What is Negligence?

by on June 25, 2014

The word “negligence” is one of the most often used words in the field of personal injury law. When one of our clients (known as a plaintiff) is injured, he/she usually is aware that one of the most important things we do at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool is carefully set forth the evidence necessary to support our clients’ claim that one or more persons or entities (called defendants) are legally responsible for the happening of the accident.
Negligence is generally defined as being the failure to use that degree of care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances. A simple way to think about it is to compare the conduct or “carefulness” of the defendant to how careful one might think a reasonably careful person (ie; a “prudent” person) would have acted, if that person was in the same situation.

HOW DO WE PROVE NEGLIGENCE?

Proving negligence is not always as easy as it sounds. The facts may involve an act, or failure to act, that occurred at the moment that your serious accident occurred. For example, perhaps you were involved in a car accident and the Defendant failed to make proper observations of a traffic light, stop sign, or some other traffic signal, or made an improper lane change, causing your accident. Such instances are common and may sound simple, but in order to best represent the injured victim’s interests, we often find it critical to hire engineers and accident reconstruction experts in order to expose the truth in the face of Defendants who do not want to take responsibility for their negligent acts. Our decades of experience has shown us that employing an expert to testify regarding the relationship between the vehicles in the roadway, and assessing speed, time, and distance of all the vehicles involved in an accident, is commonly a crucial part of proving your case and of ensuring the best possible outcome that we can obtain for a client.
On the other hand, proving negligence often involves assessing the degree of care that a particular defendant exercised well before the time that an accident occurred. For example, in the instance of a trip or slip and fall accident, a defective condition may have evolved over time, and the issue of negligence may hinge on whether a defendant used reasonable care in allowing a dangerous condition to exist or in allowing a defective condition to develop over a period of months or years, and assessing what if anything the person or entity did to correct the condition. Similarly, in a construction accident, the issue of negligence often involves what steps a company or its’ employees took to create a safe work environment prior to the time the accident occurred (such as by providing for example proper and non-defective fall protection equipment).

NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS VERSUS STATUTORY CLAIMS

Negligence is known as a “common law” claim, which simply means that it is law that evolved over a period of time from the decisions of courts and judges. Negligence claims, such as some of the examples described above, are the most frequent and common of the types of claims that are brought on behalf of seriously injured victims. However, there also are claims known as “statutory claims” or statutory “causes of action”, which are simply claims that are grounded or based upon special or specific laws enacted by the legislature. Sometimes statutory claims exist to protect a group of persons who are at particular risk of serious injury. For example, special statutory claims exist in the state of New York exist to protect construction workers (these are known in New York as Labor Laws). A more general type of statutory claim is known as a dram shop claim. Dram shop laws are special statutory laws that protect the general public by imposing liability against bars and taverns for serious injuries caused by serving alcohol to already intoxicated persons.

EXPERIENCED NEGLIGENCE LAWYERS

All of the attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool are extremely experienced and well versed in handling all types of personal injury claims. Indeed, personal injury law is the only type of law that we practice. Whether your particular serious injury involves a “negligence” claim or a “statutory claim”, we are here to help, to answer your questions, and bring any and all claims on your behalf that best suit your needs as a seriously injured plaintiff. We understand that your individual matter is your only case and the outcome can be critical to the future of yourself and your family. To us, there is no “simple” negligence case. There is almost always something more that can be done, or something performed differently or extraordinarily, that can help improve the ultimate outcome of your case.

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We Represent Families Whose Infants Have Suffered Severe Neurological Injuries

One of the most exciting times in a family’s life is the birth of a new baby. That excitement quickly turns to tragedy and heartbreak when the baby is not born healthy.

Such is the case for a couple we recently represented who were upset and devastated when their baby was born with cerebral palsy.

The mother had indicated to the doctors that she was in a lot of pain. In fact, she was suffering from a medical condition known as placental abruption. In this pregnancy complication, the placenta separates from the uterus; this typically occurs with late bleeding pregnancies.

Placental abruption has effects on both the baby and the mother. For the mother, the severity of the abruption blood clotting or hemorrhaging can lead to extreme pain and even death. For the baby, the severe shock of the condition can cause the child to be stillborn, have trouble breathing and eating or suffer brain damage due to lack of oxygen getting to the brain.

