September 9, 2011

Michaels & Smolak Again Named in US News' "Best Lawyers In America"!

usnews2.gifAw shucks, folks, it was nothin', really . . .

No, wait a minute. We are going to leave all modesty aside for a moment: Here's the news: Michaels & Smolak has been bestowed once again (for 2011) with a "first tier ranking" in U.S. News "Best Lawyers in America" for personal injury litigation firms in the Syracuse, New York metropolitan area.

Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review (they ask other lawyers and judges about us). Other lawyers are asked this question; "If you could not handle a case yourself, to whom would you refer it?" Lawyers are asked to give nominees 5-1 numerical grades - 5 for a lawyer the voter would certainly refer a case to, 4 for a lawyer the voter would probably refer a case to, etc. Those with only the very highest "grades" make it to the list of "Best Lawyers in America".

Michaels & Smolak is one of only a handful of Central New York personal injury law firms who made the "first tier" ranking.

So if other lawyers - including insurance defense lawyers we take on every day of the week --- think we are so great ---- hey, maybe we are!

Wait. I just remembered. Bragging is not cool. Sorry about that.

Aw shucks folks, it was nothin', really . . .

Keep safe (and hire a GOOD law firm)!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

September 3, 2011

New York Personal Injury Lawyers MUST Read Their Clients' Medical Records

Thumbnail image for chest exray.jpgBoring. That's what reading medical records is. I've been reading and re-reading 15 years of medical records for a client whose case I am trying in a few weeks. Cup of coffee? Yes, Thanks. Yes, boring. Dry. Dull. It's a sure fire insomnia cure. So why do I do it?

Necessary. This is one job that can't be delegated to a paralegal or associate. If you are a New York personal injury lawyer, and you are going to try your client's injury case, you have to know, almost by memory, the medical records. And that means you have to read and re-read them. No shortcuts.

Your paralegal might give you a nice summary, or might highlight important entries. But if you are trying the case, you simply have to read them. Absorb them. Know them. Imbedded in these records is the story of your client's injury, which you must bring to life before the jury's eyes.

Especially where you are claiming an aggravation of a pre-existing condition, you simply can't afford to have any entries regarding the old injury come up as a surprise at trial. If you are not ready for them, they can bite you in the . . . .

I think I'll grab another cup of coffee , , ,

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

September 2, 2011

Tully High School Roof Repairman Who Fell From Roof Most Likely Has Solid Labor Law Case Against School District

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for constructionworkeronroof.jpgThis story just kills me. The Syracuse Post Standard reports that a construction worker repairing the roof of Tully High School fell from the roof this morning while members of the high school's girls cross-country team stood by and witnessed it. I feel terrible for the injured worker, but also for those poor kids who witnessed the tragedy.

And it was an avoidable tragedy. The law was not followed. I'll tell you more about that later, but first let me say that, in my experience as a Syracuse construction work accident lawyer, most fallen roofer injuries are serious, and life-long. Because the injuries from falls are so serious, New York has a special law to protect construction workers on rooftops and scaffolds. It's called Labor Law 240, or "the scaffold law".

Tully School District will almost certainly be held liable to the fallen roof-repair man. Why? Because under New York Labor Law 240, the owner of a building is, in almost all circumstances, strictly liable for all worker falls from the building's roof. The roof repair man should have been tied up with a lanyard or some other safety device, and apparently he was not. This is, generally, a clear cut violation of Labor Law 240.

The fallen worker will be entitled to workers' compensation through his employer, but also entitled to full compensation from the School District for all additional lost wages, past and future, as well as any additional medical expenses, and pain and suffering compensation. Tully School District, call your insurance carrier! Tully School District insurance carrier, call your lawyers! Fallen worker or his family, call a New York construction accident lawyer!

Other related blog posts:

Syracuse New York Construction Accident Lawyer Looks Up And Sees Labor Laws Being Broken!

Can I Be Sued If Someone I Hire To Remove Snow And Ice From My Roof Or Fix My Leaky Roof Falls? Central And Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyer Explains.

