When Do I Need a Civil Rights Attorney?

Ryan Brown Civil Rights

scales of justice in law libraryCivil liberties are a right bestowed upon all Americans. These freedoms ensure equal opportunities and equal treatment regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political views, religion or disability. Repression, discrimination or mistreatment on the basis of any of these factors is not only unjust, but a federal violation. As a citizen of the United States, you are afforded protections for the freedom of speech, the right to due process, religion and assembly, and the right to petition against state and local governments.

When these basic freedoms are violated by individuals or representatives of government, victims have remedies for legal recourse. The Constitution of the United States protects citizens from unlawful infringement or abuses, whether committed by a public official, a workplace employer or a law enforcement agent.

Do I need a civil rights lawyer?

If you believe that your civil rights have been violated based on characteristics such as gender, national origin, or race, you are encouraged to speak with an experienced attorney who specializes in this complex area of law.

These violations are among the most deplorable because they involve trusted persons in positions of authority. Even one false arrest or wrongful conviction is too many, but the reality is this type of iniquity is all too common.

A skilled civil rights lawyer understands all facets of these constitutional protections and can help victims outline the best course of action for seeking redress and justice. Since these cases are some of the most challenging to investigate and pursue, it is essential to partner with an advocate who has extensive knowledge and experience.

Violations of civil liberties

A civil rights claim may arise from various violations and can be resolved through mediation, administrative reviews, settlement negotiations or trial.

Some common examples of civil rights cases include:

  • Police misconduct such as unlawful arrest
  • Unjust imprisonment
  • Police brutality
  • Prosecutorial misconduct
  • Workplace harassment or discrimination based on sex, race, religion or ethnicity
  • Unlawful searches and seizures
  • Wrongful conviction

Though challenging to litigate, a civil rights lawsuit can seek compensatory damages against the defendant – and in cases entailing particularly wanton conduct — punitive damages. An attorney can advise you on the merits of your case, the likelihood of success, and the projected timeline for litigation.

Effective representation in New York City

If you are seeking a tenacious civil rights lawyer in NYC, look no further than Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Contact our practice for straightforward, candid guidance about your legal matter. If we agree to take on your case, there are no upfront legal fees since we operate on a contingency basis.

We will commit all of the necessary resources to properly investigate your claim, retain expert witnesses and present a compelling case that fights for truth, justice and the freedoms to which you are entitled. We represent clients throughout the greater New York City metro area and Long Island.

If your civil rights have been violated, don’t delay in reaching out for a private case review today. Call 212-307-5800 or 800-969-5389.

Additional Resources on Civil Rights Matters:

  1. Justia, Civil Rights Cases https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/109/3/
  2. Cornell Law School, Civil Rights https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/civil_rights
  3. SitinMovement, America’s Civil Rights Timeline https://www.sitinmovement.org/history/america-civil-rights-timeline.asp

New York Construction Accident Deaths Reach “Epidemic” Proportions

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Workers' Compensation

construction siteNew York construction accident statistics show a steep increase in serious injuries and fatalities, while safety inspections decline. The New York Committee for Occupational Safety & Health called the 71 New York State construction worker deaths in 2016 “an epidemic of construction fatalities.” The numbers reflect a workplace culture that is not as dedicated to safety as it should be. The vast majority of these incidents are preventable.

Behind the numbers, dozens of New York families are suffering in the aftermath of serious disability or sudden death. Contacting a construction accident attorney at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green will connect you with the services you need to receive expert medical care and pay for it through the exercise of your legal rights. Compensation for negligence claims may include past, present, and future medical expenses, loss of wages and productivity, emotional pain and suffering, and – in the event of death — loss of companionship and support, burial costs, and funeral expenses.

New York City Construction Accident Statistics

According to a report of the New York-Newark-Jersey City metro area published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on March 12, 2018:

  • Fatal work injuries totaled 222 in 2016 for the metro area.
  • New York City placed #1 in work-related fatalities among the 10 largest metros in the U.S.
  • Nationwide, there was a 7% increase in fatal injuries from 2015-2016.
  • Construction and extraction occupations had the highest number of fatal work injuries with 59.
  • Transportation and material moving workers were at second-highest risk of death with 43 fatalities.
  • Men accounted for 92% of victims, with Hispanic or Latino workers accounting for nearly a third of fatalities.
  • From 2011-2015, construction-related fatalities in the city increased from 17 to 25.
  • OSHA inspections fell about 27% from 2,722 in 2011 to 1,966 in 2015.
  • During that time period, the number of OSHA inspectors were reduced from 82 to 66.
  • Of 2,000 OSHA site visits in 2014, nearly 70% resulted in safety citations.
  • 80% of construction fatalities in 2014 and 74% in 2015 occurred at nonunion sites.

