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The Most Common Causes of Boating Accidents in New York

Injury Attorneys Fighting for Victims of Boat Accident Injuries in Upstate New York

Serving Troy,Albany, Schenectady, Latham,  and Saratoga Areas

boating accidents


As summer finally arrives, thousands of New Yorkers will take to the water, whether their choice is the ocean, a lake, or a river. Boat-related recreation takes a huge number of forms, from fishing and swimming to waterskiing and exploring. Unfortunately, along with a spike in boating comes a spike in boating accidents. In fact, according to the 2012 New York Recreational Boating Report, there were 241 boating accidents in New York State, which left 126 injured and 26 dead.

What causes these boating accidents, injuries, and deaths? While you might guess that rough waters or weather contributes to the majority accidents, the truth is that the most accidents take place on calm and clear days.

Here are the top causes of boating accidents in New York State:

  • Inexperience: The most common cause of boating accidents is simply inexperienced boat operators. Boaters who are renting vessels or who have had a long winter away from the water make simple mistakes in navigation or operation that end in capsizing or collision. To prevent these accidents, be sure to carefully learn about your boat and its operation before getting on the water.
  • Distraction or inattention: The second most common type of boat accident is caused by a lack of attention. Boaters who are having too much fun recreating or socializing may not have their eyes on the water or their hands on the controls. Alternatively, a boat may not have an attentive lookout, causing the boat to collide with another vessel.
  • Impaired boating: Up to one-third of all boating accidents involve a boat operator who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. While boating often involves having a cold drink and enjoying the summer day, the boat operator should understand that drinking and boating can have serious consequences – not to mention that it’s illegal.
  • Adverse conditions: Always read the weather reports before taking your boat out. Even if it’s a clear day, water conditions and weather conditions can change in a matter of minutes. Storms can easily cause boats to take on water or capsize.
  • Improper maintenance: If you don’t properly care for your boat, an accident can easily occur. Be sure to keep your boat carefully maintained, and be especially cautious and aware at the beginning of the season when you take your boat out for the first time.
  • Rule Violations: The rules and laws are in place for a reason. Violating the laws can lead to dangerous situations, accidents, and injuries. The biggest rule violation that causes boating accidents each year is speeding. Be aware of your speed.

Speak to a New York Boat Accident Attorney Today

Get a New York personal injury attorney who has specific experience handling boating accidents and boat-related injuries. To schedule a free, private consultation with a boat accident attorney at Jones Hacker Murphy, please call us at (518) 274-5820 fill out our online contact form. Stop wondering if you could get justice and compensation after your accident and get all of your questions answered.

Steps to Take After A Dog Bite

Injury Attorneys Fighting on Behalf of Dog Bite Victims

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

dog attack
A dog attack can be very frightening and overwhelming, and it can often be difficult to remember react quickly and correctly in the minutes, hours, and days after the incident takes place. However, taking the proper steps after a dog bite in New York is vital to staying safe, protecting your health, and taking proper legal action if necessary.

In this post, we will review the five most important steps to take after you or your loved one is bitten by a dog.

In the minutes after the dog bite…

Remember that the most important thing of all is your health. Immediately after the attack, make sure that you get the medical attention that you need. If the wounds are deep or extensive, go to the doctor immediately for professional care.

Understand that dogs’ mouths are filled with bacteria and that animal bites will likely become infected if not properly cleaned. Deep dog bites might necessitate antibiotics.

Also understand that dog bites that are not properly cleaned, dressed, and stitched are more likely to lead to scarring. A doctor can ensure that scarring is minimized.

Finally, make sure the dog or dogs are not still a danger to others. If you know the dog and/or its owner, lock the dog in a room or enclosure to keep it away from others. If the dog is a stray, immediately alert Animal Control and any neighbors about the threat of an aggressive dog.

In the hours after the dog bite…

After your medical needs are met and after you have secured the dog, be sure to collect evidence related to the incident.

First, take pictures of the scene, the dog, and your wound if possible.

Secondly, talk to anyone who witnessed the attack. Get their information and their side of the story. Also get information from anyone else present in the aftermath of the attack, such as the dog owners and the Animal Control officers.

Finally, write down your story. Even if you are sure you will remember every detail, you may be surprised at how quickly little details will leave your mind. Encourage others to write down their stories as well while it is fresh in their minds.

In the days after a dog attack…

First and foremost, follow all of the advice of your doctor and keep a close eye on your wounds. Watch for signs of infection such as redness, pain, heat, pus, or swelling. Report any new symptoms to a medical professional.

