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A fire truck and a New York City Transit Bus collided on Sunday in queens seriously injuring 14 people.

The fire engine was headed to assist with a fire with its emergency lights on when it was struck by a Q100 MTA bus in the Ditmars Blvd. and 21st St. intersection in Astoria at 12:20 p.m..   Police department and EMS arrived on the scene quickly.

Under the law of New York, an emergency vehicle may operate its vehicle when responding to an emergency.  This is covered by Section 1104 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law.  However, in order to be protected by this statute the emergency vehicle must still not act with reckless disregard for the safety of others.

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Court House
When I first started this firm over 17 years ago, often the first decision I or my associates had to make when taking on a matter is where would we bring or start the action.  The first thing to consider is jurisdiction.  Jurisdiction essentially means the ability for a Court in the State of New York to hear the action.  Though this can be discussed in great length, if we take a car accident for example, the Courts of the State of New York always have jurisdiction as if you drive a car in NY and get into an accident you have subjected yourself to being sued in New York.  The next and sometimes more important question is where within the New York Court system can you venue the case.

Venue is a choice of which county the case can be brought and is controlled by  CPLR Section 503.

Under the venue provisions one may bring a lawsuit in a county in which they are a resident, the defendant is a resident, or if a corporation, where the corporation principal executive office is.  Again if we focus on the car accident arena for this article, you can look to the residence for the parties and choose.  If suing a municipality like the City of New York or any City agency you must venue the case in the county in which the accident occurred.  If all parties are not from any County in New York but the accident occurs in New York, the Plaintiff may choose any county he or she wishes.

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Under most automobile insurance policies, there is coverage for Uninsured or Underinsurance Coverage.  What this means is that if you are in a car accident and the car that is responsible for the accident is uninsured (unknown or carrying no insurance) or underinsured (has less insurance than you carry) you can seek to recover benefits for pain and suffering from your own automobile insurance policy.  Learn more about this coverage in New York with a New York State Bar Assocation memo. 

A sample of where this coverage is on your policy:

SUM template
Sadly, the responsibility of the insurance company to fairly and fully compensate its own insured is almost arbitrary and lacks any ability to hold the carrier responsible for acting in bad faith if they do not negotiate fairly.

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One of the most common injuries sustained by those involved in an accident is a back or neck injury.  Many consider these “soft tissue” injuries and the term has been used by insurance companies to diminish the significance of the injury.

In fact, a disc injury which is really a connective tissue injury can be more debilitating and significant than a fracture to a bone.  A fracture can often heal and or calcify.  A disc injury to the spine will never return to the anatomic design it was in before the trauma.

Simply put a herniated disc is a rupture to the intervertebral discs that separate the vertebrae running from the base of our skull to our coccyx or sacrum.  In all we have 33 discs and they act as shock absorbers for the body.  They allow the spine to move, bend, function in a normal way.

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Hospital baby
Though delivering a child is both amazing and memorable, mistakes and errors can often occur.  The result can be a lifetime of pain and suffering for the child and family.  To address this, a family must keep in mind that the Court has little sympathy for a family or counsel who misses deadlines created.  On June 9th, 2016, the NY Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a case involving a brain damage baby.

Wally G vs. NY City Health and Hospitals Corporation involved an infant Plaintiff who was born prematurely by emergency cesarean section at New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. (HHC) in June 2005. C-Section is a method of delivering the baby when often the baby can not be delivered vaginally or is in fetal distress. Here, Wally G was transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit and discharged in stable condition in August 2005.

Under New York Law, the family, if they believe malpractice occurred must serve a notice of claim against the City within 90 days of when the malpractice occurred. If they serve later than 90 days, they must request Court permission. Here, in January 2007, more than 90 days after the claim arose, without first obtaining leave of court as required by General Municipal Law 50-e (5), plaintiff served a notice of claimagainst HHC claiming that the hospital committed negligence and malpractice arising out of failure to properly treat and manage his mother’s prenatal care, causing the infant to sustain brain damage, cognitive defects, developmental, speech and psychomotor delays fetal and respiratory distress and seizure disorder.

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Leav & Steinberg attorney Edward Averbuch obtained a $250,000 jury verdict in Kings County for a client who suffered a herniated disc and lumbar radiculopathy in a motor vehicle accident. The verdict came after the conclusion of a four-day trial where defendants called two medical experts and claimed our client’s injury was degenerative in nature and less severe than his treating physician diagnosed. The defendant’s last settlement offer before the verdict was $10,000.

