Q: Last January I was hit on the shoulder by a brick that fell while I was working on the construction of a six story building. I had to undergo reconstructive surgery, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to go back to the type of work that I’ve done all of my life. Do I have the right to compensation?
A: Under New York law, a worker who is injured when he is hit by a falling object on a construction job has the right to make claim against the insurance companies for the general contractor and the owner of the property. The general contractor and the owner have the obligation to make sure that workers on a construction project are provided with a safe place to work. You have the right to be compensated for your past and future pain and suffering, the disability associated with your shoulder injury and any future loss of earnings if you are unable to return to work.
Q: I was recently involved in an auto accident where I was driving through an intersection with the right-of-way. The other driver went through a stop sign without even slowing down and hit me broadside. My car was totaled. It turned out that the driver was drunk with a .22 breathalyzer reading. I had to have surgery on my shoulder, and my doctor tells me that it is likely that I will be left with a permanent disability. What is the best way to proceed?
A: This appears to be a clear case of liability against the intoxicated driver. After a lawsuit is started, it would not be surprising if the attorneys for the insurance company admit liability in an effort to keep the jury from learning about the aggravating factor that the defendant was intoxicated. In cases like this where highly intoxicated drivers cause injury to our client, we will almost always make a claim for punitive damages.
With the claim for punitive in the case, defense counsel will typically be precluded from admitting liability for tactical reasons. We were recently involved in a case where the appellate court upheld our right to seek punitive damages against a drunken driver. Of course, you also have a right to be compensated for your shoulder injury and the ensuing surgery.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident or you have a question that has not been answered, call Cellino & Barnes now at 1-800-888-8888 to contact our auto accident lawyers.
Q: Two and a half years ago my husband suffered a head injury when his car was rear-ended by a large commercial truck. He was in a coma for five days. He now experiences frequent, severe headaches. His short-term memory does not seem to be as good as it used to be and he just seems different in many ways. Are we entitled to be compensated for the way that this has changed our lives?
A: Yes. Your husband’s physicians and other medical providers would be called to testify about the nature of his brain injury, and how his type of brain injury can affect different mental functions such as short-term memory. It is not uncommon for people with “mild” brain trauma to appear to be perfectly normal to the outside world, while family and close friends understand the fundamental changes that the person has experienced.
In these cases, it is the lawyer’s job to make sure that the jury understands the extent to which a brain injured person and his family have been affected by the brain trauma. If your husband has not received thorough neurological and neuropsychological evaluations during the regular course of his medical care, it is imperative that your attorney make appropriate arrangements for these evaluations.
A brain injury of the type that you describe can also affect a person’s ability to earn a living, and may cause a diminution in the person’s earning capacity. These losses are also compensable under New York law.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury or if you have a question, please call a Cellino & Barnes Brain Injury Attorney now at 1-800-888-8888 or contact us.
Q: My neighbor has a Rottweiler that he keeps in his yard. The dog is always barking and growling. Last week it got through my neighbor’s gate, ran onto my property, and bit my son’s friend. Can I be held liable for this?
A: No, but your neighbor probably can. If someone has a dog with known vicious propensities, they have the obligation to make sure that the dog does not present a danger to others. It sounds like your neighbor didn’t make sure that his gate was secured.
His homeowner’s insurance will cover him for this type of incident. Unless you did something that caused or contributed to the dog getting out of your neighbor’s yard, you could not be held liable just because the bite happened on your property.
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury or you have a question that has not been answered, call Cellino & Barnes now at 1-800-888-8888 or contact us.
Q: I am 19 years old. I was in a car accident when I was 5, and I was left with a bad scar on my forehead. My parents never took any legal action on my behalf. Is it too late for me to make a claim?
A: Probably not. While there may be some exceptions depending upon circumstances, in New York the statute of limitations for motor vehicle negligence is three years from the date of the accident. However, since you were a child when your accident happened, your statute of limitations did not begin to run until your eighteenth birthday.
This means that you will likely have until your twenty-first birthday to make a claim. We would caution, however, that you should contact an attorney immediately because it would not be wise to allow more time to pass without securing your legal position. Your attorney’s ability to investigate the accident has already been compromised by the passage of time. You should contact a car accident lawyer now so that he or she will have the best possible opportunity to protect your interests.
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.