Do You Know When Your NY Landlord Is Liable for Your Storm Injury?
Finding a nice, sizable and affordable apartment to rent in New York is a feat in and of itself. Once you find this Holy Grail and sign the lease, though, it’s important to know what your rights are as a tenant.
In a letter prefacing the Tenants’ Rights Guide, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman writes:
“The contract between a tenant and landlord…is one of the most common and important deals that are made across our state. It defines how renters will enjoy their homes, how owners will maintain their property, it can affect a neighborhood’s stability. That’s why it’s important that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities under the law. In New York State, there are several different laws governing this relationship, and they can be different depending upon the county or town you live in.”
Not only understanding your rights as a tenant, but also your responsibilities – as well as your landlord’s responsibilities – per the terms of your lease, is imperative in the event that a situation arises.
You should know what is permitted or prohibited when it comes to all aspects of living in your apartment, but perhaps the most important thing to be aware of is your landlord’s duty of repair when it comes to safety and habitability. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria, it’s necessary to know whether your landlord can be held responsible if you sustain a storm-related injury.
A New York Landlord’s Duty of Repair
In our state, landlords of multiple dwellings are required to:
- Keep the public areas of apartments and buildings in “good repair.”
- Keep the apartments and public areas clean and free of vermin, garbage, or other offensive material.
- Maintain electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating and ventilating systems and appliances installed by the landlord (refrigerators, stoves, etc.) in good and safe working order.
If these standards are not met, the landlord must make the necessary repairs within a reasonable time frame. Depending on the severity of the repairs needed, however, that time frame can vary.
What happens, then, if your landlord doesn’t fulfill his or her duty of repair and you’re injured as a result?
If your landlord was negligent in its responsibilities and you were injured because of that negligence, you might be able to sue for money damages.
In these situations, you will have to demonstrate generally two main elements:
- The landlord was negligent in repairing a hazardous condition.
- The landlord’s negligence was the direct cause of your injury.
For example, let’s say the handrail in your apartment building’s stairwell is broken. It’s been broken for weeks, but the landlord has yet to make repairs despite complaints from a few tenants. One day, you’re walking down the stairs and reach for the handrail. Because it’s broken, though, you don’t have a firm grasp and you fall down the steps, breaking your arm.
Is the landlord liable for damages related to this injury?
Let’s look at the elements:
- If the landlord knew or should have known (due to the length of time of the defect) about the broken handrail but didn’t repair it, its actions could be considered negligent.
- Your broken arm in this scenario was directly caused by the landlord’s negligence in not fixing the handrail.
So using these elements and this particular scenario, you would be able to sue your landlord and claim the building owner and/or manager was responsible for your injuries.
What if this occurs during a storm, though?
Storm-Related Injuries in a NY Apartment
If you are injured in your apartment building because of a storm, you will still need to show that your injuries were caused by the landlord’s negligence.
Let’s say everything in your apartment building is in safe working order but a storm comes and soaks the floor of the lobby. If you slip and fall in the lobby due to the slick surface during the storm and are injured, you may not be able to sue your landlord depending on the particular circumstances of your incident.
However, if the front door was broken prior to the storm and that broken door allowed rain to get into the building, you might have a case if you slip and fall and sustain injuries. In this scenario, the landlord could possibly be found negligent for not repairing the door before the storm hit.
If you are injured in your apartment building, regardless of whether a storm was involved, reach out to an experienced New York personal injury lawyer today to determine if you’re entitled to compensation.
Tainted Candy in NY? Worry More about the Other Kind of Food Poisoning
Halloween has passed, but it is never too early to think about next year’s Halloween-related safety issues.
There are a lot of urban legends surrounding Halloween, but one of the most memorable and consistent is the threat of personal injury due to tainted candy. Whether it’s razor blades and needles or arsenic and cyanide, tainted candy is on everyone’s mind.
