NYC Lawmakers Call for Removal of Dangerous Bike Lane

A new bike lane in the Queens borough of New York City has been the scene of so many crashes that lawmakers now want it removed, according to the New York Post.

Located on the westbound side of Northern Boulevard, the bike lane covers about one mile between 223rd Street and Douglaston Parkway. Since its installation in late September 2017, there have been 31 accidents in that area, according to the data from the New York City Police Department; at least 11 of those accidents happened in or involved the bike lane. According to local officials, the new barriers that came with the lane installation force drivers to make very wide right-hand turns around them, and they also must cross over the two-way bike corridor.

This bike lane was installed by the state’s Department of Transportation after a 78-year-old bicyclist was killed in an accident in the area last year. The local community board approved the DOT’s proposal for the lane in June but discovered that it would cause safety issues in July, so they asked the department to reconsider. The DOT has issued a statement regarding the bike lane, saying that roadway users need to get used to the new measures. According to that statement, ridership was already up in the month of November. The department, however, did not address the safety concerns that are now being raised about the lane in its statement.

Senator Tony Avella issued a letter about the bike lane to Polly Trottenberg, the state’s Transportation Commissioner, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Avella wrote that the bike lane installation created a “very dangerous situation” and that he has been receiving bike lane accident reports just about every week. Avella is asking that the bike lane be removed and that the sidewalk in the area be widened instead, which is the community board’s preference.

Bike riding is up in New York, according to Transportation Alternatives. More than 500,000 adults use a bike at least one time a month, as estimated by the state’s Department of Health. Bike lanes are a natural result of the increase of cyclists in the city, with New York City laying down more than 250 miles of such lanes since 2006.

Bike lanes can make bike riding safer for cyclists in many cases. Studies by the Department of Transportation found that traffic-related injuries and deaths in general drop when a bike lane is installed in an area. However, the bike lane needs to be properly designed and installed for those benefits to be realized as these structural changes can also cause traffic pattern issues that make the lanes unsafe.

The city’s transportation department has yet to address the call to remove this new bike lane in New York City, but lawmakers are planning to continue to call for it.

Bicycling is up across the country, and even with safety additions like bike lanes, accidents are still all too common. If you have been injured in a bike accident, contact an experienced attorney, like a bicycle accident lawyer Denver CO riders trust, about your case today.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.

 

If the accident wasn’t my fault, who pays to fix my car?

Getting in a car accident is bad enough. Getting in one that wasn’t your fault and causes damage to your car is much worse, as a car accident lawyer Boyton Beach FL trusts knows all too well. Based on the conventional wisdom, the person who caused the harm should pay for that harm. In the world of car accidents, the question of who pays becomes a lot more complex.

The usual answer is that the insurance company of the driver that caused the accident will be on the hook for the damages to the car of the person who was hit. This is a perfect world scenario in which one party is 100 percent at fault, and that party is adequately insured meaning they have enough coverage to be able to pay completely for the damage to the other person’s vehicle. Moreover, their insurance company recognizes their fault and pays adequately and on time. There are a small percentage of U.S. states that follow a no-fault rule, meaning that regardless of who was at fault, each driver pays their own damages.  

But what if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? This is a pernicious problem and while many states make it a crime to drive without insurance punishable by revocation of licensing privileges, among other things, there are still approximately 1 in 8 drivers who are on the road without insurance.  Unfortunately, in this case, the problem then becomes one solely for your insurance company and is why many drivers with insurance also choose to have uninsured, underinsured coverage for themselves. This coverage applies to this situation and would cover the damages to your car.

In another scenario, what if you are not 100 percent blameless? It depends on the state.  In states that follow a pure contributory negligence standard, any amount of contributory negligence – that is any amount of fault that the person who was hit has in the accident – will negate any right to damages that person may have from the other party. Even a fault of one percent will deny any recovery. This means that the driver would be on the hook for their own damages.

Other states follow the pure comparative negligence standard in which recovery is reduced by the percentage amount of fault of the driver.  So, if a driver who was rear-ended was found to be five percent at fault, that five percent would be deducted from their award.  

Still other states follow a modified comparative negligence standard based on a threshold amount of negligence, either 50 or 51 percent depending upon the state. If a driver is found to be 45 percent negligent in causing an accident, that person could still get 55 percent of their damages.  The person found to be 55 percent negligent would get nothing since their negligence was over the 50 or 51 percent threshold.

