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How Your Injuries Are Paid for After a Hit-and-Run in New York

gavel on top of moneyDealing with injuries after a car accident can be difficult enough. However, it can become even more complicated and stressful if your accident involves a hit and run. If you’ve been in an accident caused by someone who fled the scene, how are your injuries paid for afterward? Fortunately, you might have more options than you think.

Paying for Your Injuries After an Accident in Albany

After an accident, you could end up with numerous visits to the emergency room, doctors, physical therapists, and other medical expenses. These costs add up quickly, and you shouldn’t have to manage them by yourself if someone else was responsible for your car accident.

In some cases, there is hope. You may be able to get compensation for your injuries, which can help you pay for some of these expenses.

Proving Liability

In order to get compensation after an accident, you’ll need to prove liability, which can become a challenge if you can’t find the driver who caused the accident. This is one of the most important reasons to contact the police immediately. In many cases, the police can help track down the driver, so that you can file a claim against him or her for your injuries.

If the driver cannot be located, you may also be able to file a claim with your insurance company. However, this sometimes requires having Supplementary Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist coverage on your policy.

In either event, it’s crucial that you consult a qualified accident attorney who can examine the details of your accident, possibly help you locate the responsible driver, prove liability, and get you the compensation you need and deserve.

Statute of Limitations on Claims and Injuries

If you aren’t able to identify the hit and run driver, and you have to file the claim with your insurance company, you should know that your time to do so might be limited. You may need to prove that you have been injured in order to get compensation within a certain amount of time. Further, the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the other driver in New York is typically three years, so it’s important to get started right away.

Types of Damages

It isn’t just injuries that you might get paid for after a hit and run accident. The other driver could also be held accountable for damage to your vehicle, lost time from work, and loss of affection or companionship.

Experienced Injury Attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law

At the E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm, our attorneys have years of experience navigating a variety of different types of accidents, including hit and runs. If you or someone you love has been injured because of another driver’s negligence, we can help. To request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at (518) 274-5820, or fill out our online contact form to get started.

Who Is Liable for a Nursing Home Slip and Fall Accident?

Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Fighting for Victims and their Families

Serving the Areas of Troy, Sarasota, Albany and all of Upstate New York

elderly woman in a nursing facility

 

Accidents can happen nearly anywhere, especially slip and fall accidents. Unfortunately, that also means it can happen to our loved ones in nursing homes. The biggest issue with slip and fall accidents in nursing homes and other types of care facilities is that we don’t always find out about the accident right away. Still, if the nursing home or someone in the nursing home was responsible for your family member’s slip and fall injury, you could be entitled to financial compensation.

Types of Injuries from Nursing Home Accidents

When you think of nursing home slip and fall accidents, you probably imagine common injuries like a sprained ankle or broken hip. However, sometimes the injuries aren’t always visible right away, which increases the potential for the accident to become even more serious. Because our loved ones aren’t always able to let us know when they’ve been hurt, injuries can become even worse. Some of the types of injuries that can happen in a nursing home slip and fall include:

  •      Head or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  •      Neck injury
  •      Broken or fractured bones
  •      Tendon or ligament tears
  •      Spinal cord injuries

If you suspect your loved one has fallen, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Who is Responsible for Nursing Home Injuries?

In order to get justice for your loved one, you will need to prove that the nursing home or its personnel were somehow responsible for the accident. Proving negligence can be overwhelming, so it’s crucial that you have an experienced legal team on your side throughout the process.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to provide an environment that is safe and free of hazards. If there is failure or negligence in this regard, the facility could be held responsible for injuries. For example, there have to be clear procedures in place for making sure areas that are slippery are marked and that residents aren’t in danger of slipping and hurting themselves in those areas. The nursing home can also be held accountable in situations where employees are not properly trained or do not provide proper supervision of residents.

The nursing home can also be held responsible if the resident doesn’t receive adequate medical treatment after the slip and fall. Depending on the circumstances, the nursing home facility, the medical professionals who were responsible for treating the resident, and even other residents might be held accountable for your loved one’s injuries.

Nursing Home Injury Lawyers with Experience

Any injury involving our loved ones in nursing homes can be devastating. The attorneys atE. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy understand how difficult it can be to trust nursing home professionals with our loved ones’ care and then find out they were neglected or abused. If you suspect that your loved one has been injured because of a slip and fall accident in a nursing home, we can help you get justice. To request a free and confidential consultation with your family member, call us at (518) 380-2597 fill out our online contact form.

