of the accident.

Construction site elevator accidents can occur while an elevator is under construction or when workers are utilizing it on site. The majority of New York elevator accidents occur because of mechanical or technical failure. In many situations, a defect in the pulley system can cause the elevator or hoist to drop at high rates, causing blunt force trauma or crushing. Similarly, people often suffer injuries by falling into an elevator shaft. Although safety protocols mandate that these areas are marked, the danger may not be marked in some situations, or it may be ignored.

Construction sites are necessary for the growth and prosperity of New York; however, they are also some of the most dangerous workplaces. New York construction site accidents take the livelihood and lives of many workers every year. Despite the harrowing realities of construction site accidents, workers’ compensation laws limit how much an employee can recover against their employer. However, many accidents stem from more than one party’s negligence, and in these cases, construction site victims can file a third-party lawsuit against the liable party.

For instance, a recent New York excavator accident illustrates a situation where a third-party may be responsible for the worker’s death. In that case, a worker died after his excavator flipped into a river, trapping the man in bitterly cold waters for hours. Emergency crews’ efforts to rescue the man were unsuccessful, and the man succumbed to his injuries. Police reported that the excavator toppled when it got close to the water. An investigation is ongoing; however, the company involved did not comment on the accident. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) records indicate that the company has a prior incident report.

Negligent third-parties may include property owners, contractors, and subcontractors. Additionally, in situations where the accident stemmed from defective equipment, the equipment manufacturer might be liable. Further, in New York, many third-party construction accident claims stem from electrical accidents, scaffolding incidents, untrained workers, and defective safety equipment.

Construction sites are inherently dangerous places, and construction employers, general contractors, property managers, and owners must take the appropriate steps to ensure that their sites are safe to prevent accidents. New York construction workers and those lawfully around the vicinity of construction sites have the right to a safe environment. The failure to maintain a safe construction site can result in disastrous situations.

For example, a local news source reported a New York construction accident resulting from a broken crane. According to reports, the crane was positioned at a luxury high-rise building. The arm of the crane was dismantled and was hanging before it collapsed. The Department of Buildings is continuing its preliminary investigation to determine the cause of the collapse. Those that suffer injuries after a New York construction site accident may hold the responsible parties liable for their damages.

According to the Center for Construction Research and Training (CRT), construction workers experience at least one work-related injury during their employment and have a greater risk of premature death. Every year, nearly 80,000 construction workers suffer work-related injuries requiring them to miss work. Often, workers are discouraged from missing work, and they continue to work, exacerbating their injuries. In some situations, construction workers cannot sue their direct employer for workplace injuries; however, there are exceptions to this rule. Regardless of whether the injury victim is an employer or bystander, the individual should take steps to preserve their right to recovery.

New York law requires all drivers to maintain policies of auto insurance with specific amounts of coverage. Since many drivers do not have the required insurance, state law also requires auto insurance policies to include uninsured motorist (UM) coverage. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage is optional under state law. In order for this system to work, the various parties must communicate with one another. An injured party must provide a notice of claim to the insurance carrier of the allegedly responsible party. If an insurance carrier disclaims or limits coverage, they must give notice to their policy holder and the injured person. These notices must be given within a “reasonable” amount of time. The precise meaning of “reasonable” is a matter of ongoing dispute.

Section 3420(f)(1) of the New York Insurance Law (NYIL) requires drivers to have maximum liability insurance coverage for a single auto accident in specific amounts. This provides compensation to others when the insured is at fault in an auto accident. State law also requires auto insurance policies to provide UM coverage in the same amounts. This applies when the insured suffers injuries caused by a driver who is not insured. UIM coverage applies when the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the amount of damage they caused.

In order to make a UM or UIM claim, an injured person must notify their own insurance company of the accident, and of the other driver’s lack of coverage. The injured person must also provide evidence of the other driver’s fault. Before the injured party can notify their own insurer, however, they have to know that the at-fault party’s insurer is disclaiming or denying coverage. This assumes, of course, that the at-fault party has insurance coverage in the first place, and that they have notified their insurer of the claim. NYIL § 3420(d)(2) requires an insurer that is disclaiming or denying coverage to “give written notice as soon as is reasonably possible” to its insured and the injured party.
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Despite the old saying “You can’t fight city hall,” it is possible to recover damages in New York for injuries caused by the negligence of a government official or employee. In order to file suit against the state, a political subdivision (cities, towns, etc.), or a government official, an injured person must give a specific type of notice within ninety days of the injury. Failure to provide this notice may bar the claim altogether. Certain types of injuries or claims might be subject to different rules. Anyone who has been injured because of government negligence should understand the special requirements for municipal and state liability.