Secondly, be sure to file a dog bite report.

Next, do not apologize for the incident to the dog owner or anyone involved. It is a strange phenomenon that injury victims feel embarrassed or to blame after an animal attack – do not take responsibility or say you were at fault only to make the situation more comfortable.

Also do not talk to the insurance company about your attack and bite. They may ask you for a recorded statement, but do not agree. It’s best to think carefully and clearly about what happened and submit a statement with the help of a New York dog bite attorney.

DO talk to a NY personal injury attorney about your case. Even if you aren’t sure whether or not you have a case, a dog bite lawyer can look over the evidence that you have and let you know your best options for taking action.

Arrange A Free Dog Bite Attorney Consultation Today

At Jones Hacker Murphy, we know how traumatic a dog attack and dog bite can be, both for you and your family. We are also intimately familiar with New York’s dog bite laws, and have helped other victims get what they need most after a dog bite incident: compensation for their injury-related costs, funds for future medical treatment, and damages for their pain and suffering.

We offer dog bite victims and their families free, confidential consultations. To request on today, please call us at (518) 274-5820 fill out our online contact form. Don’t keep wondering if you might need an attorney’s help with your case.

What to Expect at a Probation Violation Hearing

Upstate New York Defense Attorneys Representing Clients in Probation Violation Hearings

probation violations
In New York, as in other states, probation – a court-ordered sanction imposed upon an offender as an alternative to active jail time – can be an important tool for the justice system. It can save the state money; housing an inmate within “the system” is expensive. In addition, probation can deter further criminal behavior, while still punishing the offender. In many situations, it can also provide an offender with an opportunity for rehabilitation.

Probation is almost always granted with conditions. Some standard conditions include:

  • Requirement that all laws be obeyed
  • Submission to random drug tests
  • Restitution to crime victims
  • Attendance to group or individual therapy
  • Avoidance of places and/or persons associated with criminal activity
  • Prohibition of guns and other weapons
  • Travel restrictions
  • Requirement that offender meet regularly with a probation officer.

If the offender violates any of the conditions, his or her probation officer may file a Violation of Probation (“VOP”) with the court; if the allegations are not successfully addressed, the judge may impose the original “active” sentence or add conditions to the probation order. What can an offender expect at a probation violation hearing?

Two Categories of Probation Violations

Generally speaking, there are two categories of probation violations. First, there are “technical” violations related usually to the administration of the offender’s post-conviction case. For example, if the offender may fail to meet with the probation officer as required, the officer may file a VOP. If the probation includes a curfew, failure to comply may be considered a technical violation.

The second type is usually referred to as “substantive” violations. Committing a new crime – even a misdemeanor – can constitute a substantive violation. While many offenders feel technical violations are less important than substantive ones, one must always remember that a violation of any type can result in revocation of the probation status.

Accused is Entitled to Hearing

If a VOP has been filed, either for an alleged technical or substantive violation, the offender is entitled to a hearing to determine if an actual violation has occurred. An offender should recognize, however, that there are some significant differences between a probation violation hearing and a regular trial in criminal court. Those differences include the following:

  • There is no right to a jury trial – the decision is made by the judge.
  • The judge employs a different burden of proof for a probation violation hearing. While guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is the standard in a criminal trial, with probation hearings, the standard is that the violation be proved by “a preponderance of the evidence.” This is a much easier burden for the state to meet, and appeals from the judge’s decision are rarely overturned.

Many VOPs Are Resolved Through Agreement

Because the judge has such broad powers in deciding whether a probation violation has occurred, many VOPs are resolved by agreement with the judge prior to conducting the actual hearing. Depending upon the circumstances, a skilled attorney may be able to negotiate some resolution short of active prison time. If the judge is convinced that the violation was not intentional, or if the judge determines that the offender is serious about abiding by the court’s conditions, the judge may even dismiss the VOP. On other occasions, the judge may desire that the offender plead guilty to the violation, with the understanding that additional sentencing will be held off to allow the offender to “measure up.” Some attorneys refer to this as “probation probation.” If the offender has further trouble, the judge often discontinues the probation altogether and imposes a jail or prison sentence.

Alleged Violations of Probation Are Serious Matters

Some New York defendants harbor serious misunderstandings about probation violations. For example, they think they get “credit for time served” while on probation. In most cases, this isn’t true. If an offender is given a five-year active sentence and that sentence is suspended while the offender is on probation, a VOP three years into the probation period can still result in an active five-year prison sentence. Likewise, a technical violation can result in the imposition of jail or prison time, just like a more serious violation.

