June 2, 2012

New Law In New York Will Prevent Motorcycle Accidents And Deaths

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for motorcycle riders.jpgGood news for motorcyclists. A bill (S. 7138) just passed the NY State Senate that would require "motorcycle awareness" training as part of the Department of Motor Vehicle's mandatory 5-hour course that all new drivers are required to take. The training would educate new drivers on how to be aware of, and share the road with, motorcyclists.

The bill, which is expected to also pass in the Assembly, be signed by the Governor, and thus to become law, was prompted by a recent upswing in motorcycle accidents in upstate New York. Oswego County has been especially hit hard - motorcycle collisions have claimed four lives in Oswego already this season, a new record.

Why the upswing in motorcycle accidents? In recent years, with the high cost of gas, more New Yorkers are giving up their four wheels for two. In Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties alone, for example, the number of registered motorcycles has increased 16 percent since 2007. More motorcycles usually means more motorcycle accidents. (Paradoxically, if there were many more motorcycles on the road, we would probably see FEWER motorcycle accidents. Read why here).

The bill contains a section called "justification", which announces a truth that every New York motorcycle accident lawyer knows all too well: "Motorcycle crashes often occur because of the failure of other drivers' awareness of motorcycle traffic on the road".

Motorcycle enthusiasts and support groups in New York State have already given this bill a big "thumbs up". And so does this Central and Syracuse New York motorcycle accident lawyer!

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 and Syracuse NY Motor Cycle Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293


May 31, 2012

According To syracuse New York Fallen Worker Lawyer, Fallen Cell Phone Tower Climbers And Their Surviving Family May Be Able To Sue The Cell Phone Carriers For Money Damages Beyond Workers' Compensation

celltower.jpgThis is the second time I have blogged about the dangers cell phone tower climbers face. The media is catching on to my concern. PBS's "Frontline" just published an article last week titled, "In Race For Better Cell Service, Men Who Climb Towers Pay With Their Lives". It then aired a film version of the article.

As Frontline points out, the statistics are grim. Between 2003 and 2011, 50 cell phone tower climbers died on the job, almost all by falling to their death. AT&T has the worst record of all, with nearly three times more deaths than its nearest "competitor".

Why are these workers dying? Frontline found that "in accident after accident, deadly missteps often resulted because climbers were shoddily equipped or received little training before being sent up hundreds of feet" and that, "to satisfy demands from carriers or large contractors, tower hands sometimes worked overnight or in dangerous conditions". All the cell phone carriers are racing to roll out ever better and faster cell phone networks to deliver ever faster and more voluminous music, games and videos online. To get the jobs done fast, and cheap, safety rules are routinely violated.

In an apparent attempt to insulate themselves from bad press and high workers' compensation costs, cell phone carriers outsource this dangerous cell tower work to subcontractors. And in almost any state but New York, this makes sense. The worker who falls, or his or her surviving family members, will generally be relegated to workers' compensation from the subcontractor's insurer. The cell phone carriers themselves generally won't pay for, or be implicated, in the deaths and injuries.

But in New York, this scheme to escape responsibility is not going to work. That's because New York has a unique statute, Labor Law 240, which gives special protection to workers who fall from heights. Under Labor Law 240, if a cell phone tower climber falls from a cell tower, he or she can claim workers' compensation from the subcontractor-employer, BUT USUALLY CAN ALSO SUE THE OWNER OF THE CELL TOWER (which is usually the cell phone carrier) for a lot more compensation, including pain and suffering compensation.

I sure hope injured New York cell phone tower climbers, and their families, find out about New York's Labor Law 240. One thing you can be sure of; their employers and the cell phone companies won't tell them. And that's why I am!

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 Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293


May 30, 2012

Traumatic Brain Injury Trials Require Advanced Preparation, Central NY Injury Lawyer Says

Thumbnail image for brain.jpgI have two TBI (traumatic brain injury) cases going to trial early next year. In both cases, the defense claims my clients have suffered no TBI at all, or else it was mild, and resolved long ago. In both cases my clients own physicians and traumatic brain injury specialists have the client totally disabled.

TBI cases are complex and often vigorously defended. Because you can't "see" a traumatic brain injury, defense lawyers often try to convince the jury that the injured plaintiff does not have it. They try to convince the jury that the symptoms (which can include concentration problems, headache, dizziness or loss of balance, sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, fatigue, mood changes or mood swings, depression and anxiety fatigue or drowsiness) are being faked, or else stem from pre-existing depression.

