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A primer on New York’s no-fault auto insurance

At the very least, auto accidents are a major inconvenience, and at worst, they can be life changing events.  If you’re involved in a car accident, the best thing you can do is accept it and take the necessary steps to put it behind you.

New York laws require that if someone is injured or killed in a car accident, all drivers are required to stay and attempt to render reasonable assistance.  Not doing so means a driver can be charged with hit-and-run and face severe penalties, including fines, jail time and loss of driver license.

Many accidents are caused by one or more drivers being negligent, defective auto parts or when roads are not well maintained.  Regardless of who is at fault, New York is one of 12 states that have enacted no-fault auto insurance.  This ensures that an insurance company will pay for medical expenses, lost earnings and related costs, no matter who is at fault in an accident.  Enacted in the 1970s, the goal of the law is to speed up compensation and avoid drawn-out litigation to determine who is at fault.  In New York, every driver is required to maintaina minimum liability insurance of:

  • $25,000/$50,000 for injuries
  • $50,000/$100,000 for deaths
  • $10,000 for property damage caused by one accident

Drivers are covered by this blanket coverage, assuming they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or engaged in any criminal activities at the time of the accident.

This means drivers do not have to sue other drivers who were at fault in an accident.  They must simply file a claim with their own insurance provider within 30 days of the accident.  It is important to note that no-fault insurance does not cover damage to your own vehicle, it only covers damage to the other driver’s vehicle and personal property.

While you can file a no fault claim, one thing it does not cover is compensation for pain and suffering.  To pursue a claim for these damages, you’ll need to retain a car accident lawyer and file a separate suit.

Isaacson, Schiowitz&Korson LLP proudly serves New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Nassau and surrounding communities.  Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 267-6557.

Determining who is liable is the key in a construction accident lawsuit

Construction projects in New York City present some additional challenges that go over and above the same type of projects in other cities.  Projects almost always have a vertical component to them intensifying the level of danger for construction workers.  And unfortunately, each year, countless workers are injured on the job due to accidents such as falls, electrocutions, being crushed or struck by any number of objects on a job site.

Virtually every accident is due to negligence in some shape or form.  Workers who suffer injuries or are killed on jobsites may haverecourse to seek damages by filing workers’ compensation claims against several parties, which allows them to be reimbursed for medical bills, lost wages and other related expenses.  They may be able to file a separate lawsuit for pain and suffering as well.

The biggest challenge a lawyer may face when dealing with a construction accident is trying to prove who is liable.  On the surface, this may seem like a simple task, but on a big construction project, there are many people who may share liability.  Determining which entity to hold responsible can be difficult.

Property owners – sometimes property owners turn over control of a job site to a general contractor. Other times, they retain control.  This is a good place for an attorney to start.

A general contractor – If control of a site is ceded to a general contractor, they may or may not retain control.  In some instances, they may turn over partial control to any number of sub-contractors.

Sub-contractors – Electricians, plumbers, glaziers, or ironworkers may create an unsafe environment for their particular part of the job, making them the responsible party if an accident takes place.

Engineers – Sometimes, safety flaws begin in the design process, which can be traced all the way back to architects and engineers.

Equipment manufacturers – Construction accidents involving cranes seem to make headlines on a regular basis in New York City.  This is a classic example of an equipment manufacturer who may have brought defective equipment to a job site, or it may be a case of the general contractor allowing the use of the crane during a time when it was not safe to do so, maybe due to high winds or in heavy rain or snow.

Isaacson, Schiowitz&Korson LLP proudly serves New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Nassau and surrounding communities.  Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 267-6557.

Do I need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer?

Sooner or later, we all need to seek medical care for any number of reasons.  A broken bone, an emergency appendectomy or to get treated for heart disease.  The list of possible ailments is almost infinite.

In New York City, and throughout the country, when we seek care we have every right to assume that the treatment we receive will be what we need to give us the best chance at getting healthier.  Unfortunately, the human body is a fickle machine, and there are no guarantees, despite a medical team’s best efforts.

What happens when a doctor makes the wrong diagnosis or prescribes a course of treatment that fails to cure or makes things worse?  The results can be devastating.

As patients, when this happens, we have the right to challenge that care, asking the question of whether or not the doctor’s actions rise to the level of medical malpractice.  Proving medical malpractice can be difficult, especially going up against well-oiled insurance companies and seasoned legal teams.  However, if a patient and their lawyer can prove that a doctor did not meet the test of providing an appropriate standard of care, then the possibility exists that the patient may be able to collect a judgment based on the failure to meet that standard of care.

