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Summer brings many of the joys of enjoying the outdoors and recreational activities such as hiking, swimming, and boating.   Unfortunately, it often gives rise to tragic accidents associated with those activities, particularly when it comes to boating.  According to a report by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), there were 22 reported boating fatalities in 2017 which was the same as 2016.

An analysis recently conducted by the New York Daily News revealed that there were 15 fatal boating accidents in upstate New York in 2017.  Many of these fatalities involved people not wearing Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), commonly referred to as “life-vests.”  Drugs and/or alcohol were reported to also be a factor in a number of the deaths.

Persons injured or killed as a result of the negligence of a boat operator have a recourse through the New York civil justice system.  Boat operators in New York are not required to maintain insurance, but still may be held liable for injuries caused due their negligence similar to operators of motor vehicles.  Usually, responsible boat owners will maintain insurance for injuries caused by their negligence as well as property damage and other items unique to boating.  From an attorney’s perspective, an inquiry must be made immediately as to whether the boat owner/operator has applicable insurance and/or the assets available for a meaningful recovery.

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Most people approaching the age of 50 knows that their doctor will recommend a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer.  The risk of developing colon cancer increases as you get older. Traditionally, the screening test involves a colonoscopy which requires a bowel prep the day before and a procedure under anesthesia in a hospital or colonoscopy clinic.  In an article published on May 30, 2018, The American Cancer Society has now recommended that the screening should take place when a person turns 45 and it does not have to involve a colonoscopy initially.  Tests such as home stool tests can be prescribe and could be used as potential screening tests in lieu of a colonoscopy at age 45.  It must also be noted that certain populations, such as African-Americans, are at increased risk of developing colon cancer and various medical groups have recommended colorectal cancer screenings for African-Americans be the standard of care at age 45.

The next question will be whether insurance companies will allow their customers and network doctors to perform these tests at age 45.  The reality is that colon cancer is the 4th most commonly diagnosed cancer among adults over the age of 55, but it is the second leading cause of cancer death.  Medical reports have shown that early detection and removal of colorectal polyps and lesions decreases the incidence of cancer and mortality.  Simply stated, colon cancer is a cancer that often can be effectively treated with early detection and intervention.  From an insurance company perspective, the cost of an early screening test could potentially save the costs of a delayed diagnosis resulting in cancer metastasis and extensive medical treatment.

From a legal perspective, a medical malpractice attorney will be interested in determining whether the recommendation of the American Cancer Society becomes the standard of care, particularly in New York.  The medical malpractice attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP have over 50 years of experience handling cases arising out of a failure to timely and properly diagnose cancer.  We have also handled numerous cases involving colon cancers and colonoscopies.

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When tragedies occur, it is natural for people to try to assign blame wherever they can.  From a lawyer’s perspective, the issues are rarely as black and white as the general public would like them to be.  On Friday morning, a homeless man was found dead under a downtown R train in Brooklyn at the Court Street Station in Brooklyn Heights.  According to a report by the New York Daily News, the homeless man fell or was struck by the train while walking on the tracks at approximately 4:00am.

This accident, while undoubtedly tragic, requires a detailed legal analysis to determine who is to blame and if there would be reasonable chance of recovery if a lawsuit was brought.  Various areas of New York personal injury law, General Municipal Law, and Estates Powers and Trusts Laws are instantly implicated and need thorough analysis at the outset.

The attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP have over 50 years of experience in the litigation of personal injury cases.  It is this experience in handling these legal matters which gives insight into the appropriate legal analysis of the above-referenced accident and the applicable New York laws.  At first blush, the train accident described above involves a man being struck and killed by a subway train.  Before the analysis of the relevant culpable conduct of the potentially liable parties can begin, other steps must be taken.

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As a firm with decades of experience handling medical malpractice cases, the law firm of Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP has represented victims injured due to various types of medical malpractice.  Unfortunately,  a medical error involving the incorrect administration of medicine is a scenario that arises more frequently than most would believe.  These situations do not typically garner headlines such as the recent report wherein a Russian woman was mistakenly injected with formaldehyde instead of saline according to a published news article.  Formalin contains formaldehyde which is used to preserve or “embalm” dead bodies.

The woman was apparently undergoing a procedure for the removal of ovarian cysts.  During the procedure, she as injected with formalin, which contains formaldehyde, instead of saline because the staff at the hospital failed to read the name on the vial.  By the time the mistake was realized, it was too late and the woman died as a result of the poison being introduced into her system.  Those responsible for this tragedy have apparently been terminated or otherwise held accountable.  In all likelihood, various members of the hospital staff, and the hospital itself, would be liable for medical malpractice and the wrongful death of this woman.

The reported situation is unique in that it is a clear case of medical malpractice and would likely fall under the category of hospital negligence.  Medical malpractice involves a breach of the duty of reasonable care by a medical professional or medical facility which results in injury or death to a patient.  If this happened in New York, the expert opinion of a doctor would be required prior to the institution of a lawsuit, despite the obvious nature of the medical malpractice to the general public. New York, and many states, require this expert review in order to prevent the filing of frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits.

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Bus accidents are often among the most tragic and involved personal injury matters largely due to the number of people who are often injured as a result.  Recently, the terrible crash involving the  Canadian Junior ice hockey team from Humbodlt, Saskatchewan resulted in the deaths of 15 people and a number of other injuries.  This crash made news across the globe due to the age of the victims and the number of deaths involved.

