Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC
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Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC
Call or email to schedule a FREE consultation.
212-227-2780 800-269-2780
Free transportation can be provided.
Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC

New York Expands Safety Measures at Railroad Crossings

What can I do if I am injured in a railroad accident?

In the wake of a series of fatal accidents at railroad crossings in the state, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers have agreed to expand safety measures in order to ensure the state's law adhere to federal regulations. Earlier this year, the Federal Railroad Administration asked every state to check their rail crossing systems. "This agreement will help to reduce the amount of preventable tragedies that have occurred at these crossings over the years," Cuomo said in a statement. Deadly Crashes at NY Rail Crossings In February 2015, a Metro-North Commuter train struck an SUV that had driven onto the track In Valhalla, killing its driver and five passengers. Apparently, the signal system failed and the SUV drove onto the tracks unaware of the oncoming train. Lawmakers believe that upgraded signage, signals and safety inspections will reduce the chances of such deadly accidents. With these new rules in place, every railroad company, municipality and state agency will be required to conduct inspections of traffic control devices at least every two years, and the laws will adhere to federal reporting requirements. In addition the rail crossing systems enhancements, the new law will also require private railroad companies to submit bridge inspection reports to the state Department of Transportation on an annual basis. The state will also launch a public-awareness campaign about the dangers of rail crossings. Penalties Railroad companies face penalties up to$5,000 for each violation of the law, including failure to notify the state of accidents or to submit require bi-annual and annual reports. Vehicle drivers also have responsibilities under the law and face fines for driving through train signals - $750 for a second offense. Why This Matters The new legislation is long overdue and should help to curtail deadly accidents at railroad crossings. That being said, thousands of train accidents occur every year across the country resulting in serious injuries and lost lives. If you or a loved one was injured in a train accident, an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

Personal Injury and Airplane Crashes

Who's responsible when an airplane crashes?

Increased traffic means increased risk, in the air as well as on the road. In general, airplane travel is considered a safe mode of transportation, even though airplane crashes result in more frequent fatalities and can result in lawsuits involving serious personal injuries as well as wrongful death charges. Nonetheless, there are cases in which pilots or passengers manage to survive air accidents with minimal injuries or none at all. Remember Captain Sullenberger who made a safe emergency landing on the Hudson River? If you have suffered a personal injury, of someone you love has suffered wrongful death, as a result of an aircraft accident, you should hire a highly competent personal injury attorney as soon as possible to help you receive the compensation you deserve. What are the causes of airplane accidents? There are, of course, aviation accidents that can be blamed on terrible weather conditions or terrorism. The majority of aircraft accidents, however, are caused by one of the following:

Possible Premises Liability in Orlando Alligator Attack

Are landowners responsible for attacks by wild animals?

The recent horrific death of a toddler who was dragged off by an alligator in Orlando has evoked stark terror and compassion. It also brings up, as did the case in which the gorilla was shot after a young child fell into his zoo habitat, the subject of premises liability. What is premises liability? Premises liability is a legal concept concerning situations in which one person is injured on another person's property as a result of an unsafe condition. Property owners who neglect to maintain their property are at grave risk of being sued if, for example, they leave an oil slick or broken glass on the driveway. It is considered the duty of the homeowner (or, in some cases, tenant) of the property to warn of any latent or concealed dangers and to repair hazardous conditions promptly. Premises liability law is complicated. If you are dealing with such an issue, you should consult with an attorney who specializes in this type of personal injury. The Dangers of Disney World In general, property owners are responsible for injuries if they have neglected repairs or have a dangerous condition, such as unseen hole, on their property. Although property owners are also expected to control the behavior of their pets, they are not typically considered to be able to supervise wild animals. Nonetheless, the question in the Orlando case will rest upon the legal status of a "hidden danger" (in the form of an alligator) that was not brought to the attention of visitors. The Law Concerning Wild Animals The law designates wild animals as "Ferae naturae," assumed not to belong to anyone and not to be under anyone's dominion. The behavior of wild animals is expected to be unpredictable. In the Disney World case, however, there are several other factors at play. First, though the alligator is indigenous to Florida, much depends on whether the animal was living in a totally natural habitat or had been placed in the park purposefully. If the animal in question was confined, the owners are much more likely to be found liable for the animal's actions. What attorneys are likely to focus on in this case is the fact that this child was visiting a resort in which his life should have been protected, if not by removing the alligator, then by posting warnings of a clear and present danger. Although, according to preliminary reports, there was a No Swimming sign posted, it is entirely possible that the court will feel that this warning was insufficient since the child was only wading in the water when he was attacked. In the end, the crucial facts will be both the specifics of the tragedy, not all of which have yet been revealed, and whether the property owners knew, or should have known, the behavior of the alligators in the lagoon to be a direct hazard to any small child on the island. This case is startling in its gruesome barbarity. While not all serious personal injury cases are as horrifying, all result in physical and emotional pain, medical and/or rehabilitation costs, and, in many instances, lost wages. If you are located in New York and have suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of another, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney with the skill to assist you in receiving the highest possible compensation.