However, while you should certainly be cautious when it comes to unwrapped or suspicious trick-or-treating loot, the real danger you need to be concerned about is regular food poisoning.
Let’s look at which Halloween treats are the most susceptible to food poisoning and then go over food safety tips that will help you prevent a Halloween nightmare next year.
Beware of Food Poisoning This Halloween
Whether you are planning to throw a Halloween party or just attend one next year, there are a few things you should watch out for when it comes to the food.
Caramel apples. This delicious treat is a staple during Halloween, but if they’ve been sitting out for a while, you might want to pass.
In 2014, 35 people who had eaten commercially prepared caramel apples ended up in the hospital due to Listeria monocytogenes – bacteria that can cause vomiting, headaches, and fever. The cause? The caramel apples had reached room temperature, enabling the bacteria to grow.
If you need a caramel apple fix, make sure you’re getting one that’s cold and has been kept in the refrigerator.
Cooked food. If you plan to cook food next Halloween, be sure to check the internal temperature of your dish to avoid the risk of food poisoning. Poultry and meat should be cooked at proper temperatures.
Also, make sure any perishable foods aren’t left outside of the refrigerator for too long because that’s a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Produce. Serving fruit and vegetables at a Halloween party is a healthy alternative to all that candy, but make sure you wash all produce before preparing or eating. Even if you’re just bobbing for apples instead of eating them, you should still rinse your produce thoroughly to ensure it’s free of bacteria.
Wash your hands. Regardless of whether you’re preparing food to serve others or simply dishing out the food to enjoy, it’s imperative to wash your hands to avoid contaminating the food or contaminating others.
Signs of Food Poisoning
While you can take all of these necessary precautions, you can’t control everything. Sometimes food poisoning happens, so you need to know what to watch for.
Bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and others are the most common causes of food poisoning and can cause a number of signs and symptoms, including:
- Abdominal pain or abdominal cramping
- Muscle pain and cramping
For the most part, if you get food poisoning, you simply have to wait it out and should get better in a few days to a week. There are some times, however, where you might end up with a more serious case.
In the event that you need to be hospitalized due to food poisoning, you might want to reach out to an experienced New York personal injury lawyer to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit to recover damages. In tragic cases where food poisoning causes death, a wrongful death claim may be viable.
Hopefully, though, if you follow these tips to avoid food poisoning, you’ll be able to stay safe next Halloween!
Keep Yourself Safe from These Common NY Thanksgiving Accidents
The Thanksgiving holiday is more than just a real feast, it’s also a “feast” of food, fun, and family time. Unfortunately, as with the real feast at the center of the celebration, sometimes it’s possible to overdo it or act without thinking.
When that happens, it can lead to a number of injuries. Here are the most common ways people get hurt on and around the Thanksgiving holiday and how to avoid each one.
Millions of Americans travel by automobile over the Thanksgiving weekend which means the potential for car crashes significantly increases between Wednesday and Sunday.
If you’re on the road this Thanksgiving, it’s wise to practice smart driving habits with all the extra traffic. Put away all distractions, especially your phone. Wear your seat belt – over 60 percent of those who die in holiday car crashes are unbuckled. Above all, don’t drink and drive as that puts everyone at risk for serious injury or death.
Slips and Falls
If you have adverse weather conditions where you celebrate Thanksgiving, plan to watch your step when you get out of the vehicle and make sure to wear shoes that grip the ground well. As a Thanksgiving host, prep your yard and sidewalks ahead of time. Treat any ice/snow-covered areas, sweep away debris and remove clutter from walkways and porches.
Inside the home, avoid slip and fall injuries by clearing paths, cleaning up spills, and making sure no little children are underfoot when you are carrying heavy items.
Also, if you’re planning to decorate your home for the holidays after the feast, make sure to use extra precautions while using a ladder. Many people end up with fractures and sprains from falling off ladders while hanging lights or greenery. Test your ladder for stability first and don’t exceed the weight limit.