New York’s Epidemic of Construction Fatalities

New York City worker fatalities have gone up 21.3% within the last five years for which data is available, but the problem is not just relegated to the city. New York State in general saw a 29.5% increase in occupational death rate during that same time period.

Despite the fact that New York ranks among the 13 safest states in occupational fatalities, its construction fatality rate puts the state among the 10 most dangerous states for construction workers.

What to Do After an On-the-job Injury

Most construction site accidents result in serious injuries, from broken bones and traumatic brain injuries, to spinal cord damage and electrocutions. The first step is always to call 9-1-1 and seek immediate medical attention. Even if your injuries were not severe enough to require emergency care, you should still see a doctor in the days that follow to report any minor symptoms. Sometimes seemingly minor aches and pains turn out to be worse than expected in the long run. Be sure to report the accident to a construction manager, project owner, or other superior at once. Later, you may need to report the accident to OSHA and insurance providers.

If you suspect your injury was not entirely your own fault, you are probably right! It’s best to seek legal counsel right away to avoid dismissal of your construction accident claim. The statute of limitations for most negligence claims in the State of New York is three years from the date of the accident. However, claims against a government agency or public entity must be filed within 90 days, with a lawsuit to follow within a year. For fatalities, loved ones have up to two years from the date of the accident to file a claim on behalf of the deceased.

Call the New York Construction Accident Lawyers at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green

If you work in New York City, Manhattan, Bronx, Long Island, or Brooklyn, have your on the job injury evaluated by a legal expert specializing in the field. Over the past 50 years, Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green P.C. has developed a reputation for substantial personal injury settlements and jury awards. You need only look at some of our case summaries to get a sense of what we can achieve for you. Many of our NYC construction accident settlements have topped $1 million, $2 million, or even $3 million. Contact a New York construction accident lawyer for a free, no-obligation consultation to explore your full set of legal options.

Additional resources:

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Fatal Work Injuries, https://www.bls.gov/regions/new-york-new-jersey/news-release/fatalworkinjuries_newyorkarea.htm
  2. NY Times – Construction Worker Deaths Up, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/27/nyregion/with-construction-worker-deaths-up-city-council-tightens-regulations.html
  3. NY Daily News – NYC Construction Deaths and Injuries Rise As Inspections Decline, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-construction-deaths-injuries-rise-inspections-decline-article-1.2948948
  4. Construction Dive, Nearly Half of all Construction Worker Deaths Are Fall-Related, https://www.constructiondive.com/news/nearly-half-of-all-construction-worker-deaths-are-fall-related-database-fi/516410/

Common Car Accident Injures You May Not Feel Right Away

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

If you have been in a car accident, there are potential injuries you might feel right away, such as bone and skull fractures, bruises, and torn ligaments. But there are also many common car accident injuries that people often don’t feel right away.

Not All Symptoms Occur Immediately

Woman with muscle injury having pain in her neckIn the aftermath of a car accident, you might feel shaken up, but not as if you have an injury. Fear and the desire to move out of a crash scene can make you ignore minor symptoms.

Some injuries, especially those to soft tissue, may actually not be felt for a long period of time after an accident — even for several weeks.

The fact that you don’t feel the injuries, though, doesn’t mean they are minor. Some can affect you physically for the rest of your life, and impact your quality of life as well. Some can even be fatal.

Here’s a brief overview of injuries you can sustain in a car accident, but not may feel right away.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Related Injuries

Your brain can be affected seriously in even a minor accident. If you’re rear-ended, for example, it can cause you to move suddenly forward and then back. That jostles the brain. It can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, or other head injury. These can occur without the head looking or feeling especially hurt.

If you have hit your head or had your head severely jostled, be sure to see a physician immediately after the accident. They can check for signs of concussion.

Other symptoms of brain injuries include headaches 48 to 72 hours post accident. These can result from neck injuries, brain movement, a concussion, or bleeding or blood clots in your brain. The latter two can be fatal if not treated.

Neck or Shoulder Pain or Stiffness

You might feel fine after a car crash, but then begin to feel pain or stiffness in the neck or shoulder. This is one of the most frequent symptoms to occur in the aftermath of an accident.

These symptoms are part of whiplash. The term whiplash derives from the way a body moves when a car is rear-ended. It moves abruptly back and forth, like a whip being cracked. This type of movement can result in soft tissue damage, which your doctor will not see on an X-ray. Whiplash can result in long-term or even permanent mobility issues.

