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Jack Nathan passed away on July 3, 2020, at 19 years old. A friend to the Steinberg family, Jack brought life and brightness to any room he walked in. Jack had an exceptional talent for making everyone feel important and relevant, no matter who they were. His creative spirit and commitment to people inspired him to launch Happy-Jack, a design-based fundraiser for mental health and wellness. These issues were important to him and you can view his company’s mission here.

What We’re Doing

A baseball cap with a yellow Happy Jack logo on the front

Jack’s passing shook our community, and Leav & Steinberg LLP wanted to do something in remembrance of an extraordinary boy. From August 1 and continuing until December 31, 2020, our partner, Edward Steinberg, is hosting a RunRaiser: for each mile completed, participants will donate 25 cents to the Child Mind Institute, Jack’s favorite nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children, families, and communities affected by mental illness and learning disabilities. After agreeing to donate, you will be given access to Mr. Steinberg’s Garmin tracker to see how many miles he’s completed. On average, Mr. Steinberg runs about 25 miles weekly, which adds up to roughly $125 for the duration of the fundraiser. Once completed, you can donate directly to the Child Mind Institute.

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As businesses continue to reopen, they’re taking steps to protect themselves from the potential legal risks of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some companies are now requiring customers to sign liability waivers before receiving services. It may be difficult to understand how these waivers work and what their impact will be on customers and employees.

The Current Waiver Situation

A person in a grocery store shopping for tomatoes

COVID-19 liability waivers are intended to limit a customer’s right to file a lawsuit if they get infected during a visit to a business. Hair salons, dental offices, and other companies are requiring people to sign liability waivers before letting them enter the premises. For example, people who went to the rally in Tulsa for President Trump had to agree not to sue the organizers if they contracted the virus.

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Whiplash, a term used to describe a neck strain, is one of the most common auto accident injuries. When a serious collision causes the head to suddenly jerk forward or backward, the neck tendons and muscles may be stretched and torn. If you or a loved one has developed neck pain and stiffness after a car accident, you should learn more about the symptoms of and treatment for whiplash.

Symptoms of Whiplash

A man having his shoulder massaged

If you have whiplash, you will likely experience some of the following symptoms:

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In observance of state and federal social distancing guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, local courthouses have either closed or postponed hearings. Use this guide to help alleviate the uncertainty surrounding scheduled court proceedings.

Courthouse Closures

The inside of a courtroom, representing the personal injury cases of Leav & Steinberg LLP in New York, NY

Trying to navigate closures of any kind during the pandemic can be frustrating and confusing. To find out about the status of courthouses in the state of New York, call your local courthouse or attorney to learn which court appearances are continuing as scheduled. You should be able to locate your courthouse’s contact information by referencing your case documents.

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With the United States slowly easing into the first few stages of reopening, some business owners and politicians have expressed concerns that this progress may be thwarted by a “new pandemic”, personal injury lawsuits. In light of COVID-19 recovery, some are petitioning for protections that will shield businesses from liability concerns regarding coronavirus infection risks stemming from reopening. Currently, it’s unclear whether Congress will decide in favor of protecting business owners from such lawsuits.

Calls for New Legislation

A medical professional securing their face mask
In New York, State Legislature has approved liability protections for healthcare providers in anticipation of a wave of lawsuits related to COVID-19 fatalities. Legal teams representing small businesses nationwide are requesting Congress to extend these protections to employers who fear that they may fall victim to frivolous lawsuits claiming employees or customers contracted the virus at their establishments. However, not everyone is on board with establishing this liability shield, as it could lead to potential dangers for the public due to the negligence of organizations caused by failure to adhere to duties of care. Edward Steinberg, the president-elect of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, voiced his opposition to this legislation by stating that, “Big businesses aiming to shirk responsibility and shift costs onto workers will make it harder to get Western New York up and running.”

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As cities and states begin to reopen while the United States continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees who are asked to return to work have concerns about contracting the virus. What’s more, lawmakers and business advocacy groups are pushing for a federal liability waiver, which would eliminate employer liability for COVID-19 infections among workers. In a recent Newsday article, attorney Edward Steinberg voiced his concerns for New York City workers, which are summarized below.