Harco Trench Collapse Verdict Sets New Standard

What is being done to prevent construction site deaths in New York City?

With the guilty verdict for manslaughter against Harco Construction related to a trench collapse earlier this year in New York City, the Manhattan District Attorney will now have more leverage to rely on criminal prosecutions in construction site deaths. The case arose from the death of an undocumented immigrant worker, who was employed by Long Island-based Sky Materials, in a trench collapse. The worker was buried alive when an unsupported 14 foot deep trench caved in. Both companies were charged in the incident, and a trial involving Sky Materials is pending. According to reports, both companies failed to heed warnings of the potential hazards by safety inspectors.  In addition to manslaughter, Harco was also found guilty of criminally negligent homicide and three counts of reckless endangerment. During the trial, the company argued that the excavation subcontractor was responsible for the collapse, and that Harco, as general contractor, could not oversee every aspect of Sky's work. The judge disagreed, however, finding Harco criminally negligent. "Today's guilty verdict should signal to the construction industry that managing a project from afar does not insulate a corporation or general contractor from criminal liability," said Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. Some observers believe the verdict against Harco could lead to a new and stricter standard for criminal liability for construction site accidents. This was also hailed as a victory for immigrant workers that will lead to greater safety standards. A variety of advocacy groups supporting undocumented workers had protested in front of the courthouse during the trial, calling for Harco to be convicted. Undocumented Workers Injured in Construction Accidents The nature of construction work is dangerous, and many workers are seriously injured in accidents such as cave-ins. While these accidents are often the basis of personal injury lawsuits, a criminal conviction like this case is rare. The challenge in these cases is determining which party is at fault since a typical project involves property owners, contractors and subcontractors, manufacturers and suppliers. In the end, the use of undocumented workers on construction sites in New York City is far more common than many people realize. These workers have rights, however, and undocumented construction workers who are injured in construction accidents may be able to sue for damages. It remains to be seen whether the victim's family will pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. In the meantime, a company that fails to provide a safe working environment at a construction site can be found negligent. If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a construction accident you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.

Nursing Home Abuse by Other Residents

Are nursing home residents ever abused by other residents?

Much has been written about nursing home abuse by staff members and measures are (hopefully) being taken to curb the problem. As more research has been done about abuse in nursing homes, however, an important, previously ignored, difficulty has come to light: the abuse of patients by other patients. It is now estimated that at least one in five of all nursing home residents has suffered verbal or physical abuse from another resident. If a member of your family has been injured in a nursing care facility in New York, you should contact an experienced, competent personal injury attorney to discuss your options. The Disturbing Facts Recently collected data shows that of 2,011 nursing home residents interviewed and/or examined, 407 of them had been abused by a roommate or other resident during the month-long study. While a whopping 45 percent of these cases involved only verbal abuse, we all know that words can hurt, particularly if you have limited mobility and no choice but to remain a captive audience. Alarmingly, 26 percent of the nursing home residents studied were victims of physical assaults. In all probability, there were even more incidents of verbal and/or physical abuse than were ever reported. Although verbal and physical abuse were the most often reported forms of abuse, another 20 percent of abuse incidents involved invasion of privacy. This is no surprise in a situation in which people unused to communal living are put together and when a fair number of them have dementia which often prompts them to wander, or to handle or take things that don't belong to them. In another 4 percent of cases, residents experienced "assaults" in the form of nasty or threatening facial expressions or gestures. A bit less than 3 percent of reported incidents involved some kind of sexual abuse. Reasons for the Abusive Behavior There are several possible explanations for the destructive, often frightening, behavior of some nursing home residents. According to Dr. Mark Lachs, a researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine and director of geriatrics at New York Presbyterian Health Care System, these include:

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