Skilled Attorneys Are a Must if You Face a Probation Violation

The key to fighting a VOP is to face it head-on and to do so with the help of a skilled, experienced probation violation defense attorney. If you have been charged with a probation violation, even one that you think is minor, you owe it to yourself and your family to set an appropriate strategy. The attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the judgment and experience to handle your defense. If negotiations are possible, our defense attorneys have the experience to represent your interests vigorously. 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 defense lawyer available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

Legal Defenses That Might Work in a DWI Charge

Experienced Defense Attorneys Defending You Against DWI Charges in Upstate New York

judge's gavel


New York is serious when it comes to the state’s DWI laws. While the number of DWI arrests has fallen in recent years – a Division of Criminal Justice Services report shows 5,173 arrests during 2016, down from 6,556 arrests in 2007 – the consequences of any DWI conviction are significant and expensive. Loss of one’s driver’s license, fines, increased premiums for your family’s auto insurance, and the inability to keep some jobs is only the start.

Of course, just because a person has been charged with a DWI, it doesn’t always follow that he or she is guilty. Is it possible to fight a DWI charge in New York? What legal defenses can be utilized to defeat a DWI arrest? While every DWI case is different, here are five possible defenses that might work.

Legality of the DWI Stop

To stop a driver for a potential DWI charge, the officer must have reasonable suspicion that an offense has been committed. For example, there must be erratic driving or some other activity that alerts the officer, and the officer’s suspicion must be reasonable. It may not be a mere whim. There are occasions when the initial stop itself can be attacked.

Field Sobriety Tests Can Be Challenged

Despite what police officers often refer to as “standardized” field sobriety tests, the results of such tests are not always reliable. Results can vary with a person’s physical fitness and with poor weather conditions. Let’s face it: Some of us are also just plain clumsy.

Breathalyzer Tests Are Not Always Reliable

As with field sobriety tests, many breathalyzer tests are improperly given and their results may be unreliable. Issues as to maintenance of the testing equipment, or inadequate training of those performing the tests, can sometimes be used to prevent the introduction of the testing results in court.

Blood Tests Are Subject to Challenge

If the DWI defendant underwent a blood test, that test may be susceptible to some of the same challenges that apply to a breathalyzer test. Moreover, if the person charged is taking certain prescription medications, those medicines can result in a faulty reading of the defendant’s blood alcohol content.

“Miranda” Warning Irregularities

You’ve heard it on television a thousand times. Police officers must read or recite the warning if a person is placed into police custody and if the police intend to interrogate the person and use his or her answers against him. Sometimes, the Miranda warning is incomplete or missing altogether. A skilled attorney may be able to take advantage of the failure to provide the appropriate warning.

DWI Law is Complex; Defenses Are Often Technical

Being charged with any DWI offense in New York is a serious matter. The 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. If the circumstances indicate you might have a technical defense to the charge, they can vigorously protect your rights.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy is one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Greater Capital Region. Our defense attorneys 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.

Are Landlords Liable for Tenant Injuries Caused by Defects on the Property?

Injury Attorneys Protecting Tenants and Landlords in Troy, Sarasota, Albany and all of Upstate New York

calculating cost of tenant injuries

Each year, a number of New York tenants suffer injury as a result of one or more defects in the property that they have rented from a landlord. Sometimes, the injuries are minor; on other occasions, they are significant, resulting in medical bills, lost time from work, and heightened levels of pain and suffering. While New York generally does not impose “strict liability” upon landlords, it does allow recovery of damages in some cases. An injured tenant should consider a number of issues in determining whether he or she has a valid claim against the landlord.

Creation of a Dangerous Condition

New York state (and sometimes local) law requires that landlords keep their properties in good repair and maintain those properties in a reasonably safe condition. Where the landlord creates a dangerous condition that leads to a tenant’s injury, the landlord can be held responsible. For example, if a landlord diverts runoff water in such a fashion that it produces an icy sidewalk, he or she may be liable for resulting slips and falls.

Actual Notice of a Dangerous Condition

In some cases, a dangerous condition can exist that was not actually created by the landlord. If the landlord has actual notice of the dangerous condition, he or she may be liable for ensuing injuries. Proof of notice can be shown in a number of different forms. For example, if a tenant has advised the landlord in writing that a defect exists and it goes unremedied, a court would usually determine that there was sufficient notice. If a tenant can show a prior injury by someone else, that can also supply notice to the landlord.

