Why Is Legal Help Vital for Catastrophic Injuries?
People who suffer from catastrophic injuries are typically saddled with exorbitant medical costs, lost income and other financial hardships. However, if someone else was at fault for causing your injury, you may have legal grounds to recover compensation.
What is a catastrophic injury?
Catastrophic injury means “consequences of an injury that permanently prevent an individual from performing any gainful work.”(42 USCS § 3796b)
Such injuries are extremely severe. They often result in long-lasting medical conditions that require multiple surgeries, rehabilitation and other long-term treatment. The disability is permanent and in some cases also results in a shorter life expectancy. Aside from financial hardship, the emotional impact can be overwhelming.
What are some examples of catastrophic injuries?
Examples of catastrophic injuries often include:
* Burn injuries. Burn injuries can disrupt the proper functioning of other bodily systems. They can also result in severe disfigurement or scarring.
* Traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can significantly alter an individual’s quality of life, resulting in speech difficulties, impaired cognitive functioning or even partial or complete paralysis. The victim may end up in a coma for long periods of time or suffer permanent brain damage.
* Spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can cause partial paralysis (paraplegia, which is paralysis from the waist down) or complete paralysis (quadriplegia, which is paralysis from the neck down).
* Fractures. There are varying degrees of severity of fractures. All fractures should be considered as catastrophic injuries.
* Neck injury. Spinal fracture or herniated discs can result in extreme pain and make it difficult to hold a job or function normally.
* Back injury. Back injuries that affect the spinal cord or nervous system can result in loss of bowel control or bladder control. It can also cause impotence.
* Amputations. Accidental loss of limb or severe injury that makes amputation necessary leaves a person in a disabled state.
* Eye injury. Partial or complete blindness due to injury is life changing and can be incapacitating.
* Organ damage. Impact during an accident can injure internal organs, such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, liver, pancreas, colon and bladder. Depending on the extent of damage, it can impair the functioning of a number of bodily systems, diminish quality of life and in some cases eventually result in death.
Have you suffered from a catastrophic injury?
When your injuries are catastrophic and you believe another party was at fault, consult with an attorney as soon as possible and find out about your legal rights to recover compensation. The Law Offices of David R. Lewis offers a free consultation to discuss your injury and determine the prospects of suing for damages.
Author: Pyrros & Serres LLP
Under the New York workers’ compensation laws, there are two requirements to recover workers’ compensation benefits—you must prove that you were injured and that the injury was work-related (sustained while you were in the course of your employment). Here are some of the questions we are frequently asked about pertaining to whether an accident was work-related.
Q: Can I recover workers’ compensation benefits if I was injured while on a break at work?
A: Under state and federal labor laws, you are entitled to periodic breaks, including meal breaks, based on the number of hours you work. As a general rule, if you are on a meal break or regularly scheduled break, and you remain on company property (in the cafeteria, break room or other location), you will still be eligible for workers’ compensation for any injuries suffered. However, if you leave company premises to go on a meal break, you won’t be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits for injuries suffered on the break, unless you went at the request of your employer or were on a work-related errand.
Q: Does the injury have to occur on company premises?
A: Not necessarily. If your employer requires that you travel for work, whether it’s part of your daily regimen or you are attending a conference, workshop or meeting, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits, provided you weren’t involved in a personal endeavor at the time of the injury. As a general rule, there’s no coverage for injuries sustained on your commute to or from work, unless you deviated from your normal route to perform a work-related task.
Q: What if I am hurt at the company golf outing?
A: As a general rule, if you are injured at any type of company-sponsored event, whether it’s a business meeting, a team-building exercise, or pure entertainment, you have a right to seek workers’ compensation benefits for your losses. There are exceptions, though. For example, if you engage in horseplay or consume too much alcohol, you may not be covered. However, if the company provided or encouraged the use of alcohol, there may still be liability.
Q: Can I recover workers’ compensation if I was partially responsible for my injuries?
A: That depends. The workers’ compensation laws are based on the legal concept of “no fault,” meaning that there’s no requirement to show that your employer was negligent in order to recover benefits. Because of that principle, it rarely matters whether you were careless—you will still be entitled to benefits. However, if your actions were in clear violation of company policies, or if it can be shown that your injuries were intentionally self-inflicted, your claim may be denied.
