Construction Accidents and the New York Labor Law Statutes

Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Construction Accidents | 0 comments

One of the greatest challenges that construction firms need to face today is keeping up with the demands of progress, specifically, how to accomplish so much in shorter time periods. With the designs of buildings becoming bigger, taller and more intricate, requiring workers to render longer work periods, however, often ends in situations that post threats to worker health and safety.

According to the Hach and Rose law firm, construction is a necessary but also inherently dangerous industry that can leave workers exposed to a wide variety of construction site accidents and injuries. Any failure on the part of a general contractor, property owner, or machinery manufacturer to make sure that construction sites and construction equipment are safe may result in a devastating accident that causes innocent workers undue injury. In most states in the U.S., construction workers who suffer an injury on the job may not have any legal options available to them outside of pursuing workers’ compensation benefits. However, the state of New York provides further protection for construction workers through certain New York Labor Law statutes, allowing them to pursue compensation from liable property owners or general contractors.

A regular sight in construction areas are heavy machineries, like cranes, concrete mixers, forklifts, bulldozers, loaders, caterpillars, excavators, crawlers and  road rollers. These machineries, undoubtedly, make construction tasks easier and faster to accomplish; however, due to their huge size, wrong operation or requiring an untrained or careless worker to operate any of these can result to a disabling or even fatal injury.

Milwaukee personal injury attorneys know that injuries from construction sites are usually the most serious injury cases. Every year there are thousands of construction accidents that cause serious injury and death. Legally, construction companies are required to provide safety programs and formally inspect work sites with a safety engineer, but, unfortunately, accidents still occur resulting from the inadequacy of these provisions.

The site owners, architects, insurance companies and manufacturers of equipment can all be held responsible for inadequate safety provisions when a construction site accident occurs. In addition, the general contractor and all subcontractors are also required to provide a reasonably safe site, to warn of hazards, to hire careful employees, to coordinate job safety and to supervise safety compliance.

Due to risks of accidents and injuries that construction workers are exposed to every day, the U.S. Congress passed into law (in 1970) the Occupational Safety and Health Act (or OSH Act). The Act aims to:

  • Ensure all working men and women of safe and healthful working conditions;
  • Assist and encourage the States in their efforts in ensuring safe and healthful working conditions;
  • Provide for information, education, research and training in the area of occupational safety and health; and,
  • Authorize enforcement of the standards developed under the Act. Enforcement of these standards has been delegated by OSH Act to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which was created in 1971.

Despite OSHA’s untiring efforts in enforcing health and safety standards in the workplace, however, the U.S. Department of Labor continues to receive reports of injuries and, sometimes, deaths due to accidents. Based on results from the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, in 2013, fatal work-related accidents totaled to 4,585; in 2014 the number of deaths went up 2%, registering 4,679.

Fatal accidents in construction sites include workers being struck and killed by a forklift or other heavy machineries, being struck by falling objects, electrocution, and falls, which frequently occur while workers are on ladders or scaffoldings.

Work-related accidents resulting to injuries or death entitle workers or their families (in case of worker’s death) to file a claim with their state’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance office. Financial benefits, however, are often too small or delayed, that is if the application for claim is not rejected. Besides these, the Worker’s Comp also restricts injured workers from further pursuing legal action against their employer. Under certain circumstances, however, this Worker’s Comp’s provision may be ruled against by a court, especially in cases where the injury is too severe or is fatal.


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The Issue of Child Custody

Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Issue of Child Custody

One cause of disagreement between divorcing couples is child custody, as there are times when each parent does not want to be separated from his/her child. In the olden days, child custody was never a major court issue since courts always awarded child custody to the mother, due to the observance of a practice called “maternal preference”. This preference was based on the presumption that mother were better equipped with the love and concern necessary in raising children.

Today, many courts consider awarding custody of the child to both parents, especially if this will be in the child’s best interest. And this is most probably the decision that a court would arrive at, unless one parent is deemed and proven unfit by the court. Being judged as unfit can be due to many different reasons, such as a parent: being abusive to the child or a bad influence to the child (this can be due to use and dependence to illegal drugs and/or alcohol); exposing the child or allowing the child to be exposed to pornographic elements; using excessive forms of disciplinary acts; being charged or convicted of a crime, and so forth.

Two other important factors considered by the court when deciding who gets child custody are parent’s involvement in the child’s activities and the environment where the parent resides. Spending time with the child and being there when the child needs him/her the most, like during school plays, school meetings and other activities, are greatly considered and appreciated by the court.

If the environment can put the child’s health at risk, or compromise his/her safety, maybe due to the regularity of crimes in the neighborhood or open use of illegal drugs, then these may affect the court’s decision.

Other factors that can affect a court in deciding about child custody (or modifying an existing custody decision) include: the ill behavior of your former partner’s new partner, which may have an unfavorable effect on the child; the custodial parent acquiring an illness that will affect his/her capability in taking care of the child; the custodial parent deliberately doing whatever will sever the good relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child; and/or the health, age and financial opportunities of both parents.

According to The Maynard Law Firm, PLLC, “Issues related to the custody of your children may very well be the most important aspect of your divorce. If possible, you and your partner should attempt to agree upon what specific role each of you will play in the lives of your children once the divorce is finalized. While it may be possible to work this out voluntarily, many partners end up going to court for rulings to resolve the disagreements over the custody of their children.