Proving medical malpractice is based on several things.  It must be proven that a doctor/patient relationship existed and that the standard of expected care fell short and created medical negligence.  Further, it must be shown that this failure directly caused harm to the patient and that there are quantifiable damages as a result.  Each of these elements has several offshoots that can be challenged in court, but at the very least, this framework lays out a broad overview of what a patient can expect if they are considering a medical malpractice suit.

Isaacson, Schiowitz&Korson LLP proudly serves New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Nassau and surrounding communities.  Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 267-6557.

The 4 steps to proving liability in an accident case

Although every accident is different, the one thing many of them have in common is that another person may be at fault for your injuries.  A good attorney has the ability to prove negligence on the part of the defendant, which will make them liable for compensating you for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.

There are four steps involved in proving negligence in an accident case.  They include:

  1. Did the defendant have a duty to provide a safe environment for you or for others who were injured? Of the four standards, this is the easiest point to prove because, in virtually all cases, society demands that a person behaves in a responsible manner when out in public.  A good example of this is that a person is acting irresponsibly if they break the speed limit while driving a car.
  2. Did the defendant breach the duty they have to the public? Again, if a person is travelling in a car at a high rate of speed, he can be caught on a radar gun or observed by a police officer and recognized as a speeder.
  3. Due to that breach, was the plaintiff injured? While this might seem like a no-brainer, what complicates things is an attorney may choose to file a claim against more than one party.  While the upside is greater, determining who is at fault and to what degree can get complicated in a hurry.  In a car accident, for example, debris in the road that was dropped by a different truck or a car, may create a challenge to a car that was going to be identified as the sole perpetrator of an accident claim.
  4. Did you sustain actual damages as a result of the injury? Going to a doctor or needing to get a car repaired are quantifiable and legitimate reasons to seek compensation.

Isaacson, Schiowitz&Karson LLP proudly serves New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Nassau and surrounding communities.  Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 267-6557.

 

Choosing the best possible personal injury attorney

If you’ve been injured through another person’s negligence, then chances are you will need to retain a personal injury lawyer to work closely with you as you seek to be compensated for your injuries.

In New York, choosing the right lawyer can not only mean the difference between winning and losing your case but also how large of a settlement you may finally end up with.  However, if you’ve never had any dealings in the legal world, just finding the right attorney can be a daunting experience.

Here are some things you should consider if you need to retain the services of a personal injury lawyer;

A focused practice.  You need to find an attorney that does one thing well, and that is to work almost exclusively on personal injury cases.  By itself, personal injury law is a vast area of practice, and it can take years for an attorney to gain the experience that will give their client the edge they need.  The attorney you choose should also be skilled and experienced in settling a case because the vast majority of personal injury cases never make it to trial.

A well-known reputation.  Many personal injury attorneys work in the same court system for many years.  Through those cases, they can build a name and a reputation for themselves, becoming well known to insurance companies, other attorneys and to the court system.  You can use this reputation to your advantage to gain the upper hand in many cases.

An objective point of view.  Look for an attorney who sets aside the emotional aspect of a case and instead focuses on the facts.  In a legal setting, facts are what will carry the day, and while your judgment may be clouded due to a swirling mix of mental, emotional and physical issues, to be effective, an attorney must be able to set those things aside.

Isaacson, Schiowitz&Korson LLP proudly serves New York City, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island, Nassau and surrounding communities.  Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 267-6557.

5 Top Safety Tips for New Motorcycle Owners

Now that June is here and spring is finally upon us, most people are eager to get outdoors. If your summer plans include buying a new motorcycle or jumping on one for the first time, it’s important to educate yourself about the risks of riding. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 34 times more likely to die in a collision than someone behind the wheel of a car. In honor of a long-overdue spring and motorcycle safety awareness month, let’s take a minute to review the top five safety tips for new motorcyclists.

Staying Safe on the Open Road

Whether you’re a novice rider or an experienced motorcyclist riding again after the winter months, it’s important to stay safe.

  1. Buy the Right Bike for You

Like cars, not all motorcycles work for everyone. Depending on your lifestyle and your body type, a large bike might not suit you. Similarly, heavier bikes work well for people who can handle them. Test drive several different models and work with a knowledgeable sales representative who can (literally) steer you in the right direction. If you have your heart set on a particular style or brand, remember that you will enjoy yourself more if you’re comfortable and in control of your bike. You will also stay safer.