Burns happen on Thanksgiving most often because people are trying to put out a fire the wrong way. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and use it instead of water – especially on grease fires because water on grease fires may increase your chances of getting burned.
If you plan to fry your turkey this year, it’s crucial that you follow these burn precautions:
- Set up your fryer far away from flammable objects, including dry leaves.
- Use protective gear like long-cuffed gloves, frying hooks and safety glasses.
- Completely thaw and pat-dry your turkey before frying.
- Be sure to follow fryer guidelines for proper oil levels and temperatures.
- Never leave the turkey fryer unattended.
- Keep children away from the fryer at all times.
Take care not to get a burn injury in the kitchen also. Watch for splattering when removing items from the oven or stove. Keep sleeves pushed back so they don’t accidently catch fire. Make sure your pot handles are turned away from the front to prevent spills.
Many people get cut by handling knives improperly. To avoid this, you need to follow a few safety precautions.
- Start with a sharp knife, since sharp knives are steadier than dull ones.
- Pay close attention, keeping your eyes on the food and your fingers curled under to prevent injury.
- Leave the turkey carving to someone with experience.
- Secure your cutting board with a silicone or rubber pad underneath.
You can spoil your whole Thanksgiving weekend with a bout of food poisoning. Because of this, it’s important to take several precautions to keep foods safe:
- Allow plenty of storage space in refrigerators and freezers so air can circulate properly.
- Defrost your turkey and other meats in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
- Cook all meats to full temperature.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before, during, and after cooking.
- Keep raw meats and eggs separate from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don’t leave food out too long.
- Reheat leftovers thoroughly.
Many families enjoy a post-meal game of football, but a fun game can turn into a horrible day if an accident occurs.
To stave off injuries, there are a few things you should remember, such as:
- Work out ahead of time.
- Warm up before the game with some light aerobics and stretching.
- Don’t drink alcohol before playing – it can impair your judgment.
- If you haven’t played in a long time, it may be best to cheer others on rather than participate.
If you do get injured, stop playing right away and get help. Typical Thanksgiving football injuries include broken bones, sprains, and slipped discs.
Have a plan in place to drink responsibly. Also remember to keep drinks out of the reach of children. Curious toddlers may take a sip and get sick, so always keep track of your glass and lock up bottles of alcohol.
If you become injured this Thanksgiving due to someone else’s negligence, time is of the essence to get compensation for your injuries. Contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to receive the help you need.
Can You Sue in New York if Your Kid Suffers a Sports Injury?
Participating in sports is an excellent way for kids to stay healthy as well as develop important life skills such as self-esteem, leadership, and teamwork. The positive effect of sports definitely outweighs the negative – unless you’re talking about injuries.
Regardless of whether your child plays a team sport or an individual sport, there’s always a risk of injury when participating in a physical activity. That risk of injury can be higher or lower depending on which sport your child plays.
When you look at child athletes between the ages of 5 and 14, there are definitely differences among which sports result in more injuries:
- 28 percent of percent of football players
- 25 percent of baseball players
- 22 percent of soccer players
- 15 percent of basketball players, and
- 12 percent of softball players.
What type of injuries are we talking about here?
The Most Common Sports Injuries
There are numerous ways athletes can get injured playing sports, but some injuries are seen more frequently than others. Here are the 10 most common sports injuries:
- Patellofemoral syndrome or knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries such as dislocations, misalignment, muscle strains, and ligament sprains.
- Tennis or golf elbow from activities that require gripping
- Strained hamstring
- Shin splints from sports that involve a lot of running
- Strained groin
- ACL tear or strain
- Strained hip flexor
So now you know what type of injuries to be wary of when your child participates in sports, but what happens in the event that your child is injured? Can someone else be liable?
Liability in Child Sports
In most instances, if your child is injured while playing a sport you won’t be able to hold anyone responsible. As mentioned above, when anyone participates in a sport, they understand that there is a risk of getting injured.
