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Are Remote Workers Entitled to Worker’s Compensation?

By Uncategorized

The rule has always been that employers are liable for employees workers’ compensation when injuries arise in the workplace. However, in recent years, rules had to be adjusted with the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and countless offices requiring their employees to work from home. The workplace culture is forever changed as a result of COVID-19 and new norms have been established. Even as many business have slowly began to reopen, working from home may be here to stay and has become much more normal than it was prior to the pandemic. 

Remote workers have come into question as to whether or not they are eligible to receive workers’ compensation. Some people say no, arguing that since they are at home and not in a traditional workplace setting, then it doesn’t qualify as a work injury. Others however, disagree and argue that if the injury happens during work hours and is work related, then workers’ compensation must be provided.

Women in neck pain working on lap top

Image courtesy of IWP – The Patient Advocate Pharmacy

The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board had to find the answer to the question: “Are work injuries sustained at home in New York covered by workers’ compensation?” 

To answer this in short, yes – workers’ compensation is covered by New York for remote workers. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board articulated the following rule: “injuries sustained by employees working from home should only be found to be compensable when they occur during the employee’s regular work hours and while the employee is ‘actually performing her employment duties”. It is tricky to digest who is responsible for a work injury at home when there is no one around to see what happened. Following the honor system and trusting that people are telling the whole truth regarding unwitnessed accidents is not reliable. For this reason, the Workers’ Compensation Board has strongly recommended that in the event of an injury, employees must provide a detailed report of the incident including time, place, and circumstances surrounding the incident. This way, the events are well documented and can allow for proper review by the board. 

Women in back pain from remote working

Image courtesy of IWP – The Patient Advocate Pharmacy

Examples of Common Work from Home Injuries: 

  1. Back related injuries: Many remote workers are getting their work done from their couches, at their kitchen tables, their beds, or their coffee tables. A combination of sitting hunched over and poor posture results in back pain. 
  2. Rotator cuff injuries: Pinched nerves in the neck and cervical spine have gone up 
  3. Eye strain and fatigue: Squinting at a small laptop monitor without taking breaks can lead to eye strain and fatigue resulting In headaches, blurry vision, and dry itchy eyes
  4. Wrist pain and Carpal tunnel syndrome: lack of wrist support can put strain on the wrist. 

Working compensation claims are not always cut and dry, and of course, there is some grey area when defining what a work from home injury consists of. Additionally, It’s no secret that people love to find loop holes especially when it comes to receiving money. With the flexibility that comes along with working from a home setting, it became much easier to do this. An off-the-clock injury can be misconstrued into a work related injury all too easily if worded properly. This is why there must be a clear understanding and distinction between personal activities and work related tasks. Activities like taking a short break, getting something to eat, or exercising don’t fall into the category of being eligible for workers’ compensation. 

The home environment allows for many distractions and opportunities to deter from  employment-related tasks. Making sure that these personal activities don’t get tangled up as a work related task is the most challenging part of classifying which cases are compensable while working remotely. 

If you have any questions… Contact Losi & Gangi to speak with one of our workers’ compensation lawyers at (716) 854-1446.

 

Understanding Workers Compensation: Is Your Injury or Illness Work Related?

By Workers Compensation

If you have recently been injured and are seeking workers compensation benefits, you will have to show that your injury or illness is work related.  Typically, if you were doing something for the benefit of your employer and you became ill or was injured as a result, then your injury or illness can be classified as work related.  You must meet the following eligibility requirements  to receive benefits: 

  • Be an employee 
  • Your employer must carry workers’ comp insurance 
  • You must have a work related injury or illness 
  • You must meet your state’s deadlines for reporting the injury and filing a workers’ comp claim 

Here are some common situations: 

Lunch Breaks

Usually, injuries that happen on an employee’s lunch break are not considered work related.  If you were hurt while eating lunch on the company’s premises (lunchroom or cafeteria) the injury will generally be considered work related unless you were doing something during the lunch break that wasn’t allowed or fell within exceptions to workers’ comp coverage.  

Company Events 

If your company sponsors special events like parties, picnics or sporting games, injuries that occur at these events are usually considered work related.  There can be an exception if the employer doesn’t require their employees to participate in the off-duty events.  

