Category: Accidents

Alcohol-Related Accidents, Injuries & Fatalities

Few errors in judgment affect others so detrimentally as drunk driving. When an individual makes the decision to drink and drive, they put everyone on the road in danger including other drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians.

In New York State, a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle can be considered legally impaired if their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) exceeds 0.05%. Once their BAC is 0.08% or greater, they are considered legally intoxicated.

In 2011, drunk drivers caused approximately 10,000 deaths in the United States with 315 fatalities occurring in New York State. According to MADD, every 2 minutes someone is hurt in an alcohol-related accident, with injuries including minor bumps and bruises, broken bones or trauma to the neck, brain and spinal cord. 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lives.

Young people are most at risk of being involved with drivers 21 to 24 years of age most likely to be intoxicated during a fatal crash. Most states have a zero tolerance policy for underage drivers. Other common offenders are motorcyclists and drivers who have previous convictions for drunk driving. While a majority of DWI arrests involve men, a report by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation reveals that DUI and DWI arrests for women rose nearly 30% from 2000-2010. In total, there were 35,541 arrests in 2011 in New York related to driving under the influence.

Drunk drivers tend to take greater risks than sober drivers
including driving aggressively, speeding, ignoring traffic signals
or even falling asleep at the wheel. The NYC police department reports that every month about 100 traffic accidents involve alcohol.
These can be especially deadly due to heavy rush hour traffic, road construction and scores of pedestrians on the road.

While the criminal justice system will punish drunk driving with jail sentences, heavy fines and fees, license suspension and/or treatment programs, it may fail to fully address the financial burden the accident and resultant injuries have on innocent victims.

Many choose to pursue a civil action against the parties responsible. This may not just involve the intoxicated driver. In some instances, bar or restaurant owners who over-serve customers, hosts of social gatherings or employers at work-related events who allow a clearly intoxicated person to leave in their car may also have some liability. Medical bills, repair of damages, loss of wages and wrongful death compensation are just some of the costs that may be recoverable from those responsible.

Okun, Oddo & Babat specializes in the representation of victims who have suffered serious personal injuries. We represent accident victims in all areas of personal injury arising out of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, hospital negligence, defective products and drugs, premises liability, construction site accidents and wrongful death. We handle civil litigation and trials in both the State and Federal Courts. We also offer high quality representation in all types of criminal and commercial matters. Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our New York attorneys.

Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd.
copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.

Property Owner’s Responsibility For Slips & Falls

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every 8 seconds someone is hurt by a slip and fall. The odds that you will have a slip and fall accident requiring medical attention in a given year are 1 in 35. Injuries sustained from this type of accident can range from minor scrapes and bruises to broken bones, fractures, head and spinal cord trauma or even death.

The CDC reports that falls account for nearly 8 million visits to the emergency room each year, or 33.3% of all visits. In 2011, falls were the number one cause of non-fatal injuries. Of these incidents, approximately 1 million involved slipping. Slips are often caused by insufficient friction between the ground and a person’s shoes as a result of a slick floor, spill or poor treading. A fall involves a complete loss of balance, sometimes from a platform higher than ground level.

In the United States, there are more than 21,000 fatalities each year as a result of slip and fall accidents. While injuries are equal among men and women, studies show that men are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents.

Seniors and children are more likely to be involved in a slip and fall accident. 40% of all nursing home admissions are a result of care needed after a fall, and approximately 2 million Americans over 65 are treated in emergency rooms annually after falling. They are the 6th leading cause of death among people over 70, with nearly 1,800 older Americans succumbing to injuries each year.

Slips & Falls in the Workplace
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that slips and falls are consistently in the top 4 causes of death in workplaces and in 2011 resulted in 58% of disabling injuries. Employees were forced to miss more than 30 days of work in 25% of these cases. Though slips and falls are not the most common cause of workplace fatalities, they are the cause of most work-related time off. According to the Occupational Health and Safety Organization, they cost employers an estimated $70 billion in compensation costs each year.

Workplace accidents are not the only instances where another party may be liable for damages. With any slip and fall that occurs in a public space such as a restaurant, store, hotel, etc. where the establishment has not provided safe conditions, a lawsuit may be pursued. Negligence in these cases includes slick or uneven floors, obstacles scattered in walking areas, poor lighting and failure to adequately remove hazards caused by weather.

When slips and falls are caused by a property owner’s failure to provide a safe environment for pedestrians or during performance at work, the victim should pursue compensation for any medical bills incurred. Wherever they happen, slips and falls can result in missed work, disability, the need for long-term care and pain and suffering damages that should be recovered.