The signs that this mother was in distress were clear. Fetal monitoring strips suggested an issue. Even her own complaints of pain were brushed off as normal labor issues. While thoroughly investigating the medical records for their case, it was shown that the hospital failed to deliver our client’s baby correctly and in a timely manner to prevent these issues. As a result, the child will suffer developmental delays, seizures and neurological issues their entire life.

Sadly, medical negligence occurring before, during, or shortly after birth is far too common. Too often families are forced to face a future where their new loved one is severely disabled. As a result, parents of infants who have suffered birth injuries may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the delivering doctor, attending nurse(s), and hospital where the injury occurred. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, families can recover compensation for any economic or non-economic. Additionally the injured infant’s parents may be able to have their child enrolled in the MIF (Medical Indemnity Fund).

Did you recently give birth to an injured infant? If so, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. For a free, no-obligation consultation with our birth injury lawyers, fill out our online review form or call us at (212) 406-1700. We welcome your call.

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Once you’ve met with an experienced accident attorney you may be wondering exactly how your case can be proven.

We do this by fully investigating your accident scene so we can try to determine exactly what happened and who is at fault.

Our car accident lawyers gather all the information available, such as where the accident occurred, what the weather was like, which drivers were involved, where each driver stated they were at the time of the accident and what the drivers were doing when the accident occurred.

If you took a photograph at the time of the accident, you will be better off than most. Having a picture of the damage that occurred to both vehicles and the surrounding area can go a long way toward proving your case. The environment around your accident is just as vital as any other picture. It can help tell the story as well.

After your accident, we review the police report. A police report can give us a lot of answers as to how the accident occurred and provide vital information regarding the other driver. We will want to view their licenses and previous issues reported to the Department of Motor Vehicles. A police report also gives us the most accurate and current insurance information for the driver so that we can bring a lawsuit against them.

This allows us to put the other driver and their insurance company on notice that we’re looking for compensation for the accident, that we believe the other driver is at fault, and as such should be responsible for the costs you’ve incurred because of the wreck. Accident victims can recover compensation such as lost wages, hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription drug costs, physical therapy, pain and suffering, and any other economic loss.

For more information regarding your legal options, fill out our case review form http://www.quellerfisher.com/contact/ . If you have legal questions, I want you to call me at (212) 406-1700. I welcome your call.

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There are a lot of different aspects to the litigation process that you will get to experience and understand if you file a personal injury lawsuit.

One of the most known aspects of the process is cross-examination. Cross-examination is an opportunity for each attorney to ask questions of the witnesses brought forth by the other side during trial.

You see this interaction a lot in both movies and television as these cross-examinations play out into dramatic moments full of surprises. In real life it’s not as dramatic but can be remarkably revealing.

Cross-examinations begin with asking each witness about how they are related to the case. They could be an eyewitness to the scene of the accident, painting the picture of how your injuries occurred. Or they could be an expert witness here to testify on your behalf regarding your medical health and how your injuries affect you now and into the future.

With each of these witnesses, the attorneys are using their testimony to present your case and prove their side is right. In car accident cases, attorneys must prove that the fault of the accident and subsequent injury was likely caused by the other driver. By asking each witness questions, we’re able to go step by step through the accident case, your injuries, and how your future will look.

Getting information out of witnesses during a cross-examination can be a difficult task. Most people do not want to admit fault or that they had any part in causing or contributing to your injuries. But as experienced attorneys, we’re looking to prove your case and do so by asking tough questions that fully cover the extent of your accident. This allows us to probe for the truth in how you were harmed so that you can win your personal injury lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.

For more information, visit our educational website at. If you have legal questions, I want you to call me at (212) 406-1700 or fill out our online case review form. I welcome your call.

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A Metro-North train derailed in the Bronx early Sunday morning. The accident left over 70 people injured and another four dead.  The train had been headed toward Grand Central terminal when it careened at high speed around a sharp turn next to the Hudson River and derailed. The crash was the deadliest New York City train derailment in over two decades. Sadly, it appears the accident may have been avoidable if not for human error.

