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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Case Brief: Labor Law

I have had several inquires for examples of a Labor Law cases. Posted below is a Labor Law - Fall from Ladder case:

SETTLEMENT: Scott and Jamie B. v. U.S. Tennis Association, Inc.; Turner Con & Lehrer; McGovem Bovis, Inc. 129112/95 Date of Settlement 3/16/99 New York Supreme
Pltf. Atty: Daniel P. Buttafuoco of Daniel P. Buttafuoco & Associates, Woodbury.

This Labor Law action settled during trial for $1,250,000, plus the waiver of a $67,000 Workers Compensation lien. On 10/20/95, Pltf., a 38- year-old union iron worker, fell from an unsecured ladder while working at the construction site of the U.S. Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows. Prior to trial, Pltf. was granted summary judgment pursuant to Labor Law § 240. There was no Third-party action against Pltf.'s employer.

Injuries: comminuted fracture of the patella with displacement of the bone fragments. Pltf. underwent excision of the patella and open reduction and internal fixation. Pltf.'s knee is disfigured. Pltf. did not return to work, and he claimed that he will require a future knee replacement. He was earning approximately $60,000 a year, plus benefits, at the time of the accident. Deft. claimed that Pltf. would not need a knee replacement, that he had good range of motion in the knee, and that he was able to return to work. Demonstrative evidence: model of the knee; photographs; diagram of the knee and surgeries.

Daniel P. Buttafuoco

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Slip and Fall Injuries

Have you or a friend/family member recently been a victim of a slip and fall accident? Just because you slip or trip and fall doesn’t mean you are a “klutz” and solely responsible for your injuries. It all depends upon what caused you to fall. Was there a defect on the floor (like a raised or cracked surface tile or sidewalk) or perhaps a pothole defect? Sometimes people fall because there is a “foreign substance” on the floor that is slippery (like oil, floor wax, water or ice, or even something that has broken in a supermarket). Our firm has handled many “fall” cases over the years - one client fell on an overwaxed dance floor, one on icy steps outside a diner, one elderly gentleman tripped over a broken, uneven sidewalk.

There are many conditions that are “unreasonably dangerous” that cause people to take serious falls that result in all types of injuries (occasionally, even in death!).

Falls are serious, especially in older people. It is not uncommon to have fractured hips and major surgeries resulting from a serious fall.

A property owner or business or homeowner must keep the floor and ground in “reasonably safe condition”. If not, then you can sue (slip and fall) provided they had some notice (or should have known) of the condition.

In these cases it is extremely important to 1) make an immediate report 2) take photos as soon as possible and 3) call us immediately if you or a loved one is seriously injured in a fall at 1-800-Now-Hurt. Time is important in these cases because conditions change rapidly.

Call 1-800-Now-Hurt to have Daniel P. Buttafuoco & Associates investigate your case as soon as possible.

Daniel P. Buttafuoco

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Car Accident - Can I recover damages?

Auto Accident

If someone is injured in a car accident, all medical bills and wages (to a limited amount) are typically paid by the No-fault insurance company up to $50,000. The accident victim merely needs to file a No-fault application within thirty (30) days of the accident. The No-fault insurance company is typically the insurance for the car the victim was seated in at the time of the accident.

In addition, an injured victim may also sue the negligent driver and owner of the car which caused the accident. Such a case may be worth a substantial amount of money. There is an important requirement here that is unique to automobile cases. The injured victim can only sue if he/she has sustained a “serious injury”. The law involving a “serious injury” is extremely complex. Generally, a fracture, even a minor one, qualifies. A soft tissue injury (“whiplash”) generally is not sufficiently “serious” unless the victim is out of work for ninety (90) days. There are many exceptions to this. Call us for free advice - 1-800-NOW HURT - if you have a question.

