Injuries Caused By Falling Objects and Construction Debris

Earlier this year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered aninvestigation into an accident at the World Trade Center site that led to the hospitalization of a 48-year-old carpenter. The man, employed by a large New York City construction company, was injured by a falling steel plate that broke his leg and caused multiple fractures to his body. Continue reading “Injuries Caused By Falling Objects and Construction Debris”

Residential and Commercial Landlord Negligence

Everyone has a right to live and work in a safe environment and for over 2 millionrenters in New York City much of the responsibility for adequate conditions lies with a landlord or property manager. Tenants and guests of both residential and commercial premises are protected by several state and New York City laws, from rent regulations to the Attorney General’s Tenants’ Rights Guide. These laws mandate that property must be fit to live in with no conditions that threaten tenants’ health or safety Continue reading “Residential and Commercial Landlord Negligence”

Pedestrians & Bicyclists Injured by East Village Driver

Manhattan’s East Village was the scene of an auto accident in front of a Bodega that caused severe personal injuries and the driver of the vehicle in police custody. According to a New York Times article eight people were injured, three of them with life-threatening injuries. The accident also caused property damage to the storefront  and street. Continue reading “Pedestrians & Bicyclists Injured by East Village Driver”

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.

Birth Injury Lawyer New York, NY

Birth Defects: Cerebral Palsy

There are few things as precious to new parents as their baby’s health and well-being. Unfortunately, many face the unexpected challenge of birth defects that will deeply impact the child’s quality of life, living costs and risk factors for other medical conditions on an ongoing basis.

One of the most common disabilities in early development is cerebral palsy, often caused by damage to the brain during birth or when the baby is still in the mother’s womb.  According to the American Pregnancy Association, 70% of cases result from a disruption in the development of the brain before birth. A CerbralPalsy.org study reports out of every 1,000 children, 2 to 3 have one of the four types of cerebral palsy. Of the babies born each year, about 10,000 will develop the condition.

While there are several causes including fetal distress, asphyxia and meningitis, premature birth and related affects of premature birth are commonly involved. Prematurity does not necessarily mean a child will have cerebral palsy—about 7.6% of births occur prematurely– though the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly half of children who do develop cerebral palsy were born prematurely.

Since babies born before 37 weeks (or less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) are not fully developed, they are more susceptible to injury and have a higher risk of brain damage and infection. The lower the baby’s birth weight, the more danger they are in of developing the condition.

The cost over a lifetime of caring for an individual with cerebral palsy is nearly 1 million dollars, as estimated by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Many of the expenses involved are not covered by insurance and can put a serious financial strain on a family. Often the child will need a constant caretaker and may require years of physical and emotional therapy.

In some cases, proper care during pregnancy and delivery may have prevented cerebral palsy. A baby’s brain can be damaged in the uterus by improper drug administration by a physician or inability by a medical professional to notice and treat premature labor.

Parent and child may have a right to receive compensation for cerebral palsy cases if a doctor fails to recognize and treat problems with a baby’s development. The attorneys at Okun, Oddo & Babat are highly skilled Medical Malpractice attorneys and will work diligently to pursue legal compensation on your behalf. Contact us 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 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.

Occupational Injuries and Young Worker Safety

As graduation season approaches each year, more young people enter the seasonal or full-time workforce. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, in 2010, there were approximately 17.5 million workers less than 24 years of age, and these workers represented 13% of the workforce. Young workers have high occupational injury rates which are in part explained by a high frequency of injury hazards in workplaces where they typically work (e.g. hazards in restaurant settings associated with slippery floors and use of knives and cooking equipment).  Inexperience and lack of safety training may also increase injury risks for young workers.

In 2009, 359 workers less than 24 years of age died from work-related injuries, including 27 deaths of youth less than 18 years of age. For the 10 year period 1998 to 2007, there were an annual average of 795,000 nonfatal injuries to young workers treated in U.S. hospital injury departments.

The rate for emergency department-treated occupational injuries
of young workers was approximately two times higher
than among workers 25 years and older.

The U.S. Public Health Service has a Healthy People objective to reduce rates of occupational injuries treated in emergency departments among working adolescents 15-19 years of age by 10% by 2020, from the 2007 rate of 4.9 injuries per 100 fulltime equivalent workers.

If you believe you may have grounds to file a lawsuit involving an occupational injury or work-related accident, 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.

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.