Articles Posted in Staten Island

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As described in the Appellate Court’s prior opinion, the complainant woman had two industrial accidents while she was working for the Paint Company before she was involved in an automobile accident that had nothing to do with work. Originally, the judge of compensation claims denied all benefits on the theory that the third (non-compensable) accident was the major contributing cause of her injuries and disability. The Manhattan Appellate Court reversed and remanded, holding that the claimant is entitled to any medical or compensation benefits attributable to either or both of the work-related accidents.

On remand, a successor judge of compensation claims found that the woman’s head injury and jaw condition were causally related solely to the first industrial accident, that her cervical and thoracic spinal injuries were related to all three accidents, and that her lumbar spinal condition was wholly unrelated to the first accident, but attributable equally to the second and third accidents. On the basis of competent, substantial evidence, the judge of compensation claims attributed two-thirds of the woman’s need for treatment of her cervical spine, thoracic spine, and psychiatric problems to the industrial accidents.

The Staten Island employer of a claimant who suffers an industrial injury must furnish to the employee such medically necessary remedial treatment, care, and attendance for such period as the nature of the injury or the process of recovery may require. Medical care is properly awarded when the need for such care arises from the combined effect of industrial and nonindustrial conditions. As indicated, the employer is responsible for treatment required by the non-compensable injury if such treatment would not presently be required but for the existence of the compensable injury. The Appellate Court thus approves the approach the judge of compensation claims took on the medical benefits questions, and most of the results he reached.

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On 12 August 2003, a Staten Island woman, who was insured by a certain insurance company, was involved in a motor vehicle accident. She was driving her van when she made a left turn directly into the path of a motorcycle operated by a certain man. The impact caused the operator of the motorcycle (the victim) to be ejected and landed about nineteen feet away. Thereafter, the Manhattan police and paramedics arrived and the victim was taken to the hospital, and it was determined that he sustained serious injuries. The victim stayed in the hospital for thirteen days, and was later transferred to a nursing home.

After the said incident had occurred, the aforesaid woman immediately reported the car accident to her insurance company. In response, the insurance company assigned someone to handle the claim (the agent), who spoke generally about the accident with the said woman (the insured woman); ascertained that neither the insured nor her daughter, who was in the van with the woman at the time of the accident, was injured; advised her that she had $10,000 coverage limits, that is, $10,000 in property damage coverage and $10,000 in bodily injury coverage; and concluded that the insured was probably at fault in causing the accident. After that, the agent assigned attempted to call the victim, who was still in the hospital, but was unable to reach him. The agent then ordered an appraisal of the victim’s motorcycle and assigned that portion of the damage claim to the insurance company’s claim service center in Virginia.

On 18 August 2003, the insurance agent received a call from an attorney (lawyer-one), who indicated that he was representing the victim. However, ten days later, lawyer-one notified the agent that he was no longer representing the victim and provided him with a notice of his attorney’s lien.

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A employee of a nursing home also worked part-time at a realty office as a clerk. She was married and she had young children. She rode as a passenger in the car driven by a friend. The car she was riding in was involved in a car accident. She lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. When she regained consciousness, she complained of pain in her neck, her spine, her shoulder, her wrist, her hips, her knees and her ankle.

The initial diagnosis was a fracture of her cervical spine. MRI and CT Scans as well as x-rays were taken of her but a fracture was ruled out. She stayed a total of three days in the hospital but she was later discharged. She was ordered to see a neurologist to determine the cause of her pain. She was also advised to see an orthopedist and a chiropractor for the management of the pain she was experiencing. She was also advised to undergo physical therapy.

The Westchester employee testified that she sustained a back injury at work sometime six years prior to the accident and she was also in a motor vehicle accident nine years prior to the accident. She experienced pain in her lower spine and legs but she also testified that the pain she felt then was not in the same area that she feels pain now. She claims that she can no longer lift heavy things the way she used to do before the accident in 2006. She worked in a nursing home and her duties include assisting the elderly patients and residents in the nursing home. After the accident, she can no longer stand or sit for long periods of time and she has difficulty assisting to the patients’ physical needs. She couldn’t engage in sports the way she used to do prior to the accident and she cannot do laundry anymore as laundry involved bending down and lifting heavy clothes, lifting wet clothes and putting them in the dryer. All the movements involved the use of her back which now gave her constant pain.

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A woman was driving her car sometime on June 10, 2005. She was involved in a vehicular accident. The impact caused her neck to snap back and her entire body was shaken violently. She lost consciousness and she was taken to the hospital by the emergency services. She experienced excruciating pain in her neck and left shoulder. An x-ray was taken of her and she was observed overnight in the hospital. The next day she was discharged but was advised to go for follow-up a neurologist. The woman experienced tingling and numbness from her back to her hips and from her shoulders to her fingers. Her neurologist advised her to undergo physical therapy.

The physical therapy alleviated the tingling sensation somewhat but the numbness persisted. The neurologist referred her to a neurosurgeon who advised her to undergo surgery on her spine. The woman was afraid of having any surgery on her spine so she went to a chiropractor instead.