According to the New York Times, the train was traveling far too fast as it approached the turn where the accident occurred. The curve where the derailment occurred is known to be one of the sharpest in the region and has a maximum speed limit of 30 m.p.h. Despite the danger posed by the sharp turn, the train approached the curve at a speed of 82 m.p.h. While the National Transportation Safety Board—who are leading the investigation into the accident—initially cautioned that they had not yet determined whether the accident was caused by human error, evidence has emerged that operator error may have been the cause. According to CNN, the engineer of the train, William Rockefeller, told investigators that he had been in a daze moments before the train derailed. Due to the combination of the train’s high speed at the time of derailment and Mr. Rockefeller’s statement to investigators, the MTA could be facing a number of lawsuits relating to the crash.

Engineers are required by law to act in a safe and responsible manner when operating trains. When a train’s engineer acts negligently, they may be liable for any injuries that

Train Derails in Bronxresult. Should the investigation definitively show that the accident occurred due to Mr. Rockefeller’s negligence, Metro-North may be liable for any injuries that occurred. In a lawsuit, individuals who suffered serious injuries in the crash may be able to receive compensation for any financial damages incurred, such as medical bills or lost wages. Furthermore, crash victims may be able to recover compensation for any emotional trauma caused by the derailment. As a result, victims should not hesitate to seek the counsel of a skilled vehicle accident lawyer.

Due to the complexities of train accident lawsuits, the benefit of retaining a successful personal injury lawyer cannot be overstated. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our vehicle accident attorneys understand the difficulties in proving liability following a train crash. As a result, we handle all aspects of the legal process. Our lawyers will interview witnesses, hire investigators to examine the scene of the accident, file the lawsuit, negotiate settlements where appropriate, and pursue maximum compensation in court. Our process for handling accident cases has led to numerous verdicts and settlements, many of which greater than $1 million.

If you or someone you love was injured in the Metro-North train derailment, you may have grounds for a lawsuit.  For a free, no-obligation consultation with Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online.

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A tragic car accident occurred on the Hutchinson River Parkway around 7a.m. on Saturday morning, leaving cab driver Ata Noorzi and Wells Fargo banker Patrick Sheehan dead.

According to the Daily News, Noorzi had picked up Sheehan earlier that morning at his home in Larchmont, NY. The cab had been traveling toward LaGuardia International Airport as Sheehan was planning to leave town on business for Wells Fargo. The accident occurred when a Black SUV heading north skidded out of control and crashed into the highway’s median. Contact with the median caused the SUV to become airborne. The SUV crashed into the livery cab being driven by Noorzi, tearing off the roof and killing both men inside. After hitting Noorzi’s cab’s roof, the SUV crashed into a white SUV before coming to a stop on its roof. The driver of the black SUV was later rushed to the hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries. As a result, the police have asked for a court order to obtain a blood sample from the driver to determine if he was drunk or high at the time of the accident.

While the families of Noorzi and Sheehan have yet to take any legal action, both may have grounds for lawsuits. Both families may be able to bring a wrongful death action against the driver of the black SUV. In a wrongful death suit, the Noorzi and Sheehan families can recover compensation for any lost essential income caused by Ata and Patrick’s deaths, funeral costs, and any pain and suffering the family is forced to endure. Additionally, the Sheehan family may be able to file a wrongful death action against Noorzi’s cab company, should details emerge showing that Noorzi had some fault in the accident.

Fatal Car Accident

 

If someone you love has been involved in a fatal car accident, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the party responsible for the crash. As a result, it is important that you retain an attorney with experience in these types of cases. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our New York car accident lawyers have successfully handled many wrongful death lawsuits following a fatal crash. Our attorneys understand the financial and emotional hardships that families can face following the loss of a loved one. As a result, we handle all aspects of the legal process, including interviewing witnesses, filing the lawsuit, hiring accident reconstruction experts to testify on our client’s behalf, negotiating settlements where appropriate, and pursuing maximum compensation in court. Our process has led to numerous favorable verdicts and settlements, many of which have been worth over $1 million.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online.