However, there are certain instances when you might be able to hold someone accountable for your child’s sports injury due to that other person’s or entity’s negligence.
Equipment failure. If your child’s injury is a result of an equipment failure or a defective product, then you might be able to hold the manufacturer of the equipment responsible for the injuries. For example, if a golf club head comes flying off during a swing due to equipment failure and hits someone causing a serious injury, the company that made the golf clubs could potentially be liable.
Return-to-play decisions. When a child is injured, their coach or trainer needs to decide if that child can keep playing or should sit out the rest of the game. If the coach or trainer is negligent in their decision in allowing the child to return to the game under rare circumstances, you might be able to hold the school and coaches responsible.
If your child is seriously injured while playing sports, the particular fact scenario leading up to the injury will be especially important in determining liability. Reach out to an experienced New York personal injury attorney today to find out if you have a case and are entitled to compensation.
Who Can Be Held Liable in New York for Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk driving crashes are some of the most dangerous auto accidents, often resulting in severe injury or death. Tragically, all drunk driving accidents are preventable as they are a direct consequence of the drunk driver’s negligence.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of a drunk driver, you are likely trying to make sense of this event and may be very angry to have fallen victim to the carelessness of another. You may also be facing financial burdens related to the accident, compromising your family’s financial security. In this case, a personal injury lawsuit allows you to fight for compensation as well as to provide some sense of closure and justice.
In a drunk driving accident, generally the most fault is placed upon the drunk driver as he or she was the one who chose to drive impaired. However, in some circumstances other parties can also be held liable for drunk driving accidents. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney can help you to establish which parties should be held liable in your case and get you the compensation that you deserve.
Let’s take a look at some of the parties who can potentially be sued if you are injured in a drunk driving accident.
As mentioned above, if you have been a victim of a drunk driving crash and the driver was arrested for a DWI or found to be otherwise impaired by alcohol (such as a blood test administered by a hospital if the driver was also injured), the driver should be held liable for damages resulting from the accident.
Drunk driver liability in New York may be different than in other states since New York is considered to be a “no-fault” state. No matter what the cause of the accident, if you suffer an injury, you should initially file a claim with your own insurance company (or the insurance company of the car you were in or the insurance company of the car that struck you as a pedestrian) for medical expenses and lost wages up to $50,000. Your compensation for pain and suffering and additional medical expenses / lost wages must be pursued in a lawsuit against the driver and owner of the negligent vehicle.
If you are involved in an accident and believe that the other driver may be intoxicated, it is important to take action at the scene of the accident if at all possible to establish the DWI by calling the police immediately.
Common signs of intoxication include:
- Smell of alcohol or attempt to conceal the odor such as by the use of breath spray.
- Attempt to conceal or dispose of alcohol containers.
- Slurred or incoherent speech.
- Use of eye drops.
- Attempt to switch places with passengers.
If you observe any of these signs, be sure to report them immediately to the 911 operator and to officers who came to the scene of the accident.
Regardless of the accident’s cause, it is important to gather evidence ,if you physically able to, establishing fault at the scene of the crash. This may be helpful in seeking compensation for injuries later on.
In some cases, a third party that provided excessive alcohol to the drunk driver may be held partially liable for any accident that results. Laws governing drinking establishment liability are known collectively as dram shop actions deriving from the historical fact that alcohol was previously sold by a unit known as a “dram.”
Dram shop actions are very fact specific and bound by strict legal principles so you must consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to explore the possibility of this type of case.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury in a drunk driving accident and you want to file a suit against the responsible parties, it is important that you act quickly. Reach out to our office now to start fighting for the compensation you deserve.
Things to Know Before Filing a Medical Malpractice Suit in New York
If you experience injury related to medical care that you have received, it can be tempting to want to sue for compensation. However, it is important to realize that not all pains and injuries associated with medical care qualify as malpractice.
