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Albany Law Blog

Collision warning sensors may have prevented bus crash

Commercial vehicles do not operate with the same ease as smaller vehicles on the highway. Those that transport people, such as buses, require special licensing and training for drivers. In addition, due to the size of their vehicles, commercial drivers may need to use special equipment, such as collision warning sensors, to assist them in navigating. The driver of a charter bus carrying New York high school students recently learned this lesson the hard way.

The bus was traveling on the Southern State Parkway from JFK Airport where it had picked up 38 students and five chaperones returning from a European trip. At just after 9 p.m., the bus driver, without slowing down, went under an overpass, apparently not realizing that the bridge was too low for the height of the bus. The force of the impact sheared off the top of the bus, seriously injuring two 17-year-old passengers.

Insurance company may challenge trespasser claims of injury

The owner of New York property, whether residential or commercial, carries an important duty to ensure visitors are not harmed. A homeowner may take certain steps to clear tripping hazards from hallways or repair the broken latch on the fence surrounding a pool. A business owner may have a checklist or protocol for cleaning and surveying the premises for anything that might endanger a customer or vendor. When accidents happen, property owners rely on their insurance company to assist them in paying for the damage. However, who is liable when an intruder is injured on someone's property?

A person who comes onto private property without permission or invitation is a trespasser. While trespassing is unlawful, the intruder may have certain rights if he or she is injured, whether the trespasser is breaking in or simply passing through. In most cases, the property owner is not liable for accidental injuries a trespasser suffers while unlawfully on the property. It is a different story if the owner intentionally or negligently causes harm.

Physicians for high-risk patients face malpractice claims

When undergoing any medical procedure, there is an understandable risk that may increase based on a patient's individual circumstances. Some conditions, such as smoking, heart disease or blood clotting ailments may create an added level of difficulty for physicians treating those patients. One well-known specialist is facing several medical malpractice lawsuits from patients among his very high-risk clientele.

New York viewers of reality TV may recognize Dr. Younan Nowzaradan from "My 600-lb Life." The show follows the progress of morbidly overweight patients seeking a new chance at life through weight-loss surgery. In many cases, the patients have lost hope of ever having a normal life because their size often prevents them from participating in even the simplest activities. Several of those patients have subsequently filed lawsuits against the doctor.

3 ways to get out of crushing debt in New York

If you have accumulated a significant amount of debt and are unable to repay your creditors, this situation is likely causing you a tremendous amount of stress. Most people do not take out loans or credit card debt with the intention of not being able to pay, but sometimes in life situations occur that make it impossible to meet debt obligations.

Struggling under the weight of crushing debt is something that many people face. It can be difficult to know what to do or how to resolve the problem. However, the good news is that there are solutions. Here are three examples of routes individuals might take to try to get out of debt and make a fresh financial start in New York.

How does insurance law deal with accidents in borrowed cars?

Loaning a car to someone else may seem generous, but it is a risky decision. Many people in New York have confused notions about how insurance law covers drivers of borrowed cars, and it often leaves vehicle owners holding the bag for expensive accidents. If a friend borrows one's car and has an accident, whose insurance covers it?

Car owners often have the mistaken idea that their auto insurance covers them, not their automobile. In other words, they believe that a friend who has an accident in a borrowed car will be covered by his or her own policy, not the policy of the car's owner. This is not true. The owner of the car is responsible for any damage or injuries that result from the accident. The driver's insurance may kick in if the owner's liability coverage is not enough.

Car accidents lead to call for changes in New York laws

It is not uncommon for lawmakers and other public officials to call for sweeping changes following a tragedy. Seatbelt laws, school bus stops before crossing railroad tracks and bans on handheld devices while driving are just a few examples of legislation resulting from deadly car accidents. New York mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for more changes in the wake of a recent accident that left two children dead.

While crossing a street with their mother, a 1-year-old and 4-year-old child were run over by a car driven by a woman who claims to have suffered a seizure behind the wheel. The driver, apparently afflicted with multiple sclerosis, allegedly lost consciousness and ran a red light, fatally injuring the children. One step the mayor proposes is to obligate doctors to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles when their patients are diagnosed with such conditions.

Daylight savings prime time for personal injury claims

This time each year, citizens of New York and most other states endure the challenges and frustrations of the semiannual time change. Failing to remember to turn the clocks ahead leaves many arriving late for church, work or other appointments on Sunday morning. Additionally, parents of small children may have difficulty getting their little ones to adjust to the new time schedule, and it may take days or longer for people to fully acclimate to the lost hour. Not surprisingly, the drowsiness that accompanies a time change may result in more personal injury claims around this time each year.

Drowsiness is an issue for any driver but may be most serious for those who operate large vehicles. Tractor-trailers and other big rigs have a smaller margin for error, and accidents involving trucks are more likely to end in catastrophic damage, injury and fatalities. This is why the trucking industry obligates drivers to maintain a schedule that includes adequate sleep.

Avoiding patient complaints, lawsuits and administrative hearings

Doctors and other medical professionals understand well how a patient complaint can quickly spiral out of control. Patient complaints may result in numerous negative consequences, administrative hearings, discipline, revocation of licenses and medical malpractice lawsuits. Such factors are not entirely out of the control of a physician, and the key may be in avoiding complaints altogether.

Excellent communication helps many New York health care providers avoid circumstances that lead to discipline or malpractice proceedings. Helping one's staff improve communication skills with patients is critical to ensuring patients have reasonable expectations and fully understand the policies of one's practice. Important communication includes explaining procedures, following up with patients and keeping accurate records of interactions with patients. Training on such matters is available from various professional organizations, including the Federation of State Medical Boards.

How filing for bankruptcy affects your debt

Bankruptcy is a viable option for many people who are drowning in different types of debt. Whether it is credit card debt, medical debt, or an inability to keep up with other loans such as car payments or a mortgage, bankruptcy filings affect different types of debt in different ways.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you should learn more about how the different types of bankruptcy could affect your specific situation. Although the best solution is to consult with a bankruptcy attorney, the following information could help you get a general understanding before you turn to an attorney for a consultation.

How the #metoo movement affects the insurance industry

Most employees in New York have sat through presentations or videos regarding sexual harassment on the job. The presentation were either dry or uncomfortable, and once completed, the employee often signed a paper to confirm that he or she had received training before returning to business as usual. Those days are gone, at least for industries that hope to maintain Employment Practices Liability from the insurance industry.

Anyone who has seen the news from the entertainment world knows that the #metoo movement arose from the revelations that some famous and powerful men had been sexually harassing and abusing women for decades. Many of these women kept silent for fear of losing their careers since some of the men included influential directors, producers and A-list actors. The explosion of harassment allegations resulted in a deluge of claims against EPL policies, and the insurance companies are responding with demands for change.

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