Troy, Latham & Saratoga Offices

Troy
(Main Office and Mailing Address)

Call(518) 274-5820

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28 Second Street
Troy, NY

Latham

Call(518) 783-3843

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7 Airport Park Boulevard
Latham, NY

Saratoga

Call(518) 584-8886

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511 Broadway
Saratoga Springs, NY

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Older Drivers Are Particularly Susceptible to Injury and Death in Crashes

Personal Injury Attorneys Serving Elderly Drivers Injured in Car Accidents

Providing Legal Representation for Upstate New York Including the Sarasota, Albany and Troy Areas

Older Driver

Compared to other age groups, senior citizens are among New York’s safest drivers. Auto safety experts say this is due to a number of factors, including the fact that seniors tend to observe speed limits and do not drive after drinking. In spite of that safety record, however, seniors are more likely to be killed or injured in auto crashes than any other age group, except teen drivers. According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during 2014, more than 5,700 older adults were killed and more than 236,000 were treated in emergency departments for motor vehicle crash injuries. That amounts to 16 older adults killed and 648 injured in crashes on average every day.

Factors Leading to Increased Risk of Death and Injury

A number of factors combine to increase the risk of death and serious injury for senior citizens. For example:

  • Bone fragility in seniors leads to more serious fractures and makes recuperation more difficult
  • Age-related declines in vision may affect some older adults’ driving abilities
  • Roughly 75 percent of drivers age 65 or older report using one or more medications that have potential impact on driving performance
  • Some medical conditions, such as arthritis, make the physical act of driving more difficult and more dangerous
  • Other medical conditions – such as heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions – make medical treatment following an accident more difficult and generally increase the time of recovery for those injured

Safety Steps That Can Be Taken by Seniors

There are steps that can be taken by older adults to increase their chances of staying safe on the road, including:

  • Being mindful of safe following distances behind the vehicle in front
  • Driving defensively
  • Planning the driving route before departure
  • Avoiding distractions within the vehicle, such as eating, cell phone use, and loud music
  • Maintaining a regular exercise program to maintain strength and flexibility
  • Visiting an eye doctor regularly
  • Reviewing medications with a physician so as to understand what effects, if any, they have on driving
  • Driving during daylight hours and in good weather conditions
  • Avoiding rush hour and other congestion periods of the day
  • Utilizing the safest routes for travel (street lights, left turn arrows, and easy parking are important considerations for seniors)

Injured in an Accident?

Have you or a family member been seriously injured in a vehicle crash? At E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, we understand that a serious accident impacts not only the crash victim, but also his or her entire family. Our injury lawyers understand the complex issues related to personal injury claims. We offer skilled and compassionate assistance during trying times. Our extensive experience allows us to understand the sort of compensation that you are due for damages and for pain and suffering. We also understand the lifetime impact that injury or death can have on your family. Our goal is to get results for you and your family.

The law firm of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy is one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. We have represented clients for more than 100 years and are among the top-rated lawyers in the country, achieving the highest ratings from both client groups and our peers. Once we accept your case, we invest all the time and resources necessary to obtain the largest settlement or award possible. Each case is unique, and a positive outcome is not guaranteed, but we have a very successful record of winning cases for our clients. Contact our injury attorneys today to learn how we may be able to help you. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an experienced personal injury and accident attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

Can My Doctor Testify Against Me at Trial?

Experienced Attorneys Protecting Patient’s Rights

Serving Troy, Albany, Saratoga and all of Upstate New York

doctor testify against patient in deposition

 

While lab tests, height/weight records, blood pressure charts, and other so-called medical “data” may properly occupy an important part of a patient’s overall health program, most New Yorkers and others would point to an intangible factor that is crucial to a patient’s physical and mental well-being: The relationship of trust that exists between a doctor and his or her patient.

When the patient is involved in litigation, the patient might wonder if the communications he or she disclosed in conferences with a physician can be used in a detrimental way. That is to say, “Can my doctor testify against me at trial?” Often, but not always, the answer is “No.”

Physician-Patient Privilege

New York and most other states view the relationship between physician and patient to be so important, so bound up within a sphere of confidentiality that generally, any communication between a patient and his or her physician is protected from disclosure to others. The communications may not be disclosed by the physician, even if the physician is called to testify. The purpose of the strong privilege is one of public policy: Only by allowing a patient to speak freely with the physician can the latter provide the best and fullest medical treatment possible.