What is it, legally speaking? Medical malpractice typically refers to times when a medical provider violates the generally accepted standard of care which results in patient injury. The standard of care depends on several factors, including the patient’s type of illness and age.
Before you file a lawsuit, make sure you understand what medical malpractice actually is.
Types of Medical Malpractice and What You Need to Prove
Generally, here’s what you need to know before you file a medical malpractice suit.
Examples of medical malpractice include the following:
- Foreign object left in the body during surgery
- Improper monitoring of a condition
- Incorrect diagnosis or failure to diagnose
- Incorrect surgery or surgical error
- Incorrect treatment which causes the condition to worsen
- Injury to mother or child during birth
- Mistakes in prescriptions
- Risks not disclosed before treatment
You and your attorney will need to prove that the doctor’s violation of the standard of care was the direct cause of your injury.
For example, you go in for surgery on your foot, but instead the doctor performs surgery on your knee. In these cases, your attorney will need to prove that the incident occurred due to negligence on the part of the doctor or his team and was not due to any fault of your own.
In New York, a medical expert that supports your position is required to prove a medical malpractice case.
Timing Involved in Medical Malpractice Suits in New York
The time frame within which to bring suit varies by such factors as whether the case 1) involves a government entity (such as the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp.); 2) a foreign object was left in your body; 3) there was continuous treatment for the alleged condition; and a variety of other fact specific circumstances. Based on the unique facts of your case, an experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to advise you about time limits.
How Medical Malpractice Damages Work
Two types of damages generally may be awarded to you if you win the suit. Non-economic damages are awarded for pain and suffering. Economic damages are awarded for lost wages and health care costs incurred as a result of the act of malpractice.
Want to know if you have a viable case? Contac.;t an experienced New York medical malpractice attorney today to discuss the specifics of your situation and learn about the options that are available to you.
School Bus Injuries: What New York Parents Can Expect
School is back in session, and that means more school buses on the road with a higher potential for school bus accidents and injuries. Learn what you can expect if you or your child is injured in a school bus accident.
On August 22, a crash in Cleveland involving a car and a school bus sent 13 elementary school children to the hospital with minor injuries. On August 25, one school bus rear ended another school bus in Bell County, Kentucky, and two children were sent to the hospital with injuries. Earlier this year, 17 children were taken to a New Jersey hospital after a crash that involved two buses. In yet another incident, 16 children and one adult were injured when a school bus collided with a truck. That one happened right here in New York City.
Normally riding a bus is one of the safest travel methods. However, injuries from bus accidents can have long-lasting effects on you and your child. It’s wise to seek both medical attention and a skilled New York bus accident attorney if you are injured in an accident involving a school bus.
Common injuries related to school bus crashes fall into several different categories.
In a bus crash, head injuries most often occur when the head makes impact with the window or with the seat in front of you. They can also occur if flying debris hits your skull.
It’s imperative to seek medical attention for any kind of head injury, no matter how minor. Head injuries can have long-lasting and serious complications, so the importance of a medical exam is high.
Common symptoms of a head injury include headache, blurry vision, insomnia, and nausea. If you experience bleeding, swelling, dizziness, or temporary blackouts, seek emergency medical care.
Doctors will conduct tests for concussions and brain injuries, which can be permanent and life-altering. In a personal injury lawsuit, your medical diagnosis is a crucial piece of evidence which supports your claim.
Soft tissue injuries
Some injuries due to a bus crash may take days or weeks for symptoms to show up. Whiplash is a common injury that occurs in a bus accident. It produces pain in neck muscles, yet it often does not show up right away. You may notice neck tenderness, muscle spasms, and headaches, which can all be related to whiplash.
A doctor can investigate your soft tissue injury and recommend treatment. You can prevent yourself from further injury by seeking medical help.
Damage to the spinal column or vertebrae in a bus crash can be permanently debilitating, depending on the degree of damage.