This past weekend, a bus accident occurred in New York on the Southern State Parkway on Long Island.  According to a report by the New York Daily News, a charter bus carrying Long Island teenagers coming home from a school Spring Break trip, crashed into an overpass on the highway.  Six of the passengers on the bus sustained serious injuries and another 37 sustained minor injuries.  According to the report, the height of the bus exceeded the height restriction for the Southern State Parkway.  The driver of the bus was apparently unaware of the height restriction.

When someone injured or killed in a bus accident, it is important for the victim and the victim’s family to understand their legal rights.  The attorneys at Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP have extensive experience representing the victims of bus accidents, as well as the skills and expertise to conduct a thorough analysis of the legal issues in the case.

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Construction worker at a height

OSHA is investigating the death of a construction worker who died due to injuries sustained at the Wynn Boston Harbor construction site in Everett, Massachusetts on Tuesday according to a report by Fox 25 News in Boston.  The exact circumstances are still under investigation.

In New York, construction accidents such as the one described above touch upon various aspects of personal injury law, including the Labor Law and Wrongful Death Law.   The law firm of Queller, Fisher, Washor, Fuchs & Kool, LLP has over 50 years of expertise in handling construction accident and wrongful death cases.  Based on our experience, our legal analysis of this accident under New York law would necessarily involve these two aspects of the law.  The New York Labor Law Section 240 was enacted to protect workers from height or gravity-related accidents.  Although often called the “Scaffold Law,” it also can involve construction workers injured by materials which have fallen from a height due to improper hoisting, securing, etc.  This law imposes absolute liability on owners and general contractors who violate its terms resulting in injuries to workers lawfully on the premises.

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The National Transportation Safety Board found that a failure to screen NJ Transit engineer for sleeping disorder caused Hoboken crash.  Obstructive sleep apnea was a factor in the tragic accident according to an article on Lohud.com.

Perhaps more disturbing is that legislation to require the screening of employees for this sleeping disorder was withdrawn by the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in August.  The NTSB had investigated five other train crashes since 2001 where sleep apnea was a cause.

Have you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a train accident? If so, you may have grounds to file a negligence or wrongful death lawsuit against the railroad company or train’s manufacturer. For a free consultation with our train accident attorneys, call (212) 406-1700 or contact us online.

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The "Tide Pod" Challenge has been in the news recently as a result of its increasing popularity and general awareness in social media circles. In essence, the "Tide Pod" Challenge involves primarily kids biting into brightly colored liquid laundry detergent packets, or cooking them in frying pans, then chewing them up before spewing the soap from their mouths, according to this article from the Washington Post. These acts are recorded and posted on social media. 

However, these packets contain highly-concentrated laundry detergent which should not be ingested. The parent company, Proctor & Gamble, has issued warnings about the dangers of this activity and is taking this matter very seriously. YouTube is flagging videos about this activity and removing them from their site.

The question for those of us who have neither the desire nor inclination to film ourselves eating laundry detergent is "Why are people doing this in the first place?" At the outset, it must be noted that these packets are small, brightly colored and smell nice. In fact, in 2013, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a warning about these products and the dangers of ingestion. The attraction to children is obvious: "The soft and colorful product can be easily mistaken by a child for candy, toys, or a teething product."  

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A new term is now in use for New Yorkers as we as we set to experience a “Bomb Cyclone.” What is a “Bomb Cyclone?” According to this article by Forbes.Com, it is essentially a winter hurricane – a powerful low pressure system that rapidly intensifies. Of course, a storm such as this increases the risk of accidents due to snow and ice on the streets and sidewalks which are a major cause of personal injuries. If you have an accident and fall on snow and ice, these are the Top Six things you or someone on your behalf should do as soon as possible:

1. Call for help – you or someone on your behalf should call 911 so that the Police can come and assess the situation and document the happening of the accident. In New York, the police will prepare what is called an Aided Report. Aided Reports record occurrences when an individual is injured (not involving a motor vehicle), becomes sick or lost and service is rendered by the New York City Police Department.

2. See Medical Attention – the police or someone on your behalf should call for an ambulance to transport you to the nearest hospital. This insures that you get prompt medical treatment for your injuries to help achieve the best chance of a good recovery. This also will ensure that your accident is documented in case any potentially responsible party disputes the occurrence.

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In New York, a medical malpractice action for “Wrongful Birth” has been recognized since the New York Court of Appeals rendered their 1978 decision in the case Becker v. Schwartz. This cause of action allows parents to recover monetary damages from a negligent physician for the extraordinary care and treatment expenses of a child with a congenital disability resulting from the failure of their doctor to properly warn of their risk of conceiving or giving birth to a child with serious genetic or congenital abnormalities.

There have been a variety of issues surrounding this rather unique cause of action. One of these issues dealt with the accrual date of the applicable Statute of Limitations period for such an action. Negligent physicians would argue that the 2 1/2 year Limitations period began on the date of the medical malpractice, which usually occurred months before the delivery date. In an opinion released today, the Court of Appeals clarified that the statute of limitations for the claim of the parents begins to run on the date of the child’s birth, not on the date that the malpractice occurred. The Decision can be found in the case B.F. v. Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, LLP. This Decision marks a fair and balanced approach to the analysis and helps parents secure justice for their disabled child and the extraordinary expenses associated therewith.

The value of birth injury lawsuit can vary from case to case. Compensation for a birth injury can range from several thousand dollars to well over $1 million. The cost of medical bills, effect on future earning potential, and extent of pain and suffering caused by the injury are some of the factors that go into determining how much a medical malpractice lawsuit may be worth.