How do you best protect yourself and your property in this kind of situation? Ideally, you get and maintain adequate insurance coverage so that no matter what happens or what state you’re in, you have at least some cushion for the blow.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman P.C. for their insight into personal injury and car accident cases.

 

Public Safety Trumps Overtime Pay

If your job is related to the operation and safety of a vehicle over 10,000 pounds that transports property or people over state lines, it’s likely that your employer is a motor carrier engaged in interstate commerce and the federal Motor Carrier Act (MCA) exempts you from overtime pay, as an employment lawyer Atlanta GA relies on can explain. In a nutshell, the law doesn’t want employers overworking certain employees or incenting those employees to fatigue themselves for higher overtime pay rates if doing so would risk public safety.

Who Is Exempt from Overtime Pay Under the MCA?

The MCA not only exempts drivers of certain vehicles from overtime pay, but it also exempts anyone whose job affects the safety of such a vehicle. In addition to DOT-regulated drivers, this may include a driver’s helper, loader, or mechanic employed by a motor carrier subject to the MCA. The MCA also exempts employees who transport property that will ultimately be in interstate commerce, even if not at the hands of that employee (for example, a driver who never crosses state lines but who connects with an intrastate rail, air, water or land terminal where the transported goods will continue an interstate journey to a final destination).  So, even if your job has never actually carried you across state lines, you may still be subject to the MCA overtime exemption if you do any work that affects the safety of the vehicle and your employer is at all involved in interstate commerce.

Is Anyone in the Transport Industry Allowed Overtime Pay?

Although the MCA has a broad scope of coverage, there are circumstances where it does not apply. If you are employed by a motor carrier, but the work you do has no impact on safety, the MCA exemption does not apply to you and you may be entitled to overtime pay if you work more than 40 hours per week. This generally includes employees such as office personnel, dispatchers, unloaders, and even loaders if the loader is not ultimately responsible for the safety of the load.

Are There Any Other Exceptions That Allow Overtime Pay?

Although the Supreme Court has recognized that employees whose safety-affecting duties are “trivial, casual, and insignificant” may not fall under the MCA exemption (i.e., they may be owed overtime pay), courts generally hold that drivers should seldom, if ever, fall within this exception, regardless of how infrequently they may drive, because they have such a high potential for impacting public safety.  Finally, employees whose work affects the safety of a vehicle under 10,000 pounds may not fall within the MCA exemption (i.e., may be owed overtime pay), but the MCA exemption still applies (i.e., no overtime pay) if the vehicle is to transport more than 8 passengers (including driver) for compensation, is to transport more than 15 passengers (including driver) without compensation, or is to transport certain hazardous materials.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Barrett & Farahany for their insight into public safety trumps overtime pay.

 

How Does a PR Firm Manage Sexual Harassment Lawsuits?

Stories of sexual harassment are all over the media today. For a victim, filing a sexual harassment lawsuit can take some serious gumption, especially when it is at their place of employment. When high profile cases pick up the attention of the media, retaining a public relations firm to partner with your attorney may be a good way to manage the perception the media and public have of you.

Public Relations

A public relations firm, or a publicist, manages the relationship between a person or entity and the public. Through the years, public relations have evolved along with advances in technology. As a result, PR Firms have had to respond quickly on behalf of their clients to information that is covered by the media or is posted on social media sites. A PR firm will manage the perception the media has of you by providing a number of services to their clients:

  • Respond proactively
  • Managing the client’s reputation
  • Writing speeches or statements for client
  • Management of social media outlets
  • Help with issuing public apologies

It is common for attorneys to work with publicists when a case catches the attention of the media. Some law firms even employ their own PR person. Publicists can manage media outlets so that an attorney can focus on the legalities of the case.

Sexual Harassment Lawsuits

Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination that occurs when a person experiences unwelcome sexual advances either verbally or physically by another. Sexual harassment in the workplace comes in two forms:

  1. Quid Pro Quo: is when a person in power uses their position to take advantage of an employee by offering promotions or other perks in return for sexual favors. In some situations, refusal could result in a consequence that is negative. This type of situation only has to happen one time.
  2. Hostile Environment: is distracting behavior that is unwanted and usually involves sexual remarks and sexual advances. Examples of this could include lewd jokes, material that is sexually inappropriate, and repeatedly asking another person for dates. Usually this type of behavior must happen repeatedly. A hostile work environment can happen inadvertently.  For example when a person is within earshot of another employee who repeatedly tells dirty jokes or makes inappropriate remarks.

