The Law Offices of Lawrence B. Saftler 646.865.0797
New York's Personal Injury Attorney

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Legal Blog of Attorney Lawrence B. Saftler

Bike Riders Beware – Don’t Get Taken For A Ride – Bicycle Accidents and the Law

By admin on June 17, 2010

New York City can be a dangerous place to ride a bike. You must learn to ride smart, wear a helmet, and of course, follow all the traffic rules. Under Traffic Law Section 1231, “Every person riding a bicycle …upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.” But even if you do follow all the traffic rules, you could still wind up suffering an injury. What do you do then?

First, always wait for the police to respond to the accident scene and take an official report. Your injuries may not appear until later and it is best to have their cause documented with the correct authorities. Make sure the report is accurate, including your information as a cyclist. Get medical attention if necessary. Your injuries should be documented in any type of personal injury matter. Medical records should be generated and photos taken of the scene, the injuries, and your bike.  Do not have your bike repaired until you can prove the impact and manner of the accident, if necessary. The damage to your property is evidence of the  accident caused by an at-fault driver during your accident or if your bike hit a pothole or other defect in the roadway or sidewalk or path.

Next, look to an experienced attorney who can help you determine whether the driver was at fault,  or there is some other type of liability for your accident and whether or not you bear any responsibility for causing your accident. Many times,  it can be some other cause, such as a pothole or defect in the street or sidewalk  or some type of construction. Insurance companies who represent drivers have examiners who are paid to limit their company’s liability. Their job is to make sure you get as little money possible. Do not communicate with an insurance company before consulting with an attorney!

As always, be careful and stay safe. Enjoy the ride – don’t get taken for one.

Ice is Slippery and So is Snow, Watch Your Step!

By admin on February 12, 2010

In New York City, property owners are liable for all defects on the sidewalks, except for sidewalks abutting one, two and three family residences. This covers snow and ice. Liability shifts responsibility to property owners for removal of much of the snow and ice we find ourselves surrounded by today. Under some circumstances, though, the City of New York is still responsible for maintaining our public walk ways and for snow removal. After a snowfall as significant as the one we had on February 10, 2010, we need to know who we can go after after an unfortunate slip and fall occurs.

Hopefully, you will remain safe in getting around. However, if you fall and get injured, that’s where we come in. It is always wise to exercise caution when walking in these conditions. Slow down and take smaller steps, focus your attention on walking, wear rubber soles that have good traction. But you as a pedestrian are not the only one who can help to limit the number of winter weather-related slip and falls. New York City Administrative Code Section 16-123 charges that “every owner, lessee, tenant, occupant, or other person, having charge of any building or lot of ground in the city, abutting upon any street where the sidewalk is paved, shall, within four hours after the snow ceases to fall… remove the snow or ice.” This, however, does not apply during the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m; and the four hour window for removal does not begin until 7 a.m. on any given day. Also, in determining liability, the court will look at how much time passes between the time snowfall ceases and the time an accident occurs. There is a generally recognized period of time, 48 hours, which must lapse between the two, in order for liability to be found. These rules have been set by the courts in prior cases. There are always exceptions and every case is different.

Most importantly, as a pedestrian, you must be careful. Avoid ice and snow-covered sidewalks where you can. But if you do slip and fall, contact The Saftler Law Firm and learn exactly what you’re entitled to. After discussing the facts of the incident and the nature of your injury with you, we will be able to determine whether you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Enjoy the weather, New York. You can complain about it all you like, but if you live on the planet Earth, weather is a factor you have to get used to!

Dangers from Below – How an Open Sidewalk Vault Can Lead to Injury

By admin on January 26, 2010

Walking the streets of New York City can be dangerous.  There’s traffic, pedestrians, and the ever-present, over-eager bike messengers.  Keeping your head on a swivel is something every New Yorker learns early on.  It’s hard enough keeping your eyes looking forward and to the sides for danger, but we must always look down as well for the dangers from below.  City sidewalks are littered with sidewalk vaults.  These doors present dangers to everyone on a daily basis.

The New York City Administrative Code provides for regulation of vaults under any street, sidewalks included.  Pedestrians are entitled to assume that sidewalks are kept in proper condition, and a property owner must adequately maintain and inspect sidewalk vaults and the plates surrounding them.  On this point, the structural integrity of these obstructions is of great importance.