"Worker in Geneva New York Who Fell from Scaffold Probably Has a Slam Dunk Case against Wal-Mart", Geneva New York Injured Worker Lawyer Says.

Central New York Construction Accident Lawyer: Construction Workers Injured in Binghamton New York Scaffolding Collapse Have Solid Case

OSHA'S Increased Construction Site Safety Enforcement in Syracuse and Central New York May Help Decrease Syracuse New York Falling Construction Worker Lawsuits.

Keep safe!

You can email me at bersani@michaels-smolak.com

Mike Bersani

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY construction accident lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

September 1, 2011

Recent Syracuse Truck Accident Caused By Faulty Brakes, Or Course.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for tractor trailer.jpgThe tractor trailer driver knew he was in trouble. He was blearing his horn as his tractor trailer careened out of control down the West Seneca Turnpike hill the other day in Syracuse. The brakes on the truck had failed. Six vehicle collisions later, three people were taken to the Community General and Upstate University hospitals with, fortunately, non-life threatening injuries.

Too many tractor trailer air-brake failures have taken too many lives. Faulty brakes contribute to about a third of all truck crashes in the United States. Very few trucks on the road are checked for brakes as well or as often as they should be. Brake inspections require time and labor, and trucking companies often choose not to spend the time and money doing them.

In other words, truckers and trucking companies cut corners to reap bigger profits, putting all of us at risk.

This West Senecca Turnpike disaster is the end result of such selfish decision making by truckers. Yesterday a DOT inspection of the truck found - surprise, surprise - that it had inadequate brakes, which was determined to be the cause of the crash.

And they wonder why New York truck accident lawyers love to sue them!

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

August 31, 2011

Pit Bull Dog Attacks; Will Victims Get Compensation?

pit bull.jpgPolice say that two pit bulls chased and bit a mail deliverer today in Schenectady. But that's not big news. Dogs attack postal workers somewhere everyday. What gives this story more "bite" is that three pit bulls attached a woman in the same City, Schenectady, earlier in the week. Pit bulls are clearly "in the pits" in Schenectady these days.

For the sake of both these victims of dog attacks, I hope the dog owners' homeowners' insurance policies do not contain the "dog exclusion" I blogged about the other day. Some insurance policies exclude coverage only for aggressive breeds such as pit bulls, others exclude coverage for all dogs, but better homeowners' policies don't exclude dogs at all.

Take it from me, a New York dog bite lawyer. Dog exclusions are evil! They leave dog bite victims with no insurance money to compensate them for their medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. The dog bite victim then has only two options: walk away and lick his or her wounds without the benefit of any compensation, or else sue the dog owner for compensation from his or her personal assets.

Check your homeowners' insurance policy to make sure it does not exclude injuries caused by your dog. If it does, call your insurance agent and see if he can find you a comparable insurance policy that protects you if your dog bites someone.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169


August 28, 2011

Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyer Likes State Fair Exhibit On Common Hazards

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for banana peel.jpgAlthough I haven't been to the New York State Fair yet this year, I read in the Syracuse Post Standard about an interesting - at least for a Syracuse New York personal injury lawyer like myself- exhibit. It's called "Safety Town", a creation of the New York State Office of Fire Protection. Check it out in the Science & Industry Building.

It consists of four interactive dioramas with push buttons that illuminate common hazards created by careless living. For example, the diorama "the House of Hazards" shows true-to-life tableaus of common household dangers caused by unsafe choices:; a hot iron teeters dangerously on top of the refrigerator about to fall on small child's head; a man sleeps with a lit cigarette dangling from his mouth; a girl plays with matches in a closet; candles are burning next to curtains blowing in the wind; and paper items are placed on a hot stove where food cooks unattended.

Since this exhibit is put on by firefighters, it emphasizes fire hazards, but other common negligence-created dangers are also represented (Example: Dad is about to step on a stray roller skate). In fact, the exhibit is chock full of all kinds of negligence-created hazards. It seems like an amusing cascade of accidents-waiting-to happen.

