Reckless Endangerment Standard

Reckless Endangerment Standard The law recognizes that when a police officer is responding to an emergency, the officer cannot be expected to obey all of the traffic laws in the way that a normal driver would under normal conditions.  Hence, the Vehicle and Traffic Law specifically permits police officers to disregard a number of traffic laws, including stop signs, red lights, speed limits, turning lanes, and one-way streets.  There are limits, however.  The officer must [...]

De Minimis Defect

What Is De Minimis Defect? Often in trip and fall cases, the party responsible for maintaining the property where an injury occurred will claim that the defect is "de minimis".  The courts consider a defective condition to be "de minimis", and hence not actionable, if the defect is "trivial", "insignificant", or "insubstantial".  Essentially, the argument is that although there may be a defect (such as an elevated sidewall flag), if the defect is very minor or [...]

Selecting A Good Lawyer

How do you select a good lawyer and what do you look for in a good lawyer? Selecting a good lawyer (just like selecting a good doctor) must be what’s best for you.  You know yourself just like you know your case, its particulars and the pain and suffering you have experienced. As a starting point, if you've been injured, you need a personal injury lawyer. Period.  Not a real estate or divorce lawyer who [...]

50-H Hearing

50-H Hearing After filing and serving a Notice of Claim, the next pre-requisite to filing a lawsuit for money damages against a public entity or authority is a statutory hearing, which is generally referred to as a 50-H hearing (the legal authority for this hearing is General Municipal Law Section 50-h for certain claims and other statutes for other claims, hence the term “50-h” which is generally used in the legal community to mean any [...]

Notice of Claim

What Is A Notice of Claim? Suppose you slip on an icy subway platform or the stairwell of a housing authority building or are assaulted on public school property when there should have been a security officer present but one was nowhere to be found. All of these can form the basis of a claim for damages, but in these examples, the responsible party is a public authority or the City of New York itself. [...]


WRONGFUL DEATH ACCIDENTS Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligent or wrongdoing of some other person or entity. Be mindful that wrongful death arises from a negligent act or omission, to be differentiated from an intentional or willful act, which would constitute the crime of a wrongful death (be it murder or manslaughter).  Wrongful death accordingly is a civil wrong (not criminal) and a lawsuit for wrongful death is filed in [...]

Bench Trial

What is a Bench Trial? When discovery in a case is complete and the case is placed on the trial calendar, both the defendant and the plaintiff have the right to demand a jury trial to determine any issues of fact. Issues of law are determined by the judge and when there no disputed facts to be decided, there is no right to a jury trial. The distinction between issues of fact and issues of law [...]

3 Mistakes to Avoid After Being in a Car Accident

Mistakes to Avoid After a Car Accident With over 8 million people living in New York City it’s inevitable that many will be involved in car accidents and injured. Whether in car or truck accident, motorcycle or bicycle accident, or as a pedestrian, the statistics are telling. Over 15,000 people are yearly taken to the hospital because of a car accident in New York City, equating to generally 80 out of every 100,000 residents. Regardless [...]

Unified Trial

What Is A Unified Trial? Except in the Bronx, where unified trials are the norm, the general rule is that jury trials are bifurcated, with the issue of liability being decided first, followed by a trial on the issue of damages. However, there are limited circumstances where the plaintiff can ask for and be granted a unified trial. This circumstance generally arises where the issue of damages (i.e. the injuries) are relevant to the issue of [...]

Bifurcated Trial

What is a Bifurcated Trial? With the exception of cases venued in the Bronx, the general rule is that the trial on issue of liability (who is at fault for the accident) and the trial on the issue of damages (the injuries sustained and the compensation appropriate for them) are separated. This is known as a bifurcated trial. The overarching purposes for bifurcation are the simplification and narrowing of the issues for the jury to decide [...]

Can You Be Compensated for Your PTSD?

Can You Get PTSD from a Car Accident? PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, is a mental health condition that can have a serious impact on someone's well-being. In significant part, this is because of symptoms that range from depression, anxiety, intrusive memories of the traumatic event to negative changes in the accident victim’s thinking. PTSD is serious and it can last for months and years or have permanent residual manifestations. It should come as no surprise [...]

Why you ought to have a superb personal injury lawyer in New York City

Why you ought to have a superb personal injury lawyer According to "Motor vehicle traffic injuries Queens County Residents 2005-2007", car accidents are third in rank amongst the leading causes of injury-related deaths in Queens. It's crucial to have a reputable and experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you if you reside in New York City as the chances of getting knocked down by a car are very high. Census statistics show that more than [...]

