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Partner Daniel T. Leav settled a case at private mediation in November 2019, where Leav & Steinberg LLP represented plaintiffs who suffered injuries in an incident that took place in January 2015. The case was handled from the inception to trial prep by partner Daniela F. Henriques.

The Incident That Caused the Injuries

A construction site representing construction accident personal injury attorneys Leav & Steinberg LLP in New York, NYThe plaintiffs, a mother and daughter, were walking on the sidewalk alongside an active construction site in Queens, New York, when a construction wall collapsed and fell onto them, causing them to be knocked to the ground. The project was massive; it was the construction of a 20-family mixed-use building. There was a construction wall to the left of where the plaintiffs were walking on the sidewalk. There was no flagman; there were no cones; there were no barriers; there was no indication that the sidewalk should not be used. As the plaintiffs were walking past the construction site, they were struck by a heavy piece of construction wall that collapsed and fell onto them. The force of the fence caused both plaintiffs to fall and strike the ground. The brunt of the construction wall struck the daughter’s head and she lost consciousness at the scene.

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Waivers of liability were designed to inform participants of hazards involved with certain activities and protect the individual or company from lawsuits in the event of injury. However, they’re sometimes abused by companies who use the waivers to dodge all responsibility, even in the case of negligence. And, in some instances, waivers of liability are not enforceable in New York. While there are many reasons a party can be found responsible despite the use of a waiver, there are three circumstances that typically nullify waivers of liability.

You Paid for the Service or Activity

A person signing papers while sitting at a desk

It’s not uncommon to be asked to sign waivers of liability at gyms, skating rinks, pools, and other amusement facilities. However, if you paid for entry into these venues, the owners or operators are not exempt from negligence claims under New York law. In these cases, the waivers exist simply to make attendees or participants believe that their legal rights are limited.

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Sometimes you have to see through the issues, believe in your case and fight harder than others, in order to bring true justice for your client.  Partner, Daniel Leav did just that on a matter the firm resolved last week.  The matter was scheduled to being jury selection on 1/7/20 in the Supreme Court.  Our client, 43 years old, was traveling in a taxi cab at JFK airport several years ago, when a tractor trailer collided with the taxi.  There was conflicting testimony from both drivers as to which vehicle had merged into the other.  There was very little visible damage to either vehicle.   The client, who had prior back injuries with residual foot drop, began experiencing increased back pain after this accident.  He tried conservative care and when this failed he did undergo a lumbar surgery with fusion.  No claim for lost wages was made.

What makes the matter worthy of reporting, was that the defendants had 1) made a motion for summary judgment arguing that the accident could not have caused the injuries and that their examining doctors did not find any causally related permanent or significant injuries; 2) retained an accident reconstruction expert to opine that based on the G force and the lack of any damage, given the speed the vehicles were traveling, the plaintiff could not have sustained the lumbar injuries he claimed.

The client contacted Leav & Steinberg, LLP and asked us look into this matter.  With exceptional preparation we positioned the case for a successful outcome.  Partner Daniela Henriques, who heads the firms motion department prepared an exceptional opposition brief.   We defeated the motion for summary judgment and had prepared a motion to exclude the defendant reconstruction expert from testifying because he had not done certain important tests, examined the subject vehicles and thus should not be permitted to testify.

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New York City has over 12,750 miles of sidewalks. In a city with close to 9 million residents, accidents are bound to happen along these pathways if they are not well maintained. But whose responsibility is it to maintain these sidewalks? This question is especially pertinent when someone suffers an injury and wants to file a lawsuit.

Changes to NYC Sidewalk Maintenance Law

A neighborhood street covered with snow

For a long time, victims of sidewalk accidents would file claims against City Council. However, the City of New York enacted changes in 2003 that transferred the duty of sidewalk maintenance to the owner of properties abutting the sidewalk. In the amended New York City Administrative Code of 2003, Section 7-210 shifts responsibility and liability to adjacent property owners.

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In 2012, many women came forward to report various complications regarding transvaginal mesh implants and related devices used to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and other conditions. Since then, over $1 billion has been awarded to patients who experienced these medical complications. The most common lawsuits manufacturers face are mesh erosion complications, and the FDA has even gone as far as to ban the material completely. But what causes mesh erosion complications, who’s at fault, and who’s eligible to file a claim?