Privilege is Broad

Ordinarily, the physician-patient privilege is quite broad, protecting not only the actual conversations between the patient and the physician, but also the following:

  • Medical documents created in connection with treatment
  • Medical opinions held by the physician
  • Diagnostic information, as well as course of treatment notes

Federal law expands, to some degree, the privilege to include personal information provided to the physician, such as date of birth, social security numbers, etc.

Other Important Elements

The patient-physician privilege does not exist with regard to every communication made to a doctor. Consider the following:

  • The communication must have been made in such a confidential environment. For example, a discussion with the doctor in a busy waiting room, where others are present, is not such an environment that would protect the confidentiality of the statement.
  • The presence of a third person, other than someone working directly as an agent of the doctor (e.g., a nurse or other practitioner) defeats the privilege. Even if the third person is one’s spouse or parent, the confidentiality privilege is breached.
  • The privilege is not absolute. State laws require that some medical information be disclosed for the protection of society (e.g., diagnoses related to some sexually transmitted diseases, gunshots, child abuse, and the like).
  • There must be an actual physician-patient relationship. A statement made to a doctor friend at a cocktail party is not likely protected by the privilege.
  • If you are being examined by a “hostile” physician (i.e., one hired by an opposing party to perform the examination), there is no physician-patient relationship; anything you say can be used against you.

Waiver of the Privilege in Connection with Personal Injury Case

Bear in mind also that in some instances a party who pursues a personal injury claim may be deemed to have waived the physician-patient privilege so far as it is related to the treatment and condition that forms the basis of the claim.

It is the Patient’s Privilege, Not the Doctor’s

Finally, one should bear in mind that the privilege belongs to the patient, not to the physician. That means it can be waived only by the patient. Where there has been no prior waiver, the physician may not disclose personal information or other protected facts and if he or she does so, the physician can be held liable for breach of the important confidential relationship.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: Experienced, Caring Attorneys

Has a physician disclosed information about you to a third party that you feel is privileged? If so, the physician may be liable for damages. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy are caring, experienced attorneys who can help you determine if you have a valid claim. We have the experience to handle your case and if it is in your interests to settle such a claim, we have the skill, resources, and tenacity to help you recover an appropriate amount of damages. We can also take your case to trial if necessary.

We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. We have been representing clients for more than a hundred years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

Do You Need an Attorney if it is Your First DWI?

Experienced DWI Attorneys Fighting for Your Rights

Legal Representation in Upstate New York Including the Sarasota, Albany and Troy Areas

first dwi

 

There is an all too common misunderstanding about the criminal justice system in New York State when it comes to DWI charges. It’s the notion that if you have been charged with DWI and, if you have no prior alcohol-related conviction, you can proceed in court just as successfully without an attorney.

Sometimes, the misunderstanding comes from another direction. One may think that because the case is pretty much “open and shut,” that one need not spend more money. In other words, the DWI is going to cost enough; why make it worse with having to pay an attorney?

Unfortunately, Many Learn the Hard Way

Many learn the hard way. A DWI charge is a serious matter. Someone charged with such a serious offense faces not only financial issues, but he or she can even be sent to jail.

First DWI is Usually a Misdemeanor

New York is serious about its driving laws. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime, usually a misdemeanor. Even a first conviction results in most, if not all, the following:

  • Substantial fine
  • Mandatory surcharge
  • Revocation of one’s driver’s license
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device in each motor vehicle you own or operate
  • Participation in Drinking Driver Program
  • Possible jail time and probation

For someone charged with aggravated DWI, the situation is even more serious. Fines can be as high as $2,500 and jail terms can be up to one year.

First Conviction Carries With it Other Practical Limitations

While a New Yorker convicted of a DWI offense may qualify for either a conditional license or a hardship license, in either case, one’s ability to drive is severely limited. While those who live in and around Manhattan may be able to get along without a personal means of transportation, those who live in the Greater Capital Region are directly impacted by a loss of driving privileges.

A convicted DWI offender – even following a first offense – also faces an unpleasant surprise when the auto insurance bill arrives. The premium costs for auto insurance can be gravity-defying. A DWI: It’s the offense that keeps on punishing the offender, long after the court date.

DWI Law is Complex

Being charged with a DWI offense in New York is a serious matter, even if it is a first offense. The fines are high and the other penalties are real. One cannot ignore the fact that a judge has the power to send a convicted DWI offender, even for a first offense, to jail. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI offense, you owe it to yourself to retain the best legal team available. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the judgment and experience to negotiate the best possible plea and to negotiate for a conditional or hardship license, if you qualify.