The legal doctrine of sovereign immunity prevents a government from being sued without its consent. This derives from an English common-law doctrine that held that the King could not be sued in his own courts. Every government in the U.S., from the federal to village levels, has consented to suit for various types of claims. Allowing suits for breach of contract, for example, allows private companies to feel comfortable doing business with governments. Laws like the Federal Tort Claims Act allows individuals to file suit for personal injuries caused by a government or government official.

The New York Court of Claims Act gives consent to certain types of lawsuits, and establishes the Court of Claims to handle those suits. Section 8 of the CCA waives the state’s immunity from liability, and “assumes liability…in accordance with the same rules of law as applied…against individuals or corporations.” Section 10(3) states that anyone claiming personal injuries must file their claim, or a notice of intent to file a claim, within a certain amount of time.
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Nursing homes provide care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Our legal system therefore holds them to a very high standard. When a nursing home fails to provide adequate care to a resident, it could be held liable for resulting injuries. The common-law theory of negligence, when applied to a medical professional like a doctor or nurse, is often known as malpractice. Nursing home residents in Westchester County and throughout New York are also protected by a state law that allows them to sue a nursing home that causes injury by depriving them of a “right or benefit.”

In order to prevail in a negligence claim, a plaintiff must prove several elements. First, they must establish that the defendant owed a duty of care to them, or to the general public. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients as a matter of law. A plaintiff must also prove that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to them, and that this breach caused their injuries. This is often the most challenging part of a claim for nursing home malpractice in New York. A plaintiff must demonstrate that, without the defendant’s breach, the injury most likely would not have occurred.

Medical errors, such as prescribing or administering the wrong medication, or the wrong dosage of medication, could constitute a breach of a medical professional’s duty of care. In the context of a nursing home, many breaches involve neglect of a resident’s basic needs, such as food, water, hygiene, or social connection.
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Opioids were responsible for over 47,000 overdose deaths in 2017, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over one-third of those deaths involved medications obtained with a prescription. Doctors often prescribe opioids for pain management, but the use of opioids for long-term management has reportedly never received adequate scientific review. In February 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directed drug companies that manufacture approved opioid pain medications to conduct further research on their long-term use. This directive came after widespread criticism of the agency regarding its handling of the opioid epidemic. Manufacturers of well-known prescription opioids have also faced extensive criticism for allegedly pressuring the FDA to modify drug labels and inserts to allow expanded marketing and prescribing.

The term “opioid” refers to a class of drugs used in pain management. It includes illegal drugs like heroin, as well as controlled substances that are available for medical use like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Opioids are different from opiates, in the sense that while opiates are derived from naturally-occurring chemicals in the opium poppy, “opioid” describes any substance that binds with opioid receptors in the human body. It therefore includes synthetic compounds like fentanyl.

Heroin is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, meaning that the federal government has determined that it has “a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use,” and “a lack of accepted safety for use…under medical supervision.” Numerous other opiates and opium derivatives, including certain forms of codeine and morphine, are also listed in Schedule I. Other opiates and opioids are listed in Schedule II, which allows for medical use. These include fentanyl and substances that are “chemically equivalent or identical with” substances listed in Schedule I, such as oxycodone.
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New York’s “no-fault law,” found in § 5104 of the New York Insurance Law, limits a plaintiff’s ability to recover non-economic damages in an auto accident claim. “Non-economic damages” are often the greatest losses in car accidents and other injury cases. They go beyond direct expenses like medical costs and lost wages. They include an accident victim’s pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and other harms that often occur because of a serious accident. The no-fault law only allows recovery of non-economic damages in cases involving “serious injury.” New York courts regularly hear disputes over whether an auto accident injury meets the statute’s definition of “serious injury.” Two recent cases from the New York Appellate Division, Second Department, Buchanan v. Keller and Broadwood v. Bedoya, demonstrate the sort of evidence needed for certain “serious injury” claims.

Section 5102(d) of the Insurance Law provides a list of injuries that constitute “serious injury” under the no-fault law. The items on the list range from the specific, such as “death” or “dismemberment,” to the more ambiguous. Two of these items are subject to ongoing dispute in the courts:
– “Permanent consequential limitation of use of a body organ or member” (PCL); and
– “Significant limitation of use of a body function or system” (SL).

A defendant moving for summary judgment on a “serious injury” claim has a prima facie burden of demonstrating that a plaintiff’s alleged injury does not meet the statutory definition. A plaintiff can counter this by establishing a “triable issue of fact.” In a 2009 decision, Staff v. Yshua, the Appellate Division, Second Department found that the defendant met this burden through expert testimony. The defendant presented an affirmation from an orthopedist who examined the plaintiff and concluded that their “injuries were now resolved and without permanency.” The court held that the plaintiff “failed to raise a triable issue of fact” in opposition to the defendant’s evidence. In a case from 2011, Jilani v. Palmer, the court found that the plaintiff had met their burden by producing an affidavit from a chiropractor that challenged the findings of the defense expert.
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