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NYC authorities take responsibility for kids’ safety on the road on a city level
Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

The governor, City Council and Mayor have joined their forces to turn NYC school zone speed cameras back on.

The school year is starting in a week and parents of million schoolchildren, who are walking to and from school every day, are terrified that their kids will be under a higher risk to get into an accident on the road. The roads at 140 school-zones are no longer under speed-cameras’ control. Despite of months of fighting by the city and state officials for extending NYC’s life-saving school-zone speed camera program, cameras were turned off several weeks ago. Unfortunately there’s strong evidences that more drivers will speed near schools knowing that it would not be punished.

In order to get out from this emergency situation, NYC authority joined their efforts for an unprecedented move. They decided to transfer the power to pass the speed camera law from the state legislature to the city legislature. The governor Cuomo signed an executive order in regards to that this Monday.  Hopefully the legislation to create NYC speed camera program will be passed on city level this week, since their previous agreement was already reached. “We came to the realization at the city level that there was a legal pathway to pass legislation that would give us the ability to put these cameras up and to provide a penalty for people who are speeding through a different process than what the state legislature did,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

A woman slipped and fell on dirty floor near the garbage area in a building
Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

Q: I live in a building where in order to get to an elevator at any floor, you must go through a garbage disposal area. Because of sloppy neighbors, this area on my floor is often dirty and slippery. One day I was rushing to the elevator and I slipped on a dark liquid that was spilled on the floor and fell down. My neighbors ran to my cry and called an ambulance that delivered me to a hospital. I was diagnosed with an ankle fracture and a surgery was performed. I’m still in the hospital. Since my English is not good enough to understand what doctors said, I will really appreciate it if you’d explain how serious my fracture is. The x-ray result is attached to this letter. In my opinion, if I did not rush to work that day, I probably would not have fell. However, maybe the owner of the building is at fault too?

A: According to our medical expert and judging solely by the x-ray, you have a pilon fracture of the right ankle. Pilon fracture is a fragmented fracture of the lower part of the tibia of the foot, where it connects with the ankle. You also have a fracture of the malleolus in your right ankle. Usually, such fractures require an open rotation with internal fixation of screws surgery, which, apparently, you had. Both of these fractures are serious enough and the consequences can be quite severe (at the very least the screws will most likely stay in your ankle for the rest of your life). As for the fault of the owner of the building, I believe that it was his fault as well as yours. The good news for you is that in our state there is Comparative Negligence Law. This means that the compensation for the damage to your health depends on the degree of your guilt in the accident. For example, a person was injured and the court decided that he should receive a million dollars in compensation. But the same court also figured out that 99% of the fault is on the same person. As a result, the person will receive ten thousand, which is still better than nothing. Your case is different, you hurried before the fall, and did not look (or looked negligently) under your feet – this is a minus (especially by knowing the neighbors, you could have foreseen that it can be dirty there). However, it is the fault of the owner of the building as well, as long as we prove that he did not perform his duties for providing adequate cleaning of the premises, especially those areas with a higher risk of injuries to residents (lobby, laundry, etc., including the place where you fell). With the help of neighbors’ testimony and their, or your, previous complaints to the superintendent, it should be proven that the landlord knew or should have known about the dirt on your floor. I would guess the percentage of your and his liability for the incident as 50/50. Taking into consideration the duration of your treatment, the number of missed works hours, your age, residual events and many other factors, the compensation you can get is likely going to be a six-figure sum.

An old woman fell from her wheelchair in a nursing home
Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

Q: My 83 y.o. mother is in a nursing home. Yesterday, during lunch, her wheelchair rolled away from the table, my mother tried to get up but unfortunately fell and hit her head hard. Before that, we warned the administration of the nursing home that my mother has trouble walking and is often dizzy. Don’t you think that the administration is partial guilty for my mom’s fall?