You must seek immediate medical care to rule out serious injury. Warning signs of a serious back injury are numbness in your extremities or pain in your back or neck after a bus crash.
Abrasions and cuts
Bus crashes may cause cuts, scrapes, and bruises, some serious enough to warrant stitches. During the crash, your body may slam against seating or the bus walls. Flying debris can also wound you. A cup, cell phone, purse, bookbag, book, or accessory can cause significant damage depending on the impact of the crash.
Most abrasions and cuts can be treated with home remedies like ice, bandages, and over-the-counter pain relievers. If you experience lingering pain, or if other symptoms like swelling, oozing, and fever occur, visit the doctor to address any underlying problems.
Injury to extremities
As you are thrown about in a bus crash, you may experience broken bones in your fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet, and toes. You may experience significant injury if the crash impact occurs nearest you or if you are thrown around in the bus during the crash. Seek medical care for severe pain in your extremities, because your bones may not reset correctly on their own and this can lead to further pain.
What to Do If a School Bus Accident Injures Your Child
If you or your child has been injured in a school bus accident, don’t wait to seek out medical care. Not only will this increase your chances of recovering faster and more fully, a medical report is also essential for making a personal injury claim.
Before you file a claim, though, you’ll need an experienced attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will understand which party will be held responsible for your injuries. Bus accidents are commonly due to negligence on the part of the driver, whether in collisions or rollovers. Victims of school bus accidents must be able to prove negligence in order to receive compensation.
Your first step in a claim? Reach out to a personal injury attorney. A lawyer with a track record of success in school bus accident cases can help you recover your losses due to injury, loss of income, medical expenses, and physical and psychological pain related to the accident.
Watch Out! Places Most New York Trip and Falls Occur
Trip and fall injuries can be quite serious. In fact, they are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits in New York. You can help prevent trip and falls by watching out for these common issues and taking some safety precautions to make sure that your home and business are secure.
Trip and fall injuries are often preventable if proper precautions have been taken. If you have suffered a slip and fall injury on property other than your own, it’s possible that the owner or maintainer of the property is liable for your injuries. A New York injury attorney experienced in slip, trip, and fall injuries can help you determine whether you can seek damages for your injuries and help you get the compensation you deserve.
In the city, sidewalks are a very common site of slips, trips, and falls. This can happen during the winter months, especially if property owners fail to sufficiently clear their sidewalks of snow and ice. Additionally, debris such as trash, yard waste, or other clutter can be left on sidewalks, causing a trip and fall hazard. Improper maintenance can also lead to uneven surfaces on sidewalks that cause pedestrians to trip.
If you trip and fall on a New York City sidewalk due to snow, ice, debris, or an uneven walking surface, it is possible that the property owner or the City of New York could be held liable for your injury. An aggressive personal injury attorney with a track record of success* in these types of cases can help you determine if seeking damages is viable and,if so, work to get you fair compensation for your injuries.
Doorways are another common site for trip and fall injuries. Victims commonly trip on the door’s threshold or potentially on a loose door entry mat. If an entry mat has not been installed, rainwater, snow or ice may also accumulate in the doorway, leading to slippery surfaces which may result in trips and falls.
If you fall in a doorway, look to see whether an entry mat has been installed and if you may have tripped on any uneven surfaces on the mat itself. Also look to see whether the floor was wet, and if so, whether this was properly marked. The laws governing these cases are complicated so it is necessary to consult an experienced personal injury attorney about your rights in these situations.
Bathrooms are a very common site of falldown injuries in both residential and commercial properties. They are subject to wetness and spills, debris and defective floor tiles which may cause users to slip or trip. The CDC reports that over 230,000 nonfatal bathroom injuries occur annually, and that over 80% are caused by falls. Slip and fall injuries can be quite serious causing pain and suffering, accumulation of medical bills and lost wages.
*Prior results cannot and do not guarantee a similar outcome.
