Settlement for Fall at Rockefeller Center

July 18, 2012

We obtained a $90,000 settlement for a client who fell at Rockefeller Center.

The client slipped on steps at the skating rink.  She sustained a fractured ankle. 

It had just rained, and the granite steps were unduly slippery due to the combination of rain and the treads’ wear over the years.  Our expert opined that this combination made the steps unreasonably slippery as evidenced by his slip resistance meter.

We were able to settle the case despite the fact that the client did not hold onto an available handrail.  Also, she was wearing flip-flops.  Furthermore, Rockefeller Center’s expert opined that the steps were safe.  The stairs met the building code when built in the 1930’s, and that the steps were not unduly slippery based on his own slip resistance readings.

We have had a number of cases at Rockefeller Center including falls in front of 30 Rockefeller Plaza (behind the statue in the skating rink), a restaurant in the basement, and service driveways.

If you have been injured in an accident at Rockefeller Center, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com.

PRIOR CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME.

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Getting a Recovery from a Bankrupt Corporation; Good Luck!

April 6, 2012

If you have had the misfortune to get injured by a major corporation in bankruptcy, we have a bit of advice:  good luck!

We have a score of clients who have been injured by A & P, Food Emporium, Pathmark, St. Vincent’s Hospital, and Interstate Bakeries.  All of theses defendants are bankrupt even though they are still doing business (with the exception of St. Vincent’s).  Our clients injured by these corporations have little possibility of a recovery.

A case example is Hostess Brands.  We recently read that Hostess Brands, formerly known as Interstate Bakeries, has filed for bankruptcy protection for a second time on January 11, 2012.  Hostess makes many of America’s iconic breads and cakes, such as Wonder Bread, Twinkies, and Ding Dongs.

It seems that Hostess Brands is unable to compete.  It seeks further relief from its obligations.  Essentially, it wants to pay its debtors and retired employees less.  Otherwise, it threatens to liquidate the company.  

Its move to file for a second bankruptcy has delayed all settlements.  We had two clients injured by Interstate Bakeries trucks back in 2004, and we settled their cases almost six years ago.  We have yet to see a dime! 

Therefore, if a corporate defendant goes bankrupt, your recovery may either be delayed greatly or vanish. 

It is highly ironic that an injured person has less of a chance of getting a fair recovery from a bankrupt A & P than from a bankrupt Mom & Pop Grocery, Inc.   This is because A & P self-insures.  In other words, it has no insurance, and it can settle for pennies on the dollar.  In comparison, if Mom & Pop has an insurance policy, it is more likely that the injured client will get a fair recovery.

If you have been injured in an accident, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to contact@seitelman.com.  

Mark E. Seitelman, 4/6/12, www.seitelman.com.


Getting a Recovery for Bicycle Injuries; Get a Police Report

April 6, 2012

The New York Police Department has started to track and report bicycle accidents in the same manner that it writes-up motor vehicle accidents.

This is good news for injured clients.

First, the NYPD and the Department of Traffic can study bicycle accident patterns regarding present and future bike lanes.  It will also allow study of the interaction of cyclists with pedestrians.  This will help traffic planning.

Second, this is good news in that injured bicyclists and pedestrians will have their accidents recorded in a detailed manner.  As we discussed many times before regarding motor vehicle accidents (see our prior post), the police report will prove the happening of the accident as well as identifying defendant.  

Therefore, if you have been injured in a bicycle-bicycle or bicycle-pedestrian accident, be sure to call the police to the scene so that a full accident report can be taken.

If you have injured in a bicycle accident, please feel free to call me at 800-581-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com.

Mark E. Seitelman, 4/6/12, www.seitelman.com.


Getting a Recovery for Work Place Injuries; Workers’ Compensation Lost Income Rates

March 23, 2012

People injured at work are entitled to lost income under workers’ compensation.

These are the maximum weekly income rates:

For accidents occurring within these dates:

7/1/07 to 7/1/08            $500.00

7/1/08 to 7/1/09            $550.00

7/1/09 to 7/1/10            $600.00

7/1/10 to 7/1/11            $739.83

7/1/11 to 7/1/12            $772.96

For example, if your accident occurred on August 1, 2007, your maximum weekly income rate would be $500.   If you accident occurred on July 10, 2010, your maximum weekly rate would $739.83.

Unfortunately, the weekly rate does not increase during the worker’s life.  In other words, a person receiving $500 per week based on an August 1, 2007, accident would receive the same rate today as well as the future.  

The rates effective July 1, 2012, have not been set by the Workers’ Compensation Board.  The rates are based on the weekly average wage of New Yorkers.