Travel 

Under the “going and coming rule,” workers comp generally doesn’t cover injuries sustained during your commute to and from work.  There are exceptions to this rule including: 

  • Driving a company vehicle 
  • Required to bring your own car for business use during the work day 
  • Doing special errands for your employer 
  • Traveling on a business trip 
  • An employee who regularly travels for work or doesn’t have a regular fixed work site 

Misconduct

If you were injured while breaking a workplace safety rule or doing something that your employer has prohibited, your injury might still be covered by workers’ comp.  This is part of the workers’ compensation bargain. Employees do not have the right to sue their employer for work-related injuries but those injuries are usually covered by workers’ comp regardless of fault.  There are some exceptions to the rule.  For example, workers’ comp usually doesn’t cover injuries that happen because an employee was under the influence of alcohol or using illegal drugs.  Several states rule our workers’ comp coverage when the injured employees were: 

  • Trying to hurt themselves or someone else 
  • Committing a serious crime 
  • Horseplay
  • Breaking a workplace rule on purpose 

Illness, Cumulative Injuries and Stress-Related Conditions

Workers’ comp may also cover cumulative injuries developed over time (repetitive stress injuries RSIs) occupational diseases and other illnesses resulting from on the job exposure and physical or psychological illness resulting from workplace stress.  In these cases, it may be difficult to prove that the illness or injury is work related especial in the case of infectious diseases like COVID 19.  If a pre-existing condition was irritated at work, it could possibly be considered a workplace injury.  

If you have questions regarding your injury or illness call Losi & Gangi today at 716-854-1446.  Our attorneys will help answer all of your questions and find out whether you might be eligible for benefits under worker’s comp.  

Article adapted from: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/workers-compensation-injury-or-illness-32964.html

Warehouse Safety

By Workplace Safety

In the past few years there was been a significant increase in the number of warehouse and warehouse workers in the world.  In the United States alone, there are more than one million warehouse workers!  These employees can be exposed to many hazards and it is important to train your staff so that everyone stays safe while at work.

Back injuries are one of the most common workplace injuries and in warehouses, they usually arise from improper lifting techniques.  Improper lifting or twisting while carrying a heavy load can lead to sprains, torn muscle or cartilage and displaced vertebrae.  The most repetitive lifting your employees do, the more at risk your employees are for back injuries.  Mechanical lifting methods, like a pallet jack or dolly, should be available on site but if you do not have any mechanical lifting methods, you should train your employees on ways to reduce the risks of a manual lift.  Safe manual lifting practices include:

  • Planning lifts before getting started
  • Checking the load for information tags
  • Using the handles on the load or adding some if not already available
  • Testing the load’s stability and weight
  • Asking for assistance if the load is too heavy or awkward for one person
  • Wearing gloves and long sleeves to protect hands and forearms
  • Bending your knees to lower yourself in front of the item, instead of bending your back
  • Keeping the load between your chest and knees

By properly handling and storing materials it will help reduce the risk of multiple hazards including slips, trips and falls, fires and dropped objects.  To prevent boxes and materials from falling, they should be stacked evenly in a straight line with the heaviest materials on the bottom.  Employees should only remove items from shelves one at a time.  By blocking, interlocking or limiting the height of the pile, this will help loose materials from falling.  Materials should be stored safely to help prevent fire hazards, explosions and pest infestation.  Keep the floors clean and free of slip and fall hazards.

Forklifts and trucks can be located on a loading dock and where heights and heavy lifting can take place.  Open loading dock doors should be blocked off when not in use and the edges of the dock should have visual warnings and signage.  Never jump off or climb up a loading dock; use the ladder or stairs.

If the warehouse has chemicals or compressed gas, each chemical should have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) associated with it.  The SDS will tell you how to handle and safely store the chemical.  Employees should never attempt to use or clean up a chemical even after reading the SDS, unless they have been trained on how to properly handle the chemical.  An emergency plan should be put into place which delegates what roles people should be responsible for in case of an emergency.  The plan should include emergency exit locations, evacuation procedures and the location of all emergency equipment including fire extinguishers.  This plan should be reviewed thoroughly and constantly revised so that your team is up to date on all safety precautions.