Filing a Lawsuit

For years, sexual harassment has been shrouded in secrecy, making it difficult for people to take legal action. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you may have the right to file a lawsuit. You may be entitled to compensation if you were sexually harassed in the workplace. Types of compensation may include:

  • Pay for the time you were not working
  • Wages or bonuses that you may have been denied
  • Future Pay if you quit your job due to the sexual harassment
  • Punitive Damages

It will be important to work with an attorney if you are considering filing a sexual harassment lawsuit. You will want representation from a professional to guide you through a process that can be stressful and complex.

Being the victim in a sexual harassment lawsuit is challenging enough, when a story catches the attention of the media, it can make a difficult situation even more painful. A crisis PR firm New York, NY, recommends will be vital when it comes to managing the conversation happening in the public and helping to come up with a plan of action.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Goldman McCormick for their insight into public relations.

 

Can I Sue if I was Wrongfully Terminated?

It may be worth taking a closer look if you were wrongfully terminated from your job. You may be entitled to receive compensation for being treated poorly by suing your employer. You are likely wondering whether or not you have a right to pursue compensation for being terminated. Consulting with a workers’ compensation attorney will prove invaluable when it comes to determining how to move forward.

What is Protected Action?

If you decide to take a stand against improper or illegal practices in the workplace, your employer cannot fire you. This is called protected action, which protects you from losing your job as a result of certain protected actions. Protected class provides a safeguard to employees from being treated poorly or unfairly due to their:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Physical Condition

For example, an employee cannot fire you just because of your beliefs, age, gender, or race.

Proving Wrongful Termination

It’s not always easy to prove that you were fired for either of the reasons listed above. In order to verify that you were wrongfully terminated, you will need to prove it by producing sufficient evidence to backup your claim. Witnesses can be helpful, especially if they were there when you were treated unfairly. If an employee witnessed this, it will be important that they testify in court as to what they saw. In some rarer situations, a manager may be able to admit that you were wrongfully fired. It will be important that you document any events of importance such as this.

The Pursuit of Justice

Although going through a wrongful termination case can be a trying time for a person, it will feel settling to know that justice has been served. If you have a successful wrongful termination lawsuit, you will not only help yourself but you may inspire others to come forward as well. When people are too scared to speak up for themselves, you can help empower them through your own personal experience.

If you have been wrongfully terminated, contact an attorney immediately. It is important that an employer who behaved badly is held accountable for the way that they treated you. This ultimately can have an impact regarding how the employer also treats other members of his or her staff. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer Memphis TN respects as soon as possible for a meeting if you are looking to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. At a  free attorney consultation an attorney will be able to counsel you regarding how to press on by going over the details of your case. An attorney may be able to help you in pursuing a case against your previous employer so that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Darrell Castle and Associates, PLLC, for their insight into workers’ compensation.

 

Slip & Fall Accident Scenarios

Slip and fall injuries can happen anytime and sometimes in the most unpredicted circumstances. Providing a safe environment for the public and visitors of a home are both equally important in preventing a slip and fall event. Below we go over some questions surrounding slip and fall; the scenarios in which it can happen, who may be responsible and the factors for compensation.

If a person were to fall on the city sidewalk due to a broken piece of cement, can he or she sue the city?

The injured person may submit a slip and fall claim, because each city has a duty to maintain streets and sidewalks for the safety of the public. If the victim can provide evidence that proves the city failed to upkeep the sidewalk, it can increase validity of the case. There are deadlines and paperwork requirements when filing a claim. Some victims choose to hire an attorney, who can assist with organizing needed documents and performing legal tasks.

Who is responsible for a slip & fall injury of a visitor in someone else’s home?

Social guests can attempt to recover compensation for a slip and fall injury while in the home of another person, but varies depending on how the incident happened. Homeowners do have the responsibility to inform guests about dangerous conditions or hazards that a visitor may not notice. If a slip and fall happens as a result of tripping on a rug, a person may receive compensation if they can somehow prove the host was aware others had tripped there before, and it was easily unrecognizable.

Can a shopper receive financial compensation from a retail store where the slip & fall accident happened?

In most cases, whether a person is awarded compensation for an injury will rely heavily on the facts surrounding how the accident happened. Stores do have to follow safety requirements and take precautions in order to make their store fairly safe for shoppers. Employees may routinely inspect areas of the store in order to become aware of poor conditions or potential threats to safety. If a shopper slips and falls on a puddle of liquid on the floor, it cannot be assumed he or she will be guaranteed compensation. A key factor in this scenario would be to prove the spill had been left there for a long period or the store was aware but neglected to attend to cleaning it up.