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According to the Daily News, New York City’s Citi Bike program may be facing its first round of personal injury lawsuits. Lashonne Shelton, Howard Orlick, and Diane Mathes have all filed notice of claims against the city alleging that the placement of the Citi Bike docking stations are health hazards. All three plaintiffs have alleged that the placement of the bicycle racks caused them to trip, fall, and suffer injuries. All three plaintiffs have stated in their claims that they were injured due to a “trap-like” condition created by the structure of the bike racks.

Citi Bike LawsuitWhile all three injuries were caused by tripping over the bicycle rack, the amount of money being sought by each plaintiff varies dramatically. Ms. Shelton is seeking just over $1 million following her trip and fall in lower Manhattan. Mr. Orlick is seeking $500 to cover his medical expenses following his injury near Union Square, where he claimed the bike rack created an optical illusion of the street and sidewalk. Ms. Mathes is seeking $5 million after suffering her injury on the East 20th Street racks, claiming she suffered physical and psychological damages. Additionally, Ms. Mathes’ husband plans to sue the city for $250,000 claiming that he suffered a “loss of services” from his wife due to her injury.

In order for the plaintiffs to have a valid case, they must be able to prove that the city acted negligently in their placement of the bike racks. Furthermore, the plaintiffs must show that their injuries caused them to suffer either economic or non-economic damages.  Economic damages are any financial loss caused by the injury, such as lost wages or medical bills that are uncovered by insurance. Non-economic damages are any kind of serious physical or emotional suffering caused by the injury.

Lawsuits against the city or property owners in trip and fall cases can be complex. As a result, it is important that injured individuals retain a skilled New York slip-and-fall lawyer. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our premises liability lawyers have been defending the rights of injured individuals for over 50 years. Our attorneys understand the complexities of premises liability lawsuits and will handle all aspects of the legal process.

For a free, no-obligation consultation with our personal injury lawyers, call 212-406-1700 or contact us online.

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The parents of Michael Simermeyer—a construction worker who was killed in a crane accident last year—have agreed to a $1 million settlement with Liberty Mutual. Simermeyer’s parents filed suit in October of 2012 claiming negligence on the part of Yonker’s Contracting Company—the manager of the construction project. The parents claimed several inspections were missed resulting in the crane being “falsely certified.”  According to the lawsuit, a proper inspection of the crane would have revealed numerous defects which may have prevented its approval for use. According to the Engineering News-Record Yonkers Contracting Company have received numerous citations and fines for violating U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA) regulations.

The fatal accident occurred in April of 2012 during construction at an extension of Manhattan’s No. 7 subway line. Simermeyer, a rebar laborer for J&E Industries LLC, was fatally injured when a 160-foot-long lattice boom of a Manitowoc 4100 crawler crane fell into the job site. Unfortunately, the accident may have been avoidable as it appeared the wire rope which had been supporting the boom had shown signs of significant wear and tear. Furthermore, the crane had reportedly been making strange noises in the days leading up to the accident. The failures of Yonkers Contracting Company to properly inspect the crane before authorization and after it began making noises led to the filing of the lawsuit.

Crane accidents are not uncommon at construction sites and are often the result of negligence. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 72 crane-related fatalities in 2006 alone. Many of these accidents could have been avoided had the proper safety precautions been taken. When a crane accident is caused by negligence, and it results in a serious injury, the victim may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the property owner or general contractor. As a result injured victims and their families should contact a skilled crane accident lawyer.

At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool our attorneys handle all types of construction injury cases. We realize that an injury on the worksite can cause individuals to face severe hardships, such as lost wages or high medical bills. As a result, we pursue maximum compensation for all of our clients who were injured because of another party’s negligence. Our lawyers also handle wrongful death lawsuits for families who have lost a loved one to an on-site injury.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or died in a crane accident, contact Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool for a free review of your legal options.

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California Group Propose Ballot Measure to Raise Limit on Pain and Suffering Compensation

Consumer Watchdog California(CWC), a nonprofit organization committed to protecting taxpayers from special interest groups, are pursuing a ballot measure to raise the cap on pain and suffering damages in California medical malpractice cases from $250,000 to $1.1 million. CWC anticipate they will secure the necessary 750,000 signatures within the next two months. The push for the ballot measure is in response to what the CWC believe is a lack of accountability on behalf of doctors and hospitals. Several California medical groups, however, have begun to campaign hard against the CWC’s efforts.