To reduce the risk of fires, flammable and explosive materials must be stored in appropriate storage areas away from other materials and any source of ignition.  Chemicals should be stored according to manufacturer recommendations and relevant fire codes.  Smoking and open flames should be prohibited in the warehouse especially in battery charging or compressed-gas storage areas.

Providing your employees with mechanical equipment to help them lift heavy or bulky objects can help speed up the process and reduce the risk of injuries but come with their own risks.  Forklifts alone cause approximately 8,500 injuries and 90 deaths each year across all industries.  Lifting equipment involves pinch point hazards and cranes create overhead, struck by and dropped object hazards.  Before allowing any employee to use any equipment, you should properly train them and make sure they are following manufacturer instructions.  Forklift is a term commonly used for a group of vehicles that OSHA classifies as “powered industrial trucks.”  The most common types of powered industrial trucks (PITs) are electric and internal combustion engine rider trucks.  Forklift tractors, narrow aisle trucks, motorized pallet jacks and rough terrain forklifts all classify as PITs.  Employees should be trained on using a forklift from the controls, to any specific hazards that are found in the workspace.

Warehouses are a necessity in many industries but they come with their own risks such as heavy machinery and hazardous substances.  Training is an important part of running a safe warehouse and will be an effective communication tool for your staff.  Your employees will be working in a safe environment and will know what their role is within the warehouse.

If you have recently suffered an injury in a warehouse contact Losi Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation.  We will make sure you are represented fairly throughout every step of your case.

Article adapted from: https://safetyskills.com/warehouse-safety/

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

By Uncategorized

When someone dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another, including murder, the surviving members of the victim’s family may sue for wrongful death. When you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you are seeking damages for the survivors’ loss which includes lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship and expenses for the funeral. The right to file a lawsuit for wrongful death is fairly new, common law did not allow this kind of lawsuit. Every state in this country now has some kind of wrongful death law.

Wrongful death claims involve all types of fatal accidents from simple car accidents to medical malpractice or product liability cases. People, companies and government agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently. To file a wrongful death lawsuit in New York State the following must be shown:

– The death of a person
– The death was caused by wrongful conduct or negligence of another
– The wrongful conduct/negligence could be subject of a lawsuit where the person harmed could have recovered damages if they didn’t die (pain and suffering)
– Survivors who have suffered specific damages due to the death

A wrongful death claim must be filed by a representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from the decedent’s death, otherwise known as the real parties in interest. Unlike many other state, New York places the responsibility for filing a wrongful death claim to the personal representative of the deceased persons estate. New York State will not allow a family member to bring a wrongful death claim to court unless that family member is also the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. New York law allows the following individuals to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

– The decedent’s spouse
– The decedent’s children
– The decedent’s parents
– The personal representative for the estate of the decedent

Damages awarded in New York wrongful death cases depend on the specific facts that are demonstrated in court. Damages have been awarded in New York wrongful death cases for losses such as:

– Funeral and burial expenses
– Reasonable medical, nursing and other health care expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness
– Wages and benefits lost between the deceased person’s final injury or illness and his or her death
– Value of support and services the deceased provided to family members
– Value of parental nurturing, care and guidance to surviving children
– Lost inheritance suffered by surviving children
– Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased due to the final injury or illness
– Nine percent interest on the damages award, calculated from the date of birth

New York State does not allow surviving family members to recover their own damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish or loss of companionship even if the deceased is a child. Parents may recover damages for the lost value of services such as household chores, performed by the child but the amount is reduced by the reasonable cost of caring for the children until they have reached adulthood.

A wrongful death claim in New York must be filed within two years of the date of the deceased person’s death. This is known as a statute of limitations, bars wrongful death claims from being filed in New York courts if more than two years have passed between the date of death and date of filing. New York does not stop the statute of limitations from running if the personal representative of the deceased person is a child or legally incapable of filing the claim. In these specific cases, the guardian of the child or incapable person is expected to file the wrongful death claim instead.

Nothing can take away the pain and suffering of losing a loved one but if the loss is due to another person’s negligence, you may be entitled to recover damages. Contact Losi Gangi if you feel you have a valid wrongful death claim at 716-854-1446.

How Do You Prove Liability for a Vehicle Accident?