Child custody attorneys understand just how much will be riding on this agreement, and they can develop a comprehensive legal strategy to help you fight for the best interests of your family. That being said, they may be able to help you understand the implications of all your choices so that you can make informed decisions about your child’s future.”

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Uncovering The Reasons Why You Need Bar/Liquor Liability For Your Business

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Liquor Liability | 0 comments

Some people just can’t get enough of alcohol. And with hundreds and thousands of bars and shops selling these beverages, people have more reason to enjoy their favorite alcoholic beverage. The bad news here is that people do not know how to stop drinking. A Charleston personal injury attorney will tell you that intoxication with alcohol can result to serious injuries or even death.

If you are someone who owns a bar or tavern and serves alcoholic beverages, you are better off taking out a liquor liability insurance. In some states, establishments that sell alcohol will be held responsible for injuries caused by an intoxicated person. The liability sets in if they serve liquor to a customer despite being visibly drunk.

With the costly nature of liability claims, bar owners must consider getting liquor liability insurance. This is a good way of protecting your establishment from shouldering any potential financial loss resulting from a customer’s intoxication. Such policy can help shoulder legal expenses, court fees, or civil and criminal charges. Most states require businesses that sell alcohol to carry liquor liability insurance.

Typical liquor liability insurance will provide coverage for any damage or injuries that will be incurred from liquor induced fights or altercations. The policy will also cover assault and battery claims. If the case goes to court, liquor liability insurance will also pay for attorney’s fees as well as litigation expenses.

It is worth noting that the intoxicated person cannot collect damages from any injury he himself sustained. Collecting damages for the injuries is the responsibility of a third party. In order to successfully collect, the drunk person must prove that there was a connection between the injury and the selling of the drink at the bar or tavern. There is a limitation on the collectible damages on the premise that the intoxicated person was responsible for their injuries in the first place.

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Understanding Punitive Damages In A Drunk Driving Incident

Posted by on Nov 4, 2016 in Automotive Dangers | 0 comments

Time and time again we have been constantly reminded of the dangers of drunk driving. One cannot deny the effects of alcohol on the judgment and decision making capability of a driver. While there have been efforts to curb drunk driving, there are still negligent drivers who endanger the lives of pedestrians and other drivers. DUI can severely inhibit a driver’s motor function and reaction time, which is important when driving a car.

Aside from being criminally charged, a drunk driver also faces stiff penalties as a result of the injury they have caused. Under the law, the plaintiff is entitled to receive monetary damages to indemnify them from potential losses or injury. Monetary damages are designed to help replace what the plaintiff lost. Another kind of damage that the court may award to the plaintiff is punitive damage.

The aim of punitive damages is to punish the defendant for their malicious or reckless behavior. While monetary damages are awarded by the court, punitive damages will come from the defendant. They are in place in order to protect the public and warn others that committing a similar crime will subject them to similar penalties. While it is allowed by the judge, it will still be the decision of the jury on whether or not punitive damages will be granted.

In general, punitive damages are awarded for outrageous behavior. These are acts that are done with a bad motive or with a reckless indifference to the interest of others. Because of its potential to cause harm and serious injury, drunk driving has been considered as outrageous conduct. In awarding punitive damages, the jury should consider not only the actual accident but also the circumstances surrounding it such as motive, relationship of the parties involved in the accident, provocation, and the driving history of the driver.

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Eligibility Requirements for SSDI and SSI Benefits

Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Social Security Disability | 0 comments

There are two Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which pays benefits to “insured” disabled individuals and certain members of thier family; and, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays benefits to disabled individuals based on their financial need.

SSDI and SSI are the U.S. Federal government’s two largest programs aimed at providing financial assistance to qualified individuals or individuals who meet the criteria set by the Social Security Administration. SSDI was introduced in 1956, while SSI was created in 1974. Though both are managed by the SSA, each address different disability needs and have different requirements for qualification.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), specifically, pays benefits to insured members who are totally disabled. “Insured members” refer to individuals 65 years old or below, who:

  • Have worked long enough (or recently enough) and have paid Social Security taxes or Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes while employed (these taxes, which are paid on a monthly basis, are automatically deducted from their salary);
  • Have earned the SSA-required number of credits (four credits earned every year); and,
  • Are suffering from total disability which: (i) renders them incapable of performing their previous work or any other work; (ii) has either lasted for a year or is likely to last for at least a year; and, (iii) can be expected to result in death.

The Social Security Administration has drawn up a list of severe medical conditions. If an insured member’s claimed disability is included in this list, and if he/she has earned the required number of credits, then he/she may be eligible to receive the benefits paid through SSDI. Otherwise, SSA will require an evaluation to determine if his/her health condition is serious enough to be considered a form of total disability.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, on the other hand, are paid to individuals who are, at least, 65 years old, blind, or disabled and whose income or resources fall within the federal benefit rate (FBR) determined by the government.

SSI is aimed at helping provide for the basic needs of its beneficiaries, including food, shelter and clothing. In a number of states, SSI benefits application is also considered as application for food stamps, while other states allow the benefits to be supplemented by Medicaid to cover prescriptions, doctor’s fee and other medical care costs.

As explained by the Hankey Law Office, disability benefits vary in amount and duration. Whatever the amount a beneficiary will receive, though, it will always be a reliable source of income that will make a world of difference in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. To make sure that applicants for claims get approved for either an SSDI or SSI benefit, or both, having an experienced Social Security Disability Insurance Lawyer helping them through the whole process may be advantageous.

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