Bronx Personal Injury & Real Estate Blog

Friday, April 15, 2016

Personal Injury Claims Spike in New York City Prisons

What are the reasons for personal injury claims in prisons?

As calls to close Rikers Island grow louder, the epidemic of violence in New York City prisons continues to be a serious problem. The violent episodes, either between inmates, or between guards and prisoners, has also led to a surge of personal injury claims against the city. While lawsuits also arise from routine slips and falls, transport vehicle accidents, medical malpractice and infections from unsanitary conditions, violence is the leading cause of injury and death among the prison population.

Grounds for a Personal Injury Claim against a Prison

Prison and corrections officials have a legal duty to protect the safety and wellbeing of inmates and a prisoner who has been injured because of a breach of this duty can bring a lawsuit. In the cases involving the City's prisons, this requires filing a Notice of Claim with the city's comptrollers' office within 90 days of the injury.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Huge Verdict in Talc Lawsuit Trouble for Johnson & Johnson

What is the likely effect of a verdict for the plaintiff in the ongoing Johnson & Johnson litigation?

For generations many individual have relied on baby powder to keep themselves and their children dry and comfortable throughout the day. Unfortunately, it now seems that the main ingredient in baby powder, talc, has been linked to an increased risk for ovarian cancer in women. What’s more is that it seems one of the largest manufacturers of baby powder, Johnson & Johnson, was aware of the risk and continued to produce and sell talc based baby powder anyway. Now, the company is subject to thousands of lawsuits by those claiming that exposure to talc led to their cancer. A large verdict in one Missouri lawsuit is likely to set the tone for cases to be decided in the future.

Jackie Fox of Birmingham, Alabama, joined a lawsuit with approximately 60 other plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson. She claimed that her hygienic use of the company’s baby powder caused her to develop ovarian cancer. She eventually succumbed to the cancer and died while the lawsuit was going on. Her son, Marvin Satler, represented his mother in the lawsuit after her death. At the heart of the lawsuit was an internal document showing that the company was or should have been aware of the dangers of talc as early as 1997. It took a civil jury 5 hours to decide that Satler was entitled to  $72 million verdict. The award was comprised of $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages.

Although Johnson & Johnson is expected to appeal the decision and experts say the damages are likely to be scaled down, the award sets the tone for the over 1,000 pending lawsuits against the cosmetics company.

It is a sad reality, but sometimes the products we know and trust and use every day are the ones that can hurt us the most. If you or someone you love has been injured by the use of talc powder, or exposure to any other toxic substance, you might have a personal injury claim. Regardless of where you live, it is best to contact a qualified toxic tort attorney in your area today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Renowned New York Pianist Awarded $2.5 million After Career-Ending Accident

When it comes to calculating damages in a personal injury action, lost wages and future earnings are usually included in a plaintiff’s recovery – particularly if the injury has caused permanent disability or disfigurement. And, as demonstrated by one recent case, a relatively insignificant injury to a victim’s hands or arms can actually cause the victim to miss out on the rest of his career – meaning a huge award of damages for the plaintiff.

In one recent case, a New York pianist – with notable Master’s level performances throughout the New York City area – was injured in a New Jersey crash in Parsippany, resulting in severe trauma to his elbow. As a result of the injury, the victim is no longer able to play the piano at the Master’s level, a level which had taken him a lifetime to reach.

The injury occurred in 2014, and the trial finally concluded in early March, 2016. At the heart of the matter was the value of the victim’s loss of the ability to play the piano, as well as his diminished ability to play various other instruments. During the trial, the plaintiff’s mentor – an 88-year old nationally known pianist, composer and New York University professor – described the precise hand and wrist positions necessary to play at the expert level, positions the plaintiff could no longer achieve due to his injury. Other witnesses also appeared, including an occupational therapist and an orthopedic surgeon, all of whom described how the victim’s injury would negatively impact his playing career for the rest of his life.

In the end, the jury awarded the plaintiff $2.5 million for his losses, including a substantial award for his emotional pain and suffering resulting from his future inability to play the piano. In a statement by the man’s attorney, “[t]he jury connected with what his losses were, with what [the plaintiff] deemed most passionate about his life….”

If you have suffered a serious personal injury, you deserve compensation for your physical and emotional pain and suffering, lost wages, and any disability that will affect your future employment or quality of life. You should promptly contact a dedicated personal injury attorney who will vigorously fight for your rights.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Bronx Jury Awards Firefighters' Families $183 Million

Who is liable for injuries and wrongful death when firefighters equipped with inadequate safety gear are trapped in a poorly maintained building?

In January 2005, several New York City firefighters found themselves on the top of a burning apartment building in the Bronx, without any escape and without the essential tools needed to survive. With no other choice, they jumped. Two died at the scene, while another perished after six years of coping with crushing injuries and the heavy medication needed to treat them. Three survived with lifelong, disabling medical conditions.

The survivors and the families of those who died sued both the building owner and the city for their role in the wrongful deaths and the pain and suffering of those who survived. The landlord had allowed the construction of illegal walls in the apartment that prevented firefighters from reaching the fire escape, allowed illegal sublets, and committed numerous building code violations.

