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May 2014 Archives

New York City Accident Case and the Burden of Persuasion

In a New York City accident case, a court must weigh some sort of evidence before finding a defendant liable for harm. If there is no evidence, there can be no liability. In civil cases, such as those involving car accidents or construction injuries, the burden of producing evidence is on the plaintiff (the party who was injured). If this burden is not satisfied there will be no recovery. Less well known, however, is the more complex matter: the burden of persuasion. 

Self-Driving Cars: Technology May Change the Rules of the Road

The advent of new technology requires laws, regulations, and rules to be amended and redefined to include new technology under the State and Federal Government's purview. Self-driving vehicles have been at the recent legal forefront; these automated cars, though in theory sound unbelievably impressive, create significant liability issues in the event of an accident.
Self-driving cars bring an important question to light: if the passenger sitting in the driver seat was not actually driving the car, then who is to blame for an accident? Though this question may not seem pertinent now, especially if you do not have the funds to invest in one of these new automated cars, it may become relevant if one collides with your car. 

The New York City Bicyclist's Responsibility to Others

When sharing New York City roads with taxicabs, cars, buses and trains, commercial trucks, bicycles, and motorcycles, everyone who is controlling one of these vehicles is responsible for driving carefully and ensuring the safety of others. The duty of care for which each vehicle is responsible depends largely on the type of vehicle, whether the vehicle is privately or publicly owned, and the type and amount of damage that can be caused.
Bicycles and motorcycles are on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to responsibility to others while being operated on New York City streets. Though their duty to others is lower than that of cars, buses, trains, and trucks, New York City still has significant traffic rules and regulations that bicyclists and motorcyclists must obey in order for them to operate safely. 

New York City's Crackdown on Dangerous Drivers

New York City has been taking steps in 2014 to combat dangerous drivers through heavy police ticketing, as well as new legislation strengthening the sentences for dangerous drivers with multiple traffic violations. The crackdown on dangerous drivers is part of Mayor de Blasio's Vision Zero initiative to protect pedestrians on New York City streets from death or serious injury as a result of bad drivers and a previously lax administration.
According to the NYPD's traffic report system, within the first quarter of 2014, 100,172 tickets were issued as compared to 89,868 tickets in 2013. In a recent study, it was found that 56 percent of all traffic fatalities within the city involved pedestrians. Each year, roughly 4,000 people are seriously injured and about 250 people are killed due to traffic accidents. Of these pedestrian fatalities, 70 percent are due to drivers who consistently make dangerous choices. Dangerous choices consist of not paying attention, speeding, and not following designated signs. 

Prevalence of Elder Abuse in New York City

In the last few months, there have been a series of stories bringing to light the issue of elder abuse occurring in nursing home facilities. One of which related to the Connecticut Department of Public Health fining four nursing homes for physical abuse of residents by nursing home staff. And recently, 17 nurses and their nurse assistants in Buffalo were charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person and willful violation of many of the public health laws. These laws were enacted to protect the elderly and other disabled persons from abuse while in the care of a health facility provider.
The nursing home facility, in this case, had installed hidden surveillance cameras, which taped the nurses and their assistants neglecting a resident who was suffering from Huntington's chorea, leaving him bedridden and at the mercy of the staff. The defendant staff members were taped ignoring the resident's request for pain medication and not providing care services such as checking in on the resident, providing liquids, and providing incontinent help. 

A Bridge to Destruction: Structurally Deficient Bridges in New York City

In a recent report published by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, approximately 63,000 bridges nationwide were found to be in serious need of renovation, where many were determined to have extremely compromised structures. Of the bridges that were found to be aging and dangerous, 2000 of the total bridges were located in New York City, one of them being the Major Deegan Expressway in The Bronx.
The bridge, which was built over 80 years ago, sees over 150,000 vehicles daily. The report, released by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, listed it as one of the top ten "structurally deficient" bridges in New York. A bridge collapse would mean catastrophe in a place like New York City, with a likelihood of serious injury and fatalities as a result.
According to the report, about 12 percent of the bridges within the state (there are 17,442 bridges in New York statewide) were missing at least one structural element that is required by the federal safety guidelines. It has been estimated that in order to bring all of the bridges within the state of New York up to code and structurally sound, it would cost around $60.8 billion. 

New York's Solution to Dangers of Lead Poisoning in Children

Lead poisoning can have extremely harmful effects, especially on young children. In 2007, the New York Department of Health and the New York Department of Education teamed up in hopes of eradicating lead from paint, as well as lead used in pipes. Both are generally found in older buildings.
Lead poisoning can lead to serious injuries, especially in children who may be exposed to lead and copper in the water systems while at school, since school buildings in New York tend to be older and less likely to have been changed. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that drinking water in schools contain no more than 0.20 parts per billion (ppb) for lead and 1.3 parts per million for copper - numbers that are much smaller than required in residential areas. However, even though New York has attempted to instill a lead poisoning prevention program, it has not fully eradicated lead poisoning from the population. 

What is a Contingency Fee Arrangement?

According to the most recent data from the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, there are over 68,000 car accidents in New York City every single year. This results in over 65,000 injured travelers and hundreds of fatalities. The data is a stark reminder that the risk of being hurt in an auto accident at some point in life is surprisingly high for most New York City residents.
Fortunately, the civil law usually allows all those who are harmed in car accidents to recover for their losses. The specifics of recovery can be quite complex, and that is why every victim of negligent driving deserves to be represented by a lawyer. 

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