So this Central and Syracuse New York personal injury lawyer has already started beefing up. This past March the American Association for Justice hosted a "Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group Meeting", which I could not attend. BUT, I have ordered the DVD and course materials. They are sitting on my desk, right now, staring at me, just begging to be viewed. As they sit there, I can almost sense the pearls of wisdom from other TBI lawyers emanating from them.

Some folks might say, hey, you aren't trying those cases till 2013, so why are you getting ready now? Here's why: After reviewing the medical records and the course materials, I may decide to hire an expert medical professional to examine my clients and then to testify at trial regarding their TBI. That will take some lead time, which I will need to schedule the expert for my trials. The best experts' calendars fill up quickly. The early bird gets the worm!

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 Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293


May 25, 2012

New Play In NYC About A Medical Malpractice Case --- It All Rings True to Central New York Medical Malpractice Lawyers

surgeon.jpgThe New York Times reported today on a new play, titled "Love Alone", about a fatal surgical medical mistake, and how it affected the family of the deceased victim, and the doctor who blew it. Although I haven't seen the play (yet), the story line rings true to how medical malpractice spins its ugly web. Here's how:

At first, the family does not know a medical error was responsible for their loved one's death, and, of course, no one at the hospital tells them. This sure rings true!

Then the daughter, who finds it odd that her mother died during such a routine surgical procedure, gets a hold of the intraoperative report, which, strangely, is missing pages. This rings true, too. Just ask any New York medical malpractice lawyer about the kinds of strange erasures and missing pages that show up in some medical records.

The suspicious daughter hires a New York medical malpractice lawyer, who discovers - surprise, surprise - that, yes, the victim died from a medical error during surgery. A lawsuit is then in the making. This, of course, rings true, too.

And I might add that many, many medical malpractice lawsuits could be avoided if the doctor simply admitted the mistake and apologized for it. Many of our medical malpractice clients come to us because they are so upset at being lied to or because no one bothered to apologize.

The play also reveals how medical malpractice can affect the at-fault doctor. Here, the surgeon who killed the patient is shown to be worried about her possible culpability in her patient's death, but is equally concerned about protecting her professional reputation. I would add that too often the latter concern seems to outweigh the former!

Two of my partners and I are heading to the Big Apple in a few weeks for a law conference. Maybe we can scoop up some tickets for this play?! Dave, Jan, what do you say?

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 Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293


May 23, 2012

Finger Lakes NY Boating Accident Lawyer's Memorial Day Boating advice.

boating.jpgIt's looking like a gorgeous Memorial Day weekend in New York's beautiful Finger Lakes. The Finger Lakes are my home. I live on Seneca Lake, my office is near Owasco Lake, and my family has a cottage ("camp" as it is known locally) on Skaneateles Lake. These lakes, together with the other 8 Finger Lakes --- Otisco Lake, Cayuga Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Honeoye Lake, Canadice Lake, Hemlock Lake, and Conesus Lake - form a natural water-bejeweled necklace.

Admiring the lakes from the shore is one thing, but many of us Finger-Lakers like to get out ON them. Unfortunately, every year I have an opportunity to blog about a serious, or fatal, boating accident on one of the Finger Lakes (see the blog links below this article). And sometimes my personal injury law firm ends up representing injured boaters in lawsuits against boat operators and others who cause boating accidents.

Almost every boating accident I have seen has been avoidable. But don't worry - I am not going to lecture you about boating safety rules (like checking the weather forecast, maintaining a safe speed, designating an assistant skipper, avoiding alcohol if you are operating the boat, taking a boating course, checking your vessel for safety). Oops, I just did lecture you!

Instead, I want to focus on just one safety tip: wearing life jackets. Although you are not legally required in New York to actually WEAR them during the warm months (you only need to have one per passenger somewhere on the boat), do. Even if you are a great swimmer, do! Why? Well, for one thing, no matter how well you swim, you're probably no good at it if you are knocked unconscious!

By the way, children under age twelve must wear a life jacket. And even adults must wear them on jet skis and the like, and if they are water skiing or tubing
.
Discover more boating safety tips here.

Here are some of my other blog posts about boating accidents:

Seneca Lake Boat Accident Victims May Have Defective Boat Design Claim Against Boat Manufacturer

Finger Lakes Boating Accident Lawyer on Recent Seneca Lake Boating Accidents

Boating Accident in Seneca Lake Serves as Reminder to Boat Safely

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 Boating Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293

May 21, 2012

Why Are New York No-Fault Insurance Regulators Targeting "Crooked Doctors" Who Support No-Fault Claims?