Geico Faces Deceptive Trade Practices Over Use Biased Medical Opinions

false or true deceptive trade

In a 5-0 decision issued on December 14, 2017, the New York State Appellate Division, Third Department, re-instated claims against GEICO Insurance Company for deceptive business practices related to its use of so-called “independent” medical doctors.

The precedent setting case of Brown v. Government Employees Insurance Company (available at http://decisions.courts.state.ny.us/ad3/Decisions/2017/524696.pdf ) now makes clear that insurance companies cannot simply deny claims based upon biased medical reports.  The case alleges that GEICO’s “independent” medical examiners have a strong financial motive to systematically issue reports that deny benefits whenever an argument can be made that the injuries are pre-existing or degenerative in nature.  It is further alleged that GEICO hires only experts who will go along with its scheme to defraud applicants out of benefits. It is alleged that the “independent” experts have a financial incentive to give GEICO what it wants: medical opinions that support denial of benefits.

Ryan M. Finn, a Partner with E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy, LLP (https://joneshacker.com/), represents Brown in the action, and stated as follows “this Decision should be a wake-up call for the insurance industry.  Attorneys representing injured victims have been referring to these exams as defense medical exams for a long time and for good reason:  there is nothing independent about the process and many of these doctors make millions of dollars issuing reports to deny lost wages and medical expenses to injured victims who most need the help.”  For more information please contact Ryan Finn, Esq.  at [email protected] or 518-274-5820.

Will a Nursing Home Arbitration Prevent You from Suing?

Nursing Home Abuse and Arbitration Attorneys Serving Upstate New York Families

Experienced Legal Representation for all of Upstate New York Including Troy, Albany, and Sarasota

nursing home arbitration
When we leave our loved ones in the care of a nursing home, we trust the caregivers to provide their needs and care for them in the best way possible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Far too often, our elderly and disabled family members end up being neglected or injured. And, in some cases, the treatment can be fatal. When this happens, family members are often forced to sue the nursing home facility and the personnel responsible for the abuse, in order to get justice for their loved ones.

Unfortunately, even if you can prove that someone else caused your loved one harm, you could still be prevented from suing. Here’s what you should know regarding arbitration if you are considering a lawsuit against a nursing home.

What is Arbitration?

Sometimes, nursing homes include an arbitration clause in their contracts, stating that even if you pursue a wrongful death claim for your loved one, you might have to go through arbitration first. If you sign a contract when you admit your family member into the nursing home that includes a binding arbitration agreement, it typically means that you must resolve any conflict through arbitration rather than court.

The arbitration process is usually where an argument is heard, and judgment is passed by arbitrators. It is intended to solved issues at a lower cost while avoiding a lawsuit in a court of law. While it might seem like a better process for everyone involved, the biggest issue with arbitration is that in nursing home neglect and abuse cases, it usually favors corporations rather than family members or the loved one who was neglected.

Your Options if You Face Arbitration

Before you sign any contract, it’s important to examine the details carefully to ensure the details are in your loved one’s best interests. When you agree to arbitration, you agree to resolve issues without a public record of the dispute and without a trial or opportunity to appeal.

However, even if you aren’t sure whether or not you agreed to a binding arbitration clause, you might still have other options. If your loved one was injured or harmed in a nursing home, it’s in your best interests — and your family member’s best interests — to make sure the right person is held accountable. At the very least, you could help prevent the neglect and abuse from happening to someone else.

Contact Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys

The lawyers at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy have a hundred-year reputation for making sure our personal injury clients get justice for their injuries. We know how frustrating and devastating it can be to trust a nursing home only to find out they weren’t doing their jobs or caring for our loved ones properly. If you believe your family member has been hurt or neglected by a nursing home, let us help you get justice for them. We offer a free and confidential consultation with you and your family. Request a consultation with one of our injury lawyers by calling (518) 380-2597 or fill out our online contact form to get started immediately.

Betsy DeVos Rescinds Title IX Dear Colleague Letter

sexual assault Education Secretary Betsy Devos has rescinded the Obama-era Title IX Dear Colleague Letter to colleges and universities, which established a crucial part of the Department of Education’s policy on campus sexual assault. Devos has said that the move aims to give colleges and universities more freedom in dealing with campus sexual assault.