Yes, it looks pretty entertaining. But its purpose obviously goes beyond mere entertainment. It is to instruct us, or at least remind us, of how to live safely, something that, as a Syracuse New York accident lawyer who sees close up the result of negligent behavior, I am all in favor of! So I take my hat off (not to be left near a hot stove) to the New York State Office of Fire Protection.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

August 24, 2011

Beware Of Dog (Exclusion): Central And Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyer Explains.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for vicious dog.jpgHomeowners' Insurance carriers are in the dog house, at least in my book. Here's why: In the past few years, in greater and greater numbers, homeowners' insurance carriers are, unbeknownst to their insureds, slipping "dog exclusions" into their insurance policies. They exclude coverage for any injury caused by dogs, including, of course, dog bites.

Me and my New York dog bite lawyer brethren first started seeing dog bite exclusions pop up in homeowners' insurance policies a few years ago. At first, they excluded only certain breeds of dogs, those deemed especially aggressive such as pit bulls. But more and more we are seeing outright exclusions for all dogs, without regard to the breed. In other words, Insurance companies are becoming equal opportunity dog excluders.

Why is this problem? Actually, it's a dog-gone rip off. You see, one-third of all injury claims brought against homeowners are for dog bites. But when they exclude coverage for dog bites, they don't offer you a 1/3 discount. In fact, they give you no discount at all. So your insurance carrier is charging you the same amount for 2/3 of the coverage. Quite a good deal for them. Hey --- it's a dog-eat-dog world I guess.

Insurance companies will deny they are slipping these exclusions into their policies to reap greater profits. Instead they will claim they're merely keeping their customers' premium costs down. Yeah right.

Of course, dog exclusions hurt dog-bite victims, too. If you happen to get mauled by a dog whose owner is both poor and has homeowners' insurance with a dog exclusion, you end up with no compensation. That can take a bite out of your wallet, because you are stuck paying your own medical bills and eating your lost wages, not to mention getting no compensation for those god-awful scars.

My advice? If you are a dog owner, shop around for homeowners' insurance that covers dog bites. They're still some of them around, and I'll bet they don't cost a penny more.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169


August 23, 2011

Failed Metal-On-Metal Hip Replacements May Be Basis Of New York Product Liability cases

hip replacement.jpgAll metal hip implants, the newest line of artificial hips, are failing all over the U.S., the New York Times reported today. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has received more than 5,000 complaints since January about the "metal-on-metal" implants (both the artificial ball and cup are made of metal). As a result, many recipients of all-metal hips must undergo replacement surgery after only a few years (artificial hips should last about 15). Some patients have suffered injuries from minute pieces of chromium and cobalt shedding from the metal hips. In such cases pain, rashes and inflammation are common.

Hip replacement has come to be one of the most widely performed medical procedures in the United States. As a result, there are an estimated 500,000 patients who received all-metal replacement hips. Many of these hips were sold without testing in patients.

Because of the high rate of failure of the metal-on-metal hips, most surgeons are going back to the old metal-and-plastic ones.

Patients who have received metal-on-metal hips may have a valid products liability claim against the manufacturers. They are entitled to claim compensation for their lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering, which includes compensation for the ordeal of going through with an additional hip replacement.

Under New York defective products law, a person injured by a defective or dangerous product doesn't need to show that the manufacturer was negligent or careless, but only that the product was unreasonably dangerous. This means that even if the manufacturer did not know and could not have known there would be problems with the metal-on-metal hip replacements, they can be held liable for the damages that the product causes, if it is found to be unreasonably dangerous.

Patients who have a failed hip replacement should contact a New York products liability lawyer to understand their rights.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169


August 22, 2011

New York Personal Injury Lawyer Finishes Year's Review Of New Cases Involving New York Governmental And Municipal Liability

Thumbnail image for photo__1501307_michael_bersani.jpgFinally, I'm done! I have finished preparing my 2010-2011 review of all New York State municipal and government liability cases. I am ready to go "on tour" around the State educating other New York personal injury lawyers about the new case law on suing New York State, cities, counties, villages, towns, school districts, public authorities, and other governmental entities for personal injuries. I started this project back in early July, and just now finished. This is my fourth consecutive year preparing the case review. I can say, without exaggeration, that I am probably the only New York personal injury lawyer, or even the only lawyer --- or the only person --- to have read almost every New York case on governmental liability for personal injuries for the last four years!