A: It was not a partial guilt, they are actually fully responsible. Nursing homes take great responsibility before God and before the law to be attentive and to help our dearest and beloved old people in all aspects of their lives. Nursing homes work under the strict regulations and are closely controlled. Avoiding unnecessary details, I will just mention violations are obvious from the first glance of your mother’s case. The dining place, as well as any other place where elderly people are more active, are required to have additional attention from the nursing home staff. While your mother’s wheelchair was rolling away from the table and she was trying to get up, it was enough time for employees to intervene and prevent your mother’s fall.  They didn’t do either because they did not pay enough attention or they were not there at all. Both of those actions, or lack thereof, are negligent and will involve legal penalties. Besides that, during lunch the staff had to stabilize the wheelchair with a wheel lock in order to prevent it from rolling back. Moreover, after your warning about your mom’s health problems, they had to fasten her to the wheelchair to limiting her unauthorized attempts to get up. Thereby, the administration of the nursing home violated their obligations (Patients’ Rights Statute, New York Public Health Law paragraph 2801-d) and should be penalized legally as well as financially. If you want the facility and the employees, whose fault it was that your mother fell, be penalized, you should hire an experience personal injury lawyer. For example, a lawyer from Yuriy Prakhin Law Office, who will help you bring to justice those responsible as well as help you get maximum compensation for your and your mother’s suffering.

Personal injury
Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

People like to talk about their previous accidents or injuries, especially when they meet somebody who could give them legal advice.  Most of the time the same questions comes up – if they would go to a lawyer and file a lawsuits, could they get compensated for their troubles? The truth is, in at least 90% of cases they can. It’s a pity that so many people have to struggle mentally, physically and financially just because they didn’t know what to do when they were injured. We, at Yuriy Prakhin Law Office, decided to make a change. In this blog we share inside information regarding personal injuries, which steps to take to protect your legal rights and how to get maximum compensation for your struggles.

First of all let’s briefly go through a few common examples of personal injuries:

  • you slipped and fell
  • ate spoiled food in a restaurant
  • got wrong medicine in a hospital
  • was injured by home equipment
  • bitten by somebody’s dog, etc.

Most personal injuries are caused by vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, animal attacks, product liability and dangerous drugs. If you’ve been injured because of that, or in any other circumstance, and your injuries were caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions you may file a personal injury case.

What to do after suffering a personal injury:

Step #1: Try to get a medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Even if you feel well it is very important to see a doctor and to tell him about the accident. There are many injuries that are not immediately noticeable. The doctors see not only the obvious things, but also the future impact that your injury may have on your health and provide necessary medical help to prevent it. Besides that, to claim a lawsuit you should get a medical evaluation within a specified period of time. In different cases the terms are different, but it’s always better to get an evaluation as early as possible.

Step #2: Contact an experienced personal injury attorney.

Share all the details of your accident and the results of medical evaluation with that lawyer. After that your lawyer will tell you if you have a valid personal injury claim or not. The initial consultation is usually free. Thereafter you generally only pay your lawyer for his work once you get paid yourself.

Step #3: Participate in the Investigation.

Your lawyer and his team will thoroughly investigate your accident and will look for the best way to prove that your injuries were a direct result of someone’s negligence or wrongdoing. But, in order to achieve the best result, you should communicate with your lawyer regularly, answer his questions and if he ask for you to do something to help the case, do it.

Step #4: Discuss with your lawyer what kind of compensation can be expected.

It is a long list of things for which you can get compensation. By knowing the nature of your case, the lawyer will advise you for what exactly you can get compensated (medical bills, lost wages, pain etc.) and what sum is better to claim.

Can a personal injury case be settled outside of court?

Although personal injury cases are settled in civil courts, most of them are resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed.

Formal lawsuit: The victim (the “plaintiff”) is filing a lawsuit – a complaint against another person, business, corporation or a government agency (the “defendant”). The main allegation is that the defendant acted carelessly or irresponsibly therefore causing the accident in which the victim was injured. Thereafter the plaintiff will go to court and a judge or jury will decide the outcome.

Informal Settlement: The negotiations between those who are personally involved in the case, their insurers and lawyers on a sum of settlement. After negotiation the victim makes their decision whether to accept the proposed amount of settlement or not. If the victim disagrees with the result of negotiations, the case may go to the court.

How an expert law firm can help win the case with maximum benefit for the client:

Personal injury cases are resolved via case law, meaning that the decision made is based on the outcome of former cases. Therefore it is extremely important that your personal injury lawyer has experience in pursuing cases that are similar to yours. A skilled lawyer is able to see opportunity to get reimbursement for the victim even when other lawyers do not even see any sense to pursue a lawsuit. For example, when the victim is partially at fault, an experienced lawyer can find different experts whose claims will prove the nature of victim’s injuries as well as defendant’s liability. Only knowledgeable lawyers with adequate experience are able to make such claims and get maximum compensation for their clients.  