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for insurance claim form.jpgI read this article in the Syracuse Post Standard the other day about how no-fault insurance regulators plan to start "kicking crooked doctors out of New York's no-fault program", referring to such doctors as "linchpins in fake-accident scams that cost insurers and policyholders hundreds of millions of dollars".

As a Central and Syracuse New York auto accident lawyer, I have represented many, many auto accident victims over the years. And I have some questions for the regulators who are targeting no-fault victims' doctors. The first is, "what planet do you live on?!"

I have never, in my career, known any auto accident victims' doctors or other medical professionals to take part in "fake" no-fault claims. Instead, I have known no-fault insurance carriers to hire biased doctors to issue one-sided reports used to justify denying car-accident victims their medical treatment. These doctors butter their bread with a regular stream of income from the no-fault insurance industry, which asks them, time and time again, to give an opinion as to whether their insureds' no-fault funded medical treatment is "reasonable and necessary". With surprising (actually, not) regularity, these doctors, bought and paid for by the insurance company, find the insured's medical treatment NOT necessary or reasonable. The no-fault carriers then use these reports to justify denying payment of any further medical treatment for their insured, who by the way, dutifully paid their no-fault insurance premiums for years.

While I do not deny that there may be a few "crooked doctors" who support cooked-up no-fault claims, they are surely few and far between. But the so-called "independent" medical examiners who are actually in the no-fault insurance industry's pocket? A dime a dozen.

Why are the regulators targeting "crooked" doctors who support no-fault claims, and not those who oppose no-fault claims for the insurance companies? Could it be that the insurance industry has a bigger lobby in Albany than injured car accident victims?

As usually, money talks.

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

May 6, 2012

Words Matter To Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyer

what's your story.jpg.jpgWhat are the most important weapons a personal injury lawyer brings to court? Give up? OK, I'll tell you: words.

Words are the arrows in the personal injury lawyer's quiver. The "mot juste" (the right word), as the French say, can make all the difference. That's why the best New York personal injury lawyers spend lots of time before a trial deciding what words to use in describing what happened to their client, and how they are suffering as a result.

Don't think words matter that much? Watch this short video and you might change your mind:


So there you have it. A personal injury lawyer representing a blind client, let's call him Bill, can stand up at summation and say, "ladies and gentlemen, Bill is blind". Or he can say, "ladies and gentlemen, I just took Bill out for lunch during recess. As you know, it's a beautiful day out there. [pause]. But Bill couldn't see it. (note: much of the power of the words is unleashed by skillful use of the voice, intonation, emphasis, and pauses. This obviously cannot be transcribed).

Yes, words are powerful weapons. The late Moe Levine, one of the best New York personal injury lawyers who ever lived, delivered one of the most famous summations in a personal injury trial in New York. The words he chose mattered. He was representing a man who had lost both arms. In his summation, he could have rattled on and on about what it was like for his client to live without any arms. But he chose to make it simple and to the point, and very, very graphic. He told the jury that he had just taken his client to lunch at a restaurant across the street. Then, after a long pause, he said, "he eats like a DOG"! Then he sat down. The jury gave his armless client the biggest New York personal injury verdict ever recorded until that day.

The best lawyers find, and use, the best words.

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 and Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293

May 1, 2012

Van Soaring Over Guardrail On New York's Bronx River Parkway Is Deja Vu.

rocket.jpg.jpgLast Sunday a van careered across several lanes of traffic on a highway overpass on the Bronx River Parkway before plunging off the side of the road and landing, upside down, in the Bronx Zoo, where all seven occupants, including three children, met their death. Yes, the van driver was surely at fault. He was probably speeding (68 in a 50 mile per hour zone), and he should not have lost control of his vehicle. But that doesn't let the State of New York off the hook if it failed to design and maintain a safe roadway.

And it sure looks like New York State screwed up here. The van apparently hit a concrete curb on the right side of the roadway, which catapulted the van so high that it completely cleared, without touching, the four-foot high guardrail/fence.

This is totally unacceptable. What kind of engineering genius would put concrete curbs that act as launching pads for errant cars and send them flying over the guardrails? Make no sense at all.