Constructive Notice of the Condition

Actual notice to the landlord may be excused where the defect is visible and where it has existed for a sufficient period of time that a reasonable landlord should have discovered it and taken corrective action. New York courts have held that a “general awareness” that an unsafe condition might exist does not constitute sufficient notice to the landlord that would support a claim of damages.

Assumption of Risk

While New York law obligates the landlord to take reasonable steps to avoid injury to a tenant, the tenant also has obligations, as well. The Empire State follows the well-established rule that if a person, such as a tenant, is aware of a risk and proceeds to act freely in spite of that risk, he or she assumes the risk that follows. In other words, if the tenant is aware that a railing is loose, he or she can’t be said to complain if leaning against it causes injury. A tenant generally cannot “assume” a hidden risk.

Comparative Negligence

New York premises liability law employs a comparative negligence rule in determining the measure of damages that might be owed by a landlord to an injured tenant. Generally speaking, a tenant is not prevented from recovering damages if he or she is partially responsible. In essence, the court or jury determines the percentage of relative fault and the tenant’s recovery is reduced in proportion to the tenant’s measure of fault. For example, if a jury found that the landlord was 75 percent responsible for the injury and the tenant was 25 percent responsible, the tenant would be allowed to recover 75 percent of his or her damages.

Prompt Investigation of the Incident is Important

Where a premises defect may have caused a personal injury to a tenant or to a tenant’s guest, it is extremely important that the tenant initiate a prompt and thorough investigation of the premises. Unfortunately, most tenants are ill equipped to undertake such an effort. It is advisable to retain the services of a skilled and experienced legal team to handle this task and to begin to collect other evidence that may be helpful in successfully resolving the claim.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: Award-Winning Attorneys in the Greater Capital Region

The personal injury attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have the judgment and experience to handle your premises liability claim. We understand that a serious injury impacts not only the victim, but also the victim’s family and lifestyle. We have the skill, resources, and tenacity to take your case to trial if necessary. We offer compassionate counsel in difficult times.

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.

James E. Hacker Elected President of Albany County Bar Association

Albany County Bar Association President: James E. Hacker

Jim Hacker, AttorneyIn January 2017, James E. Hacker, Managing Partner of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law Firm, was elected president of the Albany County Bar Association. The Association, which currently has more than 1,200 members, has a long and illustrious heritage. Founded in 1900 by 53 Albany-area attorneys – including distinguished judge and judicial philosopher, Learned Hand – the Association works as its purpose “to promote professional collegiality among the bench and bar; facilitate public service and access to justice for all; and, offer programs, benefits and services to enhance the skills of its members.”

Appellate Moot Court Program, Continuing Education, and Public Service Programs

The Association supports a number of ongoing skills enhancement programs. For example, its Appellate Moot Court Program allows member attorneys who have pending appellate cases to test and hone their oral arguments before a group of experienced colleagues before the attorney has to argue his or her case before an actual appellate panel. Among the first county bar associations in the United States to offer continuing legal education, the Association sponsors a variety of monthly luncheon forums and evening seminars to help its members stay abreast of current legal developments.

An important part of the Association’s work is directed to the public. Its Lawyer Referral Service provides assistance to more than 6,000 clients each year. The Association sponsors a variety of pro bono programs and offers free training sessions on a regular basis. Each year, the Association also sponsors a mock trial competition for high schools students.

Hacker Was “MC” at Annual Court of Appeals Dinner

James E. Hacker served as Master of Ceremonies at the Association’s Annual Court of Appeals Dinner, held February 8, 2017. The dinner, the highlight of the Association, honors the past and present members of the Court of Appeals. The special honoree this year was Judge Leslie Stein, who was appointed in 2015 by Governor Cuomo.

Hacker Among “Best Lawyers in America”

James E. Hacker is a 1981 graduate of Hamilton College and a 1984 graduate of Albany Law School. He is recognized as a “Best Lawyer in America” in the fields of commercial litigation and personal injury. Mr. Hacker serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Albany Law School and also is the regional vice president of the New York State Trial Lawyers Academy and is a past president of the Capital District Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. Hacker divides his practice between the areas of commercial litigation and plaintiff’s personal injury. In 2013, he was recognized by Best Lawyers as “Lawyer of the Year” for plaintiff’s personal injury in the Capital District. In 2011, and again in 2014, he was recognized as “Lawyer the Year” in the area of commercial litigation.

Mr. Hacker has represented individuals in cases involving complex product liability issues, medical malpractice, automobile accidents resulting in serious injuries, traumatic brain injuries, spinal damage, burn injuries, and carbon monoxide poisoning.

