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Staten Island Personal Injury Law Blog

Driver fatigue and sleep apnea regulations for truckers

With the high number of traffic accidents involving trucks, New York motorists might be interested in the possible regulations regarding sleep apnea in the trucking industry. The issue of truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea is concerning because a study by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has determined that those who suffer from the condition have a risk five times higher of being involved in a preventable accident than those who do not.

According to the study, up to 20 percent of all big rig accidents involve drowsy or fatigued driving, which can be the result of suffering from sleep apnea. The most common form of the condition is obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, which means that people's breathing repeatedly stops and starts again as they sleep. Some of the factors that can contribute to OSA include obesity, poor eating habits, lack of fitness and poor sleeping habits. The results of this include cardiovascular problems, complications with surgery and medications and fatigue.

New technology could detect texting while driving

A company has created a prototype of a textalyzer device, and a proposed bill before lawmakers in New York could authorize police to use it to search drivers' phones after car crashes. The technology connects to a phone and enables law enforcement to examine recent activities such as texting, application usage and incoming and outgoing calls. The device could collect evidence indicating that a phone distracted a driver before a crash.

Defenders of personal privacy warn that such technology could grant police the power to search people's phones after even minor accidents. Safety advocates, however, argue that the technology could put teeth into the largely unenforceable laws against phone usage while driving.

Waging a semitruck crash case takes a bit of effort

On your way home from work, you noticed that there was a semitruck that was driving erratically. You wonder what is going on with the trucker and try to stay out of the way. When you stop at a red light, you notice that the truck is behind you but it isn't stopping. You realize that you are about to be hit but you can't do anything about it.

After the accident with the semitruck, you had to deal with trying to recover from serious injuries. Now, you want to know what options you have for seeking compensation. You do have the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you opt to do this, there are several factors that you should consider.

Are Barnes Dance crossing signals coming back to NYC?

Regardless of where you live, there's no denying that being a pedestrian has become a decidedly more dangerous proposition in recent years. That's because walkers must not only deal with longstanding dangerous driving practices such as speeding and running red lights, but also the emergence of distracted driving.

Indeed, the issue of keeping pedestrians safe is especially pressing here in New York City, as statistics show that the number of pedestrian traffic fatalities reached 145 in 2016.

Employers urged to talk to employees about fall prevention

New York residents who are employed in the construction industry may be interested to learn that OSHA recently launched its annual National Safety Stand-Down Campaign. This campaign, which aims to prevent fatalities caused by falls and raise fall hazard awareness, was scheduled to take place between May 8 and May 12.

Fall fatalities are still a leading cause of death when it comes to the construction industry. Although the National Safety Stand-Down Campaign is voluntary, it provides employers with the chance to address fall hazard safety with employees. Employers can use the opportunity to go over protective methods and reinforce their policies and goals regarding fall hazards and fall prevention. Employees may also wish to use the opportunity to open up a dialogue with their employers about potential fall hazards that they see while on the job.

Home Depot murder lawsuit to proceed

New York residents may be interested in the latest development in a murder case that involves retailer Home Depot. The company is facing a lawsuit involving the 2012 murder of an employee and was denied its request that an earlier dismissal of the civil case be upheld. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit held to its decision to overturn a lower court's dismissal of the case. The lawsuit alleges that Home Depot is liable for the murder of an employee who was killed by a supervisor away from the store.

The convicted murderer was a Home Depot supervisor with a history of verbal abuse and harassment of female employees. The victim was a pregnant employee who was ordered by the supervisor to accompany him on a trip, during which the murder occurred. The supervisor was found guilty of murder and sexual assault.

PTSD and lawsuits in motor vehicle accidents

New York residents who injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the negligence of another motorist may receive a settlement from an insurance company for their losses, or they might file a lawsuit in order to get adequate compensation. It may also be possible to sue for damages related to post-traumatic stress disorder. However, a diagnosis of PTSD related to the accident might be difficult to establish.

It will be necessary to prove that the PTSD diagnosis was made by a qualified doctor and that the diagnosis was accident-related. The injured person might need an expert witness in court. However, it may be a challenge to establish a relationship between the accident and the PTSD. If the victims already had existing PTSD, they might be able to claim that it was exacerbated by the accident.

Filing lawsuits against big box stores

When New York consumers are injured when shopping at a big box store, they may be able to negotiate a settlement with a store's claims representative if the injuries were caused by another party's negligence. If hazards in the store caused an injury, the customer will need to file a lawsuit.

It may surprise many that Walmart faces an estimated 5,000 new lawsuits every year, or about 13 lawsuits every day. As such, an injured customer will likely need to work with an attorney when seeking to recover damages from Walmart or other big box stores. Most stores have internal procedures that they follow when an accident is reported. Slip and fall injuries are common. While it is always helpful for victims to cooperate with the store management while they gather information, they should seek medical treatment immediately if the injury is severe enough.

Rainy spring weather could result in a slip-and-fall injury

As spring increases the overall temperature and brings cool rains to New York, many people are celebrating. Flowers and trees are bursting forth with life, thanks to all those showers. Unfortunately, all the extra water can also lead to puddles and slip-and-fall injuries. When you are on a sidewalk, in a parking lot or entering a business, it is the responsibility of the property owner or manager to ensure that pathways are clear, dry and safe for pedestrians. Sadly, many businesses may be lax about addressing the puddles and accumulated moisture that result from springtime rain storms.

Many people who suffer a slip-and-fall accident walk away with nothing but a few bruises. Others are not so lucky. If you or someone you love suffered a slip-and-fall accident that resulted in broken bones, spinal injuries, head or brain injuries or nerve damage, you should speak with an attorney. An experienced personal injury attorney can review the details of your accident and help you determine if the business or landlord will be considered liable under premises liability laws. In many cases, failure to maintain safe and dry walking surfaces can result in serious premises liability under New York law.

Fatal truck crash rates climb in 2015

New York residents may be aware that traffic fatalities have increased in recent years. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the number of trucks involved in such crashes increased from 2014 to 2015 by 8 percent. In 2015, there were 4,050 large trucks, which are defined as those weighing more than 10,000 pounds, involved in 3,598 fatal crashes. Furthermore, the number of trucks involved in such crashes per 100 million miles traveled increased to 1.45 from 1.34.

Of fatal crashes involving large trucks, 64 percent involved two vehicles. Another 20 percent of wrecks involving large trucks were single-vehicle crashes involving pedestrians or collisions with non-motorized vehicles. Overall, there were approximately 415,000 accidents involving large trucks that were reported to police. Of those crashes, 83,000 resulted in injuries, which is about 20 percent of all crashes reported.

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Orin J. Cohen Law
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