  1. Wear Protective Gear

The leather gear you see in motorcycle dealerships and shops might help you look the part, but it’s really designed to serve a more practical purpose: safety. Road rash accounts for some of the most horrendous injuries suffered by motorcyclists in car crashes. It’s not uncommon for riders to require amputations after skidding against concrete during a collision. Long sleeves, over-the-ankle pants, gloves, and sturdy shoes should be standard regardless of the weather.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice (Riding)

Riding a motorcycle is not like driving a car – or riding a bike. Before you drive anywhere, your first stop should be at a motorcycle instruction course. Experience will give you confidence, which will improve your reaction time if you encounter a close-call on the road. Check your local Department of Motor Vehicles for class offerings. Many motorcycle manufacturers also offer classes led by certified teachers.

  1. Don’t Skip the Helmet

In New York State, motorcyclists (and their passengers) are required to wear helmets and protective eyewear. More importantly, motorcycle helmets save lives. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve cyclists without helmets.

  1. Keep an Eye on the Weather

Avoid inclement weather whenever possible. Rain is especially dangerous for motorcyclists. In addition to reducing your visibility, wet pavement makes it difficult for your tires to grip the road, compromising your ability to make sudden maneuvers and quick turns.

Motorcycle Personal Injury Lawyers

At Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, we help accident victims receive fair compensation for their injuries. If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident, call our experienced attorneys today at 212-240-0365 for a free consultation about your case.

This website has been prepared by Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

How Much Is My Pain And Suffering Claim Worth in New York?

Personal Injury Victims Are Entitled to Compensation for Their Injuries

Victims in motor vehicle accident cases, premises liability lawsuits, product liability claims, and construction accident lawsuits are forced to navigate life with new physical limitations while coping with significant medical expenses, lost wages and ongoing pain and suffering. These victims have the right to financial compensation from the person whose negligence caused their injuries.

If you are a victim in a personal injury case, you are entitled to compensatory damages for measurable financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages, as well as pain and suffering damages to compensate you for physical and mental anguish, embarrassment and inconvenience resulting from the accident. Although no amount of money can fully compensate you for the pain and suffering you experienced as the result of an accident or injury, a pain and suffering damages award can help ease your financial burdens. 

How Are Pain and Suffering Damages Calculated?

The value of pain and suffering damages is difficult to define because these damages are not entirely calculated using receipts, invoices, billing statements or other tangible documentation. Pain and suffering damages are usually determined based on the severity of the accident and resulting injury and the anticipated length of time it will take you to fully recover from your injuries. The goal of pain and suffering damages is to provide you the amount of financial recovery it takes to make you whole again.

While there is no magic formula for calculating pain and suffering damages, some of the factors that are considered include:

  • Cost of prescription medication to treat physical and mental pain
  • Anticipated limitations and restrictions on the victim’s day-to-day life
  • Impact of injury or accident on victim’s ability to sleep
  • Impact of injury or accident on victim’s relationships with loved ones
  • Victim’s prognosis for the future

Collecting and Preserving Evidence is Key to Proving Pain and Suffering Damages 

Proving pain and suffering damages is complicated by the lack of tangible documentation to substantiate the full financial impact of the accident or injury. The more evidence you are able to produce to support your claim, the better your chances to recover adequate damages.

The types of evidence that are most effective in proving pain and suffering damages are:

  • Photographs of the victim before and after the accident
  • Personal diaries or journals describing the victim’s physical and emotional state
  • Letters or testimony from friends and family explaining how the personal injury has negatively impacted the victim’s life
  • Proof of mental health treatment 

If you are experiencing pain and suffering as a result of an accident or injury caused by the negligence of another person, you should immediately begin preserving pictures, letters and related document to use as evidence in your case. 

New York Personal Injury Firm Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP Can Help You Maximize Your Damages for Pain and Suffering

The personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP have decades of experience helping victims recover the maximum compensatory and pain and suffering damages available based on their circumstances. We will carefully review your case, make sure the proper evidence is in place to boost your chances for damages recovery, and develop a litigation or settlement strategy that will maximize the outcome in your case.

This website has been prepared by Isaacson, Schiowitz & Korson, LLP for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.  

Slips and Falls: Serious Injuries Can Result in Serious Claims

In snowy climates, the risk of slipping on icy steps and sidewalks is an everyday part of life. Just because these accidents are common, however, does not mean they don’t have the potential to cause serious injuries. Each winter, thousands of people slip on dangerously icy and snowy walkways.

