Under New York law, the owner and operator of a motor vehicle has a duty to use “reasonable care under the circumstances” to avoid causing injury as a result of the negligent operation of his or her vehicle. This duty extends not only to driving the vehicle, but also extends to the maintenance and inspection vehicle. Both New York statutory law (made by the legislature) and common law (made through court decisions) imposes this duty on all drivers.
The owner of a car or truck has a responsibility to maintain his or her vehicle in good working condition and free of defects. The operator of the vehicle, including someone who borrows it, has a duty to inspect the vehicle prior to use to ensure there are no visibly unsafe conditions and that it is in good operating order. Both the owner and the operator may be liable if the vehicle is driven and a motor vehicle accident results from an unsafe condition that could have been seen or of which the operator or owner should have been aware. (more…)
Autumn sports are in full-swing and many children are out on athletic fields playing football, soccer and finishing fall baseball leagues. Unfortunately, this also means there is an increased likelihood of injuries to our children during these sports—particularly football and soccer. While some of these injuries may be as minor as cuts, bruises and mild sprains, some could be serious fractures, and even brain injury. Most of these injuries are unavoidable and inherent to the sport. New York laws holds that many of these injuries are risks inherent in the sport and assumed by the player. As to those, an injured player is said to have understood the risk and is not able to obtain compensation for his injury.
However, some injuries are not the result of an event or condition assumed by the player. Analogous to the legal duty of private and commercial landowners, the owner or operator of an athletic field is under a duty to exercise “reasonable care under the circumstances” in maintaining the field to prevent injury to those who use it. Injuries caused by dangerous defects on the athletic field may not be assumed and could result in liability. This is particularly true of hidden dangers created by the owner, or a contractor, for example. Where the child-athlete falls into a hole on the athletic field or trips over hidden pipes in the field of play, a contractor or field owner may be liable for injury that he created or failed to discover as the result of proper inspection and maintenance. The causes of these injuries are not inherent to the sport and are not generally held to be assumed by the athlete. (more…)
The standard to which all motorists are held when operating a car or other vehicle is that of “reasonable care.” Reasonable care requires motorists to drive in a manner that is based upon consideration of the circumstances present at the time. The circumstances to which we refer relate to environmental conditions such as weather, road conditions and traffic conditions. Conditions over which the driver has direct control, such as the ability to pay attention (dependent upon amount of rest, possible use of alcohol or drugs, being distracted by cell phone use, etc.) apply equally to the consideration of whether reasonable care has been exercised. When one or more of factors that lead to the inability to act “reasonably” and a car accident results, the driver will likely be found to have been negligent driver, and bear legal responsibility for injury he caused.
This duty is one that has been refined and redefined by legislators over time, as laws called statutes, have developed as a set of “rules of the road” that motorists are expected to obey. Equally important, the thousands of court decisions resulting from appellate court decisions applying the principle of “reasonable care” to myriad fact situations provides a second “guide” to which lawyers and judges look in determining what reasonable care is under the particular circumstances at issue. (more…)
Hotels are commercial premises, privately owned typically by an individual or corporation, open to members of the public. They are usually staffed by employees, who perform maintenance and repair; and often outside companies are contracted to provide various services, including maintenance, major repair and inspection of facilities. As a business that invites customers to patronize it, the entity has a legal duty to provide a reasonably safe place to walk, sleep and play. Injuries that occur on its property are classified as premises liability cases.
Reasonable care requires that the hotel premises be kept in a reasonably safe condition. Inspections must be made to identify and remediate unsafe conditions. Of course hotels are not insurers, but anything that can cause foreseeable and preventable harm must be repaired or removed so that persons on the premises will be safe. (more…)
Motorists must use reasonable care under the circumstances when driving on New York’s roadways. This is a legal responsibility based upon case law (decisions in the states’ courts), and statutory law (rules made by the legislature). Reasonable care governs all aspects of conduct related to driving. In addition to how the car or other vehicle is operated– how fast and how slow, use of directional signals, staying in one’s lane, etc. –is subject to this duty. Reasonable care also must be used in maintaining the vehicle in safe operating condition. This involves more than the actual maintenance of the vehicle, but how loads are secured on the vehicle or trailers are properly connected.
