Legal Advisory
Newsletter 1   Newsletter 2
"Medical Malpractice"

"Lead Poisoning"


"Underinsurance-and Uninsurance"

Newsletter 3   Newsletter 4
"Auto Accidents: Undetected Injuries"  
Newsletter 5   Newsletter 6
"Shopping Centers Are Liable for Injuries to Customers in Certain Instances"  
Newsletter 7   Newsletter 8
"If You Lease a Car, Protect Yourself "

"Banks Are Attempting in Some Cases to Avoid Their Own Responsibility for Fraud of Identity Theft"

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Newletter 1

Medical Malpractice
I believe you might be interested in some facts pertaining to care you are entitled to if you or a member of your family have to seek the services of a hospital emergency room.

I hospital which has an emergency room must provide any requesting individual an appropriate medical screening examination to determine whether or not an emergency medical condition exists.

If the hospital determines that an emergency medical condition exists, it must provide the patient with either treatment to stabilize the medical condition or transfer to another medical facility. If a patient has an emergency medical condition which has not been stabilized, the hospital may not transfer him except under certain strict conditions. If a hospital violates these rules, it is subject to a civil action by the injured party or his representatives.

Some of the most common areas of emergency room malpractice are: (1) failure to admit a patient; (2) misdiagnosis; (3) improper treatment; (4) lack of consultation; (5) failure to order the proper tests; and (6) failure to interpret the tests correctly.

Some common emergency room errors involve the failure to diagnose appendicitis; failure to diagnose a heart attack; failure to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy; failure to diagnose meningitis; and failure to diagnose dehydration.

A doctor who treats a patient in the emergency room may also be liable individually to an injured patient.

The Statute of Limitations is New York on malpractice cases is generally 30 months so it is important if you think you have been the victim of malpractice that you contact a malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

Lead Poisoning
Another serious problem we have in New York is children becoming ill from lead poisoning. Many apartments were originally painted with lead-based paint.

The effects of lead poisoning on young children can be lifelong and devastating. Lead affects a young child’s developing central nervous system. The symptoms can be convulsions, decreased growth, decreased hearing ability, decreased motor coordination, low I.Q. scores, impaired neurobehavioral development and learning disabilities.

Negligent landlords are responsible for lead poisoning, but it must be shown that the landlord had notice, or should have known of the condition in the apartment.

It is also important that the child be examined and treated by a physician who is familiar with lead poisoning and a psychologist who can test the child.

Newletter 2

If you have an accident because of the actions of another, and that vehicle leaves the scene before you can secure identification, you can make a claim against your own insurance company provided there was contact between your vehicle and the vehicle that left the scene. The proof would be the police report or your subsequent report to the Police Department and the State Motor Vehicle Department that there was contact.

If there wasn’t any contact, you cannot make a claim . You pay for mandatory uninsured and underinsured coverage when you take out an automobile policy and you are entitled to make a claim provided you meet the requirement of contact. It’s important that you look your car over carefully so that you can identify the point of contact on your vehicle.

Underinsurance and Uninsurance
Speaking of uninsured and underinsured coverage, your policy permits you to carry uninsured coverage up to the limit of your liability policy (i.e. if you have a limit of $100,000 on your liability coverage, you can carry up to $100,000 uninsured coverage).

Unfortunately, insurance brokers do not advise most car owners of that fact and you wind up covered only for the minimum amount of uninsured coverage ($25,000). The difference in premiums between $25,000 and $100,000 coverage is very little (perhaps $25 or $30 per year).

You should always carry the maximum uninsured and underinsured coverage because if a car with minimum insurance injures someone in your car or yourself, you can collect the $25,000 from his insurance company and then collect up to your maximum, be it $100,000 or $300,000 from your company. If the car which injures you has no insurance, you can collect the full amount of your uninsured coverage from your company.

Newletter 3

Auto Accidents: Undetected Injuries
Were you aware that many auto accidents injuries are hidden and sometimes not detected for weeks or months? If you were injured as the result of an accident, you should get the medical care you need to get you back to the way you felt and functioned before your accident. Even if you are just sore, you should get medical attention as quickly as possible. Many weeks or months down the road you might experience problems including, but not limited to headaches, arthritis, etc. No one should suffer from pain without receiving medical care.