Who can be held responsible and liable for a slip and fall injury case?

When an injury occurs, it is often due to the actions or negligence of a number of people or parties. In a case where a slip and fall happened in a business environment, both a property owner and tenant may be listed as defendants and have to be present for the injury case. The tenant has a duty to maintain reasonable care to prevent injuries and the owner has responsibility to fix damages associated with the property such as walls, doors, floors, plumbing, etc. If you have questions, get the help of a lawyer Fort Collins, CO, trusts for aid in personal injury cases.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cannon Hadfield Stieben & Doutt for their insight into slip and fall accidents.

Photo and Video Evidence in Slip and Fall Cases

You may think that if you fall down in a store or other place of business, that the business is automatically liable for your injury.  But that’s not the case.  Slip and fall cases are not “strict liability” cases. Rather, you must have evidence of negligence by the business in order a recover for damages. In a slip and fall lawsuit, you must show that (1) the dangerous condition (such as a puddle of water) was caused or created by the owner, or (2) if the condition was created by someone else, that the owner knew or should have known that the condition existed before the accident.

Over the course of many years as a slip and fall lawyer Memphis TN  trusts, I can tell you that the best types of evidence to have in a slip and fall case are video and photographs.  Why? Because a picture or video shows what the scene of the accident looked like, and that is critical in a slip and fall case.  In addition, most major retailers and many other businesses have video surveillance systems. These videos are important because not only do they document the actual incident,  they can answer important questions such as how the dangerous condition came to be in the first place, who created it, and how long it had been there before the accident.

What to Do If You Get Hurt in a Place of Business:

  • Report your accident to a manager immediately.
  • Take photos or video of the scene before the area is cleaned up or changed.
  • If your clothing became wet or dirty during the accident, take a photo or video of your clothing.
  • Make sure management creates an incident report.
  • Ask the manager to preserve any surveillance video camera footage of the accident, and a period of at least one (1) hour prior to the accident.
  • Seek medical attention.

It isn’t good enough to simply provide evidence that you fell down or were injured. You need proof of why you fell, what the dangerous condition was, and that the owner knew or should have known of it and corrected it. Court rules require that specific evidence be presented in certain ways, and that is why you should always have an experienced slip and fall lawyer Memphis TN  trusts to help you properly support and prove your case in court.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience fighting for slip and fall and injury victims in Tennessee.

Bus Accidents and Serious Injury: What You Need to Know

As soon as you step foot on a bus, regardless if it is a school bus, city bus, or charter bus, you are putting your life and safety in the hands of the driver and the owner of the bus or the company. Since buses have the capability to carry multiple passengers there is extreme potential to cause injury in a bus accident. There is a huge difference in usual car accidents and bus accidents because buses are so much larger and outweigh other cars. Should this occur to you, reach out to a auto accident attorney Dekalb County GA trusts.

Whether you are the passenger on the bus or in another vehicle that was involved in the car accident, it is still not certain that your medical expenses and other financial obligations will be covered by the at-fault party. You will need to speak with a skilled personal injury and bus accident attorney that will help make your case. Insurance companies have their own attorneys that will assist them in keeping their expenditures as low as possible, if you try to go at this alone there is a huge possibility you will be taken advantage of. Always remember that because of the size of the vehicle and the number of passengers being carried, bus drivers are held to a higher standard on the road. A skilled bus accident attorney will be proficient in all bus driver and CDL license carrier regulations.

To ensure that all T’s are crossed when reporting your accident or attempting to file a claim, make sure you do not admit fault, if you are physically able please make sure to collect witness and driver information, take photos, and gather evidence, and contact law enforcement.

Bus accidents are complicated. Victims of a bus accident will have many questions about how their medical expenses will be handled, being as though they may not have been the cause of the accident. You will need an attorney that has experience negotiating with insurance companies, and private entities in cases similar to your own.

Being hurt in any type of bus accident can possibly have a significant effect on your life, especially when there are unanticipated costs involved. If you or someone you know has been injured in a bus accident, this is not limited to those only on the bus; if the bus accident affected you in any financial or medical way you are entitled to legal representation. A personal injury attorney with experience can aggressively represent your rights and interests.


Thank you to our friend and contributor, Andrew R. Lynch, P.C., for his insight on this delicate subject.

Evidence In Car Crash Cases

When police and other first responders arrive at a car accident scene, they are there to secure the area, get the wrecked cars moved, collect a few basic facts, and make sure that injured victims get the medical attention they need.  They are not there to collect evidence that the victim can use in a future negligence case.