Have you been in an accident?

Accidents happen every second and it is hardly possible to avoid all of them. But it is in our hands to handle consequences and if they happened because of somebody else’s negligence, misbehavior or fault, get the maximum compensation for that. Therefore if you or somebody from your family was injured – do not waste your time, get a medical evaluation and call an expert law firm, for example to Yuriy Prakhin Law Office. A skillful personal injury attorney will answer your questions about the nature of your case, give you legal advice and execute all formalities in order to help you get the maximum benefit from your case.

A passenger of an ambulette got compensation for the injuries caused by a car accident
Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

Facts: A 68 y.o. woman was traveling by an ambulette car to a doctor appointment. Due to negligence of the ambulette driver, the car hit a bus that was traveling in front of him. The woman did not fasten her seat belt, therefore the hit threw her against the hardback of the seat in front of her.

Injuries and consequences: The plaintiff’s knees were injured during the hit. A knee joint replacement surgery was performed on her left leg. After surgery, the plaintiff moved with a walker for three months and now she walks with a wand. Before the surgery the woman led an active lifestyle: she visited her children and looked after her grandchildren. After surgery her activity has been minimized and now most of the time she stays home. This caused her to develop depression and now the woman is being treated by a psychologist.

Arguments of the defendant: Injuries were obtained only because the woman was without a seat belt, therefore she took responsibility for the possible consequences of the accident. The fact that the plaintiff ignored the law on seat belts releases the defendant from paying compensation to her.

Our arguments: The seat belts law applies to drivers and passengers of conventional cars. An ambulette is a specialized vehicle for the transportation of sick people. This imposes additional responsibility on its driver for the safety of passengers. Taking into consideration the age and physical condition of passengers in such vehicle, the driver of an ambulette must at least explain to them how to use the seat belts properly before starting to move. Under the right scenario, the driver of the ambulette must check, and if necessary, personally fasten passengers, who by definition need help. Our expert surgeon showed how serious the surgery was and how severe its consequences are for the elderly. He also expressed his opinion that a traumatic arthritis of both legs can occur in the future.

Result: Before passing a verdict, the insurance company of the ambulette decided to not take a risk and after intensive negotiations agreed to pay the defendant $420,000. After hours of negotiations, we managed to reduce the amount of our client’s debt to Medicaid and Medicare from $84,000 to $18,000. The plaintiff received the remaining amount of money.

Questions from our customers
Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

A woman fell down on a slippery staircase. Who is responsible?

Q: I’m not married, but I’m looking for a bride. The decision is not very easy – I’m looking for a woman to be by my side for the rest of my life. Regardless of that incidents still happened.

My apartment is located in the basement. Several sets of stairs lead down there. It is not a problem but a bad weather makes this staircase dangerous. If it is raining, or wet from melting snow and ice, the water drips heavily from the canopy on to this staircase.

At the end of the winter I met a very nice woman, but our relationship was spoiled by the frost that started that night. When we were going down into my apartment she slipped, fell and broke something.

Now she calls me every day, but unfortunately not for romantic reasons. Our romantic relationship is over. She demands money and otherwise threatens with the court.

I want to ask: if I decide to give her money, how much?

 A: There are several options how events can develop for you. If you want them ended well, you need a lawyer such as one of the lawyers at Yuriy Prakhin law firm, who has  big experience in solving similar cases.

If you are ready to give your friend money as a compensation for her trouble, then you should agree on the amount with her. It is very important that at the moment of settling you take a document that is called “release” from her. This is a contract under which she will not be able to claim anything from you in the future. You paid – you are “released”.

We strongly recommend that this release agreement would be prepared by a lawyer. If it be legally illiterate, as a consequence of this case, you can get a whole bunch of lawsuits in the future. For instance from your landlord if your friend decides to open a lawsuit against him. A properly drawn up release contract will completely protect you from any consequences, especially since you already paid for her troubles.

Let’s also consider another option: you do not want to pay or you do not have money to pay. Do you have housing insurance? Probably not. Does your landlord have one? Most likely he has. Most of real estate owners try to protect their rented properties. The existence of the insurance is already half of the deal. In this case, there is no need to be afraid of the court – the lawyers of the insurance company will deal with the claim, as well as compensation.