Why is that such a big deal? Well, it really isn't - except for one thing: It gives me an edge on analyzing and preparing New York personal injury cases against New York State and its cities, counties, villages, towns, school districts, public authorities, and other such entities.

When I was in college, a professor once defined a "generalist" as someone who knew nothing about everything, and a "specialist" as someone who knew everything about nothing. Well, I guess I am a "specialist" in the very narrow field of New York governmental and municipal liability. Fortunately, I also know quite a bit about other areas of New York injury law, including New York car accidents, construction injuries, defective product cases, just to name a few. I guess that makes me a "generalist", too. Bottom line: I am a generalist and a specialist! But I haven't quite figured out whether that makes me a generalized specialist or a specialized generalist . . .

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

August 21, 2011

Upstate NY Bike Accident Lawyer On Anti-Bicyclist Bias

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bicyclists racing.jpgI read an interesting article in the New York Times today titled, "A new Breed of Lawyers Focuses on Bicyclists' Rights." The article focuses on a group of NY City Bicycle lawyers who are fighting a perceived NYPD prejudice against City cyclists. Cops have issued tickets to cyclists for not keeping right, which is the law in New York State generally, but not in New York City. Cyclists are also getting a lot of tickets for moving out of the designated bike lanes, even when they need to move out of the lane to avoid obstacles.

None of this really applies much to what I do as a Central and Syracuse New York bike accident lawyer, except for one thing: In a car-on-bicycle collision, I believe police tend to "blame the cyclist" more often than not, up here as well as down there. Many motorists, and police officers, feel deep down that cyclists are merely "in the way" of traffic, and should be able to avoid motorists.

Most people harbor this prejudice against cyclists because they aren't cyclists, but motorists. As motorists themselves, people generally, and cops particularly, tend to side with motorists to the detriment of cyclists.

Imagine a world where 98% of the population cycled, and only about 2% drove cars. In that world, cops and others who were not motorists themselves, but rather cyclists, would tend to blame the motorist in a car-on-bike collision. They would "feel" for the cyclist, not the motorist. But things are, in fact, exactly the opposite, which explains why cops, and others, tend to blame the cyclist.

Only an experienced New York Bicycle accident lawyer can undo the harmful effects of this hidden prejudice. Through a careful investigation of the accident scene, and interviews with witnesses, and a thorough review of New York bicycle law, the truth can prevail in Court. Much attention must also be paid to educating the jury, during jury selection, about this hidden bias so that they can consciously fight against it when deliberating about who was at fault.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

August 16, 2011

Ontario County New York Car Accident Lawyer Explains How Insurance Works For Victims Of Recent Gorham NY Auto Crash

Thumbnail image for police car.jpgFive people were injured yesterday afternoon when a car hit a utility pole in Gorham, Ontario County. The accident apparently happened like this: A southbound car carrying 4 passengers on Route 245 tried to pass a vehicle, didn't see the oncoming vehicle until it was too late, and then swerved off the road to avoid a collision, striking the utility pole. Sadly, several of the victims are children.

Mistakes happen, and this driver clearly made a mistake by attempting to pass when it was unsafe to do so. Fortunately, New York car accident laws help innocent victims of careless driving recover for their injuries. And the insurance carrier for the driver (and owner) of the passing car will almost certainly be held financially responsible for this unfortunate accident.

What rights do the passengers have?

First, they each have a right to $50,000 in "no-fault" benefits from the at-fault car's insurance. This is to cover any lost wages and medical expenses.

Second, if the passengers own their own motor vehicle, or a relative who lives with them does, they might be able to get additional no-fault benefits (called "additional personal injury protection") from those other insurance policies (depending on the coverage limits in those other policies). No-fault applications must be made within 30 days of the accident.