With respect to commercial litigation, Mr. Hacker represents individuals and corporations with issues involving breach of contract, restrictive covenants, shareholder disputes, and insurance disputes.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: Extensive Knowledge and Experience

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. Having represented clients now for more than 100 years, we are among the top-rated lawyers in the country, achieving the highest ratings from both client groups and our peers. In fact, E. Stewart Jones and James E. Hacker have each received lifetime achievement awards. They have also been designated as among the Top 100 Attorneys in Upstate New York by America’s Top 100 LLC, a California organization that recognizes the most qualified and accomplished professionals in various fields of practice, including attorneys, doctors, dentists, realtors, accountants, engineers, and architects.

The experienced lawyers from E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have represented clients from the Greater Capital Region and beyond. Each attorney has specific, extensive experience navigating complex legal issues. Our attorneys are not only skilled and knowledgeable, but also compassionate and sensitive to how disruptive litigation and the legal process can be to your life, your business, and your family. When people think of Albany New York lawyers, they think of Jones, Hacker, and Murphy.

Contact our 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 attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.

Computerized Code and Data: Making an Unauthorized Copy Can be Theft

Business Attorneys Fighting for Data and Code Computer Entry Personnel

Providing Commercial Litigation in Upstate New York Including the Sarasota, Albany and Troy Areas

computerized code

Computer experts sometimes point out that New York law, like that in most other states, lags far behind the changing technology. For example, when it comes to theft and larceny, existing Empire State law clearly covers the improper taking a piece of jewelry. The necklace is there one minute and gone the next – illegally “removed” by the thief. Can that same law apply to copying software code or data? Can the act of copying electronic material be theft, as well?

A recent decision by a New York appellate court involving the alleged “theft” of trading software code belonging to a Wall Street investment bank shows that if the copying is not authorized, it may indeed be theft.

Goldman Sachs Trading Program

The case involved what Goldman Sachs (“Goldman”) said was a theft of important software code related to its trading program. The alleged thief was a former employee who left Goldman to take a similar position with a competitor. On the last day he was at work, the programmer copied code to a hard drive, intending to use it later. The programmer was charged by New York authorities of violating N.Y. Penal Law §165.07, which makes it a crime to make a “tangible reproduction or representation” of secret scientific material “by means of writing, photographing, drawing, mechanically or electronically reproducing or recording.”

Was the Computer Code “Tangible?”

A New York jury convicted the programmer of theft, but he contended that he had taken nothing “tangible” from Goldman. The trial judge agreed, saying the transfer of the source code did not result in anything “tangible” being removed, so it fell outside the theft statute. One January 24, 2017, the appellate court reversed the trial judge and reinstated the guilty verdict. The programmer now faces jail time, but he has appealed the decision to the state’s highest court.

Companies Can Combat Code and Data Theft

Companies should take steps to safeguard the vital software code and data they maintain as part of their business enterprise. Here are three important steps to take to reduce your risk of loss.

Step One: Develop a Data Security Plan

Don’t be the type of business that fails to establish clear standards and communicate them to staff. The “theft” of unguarded data can be devastating, so establish a clearly understood data security plan. Don’t treat this task casually. Gather a team to implement the plan and evaluate the team’s performance in annual HR reviews. Focus particularly on existing employee procedures, recognizing that unlike the programmer in the Goldman case, employees typically copy code and data long before they ever leave.

Step Two: Limit Access to Important Data

Sometimes, code and data gets stolen because of carelessness in establishing access points. Require unique usernames and passwords for each authorized user. Limit access to data based upon a business need to have it. Pay particular attention to employees who work remotely. Require that such access be made via formalized virtual private network links or other safe mechanisms. Restrict the ability of an employee to access the business network with personal laptops and other devices.

Step Three: Initiate and Use Employee Non-Disclosure Agreements

Develop and utilize specific non-disclosure agreements and have one signed by anyone who has access to sensitive or important corporate data and source code. Have any such employee acknowledge in writing that he or she may not use, copy, or access any company data unless done so in compliance with company policies.

E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy: Experts in Business and Commercial Litigation

The law firm of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy is known across the Capital District, Upstate New York, and statewide for formidable representation in business and commercial litigation. Our experienced trial lawyers handle a diverse range of litigation matters in state and federal courts, including disputes related to commercial trade secrets, breaches of non-disclosure agreements, and other complex business litigation.

Having represented clients for more than 100 years, we are one of the most highly respected law firms in upstate New York and the Capital District. Once we accept your case, we invest all the time and resources necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Contact our commercial litigation 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 attorney available to assist clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year – even on holidays.