Accident injuries are a major source of post-traumatic osteoarthritis which can cause discs in your spine to degenerate and create scar tissue formation leading to chronic stiffness and inability to move properly.

You can protect yourself and your future if you are involved in an accident, by seeking medical attention as soon as possible and by seeing your attorney. Do not give statements to anyone other than the police and do not speak to the insurance company representative for the other party or any investigator without your attorney being present. Find out where you have to go to get a copy of the police report and secure a copy of the police report as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that the amount of damage done to the car, or cars, bears little relation to the forces applied to your body in the crash. The damage to the occupants of the car is not necessarily related to the damage to the vehicle.

Newletter 4

During the months of May and June, 1999 our firm achieved outstanding results for three separate clients. One case involved a mother who gave birth by Cesarean section and never recovered from the procedure. She died leaving her newborn and husband surviving. She had received extensive treatment at two separate hospitals.

She originally went into the hospitals because she suffered from excessive vomiting during her pregnancy (the condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum). The treatment and the condition are not usually life threatening. In her case she received extensive treatment and her condition deteriorated requiring her to be treated by several different specialities. Unfortunately, all of the specialists who treated her were able to act independently without one physician being in charge of her case and coordinating her care. Independently each doctor claimed he did nothing wrong but collectively we believed their treatments were detrimental. The case went to Court, a jury was selected, and then the defendants settled for One Million Dollars.

The next case also involved malpractice. A baby was born prematurely (24 weeks) weighing only 620 grams.

In such cases the eyes must be examined early to determine if there is a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity which can result in blindness. If the condition exists, an operative procedure must be performed within a specified period of time. Even if the operation is performed, it may not be successful in preventing blindness.

In this case, the hospital stated that the small size of the infant and her condition prevented her from being examined because any motion was detrimental to her safety and health. They further claimed that they did a good job in saving her life because a high percentage of such premature infants die. We took the position that the hospital failed to timely examine and treat the child and she was now blind in one eye and legally blind in the other eye.

In this case we selected a jury and started trial, including calling witnesses. During the trial the defendants settled the case. The manner of settlement was what is called a structured settlement. The child will receive payments on a monthly basis for the rest of her life, including additional monies for college when she reaches the age of 18, and a yearly increase for inflation. The total payout based on a normal life expectancy would be in the area of Five Million Dollars.

Work-Related Accidents
We represented a construction worker in the third case. The man had been working on the second story of a building being renovated by the City of New York, when a beam he was standing on was cut, causing him to fall to the first floor of the building injuring his back. He was unable to go back to his construction work due to his back injury.

Based upon the law we believed the Court should grant us judgment on the liability and we made a motion asking the Judge for summary judgment on liability. The Judge denied our motion and we appealed the case to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court. The Appellate Division reversed the Supreme Court Judge and granted our motion for summary judgment. Thereafter we went to Court to try the damage aspect of the case.

The Worker’s Compensation carrier who had been paying our client’s compensation and medical bills, had a lien of approximately $100,000. We were able to reduce the lien to $33,000 and then collected $250,000 from The City of New York.

Our firm has been representing clients in accident and malpractice cases for over 30 years. This year there was a blackout in our area of New York. You should be aware of the fact that it was our firm that held Con Edison responsible for the 1977 blackout in which they had to pay out multiple millions of dollars to injured parties. We established the case law pertaining to Gross Negligence in that case.

We have made law in various cases in New York over the years and we are willing to discuss any matter with you where you or a member of your family have been injured. There is no charge for consultation and we only receive a fee if we secure a recovery for you.

Newletter 5

Shopping Centers Are Liable for Injuries to Customers in Certain Instances
When a commercial establishment, such as a shopping center, benefits financially from a consumer who they invite into their business, they have a responsibility to create a safe environment for those customers and must implement reasonable safety measures to protect consumers from crimes which might occur there. In a case where a woman was kidnaped from a shopping mall and subsequently murdered, it was shown that although the mall had numerous prior crimes, they only had one security guard on duty the night the incident occurred and that guard was not patrolling the parking lot, but was working inside the mall.