Contact Okun, Oddo & Babat to arrange an appointment with an experienced New York attorney to review the details of your case.

Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd.
copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.

New York City Elevator Safety

In a highly-publicized incident in 2012, a New York City woman was fatally injured and five maintenance workers were fired after several security precautions were not followed during service on an elevator. This put the issue of elevator safety more prominently in the headlines and led to closer examination of the frequency and causes of such incidents state and nationwide.

Elevator accidents are very rare, so when one occurs there is a great deal of cause investigation and focus on future prevention.

With about 900,000 elevators in the United States used by 18 billion passengers each year, an average of 27 die in elevator accidents and 17,000 are injured according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For most New York City residents and workers, elevators are a necessary part of daily life with approximately 600,000 elevators and 2,000 escalators in the five boroughs. While elevators are generally a safe way to get from A to B, New York City has the highest number of individuals in the nation injured or killed while using elevators each year.

The most common cause of elevator accidents is poor maintenance resulting in open shafts, uneven platforms, faulty wiring or pulley systems, malfunctioning doors and other mechanical failures. More often than not, human error is a factor. Most incidents of injury or death caused by elevators could have been prevented by scheduled maintenance and standard safety measures.

Under the New York Premises Liability Law and per ASME, it is required that every elevator be inspected by a certified third party annually. Building owners are responsible for maintaining security standards and most have a contract with the manufacturer, installer or a maintenance company to meet these requirements. In certain cases of injury or fatality, accountability for damages may rest with one or more of these individuals or groups if they fail to address dangerous conditions.

Anyone involved in an elevator accident where negligence is a factor should seek to identify the responsible parties to receive compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost income. Contact Okun, Oddo & Babat for a consultation.

Article by Shea Bergesen for Lavery Design Associates, Ltd.
copyright 2013. This article may not be reproduced without permission from the author.

New York Bicycle Accidents

With warmer weather in the New York Metropolitan Area, more and more bicyclists are venturing out on the busy city streets, navigating car and heavy vehicle traffic. The city’s roads, parks and recreational areas, sadly, see an increase in injuries, many times involving motor vehicles and bicycles. Of course, bicyclists are also expected to observe all the same traffic laws as everyone else and to take safety precautions. However, violating a traffic regulation does not give a motorist the right to hit you. Drivers must exercise reasonable care to avoid bicycle accidents.

Understanding New York City Bicycle Laws 
Under the New York State Law, bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as all other vehicle operators. Drivers of motor vehicles are legally required to respect the fact that bicycles, even though they may be slower and smaller, have every right to be on the roads.

If you were hit by an impatient or otherwise negligent driver
while riding a bicycle, you may have a right to compensation
from that driver’s insurance company. 

At the law firm of Okun, Oddo & Babat, we help clients seek fair compensation from the drivers who are legally responsible for bicycle accidents.  Contact us or call us at 212.642.0950 today to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

Learn more about Bicycle Safety to avoid bicycle injuries and fatalities from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Playground and Amusement Park Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, each year in the United States, emergency departments treat more than 200,000 children ages 14 and younger for playground-related injuries. Children ages 5 to 9 have higher rates of emergency department visits for playground injuries than any other age group and most of these injuries occur at school. The majority of home-related injuries occur on swing sets. A large majority of nonfatal injuries occur on public playground equipment as a result of physical hazards and behavioral elements such as supervision and age-appropriate design. Low income areas had higher incidence of injuries as a result of lower maintenance on equipment.  Falls to the surface or on equipment account for a large percentage of head injuries, while broken bones, and surgeries are in many cases a result. In some cases these unfortunate accidents occur on school grounds and the school may be liable for negligence as a result of faulty equipment or lack of supervision.

In recent years playground equipment guidelines and standards
have been developed by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Society for Testing and Materials. However, accidents, injuries and loss of life continues to happen. Amusement and Theme Park related injuries
are often more serious and these mishaps in many cases result in death.

Operators of amusement parks or playgrounds in New York State are required to provide reasonably safe conditions for protection and are responsible for any negligence in equipment operation and maintenance. According to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2006 approximately 8,800 people were injured on amusement park rides. The most common of these injuries include head, neck and back injuries, broken bones, lacerations and traumatic brain injuries due to rapid speeds and detached objects hitting a rider’s head. The CPSC reports that the leading number of these injuries occur due to mechanical failure, improper operation and passenger misuse and failure to follow instruction.

