Law Offices of William Cafaro

Law Offices of William Cafaro

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Law office of Bonnie Lawston

Law Offices of William Cafaro

Avoid Drunk Driving Accidents

Avoid Drunk DrivingDesignating Drivers and Other Ways to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents

Warmer weather is here and more people are taking to the road. That fact alone increases the risk for car accidents.

Warmer weather also means teenagers who have gotten their driver’s licenses are on the road, practicing their driving. Lack of experience increases accident risks for teen drivers and so does the presence of more bicycles, pedestrians and traffic in general.

What About Underage Drinking and Driving?

Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) reports the following statistics about underage drinking, and the facts are rather alarming:

  • Teens riding with an underage drinking driver are involved in 25% of car crashes
  • Out of the 14 million people who are dependent on alcohol, 95% of them began drinking before they reached 21
  • Teenagers who drink when young are seven times more at risk of being involved in an alcohol-related crash.
  • Over 40% of all 10th graders drink alcohol

However, teenagers are not the age group that has the highest rate of drunk drivers. Drivers between the ages of 26 and 29 have the highest rate of drunk driving incidents (20.7 percent).

What Are Some Practical Ways to Avoid Drunk Driving?

Ways to avoid riding with a drunk driver include:

  • Assign a designated driver who is not drinking
  • Arrange other transportation (Uber, Lyft or taxi)
  • Take your friends keys away from then if they have been drinking
  • Offer your guests at parties other alternatives to alcohol (water, soda, etc.)
  • Serve food along with alcoholic beverages
  • Do not serve alcohol to minors
  • Drive defensively and avoid indicators of drunk drivers (weaving or drifting, wide turns, extremely slow speeds, etc.)

Seek Legal Help if Injured in a Drunk Driving Accident

If you are seriously injured in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. You would have the right to recover damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, future lost income and other related damages.

 

#MeTOO? A Guide to What Exactly Constitutes Sexual Harassment in New York

#MeTOO? A Guide to What Exactly Constitutes Sexual Harassment in New YorkAs brought to light during the course of the #MeToo movement, it is illegal to harass an employee or even a job applicant in New York State due to that person’s sex or gender.  However, some of the recent cases of sexual harassment in the press raise more questions than they answer as to what kind and manner of conduct is illegal.  In other words, sexual harassment at times is difficult to define and quantify and does not always need to be purely of a sexual nature. So how do we sort it all out?  To begin with, harassment does not need to include physical or sexual actions. It is considered prohibited sexual harassment to make offensive remarks about women, but these remarks must be severe or pervasive to be actionable, meaning that a single comment is usually not sufficient. Romantic overtures, rather than purely sexual ones, such as repeatedly asking a coworker on a date, may also be considered sexual harassment. The actions that are considered to be harassment may be directed toward a man or woman and may be committed by men or women. The victim and the harasser may be of the same sex or gender.

Sexual harassment claims fall into two distinct categories: 1) quid pro quo, and 2) hostile work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

A claim for quid pro quo sexual harassment may arise when your employer offers, either expressly or by implication, to trade job benefits such as a promotion, pay raise or other job benefit, in return for sexual favors.  Typically, quid pro quo sexual harassment is committed by a direct supervisor or manager that is in a position of sufficient power to grant the promised benefit.  Given the direct and often immediate impact on the employee, quid pro quo sexual harassment is often extreme and has lasting emotional and psychological effects on the targeted victim.

Here are a few examples of conduct that may be considered quid pro quo sexual harassment: Read More

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

A claim for hostile work environment sexual harassment arises when the actions that constitute the underlying harassment are “severe”, “frequent” or “pervasive”.  This type of harassment may be committed by co-workers as well as supervisors, managers, and even clients or customers. This type of harassment may include sexual or romantic advances, sexually discriminatory remarks, derogatory statements, words, pranks, jokes, signs, physical violence, intimidation, or any sort of conduct or action of a sexual nature taken due to the victim’s sex.  Actions or conduct that constitute hostile work environment sexual harassment must cause the person hearing or seeing them discomfort, humiliation, or a significant loss of productivity at work.

Here are a few examples of conduct that may be considered hostile work environment sexual harassment: Read More

Generally, the New York State Human Rights Law applies to employers with four or more employees, while Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees. However, the Human Rights Law applies to all employers, regardless of how many people they employ, as of 2015. Even domestic workers like a nanny or maid are protected from sexual harassment.  Those individuals employed in New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens or Staten Island) are more advantageous. New York City Human Rights Law offers more extensive protection than state and federal laws. Incidents that would not be considered severe according to federal or state criteria may be valid within the City of New York.