By Personal Injury

A car accident can happen on a highway, or country road and can be a head on collision or you can be hit on the side from someone leaving a parking lot.  One of the most common types of collision is getting rear ended from behind.  Most of the time people think that rear-end car accidents are always the fault of the driver who rear ended the car in front but this is not always the case.

Negligence is the failure to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to another.  You are considered negligent if your actions fall short of what a reasonable person would or would have not done under the circumstances that led to the accident.  To prove that one of the drivers were negligent in a car accident, you have to prove that a duty existed.  All drivers owe one another a duty to exercise care when they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  You must prove the other driver breached their duty by:

  • Failing to pay attention to the road and look out for hazards
  • Failing to stop within a reasonable time
  • Failing to drive at a reasonable speed
  • Failing to maintain control of the vehicle
  • Failing to yield the right of way
  • Failing to use turn signals
  • Failing to follow at a safe distance

Third, you must prove the other driver’s breach of duty was the cause of the accident and you must establish that you were left with actual damages either to your body or the vehicle as a result of the accident.

The driver of the car that rear-ends another vehicle will almost always be considered at least partially negligent.  Every driver has a duty to follow other vehicles at a safe distance.  This is due to the driver sometimes suddenly slow down or come to quick stop to avoid a hazard in the road or heavy traffic.  You are expected to have enough distance between you and the car in front of you to prevent a collision in case an unexpected stop may occur.

It is possible for the driver of the car that gets rear-ended to be negligent as well if any of these scenarios happen to take place:

  • A driver reverses suddenly
  • A driver stoops suddenly to make a turn and fails to execute the turn
  • The driver’s brake lights do not function
  • A driver gets a flat tire but does not pull over or turn on the hazard lights

New York is a pure comparative fault state.  This means each defendant is only liable for his or her percentage of fault and allows a damaged party to recover even if it is 99% at fault.  Recovery is reduced by the damaged party’s degree of fault.  Accident victims can recover some compensation for their injuries no matter how negligent they were even if their degree of fault is higher than the defendant’s.

If you have recently been involved in a car accident and have been injured call the attorneys at Losi & Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation and review of your case.

Article adapted from: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/is-fault-automatic-rear-end-car-accident-case.html

Show your local representatives why injured workers are so important and shouldn’t be forgotten about.

By Workers Compensation, Workplace Safety

                                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

            Losi & Gangi wants to take the time to tell our clients, affiliates and friends how happy we are that you allow us to work for you. We appreciate everyone who lets us fight on their behalf when it comes to their legal matters. Whether you were hurt at work, hurt in a motor-vehicle accident, or slipped and fell, you shouldn’t be punished.

             The Injured Workers’ Bar Association on behalf of claimant attorneys, and injured workers across the State of New York has been fighting to correct the broken legal system we find ourselves in.

              Please read the information from https://www.protectinjurednewyorkers.org.  Next please go to the website and voice your opinion by submitting your electronic letter to the local representatives in your area. This will show the amount of people being effected by the below information, but most importantly shine a spot light on how injured New Yorker’s are being treated as a whole.

            Workers’ compensation payments, meant to serve as income protection for workers injured on the job, have been declining in New York since the 1990s. Legislative and administrative changes in 2007 and 2017 decreased workers’ compensation benefits and minimized employer costs, leading to its steady decline.

            New York was the first state in the nation to adopt an effective and efficient workers’ compensation system. Today, New York ranks 29th in workers’ compensation.

           While injured workers have been receiving low workers’ compensation benefits, if any at all, insurance companies have been making billions. A recent report by James Parrott at The New School found that insurance companies profited $1.6 billion from New York workers’ compensation in 2018 alone.

           We need a workers’ compensation system that works for Hard Working New Yorkers.

Legislative Bills currently being proposed are to help fix the protections that are supposed to be in place for injured workers.