The city failed the men by not providing them with personal safety ropes. These had been standard issue until five years before the fire and could have enabled the men to lower themselves to safety.

One firefighter settled separately but the others battled in court and, a decade later, won a $183 million award.

The jury apportioned the damages between the defendants, holding the building landlord 20 percent responsible and the city 80 percent. While the city concedes that the event was a tragedy, it disputes the finding that it was 80 percent liable and believes the hazardous conditions created by the landlord were more directly to blame. It is reviewing the court record and exploring its options.

Suing New York City or a building owner for negligence or wrongdoing can be a daunting prospect, requiring patience, commitment, and an expert understanding of litigation strategy. In some cases, negotiating an out-of-court settlement may be the best approach, while in others, a long battle may prove worth it in the end. If you or a loved one has a personal injury claim, it is important to find an expert attorney who can help you get the best possible result.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

We Still Need Erin Brockovich!

Over 15 years ago, the film Erin Brockovich, which told the story of a legal clerk and environmental activist who helped to build a case against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company for their chromium pollution in California, was a smash hit. It would be nice if the horrors of pollution she (and Karen Silkwood and many others) uncovered were all in the past, but, tragically, our world is becoming more, not less, dangerously polluted. As a consumer advocate, Erin Brockovich is still working to protect the public from toxins greedy companies would much rather ignore than investigate.

Read more . . .

Sunday, February 21, 2016

General Motors Prevails in First Ignition Switch Case

Automaker General Motors is facing a number of of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits over its faulty ignition switches, which are believed to be installed in millions of automobiles across the world. The defective ignition switches are known to cause a complete power outage in the automobile while the driver is driving, creating not only a perilous situation for the motorist and the vehicle's  occupants, but also causing the airbags to fail to deploy. It is the latter problem that led  o a recall of over 30 million vehicles, as well as 124 tragic deaths.

Thanks to the initial litigation against General Motors on behalf of a Georgia woman killed in a Chevrolet vehicle, evidence began to emerge that GM knew about the ignition switch problems, and failed to do anything about it – for ten years.

 Fast forward to 2016, and General Motors was set to defend itself in the first of many lawsuits involving serious injuries caused by the defect. Scheduled for the first “Bellwether” trial, GM had prepared its case against an Oklahoma man alleging severe memory loss and other injuries after his airbag deployed in a single-vehicle collision in 2006. However, the plaintiff found himself in hot water after General Motors questioned the assertion that he “misplaced” a certified check needed to purchase his “dream home,” resulting in a loss of the opportunity. On cross examination, it came to light that the plaintiff actually presented a fraudulent or altered check to purchase the home – information that led to his impeachment on the witness stand. In light of this testimony, the plaintiff dropped his case before it ever got off the ground, and the first Bellwether trial was dismissed.

This is not to say, however, that the ignition switch cases against GM are set to disappear. In fact, counsel for injured plaintiffs have several more representative cases waiting in the wings for trial. Under civil procedure laws, a “Bellwether” trial is an opportunity for parties engaging in multi-district litigation (i.e., consolidated trials) to test the waters with a jury to determine a likely outcome. Often, when a corporation is defeated in a Bellwether trial, it will prompt settlement offers with remaining plaintiffs.

If you were recently injured in an auto accident and believe the issue may have been a defective part or mechanical problem with the vehicle, you should consult with a personal injury attorney.


Friday, February 19, 2016

A Brief Look at Personal Injury Lawsuits

What is a personal injury lawsuit?

Personal injury law allows an injured person to file a lawsuit to recover damages for losses arising from a number of incidents, including:

  • Accidents -- Situations in which someone acts in a negligent manner that causes harm to another person, such as car accidents, slip and fall incidents, and medical malpractice
  • Intentional Acts -- A defendant’s intentional conduct causes harm to another person, for example assault and battery
  • Defective Products - Product liability claims arising from a defective product

Determining which party is at fault is the first step in a personal injury case. Once fault is established, a personal injury case can be brought. While many claims are settled by negotiation, if the parties cannot agree, a lawsuit will be necessary in order for an injured individual to obtain compensation.

What is negligence?

Personal injury claims often arise because of negligence by the party at fault. Negligence is defined a conduct that falls below "the standard of care" expected of a reasonable person that causes harm to the injured person. There are four elements of negligence as follows:

  • Duty -- A duty of care or the responsibility one person has to avoid causing harm to another
  • Breach  -- The plaintiff must show that the defendant breached the legal duty of care
  • Causation -- The defendant must have caused the plaintiff’s injuries
  • Damages -- The plaintiff must incur actual damages, usually monetary such as medical bills, lost income from time missed at work, or property damage

Some injury claims do not involve negligence, and in these cases proving fault can depend upon establishing intentional conduct, proving "negligence per se," or showing the "strict liability" standard of proof applies. The legal elements of a personal injury case can be difficult to prove, and determining fault requires a thorough investigation in order to determine if there are grounds for a personal injury case. This requires the expertise of a personal injury attorney in collecting physical evidence, interviewing the involved parties, obtaining any necessary police reports, and collaborating with experts.

If you have been harmed in an accident or suffered an injury because of the conduct of another person, you should consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who can help you obtain compensation.

Friday, January 8, 2016


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