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Law office of Bonnie Lawston

Law Offices of William Cafaro

Winter Driving Tips

 

Author: Sacksteinlaw

Winter Weather Driving Tips

Driving in winter weather can be a challenge. Treacherous winter driving conditions range from freezing rain, sleet, snow or simply a drop in temperature causing wet surfaces to turn icy. Understanding some basic ideas about how to drive on ice or in snow can help you prevent accidents.

Recommendations for Driving in Snowy Weather

The American Automobile Association (AAA) recommends the following tips for driving in snowy, winter weather.

  • Press down on the gas pedal or brake slowly. Fast acceleration can make you skid or spin. Allow enough time to stop slowly.
  • Drive slowly. Driving slowly helps you have enough time to maneuver for gradual acceleration and stopping.
  • Increase your driving distance between cars. Understand that you should increase the distance for stopping within three to four seconds to eight to ten seconds.
  • Apply smooth brake pressure. Rest the heel of your foot on the floor and press the brake pedal with the ball of your foot for gradual braking.
  • Avoid stopping. If at all possible, avoid stopping in snowy weather and keep rolling. For example, roll up to a traffic light so slowly that you can keep rolling until the light changes.
  • Do not accelerate driving up hills. You can easily go into a spin when accelerating too much as you climb a hill.
  • Do not stop when going up a hill. If the hill is icy, it is difficult to keep the car from spinning as you press the gas pedal to start the car moving again.
  • Stay home whenever possible. The best way to avoid snowy weather accidents is to avoid driving in snow. Stay at home if at all possible.

Legal Help If  You Have You Been Injured Through the Fault of Another Driver

If you have suffered serious injury in a winter driving accident, you may be able to recover compensation for damages. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP, we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your accident and the prospects of pursuing a case. Call (718) 539-3100 to arrange an appointment.

What Happens If a Beneficiary is also a Witness to a Will?

Author: Bonnie Lawston

Under New York law, a valid will must contain the signatures of two witnesses. There are no requirements regarding the capacity of the witnesses. The testator (person executing the will) must sign in the presence of the witnesses, but they need not sign in each other’s presence. There’s also nothing that prohibits you from having a family member as a witness to your will, but there can be consequences.

Under New York law, a witness who has also has an interest in the estate is known as an “interested witness.” The fact that the will was witnessed by an interested witness does not invalidate the will, but it will render any benefit to the interested witness in the will void. Accordingly, any conveyance of property to an interested witness under a will, even if it’s part of a residuary estate, will be ineffective and will be returned to the estate, to be divided among other beneficiaries.

What Happens If a Beneficiary is also a Witness to a Will?

The “interested witness” rule, however, can apply to more than just property received. Consider the facts in Matter of the Estate of Cynthia R. Wu. In that case, the deceased had a provision in her will that called for estate and inheritance taxes to be paid as debts of the estate, rather than by beneficiaries out of their pro rata share of the estate. The deceased’s brother, the named beneficiary of two life insurance policies owned by the decedent, had also been a witness to the decedent’s will. The court concluded that, because the brother was an interested witness, he was not entitled to the benefit of having the estate taxes paid out of the estate. Instead, the court ordered him to pay his pro rata share of the estate taxes out of the death benefit proceeds.

Contact the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston

At the Law Office of Bonnie Lawston, we focus our estate administration practice on estates subject to probate in Nassau County and Suffolk County on Long Island. Contact our office online or call us at 631-425-7299 or 24/7 at 855-479-4700) to set up a free initial consultation.

Companies Accused of Discrimination or Harassment: What Can You Do?

 

Author: Stephen D. Hans & Associates

Woman suffering from sexual harassment in the workplace

When accusations of discrimination or harassment emerge, employers should consult with an employment law defense lawyer as soon as possible. Aside from seeking counsel, what actions can you take right away and what mistakes can you avoid?

The American Bar Association  suggests avoiding the following mistakes.

  • Failing to investigate immediately. Waiting for an employee to submit a formal statement about harassment or discrimination or waiting for witnesses to submit written statements is the most common mistake made by employers. Any investigation delay can make it appear like you’re ignoring the situation or not taking it seriously.
  • Inserting cross-examination into the process. Conducting an investigation without bias is important for avoiding claims of unfair investigation against your company, even when you suspect a complainant, witness or the accused individual is lying. A better approach is to ask in a respectful manner that the person explain contradictory statements or ask for evidence that refutes the statements.
  • Not maintaining confidentiality. You must keep the investigation confidential along with the information obtained during the investigation. If witnesses suffer backlash from the investigation because their identity is made known or for any other reason, as the employer, you may become subject to claims of retaliation.
  • Not interviewing all witnesses with knowledge of the alleged events. The investigator should interview all the witnesses because it will help determine whether information is consistent.
  • Failing to make known the company’s policy against retaliation. Retaliation is a common problem, according to the EEOC and comprises about one third of the cases the EEOC handles. It is important to reinforce the company policy by reminding all parties that retaliation will not be tolerated against complainants who make good faith claims. This focus also helps protect you as the employer.
  • Failing to conduct a thorough investigation. Overlooking records, such as telephone or cell phone records when they are crucial to an investigation is a common mistake.
  • Failing to end the investigation with a conclusive finding. When investigations end with disputed evidence by both sides and nothing is concluded, the investigation is tantamount to no investigation. Some conclusion must be reached based on a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, the investigator must reach a conclusion that it most likely that the harassment did or did not occur.

Put an Experienced Employment Defense Lawyer on Your Side

Employers dealing with harassment or discrimination issues should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Stephen Hans & Associates brings decades of experience to the table in every case we handle.

 

 

How Does Your Lawyer Get Paid in a Workers’ Compensation Case?