In your own apartment or house, you can prevent bathroom injuries by making sure that any spills and accumulated moisture are quickly mopped up. You can also make surfaces less prone to slippage by installing high-quality bathroom mats and nonslip surfaces in your tub or shower. You may also want to install grab bars, especially if elderly persons will be regularly using your bathroom.
Who Might Be Negligent In New York Truck Accidents
In 2014, comedian Tracy Morgan was critically injured in an accident with a big rig. His friend James McNair, a fellow comedian known as Jimmy Mack, was killed, and eight others were hurt in the accident on the New Jersey Turnpike.
How did it happen?
Allegedly, the driver of an 18-wheeler for Walmart had been on duty for almost 13.5 hours, which was near the maximum of the 14-hour federal limit. Though work zone signs were posted about a mile ahead of the crash site, the driver apparently ignored them. A half-mile from the warning signs, the speed dropped from 65 mph to 45 mph, but he may have also ignored the change. The driver then collided with a vehicle in which Morgan was a passenger when that car was moving at less than 10 mph due to road construction.
According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board, the driver should have been able to stop before the collision if he had obeyed the 45 mph speed limit. However, he had been awake for 28 consecutive hours at the time of the crash since he had driven his own vehicle for 12 hours prior to picking up the truck.
The 18-wheeler was equipped with a collision detection system, but the NTSB could not prove that it issued a warning to the driver prior to the crash. The board said that the system did not store enough data to bear proof and suggested that future systems be manufactured to store more data.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t an isolated incident. Accidents like these happen fairly regularly in New York and deciding who is responsible can be complicated because there are several parties who could potentially be at fault.
If you are involved in a crash with a big rig, it’s important to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to determine the liable parties. Here are several possibilities that may come into play in court.
Entities That Can Potentially Be Held Liable In a Commercial Truck Accident
The owner of the tractor trailer. Current federal law states that any company that owns a trucking permit is responsible for all accidents that involve a truck with the company’s name displayed on the truck. Whether the driver is an employee or subcontractor, the law applies.
The driver of the tractor trailer. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that driver error is the main reason for 88 percent of crashes. This is true even when considering other factors such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle problems.
Sleep deprivation is the top reason for driver error. Drivers may also be held liable for drug use (both prescription and over-the-counter), inattention, speeding, and route unfamiliarity.
Proving that the driver was at fault is not always easy. They must have committed an act within the scope of employment, and the court has several factors to decide whether that is true in each case. Factors include whether the driver was an employee or subcontractor, the amount of freedom allowed to the driver in carrying out assigned duties, the nature of the driver’s conduct, the type of work the driver was hired to complete, and the driver’s intent.
The manufacturer of the tractor trailer. If equipment malfunctions, the manufacturer may be at fault. Common problems include tire blowouts, brake failures, transmission failure, and lighting that isn’t operating correctly. Trucks must be well-maintained, and if they are not, the manufacturer may be held responsible.
The entity that paid to have the cargo transported. If the cargo causes harm as it comes out of the trailer in a crash, the company who paid for the cargo’s transport may be held liable for misloading.
The entity that contracted the tractor trailer to transport the cargo. This entity may be held liable if damages occur from cargo leaving the truck upon impact.
The entity that coordinated the tractor trailer’s route and load. If the route and load played a role in the crash, this entity may be held responsible.
Let a Knowledgeable New York Personal Injury Lawyer Help You Navigate the Complications Inherent in Trucking Accidents
If more than one of these entities is held liable for damages, they may fight over who will pay compensation and/or how much each of them is responsible for. This can cause long delays in resolution, and only an experienced truck accident attorney is qualified to navigate these challenges with you.
If you have been involved in a crash with a big rig, you need legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected. Investigations may take place, and several parties may be involved, so the case can take a long time to settle. An attorney experienced in similar cases can help you sift through the process and prove negligence. Reach out today to get the legal expertise you need.
