Dogs have long been known to be an owner’s best friend, but some have a tendency to act the complete opposite around people who are not their owner or family. Dogs have the potential of causing bites that require serious medical attention. So, what can you do if you have been bit by someone else’s dog?

New York’s dog law statute states that the owner of a dog that is considered dangerous, will be strictly liable for medical costs from injuries inflicted by the dog. Strict liability does not require the victim to prove negligence on the part of the owner in order to collect medical costs.

Under the law, a dangerous dog is defined as one that injures or kills a person, domestic animal, farm animal, or companion animal absent any reason. Additionally, a dangerous dog could be one that behaves in a manner so that a reasonable person would believe the dog poses a serious and unjustified threat of severe injury or death. There is an exception for dogs assisting the police. In addition, if you were provoking, harassing or annoying the dog, which caused the dog to attack you, your behavior can exempt a dog from  dangerous status.

For all other damages, New York follows the one-bite rule. Under the one-bite rule the owner will be liable for damages caused by injuries inflicted by the dog if the victim can show that the dog is vicious, and the owner knew or reasonably should have known of the dog’s dangerous tendencies. If you are a victim, proof of the dog biting you once before would meet this requirement. Furthermore, history of the dog acting dangerously, such as growling aggressively would also most likely suffice.

Dog bite victims may be eligible to recover for medical expenses, physical and emotional pain and suffering and more. Contact Rosenberg & Rodriguez so we can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your case.

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Were you involved in an accident where you were injured by an uninsured driver, a driver who left the scene of the accident or by a driver of a stolen car? Are you in a situation where you and none of your household relatives own an insured vehicle? What do you do when auto insurance coverage is not available to you?

The Motor Vehicle Collision Indemnification Corporation (MVAIC) is known as the “payor of last resort” and pays for victims of automobile accidents in the State of New York. There are certain requirements that need to be satisfied in order to be eligible to file a claim through MVAIC.

The requirements for MVAIC benefits are:

  • The accident occurred in New York.
  • You are the innocent victim of the accident.
  • You are a resident of New York at the time of the accident.
  • You and your household relatives do not have automobile insurance.
  • The accident must be reported to the authorities within 24 hours of the accident occurring.

Filing for MVAIC benefits can be a bit stressful and complicated.  If you have been injured in a car accident in New York and are unsure about the proper steps to take to make a claim, contact Rosenberg & Rodriguez and let us protect your rights. 

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With the warm weather upon us, many of us will be spending more time outdoors engaging in sporting and recreational activities. Unfortunately, the more activities that we engage in, the greater the risk for sustaining unexpected injuries. This raises the question of whether the operator of a sports or other recreational activity facility can be held liable for injuries sustained by a participant of such activities.

In New York, the operator of any recreational facility is obligated to take reasonable steps to protect the public from being injured while engaging in activities at their facilities. However, when a person is injured in an activity that has some inherent and heightened risk for injuries, the courts may apply what is called the assumption of risk doctrine to bar the injured person from holding the operator of the facility responsible. So for example, a person that voluntarily participates in an activity such as a basketball or racquetball cannot sue the operator of the facility if they are injured as a result of a foreseeable consequence of the game (i.e. getting knocked over during the game or losing your balance and falling). The courts will essentially hold that the participant knew or should have known that the activity had risks of certain injuries and that the operator owed no duty to protect the participant from such risks.

Often the participant of a sporting or recreational event is asked to sign an agreement or waiver specifically acknowledging the risks of the activity that they will be participating in and releasing the facility operator of any obligations to protect them. These are the waivers or releases that we are often required to sign before the facility will let us participate in the activity. These are considered by the courts to be express agreements that can foreclose an injured party from bringing a claim for injuries against the operator of a sports or recreational facility.

In certain situations, the courts may bar a person from recovering from injuries even in situations where the injured party wasn’t necessarily physically participating in the sporting activity. The classic example is the person who goes to a baseball game and gets hit and injured by a foul ball. Under such circumstances, the courts may the implied assumption of risk doctrine and hold that the injured party assumed the risk of his/her injuries even if they did not sign a waiver acknowledging the risk.