Our office had a somewhat similar case involving a motel that previously had a number of crimes committed on their premises and had only one elderly man on security patrol who was ill-equipped to handle an emergency. Our clients were robbed and shot in their room. The case was settled on trial for $1,600,000.00.

Every injury does not and should not result in a lawsuit but there are very many meritorious claims that never see the light of day because the individuals involved did not consult a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

Newletter 6

Reduce Risks of Surgery
Every year there are more than 2,000 or more serious complications such as brain damage, organ failure or heart attacks which occur in surgery; not from the procedures themselves, but from factors related to anesthesia.

You must ask who will administer the anesthesia. It should be either a M.D. Anesthesiologist or a Certified (CRNA) Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist. Both have extensive specialized training in anesthesia. An anesthesia team with a CRNA under the supervision of an M.D. Anesthesiologist has the best safety record.

If you are scheduled to have anesthesia given by anyone other than an anesthesia specialist, ask about his/her training in administering anesthesia and treating the complications associated with it.

If you are a high risk patient (heart surgery, etc.) Or there is a young child who requires anesthesia, make sure you ask for an anesthesiologist who regularly anesthetizes high-risk patients.

Meet with your anesthesiologist well before surgery. It has been shown that most anesthesiologists spend less than five minutes with patients, even though a study showed that more than half the deaths caused by anesthesia were due in part to inadequate evaluations of patients prior to surgery. It is even more important if you had any trouble with anesthesia in the past or have other medical problems.

The anesthesiologist who will administer to you should review your medical history including whether anyone in your family has had problems with anesthesia. In addition, he/she should perform a physical examination. Be sure to tell him about any medications you are taking, including HERBS or VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS as they may interact with anesthesia to increase bleeding, cause cardiac stimulation or prolong the effects of anesthesia. Let the doctor tell you for how long you should discontinue medications, herbs or supplements before the operation.

If you have medical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, angina, etc., see your treating doctor well in advance of surgery to be sure you’re in the best possible health and your condition is controlled. It’s better to delay surgery than to go forward when you aren’t in the best possible health.

Make sure that the facility Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has surveyed the facility and it is accredited by the JCAHO. They survey facilities at least every three years to make sure that operating standards, including the use of anesthesia, follow the latest guidelines and safety procedures.

You should also find out how many of the operations you are waiting to undergo are performed at the facility each year. Studies show that results are better in those facilities performing more of those procedures.

Finally, be wary of in-office procedures where there is more chance of problems associated with anesthesia and the surgery itself.

Hot Water Causes Third Degree Burns
Each year children and adults are burned by tap water because the water is too hot! Many of those injuries are permanent and all of them are extremely painful. The elderly and infirm are particularly at risk because they can’t react properly or quickly enough. Children are especially at risk. The negligence of the landlord or hotel operator is usually that they have set the temperature hotter than was necessary. The excessively hot temperature is the difference between what is appropriate and what is dangerously too hot! At 133 degrees F, a serious burn can occur in 15 seconds. At 140 degrees F, only five seconds are required and those are for average adults. In the case of children or people over 65 whose skin is thinner than the average adult, the times are such shorter.

We have handled cases involving such burns occurring in showers, etc.

Newletter 7

If You Lease a Car, Protect Yourself
The insurance companies and the automobile dealers have come up with a gimmick to charge you for what they deem to be a devaluation due to any type of accident.

The manner in which they work is to claim that in any accident the value of the vehicle is diminished, despite the fact that you have the vehicle repaired.

The insurance company posts an information relative to your car, stating what the devaluation amounts to. The problem is that when the insurance companies pay you for the damage or repair, they do not include the amount of money which they have charged to such devaluation.

When you return the car at the end of the lease, the leasing company or car dealer checks on the devaluation set by the insurance company, and then charges you for that amount. On high-end vehicles (BMW’s, Mercedes, etc.), the sums may exceed $8,000.00.

What you have to do if you have an accident , is to make sure that the insurance company does not devalue your car or if they do, then they should pay you the additional monies equal to the devaluation over and above the actual repair costs.

Banks Are Attempting in Some Cases to Avoid Their Own Responsibility for Fraud of Identity Theft
If your credit card is stolen, or you are a victim of identity theft, or your signature is forged on a check. Be Careful! Your bank should absorb virtually all of the loss; in some cases, the bank will say they are responsible for only a small portion of the loss or that you are solely responsible for the loss.