We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Greater Capital Region We have been representing clients for more than a hundred years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

The Serious Consequences of a Misdemeanor Conviction

Upstate New York Defense Attorneys Fighting for Your Rights Following an Arrest

Serving the areas of Troy, Albany, and Sarasota

judge's gavel

 

It happens daily in New York State. A person has been charged with a relatively minor offense. At the time of the “arrest,” the police officer indicated the charge was minor. Since the person charged did not have a criminal record, there’d be nothing to worry about in the long run. That good news is often confirmed when the person discusses the situation with a few friends. They reiterate that with a clean record, you are only facing a fine. They add, “It’s just a misdemeanor. Sure, you’ll be out a few hundred dollars, but after the short experience in court before the judge – no worries.”

Your Friends Are Wrong: There Are Worries

Unfortunately, your friends are mistaken. Indeed, while you didn’t face any real possibility of jail time because you had a clean record, there are a host of other consequences that flow from a misdemeanor conviction. Thinking about those consequences only after the conviction isn’t a good idea. What are the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction?

Financial Impact

In many respects the financial impact of a misdemeanor conviction may be the least severe. That is not, of course, to diminish the hit that a household budget can take when someone has to cough up hundreds (or more) dollars for a fine. Here, your friends have a point, however. Once the fine is paid, the short-term financial implications are behind you. There are other, long-term financial and non-financial implications that need to concern you, however.

Employment Impact

While New York State law prohibits an employer or prospective employer from inquiring and acting adversely upon an applicant’s prior arrests or criminal charges that were terminated favorably, prospective employers are permitted, at least in some instances, to consider your criminal record. They can (and do) perform background checks. With the advent of the Internet, it is easier than ever to get background information about an individual. While New York law protects people with criminal records from being unfairly denied jobs or occupational licenses solely because of their conviction record, if you are in a crowded field of candidates, you may never hear exactly why you didn’t get the job offer. Your criminal record may play at least an intangible part. It is difficult enough in some areas of New York to secure employment. You don’t need a strike against you before you even start.

Remember that while most private employers do not have access to individuals’ rap sheets, they are entitled to use other sources, such as the state Office of Court Administration, to obtain criminal record information.

Impact on Housing

More and more these days, private landlords perform background checks related to housing applicants. Landlords are not permitted to bar all persons with convictions from housing. Yet, if you have a conviction on your record and you also have less than a stellar credit rating, you may be denied housing and never hear that was based on the criminal issue.

Impact to Family

In many instances, there is also a negative impact upon the family of the person convicted of the misdemeanor. Many families are financially vulnerable. The loss of funds required to pay a hefty fine can take a bite out of a family’s finances. That loss can also cause resentment and distrust. There is a tendency among those charged with misdemeanors to think that the legal issue only affects the person charged. That just isn’t true. It affects many persons around the “perpetrator,” particularly if the family is already living at the edge.

Your Case is Unique

While the police in New York may hand out hundreds of citations like yours each month, your case is actually unique. It deserves direct attention and, because of the ramifications of a conviction, it likely deserves the attention that only an experienced attorney can provide. The stakes in any case can be quite high. Talking to an attorney after the fact is never as good as talking to one when there is time to pursue the correct strategy.

If you have been charged with any crime, even one that you think is minor, you owe it to yourself and your family to get all the facts and set a strategy. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the judgment and experience to negotiate the best possible plea, and we also have the skill and tenacity required to take your case to trial if necessary.

We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. We have been representing clients for more than a hundred years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

Hospital-Acquired Sepsis Can be Life-Threatening Condition

Medical Negligence Attorneys with the Experience to Fight for Victims of Hospital Acquired Sepsis

Serving all of Upstate New York Including Troy, Latham and Saratoga

sepsis

 

Skilled physicians often repeat what sounds like a contradiction in terms: “A hospital is no place for the sick.” With those words, they are generally referring to the fact that it is within hospitals and major medical centers – not our homes or workplaces – that the “superbugs,” like some powerful strains of sepsis, live and breed. Doctors and other experts caution that particularly when medical treatment requires invasive surgery, sepsis can be a significant risk.

Hospital-acquired sepsis can also be life-threatening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on any given day, one in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection (HAI).

