Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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When a loved one dies unexpectedly, his or her survivors may not be thinking about whether they can file a wrongful death claim. However, depending on the circumstances of the fatal incident, you may need to act within weeks to receive legal compensation for medical costs, funeral expenses, and other monetary and nonmonetary damages. If your spouse or another family member lost his or her life because of the action or inaction of a third party, it’s important to understand the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in New York.

Length of Time to File a Claim

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In most cases, the deceased individual’s family members must file a wrongful death claim within two years of his or her death. However, certain incidents are subject to a shorter or longer statute of limitations. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, you must submit a claim for no-fault insurance death benefits within 30 days. When the lawsuit names a government agency or institution as the defendant, such as a transit authority, the plaintiff must first submit a notice of intention to file a claim.

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When a defendant acts negligently or causes intentional harm resulting in death, you may have cause to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, an immediate family member as appointed by the Surrogate’s Court is the only person who may file a claim, or an administrator of an estate or executor of a will may do so, as well.

What Are the Basics?The Scales of Justice sitting unevenly in a court room

If a fatality occurs as the result of full or partial negligence or the intentional behavior of another person or entity, you may have a wrongful death case against that party.

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It was just over 20 years ago that Daniel Leav & Edward Steinberg decided to venture out on their own and start a firm.  For several years it was just them and a small support staff; employee #1 hired in October 1999 and still with the firm today.   The firm has grown into a staff totaling 25 employees including 9 attorney’s.  We proudly celebrate our 20th anniversary in 2019.  As a measure of our success, the firm continues to get most of its clients from old happy clients as well as from other attorney’s who wish to have Leav & Steinberg, LLP handle their personal injury matters.

We are also proud to advise that we started off this year with record number of resolved matters including several million dollar cases.  Some of interest are:

$2.3 million for a  NJ resident, in his mid 20’s who was struck by a Canadian truck while driving on the NYS Thruway.  We were able to bring this action in the Southern District of New York and the matter proceeded to trial before being settled at private mediation.  The client had sustained a shoulder injury and also underwent a lumbar surgery.  The matter was referred to us by a NJ Law Firm that realized that while they could handle the matter in Federal Court, they wanted the expertise and experience of Leav & Steinberg to maximize the recovery for the client.

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On the Afternoon of March 20, 2015, a young man in his early 20’s was returning home from his job in Manhattan to his home in the Bronx.  Unfortunately, due to a tragic automobile accident he never made it home.  While legally walking on the sidewalk of the Grand Concourse, a green cab which was speeding lost control and jumped the sidewalk killing this young man.  Also killed in this tragic accident was a very young girl who was with her mother.  A third individual was also struck and was rendered brain damaged and remains in a nursing home to this date.

Soon after this tragic accident the family of the young man tragically killed retained Leav & Steinberg, LLP to represent them.  As we always do, a senior attorney from our firm went to meet the family at their home and was retained by the family.  The other injured parties also retained attorneys.  Leav & Steinberg, LLP immediately commenced a compete investigation.  Though our investigation we were able to determine that the City of New York may also bear some responsibility for the happening of this accident for failure to manage the ongoing roadwork which was occurring at the time of the accident.  We were also able to identify the base where the green cab was operating from and put them on notice of this tragic accident.

Leav & Steinberg, LLP commenced a lawsuit naming the Green Cab driver/owner, The Green Cab’s base, The TLC and The City of New York.  It is important to note that the other injured parties only named the Green Cab Driver in their lawsuit.

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In the past decade, E-Cigarettes or Vaping has become almost commonplace.  From those who feel it is a safe alternative to smoking, a good method to quitting, or the new social “it” thing to do, everyone from teenagers to adults are using it.

The produce essentially heats a liquid that goes into an aerosol which the user inhales.  The products side effects are not limited to ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs with flavorants such as diacetyl a chemical that has been linked to serious lung disease.

Just read this quote from a young adult from an article recently published by NBC News:

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As an attorney representing car accident victims quite often, the recent news of two Tesla vehicles that crashed while in self-driving or autonomous driving mode raised a lot of questions.  From the attorney perspective, we are taught to evaluate an accident applying two major elements.  The first element is negligence, a two prong question.  First, d id the operator of a motor vehicle, operate his or her car in a way that was unreasonable under the circumstances.  The failure to operate your car in a reasonable manner is the first element of negligence.  The second element is proving that that failure, was a substantial factor or proximate cause of the accident.  The lines are blurred when we consider modern technology.  We must now consider whether the vehicle itself was negligent.

