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The Summers Law Firm can provide competent, experienced and compassionate legal services to victims of personal injury accidents and medical malpractice.

Accidents and Medical Malpractice

Accidents can occur under many circumstances including traffic accidents, defective products, a fall from an elevated height at a construction site, or a slip and fall at residential or commercial premises.

If you sustain injury as the result of medical malpractice, or are involved in an accident resulting in personal injuries, you need to know and protect your rights if the accident or malpractice is the fault of someone else.

Protecting Your Rights

Protecting your rights is even more important if there is insurance coverage. You can be sure the insurance company will promptly investigate the incident by referring the matter to its claims professionals and attorneys, so they can be ready to vigorously defend any claims. Consequently to "even the playing field," it is in your best interest to retain your own legal counsel so that your rights are not lost or compromised.

The Summers Law Firm can provide you with individualized legal counsel to enable you to obtain fair and just compensation for damages due to accidents or incidents caused by others. For example:

Construction site accidents: under certain circumstances, workers injured on the job, who are involved in certain activities (such as the erection, excavation, demolition, repairing, altering, painting, cleaning or pointing of a building), and sustain injury as the result of falling from an elevated height, may hold the owner, occupier, or general contractor strictly liable for his or her injuries under the New York State Labor Law. However, recent amendments to the New York State Workers Compensation Law have caused considerable confusion in this area of practice. The attorneys at The Summers Law Firm are thoroughly familiar with the intricacies of the relevant statues to competently represent you if you are the injured worker.

Automobile accidents and New York State's "no-fault" law: Under New York's "no-fault" law (actually, section 5101, et seq. of the Insurance Law), persons injured in a motor vehicle accident are eligible to receive up to $50,000 in benefits (provided they were not intoxicated, drugged or involved in certain illegal or criminal conduct), covering such items as necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses (limited to up to $2,000 per month, for up to three years after the accident), and certain other reasonable expenses incurred due to the accident (limited to $25.00 per day, up to one year after the accident). These benefits are payable regardless of who was at fault, hence the popular statutory reference to the "no-fault law." However, the no-fault benefits do not cover such important items of compensation as pain and suffering caused by the injuries, medical expenses and lost earnings in excess of basic economic loss (i.e. $50,000), or if the injured person or person who caused the accident does not have insurance complying with the New York State minimum required coverage.

Further complicating cases involving automobile injury cases in New York, is the serious injury threshold that the injured person must establish in order to bring a lawsuit to recover compensation in addition to the no-fault benefits (usually "pain and suffering" claims). The "no-fault" law (specifically, section 5102(d) of the Insurance Law) has several different definitions of what qualifies as a "serious injury". Some of the definitions are clear and obvious, such as death or a fracture, while others are not so clear, such as a "significant limitation of a body function or system." If you are injured in an automobile in New York, you will need an attorney experienced in handling the unique legal issues that will arise in such a case. Mr. Summers for over a decade has both defended and prosecuted automobile negligence cases, trying cases in both federal and state courts.

Premises liability: Slip and fall accidents, whether occurring at a residence or commercial establishment are seldom expected by the injured person, but can result in serious injuries affecting the personal and professional life of the victim. Usually some dangerous condition on the property, such as ice or snow, which has not been removed, or faulty construction or maintenance of floors, stairs or walkways, or the presence of a foreign substance is the culprit. Whether the owner or occupier of the property can be held liable such that he or she must respond in monetary damages, often depends on what they knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, and what steps they took or failed to take to remedy the condition before the accident occurred. If the property is owned or occupied by the State of New York, a municipality or a public corporation, the injured party has the burden of providing timely written notice of their claim before commencing a lawsuit seeking compensation. The time to provide the required written notice is very short, usually 60 or 90 days from the accident. Additionally, the time that the injured person has to actually commence an action against the State or a municipality is also short, usually one year and 90 days from the date of the accident.

If the injured person fails to provide timely written notice of the claim and fails to bring the lawsuit within the statute of limitations, he or she may be barred from ever recovering for their injuries, regardless of the merits of their claim. If you are injured as the result of a dangerous condition on a premises, especially if the responsible party may be the State or a municipal corporation, an attorney who will give your case prompt, personal attention is essential, since time may be of the essence to obtain fair and just compensation.

Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice occurs, generally when the medical treatment (or lack of treatment) constitutes a substantial departure from good and accepted medical practice for the community in which the patient is treated; or the medical professional failed to obtain the patient's informed consent before performing a procedure by failing to adequately advise the patient of the known risks, complications or alternate treatment. Simply a bad result from a medical procedure, performed after obtaining informed consent, that was the product of intelligent medical judgment that conforms to community standards for medical care, will not constitute medical malpractice.

The time by which an action in medical malpractice must be brought in New York is usually two and one-half years from the date of the malpractice or the last scheduled appointment with the subject medical provider who is providing continuous treatment. However there are exceptions involving foreign object cases, so each case must be reviewed individually. Additionally, in New York there must be a good faith basis for the lawsuit, which usually means the matter must be reviewed by a competent medical expert who has advised the attorney that the case has merit. When medical malpractice occurs, it can have devastating consequences. The attorneys at The Summers Law Firm can provide compassionate advocacy for the victim of medical malpractice and his or her family.

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