Effective Workers’ Compensation Lawyers in Queens, New York
At Pyrros & Serres, we bring more than 50 years of combined workers’ compensation experience to clients throughout Queens and across the greater New York City area. We place a premium on personal service and attention, taking the time to learn the specific details of your case, so that we can tailor our efforts to get the outcome you seek. Because of our longstanding record of hard work and success, we receive many of our new cases as referrals from doctors, lawyers and satisfied clients.
We take all types of work-related injury claims, including cases involving:
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) | Fractures | Burns | Paralysis | Spinal Cord Injury | Permanent Scarring or Disfigurement | Amputation or Loss of Limb | Hip, Leg, Foot and Toe Injury | Hearing or Vision Loss | Back and Neck Injury | Shoulder, Arm, Hand and Finger Injury | Accidental or Wrongful Death | Occupational Disease or Illness
For more information about the services we provide, see our practice area overview page.
Pyrros & Serres LLP
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys—Queens, New York
Symptoms of Birth Hypoxia or Asphyxia that Parents Should Be Aware of
Birth hypoxia and asphyxia both refer to lack of oxygen to the brain in a fetus. This can occur right before, during or immediately after birth.
Seattle Children’s Research Foundation explains that a baby’s cells do not function properly when deprived of oxygen and nutrients. Oxygen deprivation can result in waste products building up in the cells, which causes damage.
What Factors Determine the Degree of Harm?
Factors that determine the extent of harm include:
- The length of time the baby was deprived of oxygen
- How low the baby’s oxygen level is
- The speed with which the baby receives proper treatment
When hypoxia or asphyxia is mild, babies can fully recover. When it is severe, a baby may suffer from permanent injury, affecting the baby’s brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, bowels or other organs.
What Can Cause Asphyxia or Hypoxia?
The following can result in these medical conditions:
- Airways blocked in the baby
- Baby’s airway is not properly formed
- Too little oxygen in the mother’s blood prior to delivery
- Difficulties with the placenta prematurely separating from the womb
- A long or difficult delivery
- Umbilical cord problems during delivery
- High or low blood pressure in the mother
- Anemia in the baby where the baby’s blood cells do not carry enough oxygen
What You Should Look for
When suffering from asphyxia or hypoxia, a baby could be manifesting the following symptoms:
- Not breathing or very weak breathing
- Abnormal breathing
- Poor blood circulation
- Lack of energy (lethargy)
- Low blood pressure
- Not urinating
- Blood clotting abnormalities
- Skin color is bluish, gray or lighter than normal
- Low heart rate
- Poor muscle tone
- Weak reflexes
- Too much acid in the baby’s blood (acidosis)
- The baby’s first stool shows evidence of amniotic fluid stain
If you suspect that medical malpractice might have been a factor in your child’s care, consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP , we offer a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns.
Jet Skis®, WaveRunners® and Other Personal Watercraft (PWC) Have High Accident Rates
Author: David Lewis
Warmer weather and extra daylight hours make summer the perfect time for outdoor sports like boating and personal watercraft recreation. New York State has thousands of freshwater lakes and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams. These statistics do not include access to the Great Lakes or Atlantic Ocean. You are not hard pressed to find a favorite spot in New York for boating or riding your JetSki or WaveRunner.
However, along with this great opportunity for summer fun, comes an equal need to be responsible and act safely. Every year, people in New York die from drowning and water collision accidents.
Statistics Tell the Story
BoatUS reports that people using personal watercrafts (PWCs) experience a higher collision rate than those using any other type of watercraft. PWC collisions are 30 percent of reported boating accidents. PWC collisions also result in more injuries and deaths than any other type of PWC accident. Which is the greater risk for dying in a PWC accident — drowning or blunt force trauma? Blunt force trauma the greater risk.
Why Do PWC Operators Have Higher Accident Rates?
The main reason is inexperience. Most riders involved in PWC accidents lacked instruction or safety education training prior to operating the craft. An estimated 84 percent of PWC accidents involved operators with no training, and 73 percent had ridden for less than an hour when the accident took place.