Until the trial, the Queens woman testified that her arms, shoulders and hips become numb when she holds a position for a long period of time. She has trouble turning her neck and she has trouble lifting things. The woman is a nurse who works with newborns. She assists in deliveries of infants and she also cares for newborns in the intensive care unit. Her work involves standing for long periods of time which she now finds difficult to do without experiencing pain and numbness.

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A man suffered serious personal injury as the result of an automobile accident. He was taken to a Hospital where he was evaluated by several physicians, including a surgeon, an orthopedist, and a radiologist. These physicians misinterpreted the man’s x-rays and radiological studies and negligently concluded that he did not suffer a recent spinal injury. As a result, the attending surgeon and assistant encouraged him man to attempt to walk approximately a week after the accident. When he arose from the bed, he felt a shock and collapsed. He was transferred to a Medical Center where he underwent surgery on his spine. However, the surgery was unsuccessful in reversing the spinal column damage.

The Queens man retained a law firm to investigate and initiate a medical malpractice action against the various physicians. Although the man’s counsel considered joining the Staten Island Hospital physicians individually in the medical malpractice suit, for various reasons he decided not to join them and sent intent to sue only to the Hospital and Medical Center Regional and its physicians. When the complaint was filed, however, the Hospital was not named. During discovery, the man’s counsel realized that the Medical Center Regional’s defense was based upon the comparative fault of the Hospital and its physicians. At this point, the statute of limitations had expired, and the counsel realized the potential of a legal medical malpractice claim for failing to join them. The counsel contacted his insurance company. He also referred the man to a new counsel. The man settled with the Medical Center Regional and its physicians for $1,000,000, and then brought a legal medical malpractice action against his counsel and his firm, which the man’s insurance company agreed to settle for the policy limits. However, the parties disputed whether the “per claim” amount applied or whether the aggregate amount applied. Specifically, the parties disputed whether the attorney’s failure to name the Hospital and each individual physician constituted independent wrongful acts or a single claim.

The man filed a declaratory judgment action to determine the issue. He claimed that the policy provided $250,000 per wrongful act with a $500,000 aggregate for multiple wrongful acts. Because his counsel committed multiple wrongful acts, he claimed that he was entitled to the aggregate limits. The counsel’s insurance company argued that the policy was a claims-made policy and that the policy provided $250,000 per claim rather than per wrongful act. Since there was only one claim, the man was entitled to only $250,000 in coverage. The trial court agreed with the man and on its motion for summary judgment, the court entered a judgment in favor of the man for the aggregate limits. The counsel’s insurance company appeals this judgment.

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Sometimes, people assume that attorneys do not need to hire attorneys. However, the truth is that attorneys in Manhattan understand that only a fool will defend themselves. Hiring an attorney to represent a person who has incurred a personal injury is the smart thing to do. Lawyers are people, too. That means that there are times when a lawyer will hire a lawyer to help them defend themselves from a situation. These situations can come in the form of automobile accidents, estate matters, real estate matters, or personal injury. There are even times when an attorney is required to hire another attorney to defend them against a criminal matter.

Recently, in 2012, a prominent attorney was called upon to defend himself from charges of DUI that stemmed from his driving in the city of Atlanta. He slid through a traffic light at three in the morning when he thought that no one was around on his way home from a meeting with state legislatures where he had consumed two glasses of wine with dinner. Although, his driving had not endangered anyone, and he had not demonstrated any level of impairment by failing to maintain his lane of traffic, the officer who stopped him asked that he perform field sobriety tests. Field sobriety tests are voluntary. However, if you choose to perform them, your demeanor and the results of the tests can be used against you in a court of law. The attorney decided that he would not participate. He refused to participate and he was arrested by the officer for DUI and taken for a mandatory test under the laws of the state. The charges were eventually dropped with the help of a DUI attorney that was hired by the arrested attorney to defend him. Even attorneys need one every now and then.

Another case in Staten Island that involved an attorney who required legal assistance from a specialist in the field, involved a case of defamation and breach of contract that was filed by an attorney in the State of New York in 2006. The complainant attorney was not getting along with the other attorneys in her firm and decided to resign. When she left the firm, several of the clients that she had been serving chose to leave that firm and maintain her as their lawyer. The controlling partner of the law firm wrote several letters to these clients encouraging them to leave her and return to his firm. The complaining lawyer, filed a lawsuit alleging that the managing partner of her previous firm had defamed her character and breached the hiring contract that she had with him. The managing partner filed a motion with the New York State Court System to grant him a motion of summary judgment dismissing her case against him for lack of evidence.