New York City | Queens | Brooklyn | Bronx Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

When you’ve been hurt on the job, one of your first steps should be to notify your employer and file a workers’ compensation claim to cover medical expenses and lost income. But when you’ve suffered a job-related injury and can’t work, things get pretty tight pretty quickly. When you’re trying to put food on the table, one of the last things you want is to pay money to an attorney. So what do you do?

There’s good news—in New York, when you need to file a workers’ compensation claim, you never have to pay your attorney directly for any work done on your case, whether it’s preparing and filing the application for benefits, or appearing on your behalf at meetings or hearings. The amount that your lawyer will receive is determined by the workers’ compensation and by the workers’ compensation board, and will be calculated based on the range of services provided, as well as the amount of benefits the attorney secures for you.

In workers’ compensation cases, like other personal injury lawsuits, lawyers typically charge a “contingency fee.” That means that your attorney will take a percentage of the amount recovered. The lawyer will only get paid if you actually obtain workers’ compensation benefits, and will typically receive a higher fee if you get a higher monetary award.  A customary contingency fee in New York is 10-15% of the total award or settlement.

How Does Your Workers’ Compensation Attorney Get Paid?

Experienced Queens  Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we provide comprehensive counsel to people with workers’ compensation and Social Security disability claims in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and across the greater New York City metropolitan area. Because of our reputation for effective advocacy, many of our new clients come to us as referrals from clients and other lawyers.

To learn more about the full scope of our practice, see our practice area overview page.

Pyrros & Serres LLP

Queens Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Astoria, Queens, New York Workers Compensation Attorneys

Pyrros & Serres, LLP Workers Comp, Social Security, Personal Injury Lawyers

Author: Pyrros & Serres LLP

Astoria, New York Workers Compensation Attorneys

Job-Related Injury | Occupational Illness or Disease | Repetitive Stress or Motion Injuries | Temporary or Permanent Disability | Partial or Total Disability | Workplace Trauma

If you’ve been hurt on the job in New York, you have a right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits to cover lost wages and medical expenses. Don’t expect your employer to make it easy for you, though. The company has a vested interest in minimizing or avoiding payment workers’ compensation benefits and their workers’ compensation insurance providers will often engage in tactics to delay, deny or minimize your claim. The attorneys at Pyrros & Serres LLP can help. Read More

Proven Long Island City/Astoria Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Workers comp claims

At Pyrros & Serres LLP, we take an individualized approach to every case. We take the time to learn exactly what happened in your case, and what you need to move forward. We’ll gather all relevant medical evidence and obtain evidence from all witnesses. Read More

We provide comprehensive counsel to people who have suffered any type of injury at work, including:

Back and Neck Injury | Shoulder, Arm, Hand and Finger Injury | Hip, Leg, Foot and Toe Injury| Burns | Fractures | Paralysis | Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) | Spinal Cord Injury | Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement | Amputation or Loss of Limb | Hearing or Vision Loss | Accidental Death |Occupational Illness

Read More

Pyrros & Serres LLP

Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Astoria

What if My Boss Was a Strong Trump Supporter, but I voted for Hillary (or the Other Way Around)?

Author: Bill Cafaro

What Rights Do I Have if This Causes Me a Problem at Work?

 Employees of Private Businesses:

What about the First Amendment? Can’t I say whatever I want?

Do I have Any Legal Protection at Work at All?

What Political Activity is Protected? Read More

Example: A records clerk for the Nassau County legislature was fired from his job less than four months after an election in which Republicans took control of the Legislature, and claimed that he had gone door to door for Democratic candidates, volunteered at phone banks, and distributing campaign literature.  The Legislature argued that it had let him go due to budget cuts, the fired clerk argued that the need for budget cuts arose only because the Legislature had hired three new employees—all Republican. His claim was valid Fishman v. County of Nassau, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47071, 2013 WL 1339466 (E.D.N.Y. Apr. 1, 2013),

  • Absolutely not. Remember also that there will be generally little or no protection for any political activities conducted during work hours, on the employer’s premises, or using the employer’s equipment or materials; It gives you protection for what you do on your own time. Whether a simple one time statement of political affiliation at work is protected is not really clear from the law, and can probably be argued either way, but the more extensive the speech is at work, the better chance the boss will win. If the employee is wearing a campaign button for a particular candidate and the employer says to take it off, they should do it and put it back on when they leave work.

Remember – The General Rule is That There is No Free Speech Right When You Work for a Private (non-government) Employer on His Time. The law we’re talking about here provides some protection, but that protection is limited; it is by no means absolute.

Are Government Employees (Federal, State, City, County, etc.) Political Speech Rights Protected?

But here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The speech always has to be about a matter of public concern, and if it is, the employee’s right, as a citizen, to engage in the speech has to be weighed by the Court against the interests of the State, as an employer, in promoting the efficiency of the public services it performs, Pickering v. Bd. of Educ., 391 U.S. 563 (U.S. 1968).
  • This can also cover rights of political association; and
  • In order to be protected, it must generally be on the employee’s own time, without using the employer’s premises or materials; and
  • Anything a public employee says in the course of his/her employment will not be protected. Example: If an employee of the Mayor’s Office makes any statement on the news in his/her official capacity, the Mayor can fire or discipline them for anything they say or don’t say, whether it’s true or not. Remember also that policy making and confidential employees probably can be dismissed just based on their political affiliation where the employer can show that party affiliation is an appropriate requirement for the effective performance of the public office involved,  Vezzetti v. Pellegrini, 22 F.3d 483, 1994 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1994).

If you have strong political views which are very different from those of your employer, you should probably avoid any confrontation and get legal advice first as to how to best protect yourself. Call the Law Offices of William Cafaro at 212-583-7400 before you take any action like this.