And this was not the first time! Last year a car cleared the guardrail at nearly the same place. This section of the parkway is on the New York State Transportation Department's "5 Percent List," which is a federally mandated list of locations "exhibiting the most severe highway safety needs."

This sad case reminds me of another case I wrote about in last year's municipal liability outline, Garner v. State, where a motorist lost control of his car on a highway bridge, then ran into a snow bank packed against the concrete barrier guard at the edge of the bridge. The snow bank acted like a ramp, vaulting the car off the bridge and onto a roadway below. The State lost that case, but apparently the State still has not learned its lesson.

Here's the lesson: we, the citizens of New York State, do not want to be launched into orbit if we, for whatever reason, lose control of our vehicles on your roadways, bridges and overpasses. Please remove your launching pads. Donate them to NASA!

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 Negligent Roadway Design Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293


April 28, 2012

Fellow NY Personal Injury Lawyers, Please Stand Up!

71LV8ogrzXL._SL1405_.jpgI consider myself in pretty good shape for my age. But when my brother just a year older than me recently died of a sudden heart attack, I decided to get all the testing I could for heart disease. One test I got is called a "cardiac CT scan for calcium". It measures the amount of plaque deposits in the arteries near your heart.

Alas, I did not do so well. I scored a 61, which is in the 59th percentile for my age. That means that 59% of American men my age have less plaque build up than me. Very surprising considering my lifestyle: I exercise regularly (about an hour and a half a day of biking, swimming or running), eat well, keep my cholesterol under control, and am thin.

So I started investigating why I might have such plaque build-up. Clearly genetics is one factor, and I can't change that. But there was one thing in my lifestyle, I discovered, that could be causing the fat in my blood to deposit on my artery walls; sitting. Recent studies show that, even if you work out regularly, if you are sitting a lot during the rest of the day, you are more likely to develop plaque in your arteries, and thus more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes.

But as a New York personal injury lawyer, sitting is about all I do all day! My job requires me to be at my desk, and on the phone or computer, almost all day long. Even at home in the evenings I often continue to work sitting. In Court I am mostly seated. And I am seated when I drive to and from court, and between my home and the office. Now that I think about it, I spend almost all my waking hours on my butt!

Solution? a standing desk . Yes, standing is good for you. Even without trying, your leg muscles are working when you stand. The cholesterol doesn't deposit to the walls of your arteries as easily.

And so I just ordered my standing desk from amazon.com. Fellow desk-bound lawyers, please join me in standing up against heart disease!

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 Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293

April 24, 2012

Why NY Personal Injury Cases Settle On The Eve Of Trial

money handshake.jpgMonday I was scheduled to try a Seneca County NY motorcycle accident case in the Seneca County Courthouse in Waterloo. But as often happens, the case settled on the eve of trial, in this case Sunday afternoon.

Why do personal injury cases settle so late in the game, after the attorneys have put so much work into preparing for trial"? In one word, "pressure". The pressure of an upcoming trial transforms the psychology of the parties and the lawyers. The weaknesses of your own case suddenly come into focus as never before. The risks of trial loom larger. This happens on both sides. When the parties' positions are not far apart to begin with, splitting the difference suddenly seems more palatable.

Trying cases is exciting, fun and, yes, frightening, especially for the client who usually has never been to court. The cases that get tried are the ones where the parties are miles apart. Where the positions are "within firing range" of each other, the pressures of trial often lead to a settlement on the courthouse steps.

My client was happy, and relieved, with the settlement. The amount we got was almost exactly what the lawyers in my firm had predicted an average jury would give us.

One of my partners always says, "hey, you can't lose a settled case". When I told that to my client, he laughed and said, "amen".

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 Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293


April 23, 2012

More Motorcycles Means Fewer Motorcycle Accidents, Says Syracuse NY Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for motorcycle riders.jpgThe Syracuse Post Standard reports, in an article titled, "Oswego County Motorcycle Deaths Increasing", that three motorcyclists have been killed already this year in Oswego County, and we are only in April. This totals more than the full-year of motorcycle fatalities in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Why? Warm weather has meant more bikers out earlier and, as the Post Standard notes, "drivers may not be prepared to see them".

But the warm weather is not the only factor responsible for more motorcycles on the road: high gas prices have pushed more motorists to switch to motorcycles. As a result, motorcycle registration is up all over New York State, including in Oswego County.

In the long run, more motorcycles on the road is good news for bikers. That's because there's safety in numbers. If car and truck drivers get used to seeing lots of motorcycles, they will be looking for them, and avoid colliding into them, with greater frequency.