Back Pain

If you’ve injured your muscles, nerves, ligaments, or vertebrae, you can develop back pain days or weeks after the accident. Back pain is particularly frequent in rear-end or hit-from-the-side accidents.

Experienced Car Accident Lawyers in New York

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green are experienced car accident lawyers. Please call us today at (212) 307-5800 for a free consultation about your case.

Additional Resources:

  1. Konet, Kyle. Arrowhead Clinic. “Delayed Car Accident Injury Symptoms To Pay Attention To.” https://www.arrowheadclinic.com/category/blog/delayed-car-accident-injury-symptoms
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/motor-vehicle-safety/index.html

Hurt at the Mall? What You Should Do Now

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Slip And Fall Injuries

Modern shopping mall interiorSchool is out and temperatures are rising, bringing many people to shopping malls. Shopping centers offer a convenient opportunity to browse dozens of stores, restaurants, and attractions in one stop, but the hustle and bustle can lead to slips, falls, and other personal injuries.

The good news is that if you are injured on someone else’s property, the law provides a remedy – but you have the burden of proving someone else was at fault. Here are some of the things the slip and fall lawyers at Friedman Levy look for when we represent New York clients in shopping mall personal injuries sustained in Brooklyn, the Bronx, and throughout New York City.

Liability for a shopping mall fall

Shopping malls, individual retailers, those hired to clean or maintain the location, and others may have a legal responsibility to ensure the location is safe for customers and anyone else invited onto the premises. When it can be shown that a defendant failed to take reasonable steps to keep the location safe, the defendant may be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.

For example, if a customer trips on a box that a store employee left in an aisle, the retailer may be liable for the customer’s injuries. If someone is injured on a malfunctioning escalator, the mall owner and a company hired to maintain the escalator may be liable. In each instance, though, there must be evidence that the potentially liable party either did in fact know, or reasonably should have known, of the hazard but failed to fix it or warn others that it was there.

Compensation for mall injuries

If you trip on an uneven parking lot surface, slip on a wet floor, or suffer some other mall injury, and if the mall owner or some other party is liable, then compensation may be available to restore your losses.

The amount of compensation available depends on the circumstances of the case, including the severity of the injury, prognosis for recovery, and whether you bear any of the fault for the injury. Being partly to blame does not prevent recovery, but it can reduce it.

Compensation for mall injuries can include:

  • Reimbursement for medical expenses – both those already incurred and those reasonably anticipated because of the injury
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disability
  • Loss of consortium of a spouse

What to do after a mall injury

Time is of the essence, so if you are injured in a shopping mall, speak with a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible.

Under NY state law, a slip and fall lawsuit must be filed within three years of the injury. That may seem like a long time but it can pass quickly when you are dealing with the recovery from an injury. Also, it is important to preserve evidence before it is destroyed or key witnesses are no longer available.

If you have been injured in a shopping mall in New York, help yourself by calling the slip and fall attorneys at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green right away. We can help you determine whether someone else is liable and if so, take action to preserve the evidence you will need to secure a full settlement.

Construction Site Accident

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Workers' Compensation

Because construction work is inherently dangerous, the risk of injury to workers is greater than in other industries and workplaces. However, construction workers have a right to a safe work environment. While construction injuries are usually covered under workers’ compensation laws, it may be possible to pursue a lawsuit based on negligence against site owners, contractors, subcontractors, their employees and agents for violations of applicable safety laws.

There are number of causes of construction accident including:

  • Falls – from roofs, ladders scaffolding and other heights
  • Falling objects – improperly secured tools, equipment and construction material can fall and strike a worker, causing head, neck, brain and spinal injuries
  • Equipment accidents – workers can be injured by machinery and equipment such as forklifts, cranes, nails guns and dumpsters
  • Fires and explosions – hazards arise from exposed wires, flammable materials, blow torches and leaking pipes which can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities
  • Trench/ Building Collapses – workers can be buried, injured and killed in trench collapses or by buildings that are being constructed or demolished
  • Repetitive Motion Injuries – physical labor often requires bending and lifting that can lead to muscle and joint damage
  • Respiratory illnesses – as a result of exposure to dust, asbestos, and other pollutants

Construction accidents can lead to a variety of injuries. For example, many injuries require fingers, toes and limbs to be amputated. In addition, broken bones and fractures are common as are shoulder, knee and ankle injuries. Workers can suffer head or brain injuries from falls or falling objects as well as spinal cord injuries or paralysis. Other common injuries include eye injuries or loss of vision, and hearing loss.

New York State Labor Law allows an injured construction worker to recover for certain types of construction accidents, even if no other workers were involved, such as falling off a ladder or scaffold, falling through an unprotected opening, or something falling onto them.