The Title IX Dear Colleague Letter

The Dear Colleague Letter in question implemented two important changes in policy several years ago, in an effort to get colleges and universities to crack down on campus sexual assault. The old rules required the colleges use a “preponderance of the evidence” to decide whether a student was or was not responsible for sexual assault.

Opponents of the old rule felt that this wasn’t fair to students accused of sexual assault. The consequences of campus sexual assault can include expulsion and other forms of discipline. The change by Secretary Devos allows colleges to raise the standard to “clear and convincing evidence.”

A statement issued by the department has said that the Obama-era rules “lacked basic elements of fairness.” Advocates of students accused of sexual assault have sought this change since it the old rules were implemented. The Obama-era standard of evidence was controversial at the time of its implementation.

More Changes to Come

Secretary Devos plans to change the rules again following a public comment period which “could take at least several months,” and colleges may continue to adhere to the lower standard of proof in the meantime. However, Secretary Devos has not given any indication of what the new rule for standards of evidence might be.

However, some colleges may not be legally able to raise the standard of evidence for investigating sexual assault cases on campus. Some states have passed laws requiring colleges to use the lower, preponderance of evidence standard. In the near future, different colleges may evaluate and investigate sexual assault cases in different ways, leading to vastly different environments for students. Some students disciplined for sexual assault under the old rules have already successfully sued their colleges for violation of their legal rights.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are serious charges, whether they happen in school, in the workplace, or in your personal time. This is just one of the reasons it’s important to make sure you have someone on your side who represents your best interests. If you have been charged with sexual assault, it’s crucial that you have an experienced defense on your side to ensure you retain your rights.

The attorneys of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm have decades of experience defending clients against many different types of criminal charges. Let us help you defend yourself throughout the process in the best way possible. To request a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at (518) 274-5820 fill out our online contact form as soon as possible.

What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Dog in New York

angry barking dogFew things are more confusing and frightening than being bitten by a dog. Man’s best friend has turned on you, and now you need to know what to do about it! If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog in New York, here’s what you need to do.

Identify the Owner

The first thing you should do after being bitten by a dog is find out who that dog belongs to. Get the owner’s name and address, if you can. This will allow you to sue for damages should you require medical treatment, and can even help your healthcare provider determine what treatments you’ll need, such as rabies vaccinations, for example.

The owner will need to present proof that the dog has been vaccinated against rabies, or, alternatively, will need to monitor the dog at home for a period of 10 days for signs of rabies. If the dog is a stray, it will be euthanized and tested for rabies.

Seek Medical Attention

You will need to seek medical attention for your injuries right away. While there have been no dogs with rabies in New York City since 1954, it’s best to begin receiving vaccinations for this possibly fatal disease as soon as possible, if necessary.

Report the Dog Bite

Although you might be hesitant about reporting the bite, it’s in your best interest to do so. All animal bites in New York City must be reported. City officials will follow up with the owner of the dog, and the person who was bitten, to make sure that the animal presents no additional threat.

Document Everything

Even if you haven’t yet decided whether you want to sue the dog owner, you should document everything to do with your dog bite injuries, including medical treatments, time lost from work, damage to personal property, and therapy for psychological and emotional distress.

It is also best to photograph your injuries, and any damage to clothing or personal property. Collect the names and contact information of any witnesses to your dog attack.

Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney Today

The statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit in New York is three years from the date of the incident. A dog bite lawyer can tell you whether you have a case, and to what compensation you may be entitled. And, although it might be might be difficult to make sure you’ve followed all these steps after a dog bite, you might still be entitled to compensation.

If you or someone you love has been bitten by a dog in New York, whether it was your neighbor’s dog or a stranger’s in the park, it’s best to consult experienced dog bite attorneys to help you and your family get justice. The attorneys of E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm can help. To request a free and confidential consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call us at (518) 274-5820 fill out our online contact form.

7 Key Defenses for Sexual Harassment Cases

sexual harassment

Dedicated New York Lawyers for Defense of Sexual Harassment

Employers have a duty to protect their employees from sexual harassment. When sexual harassment does occur, however, the employer can be vulnerable to significant financial liability, or even criminal charges.

Sexual Harassment Defense in Troy

The courts do allow employers to defend against employee allegations of sexual harassment. Individuals accused of criminal sexual misconduct can also use many of the same defenses. Here are some of the most common defenses for civil and criminal sexual harassment cases.