An employer faces strict liability if the employee has been harassed by an owner or high-level manager. Employers may only be held strictly liable for harassment by lower-level managers and supervisors if they have enough control over an employee’s working conditions. This means that an employee may hold an employer responsible for the harassment, even if the owner did not know that it was happening. However, an employee should report the harassment to the employer and take advantage of any grievance system that the employer has put in place before taking other formal steps.

We at the Van De Water Law Firm, P.C. stand ready to protect your rights and are available for a free consultation at 631-923-1314 or email us  if you feel that you have been a victim of sexual harassment.  Don’t hesitate to protect your rights.

The Van De Water Law Firm, PC

Labor Law 240 — Falls from Heights

How Does the “Scaffolding Law” Protect New York Workers?

Labor Law 240Falls from heights during construction work often involve falls ladders or scaffolds. However, the differences in falls can be substantial. Workers on ladders may be feet from the ground, whereas workers on scaffolds could be many stories off the ground.

This type of work at heights is so dangerous that the State of New York passed a law, called Labor Law 240, to offer extra protection to laborers, who do construction work at heights.

Labor Law 240 has additional safety regulations that apply when scaffolding or staging is more than 20 feet off the ground or floor. Scaffolds or staging at these heights require safety rails. The scaffolding or staging also must be fastened to prevent it from swaying. Scaffolding should be sturdy enough to bear four times the weight that is placed on it, when in use.

Equipment that Labor Law 240 Requires for Safety Protection

By law, all contractors, owners and their agents (except owners of one and two-family dwellings) involved with construction or building maintenance work must furnish or erect equipment to give laborers proper protection. Equipment includes:

  • Scaffolding
  • Hoists
  • Stays
  • Ladders
  • Slings
  • Hangers
  • Blocks
  • Pulleys
  • Braces
  • Iron
  • Ropes
  • Other protective devices

What Types of Work Does the Scaffold Law Cover?

The Scaffold Law protects workers doing the following work involved with buildings and structures:

  • Erection
  • Demolition
  • Repairs
  • Alterations
  • Painting
  • Cleaning
  • Pointing

Are Many Workers at Risk for Scaffolding Injuries?

OSHA (Occupational and Safety Health Administration) estimates that 65 percent of construction workers in the U.S. work on scaffolds. Close to three quarters of scaffold accidents resulted from the following:

  • Planking or support gave way
  • Employee slipped and fell
  • A falling object struck the employee

Falls from heights can create a crippling injury. Any worker who sustains an injury of this type should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer for help with recovering compensation. For more information, see our Ladder and Scaffold Accidents page.

Car Accident Insurance Limits: When Can You Pursue a Lawsuit?

Fazzini Law Personal Injury Website

How Does Establishing Fault Affect a Car Accident Case?

New York has no-fault automobile insurance. Regardless of who was at fault for causing an accident, insurance covers expenses up to $50,000 (or more, if the no-fault coverage purchased has limits greater than $50,000).

However, what happens when an injury is extremely serious or when costs exceed $50,000 insurance limits? When this occurs, you can sue an at-fault party for damages through a lawsuit.

Serious Injury Threshold in a Car Accident Under NY Insurance Law

Article 51 of the New York Insurance Law defines what constitutes a serious injury in car accident cases.

Any one of the following is considered a serious injury:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss of a fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Medically determined injury or impairment of a non-permanent nature, which prevents the injured person from performing substantially all of the material acts which constitute such person’s usual and customary daily activities for not less than 90 days during the 180 days immediately following the occurrence of the injury or impairment.

What If You Were Partly at Fault in Causing the Accident?

During the case, a judge or jury assigns both parties a percentage of fault for causing the accident. If the other party was not 100% at fault for the accident, can you still bring a lawsuit? In New York, the answer is “yes.”

Pure comparative negligence law is the basis for personal injury cases in New York. Under this law, your percentage of fault in causing the accident reduces your recovery amount by that percentage. For example, if your damages were $100,000 and you were 50% at fault, the most you could recover would be $50,000. Even if you were 99% at fault you could still recover damages, but in this instance, you could only recover $1,000.

In a car accident case, your attorney must prove the other party had some percentage of fault in order to recover compensation for damages.

If you have questions about your car accident and recovering damages, you should consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer. The initial consultation is free, and you owe nothing unless the attorney recovers compensation on your behalf.

 

Fazzini Law Personal Injury Website