Tesla advises all of its owners that it’s autopilot feature DOES NOT mean that the vehicle is operating itself.  However, all marketing and news stories are describing the benefits of placing the car in autopilot mode and allowing the car and its sensors to sense the road and vehicles and obstructions around it.  Given this dichotomy, one must ask if the warning given is sufficient to free Tesla of any responsibility.

Joshua Brown’s death was the first reported death while operating a vehicle in autopilot mode.  This month, his vehicle collided with an 18 wheeler when the autopilot feature and the surrounding sun glare did not allow the vehicle’s autopilot features to react in a reasonable and timely manner.  The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating this accident with a focus on fault of the vehicle’s autopilot features.

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The Second Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals held that General Motors failed to properly disclose its knowledge of ignition switch defects and accordingly it will now have to face many lawsuits for injuries and other damages, that were once dismissed as part of its bankruptcy filing.

In 2009 General Motors declared bankruptcy.  In doing so, it sought to take any of its viable assets and in an organized sale, transfer them to a new entity now known as “new GM”.  When a company files for bankruptcy they must disclose claims known or likely to be known.  The reason is that when bankruptcy is granted, all debts known or likely to be known are wiped out and the company gets to move forward as a new “reorganized” entity.

Though GM was near financial collapse and the Court did want to maintain a company with thousands of employees, they are not above the law.  The safety of many was at risk and many injuries and deaths had occurred due to defective ignition switches which had caused movement stalls and air-bag non-deployment.  The cause was simple: the poorly improperly designed  ignition switch could slip from the run position and therefore cause many features to fail while in operation.

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Having a newborn is one of the great gifts life has to offer.  A new baby ready to discover the world. Parents ready to provide a safe environment.  However, many products that companies sell to the public are dangerous and can cause serious personal injuries and even death to the innocent and helpless.

This past week, the world’s largest retailer IKEA recalled 29 million dressers.  The Malm and other models of chests pose a serious hazard, and consumers were urged to anchor the items or return them, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday on its website.  The dresser, it was reported had caused 6 deaths and had 82 incidents.

Sadly, the problem is not new.   As is often the case, it is not until litigation is brought or serious injuries or death occur that a company chooses to recall and fix a product; often placing profits over safety.

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Sadly, pedestrian knockdown accidents are all too common in New York City these days.  The the increase in traffic and the growing population, car accidents and pedestrians being struck are more common than ever.  This came to light and destroyed a family this past week in Brooklyn.

http://abc7ny.com/traffic/suspects-sought-in-canarsie-hit-and-run-that-killed-woman-injured-husband/1317604/

51 year old Choo Tain was struck and killed by an alleged stolen vehicle that first collided with another car at the intersection of East 94th Street and Avenue K.  They were both on the sidewalk when, as a result of the first collision, the stolen vehicle mounted the sidewalk and struck her and her husband who also sustained serious injuries.

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It was with great anger that I read the article from the NY Times discussing a South Carolina man who was fatally shot by a police officer after being pulled over for a broken taillight on his vehicle. As Walter Scott the driver was outside the vehicle, a scuffle ensued. Certainly we would expect the officer to use that force necessary. However, due to video captured by a bystander, Mr. Scott is seen running away, when Officer William Slager fires multiple shots at him when he is at least 15-20 feet away. What is captured on video next is terrible.

The officer approaches Mr. Scott see that he has been wounded, handcuffs him, but then walks back to where the vehicle was, picks up his Taser gun and drops it right at the foot of a dying Mr. Scott. This, he hoped, would be his alibi that he feared for his safety and that Mr. Scott had used the Taser on him and fled with it.

Officer Slager is being charged with murder.

The brazen acts of this officer are both shocking and upsetting. It reminded me of the matter in which my firm, Leav & Steinberg, LLP is representing the Estate of Eddie Fernandez who was killed by NYPD Office McClain in August 2012. At that moment, Eddie was riding away on his dirt bike, when officer McClain, who had already used his police vehicle to strike one dirt bike rider, makes a U-turn and crosses into oncoming traffic and strikes the back of Eddie’s dirt bike with his vehicle. Clearly using his vehicle as a deadly weapon. Eddie died as a result of the very serious injuries sustained. A young man, who had taken care of his mother was gone. The distraught family has sought criminal and civil charges against Officer McClain and also Federal Civil Rights violations against the officer and the NYPD.

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