Michael J. Gaffney Attorney at Law
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Staten Island Personal Injury Law Blog

Falls are a silent peril

Negligence cases involving car accidents are well known. However, falls or slip-and-fall accidents are even more prevalent but seemingly go unnoticed. After car crashes, falling is the second leading cause of death by injury in this country and causes 32,000 deaths each year.

These numbers are four times greater than the number of fatalities caused by drowning and fire combined. Approximately three times as many people are killed in this country by falling than by firearms. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that falls, more than any other accident, was the greatest cause of patients going to emergency rooms. Falls led to visits at a rate that is three times greater than car accidents.

Drugged driving on the rise

Golf great Tiger Woods was recently arrested for driving under the influence after he was found sleeping in an idling car in Jupiter, Florida. He attributed the DUI to an adverse reaction to prescription medications. This arrest illustrates that drugged driving has outpaced drunk driving and can be a major component of car accidents in New York and throughout this country.

Prescriptions for Vicodin, OxyContin and other pain killers have multiplied by four since 1999 and Americans purchase 80 percent of the prescription painkillers in the world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that almost 250 million opioid prescriptions were written in the United States in 2013, which was sufficient to provide a bottle of pills to every person in this country. This rose to 300 million prescriptions in 2015.

Walk away from a pedestrian crash with monetary damages

When you are walking near traffic, you are naturally vulnerable to injury. After all, unlike motorists on the road, you do not have anything surrounding you to protect you. Unfortunately, sometimes drivers in New York fail to pay attention to their surroundings and end up striking pedestrians.

If you have been seriously hurt in a pedestrian crash, you have the right to seek to hold the reportedly at-fault driver accountable in civil court. A few steps are important to take directly after the accident to protect your best interests legally.

Safety measures have made some NY streets safer

Safety measures, such as 3-foot steel cylindrical bollards, prevented additional fatalities and injuries when a motorist plowed his car into pedestrians in Times Square last month and killed an 18-year-old woman and injured 20 other pedestrians. This tragedy has sparked a review of safety measures imposed in 2012 to prevent future injuries from terrorists or even negligent parties.

Temporary concrete blocks have been placed along corners on the west side of Seventh Avenue since this attack. However, police believe that installation of an excessive number of bollards could impede people trying to flee buildings in emergencies and block first responder vehicles.

Who is responsible for sidewalk accidents?

Since 2003, the City of New York holds property owners responsible for injuries caused by unsafe sidewalk conditions, such as improperly maintained or icy sidewalks. This law is intended to protect the City from liability for injuries caused by a property owner's failure to keep the sidewalks in good condition.

Property owners are responsible for the condition of sidewalks next to their property. They must keep the sidewalks in good repair and free of snow, ice, dirt and other refuse and materials. This legal requirement also applies to the intersection quadrant and pedestrian ramps for corner properties.

Time extended in medical malpractice suit

Time periods, known as statute of limitations, restrict the time a medical negligence case may be filed in New York. However, certain events may extend this period and allow litigation to continue.

A lawsuit alleging that a doctor's failure to timely diagnose a patient's lung cancer could be allowed to continue even though it was filed after the statute of limitations had expired. A New York appeals court ruled that the time period could be extended because other doctors at the same facility continued to treat the patient.

City may be liable for Brooklyn Bridge cyclist-pedestrian crash

When a cyclist is involved in a crash in New York City, the cyclist may not be the only one legally responsible for any injuries that result. A local government may also be responsible by not taking adequate precautions to protect cyclists and pedestrians who share the same lane. A judge recently decided that the City may be held liable for these accidents on the Brooklyn Bridge because it knew or should have been aware of the dangers on the bridge that led to a July 2010 collision between a pedestrian and a cyclist.

The bicyclist, in his litigation against the City, claimed that he suffered a fractured wrist and arm along with deep lacerations to his face, knee and fingers after he was thrown from his bicycle when a pedestrian entered the bike lane from the Bridge's walkway. The morning crash occurred when the bicyclist was approximately two-thirds from Manhattan into the Brooklyn side. He argued that the City received constructive notice of this danger because there were five other serious accidents involving bicycle-pedestrian collisions on the bridge from 2008 to 2010.

How does a medical malpractice case work?

Patients may file a medical negligence or malpractice lawsuit in New York when they have suffered harm because a doctor or hospital did not treat that person in accordance with the accepted professional standards. To prove these cases, a plaintiff must offer specific, sometimes expert, evidence.

Plaintiffs must prove that they were under a physician's care, that the doctor failed to act within the standard of care governing that medical specialty and that this care caused the plaintiff's injury or worsened a medical condition. When malpractice occurs, a patient should find further medical treatment, document their claim and seek legal assistance.

Drivers should focus more on the distracted driving dilemma

It's nearly impossible to drive through any part of Staten Island without seeing someone on a cellphone, putting on makeup or even watching a movie while driving. Distracted driving continues to rise and pose a real and catastrophic threat to everyone on the roadways. Even pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks aren't safe from drivers who are busier doing anything else other than driving.

Many people fail to see the danger in "quickly" answering or reading a text, dialing their phones or glancing at their GPS devices. Even a few seconds of a driver's attention taken off the roadway can result in a horrific accident.

Falling debris injured tourist in Tribeca

A tourist from the United Kingdom received an unwelcome and dangerous surprise when she suffered head injuries after an object fell out of the sky and crashed into her earlier this month in Tribeca. The debris fell off a residential building in an accident that the Department of Buildings said was preventable.

The tourist was walking with her husband on Park Place near Church Street around 5:00 pm in heavy rains and wind. A long hammock with a wooden base fell off the building and knocked her onto the ground. A witness heard a loud bang and believed that the victim suffered injuries to her shoulders or elbows. An ambulance transported her to NYC Heath and Hospitals/Bellevue.

Michael J. Gaffney, Attorney at Law
1164 Victory Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10301

Phone: 347-286-1937
Fax: 718-447-9908
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