Inconsistent Safety Precautions

A person standing outside wearing a mask

While Governor Andrew Cuomo has mandated face coverings and six-feet social distancing for essential businesses throughout the state, the government is not currently tracking how well companies are following these orders. What’s more, many individuals have expressed confusion about the safety requirements. This lack of oversight puts employees at risk as they return to their jobs. Those who support the waiver call it a way to help employers adapt to changing regulations. Advocates fear that frivolous lawsuits would threaten businesses that act in good faith to keep workers safe as they reopen.

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regularly inspects offices, construction sites, and other work environments to help keep employees safe. Employers are expected to take preventative steps to protect their staff. There are several different levels of OSHA violations.

De Minimus

A construction worker holding a piece of wood

This is the least serious of the OSHA violations. De minimus violations include things that don’t have a direct impact on the health or safety of workers. Citations are not issued for these offenses, but they are discussed and resolved verbally.

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On March 15, 2020, both our state and city closed due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many businesses were shuttered, and sadly, thousands of New Yorkers found themselves unemployed or furloughed, many of whom were our clients. Those clients had been seriously injured before this health crisis and were relying upon our team to help them seek justice. Though our firm had to work remotely, Leav & Steinberg LLP is still committed to our 21-year tradition of providing high-quality lawyering and customer service to every client. Listed below are just a few of the matters that we have resolved during the COVID-19 crisis as of April 29, 2020.

The outside of a courthouse, representing the personal injury lawyers at Leav & Steinberg LLP in New York, NY
$812,000.00 settlement at a virtual court conference and virtual mediation for a 65-year-old retired Department of Education aide. The client slipped and fell on water from a hole in the lobby of her building that was caused by a plumbing leak. The building owner and a contractor were aware of the condition before the accident. The client did not report the accident but did seek emergency treatment the next day for neck pain and eventually underwent cervical spinal surgery. The defense argued her cervical problems were pre-existing as she had received treatment for her neck and lower back before this. Further, unrelated to the accident, the client had diabetes, suffered renal failure, and was on dialysis.

$225,000.00 settlement at virtual mediation for a plaintiff who was lawfully operating her motor vehicle when she was rear-ended by a truck. The driver argued that the plaintiff’s vehicle wasn’t visible. As a result, our firm motioned for and won summary judgment. The client sustained a knee injury and underwent arthroscopic surgery, but no ligament tear was found. However, we were able to show the films and reports to an expert radiologist who opined that other injuries were sustained.

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Although scaffolding is a necessary part of the many construction projects in New York City, it can increase the risk of falls and other injuries. If you’ve been in an accident related to scaffolding, you may be entitled to compensation. Let’s explore New York’s scaffolding laws and how a personal injury lawyer can help you get the money you deserve.

How Do New York’s Scaffolding Laws Affect My Case?

A person walking under a scaffolding tower
Because there’s an inherent risk in using scaffolding, New York City sets a strict set of safety standards that dictate how scaffolding should be erected and used during construction projects. These standards are put in place to protect workers and pedestrians from injury. If you’ve been hurt in an accident related to scaffolding, it may have been caused because these guidelines weren’t properly followed. You may be entitled to financial compensation from the negligent parties who didn’t follow the safety standards.

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Vaping is an increasingly popular recreational activity that involves nicotine and is used by individuals of varying age groups. Originally billed as a healthy alternative to smoking, research is beginning to suggest that might not be the case. Here are a few health risks that can be caused by vaping.

Nicotine Dependency

A silver vape

While vaping does remove some of the carcinogens that come from traditional cigarettes, it does not eliminate nicotine. Nicotine is the stimulant drug that is being consumed from the device, and it is known for being a highly addictive substance. This means that vaping can cause the same or higher level of dependency due to the high nicotine content of the product. For former cigarette smokers, this may not seem like a problem, but for those who may understand vaping as completely separate from smoking or have never smoked before, addiction may be unprecedented. Nicotine dependency can lead to irritability and mood swings, and can also invoke a greater financial drain than the user originally expected, as he or she may feel the need to purchase the drug on a recurring basis. Additionally, improper treatment of this addiction can make the situation worse.

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