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. has been representing injured construction workers for more than half a century, and we invite you to speak to us about your construction accident.

Can You Sue City Hall?

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Lawsuits

Many individuals mistakenly believe that they cannot sue city hall, but this is not the case. Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, town, city, county and state governments were once protected from most lawsuits. Today, those rules have been scaled back to some extent, and the government can be held responsible for personal injuries and property damage or unlawful conduct. Let’s take a look at personal injury and other lawsuits that can be brought against government entities.

There are a number of ways the government can be held liable for accidents and injuries. For example an individual who is injured in a slip and fall accident at a government office or facility may have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. Similarly, a motorist or passenger who is injured in an accident with a government owned truck or car, or a motor vehicle being driven by a government employee or contractor while conducting official business, can bring a personal injury lawsuit.

In an addition, an employment lawsuit can be brought by a government employee for harassment, discrimination or wrongful termination against his or her government employer. Finally, law enforcement agencies can be sued for a wide range of civil rights violations.

In short, there are a number of legal claims that can be brought against the government. It is important to note that there are differences between suing the government and suing a private person or business.

For example, the time period to bring a personal injury claim against the government , referred to as the statute of limitations, is typically much shorter. Further, before filing a lawsuit, it is also necessary to provide a Notice of Claim to the government, agency, or employee within a set time period, usually 90 days in New York, notifying them that a lawsuit will be brought.

In the end, it is possible to sue city hall, so to speak, but there are a number of hurdles that need to be crossed. Moreover, some governments may still be immune from certain injury claims, depending on the state in which you live. If you were injured due to the negligent or illegal conduct of a government entity or employee, you should speak to an experienced attorney. If you believe you have a claim against a city, town, school district and government agency, contact Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. for a free consultation, and visit our website at friedmanevy.com.

Injured by a Product: Do I have a Claim?

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Product Liability

Most of the items we use on a daily basis are manufactured by a business operating somewhere in the world. Think about it: the vacuum cleaner, water heater, cell phone, the things we take for granted every day. What if the water heater malfunctioned and you were burned or the vacuum cleaner exploded while you were using it. If these accidents were due to a defect in the product, you might be entitled to compensation.

The elements for a products liability claim are relatively simple but can be difficult to prove. Generally, in order to have a successful claim based on a defective product, the product must be faulty in one of three ways: manufacturing, design or marketing. A manufacturing defect is one that occurs during production of the product. A defect in design is one that exists in all of the products. That is, something about the product makes it inherently dangerous. A marketing defect exists when the product is dangerous in some way and a party involved in the manufacturing or sale failed to provide sufficient instructions or warnings to prevent people from being injured. It takes research and often experts to discover a defect and an experienced personal injury attorney should be utilized in this process.

The second element in a products liability case is injury. Someone must have been injured or sustained a loss in order to bring a products liability action. They must also prove that the defect was the cause of the injury. Proving that the defect was the cause of the injury can be difficult in products liability cases and it takes someone knowledgeable in the field to be successful.

In addition, in order to have a valid products liability claim the product must have been being used in the way it was intended used or in a manner that was foreseeable. For example, a person cannot use the clothing iron to flat iron their hair and then claim that they were burned. The clothing iron was not intended to be used this way and this would cause the products liability action to fail.

In the event that a person is injured and they have satisfied all of the other requirements for a products liability action, they have a valid claim. Bear in mind that it is often difficult to determine if all of the elements were met until you consult with a seasoned attorney. Contact us for a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case.

Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Slip And Fall Injuries

How do I know if I have a slip and fall case?

A person who slips or trips on another person’s property may be entitled to damages for resultant injuries. In order for a slip and fall to be compensable, there must have been an unsafe condition on the property. Unsafe conditions include icy accumulation, wet or slippery floors, badly damaged sidewalks and debris underfoot, among many others.

In addition to the existence of unsafe conditions, in order for the injury to be compensable, the owner must have known that the dangerous condition existed and allowed it to persist.This is the most difficult element for a victim in a slip and fall case to prove. Sometimes, the owner of the property causes the dangerous condition, such as when the floors of a department store are freshly mopped and slippery. At other times, the danger is not caused by the owner, but is obviously apparent, as is the case after a snowstorm. The owner of the property is entitled to a grace period to correct dangerous conditions. But, while the problem is being fixed, the owner should put up a notice to warn individuals of the possible danger. Yellow boards are commonly used to warn of wet floors, and orange cones are often used to warn of ongoing construction.