Your bank is required to refund your money as long as it is notified within sixty days after you have received your bank statement.

Be sure to review your bank statements promptly after receiving them.

Do not stand for that nonsense! Demand restitution and don’t be intimidated. You might be responsible under certain circumstances, so secure legal counsel prior to notifying your bank so that you don’t prejudice your case.

Newletter 8

Suggestions As To What You Should Do In The Event Of An Auto Accident
1 st: Make sure everyone is out of danger and away from moving traffic; make sure someone has called for police and/or medical assistance.

2 nd: Write down the names, addresses and dates of birth of all drivers, as well as license plate numbers and if you can, the year and make of the vehicles.

3 rd: Write down the driver’s license numbers for each driver and ask to see their insurance certificate (which is supposed to be in the car).

4 th: Write down the location of the accident (name of street nearest intersecting street and any highway markers or building numbers).

5 th: Note the weather and the time of the accident and any unusual conduct on the part of the other driver(s).

6 th: If there are any passenger(s) in the other vehicle(s), get their name, address and date of birth.

7 th: If you can get the names of any witnesses who were either on the street or in nearby cars, please do so, and secure their addresses and telephone numbers.

8 th: If any comments are made by the drivers or their passengers, note them on paper.

9 th: Make sure you know how the accident occurred and what actions each vehicle was engaged in prior to the impact.

10 th: Note the traffic controls and the characteristics of the roadway, i.e., one-way; two-way; solid line for opposing traffic, etc.

11 th: Note what part of each vehicle was damaged.

12 th: Write down the names and addresses of the registered owners of the vehicles

13 th: Did anyone accept responsibility for the accident; such as by saying, I didn’t see you, or, I was distracted, etc. If so, note the remarks.

14 th: Note the Precinct number of the Police responding, and the name and badge number of the cop, also, ask when and where you can pick up a copy of the Police Report.

15 th: Note if anyone was issued a ticket in connection with the accident.

16 th: Note if anyone was removed by ambulance and to what hospital.

Securing part or all of the above noted information will make things much easier for you, not only if you have to bring an action for personal injury, but will also assist in reporting the matter to your insurance carrier and to the Motor Vehicle Department.

Why There Are Malpractice Actions and Why the Republican Administration is Totally Wrong in Attempting to Limit Your Ability to Sue Doctors and Hospitals
Independent reporting agencies, none of which are affiliated with any trial lawyers, have reported that there are approximately 650 deaths every day attributable to medical malpractice on the part of health care providers.

That figure does not take into consideration the serious injuries and lesser injuries caused by medical malpractice each and every day.

There is no health care emergency arising from malpractice litigation. In fact, the overall number of malpractice cases has steadily declined over the years.

The insurance companies haven’t lost a dime because of lawsuits in medical malpractice ; it’s one of their most lucrative products.

In Texas alone, the number of total paid claims per practicing doctors per year fell to fewer than five in 2002, from over six in 1990-92. Any spike in malpractice premiums reflects forces operating outside the tort system, i.e., the stock market downturn.

Be Careful When Buying a Resale Home Which May Have Hidden Health Hazards
If you purchase a home with hidden health hazards, you could have to pay for a massive expensive clean-up and you could be the target of a lawsuit by a neighbor or the home’s next owner.

Underground oil tanks often leak, as they disintegrate. If you have to clean up the soil and ground water, costs can easily exceed $50,000.

Also, oil vapors can find their way into neighboring homes. The only clue that a tank is leaking would be an unexplained increase in your heating bills, or a heating failure due to water entering the system.

A purchase of a re-sale home should have a clause in the Contract calling for the removal of any buried oil tank or a pressure test to detect leaks.

Another problem is that any home built before 1980 may have asbestos fibers in floor tiles, pipe insulation, roof material, sheetrock and even caulking.

As long as asbestos containing tile or insulation is intact, there is no immediate health risk, but if they begin to deteriorate, they must be removed by a licensed asbestos abatement contractor.

If you are buying such a home, make the deal contingent on an asbestos test.