Under New York No-Fault Law § 5102 in order to recover for personal injuries as a result of an auto accident a plaintiff must prove that he or she sustained a serious injury. No-Fault Law § 5102 defines a “serious injury” as a personal injury which results in:

1. death;

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During the summer of 2013 our client, a 10 year old boy from New Jersey was injured while playing football at a field located in Manhattan. The game was organized by youth football league and held at a field owned by the City of New York.  During the course of the game our client sustained a fractured wrist after being tackled and landing on the base of a soccer goal.  Unfortunately, when the field was set up for the football game a soccer goal was placed on the side of the field causing an increased risk to the players.

Since this case involved at least one municipal defendant we were required under New York Law to file a Notice of Claim against the City of New York within 90 days. After the Notice of Claim was filed the City of New York is given the opportunity to conduct what is called a 50-h hearing to determine the facts surrounding the accident.  Once the 50-h hearing was held we then filed a lawsuit naming both the City of New York and the private youth football league as defendants.

Both defendants tried to argue that that there was no liability against their respective clients since our client “assumed the risk” of injury by paying football, which is an inherently dangerous game.  Alexander Kran, III of Leav & Steinberg successfully argued that this was not an “assumption of  risk” case since the defendants had increased the risk of injury to our client by placing the metal soccer goal next to the field where our client was playing football.  Therefore, it is important to always protect your legal rights and consult with one of the attorneys at Leav & Steinberg so that we can examine the facts and circumstances and provide you with our legal advice.

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In 2013, a 41-year-old mother from Brooklyn named Lavern Wilkinson passed away from a form of lung cancer which was thought to be curable. Had Lavern Wilkinson been told that she had a cancerous mass which was shown in a chest x-ray taken in 2010, she may have been alive today. Lavern Wilkinson did not discover that she had cancer, or that the doctors committed malpractice three years earlier, until it was too late. 

To add insult to injury, the Wilkinson family is barred by the statute of limitations in bringing a lawsuit against the doctors at Kings County Hospital who neglected to see the cancerous mass on the x-ray film, thereby denying Lavern Wilkinson an opportunity to get needed medical treatment. 

Under the current law, in order to bring a lawsuit against a public hospital, a plaintiff must commence their lawsuit within one year and ninety days from the act of malpractice. Patients at private hospitals have two-and-a-half years in order to bring their claim. The current law in New York does not allow for a statute of limitations to be tolled for the discovery of a doctor’s malpractice. 

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On June 16th, 2016, founding partner Edward Steinberg will be chairing and speaking at the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA) seminar on building and growing a law firm. Mr. Steinberg has been on the Board of Directors of NYSTLA for 6 years now and a member for almost 20 years.

The seminar will be held at NYSTLA’s headquarters at 132 Nassau Street, in New York City from 6-9 PM. The matter has been certified as CLE qualified and those attending will receive 3 credits. In addition the seminar can be viewed on DVD and purchased on CD as well. Click here for a link to the seminar and registration material.

Mr. Steinberg will lead the discussion of how one can properly and successfully build a law practice. Given that Leav & Steinberg, LLP was founded over 17 years ago by Mr. Steinberg and Mr. Leav alone and has grown into a firm with a staff of 24 and having represented over a 1000 clients, Mr. Steinberg has the requisite experience and ideas to help those interested in doing the same. He has also asked several colleagues in the industry to discuss their viewpoint of the defense perspective, the solo perspective and the best consideration for client’s requests for receiving funding while the litigation is pending.

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On May 25th, 2016 famed rapper TI was set to perform at Irving Plaza in NYC.  From early reports one person was shot and several others injured when an argument escalated into a fight which then turned into a shooting and chaos.  TI was not involved directly in the argument or fight.

The fight, CNN reported, erupted outside a green room, reserved for rappers scheduled to perform.  After at least 5 minutes of fisticuffs the fight turned deadly when a gun was pulled and people scrambled to escape harm.

Leav & Steinberg, with a solid reputation in representing victims of similar incidents in and around NYC, was recently retained by several  victims injured at Irving Plaza.  Just this year, the firm resolved a matter involving another rap concert billed as a gangster party in New York City.  Several were shot and others injured in the stampede.  We recently reported about this problem in New York and around the country.  See this link.