If there is no any insurance at all, or if the landlord will be able to prove that this dripping, which led to the injury, happened due to your own fault (for example, you broke the canopy by passing through with a high cabinet) in court the situation will become more complicated. In this case, you remain the only defendant where you became more likely to lose even more money – if …

… if you do not hire an experienced lawyer, for example from Law Office of Yuriy Prakhin. Several thousands successfully completed cases, scrupulous knowledge of state law, Supreme Court decisions and excellent skills to use case law are exactly what allow us to help you even in the most confusing cases.

Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

A woman whose vision has been damaged due to medical negligence asks for compensation.
Q: A few years ago, I had severe discomfort in my eyes. They itched, burned and looked inflamed. Constantly flowing tears prevented me from seeing. I tried to wash my eyes with a solution of “artificial tears”, which I bought in a pharmacy; it did not help. Over time, the pain increased so much that I had to go to the hospital, even though I did not have any medical insurance. After examination of my eyes, the physician said that it was conjunctivitis and prescribed an antibiotic (Gentamicin). I followed the doctor’s prescription, but the condition of my eyes became worse and the pain continued to increase. I went to the hospital again. This time another physician examined my eyes. He agreed with the previous diagnosis, conjunctivitis, and recommended me take Tylenol with Codeine in addition to Gentamicin. He also referred me to the ophthalmologist.
The ophthalmologist was on vacation; therefore I was only able to get an appointment with him in a month. After examining my eyes, the ophthalmologist concluded that this was not conjunctivitis, but ulcers on the cornea. The doctor prescribed medications that finally helped me. However there were scars on the corneas on both of my eyes. Now I have to wear glasses.

I want to ask you as a lawyer – should anyone pay for my suffering?
A: Medical negligence is a problem that exists not only in our country. I emphasize: the mistake is only a secondary issue, and the first issues are disorder, negligence and improper performance by the doctor of his duties.
It doesn’t really matter if you had insurance or not. You came with a serious and urgent problem that requires immediate resolution and treatment. It’s terrible that the doctors did not properly diagnose you, even when you came for the second time, with the condition worsened after their medical “help”. Of course they had to send you to a specialist immediately. If the hospital doctor was on vacation at that time, they had to send you to another available doctor in any other hospital.
Negligence in medicine, even if it’s just a delay, as it happened in your case, often leads to irreversible consequences. Your scars, which led to deterioration of your vision, is not the worst thing that could’ve happened.

What’s there to say if these doctors did not even use a slit lamp – a common ophthalmic device that allows looking inside the patient eyes in order to asses the problem.
Of course, you’re eligible to get compensation for your doctor’s negligence. If you contact lawyers of Yuriy Prakhin Law Office, these doctors will have to pay for the glasses you wear, for lenses if you decide to replace them, and for everything else that will be related to the consequences of your injury.

Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

Facts: A young woman, 25 y.o., living alone, decided to paint the ceiling in her apartment. She asked a superintendent of the house to lend her a ladder. While she was painting the ceiling, the woman fell down. She explained that she lost her balance.

Injuries and consequences: When the woman fell down, she broke her foot. She wore a cast for two months. She was out of work for two weeks. Now she suffers from periodic pains during long walks and while exercising.

Arguments of the defendant: The plaintiff asked the superintendent to lend her the ladder. By doing so she assumed all responsibility for consequences of her own actions. Regardless, the plaintiff feels great after the cast was removed from her foot.

Our arguments: (Our tactic was chosen based on the facts that the ladder was in the perfect condition, the floors in the plaintiff’s room were flat, and the woman did not know why she fall.) We argued that not only reckless actions, but indifferent inaction can lead to tragedy and make a person liable for that. We insisted that before giving the ladder to the young women, who obviously did not have experience in repair work, the superintendent had to explain to her the safety rules of working with a ladder. For example, he should have told her that she should not stand on the top two steps of the ladder or lean on the plastic shelf for tools. Because the superintendent did not tell the safety rules to the plaintiff, he became responsible for the incident. We also argued that it is a direct responsibility of the superintendent to paint the ceilings in the room. So the superintendent had to paint that ceiling by himself. Regarding the injury, we argued that the woman still feels pain when her leg is under load and because of that she had to stop running in the morning, which affected her weight.

