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Brooklyn Legal Issues Blog

What can you do to protect customers in a retail establishment?

You take pride in the thriving retail establishment that you own in New York and you recognize that your customers play an integral role in keeping your business functioning the way you want it to. Part of developing loyal customers is giving them an experience that is superior to the one they could expect to receive at your competitors. When they come to your store, their experience should be safe, helpful and efficient. 

Keeping your customers safe while they are on the premises of your business is a crucial part of maintaining a successful business. If your customers do get injured because you have been reckless or have failed to maintain your establishment, you could be at risk of facing a lawsuit that could ruin your reputation and tarnish your brand. 

What should you do if the police are at your door?

In New York, there has often been concern among citizens about how to react in the presence of law enforcement officers. Knowing your rights is important, but it's equally important to understand what your best options are in any given situation that involves police.

For example, what do you do if the police show up at your door? FindLaw examines the limitations that police must observe when it comes to search and seizure. Despite what one may think, law enforcement is not simply allowed to search anyone's property without any reason. They must have either proof of a crime, evidence within their line of sight that a crime has occurred, or probable cause that they will find this evidence upon searching the premise.

What is negligent entrustment?

A car accident in Brooklyn can result in you having to deal with a mountain of unanticipated expenses. The prospects of being able to successfully manage such costs may seem to go down if the driver that hit you reveals that they were not using their own vehicle. Oftentimes, when one is not in their own car, it signifies that they may lack the purchasing power to buy one. If that is the case, the chances of you recovering any compensation from them may be slim. The next inevitable question then is whether you can hold the vehicle's owner liable? 

You may have heard of the legal concept of negligent entrustment. This principle allows you to assign vicarious liability to a vehicle owner for car accidents and the damage their vehicle causes while being operated by another. This makes sense from the standpoint that people are typically responsible for any damages related to their property. Yet in many states, the law requires an element of knowledge to be present in order to apply negligent entrustment to a case. It must be proven that the driver involved has displayed negligent or incompetent tendencies behind the wheel, and that the vehicle owner knew of such tendencies and allowed them to use the vehicle anyway. 

How can I protect myself when stopped by law enforcement?

If you are stopped by law enforcement in New York, do you know your rights? Do you know what to do to avoid being arrested or ending up in a bad situation? It is imperative that you understand what you must do and what to avoid, so the situation does not escalate. You have many rights under the constitution, but sometimes how you handle your rights can have a big effect on the situation.

According to USA Today, you can always evoke your rights, especially that to stay silent. However, officers may not always respect your rights and could arrest you. It is best if you react in a calm and polite manner whenever interacting with officers. You should also clarify anything an officer says. Ask if he or she is giving you an order. If an officer orders you to do something, then you must comply, but if not, then you have the choice to comply or not if it is in violation of your rights.

How many people die from medical errors?

If you think medical malpractice in New York and the U.S. is an overblown problem promoted by attorneys chasing big settlements, it may surprise you to learn about a recent hospital study led by doctors themselves. According to National Public Radio, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers, led by a resident surgeon, say the result of medical errors is much more significant than previously thought. In fact, they noted mistakes should be listed as the third-highest cause of death in rankings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In analyzing previous studies, the researchers estimate that more than 250,000 Americans die each year as a result of medical mistakes. That places errors in third place on the CDC's annual mortality list, following deaths from cancer and heart disease, which accounted for 600,000 deaths each in 2014. Respiratory disease was responsible for about 150,000 deaths.

Common challenges in slip and fall cases

Whether it is a shopping day on the town or a weeknight spent running errands, New Yorkers rarely stop to think about the topic of slip and fall accidents. Yet when such an incident occurs, the shopping list is suddenly the least of one's worries. Depending on the severity of the accident, victims may have a long road ahead of them in terms of recovery, dealing with medical costs and navigating potential legal aspects. The following information takes a look at slip and fall incidents, as well as the possible hurdles that victims can face in the processes that follow an injury. 

Findlaw is quick to point out in an article on slip and fall accidents that these types of incidents are hardly uncommon. While thousands of customers sustain injuries while shopping each year, proving liability can become the biggest focus in slip and fall cases. Findlaw raises the question: if a property owner had been more cautious about the dangerous situation, could the accident have been avoided altogether? Other factors involve an owner's knowledge of the dangerous condition, as well as an owner's or employee's role in causing the dangerous condition. 

Rules to prevent fatigue among truckers

New York residents understand that truckers who spend many long and often lonely hours behind the wheel can naturally become tired. The fatigue that sets in may be a contributor to crashes as drivers are unable to make their best decisions or react as quickly as they might if they were fresher and more awake. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration acknowledges this risk and has therefore developed a set of rules governing the working and rest hours for commercial drivers.

Through the Hours of Service rule, the FMCSA dictates the maximum number of hours that may be worked in a given week and day, how many of those hours may be spent actively driving and the frequency and durations of break periods. For drivers who carry goods, not people, a work week extending eight days may include up to 70 hours worked. Drivers who work a seven-day week may log up to 60 hours in that time.

New York sees drop in vehicular fatalities

If you are like many people in New York, you have at times been very concerned about the number of people killed in automobile accidents, especially when these accidents could easily have been avoided if another driver had made a more responsible choice. Good examples include crashes caused by drugged or drunk drivers, wrecks that happen when a driver is distracted by a phone or other device and even those that occur when a driver maneuvers their vehicle in a reckless fashion.

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates that over the five-year period from 2012 to 2016, New York State experienced something of an up and down trend when it comes to the number of deaths in vehicle accidents. Overall, in 2016 there was a slight decline in the total number of fatalities as well as the number of fatalities in crashes involving alcohol, excessive speed, large trucks, motorcyclists and pedestrians. However, 1,025 people still lost their lives that year alone.

Spotlighting the severity of ground-level falls

It may be easy for many in Brooklyn to dismiss those who seek civil action following a slip-and-fall accident as people simply looking for a quick cash grab. This line of thinking no doubt comes from the assumption that ground-level falls cannot produce significant injuries. Most have likely experienced a moment where a false step caused them to lose their balance and fall. Often, one simply uses his or her hands or arms to absorb the impact and is able to walk away with nothing more than wounded pride. Yet depending on the circumstances contributing to them as well as the demographic profile of those who suffer them, falls can easily produce devastating results. 

The World Health Organization reports that every year, 37.7 million falling accidents produce results severe enough to require medical attention. What contributes to the severity of fall injuries? In many cases, it is the lack of anticipation. A slip on a slick surface can often not be foreseen (especially in places one would not expect such a condition). Such an incident can leave one with virtually no time to react, exposing his or her head, shoulders, hips and ankles to sudden (and unprotected) impacts with the hard ground. 

How can workers' comp help families?

For New Yorkers hurt on the job, workers' compensation usually helps replace some of your lost income while you recover. Along with money to pay the bills and medical care to treat your injury, you may not realize there are social services to help you and your family deal with the frustration and stress that comes with an injury.

The state Workers' Compensation Board explains that injuries, both permanent and temporary, can have an overwhelming effect on the family of an injured worker. Not only are they harmed financially, but they can experience a change in social status and personal roles within the family dynamic. Social workers can help counsel family members in dealing with the changes, and offer a variety of additional services as well.

  • Social workers are able to work with insurance carriers to arrange for benefits, and they can also:
  • Attempt to delay legal actions against the worker until other issues are settled.
  • Negotiate for lower payments with landlords, as well as utility businesses and other services.
  • Help the family develop a budget more in line with its now-reduced income.
  • Refer the family to community programs offering food stamps, shelters, food pantries and others.
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