Sadly, there has been no similar increase in lost income for no fault and state mandated disability.  In an automobile accident, the no fault income rate has been fixed at the lower of either $2,000 per month or 80% of the person’s monthly wages.  On the disability side, New York State disability is still set at the shockingly low rate of $170 per week. 

Ironically, the workers’ compensation rates were changed to keep-up with no fault.  The compensation rates had lagged behind no fault’s rates, and working men and women could not survive on the low weekly wage of $400 per week under the old law.  Now, the compensation rate exceeds no fault.  We look to the legislature to correct this inequality of lost income for victims of accidents.     

If you have been injured in an on-the-job accident, please feel free to call me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com.

Mark E. Seitelman, 8/23/12, www.seitelman.com.  

I would like to acknowledge our workers’ compensation counsel for providing this information.  Thank you, Robert Bergman of Fogelgaren, Forman & Bergman of New York City.


Getting a Recovery for Elevator Accidents

December 15, 2011

Yesterday, in a very sad news story, a woman was killed in an unusual elevator accident.  See story here.

The woman was coming to work at her office on Madison Avenue.  She was in the lobby and was entering an elevator.  She was halfway in the elevator cab, with one foot still in the lobby, when suddenly the elevator quickly ascended with its doors open.  This lady was crushed between the elevator and the shaft wall.

There is no question that the elevator grossly malfunctioned.  It appears that the interlock device did not work.  An interlock would have prevented the elevator from going up or down while its doors are open.  

Generally, a personal injury lawsuit will be against both

  1. the building owner; and
  2. the elevator maintenance company.

The building owner has a non-delegable duty for the maintenance and operation of the elevators.  Generally, building owners hire elevator companies on yearly contracts to maintain and repair the elevators.  Building owners do not have the technical expertise, and it is uneconomical to keep an elevator mechanic on payroll.  Therefore, owners routinely hire elevator companies to perform regular maintenance and repairs.  

In addition to a lawsuit, an injured person may have rights under workers’ compensation if he were injured in the course of his employment.  Entering and leaving the workplace, i.e., the office building, would be covered as a workplace injury.

If you have been injured in an elevator accident, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation at either 800-581-1434.

Mark E. Seitelman, 12/15/11, www.seitelman.com.


Getting a Recovery for Sidewalk Falls; Falling on Leaves and Other Debris

November 16, 2011

In a fall on autumn leaves or other debris on the sidewalk, the adjoining premises owner or business may be liable.

The New York City Administrative Code was amended to impose liability on the adjoining property owner as follows:

  • Owners of commercial property will be liable for the condition of the sidewalk;
  • An owner of either an one-, two-, or three-family home will not be liable so long as the owner resides in one of the units, and the building is solely residential; and
  • An owner of a multiple dwelling or apartment house of four units or more will be responsible.

Prior to this change in the law the City of New York was responsible for all sidewalks, and recovery in this type of case was almost impossible.  Recovery against the private owner is more likely.

In order to prove a case against the property owner the injured party must show that the owner had notice of the fallen leaves or debris.  The mere fact of the accident is not enough.

In a case involving leaves or other debris or trash, it can be helpful to find witnesses who can state that the condition for a long period of time before the accident.

If you have been injured in a sidewalk fall, please feel free to call me for a free consultation at 800-581-1434 or write to letters@seiteman.com.

Mark E. Seitelman, 11/16/11, www.seitelman.com.


Getting a Recovery for Your Injuries; Mediation and Settlement

August 8, 2011

Mediation equals settlement.  

We have written previously about the effectiveness of mediation in settling cases.  E.g., see here and here.

Recently, we heard from another attorney who hates mediation.  His first and only attempt at mediation was a failure.  He did not settle his case.  He lowered his demand while defendants stood firm.  He felt that he gave everything and got nothing in return.

We have urged that  attorney to reconsider and give it another try.  Although there is no guarantee of settlement, we have had a great rate of success at mediation.

We have found that mediation paves the way to settlement even where the case does not settle during the mediation.  We saw this on the settlement of a very difficult and contested case which dragged-on for six years. 

We scheduled a mediation which was a bit of feat in itself due to the number of parties.  This case did not settle during the two mediation sessions scheduled six months apart.  However, within one month of the second session the case settled. 

The parties were so far apart that the two mediation meetings pushed the key parties to “get to business.”  Eventually, the case was settled by a series of phone calls between my office and the key defendant’s attorneys.

If the mediations did not occur, the parties would have continued not  talking to each other.  The parties would have marched to trial, and the case may not have settled. 

In this case, mediation paved the way toward settlement which was in the parties’ best interest.

If you have been injured in an accident, please feel free to call me at 800-581-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com for a free consultation.

Mark E. Seitelman, 8/8/11, www.seitelman.com.


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