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We Judge Liability On What Is Finished, Not What Is Attempted

February 9th, 2011 1 comment

Accident while shoveling snowGenerally, property owners in the City of New York and villages on Long Island owe no duty to pedestrians to remove snow and ice that naturally accumulates on the public sidewalk in front of his or her premises. A failure to shovel may result in a fine from the local municipality, but no liability to a third-party plaintiff. So what happens if you, as a property owner, begin to clear the snow and ice from your property and do a poor job of it? New York Courts have found that once efforts have been made to clear the snow and ice from the public sidewalk, a property owner can be found liable in negligence where his or her acts create or increase the hazards inherent in those conditions.

Having undertaken to clear the snow and ice, a property owner is obligated to exercise reasonable care in doing so. Failing to do so can lead to a jury reasonably inferring that the dangerous conditions present are the result of an incomplete and incompetent snow removal effort. It can also be inferred that the property owner’s conduct created or increased a hazard that would not have existed but for the property owner’s actions.

When the inevitable storm hits our area again (and we know it will), make certain you have the necessary tools, shovels, snow-blowers, salt and sand, to start and most importantly finish the job. It is prudent to make sure you have used all reasonable care to clear the dangerous conditions from your property to avoid slips and falls which could result in a negligence action against you. Remember, your children are a cheap and effective way to remove snow and ice, after all, shouldn’t they work for their day off?

Do your employees conduct firm business on their cell phones while driving their car? Your company could be liable in case of an accident.

January 17th, 2011 Comments off

Take a look around you while your driving. Chances are you’ll see people not only talking on their cell phones but conducting business on them: texting, e-mailing, even sending and receiving documents.  Today’s technological age means people can work anywhere, anytime, but this convenience comes with a price for business owners: Distracted drivers who hurt or kill someone expose their employer to potential liabilities for their mistake.

The statistics are telling. An estimated 200,000 crashes a year are caused by drivers who are texting, according to the National Safety Council. People who talk on cell phones while driving are four times more likely to get into crashes that cause serious injury than people who don’t, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found.

Recent court decisions illustrate an alarming trend for employers: If your employee causes an accident while using their cell phone to conduct business, your company could be liable, even if the employee is not acting on company time. In 2004, a Virginia attorney hit and killed a teenage girl at 10:30 p.m. while using her cell phone to conduct firm business. Phone records from the attorney’s firm reportedly showed that she was making work-related calls at the time of the accident. In 2007, a defendant settled a personal injury lawsuit for $5.2 million with an Atlanta woman who lost her arm after being rear-ended by one of the company’s employees. The employee was driving a company sedan and using her company-issued cell phone at the time of the accident.

At common law, an employer was always “vicariously” liable for the negligent acts of their employee if the employee was acting “within the scope of their employment” when the accident occurred. This rule was usually interpreted to mean that an employee driving to and from work, on their lunch hour or not engaged in traditional business-related activities was not acting within the scope of his/her employment.
But as the cases above show, the law is changing. Now an employer may be liable even if the employee was driving his or her own car or making a work-related call outside of regular business hours.

In addition to being vicariously responsible, an employer may be directly negligent for the employee’s actions. An employer has a duty to exercise reasonable care for the safety of the public whenever its employees are acting within the course and scope of their employment. Thus, if the employer knew, or should have known, that employees were using their cell phones while driving for work-related purposes, and did not act affirmatively to stop the conduct, the employer may be liable.

The lesson: employers should have a written policy that bans the use of cell phones for business-related purposes while driving and properly train and educate employees on its policy.

Medical Malpractice: A Fatal Liposuction Procedure

January 4th, 2011 Comments off
Medical Malpractice Liposuction

Medical Malpractice Liposuction

In Bellevue, Washington, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed last week, claiming both medical malpractice and consumer law violations. These were in response to a liposuction procedure that claimed the life of a 28-year-old woman in May of 2009.

The lawsuit names both Bellevue clinic as well as the doctor who performed the fatal procedure, as defendants. This filling comes only a month after the Washington State accused the doctor of “unprofessional conduct”.

To read more about this, click here.

My First Blog Post… The Bedbugs Are Gone! Happy New Year!

January 3rd, 2011 1 comment
Bed Bugs are truly pests...

Bed bugs are truly pests.

Hello, Internet Surfers. I am excited to be posting my first blog entry. As a 2011 New Years Resolution of mine, I am off to a great start. I aim to post something new at least every week. But i will try to make it more often than that.

Today, I am going to point you to a story that just came out in the NY Times (Published: January 2, 2011), ‘ The Bedbugs Are Gone, but So Is All She Owned.’

The story illustrates the devastation that bed bugs cause people, and the reason that hotels, moving companies, and many other businesses should be paying close attention to these little critters.  Please post your thoughts and comments as to who is to blame in these cases.

Categories: Beg Bugs Tags: , , , ,