Recent Court Decision Highlights Need to Reform No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Law to Include “Surgery” Within the Definition of “Serious Injury”

In 1975 New York enacted a “no-fault” insurance plan that in theory was designed to keep small cases involving motor vehicle accidents out of court in exchange for relatively immediate payment of expenses for hospital and medical bills and reimbursement of lost earnings without the injured party having to prove that the other party was at fault for the accident. One would think that needing to undergo surgery to repair injuries sustained in an accident would not be considered too small of a case to be allowed to proceed, particularly where the surgeon states that the injuries he observed during … Read the rest

Progress in New York’s Wrongful Death Statute But Still Hard to Explain Its Unfairness to Clients

New York is in a minority of states in America that has a wrongful death statute that does not allow the decedent’s family to be compensated for their emotional grief over their loss. So when a family recently came to see me about the completely unexpected loss of their son who was in his 20’s they were shocked to learn that the law prohibited them from recovering for their “pain and suffering” – only the decedent’s pain and suffering is recoverable. New York law does allow for the awarding of interest from the date of death, and the Court of … Read the rest

Bill Seeks to Improve Safety By Requiring Safety Device on New York City Housing Authority Elevators

Identical bills have been introduced in the New York State Senate (S04603) and Assembly (A8154) that would require the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to place door or zone restrictors on its nearly 3,340 elevators. The devices prevent people trapped inside stalled housing elevators from opening the cab doors by locking the cab door when an elevator is not aligned with a floor landing. The devices operate even when an elevator loses power because they do not rely on electricity.

The bills come on the heels of a class action lawsuit filed in the United States Court for the … Read the rest

New Federal Rule to Make School Buses Safer

New federal rules will make the nations 474,000 school buses safer by requiring higher seat backs, mandating lap and shoulder belts on small school buses and setting safety standards for seat belts on large school buses, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary E. Peters announced this past October.

Secretary Peters said the new rule requires all new school buses to be equipped with 24-inch-high seat backs, instead of the 20-inch-high seat backs required today. Higher seat backs will help prevent taller and heavier children from being thrown over the seat in a crash, decreasing the chance of injury to them and … Read the rest

Study of Artificial Spinal Disk “Prodisc” – Guided by Physicians’ Finances or Concern for Patients?

When patients are considering treatment options, there is often”blind faith” in the doctor’s recommendations, as he is viewed as a concerned, educated and neutral provider. Perhaps, this view is nave. In reality, doctors are often financially motivated in the varying courses of treatment offered. Instead of acting as neutral gatekeepers of potentially harmful drugs and procedures and “neutral scientists “investigating a procedure’s safety, at times they are in actuality financially motivated advocates for the same.

For instance, Dr. Joseph E. Zigler, a well known spine specialist, and an advocate of Prodisc, an artificial spinal disk for the lower back, has … Read the rest

Childrens’ Toy Aqua Dots Recalled for Containing a Chemical That When Eaten Converts Into “Date Rape Drug”

Aqua Dots, a/k/a Aqua Beads, a Chinese-made toy, was recalled Wednesday, November 7, 2007, by the Consumer Product Safety Commission after two children in the United States and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads.

Aqua Dots are packets of brightly colored beads that children arrange into mosaic designs. When sprinkled with water, the beads then stick together in as little as 10 minutes to form durable artworks. The toy was pulled from shelves after scientists found they contain a chemical that converts into a dangerous, potentially fatal drug when eaten. The chemical coating on the beads, when … Read the rest

Levine & Slavit Launches Radio Campaign

Following its successful television advertising campaign on New York Mets and Yankees games, Levine & Slavit has begun an advertising campaign on New York City based all-news radio station 1010 WINS.

Set to begin on August 27, 2007, the ad reads: “Many people are not prepared and dont know how to proceed when injured in an accident. The law firm of Levine & Slavit has been representing accident victims for 50 years, located in Manhattan with an additional office on Long Island. We handle cases in New York City and surrounding counties. If you have been injured through the negligence … Read the rest

Drug Companies Will Be Forced To List Gifts Made To Doctors If Legislation Passes

On June 27th, a Senate hearing was held regarding the pharmaceutical industry’s routine practice of promoting and marketing drugs and medical devices by showering doctors with gifts. Drug companies which attempt to persuade doctors to prescribe their drugs provide doctors with meals at high-priced restaurants, stock options, sponsorships for educational programs, drug samples, tickets to sporting events and Broadway shows, lab professorship funding, and trips to educational conferences at popular vacation areas with airfare, car rental, and hotel costs included.

Senator Clair McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, and Senator Herb Kohl, Wisconsin Democrat and chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, … Read the rest

World Trade Center 9/11 Insurer and Law Firms Sanctioned $1.25 Million

United States District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein (Southern District of New York) has imposed sanctions totalling $1,250,000.00 against Zurich American Insurance Company and two of its law firms for failing to timely produce documents that defeated Zurich’s attempt to avoid liability insurance obligations regarding lawsuits brought by the legal successors of many of those who died and many of those who suffered personal injuries or suffered property damage in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Judge Hellerstein imposed the sanctions pursuant to Rule 11 and Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure based upon a thorough analysis … Read the rest