What Causes Mesh Erosion Complications?

An operating room filled with surgeons in the middle of surgery

In short, the term “mesh erosion complications” refers to the breaking down or wearing away of the synthetic surgical mesh used to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). When this happens, the mesh can become exposed and cause damage to the bladder or urethra, perforate the bowel or vagina, or cause the recurrence of vaginal or uterine prolapse.

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If you have little to no experience with legal procedures, you may be hesitant about your initial consultation with a lawyer. Attorneys are a great resource for legal advice and can answer your questions, but the initial consultation is usually more productive when the clients come prepared. Here are a few steps you should take in advance of your meeting to ensure you get the most out of it.

Come Organized

Two people going over documents together

Coming into the office organized can help you have a successful initial consultation. Have your notes in order and bring any relevant documentation you think will be useful in discussing your case. The more information you have, the better. We’ll be able to sort through it all and tell you what’s relevant and helpful.

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After going through a potentially traumatic car accident, the last thing anyone wants to do is negotiate with an insurance company. Unfortunately, it’s important for all parties that the paperwork is handled as soon as possible. During the ensuing back and forth, there are some important negotiation tactics to keep in mind.

Preparation

Stacks of insurance policy papers underneath a pair of glasses

First, report your car accident right away. Many insurance companies have policies requiring prompt reporting. After that, start with what is referred to as a demand letter. This letter encapsulates your desired outcomes for the insurance company including the settlement amount sought. When drafting, make sure to have both a high-end number and a minimum amount that would be acceptable in mind. Of course, do not reveal this range to the adjuster. After deciding on an appropriate settlement amount, you can start the negotiation.

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When a person is injured in an accident caused by another person or entity, he or she can recover damages for pain and suffering as well as other costs. In New York, the court award for pain and suffering in a personal injury case depends on the extent of the injury and the future prognosis, including the psychological and emotional as well as physical impact. If you or a loved one pursues a personal injury claim because of a negligent action by an individual, business, or organization, the court will consider proof of pain and suffering when determining the final damage amount.

Expert Testimony

juridical concept with hammer and lawbook, selective focus on metal part,toned f/x
Gather documents from health care providers that detail the physical and mental effects of the accident. Your medical doctor must include information about how the injury has impacted your ability to function and the surgeries, treatments, and pain-relieving measures that will be required as you recover. If you are experiencing psychological effects related to the accident, seek care from a mental health provider such as a psychiatrist or therapist. He or she can provide notes about how the trauma has impacted your emotions, cognition, and overall mental health, including depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress symptoms that have arisen after the accident.

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Leav & Steinberg, LLP is proud to announce that associate Ricardo Martinez took a verdict on December 4th, 2019 in the Supreme Court, Kings County.  We represented a middle-aged woman who fell on a wet floor in her lobby.  We alleged that the super of her building had been mopping and had removed all signs and warnings.  She landed on her non-dominant wrist and was in immediate pain.

We were retained immediately and were able to demand that the owner preserve the video showing the area in question before, during and after our accident.  This was critical because the EMS workers who came to her apartment after she was taken upstairs, made an error indicating she fell in the bathroom.  The video was critical proof to the contrary.

She underwent surgery and had follow up medical care.

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Daniela F. Henriques, managing partner at Leav & Steinberg LLP, recently successfully defeated defendants’ respective motions to dismiss the complaint on the issue of serious injury/threshold.

Assessing the Extent of the Injuries

Court columns representing the services of personal injury attorney office Leav & Steinberg LLP in New York, NY
Plaintiff’s Bill of Particulars alleges post-concussion syndrome and injuries to the cervical spine, lumbar spine, right knee, and right shoulder. In support of their motions for summary judgment, defendants submitted the medical affirmations of J. Serge Parisien, MD, Vladimir Zlatnik, MD, and Michael Setton, MD. Dr. Setton reviewed MRIs of plaintiff’s cervical spine, lumbar spine, and right knee, as well as an arthrogram of his right shoulder, finding degenerative disc disease in plaintiff’s spine, unrelated to any trauma, and finding degeneration and evidence of prior repair in plaintiff’s right shoulder and knee, unrelated to the subject accident.