Hospital-Acquired Sepsis is Deadly and Expensive

According to an important study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, HAIs affect some 1.7 million hospitalizations each year. Of those HAIs, sepsis is the most deadly. In cases associated with invasive surgery, patients who contract sepsis must stay in the hospital longer, incurring almost $33,000 in extra costs. Worse, 20 percent of those who contract sepsis in the hospital or medical center actually die from the illness. According to the study, sepsis (and the pneumonia often associated with it) kills some 48,000 patients annually and cost 8.1 billion to treat.

Many Cases of Sepsis Are Unnecessary

One of the most unfortunate things about HAIs is that they can be prevented in many cases. In some cases, relatively healthy people check into the hospital for routine surgery. They develop sepsis because of a lapse in infection control – and they can die. Best-practice studies show that steps can be taken to control and prevent HAIs in a variety of settings. According to the CDC, when healthcare facilities care teams, individual doctors, and nurses are aware of infection problems and take specific steps to prevent them, rates of some targeted HAIs decrease.

Sepsis Symptoms

Many physicians judge sepsis severity as a three-stage syndrome. Their goal is to treat it as early as possible so the recovery is optimal. The three stages are sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock.

Sepsis

Generally speaking, in order to be diagnosed with sepsis, the patient must exhibit at least two of the following symptoms, plus a probable or confirmed infection:

  • Body temperature above 101 F or below 96.8 F
  • Heart rate higher than 90 beats a minute
  • Respiratory rate higher than 20 breaths a minute

Severe sepsis

The diagnosis is upgraded if the patient also exhibits at least one of the following signs and symptoms, which indicate an organ may be failing:

  • Significantly decreased urine output
  • Abrupt change in mental status
  • Decrease in platelet count
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal heart pumping function
  • Abdominal pain

Septic shock

Septic shock – the most serious and life-threatening of the sepsis conditions includes all the signs and symptoms of severe sepsis plus, in most cases, extremely low blood pressure that fails to respond to simple fluid replacement.

Incidence of Sepsis May be on the Rise

The incidence of sepsis appears to be increasing in the United States. Medical experts attribute the rise to a number of causes, including:

  • Aging population. The older the patient, the greater the risk of contracting sepsis.
  • Drug-resistant bacteria. Many types of bacteria can resist the effects of antibiotics that once killed them. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are often the root cause of the infections that trigger sepsis.
  • Weakened immune systems. More Americans are living with weakened immune systems, caused by HIV, cancer treatment, or transplant drugs.

Many Cases of Sepsis Can Cause Serious Injury or Death

Severe sepsis reduces blood flow to vital organs, such as your brain, heart, and kidneys. The result is that such organ function is impaired. Sepsis can also cause blood clots to form in your organs and in your arms, legs, fingers, and toes – leading to varying degrees of organ failure and tissue death (gangrene). While most patients recover from mild sepsis, the mortality rate for septic shock is nearly 50 percent. Moreover, an episode of severe sepsis may place you at higher risk of future infections.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: Experienced, Caring Attorneys

If you or a member of your family have suffered from a hospital-acquired infection, such as sepsis (or pneumonia), you may have a valid claim for damages. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the experience to handle your medical claim. And while we are experts at negotiating an appropriate settlement, we also have the skill, resources, and tenacity to take your case to trial if necessary.

One of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District, we have been representing clients for more than a hundred years. Our law practice has truly stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

Pressure Ulcers and Bedsores Among the Most Common Forms of Nursing Home Negligence

Patient in a Nursing Facility

Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, pressure sores, or decubitus ulcers, are wounds caused by unrelieved pressure on the skin. Ordinarily, they develop adjacent to bony prominences, such as on the elbow, heel, hip, shoulder, back, and back of the head. Pressure ulcers are serious medical conditions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that their prevalence among the population at a nursing home is an important measure of the quality of clinical care being provided to the residents. According to CDC data, approximately 11 percent of all nursing home residents have pressure ulcers.

Four Stages of Pressure Ulcers

Medically speaking, pressure ulcers present themselves in four stages, based primarily on the depth of soft tissue damage:

  • Stage 1: The least serious, consists of persistent redness of skin
  • Stage 2: The loss of partial thickness of skin appearing as an abrasion, blister, or shallow crater in patients
  • Stage 3: Similar to Stage 2, except that the crater is deep
  • Stage 4: The most serious stage, where there is a loss of full thickness of skin, exposing muscle or bone

Lack of Attention and Improper Medical Care

Pressure ulcers and bedsores aren’t new problems. They have been a significant problem in nursing homes throughout the United States for many years. In many instances, pressure ulcers are caused by a lack of attention on the part of medical staff. Once the sores have been identified, they should be treated immediately.