Another problem is homes built before 1978 may have lead paint on walls, doors, trim and window frames. Lead can cause development problems in children.

In adults, it can cause anemia, kidney damage, sterility and damage to the central nervous system.

Same remedy, have a lead based paint inspection before buying.

Radon is another potential problem. It is a naturally occurring radioactive gas linked to increased risk of lung cancer. It is odorless and colorless, found in basements or first floors when there is no basement.

The problem can be alleviated with a venting system. Most mortgage lenders require that a Radon Test be performed.

Dangerous Drugs That Are Still Being Prescribed
Last fall the popular painkiller Vioxx was revealed to cause double the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It was a one of a class of drugs called COX-2 Inhibitors. It is estimated to have caused as many as 139,000 heart attacks and strokes in America, with 55,000 deaths. The manufacturer stopped selling the drug but may put it back on the market.

I am going to list six drugs that may be dangerous. If you are taking any of them, see your doctor to discuss alternatives that may be safer:

Actos and Avandia: These drugs prescribed for type-2 diabetes to improve sugar control, constitute the family of medications called glitazones. The first member of the family, Rezulin, was withdrawn in 2000 because it caused liver toxicity. Studies show that Actos and Avandia may cause heart and liver failure. Also, when patients taking other oral anti-diabetic drugs are switched to Actos or Avandia, their blood sugar levels go up and rarely return to pretreatment levels. In 2001, the FDA formally warned Avandia’s manufacturer after company officials made statements denying or minimizing the health risks associated with the drug.

Bextra : Another COX-2 Inhibitor. A study found that it increased heart attack risk in those who have had coronary artery bypass surgery. Bextra is prescribed for arthritis pain.

Crestor : Approved in 2003, this is the newest in the family of cholesterol-lowering statins. It has been reported that kidney failure or damage in people taking Crestor is 75 times higher than in those taking other statins. There have been reported cases of rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal side effect that destroys muscle tissue, rivals that of Baycol, a statin that was withdrawn from the market.

Meridia : This prescribed weight reduction drug was approved in 1997 over the objection of the FDA physician who was the principal reviewer of the drug. It has been reported that Meridia caused 124 people to be hospitalized and 49 deaths; all from heart problems associated with taking this drug.

Serzone : This drug is in a class known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors which are used to treat depression and anxiety. It was withdrawn from the markets in Australia, Canada, Europe and New Zealand because it causes liver problems. It has been reported that it caused at least 55 cases of liver failure and 20 deaths. Doctors in the U.S. prescribed over 4.5 million prescriptions of it in 2003. Serzone may put users at higher risk of drug interactions by blocking the liver’s drug metabolizing enzyme and causing dangerous blood levels of other drugs.

Populsid : A heartburn drug, approved in 1993, withdrawn in 2000, after causing over 80 deaths from heart problems.

Raxar : An antibiotic marketed in 1997, taken by almost 3 million people, was withdrawn in 1999, after being shown to having caused potentially fatal heart arrhythmias.

Rezulin : A diabetes drug, approved in 1997, and withdrawn in 2000, after 21 people died from liver failure and more than 100 were hospitalized with liver toxicity.

For maximum safety, try not to use any drug until it has been on the market for seven years minimum.

One half of all new drugs are withdrawn or have significant side effect warnings added to their labels within seven years.

If you think you have been injured, or have a problem with any of the afore noted drugs, check immediately with your physician.

If You have Lost or Damaged Luggage on International Flights
There is a revised regulation concerning regulation concerning damaged or lost luggage on most flights originating from the United States. The Montreal Convention nos governs all round-trip international flights from the United States and depending on destination, many one-way international flights as well.

The prior law was the Warsaw Convention. The new law calls for a payment up to 1,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDR) for lost or damaged luggage.

A Drawing Right is a type of international currency equivalent, set by the International Monetary Fund and it fluctuates daily. 1,000 SDR’s are currently worth approximately $1,500.00.

The Treaty applies to all countries that have agreed to it and it applies to their respective airlines. The limit applies per passenger, not, per suitcase.

You can ask for more than the 1,000 SDR’s, if you can prove that the airline and it’s employees acted recklessly. If you cannot agree with the airline about your reimbursement, you can sue in Small Claims Court.