I didn't just make up this "safety in numbers" theory. (Wish I could take credit for it). Proven examples abound, especially with regard to bicycles When the number of bicycle trips increased by 72% in Finland there was a corresponding 75% drop in the number of cyclists deaths. Another example: Between 2000 and 2008, the number of bicycle trips made in London doubled, but during the same period of time serious bicycle injuries declined by 12%. Similar studies have been conducted in other cities.

Still, motorcycles are a minority on our roads, and are likely to remain so unless and until gas prices get obscenely high -- say $10 per gallon. And their minority status is what makes them so hard for other motorists to notice. So until that 10-dollar-a-gallon day of reckoning comes, watch out for those cars, because they sure as hell ain't watchin' out for you!

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 Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293

April 13, 2012

My Car Hit A Wandering Cow. Can I Sue The Farmer?

cow in road.jpg.jpgEric Turkewitz, a celebrated New York personal injury blogger, recently blogged about the case of Hastings v. Suave, in which a cow wandered from a fenced-in pasture into a road at night and caused a car to collide with it, injuring its driver. Eric noted that the Third Department (intermediate appellate court) affirmed dismissal of the case because, under a weird quirk of New York law, an owner of a domestic animal cannot be held liable for negligence in allowing his animal to escape. Rather, he can only be held liable if he knew or should have known the animal had vicious propensities. The Third Department Court was reluctant to dismiss the case, but its hand was forced by existing case law, which clearly requires a finding that the animal was vicious or at least "abnormal". As Eric points out, the law in New York does not recognize a cause of action for negligent failure to restrain a large, but passive, animal such as a cow.

Here's my personal footnote to Eric's great blog post: In upstate New york, where I practice personal injury litigation, there are lots of cows, and some of them invariably stray off into roadways. And I have settled "wandering cow" cases with insurance adjusters for significant money. I recall a case a few years ago where the cow had escaped at night because the dairy farmer had failed to mend a gap in the fence for several weeks. A car collided with the cow, causing injuries to its driver and passengers. The insurance adjuster never even challenged me on liability.

Yes, I know the law. But I also know that most insurance adjusters do not. They simply assume a farmer can be held liable for negligently failing to fence in, leash, or restrain an animal. That's because such a rule makes sense, even if it is not the rule in New york.

Am I acting unethically by presenting such a claim to an insurance adjuster? I am an advocate for my clients. While I am prohibited from filing "frivolous" lawsuits, that is, cases I know have no legal merit, nothing prohibits me from negotiating a settlement with an adjuster who doesn't bother to check out the law.

P.S. to insurance adjusters: Please do not read this blog post.

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 Syracuse NY Personal Injury Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293

April 12, 2012

What is a "voluntary" product safety recall? Central and Syracuse NY Product Liability Lawyer Explains

toy house on fire.jpg.jpgI always chuckle a bit when I read that a manufacturer or distributor is "voluntarily" recalling one of its products for safety concerns. From my perspective as a Central and Syracuse New York products liability lawyer, companies never "voluntarily" recall anything. In fact, left to their own devices, most corporations wouldn't even recall an exploding toy, as long as its sale is turning a profit.

Why not? Because a "corporation" is a legal creature designed for one sole purpose - to maximize profit. Nothing else matters. All that counts is the bottom line. Corporate boards are duty-bound to maximize their shareholder's dividends and share value, and morality is completely outside, even contrary, to their duty.

So why do manufacturers and distributors of dangerous or defective goods sometimes "voluntarily" recall them? Because they have no choice. They are required to report safety concerns about their products within a short period of time (days) subject to significant sanctions if they don't. Then, if they don't recall the product, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC), or a similar government safety agency, will start proceedings against them or simply "mandate" the recall. (The CPSC, by the way, is charged with protecting the public from injury or death from unreasonably dangerous consumer products.)

Beyond that, distributors and manufacturers of defective and dangerous products know that if their dangerous product hurts and kills people, those people and their families are going to hire product liability lawyers like me to sue their pants off. Continuing to sell dangerously defective consumer goods thus becomes more expensive than recalling them, which hurts their bottom line. And remember, the bottom line is all that matters to corporations.

So are recalls really "voluntary"? It's kind of like how you "voluntarily" pay your taxes. You do it "voluntarily" because you know there will be serious consequences if you don't.

If you or a member of your family has been injured or killed because of a dangerous consumer good, machine, drug or other product, just email or call me and we'll talk --- for free.