Evidence gathering is a very critical piece of the puzzle. In court, victims/plaintiffs must establish negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).  Without the right evidence, the case falters and they do not receive fair compensation for their injuries.

In most cases, such compensation includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.  Sometimes, a victim can ask for punitive damages. Seek a consultation from an auto accident lawyer Atlanta GA trusts if you think you could fall under this category.

Basic Evidence Collection

It is a good idea to share this post with a trusted friend or loved one, because many times, the victims are too seriously injured to carry out these steps themselves.

Get the names and contact information of as many witnesses as possible.  Many people that will not talk to the police, for whatever reason, are willing to talk to an accident victim or the victim’s representative.  Even if the witness did not see the whole incident, such a witness can often either fill in the gaps or back up what other witnesses state.  Even if the witness saw things that do not help the victim/plaintiff’s case, such a witness helps an attorney prepare for some insurance company defenses.  And sometimes even if a witness spoke with the officer, the officer may have taken down the statement incorrectly.

Also, make a note of any surveillance video in the area.  That could be a red-light camera at an intersection, a nearby security camera, or an amateur videographer with a cell phone camera.  At the same time, take pictures of physical evidence, such as skidmarks and property damage.

Lastly, don’t post anything to social media about your accident or your opinions.

Advanced Evidence Collection

Most passenger vehicles on the road has an Event Data Recorder.  This device, which is basically a “black box” for cars, can capture and record data like:

  •       Vehicle speed,
  •       Steering angle,
  •       Engine RPM, and
  •       Brake application.

Information like this is often important in a car crash case.  Beginning in 2018, many commercial vehicles will have an Electronic Logging Device.  The ELD is connected to the vehicle’s ignition and so it gives very accurate information regarding the operator’s driving habits as they related to fatigued driving.  Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of commercial vehicle crashes.

Privacy laws make it very important to partner with an experienced attorney who knows how to use all this evidence.

 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Butler Tobin for their insight on this subject.

Claiming Compensation For Invisible Work Injuries

Invisible workplace injuries are always a possibility.  The employee may have trouble performing his or her tasks if the injuries aren’t discovered and dealt with.  The following are good examples of hidden or invisible injuries:

Physical Work Injuries

Sprains, strains, whiplash and damage to soft tissue are examples of physical injuries and are very common in the workplace.  Repetitive tasks, lifting and moving heavy objects are just a couple of ways you can obtain these types of injuries.

Hidden Hazards That Can Cause Injuries

A very dangerous situation for any employee is to be exposed to toxic mold and chemical vapors at the workplace.  These are hazards that can potentially affect you without your knowledge and not even show its presence until months or even years later.

Psychological Injuries

Being bullied and/or harassed by someone at work can be very stressful.  It’s called “psychological” work injuries.  It is a stressful situation for most people and can result in post traumatic stress disorder or PTSD along with depression.    

Pre-existing Conditions

There are many types of pre-existing injuries that would be considered invisible work injuries.  Sciatica and hypertension for example can be aggravated by the tasks that you perform at work.

Pursuing Workers’ Compensation for Invisible Injuries

  • First of all, you need to see a medical professional regarding your injury.  If you procrastinate, it is likely that your superior may not believe you are hurt and he may deny your claim.
  • You also need to report the injury to your employer as soon as it happens.  If you do not report your injury within 30 days of the occurrence, your workers’ compensation claim might be denied.
  • Look Around for Witnesses or anyone that may have seen it happen.  If there are any witnesses, you need to ask them if they are willing to testify on your behalf.

To Receive Benefits for Invisible Injuries, Your Will Need to Show Proof

  1. Ensure that your employer has a current workers’ compensation insurance policy and that you are covered under said policy.  Also, you must be employed full time to receive this coverage.
  2. You also have to confirm that your injury is substantial enough to submit a claim.  You will need your medical records as proof. It would also be a good idea if your doctor explained how your injury will affect your ability to perform your daily work tasks.
  3. You have to establish that your injury did in fact, occur at your workplace or, if you were away from the workplace, confirm that you were performing duties on behalf of your company.

Overview

If you have suffered an invisible injury while at work, you should see a doctor and obtain records, report your injury to your employer and seek witnesses.  It is also advisable that your hire a West Palm Beach workers’ compensation lawyer to assist you with filing a claim and helping you with the entire process to get the best results possible.

 

Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Offices of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt for their insight into workers’ compensation.