Whether a property owner actually uses the vault set beneath the sidewalk adjacent to his property is irrelevant to his liability for injury caused by it.  Special use of the sidewalk abutting a dwelling will make the owner responsible and strictly liable for the plate over the sidewalk vault in front of the entrance of a multiple unit dwelling.

If you fell through a sidewalk vault and were injured, contact The Saftler Law Firm for help.  We can protect your rights.  After discussing the facts of the incident and the nature of your injury with you, we will be able to determine whether you are entitled to compensation for any injuries you may have suffered.  But don’t forget, keeping your eyes focused on the dangers below can help prevent such necessity.

No Stroll in the Park – Does Graco’s Stroller Recall Affect You?

By admin on January 21, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled all Graco Passage, Alano, and Spree strollers manufactured between October 2004 and February 2008. The stroller have caused seven severe injuries to toddler’s fingers. Consumers are advised to stop using these models and contact Graco  to receive a free repair kit.

 

Graco is currently reaching out to consumers with information about the recall and repair kits via twitter and their blog. The repair kits will be available in one to two weeks. An instructional video, below, has been made available by Graco to assist those affected by the recall in properly attaching their new kit.

 

If a dangerous or defective product injures an unwary consumer, the manufacture is considered legally liable for product liability, as long as the consumer using the product as it was meant to be used at the time of injury. If you or your child has been injured by a recalled Graco stroller, a product liability settlement might be in your future. Contact The Saftler Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be Blind to Child Safety – National Window Blind Recall to Save Children

By admin on January 7, 2010

The Consumer Product Safety Commission urges parents to contact the Window Covering Safety Council for information on a recall of more than 50 million Roman-style shades and roll-up blinds.  The recall is intended to prevent the risk of strangulation of young children.  To date, hundreds of American babies and toddlers have strangled to death on mini-blind cords.

If your child or a child you know has suffered a strangulation injury or a wrongful death due to a cord on Roman blinds, roll-up blinds, mini-blinds, or any other corded window covering, you should report the accident to the Consumer Product Safety Commission immediately.  Like all manufactures, window treatment manufacturers have a legal responsibility to offer only products that are safe for use by the public for their intended purpose.  When someone, in this case a child, is killed or seriously injured due to a manufacturer’s error, victims have the right to sue.

For more information, Parents for Window Blind Safety has produced a public service announcement about the dangers of window blinds:

Rhino Rollover Injuries – The Nature of the Beast

By admin on January 7, 2010

 

Yamaha-Rhino-Green-1

ATV four wheelers are dangerous under risky conditions.  Yamaha produced their Rhino ATV with an unreasonable design.  The Rhino boasts a powerful engine, quick acceleration, a small turning radius, a high center of gravity, and small wheels on a narrow frame.  These features combined make the Yamaha Rhino very unstable, causing it to roll over easily at slow speeds and on flat surfaces.  The Rhino’s dangerous construction and improper safety features have lead to the death of many users and catastrophic injuries to even more.  In March 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a repair program to address these rollover safety defects.  Consumers should stop using their Yamaha Rhino ATVs until the free repairs are made by a dealer.

Many plaintiffs have already brought suit against Yamaha.  If you or someone you know has suffered injury, or even death, because of a Rhino rollover, contact The Saftler Law Firm.  We provide our clients with the dedication you need to win fair and just compensation.  Let us help you today.

Don’t Let Faulty New York City Escalators Take You For a Ride

By admin on December 22, 2009

On December 20, 2009, an escalator fire forced the Macy’s Flagship
Store in Herald Square to evacuate. A fire, though, is just one of
many potential hazards attributed to escalators due to faulty
manufacturing, lack of maintenance, or unsafe conditions. Macy’s
Herald Square location, alone, has been cited by the New York City
Department of Buildings for razor sharp steps, tripping hazards, and
failing to report escalator accidents in the past. Violations of
escalator safety requirements, regulated by the 1968 Building Code,
are more common in the New York City area than one might think.

At The Saftler Law Firm, we are committed to helping victims of
negligence obtain compensation for losses and expenses related to
injuries sustained due to escalator accidents (Escalator Accident
Victims
). Mr. Saftler is one of the most experienced escalator and elevator
accident lawyers in the New York City area. After WPIX investigated
the recent incident at Macy’s, they contacted Mr. Saftler for his
expert opinion.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an escalator accident, you
need to contact a lawyer immediately. To schedule a free review of
your case, contact The Saftler Law Firm, serving Manhattan and New
York City. The Saftler Law Firm is committed to fighting for justice on your
behalf.

