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Ask the Attorneys: Slip and Fall on City Sidewalk

/ Ask the Attorneys, Slip and Fall /

Q: I recently fell down and broke my elbow on a city sidewalk. The sidewalk was raised up at least five inches because it is old and is not in good repair. This is the street that I live on, and I know that the sidewalk has been like this for many years.  Can I make a claim against the city for not maintaining the sidewalk?

A: Most cities and other municipalities have enacted “prior written notice” ordinances. What this means is that before you can sue a city, you first have to prove that the city had received written notice of the defective sidewalk. Written notices of defective sidewalks, roads or other municipal properties are maintained by the city clerk.

In other words, unless someone notified the city of the defective sidewalk, and unless that notification was in writing, you will probably not have the right to be compensated by the city irrespective of the length of time that the sidewalk was in poor condition.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a slip and fall injury and don’t know what to do or if you still have a question that has not been answered, call us now at 1-800-888-8888 or contact us.

Ask the Attorneys: Ice Storm Problems

/ Ask the Attorneys, Winter Hazards /

Q: During the ice storm that occurred recently, my children were outside playing in the yard when a power line came down and struck my son. Although the power line did not physically hurt my son when it struck him, he suffered a severe shock and burn shortly thereafter.  The burns on his arm did not require any skin grafting, but the doctor said that it was quite severe nevertheless.

I feel quite fortunate and I understand that the outcome could have been much worse.  I must admit that I previously noticed that the power lines that ran from the street to my house seemed to sag lower than normal, but I never notified the power company of my concerns.  Is the Power Company nevertheless liable for the injuries to my son?

A: The short answer is probably not. Acts of god like ice storms, earthquakes, flooding, hurricanes, etc., do not give rise to legal responsibility of homeowners or corporations.

However, the Power Company could possibly be liable if they knew about the low hanging power lines and failed to properly correct the situation.  Since you indicated that you did not notify the Power Company of the condition, they probably would not be liable – unless they independently learned about the condition and failed to do something to correct it. If you have any Personal Injury questions that have not been answered, contact us today for a free consultation.

Ask the Attorneys: Plumber Crushed by Collapsing Trench

/ Ask the Attorneys, Construction Accidents /

Q: I’ve been a union plumber for 14 years. This past summer, my boss was hired to do the plumbing work for a major addition that was being built on a business building. I was working in a trench that was at least ten feet deep. The trench collapsed and I was buried up to my shoulders under a heavy load of dirt.

I suffered multiple fractures to my pelvis and injuries to my bladder and prostate for which I have undergone multiple surgeries. My doctor tells me that I can forget working as a plumber. I now suffer pain all the time.  I can’t work, and I don’t know which way to turn. Can I do anything legally?

A: It appears as though you have a right of action against the owner of the commercial building on which you were working, and against the general contractor for the job. New York’s Labor Law provides protection to workers who are hurt as a result of accidents like yours.

The Industrial Code provides that trenches deeper than five feet must be shored-up in such a manner as to insure that they will not collapse on workers whose job requires them to work in trenches. If you can no longer work as a plumber, you will have a right to be compensated for your past and future lost wages and benefits.  You also have the right to compensation for everything that you have been forced to go through, including your past and future pain and suffering. If you or a loved one has suffered a construction injury contact our construction accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes now.

Ask the Attorneys: Truck Rear Ends SUV

/ Ask the Attorneys, Truck Accident /

Q: I was driving my SUV during a routine snowfall and was struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer truck driver. The truck driver claimed that the roads were slippery and that he could not stop at the stoplight. I was the second vehicle in line and the impact pushed me into the first vehicle. Both my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me were stopped at the time of the impact. My vehicle was totaled and the vehicle in front of me also suffered significant damage.

The driver in front of me hit her head on the steering wheel and suffered a significant gash across her forehead. I suspect she will be left with a nasty scar. I suffered whiplash. I know whiplash sounds suspicious but I can tell you that I can hardly move my neck and the pain radiates down my arms. My hands tingle and feel like they are asleep. I have an appointment to see my doctor. Why would I need a lawyer?

A: In a perfect world you would not need a lawyer, but unfortunately, the insurance company for the defendant knows how to handle matters like this and will likely have a great advantage over you. For instance, you probably have no idea whether you should accept an immediate settlement offer if presented to you by the insurance company.

You also probably have no idea what the case could be worth. You also probably don’t realize that the insurance company will have you examined by one of their “independent doctors” that will likely find that your injury is not serious or is pre-existing. Attorneys often handle these cases on a contingency fee where they do not get paid unless they win a settlement. If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident and need legal advice, let the truck accident attorneys at Cellino & Barnes help you.

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I would like to thank your firm for representing our family on behalf of my late husband. This whole process was, at times, difficult for us and sometimes painful. But, we were always in good hands as Brian and Maria are two of the hardest working and sincerest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They did a tremendous job.

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