Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice, Products Liability and Other Intentional Torts

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Personal injury and medical malpractice actions are designed to compensate victims for intentional and negligent actions of others. There can be significant awards to individuals injured by products placed into the stream of commerce which are harmful when used as directed. The law seeks to compensate victims and their families for pain and suffering, lost earnings, loss of consortium, and at times award punitive damages in the event of gross negligence.

Common personal injury claims include those arising from motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls and construction accidents, including falls from scaffolds and buildings. However, they may also include those arising out of assaults and batteries, even sexual assaults and murders, or when victims are injured on the premises of others. Injuries suffered on another's property - whether it is at a home, store, office, or commercial building - are often the result of negligent maintenance or even complete disregard for the safety of others. If you or a family member has been injured in a slip-and-fall or other accident away from your home you may have a premises liability claim.

Products Liability

Products liability law includes products that are unsafe and harmful when used in their intended manner. This area of the law also includes harmful prescription drugs, such as Vioxx, implanted surgical devices, and also includes food poisoning, such as recent e-coli outbreaks.

Personal Injury

Personal injury accidents often involve the negligence, carelessness, or recklessness of others, and include the following types of injuries — traumatic brain injuries, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, complex regional pain syndrome, head injuries, burns, broken bones, dislocations, fractures, neck injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, nerve injuries, paralysis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, and spinal cord injuries.

Wrongful Death

A "wrongful death" occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company or entity. A wrongful death suit can be brought by the surviving immediate family members if they suffer emotional injury and financial hardship due to the death of their family member. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or misconduct of another, it is of the utmost importance that you contact an attorney immediately to protect the rights of you and your family.

Common Accidents and Events that May Lead to Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims

Some of the common types of accidents that result in personal injury and wrongful death claims include:

  • Motor vehicle, motorcycle, bicycle, and pedestrian accidents and crashes.
  • Rollovers.
  • Drunk driving and DUI-DWI crashes.
  • Insurance coverage disputes, policy exclusions, bad-faith claims, arbitration, and mediation.
  • Dog bites and attacks by domesticated animals, including bites, wounds, fractures, head injuries, brain injuries, rabies, scarring, and emotional trauma.
  • Nursing home negligence and elder abuse, including bed sores, infections, dehydration, malnutrition, medication and prescription errors, mental cruelty, and physical abuse.
  • Premises liability accidents, including scaffolding, inadequate security, elevator accidents
  • Lead poisoning.
  • Slip, trip and fall accidents.
  • Construction site accidents
  • School accidents
  • Bus or Subway accidents
  • Auto Accidents

Accident Checklist
If you have been in an accident, be sure to:

  • Stop your Car. Leaving the scene of an accident can lead to serious criminal prosecutions.
  • Aid the Injured. Call 911 to contact the police and an ambulance, if one is needed.
  • Protect the Scene. Protect the scene of an accident to avoid additional collisions. Illuminate the area. Move your car to the side of the roadway if it can be moved.
  • Exchange Information. Exchange insurance, registration and driver’s license information.
  • Do not claim responsibility.
  • Obtain Witness Information. If there are witnesses, get their names, addresses and phone numbers. Obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers of drivers and passengers, including the owner of a vehicle, if not the driver.
  • Collect Evidence. Make notes of the time of the day, weather and road conditions, lighting, length of skid marks, diagram the accident scene, noting the vehicles and traffic signs and signals.
  • File an Accident Report. Be sure a police official files an accident report. Obtain the accident report for your records.
  • Seek Medical Care. If you are injured, seek medical care at a hospital or your physician's office.
  • Contact your Insurance Company. If you are in an accident involving injury or property damage, contact your insurance company. If you fail to do so, your claim may be refused.

Contact an Attorney. If you are someone else has been injured or if there is significant property damage, contact an attorney. An attorney can assist you in filing a No-Fault insurance claim, evaluate your liability and help you decide whether a lawsuit should be filed on your behalf to compensate you for your injuries, pain and suffering, medical expenses and economic losses, including loss wages and property damage.

No-Fault Insurance

Under New York State’s compulsory no-fault insurance law, persons injured in a vehicular accident are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in benefits provided they were not intoxicated, drugged or engaged in other specified criminal or anti-social behavior. No-fault claims must be filed within 30 days of the accident. Medical claims must be made within 45 days of the treatment, while claims for loss of earnings must be submitted within 45 days of the accident. No-fault benefits are payable regardless of who was responsible for the accident.

No-fault benefits include:

All necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses
Loss earnings up to $2,000 per month for up to three years from the date of the accident.
Up to $25 per day for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred because of the accident.

Industrial & Scaffolding Accidents

Accidents commonly occur at construction sites, factories, and in other industrial settings. Examples of construction site hazards that result in death or serious and permanent injuries include:

  • Falls from scaffolding, cranes and ladders
  • Elevator, stairway accidents and forklift injuries.
  • Carbon monoxide, radiation and toxic chemical exposure.
  • Flammable, combustible materials, fires, and explosions.
  • Electrocution and burn injuries.
  • Defective machinery and tools.
  • Falling items from scaffolding, cranes, and ladders.

New York labor laws protect workers injured on a construction job site. Third parties, including property owners, general contractors, subcontractors, architects, and manufacturers may be liable for an injury or death when an accident occurs on the job. The law makes the general contractor and property owner responsible for site safety. Worker negligence is not a defense to liability and labor laws give the injured worker a separate and distinct cause of action apart from his or her workers’ compensation claim.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a pain syndrome caused by a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. Also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), it normally begins in an extremity and spreads to other parts of the body. Unlike other injuries, as the disease progresses through the victim’s body, it often becomes more painful, not less painful. RSD is typically caused by some trauma to the autonomic nervous system including nerve injuries, and/or fractures. Minor injuries, such as sprains and falls, are also frequent causes of the disease. Symptoms often include:

  • Severe burning pain.
  • Pathological changes in bone and skin.
  • Excessive sweating.
  • Tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch.

RSD is poorly understood by its victims, their families, healthcare providers, and insurance companies. It is important that if you have a claim for RSD or CRPS, it is important that your attorney have experience in handling these matters.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can occur anytime a doctor, or other medical professional, commits an act that deviates from accepted medical standards of practicing medicine. This can take the form of a misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose illness or injury, or surgical error, medication and treatment errors, among other mistakes. If you or a loved one has been injured by the carelessness of a doctor, hospital, nurse, or other health care provider, we can help you pursue a case against the negligent party.
False Imprisonment

False Imprisonment is a form of personal injury that consists of unlawful restraint of a person's liberty without proper legal authority. If you have been held by someone who is not a police officer, you may have been falsely imprisoned. This includes being held by a business employee, a security guard or someone impersonating a police officer.
False Arrest/Excessive Use of Force

False arrest is different from false imprisonment because it is at the hands of a true legal authority (police officer, etc.) yet lacks reasonable grounds or probable cause to believe that a crime was actually committed. Often, this claim is paired with either discrimination or excessive use of force. If you have been held without clear reason or cause, you may have been arrested on false pretenses.

Practice Areas: 

Accidents & Injuries