Third, the passengers have the right to make a "liability" claim against the driver/owner of the at-fault car. A "liability" claim is for pain and suffering compensation, as well as for any medical expenses and lost wages that go beyond the no-fault monetary limit. The amount of coverage available depends on: (1) the insurance policy limit of the at-fault car (the minimum in New York is $25k per person and $50k per accident); (2) if the driver did not own this vehicle, but owns one or a relative he lives with owns one, more insurance might be available through that other vehicle's auto insurance; (3) if any of the passengers own vehicles, or reside with relatives that do, they might have some additional coverage known as "SUM" (supplemental underinsured motorist coverage).

New York car accident auto insurance is actually a complex patchwork of insurances. Only an experienced New York car accident lawyer can properly investigate all potential insurance coverage to maximize the funds available to help car accident victims recover.

We wish a speedy recovery to all the Gorham car accident victims.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169


August 16, 2011

Why This Central New York Personal Injury Lawyer Insists That His Clients Not Speak To Anyone About The Accident Or The Case Without His Consent.

slience.jpgHere at Michaels & Smolak, our standard personal injury retainer agreement contains a phrase that basically tells the client, "shut up" (please). Clients are not supposed to speak with anyone about the case or the accident without our consent. Why?

First, it's pretty obvious why you should not speak to the defendant or the insurance adjuster. After all, their interests are adverse to yours. But what about others? What about that friendly neighbor of yours? Why shouldn't you talk to him about your New York personal injury case?

Let's say, for example, you tell your neighbor all about how your accident happened and all about your medical treatment since the accident. The insurance company thinks you're faking or exaggerating, so they hire an investigator to snoop around the neighborhood. By that time your neighbor is mad at you for having called the police when he kept throwing loud parties. Now your neighbor "remembers" you told him the accident was all your fault, and you are not really hurt anyway. And that's what he tells the investigator.

If you had told your neighbor nothing about the accident, he could not have "remembered" wrong. Now a jury is going to have to decide whether to believe what you say you told him or what he says you told him.

This may seem like a far-fetched example, but it brings home the point: The more people you talk to about your case, and your accident, the more likely it is that someone will misremember what you told them.

Why take the chance? Play your hand close to the vest. Don't give anyone any reason to say you said something you did not say. Talk to your own New York personal injury lawyer about the case. But mum's the word with everyone else.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

August 15, 2011

Syracuse New York Car Accident Lawyer: How a $100,000 Case Morphed Into A Million Dollar Case And Then Into A Multi-Million Dollar Case.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for car crash.jpgNew York personal injury cases can take weird twists and turns, sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. Here's one that took a dramatic turn for the better, twice!

A client was badly, really badly, injured in an upstate New York car crash. But the at-fault driver (who was also the owner) of the car was insured for only $100,000, and all the evidence about him (where he lived, the type of vehicle he was driving, etc.) indicated he would have no significant assets beyond the insurance policy.

So I called my client into my office to give him the bad news: It looked like $100,000 was all that was available to compensate him for his terrible loss, including past and future medical expenses, a lifetime of lost wages, and a large dose of lifetime pain and suffering. You can't get water from a rock, and this negligent driver looked like a really, really dry rock.

But as I sat there with my client explaining this to him, a small fissure cracked open in the dry rock, and water began to gush out. Here's how: The client bitterly mentioned that the driver of that other vehicle seemed more concerned about the safety of the "bovine sperm" he was carrying in the back of his pickup than about my client's injuries at the scene. The driver actually mentioned that he was checking to see if the bovine sperm was secure. This was a glimmer of hope to me. Could this driver have been on-the-job transporting the sperm for some someone else ? If so, the employer would also be liable, and that would mean more insurance coverage.

But it seemed unlikely; the police report did not mention an employer, and the pickup truck, as depicted in the police photos, did not display any logo or company name. It was just a plain pickup truck. And the driver himself, not some corporation, owned the vehicle.