  •   Bill A9900/S7850 would provide a hearing for every workers compensation case to allow injured workers to be heard
  • Bill A9955/S7954 would define temporary total disability as the inability to perform the job, in which injured, or a job offered by the employer that has been modified to meet the abilities of the injured worker
  • Bill A10472/8396 would enact the COVID-19 injured workers’ protection act to offer protections to workers who contracted the virus on the job
  • Bill A9920/S7726 would amend Section 35 (Safety Net) to define extreme hardship and apply it to cases with 50% LWEC
  • Bill A9924/S7751 would include a presumption of permanent total for those on social security disability insurance as a result of an injury or inability to perform sedentary work
  • Bill A10067/S7843 would provide a live verbatim stenographic record, make decisions issued in the native language of the injured worker, and make a hearing or stipulation required at the closing of the case

               These bills will make New York the leader it once was in protecting injured workers. With your support, we can ensure that all working New Yorkers have the protections they deserve.

                If you have questions about this article, please visit the website above. Contact our office at (716)-854-1446, if you want clarification on these issues and submit your letter to show your approval to take back your injured worker protections.

 

What is Willful Negligence?

By Uncategorized

Negligence is caused by the failure to behave with the level of reasonable care that someone of ordinary prudence under the same circumstances.  This behavior usually consists of actions but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act.  Proving negligence is required in most claims from car accidents to slip and fall cases.  Negligence claims must prove four things in court: duty, breach, causation and damages/harm.

In order to win a negligence case, the plaintiff must prove these four elements to show that the defendant acted negligent:

  1. Duty – The defendant owed a legal duty to the plaintiff under the circumstances
  2. Breach – The defendant breached that legal duty by acting or failing to act in a certain way
  3. Causation – It was the defendant’s actions (or inactions) that actually caused the plaintiff’s injury
  4. Damages – The plaintiff was harmed or injured as a result of the defendant’s actions

Ordinary Negligence

A reasonable person requires individuals to act in the same manner as a reasonably mindful person would under similar situations.  Ordinary negligence is when an individual acts in a way that a reasonably mindful person wouldn’t. Under negligence law, it is required that individuals take a reasonable measure to protect themselves and others from danger.  Negligence law establishes a responsibility for reasonable care.  Any person who doesn’t follow this responsibility and harms another individual may be financially liable for any damages that occur.

Ordinary negligence applies to:

  • Ordinary claims
  • Catastrophic accidental injury
  • Defective products

Gross Negligence

Gross negligence is a conscious and voluntary disregard of the need to use reasonable care, which is likely to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm to persons, property, or both.  It is more difficult to claim or prove gross negligence because it involves:

  • Conduct that is a significant leap from the guidance by which a competent and reasonable person would act
  • A serious or high degree of negligence
  • Behavior which was taken out of line from a normal, reasonable person
        • Typical care is not taken
        • An absence of any kind of diligence
        • No care is taken whatsoever

Courts have characterized gross negligence as a reckless and unmistakable abuse of duty to the legal rights of others.  Under a wrongful death statue, proving gross negligence is mandatory in order to qualify for punitive damages.

Willful, Wanton, Reckless Conduct

Willful misconduct is considered further along the misconduct charts since willful misconduct is:

  • Intentionally or voluntarily committed
  • Reckless or intentional

When trying to prove willful, wanton, reckless behavior, a prosecutor will try to provide evidence that a significant harm was the result of the defendant’s actions. The two main differences between negligence and willful, wanton, reckless conduct are:

  1. The defendant intentionally or knowingly disregarded all risk
  2. The risk would most likely result in substantial harm

Plaintiffs looking to seek punitive damages from injuries must prove that the defendant engaged in willful, wanton, or reckless behavior.

Willful misconduct and gross negligence insurance policies vary by state, but the general terms say that acts of:

  • Negligence are covered
  • Gross negligence are not covered
  • Willful misconduct are not covered

If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact a lawyer, especially if you have missed work and have accruing medical bills.  Call our experienced team at Losi & Gangi today for a free consultation at 716-854-1446.

Article adapted from: https://www.upcounsel.com/willful-negligence

How Social Media Can Affect Your Personal Injury Case

By Personal Injury

Social Media has become part of our every day life.  Nearly everyone has an account on one of the many social media platforms.  We wake up and scroll through our feeds, check Twitter as our first news source and upload pictures of our meals, family and amazing sunsets we’ve seen. Sometimes we even press send before we have even had a minute to think about what we have posted!  Our phones are never more than 2 inches from our hands often times with our computers and tablets close by.  Social media is accessible at every month, date and time but did you know, nothing you post is ever really private? 