Each case is different and the facts will dictate whether any of the above-mention assumptions of risk doctrines apply. If you or any of your loved ones are injured in any such activity, you should contact Rosenberg & Rodriguez so we can evaluate the situation and determine if you have a viable case.

Photo by Lukas from Pexels.

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Most of us know that you have the right to sue if you are involved in an accident and are injured due to the negligence of another person. But what if you were partially to blame for causing the accident? Are you still in entitled to a monetary recovery for your injuries? Under New York’s Comparative Negligence Law, the answer is “Yes.”

In the past, New York followed the doctrine of contributory negligence, which meant that if an injured plaintiff had any role in causing an accident, he/she would be barred from recovering any money from the defendant. For example, if a person was walking while looking at their cell phone and tripped and fell on a dangerous crack in the sidewalk, they would not have been able to recover any compensation from the property owner regardless of how badly they were injured. This is because the injured person would have been considered to have been partially to blame or “contributorily negligent” by being distracted as he/she was walking. This legal approach led to many properties owners avoiding any responsibility for maintaining their property in unsafe and dangerous conditions. This unjust approach was also applied to cases involving negligent drivers that caused car accidents and other types of accident cases.

That all changed when New York adopted the comparative fault system. Under this approach, an injured plaintiff who is partially to blame for an accident can still recover monetary damages from a negligent defendant, except that the monetary damages are reduced by a percentage that is proportional to his/her share of the negligence as assigned by the jury. So for example, if the same cell phone carrying plaintiff falls on the same cracked sidewalk and a jury determines that the injured plaintiff is 30% responsible for the accident, his/her monetary award will be reduced by 30% (e.g. if the jury determines that fair compensation for the plaintiff’s injuries is $100K, the award will be reduced by 30% or by $30,000.00 leaving the plaintiff with a $70,000.00 award).

If you have been injured in an accident, even if you think you are partially to blame, you may be able to recover damages for your injuries. Contact Rosenberg & Rodriguez, PLLC as soon as possible. Our experienced attorneys will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a viable case.

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This statute will relieve a litigant of their obligation to call an expert witness to authenticate the validity of an image or calculation generated by Google Maps. Judicial notice is taken of Google Maps in federal court, as a source that “can be accurately and readily determined from sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned” pursuant to Rule 201 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. This change to the CPLR will allow litigation to proceed in a more timely and cost-effective manner.

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With the holiday travel upon us, it is important to make sure that you are properly insured when renting a vehicle.  This article addresses individuals who reside in New York, own a vehicle in New York, have insurance for that vehicle and rent a vehicle for 30 days or less.  While this article is intended to shed some light on the topic, consumers are encouraged to carefully read their specific rental policies.

When renting a vehicle, rental companies will offer you Collision Damage Waivers which are also known as Optional Vehicle Protection.  It is important to understand what that insurance actually covers.  In New York, it’s mandatory for every individual liability policy that insures less than 5 vehicles to include rental car coverage.  That ‘rental car coverage’ includes any damage that is caused to the rented vehicle. However, policies insuring certain types of vehicles, such as most types of trucks, are not required to include rental vehicle coverage.  So, as a practical matter, before you intend to rent a car, call your own insurance company and confirm that your policy includes a ‘rental car coverage.’ Most individual policies in New York include such coverage. It should also be noted that the damages to the rented vehicle will be fully covered, without regard to your actual policy limits.  So purchasing an additional Collision Damage Waivers or Optional Vehicle Protection from the rental company is usually unnecessary and a waste of your money.

Even if you do not have a New York State motor vehicle liability policy, the chances are that the rental vehicle coverage may be included as a benefit with your credit card, if you use that credit card to rent the vehicle. Check the summary of benefits for the credit card to see if such coverage is available.

Car rental companies always try to sell you the Collision Damage Waivers or Optional Vehicle Protection since in most situations it’s essentially free money for them.  So, don’t be fooled, check your own liability policy or rent the vehicle with the credit card that provides rental car insurance benefit so you don’t end up paying for insurance that you don’t need.