1) The Sexual Harassment Didn’t Happen

Perhaps the most obvious argument that can be made in defense of sexual harassment claims is that the harassment didn’t happen. The truth of the plaintiff’s claims can be challenged in court, and the court will want proof that the conduct in question is indeed actionable. Isolated incidents or teasing events are most likely not actionable. Courts may also permit testimony as to whether the plaintiff’s behavior has changed in a manner consistent with someone who has suffered from sexual harassment.

In a criminal sexual assault or harassment case, the defendant may argue that he or she was in a different place at the time the alleged crime occurred by providing the court with an alibi. Such an alibi must be supported with credible evidence. A defendant could also argue that he or she was misidentified by the plaintiff. DNA evidence is often used to establish whether or not a defendant was present at the scene of a crime.

2) The Conduct Was Welcomed

One defense available to defendants in sexual harassment cases is to claim that the sexual conduct in question was welcomed by the plaintiff. No matter how offensive the conduct was, the employer cannot be held responsible if it can be proven that the employee consented to or welcomed the conduct. The Supreme Court held, in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson, that a plaintiff must demonstrate the following in order to successfully establish claims of a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment:

  • That he or she was subjected to unwelcome advances
  • That the unwelcome advances were sexual in nature
  • That they represented a condition of employment
  • That the conduct could be attributed to the employer

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines unwelcome conduct as conduct that “the employee did not solicit or incite” and that “the employee regarded as undesirable or offensive.” The court may consider whether the plaintiff participated in the conduct, whether he or she complained to his or her supervisors, and whether a reasonable period of time elapsed between the conduct and the employee’s complaints.

In criminal cases, consent can be an effective defense against allegations. In such a defense, the defendant might admit to the conduct in question, but argue that the behavior was consensual. Whether civil or criminal, sexual assault or harassment cannot be committed when the victim consents. This defense can be very effective if the defendant can prove consent.

3) The Conduct Was Not Sexual in Nature

A plaintiff alleging sexual harassment must prove that the conduct in question was sexual in nature or based on sex. Generally, the “but for” rule is used to determine sexual harassment. The plaintiff must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she would not have suffered sexual harassment but for having been a representative of the defendant’s preferred gender. Courts have traditionally considered that sexual harassment allegations are inherently gender based.

4) First Amendment Rights

Someone who has been accused of sexual harassment may use the defense that his or her allegedly harassing speech is protected by the First Amendment. First Amendment rights can come into play in a sexual harassment case where conduct is based on verbal expression. However, the First Amendment does not protect extortions or threats, so the courts will only recognize the First Amendment defense to the extent that the allegedly harassing verbal expression is protected speech.

5) The Employer Had Valid Business Reasons for Adverse Action

Even if sexual misconduct has occurred in the workplace, the courts have held that employers may successfully defend against allegations by showing that adverse actions taken against the harassed employee were taken for legitimate business reasons, and not for reasons related to the harassment. It is not the court’s responsibility to question a business’s valid decisions.

6) The Plaintiff Was Incapacitated

In criminal sexual assault cases, defendants may be able to claim that they were mentally incapacitated at the time of the offense and that they should not be held criminally liable for their actions. This is known in the popular parlance as the insanity defense. In many jurisdictions, the courts will treat an offender with more lenience if they can show that a mental defect or disorder prevented him or her from fully comprehending the nature of their actions. Generally, the defendant must prove that they had no understanding that unwanted sexual contact is against the law.

7) Affirmative Defense

Under Title VII, an employer can successfully defend against sexual harassment allegations using the affirmative defense. In order to do so, the employer must prove that 1) they took reasonable action to prevent and correct sexual harassment in the workplace, and 2) the plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of those corrective or preventative measures. This is often known as the “Faragher/Ellerth affirmative defense after two U.S. Supreme Court decisions which established the defense in 1998.

According to a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Hardage v. CBS Broadcasting, an employer can use this affirmative defense even if, after the plaintiff’s request, they did not fully investigate the claims of sexual harassment or take any kind of corrective action on the plaintiff’s behalf.

Experienced Attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy Law

If you’ve been accused of sexual harassment or criminal sexual misconduct, you need the help of a sexual harassment attorney to mount a successful defense. Successfully defending against sexual harassment and assault charges is possible.

To request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys at E. Stewart Jones Hacker Murphy law firm, call us at (518) 274-5820, or fill out our online contact form to get started.