If you have recently been injured in an accident and are pursuing a personal injury claim, social media can be your worst enemy.  Shared posts, videos and photos on any social network may negatively impact your case.  You may think that sharing the details of your injury or accident is harmless but on the contrary, could have an adverse reaction.  If you are tagged in photos that document you out with friends or on vacation this could contradict your injury claim that you are unable to work. 

Photos that show that you are able to leave the house, dine out or go to the gym can also effect your injury claim.  Insurance companies can find these posts and use them against you.  This could result in a reduced settlement or to the extreme of no settlement at all.  The insurance company is trying to minimize your injuries and shift the blame to you for the accident so going to find evidence on your social media accounts isn’t out of the question.  When in doubt, stay silent online and don’t post!  If you must be on social media, try and limit your presence until your case is completely resolved. 

Every social media platform has their own privacy settings, where the user can limit who sees their profile and what they post.  Many people are unaware of these settings or realize that their profiles are public for all to view.  By changing your privacy settings, it can protect you from anyone looking at your page.  Even privately posted information on social media platforms can be used in a personal injury case.   When you adjust your privacy settings, don’t allow access to your pages by people outside of your own connections and do not allow your friends to share your posts and information.  After an accident or when you file your claim, avoid friending additional connections, as they could be representatives of the insurance company or opposing counsel.  Do not only rely on the privacy settings, cover yourself and don’t post anything.

It is your personal injury attorney’s job to accurately describe the extent of your injury including how the injury has had a negative impact in your daily routine and how the defendant and their actions caused the injury.  Any details about your injury that you post on social media could be mis represented and conflict with the story that your legal team is trying to present in court.  Sometimes witnesses will be called in to give testimony on your behalf and you wouldn’t want to contradict any information that they will be providing. 

The defense team will attempt to use your own words and photos against you if it contradicts what your legal counsel is claiming in court.  If your lawyer has claimed you have suffered physical injuries and mental distress from an auto accident and there are photos of you online contradicting your injuries (dancing, boating, skiing, etc.) your claim may be thrown out.  To protect your self and your personal injury case follow these steps:

  • Tell your friends and family to avoid posting about your accident and injury
  • Limit your social media presence until your case is resolved
  • If you must post on social media, be aware of what you are posting before you share with the public
  • Before posting, change your privacy settings to ensure that nobody outside of your connections can see your posts and photos
  • Avoid friending or adding any new contacts that you don’t recognize
  • Do not post any angry comments about the defendant or your case

If you have been recently injured and would like to speak to a lawyer, call the attorneys at Losi & Gangi at 716-854-1446 for a free consultation.  We achieve real results for our injured clients and make sure you are represented fairly in your case. 

Article Adapted from:  https://www.huffpost.com/entry/could-social-media-impact_b_9858366

Losi & Gangi Prevails in Two Death Claims under New York State Workers Compensation Law

By Workers Compensation

Under New York State Workers Compensation Law, a death will be deemed compensable if the Estate proves the Claimants work or work injury contributed, predicated, or played a part either directly or indirectly in the decedents demise.

Additionally, there are multiple presumptions in favor of the Estate that can be used in proving causation of the death to the decedents work.

After protracted litigation, Losi & Gangi was successful in obtaining benefits for two Estates in death claims under the Workers Compensation Law.

A registered Nurse working for the Buffalo Psychiatric Center was originally injured on 10/13/2010. She hurt her back, right shoulder, and neck. She had multiple treatments including surgeries and medications including opioids. Unfortunately, on 5/15/2013 the claimant committed suicide. On behalf of the Estate, Losi & Gangi claimed that the Claimants ultimate suicide was related to her pain, treatment, stress and opioid medications from her ongoing Workers Compensation Claim.

After protracted litigation, and shortly before trial, Losi & Gangi was able to obtain Workers Compensation Benefits for the claimant’s husband and two daughters from her date of death until present. Additionally, the husband will continue to receive weekly benefits for the rest of his life.

In a second death claim, Losi & Gangi obtained a settlement for the widow of a local Attorney who worked for a Personal Injury Firm.

The claimant was a 43-year-old attorney who, while arguing a motion in court experienced sudden onset of sharp and severe leg pain. He suffered an aortic dissection and was rushed to the hospital. After a lengthy hospital stay, the claimant ultimately perished due to multi organ failure and infection.