The California Medical Association, California Dental Association, and Planned Parenthood have recently formed a campaign to fight the CWC’s efforts. The Los Angeles Times reports that the three groups are prepared to spend more than $50 million to fight the measure, should it receive enough signatures for ballot placement. The groups claim that raising the ceiling for pain and suffering damages could have catastrophic consequences on the state’s healthcare system, such as increasing the costs of liability and health insurance. While proponents of tort reform have sided with the California medical groups, many experts believe that caps on compensation do not have a major impact on insurance costs.

A recent study by the American Association of Justice found that caps on compensation in medical malpractice cases do not, in fact, decrease insurance premiums. The study points directly to the California law the CWC are attempting to change (The Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act) as an example. The study shows that in the 13 years following the passage of the MICRA, California doctors’ premiums increased by 450%. Insurance premiums only began to decrease when California enacted proposition 103, an insurance reform act.

The ongoing battle in California should be watched closely by the rest of the country. Throughout the country, medical and special interest groups have been aggressively pushing tort reform. The consequences of capping compensation on medical malpractice lawsuits cannot be overstated. Caps on compensation mean that victims of medical malpractice may not be able to secure fair compensation for their damages. As a result, caps on compensation in medical malpractice lawsuits significantly lessen accountability in the healthcare field.

The medical malpractice lawyers at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool have seen firsthand the damage a doctor’s negligence can cause a patient. As a result, we do not believe that caps on compensation in medical malpractice lawsuits are acceptable. Capping injured patients’ potential earnings in lawsuits not only prevent them from recovering suitable compensation for their injuries, but would also decrease physician accountability.

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Traffic Accidents

by on March 7, 2013

Traffic Accident Lawsuits

Traffic is one of the top causes of accidents in the United States, and can result in injuries to drivers and their passengers. The injuries suffered in a traffic accident can range from minor cuts and bruises to major injuries such as fractures, amputations, and in some cases death. The injuries suffered in traffic accidents can have devastating consequences and force victims to miss extended time at work, face high medical bills which may not be covered by insurance, and in some cases can leave individuals in constant pain for the rest of their lives.  Fortunately victims who have suffered any of the aforementioned hardships may be able to recover compensation for any damages they’ve suffered by filing a traffic accident lawsuit.

Who Can File a Lawsuit?

In order to have grounds for a traffic accident lawsuit, the victim must be able to prove that the driver who caused the accident acted negligently, violating their duty of care to drive safely and responsibly. A duty of care is the legal obligation that drivers have to act with a certain degree of caution when operating a vehicle. When a driver violates their duty of care and causes an accident, they may be found liable for any injuries that occur. The following may constitute a violation of a driver’s duty of care:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Illegally changing lanes
  • Tailgating
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving while on drugs

A violation of duty of care is not in and of itself grounds for a lawsuit. Victims of traffic accidents must also be able to prove that the negligent driver’s actions were the direct cause of their injury. For instance, an individual injured in a traffic accident does not have grounds for a lawsuit if the driver responsible for the accident was driving under the influence, but the victim caused the accident. The negligent party must have been the direct cause of the accident and the injury. In addition to proving causation, victims must also be able to prove that they suffered damages due to the accident.

The victim must be able to show that they suffered damages resulting from their accident to have a valid lawsuit. Damages suffered in a traffic accident can be either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are any kind of monetary loss caused by the accident, such as lost wages, medical bills, or property damages. Non-economic damages are considered long term pain and suffering, emotional trauma, or loss of life’s enjoyment.

Victims of Traffic Accidents Should Seek the Counsel of an Attorney

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a traffic accident, do not hesitate to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer. At Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, our attorneys have decades of combined experience defending the rights of traffic accident victims. We realize how difficult life can be following an unnecessary injury suffered in a car accident. As a result we always pursue maximum compensation for our clients to help get their lives back on the right track. Call 212-406-1700 or contact us online to see how our attorneys may be able to help you.

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