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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Q: Last summer I was driving on Niagara Falls Boulevard. My 16 year old son was sitting in the front passenger seat with his seat belt on. While we were passing through an intersection on a green light a car ran the light and struck my car on the passenger side. My son’s head hit the side window hard enough to break the glass. We were both checked out at the hospital, and they kept my son over night for observation.
He did have a concussion, but the CAT scan of his brain was negative. Since the accident my husband and I have noticed that our son has just not been the same. He was always an honor student, and now his grades have dropped off. It also seems as though he is much more irritable than ever before. At first, we thought that these changes were perhaps just due to adolescence, but now we’re not so sure. Is it possible that he suffered a brain injury in the accident, and if so do you think that he has a case?
A: We would strongly encourage you to have your son evaluated by a neurologist and a neuropsychologist. Even though the CT scan that was done at the hospital was negative, a neurologist may want to order an MRI. This is a different diagnostic test, which may provide different information about whether your son suffered an organic brain injury from the blow to his head. A neuropsychologist will be interested in the results of the diagnostic studies, but he or she will address your son’s issues from a different perspective.
Typically, a neuropsychologist will put the patient through a battery of tests for the purpose of determining whether a brain injury is causing the changes which you have observed. We have a number of clients who have suffered head trauma where there has been no clear evidence of brain injury on CT scan or MRI. In these cases we have found neuropsychological testing to be very valuable. The personal injury attorneys at Cellino & Barnes help car accident victims get the justice they deserve.
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.