The defense presented evidence that the death was not related to his employment but rather it was due to some previous health issues. 

Just prior to trial, a settlement was obtained compensating the widow and avoiding the uncertainty of future litigation.

Which Parties Can Be Held Liable in a Car Accident?

By Personal Injury

You have recently been in a car accident.  Everything happened in a split second.  Was it a multi car pile up or did someone rear end you at a stop light?  After trying to piece apart everything that occurred how do you determine who was at fault?

Fault for causing an accident is either created by law or defined by common law.  Common law recognizes four basic levels of fault: 

  • Negligence 
  • Recklessness (wanton conduct)
  • Intentional misconduct 
  • Strict liability (regardless of fault) 

Negligence means careless or inadvertent conduct that results in harm or damage.  One can be negligent by failing to yield the right of way or actively doing something like running a stop sign.  

Reckless or wanton conduct is when there is a willful disregard for the safety and welfare of others.  Strict liability may be imposed, even in the absence of fault for accidents involving certain defective product or extra hazardous activities.  

Under common law, individuals who have caused a car accident have committed a tort, a private wrong against another.  If you have committed a tort you are referred to as a “tortfeasor”.  Many car insurance policies refer to people who are at least partly at fault for an accident. If the driver has engaged in intentional or reckless misconduct such as drunk driving there is no question who would be at fault.  When there has been a car accident it can be harder to determine who is at fault.  Sometimes more than one motorist may be found responsible in the case of an accident and multiple tortfeasors will become part of the case.  The state will have to determine who must pay for the damage to the property and individuals who were involved in the accident.   

Every state has different laws on how vehicles can operate on the road.  Many of these statues are versions of the common law while others are the result of legislative initiatives.  Any violation of these statutes may lead you to be considered negligent in the case of your accident or fault may be established by citing a statute that has been violated.  The easiest way to apply proximate cause for an automobile accident is to see whether the accident would or would have not have occurred if there were no violations in congruent with the accident.  

The police don’t always come to the scene of an accident but if they do they usually make an accident report especially if there was any sort of injury.  Make sure to get a copy of the accident report from the police officer after it is filed.  These reports are the observations that the police officer has made at the scene of the accident.  If any tickets were issued they will be documented in the report and it will contain evidence of any liability.  This report may be key evidence for your insurance company.  If there is an error in the police report, it can be fixed especially if there is a factual error.  If you feel the error has to do with who is at fault you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately to represent you in your case.  

State traffic laws, otherwise known as vehicle code are often put together in easier terms as rules of the road.  You can find these at your local DMV or online when you research vehicle codes.  Have the exact wording of the code so you can relay it to your insurance company.  When no fault car accident liability is involved the insurance company will try to settle immediately since the accident will be one driver’s fault.   

Rear end collisions are the most common type of car accident.  When a car hits you from behind it is almost never your fault even if you were stopped at a traffic light or stop sign.  According to basic driving rules, is that you are supposed to leave enough room in front of your car to stop if the car the car in front of you stops abruptly.  When the damage on the car is at the rear end of one and the front end of the other you will clearly be able to see who was at fault.  But what if the driver that rear ended you said someone pushed into them from behind causing the chain reaction? This doesn’t affect their liability for the damage done to your car.  Although usually the other driver is at fault, if you were negligent by having your brake lights on or a flat tire you could partially be at fault as well.  This is known as comparative negligence and could reduce your monetary compensation.  

Left turn collisions are almost always at fault of the driver who is making the left hand turn.  Cars coming straight into the intersection most always have the right of way.  If the car going straight through the intersection is speeding or runs a red light, this may shift some of the liability away from the car that is turning left.  If the car started to turn left while it was still safe but was forced to stop because of some unforeseen circumstance, the liability may be shifted.  

While most accidents can be resolved at the scene by exchanging insurance information sometimes injuries can show up at a later time.  If you have recently been in a car accident and have been injured call us today at 716-854-1446 and we can make sure you get fair representation in your case.  

Article adapted from: https://injury.findlaw.com/car-accidents/car-accident-liability-proving-fault-in-a-car-crash.html