Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC
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212-227-2780 800-269-2780
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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

Discovering Medical Malpractice Years after Death

Q: Is there a time limit on bringing a medical malpractice case? There is a special kind of grief when a loved one goes into the hospital for surgery and doesn't come out alive. The unexpected death may leave surviving family members not only grief stricken or in financial distress, but even second-guessing the decision to have had the surgery. Could there have been medical malpractice? Imagine accepting and struggling through this loss without question only to find out several years later--through a reporter reaching out to you--that there was an investigation into your loved one's death, that the surgeon involved was fired and fled to another state, and that he is no longer licensed to practice in the state. That's what happened to two families whose loved ones were operated on by the same young cardiothoracic surgeon, a month apart in the summer of 2011. Both patients had heart bypass and/or heart valve repair/replacement surgeries, both experienced extended time on cardiopulmonary bypass machines, and both died in the hospital after surgery. The two back-to-back deaths prompted a state investigation wherein questions were raised regarding the surgeon's decisions to continue an attempted challenging artery harvest rather switching to a vein harvest in one patient and the decision to attempt and continue with a challenging valve repair instead of a valve replacement in the other patient. The surgeon was first licensed to practice in the state in May, 2011. The hospital terminated the surgeon, who denied any unprofessional conduct, in October 2011. But the families of the deceased patients were never notified about the investigation or termination until contacted recently by a reporter. Laws vary from state to state regarding the amount of time one has to commence a lawsuit or forfeit the right to do so--this time limit is referred to as the "statute of limitations". And the time limit differs depending on the type of claim, with New York wrongful death claims having one of the shortest deadlines--just 2 years from the death of a loved one due to the negligent or reckless actions of another. In New York, medical malpractice claims must be commenced within 2 ½ years from the date of the incident or the cessation of continuous treatment. So it's important to contact an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice as soon as you suspect that the doctor who caused injury to you or your loved one departed from good and accepted medical practice during the treatment. Even if you think too much time has lapsed, an experienced attorney can assess your situation to determine whether any tolling provisions may apply or whether commencing an alternative claim with a longer statute of limitations might still be possible. The Manhattan law firm of Jaroslawicz & Jaros has represented those who've suffered injuries or have died as a result of medical malpractice for over 40 years. Contact us for a free consultation at (212) 227-2780 or (800) 269-2780.  

Manhattan DA Pursuing Construction Site Cases

What is being done about construction accidents in New York? There is a construction boom going on in New York City that can be plainly seen by the construction cranes that have become part of the city's skyline. That's the good news. The bad news is that there has also been spike in construction accidents that have resulted in injuries and death to construction workers. In response, the Manhattan district attorney's office has been bringing criminal charges against builders who have violated safety laws or failed to report site-injuries. Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. recently said that the construction boom has created an environment where builders have cut corners. Even worse, a multi-agency task force formed last year has revealed fraudulent safety inspections, bribery and other crimes that have contributed to creating unsafe conditions. These crimes have been the basis for a number of cases brought by the district attorney's office. As we recently reported, Harco Construction LLC was convicted of manslaughter in the death of an immigrant worker in a construction site trench collapse. The case set a precedent for finding that a general contractor or a firm managing a project could be held criminally liable for a worker's death even though that individual was working directly for a subcontractor. While attorneys for Harco believe the verdict will be overturned on appeal, that case and the ongoing efforts by the DA to prosecute these cases, have sent shockwaves through the construction industry. Although construction work is inherently dangerous, Harco and other similarly situated firms may have trouble doing business in the city as they have been labeled "bad actors." The overarching issue is the nature of the relationship between companies, contractors and subcontractors, and which is ultimately liable for worker injuries and deaths. This comes against the backdrop of the amount of new construction in the city where there was 92 million feet in 2105, compared to 19 million in 2011. During this time, the number of accidents tripled, resulting in 5 deaths already this year. In addition to trench collapses, construction sites have been plagued by fires, explosions, crane collapses, and a wide range of other accidents. While the district attorney's office should be lauded for its efforts to pursue bad actors for safety violations, injured workers also have powerful legal recourse - a personal injury lawsuit. If you or a loved one was injured in a construction accident, you should engage the services of a personal injury attorney.

BMW Vindicated in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

What are the grounds for a product liability lawsuit?  In 2013, a man was making repairs on his 1997 BMW 540i Sedan when it fell on top of him. The car had been lifted with the cantilever jack that was provided by the manufacturer for changing tires. The jack tipped over while he was underneath the car, and he was asphyxiated.  The man's father filed a wrongful death lawsuit, but a federal judge granted BMW's motion for summary judgment. The jack was made by a German company, and BMW's owner manual and a label on the jack warned that it was designed solely for changing tires, Moreover, the judge noted that the manual also warned that someone should not lie underneath the car while the jack was being used and that "no reasonable juror" could find that it was not being misused. Product Liability The wrongful death lawsuit was based on a number of liability theories, including strict liability for defective design, negligence and negligent design. The plaintiff also argued that the misuse of the jack was "foreseeable" and that BMW and the jack manufacturer had reason to know that users would disregard the warnings. The judge disagreed, however, finding it was reasonable for BMW to assume that the warning would be read and followed and that the jack was not defective or unreasonably dangerous. In sum, the judge found that the man lifted the vehicle with the jack, did not use the jack stand, and then made repairs while underneath the vehicle "in direct opposition to warnings in the owner's manual and on the jack itself." If the warnings had been deficient, or had not provided, BMW and the jack manufacturer may have been held responsible for the man's death. Because, the jack was not used correctly, there was no proof of causation under the negligence and negligent design claims. While this death is sad and tragic, this case illustrates the basis of a wrongful death/product liability. There are cases when manufacturing or design defects in consumer products can cause injury or death. Moreover, if consumers are not sufficiently warned about the risks of misusing a product, or its inherent dangers, this may also be the basis for a product liability lawsuit. If you or a loved one was injured by a defective or dangerous product, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain meaningful compensation.

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Jaroslawicz & Jaros, PLLC
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