Result: Neither the defense lawyers nor we could have predicted the jurors’ reaction to our theories. Therefore, $45,000 settlement has been agreed upon by both sides.

Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

Facts: An 36 y.o. illegal immigrant conducted different repair works in a private house. When he was repairing the roof he slipped and fell to the ground.

Injuries and consequences: Fracture of both hands, spine injury (3 herniated discs) which required surgery and a compressed nerve in the right hand with partial numbness of it.

Arguments of the defendant: The plaintiff worked as an independent contractor who must have his own insurance, therefore the landlord is not liable for his injuries. The plaintiff fell down due to his own negligence at work. The landlord is not responsible for this fall. Since the plaintiff did not have a work permit, he could not have been entitled to workers’ disability compensation.

Our arguments: The plaintiff worked for a long period of time for the owner of the house under his command and supervision. He received a regular salary, rather than payments for completed work. Therefore the plaintiff was not an independent contractor, but a hired worker. Because of that, the owner of the house as an employer had to purchase worker compensation insurance. Since he did not do that, he is fully financially responsible for the employee’s injuries, regardless of the degree of his guilt in this accident. (Labor Law). Despite that the plaintiff was in the country illegally, he paid taxes, therefore his future financial losses for inability to work should be included in the total compensation. Our expert neuropathologist confirmed that the plaintiff has a carpal tunnel syndrome of the right hand and that surgery is necessary for treatment. Our expert economist estimated that further treatment of the plaintiff until his full recovery, including the surgery, will cost $240,000. Disability losses during the treatment will be $180,000. We requested $800,000 for the pain and suffering of the plaintiff.

Result: By mutual agreement, the case was closed when the check for $940,000 was transferred to the plaintiff.

Aug 2018
by Yuriy Prakhin

Facts: A contractor (45 y.o. man) was a passenger in his friend’s car. Their car was moving from a secondary to the main road.  After the car passed a stop sign and got to the main road it was hit in the right side by a cargo truck that was moving along the main road. The insurance company of the guilty car paid $25,000 (maximum for the insurance contract) without any problems. The plaintiff opened the case against the truck driver, whose insurance was $1,000,000 per person (liability coverage).

Injuries and consequences: The plaintiff got a back injury and a kneecap fracture. Because of the injury, he had spine surgery and he was not able to work for three months. He attends a massage therapy every month. After recovery, he had to change his job to one that paid less.

Arguments of the defendant: The truck driver is not guilty, because he was driving along the main road. The car driver who did not stop at the stop sign took full 100 percent of the guilt and his insurance company paid 100% of the insurance sum. Therefore, there is no sense and reason for the trial against their client.

Our arguments: The fact that the car insurance company paid the full insurance coverage does not mean that their driver was the only one responsible for the accident. This just means that the plaintiff by having serious injuries did not want to incur additional losses due to legal costs. As for the percentage of the fault in the accident, it can only be determined by court, which at that time it was not. Under the law of several and joint liability, a car that is considered even 1% guilty in an accident can be fully financially responsible for the injuries of the victim in the case if the insurance coverage of the guilty driver is not enough to pay compensation to the victim. Undoubtedly, the driver of the car, where the plaintiff was, is mostly guilty for the accident. But it does not mean that he was one hundred percent guilty. If the truck driver had been attentive and careful, he should have seen that the car was passing the stop sign and he should have proceeded with a speed that would allow him to either stop or avoid the collision. Especially in the case when the car crossed more than half the width of the road before the accident. Therefore, the partial fault of the truck driver is undeniable.

We argued that because of injuries and continuing pain, our client will never be able to return to his previous job, since it is associated with physical labor which is medically forbidden to the plaintiff. This was confirmed by our orthopedic expert. Our expert-economist has calculated and shown that, taking into account the loss in salary, the plaintiff will lose $420,000 in the next twenty years (before the assumed retirement). We requested $500,000 for the pain and suffering of the plaintiff from the day of the accident to the day of the trial. We asked for $1 million for plaintiff’s future pain and suffering.

Result: Before the verdict was reached, the insurance company of the truck offered $800,000 to the plaintiff which he agreed to take.