Holland Tunnel Bus Crash: Reasons Bus Accidents Can Happen
Holland Tunnel Bus Crash: Reasons Bus Accidents Can Happen
Last month, near the New Jersey side of the Holland Tunnel, an unlicensed driver made an improper turn and hit a bus, sending the bus out into an intersection where it crashed into a pole. The bus had 42 passengers aboard, 14 of whom suffered injuries. Luckily all of the injuries were minor in this particular crash. However, often bus crashes result in mass critical injuries – or even fatalities. Worse, bus crashes are on the rise, meaning more people are getting hurt.
If you or someone you love is involved in a bus accident, one of your first questions is probably “Why?” Why did it happen? What caused it to occur? Who is to blame?
There are a number of common causes for bus accidents, and if are facing pain and suffering, medical bills or lost wages as a result of your injuries, you deserve compensation. However, determining liability in a bus crash is typically complex, as there are many reasons for bus accidents and factors that come into play.
Bus company negligence
Fortunately, the MTA is publically operated, so in general it is well-regulated. However, private tour or charter bus companies specializing in longer-distance routes often cut corners on safety regulations, driver training, or vehicle maintenance to maximize profit margins.
Even if it’s not intentional, mistakes happen. When they do, it can lead to catastrophic accidents that result in injury or death of passengers. Under the common carrier law, you may be able to hold the bus company liable for incidents like these.
Bus driver negligence
Many laws or regulations apply to bus drivers including hours of service, maximum bus speed, turning, passing, and others. Drivers are also prohibited from the use of cell phones or from talking to passengers while the bus is moving.
However, these regulations are often disregarded, which can result in accidents. Alternatively, the bus driver may simply be a bad driver, and lapses in judgement can cause accidents. Generally, the bus company is held liable if bus driver negligence results in an accident.
Bus driver fatigue
Driver fatigue caused by overworking, lack of sleep, or sleep apnea, is the leading cause of highway fatalities in the US, and also a leading cause of bus crashes. Sleep apnea is a common cause of driver fatigue, and is more common in transit operators than in the general population.
Another common cause of bus driver fatigue is failure to comply with hours of service regulations, meaning that bus drivers are on the road for too long and become fatigued as a result. If this results in an accident, the bus company can be held liable.
In some cases a bus accident may be caused by inclement weather and bad road conditions, particularly because buses are large and difficult to maneuver. During inclement weather, the bus driver should be properly trained to operate under these conditions and take certain precautions. Further, the transit company should cancel services in the event of very severe inclement weather. Failure to follow these protocols could result in an accident for which the bus company is held liable.
Because buses are very long and windows are often obstructed by passengers, blind spots are a major problem and can cause accidents. However, buses have specialized mirrors to eliminate blind spots when properly adjusted. In the event that mirrors are not properly adjusted and a blind spot is present, the bus company could be held liable for an equipment failure.
Left-turn accidents are some of the most common bus accidents. In these cases the driver’s inability to see around temporary blind spots may cause a collision, but drivers are trained to lean forward to avoid these blind spots.
As in the Holland Tunnel bus crash, errors made by other drivers on the road may also cause bus crashes. Distracted or impaired driving on the part of the other driver may also increase the likelihood of a collision.
Bus routes are frequently through urban areas, where lots of other drivers are on the road and the traffic can become incredibly congested. If the other driver is at fault, he or she may be held liable for the injuries of the bus passengers as in a standard auto accident.
Bus fires can be very dangerous, and result in devastating injuries and fatalities. Passengers at the rear of the bus may be unable to escape, or passengers may be overcome by fumes before they can escape.
Bus fires most often arise in the engine compartment, and are usually preventable by proper maintenance. Bus fires less commonly occur in tires and wheel wells, often due to friction from flat or underinflated tires. Bus fires may also occur as the result of a severe accident, when fuel lines are compromised.
If you are involved in a bus accident, to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, it is vital that you consult with a knowledgeable New York personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
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