The age group that is most involved PWC accidents is the 11-20 year old age group. While a parent would never hand the car keys to their 11 year old, nor let them near a car without supervision and a learner’s permit, even when they reached 16, this was not the case with a PWC. In fact, PWC owners were not the ones most involved in accidents. Only 18 percent of PWC owners were in accidents. Owners’ siblings (29 percent) and friends (53 percent) were the most frequent riders involved in PWC accidents.
Inexperience leads to poor judgment and loss of control.
Safety Tips: What to Avoid When Boating or Riding a PWC
Here are some guidelines to avoid when boating or operating a PWC:
- Avoid speeding
- Avoid wake jumping and sudden turns
- Do not loan your PWC to someone who lacks experience and basic boating skills — ensure they’ve taken a safety course first
- Keep beginning PWC operators away from boating traffic
- Do not mix alcohol or drugs with operating a PWC or boat
- Avoid boating without a personal floatation device
- Do not ride or go boating in bad weather (stormy, high winds, or sudden temperature drops)
- If you cannot swim, do not ride a PWC or go out on a boat
When Should You Seek Legal Help for a Boating Accident?
When your injuries are serious and you believe another party was at fault, consult with a lawyer and find out about your legal rights.
The Law Offices of David R. Lewis offers a free consultation to discuss your accident and determine whether grounds exist to sue for damages.
Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the holiday season, which ends after New Years Day. This festive time irations with lots of parties, gift giving, dining out and drinking alcoholic beverages.
However, despite the good cheer, statistics show that binge drinking spikes during the holidays, so much so that it makes the rest of the year pale by comparison. More drunk drivers are on the roads than any other time, which ucreases the risk for accidents.
Drunk Drivers Statistics from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day
Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS) , runs a campaign called “Sober Days for the Holidays.” According to AMS, DUI rates and deaths increase during the holiday season.
AMS monitored more than 360,000 drunk drivers who were at high risk for alcohol consumption and discovered that the five-week period between Thanksgiving and New Years had 33% more violations than any other time of the year. The monitoring was for drivers who knew they were subjected to tests every 30 minutes, understood they would be arrested for DUI and could be sure they would face legal consequences, such as jail time. Despite all these deterrents, they could not stop themselves from drinking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that between Thanksgiving and Christmas 728 people will die or suffer injury, a statistic that is double or triple the rest of the year.
As a way to avoid drunk driving during the holiday season, be sure to designate drivers and put transportation plans in place before drinking alcohol. If you see a car weaving in a lane or other evidence of drunken driving, keep your distance.
Consult with Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers
The attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP have decades of experienceand success representing clients in vehicle accident cases. When another party appears to be at fault, by investigating the accident, we can often establish liability and help you recover compensation. Contact our firm at (888) 519-6400 to determine whether you have a viable case.
Author: Pyrros & Serres
When you have been hurt on the job and have filed a workers’ compensation claim, it’s pretty common for your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider to require that you submit to a medical examination by a doctor chosen by the insurer. It’s important that you understand that you have a number of rights with respect to that examination and it’s important that you know what your rights are.
When you receive the medical exam letter, it can be intimidating and confusing. The letter, which will make reference to an “independent medical exam,” will typically ask you to appear for the examination and to bring a variety of documents or records. Contrary to what the letter suggests, though, the examination will be conducted by a doctor chosen and paid by the insurer, who has a vested interest in making conclusions and diagnoses that are favorable to the insurance company.
Your Rights at the Medical Examination
The letter you receive will indicate whether the doctor plans to videotape the examination. However, regardless of whether the doctor chooses to do so, you always have the right to videotape the exam—you can also audiotape the doctor’s appointment. In addition, there is no rule that requires you to notify the doctor in advance that you will be taping the proceedings. If the letter says you must, ignore it. If you appear for the examination and the doctor says you cannot videotape the exam, you should politely decline to go through the examination.
Why would you want to videotape a medical examination? Because, as we were able to do in a case we handled recently, you may be able to successfully have the insurance company doctor’s report ruled inadmissible, if it has no bearing on your injury or your claim.