Conscious Pain Suffering

Conscious Pain Suffering In addition to the economic claim of wrongful death, an accident resulting in death gives rise to a claim for conscious pain and suffering. The rationale is that the decedent's next of kin essentially steps into the shoes of their loved one and claims the pain and suffering that your loved one could have claimed but for the fact that he/she is now passed away. In a case where a traumatic accident [...]

No bumper damage

No bumper damage Car Accident Bumpers are there for a reason. It is the part of the car that is best equipped to absorb an impact and is designed for this very purpose. How many times have you been bumped by the car behind you without getting so much as a scratch on your vehicle? In fact, even very jarring impacts which minimal visible damage to your vehicle cause significant neck and back whiplash and [...]

Distribution of Proceeds in a Wrongful Death Actions

Distribution of Proceeds in a Wrongful Death Cases The EPTL defines a distributee as "a person entitled to take or share in the propery of a decedent under the statutes governing descent and distribution." In a case where the negligence of another has caused the death of your loved one, the general rule is that the decedent's next of kin is entitled to compensation for the economic harm caused by the wrongful death. Obviously, money [...]

Pedestrian knockdown defenses

Pedestrian knockdown defenses I'm consistently amazed at how many drivers will claim "she ran into the side of my car" when a pedestrian is struck by their vehicle. As we've discussed previously, even a significant front impact may leave little more than a scratch. So how do we prove that you were struck by a car and not vice versa? There are two primary ways: (1) medical documentation of injuries which tend to indicate a [...]

Gap In Treatment

Gap In Treatment In motor vehicles, where only a "serious injury" can sustain a lawsuit for pain and suffering, a "gap in treatment" is frequently argued by defendants to mean that the plaintiff has fully recovered from any injuries sustained and courts will rely on this doctrine in dismissing cases, where they find that a "gap in treatment" is actually a cessation of treatment. It cannot be stressed enough that medical documentation is the necessary [...]

Constructive Notice for Liability

Constructive Notice for Liability Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall cases, collectively referred to as "premises cases", are often high-risk, high-reward propositions.  Whether it is a slip on black ice or days-old snow that was never removed or a trip on an uneven sidewalk, these cases frequently involve very significant injuries and often turn on the issue of "notice".  Notice can be actual, which is the so-called "smoking gun" (i.e. the defendant was actually aware of the dangerous [...]

What Is A 325D Case?

What Is A 325D Case? CPLR Section 325(d) permits the Supreme Court to transfer a case to the Civil Court “where it appears that the amount of damages sustained may be less than demanded”. In practice, this section is used as a tool by the Supreme Court to clear the court docket of cases that can be tried in a lower court. In New York City, that lower court is the Civil Court; in the [...]


What is a MV104 Form? The MV-104 is a document which looks like a police report, but which you fill out yourself and send to the DMV in Albany. It includes all of the basic information on the police report (names, addresses, dates, times, locations, etc.), but more importantly it includes a section where you can describe how the accident occurred i.e. who ran the red light, whether there was an illegal U-turn, whether you [...]

Amending Police Accident Report

Amending Police Accident Report Suppose you've been involved in a traumatic car accident and were either in the ambulance or already on your way to the hospital when the police arrive. Unless an officer comes to interview you in the emergency, your side of the story may not be reflected on the police report. There are two ways to remedy this, both of which are important when the police report does not paint a picture [...]

Police Reports – Hearsay

Police Reports - Hearsay Most police officers are not accident reconstruction experts and they don't pretend to be. In fact, their basic function when it comes to police accident reports is to copy down the driver, insurance, and registration information and take a statement from each involved party. Based on those statements and the officer's visual observations at the accident scene, the officer may make a preliminary assessment as to the contributory factors, but when [...]

Conflict Waiver

What Is A Conflict Waiver? If your case presents your attorney with a conflict of interest, most common when you are a passenger in a multi-car accident, there are two options to address the conflict: Either (1) you or your attorney can find another firm to take over your case or (2) you can sign what is known as a conflict waiver, essentially giving up the right to seek recovery from the driver of the [...]

Driver/Passenger Representation Conflict

Driver/Passenger Representation Conflict "Conflict of interest" is a term that is often used loosely (and incorrectly), but the failure of an attorney to recognize and properly deal with one can have serious consequences for both the attorney and the client. In personal injury cases, the most common conflict arises where both the driver and passenger of a vehicle are injured. Unless it is clear that the driver of the other vehicle is 100% at fault, [...]

Personal Injury Awards for Pain and Suffering are Tax Free

Personal Injury Awards for Pain and Suffering are Tax Free The concept of money damages as compensation for pain and suffering is intended to make the injury victim "whole". Obviously money will not unbreak a bone or re-align spinal discs, but courts, as a scientific and medical fact, simply cannot do so. Hence, the system attempts to provide compensation to an injury victim that is commensurate with the pain and suffering the injury has caused. [...]