If you believe you may have grounds to file a lawsuit involving a playground accident at public or private park, amusement park or playground on or off school premises, contact us by email or by phone at  212-642-0950 for a courtesy evaluation. An Okun, Oddo & Babat injury attorney will evaluate your case and aggressively persue the maximum compensation.

auto accident lawyer New York NY

New York City Taxi & Limo Accidents

With the substantial volume of traffic regularly streaming in and around Manhattan, the five boroughs and nearby airports on a regular basis, it’s inevitable that numerous taxi, limousine and car service accidents occur in the NewYork City Metro area annually.  Aggressive driving, driver fatigue, substance abuse and other causes may result in severe injuries and loss of life to passengers and pedestrians as a result of neglect on the part of the driver.

…numerous taxi, limousine and car service accidents
occur in the NewYork City Metro area annually.

In many instances the insurance carried by vehicles for hire isn’t enough. $100,000 is the minimum coverage required for taxi cabs in New York City. In some cases, compensation may be pursued from an injured individual’s own uninsured motorist coverage. We may be able to pursue compensation for you to cover loss of life, injury, medical expenses and loss of income. We will review the details of your case and work tirelessly as advocates on your behalf.

The attorneys at Okun, Oddo & Babat have the experience, skill and expertise to help you pursue the maximum compensation for your losses in these unfortunate taxi and limo accidents. Call our office today at 212-642-0950 to arrange to speak to one of our accident lawyers or contact us by email and you will be contacted by us shortly.

Will Proposed New York Scaffold Law Amendment Compromise Construction Worker Safety?

According to the New York Labor Law sections 240 and 241 also known as the Scaffold Law, contractors and building owners are required to provide the proper safety equipment and training for workers performing duties at elevated heights. Failure to do so, if proven, means they can be held 100% liable for damages and injuries to workers as a result. Peter Herr gives a detailed report on the Politicsny website regarding New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan and Assemblyman Joe Morelle’s move toward legislation to amend the bill, which would limit the amount of liability that building owners and contractors’ insurance would have to pay out. The article states that “Proponents of the amendment say this will lower insurance rates; opponents claim that by allowing owners and contractors this ability to limit liability, it will also allow them to take safety shortcuts in the interest of cost savings on job sites.” The article sites examples of several construction accident lawsuits that have been provided to illustrate the negative effects of the law. Argument against the change in the law is that New York construction workers could clearly be at higher risk to be involved in construction accidents. Herr reports that “The total liability element is the meat of the law and is what drives owners to demand high safety standards from the contractors they chose. ”

Call us at 212-642-0950 or email us
to speak to one of our experienced construction accident attorneys.

Okun, Oddo & Babat is a New York City law firm specializing in the representation of victims who have suffered serious personal injuries. We represent accident victims in all areas of personal injury arising out of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, hospital negligence, defective products and drugs, premises liability, construction site accidents and wrongful death. We handle civil litigation and trials in both the State and Federal Courts. We also offer high quality representation in all types of criminal and commercial matters.

Product Recall: Dynacraft Recalls Monster High City Motor Scooter Due to Fall Hazard; Sold Exclusively at Walmart

The Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on February 26, 2013 on the Dynacraft Recalls Monster High City Motor Scooter which has been sold exclusively at Walmart nationwide. According to the CPSC, nine reports of incidents of City Scooters accelerating unintentionally, including three with minor injuries that include a bloody nose and bruises. The scooters can accelerate suddenly while in use, causing the rider to lose control and fall.

This recall involves electric, battery-operated City Scooters that are purple and black with Monster High graphics on the front panels, seat and rear fenders. The scooters were manufactured between October 5, 2012 and November 7, 2012. Model number “8801-14″ and the date of manufacture, formatted as “YYYY/MM/DD,” are printed on a data label on the underside of the scooter’s center platform. Serial numbers for the recalled scooters have the letters “QYCEI” followed by a six-digit number in the following range: 003125 through 014456. The serial number can be found etched on the underside of the scooter’s center platform near the data label. The product was distributed by Dynacraft BSC Inc., of American Canyon, California.

Consumers should immediately stop using the City Scooter, disconnect the battery and return it to the nearest Walmart store to receive a full refund or store credit. Consumer contact information, more details and a link to report an incident involving this product can be found on the CPSC website

Okun, Oddo & Babat specializes in the representation of victims who have suffered serious personal injuries. We represent accident victims in all areas of personal injury arising out of automobile accidents, medical malpractice, hospital negligence, defective products and drugs, premises liability, construction site accidents and wrongful death. We handle civil litigation and trials in both the State and Federal Courts. We also offer high quality representation in all types of criminal and commercial matters. For more information call us at 212.642.0950 or email us