Sidewalk Law Produces Results – For Everyone!

By admin on July 16, 2008

Sometimes, not always, claims and lawsuits bring beneficial results to the public at large, as opposed to the financial rewards an injured victim receives from the claim or lawsuit my office successfully handles for them. In a past blog, I have written about the new law promulgated by the City of New York and how adjoining landowners are now responsible for maintaining their surrounding sidewalks, as opposed to the City of New York, or face financial liability to an injured sidewalk defect victim. See the Administrative Code of the City on New York,Title 7, Chapter 2, Section 7-210.

Of recent vintage, I personally know of at least 3 different cases which I have pursued on behalf of injury victims, where not only were we successful in prosecuting the claims of the injured victims, but were able to eyewitness corrective repairs to the very site of the accident by the adjoining landowners to the benefit of the public as a whole, who will never have to worry about falling from the very same defect that caused my clients’ injuries. In all three cases, the sidewalk were repaired with level grade fresh concrete, where in one instance specifically, literally thousands of pedestrians walk the same location daily. One such location is in front of the Lincoln building in New York City, directly across the street from Grand Central Station, where a new sidewalk was recently installed and whatever defects there were before now no longer exists.

This is a great side benefit from the new sidewalk law created by the City. Mayor Bloomberg deserves credit for the manner in which he has governed, creating laws which not only serve to lower the payments and financial burden made from City coffers and the taxpayers of New York City to pay injured sidewalk victims for sidwalk accidents, but also creating responsibility to those who have and should have a greater stake in the safety of the streets in front of their premises, that of the adjoining landowner.  

Lawrence Saftler quoted in the Queens Courier on Sidewalk Falls

By admin on July 16, 2008

On July 10th, 2008, Lawrence Saftler was quoted in the Queens Courier relating to the new statute providing for liability to adjoining property owners, as opposed to the City of New York,  for injured victims from sidewalk defects and falls. The article was written by Stephen Bronner.

New York City Sidewalk Falls

By admin on May 20, 2008

The Saftler Law Firm has been at the forefront of pressing claims against both the City and private landowners for falls from City sidewalks which cause injuries to unsuspecting pedestrians. There has been a new Code enacted since 2003 which, in essense, transfers liabilty from the City of New York to adjoining landowners, so long as they are not one, two or three family dwellings. The law states in substance that it is the duty and responsibility of the owner of abutting real property to maintain the sidewalk in a reasonably safe condition, the failure of which will render them liable for injuries, death or property damage by reason of their neglect.

This law is a relatively new law and as with all new laws requires definition. For instance, who is responsible for a curb? This has been determined to be the City’s responsibility by the courts. Another example is who would be responsible for a sidewalk defect when the City is at the root of the cause for the defect, as in tree roots. In Manhattan, a Judge stated it was the landowner under the new law, whereas in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, the law is that the City may still be held responsible for their tree rooted causation of City sidewalk defects.  In a case handled recently, a pedestrian was traversing the theatre district when she fell over a defect the City admitted responsibility for, causing and creating the condition, while the adjoining landowner, based on the City’s admissions moved to be dismissed. This motion was denied based on the new law, the court indicating thaat causation was irrelevant to the new responsibility imposed under the new code. Ultimately, the City and landowner split the settlement 50/50.

When it comes to falls on City sidewalks or curbs or wherever else the City would  be fully responsible, for example, say you fall in front of a police station or a City School playground, the City requires at least 15 days prior written notice of that defect in order to attach liabilty against the City, a further hurdle for an injured party to recover.

 Sometimes navigating the streets and sidewalks of the City can be far less difficult than knowing who is ultimately responsible for an accident pertaining to a sidewalk defect, nothwithstanding clear and unambiguous language from the new code and law. Therefore, tread carefully my fellow pedestrians and choose your attorney wisely.

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Do not hesitate to contact personal injury lawyer Lawrence Saftler if you have suffered from a personal injury in the Manhattan or greater New York City area.

Personal Injury New York
275 Madison Ave.,
Suite 1605
New York, New York 10016