Daniel P. Buttafuoco

Saturday, November 11, 2006

State found liable for hazard in unofficial beach path

Officer paralyzed when ATV hits fence stake

By Natalie White Contributing writer
New York state recently agreed to pay $14.8 million to a police officer who was paralyzed while driving an ATV along an unofficial pathway behind Fire Island beach.
The case turned on the question of who should be held responsible - the owner of the land or the intruder - when a person is injured on a pathway that is not open to the public.
Judge James Lack found the state 100 percent liable for the accident, which prompted the state to settle the suit for $14.8 million.
The plaintiff's attorney, Daniel Buttafuoco, said he believes it is the largest settlement in state history for a single person in a personal injury case. Seven million of the settlement was paid in September and the rest will come in monthly installments.
The path was in Robert Moses State Park on the western end of Fire Island, off the southern shore of Long Island.
Short cut to agony
After finishing his shift in May 2002, police officer Scott Brumber decided to avoid the Memorial Day crowds by zipping his all-terrain vehicle down the short-cut path, known locally as the "Coast Guard cut."
The ATV snagged on a metal pipe that was sticking up from the sandy roadway, causing the vehicle to flip in the air and land on Brumber, crushing his spine. The accident left Brumber, who has a wife and three children, confined to a wheelchair.
The state contended that Brumber had no right to be driving on the path and that he was therefore responsible for his own injuries. Brumber's attorney countered that the state, which owns the area, was responsible for keeping the path clear of dangers even though it was not open to the public.
"Yes, it was not an official path, but the state was negligent in not closing it off," said Buttafuoco. "They just looked the other way."
The plaintiff's team used aerial photographs and live testimony to show that the short cut path had been in use for many years when the accident happened on May 27, 2002. Witnesses testified that several government agencies, particularly the Coast Guard, used the path on a regular basis.
Buttafuoco also called witnesses who testified that the stake was leftover from a snow fence that had been installed by the state several years prior to the accident but not maintained.
"Not only did they neglect the path, but they created the hazard," he said.
Buttafuoco emphasized that although the state knew the path was used by various agencies, it never bothered to post warning signs or notify the agencies of the potential hazards.
"They never told anyone not to use it. They never put up signs or tried to find a way to close it off," Buttafuoco said. "Basically they just kind of winked at it. What they should have done is make sure the path was safe and get all the crap out of there. If they had pulled this stake, this accident never would have happened."
He described the crash as a "freak accident."
"If you were walking you probably would have seen the stake and if you didn't you might have tripped on it," he said. "But on a four-wheel motorcycle you are never going to see the stake."
Buttafuoco said that he would normally prefer trying this case before a jury, but as the trial progressed he realized that the knowledge of the judge worked in his favor.
"Typically you would want a jury for this kind of case, but in the Court of Claims in New York there are no juries, only bench trials," Buttafuoco said. "In the end I think there were a lot of subtleties that typically a jury would not appreciate."
Plaintiffs' attorneys: Daniel P. Buttafuoco and James S. McCarthy of Daniel P. Buttafuoco & Associates in Flushing, N.Y.; Thomas Spreer of the Law Offices of Thomas Spreer in Babylon, N.Y.
Defense attorney: John Shields of the Office of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in New York.
The case: Brumber v. State of New York; September 2006; New York Court of Claims; Judge James J. Lack.

Daniel P. Buttafuoco
Daniel P. Buttafuoco & Associates

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Top 10 Things Most People Do Not Know

1 The McDonald's "coffee" case is a just result when you know all the facts. Click here to read about the true merits of the case.
2 Most good Personal Injury lawyers are honest people who care about their clients.
3 You would never trade places with someone who has $1 million settlement.
4 Juries usually get it right.
5 Judges watch over juries to make sure they get it right.
6 Appellate judges watch over judges that watch over juries.
7 Lawsuit filings are way down over the last five 5 Years (statistics to follow).
8 Smart lawyers don't typically bring bad cases because they know they won't get paid (i.e. the contingency fee system works).
9 You need a “serious injury” to successfully pursue a car accident case even if you were hit by a drunk driver.
10 The wrongful death of an innocent child in New York is worth no more than approximately $100,000, without proof of prolonged, conscious pain and suffering..

Friday, October 20, 2006

Extremely Important info -> Your Auto Insurance!


Every auto policy with Liability Coverage includes protection at minimum bodily injury limits of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for you and your passengers in the event of bodily injury sustained in an accident in the State of New York for which an unidentified or uninsured driver (i.e., stolen car, hit and run, policy cancelled) is legally liable. As additional protection, Supplementary Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (SUM) Coverage is available. It provides protection for both in- state and out-of-state accidents.

SUM coverage may be carried with limits up to the bodily injury limits you have chosen. Below is a list of the limits that are typically available.

SUM Coverage Limits
Per Person/Per Accident
$ 25,000/$ 50,000- Not recommended.
$ 50,000/$100,000- Not recommended.
$100,000/$300,000- The least you should have.
$250,000/$500,000- Strongly recommended.
SUM coverage is described below.

Basics of SUM coverage

1. A person should purchase SUM coverage in order to protect against the possibility of an accident involving another motor vehicle whose owner or operator was at fault and who:

a. May have no insurance whatsoever; or
b. Even if insured, is only insured at relatively low liability limits, in comparison to your own liability limits for bodily injury.

2. By purchasing SUM coverage, you and your family can:

a. Be protected for bodily injury to themselves, up to the limit of the coverage purchased; and
b. Receive from your own insurer payment for bodily injury sustained due to the fault of the other motor vehicle's owner or operator.

3. Your SUM coverage protects you and your family even when you are not in your car. It is a layer of protection even when you are in someone else's car, riding your bicycle or crossing the street. SUM is in fact one of the most essential coverages to obtain for you and your family.
Daniel P. Buttafuoco