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 and Syracuse NY Defective Product Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293

April 10, 2012

Can Syracuse Be Sued By Sodomized Child And The Child's Parents?

playground.jpgThe Syracuse Post Standard published a story today titled, "How the city of Syracuse hired a registered sex offender". When I first glanced at the title, I thought --- "hmm, there could be some liability here". I was thinking that perhaps the City had unwittingly hired a registered sex offender to work around kids and the guy had raped or abused one of them. But that's not what happened.

Here's what did happen. Three years after the City of Syracuse hired a garbage collector, he was indicted for sodomizing a boy (not on-the-job, though). When the City hired the guy, the City had not checked his criminal history, nor New York's sex offender registry. If the City had done so , it would have turned up several criminal convictions, including one for sodomizing a 15-year old boy, which is in fact just about the same thing he is again being accused of.

The City makes no apologies, nor should it, in my opinion. The City's policy, which makes sense to me, is to perform criminal background and sex registry checks only for sensitive job hiring positions, like camp counselors, summer park staff, firefighters, police, etc. In fact, for jobs like garbage collecting, the City often knowingly hires ex-cons. The City feels, and I agree, that someone has to give these guys a way to make a living, and a second chance in life. Hiring ex-cons keeps them off the Syracuse "streets" where, without a job or a penny in their pocket, they are likely to commit more crimes.

So why did the City fire this guy after this latest allegation? (Remember, he hasn't been convicted of the latest charge, and is innocent until proven guilty). Because he lied on his job application three years early, that's why. Well, he didn't actually lie. He just left blank the part where they ask for his "criminal convictions". The City says that was fraudulent because he did so to hide his background. But the irony is that, if he had answered truthfully, he probably would have been hired anyway. And if he had told the truth, he probably would not be getting fired now, and least not until (and if) he is convicted.

So when would the City be liable for negligent hiring of a convicted child abuser or sex offender? Well, if this same guy had been hired to work in a city park frequented by children, and ended up raping some kid "on the job", or whom he met at the park, Syracuse New York personal injury lawyers would be standing in line for a chance to represent the child victim and his parents in a negligent hiring case against the City. But thankfully, that's not what happened here.

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 Lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293

April 3, 2012

Syracuse NY Crouse Hospital Medical Malpractice Case Heats Up

welder.jpgIf your tummy just happened to catch fire during a C-section (yes, I said catch fire) and caused you permanent, painful napalm-like burn injuries, would you wonder if your doctor made some kind of mistake? In fact, would you wonder if he was a witch practicing some form of hell art?

This is pretty much the story of a Crouse Hospital medical malpractice case filed in Onondaga County, New York. The patient knew something was wrong when, as the doctor cut away down there, she started smelling something burning. Little did she know it was her! When she mentioned the smell to the doc and nurses, they responded, "nothing to worry about", but then there was smoke. And where there's smoke, there's fire. "I see the smoke," her mother said, who was standing right beside her.

Apparently, an electrical cauterizing tool the doctor was using lit the alcohol-based antiseptic they had spread on her skin. This was a risk the manufacturer had warned the Hospital about just a month before the surgery, and had given specific instructions on how to avoid, but clearly the instructions were ignored.

If this story is not bizarre enough already, wait, there's more! If you sued your surgeon and the hospital staff for setting you on fire, wouldn't you expect them to roll over and cry, "how much do we owe you"? You wouldn't expect them to defend the medical malpractice case you brought against them, would you? After all, what defense can there be to setting your patient on fire!?

Welcome to the amazing world of medical malpractice defense. Think there are frivolous lawsuits? What about frivolous defenses. Listen to this perfect example of lawyer double talk coming from the mouth of Crouse Hospital's lawyer: "Crouse takes full responsibility for [the patient's] injuries, but does not admit it was negligent". Huh?! Excuse me, if you take "full responsibility" for the patient's injuries, how can you not admit you were negligent? That's like say, gee, I sure screwed that up, but it wasn't my fault!

Even the patient's plastic surgeon appears outraged at his fellow medical providers' defense of the case. He wrote, "I certainly cannot understand the rationale of defending it."

Maybe it really is not their fault. Maybe, through no fault of their own, these doctors and nurses just landed in the wrong profession. They should have been a welders.

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 and Syracuse NY Medical Malpractice lawyers
Michaels & Smolak, P.C.

1-315-253-3293