Additional Statistics

The CDC points to a number of other important statistics with regard to the incidence of pressure ulcers and bedsores. For example:

  • One in five nursing home residents with a recent weight loss develops pressure ulcers
  • Residents aged 64 years or younger are more likely to have pressure ulcers than older residents
  • Residents for a year or less are more likely to have bed sores than those who reside in nursing homes longer

Complications from Pressure Ulcers

Complications from pressure ulcers and bedsores include:

  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Infection
  • Prolonged rehabilitation
  • Permanent disability

According to the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, pressure ulcers affect up to 2.5 million patients per year. Costs associated with such ulcers and sores range from $9.1 to $11.6 billion per year annually in the US. Given that they are so common and that they are largely avoidable with proper care, one would think the medical community would be keen to address the issues. Unfortunately, many nursing homes and medical professionals prefer to sweep the problem under the rug.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: Experienced, Caring Attorneys

Has a member of your family suffered from pressure ulcers and bedsores while confined to a nursing home? Do you suspect that the loved one has received less than adequate treatment? If so, your family may have a valid claim for damages. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the experience to handle your loved one’s case. If there has been maltreatment or neglect, we can help you protect your family’s interests and perhaps help other families avoid this unnecessary pain and suffering. While we are experts at negotiating an appropriate settlement, we also have the skill, resources, and tenacity to take your case to trial, if necessary.

We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. We have been representing clients for more than a hundred years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

After a New York DWI Conviction, Can I Drive to Work?

Business man in handcuffs

When a New Yorker is charged with an alcohol-related driving offense, such as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving While Ability is Impaired (DWAI), a common question is whether the person will be able to get some sort of limited driving privilege after the plea or trial date. The answer is the same answer as is often given to legal queries: “It depends.” Generally speaking, the ability to get at least some sort of driving privilege varies with the charge and the aggravated nature, if any, of the person’s conduct.

Conditional License

When you are sentenced for DWI (assuming it is a first offense), your license will be revoked for six months. When you are sentenced for WDAI, it will be suspended for 90 days. In such situations, provided you have not been convicted of an alcohol-related offense within the past five years, you should be able to qualify for a conditional license giving you limited driving privileges.

A conditional license is a special license that generally allows you:

  • To drive to and from work and sometimes during working hours, if you are required to drive as part of your work
  • To and from day care for your children
  • To and from “credit-bearing scholastic activities”
  • To and from medical treatment

Impaired Driver Program

Generally speaking, in order to be granted a conditional license, a driver must enroll in the New York State DMV “Impaired Driver Program” – an alcohol abuse prevention course that is run by the state. Because of the usual delays in getting the paperwork from the court to the DMV, your attorney can ask the sentencing court to “stay” the suspension or revocation for 20 days. This gives the driver full driving privileges for 20 days from the date of the sentencing for the conviction and allows time to get the ball rolling for the conditional license.

What if the Driver Refused to Take a Blood, Breath, or Urine Test?

The conditional license is usually not available to a driver who refused to take a Breathalyzer (or some other blood or urine) test. In most cases, refusing the test automatically results in loss of your license for 12 months.

Hardship License

In some cases, of course, the court is empowered to suspend your license at your first appearance, even before you have been convicted. If you have had the foresight to hire an experienced attorney, that attorney may be able to assist you in securing a “hardship license” at that initial appearance or soon thereafter. A hardship license provides a very limited right to drive in New York. The hardship license is available only to drivers who have not had a prior DWI/DWAI or DWAI-D conviction in the previous five years.

DWI/DWAI Law is Complex

Anyone charged with DWI or DWAI must understand that the New York law is quite complex. There are a host of variables that can come into play, both related to your likelihood of conviction and your ability to get a conditional or hardship license allowing you limited driving privileges. If you have been charged with a DUI or DWI offense, you owe it to yourself to retain the best legal team available. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the judgment and experience to negotiate the best possible plea and to negotiate for a conditional or hardship license, if you qualify.

We are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Greater Capital Region. We have been representing clients for more than a hundred years; our law practice has stood the test of time. Make the right call. Call us now at (518) 274-5820 or complete our online form. The E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm has an attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.