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On 21 September 2003, a motor vehicle accident occurred at approximately 10:00 p.m. The victim was reportedly hit by a car while in front of 7420 13th Avenue in Brooklyn. According to the police accident report, the accident was witnessed by the husband, both of whom are listed as residing at the same address. The witness told the police officer that the driver of the vehicle and the victim were having a verbal dispute; that when the victim approached the vehicle, the driver sped away, apparently striking the victim, who fell onto the pavement and struck her head. The driver of the vehicle left the scene, but the witness reported the license plate number, V272LZ, to the police officer. The police accident report does not set forth any insurance information for the victim. Thereafter, the license plate was traced to an individual residing in Staten Island and that the vehicle is insured by an insurance company.

Beginning on or about 26 September 2003, the victim underwent medical treatment for her injuries from respondent. Respondent submitted claims to the insurance company which issued a denial on 1 December 2003, based on its investigation that the alleged driver was not involved in the loss. It is unclear whether petitioner was aware of the denial at that time. On 10 December 2003, the victim completed a “Notice of Intention to Make Claim” to the petitioner, in which she avers that her injury is not covered by insurance. She also completed an “Affidavit of No Insurance”, in which she states that she was a passenger in a vehicle insured by an insurance company; the victim swore under penalty of perjury that: on the date of the accident, she maintained no insurance which would provide coverage to her for the accident, and no person residing in her household owned an automobile or maintained such insurance.

Respondent submitted bills to petitioner totaling $4,302.79 for services. Petitioner denied the claim, since the vehicle that was reported was insured.

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This case is about a defendant-corporation seeking the dismissal of the complaint pursuant to CPLR 3211 (a) (7) by reason of the Graves Amendment; and the plaintiff seeking leave of court to amend the complaint pursuant to CPLR 3025 (b) in order to avoid dismissal on that ground.

Plaintiff alleged that on April 29, 2006, she sustained serious personal injuries as a result of a collision between her vehicle and a vehicle owned by defendant-corporation and operated by defendant-driver. She further alleged that defendant-driver was an employee of defendant-corporation, and was operating the vehicle “under the course of his employment,” and “with the express knowledge, consent and/or on the business” of defendant-corporation. The collision was allegedly caused by “the defendants’ negligence, carelessness and recklessness”.

A Federal statue, known as the Graves Amendment “bars vicarious liability actions against professional lessors and renters of vehicles,” as would otherwise be permitted by Vehicle and Traffic Law § 388. “Vicarious liability laws caused lessors to either cease leasing cars in states having them, opting for more expensive balloon note structures, or spread the cost of higher insurance premiums to lease customers nationwide.”

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This case is about a car accident involving three vehicles that happened at the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and Silver Lane in Levittown. The defendants were indicted and charged with manslaughter in the second degree and criminally negligent homicide on alternative theories of individual and accomplice liability.

The accident happened on January 31, 1983, around 11:00 P.M. wherein the Chevrolet Nova of the victim, which was turning left from the westbound turning lane of Hempstead Turnpike across the eastbound lanes thereof into Silver Lane, was struck by two cars rapidly approaching in the eastbound lanes of the Hempstead Turnpike. The Staten island car in the eastbound center lane, a blue Pontiac Trans Am, separated from the collision, skidded to the south curb and flipped over. The car in the eastbound left lane, a red Camaro, dragged the Nova further east down Hempstead Turnpike until they both came to a stop near the south curb. The Queens driver of the Chevrolet Nova died instantly from skull fractures and intracranial hemorrhage. The defendant-driver of the blue Trans Am was removed unconscious from his car with trauma injuries. The defendant-driver of the Camaro and his passenger sustained only minor cuts.

The prosecution introduced at trial the defendant-driver of the Camaro and moved that the case be tried before two juries, one for each defendant. The trial court granted the said motion and impaneled two juries. The members of each jury were given labels to wear designating which defendant’s fate they were considering. They were instructed by the trial court not to communicate with the members of the other defendant’s jury, and not to speculate about the reason for the presence in the courtroom at times of only one of the two juries. Opening statements were made to each jury separately and then both juries were brought into the courtroom to hear the testimony. During the introduction of the inculpatory statements of the defendant-diver Camaro, only his jury remained in the courtroom while the other defendant’s jury was excluded. Separate summations were delivered to each jury and, without objection, the court gave one charge to both juries, omitting any mention of the inculpatory statements.

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A complainant woman commenced an action for her claimed of personal injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident.

According to the woman’s statement, after the car accident the police responded to the scene but an ambulance did not arrive. The Queens woman then exited her vehicle unassisted, without any pain in any part of her body and was capable of driving her vehicle from the scene to her workplace. The woman testified that she first sought medical attention when she felt some pain in her lower back and headaches. X-ray examinations were taken and chiropractic treatment was rendered by a physician. She further testified that she was treated by the same physician regularly until the winter and eventually discontinued the treatment. Thereafter, she received physical therapy two or three times per week for a few months. She also testified that she visited an orthopedist on three or four occasions.

The woman no longer receives medical treatment for injuries allegedly sustained as a result of the accident, nor does have any future medical appointments scheduled. She testified that she was confined to her bed for one day as a result of the accident and missed less than one week of work. The court notes that the testimony contradicts the woman’s bill of particulars.

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