So I wrote the driver's insurance adjuster and asked her to ask the driver. And lo and behold, turns out the guy was on-the-job for a livestock sperm distribution company.

I then sued the driver and the employer. During the course of the lawsuit, I demanded to know the employer's insurance policy limits. The lawyer for the company disclosed a $1,000,000 policy. After I got several favorable rulings on the case (summary judgment on liability and on the issue that the injury was "serious"), I demanded the full $1 million policy limit (I had already gotten my client the $100,000 from the driver's policy).

Then more water began to gush out of the fissure. The lawyer wrote back saying that he had discovered an additional insurance policy for $10,000,000, which he had accidentally overlooked the first time!

Now I am drafting a truly fair settlement demand that will compensate my seriously injured New York car accident victim for every last dime he is entitled to for his past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages, and lifetime of pain and suffering.

As I said at the outset, New York personal injury lawyers are used to strange twists and turns in our cases. But two big turns for the good in a row are as rare as they are welcomed.

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169


August 14, 2011

Central New York Injury Lawyer's Blogging Gives Way To Preparing New York State Personal Injury Lecture

Picture of Michael Bersani .jpgI haven't had much time for blogging and I am sure that my many thousands (yea right!) of dedicated readers are wondering why.

Wonder no longer. Instead of blogging, I have been working on my review of this year's New York case law regarding New York municipal and governmental liability. Every year I review and summarize new cases in this area of law for my fellow New York personal injury lawyers. Then, in the fall, I travel around the State (to Manhattan, Queens, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo) lecturing my fellow New York personal injury lawyers on the new developments in this area.

Some of you might be asking, "what is municipal and governmental liability"? Glad you asked.

When you sue for personal injury against the State, or its political subdivisions, or other governmental entities, such as a town, village, city, county, school district, public authority, special rules apply. In fact, the "rules" are more like landmines waiting to explode under the foot of inexperienced New York accident lawyers. For example, statutes of limitations are shorter, and you often have to follow certain procedures, such as serving a "notice of claim", before you can even sue. The governmental entity or municipality is able to get your case dismissed if you don't cross your T's and dot your I's in following these procedures.

The State, governmental entity or political subdivision, can also raise "governmental immunity" as a defense in some cases. That sometimes means you can't sue them at all, no matter how careless or negligent they were in causing an injury. But a shrewd, and well informed, New York personal injury lawyer can sometimes weave his or her way around governmental immunity defenses. I try to teach other New York accident lawyers how to do this by showing them how it was done in other New York injury cases against the State or other governmental entities. Judging from the emails I receive from other lawyers all over New York State thanking me for my lectures, I think I have succeeded somewhat!

Keep safe!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Personal Injury Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169

August 4, 2011

NY Bus Accident Lawyer Update on Whitney Point, NY Tour Bus Accident

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bus.jpgSince my last post on this Cortland area tour bus accident, news sources indicate that 28 of the 30 passengers on the bus were from Poland, and that, fortunately, most appear to have suffered only minor injuries. Police say heavy rain was falling at the time the bus left the roadway, and that the driver appears to have been going too fast for such conditions.

As I said in my last post, this is the third tour bus accident this summer in Central New York. Enough already! Let's be more careful everyone.

Under New York motor vehicle accident law, a bus driver, and his employer, are liable for injuries caused at least in part by speed that was excessive for the prevailing weather conditions, even if the bus' speed was below the posted speed limit. Reasonable drivers slow down on wet roads. Some tour bus operators have been known to put concerns about keeping to a fixed schedule, and avoiding delays, ahead of safety. Safety should always come first.

We have also learned from recent news releases that the bus company is Princeton Holdings, operating under the name "Amerpol Tours" out of Pennsylvania. The bus departed from Niagara Falls and was heading to Trenton, New Jersey.

Tour Bus Drivers -- Safety First, please!

Mike Bersani

Email me at: bersani@michaels-smolak.com I'd love to hear from you!

Michael G. Bersani, Esq.
michaels-smolak.com
Central NY Bus Accident Lawyer
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293 Toll Free 1-866-698-8169