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

Judging the Police Over Shooting Deaths

Q: Can the police be sued for wrongful death?

It's one of the earlier cases to thrust into the national spotlight the now commonplace issue of racial tension between the police department and people of color. In 2012, a white male New York City Police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man in his apartment under circumstances that are being reviewed still today. The officer was responding to a radio call from a narcotics team on surveillance advising that the 18-year old black suspect and some friends had left a "known drug location". The narcotics team also radioed a warning that they suspected the teen had a gun in his waistband. The officer and his partner tailed the suspects to an apartment house, where neighbors gave them building access. Then the cops proceeded to "break down" the teen's family's apartment door. The teen reportedly ignored the officer's repeated orders to "stop and show your hands", instead running into a bathroom to possibly flush pot down the toilet according to the officer. The officer claimed the teen reached for his waistband, which prompted him to draw his gun and fire, killing the teen with a bullet to the chest. In addition to defending a wrongful death action against the city by close relatives of the suspect who was killed (which was reportedly settled for $3.9 Million), the police department conducted its own investigation to determine what, if any, disciplinary action should be taken against the officer. The investigation reviewed both disputed and undisputed facts in the context of standard police procedure. In the case at hand, both sides of the internal investigation concede that the officer reasonably suspected the suspect had a gun. At issue however, is how the officer responded. Arguments in the officer's defense claim that he should not be second-guessed for split second decisions, that he was trying to take a weapon off the streets, and that if the victim had obeyed the officer's order to stop and show his hands, there wouldn't have been a shooting. Arguments on the other side accuse the officer of breaking from established police protocol, claiming that he should have instead "guarded the front door, called for back-up and waited for instructions from a sergeant". When a person is injured or killed by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of someone else, they (or in the event of a death their close relatives) may be entitled to sue for personal injury or wrongful death as the case may be. When someone is wrongfully killed, their loss can leave a tremendous burden on their close surviving family members. By pursuing a wrongful death action, family members can recover such compensation as death-related costs like medical, funeral, and burial expenses, as well as loss of income or financial support, pain and suffering, and loss of comfort, depending on their relationship to the victim. In addition to proving these damages, the family must prove the defendant's negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct caused the victim's death. It is important to note when suing government agencies like the police department, a notice of claim must be filed very quickly in order to preserve the right to sue. That's why it's important to contact a skilled personal injury and wrongful death attorney immediately after the incident in order to preserve the right to sue and maximize the amount you may be entitled to recover. The attorneys at the Manhattan law firm of Jaroslawicz & Jaros have more than 200 years of combined experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases and we can help you. Call us today at 212-227-2780 for a free consultation. We help victims from all over the State of New York and nationwide.

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.

New York City Accident Attorney Discusses 7 Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

The passing of a loved one is extremely traumatic - no matter the cause of death. When it is an early, unexpected and wrongful death that results from a car accident, then the survivors often face financial instability, especially if the deceased was a primary source of income.

3 FAQs about Wrongful Death Cases

When loved ones die unexpectedly, it can cause enormous financial hardship--especially if the deceased was the family's main breadwinner. It is imperative that you understand the various categories of compensation available in wrongful death lawsuits if you plan to seek compensation.

6 Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when the reckless, careless or negligent actions of someone cause the death of another person. While most wrongful death cases revolve around car accidents, fatalities also occur because of prescription medication errors and defective automobile parts.

Attorney David Jaroslawicz Represents U.S. Embassy Medics in Lawsuit Against CNN, Arwa Damon

David Jaroslawicz, the principal attorney at our firm, is representing Charles Simons and Tracy Lamar in a lawsuit against CNN and its correspondent Arwa Damon over allegations that Damon attacked the plaintiffs in a drunken rage at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. Jaroslawicz filed the suit on Monday, August 4 in New York State Supreme Court. In addition to biting the two medics, the lawsuit alleges that CNN continued to employ Damon even though she had displayed a pattern of drunkenness and reckless behavior. At first, CNN claimed they were not aware of the lawsuit, but now the network claims it is "looking into" it. The alleged incident took place on July 19 when Simons and Lamar were called to the scene of Damon's drunken rage. When they tried to calm her down, the suit says that she bit them. Damon's email apology has circulated around the internet. In it, she says that she is "beyond embarrassed" and takes full responsibility for her actions, calling what she did "inexcusable." This sort of apology is tantamount to an admission, and will likely be used as such in the lawsuit. Read the story as it appears on the following major news networks:

