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Albany Law Blog

Insurance company may not always deny suicide claim

In New York or anywhere in the world, the loss of a loved one is often a shock, even if that person had been suffering a prolonged illness. However, perhaps the most upsetting loss a family can face is when someone dies by an act of suicide. This unimaginable event may be even more difficult to bear if the deceased's life insurance policy claim is denied by the insurance company.

It is not always true that a life insurance company will deny a claim if the cause of death is suicide. It is important for policyholders to review and understand their policies so they know if they are covered in the event of this unthinkable tragedy. A life insurance policy will typically have an incontestability clause, and some will also carry a suicide provision.

Is your pet sending you into credit card debt?

Resisting the adorable kitten at the animal shelter or denying kisses from the adoptable puppy at your neighbor's home proves nearly impossible for some. You may see the small animal and make the determination that if you don't adopt it, no one will.

Unfortunately, many adults' spontaneous decision to purchase or adopt a furry friend sends them spiraling into serious credit card debt. An increase in vet bills and food simply adds to your mounting owes, leaving you with the realization that you've made a mistake in adding a pet to your family.

Employers seek insurance company protection for harassment claims

More businesses in New York and across the country are finding it necessary to protect themselves against the cost of lawsuits and settlements that arise from employees accused of sexual harassment and other wrongdoing. Many business owners have decided to carry employment practices liability insurance policies, which cover the cost of defending against such charges and paying any resulting damages. However, as with any insurance policy, the insurance company will recommend policyholders read it carefully for exclusions.

Just because a company carries EPLI policies does not mean every act in every circumstance is covered. An insurance company has the right to deny a claim that is excluded from the policy. One common reason why an insurer may reject a claim under an EPLI policy is because the victim claims the harassment or abuse took place before the policy was in place. This is an important exclusion since, in many cases, victims wait years to bring their cases to the public eye.

Take precautions when closing credit card accounts

According to a report from the State Comptroller's Office, the average New York resident carried a $3,710 credit card balance in 2017. This is $600 more than the national average. If your credit card debt is overwhelming, you are not alone. Late bills, bad credit and financial instability creeps into our lives and the result can be crippling.

On the other hand, you might seek financial help or find a maintainable budget. You may be able to pay off a few credit cards. The feeling is phenomenal. After this accomplishment, you might want to close those accounts. If the plastic is unusable, you avoid the temptation of utilizing another line of credit. Individuals commonly make this mistake.

Medical errors do not always begin with doctors

Medical errors are the third most common cause of death in New York and across the country. Many of these mistakes occur in the operating room, and it is true that, sometimes, these mistakes seem indefensible. However, even as doctors often take the fall for medical errors, there may be times when the doctor's mistake is the last in a long line of errors. At least one researcher believes faulty recordkeeping may play a role in the rising number of medical mistakes.

About 250,000 fatal medical errors occur each year in the U.S., but many more mistakes cause lesser harm. There are many complexities involved in the health care industry, such as insurance claims, legal protections and risk management. Each requires detailed documentation, and every instance of documentation is an opportunity for error.

Law requires drivers to stay at scene of car accidents

When a driver is involved in an accident, New York law requires certain actions before he or she can leave the scene. It may be an instinctive reaction to flee the scene, especially if the driver believes he or she caused the accident through some negligence, but it is not wise to do so. When drivers involved in car accidents leave the scene without waiting for the authorities, they may risk criminal charges.

If the accident resulted in property damage, the driver may face additional misdemeanor charges if he or she fails to stop and take the appropriate actions. This means sharing relevant information such as proof of insurance, driver's license information and contact details. If the accident left someone with injuries, the driver is bound to call for police and medical responders, assist anyone who needs help and remain at the scene to speak with authorities. Failing to do so may result in felony hit-and-run charges.

Defending your company against personal injury claims

Accidents involving tractor-trailers and other big trucks are often newsworthy. When a big rig crashes on a New York highway, it makes dramatic television viewing to see the wreckage, the trailer jackknifed or overturned and the cargo scattered across the lanes. Truck accidents may result in multiple catastrophic injuries, and those victims or their families may file personal injury claims to pursue recovery of monetary damages for their suffering.

It is often the insurance companies who cover the losses when a crash victim wins a lawsuit, and these verdicts or settlements can reach millions of dollars. To avoid this level of payout, which can be detrimental to an insurer as well as to a trucking company, you will find it helpful to have the assistance of an attorney who has proven success with truck accident defense. With a strong defense strategy, you may be better able to protect your company from the threat of financially crippling liability for a trucking accident.

Insurance company denies claim not covered in policy

An insurance policy can be a dense document that includes many exceptions and caveats. One of the most common reasons why New York policyholders are shocked when their claims are denied is because they did not take the time to read and understand the information within their policies. One man in another state is currently disputing the denial of his homeowner's claim with his insurance company.

The man owns an 85-acre farm where he raises cattle. When he purchased the property three years ago, he took out a homeowner's policy with State Farm Insurance. Last March, severe storms came through the area, bringing hail that caused damage to the roofs of his chicken coop, barn and equipment shed. When he filed a claim with State Farm, he was surprised to learn the damage to the barn and equipment shed were not covered under his policy.

Medical professionals suspend license of 'dancing doctor'

When a story goes viral, there may be few alternatives for the subject of the story to defend him or herself against the impression the video may present. Sometimes, a viral video is intentional, used for promotional purposes, and the more shocking, the better for one's business. While it is not unheard of for medical professionals in New York and elsewhere to use YouTube videos to promote their practices, one doctor in another state recently had her license suspended when a viral video coincided with a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The dermatologist was known as the 'dancing doctor' because she frequently posted videos on her practice's YouTube channel of her dancing and rapping while her patients were still unconscious. Her fame turned to infamy when a 54-year-old woman suffered complications during an extensive surgery. The complications apparently deprived her brain of oxygen, and she now requires constant care for a debilitating brain injury.

Insurance industry warns New York of hurricane season

Just as those in New York and other northeastern states have recovered from this winter's brutal snowstorms and blizzards, they are about to enter hurricane season. Summer's unstable weather patterns have the potential to produce violent storms that include hail, driving wind and heavy downpours. Such storms also bring the possibility of damage to homes, cars and businesses. The insurance industry warns residents to check their insurance policies to ensure they understand any exclusions to their coverage.

Standard homeowners' insurance policies typically cover damage caused by the wind of a hurricane or tropical storm. This may include broken windows, roof damage and fallen trees. Rain that enters a house because of this damage may also be covered by a standard policy. Some policies require a homeowner to meet a deductible for hurricane damage.

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