Many families strap suitcases, car top carriers, canoes or other vacation necessities onto the roof of their car. While most motorists are careful and thorough in doing so, this is not always the case. Sometimes there is carelessness involved, and if the load doesn’t stay on the vehicle and ends up on the highway of on the windshield of the car behind, an accident and serious injury can result. Experienced Albany motor vehicle accident attorneys know that if the offending motorist can be held liable for injuries and damages caused to other motorists or pedestrians as a result. (more…)
While the swimming season is almost at and end, you should know your rights if a lifeguard doesn’t live up to his or her duty to be there if a swimmer needs help. It is well-established under New York law that swimming pool owners, operators, and their staff owe a duty to provide reasonable supervision to bathers. This is particularly true when lifeguards are hired, trained, and signs are posted as to their presence. When an owner or operator fails to provide this supervision, they can be held accountable for resulting injuries.
Negligence under the law arises from any act or omission which falls below what a jury and judge determine is “reasonable” under the circumstances. To prove negligence in a lifeguard supervision case, the duty to provide such supervision must be shown, that this duty was breached by the lifeguard and that such breach caused injury must be shown. (more…)
The attorneys at Anderson, Moschetti & Taffany have again been named to the Super Lawyers list of the top lawyers in upstate New York.
This year Jeffrey K. Anderson, Peter J. Moschetti, Jr. and David J. Taffany each appear on the list for best attorneys for Personal Injury representing injured persons. This is a testament to their knowledge, experience and record setting verdicts and settlements. (more…)
Unlike car accidents, victims of boating accidents cannot rely on New York’s no-fault statute to have medical bills paid or receive some portion of wage loss reimbursed after the accident. However, victims of boating accidents who are employed on the water, such as employees or crew on cruises, barges, fishing boats or dining boats, are entitled to utilize a statute known as the Jones Act to recover compensation for their injuries. This includes injuries on the Hudson River, which is a major shipping lane with many large barges and tugboats plying its waters on a daily basis. Additionally, the Jones Act provides protection to employees on cruise ships or sightseeing vessels. Employees injured on fishing charters which travel off the coast of New York for sport fish would also be able to employ it, including deckhands, who have some of the most dangerous jobs in the United States.
The Jones Act is officially known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920 and is a federal statute which allows injured crew or sailors to make claims and collect from their employers due to the negligence of the ship owner, the captain or any other fellow sailors or crew members. (more…)
During the summer, it is very common for families to visit amusement parks, “funplex” centers, fair grounds and carnivals. Many of the larger regional and national theme parks are located in upstate New York and attract families on vacations or day trips this time of year. Additionally, travelling carnivals come into towns for a few days to a week with games, rides and food. While most of the time these rides are safe and lots of fun, unfortunately accidents resulting injury do occur. There are many reports of amusement park accidents each year, some resulting in serious personal injury and even death.
The law places a responsibility upon the owner or manager of such an enterprise to ensure the safety of visitors. More specifically, New York law requires the owner or proprietor of a place of public amusement to use “reasonable care” to provide rides and premises upon which they are situated to be in reasonably safe condition. Further, the owner or proprietor must also inspect and supervise amusement equipment located on the grounds to ensure that it is properly assembled and in reasonably safe condition for its intended use. (more…)
New York law places a duty on all drivers to use reasonable care in the operation of their vehicles. This duty requires drivers to not only follow the rules under New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law, enacted by the legislature, but also New York’s “common law”—the rules created through cases decided by the courts. A driver may be liable if he breaches these rules of conduct, and as result, causes injuries to another individual.
Car accidents at intersections are very common. This is because intersections by definition involve the interaction of multiple drivers, each making decisions about when to stop, go or yield to another driver. There are typically multiple ways into and out of an intersection, and multiple traffic control devices that may add to the complexity of the decision making process. Intersections are potentially more dangerous when they are controlled only by signs, rather than a traffic control light. Regardless of whether an intersection is controlled by a traffic light or one or more signs, courts have held that all motorists approaching an intersection must exercise reasonable care under the circumstances by exercising caution. (more…)