If the dangerous condition is obvious enough to a casual observer, it may not be compensable since an individual has a duty to use a reasonable degree of care for his or her own safety. Even if the owner is at fault, if the injury is no more severe than a bruise or a slight sprain, a lawsuit is probably not the best course of action. Lawsuits are usually reserved for more serious injuries like broken bones or spinal damage. Only an experienced attorney can advise the individual involved in a slip and fall incident as to whether the case is strong enough to warrant a claim.

“Pokémon Go” and “Snap Chat” Contibuting to Dangerous Trend of Distracted Driving

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

Smartphones make it easier than ever for us to stay connected, but that enhanced connectivity can pose serious risks. In fact, cell phones have become one of the most common distractions for drivers. Drivers text messaging on their cell phones are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near crash event compared with non-distracted drivers.

Teenagers are particularly prone to being distracted by cell phones while driving. In the United States, 35% of teenagers admit to texting while driving and 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents are distracted by their cell phones. Smartphone applications fuel distracted driving. Two apps targeted at teenage audiences are particularly problematic: “Pokémon Go” and “Snapchat”.

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that allows players to “capture” digital creatures at real locations using their smartphones. Since its release last week, a number of car accidents caused by drivers using the smartphone app have been reported. The app has also been blamed with creating risk of personal injury because users become engrossed in the game and unaware of their surroundings; there are reports of distracted users slipping and falling, walking into traffic, and even falling off of a cliff.

A number of car accidents have also been caused by “Snapchat,” an app that allows users to share photos and videos with friends. Snapchat has a speed “filter” that enables users to share how fast they are traveling while they take photos and videos. This feature has been blamed for encouraging speeding. In Atlanta, a teen recently caused a serious car accident driving over 100 mph while using this feature. The driver of the car she crashed into suffered permanent brain trauma and has brought a lawsuit against both the teen driver and Snapchat.

It is harrowing enough to watch your child get behind the wheel of a car and drive down the street and out of sight for the first time. You worry about other careless drivers, drunk drivers and bad weather. You hope friends in the passenger seat won’t distract your child or encourage them to speed. You implore your child not to text and drive or drink and drive. Now you have a new worry – your child catching Pokémon while driving – or Snapchatting while driving. Also remember that if your child is out catching Pokémon in a car owned by you and gets into an accident and injures someone, under New York law, your liability is the same as if you were the one actually driving the car and catching Pokémon. It doesn’t matter that you weren’t there. As the vehicle owner, the law puts you in the driver’s seat and puts your child’s iPhone in your hands. Please talk to your child and make sure they understand the dangers of playing on apps while driving.

As cell phone use while driving becomes increasingly common, the chances of being involved in a car accident with a distracted driver escalate. If you or a loved one has been injured by the carelessness of another driver, please contact Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. for a free consultation, and visit our our website at friedmanlevy.com for more information.

Factors Used to Determine Fault in a Car Accident

Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. Automobile Accident

When the courts are asked to determine liability in a personal injury case involving a traffic accident, one of the first things a jury is asked to consider is who is at fault for the accident. There are several factors that are taken into consideration when making that determination.

First and foremost, if any of the drivers involved in the accident were guilty of any traffic violation related to the accident, there is a good chance that the court will assign fault the driver guilty of the infraction. Common traffic violations related to traffic accidents include running red lights or stop signs, speeding, making improper turns, and texting while driving. Similarly, if any of the drivers is guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she is likely to be found at fault for the accident.

A police officer’s account of the accident is also important in determining which party is at fault. The police officer will interview witnesses, including the parties to the accident, and weigh conflicting stories to determine what actually happened to cause the accident. Tire marks on the road and the positioning of vehicles can help an officer come to a conclusion. Sometimes, video footage exists to eliminate any doubt as to what happened, either from someone’s dash cam or from a security camera. Police officers have experience and training to help them recreate accident scenes from the evidence available, but their reports are not perfect.

When an accident is the result of a rear end collision or a left hand turn, the officer is usually quick to assign blame to the car in the rear or the car turning left. The rule of thumb while driving is that the driver making a turn must wait for oncoming traffic to pass before turning. A driver must always cede the right of way to the traffic in front.

The role that the determination of fault plays depends largely on the laws of the state in which the accident occurs. Some states follow a doctrine of contributory negligence while some have a more lenient policy of comparative negligence. States that use contributory negligence may preclude a plaintiff from collecting any damages if his or her own negligence contributed to the accident at all. States, like New York, that use a model of comparative negligence will reduce a jury’s award by the percentage of fault found to be the plaintiff’s. Even if you are more than 50% at fault for causing an accident, you can still sue for your injuries in New York. If you have been injured in an automobile accident, call Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green for a free consultation.