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Thousands of car accidents occur every year in the State of New York.  It is very important to know what to do and what not to do if you or a loved one is involved in a car accident.

  1. Stay at the scene of the accident. Even if it was not your fault.
  2. Next, check to see if you, your passengers or anyone involved in the accident is injured. If anyone is injured, call 911 right away and request an ambulance.  Even if you believe that it is a minor injury, it is better to get medical attention to make sure.
  3. Call the police immediately so that there is a proper investigation and documentation of the accident.  Do not let the other driver convince you that there is no need to call the police. 
  4. If you are undocumented you do not need to worry about your immigration status. The police will not ask you about your status.
  5. To the extent possible, get the names and telephone numbers of any witnesses to the accident. Also take photographs of the location of the accident, the position of the cars before they are moved, the damage to the vehicles and anything else that you think is important.
  6. Once the police arrive, explain to the police how the accident occurred. However, even if you think you may be at fault, do not admit fault.
  7. If you are injured, do not refuse the ambulance simply to stay with your vehicle. The police will have your vehicle towed and it will be secured by the tow company until you can come get it.  Similarly, do not worry about the medical bills. The vehicular insurance company will cover most if not all of your hospital bills.
  8. Once the ambulance workers arrive, make sure to tell them all of your physical complaints, even the minor complaints. Do this at that hospital as well.  Often accident victims will only have minor symptoms initially that turn out to be more serious problems later. It is important to document any and all injuries as soon as possible.
  9. Obtain a copy of the police report as soon as you can.
  10. Seek the advice of a qualified attorney as soon as possible.  Do not speak with any insurance company representatives without first consulting with an attorney. After your health and the health of your loved ones, the next most important thing to protect are your legal rights. Only an attorney is qualified to give you legal advice about your rights, responsibilities and obligations following an accident. 

DISCLAIMER: This information intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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Victims of car accidents are not only faced with recovering from their injuries, they are also faced with worrying about how they will pay their medical bills and support their families while out of work and recovering from their injuries. The following are frequently asked questions about these issues.

QUESTION: What is No-fault Law?
ANSWER:In New York, every vehicle registered in this state is required to carry a form of health and disability insurance that pays the medical bills, prescriptions costs and lost earnings to the occupants of a motor vehicle involved in an accident, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. This insurance is called, No-Fault Insurance.

QUESTION: Who is eligible to receive no-fault benefits?
ANSWER: Anyone who is hurt in a car accident, hit by a car as a pedestrian, or bicyclist.You are eligible for no-fault benefits regardless of your immigration status. In fact, no one ever ask you about your immigration status when you’re applying for no-fault benefits.

QUESTION: How do I obtain my no-fault benefits?
ANSWER: The law requires that certain documents be filed with the insurance carrier of the vehicle that you were an occupant of at the time of the accident or, in the event that you were a pedestrian, the vehicle which struck you.

QUESTION: What benefits is the no-fault insurance company required to provide?
ANSWER: Provided that you submit the proper documentation, the law requires that the insurance company pay for the following:
  • Medical bills: All necessary medical treatment related to the injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident are paid by the no-fault insurance company.
  • Lost earnings: The insurance companyis required to pay approximately 80% of your lost wages up to a maximum of $2,000 per month for basic benefits.
  • Prescription medications: Any prescriptions that your doctor has issued to you for the treatment of conditions caused by the accident, will be reimbursed.
  • Travel expenses: The insurance company will reimburse you for the number of miles traveled to and from doctors, physical therapists and hospitals.
  • Household care: In certain circumstances, the insurance company will pay for someone to take care of you because you were hurt in this accident.

QUESTION: Is there a deadline to submit the documents to the no-fault insurance company to be eligible for the benefits?
ANSWER: YES. There are strict deadlines for the filing of the application for no-fault benefits and for submitting your claims. The attorneys at Rosenberg and Rodriguez will prepare all the proper paperwork to make sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to.

DISCLAIMER: This information intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.

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