Camel Cigarettes Manufacturer Ordered to Pay $23.6bn in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company, the country's second largest cigarette manufacturer, was forced by a US Court to pay $23.6 billion to the widow of a man who died from lung cancer in 1996. Cynthia Robinson lost her husband to lung cancer in 1996. Ms. Robinson's husband had been a smoker for most of his life, and his cigarette of choice was Camel brand. In 2008, Ms. Robinson took legal action against RJ Reynolds seeking financial compensation for the death of her husband. To date, this is one of the largest tobacco settlements our nation has seen. All cigarette companies are required by federal law to notify consumers of the increased risk of lung cancer associated with smoking tobacco, however, Mrs. Reynolds in her suit claimed that RJ Reynolds "failed to inform consumers of the dangers of consuming tobacco." Ms. Robinson's lawyers claimed that, due to RJ Reynolds' negligence, her husband became addicted which ultimately led to his death. Some speculate that the verdict was as high as it was to send a message to tobacco firms. RJ Reynolds has already said they will appeal the ruling, calling it "grossly excessive and impermissible under state and constitutional law." Cases like these have become more common in Florida after the state's high court ruled that, in order to be awarded financial compensation in a tobacco lawsuit, all the plaintiff has to do is prove addiction and that smoking caused the illness, which is usually cancer. Ms. Robinson's award is the largest resulting from a Florida class action suit.

Young Girl's Death May Have Come from 911 Human Error

Many New York residents were saddened to hear about the wrongful death of a four-year-old girl from a fatal car accident. However, human error on the part of a 911 emergency medical worker may have played a role in her death. The fatal accident took place on the Upper West Side in New York City. A 17-year-old driver was driving a car without a valid license when he fled from the authorities. They began to chase him when he lost control of the vehicle, hit the four-year-old girl, apparently killing her, and injured her grandmother as well. However, it is now believed that her death might have been avoided. Allegedly, 911 emergency workers did not see a call related to the accident and this caused a four-minute delay in sending an ambulance. Officials have denied that the new 911 dispatch system itself was to blame, even though recently it was admitted that there was some bugs and glitches. Often times, in situations where there are multiple people that could be considered responsible for a car accident, a New York City accident attorney is required to be able to bring a suit against the necessary parties to get a final answer. To be able to get that answer however, the family of the victim should document in writing everything they possibly can regarding the accident as quickly as possible, even if that is incredibly difficult to do. Some information that should be included is the time, place, weather and as much information as possible about the other car and driver. Once the help is sought out, more information can be gathered through the discovery process that most people would not be able to get on their own. Having to deal with the loss a loved one is hard enough, but no parent should ever have to bury a child. Seeking out assistance to cope with that loss is often the first step taken in order to move on.

Ambulance Attendant's Wrongful Death Attributed to Police chase

Any time someone is killed as the result fatal car accident, it is a tragedy. When that person is killed because of someone else's criminal act while trying to help others, it is a tragedy that would even shock New York City wrongful death lawyers. This was the case for one unfortunate ambulance attendant near New York City. A police chase occurred that resulted in multiple accidents. An ambulance tried to get out of the way, but was struck and flipped over as it turned into an intersection. A witness said that a man flew out of the back of the ambulance. A man was found trapped under the ambulance after it came to rest. A 30-year-old ambulance attendant died at the hospital. Three others were also injured but their condition was not available. When an accident like this occurs, there are many people who experience a profound loss, but none more so than the direct family of the deceased. After experiencing this loss, they may also be experiencing a large financial burden, either from medical bills, funeral bills or even lost wages from the loss of the family member. Surviving family members of the victim of a fatal accident may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death suit seeking compensation for financial losses in addition to other potential damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of consortium. Getting over the loss of a loved one is never easy. Seeking help as soon as possible from an experienced wrongful death attorney can help ease some of the burden of loss. Source: CBS 2 New York, "Police Chase Blamed For Crash That Killed Ambulance Attendant In Newark," Nov. 19, 2012

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