Accidents can also occur due to uneven sidewalks, poor lighting, and slippery pavement. In many cases, these injuries could have been avoided if the home or business owner had taken time to properly maintain his property or warn others about potential hazards.

In the legal sense, slip and fall accidents usually refer to a scenario in which an individual injures himself on another person’s property due to an unsafe condition. These cases are also grouped under the legal heading known as “premises liability.”

The Property Owner’s Negligence

Premises liability cases are handled under the legal theory that the property owner was negligent in some way. To prove “negligence”, the person who fell must show that the property owner owed visitors a duty of care and subsequently failed to live up to this duty. Additionally, the injured party must prove that he was indeed injured and that the owner’s breach of the duty of care caused the injuries. Together, all these elements make up negligence, which must be present for an injured party to recoup damages in a slip and fall case.

In general, the law imposes a “reasonable person” standard on property owners. This means that home and business owners must care for their property as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances. Because what is reasonable varies from person to person, New York courts consider previous cases to determine how property owners generally behave. Additionally, they examine standard business practices in the area. For example, if the majority of store owners in a shopping plaza salt their sidewalks in the winter, the court will most likely hold all property owners in the plaza to the same standard of care.

Common Accidents

You don’t need subzero temperatures or snowstorms for a slip and fall accident to happen. These mishaps can occur in a variety of places in an array of conditions. Many people have fallen in grocery stores after workers cleaned a spill without sufficiently marking the area. Similarly, restaurant patrons have been injured after tripping over napkins, utensils, and food left on dining room floors. There have also been cases reported of people sustaining serious injuries after falling down uneven or defective stairs. Poorly maintained or installed sidewalks, such as ones with raised slabs or cracks, are also common causes of serious trip and fall injuries.

In all these scenarios, the property owner failed to properly repair or maintain a dangerous condition.

How Do You Know if You Have a Case?

There are several scenarios that lend themselves to a potential slip and fall or trip and fall claim. If the owner failed to maintain his property, you might have a case. Additionally, if the owner should have known about a dangerous condition and neglected to fix it before someone got hurt, you might be able to recover damages for your injury.

If you’ve been injured as a result of a slip and fall or a trip and fall on someone else’s property, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you of your options.

Police brutality claims in New York

Recently, there have been a couple of publicized cases involving police brutality in New York. The first involved a million-dollar award made to a Syracuse man who received injuries at the hands of a state trooper in 2001.

The second case is more recent. A Queens judge is alleging that he is the victim of police brutality in New York City when a police officer struck him in the throat. The judge said he witnessed the officers beating a homeless man who was wielding a pipe. The homeless man has also lodged a police brutality complaint over the incident, which took place in Elmhurst in June of this year.

What do these two cases show about police brutality?

These seem to be two very different cases, and they are. But they prove a couple of things to be true regarding police brutality in New York.

The first is that it might take a long time to settle your case. Eleven years to settle the case of the man in the first example. Tenacity pays off. Most lawyers will take your case on contingency, so you won’t be out any money upfront. (More about contingency fees here.)

Secondly, anyone can be the victim of police brutality, from the person being arrested to a bystander. The judge was a witness who says he was trying to keep the crowd that had gathered from encroaching on the officers when one of them mistook him for a vocal protester. This does not, however, excuse the police officer or justify his action.

What to do if you think you have a case

If you feel you have just cause to bring a case against a policeman or state trooper, the best thing to do is to consult with an experienced police brutality attorney in New York to discuss your case and the next steps in recovering damages.

Filing a Personal Injury Protection or No Fault claim after an auto accident

Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) coverage is mandatory in New York for every auto insurance policy. PIP is also known as no-fault insurance claim and can be filed regardless of whether or not you were responsible.

People sometimes hesitate to file No Fault claims for fear that their insurance company will raise their rates or terminate their policy. This is not the case at all. It is illegal for insurance companies to raise rates or terminate coverage based on a claim. Furthermore, the at-fault driver’s insurance company usually reimburses your insurance company for any medical bills paid under your PIP coverage.

What does No Fault pay for?

This type of insurance covers a variety of expenses for you if you are injured in a car accident. It will also cover any passengers in your vehicle who have sustained injuries.

  • Hospital bills
  • Medical bills
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Co-pays
  • Out-of-pocket prescription costs
  • Lost wages

If you have been hurt and your No Fault claims are denied, a personal injury attorney can help you understand all of your options. If you’ve recently been involved in an automobile accident, you should discuss your case with an experienced car accident attorney in New York. Doing so could ensure a more favorable outcome.