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Binghamton Law Blog: Covering Topics from Personal Injury to Estate Planning Law

Wrongful death claim may follow fatal Route 20 head-on collision

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on a recent Wednesday, police in Lancaster, New York, responded to a crash that occurred on Route 20. Two vehicles were involved in this accident, and the fact that one driver did not survive might lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. As with all fatal car accidents, crash investigators have launched an inquiry, the details of which will be made available at a later stage.

According to a preliminary accident report, a 23-year-old man from Buffalo was traveling west when he crossed over the center line. His pickup truck entered the eastbound traffic lane where it crashed head-on into the vehicle of a 55-year-old woman from Lancaster. The male driver's reason for crossing into the opposite lane is yet to be determined.

Mob boss Thomas Gioeli files premises liability claim after fall

Property owners in New York and elsewhere are always responsible for the safety of other people who move about their premises. This also applies to facilities such as detention centers and prisons. Inmates who suffer injuries that result from unsafe or dangerous surroundings might have grounds to pursue recovery of damages through a premises liability lawsuit.

A 65-year-old mob boss who is serving a 19-year prison sentence recently filed a premises liability lawsuit against the government. The suit claims the prison staff neglected their responsibility to clean the shower area and keep the floor dry. According to court documents, the plaintiff claims he slipped and fell while playing ping-pong in the detention center in 2013. He apparently missed when trying to hit the ball, and then went to retrieve it from the shower area where it landed.

Car accidents: 2 seriously injured in multi-vehicle crash

In New York, a recent crash on the Long Island Expressway involved five different vehicles. Police in Suffolk County say the accident occurred minutes before midnight on a Friday earlier this month. Car accidents of this magnitude frequently lead to loss of lives and/or serious injuries. In this case, only the occupants of one car suffered serious injuries.

The preliminary crash report indicates that the incident started when a 56-year-old eastbound pickup truck driver collided with a rental car occupied by a 54-year-old man and his wife. The impact propelled this vehicle into another car, which was in turn pushed into a Jeep. That led to a final crash with a fifth car. The last three vehicles were occupied by drivers, ages 25, 45 and 58 years, none of whom suffered serious injuries.

Why are people discouraged to create joint wills?

Estate planning has changed significantly over the years. While creating joint wills was a common practice in years gone by, the practice is now discouraged. While New York State still allows joint wills, there are several reasons to explore other options with fewer disadvantages.

When a married couple decides to create a joint will, and one spouse dies, the surviving spouse will inherit the entire estate. When the surviving spouse passes away, the couple's children typically inherit the estate. Any changes or revocation of a joint will can only be done with the consent of both parties, and only while they are both still alive. As soon as one spouse dies, the surviving spouse may not change the joint will.

Premises liability claim follows fatal fall at NFL stadium

Like in all other states, property owners in New York must take care of their properties and avoid dangerous conditions that can cause injuries to patrons. When visitors suffer injuries or lose their lives, the property owners may have to face premises liability lawsuits. However, the plaintiffs will have the burden of proof of negligence -- which could be a challenging task.

In October last year, a man who went to watch an NFL game in another state fell approximately 60 feet from the stairs of a fire escape at a stadium. Reportedly, the victim died from blunt force trauma to his torso, neck, skull and head. His surviving family members have now filed a wrongful death lawsuit in a civil court in which they named several entities as defendants.

Medical malpractice claimed for unnecessary surgery

Medical providers such as doctors and hospitals nationwide, including in New York, have a standard of care to maintain. When that standard is compromised, patients can suffer severe harm, and medical providers may be held responsible. While some medical malpractice claims involve the removal of the wrong organs or body parts, a recent lawsuit claimed doctors removed body parts for the wrong reasons.

A 36-year-old woman alleges medical negligence led to a hysterectomy and mastectomy which were both unnecessary. According to court documents, a gynecologist carried out genetic testing and informed the plaintiff that the results indicated a high probability that she would develop breast and uterine cancer. He allegedly told her that surgery was required to prevent this. The entire breast is removed in a mastectomy, and hysterectomy involves the total or partial removal of the uterus -- both procedures may prevent the development of cancer.

Brain injury: Causes, consequences and recovery of damages

Damage to a person's brain can happen in two ways, both of which are preventable and can be caused by the negligence of others. Victims of brain injuries in New York and their families may have questions about it. Traumatic brain injury occurs when a person's brain suffers physical damage such as bruising or bleeding inside the skull and also includes concussion. Acquired brain injury is caused by either total or partial oxygen deprivation.

The effects of brain injuries on the everyday lives of victims are varied, depending on the severity and area of the brain that was damaged. Some may need cognitive therapy and may never be able to return to a previous job while the physical abilities of others may be impeded. To get along, they might need wheelchairs, canes, walkers or other mobility aids. Some brain injuries bring about emotional outbursts which could also have an adverse psychological effect on loved ones.

Steps to take to avoid being affected by medical malpractice

The last thing to wish on any person in New York who has health problems is negligent medical care. A surgical error, a missed or incorrect diagnosis or wrong prescription can be devastating for patients and their loved ones. Because of the prevalence of reports about medical malpractice, it might be beneficial to be aware of the risks when dealing with physicians, hospitals and other health care providers or facilities.

When choosing a doctor, it might be wise to check his or her credentials and experience in the appropriate field. Remember communication is essential and for that reason, selecting a physician who would maintain effective communication with the patient could be beneficial. One way to clear away uncertainty about imminent procedures is asking questions and getting understandable answers.

Car accidents: Unsafe passing blamed for fatal head-on collision

New York Route 22 in Putnam County was closed for several hours on Columbus Day. This followed a fatal crash that claimed the life of a man from Ossining. According to a preliminary report, this was one of those car accidents that followed one driver's unsafe attempt to pass another vehicle.

Sheriff's investigators and the New York State Police spent hours on the reconstruction of the accident and clearing the scene. The investigation is ongoing. Reportedly, a 47-year-old woman who was southbound proceeded to pass a tractor-trailer that was in front of her and heading in the same direction. However, she was unable to complete the pass before encountering the northbound vehicle.

Good Samaritan law can prevent medical malpractice claims

Any New York physician will likely sometime face circumstances in which he or she is expected to provide medical assistance in emergency situations that occur outside of his or her regular practice or place of work. However, what happens if the aid provided does not save the victim's life or some other reason is found to hold the physician responsible for an adverse outcome? Can the doctor be sued for medical malpractice?

One example of situations faced by physicians is performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking patron of a restaurant. Also, when a doctor is involved in or happens upon a road accident in which immediate care is required to stop bleeding, stabilize a neck or perform CPR, he or she should not have to hesitate for fear of being sued. Another potential scenario is a fellow passenger on a plane suffering a medical emergency and the captain calling for a doctor's help.

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